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Rough Day
By Anon


Part Two

Blair hung up the phone reluctantly – it had been good to hear Mrs. Garrett's voice, to speak to the police, to know they were being searched for, and to know they were probably safe. The police officer had been very reassuring – it was likely the men would be on the run if they knew the girls had escaped – and in the unlikely event their kidnappers even tried, it was likely almost impossible for them to track the girls down. Blair had been told they should stay where they were - the police were on their way. With the weather conditions and the dark it might take a little while but they would be found. She exhaled and turned from the window. It was dark. Even with her eyes adjusted to the darkness she could see only the vague outline of shapes in the small cabin.

"Jo?" It was cold. They were out of the wind and snow but Blair was sure she would see her breath if there was any light at all. She shivered and shuffled carefully back across the floor to where she had left her friend. She crouched and nudged the snowy lump.

"Jo, come on, wake up." She prodded again and was rewarded with an incoherent mumble.

"Come on Jo, I don't think you should go to sleep. Wake up and talk to me." Blair moved away slowly, feeling her way around the small cabin space in the pitch dark. There seemed to be some kind of old woodstove; she could feel the stove pipe rising from it and could smell ash, but it was cold and there didn't appear to be any wood. Maybe there was some outside but she didn't think she or Jo would be going outside any time soon. Hopefully the police would find them sooner rather than later.

"Woodstove I think. No wood though. Jo, do you hear me?"

"I hear you." The voice was muffled but lucid and Blair was unaccountably relieved to hear the raspy voice in the darkness.

There was a rough counter where the phone was, a couple of pots and pans. She fumbled through a drawer a couple of utensils, and maybe some scissors? She took those – Jo's hands were still tied and there would be no getting her wet coat off with them like that. She kept up her slow exploration.

"Jo I've found some scissors – I think we can get your hands free."

There was a bed, not much more than a cot, against the far wall and it felt like there were a few dry blankets folded at the end. Blair didn't want to know how old or musty they were – she was just relieved at the find. She could hardly feel her hands or her feet, she couldn't remember the last time she felt warm.

"And there's a cot with dry blankets." She crossed back toward Jo, draping her wet blanket over the cold woodstove as she passed. "Jo, talk to me."

"Dry blankets. Scissors." Jo's voice was a little rough, as though it hadn't been used in a while.

"Good. Come on; let's see if we can get your hands free. How do they feel?" Blair could hear Jo moving, finally pushing herself to a sitting position from where she'd been lying on the floor. Good. She didn't want to admit she'd been more than a little worried.

"Ugh. Cold. A little numb." Blair crouched and found Jo's hands stretched toward her. Cold was an understatement – Jo wasn't wearing gloves and the skin felt like ice. Blair had taken off her gloves and rubbed the backs of her hands sympathetically.

"Jo where are your gloves."

"I don't know. Wait. I took them off when I was trying to get my helmet on. I must have left them with Natalie."

"Okay, hang on." They struggled for a moment with the scissors and the plastic ties before the old scissors finally sawed through.

"Oh thank god." Jo almost immediately relaxed back against the door, trying to stretch out her shoulders and Blair realized her arms had been stuck in the same awkward position for hours – her arms, neck, shoulders and back had to feel like hell. "Thanks Blair, that's much better."

"Come on – there's a bunk back here with blankets." Blair helped Jo to her feet, was a little alarmed at how much effort it seemed to take and how heavily Jo leaned on her as they crossed the small cabin. It took a few minutes to shed the wettest of their layers – their coats, boots and socks – and then clambered onto the cot and wrapped themselves in the blankets they found.

Blair wrapped an arm around her roommate as they sat side by side, tucked in the blankets on the cot. She felt almost human again – she was almost completely dry, she'd finally stopped shivering and she could feel her toes for the first time in hours. Jo seemed to be warmer too but was definitely favoring her side. And Blair couldn't be completely sure but she thought Jo's attention was drifting a bit – she knew Jo had been beaten pretty seriously and had been unconscious before – it worried her that Jo might pass out again before the police found them.



"Why did you do it?"

"Hmm?" Blair tugged the blanket that was their hood just a little tighter around their shoulders and snuggled her feet a little further into the warmth of the blanket underneath.

"I hardly knew what was happening and suddenly you were right there. I didn't really think about it before. I was so…" Blair looked for the right word, settled for one that was close enough as she continued. "…relieved you were there. I mean, I was terrified and couldn't believe what was going on. These horrible men and I couldn't think what to do…" Blair took a breath.

"You couldn't have done anything Blair. There were four of them. And they obviously planned it." Jo's voice reassured Blair somewhat though she still couldn't wrap her mind around the afternoon's events.

"How did you… I mean where did you come from? It was so fast."

"Just timing I guess. I was getting on my bike – Tootie and Nat were giving me a hard time for riding it. I thought I saw you down the street and then that truck pulled up. And when the guys grabbed you… well I don't know what I was thinking then except I had to do something." There was silence for a moment; Blair's voice was quieter suddenly.

"You could have been killed Jo." Blair didn't want Jo to laugh it off. At the time she'd been so relieved to see Jo she'd hardly realized the insanity of her actions. Afterwards, sitting in the bed of the truck, remembering the awful sounds of the beating the men had inflicted and not sure if Jo was going to regain consciousness anytime soon, she had been genuinely afraid for and in awe of her friend. What could make a person jump into a situation like that with no concern for their own safety?

"What made you do that Jo? There were three of them."

"I don't know Blair. I guess I thought I'd even the odds, maybe just scare them off, or I dunno, delay them until security could come. I didn't think it through."

"No you didn't." Blair sighed, imagining she could see her breath crystallize in the cold cabin air. Blair tightened the arm around her roommate's shoulders, just for a moment. "Thank you Jo."

It was quiet a moment longer then Blair heard Jo sigh.

"I was wrong about you Blair. I'm sorry." Blair's brow furrowed in the darkness.

"Wrong about what?" There was a longer pause – Blair almost thought Jo wasn't going to answer, but then she shifted slightly and the voice continued.

"Back when we argued at Eastland, when the heat was busted, I kind of said you wouldn't be any good in a crisis." Blair remembered that argument. It felt like it had happened in another lifetime. She shook her head at the memory.

"Today. You jumped out of a moving truck. You walked for… miles without complaining. You found the phone. And you got my frozen butt off the floor when I thought I'd just stay right there for the night. You did good Blair. I was wrong."

Blair knew it wasn't faint praise coming from her usually taciturn roommate.

"Thank you Jo." She smiled in the darkness and settled her head against a familiar shoulder. "I don't know why you're surprised though. I learned from the best."

The End

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