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Tell Me I'm A Screwed-Up Mess, Ch. 3

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At this point the tears break their dam and start running down my cheeks. I sniffle, feeling sorry for myself and try to wipe them away. I am only successful at using one of my hands to wipe my tears, as Louis keeps a firm hold on the other. “I’m so sorry, Ana…” I say softly, voice breaking on the final syllable. She stands up and drags her own chair over to my other side. She leans in and kisses the top of my head gingerly. I sigh.


“Babe, none of this is your fault. I just want you to worry about recuperating at this point. You need to take it easy, and rest, and relax and—”


“Whoa, whoa, hun; I think that’s a little too many requests to be throwing at her right now…” Louis finally says with trepidation, looking up and over at Ana. She blushes, takes my free hand and smiles a little.


I lean my head back against the hospital bed and breathe out a large sigh. After a few minutes of hearing nothing but the faint beepings of the hospital machines, I finally work up the courage to ask one of many soon-to-be-dreaded questions. “Has anyone asked any…questions yet?” I look between my two friends. Louis looks away quickly, clears his throat and looks back. He shakes his head back and forth and looks me in the eyes. I breathe out another big sigh. “Good…” I say, looking down. I wouldn’t have known what to do with myself if I had to answer question upon question of how did I get those bruises? how long has this been going on? have I told anyone or haven’t I? I wouldn’t have been ready to deal with that onslaught. Nope, not at all. I just wanted to keep this a secret for as long as I could. If only myself and my tiny, close-knit group of friends knew about it, I saw no problems. Unless one of them would ever tell. I physically shake my head. No, that would never happen. They wouldn’t. I think. I have absolutely zero intention of this situation going public. I’ll take this to the grave with me if I have to.


“Babe, are you alright? You’ve gone a bit pale. Do you want me to ring the nurse or somethi—”


“No, don’t worry, Lou. I’m okay.” I offer up to him with a (what I hope to be) reassuring smile.


Everyone sits in silence again for a few minutes. I absently bite my bottom lip, thinking about all I’ll have to face once I get discharged and out of here. I think about how I’ll have to face real life again. Go back to work. See my family. Hang out with my friends when I can. Change from the worthless, useless person you’ve become… a voice in the back of my head nags. Deal with the real problem here…him.


“Are you sure…?” he asks wearily. I nod my head. “Okay… I just—I—I’m so sorry, Babe. I want… I want to help you. To be perfectly honest, I want to get you the h*ll out of here. I don’t want you to be surrounded by this anymore. By… him. By—”


And as if on cue, the doorknob slowly turns and begins to open. The first thing I see is a black boot and then slightly torn blue jeans. It’s only then that I notice the faint blood stain still residing on the knee. I start to feel woozy. That’s my blood on those jeans. More and more of him starts coming in to view and it’s all I can do not to start screaming out loud. Finally, he’s standing in the middle of the doorway, staring at me. Ana grabs my hand tighter, and Louis tenses so much you’d think he became some sort of marble statue. I finally make myself look directly into his eyes. They’re piercing me all the way through to my soul. I pale so fast that it literally seems all the blood has run right out of me. Everything in the room starts shifting odd ways and I know I’m either going to vomit or pass out… possibly both.


He closes the door and crosses his arms over his broad chest. His muscles constrict with the movement and I get painful flashbacks of those same muscles clenching right before a beating. My breathing becomes extremely shallow. I hear him faintly start to call my name before my head hits the thin pillow and I black out.





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