Summary: Janet knows she has to start again and reclaim her life.
Info: Set just before Season 1
Janet Richmond's hands shook as she tried to zip up her large holdall. Sharon reached over and gently put one hand over Janet's. "It's okay, Janet," she said quietly. "He won't be back. And even if he does come back, you're not alone. The guys are outside, and they're staying until you are safely back in the car. And I'm not going anywhere."
Janet looked up at her friend, who was also the head nurse at the base, tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry," her voice was not much above a whisper. "It's just...," she swallowed.
"You don't have to apologize, or explain. You just need to get away from him. And you're doing just that," Sharon squeezed her fingers affectionately. She hated that her boss had been brought so low.
= = =
Janet gave a weak smile and a wave to the two SFs waiting in the truck outside her house. Well, it was no longer her house, she realized. She was really doing it. She was getting away. As she lowered herself into the car, her ribs protested and she tried not to wince, knowing that Sharon was watching her every move.
"You okay?" Sharon asked.
"Fine," Janet said, more shortly than she had intended. "Can we just go?"
"Of course," Sharon said, as she started the car and reversed it out of Janet's drive. She looked over sadly at her boss, noticing that the bruises on her face had really started to come out. She could only imagine what bruising was hidden under her clothing. Janet held tight to her purse, her knuckles white. Her face was as white as her knuckles, tension emanating from every pore.
They drove for less than five minutes when Janet took a sudden deep breath. She knew she was going to be sick. "Pull over," she said thickly. Sharon did as she was told, and Janet flung the door open just in time as her stomach rebelled. The retching jarred her ribs further, which only exacerbated the nausea. At that moment, she just wanted to die.
Sharon put one hand on her quaking back, rubbing gently. "It's okay," she said softly. "It's okay. It's all going to be okay. It's over now, Janet. It's really over." She reached over to the back seat and grabbed the blanket there, tucking it firmly around her shaking friend. "We'll get you back home, and tucked up warm in bed, that'll be nice, huh?"
Janet nodded miserably. "Sorry," she whispered, as she leaned back painfully in her seat, trying unsuccessfully to stop the tremors that shook her.
"I want to check you over quickly once we get back," Sharon said. "Make sure you're okay."
"M'fine," Janet said. "It's just bruises."
"I still want to check," Sharon said softly. "Quite apart from the bruises, you're in shock right now."
"Okay," Janet whispered. "When we get to the motel."
"No motel," Sharon said firmly. "You're coming back with me. You shouldn't be alone."
"No," Janet protested. "I don't want to disturb your family. I'll be fine. There's a motel just near here."
"I don't care," Sharon insisted. "Anyway, Cora'll never speak to me again if I leave you there. She's looking forward to seeing you. Mikey's with his grandma tonight," she referred to their four-year-old son. "And Eliza will be asleep. Please, Janet?" her voice was gentle. "We really want you with us."
Janet looked at her colleague, and saw that she really meant what she said. She tried to pull herself together. "In that case, yes. And thank you," she said with feeling.
= = =
As David Richmond drove up to his house, he felt his anger grow. He had been very clear in his instructions to his wife that morning; he wanted his dinner on the table as soon as he returned, and his best blue shirt laundered. He was going out with the guys that evening, and he wanted to be ready for Mark when he came round to give him a ride. But there were no lights showing in the house, and Janet's car wasn't in the drive. What the hell was the bitch up to this time? Was he going to have to teach her another lesson?
Angrily, he slammed the car door and strode to the front door. An envelope was pinned to the door, with 'David' written on it in Janet's handwriting. He opened it up and withdrew a single sheet; a business card fell on the table.
You have hit me for the last time. I still don't know how I let things get to the state that they have. Why did I let you abuse me again and again? I guess I thought you would change. That you didn't mean it. That you meant it when you apologized, when you cried with remorse. When you swore it would never happen again. I loved you, I suppose. No longer. You need specialist help. I want you to call the number on the business card. If I don't hear from the office by Friday that you have made an appointment, I'm calling the police. I can't bear the thought that you could attack another woman in the future. Get help. Now.
David was white with fury as he read the words. He hurled his car keys against the wall, and kicked over the chair that was next to him. This would not be the end of it. No way. He would get her back. Janet belonged with him. She needed him. He knew what was best for her.
= = =
Sharon helped Janet out of the car and up to the house. Her wife Cora opened the door in welcome and, as Janet stepped across the threshold, wrapped her in a gentle hug, taking care not to exacerbate the injuries she could see. "Welcome," she whispered into Janet's hair. "You're safe here."
It was so long since Janet had been treated with such warmth and kindness, and so wonderful to realize that she really was safe at last, that she started to cry with relief. Cora led her to the couch, not releasing her, and just held her as she cried, while Sharon went to make tea.
After almost half an hour, Janet's sobbing slowed. "Sorry," she gulped, sitting up a little.
"For what?" Cora asked. "For being human? I'm so glad you came, Janet," she told her. "Anyway," she smiled. "We owe you one."
Janet looked nonplussed.
"For Eliza," Cora reminded her.
Janet snorted. "That was nothing," she said, remembering back six weeks to when she delivered Cora's baby in the back of Sharon's station wagon. "You didn't need me anyway, Sharon would have done fine."
"Because of you she didn't need to," Cora said. "And I know she's a great nurse, but I swear she panicked more than I did that day. I love you so much, my darling," she said to Sharon as she came back into the living room bearing a tray of tea, "but frankly you were a mess!" she teased her wife.
Sharon grinned. "Thank goodness we had an expert in the car," she said.
"She's a beautiful baby," Janet smiled a little tearfully. The harsh truth was that she would never now have a child of her own.
"She is," Cora agreed. "Though she's less engaging at three in the morning." A soft wail was heard over the baby monitor. "Talking of which," she smiled. "Baby wants her dinner," she grimaced.
"I think it's time we got Janet into bed too," Sharon said, putting a hand on Janet's arm. "Okay Janet?"
"Yeah," Janet was exhausted. It was only 6pm, but she felt like she could sleep for a month.
= = =
Sharon tenderly palpated Janet's side. Her boss, who had become one of her closest friends, was sitting on the edge of the bed in her nightshirt and a warm robe that Sharon found in the closet. "I don't think anything's broken," Sharon told her. "I think maybe we should give you a scan tomorrow anyway, what do you think?"
"Okay," Janet said in a small voice. "I'm sure I'm okay though."
"I'm sure you are too," Sharon said reassuringly, as she pulled back the warm quilt, and gently tucked Janet in. She sat on the edge of the bed, and took Janet's hand. "It really is over, Janet," she said. "You can get your life back now. Start afresh. You no longer have to be frightened."
Janet's eyes filled with tears again. "You've been such a good friend," she tried to keep her voice steady. "Both of you. Thank you. I really will miss you when you go. The kids too," she said.
Sharon squeezed her hand. "I've been meaning to talk to you about that," she said. "It's gonna be weird for us, moving to Colorado Springs. But Cora's work is taking us there," she referred to her wife's growing reputation as an architect, "and it'll be a good place to bring up the kids. And I've managed to get a transfer to the Cheyenne Mountain project. It's an amazing place, Janet. The people seem real nice too."
"That's good," Janet said. "I hope they deserve you, you're the best nurse I've ever worked with."
"That's the thing, you see," Sharon was gabbling now in her enthusiasm. "They're recruiting for a CMO at the base. It's perfect, Janet. Don't you see? What have you got keeping you here? He won't even know where you are."
Janet shook her head. "No," she said, quietly. "Look at me," she held out her hand, which was shaking uncontrollably. "I'm a mess. I'm not up to the job."
"Nonsense," Sharon said. "You've had a terrible trauma. But it's over now Janet. You can reclaim your life. Start again. You're an amazing doctor. You've got a great resume. And," she grinned. "I won't have to break in a new CMO. I can't think of anything better than keeping you as my boss. Promise me you'll think seriously about applying, huh?" she peered anxiously into Janet's eyes.
Janet smiled. She took a deep breath. "You could be right," she said carefully. "And the further away I can get from David, the better. He'll have read the note by now," her voice shook. "I wonder what he's doing?"
Sharon tightened her grip on Janet's hand. "It doesn't matter what he's doing," she said. "Just so long as he's not doing it to you. No woman should have to put up with a life like that. Get away, Janet," she said. "He'll never be able to find you."
"He probably thinks I've run off with some woman," Janet said glumly. "Ever since he found out I was bi, he's been obsessed. He even said," she swallowed and looked away, "he said that it was my fault things have been difficult for us... in bed," she reddened. "Everything got so much worse after... after... the baby," she was struggling not to cry.
Sharon reached up and tucked a strand of Janet's hair behind her ear. "That's crap and he knows it," she said firmly. "And so you do. He knows why things have been difficult. How can you be expected to love a man who has done the things he has to you? Janet," she pulled her into a gentle hug. "He knocked you down the stairs, and you lost your baby, and your womb. He is the one who ruined everything. Your being bisexual has no bearing. At all. He's just making excuses. Forget him, if you possibly can. Take control back. You're only 31, that's no age at all. Make a success of your life. That's the best revenge you can take."
Janet nodded. "Okay," she said. "I will. I'll apply for the job. First, though," she said firmly, sounding a little stronger, "I'm going back to my maiden name. And then I'll apply to be the CMO at Cheyenne Mountain, as Dr Janet Fraiser. And nobody will know anything about my history. It's a fresh start."
There was a soft knock on the door.
"Are you up to having a visitor?" Cora stuck her head round the door. "I've got somebody here who wants to see you."
Janet smiled, "Of course," she said. "I always want to see Eliza."
Cora stepped into the room, holding their young infant. Very carefully, she passed her over to Janet, who took her in her arms. The baby looked up at Janet and smiled.
"You're still her favorite," Cora said.
Janet leaned down and very softly placed a kiss on the baby's forehead. She looked down with real pleasure as Eliza smiled again, and wrapped a pudgy fist round her finger. "Hey," Janet said softly, "hey Eliza Janet. It's real good to see you."