I wrote this for a challenge over at OTH 911. The challenge was to write diary entries for seven days, for a character you don't usually write for. Since I write Nathan/Haley fics, I thought I'd try doing a Rachel, since I've never done her before, and because she's one of the most interest characters on the show this season. This one is set nine months after the season finale, hope you guys like. Review and be sure to let me know what you think:)

Those Seven Days

January 3rd, 2007

It's the New Year. I don't feel any different. I don't feel the surge of adrenaline like I used to. New Year's used to be a rush of excitement for me. Another year used to signal another year of being in control of my life. Another year of being the new person that I am now instead of the person I used to be. The person I hated.

I thought things would change for the better once I had changed. For once, I felt in command of my own body. I found out what it was like to be desired, to be lusted after. And it felt great, I won't deny that. Instead of standing on the sidelines, wanting to be the girl that everyone wanted to be, I became that very girl instead.

It wasn't a rash decision. It was one made after years of being taunted, laughed at and singled out in crowds. Sixteen long years of suppressed resentment and envy. It was a decision that I made after, contrary to popular belief, a lot of contemplation. It was most definitely not a rash one by any means.

But sometimes I wonder if things would be any different if I hadn't done so. And the answer is the same, every time. Yes, they would be.

The old Rachel Gatina would have spent New Year's at midnight mass.

The new Rachel Gatina would have spent New Year's partying and drinking away.

But, the current Rachel Gatina spent New Year's in an operating room, with her legs in stirrups, surrounded by nurses and a doctor. All alone and scared, and regretting her choice to keep the baby.

I don't want the baby anymore. I really don't. I don't want her.

January 4th, 2007

She woke me up today. She opened her mouth and the loudest cry I have ever heard came out from it. She cried and cried and wouldn't stop. And I didn't know what I could do. I wanted to go and pick her up, I really did. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I couldn't get up from my bed, and cover the few steps it would take for me to reach her crib. I just couldn't. Or maybe I wouldn't. I sat and watched her cry. And I couldn't help myself, but I cried along with her. Only that I continued long after she stopped.

I don't know what time it is. I don't even know what day it is. I know the date, only because yesterday's journal entry says that it's the third. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to be a mother. What I do know, was that the baby needed food, and that I didn't know how to give it to her. I needed to call for help.

January 5th, 2007

I called Mouth yesterday and asked for help. He came without any doubts or questions. I don't know who else I can go to now if not for him. My parents don't know about the accident, they don't know about the baby. They're still living in Virginia thinking that all is well with me, when in fact nothing is going right with my life. Sometimes I wish my mother were here, so that she would know what to do with the baby, but then; I remember that the nanny did it all, and that she had nothing to do with me. That alone should have been enough to tell me that I could never be a mother to a baby. I don't have what it takes.

Mouth crashed on the couch last night. I know he woke up about once every hour to check on the baby because he tiptoed silently into my room to check on her, bringing a bottle of formula whenever he thought she was getting hungry. He stopped at the foot of my bed each time before leaving the room, and pulled the covers up over me when he thought I was getting cold. I wasn't cold. Just very numb inside.

I couldn't go to sleep, but I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed either. I don't know what I did for the whole night. I don't remember crying, but I remember feeling that my pillow was getting wet with tears. Mouth came this morning and brought me breakfast in bed. He asked me if I was okay, but I couldn't answer him, because I didn't know either. He asked me if I wanted to take the baby out to garden to get some fresh air, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to go into the sunlight, I didn't want to get out of the house, I didn't want to get any fresh air, and most of all, I didn't want to go anywhere near the baby. I didn't want to touch her, feed her, look at her in the eye, smell her scent, or hold her.

I wanted nothing to have to do with her. As far as I'm concerned, she isn't mine.

January 6th, 2007

Mouth talked to me today, but I couldn't hear a single word that he was saying. Nothing made sense to me. Nothing makes sense anymore. I find it difficult to even write in this journal. To pick the pen up and piece words together. There are too many emotions and I struggle to put them into words. I think I cried for three hours after he talked to me, because I couldn't understand what he wanted to say to me. I tried to listen, I really did, but his words wouldn't process. I feel like crap, like trash. I'm not worthy. I never was.

My arms and legs feel like rubber. My breasts feel engorged and they hurt whenever my arms brush against them. It hurts and stings so badly whenever I take a piss. My eyesight gets poorer and poorer each time I write. I'm having stomach cramps. I feel a wetness in between my legs, and I think it might be blood, because I saw a few stains on the sheets. I remember crying again as the stomach cramps intensified. I cried because I don't want to feel like this for the rest of my life, and I couldn't stop. I can't go on feeling like this anymore.

I shouldn't have done this. Or anything at all. I shouldn't have wanted to have a baby. Cooper never loved me. He only wanted my body. He never loved me at all. Nobody will ever love me. They'll look at me and see a girl with a baby and talk about me behind my back. They'll taunt me, laugh at me and ridicule me. I don't want that. I've had enough to last me a lifetime and a half. I don't want to be singled out like that again. I can't take it anymore. I can't take this anymore. I don't want her anymore. She'll cause me to be laughed at, and be pointed at. People will talk about how Cooper left me. I don't want her. I want to give her up for adoption. I won't be able to do anything for her, and I don't want to. She ruined my life. I want to throw her away.

January 7th, 2007

I'm losing control of myself. I don't know what I'm doing, saying, or thinking anymore. Why am I even here? Why was I put on this Earth to fail miserably, to be hated, to be unloved? Why bother if I was going to be a nuisance? I can't make any sense of anything.

Mouth yelled at me today. I don't know why. He yelled at me, his voice loud and emotional. I don't remember much of it again. I do remember one part of it, however. He pulled me to the mirror and made me look at myself. I don't look like how I remember I used to look like. I couldn't recognise the girl in the mirror. He yelled and asked me why I was doing this to myself. He asked me whether I cared that my daughter was living the first days of her life without her mother. I didn't answer him. Mainly because I didn't know what to say. He asked me what I was doing every day, and why I didn't want to go near her. I told him I couldn't, but he said no. He said that it was because I wouldn't.

I can't even remember what I was doing yesterday, let alone every day. So, I read yesterday's entry, and it scared me. I had wanted to throw her away yesterday. I wouldn't have thought that, would I? I couldn't have written that, could I? I read the one before that and it scared me too. I could be a slut, a whore, a mean bitch, but I wouldn't kill, would I? I wouldn't. I wouldn't. I really wouldn't. Or maybe I don't know myself either.

I know I won't remember this tomorrow, and it scares me too. My days and nights are all just merging into one long nightmare.

January 8th, 2007

I had another sleepless night. I spent all night looking the clock on my bedside table, watching the two hands move. I started crying, for no particular reason. The tears just started coming quickly, and I didn't do anything to stop them. My mind was blank, but the tears just fell. I wanted to cry myself to sleep, but it didn't work.

Mouth came in and pushed the curtains open this morning. I had forgotten how bright it could be. He propped me up, and told me that he needed to talk to me. He must not have gotten an answer from me, because he pulled me gently out of bed, and put his arm around my shoulders, guiding me to the living room. I don't remember protesting. Maybe I was too tired to.

He put two cushions on the couch, side by side, and told me to sit. I didn't ask why, but he told me anyway. It was to reduce pressure on my perineum so that my stitches wouldn't hurt as much as they did. He asked me a bunch of questions about how I was feeling, and referring to a book on his lap, told me what I should do to stop the pain from happening. Shyly, he asked me if my breasts hurt, and told me it was due to the milk that was naturally accumulating in them. He gave me a paper bag with a breast pump in it, and said that I could extract the milk to lessen the pain and swelling. He took two paracetemols from the table, and gave me a glass of water to wash them down with; he told me gently that this would reduce whatever migraines or stomach cramps that I had. Maybe he was trying to apologise for yesterday, or maybe he just cared, plain and simple. That gesture alone brought tears to my eyes. But they weren't the type of tears that I was used to and that I had seen these past few days.

He picked the baby up from her crib and asked me if I would like to hold her. I shook my head. I knew I couldn't. He brought her to me anyway, and just asked me to look at her. It was difficult, but I took one glance at her. She had grown a little bigger from the last I remembered. He sat down next to me, with the baby in his arms and rocked her gently from side to side and I marvelled at how he knew to do things like that. I knew I wouldn't be able to.

He just started talking about her. Telling me how much formula he prepared for her every time, how she gurgled every time he touched the teat of the bottle to her mouth, what song he sang to her when he put her to sleep, how she liked to sleep on her front with the blanket wrapped all tightly around her body, how he had his first experience changing a dirty diaper of hers. I just listened. Somehow, today, I could hear him, clear and loud.

When he finished talking about her, he moved on to talk about the others. About how Lucas and his new baby brother, and how Brooke was a little jealous that Lucas spent so much time with him, about Nathan scoring the winning goal in the state championships, about Haley getting a full scholarship to Duke, whose scouts were intent on recruiting Nathan, about Peyton's art getting displayed in the North Carolina Art Gallery, about Bevin surprising everyone when she topped her class in American History. And when he had finished, he just moved on to talking about his family. He talked about his grandfather, Mel, who didn't remember him at all. He talked about how he wished that he had spent more time with his grandfather, because now, regardless of how much time he spent with him, Mel would never know him as his grandson. He talked about his regret, and how he wouldn't wish that upon his worse enemy. I listened, to every single word. And for once, I remembered everything. And I felt a little less alone.

He finally stopped when he realised that the baby had fell asleep and he walked across the room to put her in her crib which I had told him to move out from my room. I hadn't even noticed that it had been missing. Then, he had guided me gently to the bathroom, and ran a warm bath for me, sprinkling salt in it. He said that it would help my stitches heal faster.

I took a long bath. And I got through it without feeling depressed or suicidal. And without crying.

I got back to my room, and realised that Mouth had changed the sheets and had laid out a robe for me to wear, and had placed the breast pump on the table beside my bed. I put the robe on, feeling a little better. I should try to figure out how to use the pump soon.

January 9th, 2007

I slept the previous night. My pillow wasn't wet when I woke up in the morning. The sounds of the baby crying woke me up, but somehow I didn't feel like how I did six days ago. I walked out the living room, and saw Mouth swoop her up and press my bottle of extracted milk to her lips. I had sat down and watched the both of them for awhile, while she drank. Thank God for Mouth. He was the only one there in the hospital when I was admitted after the accident on the bridge. And again, he was the only one here.

While feeding her, Mouth had told me that it was about time that I name her because the birth certificate needed to be done. I hadn't given it any thought, but surprisingly I told him confidently that she would be taking my last name. I think I surprised him. I know I surprised myself. Finally, I said, 'Mel'. He looked confused, and asked me what it was short for. I told him that it wasn't short for anything. It was to be just Mel. He seemed to understand why, and left it at that. I'm thankful for that. It was the stories that had helped me feel better. And it seemed appropriate.

She had finished the milk, and had wanted more, judging from the way that she had been crying. Mouth got up to make her another bottle of formula, but I stopped him. I don't know what had gotten into me, but I told him that I would breastfeed her. I know he was pleasantly shocked, and he didn't hide it.

I'm glad I did it. I held her, for the first time since I had given birth to her, and didn't feel any twinges of resent, disgust or hatred. I put her to my chest, and she just knew where to feed from. It had felt so natural, and so right. I thought that I would've failed miserably, but not only did it happen like it was instinct; I felt something that I have never felt before. It was indescribable. I felt pride, I felt happy and I felt love. It was a kind of warmth that now I am sure that I want.

A year later,

December 31, 2007

Mel turns one today. I brought her out to Burger King for lunch and dressed her up in a pretty little pink dress which Bev bought. And as she played on the plastic slides in the children's play area, I think to myself that she's growing up so fast. It seemed like just yesterday that I had given birth to her. It seemed like those seven days of my life were just yesterday. I'm thankful as hell that I managed to get through it, with both Mel and myself unscathed. I read back on those journal entries and am thankful everyday that things turned out in the best possible way that they ever could have. It could have very easily went the other way, and I could still be caught up in bouts of depression and resentment, and denied my daughter the love which she needs and deserves.

We came home after she was all played out. It took her just five minutes to crawl into bed and fall asleep. Cooper was exactly like that too. He should know that it's Mel's birthday today, because I'm sure Nathan would have told him. I don't know what he'll do, or whether he'll even do anything at all, but he never backed down from responsibility. I know Mel and I are both living off what I can get from my measly jobs and a little child support from him, and I appreciate that, but I know I don't want to keep on supporting myself on his money forever. If he feels like all he can bring himself to do is to give us child support, then I'm not going to deny him that at the moment, because there's no way I can make ends meet with school and odd jobs right now. Milk and diapers don't come cheap.

I fell asleep soon after Mel and was woken up by the doorbell. Mouth stood there, bringing a bottle of his special apple cider and a bag of cookies which I'm pretty sure he didn't bake.

The old Rachel Gatina may have spent New Year's Eve partying like a wild animal, but this one sure doesn't anymore. She's perfectly content spending it with her daughter, sips of apple cider, and a very special friend.