Title: Torment

Author: Lystykds

Rated: G.

Pairings: None.


The woman in the faux leopard coat ran down the steps of the old building, past the sentry standing guard duty. She continued through the old and ornate wrought iron gate that protected the entry walk to the old building.

Her hair blew about her face and whipped wildly in the wind that swirled in the impending throws of a last early spring storm. The thoughts racing through her mind were a torment to her. She walked with quick steps hastening her departure from an office she had left in pristine condition despite the fact that she had forced herself to read papers held in nearly nerveless fingers. She'd read over and over the words that she had found horrifying...words that had clarified events that she had only hereto read in reports.

His face flashed in her mind as she fumbled with the keys to her oh so appropriate car that was parked precisely in official parking spot she had claimed for her own on her arrival in this new and unfamiliar part of town. She dearly wished for the larger, well-appointed parking lot that had been attached to the old, much larger building. She raged silently at herself as she tried once again to insert her keys into the lock of the car door.

She stopped a moment, stared at her face in the glass of the door, and disliked intensely the dark hair that she had always been proud of because its color heralded her link to her family. She felt the burn of tears threatening to burn their way down the elegant makeup she wore on her beautifully cared for skin. She shook out her hair, suddenly glad that she had not inherited the family tendency towards riotous curls that had always been a predominant feature in the female line of her mother's family. She could not deny the link...now that she was aware of the name in the files not now that had seen the name for herself.

She pulled the door open once the lock gave way to her fierce turning of the key in the lock. Dropping into the driver's seat she nearly threw her small purse into the passenger seat beside her. She reached in her pocket and retrieved the handkerchief that she had always been so proud of, but which now because of its ornamentation nearly made her physically as she dabbed cautiously at the corners of her eyes. When she was done, she held the tiny piece of cloth down in her lap and spread it out open so that she could trace the elegant initial that her mother had so painstakingly embroidered. She looked at the letter 'M' and smiled while tears threatened to spill from her eyes once more.

"Remember Meggy," her mother had told her when she had given her the cloth wrapped delicately in gift paper. "The letter on this has two meanings. The first and most important meaning is your name: Margaret. The second meaning stands for the Metcalf name. Generations of Metcalf women have lived before you Meggy." Meg crumbled the soft cloth, pushed it back into her pocket, and laid her head back against the headrest of the driver's seat.

Margaret drew in a deep breath and tried to pull herself together. She remembered all the times she had made life miserable for him, the man who was her subordinate. She wept now for the man that her cousin had nearly ruined; the man her cousin had betrayed, the man she that she found attractive. A Metcalf had nearly been the instrument of his death and for that, too, Margaret wept.

She drew a deep breath, inserted the ignition key, and turned to bring the car's engine to life. She adjusted the heat, the mirrors, and closed her mind to the cold words she had read in her office. She settled back into the car seat and then with practiced movements she backed out of her parking space and drove away leaving behind her a locked office that contained a locked file cabinet with its damming file. Picturing her cousin's face, as she must have looked the last time she had seen him, she sighed and was grateful that her mother would never know how close she had come to a betrayal of her own.