How did I get here?

Over the course of the last year, Reed Johnson's life has made some interesting twists and turns, and sadly, very few of them were for the better. Now, to get her away from the scenes that provoked her post-traumatic stress, her father has chosen to move the family back home to Nazareth in Pennsylvania.
Both old and new friends quickly start to make an impact on her life, and pretty soon, Reed is caught up in a web of drama while dealing with a lot of stuff herself. With an already fragile mental health, who knows how she'll end up?


29. Over


How did I get here?

I stood in front of my mirror in a t-shirt that had been a tight fit just a week ago. Now it was hanging a bit loose on the sides. I guess the stress of the past week had taken a lot out of me. I pulled at the shirt and stared at it as if it would make it sit tight again. A knock sounded at the door.

“Yes?” I called. Tim came in and sat on the bed. “So how did it go?” I explained. “I get to keep the offer. I can call anytime I want. They’ll take me into the class and pay for the first month in a hotel until I find a place to stay.” “So are you going?” I had asked myself that very question repeatedly the last few days but hearing someone else ask me made it all the more real. And right then and there I made the decision. The final decision. “No. I have too much to stay for.” He let out a sigh of relief. I went over and sat beside him.  He touched his forehead to mine and I could feel his breath on my face. “Good.” He whispered. It dawned upon me that if I left he wouldn’t have anywhere to go. I was sure my dad would still let him stay but I knew that it would only be a matter of time before Tim would think he had been enough trouble for him. Of course he could come with me to New York. He was finishing high school this year. We could live there together but I wasn’t sure that dad not to mention David would allow that.

I kissed him and started to stand up but he grabbed my hand and yanked me back. He kissed me passionately and pushed me gently on my back. He lowered himself on top of me and we continued kissing each other. But then there was a voice at the door. “Guys. We’re going out for dinner remember? Get ready!” David was shouting from the hall. Tim groaned and removed himself from me. I giggled and sat up. “We’ll get back to that later. Now Vamos!” said and shoved him out the door. I dug into my closet and found another shirt that fit me better. I pulled on some jeans and Tim and I met up in the hall. He took my hand and we walked out to Daddy’s car together.

We burst through the door around midnight. We were all tired and wanted to sleep. The only problem was that there was only one bathroom. The guys went first since they claimed that I took forever and a day in the bathroom which was not true. When I was finally done I dragged myself to my bed and threw myself on it.  I heard my door creak open but fell asleep before I could check who it was.

I woke up at the sound of my alarm clock. Why oh why did I own one of those things? I mind-slapped myself and sat up. A little note was stuck to my mirror. It read Gone to do some guy-bonding stuff. Be back around five. Dad had to work. In Davids horrible hand writing. I checked the time. It was ten thirty on a Sunday and I was home alone. That meant one thing. I called Emma and Taylor. A few minutes later they showed up and we carried all pillows and blankets we could fin to the living room. I ran up to my bookshelf and got out RENT. We popped it in but ended up talking instead with the movie playing in the background. The movie finished and we kept talking. And talking and talking and talking. We lost track of time and it became dark outside. I checked the time and it was nearly six. I started to worry about the boys. But I kept reminding myself that they were big boys and could look out for themselves.

Emma had to go home because she had some trig homework for tomorrow and Taylor had ridden with her so they both left.  I was left with nothing but my thoughts. Up until now I had mostly kept myself busy but now I let the events of the past days settle in my mind. I still hadn’t heard from Jane, I nearly got killed by Ben again and I had lost at least twelve pounds. I thought I was going to cry but realized that I had run myself dry. There were no more tears left.  I heard the front door open and Daddy’s footfalls in the hallway.

“Hey Daddy!” I called. “Hey princess. Where are the boys?” “Out doing some guy stuff. What happened since you had to work today?” “Some douche in Salt Lake busted our big deal. I had to clean up his mess.” “I’m sorry.” I said and walked over to kiss his cheek. “So what do you want for dinner?” “Anything you wanna make me sweetheart.” I nodded and went to the kitchen. I looked in the fridge. There was all the stuff I would need to make spaghetti with mushroom sauce. I started to chop up champignons and other various mushrooms and melted some butter on the pan. When it was sizzling I poured in some cream and threw the mushrooms in on top of it all. While that cooked I boiled some water for the pasta. In the end I had a delicious plate of pasta and I carried it to the table. Daddy came in and smelled it. “Mmmh what is this?” He asked. “Spaghetti with moms mushroom sauce.” I answered. He dug in. I wasn’t hungry. The boys came home and emptied the plate. I just grabbed an apple and ran up to my room. I put on some music and lay on my stomach on the floor reading. The plush rug under me felt nice against my bare stomach. I was dressed in a sports bra and sweatpants. My dad came in about an hour later. “Sweetie I think David and I are gonna take a trip up to Salt Lake tomorrow. We still have to clean up after that jackass (David worked for my dad) and it will probably take a while. As in about a week. Do you think you and Tim will be alright while we’re gone?” I was a bit surprised. But if they had to go then they had to go. “We’ll be fine. When are you leaving?” I smiled. “There’s a plane leaving at six tomorrow. I think we’re gonna catch that.” “Ok. I’m going to bed now so have a nice trip.” I said and stood up. “Goodnight princess.”He said and kissed my forehead. I went downstairs and said bye to David before I went to bed.

That week passed really fast. I kept myself busy all the time. And if I wasn’t keeping me busy Lara certainly was. She had me come in all the time and practice. I worked really hard all week and all of a sudden it was Friday. I shut the front door behind me and chucked my keys at the little table. I sighed and looked at the wall clock. Ten thirty. I heard the TV in the living room. Tim was on the couch. Dad and David were still in Salt Lake. He turned around and smiled. “Hey babe!”  I groaned in response and dumped myself beside him. I leaned my head back on the couch and closed my eyes. Normally Tim had a really good sence of the situation but apparently not today because he asked me “So there is a party at Max Petersons house tonight. Wanna go?” I opened my eyes and turned my head to look at him. “Not tonight but you go. Have fun.” I said. Frankly I was relieved to have some alone time to relax after this week. “You sure? I can stay home if you want?” “No go. Have fun. You shouldn’t be bored just because I’m a buzz kill.” “Thanks babe.” He said and kissed me before getting up. I closed my eyes again and I was already half asleep when I heard the front door shut behind him.

I woke up about six hours later at the sound of the door slamming a bit louder than normal. I stood up and Tim staggered in. It was clear that he was drunk. Very drunk. He stumbled over to me and grabbed me by the waist. He pulled me in close and his breath smelled like beer and cigarettes. I felt my nose wrinkle and turned my head away in disgust. He started kissing down my neck and unbuttoning my shirt. His intentions were perfectly clear.  “No Tim don’t. I don’t want to.” I said and tried to push him away. He didn’t listen and grabbed me more firmly. It was starting to hurt. I pushed harder but he forced his lips on mine. I turned my head and in response he shoved me against the wall. He was unfocused for a moment and I took the opportunity. I slapped him. Not hard but hard enough that I had hoped it would get him back to reality for a second. But it only made him angry. He got a facial expression that I had never seen before and raised his hand. He hit me across the face with the back of his hand and it sent me flying onto the floor three meters away. I put a hand on my cheek and looked up through my hair that had fallen down and covered my face like a curtain. Anger surged through me. Still lying on the floor I screamed “What did you just do! You are no better than your step father! Get out!” He just stood there like a deer in the road. “GET OUT!” I screamed again and this time he reacted and stormed out of the house. I got up and retrieved my phone. I didn't know who I would call but my fingers made the decision for me and I raised the phone to my ear.

It rang once.

It rang twice.

At the third ring the call was answered.

“Hello?” Alex’s  sleepy voice sounded. I opened my mouth to say something but only a sob escaped. “Reed is that you? What’s wrong? Reed you’re scaring me. Say something.” He waited a moment for an answer but when I still couldn't say anything he said "Alright that's it I'm coming over." He hung up and my hand went limp. The phone fell to the floor. Some time later there was a banging at the door and my legs carried me downstairs to the door. I opened it and looked into Alex's worried face. As soon as he saw me he pulled me close in a hug. He pulled back and looked at my face. "My God Reed your face is swelling. What happened?" "Tim was drunk and..." "He did this?" Alex hissed and all his muscles rippled. I realized my mistake and grabbed his forearm but he was already turning towards his car. I ran after him and tugged at his arm. "Please Alex!" "No! He hurt you. That is not acceptable!" He sat in the car and slammed the door. Before he started the engine I crawled in the back of his station car. The engine revved and we shot down the street. He ignored the red lights and broke about a dusin traffic rules. Luckily the streets were empty. "Alex please! Slow down! You're scaring me!" I screamed from the backseat. He ignored me and sped up. He searched the streets for Tim for half an hour. But then we stopped at Klaus park. There he was standing with his clenched fist on a tree trunk. Alex slid out of the car and speed walked to him. Mortified I saw him grab Tim by the shoulder to turn him around and punch him to the ground. That set me off and I got out of the car. Alex was screaming a lot of quite horrible stuff to Tim, sitting on his chest while hitting his face. I ran over and grabbed Alex's arm when he raised it to throw yet another punch and screamed "STOP!" They both looked at me. "Just stop." I sobbed. Alex looked up at me as if he was seeing me for the first time. He scrambled off of Tims chest and looked at the ground. Tim staggered to his feet too and walked forward to me. He tried to put his hand on my cheek but I slapped it away. "Don't touch me" I hissed. "Please baby listen-" He started. "Listen to what? How you are going to try to justify that you hit me? After I helped you escape from the very same thing? Even though you knew all about what I have been going through? Huh?" I cut him off. "Please-" "No! I'm never ever going to forgive you for this! We're over Tim! And just to think I actually thought I was done with psycho ex boyfriends. But here we are!" I marched to the car and Alex drove me home while tears poured down my face. The betrayal and anger and disappointment of the last few days washed over me. It was all becoming too much.

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