So I'm so sorry I haven't updated in FOREVER. I just started school again, and was busy acting and crazy stuff like that. So sorry guys!
Natalie pushed through the layers of fatigue and the heavy, warm weight that seemed to be pressed against her. Finally, she opened her eyes, expecting her bedroom. Instead she found herself in a steely room, attached to multiple machines, and was presently being stared at like she was some kind of animal in the zoo by her father.
"Fuck," she murmured, wondering what could have happened. Did she pass out? Almost OD? What the fuck did she get herself into now?
"Language," her dad said, but very gently. He gave a relieved laugh, and than verygently hugged her- in fact, he scarcely touched her at all. But even in the action of trying to lean forward to him, Nat felt pain. Her ribs ached when she breathed in, her head was throbbing, and she felt rotten all over.
"What happened?" she whispered, wetting her dry lips with her tongue. "I feel... like shit."
He bit his lip, obviously unsure of how much to tell her.
"Dad," she pressed. "What happened? How much trouble am I in?"
"None," he said, taken aback. "You didn't do anything," he finished, and then sighed. "Sweetheart, he took advantage of you, put something in your drink- you did nothing wrong. Nothing, that is, except be out of the house that late, which, young lady-"
"What?" she gasped. What happened to me? she thought, her heart picking up speed. She could hear it reflected in the machines at her side, beeping wildly.
"Don't you remember?" her dad asked, his eyes growing worried.
"I remember..." she thought back to what she remembered. She recalled the last day at school- Henry not talking to her, and deciding to fuck it. She'd gone to a club and gotten really smashed... And she did recall something: a guy dancing with her, and then getting to close. She remembered fear, panic, and then pain... but no details. "Oh shit," she said and started to shake. "I was..."
"Honey," her dad said, and embraced her with care. "I'm so, so sorry this happened to you. They caught the bastard who did it, don't you worry- you won't have to see him again, I don't think. Do you remember what he looked like?"
She shook her head- details were far past her. "Where's mom?" she asked.
"She's in another ward," her dad said.
Of course- she was still in the hospital. Duh. Still, Natalie gave her dad props for dragging himself away from her mom to come see her.
"Henry was here an hour ago," her dad said. "But he was here all day and had to go home."
Henry came. So he didn't hate her. Or maybe he did, and he felt guilty. This was such a mess.
"'Kay," she whispered, exhausted. She didn't know how much more talking she could do.
"Go back to sleep," her dad said, and she obeyed.
Henry was wrong, Dan knew. He did care about Natalie. She meant so much to him. When he'd heard what happened, he felt panic like he'd only felt once before, with another child in an emergency room. The situation was far too familiar, and he felt exactly the same. The same helpless panic, the illness of knowing his child was in danger and he could do nothing, and the self-hatred, knowing his bad parenting had landed them there. The only difference was that someone had done this to Natalie. With... him, he was sick. No less devastating when he did not make it, but Dan did not feel the pull of revenge. Now, he wanted nothing more than to kill the man who'd done this to his daughter.
But Henry's words, though false, still held some water. They were a kind of awakening. He hadn't been giving her what she deserved. He'd been putting her on the back burner in favor of her mother, not giving her attention or the love she needed. That was hardly fair- she was his daughter, his only child. She deserved so much more than he'd been giving her. It just made him sick to hear this from some teenage kid.
No. What hurt was that this teenage kid knew what was going on with Nat. This teenage kid had been trying to help her. And he- her own father- hadn't seen what had been going on under his very own nose. He undoubtedly knew that if he'd opened his eyes, he would have seen that she was sneaking out at night. And he also did not doubt that some of the drugs in Natalie's system had been self-inflicted. The man who'd attacked her hadn't intoxicated her completely- she'd done some of the work all by herself.
He'd suspected she might have been doing drugs. But he'd closed his eyes, hoping the problem would go away. Now look at what happened.
At least she was awake.
I know that wasn't the best chapter, but at least it's up. Reviews? Thanks!