Any Opportunity Will Do Ch. 17byshandal©
Kat and Josh are apart but missing each other as they pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Will they get back together?
This is a story full of Characters, with two lovers at its centre. As in life nothing is sure, and I have not yet written the end, so if you have suggestions on what should happen to the people in my story, please let me know and I will try to incorporate some of your suggestions.
Josh sat watching the world go by as John drove him home, the car speeding along through the rain, the windscreen wipers slapping back and forth, the weather matching his mood. It had been a couple of weeks since the siege. A couple of weeks since they had removed the bullet from his chest, and a couple of weeks since he had seen or spoken to Katrina.
Whilst in the hospital he had tried to see her, but they had whisked her away and had her in protection somewhere, and all requests had been met by the authorities with a blank wall.
Inside his chest there was an ache, which had nothing to do with the bullet that had been taken from in there, but from missing her, wanting to see her, to hold her, to smell her, to talk to her. But the authorities didn't care about his broken heart, only that they had a key witness against Alexei that needed protection. That they wanted to make sure they kept her safe until the trial and after that, who knows.
John looked across at his friend, "Fancy my place for supper before I drop you back at your apartment, I can promise you warm beer and lousy food."
Josh shrugged, "OK."
"Don't sound so excited at the prospect of my crap cooking skills."
Continuing staring out at the rain as it beat down, he asked John "Where do you think they've got her?"
"Josh stop torturing yourself, they aren't going to let you see her, she's in a safe house. My guess is they are giving her all the support she needs, psychological and physical. Mike Amery told me that a lot of agencies are helping the women that were rescued, and she's in good hands wherever she is."
"I love her,"
"Josh if you love her give her the time wherever she is to heal and get her life together. You'll see her at the trial, and then you can see if there is still something there. After all you only really knew each other for a handful of days in total, and it was pretty intense. See how you feel, and how she feels once you've both had some time."
Closing his eyes, Josh leant back in the seat, trying to picture Katrina, but all he saw was that last sight of her, hanging by her wrists from the rope, naked and being beaten by Alexei, and her screaming for help.
Help he was unable to give her, and he had promised only that night before to never let any harm come to her and protect her. It was eating at his soul.
Katrina sat with the Rape Counsellor talking about her feelings of helplessness and shame, of how she had felt and still felt dirty, and how she mourned her innocence. Working together they were helping her to understand her feelings, and to come to terms with what had happened to her as a victim.
But she kept it to herself about her feelings about Josh.
At night she lay alone in her bed, thinking of him, making herself feel safe by imagining his arms around her like that last night, his body wrapped around hers, his gentleness and caring giving her the strength to carry on, his memory helping her to fight back and take back her life and not let Alexei still have any power over her.
In the flat they had placed her in she had everything she needed, except the one thing she really wanted. Her lover, Josh, the one man whom she felt safe with.
In another town, in another flat lay the Polish girl. She lay staring up at the ceiling, remembering the nightmare she had found herself living in the attic. Around her neck she wore a silver crucifix which she rubbed between her finger and thumb, and mumbled her prayers, asking for forgiveness. Forgiveness for what had happened to her and what she wanted to do.
She too was seeing Counsellors to help her come to terms with the abuse, but unlike Katrina she was not making progress, and her hate and need for revenge was taking on an enormous part of her thoughts.
For her to get back her life she would need to take another route, a route that she was busy dreaming up, keeping those plans to herself.
Sitting in the rented caravan on the grounds in front of Johns burnt down farmhouse, Josh took a long pull out of the can, his head tipped back, and then told John, "You weren't kidding when you said that the beer was warm."
"Nor the food lousy!"
"No, you were spot on there my friend."
After a long silence, Josh asked John what he intended to do now his business was burnt down with his home.
"After I've sorted out the insurance and given evidence at the trial, I'm going to re-enlist, go back to what I know how to do. How about you?"
"Not sure. I'll see if the security jobs pan out, and if they don't, I might just join you."
In his cell Alexei sat, feeling like a caged animal, all dignity stripped from him, watched continually by hostile guards, for he had killed one of their own, and feelings were high amongst the staff.
His men had turned against him, saving their own skins by doing deals, and his connections in the outside world was cut off, ensuring he did no revenge contracts on those who could testify against him at trial.
Looking around his small bare cell, the minimum of personal things allowed, he seethed for he was a man used to his expensive possessions and freedom, and that had all been taken from him, due to that little slut and that man.
In the pecking order of the prison world he was looked down on, a purveyor of sex through the rape of women is not thought highly of in the set of laws of the criminal world inside. There were men who wanted to make their mark on him, and he was aware of the hostility from them.
Inside he was no longer the man to be feared, the man that with just one look men trembled. He was a rapist and thus one of the lowest of low.
A sex offender.
Meetings were being held, Barristers briefed, evidence prepared, the trial date set for six months time. The newspapers and television news went on to the next scandal, the next murder, the next outrage, whilst those that were touched by the tragedy started to rebuild their lives.
The young policeman's parents mourned, his mother now on tranquillisers, her emotions numbed by the pills, not caring of life anymore. Her husband watching as his wife of thirty years faded before his eyes. A double loss.
The surfer moved on, finding another, but never forgetting his lover. Secretly mourning his loss, for he knew that was what Clive would have wanted. His parent's memory kept intact believing what they wanted, his sexuality not pulled out of the closet, and this was his last gift to him.
Some of the women rescued went back home to loving families that took them back with open arms and compassionate hearts, whilst others stayed in the UK to ashamed and traumatised to return, wanting to make a life over here, dealing with their memories. Some even went back on the game, as independents, making their money to live using their bodies, but not forced, free, on their own terms.
Whilst Josh had his interviews, and got a job as a security guard in an industrial unit, working nights. Bored with time to think he walked the large area, checking it out, ensuring all was safe, but dreaming of Katrina, counting down the time he would see her at the trial and be able to make sure she was OK.
He went through the motions of living, but was not really alive.
And John sat in his rented caravan, fighting another fight. This time with his insurance company, determined to not back down he sat either phoning or writing to them, seeking his compensation for the destroyed property, and not accepting their paltry offer as they tried to wriggle out of what he was entitled to.
Phil Amery sat talking with Pat Cleary, from the OSCE, the organisation that is a primary instrument for early warning of conflict, prevention and crisis management in Europe. Old friends they were relaxing over a drink, reminiscing and catching up before getting down to work on their joint venture, the problem of Human Sex Trafficking from the former Eastern Block countries to Western Europe.
"So how Phil did the two ex soldiers get tangled up in all of this?"
"Apparently it was a matter of being in the right place at the wrong time. Fortuitous for us, or the girl would have surely been caught and killed by that bastard. We've dug up two bodies of other girls he kept and then discarded, and were sure there are more. Also found the body of one of his own men in a freezer, killed on his orders."
"Mmm...I've been meaning to ask you how you recruit your teams for the OSCE?"
"Why thinking of joining us. We could do with good men like yourself."
"Naw. I'm settled here, but I think I might have two men that might interest you."
"Well we recruit through nomination from participating states. Wouldn't be the two ex soldiers your thinking of would it?"
"We have Rapid Expert Assistance and Co Operation Teams that might need experienced and level headed men. Let me look into it and get back to you."
"Another beer Pat."
"Another beer, and then I need to get back."
Katrina slipped out the window, a back pack over her shoulder, and climbed down into the night. Looking around her to make sure she hadn't been seen she hurried up the road, leaving behind the safe house and the life that the authorities had set up for her.
It had been a long five months and the trial was coming up soon, but she could no longer wait, her need to see Josh was overwhelming. Scared of facing Alexei, even in court, she needed him, needed his strength and sneaking out to make the journey north she intended to see him.
Climbing onto the bus she asked if it went near Victoria Bus Station, and being told it did, sat down and travelled the first leg of her journey back to where it all started.
Back to an unsuspecting Josh, back to what she hopped was a man who loved her as she loved him.