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Hour of the Wolf
Chapter 4 - A New Page in the Life of HG Wells
Helena smiled. She was in one of her happy places. This was a technique she had developed during her years in the bronze sector. The only difference was that this was a new memory. She sighed. She could almost feel Myka's lips ghost over her stomach. She played the memory over again.
It had been one of those perfect lazy Sundays when everything was right in the world, and weary Warehouse agents could afford to sleep in. Helena had slipped out of bed and tiptoed downstairs to get some tea. Leena had convinced her to bring some freshly baked pastries and some fruit too with the beverages. Myka had still been asleep when she returned with the tray. She had woken her with kisses down her spine and Myka had rolled over and smiled up at her; that radiant happy smile that she seemed to save only for Helena.
They had enjoyed their coffee and tea with the pastries and then Helena had been feeding Myka little pieces of fruit using her stomach as a plate. Helena squirmed as she felt a tingle on her skin where Myka's tongue had traced an intricate pattern while licking the juice off of her. She had placed another piece of fruit on her stomach and Myka's tongue and lips had slowly made their way to it, scooping it up and chewing slowly before continuing lower, and lower, and Helena groaned.
"Go away," she mumbled and reached for dream-Myka. She was still smiling at Helena as she bent her head
Helena's eyes opened instantly and dream-Myka disappeared with a silent poof. She blinked. The room was not dark any more. She stared at the blonde woman standing a few feet away.
"Oh, it's you," Helena muttered and lay down again, closing her eyes.
"Get up Helena."
Helena ignored her. Her eyes opened again when she felt the woman's hand on her chin. Her own hand shot out like a cobra and closed around the doctor's neck. She didn't squeeze, just held her in place.
"I know you won't hurt me," Dr. Calder said gently and smiled at her. "Come. I have something for you. A greeting."
Helena frowned. She had been in this hellhole for God only knows how long and there had been no interaction with anyone from the outside in all this time. She slowly loosened her grip on the doctor's neck and let her hand fall.
"Here, you'll need these," she said and handed Helena a pair of sunglasses.
Helena looked at them for a moment and then put them on. Vanessa smiled at her.
"They look good on you. They would look even better if your hair was clean. One thing at a time I guess."
Helena shrugged. She silently watched as Vanessa released her from the chain. She rubbed her wrist. It was a little sore, but not too bad. The padding inside the restraint had prevented it from digging in to her sensitive skin.
"If you promise to take a full shower and wash your hair, I have a gift for you," Vanessa said softly.
Helena tilted her head and looked at her. In the dim light it was difficult to make out the doctor's facial expressions. She watched as she reached for something on the chair behind her. A shirt. She smiled for a moment as the color reminded her of Myka.
"You are correct Helena. It's hers," the doctor's gentle voice confirmed.
Helena reached out to touch it but it was pulled out of her reach. Helena growled in frustration.
"What will it be?"
"What do you want from me?" Helena snapped.
"For right now, only for you to take a shower and wash your hair. Make yourself presentable Helena. I know that if you could see yourself right now, you would not be pleased."
Helena shrugged. "Why should I care? No one sees me except for you."
"That might change."
"We will talk later. Now please answer my question."
Helena sighed. "All right, I'll shower. You better have some good shampoo and not the bloody crap you gave me last time."
Vanessa grinned. "I'll see what I can do." She gestured for Helena to walk with her.
"What do you mean you don't have it?" Myka asked irritated.
"I'm sorry Myka, but I don't. Have you asked Claudia?" Leena said and smiled at her.
"I already did. She doesn't have it," Myka muttered.
"Perhaps you left it behind?"
Myka gave her a look. "I wore it only a few days ago Leena."
Leena shrugged. "Then I can't help you. I'm sorry. I've been through the laundry room from top to bottom. Your shirt isn't there." She gently touched Myka's arm. "It's just a shirt Myka. It will show up sooner or later, or you'll get a new one."
Myka sighed defeated. "It was Helena's favorite," she whispered. She felt tears in her eyes as the memory overwhelmed her.
Leena pulled her into a gentle hug and just held her, rubbing her back as she cried against her shoulder.
"I'm sorry," Myka said embarrassed and pulled away.
"It's fine Myka. I'm here for you if you need me," Leena said. She smiled at her and took her hand. "Come on. Let's have some tea."
Myka chuckled and followed her.
Once they were out in the hallway Helena was glad for the protective glasses. The overhead fluorescent lights were bright. She squinted behind her dark glasses as she silently walked next to Dr. Calder. They continued through the double doors and entered a lobby area. A guard stood silently right outside. He didn't move as they passed, reminding Helena for a moment of the guards outside Buckingham Palace.
"I'm not the bloody Queen," she muttered.
Vanessa chuckled. "No Helena, you are even more unique. And with that statement I can promise you that things will change." She pushed through another set of double doors and suddenly their surroundings looked quite different. The floor was carpeted and the overhead lighting was dimmer, warmer. It reminded Helena of a hotel. A really nice hotel. Like the one in Kensington where she had stayed during her first trip back to London.
"Here we are," Vanessa said and unlocked an unmarked door. She opened it and gestured for Helena to enter.
Helena cautiously entered and looked around. It looked even more like a hotel inside. There was a sitting room with a sofa and chairs, and a work area where a laptop sat on top of an elaborate desk. A door on her right led to another room. The bedroom, Helena ventured to guess. She looked confused at Vanessa.
"This will be your new home for now Helena."
"We will talk after your shower. Come, this way."
Vanessa led Helena through the bedroom to the large bathroom. Helena followed and noted the large inviting bed. She glanced longingly at it as she followed Vanessa into the bathroom. She smiled as she looked around. A bathtub with jets and a steam shower fit next to each other on the left, a large sink and counter across from them. Helena ran her hand over the smooth, cold marble. She looked up and her dark eyes met Dr. Calder's pale ones.
"Thank you," she whispered.
Vanessa smiled and nodded. "I'll leave you to it. I'll be waiting for you in the other room. There are clothes for you in the closet and in the drawers. Enjoy."
Helena stood for a moment trying to make sense of it all. She sighed. Finally she looked up and stared at her own reflection. Her face looked paler than usual. It didn't surprise her. She had lived in darkness for so long. What did surprise her was how much weight she had lost and the condition of her hair. Her normally thick and glossy hair lay slicked against her head in greasy strands. She looked at it, horrified. They had made her shower regularly but they couldn't make her wash her hair. She had stopped caring about her looks a long time ago. She stared at this ghost of Helena Grace Wells and she started to shake. Tears fell from her dark eyes and she sank to the floor crying for the first time since that day in Yellowstone when Myka had closed the cuffs around her wrists.
Vanessa stood silently outside the bathroom listening to Helena crying. It both pleased her and haunted her. How could they have missed all the signs? How could they have focused only on the violence, when there was a loud cry for help screaming from Helena's entire being? She waited silently to see if she needed to intervene. Finally she heard the shower and she smiled. She put the shirt on the bed and left the room.
Helena dried herself and wrapped a towel around her hair. She felt clean and refreshed. She had washed her hair twice before using a very generous amount of the expensive conditioner on her hair. She had shaved and scrubbed until her skin was rosy and glowing. Once dry she had spent long minutes pampering her neglected skin with rich body lotion. Her hands had looked so dry and old before and now they almost looked like they used to. Helena smiled at her reflection. She felt like herself for the first time in a very long time. She closed her eyes and sighed as she slipped on the soft robe. It reminded her of Myka's. She snuggled into the terrycloth robe and walked barefoot into the bedroom. She stopped when she noticed the shirt on the bed. She sat down and ran her hand over it before picking it up and bringing it to her face. She gasped and her eyes started to fill up again. It smelled like Myka.
Vanessa looked up and smiled at Helena when she entered the room.
"You decided to wear Myka's shirt, good." she gestured to the chair next to hers. "Come have a seat. I made us some tea. Would you like a cup?"
Helena nodded and sank down into the plush armchair. She silently watched Vanessa pour the tea and took the offered cup from her. She sipped it and nodded her approval.
"I'm glad you like it. It's quite a lot of pressure to make a good cup of tea for someone who's used to loose tea directly from India," Vanessa teased her.
Helena looked at her and bowed her head a little, knowing that the aristocratic gesture normally annoyed people. Vanessa just chuckled and shook her head. Helena looked away and sighed. She sipped her tea waiting for Vanessa to speak. She had learned during the first couple of days in confinement that her demands, even when yelled and screamed at the top of her lungs, resulted in nothing.
"I had a very interesting meeting with Artie Nielsen the other day. He sends his best regards from him and his team."
Helena made an annoyed sound.
"I'm speaking the truth Helena. He really did ask to see me to talk about you."
Helena looked at her; her dark eyes narrowed, warning Vanessa not to lie to her.
"Artie found out exactly what happened to you during the months and weeks leading up to you getting bronzed. He also found the misplaced records about your existence. It appears that someone moved them on purpose to keep you in there longer than intended."
"We aren't quite sure yet. But two things are clear to me now. You are more of a danger to yourself than anyone else at the moment," she said and looked Helena in the eyes. "And you need protection."
"What?"Helena blurted out and then laughed. "You haul me here in shackles as if I'm the most dangerous criminal you've ever encountered only to put me in a dark room for God knows how long and now you say you made a mistake?" she barked outraged.
Vanessa sighed. "Not entirely true, but close. I know what happened to you all these years ago. I know that you tried to hurt yourself Helena, but instead ended up hurting someone else."
Helena closed her eyes. "I don't want to talk about it."
"I'm not surprised. I wouldn't want to either if I were you, but you need to. I can help you heal Helena. It's the only way. You are dealing with a lot of grief and pain. I also suspect that you are still dealing with survivor guilt. You were the one with the dangerous life, and a dangerous job. Why did you live and your daughter die?"
"Yes! Why?" Helena yelled and jumped to her feet. She paced back and forth, clearly agitated.
"I can't answer that Helena. I can only try and help you work through it. No one has talked to you about this, which is terrible. You were grieving for your child; then lost your partner while trying to take your own life, only to be stuck in the darkest place possible. I am surprised that you were not a screaming lunatic when they debronzed you," Vanessa said in a gentle voice. "You are a very strong woman, with a strong psyche. If you've made it this far, you can make it. And there are people out there who are counting on you."
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