Courage Chapter 5

Susan stares out the window of Jake’s pick-up truck. Jake and his wife Rachel had come to pick her up from the hospital. She had spent a week there recovering from her injuries and getting counsel for her rape. She was still jumpy and didn’t like being by herself. She was told by the doctor that she needed to be careful, for the next few weeks. Her face was still bandaged up. They had gone in and done cosmetic work to her nose, cheek bones and eye sockets. All the hitting her husband had done to her face and the damage she took from the shovel during the fight had severely damaged her face. On top of that the injuries she had received between her legs were going to take time to heal. She clinches the big teddy bear the guys had given her tight to her. She has been using it allot lately for comfort.

Susan didn’t like being by herself any more. She wanted someone around her all the time. Even when she was in the hospital, she had a nurse stay with her, till she fell asleep. She still had nightmares and twitches of ghost pains. The sheriff had questioned her extensively till she started crying from reliving the event over again. Clarence father was a shame of his son’s actions and offer to pay all her medical bills and help her in any way he could. He even refunded the money for the horse she had brought from him as a gesture of good will.

Susan looks up towards Jake and Rachel. They were letting her stay at their place for free. Jake had order her not to be doing any type of work till she was fully healed. Not that she could. The doctor had told her to stay off her ankle for a few weeks. They had to go in and rebuild her ankle, just like they did her wrist. The slim guy that had stomped on it, when he had the big burly guy held it on that piece of wood, smashed every bone inside. They had to go in and literally rebuild her wrist with titanium and reattached all her tendons. He had torn them when he came down hard on her wrist. She had a scar on the back of her arm going from her hand up to almost her elbow. She could barely move it right now and it hurt.

The Sheriff had taken the gun she used to kill the men. It had belonged to Clarence, so she wasn’t charged with it. This reminded her of the guns hidden in her SUV. She needed to take care of them. Jake and Elizabeth had brought her SUV to his ranch. Phillip had found her keys and cell phone and had given them to Jake. They found what they could of her purse. There wasn’t much in it, so she didn’t lose anything.

Rachel had already redesigned the bedroom they were giving her, so she’ll have some privacy to herself. A friend of Elizabeth’s had come in and install new plumbing at Jake’s house, so she could have her own bathroom. Clarence father had picked up the bill for all this reconstruction at Jake’s house. She thinks Jake and Mr. Garrigan had a talk about what his boy did to his employee. Elizabeth had told her on one of her visits to see her that Jake was so furious with Clarence father, that he had a few spoken words with him. Everyone had thought they were going to have to call the sheriff on Jake.

Carol Ann, Jake’s and Rachel’s only daughter had come to visit her. She was a year younger then Susan and looked allot like her father. She was pleasant and friendly. She wanted to meet her older sister. She liked the idea of having someone her age at the house to talk with and get advice form. Susan had warned her not to count on her advice that much. Susan buries her face against the teddy bear as the tears start up again. Her counselor had said this was going to be common for her for a while. She tries not to press her face too hard to the teddy bear. Her face was still tender and swollen under the bandages.

“Hey half-pint, are you thirsty?” Jake had notice Susan crying again. He was trying to distract her some. They were still an hour and half away from the ranch. He knew she hadn’t been eating while she was in the hospital. The nurse in her room had to threaten her to get her to eat.
She looks up at Jake and in her little girl voice “I guess.” She was thirsty and her stomach had been growling some.

Jake pulls over at a mom and pop fast food place. He gets out and heads inside the place. Rachel turns around in her seat and looks at Susan.

“How are you holding up Susan?” There was concern in Rachel’s eyes.

Susan could see the concern in Rachel’s eyes for her.

“I don’t know Rachel. In some ways I feel I was responsible or I deserve it. If I hadn’t embarrassed Clarence in front of everyone at the barn, maybe he wouldn’t have attacked me.” Susan holds the teddy bear close to her.

“Susan, no woman deserves what happen to you. He just wanted to prove he had power over you. Did you tell Jake, that your husband tried to control you and beat you because you wouldn’t allow him to do it?” Rachel looks into Susan’s hunted eyes.

“Yes. He, he would abuse me and call me names.” Susan remembers the abuse she got from him. He even raped her as well. She had learned about spouse rape from her counselor.

“Would you have allowed what Clarence did to you, if your husband had done it?” Rachel was hoping she could get Susan to see it.

“No! I would had run out on him like I did or shot him like I did them.” Susan felt anger inside of her.

“So, I guess what you said earlier isn’t true then, is it?” Rachel was smiling. She had gotten Susan to realize that it wasn’t her fault for what happen to her.

“No.” Susan felt a little better, but she still felt dirty from them touching her.

Rachel reaches forwards and pats Susan’s hand.

Susan flinched when she felt Rachel’s touched.

Rachel had notice, but didn’t say anything. “Don’t worry about anything. We’ll help you through this.” Rachel gives Susan a motherly smile.

Jake comes walking back out with a huge bag of food and a tray of drinks. He opens the door to the truck and climbs in after giving the bag to his wife.

“I brought food for everyone.” He turns to look at Susan. “I’m tired of hearing your stomach growl back there. So eat up.”

Susan just looks at him with a guilty look on her face.

Rachel starts handing out the food.

“I remembered you liked barbeque, so I got you a huge sandwich and an order of onion rings as well, since I knew they were your favorite.”
Jake hands them to Susan.

She carefully takes them. Her left hand didn’t work to well, but she could still use it some.

“Thank you.” She puts the food on her lap. She accepts the drink from Rachel.

“Here are two pain pills for you Susan. I image your ankle and wrists are hurting you.” Rachel hands Susan the pain pills she was supposed to take every six hours.

“Thank you.” She pops the pain pills into her mouth along with the antibiotic pills she is taking.

Jake watches as Susan takes a bite of her sandwiches. The doctor had told him to make sure she ate. She had been refusing to eat at the hospital. Not that he blamed her, the food tasted plain.

Susan eats her lunch, which felt nice afterwards. She hadn’t realized how hungry she had been. The pain pills knocked her out, so she slept all the rest of the way to the ranch. She doesn’t stir, when Jake picks her up and carry her inside the house and to her room. He lays her down gently on the bed and put her wheel chair near her, since she couldn’t use crouches for support. He props her ankle up on a couple of nice fluffy pillows. Rachel makes sure two more pain pills were in the pill case they got her, along with the antibiotic pills she was require taking for her other injuries. They leave the door partially open, because they know she will freak out if she doesn’t have anyone near her.

Carol Ann had been working on her homework, when she heard her father’s truck pull up. She had watched from her bedroom window as he carried Susan into the house. She was still clinging to the stuff bear the guys had given her as a get well present. She felt sorry for Susan. Her dad had told her what happen to her. How the cheerful energetic girl he had met, had been replace with a person who he didn’t recognize any more. It was like she was withdrawing herself from everyone.

“So? How was the trip back?” She looks towards both her parents.

“It went fine. This was one of her good days.” Rachel looks at her daughter and was thankful she understood their concern for Susan.

“If I hadn’t order her to eat, I doubt she would have.” Jake was a little concern about her.

“Just give her time Jake. It’s been only a week and she’s been through so much. She can’t use her left hand like she used to, and she can’t get around without the use of her wheelchair because of her ankle. Combine that with her other injuries, she’s got a rough road ahead of her.”
Rachel could understand what Susan was going through. She used to be a nurse, before she decided to stay home and take care of Carol Ann.

“I’m going to go and make dinner, why don’t you go and check on the men and make sure they got the herd moved like we told them.” Rachel looks towards her husband.

He gives her a look of who’s in charge here. “Yes Ma’am.”

Rachel just gives him I am look. She loved her husband, but sometimes he forgets that she rules the house and the ranch was his.

Carol Ann looks towards her mother “who’s going to listen out for Susan?”

“We are. I got your old baby monitoring devices out and put it in her room. I’ll hear if she’s awake and needs anything.” Rachel was glad she kept the old baby monitoring devices.

“Now why don’t you come into the kitchen and help me make dinner tonight.” Rachel was looking at her daughter.

“Yes ma’am.” Carol Ann heads into the kitchen with her mother to help fix dinner.

Susan wakes up a few hours later. She didn’t remember getting out of the truck, but she recognized the wheel chair and the room from the pictures Elizabeth had shown her. She still had the teddy bear near her and the rest of her gifts from the people from the rodeo.

She closes her eyes and tries not to panic every time she thinks about the rodeo. Her counselor told her that she would have panic attacks off and on. She opens her eyes and releases her breath. She really didn’t need to freak out right now. The pain pills were dulling the pain of her ankle and wrist. They also were making her feel dopey and sleepy all the time. She was still dressed in the blue dress Rachel had dressed her in. The Doctors said she couldn’t wear jeans or any pants, except loose fitting sweat pants while she was healing in between her legs. She looks around the room. It was nice and peacefully decorated. There were things here that reminded her of a country side Inn. She tries to sit up some, using her good hand. She makes sure the pillows under her ankle were still supporting them.

She picks her cell phone up and checks to see if there were any messages. She smiles when she notices one from Elizabeth. It had a picture attached to it. She opens the picture and notice it was a huge banner the whole entire rodeo had done to wish her a quick recovery. It made her feel warm.

Rachel knocks on the door to the room before entering it. She notices that Susan had jumped some from the noise.

“I heard movement and thought I should check on you.” Rachel had the baby monitor receiver in her apron.

Susan gives her a weird look “How?”

Rachel points to a teddy bear sitting on the end table next to the bed.

“It’s a baby monitor. I used to use it when Carol Ann was little and figure, since you can’t get up and move around, like you would like. You could let me know when you have to go to the bathroom or if you wanted to come out into the living room with us.” Rachel sits down on the edge of the bed next to Susan.

“I feel so useless and dirty Rachel. I hate feeling like this.” Tears start to slide down Susan’s bandaged face.

Rachel wraps her arms tenderly around Susan and holds her tight. She pets her on her back.

“It’s going to be okay sweetie. You have a rough road ahead of you, but I know you’ll be able to overcome this. It takes time and you can take as much time as you need to recover. Jake, Carol Ann and I consider you family. So, you’ll have your family to help you.” Susan just starts crying even harder now. She felt that she didn’t deserve Jake and his family as her own. Not after what happen to her.

Rachel just holds her close and let her cry herself to sleep again. Rachel places the teddy bear she’s been using for comfort next to her. She was happy that Jake had told her everything about Susan. This poor girl needed a loving family to help her through her pain. Rachel walks out of the room quietly and heads back to the kitchen.

“How is she mom?” Carol Ann was concern about Susan as well.

“She’s holding on right now sweetie. It’s going to be rough for her. Between the physical pains she has and the Psychological problems she is
going to have to work through, Susan may never be the trusting person she used to be or be comfortable around people like your father said she was. She’s also going to suffer problems from killing the men that raped her. I spoke to her counselor and even she agrees that Susan is going to need time to heal. So all we can do is help her and be there for her. You might be able to distract her with your homework or something.” Rachel holds her daughter.

“I hope she gets better. From what father said, she seemed to be an amazing person.” Carol Ann wonders why something like this happens to people. Did she do something wrong or was it just one of those random things in life.

Susan sleeps through dinner and into the middle of the night. She does tosses and turn, but the pain from her ankle and wrist wake her up as she glances around the dark bedroom. The door to her room was slightly open and the teddy bear she has been cling to, was sitting next to her. She grabs it and holds it to her body. She was scared as she looked out into the room.

“Go away. You deserve what you got.” She was shaking and holding her teddy bear tight.

Rachel and Jake had heard Susan’s trembling voice over the baby monitor. They get out of bed and walk down to her room. Rachel sticks her head in and notices Susan staring at the wall across from her. Her face was pale white, and she was clinching the teddy bear tight to her.

“Go away, leave me along. You, you deserve what you got.” Susan’s face had a petrified look on it.

“She’s dreaming about those men she killed that raped her.” Jake had seen the same expression on several police officer friends of his back in Texas.

“Is it safe for me to approach her?” Rachel was worried that she might strike out.

“Let me do it. If she does strike out, I can take it.” Jake moves slowly over towards Susan’s bed.

“Susan. It’s me Jake. Look at me sweetie.” Jake steps closer to the bed.

Susan hears Jake voice, but it sounded like it was coming from far away from her. Her body starts to shake as the image of Clarence comes closer to her. She tries to swing her hand at the image.

Jake stands back as Susan’s injured arm misses him. She was going to hurt it more if she didn’t stop.

“Susan, stop it. You’re going to hurt yourself even more.” Jake was near her.

Susan backs closer against the headboard of the bed she was on. Her ankle sends pain flaring up her leg from her using it to push herself.
She screams out from the pain. The pain snaps her awake. Jake grabs her and holds her to his body. She sobs against him like a little girl holding onto her daddy.

“Make them go away, daddy. Make them leave me along.” Susan clings to Jake desperately shaking and crying. She had her swollen bandaged face buried against Jakes shoulder and cling to him for dear life.

Rachel grabs a tranquilizer pill “here sweetie, take this.” She gives Susan the pill and then a sip of water from her bottle she keeps on her night stand.

After ten minutes, Susan drops off into a deep sleep. Jake lays her down gently and props her ankle again. He covers her up and tucks her in. He places a kiss on her forehead. Rachel comes over and places a kiss on her forehead as well.

“What were those pills you gave her?” Jake was looking at his wife for an answer.

“They are sleeping pills. Her counselor thought she might need them. This isn’t the first time she woke-up scared like she was. The nurse, who watched her, said that they had to give her a shot in order to get her to sleep though out the night sometimes. If it wasn’t her screaming from being rape, it was from her shooting those men. I hate using them on her, because of how many pills she is taking, but she needs them ever so often to sleep. Once her ankle and wrist are doing better, I’m planning on weaning her off them.” Rachel really does hate giving them to her, but what choice does she have.

Morning comes early for both Jake and Rachel. Jake gets up and heads out to start work on the ranch and Rachel gets Carol Ann ready for school. She checks on Susan and notice she is still out for the count.

Around ten in the morning, the Sheriff comes out to the ranch. Lawrence gets out and heads up to the door of the house. Rachel had seen him when he pulled up. Jake was out in the field rounding up some buffaloes and horses they had. Rachel meets the Sheriff at the door.

“Well hello Tom, come on in.” Rachel opens the door for him.

“Thanks, Rachel.” Tom walks in and follows Rachel to the living room. He notices she has a baby monitor attaché to her apron.

Rachel notices where Tom was looking “It’s for Susan. I can keep an eye or ear on her if she needs anything. She can’t move around that well with a broken ankle and a broken wrist.”

“So? Would you like a cup of coffee or anything?” Rachel hopes the cookies she baked were ready.

“Coffee, please” Tom was looking out one of the windows in the kitchen.

“So, what brings you out this way today?” Rachel pours the coffee into a mug and adds a little sugar to it. She knew how Tom liked his coffee.

“Well, to tell you the truth. I have a message for Susan from the Virginia Beach Police department.” He takes a sip of his coffee. He had always liked coming out here. Rachel always had the best coffee.

Rachel pours herself a cup and sits down at the counter with Tom.

“She’s still asleep Tom. She had a rough time last night.” Rachel takes a sip of her coffee. It was the only thing keeping her awake this morning.

“Well, when she wakes up. Tell her that her husband is dead. He was found yesterday morning floating face down in the Chesapeake Bay and that he had been shot. Her friend tried to call her, but her number had been changed. So, she called the Virginia Beach police department and they tracked her SUV here. They called us and asked if we would relay the message to her.” Tom takes another sip of his coffee.

“I’ll tell her. She’s not going to be able to fly back to Virginia or drive. Her injuries are too extensive.” Rachel shakes her head.

“She’s been through too much lately. I know she doesn’t care about her husband. Jake said she left him, because he abused her.” Rachel had seen the marks when the Doctors had asked Jake and her about them.

“I know. I read her file. I was amazed that she had enough courage to shoot the men responsible for raping her.” Tom had read the report they had on her. The local newspaper had wanted to do a story on her, but Jake told them to go away while she recovered.

“She only killed two of them with the gun and killed the last one with Clarence knife. She told me when I asked her how she managed to survive. Unfortunately, she has been suffering from it. She has nightmares of them being in the room with her.” Rachel takes a sip of her coffee.

“I had friends that have gone through the same thing. Not the rape, but the taking of a life during the line of duty. These men are considered heroes by the public and the department, but they suffer from the taking the lives of others. Have you signed her up with a group to help her?”
Tom looks at Rachel.

“She has a meeting with a group of rape survivors next Thursday evening. Her counselor appointment is early in the morning, so she can go to the meeting. Her physical therapy is Friday morning.” Rachel was thinking about doing some shopping while Susan was at therapy.

“Well, let me know if you need any help. Betty has been looking for an excuse to get out of the house for a while.” Tom thinks about his wife.

“How is Betty?” Rachel and Tom sit at the counter talking about his wife and other things.



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