Disclaimer: I do not own Next to Normal.
Henry crossed his arms and pressed his lips together in a tight line. While Natalie was often stone-faced and straight-laced, Henry was pretty laid-back. But on this night, like many others, he disapproved very much of his girlfriend's behaviour. True, he was a big fan of cannabis, but he'd never taken his habit further than that, and he had fewer than zero plans to do so after Natalie's little display. Henry hated the sketchy places that Natalie was frequenting, and she now exuded a lack of control that scared the hell out of him.
"Come on! This is my favourite club! Let's go in!" Natalie tugged at Henry, laughing and stumbling around as if she didn't quite know how to coordinate her feet and the rest of her body.
"Isn't three clubs a little much for a Tuesday night- Wednesday morning?" Henry remained unmoved.
"Come on!" She insisted. "They're playing my favourite song!"
"They're all your favourite song." Henry's voice was flat and quiet. "What are you on?"
"Adderall, Xanax. And Valium." Natalie squinted and made circling motions with her hands, as if she were trying to get the cogs of her memory turning. "And… Robitussin!" A grin lit up her face.
"When did you become a bad influence on me?"
Natalie laughed again. "Hey," she giggled, "I am under stress. My mom is in a hospital being electrocuted." With that, she skipped into the club.
Reluctantly, Henry followed her. He winced at the deafening volume of the music. Although Natalie claimed they were playing her "favourite song," Henry doubted she'd ever heard the song before; Natalie only listened to classical music, and when she went to clubs, she was probably too delirious to be capable of identifying familiar music anyway.
She was, however, alert enough to know her words would get lost unless she shouted them: "Seriously! She gets it, like, every day for two weeks! I can't even deal!" Another laugh escaped from her lips, although there was bitterness to it. "I'd never let them fuck with my brain like that!" Ironically, she followed this line by taking a couple pills from her pocket and chasing them down with an energy drink before delving into the crowd.
"No, you're strictly a 'do-it-yourself'er," Henry yelled back, despite knowing she wouldn't hear him.
Henry hated bearing witness to Natalie's reckless actions and their consequences. He hated hanging out on the sidelines of clubs and being the one to interfere when some creep tried to take advantage of her crazed state. He hated that he was always picking her up off the floor at the end of the night and taking her home. She'd spend the car ride bent over with her head between her legs, sobbing, and Henry would for once be unsympathetic. And yet, he would hate it more if he didn't do these things, if he wasn't there for her. Even though everything Natalie was doing was hurting him, he knew that she was hurting more; even though he drove her home and got her water and tucked her into bed and she still pushed him away, he'd continue to look after her, because he still loved her and hoped that he'd get the real Natalie back.
Clearly, that wouldn't happen tonight.
Henry sighed as he watched Natalie dance under the bright lights and smile flirtatiously at grubby-looking strangers. "Wish you weren't here," he whispered sadly under his breath.