~FINAL FLASH~

Marion tucked a strand of long blonde hair behind her ear with a tired gesture. It had been a long day and she was thankful to see it almost end. She spied Robert Stanley standing near the water cooler chatting with the last of the office drifters and prayed he wouldn’t’ do his usual and head her way. Although he was a damn good looking man who struck a chord within her, she just couldn’t do the office romance thing again.

Marion had a weakness with the men she encountered. Most were abusive and non-caring. Her tendency to be too trusting of the people she met made it difficult to find true happiness with a good partner The dream had eluded her for many years. Being a very caring and giving person, people (especially men) tend to take advantage of this vulnerable part of her.

Marion looked up from her desk at the Riverview Entertainment Agency, "WOW! Eight thirty. I gotta get the hell out of here". Quickly she began putting papers back in folders and making her desk nice and tidy. Nothing Marion hated worse than to come in to a desk in disarray.

"Well, burning the midnight oils again, eh Ross?" Robert Stanley was a strapping man of 38. Everyone in the office wanted a piece of him. Good looks, brains and brawn all wrapped up in one fine package. But at the moment Marion was not interested.

"Not exactly Robert. I just needed to get these ads done for the Waterford concert next month and I just kind of lost track of time. What are you doing here so late?"

"Boss needed some more demos to go through so had to go through my stack of possibles." Robert sauntered over and sat on the edge of Marion’s desk. "So, when are you going to accept my invitation for dinner?"

"When hell freezes over and I can skate around on it. I told you before Robert, I don’t date fellow workers. Just doesn’t work out."

"Oh come on doll," getting up from the desk he walked behind and placed his hands on her shoulder. "All work and no play, makes Marion a very dull and grumpy lady".

"Watch it Stanley, you are bordering on sexual harassment here!" Marion snapped.

"Ah, come on Marion, you know we make a good team. Just think how good we could be if we pooled our energies in an out of office relationship"

"Stop it Robert. Just forget it. It ain’t gonna happen."

"Ok, but I am not giving up. One day you and I will be together. You mark my words."

"Yeah, right. Walk me to my car, will you?"

"Sure, I was just leaving anyway."

Marion grabbed her brown handbag, slipped on her pink cashmere sweater and headed to the elevator door with Robert close behind.

"I don’t understand why you are so afraid of just having dinner with me Marion," Robert said. "You know I have been attracted to you for a very long time."

"Robert, that is not the point," she answered. "I just don’t want to get involved with an office relationship. They never work out and somebody always ends up on the hurting end of the stick. It is best that we keep our office relationship just that. I am not ready for anything else at the moment. Please understand and let’s just drop it, ok?"

They exited the elevator in the basement and headed for Marion’s maroon XKE.

"All right, you win this time," Robert said as he closed the door for her. "Don’t expect me to stop trying though."

"Good night Robert."

Marion opened up her sunroof as she turned left onto Santa Monica Boulevard heading home. The evening air was crisp but brought a sense of relaxation to her tired body. She loved living in Southern California. The ocean beckoned her upon graduation from college in Ohio. Twenty two years of frigid winters were enough. Now that she was on her own it was time to be where she always dreamed of being. She loved being able to go to the 3rd street Promenade and marvel at the many talented street performers there. Movies were her passion and what better place to be than the movie capital of the world. Sunset Strip in Hollywood housed her favorite theaters not to mention Spago’s and Universal Studios right around the corner. Hollywood held a fascination to her, but the beach was where she wanted to be.

Rounding the corner on 14th street she could see the familiar outline of her refuge. As she made the turn into her drive she let out a long sigh of relief. Finally she was home and could relax in her own space. She loved her little cottage. It reminded her of a Swiss Chalet in it’s format. Greenery filled her front and back yard with plants of many different breeds. Her stone walkway led to a tall wood door with ornate glass design inset half way up. Inside she could hear her little toy poodle Bud barking his excitement at his mistress’s return.

She inserted the key in the keyhole about to turn the knob and suddenly felt a piercing pain in her side. "If you want to see tomorrow, don’t move and don’t speak," a deep voice spoke in her ear. "Open the door and SLOWLY walk inside."

Total panic and fear froze Marion on the spot. "MOVE!" the voice demanded and she did as she was instructed. Bud, in his excitement to see his mistress, was barking and jumping all over Marion. The man behind her gave the helpless dog a swift kick, knocking him against the wall. Tears welled up in Marion’s eyes as she was unable to help the hurting little dog wailing in the corner.

"What do you want? Why are you doing this?" Marion pleaded.

"Shut up!" the man screamed and walked Marion to a chair in her dining room. "Sit and don’t move." Grabbing her phone cord he yanked it from the wall knocking over her prized vase. He tied the cord around Marion’s arms in the back of the chair. She now got a full glimpse of her invader.

He was a tall man of approximately 6’3", very muscular with reddish brown hair and a neatly trimmed mustache. He wore a red plaid shirt, blue jeans and a Nehru jacket.

"Nice place you have here," he said with a smirk walking around surveying Marion’s home. "From the looks of things you must live rather well."

"Look, if it’s money you want…."

"Shut the hell up! If I want your opinion or comments I will ask for it." He walked down the hallway and disappeared into Marion’s bedroom. She could hear banging and glass breaking. What was he doing in there? Why was he here? What did he want with her? She had never seen this man before and images of her own death were flashing in her mind. Flashbacks of Robert came to her mind and she wished she had accepted his invitation to dinner.

The man emerged from her bedroom and headed for her kitchen. "Got anything to drink in here?" he asked.

"Only wine," she answered.

"I should have known somebody as hoity toity as you would only have wine."

"Look, can I ask you something?" Marion’s voice quivered.

There was no response. "I just need to know why me, and what do you want? If it is money you want, just untie me and you can have anything you want. Just take it and leave."

He walked around the corner slowly and stood over Marion. "Money? You think I want money? You stupid bitch, I’m not here for the money." Hysterical laughter rang from this evil man’s mouth.

He leaned closer to her face, an evil grin covering his face, "I want you!" He landed a hard blow to the side of Marion’s face rendering her unconscious. Untying her from the chair he carried her limp body to the bedroom and proceeded to tie her arms to the headboard of her brass bed. Stripping her from the waist down he raped her unwilling body. Spent and satisfied he dressed and went into her living room rummaging through her belongings taking any money and valuables he could find and slamming the door behind him as he left.

Several hours passed before Marion began to regain consciousness. She felt a severe headache and noticed blood on her pillow as she tried to free herself from her bondage. A loud scream filled the room as she became aware of what had happened. She struggled and struggled finally freeing herself from the cord that held her. Reaching for her telephone she realized that the line was dead. She tumbled out of her bed and grabbed a pair of shorts that were laying close by. The pain was torturous as she made her way to her front door. Bud was hiding under her chair and didn’t come out even when he saw his mistress.

Marion staggered into the street screaming for help when a neighbor came running to her aid. She jumped when the man touched her and tried to run but he held fast to her.

" Calm down, calm down," he said. " What on earth happened to you?"

"Police, call the police," Marion managed to say before collapsing in the man’s arms.

"Miss Ross, Miss Ross," a faint voice was becoming clearer in her mind. "Miss Ross, can you hear me." Marion’s eyes slowly opened to a scene of several people around her bed. She jumped up on the bed and began to shake and try to get away from the onlookers. Two men grabbed her trying to calm her down as another administered a light sedative to calm her down. Once restrained the officers began to speak.

"Miss Ross, I am Detective Severs and this is Detective Miller. Can you tell us what happened here last night?"

Last night? Marion thought. This happened last night? She had lost a whole day. Through tears she proceeded to tell the officers what she remembered. She also gave the officers a full description of her attacker.

"We are going to take you to the hospital for some tests and semen samples. We will catch this guy. I promise you. Is there anyone we can call?"

Marion was too embarrassed to respond. She was placed on a stretcher and put into the ambulance for her ride to the hospital. Several tests were done to ensure there were no internal damages, a semen sample was taken and more questions followed. Marion would remain in the hospital for several days for observation and more tests.

She was afforded a restful night sleep due to sedatives. Around 8am the following morning she was awakened when her hospital door flung open and in ran Robert. He leaned over her and gave her a gentle hug. Marion began to shake.

"It’s ok baby, I am here now and here I will stay," he said in a gentle caring voice. "I don’t know the whole story of what happened but I will find out and if I ever find the jerk that did this to you he will wish he had seen better days."

"Robert, I am so glad you are here. I am so sorry." Tears were streaming down her face.

"Now what have you got to be sorry for? Do you think this happened because you didn’t have dinner with me?" He smiled a reassuring smile.

"No, I just didn’t want you to see me like this. I feel so violated and dirty."

"Well, you just don’t worry about it Sugar Pie. No one at work knows about this. Everyone was told you were in a terrible accident. I’ll handle them. You just get well so we can get back to arguing about when we are going to get together."

A slight smile swept across Marion’s face. "I’ll be back later to check on you." With that Robert turned and left her alone.

Three days later when Marion was released from the hospital, Robert was there to take her home. She had no family in LA and at the time she needed all the friends she could get.

"I can’t go home Robert, not yet." She said.

"That’s ok love, I intended for you to stay with me for a couple of days anyway. It will be fine. I will sleep on the couch and I will give up my comfortable bed just for you. I wouldn’t do that for just anyone you know?" he chuckled.

"Thank you Robert. It means a lot to me that you are here."

"Not a problem. You just relax and enjoy your stay."

"I really want to get back to work as soon as I can. Maybe by Monday I will feel like resuming."

"Whenever you feel the time is right. There is no rush. Wilson understands that these things take time." Wilson was the President of the firm and Marian reported directly to him.

"Wilson? I thought you said no one knew about what happened?"

"Oh, well, the detectives came by and asked him a few questions. They had no choice but to fill him in on what had happened." Robert said.

"That is just great! The one person I didn’t want to know what had happened." Marion let out a huge sigh. "How can I ever face him?"

"Marion, you are a bigger woman than that. I think you will handle it just fine."

"Easy for YOU to say."

They pulled into the parking garage of Robert’s Brentwood apartment. As he was getting her things from the trunk of his car Marion looked around feeling a bit tight and out of control in the darkened garage. Robert opened her door but she couldn’t move.

"It’s ok Marion, we will be inside soon." He reassured her and extended his hand to her. Slowly she stepped from the car and they headed toward the elevator. Once inside she clung to Robert as if she was going to loose him in that tiny space.

His apartment was small compared to her little house on 14th street but she was thankful she was there.

"Oh my God! Where is Bud? I have to see Bud. He was kicked and hiding somewhere in the house!"

"It’s ok, the neighbor that found you is taking good care of him for you. He will be anxious to see you when you go home. Now you go in and make yourself at home while I fix us something to eat." Robert headed toward the kitchen.

"I think I would like to lie down if you don’t mind."

"Sure, here, let me help you."

"That’s ok, I can find my way."

"I will wake you when the food is ready."

Marion walked down the hall to the bedroom and laid on top of the bed covers. Lying there she surveyed the room around her. She was thankful for Robert at that very moment. She needed someone at that time and he was there. No matter how many times she put him off he was there for her.

She turned her head on the pillow and was about to go to sleep when she noticed what looked like a small diamond earring on the upper side of the bed table. Sitting up she reached for the earring and gasped. This was HER earring. One of the ones she was wearing the night of the attack. Her heart dropped to her feet and her body began to tremble with fear. Was it possible? Was Robert her attacker? No, it couldn’t be. Robert had sandy blond hair. Her attacker had red. Robert didn’t wear a mustache, her attacker did.

"Quit being paranoid, Marion," she whispered to herself. She placed the earring inside the pocket of her slacks and closed her eyes to think. It wasn’t long before she drifted off into sleep.

"Time to eat love," Robert said as he tried to awaken her. Marion woke with a start. "Hope you are hungry."

"I’ll be right there. I just want to go in and freshen up a bit." She got up from the bed and went into the bathroom locking the door behind her. "What am I going to do?" she thought. "I have to get out of here and get word to Detective Severs. Something is not right here."

She came out of the bathroom and sat down to eat with Robert.

"This is very good," Marion commented. "How did you do it?"

"An old family recipe, glad you are enjoying it"

"Robert, after we eat, I would like to go out for a short walk."

"Sure, no problem, we can walk around the block if you want to."

"I would like to walk alone," she said sounding a bit put out that Robert would want to come along. "I need to think and I just need to get out by myself if you don’t mind."

"Ok, sure if you have to. Just be careful and don’t be gone long or I may get worried and have to come after you." He smiled and went on eating.

Marion finished her meal and cleaned up her dishes. "Ok, I am going and I will be back soon."

"All right just be careful out there."

Marion was nervous. She didn’t want to go out alone but she had to in order to get to a phone. Her walk was slow as she knew Robert would be watching from his balcony window. Once she knew she was out of sight she began a faster pace and finally a run until she reached a corner market. She had no change as she left her handbag in Robert’s apartment to not raise any suspicion. Picking up the phone she dialed 911.

"911, what is your emergency?" the voice on the other end said.

"Please, I am in severe danger. I MUST reach Detective Sever and I don’t have his number. This is an emergency. Please can you help me."

"What is your name mam and where are you at?"

"Please, just get me Detective Sever right away."

"Mam what is your location. We will send someone to pick you up."

She asked the clerk where she was and the address. She then relayed the information to the operator on the phone.

"Now stay right where you are, we will have a patrol car pick you up, do you understand?"

"Yes, yes, I understand but please hurry."

Marion paced back and forth outside the store until she saw the familiar lights of an approaching patrol car. Once inside she begged to be taken to the station. Detective Sever was waiting for her as she entered .

"Detective Sever, I think I know who my attacker was," she said breathlessly.

"Calm down Miss Ross. Let’s go into this room and talk in private." He pointed to an interrogation room.

Marion proceeded to tell Detective Sever about Robert picking her up and about the earring on the night table. Reaching in her pocket she pulled out the earring and handed it to him.

"You are absolutely sure this is your earring?" he asked.

"Yes, I am sure. I was wearing them the night I got attacked. It is mine."

"All right then, you stay here and we are going to go and pick him up. Where is he now?

"He is probably out looking for me. He said if I was gone long he was going to come looking for me."

"I am going to take you to my office. You wait for me there." He escorted her down the hall to his private office gave her a cup of coffee and left her alone.

Marion sat patiently in the room. Occasionally someone came by to see if there was anything she needed. Two hours passed before Detective Sever returned to her.

"Come with me, Marion," he demanded. Marion slowly rose from her chair and followed him to another small room. Inside the room was a two way mirror and to her shock she was Robert and another man sitting in the room on the other side of the glass. She was confused. All of a sudden the other man turned and Marion fainted. The man she saw in the room was her attacker. The red haired man who had violated her in her own home.

Detectives were questioning both men in the room when Marion was awakened by the abrupt smell of ammonia.

"Marion, do you recognize both these men?" Detective Sever asked.

"Y..Yes," Marion replied with a stammer. "That’s Robert on the right and the man on the left is the man that attacked me. I don’t understand. What is going on?"

"Well, it seems that the other man is Robert Stanley’s brother, David Stanley. Apparently your attack was a plan of Robert’s to bring you closer to him.

"What?" Marion asked with tears streaming down her face.

"Has Robert been making passes at you at work?"

"Yes, constantly but I kept putting him off as I am not into office relationships. I have had too many bad experiences with office relationships and I didn’t want any part of it or him."

"Well, obviously he had other ideas. He must have been very hooked on you and was going to have you no matter what the cost. His mistake was in leaving that earring on the night stand."

"And he knows I have no other family here so who would I turn to for protection? I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it."

"Well, the important thing is that you found out and we have them both in custody now. You should be safe in going home. We brought your things from Mr. Stanley’s house. You can get them at the front desk. Do you need a ride?"

"Please, that would be great."

Sever had an officer drive Marion home. He walked her to her door and made sure she was safely inside. Once alone Marion broke into fits of rage. Breaking glasses and banging on walls. "How could he do this to me? How could he ruin my life."

Suddenly a knock on the door. Slowly she approached the door.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"It’s your next door neighbor Miss Ross. Are you ok?"

"I am fine. Please leave me alone."

"Miss Ross, I saw the officer bring you home and I thought you might want your dog back."

The first sign of happiness filled Marion’s heart. She flung open the door and grabbed her little poodle and hugged him tightly as he lapped at her face obviously happy to see his mistress."

When Marion looked up her neighbor was walking away.

"Please, would you like to come in for some coffee?" she managed to get out.

"That would be nice but maybe another day."

"Thank you for taking such good care of Bud," she yelled after him.

As the man continued to walk toward his house his hand flew up in acknowledgment.

"Bud, I am so glad you are ok. I missed you so much. We are safe now. Everything is going to be ok. Everything is fine."

She shut the door and locked it. Tomorrow will be the start of a whole new day and a whole new chapter in their lives. Marion will never forget what happened to her but she will also never forget that one minute a person is your best friend and the next your worst enemy.

Copyright September,1999

 

                   

copyright 2000 - 2002 Kree's Kreations
No duplication of this set is permitted.