Everything was frozen. Time seemed to standstill and the air itself seemed not to move. No oxygen flowed in and out of lungs, no rustle of cloth against skin as limbs moved, no pounding of a heartbeat to let you know you’re alive; just silence. And then, suddenly, sound.
It came roaring back fast and furious as it flowed into Carla’s ears. Her staggered gasps of shock and fear as they raced in and out of her lungs. The war drum that was her heartbeat beating against the iron cage of her ribs, trying to escape from her body.
A loud scream from her best friend that was filled with equally as much horror as her eyes when they took in the scene before her. And finally, the whispered sound of her name as it left Ridians lips. Filled with so much pain it tore at her on the inside.
Suddenly Danny was off her and being held up against the wall by his neck as Peter pounded his face in. He was in a blind rage of fury and Danny was receiving the full force of it. His muffled screams soon morphed into whines of despair as his lips became too swollen and busted to formulate words. Peter’s eyes were black and there was no sign that he was letting go anytime soon as his grip tightened around Danny’s neck and his knuckles turned white as he strangled him.
Sam shakily walked back into the room as she’d had to throw up out of disgust and fled the room for a moment. Taking in a deep breath she closed her eyes for a moment trying to calm herself. Carla was still laying immobilized on the ground as if she’d been tranquilized. Not moving, not breathing, not blinking, trying as hard as she could to not exist because it hurt too much. When Sam finally opened her eyes they were hard with determination and fury.
She stalked over to where Ridian was frozen in shock and horror and slapped him out of it. He blinked a few times before turning towards her, eyes full of tears. She attempted to give him a sympathetic smile but instead just kind of gave him a grimace and pushed him towards where Carla was still laying on the ground shoving a blanket in his hands. He still looked a little lost and confused so she snatched it from him and gently covered Carla’s abused body and lead him down towards her, placing her hand in his.
Then she walked over to where Peter had almost killed Danny and ripped his hands off of Danny’s throat, pushing him backwards a couple steps and taking Danny down from up on the wall so he hung at an awkward angle towards the floor from her grip on his upper arm. Peter huffed like a raging bull and tried to lunge at Danny again but Sam held him back with one arm. For such a little girl she had a surprising amount of strength.
“Let me go Sam,” Peter finally spat out between gritted teeth, momentarily taking his murderous eyes off of Danny to rest on Sam’s emotionless expression.
“No,” she stated simply.
“Why not?!” Peter growled out, still pushing against her hand.
“Because if you kill him then you are the one going to jail, not him and then while you’re behind bars he’s going to be here with Carla. Then what? How will she cope? Who will protect her then? Surely you don’t mean me because I will probably be in there with you as an accomplice, guilty by association. And frankly I don’t think Ridian will be of much help, he looks shattered,” She said sadly looking over he shoulder to where Carla was now sobbing into his arms.
“Do you really not want to see Carla for the rest of your life? You’re almost fucking eighteen. They will not go easy on you. Why don’t you take your eyes off this piece of shit here and turn them back to the treasure he was desecrating. Have you even like fucking asked her if she was okay yet? Clothed her? Done anything besides turn into a beast just as bad as Danny? Be a fucking man and go help your love. You may not be her boyfriend but you almost were and don’t think I never noticed you were closer to her than Ridian. I’ll take it from here,“.
Sam then proceeded to grasp Danny by his hair and drag him screaming out the room. She’d dropped her hand from Peter’s chest midway through her speech as he’d stopped trying to resist and instead shamefully hung his head. As Sam’s steps got fainter he heard the sound of a body thudding on each step of the stairs and the high pitched squeal of pain after every thump. The thought made him smile. Sam was one bad ass chick.
Slowly he turned to the bed where Sam had grabbed a sheet earlier and without looking at Carla and quickly tossed it over her. Ridian had left the room to go find Danny and get his share of the beat down and call the cops. Peter looked at her form which was slightly outlined under the gray cotton and only her head peeked out on top. Her eyes were blank and looked up at the ceiling. Carefully he kneeled down and cradled her head in his lap rocking her back and forth.
“I’m so sorry,” He whispered hoarsely. “I’m so sorry I didn’t come sooner. I’m so sorry,“. Some of his tears dropped on Carla’s face and mixed with her own that she didn’t even realize had fallen.
“I didn’t want you to know,” She said after a long time. Her voice was so soft that Peter had to strain to hear her.
“What was that sweetheart?” He asked as he bent his ear to her mouth. Carla smiled faintly so much you could barely tell.
“Pet names now Peter? Don’t make my boyfriend jealous,” Her words sounded so empty it tore at Peter. Even though he wasn’t her boyfriend he’d still felt a duty to protect her. After the word boyfriend Carla’s eyes filled with tears and she didn’t seem to recognize Peter anymore.
“Please don’t touch me,” she whispered. He stiffened immediately at her words. “I’m so filthy,” she cried despairingly before the floodgates finally opened and her sorrow became physical in the salty tears of self hatred that swam in rivers down her pale cheeks. Peter tightened his grip around her fragile frame and hugged her to his body, trying to keep her together.
“Don’t say that,” He whispered. “Don’t ever say that,“. His voice cracked from despair and pain almost equal to Carla’s but never quite the same. They sat like that for hours. Through the police that came to take Danny away and question her to no avail.
Through the whispered threats of her mother that slipped out through clenched pearly whites. Through medical aid and paramedic shock at the state of her body. They were never more separated than just holding hands. A connection was always there, linking their hearts through physical touch. Ridian was always near as well but Carla didn’t seem quite aware of anything.
Ridian was talking to police and calling the school and making arrangements with Sam. Whenever he had a break he would walk over and hold her at which point Peter would turn away slightly to give him space but he wouldn’t leave her. Sam hadn’t had much contact with her friend. She figured she needed Peter and Ridian more than she needed her at the moment.
Without a word Ridian slept over that night, cradling Carla in his arms like she would blow away at the slightest gust of wind that creeped through an open window. Peter and Sam slept in the guest rooms but Peter wound up sleeping outside of her door not bearing to be any further from her due to worry.
The night passed with no problems. Everything is easier said, easier done, easier hidden in the night. But its in the morning light that you have to face the consequences and the results. So it was in the morning light that Carla had to face her future, no matter how much it scared her. No matter how much she didn’t believe she had one.
She took a couple months off school for physical and mental recuperation in therapy. Ridian, Peter and Sam were there with her every step of the way. Ridian refused to leave her alone, partly blaming himself for what had happened. Soon enough Carla was back to a healthy physique even if it was scarred. She never looked at herself in the bathroom mirror anymore accept for fleeting glances when she did her hair or washed her face. She was scared of what she would see.
Therapy didn’t go as well. Carla was stubborn as ever and didn’t want to talk about it. Facing self-hatred is a hard thing to do. She completely believed it was her fault and that she and brought it upon herself. If it wasn’t her fault she would’ve been able to stop it but she didn’t and that was it. The therapist was patient and encouraged her to talk to Ridian if she wasn’t comfortable talking to him but that was a moot point.
He only reminded her of her self hatred and resentment. She didn’t even talk to Sam who tried to be supportive in any way she could. She did manage to talk to Peter about some things which helped progress the treatment to a point where they thought she could handle living alone again as The three friends had been taking turns watching her.
At last it was time to go back to school and Carla was scared. Her hands shook as they laced up her combat boots and smoothed down her blue jeans. She wore a purple flannel top and a gray tee that covered her arms but wasn’t as excessive as the baggy hoodies and sweats she’d become so accustomed to wearing. Her hair was down so she could hide behind it if she needed but for the most part she was ready.
She’d been keeping up with her school work so that didn’t worry her at all. She wasn’t sure how the others would react to her. They’d surely heard what had happened to her by now and she didn’t want to face their judgmental stares. She couldn’t face them before when she just thought they were talking about her but now that she knew they actually would be she didn’t know if her psyche could handle it.
A car horn sounded from outside the house and she hurried to meet it. Her mother had already hurried off to work at the crack of dawn. The whole two weeks she’d been in rehab her mother had spent 99% of her time at the hospital and when she did come home she didn’t look or talk to Carla. It was actually a pleasant relief, one that Carla wish she’d had the pleasure of enjoying long ago. And all she had to do was get raped.
The doctors had confirmed that she wasn’t pregnant which was a blessing seeing as Danny hadn’t been thoughtful enough to use protection and Carla knew she didn’t have the heart to commit an abortion. As she walked out the house she clutched her jacket closer around her waving back to Sam as she hung outside the passenger window.
“Hey Sam! Hey babe!” she cried out in a somewhat happy tone. As she slid into the backseat of the car Ridian turned around from the drivers seat.
“Are you ready?” he asked Carla with a worried look in his eyes. She gave him what she hoped was a reassuring smile and nodded. And with that they were off. The drive was quiet with the occasional chatter on Sams part but mostly peaceful. It was nice. It was only after they pulled into the parking lot that Carla became tense and her heart beat raced to a thundering pulse. Climbing out of the car her breath came in short gasps and it felt like her lungs were in her ears and her stomach was in her ass. Her body hurt.
Walking up to the two doors she loved so much, she took a deep breath and finally pushed them open. She was immediately bombarded with a wave of fake cherry pepto bismol sweet perfume that lead her into a coughing fit leaving her gasping for air with watery eyes. What the fuck is that shit? she thought. As her vision became clearer she realized it was Stephanie. Fabulous.
“Well hello there slut!” Stephanie greeted with a wide grin. Her usual entourage was now joined by most of the junior class who’d been waiting for two weeks for this encounter. “So I heard what happened,“. Stephanie began to circle Carla who clutched her bag closer to her shoulder. Ridian and Sam were still in the car getting her dance stuff and his lacrosse equipment out the car. Apparently Peter had joined some time ago while she was walking up to the doors but she never noticed.
“What the fuck do you want Stephanie? It’s too early in the morning for me to stomach your bullshit and you’re already an eye sore so hurry up and make a point or let me through,“. The crowd oohed at Carla’s bold statements but Stephanie’s smirk didn’t falter. Carla herself was a little surprised at her own venom but she didn’t feel that scared of Stephanie and continued to stand a little taller.
“So I heard you were so desperate to get some that you even fucked your brother and then claimed it was rape when your boyfriend caught you cheating. That’s really pathetic,“. Carla had frozen to the spot where she stood and Stephanie took that as her signal to advance. The crowd had fallen dead silent.
“I mean how thirsty can you be you’d even try and lap up some of your own brother huh?” Stephanie rolled up Carla’s sleeve. Her arm was limp and she had no strength to stop her.
“SO IT WAS TRUE!” Stephanie burst into laughter. “He even beat you up a little for entertainment! Or were you just so bad in bed that he wanted to whip you into shape?!” Stephanie’s entourage joined in her laughter but the crowd was still silent, eyes wide as they waited for her reaction. Carla had clenched her fists up in a tight ball, her knuckles white and Stephanie noticed.
“Oh are you gonna hit me? Finally gonna fight back and be a big girl? Well go ahead and see what happens,“. Stephanie walked closer and poked and pinched Carla all over, taunting her to hit her. Ridian and Sam walked in just then and Ridian immediately moved to help her already shouting but Peter held him back. She held up a hand and Ridian fell silent.
“OOH,” Stephanie purred. “She’s got you on a tight leash puppy,“. Carla snapped up her head and walked up to Stephanie until they were eye to eye and she didn’t look away. Maybe it was the lack of fear in her gaze but Stephanie gulped nervously.
“What bitch?” she asked.
Carla clucked her tongue and shook her head sympathetically from side to side. “Poor, poor, poor unloved Stephanie. I’m not going to hit you because it doesn’t take a genius to know that you would use the fact that your Daddy gives big donations to the school to get you out of trouble. I mean it’s not even enough that your dumb as fuck. Everyone knows you a straight D student which is fitting for all the dick that you suck. You can thank the entire football, basketball, swim, lacrosse,” Carla paused and looked back at Ridian and Peter.
“Well not lacrosse,” she amended before continuing. “And ping pong teams for that disclosure,“. Stephanie gulped her eyes wide and her face flushed with embarrassment. She took a step back but Carla matched it with a step forward.
“As if it wasn’t enough that you’re so ugly and you know it too, that you spend your parents hard earned money on trips to the tanning salon every week and hair salon every day so you can further your advances towards skin cancer and bleach the shit out of that dying mop of hay that you have the audacity to call hair. You cake your face in so many layers of make up each day I’m pretty sure the mirror in your bathroom is the only person whose ever seen what you really looked like and since it cracked soon after that there’s no one around to tell the tale,“. Stephanies entourage were giggling slightly into their hands and the crowd was chuckling as well. Stephanie glared at them all in fury but stayed silent.
“You spend millions of dollars on designer brands that you only wear pieces of each day because come on that is not a shirt. That is a fucking piece of cloth and two strands of string that you tied around your neck,” Carla gestured to her top and then to her bottoms. “And that’s girl briefs. You show off a body that nobody wants to or needs to see and you slut it up everyday after school but you think calling an atrocious, violent, catastrophe of my life that was something I had no control over and certainly didn’t want an incestual sex scandal will make you cool? You’re a fucking hypocrite,” Carla shook her head and crossed her arms.
“And even if it was the case, it’s none of your fucking business,“. Carla had backed Stephanie up into a wall and she slid to the floor looking defeated and lost.
“Now stay out of my way and leave me alone. I don’t think whatever is left of your pride can take much more of this bashing,“. With that Carla began to walk away but was stopped when Stephanie called out her name again.
“Wait! What do you know? You’re not perfect! Not even fucking close! You’ll never be as good as me! Never!“. Carla simply gave her a blank look.
“I never said I was. Now why don’t you go suck a dick or something. It’s the only thing you’re good at,“. And with that Carla stalked her way down the hall to chemistry with a small smile on her face and her friends on her heels as the bell rang signaling the start of first period, and a fresh start.
“Damn Juliet, that was fire,” Peter said coming up next to her. She smiled. A hand slid into her left hand and she looked up at a smirking Ridian.
“Didn’t know cupcakes had spice too,” She rolled her eyes at him. Sam pulled up in front of her her eyes glistening happily.
“You totally killed it babe,” She said before rushing off to her first period. Carla broke into an even wider grin.