Fifteen minutes of sitting and staring at the ceiling had given Nala the idea of surrounding Suzy with her friends, make her feel comfortable and maybe she would open up and talk again. She rolled onto her side and looked at her friend who was just staring at where her back had been, tears rolling silently down her face.
“Oh, Suzy!” Nala cried and jumped off her bed, taking a few steps to Suzy’s bed and sitting down beside her, hugging her. “Please, please stop thinking about it. It will be better for us both when you just forget and move on..” Nala said, stroking Suzy’s hair. “I have an idea to get you talking again. How about we invite our friends to the mall, do something that you normally enjoy and makes you feel comfortable, that should get you talking again.” Nala said, watching cars pass outside. Suzy grabbed her notebook and scribbled messily in it.
I don’t want to see anyone. I won’t go out.
Nala sighed after she read it and nodded. “That’s fair enough. Well, what do you want to do then? What do you think would help?” Suzy wrote something down and handed it to her friend.
Tell someone Nala.
Even though she knew it would help her friend, Nala just couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone. “I can’t do that Suzy, I just can’t. Imagine what people would think of me after, that I’d been raped by my own Father!” tears gathered in her eyes and she quickly wiped them away, she had to stay strong, one of them had to. “We need to try something else.”
Meanwhile, back at his house, Peter had finally woken up and gone downstairs to make himself some coffee. He noticed it was quiet and peeked into his daughters room to find her, Suzy and both their stuff gone. He cussed and walked quickly downstairs to the kitchen, where he found the note.
Get Mum to call me when she’s back home, and I will think about coming back, until then I am staying at Suzy’s. Do not try and get me, I am happy here and I know am not in danger here. Last night you did something horrible, and I will never forgive you for that.
“Shit!!” Peter cussed again, loudly this time. He grabbed the landline from the bench and punched in the familiar numbers. He got the ring tone and just when he was about to give up, someone answered.
“Hello?” the voice said groggily. Peter just smirked, he knew she’d be hung over, badly.
“Hello, Imogene. I just wanted to let you know our daughter is off to stay at Suzy’s for a while, so if you’re interested in coming back, we could have some quality time together?” he offered. He knew he had to butter her up and make himself seem like an amazing Father and Husband. Nobody could ever find out about last night.
“Peter? We never spend time together, besides, I’m with the girls.” Mrs. Lark replied, Peter frowned and nodded even though he knew she couldn’t see him.
“I know, I just miss you so much sometimes..” he said, but didn’t give her a chance to reply. “Well, I’ll leave you alone then. Have fun with the girls, give them my best for me.” And with that he hung up, and started making himself a coffee. He knew Imogene would be torn between coming home and doing the right thing by spending time with him, and staying out with her girlfriends and having fun. She was a good lady, amazing lady, and he did love her with all his heart or he wouldn’t have married her, though sometimes she really did make the wrong decisions. She was never there for their daughter anymore, always out with her friends. Peter sighed and sipped his coffee, trying to think how he could make it up to his daughter.
Nala paced the room, back and forth, back and forth as she tried to think of a way to make Suzy talk. She had already tried asking her yes or no questions, surprising her, tickling her, everything, but Suzy just seemed completely numb to the world now. She sat, staring aimlessly at the wall while her friend paced, she knew she was worried, as her family would begin to be, but she really couldn’t talk. She tried, she really did, but she just couldn’t make any noise come out. Finally, Nala sat opposite Suzy on her own bed, facing her and looked her dead in the eye.
“Suzy, say octopus.” She instructed, with a completely straight face. Suzy raised an eyebrow at her and a slight smile curved up the corners of her mouth, but only for the briefest second. She then seemed deep in concentration as she opened her mouth and tried say octopus. Nala could see her tongue trying to form the word, see how hard Suzy was trying, but no matter what there was no sound coming out. Nala buried her head in her heads and sobbed quietly.
“Oh we are screwed, so very screwed. What are your parents going to say?? And people at school?? You have to talk Suzy, you just have to..” Nala said with sigh, she curled up into a ball and fell asleep almost instantly, she hadn’t realized how tired she was.
Suzy just watched as her best friend curled up and fell asleep, she then stood up as quietly as she could and opened her bedroom window; it was only a one story house so she slipped out and shut it behind her. Once she was out, she made sure nobody had seen her, and the coast was clear, and then made a dash for the park across the street. Once there, she climbed up her favourite tree, she normally stopped and lay across one of the lower branches, just enjoying the sound and scenery, though this time she climbed, and climbed, till she reached the top. She could see everything from where she was, her house, school, the playground, Nala’s house. The last one made her shudder, and she closed her eyes and bit her lip, thinking of the events from last night. She opened her mouth to try scream, but she couldn’t even do that, nothing worked. She shook her head and clambered back down a few branches, laying back on one of the thicker, stronger ones and watching the clouds above her. It wasn’t the nicest day and the clouds were a dark grey, hiding the sun, and the wind was cold. Though Suzy thought it suited her mood perfectly, everything was dark, and cold. She wondered to herself whether there was even any point still going, but she knew she had to, for Nala’s sake, she couldn’t just leave her best friend after what had happened, she had to try, had to make an effort, if not for herself then for Nala.
When Nala woke up she felt as if she had been drugged, she was groggy, still tired and had a headache. Her legs had locked and she took her time stretching them out and waiting for the blood to start circulating again. Once she had stretched and felt her legs returning to life she rolled over to ask Suzy if she was hungry, and almost screamed. She was gone, Suzy wasn’t there.. She checked her cell phone and figured she had been asleep for at least two hours, so many things could have happened in that time. Shaking her head she pulled on a warm jersey and walked quickly out of the room, to the kitchen. Mrs. Golde was busy baking when she walked in.
“Oh, hello Nala. Where’s Suzy?” she asked absently, as she tipped the mixture into the pan. Nala swallowed and bit her lip worriedly as she thought of a excuse, before deciding the truth was probably better.
“Actually, I was going to ask if you knew where she is.” Nala said, leaning against the counter. Mrs. Golde looked over at her and her face dropped.
“Oh no.. Please tell me she hasn’t run off again? I’m tired of these games she plays.” She replied, putting the muffins in the oven and standing up straight again, dusting herself off. Nala shook her head quickly, going to her friends defence.
“No no, it’s not like that at all, we’re playing hide and seek so I was wondering if you’d seen her. I know it’s cheating to ask, so don’t tell her I did.” She said, and gave a mischievous smile, or, as close to one as she could pull off. Mrs. Golde grinned and winked at Nala.
“Oh I see, well in that case, I really can’t tell you if I’ve seen her or not, go find her.” She said, and laughed. Nala laughed too, and walked off, she knew Suzy would have gone outside, probably to the park. But it was a big park, it would take her forever to find her. In the past she’d just call out to her and Suzy would call back.
“Well.. It’s worth a shot..” she said aloud to herself. When she reached the park, she stood just beneath all the trees, cupped her hands around her mouth and called out. “Suzy!! Suzy where are you?!” then stopped to listen. Up in the tree Suzy woke up and sat up, looking down at her friend she opened her mouth and tried to call back to her, but once again there was no sound. She shook her head and tried again and again; nothing. She started crying, she was broken, she couldn’t be fixed. Her tears landed on Nala’s neck, so Nala reached up and wiped them away, then looked up and saw her best friend.
“Suzy!!” she called again, and clambered up the tree. When she got to the branch Suzy was on she put a hand over her friends and squeezed. “Don’t run away from me like that Suze.” She whispered and leaned against the trunk of the tree. “Come down with me, okay? We will go get something to eat, your Mum is making muffins.” She added, stepping down a few branches and looking up to check Suzy was following her. Suzy frowned and looked up at the sky, the clouds had gotten darker and thicker, she knew it would start raining soon but she really didn’t want to go inside.
“Please Suzy..?” Nala whispered, not wanting to leave her best friend, but she didn’t want to get wet either. Suzy looked down, and saw the concern in her friends eyes and sighed, she nodded and started following Nala down the tree. Once they were both on the ground Nala pulled her into a huge hug, burying her face into Suzy’s neck and promising her everything would be okay, and that they would get through this together. Suzy just nodded, holding Nala close.
Nala eventually pulled away when the first drop of rain landed heavily on her head.
“Come on Suze, it’s starting to rain, let’s go get something to eat and we’ll play a board game or something after.” She said and smiled lightly at her. She thought the best way to deal with this for the moment was to act like nothing was different, that everything was exactly the way it always was and they were both fine.