Chapter Thirty- Three
The doorbell rang persistently and Abigail hurried towards the front door hoping to answer it before the ringing woke her husband, who had an early shift the next day. She was surprised to find Damon on her doorstep.
“Mrs. Harrison, I’m so sorry to disturb you this late at your home but I didn’t know what else to do.”
Abigail wasn’t sure what this was about but the boy looked so depressed and anxious, she couldn’t turn him away.
“Come in, Damon. Can I get you something to drink?”
“A glass of water would be nice, thanks.”
She led him into the living room and then left him there to grab some refreshments from the kitchen. A few minutes later, she returned with a plate of homemade cookies, a glass of water for Damon and a cup of tea for herself. Damon looked around the tastefully decorated living room as Abigail got herself settled on the couch next to him. As he turned towards her, he was struck at how similar Lexie and her mother were. He felt as though they could both see right through him and he was counting on this transparency to work in his favour.
“So, Damon, what brings you here so late?”
Abby was very curious as to what could bring Damon all the way to her home, a three hour drive from campus, at eleven at night.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, Mrs. Harrison, but Alanna and I have been dating for the past two months.”
“Really? She hadn’t mentioned. But I can’t say I’m surprised. The chemistry between the two of you was obvious at Christmas. And, I must say that I think she could do a lot worse.”
“Thank you, ma’am. I’ve done everything in my power to make Alanna happy. I was very cautious with her in the beginning because… there’s a breakable quality about her. As though something bad had happened to her in the past and she’s still discovering how to be happy,” he explained. “I didn’t want to overwhelm her. I earned her trust, respect and, I had hoped, love gradually. I wanted her to know that I was dependable and that I cared. And up until this morning, I’d thought I had achieved those goals.”
Abigail was on edge now. She guessed, since Damon mentioned ‘this morning’, that he had spent the night. And while she wasn’t surprised that her daughter might be sexually active given her age, this was still unexpected thanks to “the incident”. She managed to control her facial expressions though so that Damon wouldn’t clam up now.
“What happened this morning, Damon?”
“I told her I loved her.”
“And she said she never wanted to see me again. I…I don’t understand, Mrs. Harrison. We were so happy. She was so happy. And then I said those words and it was like she couldn’t get fast or far enough away from me. Please, can you help me understand?”
But Abigail was just as confused as he was. She’d assumed that it was the sex that had upset Lana. That something physical had brought on the separation. A declaration of love didn’t seem like the kind of thing to cause a rift between two young people that had the kind of bond Abby had witnessed over the Christmas holidays.
“I’m sorry, Damon. I’m as confused as you are.”
“Mrs. Harrison, what happened to Alanna? Maria mentioned that Alanna was actually supposed to start school two years ago, after graduating high school early, but postponed her enrolment. She didn’t know why. And Lexie hinted that something bad had happened to Alanna before she came to St. Aloysius. Then there’s the fact that Lana hated me on sight the first time she met me for no other reason than the colour of my skin.”
Abigail looked away wondering how much she could tell this boy about her daughter’s history. She walked over to a framed picture of Alanna when she was five years old. Tall for her age at the time, she was hanging upside down from a tree in their backyard, waving at the camera. Her long hair, back before she had decided to lock it, was loose and fell in a sheet of curls below her. She had the biggest smile on her face, a smile her mother rarely saw these days. It was a smile Abigail wasn’t sure she’d ever see again. Her daughter had been broken, almost beyond repair and like the young man sitting on her sofa, waiting patiently for her response, she desperately wanted to put Humpty back together again.
“Mrs. Harrison, please. I need to know. I need to fix this. I love her,” Damon pleaded.
Abigail nodded to herself and made her way back to the sofa. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and reopened them, looking directly into the beautiful blue eyes that bored into hers.
“A year before Alanna enrolled at St. Aloysius, she was attacked by a group of skinheads at Islington Subway Station.”
Damon’s eyes widened and then narrowed.
“When you say ‘attacked’…”
“She was raped, Damon.”