Chapter 9: Shared Guilt
A/N: This chapter is just for Piper-Jacko06-Butterflygirl because she wanted me to update again before she loses internet. So here you go kid and hope you find internet access somewhere else real soon.
Her mind felt foggy. Her eyelids seemed impossibly heavy. She felt like it would take a forklift to pry them open. But that was not the case. As soon as she sensed the other presence in the room her eyes opened immediately. Her gaze settled on Elliot who sat beside the bed. She attempted to clear her throat desperately wanting to say something but her throat felt like sandpaper, even drier than sandpaper if that was even possible. She coughed which made her throat feel worse "El…?" the one syllable was all she could manage before she fell silent again.
"Hey there," he smiled kindly in her direction. She wasn't sure whether she was imagining his red rimmed eyes or not but there was no mistaking the concern in his face and tone.
There was silence. Olivia didn't feel like talking and Elliot looked like he felt the same. But just when Olivia thought her partner had said his piece and she was allowing her eyes to close again, he continued "You had us worried sick."
Olivia gave a small nod. In the back of her mind there was a fleeting inquiry to her subconscious if somehow the use of the word "us" was code for the word "me". It was a notion that she barely gave any notice to.
"That night," he kept talking and although there was a large part of her that just wanted to be left alone to sleep, she recognized that there was something he was trying to say, something he needed to say so she kept listening. "I should have insisted… I'm so sorry," he finished in a whisper.
Realization struck her. She made another attempt at communicating "Don't blame yourself," she told him in such a pathetically weak voice that she knew it did little if anything to make him believe that he was not responsible for what had happened to her.
"I should have known," he said in an angry tone. Olivia knew he was angry at himself. She wanted to be able to calm the stormy sea of his heart the way she had many times before but she felt helpless to do so in her current condition. She could add Elliot's name to the list of people she had let down by letting White to what he did to her.
"You couldn't have…" she trailed off but she could hear his footsteps moving into the hallway. He'd left. She'd driven him away. She wished she could have found the right thing to say before he'd lost it.
With Elliot out of the room, her mind turned to her own predicament. Her whole body still hurt. The medications and fluid pumping through the IV into her bloodstream seemingly did nothing to help. It was okay though, the physical pain she could handle. She would be strong enough for that much, she told herself.
She also tried to tell herself that she wouldn't let having been victimized by White change her at all. It couldn't change who she was. She wouldn't let it. But deep down, she knew it would change her. How many women had she seen who were never the same again? She tried to ignore the obvious and tried to tell herself that she would handle it.
Then there was the question of the morning after pill. She knew that her presence in her mother's life had made it impossible for her mother to forget. Olivia had always said that if the same thing happened to her, she would take the pill without question but was it the right thing to do?
The sound of footsteps coming closer snapped her from her thoughts. She was on high alert as her eyes opened. She focused on the door, reaching for the call button just in case. Her grasp on the button instantly released and her jaw dropped when she saw who it was.
Elliot walked into the room, holding a cup in one hand "The doctor said you could have some water," he said kindly as he sat down beside her again and held the cup out to her. He stuck a straw in it which barely touched her lips.
She managed a small smile as she wrapped her lips around the plastic tube and began to sip at the cool liquid. After a minute or so and half the small cup consumed, her head fell back against the pillow. So she hadn't driven him away after all. Or at least, if she had, he'd come back "Thanks," she said to him in a slightly stronger voice. Elliot nodded and the two of them let silence fall between them. Olivia still sensed there was something else that he felt compelled to tell her but for the moment, he said nothing.