Chapter 12 | Home
I feel completely numb from the inside out.
The drugs that the doctor gave me, has helped to ease the throbbing between my legs and across my sides, but it’s done absolutely nothing for the pain that continues swirling inside of my head.
I’ve been raped. Twice. Twice by the same person.
How could I have let this happen? What have I done to deserve such cruelty?
I feel broken, with no idea on how to repair myself.
How am I ever going to feel like myself again? How am I ever going to look at myself in the mirror and not see anything but a victim?
“Dal?” I hear a quiet voice from the door to my hospital room.
The doctor has kept me overnight for observation. I assume she thinks I’ve gone mental, on account of I haven’t said a single word since I spoke with the police last night.
I don’t even move from my position as Lexi walks over to the side of my bed.
“Are you ever going to speak to me again?” She sighs.
I glance at her and I watch as her eyes recognize the emptiness residing behind mine.
“You need to say something or the doctor isn’t going to let you leave.” She warns, trying to threaten me into speaking. “Or at least eat something.”
Ha, food. It has never sounded less appetizing to me than it does right now.
I slowly turn my head back toward the opposite wall and ignore my best friend.
I hear her huff, before she turns and walks out of my room.
That’s when I begin to hear whispers in the hallway.
“She won’t say a word; it’s as if she’s a mute or something. I don’t know what to do.” Lexi says.
“Maybe I should try talking to her?” Ethan suddenly says, and my eyes slightly widen.
“Give it a shot, but I’m telling you, it’s no use.”
I hear the door slowly open again, and my entire body is tense at the sound.
I hear footsteps, and suddenly I’m aware that Ethan is standing directly beside my bed.
“Dallas. Please just look at me.” He says gently.
I slowly turn my body and face him, not daring at all to meet his eyes.
He does something nobody else even attempted to do, he sits down into the chair beside my bed, so we are now eye-level.
I have no choice but to look at him now.
I see his face morph into the exact same expression that Lexi had just minutes ago.
“I wish I knew what to say, that would make this okay, but we both know that I’ve got nothing.” He attempts to smile.
“I’ve never felt like a stranger to my own brother before, it’s weird. We grew up together, shared rooms and toys. We did everything together up until he moved away for college. I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but he was my biggest role model. Up until last night at least.” He begins talking, for no reason in particular.
I continue to listen, hoping that soon it will be over and I can continue ignoring the world.
“I keep trying to picture him as a monster. I keep trying to figure out a way to justify what he’s done, but there’s no justification for it. He is in fact, a monster, and I can’t tell you how sorry I am for allowing this to happen. I feel disgusted to call him my brother.” Ethan suddenly shakes his head. “No, he’s not my brother anymore. He’s nothing to me now.”
My eyes slightly widen.
Ethan finally looks into my eyes, and that’s when my stomach drops.
His eyes match mine. Empty.
He slowly leans closer to me, and I almost flinch when he raises his hand to my face.
He hesitates, probably noticing my behavior, but continues until his hand is gently holding my cheek.
“Dallas, I am so sorry.” His voice breaks as he continues comforting me with just a simple touch.
Suddenly I do something I never thought I’d be able to do again.
Ethan’s eyes widen immensely as he continues to stare into my own.
“No, it’s not okay Dallas. It’s not okay that my own flesh and blood has hurt you like this. It’s just not okay.” He frowns, his hand still caressing my skin.
I lean into his touch and sigh.
After a few more seconds of silence, he finally gets up and heads for the door.
Before he can walk through, I say, “I don’t blame you Ethan. Not at all.”
I see him physically flinch at my words, before he nods and continues through the door, shutting it behind him.
I want to think that the intrusions are done, but when I hear the door open again, I know exactly who it is.
Hey bro. I look up at him.
Hey sis. He looks back at me.
“Well, the police let me go after I explained everything that happened last night. Oh and after you gave them your side of the story. Jeremy is still in jail right now, but he’s got his parents lawyers with him trying to fight it.” Liam explains as I watch him sit down on the chair beside my bed.
“I can’t believe that scumbag actually thinks he can still get away with this. I mean the doctor retrieved his semen and everything. He’s so guilty.” Liam says as he plays with the hem of his shirt.
I wince at his choice of words.
“I’m sorry.” He frowns. “I know you don’t want to hear about it anymore.”
“It’s okay.” I say again.
“Wow, you’re talking. Ethan must be a magician.” He tries to smirk, but I continue to watch him expressionless.
“You need to eat something Dal, please. It’s the only way the doctor will let you come home.”
Home? You mean the house that is on the exact same street as Jeremy’s.
I can’t go home.
“I don’t want to go home.” I shake my head.
“What? Why not?”
I give him a look that says it all.
Liam instantly frowns. “Dal, he’s not there. He’s in custody. They are not going to let him go. After they take all of the evidence and our statements, they are going to put him away for a long time. I don’t want you to be afraid.”
“I’m not afraid Liam. I’m physically and emotionally damaged. I’m never going to be the same again.”
“Maybe not, but you’re still Dallas.” He says.
“I couldn’t feel any more less like a Dallas, than I do right now.” I admit.
“Maybe we should talk about taking you to see a psychiatrist. I know you don’t really believe in talking to a complete strangers about your inner most thoughts and feelings, but it could possibly help you work through some of this. Not only the rape either, but also with what happened to mom.”
I immediately glare at my brother.
“Don’t look at me like that. Mom died so quickly, neither one of us ever really talked about it after her funeral and I think dad is struggling as well.” He explains. “I just think it may be helpful.”
I turn and face the opposite wall again.
“Tell the nurse to bring me a sandwich.” I mumble.
I hear footsteps, and then the door, before I’m welcomed with silence yet again.
After an additional two days in the hospital due to my absent behavior, the doctor finally agreed to discharge me, assuming that I will continue taking my antidepressants as well as antibiotics for any infections or STD's I may have caught from Jeremy.
I was given another dose of the ‘morning after’ pill at the hospital the morning after everything happened. I’m not going to become pregnant, and that is the only thing that I’m actually happy about.
The police has already spoken to my dad, and he came to see me as soon as he was able to. He didn’t stay at the hospital long, because of work, but he assured me that his most pristine lawyers would be making sure that Jeremy goes away for a long time.
Let’s just say, I’m glad that my dad makes a lot of money.
“I’m so glad you’re home Dallie.” My dad says while embracing me in a hug. I smile at the use of my childhood nickname. He’s used it ever since I was a baby.
“Thanks dad.” I hold onto him for just a second longer before pulling away.
My body is still incredibly sore, but a lot has already healed. My ribs are still in the process of healing, but I find it’s easier to walk and move now than it was before.
Thank you prescription drugs.
Suddenly my phone rings.
“Hey Dal, I know I’m not there, but I wanted to say welcome home!” Lexi says enthusiastically.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in class?” I ask.
It’s Monday and it’s one o’clock, so I know she can’t still be at lunch.
“Yeah, I asked to use the bathroom so I could call you.”
The doctor thought it best to keep me out of school for a couple days, so I don’t have to go back until Wednesday. I honestly wish I didn’t have to go back at all. Word must be out now about what happened to me. God only knows how everyone will treat me now. They’ll probably treat me as if I’m some fragile, little girl.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you on Wednesday.” I say, before abruptly ending the call.
“Who was that?” Dad asks.
“Lexi.” I shrug.
“You hungry? I can make us some lunch.” Dad smiles and I shake my head.
“I’m fine; I think I’m just going to go lay down for a bit.”
“Okay sweetie…” Dad says gently.
I walk upstairs and toss my bag onto the floor. I plug my cell phone into the charger, it having been dead the entire time I’ve been in the hospital.
I didn’t bother asking for a charger, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, let alone check any social media.
As soon as it turns on, numerous notifications chime from my phone, so I’m quick to walk over and silence it all.
They can wait.
Hours go by, and I am still wide-awake.
I can’t sleep. I haven’t really been able to sleep in days.
Everytime I close my eyes and drift off, I see his smug smile and that’s all I can handle before thrashing awake again.
I can’t sit here and drown in my thoughts. I need to escape.
I immediately get up and check my phone.
It’s a little after midnight already, and I know that Liam and dad are most likely asleep. I walk over to my closet and pick out a pair of skinny jeans, pairing it with a black hoodie. I toss my freshly washed hair up into a messy ponytail, before I shove my phone into my pocket and head down the stairs.
I don’t bother writing a note or sending any texts. I just leave.
Once I’m outside, I get into the jeep and begin driving down the road. I stop just beside the curb to Ethan’s house.
I turn in my seat and glare at the two-story home. Knowing what took place in there. Knowing who lives there, or used to live there. I hate this house. I hate everything about it, even the memories.
Why did everything have to change? Why couldn’t everything just stay exactly how it was?
I cut the engine to the jeep and just sit outside of Ethan’s house for a while.
I probably look like a crazy stalker, but I don’t care.
I sit and I reminisce on how simple life used to be. Back when things actually made sense.
“Come on guys! Give it back!” Ten year old me whines to the three evil boys running away.
Liam, Ethan and Jeremy all laugh as they continue to run away from me, causing me to chase after them. Liam holds my favorite doll of all time, my Cinderella doll.
I don’t necessarily play with them anymore, but they are collectables.
Cinderella just so happens to be my favorite.
“You gotta run faster than that Dallie!” Ethan shouts.
I push my little legs as fast as they will go, hoping to catch up to at least one of them.
“You can do it, faster!” Jeremy laughs while in the lead of the three.
We’re running across Ethan’s backyard, our parents not far away as they chat about things we don’t yet understand.
“Mommy, help me!” I scream and all she does is laugh.
“You don’t need mommy’s help Dallie, just push yourself!” She smiles as I look back to her.
I run even faster, before I finally catch the back of Ethan’s shirt. I yank him backwards, and he goes flying as he falls directly on his butt.
I laugh at him as he glares at me.
“Caught you!” I tease, soon after making a dash for the other two.
“Liam, you’re next!” I scream happily, as I keep pushing my legs to go faster.
Liam yelps in fear as I get dangerously close to him.
“That’s it Dallie, show them who’s boss!” My dad shouts and the rest of the adults laugh.
I finally look back and see Lexi rushing over to help Ethan get up. She must have been in the bathroom before they took my Cinderella.
“Lex! Get them!” I shout, pointing towards Liam and Jeremy. I watch as she begins running, directly for us.
The two of us push ourselves to the limit, until Lexi hooks her hand under Liam’s shirt, yanking him backwards. They both fall, and I laugh as Lexi’s cheeks redden.
Jeremy has stopped running and is now standing behind a tree, my Cinderella still clenched in his hands.
“Jeremy, give it!” I smirk, standing on the other side of the tree, as he tries to figure out how to go around the tree and me.
He finally makes a dash, but I’m quick enough to stop him. I stand in front of him and push him down onto the ground, instantly jumping on top of him. I snatch my Cinderella doll out of his hands, before trying to get up.
He grabs me, and begins tickling me.
“No, Jeremy, stop!” I scream as I thrash around, anything to stop the tickling.
A few seconds later, Liam, Ethan and Lexi are all ganging up on me with Jeremy.
“I hate you all!” I scream as forced laughs escape my mouth.
“Alright kids, break it up!” Ethan’s mom laughs from beside us.
We all stop playing, and Lexi says she’s hungry so she runs inside to the snack table.
I rush over and give Cinderella to my mom who holds it in her purse for me.
After I run back over to the boys, Jeremy says he has an idea.
Suddenly I’m lifted up onto his shoulders, just as Ethan and Liam stand on either side of me.
“Daddy, look!” I shout happily, as giggles erupt from within.
He glances over at us, and immediately pulls out a camera from mom’s purse.
“Alright kids, say cheesy cheese!” Dad laughs while holding up the camera.
“Cheesy cheese!” The four of us shout with huge smiles on our faces. Dad snaps the photo and then hands the camera back to mom.
Jeremy puts me down, and we spend the rest of the day chasing each other around until we all finally pass out in the living room during a movie.
I end up lying between Lexi and Liam on the floor. Ethan is on the other side of Liam, and Jeremy is up on the couch just above us.
Everything was so peaceful. Everything was so right in the world.
What the hell happened?