By: Melisa Read



Kel was sitting in a chair by his daughter’s bedside. He was trying to understand what happened, how the unthinkable happened. Dixie was in Seattle trying desperately to get a flight home. The phone call he had to make was the hardest of anything he had to do.


Tina moaned in her drug-induced sleep “NO!”  Kel stroked her hair, kissed her cheek. “Shush, honey you’re safe.” He said this over and over again.


Finally she seemed to relax.  He felt a hand on his shoulder. He didn’t have to look. He knew who it was.


He said with weariness in his voice “She’s still restless, but not in any pain.”  He stopped speaking for a minute and choked back the sob that was working its way up in his throat. He cleared his throat and said, “At least physically she will recover quickly.”


Joe watched his friend with great concern.  “Kel why don’t you go lay down in the lounge. You are exhausted. I will stay with her for a little while.” 


Kel shook his head no.  “I can’t…can’t leave her. I want her to feel safe, secure. She’s been through so much in her young life, now to have this happen.”  Kel closed his eyes.  Joe could see tears starting to drop. 


Kel gave Joe a pleading look for help and understanding.  Joe put his arm around Kel’s shoulder.


It was mainly a way for Kel to know that Joe was there for him. “OK. I will stop in later to check on her. But, the offer still stands. Mary will contact me, Mike or Sharon to sit with her if you need to rest up.” 


Kel thought how lucky he was to have friends that cared so much.  “Thanks Joe.”


Kel held his daughter’s hand and watched her sleep. All he could think about was what Joe told him six hours ago.


Kel was out of the hospital. He was the guest lecturer at the university. The class was really getting into his speech when his beeper went off. All the medical students started laughing.  He excused himself for a moment. 


When he came back in the room everyone could tell he was upset. “I’m sorry Professor Dandridge, I have a family emergency. My daughter has been in an accident and I am needed. I will return another day to continue the lecture.”


As Kel was driving down back to the hospital he was trying to decipher Joe’s words to him.  “Kel, I’m sorry to bother you, but” Joe stopped abruptly. “Joe what’s wrong?” 


“It’s Tina, Kel. There has been an accident. She was just brought in by Squad 51. I need you here.”  Kel at first couldn’t comprehend that his daughter had been hurt.


“Joe what kind of accident?”  “Kel, I will explain everything when you get here.”


As Kel was watching his daughter sleep Joe was going over her chart and thinking over the day’s events.


He sighed and thought how will this child, no young lady, ever get over this. He thought back to the 51’s transmission. It still brought chills to him.


“Rampart this is Squad 51 how do you read.” Johnny voice came over. His voice usually sounded very professional but something was wrong thought Joe and Mike.  “We read you loud and clear proceed 51.”


“Rampart we have a female victim age 14. She has been assaulted and looks like she has been raped. She has numerous cuts and abrasions on her forehead, arms, legs, neck and face. Victim was unconscious for an unknown period. When we first arrived she was drowsy but now more coherent. She also has bruises on her upper thighs.”


Johnny stopped for a second looked at Roy who nodded. “Rampart is Doctor Brackett nearby?” 


“51 he is out of the hospital for the afternoon, why?” Joe responded puzzled.


“Rampart the victim is Tina Brackett” Johnny said with sadness.


Joe looked at the biophone like it had shocked him. “51 would you please repeat your last transmission, because I thought you said the victim was Tina Brackett?” 


Mike put a hand on Joe’s shoulder and guided him to the chair in the station. Mike was letting Joe know that he was too close to the situation. If this was true this was Joe’s goddaughter.


“Rampart sorry to report this, but it is Tina.”  Mike said “51 please clean up any visible wounds, start an IV with D5W and transport as soon as possible. We will be waiting for you.”  “Ten-four Rampart, IV D5W.”


Twenty minutes later the ambulance arrived. Joe helped get the stretcher out. He took one look at his goddaughter and knew that what Johnny had reported was true. 



He took her hand and squeezed. She looked at him with tears streaming down her face. “I’ll be right in to help Mike take care of you. OK?”  She just nodded.


Sharon met up with the gurney. “Hi Tina, I am going to help Drs. Morton and Early take care of you. I will be right in.” 


She stopped Johnny.  She knew only to well how he hated to go on rape and assault cases. “How are you doing?”  “I’m fine, but will Tina be okay?”


“I don’t know Johnny, but with time and patience things usually work out.”  Johnny looked at her with all the love in the world. Sharon had been raped several years ago. She told Johnny about it once. It was something they never spoke of again. They hugged and he left.


Sharon had told the doctors of her experience after working in the ER for awhile.  If she was comfortable she helped with very young rape victims.


Today she was to help Tina. The police had arrived.  They had a rape kit and Sharon was going to help her through this experience.


Tina was scared. “No don’t let them touch me!”  Sharon walked over to her “Tina, honey look at me. Think of me as the only person in the room.” Tina looked at her. “Tina, I understand what you are feeling and going through. I understand!” 


Tina relaxed a little bit, knowing she had someone with her that cared while she felt she was being violated a second time.


As the police were gathering evidence and questioning her at length, Kel came rushing through the ER doors.  He thought this place is too quiet for an ER.  Several of the nurses and orderlies shyly looked his way.


 He saw Johnny and Roy at the base-station. Carol was getting supplies for them. He didn’t see Joe or Mike. He had to find Tina. “Carol where is Joe?” His voice betrayed his emotions.


“Kel.” Joe was standing outside of treatment room 2.  “Joe, you said there had been an accident. Where is Tina, what’s happened?”  Joe looked at the floor. 


“Joe answer me. What’s happened to Tina for God’s sake?” Joe touched Kel on the arm in a gentle way saying   “Kel, why don’t we go to your office and talk. Its more private.”  Kel started to protest but with gentle guidance Joe got him to the office.


“Kel sit down, please.”  Kel sat down on the couch. He felt like he was in a fog. This was going to be bad.  Joe sat down in the chair and faced him then looked down at the floor. “Joe please tell me what is going on. You are scaring me.”


Joe looked up at Kel.  “Kel, there is really no easy to say this. Tina was assaulted and raped this afternoon. Kel looked at Joe like he had been slapped.  It took another second before the word registered.  “Raped. Did you say raped?”  


Joe moved over to the couch to sit down next to Kel. “Yes, Kel. I’m very sorry.”   Kel stood up abruptly. His head was spinning. He walked over to the window and looked out at the city. 

Joe watched him with worry and concern.  In a minute you could see Kel’s shoulders shaking saying “No, not my baby.” Joe walked over to him. “Kel.” 


Kel stepped away. He couldn’t think. “I’m sorry Joe, I don’t mean to push you away.”

“You couldn’t push me away if you tried. I’m here.”


He cleared his throat trying in every way to get the words he wanted to ask out.  “Joe where did it happen, what are her other injuries?”  Kel asked in a very quiet voice. 


“Roy said it was about two miles from school, near the park. She has a slight concussion, bruised ribs, contusions and abrasions, and Kel there is significant bruising on her upper thighs. You can tell she fought whoever did this to her because her knuckles are cut and bruised. Her wrists have been bruised also where she was held forcibly.  From what the police told me Tina is the fifth teenager that’s been assaulted in the last five weeks. None of the other victims lived.” 


Kel’s head shot up when Joe said that.  “I have to go check on her. What am I going to say to her.”  Joe didn’t know what to say to him. Kel said in a low tone “I’ve got to call Dixie.” 


“Kel, why don’t you go see Tina first then call Dixie.”  Kel looked at Joe with sorrow “The whole department knows, don’t they.”  It wasn’t a question just a statement of fact.

“That’s the reason I got the looks I received when I walked in.”  Kel just shook his head.


As he and Joe walked towards treatment room 2 Kel thought of all those times over the years where he counseled rape victims and their families. He knew by the book what to say and do. Now with the shoe on the other foot so to speak, he had no words.


Joe stopped at the door. He and Kel looked at each other. Kel gave him a nervous smile and squeezed his friends arm. 


Kel opened the door slowly and what he saw on the exam table almost made him scream.  His beautiful ‘little girl’ was sitting on the table with her arms around her knees rocking back and forth.


She looked lost, almost like the night she lost her biological parents.  But this was worse. Sharon was sitting in the chair by the exam table talking softly. She caught his eye.

Kel cleared his throat. He wanted Tina to know he was in the room. He didn’t want to frighten her anymore than she was.  

Tina looked in his direction. She started crying saying through sobs “I’m sorry daddy, its my fault. Please don’t hate me, I’m sorry!”  What she was saying tore at Kel’s heart. This was going to be harder than he thought.


Kel approached her. He carefully put his trembling hand on her shoulder.  That was all that was needed. She melted into his arms crying. 


“It’s not your fault. Please, please don’t think that. I love you. Please know that.”  Kel rocked her in his arms.


He kissed her on top of her head. He was actually afraid to touch her face. She was so bruised up.  “Ssssh, honey, I’m here now. I’m going to take care of everything. It’s OK, you’re safe. No one else is going to hurt you.”


Sharon started to leave the room.  “Sharon.”  She turned towards Kel’s voice.  Their eyes locked. “Thank you” as he continued to rock his daughter back and forth.


Sharon nodded saying, “Let me know if you need anything. I’m here all night.”


“If you could stick around for a little bit, I’ve got to make a phone call.” Kel said


“I’ll be at the base-station talking with Johnny. Come get me.”  “OK.”  Sharon left, she knew they needed time alone.


Ten minutes later Joe knocked on the door and walked in.  When Joe first walked in Tina tensed up then realizing who it was relaxed a little bit. 


Joe approached her carefully “Tina I am going to admit you to ICU for tonight. I’ve also going to administer a sedative so you can rest. Tomorrow morning we’ll get you moved to private room.  You ready to get cleaned up a little bit and get in a nice warm bed?”  She smiled a little and nodded OK.


“Oh, Kel, Jack Crockett wants to have a word with you. He is right outside the door.”  Kel started to leave when Tina grabbed him screaming “don’t leave me, please!” 


Kel trying to keep his composure said “Sweetheart I’m going to be right outside the door. Uncle Joe will be with you till I get back. OK?”  Tina relaxed and Kel knew it would be OK.


Kel stepped out into the corridor.  Jack greeted him.  “Kel, I’m sorry about Tina.”  Kel cleared his throat and shook Jack’s hand that was extended.


“Well, what can you tell me, Jack? Can you nail the bastard that did this to my daughter?”


“Well from her statement that we got a little bit ago it seems that there is a possibility, it maybe a boy that goes to your daughter’s school.


I would like to question her further and show a picture that we have. One of the other victims before she died gave a description and a name.”


“Jack, I don’t know about questioning her further today.”  Kel stopped and closed his eyes. He took in a breath.  He couldn’t say anymore.


Jack laid a hand on Kel’s shoulder. “Tell you what why don’t I wait and talk with her when she’s moved to room in the morning. Would that be better?”  Kel said very quietly “Yes.”  


 “Have you told Dixie yet?”  Kel cleared his throat “Not yet, soon though. I don’t know how I’m going to tell her.”  Jack just nodded his head in understanding.  “I’ll talk with you and Tina in the morning.”


After Jack left Kel just stood there. His legs felt like jelly. He couldn’t think he couldn’t move.


While Jack and Kel were talking 4 pair of eyes were watching. Mike, Roy, Johnny and Sharon were deeply concerned about their friend and colleague, but more about a beautiful little girl and how this was going to change her. 


They all watched as Kel slowly sunk to the floor.  Mike walked over to him and kneeled down and whispered to him.  Mike helped him stand up.  He gave a shy smile to Mike.


He looked at Johnny and Roy. They both knew that he wanted to talk.  Roy spoke first “why don’t you let Tina know that you will be in your office for a few minutes. We will be there waiting. We are on call from here, Hank said that would be OK.”


Kel walked back into the treatment room. Tina had her eyes closed. Joe was getting her ready to transport to ICU. Sharon had come in with him.  She gently touched his arm and started the conversation. 


“Hey ‘little bit’, I am going to accompany you to ICU.  Your dad needs to talk with Roy and John, then he will be up. That sound OK to you?”


Tina seemed to brighten up a little when Sharon was talking with her. Sharon and Johnny always called her ‘little bit’ when they took her places.  In a tiny scared voice she replied “Sure, if it’s OK with you daddy?” 


Kel walked over to her gave her a hug. “I won’t be long, I promise. I’m going to talk with Roy and John then I need to make a phone call to Seattle.”  Tina looked up quickly and started to cry. 

Kel took her in arms. “Honey I have to tell her. She has to know.” Tina finally started to relax a little bit. She said in a quiet defeated tone “I don’t want her to be mad at me.”  Kel said “Honey she loves you, she won’t be mad.”  He kissed her on the cheek and promised to be up to ICU soon. 


Kel walked into his office.  One look at the two paramedics and Kel could tell this had affected them greatly.  He cleared his throat.  What he wanted to say had to come out right. 


“First off, I’m glad that it was you two that worked with her in the field. It makes it a little easier knowing that she wasn’t taken care of by strangers.  Two I need to know what she said to you if you can, the area she was in, anything. I’ve got to get it clear so than when I call Dixie I will have more information.”


Johnny replied “When we received the call all the dispatcher said was child assaulted possible rape.  You can imagine how shocked we were when realized who the victim was. When I first approached Tina she recoiled with horror. We asked the police what they knew. All they could tell us is joggers found her. 


When she finally realized who we were she relaxed a little, but very timid.  She didn’t say anything except to nod yes or no when we asked questions.  I wish we could help you more but that’s all we can tell you.”


“No, Johnny that’s OK. It’s just been a long day and it’s going to be a long night. I appreciate it more than you two will ever know.”  He stopped talking and just stared into space.


Roy looked at Johnny and cocked his head toward the door. “Kel, we’re going for now. We will check later with Joe or Mike to see how she’s doing.”


“Thanks guys.”  Kel stood up to say goodbye but no words would come out. On impulse he gave Roy a hug, then Johnny. They left.  He went back to his desk and fingered through the list of numbers. He finally found his mother-in-laws number.


He started to dial the number. He hung up the phone. His hands were trembling. Finally he worked up the nerve to call. After three rings Martha, his mother-in-law, answered cheerily “Hello!”  “Hi Martha, its Kel, is Dix nearby.”  “Sure honey.” Instinct told her something was wrong. “Kel you OK?”  “Yea, I’m fine” he lied.  


He heard her yell Dixie’s name. He closed his eyes breathing harder. He could hear Martha saying something to Dixie but couldn’t quiet make it out. Then he heard her sweet, beautiful voice, his rock.


“Hey there handsome, how did I warrant a phone call at this time of day?”  He cleared his throat. “Dix, I need you too come home” he said with a shaky voice that had tears in it. 


The only other time Kel sounded like this was last year when he was assaulted and left for dead.  “Kel what’s wrong, I just got here two days ago?”  “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any since. Dixie, Tina has been hurt.”


“Kel what happened to Tina?”  There was silence on the other end. She knew he was still there. “Kel, talk to me! What has happened to Tina?”  She heard him clear his throat.


“She.” He swallowed trying to gain his composure. She waited patiently. Finally she heard him say “Dixie she was raped this afternoon!” 


The word just hung in the air. Dixie thought no way I heard that. “Kel did you say she was raped?”  He replied quietly “yes.”


“Who did this to her and why? How is she?” Dixie asked crying.  “Honey she is terrified. She cried telling me it was her fault not to hate her. It tore me up inside. It took everything I could to calm her down.


Sharon is working with her some. She has been a godsend. Who did this? Well there is a possible suspect but Jack wants to talk to her some more. He has agreed to wait till tomorrow. Found out that whoever did this to her attacked four other teens around her age. No one has survived. 


I need you here, for her. I know I am her father, but I don’t know really how comfortable she is with me.  You understand what I am saying. I feel like I am at a loss of what to say or do, that could make things worse. Oh man now I feel like a heel.”  With that Kel stopped talking. Dixie could hear him crying or trying not to too. 


Dixie just smiled. Despite the fact that this was serious she realized again how much she loved Kelly James Brackett. He was awkward when things got a little out of whack. Or as he has told her on occasion when I don’t really, really understand women.


She broke the silence.  “Kel, I love you so much, but I need to be there. I want to be there. Let me check the airlines and see when I can get there.


What room is she in? Who is taking care of her besides Sharon? I want to talk to her if its possible.”  Kel smiled. That was my girl he thought take charge.


“Well Joe is taking care of her, but he is thinking of getting Marie Wilson the psychologist from St. Fancies to help.”   Kel just stopped talking.  What he said next not only made Dixie love him more but realized how vulnerable her husband can be. Kel was one of those types of people that felt the need to be in control. When they aren’t they are lost somehow.


“Dixie, I know how she feels about being assaulted. All this has brought up how fearful I was around everyone last year. I know how long it took me to trust again. Now this has happened to Tina.  It took her a long time to trust us after her parents died. I don’t know how much more she can take.”


“Kel you are loving sweet person. Just be there for her like you always have. I want to be there NOW! I will call you when I know my flight. I love you so much.”  Kel heard her crying.  “I love you too Dixie Marie McCall-Brackett.”  They hung up. 


Dixie told her mother then called the airlines to see when she could get out of Washington State and back to Los Angeles.


Meanwhile Kel slowly made his way to ICU. He approached the ICU desk and looked around for her bed. He was trembling so much. He finally saw her. Sharon was getting her tucked in.


Mary Weams the ICU head nurse watched him as he came in. She saw a terrified father, not the doctor who was head of emergency services.  She approached him carefully. “Doctor Brackett?” 


“Hi Mary.”  Kel asked in a trembling voice.  Mary said “As you can see we put her in bed 1. We wanted her to feel secure and safe.”  Kel was amazed. It blew his mind that so many people that he worked with cared so much. He touched Mary’s hand in a way that said thank you, because if he opened his mouth he knew the words wouldn’t come out.


He approached her bed carefully. “Hi pumpkin, how are you feeling?”  He could tell by looking at her that she was just as scared now or not more as she was five years ago when he and Dixie told her about her parents death.


“A little better now daddy.  Did you call mommy?”  Kel sat next to her bed took her hand into his. “Yes, I did. She is trying to get a flight out of Seattle. She sends her love and kisses.” Kel leaned over the railing and gave her kiss. “That is from me and your mom.” 


Tina grabbed him around the neck and brought him down in a hug. She started to cry. He pulled the railing down and sat on the bed with her and pulled her into a tight embrace. “It’s all right. I’m here; your mom will be home soon. We are not going to let anyone else hurt you. Shush, I’m here, your safe.” 


Kel rocked her back and forth it seemed forever. Finally he could tell that her body relaxed. The sedative was taking effect. He laid her down and pulled the covers up. He sat at her bedside holding her hand.

Mary and two of the ICU nurses watched him with great admiration and sorrow at the same time. Admiration for being so gentle and sorrow for the reasons.


Two hours later Mary came up to Kel. She started to say something and realized he was asleep. So as not to startle him she touched his shoulder carefully.  He opened his and looked around and then focused on Mary. 


“I’m sorry to bother you Dr. Brackett but Dixie is on the phone.”  “Thanks Mary.”  He started to walk away from Tina and stopped in midstride. “Go ahead I stay with her till you get through.” He smiled his thanks.


“Hi Dix.”  “Hey beautiful how’s our little one doing?”  “She’s sleeping for now. Well when you coming home?”


“Kel, I can’t get a flight out till late tomorrow.  I should be home around 7 or 8 p.m.” 


He couldn’t help but smile and when he started talking to her that smile seemed to drift to her. “Well sounds like the plan is already made. See you around seven tomorrow. Do you want me to pick you up?” 


“No, I will take a cab. I don’t want her alone. I love you and give her my love” 

“I will. See you tomorrow.  Dixie, I love you so much it aches.” 

“Kel don’t get me worked up,” she said in loving tone.


They said their good byes.


The night was long. She had nightmares, but Kel was there to hold her, comfort her when it happened.  Joe came in around six a.m.  “Hey there kiddo we are going somewhere. It’s private and you will be able to hopefully get a little more rest. You ready to go?” 


“Where are we going?”  “To your own room. Your dad will be able to stay with you as much as he wants and so will your mom when she gets her later today.”


Tina was moved to a private room. Kel tried to get her to eat something. She ran to the bathroom and promptly threw up.  “Kel asked “Tina what’s wrong? Is your stomach upset?” 


She started to cry. Kel sat on the edge of the bed. She looked up at him, tears going down her face.  “The food smells like the boy who…who…hurt me.”  She stopped for a minute.  “Daddy.”  She stopped. Kel knew she wanted to talk about what happened in detail. “Tina its OK to talk to me.”


“Daddy, what did I do to deserve this? I’ve been good. I haven’t done anything wrong or been mean to anyone. WHY? WHY? WHY?”




Kel tried to put it in a way that she would understand. “Tina some people hurt others just for the fun of it. There is no explanation as to why. I wish I understood why people in this world are so hateful. I don’t have a pat answer for you.


What I do know is that someone hurt my child. I know you are not my flesh and blood, but Dixie and I have raised you as if you were. Right now I am concerned about you. Whoever did this to will get theirs in the end. I know how it feels to have your life thrown upside down.


You are probably feeling scared, mad, probably a feeling of being alone even with someone in the room with you and not sure who to trust. That’s OK, because eventually that trust and aloneness will go away.” 


Kel stopped for a minute. He realized he made a breakthrough in a sense. “Daddy did you feel all those things after you were hurt last year?”  “Yes, I did. You can ask your mom. I had nightmares, fearful when the door opened. The only people I truly trusted where Uncle Joe, Mike, Johnny and Roy, plus your mom. It’s hard, but something that helped me more than anything was someone objective to talk to. Do you understand what I am saying?”


“You mean a therapist?”  “Yes, but only when you feel the need for it. I am not going to push you.”  He was sitting on the edge of the bed. She started crying and couldn’t stop. “Oh daddy, I was so scared.”  “I know pumpkin, I’m here.”  He just held her in his arms.


There was a knock on the door. Tina tensed up. Kel cleared his throat. “Come in.” 

In walked Lt. Jack Crockett and a lady police officer.  “I hope this isn’t a bad time. We wanted to speak with Tina further.”  Kel said, “It’s up to Tina.” 


Haltingly she started to answer.  “Lieutenant I will answer your questions but I want my dad here with me.  Please?” 


“That will not be a problem. This is Officer Williams. She is going to transcribe what you tell me. She is also a witness to verify the statement. I believe the boy that did this to you goes to your school. After you give me your statement I am going to have you look at some pictures to see if you recognize him. OK.”  


“Yes sir.”  “OK Tina. We know that you were in the park when it happened. Why did you go that way? Plus, tell us what happened when the young man approached you. Take your time there is no hurry.”


Kel sat in the chair and held her hand.  Tina told them what happened.


“I went through the park because I knew it was a short cut to the college. Dad was doing a lecture and I thought I would be able to catch some of it. I wanted to surprise him. We got out of school early because of mid terms.  I had been at the mall with my friends. I said goodbye to them. Started through the park. Suddenly someone bumped into me. I thought I recognized him but wasn’t sure. He seemed nice. He apologized for bumping into me. I started to walk away. I noticed that we were actually the only two in this part of the park. I got scared. Next thing I know he pushed me down behind some bushes.” 

Tina stopped talking. She looked away from Crockett and Williams. She had tears streaming down her face. She started to wipe them away when she felt her father’s hand brush the side of her face as he wiped them away. She looked at him. He gave her a reassuring nod.  She took a deep breath, closed her eyes. She kept them closed.


“Tina can you do this?”  Jack Crockett asked with sincere concern.  “Yes sir, just give me a minute.”


She cleared her throat and looked at her dad.  He gave her a reassuring smile.  She closed her eyes and began again.  “He was really crude then. Laughing, saying Oh did that hurt! I tried to get up. He shoved me down again. He began to hit me repeatedly in the face and in the stomach, plus he kicked my legs. For a minute everything stopped. Then.” 

Tina sat there for a few minutes not saying a word. Then the tears came and wouldn’t stop.  She looked up at the ceiling. When she started talking again Kel listened in horror at what happened to her.  She squeezed her dad’s hand harder and harder as time went on.  “Next thing I know he is trying to push my skirt up. I felt his hands around my waist then my wrists. I slipped out of his strong hold and hit him several times. But…but the more I resisted….the worst the beatings became.  He kept pushing his legs and hands in between my legs. I tried to keep them closed. But…but I didn’t have the strength. Then, I felt something and I tried to scream for help but he put his underwear in my mouth.”  She stopped talking. 


She looked at Kel. “I really tried Daddy, I promise. I didn’t want my first time to be this way. I tried to stop him. I really did.”  All Kel could do was sit on the side of the bed and take her in his arms. He looked over his shoulder at Jack, pleading “I think you have enough don’t you?” 


“Yes we do. Tina just one more thing.  Will you look at this picture?”  If this is him then we can try him as an adult.”  Tina nodded yes. When she looked at the picture screaming “THAT’S HIM!”  She ran to the bathroom and threw up. Kel was rooted in his spot shaking like a leaf. Jack put his on Kel’s shoulder. “Kel if we need anything else we’ll call.” Kel couldn’t say anything he just nodded OK.


Joe was coming in as Jack was leaving. He realized what had transpired.  He asked Kel “How is she doing?”  “Right now she is in the bathroom. Joe she is lucky to be alive.”  Joe was worried. “Kel?” 


“UM Joe can you stay here for a few minutes I need some air. Tell her I will be right back.”  Before Joe had a chance to respond Kel walked out. He went to stairwell between floors. He knew he was having an anxiety attack and needed to get his head together before he went back to stay with Tina.


Five minutes later he walked back in her room. Joe was helping her back in bed. “Hey sweaty feeling a little bit better. Just think Mom will be home in a little while.” Kel sat on the edge of the bed. He stroked her hair, talking softly to her.  Joe realized that what transpired earlier had a devastating effect on his friend and goddaughter.  He left quietly.


Three hours later Dixie walked through the ER doors. Joe and Mike greeted her warmly. “Here Dix give me your bags. I will put them in Kel’s office. Joe can take you up to Tina’s room.” 

Dixie and Joe opened the door to her room. What they both saw melted their hearts.  There lying on the bed with Tina was Kel. He had his arms wrapped around her. It looked like he was trying to protect her from further harm. They were both sleeping. Joe whispered to Dixie “I’ll leave you three alone for a little while. I’ll check in later.”  Dix gave Joe a hug.


Dixie walked over to Kel’s side. She looked at her husband of seven years and realized that what had happened to their daughter had a profound effect on him.  She put her hand on his cheek and then kissed his forehead. He opened his eyes. What she saw was profound sadness.  He kissed Dixie, then leaned close to Tina’s ear. “Hey little one wake up someone is here to see you.”  Tina opened her eyes and when she saw Dixie she started crying. “Momma I am sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” 


“Honey there is nothing to be sorry about.” Dixie took her in her arms and rocked her back and forth like Kel did earlier.  “Ladies if you will excuse me for a few minutes I am going to give you two some time together.” Dixie started to protest but Kel held up his hands. “No stay with her for a little bit. I’ll be down in the cafeteria.” 


An hour later Dixie found him in the cafeteria.  She saw him sitting in the corner just staring into space.  When she got closer to the table he seemed to recognize that she was there.  “Kel, she didn’t tell me all of it. She said she couldn’t speak of it anymore. Didn’t want to. Was it as bad as she is indicating?” 


Kel looked at Dixie. The tears that started to spill told her all that she needed to know.  “She…she told Jack and a female police officer all the details this morning. I don’t know how she is alive. She.”  Kel couldn’t speak anymore. The words just would not come out.


“Dixie she has a lot of recovery ahead of her. I don’t know if she will ever let anyone touch her in the way that’s meant to be good. I know she trusts me, but men in general I just don’t know.”  Dixie held his hand. She was frightened by what he said next.


“If I could just have five minutes with the boy who did this I think I would kill him.”  With that said he put his head on his hands and cried. Dixie knowing that Kel hadn’t left Tina’s side for the last 36 hours took him in her arms and cried with him. 


Several days passed. Finally Joe released her. Joe knew that the whole Brackett family had a long road ahead of them.


Tina was quiet too quiet. Dixie was worried and so was Kel. They both took time off from work. One day Kel went upstairs to check on her. He found her in the bathroom. She had found every pill in the house. Had them all lined up to take, but before she had the chance he screamed at her “NO DON’T DO THAT!” 


Dixie heard the commotion and gasped at the sight she found.  They both decided she needed therapy.


Three weeks later Tina was back home. She was going to continue her therapy as an outpatient. She told her parents that she would never think of suicide again. Plus she felt that she would be able to testify against the boy who raped her. She was still having nightmares, but they knew that would take time.


Three months later the teenage boy who raped her was sentenced as an adult for attempted murder and rape of Tina and felony murder four counts. He would be behind bars for the next 25 years. He wouldn’t be up for parole for a least 15 years.


Tina sat down with her parents for supper one night about six months after the rape. She kept looking at them. She had just turned fifteen two days ago. Kel said, “OK out with it!” 

Tina finally told them what was on her mind. “I want to thank you for the support that you have given me the last six and half months. I know I went through a lot but you two did also. Daddy I especially want to thank you for staying with me like you did when I told Lt. Crockett all that happened that day. If you hadn’t been in the room with me I would never have told him. You gave me the strength that I needed. Mom thanks you for your silent support in all of this. I feel stronger now because of your support and therapy. I love y'all.”  With that she stood up went to each of them and gave them a hug.


Later in the evening when Kel and Dixie were watching TV they both had time to reflect on what had happened. Kel told Dixie “It’s good to see she is trusting again. Maybe, just maybe she won’t feel scared and hurt for the rest of her life.” 


“I love you Kelly Brackett. I don’t know of to many fathers who could have stayed in the room and listened to what happened in detail. She never has told me everything and neither have you, but in a way I’m glad. I don’t think I could have handled it very well. The image that I will stay with me forever is when I finally got home and walked into her hospital room. The love between you was beautiful. Your arms were holding her in a way that you wanted to protect her forever. I hope one day that when she does get married that she is lucky enough to find someone like I did.” She hugged him.


Kel thanked the man upstairs for giving him two women that he loved and cherished.



Author’s note: I hope I did not offend anyone with topic but this story was from the heart. I was raped thirteen years ago. Mine was considered ‘date rape’. I never told anyone for a long time. But when I did I had wonderful support from family, especially my father. He is the reason I wrote this. HE has a heart of gold. This story is for all that have suffered from rape. You must realize that it’s not your fault. I never pressed charges. I wish I had. But I have made peace with myself.