'You want me to tie you up?' Holly asked, clearly a little sceptical. They'd done the whole "sex" thing a few times now, and Gail wanted to try and mix things up a little. Neither Chris nor Nick had been much for experimentation, which had led to more than a few frustrated nights.

'Well it's either that, or reverse cowgirl, and we'd probably need a little extra equipment for that.'

'You need a safe-word,' Holly said, and apparently it wasn't a matter for negotiation.

Gail considered the point. 'Apples,' she said, eventually, and to her credit, Holly only raised her eyebrow slightly. 'I was gonna go with Cheese Puffs, but that'll just make me hungry.'

'Okay,' Holly agreed. 'Apples. Are you sure you're okay with this?'

'Yes,' said Gail, emphatically. 'Don't worry. I know turnabout's fair play, so tomorrow night you get to pick what I do to you.'

That seemed to relax Holly a little, but it was still with the utmost care that she found a pair of neckties. Her knots were firm, but relatively loose.

'How many more of those do you have?' Gail asked, breathlessly. She was getting kind of hot and bothered. Holly stared at her. 'I just want to...feel you.'

'You want me to blindfold you?' Holly asked, hesitant. She was approaching the whole "sex" thing with a lot more caution than Gail would have liked, but then, that was to be expected.

The third tie was soft, and a little slippery. It might have been silk, or satin. For the first few moments, she enjoyed the sensation – of Holly's hands on her, of not knowing where they were going touch next.

There was a heavy feeling starting to grow in her stomach, and she had no idea why. Her body tightened, and her heart started beating faster.

'Gail?' came Holly's voice. It sounded concerned, and a little far away. 'Gail, are you okay?'

'Apples!' said Gail, only vaguely aware that she sounded like an idiot. She moved to try and pull her blindfold off, but her hands were still tied to the headboard. 'Apples!'

Her mind was overcome with panic. He was here. He was here, and he was going to kill her. There was a voice in the distant, both calming and panicked at the same time. It was hard to breath, hard to speak, but after half a second, her hands were free, and she could see.

She wasn't on the table.

She was on the bed. She was in Holly's bedroom, and she was not about to die. The realization of what had happened hit her like a brick, and she could feel herself going red with embarrassment. Holly wasn't even paying attention to that. She had jumped immediately into her protective/nurturing mode (which Gail refused to admit she actually kind of liked).

'It's okay,' Holly said, her arms partially wrapped around Gail. Gail hadn't even noticed that happen. 'You're okay.' Her heart was thumping fast, and her hands were scrambling to find purchase on something. She found Holly's hands, and clutched them tightly.

'I'm sorry,' Gail murmured, after a long, pained silence. 'I wasn't...I didn't know that was going to happen.' She felt like an idiot. She should have known this was going to happen. She'd tried to shield Holly from the dangers of her job, and she'd failed miserably.

It took almost twenty minutes for her heart-beat to slow down, for her breathing to even out, and for the complete and utter terror that she had felt in those few seconds to dissipate. It was still there, lurking beneath the surface, but for now, it was gone.

All that was left was the arms wrapped around her, and the girlfriend that she had no doubt just scared the bejeezus out of. It was something that she'd wanted to avoid. Holly was fearful enough of the fact that she was (on a very irregular basis) shot at by people who genuinely wanted to see her dead. To tell her the rest...

'Last year, I was...abducted by a serial killer.' She hated the word kidnapped, but here – now – "abducted" seemed no better. It made her feel weak. Powerless. Holly's grip tightened just slightly, but she said nothing. 'He uh...He tied me to a table, and blindfolded me. I guess it all just kind of came back up again.'

Holly's body seemed to tighten at the words. Her grip strengthened a little, squeezing Gail's hands. Gail squeezed back, and for a moment it was just the two of them. There was no-one else, nothing else in the world but them.

'Thank-you for telling me,' Holly said, evenly, and Gail could tell that she was holding back whatever it was that she really wanted to say. Even now, she didn't dare tell Holly the rest of the story. It was too much pain for one evening.

'I'm sorry,' Gail told her.

'For what?'

'For not telling you sooner. It's not something I can just...you know, slip into everyday conversation. Like "hey, some guy kept me tied up in his basement for a while last year, how's your day been?"' She was vaguely aware that her voice had gone all high and panicky, and Holly pulled her hand out of Gail's grip to stroke her hair.

'Hey...' said Holly, gently. 'If you don't want to talk about it, don't talk about it. We can just sleep now, if that's what you want.'

It was what Gail wanted. She felt like an idiot for ruining their night, but at least Holly hadn't run away screaming. Of course, there was still time for that.

'Yeah, I...' She paused. She wanted sleep, but she didn't want to sleep. Not after that nice rush down memory lane. 'Can I...can you hold me?'

'Of course,' Holly murmured, pressing a kiss to the back of Gail's head. They sunk down into the bed, and Gail leaned backwards into Holly's embrace.

She felt safe.