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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Zero Tolerance: No Man or Woman has the Right - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Cat Smith
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

Shelly looked at Terri sat beside her, with her Sailor Moon children’s menu. Terri smiled broadly up at her, and hugged her arm.

"What are you havin', Shelly?" she asked.

"Ah think ah’ll have the breakfast buffet," she answered, with a slight gesture over at the hotplates.

The girls eyes lit up. "I’ll have dat too, den!" She looked pleadingly up at her father, who merely smiled and stroked her cheek. Shelly noticed he glanced up at her, too, though he diverted his eyes before she had time too decipher the look in them. Again she felt the disturbing feeling that she’d felt remembering how he’d told her he loved her; a feeling of wanting to be with this gentle, caring man, rather than... Cody. She wondered if Remy remembered he’d said that.

They got up from the table to fill their plates. Shelly smiled as Remy helped Terri to reach the hotplates, and get what must be her favourites; pancakes, waffles, fruit loops, fruit. With a smile, Shelly realised the girl had a sweet tooth. How like herself! Filling her own plate, she sat down next to them. Remy’s plate was overflowing. He must be famished after a week full of hospital food.

"Are ya gonna stay in LA?" She asked, and was shocked to hear the wistfulness in her voice. Remy looked up as if he noticed it, then smiled, a genuine, honest smile.

"I t’ink so. I got a apartment for de next month, at least. I’ll have t’ see how it goes wit’ Belle."

"Ya wife?" Shelly frowned. What did his wife - soon to be ex-wife, no doubt - have to do with this?

Remy sighed, and pushed some scrambled eggs around his pate. "Oui. She... she won’ give up on us eas’ly. But... she can’ come t’ California. She’d be mad t’ try it..." His voice trailed off, wondering how mad she was. He prayed she wasn’t crazy enough to risk death to find him.

Shelly gazed at him, wondering what on earth he could be talking about. Why on earth couldn’t this woman come to California? It seemed there was far more to this man and his wife than met the eye, but she decided not to push it. Instead, she moved their talk onto more pleasant matters. "Have ya been ta LA b’fore? Ah could show ya some sights, or somethin’."

Remy looked up and smiled, again genuinely, something Shelly wasn’t used to seeing; it startled her, and the beauty of his smile sent shivers down her spine. "Dat would be fantastic, cherie. But den we’d be in y’ debt again."

"Don’t be silly. Ain’t lahk ah’ve got a whole lot else planned fo’ t’day," she told him as she finished her breakfast. "So, what do ya lahk doin’?"

As he hesitated, a look of amusement danced in his eyes, then he spoke. "I’d like t’ get back int’ shape. I like t’ cook, t’ dance, t’ give massages," his eyes twinkled and she blushed, though it was a nice image. "I like lotsa t’ings. Films, music, readin’, drinkin’ wit’ m’ friends. An’ you? Are y’ interests more interestin’ dan mine?"

She shrugged. "Oh, ah don’ get time ta do anythin’ much, what with work, an’ Cody. Ah’m kinda busy most o’ the time." She watched Remy sit back and regard her for a long while, as Terri played with the toy car she’d gotten free with her meal, zooming it across the table.

"What ‘bout b’fore y’ were shackled to a man dat beats y’?"

Before, Shelly would have glared at him, and probably started shouting. She didn’t know what had changed, but as she watched Terri play, she thought wistfully of her own youth. "Ah like ta cook an’ dance, too. Ta drink, be with mah friends, ta be happy. Ah like to write. Ah wanted ta be a writer, doin’ it after work in mah spare time-"

"Why don’t y’?" The enquiry was serious, and Remy looked at her with those exotic eyes of his under his sunglasses, and Shelly just looked sadly at him. "I know what y’ goin’ through. I do. An’ I wanna help y’. But do y’ wanna be helped?"

Shelly looked at him. Other people said this, said it all the time. She usually ignored them or got mad at them. But Remy was different. He did know what he was talking about, and while Cody didn’t have martial arts skills, he was much stronger than her and could hurt her, badly. She was afraid, but she was also proud. It would hurt her to ask for help. A hand reached up to touch the bruise under her eye, then she looked over at Remy, noticed the bandage, just visible above his belt. She then looked him in the eye, and he saw the fear there, and stood.

"Ma cherie... Lets go back t’ my new apartment. You can help me unpack," he smiled, she knew exactly how much he’d brought with him. "We can talk after, or go shoppin’, it’s up t’ you." She stood, facing him.

"Alraht," she said, her voice barely more than a whisper, and she met his eyes. They left the restaurant and walked over to Shelly’s car in silence. The way to the apartment was filled with directions, and Shelly was surprised at the area the apartment was in. Hardly Beverly Hills, but it was nice enough. She hadn’t thought Remy had much money, what with him being on the run. As they walked into the apartment, Shelly looked around approvingly. The furniture was quite sparse, but in a minimalist way. It was quite a stylish apartment, and as they looked round the bedrooms, Terri decided immediately which was hers. It had baby blue walls and a fuschia pink carpet, and she fell in love with it. She walked over to the bed and bounced up and down on it, pouting as her father scolded her, but not for long.

"You stay here an’ play, cherie, while me an’ Shelly go an’ sort some things out." When they entered the living room, Shelly sat down on the comfortable black sofa.

"Can we talk?" She asked, not able to look at him. "Not about Cody just yet. Let’s just... Talk."

Remy sat down next to her, but giving her plenty of room. Leaning forward on his elbows, he looked at her. "D’accord. What y’ wanna talk about?"

"Tell me about Terri."

The next two hours were spent in conversation, and Shelly felt she knew Remy better than she should for knowing him so short a time. He had been honest and frank with her, and hadn’t shied away from any of her questions. She’d been very surprised to hear him tell her he was a thief, in the infamous New Orleans Thieves Guild - though, he had told her with a wry smile, he preferred being Terri’s dad. That’s were he’d collected the money from, to live in a place like this. His favourite sort of food was, of course, Cajun, his drink was Jack Daniels, favourite actor and actress were Jimmy Stewart and Angelina Jolie, his favourite film was The Fisher King, though he hated everything else with Robin Williams in it. And in return, she had told him about herself - even the fact that she was a mutant, which hardly anyone knew - it was easier that way. Remy smiled, lighting his red on black eyes. He knew exactly what she was talking about. But now she had to go.

"If ah don’t go now, Cody’ll get real mad." She touched her bruise again, and Remy took her hand in his, and looked into her eyes, his own serious.

"If you need help, or anything, ya know where I am, oui? If anythin’ happens, don’ hesitate, y’ know where I am. Promise me."

Shelly looked into her eyes, and felt dangerously close to melting. The more she found out about this man, the more she liked him. Right now, she wasn’t too sure she should be feeling this way about him. But she promised, knowing instinctively that she could trust him. To her utter astonishment, before she left, he kissed her. It was a soft kiss, his lips touching hers delicately, sweetly. When he pulled back, she saw the longing in his eyes and knew the same would be in hers. Frightened of the way she was feeling, and the fact these feelings were returned, she stepped back.

"Ah, ah gotta go. Say bye ta Terri foh me." With that, she was gone.

Standing in front of her door, Shelly fumbled for her keys. Eventually finding them, she pushed them into the lock and turned them to let herself in, and walked straight into Cody. Her heart thumped in her chest, and she gave a strangled laugh.

"Cody, honey, ya scared the living daylights outta me!" She tried to slip past him into the living room, but he blocked her way. "Cody, can ah get past?"

"Where ya been?" She looked up at the hulking blond, more than half a foot taller than she, twice her width and strength. His blue eyes were hard as he looked down at her, and Shelly started to feel afraid.p> "Ah- Cody, ah tole ya, ah had to work late at the hospital-" To her shock, he pushed her hard against the door, pinning her there with the wind knocked out of her.

"Don’t lie ta me, bitch! Where you been?"

"Ah-" He backhanded her, and she felt blood trickle from her nose when her ears stopped ringing. She looked desperately for a way to get out of the situation. Raye had been right. He had found out.

"Ah phoned the hospital an’ they said ya weren’t there! So where were you!?" As he leaned forward to look drunkenly into her face, she got a whiff of whisky. And he got a whiff of Remy’s aftershave. Shelly’s heart turned to ice. Cody’s lips furled back in a snarl and he punched her, letting her head reverberate off the door. Blackness threatened to engulf her, but she held on. Just. Cody grabbed her hair and threw her to the floor by it, and started yelling at her. She ignored it, trying to stand, but he kicked her down and kept kicking. Gasping for breath, Shelly realised he’d kill her this time. She had one chance, one single one before she blacked out. She prayed it would work. Gathering the last remains of her strength, Shelly pushed herself up, thrust her knee into Cody’s groin and ran out of the door as he doubled over. Throwing herself into the car, she saw him running after her in a rage as she accelerated away.

Tears threatened to overcome her, she pushed them away, pushed the pain away, and concentrated on remembering the way to Remy’s house. Getting there, she burst into tears as she got out of the car, and hammered on his door for what seemed like forever. Eventually, he opened the door, dressed only in his jeans.

"Chere?!" He led her inside, where he held her as she cried, astonished as to what had happened. He waited for her to tell him in her own time. When she did, he set his jaw. He led her to the couch, and lifted her shirt off, and delicately felt her ribs. Satisfied that nothing was broken, he touched her nose gently.

"Dat hurt?" She shook her head. He carried on looking at her. "I’m sorry, cherie. Dis is my fault. But don’ worry, he won’ hurt y’ again. Y’ stay here, wit’ me."

"But," sniffed Shelly, and Remy put a finger to her lips and shook his head. Lifting her to her feet, he showed her the bathroom.

"Get y’self cleaned up, an’ y’ can sleep in my bed t’night. Don’ argue!" He shut the door as he left, and Shelly turned to face herself in the mirror. She’d been lucky to get away, she knew. Very lucky. And lucky she had somewhere to come. As she cleaned the blood from her face, she looked herself in the eye, and knew, with a twinge of fear, that whatever was going to happen, would happen, and it would change her future forever.


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