The leaves tumbled and swirl before her as she sits out on a lounge chair in the cool, November air-wrapped in a pink fleece blanket and grasping tightly to a mug of tea. It's warm on her hands and she leans down to inhale it's minty aroma, smiling weakly. When she looks back up, she's met with the New York city skyline before her and a plethora of stars shining brightly above her head. To her left, Rachel and Monica sit discussing the latest fashions and to her right, Chandler, Joey, Ross and her husband Mike discuss the latest knixs game. She hears her name being called faintly and whips her head around. "Yeah?" She calls out, her voice soft. Mike's eying her worriedly.
"You okay honey?" He asks as he stands up and walks over to her, sliding around to sit behind her and drape his arms loosely around her torso. Phoebe leans her head back and looks up at him.
"Yeah. Yeah, actually-I am." This time when she says it, she knows its the truth. She is okay. She is happy.
She intertwines their fingers and her smile widens. He leans down and pecks her lightly on the lips.
She can breathe again. She feels like she's just come home, and in a way, she has.
She's finally home-and there isn't a place in the world she'd rather be.
One year earlier.
She wakes up in a state of confusion. Her body aches and as she sits up to take in her surroundings, she realizes she has no idea where she is. It's not her apartment, it's not any of her friends apartments, and it's certainly not the damn coffee shop. She isn't even sure if she's in New York city anymore. She winces as she stands to her feet, stumbling a bit before regaining her footing. The room is pitch black and it takes a minute for her eyes to adjust to the dark. It's then, as she looks to the left of her that she sees the slightest sliver of light shining through behind a curtain. She shuffles towards it, pulling the curtain back with a rough tug. As the light streams in, she turns back around and lets her eyes shift throughout the room.
She's in a hotel room, a trashed hotel room at that. Her head pounds and she puts a hand to the side of her temple in a desperate attempt to seize the searing pain she's feeling. She lets out a small moan as she looks herself over, half-heartedly. Her right eye is stinging too much and hurts to keep it open. Numerous cuts and bruises trace her body, her shirt is ripped completely at the neck line and again at the torso while her the zipper and button on her jeans have been torn clean off and are currently missing. While she can't outright see it, she can feel the remnants of dried blood on her legs, forehead and lip and raises a hand to touch it. It's fat and swollen and she winces at the slight twinge of pain that shoots through her. She shifts her eyes to the right of the room towards a small, square mirror hanging on the wall. It's bordered in by a gold frame and she quickly walks forward-desperate to see how bad the damage is.
When her eyes finally catch her reflection in the mirror, she gasps. It's ten times worse then she thought it would be and has to blink back emerging tears. She sniffles and wipes at the smeared makeup around her eyes, only making it worse instead of better. She curses herself silently and shakes her head. Her hair is one tangled, blond mess and her eyes have dark, purple bags underneath from lack of sleep. She has a dark, purple bruise on her left cheek bone and just below it, a large, red hand print glaring back at her. Her neck is black and blue as if someone had been pressing down on her collarbone all night and as she breathes in-she realizes just how painful that is as well. Her bottom lip is split open and there's dried blood on her chin. She can still taste it's metallic-y flavor on her tongue.
Her hands graze over the rips and tears in her clothing and it's then that she has to shift her eyes away for a moment-until she gets down to her wrists. Both are black and blue and both of them hurt like hell. There are deep, purple bruises that only seem to worsen that encircle themselves around her wrists and trail up until the reach the hilt of her elbows. Small cuts trace over patches of milky white skin.
She turns her back to the mirror. The couch is turned on it's side, the end tables are flipped completely upside down and the only single source of light that seems to be in this hotel, the lamp-is laying shattered on the ground beside her leather jacket. Several beer bottles are scattered about. A phone cord dangled lazily, unattached to anything. Two twin beds are placed in the conjoined room a few feet away, one of them haphazardly unmade. The walls are an ugly beige color aside from the distinct, vibrant red that has marred them. As she leans down to grab her jacket, her phone falls out and she takes the time to glance at the clock on it. She has no idea what time it is, or day it is. She doesn't know how much time she's even lost.
Her face blanches and she haphazardly stuffs her phone back into her jacket pocket, shaking her head.
She takes in one last deep breath before rushing out of the room.
She refuses to stay here any longer.
When she finally finds her way back home, it's ten pm and her ears are ringing. Her legs are seconds away from giving out due to exhaustion and her stomach is turning violently. She has to practically hold herself up as she stumbles towards the bathroom-leaning over the toilet just in time to heave violently.
It takes her a few moments to regain her composure but once she does, she strips down and steps into the shower-the cold water beating down on her a refreshing change from the thick, sticky, humid New York city air she had been engulfed in for so long. She washes her hair three times, her body six-by the time she's done, she still feels dirty and still can't remember anything from the previous night.
With the last of her energy remaining, she climbs into the empty bed and shuts off the light.
She's asleep almost instantly.
Mike returns from one of his gigs a week later, an old night club out in Newark. He walks in through the door of the apartment he shares with his wife and sets his suitcase down. Aside from the constant stream of noise coming in through the open window, the apartment is otherwise silent. He arches an eyebrow in confusion and calls out to Phoebe.
He doesn't get a reply.
That's odd, he muses silently to himself. She said she'd be here waiting for him when they last spoke.
He shuffles towards their bedroom and his eyes land on her almost immediately. Phoebe's curled up in a ball, the clutching tightly to the comforter, fast asleep. A small smile slides onto his face as he steps out of his shoes and tip toes quietly towards her, sliding in and encircling his arms around her waist. His eyes just out with surprise. Had she always been this thin, this bony? Compared to when he had left a week earlier, it was as if she had went from healthy to a skeleton. If possible, his eyes go wider when he notes that she's shivering. With as many blankets as she has piled on her, he would have thought that she would be kicking them off by now.
His smile slowly fades into a frown.
He can feel his wife turning restlessly in his arms and it's only a few seconds later that she's sitting up in bed, breathing heavily-panic written across her face. Beads of sweat have formed on her forehead and she's quaking with fear. He sits up along side of her and brushes her bangs from her eyes. As if just noticing his presence, Phoebe slowly turns in his arms and flashes a weak smile in his direction. There's a distant, glossy look in her eyes and Mike only holds onto his wife that much tighter, to which she shakes her head and pushes him off. She mouths the word; "Don't," her voice suddenly betraying her. She never meant for him to see her like this. She was supposed to be okay by now, she was supposed to be better.
Instead, she feels so much worse.
Her stomach turns and she lurches herself in the direction of the bathroom-slamming the door behind her as she dives for the toilet. Mike sits, bewildered in the bed-staring at the closed door.
What has happened to his wife?
When she shuffles into the living room an hour later, donning a soft, cotton bath robe and fuzzy pink slippers-Mike is seated on the couch. He shifts his attention from the television to his wife, watching as she walks towards him, towel drying her hair. It's only in the light that he can see the damage that's been done. Bruises and cuts; some healed over, some still fresh, mar her skin. She licks her still split lip, the swelling having long since gone down and takes a seat on the other side of the couch.
He looks at her with sad eyes as his eyes continue to sweep over her body. The robe she's wearing used to fit her perfectly and now hangs loosely off her body, as if it's three sizes too big. Her eyes are rimmed red and swollen from vomiting earlier, and dark, purple bags give way to how exhausted she truly is. Her face is sunken in, sickly looking and her hands shake as she sets the towel aside. Her wedding ring and the band that goes with it, slide around on her finger. She casts her eyes downward, turning her attention to a stray string that's pulled from the couch cushion. Mike sighs, sliding closer to his wife.
If possible, he notes that she tries get slide further away from him-nearly burrowing herself into the end of the couch-trying desperately to hide herself away. He has his ideas to what is wrong, he's not stupid, but he wants to hear it from her.
Though, now that he rethinks it, he realizes it may be awhile before she's able to voice what's going on with her.
He settles for being patient, knowing god forbid, if he had been in a similar position that he would probably want time to digest everything as well. So, he backs up to where he previously was-but not before grasping his wife's hand in his and giving it a slight squeeze of what he'd hoped, was comfort and resumes his television program-all the while, casting a glance here and there in her direction. When he looks back at her one last time, he sees the faintest of smiles tugging at the corner of her mouth.
He smiles too.
He leaves a few days later on yet another gig, apprehensive with a plethora of worries running through his head. She reassures him, softly that she'll be fine-gives him a light, two second peck on the lips and practically pushes him out the door. He stares at it for a moment, before shaking his head and picking up his suitcases, his feet dragging as he walks away. He hangs his head and casts his eyes downward as he heads for the stairs.
He's silently praying that everything will be back to normal when he returns again.
He knows it won't.
Phoebe shuts the door behind her with a click and turns around, sliding down it-the wood cool against her burning skin. She waits a beat for him to walk away and then drops her head into her hands-sobbing quietly.
What is she going to do now?
She enters the coffee house for the first time since that night, having long since avoided her close-knit group of friends, coming up with excuses here and there to get out of their morning gatherings. She hasn't picked up her guitar in weeks, hasn't bothered to write any songs. Her stomach lurches at the sight of coffee being placed in front of her as she takes a seat in the recliner adjacent to the couch that Monica, Chandler and Rachel are sitting on. Ross and Joey are seated across from her in two chairs, a coffee table separating her from them. She picks up the mug, letting it warm her freezing hands and sips it-waiting for someone to pipe up. She knows they've been burning to ask her where she's been, she can practically feel the tension radiating off of them and after a long beat, Monica's the first to speak up.
"So Pheebs," She says, a wide grin on her face. "How have you been?"
Phoebe mentally laughs, noting that she was indeed, right. It didn't take her more then a minute for the interrogation to begin. She shrugs merely and gives her a soft reply, bringing the mug to her lips as she answers. "Y'know, just here and there."
Monica nods along, and it doesn't go unnoticed by Phoebe when she nudges Chandler to intervene.
"Pheebs, how's Mike?" He asks, genuinely curious. Phoebe hides her frown behind her mug.
"He's okay. He's at another gig right now." She chokes out, burrowing herself further into her leather jacket. She feels as if everyone can see straight through her, as if they know her secret. Over the coming weeks, bits and pieces of that night had resurfaced and she hasn't liked any of it so far.
It'll sometimes come in flashes, sometimes in waves. She'll find herself gasping in pain-as if reliving that night a second time or find herself crying hysterically over new pieces of information she has picked up. She hasn't been able to keep down food what-so-ever since the onslaught of memories began, picking at things here and there just to get by-but not letting it sit long enough for it to digest. The coffee, she notes, is the same way. As Ross speaks up, averting the conversation from her to Rachel, Phoebe feels the warm liquid start to resurface. Stumbling to her feet, she covers her mouth with her hand and rushes towards the women's restroom-ignoring the looks of confusion, surprise and bewilderment from those around her-as well as the worried calls from her friends.
She throws herself into the stall, just barely making it to the toilet as it comes rushing back up. She slams her open palm against the side of the stall in frustration before ripping a piece of toilet paper and wiping her mouth. She leans back, listening to the sound of the toilet flush and she's almost positive she hears the 'woosh' of the bathroom door opening and a distinct click of heels.
She peers underneath and sees that she's right. Standing just outside the door are two women and she'd know them from anywhere.
"Phoebe?" Monica calls.
"Pheebs, honey, are you okay?" Rachel questions, concern evident in their tones. Phoebe coughs slightly and pushes the stall door open weakly. Monica and Rachel look down at her with sad eyes.
"Oh honey," Rachel coos, leaning down to pull the woman into a hug. Phoebe has to fight not to shrug her off-the mere touch sending shivers down her spine. Monica stands off to the right, tilting her head curiously.
"You're not pregnant, are you? If so, coffee isn't something you should be having right now." Phoebe can't help but chuckle lightly, shaking her head. Monica lets out a sigh of relief and a quiet, 'oh thank god,' as she takes a seat beside Rachel, reaching out to grasp Phoebe's hand.
"You almost ready to head back out there?" Monica continues a few seconds later. Phoebe bites down on her bottom lip and winces in pain, having forgotten where it was split and chapped. She ran her tongue over the wound before replying.
"Can we just sit here for a few more minutes?" She asks, quietly. Rachel and Monica exchange a discreet, yet concerned glance before they turn their attention back to the tall, lanky blond-who they've noted, only seemed to have gotten thinner in the coming weeks.
"Sure, Pheebs. Whatever you want honey." Rachel says, flashing the woman a smile. Phoebe nods once and drops her head onto the woman's shoulder, closing her eyes.
This wasn't how she pictured this morning would go.
Three days have passed and while most of the memories from that night have been in bits and pieces, the one that hits her as she's washing the dishes is long, drawn out and breathtakingly painful. It's the most detailed, elaborate of them all and she actually has to grip the counter to keep herself from collapsing under the weight of her shaky, unsteady legs.
His hands beat down on her frame mercilessly as she fought to escape. With a swift kick to the gut, she watched for a moment as he doubled over before springing off the bed and rushing towards the door. She was close, oh so close-but right as her hand grasped the knob, his arms encircled around her waist and pulled her back. She could still feel the cold metal beneath her finger tips as she felt him yank her head back, fistful of hair in his grasp. She yelled out in pain as she hauled her back through the small common area and into the bedroom while she flailed her arms about, trying desperately to get away. His cologne wafted throughout the room, and she knew exactly who it was. It wasn't, however, until she heard his voice that she was certain. She felt her lip tremble with fear. This couldn't be happening, not to her, not now and certainly not like this.
With one hand still holding firmly onto the back of her head, he gripped the other into her side, throwing her onto the bed. His nails dug half-mooned shapes into her wrist as he held both with one hand while struggling to straddle himself over top of her. Grasping hold of the needle off the bedside table, he flashed her a dark smile and quickly and swiftly, injected it into her arm-watching as the light faded behind her eyes and she lay there, unable to move or speak. Chuckling to himself, he threw the needle aside and slid his face down to her ear, whispering menacingly into it. "This is for all the hurt you caused me, and the humiliation. I'm going to make you feel what I felt and you're never going to forget it."
Pressing his hands down onto her neck, he pushed down-waiting a moment until her eyes bulged and then slowly, rolled into the back of her heads. She was out within seconds.
He now had free range to do as he pleased, and he intended to take full advantage of that.
Hot, salty tears streamed down her cheeks as she dropped the dish she'd been holding into the sink and braced herself-fighting back the bile that rose as she turned around swiftly and walked into the living room. Dropping herself onto the couch, she wrapped herself in the fleece blanket draped across the back and let her head fall onto the pillow-sobbing loudly.
She knew that voice, that smell. She let her eyes close as she shook her head back and forth, telling herself that it couldn't be-that he wouldn't do that to her. Despite how things had ended, he would never cross a line like that-but as she curled herself further into the blanket she realized with such clarity that it shook her to her core, that he did indeed, cross that line.
Sleep pulled at the edges of her mind as she fought hard to escape it, she knew what was going to come-it was always the same. The nightmares, the cold sweats. Sighing, she let herself give into it, knowing she wouldn't escape-just like she hadn't before. With one last thought running through her mind, she threw herself into the darkness.
She would never forgive him for this.
Author's Note: So this is the first installment to this story, and to be quite honest-I wouldn't have even though about posting it-or even writing it for that matter, however this damn plot bunny would not fucking escape me so I just said fuck it and gave in. I know this show has been off the air for quite some time now and this is not a normal, happy-go-lucky, Phoebe/Mike or even just a Phoebe story, nor is it how she would probably normally act in the show but this is fanfiction right? And as such, I figured I would explore the darker side of it. Please note the time-jumps, which will be explained further in.
Now on a more serious note, if you or anyone you know have ever been a victim of such a horrendous crime such as rape, abuse, what have you-please feel free to use one or any of these as a form of contact, of hope.
R.A.A.I.N.(Rape, Abuse and Incest National network): 1800-656-H.O.P.E.
(It won't let me post the full link, so with apologies-if you have problems feel free to contact me and I will direct you to the proper site. Or you can always just use your neighborhood friendly 'google.') :)