Disclaimer: See part one.
Additional Disclaimer: This next section deals with descriptions of domestic and physical abuse. If this upsets or disturbs you, please feel free to read something else. I just wanted to forewarn you. Thanks for reading.
A Sacrifice for Friendship
By DS Bauden
Do I sit here all day and wait for her to come out? Or do I knock the door down to convince her how sorry I am. Oh right, good one Frankie, show lack of physical control to a woman who fears her boyfriend's beatings. I should just knock again and see what happens.
I knocked again but nothing happened. So I knocked again this time louder.
"Annie, I know you are in there. Please just hear me out." Yeah right, what are you going to say that she's gonna believe?
"Go away Frankie. I don't want to see you again." Annie said sternly to the door. I could tell her face was only inches away from it. I leaned my forehead against the door and spoke to her again.
"Please open the door Annie, I really need to talk to you." And I need to see your beautiful green eyes again. Come on darlin'; open the door for me, please.
"What could you possibly say to me that I have any interest in hearing?" She asked.
"I need for you to know what happened. I know you and I don't know each other that well, and there is nothing that I can say that can possibly make any sense to you about my leaving. But you have to know that I HAD to leave Annie. I didn't want to go. I didn't have a choice Annie, please believe me." I took a long breath to see if anything would change.
"Annie, please, you know me just enough to know that if you didn't mean anything to me, I wouldn't be here right now. You have to know that. Please Annie. Please open the door." I could feel my voice fade out as I asked her one last time to open the door. I really didn't know what else I could say. If she didn't want to see me, she wouldn't open the door and when I decided that it was time to wake up, I would return to my future life once again.
God this is so fucked up.
I heard small sighs on the other side of the door. I was hoping that maybe she had changed her mind and wanted to open the door. I felt my face being hit as she slammed something into the other side of the door, hitting me in the process. That would teach me to lean my face against a door.
"Ow! Damn, that was my nose!" I said while holding my nose.
I heard a gasp from her room as she swung the door open.
"Frankie! I'm so sorry! Did I hurt you?" She said as she fumbled to get a closer look at my face.
Looking at the smaller woman in front of me I noticed her bruised face. The wounds had started to yellow from healing, but it was still noticeable. I took her face gently in my hands and looked into her eyes for the first time. She immediately knew what I was doing and pulled back into her room. This time she left the door open. I took that as an invitation and walked in and closed the door behind me.
"Annie, what happened to you? Are you all right?" I asked her back facing me.
I didn't hear any response, just small sobs that started to leave her body. I walked behind her and lightly placed my hand on her shoulder. I could feel her body flinch at my touch so I pulled away.
"Please tell me what happened, Annie." I was almost pleading. I needed to know what had happened. It wasn't a mystery to me who had done this though; that bastard was going to pay for this.
"I'll be here for you, I promise. A Camarelli never breaks a promise." I heard my words coming back at me like daggers going in for the kill. She turned around and faced me with her bruised face and tears streaming down her black and blue cheeks.
"Don't even say it Frankie. You lied to me. I trusted you and you lied to me." She said as she started to pace through her room. I watched her like I was watching a caged tiger at a circus. She needed to get this out, and dammit it WAS my fault. This was MY fault.
"This was my fault Annie. I'm so sorry."
"DON'T! You come into my life acting like you can help me, change my life, be my closest friend, and most of all give me strength enough to leave my abusive piece of shit that I call my boyfriend. Then you disappear like the Holy Ghost." She said sarcastically with a smirk.
"Annie, I was forced to leave."
"I'm not finished yet." She walked up to me and got so close that I could smell the toothpaste she used. "You fell asleep in the truck on the way to the liquor store. I left you in there because I thought you needed the rest. I came back out with a fucking keg of beer so my drunken boyfriend could enjoy himself with his drunken ass friends, and you were no where to be found..." She paused to try and compose herself. I could tell she was no where near done.
God I hate this! I wish I could just tell you the truth.
"I thought maybe you had gone to the restroom or something and just didn't see me or know where I was in the store. I waited for you for an hour Frankie. A fucking hour! I took the damn beer back to the beach and Billy was fucking foaming at the mouth because I took so damn long to get back there!" She continued to cry as she told me her ordeal. I could feel my heart breaking at her pain and sorrow. "I tried to talk to him, but he was so angry, Frankie. God he was angry. He slapped me in the back of my head in front of everyone at the beach. I couldn't believe it. I never thought he would actually let anyone see him do that to me. I guess I was wrong again." She stopped and let the tears flow down her face. She took a deep cleansing breath and looked up into my eyes with her tear-filled ones.
"So... Frankie? Tell me what happened to you. I hope it was worth it. You know, I thought you were different. You seemed so different then all of these people that call me their friend. I truly believed that I finally could acquire the strength that I needed to leave Billy with you at my side. All it got me was this face." She pointed at her wounds to clearly demonstrate her failure.
"Annie, please stop. I am so sorry. You HAVE to believe me."
"Why, because you have been so honest with me since we met? Try again lady." She said very bitterly.
Ouch that one hurt.
"Annie, I cannot possibly tell you the truth about what happened to me. You would never in a million years believe what I had to do. All I can tell you is this. What pulled me from you is something that holds me stronger than anything you can imagine. I had no choice but to leave. I swear on my father's soul that if I could have stayed with you, I would have. Please believe me Annie. I truly am so very sorry that he hurt you again." I said as I felt my throat start to constrict from the emotion that I was feeling.
She sat and listened to me and just stared. It made me feel a little uneasy at first, but I knew she was just looking to see if I was telling the truth. I could tell a part of her wanted to believe me, and all of me wanted that part to win.
"So you can't tell me why you left?" She was trying to understand. I could feel it.
"No I can't. Please know that if it were something that I could have controlled, I would have. I know your situation. I would NEVER have given you a promise and then bailed out on you." I looked into her eyes hoping that she believed me. "I'm not like that."
"Well, I have nothing good to compare that to at this point, I'm sorry to disappoint you. I don't know you very well, Frankie."
"I know you don't, Annie, but I want to change that. If you give me a chance to make this up to you, I swear to everything Sacred that I will. I promise you, Annie." I took her hand and looked into her wet, bloodshot eyes as I said my last plea.
"I swear to you Frankie, if you ever lie to me, don't EVEN look my way again. I hate when people lie to me. I won't allow it or tolerate that in my life. I have too much shit to deal with as it is." She squeezed my hand and let go as she walked towards the window of her room.
She placed her hands against the glass and just looked down. I walked so I was right beside her and shared her view. She had an incredible view of Sheridan Road from up there. Eighteen floors up will do wonders to a normally gray colored city. You could see a light trail from the street lamps all the way up the street.
"I bet this looks amazing at night." I said nonchalantly.
"It is quite a view. The lights go all the way North until you can't see the road anymore. On a clear day it seems like you can see for miles. It's really quite lovely." She said in a quiet, almost childlike voice.
We stayed like that for several moments and she turned to look at me.
"I really hope you are the person I think you are. I have always known that my life would be able to change with the right person in my corner. I hope you are that person, Frankie."
"I can be whatever you need, Annie. I will do everything I possibly can to help you with Billy. I'll help you, I promise." I whispered as I pulled her into an uneasy embrace. She pulled away and turned away from my questioning stare.
"I'm sorry Frankie. I just don't feel comfortable when people hug me. I'm sorry. It's just something I need to get over. Please don't be offended by it." She turned to face me as she finished her apology.
"First of all Annie, you don't have to apologize. I'm a touchy Italian, I can't help myself. I should be apologizing to you. From now on I will not touch you at all without your permission. But um, if you ever want a hug, all you have to do is ask, and I'll give you one without question. Deal?" I asked her with a hope-filled look.
"Deal. Thank you, Frankie." She smiled that beautiful smile at me and I could feel my heart begin to melt once again.
I hope the day continues to go in this direction. I could really get used to seeing that smile.
"So you wanna go for a walk?" I asked her.
"No. I really don't want anyone to see me like this." She explained sadly.
"Annie? What happened to your face?" I asked tentatively.
She paused and walked from the window to sit on the edge of her bed. She sat there with her hands folded in her lap trying to gather her emotions. I could tell that she wanted to tell someone, and I was hoping that she would feel better once she got it out in the open.
Billy's ass is gonna pay for this.
"After the slapping incident, I told Billy I didn't want to see him anymore." She said quietly. I walked over to where she was and sat next to her on the bed. "He got really pissed. He called me so many nasty names I stopped counting after awhile. I left the beach party and told Betsy I was going to my room because I wasn't feeling well. I was so emotionally confused about Billy, and I was worried sick about you." She said as she looked sadly into my eyes. If a look could make your heart break, then mine definitely needed to go in for repair.
"I walked upstairs and could hear him calling after me. Luckily I had a good lead on him and I told the security guard not to let him in. As the elevator door closed I could hear him screaming obscenities at the guard. The last thing I heard before his voice faded was his warning to me that he would get me for this. I found out later that campus security had to remove him from the building." She stopped as her voice quivered a bit. She took a deep breath and continued. "I went into my room and was afraid to leave it for a few days. After several days I started to go to class and Billy was nowhere to be found. I hoped that he was over the whole thing, but unfortunately he wasn't." I leaned closer and began to rub her back. She didn't ask me to stop so I didn't. I wasn't sure if I should say anything at this time so I just let her finish.
"A few days ago I was on my way back from my writing class. I was completely oblivious to everything around me because it was such a beautiful day outside. Before I knew it I was in the elevator on my way up to my room. I got out of the elevator and felt someone grab my arm roughly. I didn't need an introduction, I knew who it was. Billy's alcohol filled breath was all I needed to know who it was. I felt my body start to shut down like it did when my dad used to beat me." She got up and went over to her little refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of juice and proceeded to drink its contents. She emptied the bottle and came back to sit on the bed.
"I felt Billy dragging me towards my room by my hair. I don't really remember a whole lot of it. It was almost like I was watching it from someone else's eyes. He grabbed my hand that had my keys and he squeezed it tearing the skin off of my palm. I remember crying out from the pain in my hand and dropping my keys. He picked them up and quickly opened my dorm room door. He threw me inside and I landed on my bed. He slammed the door shut and slowly approached me like I was some kind of prey for the taking. His eyes were so glossed over; he was definitely high on something. Probably pot, he liked to breathe that in more than fresh air.
"He said he was gonna make me see that no other man would be good enough for me. If I didn't see it his way, he'd make sure that I wouldn't be good enough for anyone ever again. I got scared, really scared. I had seen Billy angry before, but this time he was out of control. I guess me telling him that I wasn't going to see him anymore got him just a little pissed."
I just sat there with my eyes bearing into her as she relived her tale. She looked like she had nothing left in her as she retold her story. Her energy was just sucked out of her throughout this ordeal. She just sat there and told the story with no emotion, no feeling, no... life.
"He pulled me up by my shirt and punched me square in the face. All I remember was seeing stars and landing back on the bed. The blood that started to pool from my mouth started to drip down my throat and I began to choke. I spit out a lot of blood and it got all over my sheets, Billy, and me. I started to cry and plead with him to just let it go and to move on with his life. He wouldn't have any of that at all. He slapped my face again and mounted himself on top of me. There was no question in my mind of what he wanted to accomplish with this visit. I started to get really queasy and I threw up all over him. This only made him angrier and he punched my face again. I passed out after that and when I woke up he was gone. My clothes were still on so I guess he didn't have sex with me, thank God. As bad as the beatings were I never was raped and I am truly thankful for that. I mean I'd had sex with him, I just never wanted him or anyone to take me that way. That is one thing my dad never did either. I don't think I could have come back to a regular life had he done that. I don't know how people can survive when things like that happen. It just makes me feel better about my own circumstances. My life was never filled with roses, but it wasn't as bad as some people have it, you know?"
I guess when she needed to talk about something, she really meant it. It didn't matter to me, as long as she wanted to share some of her life with me, I would be here to listen.
I could feel my own body start to shake at the pictures of abuse that she was painting of her childhood. She started to tell me stories of her father's abuse. My eyes were wide with shock of the abuse that she endured a good majority of her life. I could tell she wanted me to know the whole picture, and I was trying to be as supportive as possible. I found myself very angry at the idea of someone harming her on such a regular basis. I bet she never knew what a real childhood was supposed to be like: loving parents, friends to play kickball with, a place to call home without fearing it. It certainly wasn't the life that she led. I don't know how long I could have handled a life like that without leaving or at least killing my father. I knew one thing for certain, I was gonna do everything I could to make sure no one harmed her again. If that meant becoming a bodyguard for this beautiful woman, well, then I couldn't have asked for a better job.
"So now that you have the whole sordid tale, you still want to be my friend?" She asked bitterly.
"Oh, Annie, there is nothing that I want more in this world, except for your happiness and safety." I replied. "Please let me help you find both."
She turned to look at me and I know that my hidden tears were well beyond staying inside. I took one look at her trusting face and knew that this was someone that shared a deep part of my soul. I let the tears fall. She reached up and wiped them away with her fingertips.
"I will let you. Just promise me one thing." She smiled.
"Anything, anything at all." I said quickly.
"Don't break your promises, it would kill me." It scared me to think how true those words could be. Especially with a psycho like Billy in her life.
"I give you my word as your friend and protector, I will never break these promises to you. I'll figure out a way to keep Billy from ever touching you again."
"Thank you, Frankie." She smiled and leaned into my shoulder with her head.
"You are very welcome, Annie." I continued to stroke her back with my fingers and leaned in to kiss the top of her head.
We sat like that for a good long time. It felt so natural for me to touch her, to comfort her. There wasn't anything in this world that would keep me from loving her too. Except of course if she didn't want it, but that would be a discussion for another time.
Darkness fell and I feared my time with Annie was going to end soon. I just didn't know when I would be brought back to my own time. I wasn't looking forward to leaving Annie again. I needed to let her know what was going on. I needed to at least try to explain what was going on.
I approached her as she was writing in her journal. She looked up at me with those big green eyes and I saw nothing but hope in them. God I felt like the biggest shit in the world. Here I was promising her that I wouldn't leave her and I didn't even belong in this time! She was so trusting and I wanted to be there for her. I just didn't know if it was going to happen. She just needed the strength to stick up for herself.
Hopefully I can give her that strength. Would she believe me if I told her the truth? I just don't want to leave again without her knowing why I had to leave. And would I be coming back? Here goes nothing.
"Annie, I need to tell you something. It's going to sound completely whacked and you are probably gonna throw me out of your room. But I really think you need to hear this." She closed her journal with the pen holding her place. She arched her back and cracked her vertebrae one disc at a time. I was completely transfixed watching this sensual movement. I know she had no idea what she was doing to me. I almost forgot how to speak when she answered me.
"What is it, Frankie? I won't throw you out. I'll just ask you to leave politely." She smiled.
"I need to talk with you about where I went when I left last time."
"Frankie, if you can't tell me, I don't want to get you into trouble."
"Oh, Annie, you won't get me into trouble. I'm just afraid that you won't believe me and you'll think that I am completely crazy." I said honestly.
"What is it then, Frankie. Just tell me."
"God I wish it was that easy." I started to pace back and forth.
Annie stood from the bed and grabbed my forearms and looked me right in the eyes. "Just tell me, Frankie."
I swallowed hard. "OK, maybe it would be better if I waited."
"Whatever is easier for you Frankie. I'll be here when you want to talk about it."
"Just know this Annie. If I do leave again, you HAVE to know that I will come back."
"What do you mean leave again. Frankie you promised me you wouldn't do that."
"Annie, I have a home that I have to go back to. I have no choice but to go when I am told to do so. I have no options here. If I need to return home, then I have to go. Just know that I'll be coming back to you. Nothing could keep me away for long." I said as I stroked her cheek with the back of my knuckles.
I felt the war within her. Part of her wanted to flinch at my touch, where the other part was craving it. I of course was rooting for the latter team.
"Does that still hurt?" I asked referring to her bruised face.
"No, it just looks like shit. It doesn't really hurt that much at all. I just can't believe he did this."
"Billy's gonna pay for doing this to you, Annie."
"NO, Frankie. That will just make him angry again. I just want to forget about all of this."
"Annie, if you don't do anything about him, he's gonna keep doing this or he'll do it to someone else. Hell, he may even kill whomever it is that he decides to beat next. Billy doesn't realize what he's doing is wrong. He needs help. If no one calls him on it, it's never going to change."
I could see the motor working inside her head. She was waging war again. This was one that may be the scariest decision she would have to make. It would mean telling the Police what Billy had done to her. It would mean she would have to tell someone what had happened to her. It would mean her humiliation would be public knowledge around campus.
"Alright, Frankie. I know that I have to tell someone about this. No one saw him though. Won't it be my word against his?"
"Well, is there anything that you can give the police that could be considered evidence?"
"Nothing comes to mind. I bet Billy has my puke or blood on his shirt though. It really wasn't a pretty sight. I don't think he would be smart enough to clean his clothes, he isn't the cleanest of people."
"My Romeo." I mumbled under my breath. "Can I ask a question, Annie?"
"If it starts out, 'Annie, what the hell did you see in him?' kind of question, I can't answer that. He was always nice to me. We saw each other at parties and he was in one of my classes. He dropped out though. He just hangs out around campus because he has lots of friends around here." She explained. "If I had known that he was gonna beat the shit outta me, trust me, I never would have gotten involved with him. It's just not something people advertise on their sleeves." She said a little harshly. I know I hit a nerve.
"Annie, I'm sorry. I know you didn't know he was like that. How could you know he would act like that? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make a joke about it."
"It's ok. I guess I was destined to live this kind of life."
"No! No one should have to live like that. You just need help trying to get rid of him. That's where I come in."
"If you want me to be your hero, that's what I'll be." I smirked my sassy grin at her. She smiled in return.
God she is beautiful.
"It's dark out Annie. Do you think you would be up for that walk now? If anyone saw you, I doubt that they would be able to see your bruises."
"Sure. I wanna get something to eat too. I'm really hungry. You know, I wanted to ask you something too Frankie."
"How did you know how to find me? I don't remember telling you where I lived."
"I asked around when I got back into town. I went to the diner and your friend Doris told me where you were. Don't be angry, I can be persuasive when I want to be."
"I'm not angry. I should thank her. I feel better knowing that you are OK."
"Me? You are the one that has bruises on her face, and you were worried about me?" I couldn't believe she was saying this.
"Yeah, well, what can I say? I tend to care more about others than I do about myself."
"That, my dear, is the understatement of the year."
"Come on, Frankie, let's get outta here." She smiled and took my arm and led me out of the dorm room.
As the door closed behind us I watched her walk towards the elevator. She had an unmistakable bounce to her step.
I'd like to think that I had something to do with that. I really hope we don't see Billy out and about. I may have to kill him with my bare hands.
To Be Continued in Part 8.
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