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After The Party

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By the time Jodie got home her feet were sore and she'd cried so much her eyes were red and irritated. Cole was the first to greet her, followed by Nathan who pulled her into his arms in a tight hug. When he released her he placed his hands on either side of her face, looking her over.

"What happened?" he asked. "I got a phone call saying you'd left early. I was worried."

"I didn't like it there," Jodie mumbled, wiping at her face.

"Why didn't you call me?"

Cole gently touched Nathan's arm. When he looked up, Cole nodded towards Jodie's arm. It took Nathan a second, but as soon as he noticed the burn he gently took a hold of her arm and held it out. She struggled and tried to pull it away, but his grip tightened.

"Who did this to you?" he demanded.

"Nobody!" Jodie yelled, pulling as hard as she could.

"Jodie, you're not in any trouble," Nathan said, grabbing her other arm and pulling her in for another hug. "It's okay, I just want to help."

She soon stopped fighting and clung to him.

"Was it someone at the party?" Cole asked softly.

Jodie nodded.

"Did they do anything else to you?" Nathan questioned.

"They locked me in the cupboard under the stairs," she said, her words slightly muffled.

"Okay, I'm going to go deal with this," Nathan said pulling away from her.

Despite Jodie's protests Nathan headed inside. Cole removed his coat and wrapped it around Jodie's shoulders. He took a hold of her hand and walked with her back to her room. Just before they got there Jodie dropped his hand and made a break for it. She ran until she got to Nathan's office.

She opened the door just enough to peer inside. He was pacing, the phone to his ear. He was angry, even though he hadn't raised his voice she could tell.

"I know she's your daughter," he said. "No, I'm not saying it was her, but Jodie has a burn on her arm. It looks like a cigarette." He turned to where Jodie was, but he didn't notice her, instead he ran his hand over his face. "I know, I know, but something happened. You'll see for yourself the next time you're here. I'm just asking that you find out who it was. Jodie's really upset."

He continued on like that. Jodie simply shut the door and sat on the ground beside it, back against the wall. She wrapped her arms around her legs and waited for him to finish. At some point Cole had shown up, but he never approached her, he simply stood nearby, waiting. Nathan soon started to raise his voice, and when that happened he finally hung up the phone.


He'd opened the door and was looking down at her. She smiled up at him. He took a deep breath and sat down beside her.

"I'm sorry I made you go the party."

"I'm sorry I didn't call you."

"It sounds like Aiden could have hurt those kids," Nathan said. Jodie nodded. "Well, I'm proud that you didn't let that happen."

Jodie looked around. "Aiden," she said.

"I'm proud of you, too, Aiden."

Jodie smiled and leaned her head against him. They sat there for a while longer before Cole and Nathan finally walked her back to her room to get some rest.