"I love you."
"This is the hard part, Amber," the cop says after a few moments of complete silence. "I'm going to have to ask you some questions. They're going to be very difficult for you to answer but I need you to be very specific. You can't leave anything out and when we get to the hospital, they're going to ask even more questions. There are also going to be tests that need to be run. It’s all necessary. I would love to let you get some sleep and try and forget this whole thing happened but I can’t.”
Nodding I move back over to the stretcher, watching as the cop pulls out a notebook. For the remainder of the trip I tell her everything. How Garry and I met last year, how we started dating, how he constantly got drunk and beat me, how he tried to do this same thing to me just a day ago in the hall, how Frank had given me the pepper spray. I try to give her the details of what happened tonight but I start crying half way through and so we stop for a bit. Eventually I get up the nerve to continue on. This is the only way I can assure Garry cannot hurt anyone else.
Detailed questions follow my explanation such as, did I fight back, or did he use protection, or was I a virgin. The last question brings back memories and for the first time since it happened I am actually glad Frank took my virginity. I would have hated to loose something so special to a monster like Garry.
The female cop stays with me just like she promised Frank. I have a feeling another reason for this is because everyone else around is male. This no men thing continues even when we get into the hospital. I am put up in a room and eventually a nurse and doctor come to see me, both are women. I’m actually glad it’s this way. The only three guys I would be willing to trust are Frank, Mikey and Gerard.
Once I’ve retold my story and cried some more I’m left alone with the doctor and nurse. They run tests, scrapping my fingernails and taking samples of everything. Eventually I’m cleaned and bandaged, the cut across my eyebrow needing two stitches. I still can’t fully open my eye which is swollen shut from where Garry punched me. My knee has a large gash on it but the doctor says it will heal and with luck I won’t have a scar. I take comfort in that fact.
Once everyone has done their part to clean me up I’m left alone in my room. I curl up on the bed under the blankets and stare blankly at the wall. For hours I try to go to a safe place inside my head but I just can’t find one. The doctor comes in to check on me, asking if I need anything.
I say no.
A little while later I hear the door open again and Mikey appears before me. His eyes are red and glassy behind his glasses. All he does is look my over silently, no hint of a smile on his normally cheery face.
"Brought you something," he says finally, pulling a small stuffed dog out from behind his back. I take it in my arms and cuddle with it.
"Thank you," I whisper.
Mikey pulls a chair up to the edge of the bed, sitting down with his elbows resting on his knees, just looking at his hands. I can tell he’s nervous and probably pretty torn up or just angry…one of the two. He doesn’t say anything.
"Where are Aunt Donna and my mom?" I ask after a long silence.
"Outside talking to the... doctors," Mikey answers, continuing to stare at his hands. I just keep watching him, glad to see a familiar face…someone I’m fully comfortable with.
"Amber?" Mikey says continuing when I don’t respond. “I love you.”
Mikey looks up at me and my eyes well up with tears. I’ve never seen Mikey look this upset. I sniff.
"I love you a lot."
"I love you too, Mikey."
My older cousin looks over my shoulder as the door opens. This time it is Aunt Donna followed by my mother. I’m almost glad Gerard is at college. I don’t know how he would handle the whole thing. My mother takes my face in her cold hands, her brown eyes glassy.
"Oh honey," is all she says.
It starts all over from there. I sob, with my mother holding me tightly, rocking me gently just like Frank had earlier. It’s times like these that I’m glad my mother didn’t abandon me. I need her now more than ever.
After a while Aunt Donna forces Mikey to go home with her, telling my mother to call if she needs anything. They must think I’m asleep. I can hear both my mother and Aunt Donna telling Mikey not to say a word to anyone else before I am patted gently on the ankle by someone I presume is my cousin. My mother stays for a while, flipping through the channels.
I keep my eyes closed and try to sleep but the rest I so greatly desire just doesn’t come to me. After a long while the door is opened and I hear my mother get up.
"How's she doing?" I hear Frank’s mother ask.
"She's doing as well as she can considering," my mother answers as I feel pressure on the bed next to me.
"Frank don't,” his mother reprimands him. “She might not want you there."
As usual Frank doesn’t listen. I don’t mind. His familiar sent relaxes me as I feel him curl up next to me. I reach over and clasp his hand in mine letting him know I’m fully aware he is here and that I do indeed want him right where he is. Frank moves closer to me so that I can feel his warm breath on my neck.
"I'm not going anywhere," he whispers.
"Thank you," I reply quietly.
Now, with Frank’s warm body pressed up against mine I am finally able to get the sleep I want so badly.