Straitlaced

Informing Sam

At 6 a.m, Danny shook me gently by the shoulder, "Jo, wake up. If we want to see Sam you have to get ready."

I grumbled, swatting his hand away. He smiled and sat back down on the couch. I pushed my unpinned hair behind my ears, propping myself up on my elbow. I gave him a quick once over and scowled.

"How is that you're dressed before me, Kaffee?" I said, raising an eyebrow. My friend chucked, lending me his hand. I took it and rose to my feet.

"It's simple, Jo, I got up before you. The early bird catches the worm." I punched him lightly in the arm. I walked into Danny's bedroom to revive my uniform. I slipped the baseball jersey over my head, pulling on my pants as I went. I put on my shirt. As I buttoned my jacket, I grimaced, staring at the bruises painted all over my body. I shook my head, glancing into the mirror to fix my hair. I reached for my hat but I realized it wasn't there.

"Danny, where's my hat!" I called, leaning against the wooden door frame.

"I have it, Jo. You left it on the couch." I grinned at my friend, striding into the living room. "Here, you don't look the same without it."

I smirked, "And how do I look, Kaffee?" He stopped short, grasping for words. Running his fingers through his brown hair, he gazed at me carefully.

"Confident, willful, caring and most all passionate, Jo. C'mon let's go Sam's probably expecting us. I called him shortly after you fell asleep last night." I nodded and as Danny held the door open for me we left his apartment.


When we arrived at Sam's office, my friend knocked on the door. "Just a minute," he replied. I stood next to Kaffee seeming calm and collected but Danny could tell I was hiding something. The door swung open, Sam Whitaker leaned against the frame, a curious expression in eyes. "Danny, I got your call. Jo, what's this about?"

My dark brown orbs shifted between Kaffee and him almost uneasily. My friend squeezed my shoulder comfortingly. A silent cry of pain forced its way from my lips. I swallowed and began recounting the horrific event.

"Jessup assaulted me, Sam," I said, my tone lacking emotion. "He lured me into his office under false pretenses this morning and violated me."

"Um…wow, Jo, how you holding up?" I didn't know how to answer that question. If I was truthful I'd say that my emotions were a wreck. However, I couldn't appear weak―I'm a Marine after all―never show emotion that's a cardinal rule.

"Just fine, Sam, just fine. We didn't come here for you to inquire about my well being. We came for help." He sighed, slapping a hand to his forehand. Gazing in my direction, he wondered why I wasn't letting myself come undone.

Our co-worker walked over to Danny and pulled him aside. "Jo knows she doesn't have to be as strong in these circumstances, right?" Kaffee shrugged, rolling his eyes. He caught my gaze; I eyed him with a solemn expression. My lips were zipped tight, preventing the escape of any degrading emotion. I sighed, removing my cap, twirling a strand of loose black hair around my finger. Danny knew something was wrong. I paced Sam's office, a distracted air in my movements.

He placed a hand on my shoulder, "C'mon, Jo, let's get out of here," he mumbled, holding me to his side. I pushed away and stormed from the room. Sam and Kaffee shared glance.

"What was that about?" Danny's eyes locked on his friend's in confusion.

"I don't know, Sam. I just don't know. Jo acts strong but I can tell she's bottling up the pain. I'd better go find her."


Sam looked after his friend as he left his office he prayed Danny knew what he was doing. I stood in the women's restroom, peering into the mirror again; my lips frowned as I attempted calm myself. I closed my eyes, resisting the flow of memories of last night in Jessup's office. I shivered involuntarily, disgusted. I began to walk out of the bathroom when the door creaked opened. I glanced up quickly and was shocked to meet Kaffee's bright blue orbs.

"Kaffee, might I ask what you're doing in the ladies room?" His complexion reddened slightly. I giggled in spite of myself when he didn't answer. Though, not wanting to hurt his feeling I stopped when he still refused to speak.

After a minute, Danny cleared his throat; "I came in here to check on you, Jo." I patted his shoulder gingerly, wishing I could take back the tone of my voice. Looking sheepish, I opened my mouth, then after stealing a glance at him from the corner of my eye; I shut it. Choosing my words carefully I tried again.

"Danny, I…I…I'm sorry, the tone of my voice was uncalled for. I'm just stressed with the whole Jessup situation."

My friend grinned, hugging me lightly. "I know, Jo but Sam and I will assist in any way we possibly can," he whispered. I started to exit the bathroom Kaffee walking beside me, his arm falling casually around my shoulder. A small smile pulled at the corners of my mouth at the gesture. As we came out of the restroom, Jessup appeared, making me jump back in fright. Danny's arm tightened, pulling me closer.

"Commander, I see you have a bodyguard. What a pity, I had hoped we could continue where we left off." I threw up a little in my mouth. I faced my friend, wanting to shield my disdainful reaction from the Colonel's lust-filled eyes. Once I was sure that I wasn't actually going to puke I turned to my superior. I stared at him with a leveled expression. I met Kaffee's blue orbs for one evanescent moment before I gathered my wits.

"Colonel, you better listen and listen well because I will not repeat this! I am not animal that you can train to come and go as you please. I'm a human being I don't have to bend to will and I won't! NOW LEAVE ME ALONE!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

Kaffee took my face in his hands, shushing me softly. "Shh, Joanne, are you nuts? That won't help it'll just make him more pissed off. You have to be careful."

My complexion flushed and my brown eyes sparked furiously, "I can't just sit back and doing nothing, Danny. I'm not able to ignore what Jessup did to me!" My friend stroked my cheek soothingly.

"It's alright, Jo," Kaffee said, lowering his voice an octave so that Jessup couldn't hear our conversation. He'd adopted my nickname again. Though, I preferred to be called Jo; I didn't mind my full name but only if Danny addressed me by it. I felt him lean in close to my ear mumbling, "Do you want to spend the night at my apartment again?"

I shook my head, wishing to maintain a sliver of my pride. I could function without Kaffee for one night. Anyway, the thing I did not want to depend on, let alone desire was his protection. We walked off the base together side by side, I went toward my apartment and he went to his. His eyes bore into mine sharply but kindly, giving me time to reconsider. I turned away from Kaffee's gaze, swallowing hard; a painful lump in my throat.

I am not weak and I'm tired of everybody thinking that I am! I vented.

As I began marching down the sidewalk I heard Danny call after me, "Jo, are you sure you're okay?" His tone softened almost to the point of a whisper being carried on the warm night breeze. "I'll always be here for you; remember that. You'll not alone in this fight, Joanne, you're not."


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