Disclaimer: None of the Higher Ground characters belong to me.
Summary: Something's wrong with Shelby and Scott wants to know what it is.Rating: T, for mentions of rape and abuse.
"Scott! Scott, wait up!"
Scott stopped walking as he heard someone call his name. He turned around to see Daisy running up to him.
"Hey Daisy, what's up?" he asked.
"What's up? How can you ask me that? Haven't you noticed Shelby lately? I'm really worried about her."
That got Scott's attention.
"What do you mean? What's wrong with Shelby?"
If it had something to do with his girlfriend then he was all ears. Daisy was confused.
"Haven't you noticed her weird attitude? She's different. I don't know why, I thought that maybe you would."
" I haven't seen that much of her over the past week. Peter gave me all these chores to do that pretty much take up all my time," Scott said starting to worry.
If anyone knew if Shelby was upset then it was Daisy. She could hide a lot of things from everyone but she could never hide anything from himself and Daisy, no matter how hard she tried.
"We have to do something, Scott. I just know something is wrong. I think it might have something to do with those visits to her mom and sister. I mean, whenever she gets back, she's distant and upset."
Scott thought for a while. Why would she be upset after visiting them? She loved her sister Jess. She wasn't to keen on her mom, but she put up with her for the sake of Jess. Daisy was probably right. Something was not right with Shelby and he was definitely going to find out what it was.
Shelby was so tired. She had just come back from visiting her mom and Jess. And, of course, Walt. Shelby shivered at the thought of his name. Why did her mom take him back? She didn't understand.
She lowered her head to her pillow and closed her eyes. It was going to be one long night.
Images of Walt intruded her dreams. She began to thrash around in her bed. She could feel his cold hands on her body as she sat up in her bed, covered in sweat. Another nightmare.
Shelby looked at the time. It was 2:37. She wasn't sure how much more of this she could put up with. Quietly, she snuck out the window and headed towards the docks to think.
As she got there, she sat on the side and dangled her feet over the side. What was she going to do? She heard someone coming up behind her and turned around to see it was Scott. She turned back.
"Hey," he said.
"Hey," she whispered back.
He sat down next to her. She looked down. She knew what she had to do.
"Scott, we have to talk."
Now Scott was worried.
"What? What is it?"
Shelby put her head down. This was the hardest thing she had ever had to do.
"I don't think we should see each other anymore. I'm sorry, but I just think it would be for the best."
"Best for who? Not me. I need you Shel."
Scott said, hoping to change her mind. It didn't.
"No you don't. Things have changed. Everything is different. Please, just go. I'm just trying to do what's best for you."
Scott was confused.
"But being with you is best for me. Don't do this."
"I'm sorry," was all she could say.
Scott wasn't convinced.
"What's going on? This isn't you, Shel. Something's wrong. What is it? Please, tell me."
Shelby looked away. This was harder than she thought it would be. But she had to do it. If she told him the truth, then he would hate her and probably break up with her anyway. She tried to hold back the tears, but was unsuccessful. They flowed freely down her cheeks.
Scott's heart broke when he saw that she was crying. Whatever was happening was really serious. He pulled her towards him and after holding back for a bit, went freely into his arms. He stroked her hair and whispered soothing words in her ear. Shelby felt so safe in his arms. She never wanted to let go. Scott could somehow sense this and held her closer. They stayed this way for a few minutes, until Shelby pulled back.
"What's really going on Shellie?" he asked with a serious look on his face.
She looked away.
"Please," she whispered, "just trust me. You'll be better off without me."
Scott shook his head.
"That's ridiculous!" he exclaimed. "How can I be better off without you? I...I love you."
After an awkward moment of silence Shelby finally looked up into his eyes.
"Well, it's not like I can help it. You're incredible. How could anyone not love you?"
Tears filled Shelby's eyes.
"I love you too," she whispered, looking down.
Scott placed his hand under her chin and lifted her head to see her face.
"Now, will you please tell me what's going on? I want to help you."
Shelby wasn't sure what to do. She might as well tell him, even if he either hated her or didn't believe her. She took a deep, shuddering breath and turned away.
"You know how I've been visiting my mom and sister? Well, they weren't the only ones there. Walt was there. He's out of jail."
She heard Scott gasp.
"Now, whenever I go there, he's always drunk and he hits me and he...he..."
Shelby broke down.
Scott reached out to hold her, but she was too quick for him. Stepping backwards, she whispered
"I'll understand now if you hate me and never want to see me again. But you can't hate me anymore than I hate myself."
"Baby," Scott said, slowly approaching her. "I don't hate you. I could never hate you. It's not your fault, you know that right?"
She didn't say anything. Scott quickly ran to her and put his arms around her. Shelby clung to him for deep life.
"It's gonna be okay. We'll talk to Peter. We'll stop this," he promised.
Shelby wanted to believe him so badly. But somehow it didn't seem possible.
Scott could tell that she wasn't completely convinced that anything could be done. He didn't care what he had to do, he would do anything to make sure she didn't have to go through it any more. His heart broke for what she must be going through.
In Scott's arms, Shelby felt truly safe, as if no one could hurt her. She wasn't sure whether Scott was right or not about being able to stop Walt from hurting her. Only time would tell.