"Get your hands off of me you Son of a Bitch!" She cursed silently, alarmed by the mere touch of his hand.
Sloan Michaels couldn't help but grin at the quick pulsing he felt vibrating through his fingertips the moment he'd gripped her arm. She'd had every reason to fear him he knew, and sometimes when he thought of the contemptuous past between the two, he could still feel the force of it leaden in his chest. As often as he could he avoided thinking about it at all.
"My God! How long has it been?" Raymond interrupted, immediately extending an uninvited open hand. Even with his diminishing eyesight he could see the distress in Callie's eyes from across the festive room.
He was only glad he was there to intervene.
Even though is was so many years ago it was still so clear in his memory, as though it had happened yesterday. It had taken her a long time to recover, yet he had stood by her and had been by her side night and day. He didn't mind taking care of her. In fact, he wouldn't have had it any other way. He had nursed her battered body and tortured soul back from the realms of hell bit by bit. And within a lengthy process of seemingly never ending time, she had finally flourished into what she was today. He knew she would never fully recover and that she would never look exactly the same again. But she was finally well. Able to live the life she was so determined to live.
Throwing an arm around Sloan's shoulder as though they had been life long friends, to break the unwanted intrusion, he added "Don't forget about lunch tomorrow Callie." Immediately allowing her to escape the unwanted grip.
"How bout a drink for old time sake?" Raymond asked. And whether he wanted to or not, Sloan was forced to walk into the room.
He would deal with Callie later, Sloan assured himself.
Callie walked as quickly as she could down the hallway hoping she didn't look like she was in a hurry to leave, until she was around the corner and out of eyesight.
Thank God she hadn't passed anybody!
She knew he was watching her like a hawk. She could feel the daggers of his stare deeply penetrating her backside. Which would explain the cold sweat that was beginning to cover her body.
Alone in the lobby she pushed the elevator button and, while fidgeting with her hands...waited. Feeling faint she slid down the wall to a squat and cupped her head on her knees where she immediately released a tension of breath.
Momentarily the elevator announced its arrival with a loud ding startling her, making her heart take a drastic nose dive. The doors slid open and Callie rushed in as though she were being chased by "Freddie Kruger" then immediately began pounding on the button marked "B" for basement, silently praying for the doors to slide shut.
After a few deep breaths and scoldings to herself, Callie was as calm as she believed she was going to get for the remainder of the night.
When the elevator doors finally opened she stepped out into the dimly lit parking garage and with thoughts of "Freddie" still in the back of her mind, took off in a rapid sprint towards her car, where she safely buckled herself in and sped out of the garage into the early evening sun.
About an hours drive from work, it was nearly dark when Callie pulled into the lengthy driveway of the large Tudor style home in which she occupied the bottom half. The upper portion of the home was unoccupied and had been for the past two years which by the way, was fine with Callie.
She liked the seclusion and she could certainly do without the noise of several small children again running around dirty and unattended.
The last tenants had been the family from hell. And as much as she liked children, she had to admit that she was glad when the elderly owners finally decided to evict them for not paying their rent...for six months.
Although the sun was beginning to settle for the night there was still enough of the orangish glow surrounding her that she wasn't in total darkness.
She parked her Honda Prelude in the empty parking space under a massive Japanese Maple then walked the short distance to the front walkway and up the steps of the impressive wrap-around veranda taking in the evening scent of rose that grew rampant on either side of her.
It was her favorite place to be.
She loved to sit in the wooden swing that hung from the rafters in the early evening and watch the sunset, sipping a glass of chilled Chardonney, listening to only the silence that enveloped her until she was blessed with the awakening sounds of night creatures.
She would watch in admiration while hundreds of bats exited their residence in the surrounding forest and pepper the darkening sky in search of food. She loved listening to the awakening chorus of crickets or the sound of a distant hoot owl. Sometimes, if she was lucky enough she could hear the sounds of Muskrats splashing around happily in the large stream that surrounded the perimeter, foraging through the still waters for cattails, bulrush, or smartweed to feed on or for use in building new homes.
Although tonight she knew, would be spent in front of the television, behind locked doors.
She unlocked the front door then immediately stepped inside turning on the light switch giving the spacious foyer a luminous glow. With break necking speed she closed, then locked the front door and recklessly went from room to room repeating the alike process until the entire first floor was ignited in total brightness.
Back in the stainless kitchen, Callie took a glass from one of the many cabinets then reached into another and removed a bottle of sheltered whiskey. She generously poured herself a healthy amount then quickly gulped it down, cringing when the first bite stung her throat. Within seconds she could feel the tension oozing from her pores. Her heartbeat was slowing to a steady rhythm now and the slight buzz she was instantly feeling temporarily buried any past emotion.
Just as she was about to pour a second glass of whiskey she heard the knock at the front door. There was just enough of the brownish liquid swimming in her blood that she didn't jump clear to the roof.
Instinct told her it was Ray at the door coming to check on her to make sure she was all right. He was always doing things like that and she adored him for it. She didn't know what she would have done without his strong support during her recovery and she knew she owed him her very life.
"Coming!" She yelled.
She carried her glass with her down the long hallway into the foyer, reached for the doorknob and slowly turned, not bothering to look out the heavily curtained glass door.
"Here to check on me?" She laughed. The alcohol was certainly packing a punch.
She pulled the door open towards her and stood paralyzed the moment she saw him.
"Wasn't very nice of you to run out on your own party." Sloan announced.
Callie could feel the room begin to spin. She could see tiny glimpses of flashing light through the blackness that was rapidly surrounding her. She tried to grab the door frame to keep herself upright but it was no use. The glass slipped from her hand and with a loud crash, shattered onto the wooden floor below.
Callie, unable to stand any longer immediately followed.
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