Show some love! Consider making an underclassmen or a teacher!
We are currently in week 4 of DECEMBER, 2012. (18/12 - 24/12) School is finally out for the Winter Holidays and Christmas is finally so near. Happy Christmas Eve!
New week begins on 3/09/12 real time.
so THIS CITY IS AT WAR! is skinned by BECKY/HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR SHIA LABEOUF, edited with permission by reese, graphics by misha. tabbed sidebar is credit to KISMET at RPG-D. images to their respective owners. plot and content, by the staff and members. everything that isn't obviously ours, probably isn't either.
WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS DISBELIEF IN RELIGION(just a sentence), ATTEMPT AT RAPE, SELF HARM, ATTEMPTED SUICIDE. NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED OR THE BLIND
leave me in this darkness
Nathalie was feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. It had been one of those… rougher days, as Dr. Thomas liked to tell her. He told her that sometimes it would be hard regardless of how well she could be doing just the day before, but Nathalie didn’t understand that. If you were supposed to be “better,” wouldn’t that mean that they wouldn’t be feeling that pain anymore? The stabbing, the ripping of their heart being torn? Her eyes moved quickly to her phone, seeing the screen light up with a picture of her and Conor that she had taken the other day for his photo identification on her phone. The girl’s throat closed up and her heart started beating slow and heavy.
She couldn’t talk to her best friend right now, and that sounded a little weird, even to her. Conor… Conor didn’t know about why she had moved to New York City from Kansas, at least not the real reason. As far as he knew, along with all of her other new friends, was that she moved because her parents wanted to live “the city life.” Brown eyes watched as the phone continued to vibrate against the wood of her desk, waiting for it to stop ringing. An alert let her know that Conor had indeed left a voicemail, and before she could even get to check it to make sure he wasn’t dying or anything too severe, he tried calling her again. She hung up this time, going to send him a text message to tell him a lie.
It wasn’t very often that the girl lied to her blond, bouncy friend, but she just had to tonight. She couldn’t be herself long enough to talk to him without losing composure and she didn’t want to involve him in any of her life drama. In the text she told him that she was having a mandatory family game night that she couldn’t get out of and would have to talk to him later. Something felt horrible about having to lie to the cuddly sweetheart that had became her friend, but she swallowed that down, telling herself it was all for the best.
So she went back to staring deeply into her beige-painted walls, chewing at the inside of her cheek. Nathalie decided she needed a distraction, anything to keep her mind off of what she felt. It was then that she wished she was always able to conceal her true emotions well, because she needed to talk to Conor. He’d ramble about all of the crazy things that went on in his life because his was typically more eventful that her own. Fifteen was too young to be dealing with the emotions she felt, and there wasn’t much she could do.
Talking to her mother and father was awkward… they thought she was one hundred percent better… and Dr. Thomas was on vacation and wouldn’t answer his cell phone even if Nathalie tried. He had just gotten himself a pretty new wife and it was probably late wherever he was and the thoughts of what he could possibly be doing at that point in time made her shutter and definitely not want to call the man. A huff of air escaped her lips as she shrugged, turning to her phone and setting her alarm for what time she would need to get up that morning, and crossed the room to her bed. The phone went on the charger and she clapped the lights off, curling up under the covers with a large stuffed bear her father had won her once.
Sleeping wouldn’t help and she knew that, and wasn’t sure she would even be able to get to that point on that night. Everything felt so on edge, including the girl in her bed, still fully clothed from the day, so if she had been aware of her falling asleep so easily, Nathalie would have felt that way too. But if she had known that her dreams would only haunt her more, she would have stayed awake all night like she had multiple times before… when the pain got too much to bare every once and awhile.
Everything was so sunny and bright. It hurt her eyes, but at the same time it was a mysterious kind of beautiful. It felt familiar though, it felt like home. Not the place where she lived now, but it felt like a Kansas summer, the sunflowers popping up and standing to attention at the sun.
While sleeping, a quiet, “No, no, no,” whispered from the lips of the sleeping girl. The form turned, still holding onto the stuffed animal tightly, as if her body knew where this dream was going before it even happened, though it was very possible that her body did know.
The dream’s setting changed. It was still sunny and still bright, but she was standing in front of a house with a moving van in front of it, workers unloading it. Her ears picked up the tweets and songs of the birds, of the running water not too far behind her own house in the little stream that was there. But then she heard something else, a whiny, “Mom, it’s going to suck here. There won’t be any cool people or anything. It’s Kansas for crying out loud, who moves to Kansas?” A grin moved to the girl’s lips. Everyone hated Kansas, and she knew quite a few people that hated their neighbor Missouri as well. Both states harbored a lot of towns that would remind someone easily of Nowheresville, USA.
The teen stopped whining though as he left the moving fan with his mother, his own eyes falling on the girl and he smiled. His mother nudged him forward and said, “There, Carter. Maybe Kansas won’t be so bad afterall. It looks like there are pretty girls here.” The brunette boy swatted his mother’s elbow away with a, “mom I’m thirteen.” And approached the girl with a hand outstretched.
“Carter,” her dreaming whisper fell from her lips quietly, turning again, this time the bear getting left behind her. In her sleep, her heartbeat sped up, though the sleeping girl still didn’t wake. Sometimes the world was cruel to a person, which was what made Nathalie doubt religion. If there was such a thing as God, why did he let his beautiful children suffer?
”Hey, my name is Carter, what’s your name… Unless your parents were the type to state the obvious, then your name would have to be Pretty Beautiful,” The boy laughed, a hand outstretched and the girl scoffed, crossing her arms at her chest.
“That is probably the worst pick-up line I have ever heard,” she told him dully, though smiling at the end of the statement when the new young man grinned a cheeky smile, which had her sold, “Though I’m Nathalie Griggs and you’re moving in next door to me and my family.”
“Awesome,” he sounded, taking his unshaken hand back, “What grade are you going to be in this school year?
“Seventh, how about you?” she asked, curious to know if they were going to be in the same school or perhaps even in the same grade. He was cute, she decided, with big brown eyes and the short brown hair, and she hoped he was a little nicer to her than he was with his mom.
The boy’s grin widened as he nodded his head, “Sweet, me too.” And with that the boy wrapped his arm around her shoulders and demanded she show him around town.
The dream went hazy for a second, as if someone was trying to look through a bathroom window after a very hot shower on an extremely chilly day, but then it warped back to the warm, golden and bright colors. The stream by her house, the day before school would start for the two sitting there. She would recognize that time, that place, that scene any day, even if she had the worst case of amnesia, that picture there would snap her right back into reality.
It was the day that Carter had asked her to be his girlfriend. They had hung out the whole summer since he had moved there and Nathalie liked him. He was funny, he was sweet, and he seemed genuinely interested in her. They saw movies every Friday, he would buy her ticket and then take her for dessert after, even though he was using his mother’s money. It was sweet, so she said yes. She had a weakness for sweet.
And then the dream started to just play clips. Each clip was noticeably getting darker, less bright from the memory of him asking her out. It started off with the good clips, when he stole her first kiss lying down in the field behind their houses under the starry Kansas Sky, the concert they went to, when he actually enrolled them in a teen’s ballroom dancing class because he told her he wanted to dance with her. Her teaching him successfully how to play tennis, teaching him how to prefect his butterfly stroke in swimming. Their eighth grade formal. That was when the images started getting truly darker. With the happier memories, one would hardly tell that the gold was becoming dull, that the lights were turning dark. But the summer between eighth grade and freshman year was when the memories got darker.
“You’re not good enough, Nathalie.” “You’re the worst girlfriend in the world, Nathalie. A cow is better than you.” “You’re pathetic.” “I hate you.” A smack to the face.
Being pushed against the back wall of her house, hands pinned above her head. Her shirt being ripped open, pants being yanked down, being called a dirty slut. She hadn’t even had sex before and didn’t want to, especially when she was being treated by Carter that way. Her favorite bra that clasped around the front being snapped open, her body being attacked by rough kisses. Being interrupted at the saving second by the sound of car doors in the front driveway.
Having something injected into her skin. Another smack to the face, harder that time. Punches thrown at her face and stomach, everywhere. Everything about a pretty, normal girl being torn to shreds by a violent being. “You’re not good enough, Nathalie.” “I never even liked you Nathalie.” “You’d be better off dead, Nathalie.”
A razor blade dragging against her stomach. The deep, ruby color of blood running down pale, yet slightly olive skin. Cuts down the whole length of her torso that could be covered in a swimsuit. The sting of chlorine in a fresh cut. Four or five bleeding cuts, oozing down to her belly button.
Getting shoved down the stairs. “Oh mom, I was wearing socks on the hardwood again and I slipped.” “Mom, I fell at practice today.” “Mom, I need he--. I need a hem sewn on the skirt of my dress for homecoming.”
Being drug around a gymnasium floor, fingers pressed, bruising into her hip. Forced against the chest of her worst enemy. Hearing rumors that weren’t rumors, but were true. “So I heard that Carter like, beats Nathalie and she just takes it, doesn’t say anything.” “Nathalie seems like she just follows Carter around like she is terrified of him. I heard he is abusive to her.” No one stopping the madness.
The final day. Next to the stream where he had asked her to be his girlfriend. It was dark, so dark. It looked like rain, maybe even thunder and lightening threatening to outbreak… perhaps a tornado. Those final words, the words that finally broke Nathalie in half, the last thing that sent her to the edge.
“You have to kill yourself, Nathalie. You have to do it or I’ll never be happy with my life. You have to, you just have to,” his angry words pressing at her, pushing her past the edge.
All he wanted was to be happy? Happy was the only reason she stayed with the bastard. She wanted to make him happy. That was all she wanted in life, was to make people happy. Even through all the rough and physical times, there were those moments that weren’t shown in the memory slideshow. How he would come down from his rage just a little bit to tell her that he was getting better and that he was happy that she was getting him through his struggles, whatever they might be.
Because Nathalie was that young and fucking stupid to believe in that shit. So she listened. All she wanted was to finally make him truly happy. If he would be truly happy then she wouldn’t have to worry about him ever treating anyone else like that because he would be healed, right? Nathalie listened to the person that had been destroying her from the inside out, from the ground up, for a year.
She knew what she was going to do. It only took a little bit of planning after all. It was kind of sad, she realized. Two people can spend so long trying to conceive a miracle, to make life, have to wait nine months for it to even be born… and it could be taken away in a split second. The razor cut into her stomach for what she thought was going to be the last time. The lines of red, starting from her breast bone, ending just above where her shorts began, from left to right in an orderly fashion. As always, the cuts weren’t enough to be anything too serious, just deep enough to bleed, to scab, to scar. Her stomach had been covered in them. Overlapping scars, some had turned into x’s over time, one time where she was feeling artsy about the whole thing and decided to zigzag the line.
Then all she had to do was tie the noose and jump, right? It was simple. She waited that day, after cutting into her stomach, for her mother to fully leave the house. She climbed onto her desk chair, tying the rope to the bar that went across her ceiling. She hoped it was heavy enough to support her weight, she hadn’t thought about that fact when she was planning the thing out. The loop went around her neck and she jumped.
It was supposed to break her neck and kill her. But it didn’t. It just made her so she couldn’t breathe. She was being strangled, and she started to feel dizzy. And the last things she remembered was her mom saying, “Hey hun, I left my lipstick in your ro—“ and her shrill scream.
This was typically where Nathalie woke up, screaming a near identical scream as the one she always heard her mom yell out in the dream, but she actually woke up with a silent scream. Her mouth had been open as if she were really trying to, but nothing had came out because her mother hadn’t came up to ask if she was okay and she hadn’t had to lied about whatever nightmare she was having… she didn’t want to let anyone know that she was still having that nightmare.
She blinked, hitting the home key on her phone to see what time it was. It was two in the morning and she had three unread text messages and that one voicemail she never listened to before she fell asleep. All of the notifications on her phone were from “CONNIEJO” and that made her feel a little better, a little less sick to her stomach. One was him complaining that it was getting late and that she must have been in an intense family board game. The other was him saying that she better not be ignoring him for fun, and the last one called her a jerk because she probably fell asleep on him and would have a lot of explaining to do in the morning. She laughed at that, thinking that he sounded like a sassy mother bossing around a four-year old… which when it came to the friendship that the two shared, it was usually the other way around. A sigh escaped her lips as she reached for her phone, giving him a response of, “Sorry I forgot I needed to text you and crashed” before putting it back. The last thing she really wanted was her best friend in New York City mad at her for something silly.
Except for it wasn’t silly at all. It probably was something serious and she probably still should be seeing help or getting some sort of counseling or something ever so often… because Nathalie came to the conclusion she wasn’t well. The dream, it still happened, about once or twice a month where it would play from start to finish. Other times throughout the month it would decorate her sleep, but never played all the way through. Her teeth instinctively went back to chewing at the inside of her cheek, a habit that had formed during her days of the place she didn’t want to visit ever again, not in person, and not in her dreams either. That dream only happened every three or four months, and that was what pushed her over the edge.
But now she was thinking of the dream, it left that sinking feeling that the dream made her feel. She didn’t have to even dream because her mind was being clouded with white as her thoughts wondered off. The four walls, white, the blankets, white, everything around her was white and bright… and cold. She had been used to the brightness being warm, that was definite, and the cold had taken some getting used to. And to be honest, she hated the cold. It was starting to get bitterly cold in New York this time of year and that was one thing that she really couldn’t stand about the city. At least in Kansas the weather was always come or go. It was something with midwestern weather, it could be snowing and twenty degrees one day and then you would wake up the next day and it would be a breezy seventy-three degrees… and she had heard that the winters in New York were much more harsh than the ones that they had in Kansas, save for the random bad storms. Because cold reminded her of the… ward she had been in.
There was another thing that Nathalie wound up hating after leaving that horrible, awful place was being alone. It was strange because in a place like that she wasn’t ever really alone. She was constantly under watch by a pair of eyes that didn’t want to be there on the night shift, eyes that looked at her sympathetically because she was the least crazy acting person there. But Nathalie knew there was something wrong with her, she had it drilled in her brain. There was something wrong with her because she let someone come in and take complete control over her life.
And so she snapped out of her thoughts, feeling cold and empty. Desperately, she turned back to her phone to see if maybe for some reason Conor was still awake playing video games or drinking nasty alcohol… she would even have him be up watching porn (though a piece of her died on the inside as she thought about that), as long as he was awake because she needed to talk to someone. But there was no response from her blond haired, blue eyed friend that she really missed. He was a pain in her ass, she wasn’t going to lie. But right now she would put up with that pain as long as he talked to her.
She couldn’t call him though, Nathalie just couldn’t bring herself to do it. For one, she wasn’t sure if they really were that good of friends that she could just call him up if she “needed to talk,” and second off… the girl just wasn’t sure that she would be able to hold it together long enough to even spew out what was going on and why she hadn’t answered his call because she probably would start to cry, and finally, because she didn’t want to cry in front of (even though he wouldn’t literally be in front of her) Conor because Nathalie was terrified that it might make their friendship awkward. The blond boy was all she had really, in the big New York City and she wasn’t going to risk it because she was selfishly taking advantage of him.
Instead of calling her friend like she probably should have, she walked across her carpeted floor and into her bathroom, getting on her hands and knees to search through all the stuff she had hiding under her bathroom sink to hide what she was really after. After some digging, she withdrew a blue box, opening the top, carefully fingering one of the blades that lay there complacently staring up into Nathalie’s tired eyes. After picking up the piece, she raised her shirt, looking at her stomach in the mirror. The scars were still there… after all it had only been a year. They probably would never really fade, with as much as the skin there had been damaged in that “just a year” alone, plus whenever she was going through these kind of moments. With a deep breath, the blade slit against her skin once, twice, three times, and finally a fourth time. And she swallowed thickly, putting the blade back in the box, and the box back into its home before she shut the door.
Nathalie gave herself one more long look in the mirror, to look at her stomach, the fresh blood starting to rise to the surface. She grabbed herself some toilet paper and dabbed at the cuts soothingly, before getting the paper wet and wiping at the cuts again. The girl’s teeth chewed at her lower lip, not necessarily sure that she could believe herself at that point in time. Was she truly that pathetic? Why did she have to always need something to fix her? Why couldn’t she just… grow the fuck up for once and act her age. She could tell just how aggravated she was feeling toward herself because she cussed in her thoughts, not something that she would usually do, just saved for special moments.
In all honesty, Nathalie wanted to hit something. She wished that it wasn’t so late or she’d walk her happy ass to the school and go hit some tennis balls against the wall until it was time for class to start. Or hit them against the wall until the lap-pool opened and then she could swim for awhile. Swimming was nice, it really took her mind off of things because she was always thinking hard to get perfect strokes. A sigh escaped her lips, whether it was just an annoyed sigh or a sigh of relief that she had gotten the cuts to stop bleeding, she wasn’t sure. Turning out the lights, she entered her room and pulled into her pajama drawer, finding herself something a little more comfortable to lounge around in bed in because she knew she wasn’t going back to sleep anytime soon.
After she had changed, Nathalie allowed herself to curl back under the covers, phone in hand, snuggled to the chest of the stuffed bear she had brought with her earlier. It was going to be a long night, considering that it was only just turning two-thirty in the morning and she simply refused to shut her eyes anymore that night unless she needed to blink. So she went through her phone, needing to find something to occupy herself for at least three and a half hours so she could get ready. And finally she found an app that gave her about one hundred word searches to do. She began, spending the rest of the early morning hunting for words like, “egg” “sandwich” and other random things.
Her stomach lurched for the first time when the caller id on her phone showed a picture of her friend AJ popped up on the screen, "Ayyface" displayed just above the picture. AJ never called her, there really just wasn't ever any need for it. They would send a few text messages back and forth from time to time but typically they actually saw each other a lot so it was pointless for them to call each other. They didn't need that much from each other to stay that close in contact.
So she was already concerned when he called her, but the sound of his voice had only pushed the concern a little further. He sounded... broken, not like AJ who, in her opinion either just sounded like he was in a decent mood or a little on the grumpy side.
CJ was hurt. Nathalie's Cee was hurt and there was nothing she could do to stop it. AJ was panicking, alone in a hospital waiting room (Eddy's sorry ass better be on his way because it didn't seem like this was a situation to have an AJ without an Eddy) with a brother who was in pretty bad shape.
Nathalie knew AJ was blaming himself, but on the inside she felt like she was the one to blame. Cee had told her once, about how he didn't feel like his dad loved him because he didn't beat up on him. Why had she never pressed the issue of something like that happening in the Walker household? "Well, Nathalie. Better have a good fucking answer for yourself," was the only thought that blew through her brain as she sat there in the back seat of her father's car.
She was nervous. Other than a few tears that had been shed at the initial shock of AJ telling her what had happened, she was calm. Natty just kept on telling herself she had to be calm because she needed to keep herself together for Ayy's sake. What good would it do her coming up to the hospital to be with him if she was in the same state that he was? Her teeth gnawed on the inside of her lower lip, focusing hard on the conversation that she was having with the slightly older boy whom she was on the phone with.
It seemed like it took forever to get there, even though it really hadn't. She stopped at the cafeteria, picking up AJ a bottle of water and a little cup of ice cream even though he hadn't asked, getting water for herself. After her father had figured out what floor CJ had been on, Nathalie took off in the opposite direction as the man who she looked quite similar to.
The first thing she did when she entered the floor's waiting room was give AJ the biggest hug that she could muster up from her tiny self. After they sat back down she held tightly onto his hand and whispered reassuring things to him every little bit when he would start to get too far down at himself. The poor girl really did deserve a gold star for how well she had been composing herself on the outside the whole entire time. On the inside, however it was a little different.
All she wanted to do was blame herself for all of this. For CJ being in the hospital and the two of them not knowing anything, for CJ getting hurt, for AJ being in the state he was at that point in time. If she had just said something... but she didn't. Nathalie felt a lot older than fifteen as she sat there in the waiting room chair, squeezing onto AJ and trying to make him feel just a little bit better even though she knew there wasn't much that she could do. This whole thing kind of reminded her of a scene from a movie, where something horrible had happened to one character and the mom was always there to comfort the other character who had something to do with the one in the hospital. No one knowing anything, just hoping for a best that could possibly not happen.
The two of them stayed like that until Eddy came and that made Nathalie feel a little better as she finally let go of the poor, broken boy sitting next to her, "Go, go talk to Eddy." She would have to thank Eddy later for showing up because she really needed some time for her own thoughts. It was hard to try and be convincing to AJ that she was holding up okay for him when she was breaking down, piece by piece, slowly as the time passed on. It was easier for her to just sit there and wallow in her own thoughts and at least look like she might be a little okay.
As the afternoon rolled in, she excused herself to go find the boys something to eat, not letting down on her job to take care of the people who really did mean the most to her. She let herself go to the bathroom down in the cafeteria stalls and just let go for a few minutes, sobbing into a large wad of toilet paper. AJ had told her earlier that he hated hospitals... well, Nathalie feared them. They haunted her dreams, brought back bad memories she didn't want to think about. Plus it just threw even more on top of her that her best friend, the only person who knew about her problems just as well as she did, was possibly on the verge of death.
After she calmed herself down and washed her face, blinking past any signs that she might have been bawling, she purchased the food and returned back upstairs. She wasn't sure if AJ was going to eat it, and Nathalie hadn't even bothered to buy herself anything because she knew there was no way in hell she was going to be able to keep it down.
More waiting. CJ in a coma. Comas. There was the possibility of him not ever waking up, but the possibility that he could as well. All of these possibilities and no real answer.
Evening drew closer and finally approached, the sun starting to duck under the clouds when finally she just couldn't hold herself together any longer. Pressing a kiss to the foreheads of both boys, she tucked two twenty dollar bills into AJ's hand. With a ruffle to the hair for both of them and a faint, extremely fake smile on her face she spoke, "I have to be getting home now. If you guys need anything, you have my number and you can call me. Ayy, if you find anything else out call me and let me know. Take care of yourselves."
Calling herself a taxi, she made her way home, preparing herself for possibly the hardest she would ever cry in her life.
There really hadn't been that many things that had happened to Nathalie that had flipped her world upside down. She considered her life, for the most part, rather average, to be concise. However, more things kept happening and happening that made her think, "Maybe things just aren't all right here."
The first thing that had turned her around, obviously, had been her last relationship with Carter Albright. The second, more recent, had been finding out that her Cee was in a coma. Nathalie had decided that it actually made sense. All of the people who had played a major part in her world usually wound up leaving her broken, alone, or both. In a way, she was just waiting for Conor to drop something on her, feeling like she wouldn't be surprised by whatever he decided to throw at her because she wasn't sure how much more could really bother her before she just quit. Went back to her dark place, and perhaps wouldn't even return that time around because enough was enough.
What really bothered her was this third event, that had sent her world spinning as she hovered over her toilet bowl, dry heaving into the open lid. That morning when she woke up, she received a text from a 913 number. That area code in general sent a chill up her spine. It was an unfamiliar number from Kansas. As she opened it, that was when the need to vomit started to rise in her throat, the acidic bile rising quickly.
All the message had been was a picture of her front door with a "finally found you, love <3" typed into the message.
Why was this happening to her now? What had she done to deserve this? She tried not to cuss (and only ever seemed to do so in a state of panic or around Edward Monroe), hadn't ever touched a drop of alcohol, never did drugs, tried to stay healthy... maybe didn't eat enough sometimes. But she tried her best to be a good person.
The last thing she needed was Carter back in her life. Not because she hated him but because she knew that she couldn't hate him, no matter what he had put her through. Nathalie just knew that if he had told her that he had changed, had wanted her back, that she would go running back into his arms because he was what she knew. Something she could be comfortable with because of their past. Plus... it could help distract her from her ever growing feelings for Conor. He was meant to be her best friend and not her boyfriend. She couldn't ever ruin that. So perhaps Carter being sent back into her life had been a blessing?
After the feeling of needing to vomit passed, she stood slowly, gripping onto the cabinet to steady her still slightly woozy self. She could do this. All she had to do was type out a few words, right? Before they could go back to the way things were, back when Nathalie used to feel so happy, back before the dark days.
Crossing the room slowly, she made her way to her phone, typing out a, "Hey, what are you doing 'round these parts? xx," before waiting for a response. It hadn't taken long for her screen to light up, grabbing for the phone to see if he had messaged her back. It had just been from Conor though, him checking up on her, to see if she was alright. For the first time since they had been friends, she ignored the message, still just waiting, rather impatiently, for Carter to text her back.
She waited there for ten minutes before she received the response she wanted all along, eyes slowly brimming over with tears as she read the small, black words, "Missin' your beautiful face. :) I know we've been through some rough times but babe, I've changed and I need you in my life. I finally found you because I can't go on any longer without knowing that you're mine. Nathalie, I love you."
Perhaps if she had been in a better mental state, she would have ignored that message. Would have told her parents, told the police, told someone. She would have told CJ... but he wasn't there for her like he had promised to be since they had became the close friends that they were. Conor had told her he'd be there whenever she needed him... but he hadn't known the situation. So instead she was trapped in her own ignorant decisions.
Making the worst mistake of her life since she let Eddy pick out her homecoming dress, her fingers quickly tapped in the response, "I've missed you too. And I still love you as well, Carter. Meet me at Central Park?" and hit the send button, before heading into her closet to find an outfit to pull on.
She had been so excited to see him and she wasn't sure why. He had said that he had changed. Did that mean he changed back into the person he used to be? The Carter Albright with the big brown eyes that she had fallen in love with? Nathalie could only hope and imagine that he had because she desperately needed him right now, more than anything in the world.
When she met him, he still looked exactly how she had remembered him, except for of course, a little older. Her hazel eyes watered as his brown ones met hers, and she flung herself into his open arms. Now this is what she had missed about the relationship. His warm embraces, his strong grip. Though it had also been his strong hands that had broken her down...
As they stood there in their first embrace being what she would like to call back together, her phone vibrated in her jacket pocket and against Carter's chest. Nathalie wanted to ignore it, to just stay there in his arms, but he didn't feel the same. He withdrew the device from her pocket and looked at the lock screen on her phone. It had been a picture that had been taken of Conor and Nathalie when he had spilled grape soda all down her, the bottle blond looking quite frightened and Nathalie glaring daggers at the boy with her hands thrown in the air in aggravation, "Who is that?"
"Oh, that's just my friend Conor," Nathalie chimed, thinking nothing of it. She should have thought something of it though, if only she really had known better.
"Why has he continued to text you even though you haven't responded back?" he asked her.
"Well," she started, blinking slowly so she wouldn't start crying at just the explanation, "My other really good friend CJ is in a coma right now. We are really close and I've just been really upset by it."
His lack of response made her nervous and she rocked up on her toes to see what he had been doing with her phone. He had been looking at her pictures with an agitated look on his face. She paled slightly, wondering if he was going to over react. There had been lots of pictures on there, mostly of her and all of the "bros." Pictures of her and Conor making silly faces, pictures of her pulling Eddy's hair, Nathalie shoving cookies in AJ's mouth, making fishy faces with Dylan, Xavier and her together trying to look serious, snapshots of her and CJ together, side by side peering into books, with their friendship braceleted wrists next to each other.
If Nathalie hadn't been so dumb, she might have ran away then, but instead she just stared at him like a deer in headlights. She watched his fist swing down at her, colliding with her cheekbone and her hand flew up in an instant reaction to her face. For the first time in a long time, Nathalie was at a loss of words, didn't know the right thing to say. She just stood there, her already fragile heart that had been broken into a thousand tiny pieces was being smashed again with a hammer, this time it crumbing into ten thousand pieces. How many pieces could he break her heart into next time? Blinking back the tears from the stinging pain on her face, she just continued to stare at him as he handed the phone back to her.
"Nat, I'm so sorry. It, it's still going to take some time, but I've promised, I've changed. I love you and I just got jealous, that is all," he explained, taking her hand in his as he moved it away from her face, kissing it softly.
"It's alright, Carter. It's alright."
But really, Nathalie... it really wasn't.
i feel so at home
WORD COUNT: don't even care NOTES: natty is dumb TAG: ME
Domestic violence is never okay. If you are subjected to any sort of domestic violence and need to seek help, seek help by googling for a domestic violence hotline. Or, if you live in the United States, call 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
leave me in this darkness
"Hey mom, is it alright if I go stay the night at Kelly's house?" Nathalie called out to the kitchen, hoping her mother would say yes because she already packed her bag.
"Who is Kelly?" Elizabeth Griggs asked, sticking her head out the kitchen door and smiling at her daughter.
Nathalie grinned back, "A girl on the swim team. Her apartment building has a pool and we're gonna practice a little bit."
"Well, I don't know how to say no to that, so go ahead. Are you feeling up to school tomorrow?" Her mother inquired, walking the rest of the distance to hug Nathalie.
She thought about it for a minute before she shrugged her shoulders lightly, "I-- I'm not sure. I think I'm going to try, though."
Her mother nodded before she returned to the kitchen with a goodbye peck on the forehead as Nathalie headed out into the cool November air. Now, had her mother known where she was actually going and who she was going to be with, the teen probably wouldn't have been able to go. When had Nathalie became a liar? It started with the return of Carter, she knew that answer for sure.
After the slow walk to one of the hotels not too far from her house, she entered the building and the elevator, pressing the button to take her to the fourth floor where her... boyfriend's (she really wasn't sure if they were dating or not) room was. Knocking on the door as she arrived at it, she was greeted by the familiar pair of brown eyes and a warm smile.
He took her hand and led her in, and she bounced herself on the mattress, immediately stretching out. How had she let herself get this comfortable this fast? The better question was why was she here, letting the person who ruined her back into her life... but she was too young and desperate for someone to care about her to realize that nothing was changing.
It happened too fast. The mattress bending at the arrival of more weight. His lips pressed to hers with a too much force. Her hands went to his chest, trying to push him off of her but failing miserably. Of course, Nathalie. You should have known better, should have known that he would pull something like this.
"Stop. Carter. Please," she managed to squeeze out between rough kisses, hands smacking at him in some sort of attempt to stop him.
His hands snaked up her shirt, pulling it up slowly, before eyeing her stomach. Nathalie could feel his eyes absorbing the skin there, scarred from her old ways (and some more current) of coping. It made her squirm before she used his position to try and flee, lifting her legs up to kick him right in the stomach and roll out from under him. The tone of his voice as the next words rolled out from his lips made her freeze, stuck even though she should have taken her chance to run right out of the room and call for help, "You fucking bitch. Who the hell do you think you are?"
If there had been an observer in the room, it would have been possible for them to hear the crack of Nathalie's neck as her head whipped to the side from the impact of Carter's fist hitting her in the face. Biting back tears, she continued to just stand there because that was what she was good at, just standing there and taking everything in. Another hit, this time to her stomach, knocking her back onto the mattress. All she wanted to do was double up, curl into the fetal position and cry. Call out for help. A kick this time, to her ribs, a whimper falling from her dry, chapped lips.
And then it was over.
"Oh my god, Nathalie, I'm so sorry baby," he cooed, sitting down on the bed next to her cold form, no response coming from her as he pulled her up into his lap, cradling her in his arms, "I just. I saw red and I don't even remember it happening.
Everything was cold, lifeless. The way things had been in the darker days, the days she thought she would never have to see again. But there she was, living them all over again. Breathing out, she sighed, "It's alright, Carter. It's alright."
Again, it truthfully wasn't. She couldn't help thinking about what her mother had asked her earlier, about if she was going to be able to make it to school the next day. Judging by the throbbing in her cheek, the answer was no, unless Carter was wanting to go purchase her some sort of cover up that night for her face because she could already feel the bruise starting to form, a near perfect match for the one hiding on the opposite side of her cheek.
Nathalie nearly wanted to scream in frustration because her phone vibrated out into the silence of the room. If the television had been on, it might have gone unnoticed, but not in the quiet abyss. Her eyes squeezed closed as she felt Carter's hand go into her pocket to retrieve the phone. There was such a lack of sound in the room that she could have sworn she heard his finger swipe across the glass.
"You cheating on me with this Conor kid, Nathalie?" his words dripped out and Nathalie swallowed.
"What? No, why?"
"Because he texts you all the fucking time and I'm getting sick of it," he said, and she went ahead and squeezed her eyes shut, bracing for the impact that she knew was getting ready to come.
And she had been correct.
i feel so at home
WORD COUNT: don't even care NOTES: natty is dumbsquared TAG: ME
Some how, some way, she had let herself become much too vulnerable. Nathalie had decided that once she had left the rehabilitation center and finished the majority of her therapy, that she was going to put four walls up around herself and never let them be torn down again. Which was why she was confused as to why she had let her feelings toward Conor change. Every time he looked at her, whenever their hands would accidentally brush when they were hanging out, her heart either skipped multiple beats or sped up to incredible speeds. It wasn't healthy, wasn't good. The only thing that it was happened to be horribly wrong. What was even worse was that Conor kissed her, after she had been sobbing just moments before because her best friend was hospitalized and in a coma. On top of that, her first reaction had been to punch the blond in the face. But to only make things more horrible, was she came back, apologized, and kissed Conor. He kissed her back.
When she first met Conor, she had never imagined that one night, she would be so desperate to be held together again. That he would be the glue to keep the pieces from floating off into a dark abyss. Nathalie also would have not guessed that she would be "making out" with said boy, comfortably on top of him, with his hands just clinging to her face, to her sides like she might ghost through his fingers and not come back. She might have been there physically, but her mind had slipped out through the holes in her ears, to its dark place. That might have explained why she didn't remember all but collapsing on top of him, tucking herself into a tired ball, fisting her hands into his shirt.
She didn't remember it until that morning.
As the sun started to peek into her windows, she stretched out, knees stiff from being folded the whole night. Her body shivered, she hadn't even gotten under the covers? Why had that been? Why was she asleep in her clothes? When had she even closed her eyes. She stayed that way, stretched out onto her bed, racking her brain as to why her eyes felt so raw, like she had been crying far too long.
It hit her with the speed and force of a bullet train. CJ, CJ, CJ. CJ wasn't okay, he was in a coma, in the hospital. She had came home from the hospital that evening and sobbed into her pillows. And then she called... Conor. Conor had stayed the night, he was supposed to skip school with her today, so she could just have her safety net, the one person that was keeping her head clear from the typical means of coping when things just became too hard. Her fingers rose to brush across her lips. They had kissed, hadn't they? Eyes blinked, slowly, the realization coming to her mind at the same pace. The bed was cold, the wasn't under the blankets, she was still in her clothes because she had fallen asleep tucked into his warm embrace. So where was he now? Hesitantly she rolled from the bed, socked feet meeting the carpet. Looking over to the bathroom door, there was no light on so he wasn't there. Still feeling cautious, as if he were just playing some sort of joke on her and was going to jump out of a corner in attempts to just make her laugh, she made her way downstairs. Maybe he had gotten hungry and had went to raid her refrigerator?
But he wasn't there either. Instead she was met by the worried gaze of her mother. Nathalie returned the look with a confused expression, before clearing her throat, "Have you seen Conor, mom?" Elizabeth Griggs shook her head no before responding with, "Haven't seen him since he came over last night. I just figured he was staying the night since something was clearly wrong and didn't question it."
Those sentences rained over her, everything finally adding up in her brain. Conor had left her. CJ was gone and now he had left, too? Why did he leave? Mental images started playing back in her head of their shared kisses. Her body went cold, starting from the core of her heart, spreading outward. He left. Of course he had. Nathalie all but threw herself onto him, let her heart open up for a night and that was her own fault, not Conor's. She couldn't help but just let herself think that it had been a mistake, both of them just caught up in the emotion tangled around their heads. Conor had realized that kissing her had been a mistake, and he left. Because he didn't want her. Did she blame him? She wouldn't want her, either. But this hurt more than it should have. She loved him in a thousand ways and threw away the nine hundred ninety-nine other ways just to show that one little part to him. Of course she had, because she decided that more often than not she was just fucking stupid and selfish. She had gotten herself caught up in a part of him that others had too, why should she have meant anything else? Nathalie wasn't special.
"Nat, is everything okay? Did Conor wind up stay--"
"Yeah, I'm fine. And no, he's going to school today so he went home."
"Your father told me about CJ," her mother spoke softly, staring at her daughter, before opening her arms up to the dark haired girl, "It's understandable and only reasonable for you to be not-okay. But we can't go back to before."
Nathalie buried herself into her mother's embrace, not letting a tear fall from her eyes as she nodded slowly, "I'm... I'm not okay but I'm not going to let it get that bad. I'm not alone anymore, remember? I've got friends to make me smile and make sure I'm holding up. They'll keep me from getting depressed. There's Summer, Xavi, Dylan, and Conor. That's what friends are for." Yes, Nathalie. Friends were for keeping the happiness around, not for kissing, "But I'm really tired, so I'm going to go upstairs and go back to sleep... I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to go to school today."
"Alright hun, you just go get you some rest," her mother pressed a kiss into the top of her head, and sent her off to bed.
She didn't go to bed first, though. Instead she took a trip to her bathroom, pulling the all too familiar box of razors from its far corner, unzipping her jacket and rolling up her tank top. Hazel eyes glared at the scarred skin on display, but it wasn't going to go away, especially if she kept on pressing the blades into her skin when life turned rotten. Did scars ever truly fade if they were deep, anyway? She wasn't sure, but she didn't care. Grabbing the familiar towel from underneath next, her hands shook as she grabbed the familiar piece in her hand before closing in on the skin of her toned stomach. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven new lines decorated across the pale skin, the color of blood as it started to rise to the surface contrasted to its color. Tossing the blade back into the box, she stared at her work briefly before dabbing at it with the towel that had already been decorated on one-half of the fabric with a deep red color. She leaned against the counter as she held pressure on the wounds to stop the flow. It didn't even hurt anymore. Nathalie wasn't sure if she was capable of feeling anything at the moment because she could feel the pressure her brain pounding against her skull, but there wasn't any sign of the headache she was sure she had.
After she cleaned up, she opened her medicine cabinet, climbing onto the counter so she could reach the top shelf, grasping the sleeping medication she stocked up there where no one could find it. Pouring four of the pills into her palm, she swallowed them individually and dry, before putting it up and climbing back down. Returning to her bedroom, she pulled down the covers before allowing herself back into its supposed warmth, before yanking the blankets up to her neck. Nathalie was sure that blankets were supposed to make a person warm, but the more she just let everything sink in, the colder she felt.
i feel so at home
WORD COUNT: don't even care NOTES: natty is dumbsquared TAG: ME
Nathalie was quite sure she had lost her damn mind and she wasn't sure where to find it at. She didn't care though, which was exactly why she had persuaded Carter to let her go to another party. She figured the only reason he let her was because she had allowed him to get a little more handsy when she stumbled into his hotel room Monday night. If he had known that out of the two parties she had been at that a majority of it was spent kissing someone else... well, he might not have been that happy.
Again though, Nathalie was just having a hard time finding the ability to care because everything else fucking sucked. One of her best friends still wasn't speaking to her at school, wouldn't even look her in the eye... hadn't even picked up the pencil she accidentally dropped by his foot in class the other day and the other best friend had amnesia and it was difficult to cope with that. Throw it on top that she had to lie to Eddy and tell him that she had broken up with Carter while he still continued to beat the shit out of her. What really drew the line though and made Nathalie one hundred percent sure that life just wasn't the same anymore... Xavi and Dylan had broken up. Life was so different and it confused her. That might have explained why both she and Bri had been steadily slamming back shots since they had arrived.
Once Nathalie had enough alcohol swimming in her, she grinned over at her newest partner in crime. Well, perhaps it had been the other way around, but whatever. She leaned over to Bri's ear and whispered, having to hold back her giggles, "I wanna try something new that I learned how to do."
That led to Nathalie licking salt off of Bri's neck, drinking down tequila, and promptly sucking on a lemon straight from the girl's mouth before Bri was doing the same thing. Something about alcohol made Nathalie more brave than she had been in her whole life in multiple ways. The courage that too much alcohol gave her had sent Natty licking a line of salt from Bri's stomach this time, taking the shot, and returning her mouth to the lemon in Bri's mouth. Natty had to stop Bri from doing the same thing, the pain from a current bruise on her stomach being the reminder that she needed to not be moving her shirt up at all.
After that, they spent a lot of time making out against a wall again, their favorite spot, at least so it seemed. However yet again, as their hands began to wander in just the slightest, Natty's bravery would be gone and she was fleeing the scene again.
i feel so at home
WORD COUNT: don't even care NOTES: nabri feels TAG: ME
I'm writing you this and mailing it to you because telling you this face to face would probably crumble whatever resolve I may have. I'm done trying, I've given up. I put a gold star sticker in the envelope for you because you deserve one. I've never, not once, stopped believing in something once I set my mind to it. But you, you've given me all the power that I've needed to. I don't want to be best friends anymore, I don't even want to be friends. Maybe I started this, the breaking of our friendship. But I gave you the glue to help me fix it and you dumped it (or if you want to be literal, shut it) in my face. It takes two to have a friendship and there isn't two anymore so we just aren't friends. I'm not even sure I want to be acquaintances after this. I've drawn the line and I'm sticking to it.
Just do me a favor and don't talk to me anymore. Delete my number from your phone, my screen name from your contact list, my address from your memory because I don't want to exist to you anymore. Don't look at me either. Just. Make this easy and just forget that we ever were friends. It shouldn't be too hard since you were able to do it once already. I'm just finalizing the deal. So bye.
I'd probably say I hate you, but I am not sure that I am capable of hating anyone and I don't want to lie.
With Natty being grounded because she was hiding a secret relationship and it being hard to hide a broken wrist... And being left at home for Christmas because Carter is in Kansas for sure now, Elizabeth Griggs is in charge of Natty's phone. Which probably isn't a good thing.
voice mail for
Listen here blondie. I faintly remember me telling you to watch out for my daughter and something about a broken wrist because she is dating a psychopath behind my back doesn't exactly fall under my definition of watching out for. Luckily I'm forgiving enough to not want to kill you yet. We're going back to Kansas for the holidays and her grandmother lives right next to Carter so she will be staying at home. This is your last chance to make sure nothing happens to her, pretty boy. I'm dropping off a key to our house before we leave for our flight so don't lose it and at least check on her, okay? If you fail, you're never allowed to see her again and I'm giving that Eddy kid all the rights to her. Oh. And please do not have sex with my daughter while we're gone. Or if you do... at least be careful. Have a super Christmas, Conor! Oh, and if you couldn't tell this was Nathalie's mother calling! Bye now!
The last time Nathalie hid something from her mother (which wasn't too long ago), she wound up grounded and sporting a broken wrist because she had been hiding the fact that she was dating her psychopathic ex again. Nathalie hardly got into trouble because she was honest with her mother, and she realized that the less truthful she became the more incidents she found herself wrapped up in. So she was going to come straight out to her mother and tell her that she Conor had asked her to be his girlfriend and she said yes. It wouldn't be too hard, would it? All she had to do was say, "Hey mom, I'm dating Conor. Kay." However she knew she shouldn't think that she was going to pass it by that easily.
Elizabeth Griggs was one of those moms. She liked to be well informed, she liked to shop the latest fashions and always bought expensive makeup. One of her favorite things to do was taunt Nathalie about all of the handsome boys she would bring over and demand to know why she wasn't dating at least one of them because then they could talk about boys. Nathalie would cringe from comments like that and then tell her mother, "Well most of them are dating each other and I'm just friends with the rest of them." Elizabeth would pout and then continue on ranting about how she thought Eddy and Natty would make an excellent couple. When she started saying things like that Nathalie would kick her mother out of her room because that was revolting to even think about. Nathalie figured her mom would find this news was excellent. She was shocked to be wrong.
Nathalie made sure to get up to see her parents off before they left for Christmas just so she could tell her mother. Heading downstairs in her leggings and a large grey sweater, she met her mother in the kitchen and smiled softly at her. Greens and yellows of fading bruises still marred her face and neck, but every one knew now so she didn't see the point in trying to hide them, but her eyes looked bright as she glanced over at her mother who actually looked somewhat annoyed.
She didn't know that her mother had just finished leaving a semi-threatening voice mail to her now-boyfriend or had left a key to their house in his mailbox. "Morning mom... What's wrong?"
"Your father got called in again for an emergency surgery. I have to make the flight to Kansas by myself and he is meeting me out there tomorrow," she explained, taking a sip of her coffee.
The smile on Nathalie's face turned into a frown, "That sucks mom. I'm sorry. I do have some good news for you though." Both of the women eyed each other cautiously because Natty continued, "Um. Last night Conor asked me out and I told him that I'd like to be his girlfriend." There was a tone of nervousness in her brown eyes as she looked into her mother's blue ones.The fact that Elizabeth wasn't saying anything right away spoiled the fact that she wasn't exactly enthusiastic with the news.
"Are you sure Nathalie? I mean... You just got out of an unhealthy relationship," Elizabeth finally responded, actually looking somewhat worried, "And I know that you and Conor were really good friends but then everything happened with DJ and you guys had your falling out and fighting. You literally rekindled your friendship like what.. two weeks ago? Are you sure you aren't maybe moving it a bit fast? And what about Eddy?"
A sigh left Nathalie's mouth as she pinched the bridge of her nose, "Yeah, mom... I know that. And for god's sake. It's CJ for the last time... letters aren't that hard to remember. Yes mom. I know all that stuff happened but the whole time we weren't friends, I never stopped thinking about Conor and how much I just wanted for things to be okay between us again. And that I cared about him as more than just a best friend. I'm done putting myself in dangerous and harmful situations. I just... I trust Conor a lot, I guess?"
The girl crossed the rest of the floor to sit across from her mother, reaching over to grab the cup of coffee and take a sip herself. Elizabeth gave her daughter a stare which clearly read that she had noticed Nathalie had failed to address the question about Eddy. Nathalie smacked her forehead with her hand before rolling her eyes, "Mom. Eddy is dating a boy. Eddy. I have the wrong... parts. And we're just friends."
"You told me that when I've asked about Conor."
Elizabeth reached over and flicked her daughter on the nose, smiling softly, "Well. I have to go get dressed so I can get out of here. Just know that I'm not one hundred percent supporting you dating Conor but you know now that you face full responsibility for your actions," she paused to give her daughter a stern look, "And not all relationships that start from friendships and end stay as friendships when it is over. Remember that, alright? Oh, and no raging parties or craziness while we're gone. You're temporarily ungrounded and can have your phone back. Conor can come over if you want but... just be responsibly okay? Sometimes I may seem like perhaps I don't care enough for you... but you're my baby, my only baby Nathalie and I love you with all my heart. If something ever happened to you, I wouldn't be able to keep on living? So please try your hardest to make the right decisions, okay?"
Both females rose from their chairs at about the same time and they embraced, Elizabeth pressing a soft kiss to the top of Nathalie's head, "I love you too, mom. And I will. I promise to not be so stupid from now on. Now go get going so you don't miss your flight."
i feel so at home
WORD COUNT: don't even care NOTES: nabri feels TAG: ME