PROLOGUE

She wasn't going to ask that stupid question.

No.

She knew for a fact that Cheryl wasn't okay, and any answer coming from her end which denied that was going to be one big fat lie. Because how could anyone who had spent a haunting week and a half in a derelict, barely-legal asylum sent to by her mother – someone who's meant to love and care for their daughter regardless of any factors – be okay?

It had been a haunting experience for Toni, too. The stench of filthy and rotting walls, pieces of the ceiling and plasterboard lying on the dusty floor, the blank stares through emotionless eyes, and whatever else she'd noticed but was trying her hardest to forget. She'd been there for a mere fifteen minutes, occupied by frantically searching the lonely corridors and grey-painted rooms, adrenaline thankfully blocking out any detailed observation, yet the images would remain in her head for a long time for sure. Cheryl had been there for nine days – maybe ten, but at least nine – and she dreaded to think of how detailed and memorable her experiences of the place were. How much damage had been done. If that could ever be repaired.

Cheryl hadn't been okay for a long time. Toni could see that. There had been a glimpse of sadness lingering in her eyes that day of the street race, probably the first time she had ever seen Cheryl. Beautiful, yet sad, with barely visible bruises around her ankles as if she'd fallen whilst walking on stilettos. Later, she'd found out that only two days before she had been roofied, narrowly yet fortunately escaping before things became even more devastating. Since moving to Riverdale High she'd noticed more about the redhead. Picked up on the tiniest details embedded in her every action. How she'd always walk the halls alone, constantly inspecting her long ruby fingernails as if she were trying to pretend that she was occupied. How she stood on her phone in front of the same sink in the same bathroom every single lunch time. How fake that damn smile she wore was.

She didn't understand how no one else noticed that. You shouldn't be smiling when your father has killed your brother.

At least now, halfway along some wooded road miles from Riverdale with the only light coming from the crescent moon and the headboard of Kevin's truck, she wasn't smiling. She wasn't denying it. And even though it was nice, refreshing maybe, it was just another indication at how broken she really was. Her leather jacket drapes over the redhead's shoulders as she either shivers or trembles and stares sadly out of the window to the road illuminated by bright white headlights, drooping eyes no longer holding back the silent tears which had been falling for the past ten minutes with no effort being made to wipe them away. And Toni just stares at her beautiful yet tear-stricken face, hoping that she really will be okay soon, hoping that there's something – anything – she can do to help her.

LAST EPISODE KIND OF RESULTED IN FOUR CHAPTERS BEING SEMI-WRITTEN (CHAPTER ONE THEN DECIDING TO DELETE ITSELF - THANKS NOTES!). PRETTY MUCH A CHONI RECOVERY STORY TAKING PLACE AFTER 2.17 BUT ALSO INVOLVING DISCUSSION OF EARLIER TOPICS – I'LL DO TRIGGER WARNINGS AT THE TOP OF EVERY CHAPTER. HAVE A LOVELY DAY AND SEE YOU NEXT CHAPTER!