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Chapter 15

“Rosa? Rosa-Lee! Get up, come on. Please get up?” The disembodied voice pleads with me but my eyelids are too heavy to move. In fact all of me feels like lead. I am sinking into the darkness. I’m fairly happy I’m in the dark.

A sharp slap across my cheek pulls me back to reality.

“What the fuck!” My eyes spring open to find Tommy and Janey looming over me, one looking worried and one looking angry. Tommy lets out a sigh of relief and looks at Janey.

“Get her cleaned up and we’ll go to the hospital.” He moves from my eyeline, and I hear the soft click of the bedroom door closing.

“H-hospital? Why...?” Janey huffs, a frown still etched on her face, helping me to sit up. The room spins and my stomach lurches. I scramble the rest of the way out of bed on my own, making it to the toilet just in time. I groan, sitting back onto my heels. Janey leans against the doorframe.

“While you’ve been slowly drinking yourself into oblivion, Bryan has had himself a little...accident. So we need to get you cleaned up asap and down there to be with your husband.” She shakes her head sadly. "Fuck. I was so fucking worried about you Rosa. Don't do that to me again. Please."

She patiently helps me get showered, even though I was crying and wailing so much I’m sure she wanted to just leave me to it. I sit uselessly on the side of the bed while she dresses me and brushes my hair. I try to brush my teeth, but it just makes me throw up again, so settle on a rinse with mouthwash. Eventually the three of us are piled in the car on the way to the hospital.

***

I sit in a white room. Machines beep around me. I roll my head to the side and see my dad slumped forward in a plastic chair, his head in his hands.

Deja vu.

Again.

On the bed lies Bryan. His skin is pale, his eyes sunken, white bandages covering his arms. I've sat here for two days, watching him sleep. My dad lifts his head as he hears me move, and gives me a sad smile.

"Oh honey." He sighs. His eyes drift towards Bryan. "I was always worried the two of you would implode one day."

"It's all my fault, daddy." I can't stop the dam breaking, and fresh tears course down my sore cheeks. My face is soon pressed against the soft wool of my dad's jumper, his familiar scent soothing me as much as the hand that is rubbing my back.

"Shhhh. Sweetheart, we'll work this all out." He rocks me slightly. "We're all here to support the two of you."

Behind us, Bryan shifts in bed, the starchy sheets rustling.

"Hey." He croaks. I fling myself onto him, tightly wrapping my arms around his neck, my tears soon soaking the thin material of the hospital gown he is wearing. He cups the back of my head, his fingernails gently scratching my scalp, and breathes in deeply. "I'm sorry Lee." He whispers.

I shake my head furiously. "No! Bryan this is all my fault. I'm the one whose sorry. I'm the one who...w-who f-fucked this all u-up." Both our bodies shake with sobs.

Bryan pulls back from me, his eyes still shiny with tears, and he squeezes my hand.

"Lee. I think we need help."

***

Six months later

"Well! I think we've made great progress. The two of you should be very proud." Dr Greene shuts his notebook and smiles at us, his gaze drawn to where our hands are interlinked.

It had been a long and stressful few months in the aftermath of what happened.

While I had been numbing everything with drink again, Bryan had gone to Tommy for advice as to what to do. Unfortunately Bryan had already reopened the scars on his arms, and it took Tommy a few minutes before he noticed the dripping blood on his floor. After rushing a now unconscious Bryan to hospital, Tommy had picked up his phone to find a frantic Janey on the other end because I hadn't turned up to work and wasn't answering my phone or the door. Tommy had a spare key for our flat in case of emergencies so they were able to find me before I hit rock bottom too.

We'd started seeing Dr Greene again regularly, both separately and as a couple. At his suggestion we were living apart; Bryan was staying with Tommy and I had moved back in with my parents. I had quit my teaching position and had taken a part time job in the local library in the town where my folks lived.

We'd started dating, getting to know each other again. Sneaking kisses in the back of the movies. Holding hands while we walk through the park at dusk.

I'd deleted all social media.

I'd even thrown away all my Nine Inch Nails albums, as they seemed tainted now.

"I think you two are ready to start thinking about moving back in together. Now you are away from the drama. Fresh starts for both of you." Dr Greene's kind eyes crinkle as he smiles at us. Bryan grins, squeezing my hand slightly.

I force a smile back at the two of them.

I love my husband. I really did. I knew that I did.

But that didn't stop my dreams from still being filled with that prowling teenage singer.

I widen my smile. "I think that's a great idea."

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