This one is dedicated to PanKwake’s beautiful young carer Regina. While hers is a charmed life FAR different than Georgia, like Monika, Kirsty and her guys…our lives would be so much more difficult without her. Thank you, sweetie…
The doorbell rang and she laid down the spatula to get it, when her father called out, “I’ll get that, sweetie.”
She was more than glad to keep cooking, perhaps it was Bjorn or Mikael, maybe one of them had forgotten their keys. She laughed, remembering how well that had turned out the night before. She heard mumbling from the living room and poked her head around the corner to see her father and a battered Georgia.
Alarm coursed through her at the state of Monika’s carer. The young woman had told her about broken arm that had forced her to cancel the day before, but not only was it in a sling but her eye was almost swollen shut and a particularly nasty shade of purple. There was a fainter bruise across her cheek and her lip had a cut in the corner. She rushed forward and enveloped her friend in a hug, but that only tore a strangled moan from her, “What happened, sweetie?”
“Stupid me, like I said, I took a bad fall down the stairs at the house,” Kirsty knew that with bruises like that it must hurt to smile, but Georgia forced one nonetheless.
Kirsty knew, just knew immediately, that it was all a lie. It had nothing to do with her training though that did confirm it. It was almost impossible to get a black eye from a mere fall. Unless you fell onto someone’s fist in the process.
She drew the young woman inside and to the couch. She wanted to gentle, it would not be the first time she had convinced a victim of abuse to confide in her. But she did not have time. Bjorn and Mikael would be back soon. In another hour, two tops, they would be gone. And what little she knew of this young woman said that she had no one else to turn to. “Who did this to you, Georgia?”
That fake smile was back along with tears from the swollen eye as she tried to shake her head, “I…fell. I swear…”
Kirsty shook her head and took Georgia’s one good hand in hers, “No, sweetie. No, you did not. These injuries are not consistent with a fall.”
“She’s right, young lady. I have been the head of an A&E for two decades. And in all that time, I have never seen these type of injuries from a fall,” Kirsty smiled her gratitude to her father.
Tears began to fall faster then. Her whole body seemed to tremble. “It wasn’t his fault,” she mumbled.
“Whose fault, Georgia?” Kirsty pressed.
“Daddy’s. He did not mean it. I shouldn’t have gotten in the way. Mama told me not to interfere anymore when he disciplined her,” she sobbed.
Kirsty felt her stomach turn at the words from her friend’s mouth. Discipline. She knew discipline. But this was not it. She choked and swallowed, feeling decidedly in over her head. She wished that Mikael or Bjorn were here, she could really use their help. “It was not your fault, Georgia,” she insisted as she squeezed the young woman’s hand.
But the girl only shook her head and cried, “I had to come by and say good-bye to Monika.” Her voice broke, “I’m not supposed to leave the house until…” she stammered and trembled again. “But I could not let her leave without saying farewell. I’m going to miss her so much. Miss you all.”
Kirsty frowned, would the girl get beaten again for sneaking away to see them? She would make sure that did not happen. Some way. “She has gone with her father to rent a van right now, but they should be back any moment. You stay and have breakfast with us.”
“No, I really should be leaving. I just wanted her to have this,” she held out a threadbare Teddy bear. “This is Pooh. I’ve had him since I was a little girl. We went to a fun fair one Sunday. And Daddy won him for me,” the tears were trekking faster down her cheeks and she had a faraway look in her brown eyes. “I always thought I would give it to my daughter one day. But…”
Alarm bells clanged even louder in Kirsty’s head. Something was badly wrong here. Horribly. “Stay and give it to her yourself then. Have breakfast with us,” she too forced a smile.
“I really shouldn’t. I should just go. I don’t know what I was thinking, coming here. She should not see me like this… I just really wanted to say good-bye. I loved her you know. Maybe she was not my child, but I did. I’m sorry. I need to go now. Good-bye. I hope you are happy. Really really happy. And take care of Monika and those babies. I have to go…”