|Just a Shadow of Herself
Author: Antonia-x PM
AU; set during any point of series 1. A night out which ends in disaster prompts Kate to alter her lifestyle choices.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Kate B. - Words: 3,340 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Published: 10-19-12 - id: 8624180
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sometimes (as I've said a few times) you really do just need to let Kate tell a story or it's impossible to do anything else. So on that note, a new story.
She's not entirely sure why but Kate knows that she cannot help but find it funny that when she is the one stood in the position which she is - pressed against the wall just outside the ladies' toilets in some darkened, non-descript pub, not a stone's throw from Bedlam Heights – that she should feel so disconnected and out-of-control about everything that is happening to her. In her own mind she knew that usually she would be the one who would have instigated such events, this time was different and she could not work out what she wanted at all to the extent that Kate found herself feeling quite horrified at the touch of the man who was currently doing his best to pull her top further up her body. It was only when his hands dropped dramatically and began tugging to her skirt, and Kate heard the soft noise of her tights tearing when they got in the way of his haste, she recognised that she was struggling against his grip and seemed to be trying to push him away from her. Kate tried to scream but she found that no noise came out, she was beginning to feel lightheaded and she had no idea how to resolve this, forcing her eyes open suddenly and almost at once found that the mouth of the man she was currently being held by was pressed against her own, he slipped one hand away from her skirt and it was soon caught in her hair, slipping down her neck: another thing holding her in place.
It was when his other hand continued to pull roughly at her tights, and subsequently her underwear, once again laddering the fragile material of her favourite tights as he did, that Kate became aware of just how little control she had. Her mind was spinning and she was unable to stop the hot tears which washed down her cheeks, her arms fell limply to her side when Kate realised her struggling was doing her no good. Kate tried to speak, again and again, until eventually managed to choke out the words she'd been trying to say. "No," she gasped desperately for breath, wanting nothing more than slip down towards the floor and curl into a tiny ball. "Please don't." Kate pleaded in one last desperate attempt at preventing a situation which already felt inevitable. She felt his hands leave the top of her thighs which were now bare and it was as the cold breeze hit her legs she realised just how powerless she was to prevent anything which was going to happen to her. Kate risked opening her eyes for the merest of moment and as she did he looked straight at her and from the look in his eye alone she knew that she could do nothing to stop what was going to happen. The warm moisture of further tears spilling down her cheeks reinforced to her like nothing else had just how frightened she felt, if she was being honest, she felt frighteningly nauseous and was certain that it would not be impossible for her be physically sick in the next moments. Raising one hand to cover her mouth, Kate gasped in pain when he grabbed it again and forced it above her head pinning it against the wall.
The sound of footsteps became very quickly louder and more obviously in their direction, Kate heard them, as did her male companion and they were what saved her, as he dropped her hands and swiftly stepped away from her. She opened her eyes briefly in time to see the man retreating down the corridor passing the unsuspecting intruder who had spared her a pain much worse than she'd already experienced as he did so. Kate closed her eyes and slipped down the wall, ending in a heap on the floor, whilst doing her best to tug her skirt down in an attempt to feel less exposed, an attempt that she knew was in vain given the dishevelled state she knew that her tights and skirt were in. The footsteps got closer, stopping directly in front of her she was sure, yet she could not bring herself to open her eyes and face the person – who by now must've have drawn their own conclusions about what had occurred.
She felt the warmth of some sort of material being draped around her shoulder and as it was gently tucked around her body before she realised that she could smell the familiarity of it and recognised how safe it had made her feel. She was pulled against someone's chest and she did not resist, only stiffening slight when they began to speak. "Talk to me Kate." Ryan. Kate could hear the sadness and the sympathy in his tone, and she knew that the last thing she wanted to do was open her eyes and see the look in his eyes too. The tears began again, quickly, and she buried her face in his neck as she felt herself pulled against him and Ryan held her tighter murmuring gently words which she was sure were meant to be comforting but she found they were anything but.
Kate couldn't tell how long it had been, but she knew that she remained seated on the cold, hard, and very probably dirty carpet held securely in Ryan's arms for quite some time, before she heard any sign of movement near by – the noise frightened her – more than she'd ever admit; more than she wanted to believe – and she curled herself tighter against Ryan's chest trying to make herself as small as possible. In an attempt at trying to avoid what had happened to her, and the fact that she knew it could have been so much had Ryan not appeared when he did, Kate closed her ears to the voice which now surrounded her; she knew Ryan was speaking, she could feel the vibrations of his chest. She only looked up, facing Ryan directly when small rushed footsteps hurried away, and all he seemed able to do was smile at her in a sympathetic way which only served to further distress her.
Ryan's grip around her tightened and she had just curled herself further into his embrace when the light footsteps returned, this time accompanied by much heavier ones; ones which Kate was certain she would recognise anywhere. The knowledge of who was now standing before her, had her hoping that the ground would simply swallow her up, the likelihood of that was slim so she settled for cowering down against Ryan's chest; however her newest company knelt down beside her and as he placed his hand gently on her back – she found much to her own surprise she wasn't comforted by the one person she thought would make it better instead the nausea which she'd first experienced when she realised quite how frightened she was by the escalation in activities made a much stronger reappearance. Kate pushed herself to her feet, throwing off Ryan's jacket as she did so, somewhat shakily when the urge to physically sick became much more overwhelming than she could cope with, and fled quickly to the toilets. She never had time to close the cubicle door behind her before she was vomiting into the toilet, and footsteps were rushing after her: Molly's. Her lifelong friend said nothing as she joined her on the floor, pulling her long hair from her face and holding it firmly behind her neck, Kate made no attempt at even moving until she was fairly satisfied that her feeling of sickness had diminished and even then Molly had to help to her feet. When they were both stood in the cubicle, Molly moved to close the door behind them, before attempting to help Kate in the properly rearranging of her clothes. Kate looked down at her legs, and found that she could not see the ladders in her tights without tear filling her eyes; she knew that it would be far more sensible to removing the torn clothing, but the simple effort of unzipping her shoes seemed like too much at the moment, and she settled for just hoping that the majority of the tears were not as noticeable to others as they were to her.
She noted the sympathetic way Molly looked at her before winding her fingers through her long hair and seeming to rest her open palm on her cheek; the moment she felt the gentle touch of Molly's hand Kate found the tears just wouldn't stop and was pulled immediately into Molly's arms, sobbing into her friend's shoulder. She heard the bathroom door opening and Kate quickly jumped from Molly's arms and rushed out of the cubicle, not looking up at the person who had entered, focussing completely on washing her face and wiping away the stained make-up which she knew would be evidence of her tears. Kate glanced in the mirror and almost jumped in fright when she seen Jed stood behind her. His presence, however, seemed to be Moly's cue to leave, and Kate noted her friend hurrying from the room. She spun quickly and found herself staring straight into Jed's eyes and not being able to tell anything from them; it was normal, but she expected to see something, she wasn't sure what, but she expected to see some sort of indication that the person she cared about most in the world had felt something towards what had just happened given that she felt like her whole world had been tipped on its head.
Kate inched closer towards him, and closed her eyes tightly when the room begun to spin frighteningly around her as she suddenly became aware of the patches of heat which felt like they'd been permanently etched into her skin in every place he'd touched. She felt herself being steadied and opening her eyes she was aware of how close Jed was to her, barely holding her at arm's length as he supported her in an upright position. She opened her mouth to speak, and found that the lack of speaking since Ryan had found her in a heap all that time had hindered that ability somehow, and settled for moving closer to Jed and hoping he understood. Kate closed her eyes, finding herself pulled to the ground gently, as her palms came into contact with Jed's chest, and realised that she never wanted to open them again, with her eyes closed and wrapped so tightly in Jed's arms she could be anywhere – where she wasn't bothered so long as it wasn't the toilet floor of this very pub. "Did-" Jed began before suddenly stopping forcing Kate to open her eyes and look at him. He seemed to be lost in thought and the last thing she wanted to do was pushing him into asking question she didn't feel ready to answer. "Did he-" He tried again, and Kate buried her head in the crook of her neck, not sure what to say, she felt his fingers tug through her hair and his hand eventually ceased moving at her neck and he clung to her as much as she did to him. "Were you?" Jed asked, seemingly in question, it was though he couldn't bring himself to say the word aloud, but the implication was there, and Kate bit her lip trying to hold back a fresh round of tears over the events of the night.
"No," she all but whispered. "No," she tried again, but the word was barely spoken any louder and muffled by the skin on Jed's neck. "No." She eventually stated at a more audible volume, and she felt Jed release a breath she wasn't aware he'd been holding, and the tears streamed down her cheeks as she considered what could have happened.
"Oh Kate," Jed whispered gently into her hair, and she was oddly comforted by Jed's tight grip, when she realised that she could still feel the man's hands on her skin; his mouth on her mouth on his neck and his lips on hers.
"I want to go home," Kate admittedly suddenly and moved purposely, pulling herself to her feet with help of the sink cabinet. "Please take me home," she found the courage from somewhere to stare at Jed and hope that he was willing to agree to her demands. She brushed at the still flowing tears in vain as Jed stood and removed his coat, wrapping it around her shoulders as he did so. He slipped his hand into hers and together they approached the toilet door; waiting outside were Ryan and Molly, Molly held out her handbag and Kate took it from her, quickly retreating to the opposite side of the corridor in attempt to not be anywhere near the place where the one event which scared her so much had occurred. She watched without really paying any attention to what was being said but she was pulled back into reality by Jed wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her gently from the corridor and through the pub, before she was eventually relaxed by the fresh air outside.
Kate let her head drop against Jed's shoulder as she wrapped his coat around herself tightly, as they began the slow walk home; it was a short walk, but their slow pacing lengthened the journey considerably. Kate found she didn't care, the cool air was soothing her frayed nerves, and even though she jumped into Jed's side whenever someone was nearby, she found she was feeling less claustrophobic than she was in the pub. When they stepped into the ground of Bedlam Heights Kate found herself instinctively looking up to the office window, relieved she noted that it was in darkness, and her dad was probably already in his apartment and that there would be little chance of bumping into him in there way to their own apartment.
Kate rushed through the door, quickly throwing herself down on the couch, and was almost instantly wrapped in the thick blanket Jed sometimes used when he slept on the sofa. She stayed for still for some time, happy to be wrapped in Jed's arms while she tried to comprehend how her night had managed to take such a sour turn. She knew exactly when it did; but she really couldn't give herself a suitable explanation for the reason she'd allowed herself to be pulled into the near darkened corridor of the bar with a complete stranger. "Can I make you tea?" Jed asked softly just as Kate had concluded that she really did want to explain herself to him.
"I want to go for a bath." Jed seemed to glance at her in concern before he nodded his head swiftly and moving towards the bathroom. Kate remained motionless on the sofa, faintly aware of the silent tears which were beginning to make their way steadily down her cheeks, once again. The feeling of nausea was rising, again, as she was unable to prevent the feel of the unwelcome touch of a man whose name she did not know. Kate slipped from the sofa, pulling the blanket tightly around her as she padded through to the bathroom – where Jed was sat watching the water pour from the taps seemingly completely lost in thought. Kate was practically on his lap when she did manage to sit down in front of him; Jed drew her into his arms without speaking or even glancing in her direction.
Neither of them moved nor spoke until Jed reached up to switch the tabs off and hastily stood up, pausing momentarily to look at her. "Do you mind what night stuff I bring you?" Kate shook her head softly, and then focussed on removing her top and throwing it almost the length of the bathroom, hoping to get rid of everything which might remind of that man. He glanced back at her in alarm, before nodding his head once and slipping out of the door. He returned less than five minutes later, with everything she might need, and immediately busied himself in picking up her discarded items of clothing. "What do you want me to do with these?" He asked gently, indicating the items in his hand.
Kate stared at him briefly before closing her eyes and tilting her head upwards and resting her head on the rim of the bath, letting the warm water soothe her, as she spoke. "Bin them." She never opened her eyes until she was sure that Jed was safely out bathroom and only then did she allow herself think about the real reason why she'd allowed the events of the evening even begin.
She hauled herself out of the bath after ten or so minutes, and she wrapped the towel Jed had left her around herself before falling down into the chair in the room. Picturing the outfit which she'd asked Jed to bin, Kate considered that she did not blame the unknown man for his assumptions – in that moment she was completely understanding of why he thought what he did – however realising that perhaps she'd been sat there just a little too long she stood and hastily dressed. Tying her hair up as she walked out of the bathroom, Kate noted the anxious way Jed was watching her from his seat by the window and suddenly felt like she owed him an explanation.
"I was flirting with him to get your attention," Kate said suddenly, surprising even herself with the honesty of her words, relieved to note that rather than look at her in disgust Jed held out his arms and she rushed into them, resting her head against his chest as she bundled herself onto his knee. "It was my own fault." She said with certainty.
It was that statement was what forced Jed into a reaction. "You must never ever think that." Kate couldn't comprehend the sudden emotion in his voice but found that she did need to tell someone precisely what had happened.
"I said no." She confirmed sadly, recognising that despite her delay in saying the words, she did say them, she did asked him to stop and he disregarded her wishes. "I begged him to stop," Kate choked on the words and Jed wrapped his arms just that tiny bit tighter around her body, holding her a little closer. "But he didn't, he didn't stop, he kept pulling at my skirt, at my tights," she continued. "He didn't stop, not until Ryan was near."
"It's not your fault," Jed continued and Kate just shook her head sadly.
"I was flirting with him, I'd been leading him on all night," she explained once again, "I was doing it to get your attention. What sort of person does that?" She asked suddenly and all the tears she'd been trying to stop from falling came at once. The tears were soaking into the thin material of Jed's shirt and he didn't seem to care as he began to rub soothing circles on Kate's back. "What does that make me?" Kate wailed suddenly, her voice partly muffled by the material, and Jed did not reply, simply remained muttering comforting words in her ear.
There is actually one more part to this – however, if I say it won't be a long wait it's entirely possible that it's a lie, it's been known to happen.