I was watching the 1982 Annie movie (which I do not own), and thought of this towards the end. DISCRETION ADVISED due to the subject of statutory rape.
"I'm sorry, Ms. Farrell. I tried to stop them from taking the money. I swear I did."
"It doesn't matter, Annie, we found you. That is what matters."
"I really did try…. I really, really did…. I swear…."
Panic started to rise up in Grace's chest as the girls eyes closed.
"Oh, come on, Annie, wake up," she said, but the girl didn't respond. "You need to wake up, Annie."
"Grace?" a rich voice said from behind her. "Is that…?"
There was a pause, then a cry for help. She heard leaves crunching beneath his shoes as he walked up to them. She slowly lowered Annie to the ground, and bent over the girl. Tears were flowing freely, from both Oliver and Grace.
"Annie, please, Annie, you need to wake up," Grace whispered. "Come on, wake up."
They were motionless for a few moments, until the sound of people running towards them forced Oliver into motion. He grabbed Grace, and slowly pulled her to her feet. She tried to fight him, but gave in quickly.
He wrapped his arms around her, and walked them a few feet away from the physicians crowded around their baby.
Grace buried her face into his chest, but was unable to the image out of her head. Annie, HER Annie, lying in the leaves, hair stuck to her forehead by sweat, and the hem of her dress soaked in blood. The look in her eyes had been the worst part, however. The sheer pain and terror seemed unreal on the girl.
"She's going to live," a voice said, making Grace jump.
She turned her head just enough that she could just see the officer. The man's face was somber, and his eyes tired. Past him, she could see the physicians carrying Annie on a stretcher.
"She is hurt, badly, and it will take time for her to fully recover, but she will make it."
Grace felt Oliver nod, and vaguely realized that one of his hands was rubbing circles on her back.
"My men are searching everywhere for the couple that took her."
"A third most likely joined them after they left my house," Oliver told him. "Miss. Hannigan, the woman in charge of the orphanage Annie came from."
The officer nodded, and jotted it down in a notebook.
"Where are they taking her?" Grace asked. Her voice cracked slightly. Her eyes were still fixed on the men carrying Annie.
She didn't take in the name of the hospital, but Oliver did, and within minutes, they were back in the car.
Grace blankly watched the city go by, only moving when Oliver briefly grabbed her hand. She turned towards him.
"She will be fine," he said. "She will live."
Grace just turned back to the city. Yes, she will live, but she will never be fine, never be the same Annie again.
One month later
She watched as Daddy Warbucks and Mama Grace sat together on one of the garden benches. Daddy Warbucks was leaning against the arm, with his arms wrapped around Mama Grace, who was leaning against his chest.
Annie figured Mama Grace had to be a very brave woman, to let a man that close.
She quickly shook the thought away, and slid to the ground.
Not all men were bad. Daddy Warbucks was definitely not bad. He would never hurt Mama Grace, never ever in a billion years. He would never hurt her, either. She knew he would never hurt her. She knew it, and yet, she couldn't help the twinge of fear she felt when he got to close.
It happened when any man got close to her. Even Punjab, and The Asp, and Drake, and Saunders, and the kinda cute Gardener who had given her the flower her first day with Daddy Warbucks.
In fact, the only grown up she felt really safe with was Mama Grace. Mama Grace had taken her from the orphanage in the first place. She could be trusted.
Annie pulled her knees to her chest, and let her head fall on them. The tears started to fall again. It felt as if she had cried more in the last month than she had in her entire ten years in the orphanage.
She didn't want to cry, but she couldn't help it. She still hurt when she moved certain ways, and her dreams had all turned into nightmares.
She no longer saw a young couple, happy to see her as they took her to their cozy house full of ashtrays and art. All she saw was him. She would feel the leaves against her back, and the stubble on his chin against her neck. She would hear his deep breaths, and smell his stinky cologne. She would feel him enter her.
She always woke up screaming. Mama Grace had started to sleep in her bed with her, so she would be right there whenever the nightmares came.
The sobs shook her body. She couldn't escape him. He could come back whenever he wanted. He could do it again. They never found him. He was still out there.
She let out a scream when a hand rested on her back, and scrambled a few feet away from the person. She looked up through the tears, and started to cry harder when she saw Mama Grace kneeling next to her.
Mama Grace wrapped her arms around her, and Annie gripped the front of her shirt.
"It's okay, Annie," Mama Grace whispered. "You're safe. You're safe."
Annie nodded, but couldn't loosen her grip.
A part of her knew she was safe. Another part, however, knew she would never feel completely safe again.
I kinda hate myself for writing this, but I had to get it out. I'm sorry, Annie.