Taking You For Granted

Oliver had always been around, and so he would always be around... Just, as a friend. That's all he was, she swore to herself. But, when something terrible happens she's forced to take a new look at her longest standing, never changing relationship.

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5. make a bad day worse

"I can't believe he said that," Hedy griped as she painted her toenails at the foot of Oliver's bed. "That's complete bullshit. What a detective."

When I showed the detective my ripped dress, he was ready to serve and protect. When I mentioned Eddie's name as my attacker, he said it wasn't enough evidence and that my witness didn't count if he punched the accused. That we were lucky Eddie hadn't pressed any assault charges. He told me I should be glad it stopped with a torn dress, then he lectured us about truancy.

I really didn't want to go home after that. Besides, Hedy would have nagged me about being alone at a time like this. She met us here when Oli called her.

I hadn't really reacted at the police station. I think that had worried Oliver. I was just feeling numb.

Oliver came into the room with three glasses of water. I sat up from where I was, laying on his bed staring at the ceiling.

His eyes were clouded over with anxiety over me and I was struck with guilt.

I didn't have the best track record for dealing with negative parts of my life in a healthy manner. But, that was four years ago. I found theater, my rung on the hierarchal ladder of high school. I had good friendships.

I was better.

Even in my head, that sounded like a weak lie.

"She hasn't said a word since I got here," Hedy spoke to Oliver.

"I'm right here," I reminded her.

She feigned surprise and jumped, her newly shellacked hand carefully placed against her chest in an awkward attempt to keep from messing up her polish.

"Doctor, she's awoken from the coma!" She put on a heavy southern accent. "Should we confess to our heated affair?"

Oliver rolled his eyes and placed the water glasses on his nightstand.

Hedy was the one who took me to school the next day. She wasn't as easy to bend to my will as Oliver. I both loved and hated her for it.

She looped her arm supportively through mine as we pushed through the double doors. No one looked our way in the shuffle to class. I felt a small comfort in remembering the senior class only made up a quarter of the school population, so 75% of the student body probably didn't even know who I was.

"Eddie, then Oli, and now what? Taking Hedy from poor Will?" I heard a barely faked whisper coming from my right.

I turned to see who it was, but they'd already turned their heads and stares away from us.

"Haven't you had enough?" Asked someone else.

I started to back out of the doorway, but Hedy grabbed me by my elbow and pulled me away towards my locker to get my things.

I was glad to see no one had broken the lock, but that paled to the sick feeling in my gut when I saw the word WHORE stabbed into my locker door in ragged scratched lettering.

I put in my combination, gathered the books I needed for my next class, and hurried heady toward first period.

Eddie was sitting on my desk, surrounded by his friends, and my heart dropped into my intestines upon seeing him.

"Get off her desk, Eddie," Hedy seethed. "Stay as far away from her as you possibly can."

He ignored her and approached us. I froze like a statue, unable to move. I couldn't believe I was this afraid.

"You went to the police?" He asked, his voice cracking around the last word.

So he was a little bit scared, too.

"My parents are pissed," he griped. His lip had been busted and his eye was bruised. "Just drop it, and I'll tell everyone to stop ragging you."

I kept my eyes on his feet. I couldn't look at him anymore. Hedy shoved him away.

"I said to stay away from her," she said through clenched teeth.

"Hey, calm down. Everyone take their seats," our teacher, Mr. Evans entered the class room. "This is a government and civics class, so I expect everyone to be civil while you're here. You can work out whatever disputes you have elsewhere."

Eddie smirked and went to his seat. Hedy found her seat, too, expecting me to follow. But, I couldn't move. My feet wouldn't budge.

"Miss Hill, are you okay?" Mr. Evan's voice had a concerned edge to it.

"Can I go to the nurse's office? I feel sick at my stomach."

I didn't move my eyes from the floor.

"Sure," he said. "Hedy, why don't you stop glaring daggers at Mr. Zimmerman and take your friend to the nurse. I'll bring the handouts to you both after class."

Hedy was at my side in a moment and dragging me down the halls to the nurse's office.

"I knew I shouldn't have come to school," I hated how my voice quaked.

We spent the whole period in the nurse's office. The nurse didn't ask any questions, just said Mr. Evans told her to expect us.

After the bell rang, Mr. Evans met us in the sterile little room.

"I want you girls to be honest with me," he started to speak as he shut the door behind him. "June, did Eddie Zimmerman... did he hurt you in anyway?"

I traded looks with Hedy. She nodded and I turned back to Mr. Evans.

"He tried to rape me," I choked out the words, sick of how they tasted on my tongue.

Mr. Evans' face turned red with anger.

"This isn't the first time he's tried it," Hedy ventured a guess. "You know something."

He hesitated, thinking hard about something.

"Eddie's parents have been covering up her behavior for years," he told us. "They have the police, and most of the staff in this school too afraid to do anything because they're some of the biggest donors to both. They've threatened to defund everything if anyone says a word."

My gut churned like it was full of battery acid. I knew Eddie was rich, but I didn't realize it was like this.

"I've got a friend," Mr. Evans continued. "A defense attorney in Austin. She's building a case against the Zimmerman's. For Eddie's victims, but also for bribery, coercion, and a dozen other charges against his parents, the school, and the sherif's office. Would you be willing to meet with her?"

I chewed on my lip, feeling both terrified and hopeful. Hedy squeezed my hand.

I nodded. He put a hand on my shoulder and smiled.

"You're a brace girl for being here," he said. "Do you have anymore classes with that little worm?"

I quickly shook my head.

"Well, while I can't give you a special pass to miss my class," he frowned, "I can at least promise to keep him from bothering you while you're there."

"Thank you," my voice rattled in my throat, my words barely above a whisper.

I was just thankful to have an adult on my side, one that knew what was going on. I should have told Oli's mom.

When I got home, my mom was waiting for me in the dining room.

"June," she called me over when she heard the door open. "Come in here, we need to talk."

My mom was never home. She was always at the country club, playing tennis, drinking wine, and pretending we had more money than we actually did. I instinctively went on edge.

"What is it?" I asked when I came in to see her sitting at the table with her computer in front of her.

"I heard you insulted the Zimmerman boy over the weekend."

"No, mom! He attacked me," my defense and accusation was met with a pretentious, doubtful smile.

"Oh, please, so he got a little fresh with you at a party," she teased and patted the seat beside her, inviting me to sit down.

I shook my head, from anger and disbelief, "No, he drugged me and threw me in his car. He tried to..."

"But he didn't," she said firmly. "He didn't. You're fine. In fact, at the club today, his mother told me at the club that he asked you to go out with him. Why would he ask you out if he was just going to drug you later? That's silly."

I wanted to dig my eyes out of my skull.

"You should be flattered," she said. "You should have just said yes."

"But I said no, and he ignored it!" I screamed.

"Sweetie, he is levels out of our family's league. You would be set for life to marry into his family," she continued.

"I'm staying with the Galaviz's tonight," I said, backing out of the room.

"Don't you ruin that boy's future," my mother called after me and I dropped to my knees in the hallway, trying to keep myself from crying.

She always had to have the last word, and of course they wouldn't be about me. Of course she wasn't concerned about me.

As far as she was concerned, Eddie had successfully staked his claim on me and I should be content with that.

Well, I wasn't.

I went to my room and packed all of the clothes I could fit into my biggest suitcase, as well as a few other necessities. When I reached to door, the keys to my car were missing. I heard them jingle behind me.

"I'll report your car as stolen," she stated in a clear, icy tone.

I yanked the door open and rolled my suitcase down the front path. Oliver only lived a mile away. I would walk.

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