“I know I’m so proud of you.” I said kissing him.
One year, clean, sober and more alive then ever before. A month into our relationship, Frank started drinking heavily. He claimed it was just for fun and nothing more. Things started getting out of control.
I looked him in the eyes and said “You need help.”
He still claimed it was just for fun and I shouldn‘t worry. He started getting angry and abusive, verbally and physically, when he drank. I told him I had enough and if he didn’t get help I was gone.
“I’m ready to get help.” He said to me one night after he’d finished off a bottle of vodka.
I took the empty bottle from his hand and threw it out.
The next day he checked himself into rehab.
“I can’t believe you.” I yelled. Frank spun around.
“I can explain.” Frank pleaded. Tears streamed down my face, my stomach twisted in knots and my knees buckled. I was scared, for me, for him and for us. He stepped toward me and I pushed him away just like he did to me yesterday.
“Just a week ago I told you how proud I was of you!” I cried harder. He tried pulling me close to him but I resisted. “You don’t need to explain anything, that bottle says enough.” I headed toward the door, tears blurring my vision. I picked up my speed so he couldn’t stop me.
“Peyton!” He yelled. I reached the door. I twisted the knob, it wouldn’t budge. I felt the warmth of his hands around my waist; chills went up and down my body.
I wanted so bad to turn around and pretend nothing was in the fridge. I turned the lock on the door and opened it.
“Baby,” He begged. I stepped out of his small apartment and then turned to face him.
“Don’t call me or come and see me, until you straighten yourself out.” I slammed the door and headed to the elevator. I pushed the down button and turned around. Frank was standing in his doorway, crying. I resisted running to him, wanting to help him. He needed to know he has a problem. He was doing so well.
What made him start again? The elevator doors opened and I stepped in. The doors closed and I left him standing there. More tears spilled from my eyes. ‘I should have let him explain.’ I thought to myself. I’m sure he had a good explanation. Frank wouldn’t drink again after all this time. I wanted to turn around and go back, but the elevator doors opened and instructed me to go home. I wiped the tears from my eyes and pushed my hair out of my face.
“Peyton wait!” I stopped and turned around. Frank stood in front of me sweating and out of breath. He must have run down the stairs to catch me. “Don’t leave.” He begged “I need you.”
“I know.” I said softly. I walked slowly towards him, each step closer I became unsure of what I wanted. He needed me and that’s all that mattered. He opened his arms and I walked right into them. I held on tight. I wanted to help him.
We were back in his apartment. Frank sat next to me on the couch, the same couch where he first admitted he needed help. I sat close to him, my head on his shoulder, and his arm around me. His fingers slowly rubbed my shoulder, my tears soaked his shirt, and his kisses made it seem okay. We didn’t speak; we didn’t want to ruin the moment. At this moment everything was calm, everything was alright. But, only for this moment.
“I wanted to know if I could control it.” Frank finally said. I sat up and looked at him.
“Why?” I asked “You’ve come this far.” I folded my legs underneath me and turned to face him.
“I wanted to be in control.” He replied “I wanted to actually be able to say, ‘I’m doing it just for fun’, this time.” He stared down at me. I kissed him lightly on the lips.
“You don’t need alcohol to have fun.” I said. Frank shook his head.
“You don’t get it.” He snapped.
“No, I do, and I don’t think you need to drink again.” Frank didn’t say anything. My phone rang. I looked at my phone, it was Mikey. I looked at Frank, waiting for his approval to answer it, he nodded and I got up.
“Mikey?” I answered.
“Yeah. Is everything ok?” He sensed the uneasiness in my voice.Mikey knew my mood just by my voice.
“I’ll call you later.” I replied and hung up. I knew he’d call back. He hated when I hung up on him. I shoved my phone in my pocket and sat back down next to Frank. He took a long gulp from a cup on the table. He set it down and wiped off his mouth.
“Sorry.” I said softly.
“It’s fine.” Frank said. “It’s not like he was interrupting anything.” He said sarcastically.
“Frank, he’s my best friend.” I snapped.
“Well I’m your boyfriend.” Frank snapped back.
“Not if you keep this up.” I replied firmly.
“I’m an adult, I can handle myself.” Frank said raising his voice. I stood up.
“Don’t raise your voice to me.” I said calmly. Frank stood up and stood only centimeters away from me. He grabbed my arm and pulled me close to him. Our bodies collided. He breathed heavily in my ear, his breath reeked of alcohol. I tried to pry away from his death grip on my arm. I reached for the cup he just drank from. I prayed there was no alcohol in that cup. He pulled my closer and grabbed my arm tighter.
“Let go!” I demanded.
“Don’t tell me how to run my life.” He hissed in my ear. His breath was hot against my skin. I attempted to pull away again this time he let go. I picked up the cup and held it to my nose. The burning smell of the alcohol made my stomach turn. I was furious now.
“I told you couldn’t handle it.” I yelled throwing the cup at him. It hit his chest and fell to the ground. He reached for me again. “Don’t touch me.” I cried moving out of his reach.
I grabbed my purse and ran for the door once again. This time I didn’t think twice about staying and helping him.
“Peyton!” He yelled after me. “I need you!” He pleaded once more.
“You don’t even have me anymore!.” I screamed and for the second time today I left him standing alone, but this time I wasn’t turning back.
Mikey twirled my hair around his finger as we lay in my bed late that night. I cried silently on his chest.
“I should have told you.” Mikey said.
“No, I wanted him to tell me himself.” I sobbed.
Mikey kissed the top of my head, trying to make everything better, which it wasn’t going to be for awhile.
“I love him.” I said softly.
“I know.” Mikey comforted me. I sat up and scooted off the bed. “Go take a hot bath.” Mikey instructed. “I’ll watch a movie or something.”
“You can go home.” I offered.
“You need me, I’m not going anywhere.” It felt good to need someone for the right reasons. Frank needed me to be his downfall, not his girlfriend, well not now at least. I smiled and headed to the bathroom.