"Back off Hallie," Callie warned, pointing the gun steadily at her. The expression she'd seen so often on her sister's face - one of exasperation, frustration, but ultimately, unswerving confidence that she was safe - fluttered across her features now.
"Aw hell, Cal," she groaned, throwing the phone onto the desk with considerable force and throwing her hands up in the air.
Everybody in the room flinched visibly - this was not how unhinged gun-wielders were handled on TV.
"What do you take me for! You know you won't shoot me, and if you do it by accident it'll hurt you more than me, so point it away will you?"
"Fine," Callie hissed, rolling her eyes and swinging it round to point at him. Shane. He whimpered. "Happy?"
"No," she whispered. The atmosphere changed suddenly. It was as though Hallie'd realised that this wasn't them bickering, this wasn't two sisters arguing - this was real. "Callie, I'm your sister...please just listen..."
"It isn't just the two of us playing any more, Hal, in the back yard," Callie drew the words out slowly, so she knew there was as much truth and as little spur-of-the-moment fuelled exaggerations there as possible. "Now we've got responsibilities. I've got my husband, my man, my Joe"
"You think he'd want this? Want you breaking out before you were healthy?"
"Shut up," Callie whispered.
"No the hell I won't shut up! It wasn't just me or Mum that got you in there, it was him too! He wanted you better too!"
"I needed..." Callie shook her head, confused. "Shut up, Hal"
"He wanted you to get better, knew you needed real help, and he'd be god damn furious if he knew you were risking your mental health for this..."
"SHUT UP!" Callie screamed.
Blood, blood, blood.
Hallie's eyes grew wide as she realised her sister'd just tried to shoot her, taking in the shattered plant pot on her desk. Callie had turned her back on her, gazing at the figure on the floor, the muscles in her back and shoulders coiled and tense.
He - Eyulf or something, wasn't it? - crouched over her. Blood spilling across the floor. His hand stroking back her hair, in a sweet gesture. The girl that needed surgery.
"HOLY MOTHER OF-" agonised shrieks torn from lips, obscenities in the air.
Blood, blood, blood.
Pain, pain, pain.
There was only one thing Hallie could do.
Callie was shouting instructions, her voice strained, frenzied. Hallie'd only heard it like this once before, and it was directly before the intervention that had resulted in her admission into the psychiatric hospital that she should still be in.
She drew up the email account on her computer, relying on the shouts and screams filling the reception to mask her, and sent one short email.
To Nurse Janet Benefid.
Callie in here with gun. Please don't tell police they could shoot her. Shut off routes to reception.
You need to get Joe Collins in here right away. I don't care how. Do it.