<<Previous  | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>

 A Storm of Shadows


Chapter 22

After a couple more weeks, Jessie’s progress had picked up. She was eating near normal amounts and participating more actively in her therapy; so much so, she was scheduled to be released in a couple of days. That news led to an unusual conversation between her and Callie.

"Why are you being so damned stubborn?"

"I’m not being stubborn; I’m being realistic," Jessie replied matter-of-factly.

"No, you’re not. You’re being puritanical!"

Jessie shook her head. She had come to accept these weird twists of fate in the last few months; that she was having this conversation with Calandra was just icing on the proverbial cake. She couldn’t say that they had actually become friends, but the diminutive woman had become the devil’s advocate when it came to decisions Jessie had made; decisions she felt were the best for everybody involved.

"What you and Cam have is something special. You keep referring to it in the past tense, and that’s wrong. Just because of what happened doesn’t change that relationship."

"Calandra, it changed everything." Jessie’s eyes flashed with annoyance. "What I went through…" she swallowed hard before continuing, "…it doesn’t leave me as ‘wife’ material."

"Damnit Jessie, that’s bullshit, and you know it! Cam didn’t fall in love with you because you hadn’t slept around, he fell in love with you." Calandra came to stand directly in front of her. "You’re intelligent, although right now you’re not showing much of that," she groused. "You’re kind-hearted, helpful, upbeat, caring, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you’re beautiful, too! Being a plaything for some asshole doesn’t negate any of that, especially when you weren’t responsible for that happening—you didn’t choose that path!" Balling up her fists, she placed them on her hips. "It’s not fair to Cam or yourself to throw away what you have because of what happened. Yes, it sucks you were raped. It sucks you had to go through what you did. But are you going to let it fuck up the rest of your life, throw away what some women would kill for just because you were screwed by a Goa’uld?"

Jessie’s jaw tightened as she looked down at her one-time adversary. "Cam deserves better," she said stubbornly.

Calandra fought the urge to shake some sense into Jessie. "So, what, you’re going to piss away a perfectly good relationship because shit happened?"

"He’ll find someone else."

"And if he doesn’t want someone else? Just because you see yourself as ‘damaged goods’ doesn’t mean everyone else sees you that way! What do you want, to end up like me? Hell, I’m the epitome of damaged goods, and you’ve seen what kind of shit I’ve worked myself into! You want to throw away having Cam as a husband, having his kids…"


The fury reflected in Jessie’s voice as well as her expression caused Calandra to involuntarily take a step back.

"Do NOT go there, do you understand me? I will drop kick your ass across this fucking room if you don’t shut the hell up!"

Calandra took another step backwards, sensing a real danger from the woman in front of her. She raised her hands slowly, palms out, realizing she had stepped over some unseen line. "I’m sorry. Just…calm down. I was just trying to..."

Jessie cupped her hands over her nose and mouth, taking some slow, deep breaths. Every now and then her temper flared uncontrollably, a response that was not totally unexpected, according to Dr. Bailey. Sometimes it was a knee-jerk reaction, unintentionally provoked but there nonetheless. She stood her ground, consciously making an effort to ratchet down her emotions. After a minute or so, she felt she was in control once more. Focused again on Calandra, who was eyeing her as she would a scorpion. "I know what you’re trying to do," Jessie said softly. "I appreciate your concern, but I have to do what I feel is right."

Calandra watched as Jessie walked over to the floor-to-ceiling windows that graced the west side of the music room, the view stretching across the park-like setting framed by the dense trees at the perimeter of the property. The setting sun cast streaks of blood red, crimson orange and gold across a smattering of clouds, giving a picture-perfect postcard backdrop to the greenery of the trees. Gathering up her courage, Calandra walked over to Jessie before touching her lightly on the shoulder. "I really am sorry, Jessie. For everything. I just hate to see something as rare as what you and Cam have together be destroyed by a false sense of…impurity. His love for you is strong, strong enough for the both of you until you’ve had a chance to recover from what happened. I know you’re doing what you feel is right, but you really should listen to what’s deep inside before you make that final decision."

Jessie didn’t turn around, just continued to look out the window. Heard Calandra’s footsteps as she walked away. She had already thought her actions through completely, knew her decision was the best one to be made. She ignored the whispers of her conscience, the ones that questioned her decision just as loudly as Calandra had done, ignored the dreams she had late at night when Cam would join her, laughing and talking to her as if nothing was wrong, like nothing had happened. She just felt too dirty, too used to even consider the possibility she might be wrong. Jessie focused on the silence, the rhythm of her breathing, the subtle sensation of her heartbeat as she re-anchored herself.

The first few faint bars of a melody caused Jessie to turn, slightly perturbed that the silence had been broken. Seeing Calandra sitting at the piano, lightly stroking the keys, surprised her. She had never really thought of Calandra as musically inclined. She was further surprised when she started to sing, her voice pleasantly melodic. Jessie’s brow furrowed when she recognized the tune…DHT’s unplugged version of ‘Listen To Your Heart’. Turning back to the window, the haunting melody and words took on a deeper meaning, giving voice to everything she had been trying to tune out.

I know there’s something in the wake of your smile
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yeah
you’ve built a love but that love falls apart
your little piece of heaven turns too dark

Jessie tried to ignore it, but the melody wove around her, pulling, tugging, stirring emotions she had done her best to bury. Tears slowly coursed down her cheeks, unnoticed.

Sometimes you wonder if this fight is worthwhile
the precious moments are all lost in the tide, yeah
they’re swept away and nothing is what is seems
the feeling of belonging to your dreams

Her eyes were trained on the trees in the distance, when she saw…something. Surely it was her imagination, but as the music swelled, she could have sworn a wolf emerged from the thicket, and was sitting in front of the line of trees, meeting her stare. That it should be strange her seeing a wolf there didn’t even register. At that moment the lyrics were the only thing she noticed.

…and there are voices
that want to be heard,
so much to mention
but you can’t find the words,
the scent of magic
the beauty that’s been,
when love was wilder than the wind

Her mind wandered back to when she and Cam had first started falling in love, the magic of those moments…when love was wilder than the wind. Now? The storm had destroyed the magic.

Listen to your heart
when he’s calling for you
listen to your heart
there’s nothing else you can do
I don’t know where you’re going
and I don’t know why
but listen to your heart
before you tell him goodbye

She leaned her forehead against the cool glass, her emotions roiling, the internal struggle now just as intense as it had been before she made her decision. Surely somewhere along the way she had fallen into the Twilight Zone. How the hell else could she explain going from ‘normalcy’ to being confined to a psychiatric facility, seeing wolves in the distance and above all else having Calandra trying to change her mind, fighting her decision to end her relationship with Cam? Dr. Bailey had expressed confidence that she had made good progress, was ready for discharge, and could continue with weekly outpatient therapy sessions. Given her present condition, though, Jessie wasn’t quite as optimistic.

<<Previous  | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>

SciFi Topsites