Tony Vittel

OOC - I guess now this is a backpost, but I need to finish my conversation damnit! Also, please be aware this is a dark post, from a dark place in my mind, and as such should be read with all due care and attention to the potential life scarring horror within etc...

"Come in for a cuddle?" He suggested.
Then he realised what he'd said. He was too emotionally drained to be particularly embarrassed, but he was 20% awkward. "Cuppa. I meant come in for a cup of tea."

"Now that... was a Freudian slip if ever I heard one." Jade winked.

Jade looked around and settled for a corner of bottom bunk to sit on. Alex returned to his corner and curled his knees up to his chest, absent mindedly his hand touched the dog tags around the now empty bottle, running them between his fingers. Didn't take a psychologist to work out what was on his mind.

"Tell me about him?" Jade queried gently, looking down at his hand. Alex, realising his subconscious had given him away scowled and snatched his hand back as if it were a naughty child. The question utilised no answers beyond a distantly amused but profoundly sad snort. "You owe me either a cuddle or a cup of tea." She said, inserting an amused twinkle into her expression.

Alex got up and started to fill the kettle.

"Spoil sport." She stuck her tounge out at him. They lapsed into silence. Jade waiting for Alex to say something, Alex, deep down just glad that someone was there. She looked around as he poured the drinks. After a minute or two he handed her a mug of tea.

"There." Monosylabic answers the order of the day apparently.

"Alright, if you don't want to talk to me about that, what about something else?" She said, recalling something that seemed to be said ages ago, but was only a few days.

"What?" Alex said, returning to his corner, hot beverage in hand. Jade had missed him adding a bit of 'dutch courage' to his coffee.

"In the swamp, you called me Jess..." She began to say to him, but at the name of the woman he tensed. Jade noticed and instantly changed dirtection. "And then as a response you asked me who Tony was..." She looked away, remembering her faux pas on Fernandos as Alex had grabbed her.

"Yeah." Alex said, a curious look filtering onto his face.

"How about I tell you about him? I'll show you my bruises if you show me yours?" She gave him a sad smile, hoping that by opening that door inside her. Hoping that in showing him how much it hurt that he would see you could make it out the other side.

He thought about it and Jade fell silent as he decided. Eventually the basic human curiosity got the better of him. He wouldn't have to say anything anyway, he could just keep her talking, right? Hearing her voice was nice.

"Ok." He finally said slowly.

"Well, you'll have to give me more than that one word answer of yours when it's your turn." She smiled at him, Abbie always smiled at her. She felt a pang of sadness at the thought of someone so happy being wiped out of her life thanks to the accident caused by the JMC.

"Ok." He said, a small sly grin of his own breaking through his gloom. He quickly smothered it, wanting to feel sorry for himself.

"Well, I was always pushed from boarding school to boarding school as Dad was always away with the Corps." She took a long sip of tea, remembering childhood days with her father. When he was around. "After that I ended up going to medical school. After mum died, being a Doctor was all I wanted."

Alex wondered how all of this linked in to a man called Tony. Jade saw his skepticism and preempted it.

"Wait up, you need the back story first... So I got into a top London medical school. It was great, I met some great people and learned some great things. Early on I met someone, on a night out. We hit it off and I ended up moving out and in with him afrer not long at all. I was young, foolish and didn't see the early signs. That's when it all started to go wrong. He wouldn't let me out to see friends without permission, would ask where I was all the time, even going so far as to walk me to and from work. It wasn't that bad... I loved him so much... He would say it was my fault..." She shook herself, falling into old habits, defending him. "If I was late or didn't do something right, then he would... He always expected the house to be clean, washing laundered. If there was one thing out of place, or one thing wrong then..."

She stopped, distracting herself with the tea, drinking from it. She took a deep shuddering breath, even after all these years it was hard to admit to.

"Then he would hit me. It got harder and harder to hide the bruises. He was smart of course, made sure that most of them were in places other people didn't see. I ended up wearing a lot of scarves from the times he would choke me. I had hand prints on my neck for over a week once. I remember one time he broke a rib, and I had my exam on manual handling the next day. He said I deserved to feel the pain. Said that I was no good and only brought it on myself." As Alex watched her tell the story, he could hear her voice becoming more distant. "After a while, you begin to believe it..."

She looked up at Alex, searching for something in his eyes. Apparently not finding it, she closed her eyes as the memories flooded back like a tidal wave.

"Abbie was the first to notice. It took her and Dan weeks to talk me into moving back into halls. I was too scared, I didn't want to make him angry. It was too much to think about, too hard to consider leaving. She talked me around, said it would be ok... She promised it would be ok..." Her voice was becoming haunted and lost. She shuffled so her back was against the corner.

Alex had never seen her like this. Someone so eternally chirpy so distantly haunted. Jade was beyond wondering if he could see a relfection of himself and his own distant pain in her expression.

"I was just starting to relax and remember what it was like to have a life. To go to the cinema, or for a drink or two. Abbie and Dan took me out, celebrating my freedom at some cheap school disco night club. They left me at the block door when we got home, they went to their own flats..."

She sipped at the cup of tea, briefly observing that it was now half full.

"I should have seen the light on... I should have seen the door wasn't locked. But I'd been drinking... It wasn't my fault! I couldn't have known...."

She hadn't noticed that tears had started to fall. Absently she wiped at her face. Something inside snapped, like it had when she was forced to explain over and over again to the police and the jury and the judge and the doctors and...

"He was waiting for me. As if he owned the place, he grabbed me, locked the door and began to smash my face into the carpet. After that it went dark. I woke up being fed dried coffee, he knew i'd been tdrinking and said this was to sober me up. When I threw up he made me shower in first scalding then ice cold water. He kept me tied to the bed naked and blind folded for most of the time, I was there for days... As he did... things... to me when he felt like it. Or hit me if I didn't respond quite the way he wanted. After days of repeated rape and torture he was gone. He'd been gone for most of the day, I... I thought he'd left me there to die... It was only then I tried to escape, I tried to get out of the cuffs so badly that I cut my wrists, there was ligament damage... It was the blood on the sheets that gave me away when he came back. He said he was going to kill me, thats when he really lay into me."

She was now recalling the details from a distant place. Cold and unfeeling, her eyes were glazed over and she had subconsciously tightened herself into a ball in the corner, knees pressed to her chest.

"The police arrived just in time. They say that I'd stopped screaming. That I was just there on the floor, covered in blood. They thought he'd killed me I was that bad. It was only when the officer put a jacket over my head and I whimpered that they called the ambulance. I remember hearing them taking bets as to if I would make it..."

Jade jumped as she felt an arm slide around her shoulders. The tea sloshed in the cup. It was a warm, strong arm. She leaned against it, head on the chest of the comfort giver.

"I was in a coma for weeks. When I came around they told me that he'd got me pregnant. So I got my little Oliver out of the whole horror." She smiled a tear streaked geniune smile.

"You have a kid?" Alex asked, his chest rumbling as the words formed.

"I did... But that's another story." She sighed. "Now you know who Tony is. The scars on my wrists remind me that no matter how shit it gets, that it will always be ok. That there is always light at the end of the tunnel no matter how far away it is." She looked up at Alex. "Do you understand?"

"I..." He began.

"Don't answer that actually. I want to hear you first. Tit for tat and all that."


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