These are probably going to come a lot slower now, since I have some other projects I want to finish up first and will be incredibly busy the next couple of days (as I have been the past few, which is why I haven't answered reviews yet, but I will!). The next chapter is probably going to be from Pitch's POV, which will give a nice insight into how fucked up things are.
Obviously, the abuse warning is still in effect, but I want to add victim blaming for this chapter. While it's something that is very common in abusive relationships and has been subtly present in the past couple chapters, it's more obvious here.
Jack stared nervously at the doctor—Doctor Miller, as she had introduced herself when she entered the room. She was busy reading something on a clipboard, so he switched his gaze to his X-rays, up on the lighted display. Some showed his entire torso and others focused on his lower chest, but Jack had no idea what indicated good or bad, so he tried to avoid thinking about it.
Doctor Miller finally looked up from her clipboard, glancing at Jack before turning her attention to the X-rays.
"You were pretty lucky, Mr. Frost. Your ribs are only cracked," she said, taking out a red marker and circling several places on one of the close up X-rays, "and only in these areas. Any more pressure and they would have broken."
Jack stared at the three red circles and the thin lines of black that interrupted the white of his ribs within them. He really didn't see how "only" fit his situation, but he supposed it could be worse: broken, as Doctor Miller had said.
"Easy to fix, just some wrapping to keep things in place, but aftercare is very important. No strenuous physical activity for at least a week and be careful of any kind of contact in that area," she said and, after a pause, continued, "Mind telling me how this happened? I read it in the report, but I like to hear from the patient themselves, just in case they forgot any . . . details."
The scrutinizing way she looked at him made Jack's blood run cold. She knows.
No, he couldn't jump to conclusions. He needed to keep a level head and calmly explain what happened, the version that he came up with at least. He didn't want to get separated from Pitch, couldn't let that happen. They loved each other, even if Pitch had difficulty showing it sometimes. Jack took a deep breath and then winced at the way it expanded his ribs.
"I was driving to the grocery store with Pitch—"
"The man you came in with?"
"And what is his relation to you?"
"He . . . he's my boyfriend. We live together."
"Okay, please continue."
"We were just driving and someone suddenly pulled out in front of us. I forgot to put my seatbelt on, so when Pitch slammed on the breaks I kept going and hit the dashboard."
"The car must have been going pretty fast to cause that much damage."
"Yeah, we were probably speeding, but Pitch is a good driver. It was my fault, really. I should have put my seatbelt on."
Doctor Miller narrowed her eyes a bit and Jack resisted biting his lip.
"And that's . . . it . . ." he said in a small voice, letting it trail off.
"Okay then. If that's how it went, there's just one more thing I need to address. You have some impressive bruising across your entire upper torso, specifically the area around your cracked ribs. While that's expected with such an injury, it's mostly older bruising that has already started to heal, rather strange for an injury sustained just today."
Jack didn't know how to respond to that. He had gotten a glimpse of his blue and purple chest the morning after that night, when he had finally worked up the courage to move, but he had avoided looking since. In his efforts to pretend it didn't exist, he had actually forgotten.
He opened his mouth to respond, but he couldn't think of anything to say. Everyone always told him he was quick witted, so where was that now?
"Is there anything else you want to tell me, Jack?" Doctor Miller asked.
"I-I don't understand what you mean." This was getting dangerous. Doctor Miller clearly suspected something, but she most likely couldn't act on it unless she got some kind of confirmation from him.
Well, there was nothing to confirm! Everything was fine, so she was just wasting her time—and his. The sooner he got to Pitch and got out of there the better.
"Can I go now? You told me what I need to do. I just want to go home."
Doctor Miller looked a bit disappointed, but she didn't say anything more on that subject. "Unfortunately we can't release you yet. We want to keep you for a few more hours for observation, just to make sure there's no internal damage. A nurse will be in to move you to a more comfortable room shortly."
Doctor Miller gathered up her clipboard and marker and moved to shake Jack's hand. Before letting go, she grasped it tightly.
"Don't hesitate to call me if you want to talk, okay? Just ask the nurse to get me. I'm only trying to help you."
Jack's mouth went dry. He stared at Doctor Miller's face, so open and honest, and thought of Tooth's face when she said the same thing. He didn't understand why people were so concerned. He could handle himself and there wasn't anything to handle, anyway.
"Okay," he said, nodding, not knowing what else to do.
Then Doctor Miller was gone and ten minutes later he was whisked away to his new room. The second bed was unoccupied, but the nurse still drew his curtain closed.
Jack lay back against the pillows, feeling very alone. He wondered when they would let Pitch come visit him, but then wondered if they would. Doctor Miller's suspicions seemed to point at no. It made Jack doubt he needed to be kept for observation and that they were actually keeping him away from Pitch, probably in hope that he would call Doctor Miller and confess . . . something.
He didn't want people to interfere with him and Pitch. They were working things out themselves. It was only a matter of time before Pitch snapped out of whatever this was and turned back to normal and Jack couldn't help him if they were forcibly separated.
However, Doctor Miller's suspicions and intentions were not totally unfounded. Pitch was the reason he was in the hospital, not just because he brought him here, but because he was the cause of the injuries that led to Jack needing medical attention in the first place. Jack had walked around in pain for nearly a week, pretending that everything was fine when his chest felt like it was on fire and that was all Pitch's fault—
No! No, it wasn't. Pitch had already explained himself, had already said that he had trouble controlling his actions and Jack had already decided not to blame him for that. Jack was managing just fine before; sure he hurt, but things would have healed eventually. It wasn't like cleaning and cooking were strenuous activities and that was really all he did.
Now that he thought about it, it was likely that what happened in the car caused the worst of his injuries. The force of being thrown forward and Pitch's hand catching him could have cracked already bruised ribs. The damage would have been much worse if he had hit the dashboard, so Pitch had actually saved him from further injury. If he had just put his seatbelt on in the first place, he probably would have been completely fine, so really, it was all his fault.
Gingerly shifting, Jack tried to get more comfortable, but found it nearly impossible between the plastic covering on the mattress and the pain in his chest. He stared up at the white ceiling, wishing Pitch would come take him home soon.
I wanted to ask that people give me some feedback here, just to give me a feel for things. Am I properly portraying an abusive relationship? What are your feelings on the status of things? What do you see happening, or want to happen? And why? I just really want to see what people think of my writing. I would very much appreciate it! Thank you!