Charlie Ever After

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o8| Charlie

**HEAVY TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. If this is something that you’re sensitive too, then please stop reading now and skip to the next chapter. If there’s anything in future chapters that I think certain readers will be sensitive to or that can trigger some, I will always include a trigger warning!

The entire summer went by in such a blur, after that night at the party I’ve practically locked myself in my bedroom except for when I had to work- which has been a lot lately. I only have a few days until I move into school and I’m trying to make as much money as I possibly can, so I don’t have to live on ramen for the next four years.

I’m laying in bed, my laptop next to me and fresh tears in my eyes as I watch a dumb teen romance movie on Netflix when my door quickly opens, slamming against the wall.

" What the fuck?” I face the door so fast I almost fall off my bed. When I see who’s standing in my door way I almost wish I did fall- and hit my head, concussing me into an amnestic state in the process. I sit up further and a chill spreads through my body as I pull my blankets tighter around me, as if they could act as a shield for whatever is to come; the humiliation and fear from the Fourth of July still fresh.

He walks closer, and if I’m not mistaken he stumbles a little. “Gavin, what’re you doing here?” I finally have the strength to say but rushes towards me and there’s a look in his eyes that I can’t put my finger on. It’s one that I’ve never seen before. Before I know it, he’s climbing on top of me and pinning me down to the bed. The instant he’s close enough I can smell the alcohol on his breath, I don’t know how I didn’t smell it before because the scent is so potent it almost makes me gag.

His lips inch closer before pressing them to mine, so hard that he pushes my head into my pillow. I try to break free, wiggle out from under him but it just makes him try harder. His tongue snakes it’s way into my mouth and just when I’m about to bite him, he starts ripping at my clothes.

“Gavin, stop.” I say, my hips bucking up against his to try and knock him off kilter, but nothing is stopping him.

He keeps ripping. He gets my shirt completely off, leaving it in tatters around my waist as he moves his assault to my pants. I try kicking, punching, scratching but nothing is helping, it’s just making him more aggressive. With one last attempt to get him off me, failing; he moves his hands further up my body and wraps them around my neck. His grip tightening.

My eyes widen, shooting up to his and... the look in his eyes, the grin on his face. He looks like he’s enjoying it and bile rises into the back of my throat. I feel hot tears streaming down the corners of my eyes as his grip tightens even more. The last of the air in my lungs is sucked out and I can feel my vision blurring at the edges.

This can’t be how I go out, not like this. I’m stronger than this. Fight Charlie, Fight. Just as I feel my body is about to go limp, my vision blacking out, I muster whatever energy I can and shove my knee right in between his legs as hard as I can. When his grasp loosens I gasp and suck in the biggest breath, my lungs screaming in pain. My brain finally catches up to what’s happening as he falls onto the floor, holding his stomach. I jump off of my bed and before I can even think I’m kicking him as hard as I can- over and over again. When he stops moving I run as fast as I can, slamming my bedroom door behind me as I run down the stairs, grabbing the landline- which in this moment I’m so glad my mom still insists on keeping. I dial 911, begging them to come as fast as then can. The 911 operator instructs me to go to a trusted neighbors house and wait for the police to arrive.

I run over to our neighbor’s house, frantically knocking on the door. It’s late but I’m hoping they open up. After a moment or two, I see a light flick on and Mr. Jenson opens the door, shock and confusion masking his features. Taking in my appearance, he grabs my arm and pulls me in, locking the door behind him. His wife Mary is standing by the stairs, holding her robe closed tight around herself and when she sees me, she rushes towards me and wraps her arms around me.

She pulls me into the kitchen, sitting me at the table and rushes back out into the hallway, returning a split second later with a soft blanket, wrapping it around my shoulders. I pull the soft fabric tighter around me, as if the material could shield me from the events that had already taken place. She scurries off towards the stove and fills a tea kettle with some water.

Everything around me is moving in slow motion, the sounds around me muffled and a wild rushing sound blasting behind my ear drums. I’m numb, yet when I reach up my cheeks are soaked with tears. A few moments later, my hands are wrapped around a steaming cup of tea and Mary is sitting in front of me, rubbing a soft and gentle hand over my knee.

Within minutes the cops arrive, a loud knock at the door causing me to jump in my seat; a fresh wave of panic crashing over me as I start shaking even more, the tea in my cup sloshing over the sides and dripping over my hands. Mary’s husband Mark answers the door, letting the cop in. The officer who’s name I find out is Officer Dunkin, tells Mark that there’s a few patrolmen checking over the house, and that he’s here to check on me. Mary scoots her chair next to mine, wrapping her arms around me- comforting me in ways that I will never be able to repay her for.

Officer Dunkin sits with me for about fifteen minutes trying to get the details of what transpired. I try my best to explain to him what happened, breaking down a few times in the process. The look etched on his face is one of sadness and it makes me recoil a little, I hate when people pity me. He tells me that he’d like me to come down to the police station and fill out some paper work as well as give an official statement, and file a restraining order if that’s what I wish. Mary offers to bring me down to the station, which I agree to. Besides my retelling of what happened, I don’t think I spoke a word the entire time I was at the Jenson’s house.

As we near the police station, I look over at Mary. I clutch the blanket tighter around me as I feel fresh tears burn the corners of my eyes. “Thank you.” I whisper, and reach out, placing my hand on hers which is nervously tapping on the center console. She comes to a stop at a traffic light, looking over at me with the sweetest smile. She turns her hand over in mine, wrapping her fingers around my hand and squeezing gently and with her sweet show of affection my heart starts to ache, wishing I had someone as caring as Mary as my mother. If my mother were home and not out bar hopping or whatever it was that she does on her nights out, then maybe this wouldn’t have happened. I let the tears fall from my eyes as Mary’s attention is drawn back to the road, the light turning green.

****************************************

I’m in the police station for over two hours, going over the details of my night. The one officer, who’s name I don’t catch, tells me that when they got there that Gavin was already gone but they have a warrant out for his arrest- which doesn’t put me at ease in the slightest.

After an hour I ask them to use the phone I quickly dial Lydia’s phone number. It rings twice before a groggy Lydia answers; she doesn’t usually answer unknown numbers but I’m so glad she does that I could cry again.

“Lydia.” I don’t have to say anymore because I can hear Lydia shuffling around.

“Charlie, where are you. What’s wrong? I’m leaving now.” I hear her keys jingle and hear her yell for Isaac as she busts through his door and wakes him up.

I’m crying again as I explain in short, what happened. Lydia is crying along with me, and within minutes I hear Isaac’s car peel into the parking lot, and a hysterical Lydia comes running through the doors of the police station. She scans the office for half a second before her eyes focus in on me and she rushes over. Lydia takes in my appearance, plopping herself down in a seat next to me and wrapping me up in her arms as Isaac jogs over.

“Are you guys family?” Officer Dunkin comes up behind us.

“As close as family gets.” Isaac quips.

Officer Dunkin considers this for a moment before motioning for Isaac to follow him. I don’t protest as Isaac walks off with him, leaving Lydia and me.

“Charlie, I’m so sorry this happened to you. I should’ve done something.” Lydia says frantically as she pulls back, looking me dead in the eyes.

“Lydia, there’s nothing you could’ve done. It’s not like I would’ve listened. You and Isaac both have warned me numerous times. I never listened, I never paid attention to the red flags.” I look down, completely embarrassed as tears stream down my face, my breath catching in my lungs.

Panic rises as I try to catch my breath and when I can’t my body stiffens; I pull back from Lydia. I’ve had panic attacks for years but as I got older they became less common and not as intense but this was at a whole new level. I almost feel like Gavin’s hands are back around my throat, and I can’t help but to smooth my hands over my neck, trying to break free from any constriction but it doesn’t help. I start flailing my hands, not trying to make a scene but also not really caring.

“I can’t breath.” I finally get out and Lydia’s eyes widen. She’s witnessed panic attacks before but I’ve never had one this bad.

“Okay, okay, um.” She stands up fast, and with the sudden movement of Lydia and my erratic behavior, an officer rushes over. Lydia runs off, returning a few moments later with an open bottle of water as the officer is kneeling in front of me, trying to soothe me; picking up immediately that I was having a panic attack. Lydia hands me the water bottle and I take it with shaky hands, bringing it to my lips and taking a long sip. My mouth is dryer than I thought and the cold liquid instantly soothes it, the shock of temperature yanking my mind away from my anxiety for just a second. I try focusing my mind, taking deep breaths as Isaac comes rushing over.

“What’s going on?” He demands to Lydia who’s perched on the floor in front of me next to the young officer. They’re both trying to focus me on my breathing, but with Isaac’s interruption they look up.

“Panic attack.” Lydia says quickly before turning her attention back to me. I’m finally able to get my breathing under control, looking up at Isaac and the worry casted over his features. A pang of guilt surfaces but I push it down before another wave of panic can arise.

The guilt of having my friends see me this way, having to call them at midnight to come rescue me, is absolutely overwhelming. They’ve warned me for years and I never listened. I knew how dangerous Gavin is. It wasn’t that I didn’t care- I don’t know if it was fear, or love, or what; but I never listened, never left and now look at what fucking happened.

“Let’s get you home, Charlie girl.” Isaac says, leaning down next to me. The officer had left a few moments ago, and Lydia is sitting on my opposite side, her hand gently stroking my back.

I nod and slowly stand up, pulling the blanket that Mary had left me with, tighter around my body as I follow the two of them into the parking lot, Lydia’s arms tightly wrapped around me. We reach Isaac’s car and he opens the back door for me, helping me slide in. As soon as I’m in, I curl up on myself, resting my head against the cool window and close my eyes.

****************************************

“Where the hell was your mother through all of this?” Lydia screams.

I just shrug my shoulders. “I honestly have no idea. I haven’t heard from her.” I can see Lydia’s anger spike even more. Her usually soft features are scrunched up with so much rage that her face is blazing red. Isaac has his arm wrapped around me as I lay back in Lydia’s bed watching her pace holes in the carpet.

“I can’t believe this, he’s going to fucking die Charlie. I’m going to fucking kill him.” I’ve never seen her so worked up, and if I wasn’t so numb and if my entire body didn’t feel like it was hit by a semi truck, I might have smiled.

Lydia is silent for a moment and I can see her staring at the welted bruises around my neck which makes me self-conscious. I gingerly run my fingertips over the raised marks and cringe. I can only imagine what they’ll look like a few days from now when I’m moving into school. Nothing says a successful college student like bruises in the shape of hand prints around your neck.

Lydia sighs and climbs into bed, on the opposite side of me from Isaac. She wraps her arms around me as well, laying her head on my chest; and as I’m wrapped in the both of them, I let out a long sigh. I lean my head against hers as tears trickle down the corner of my eyes. I’m so grateful for them. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know how I’d be coping with this right now. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know where I’d even be in life right now. I let my eyes drift shut and within moments I’m fast asleep, held in the embraces of my two best friends. My family.

****************************************

I look at the numbers displayed at the top of my phone screen, they read 5:35 am and I swear it was just two. The time is taunting me. I look over at Lydia who is out cold, her arm snaked under a pillow next to me and her mouth hanging slightly open. Isaac must have left sometime ago, because when I roll over and smooth my hand over the spot he was laying in, it’s no longer warm with his body heat.

I roll back over, facing Lydia and reach over tucking a stray piece of hair behind her ear and thank whatever higher power that’s out there for bringing her and her family into my life. The memories of the night start to kick up again, causing my entire body to tense up.

I had already blocked him on every single social media app known to man kind: his number, his friends’ numbers, his parents, everyone that associates with Gavin Davis has blocked. Isaac had already offered to take me to the phone store first thing in the morning to get a new phone, and my number changed as well as accompany me to my house to pack up some of my stuff to come stay with them.

I throw my phone down into the comforter and lean back into the pillow before wrapping my body around Lydia’s needing any kind of comfort that I can get; watching as she sleeps, her chest rising and falling. I lay my hand on her chest over her hear, letting the steady beating of her heart soothe me back to sleep; a deep sleep filled with a loop of the night playing over and over again in my nightmares.

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