Chapter Three: Lab Partners
The next morning as I took a shower, I cried.
I should probably explain. See, last night I was out on my balcony after it had stopped raining and I had made my Father his dinner.
A car came down the driveway and out climbed Louis Tomlinson, a friend of mine. We were talking under my balcony in the flower bed when my I heard my bedroom door open. I froze in terror. Was that my dad?
"ABIGAIL!!!!!" he screamed. That was a yes. I shoved Louis' chest down when he tried to sit up and told him to be quiet and I was thankful I had him park in the back garage.
I went to my car and opened the door, pretending to be looking for something. He saw me and came running out the front door. He pulled me from the car, roughly by my arm. I yelped in pain and said, "I was just looking for something, I thought I left something for school in my car!"
"That's not a good reason to be out here at eleven at night!" he screamed in my face. I could literally smell the alcohol on his breath. I knew what would happen next.
I braced myself for the blow. And sure enough, it came. Fast and hard. I stumbled back, my face white and I saw Louis in my peripheral vision, his mouth open. I shook my head, telling him to stay and my father thought it was telling him to stop. So he pelted me more. Soon my stomach would be black and I, just like my mom, probably wouldn't be able to have kids. He left me, lying crumpled on the ground, going inside the house. As soon as the door closes, I heard the lock turn and I knew I was locked out of the house. But I also knew once he had passed out, mum would let me in. Louis ran over to me and picked me up off the ground carrying me over to the flower bed. I was cold in my pajamas, so Louis gave me his jacket and then he asked the question I had been dreading someone would ask.
"How long have you been abused, Abby?"
Tears streamed down my face as I told him everything. I told him how he abused my mum when I was younger and the first time I had made a mistake, which had been dropping a glass of water, I had been hit and how everything I did that he didn't like ever since, I would get hit. I told him how one time, we tried to leave. And how severely punished we were. I hadn't gone to school for a month while I waited for the bruises to go away on my face and arms and how I had gotten a spray tan after they were gone so I could tell people I had been in Hawaii. I told him about being hit after being found with a guy after a date. I told him everything.
I fell asleep cuddled with him that night under my balcony and my mom had come out around one to get me, thanking Louis for watching after me and before I had gone inside I hugged him, and begged him, "Please, please don't tell. I'll just get hit more!"
"I won't tell, I promise," he said hugging me back. I thanked him and went inside.
Now you're caught up. I'm crying because I never wanted anyone to find out. I wanted to leave here as soon as I turned 18 and was done with highschool, heal and never look back, keeping my past a secret. But I knew now that that was not possible. If I fell in love, they would find out, I wouldn't be able to keep that a secret from the person I love. Kayla was bound to figure it out, she saw how I flinched when I would sit down a morning after being abused. People would find out and things would just get worse.
I turned off the shower and wrapped a towel around my body. I put my robe on and blow dried my hair. I threw my hot rollers in and left the bathroom to get dressed.
I walked through my room, and up my spiral staircase to my closet. I picked out my white Miss Me jeans, with snowflakes on the back pockets (as it decided to snow today) and a navy blue long sleeved top. I grabbed a white glittery infinity scarf and wrapped that around my neck and grabbed my blue sweater Ugg boots. Tucking my jeans inside them and also grabbing my black North Face jacket, I went down to my dresser to do my make up.
I put on just a little bit of concealer and mascara, curling my eyelashes and putting my glasses on. I took my hair out of the hot rollers and put it in a messy bun, some pieces falling out, framing my face and showing the beautiful brown curls. I added some snow flake earrings and grabbed my things for school. I didn't have practice today so I didn't worry about getting a change of clothes. I grabbed my keys and slowly crept downstairs, where I could hear my father snoring on the couch and I went out the front door, getting in my car and almost speeding away from the house.
The first half of the day, when I had Louis in all my classes, he never left my side. He sat next to me, and threatened anyone who made fun of my glasses.
So even though I loved Louis to death, I was kinda glad to be free of him at lunch when I just sat in the bathroom the whole time, telling myself not to cry from the pain. I decided to look and see how badly bruised I was, and I almost screamed.
My stomach was covered in splotches of black, blue and purple, parts of old bruises fading and turning yellow. It had never been this bad. I gently touched one of the black ones and I flinched back from my own soft fingers. It was such a deep pain that I couldn't even tell you how badly it hurt. Let's just say it hurt more than stepping on a Lego.
I shook my head and decided it was time to leave the bathroom. I used my fresh apple hand sanitizer as I left and I headed outside into the snow.
It was a beautiful picture. The snow falling to the ground, the grass crunching under each fresh step and people with scarves wrapped around their necks, and red noses. There were guys playing football and I saw Louis sitting on the ground, not in the snow, under a tree with the only spot of green grass left. He had his nose in a book and he was taking notes on something. His gloves were the ones without a cover for the top of your fingers and he was wearing reading glasses.
He looked rather cute.
Walking over to him, I was cut short by Kayla.
"Oh my God, Abby," she came over, bawling her eyes out.
"Whoa, whoa, what's wrong?" I asked, immediately hugging her.
"Well, last night, my mom and dad sat me down and, and, and," she stopped to cry more. Finally she continued. "They said, 'Happy early Christmas, no more fighting. We are getting a divorce!' and they said it like I should be h-h-happy about it!" she cried, ruining her mascara which she would freak out about later. I hugged her tighter and then yelped when her elbow hit my stomach.
"A-Abby? You okay?"
I nodded, hissing quietly. Suddenly the bell rang loudly, echoing all the way to the houses about 100 yards away from our school, telling us it was time to go to fourth period.
I turned and practically bolted away from Kayla, running up the stairs and only slowing down when I was about ten doors away from my science class.
A rather cute boy with brown curly hair walked past me and he smiled weakly. I smiled back, but ducked my head. No boy ever smiled at me. Well, except Louis but he was like an older brother. So that didn't count. I recognized him from the football team, he was number 74, my favorite number and he was also in my science, history and English class at the end of the day. It was funny, all those classes and seeing him play football and I didn't even know his name. We walked in silence to science class and we both went to our regular seats across the room.
"Bye," he said, in his beautiful deep voice. I waved goodbye, not saying anything, because I would risk crying.
As the class filed in, our teacher was writing on the blackboard, telling us about an assignment and new lab stations that we would be in until spring. I sighed in relief. My lab partner right now was named Joyce and all she would do is copy my work.
"Good afternoon class, today we will be moving lab partners around to meet new people. I know you aren't a talkative bunch, but hopefully this will make you more talkative."
I zoned out until I heard my name.
"Abby Harington and Harry Styles, move to the station in the back right corner. I sighed. This would probably be the same as with Joyce. I would do all the work while he copied me.
I sat down and gasped when I saw who Harry was. The boy I walked in the hall with, the star football player, who wore my favorite number on his jersey. The boy with curly brown hair.
"Hello, again," Harry said quietly in my ear as Mr. Gold started talking. I turned away from him and tried to zone out of what he was doing but it was difficult.
"Don't you find it surprising that we have both gone to school here since freshman year and we didn't know each others name?"
"Shh," I said, not wanting to get in trouble.
"Come on, Abby, live a little. Talk to me, I won't bite," Harry said, still whispering in my ear.
Sighing I whispered, "Yes, very funny that we haven't met before this and we have classes together. Funny how before this, we never said two words to each other when I cheer for you at games. Very funny now be quiet."
We listened to the lecture for the remainder of class and when the bell rang, I felt something fall into a pocket in my backpack.
Ignoring Harry as he tried to talk to me, I walked to history. I don't know why I was so eager to get out of school. That would mean going home- wait I had work today! Finally, another reason to not to go home and deal with my father. I flinched as I walked and someone bumped into me, causing me to crash into yet another person, who elbowed me in the stomach- hard.
I stumbled back into Louis, who immediately dragged me away from everyone and sat me in a chair. I didn't say anything, I just clutched my stomach, willing the pain to go away, telling myself it would stop soon.
I felt the hot tears roll down my cheeks and I took a deep breath in. It came out broken and wounded, telling the world how much pain I was in. I angrily wiped my tears away, not wanting to cry in front of Louis.
Apparently, we weren't alone though. I heard other voices. He was talking to people. Were they school officials? Was he telling them about what happens to me?! I reached my hand out and put it over his mouth. Slowly, my eyes focused as the tears faded away. There was not one single school official. Hell, we weren't even at the school anymore!
I was sitting in a wooden chair in a room painted in warm tones of blue, with a window seat covered in white pillows and there was a soft white throw rug on the dark wooden floors. There was a desk in the corner, with a MacBook laptop on it and a white cushioned desk chair. When had I gotten here? Where was I? How severely punished would I be once my Father found out I had basically skipped?
"Louis?" I asked, my throat sore and tight. I looked at the other faces in the room.
There was a woman with brown curly hair, and a warm, caring face. She looked to be around her early 40's. Her deep blue eyes showed nothing but caring and I could tell she would do anything to protect people she cared about. She wore a red blouse with white flowy pants and had pearls around her neck. She was tall, about 5'9" and wore black heels. Her nails were freshly manicured and she had an almost regal appearance to her.
To her right was a man, about in his mid 40's, with black hair and green eyes. He wore a green dress shirt with black slacks. He wore new dress shoes and he had a stern look about his facial features which reminded me of my dad before he would hit me. I flinched back from him before I remembered this was not my dad and I was safe here... Wherever here was.
"W-where am I," I asked.
"You're at my house. You're safe here," Louis said, enveloping me in a hug. I hugged him back tightly, when I heard his mom say something.
"Safe? What do you mean safe here?"
Louis looked at me and I shook my head. I didn't want people to find out. I didn't even want Louis to find out! And now his mom wanted to know? No way! No, no, no, no, no!
"Sweetie, we won't get you in trouble, no matter what it is, we won't tell," Mrs. Tomlinson said.
"T-that was what the last people I told s-said. And they j-just went and told," I cried as the pain in my stomach receded, slowly.
Maybe I should explain. See, I had this friend, Olivia, and I thought it would be safe to tell her. We were eight and she was sworn to secrecy. I told her everything that was going on, how he hit mom and how he would be drinking from a dark bottle that he would throw at the walls. I left her house that day knowing she wouldn't tell, I mean, we swore under the promise tree! But, she must have told her mom, because that night, the cops came to our house, on a rare night when my father was not drunk and wasn't hitting mom.
"Mr. Harrington, we need to talk to you," they had said. They asked him he would go with them to the station and he agreed. To this day, I don't know what happened when he was with them. I just know he told them some lie that meant he was still able to be free. But he came home fuming, screaming profanities and saying I was a good for nothing tattle tale and that he wished I had never been born. Luckily, he didn't hit me, I guess he thought an eight year old shouldn't be abused.
Realizing my eyes were closed, I opened them to see Louis and some of his friends.
"Louis? Who are these people?"
"Oh, well you already know Harry, and this is Liam. They came over after school got out," Louis explained.
I looked around, wondering where Mr. and Mrs. Tomlinson were. I wasn't in pain anymore, none at all. Yes, my stomach was still bruised, they would be there for a while, but at least the pain was gone. I laid my head down again. Suddenly, I sat up.
"What time is it?!"
"It's just past six," Harry said. "Football just got done with."
Past six. Oh no, oh no, oh no! If I wasn't home in twenty minutes, I was DEAD! I stood up quickly and speed walked around the room, looking for my boots. "Where are they? Where are my shoes," I said loudly.
Harry came over and grabbed both of my hands. I wriggled and struggled against him but he was too strong. "Please, let me go, I have to go home, I'll get in trouble, Harry," I said, staring into his beautiful green eyes.
"Why would you get in trouble, Abby?" Harry asked, cocking his head to the side a little, like a little puppy that was confused.
I shook my head, "I-I can't tell you, but I have to go. And where is my car? Is it still at the school, oh I'm gonna be in so much trouble! So. Much. Trouble," I said fast, gasping and having a panic attack. No, not here, not now, don't panic, don't panic, I thought. But it was no use. I started shaking and I ripped myself away from Harry. I ran over to a far corner of the room and put my hands on my head.
"Calm down, calm down, calm down," I kept repeating to myself, holding my head in my hands.
Louis and Liam ran into the room and asked what was wrong.
"She's having a panic attack," Louis said, stepping over to me, and taking me in his strong arms. I continued to shake like a little chiwawa, small and frightened. Louis stroked my hair while whispering sweet nothings in my ear, saying it would be okay, and he wouldn't let anyone hurt me anymore.
I knew that was a promise he wouldn't be able to keep. Yes, it comforted me, did I know that wasn't true? Yes, I did. Would he try to keep that promise, like he had kept so many others, of course he would, but this time he would fail.
"I just need to go back home," I whispered. I felt him nod and he kissed my head.
"Harry, drive my car and park it around the block from her house. I'll drive Abby to her house," Louis said, tossing Harry my keys and pulling my shoes onto my feet. I just stayed quiet as they all herded me out the door and to my car.
Louis opened the passenger door and I sat inside, my arms crossed and my head down. I heard my door close and then saw the drivers door open and Louis sat down in my usual seat.
"I could have driven myself," I said stubbornly.
"You were having a panic attack, I wasn't about to let you drive," Louis said.
"I know that I was having a panic attack. I also know that I have driven after many panic attacks and have been just fine."
Louis just shook his head at me and laughed quietly, a little smile forming on the corner of his lips. Why did he have to be so involved? Why did he have to be there last night when I got beaten?
He never would have had to know.