[a collection of old narratives that have been updated to fit the current version of Nish's character]
April 1, 1987 Age 6
Everyone was dressed in black. Mom was crying and Dad was hugging her. They told her that Grampa - Mom’s dad - had died, and she knew what that meant. No more bear hugs. No more sleepover visits filled with swimming and ice cream. No more bedtime stories about Thor and Odin and Loki.
There weren’t many kids here, but Nish didn’t really feel like playing anyway. Rob and Heather were with the grown ups, paying attention to the talking going on while people milled about with plates full of little sandwiches and pieces of celery. Nish had already eaten two egg sandwiches and a little piece of cake, and now she was sitting in the guest room where she used to sleep whenever she visited Grampa, and the toys were there. She pulled out the blocks with the strange runes on them and started mindlessly building a tower, but she wasn’t really picturing anything specific. Just placing blocks, and not thinking about it.
She didn’t hear him come in, but she soon noticed a little boy sitting next to her, bright frosty blue eyes, jet black hair, and a little grin on his face like he knew all sorts of secrets. So different from her boring brown eyes and reddish-brown hair, her innocently open disposition. Nish immediately liked him.
They played together with the blocks, stacking them in towers and having fun knocking them down. Building castles with walls around them, placing the blocks in some specific order that only he understood. After a while, Nish started to smile again. She didn’t feel so alone anymore. While everyone else was in the living room mourning grampa, she was here making a new friend.
“We can play together all the time,” the boy said after a while, his voice soft and smooth as velvet. “Would you like that?”
“Yes!” she immediately agreed, “I’ll ask mom if you can come over after…”
“No...they can’t know about me, Nishka,” he said, his expression suddenly serious, “it’ll be our secret.”
Nish didn’t understand, and frowned a little, “but why? Mom likes when I make new friends.” The boy smiled, and it was an almost fond, indulgent smile.
“I don’t think she’d like me,” he said. “But most adults don’t. They wouldn’t understand our friendship. But you do. You can see me.” That earned him a look of awe and maybe a little bit of fear.
“Are you a ghost?” He considered that for a minute, and then smiled.
“Kind of. But better. And I’ll stay with you all the time, I’ll always be there to help you and protect you. You won’t ever have to be alone again, and a part of your grampa will always be with you. Would you like that?”
“Yes,” she said, nodding. “I miss him a lot,” she frowned. But Loki smiled.
“As long as I’m here, he’ll always be with you.”
June 19, 1995 Age 14 first posted, sept 3, 2008 edited june 15 2017
Heather was being stupid again.
Nish flung her bedroom door shut hard, expressing her displeasure at what was going on in the next room. Her sister was on the phone, fighting with one of her boyfriends. Again. She didn't even know this guy's name, he was that new, and they were fighting already. As Rob would say, 'the honeymoon phase is over quicker and quicker these days'. She didn't care, and she didn't want to have to hear it coming through the thin sheetrock between their two rooms. Her sister was much different during the day than at night, like Jekyll and Hyde or something. During the day, she was the 'cool girl', the one everyone loved, the one who completely ignored her younger and less cool sister while at school. At night, when none of her friends were around, she was different. She was just Heather, Nishka's older sister. She could actually talk to her then. She could actually see her as human at night, rather than the goddess everyone else made her out to be.
Perfect grades. Friends with half the school. Out every night at one party or another. A boyfriend always hanging off her arm. The most popular girl in school. Her sister...her perfect sister. She hated her.
Tonight Heather was supposed to go out with New Boyfriend Whose Name Nobody Knew. But from what she could hear through the walls, New Boyfriend had cancelled on her at the last minute. Heather was pissed, because she was not one to be stood up, especially from a New Boyfriend. There were rules, after all. She was more popular than him...if anyone was cancelling, it was her.
Nish rolled her eyes and grabbed her English book, flinging herself onto her bed and doing her best to drown out the sounds of the one-sided argument in the next room. She didn't have to wait long, she heard a sharp 'FINE!!' and then the sound of the receiver being slammed down into the cradle. 'Damn,' Nish thought to herself with a grin, 'he didn’t last long.'
She cracked open her novel and started reading, although she wasn't very into the story. She hated being told what to read; the choices the school forced on them weren't very exciting at all. It didn't matter that Lord of the Flies wasn't that bad as far as school books went, it was the principle of the thing. Her eyes just skimmed the words, but she didn't really get what they said, what they meant. She was distracted enough by this that when she heard her sister's door open again she looked up, listening.
'Mom, I'm going for a bath,' Heather called down the stairs. It was unimportant enough for Nish to go back to trying to read her book, but something about it made her pause. Something about her tone. She wasn't angry...she was sad.
Nish woke about an hour later, maybe two, she hadn’t seen the time when she fell asleep. The book had fallen onto the floor while she was attempting to read it, and she'd completely lost her place. Sighing heavily, she slid out of bed, snatching up the book and flipping through it to try and find where she was and what, if anything, she'd read. She shrugged, feeling the pull towards the bathroom for her post-nap visit. She was surprised nobody had woken her up by now.
Heather's bedroom door was still open, and that gave her pause. It was always closed. She was very protective of her things, so much so that she'd had a lock put on the inside of her door. When she was in there, she locked herself in, and they had to knock to be granted an audience with her.
Nish paused, looking in. Her bed was unmade, there were books littering the floor, and it looked as if she'd nearly upset her desk - makeup and nail polish were scattered all over the carpet. She frowned, thinking of how utterly odd this was for her. This new guy had really gotten to her. Biting her lip for a moment, she turned and headed for the bathroom, realizing that she must still be in there.
"Heather!!" she banged on the door, a hint of annoyance in her voice. Had she been in there all this time? An hour...two? Who does that? The water must be ice cold by now... "Heather, come on, I gotta go!" she hollered a little louder, knocking again.
"Is she still in there?" their mother called from her bedroom down the hall, her voice also registered how strange this was. Nish nodded to her and tried the door, expecting it to be locked.
It wasn't. It swung open, and she stood there looking in.
She couldn't remember what happened next, but she suddenly found herself on the floor of the bathroom, looking down at her hands. Someone was screaming, but she couldn't tell who it was. She was trying to figure out why her hands were so red...had she burnt them? She didn't feel any pain...but her throat was sore.
And that was when she realized that it was her that was screaming. Her hands weren't just red...they were bloody. She looked up, and saw her mother kneeling over the bathtub, wet and stained with blood, clutching something in the water to her for dear life. She could hear her father downstairs on the phone, his normally calm, kind voice harsh with emotion. Confusion settled over her until her mother moved again, and she saw her face. Her sister's face. Her dead face.
Her stomach lurched, emptying out onto the bathroom floor, blackness feathering across her vision until it finally, mercifully, pulled her under.
June 19, 1998 Age 17 first posted, nov 9, 2007 edited, june 16, 2017
Robert Barris was furious. She was out, again, on her own. He thought that talk they'd had was enough, that they’d worked through her grief and her inexplicable guilt of their sister’s death.
"Where is she?" he asked his parents after finally determining that she wasn’t home, doing his best to keep the worry and anger from his voice. He’d managed to keep the worst of Nish’s ‘extracurricular activities’ from their notice, so he couldn’t exactly blame them for their oblivious looks.
Rob and Nishka had always been close, but after Heather died only three years ago, they'd grown closer. He had been the one to hold her back whenever he could, to comfort her as she cried, listen to her doubts and fears and guilt. But he was in University now, he couldn't be there all the time like he wanted.
"She went out with some friends," his father told him off-handedly, "she said she'd be back by midnight," he offered with a shrug. Because what could they do, really? To them...Nishka looked a model student. A good daughter. They had no fucking idea; she was 'perfect' - just like Heather had been. Rob turned and left, getting back in his car, knowing exactly where to find her. He knew who her 'friends' were.
He could hear the Smashing Pumpkins blasting from the front door and windows of the house as he drove up, and could already picture what was going on inside. These had been Heather's friends, and they'd adopted Nishka into the fold almost the second her sister was in the ground. He knew just as well as she did what had driven her there, but they'd avoided talking about it. Any of it. All he could do was clean up the mess he found every time she crashed.
Yanking open the front door, he stormed through the house, pushing drugged up and oversexed teenagers out of the way as he searched for his sister. There were so many of them here, getting high, getting drunk, getting fucked. He knew half of their parents, he wanted to call them but they weren't his concern at the moment. He pulled one of them up by the shirt and shouted over the music, asking if he'd seen her. The guy stuttered, his vacant eyes telling him he'd been doing some sort of hard drugs as he pointed listlessly upstairs. With a curse he let the kid go to slide back down to the floor, taking the stairs two at a time, checking all the rooms until he found her.
He didn't even think about it as he stormed into the room, pulling some guy off of her and punching him in the face, knocking him out cold. Nishka was disoriented, half naked and staring up at him without really recognizing him. He sighed sadly and searched the room for her clothes as she slowly realized that the guy she'd been with was gone. She sat herself up, staring at him in disbelief. "What the fuck are you doing here, Rob?" she demanded. She was wasted; he doubted she'd remember any of this tomorrow. He turned, her clothes in his hands as he went over to the bed, taking her by her too-slim shoulders and shaking her roughly.
"Me? What the fuck are you doing here?" he demanded. He was angry, because he loved his sister, and he didn't want to lose her too. He stared her down, but she wasn't focused enough to even hold his eyes for a second and she started to slump forward. He sighed and started to pull her shirt on over her head, and like a rag doll, she let him. "You're coming home with me," he told her in an accusatory tone. "And you're never doing this again, do you hear me Nish? Never." She started shaking her head vigorously, in a way that only made her sick, her stomach lurching violently.
"Nooo," she protested, tears glistening in red-rimmed eyes, "I can't go home, I can't...not now..." He pulled the shirt down all the way and she slumped forward, her head pillowed heavily on his shoulder. His arms went around her reflexively, holding her close.
"Not home...Mom and Dad don't know, they'll never know...you're coming home with me," he told her, rubbing her back soothingly even though it didn't calm her down much. She started to choke on her sobs, and he tilted her so she could hang over the side of the bed, in case she had to be sick, but she recovered. She lay across his lap like a child as he soothed her with a hand on her back, sobbing pitifully. "Shhhh," he whispered, wiping her hair away from her eyes, and the tears from her cheek.
"It should have been me," she whispered. He was swift, pulling her up, holding her shoulders firmly in his strong hands.
"Don't you ever say that again," he almost yelled. It stunned the tears from her eyes and she stared at him with sudden clarity. "Stop trying to be her," he scolded. "It was her fault, not yours. She took herself from us; I can't lose you too." His eyes were glistening with tears that he was too strong and too proud to let fully form. "I won't let you turn into her, Nish." That said, seeing that she was suitably stunned into compliance, he started tugging her jeans back up her legs, doing them up for her and lifting her from the bed.
He'd take her back to his apartment, stay with her all night, feeding her water and aspirin and homemade hangover cures. He'd tell their parents that she came home with him after the party, and they spent the night playing fucking scrabble. He told himself that this would be the last time, that he couldn't cover up for her forever...but when it came to his baby sister, he was weak, and he was always there for her. And he never told.
September 25, 1998 Age 17 shortened from a completed thread from 2012 edited June 18, 2017
"I'm taking you home."
Stephen’s tone left no room for argument. He followed it up by hooking his arm under her knees and picking her up, carrying her out of the latest rowdy party he’d found her in. She was high on something, that much was clear, but he couldn’t be sure of what it was. The good news was he’d gotten to her before her clothes started coming off, so for that at least he was grateful. He didn’t know what he would do if he’d had to pull some guy off of her.
The spinning in Nish’s head only got worse with the movement, but she was floating, weightless, non-existent, and it felt amazing. She could vaguely feel arms around her, her own head lolling against Stephen's shoulder, but the sensation of being so free was euphoric.
When the cool night air hit her in the face and she started to realize what was happening to her, she started struggling against him, pushing him away from her like a cat that didn’t want to be picked up. He'd broken her high, served him right. “No…no, stop…” she said, but he paid her no heed, tightening his grip around her until he’d unlocked his jeep and sat her down in the passenger seat, strapping her in like a child.
He frowned as he looked down at her, her eyes glazed over, her hair a mess. He wished he knew why she had to do this to herself. It was just another thing that made him angry about her behaviour. Yes, he knew about her sister. But for fuck's sake, Rob had coped. Why couldn't she?
"Fine, I won't take you home," he promised, knowing that was why she had fought him. "But you need to go somewhere. What about Rob's?"
She winced, shaking her head. "Amy hates me," she murmured, the first lucid-sounding thing she'd said all night. Rob’s girlfriend, who resented Nish and how Rob would drop everything - even cancel dates - to take care of his sister.
"Hey, no one hates you," he soothed, trying to comfort her, but also wanting to just get her away from here. He closed her door, quickly rounding the jeep and slipping into the driver’s side. "I'm taking you back to my place, then," he decided, bringing the car to life and pulling away from the curb. Her head leant against the glass as he drove, her eyes open and unfocused, watching the lights and the traffic fly by, growing more and more nauseous by the minute.
They made it to his place just in time; as soon as he opened the door of his apartment she darted away from him, into the bathroom where she promptly threw up everything she’d eaten that night, including the rest of the pills she'd taken, now tiny and almost gone, floating and fizzing around each other on top of the water.
A cold sweat broke out all over her, making her shiver even though she could feel Stephen's warm body cradling her from behind, making sure she didn't fall over. "I'm sorry," she murmured, leaning her forehead against the back of the toilet, the coolness of it soothing her burning skin. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry...I messed up, I was so stupid...I won't drink anymore, I promise..." She wouldn't remember saying any of it in the morning, but the guilt was overpowering.
"Shhh," his voice was soft, soothing, as she started apologizing, started making promises he didn't think she could keep. He pulled her back against him, away from the toilet, his arms going around her. It felt good, too good...and he shouldn't be focusing on that. He should be focusing on her. "Don't worry about any of that." There would be time for lectures later, from both him and Rob. But not now. She was overheated, sick from alcohol and whatever those pills had been, and it scared him, even though she had gotten a lot of it up.
He helped her stand and guided her down the hall to his bedroom, pulling back the covers and helping her in. "You're going to feel better in the morning, Nish," he promised, covering her with the comforter and tucking her in. He turned towards the door, intending to sleep on the couch in the living room, but she fished her hand out from under the blankets and wrapped it around his, stopping him from leaving.
"Don't...stay, please?" she murmured. She was almost gone, but she didn't want to be alone. He hesitated, but then sighed, getting onto the other side of the bed, on top of the blankets, and watching her.
She shifted closer to him, curling up against him with her head on his shoulder. She would have stayed like that, fallen asleep, but for the drugs in her system telling her to do more, making her skin tingle and yearn to be touched. So she tilted her head, pressing her lips against his neck, his jaw, then finally his mouth.
He pushed her away almost immediately, but not far enough, her forehead pressed against his, her breathing hot and fast against his skin. "You like me," she murmured against him, practically moaning the words, "I know you like me..." He groaned in frustration.
"I've known you forever, Nish. Of course I like you..." he said, struggling to keep this platonic. There was no way he was going to let this happen. She was high, she was a minor, and he was the responsible adult in this situation. But everything she was doing and saying was making that harder and harder to remember that.
"Please, Stephen...god, I feel so fucking good right now. Just..." she reached for him, pulled him towards her, threading her fingers in his hair, shifting so she was lying on her back, almost under him. One hand curling around his nape to pull his lips back down to hers, straining, yearning for him to give in. Her other hand grasped his, pulled it down, shoving the blankets down with it until she filled his palm with her breast. He reacted on instinct, kissing her back, kneading her small soft breast with his hand.
Nish’s roving hand released his, moved down, tugged at his jeans, slipping inside and gripping his now fully erect cock in her hand, stroking him as she pressed her lips against his cheek. “I want you to fuck me,” she murmured, her breath hot against his skin, “he doesn’t have to know.”
Bringing up Rob forced higher thought to kick in and he pulled away from her, this time getting off the bed and stepping away. The devil was on one shoulder, and the annoying fuckwad of an angel on the other. He desperately wanted to listen to the horny little heathen with the pitchfork tempting him to let go of his inhibitions and plunge in, but he couldn’t do this, not to his best friend’s sister.
"Damn you, Nish. Damn you." He could have shaken her senseless for this. She was so stupid. "Of course you feel fucking good. You're high, you stupid little child. You need to sober up, for once in your life." The words were harsh, cutting, and they were meant to be. He wanted to strike her with his words, slap some sense into her that way. And it worked.
"You bastard," she murmured, tears prickling her eyes. She steadied herself, willing her head to stop spinning, sitting up on the bed with her eyes clamped shut against the vertigo. "I thought you loved me," she said, fingers clenching the blankets beneath her. She remembered, or thought she remembered, a time not long ago when he'd been dragging her home from yet another party. She'd been stoned then too, maybe more than she was now. And he told her he loved her. She was sure it had happened.
Stephen cursed under his breath at this, briefly turning away so he could tuck himself uncomfortably back into his pants and zip them back up. He’d hoped she would have forgotten that little confession in his car. He’d meant what he’d said, but...for gods’ sakes, she was like a sister to him. Or should be, after all this time.
He turned back to her, her eyes glassy, unfocused, and all of the desire went out of him, replaced with something a little more appropriate: protectiveness. He crossed over to the bed and sat down, taking her in his arms and hugging her tightly. “Of course I do,” he murmured into her hair, “but that’s why I can’t. You need to sleep this off; we can talk about this in the morning when you’re sober.” He took her face in his hands, holding her forehead to his and stroking her cheeks. “I need to keep you safe. Even from me.” Especially from me.
He pushed her back onto the bed, pulling the covers up over her and then pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Sleep, Nish. I’m gonna call Rob to tell him you’re okay...I’ll be here when you wake up.” She nodded and watched him leave, her eyes not leaving the doorway until she finally fell asleep.
March 5, 2001 Age 20 first posted, dec 13, 2007 edited June 16 2017
She was chewing on her pen cap again, a nervous habit she had never grown out of. The midterm was difficult, but not impossible, and she was nearly done. Two desks over, her friend Angie was going nuts, scribbling furiously and then blanking the whole thing out with white-out. She smirked and caught her attention under the table. Two fingers: question two. 'Munchausen', she mouthed discreetly. Angie frowned slightly and then smirked back, nodding and going back to scribbling down as fast as she could. There was ten minutes left of the test. She went back to reading over her own paper, but then looked up to the front of the room. Scott, the professor, was staring at her. He'd seen her helping out her friend, and instead of a reprimand, he smirked and shook his head, with an 'I-can't-believe-you-just-did-that' look on his face.
Once the test was over, he came around to collect their papers, leaning over her a little as she packed up her things. "I'd like to see you in my office," he said quietly, moving on to collect the rest of the papers. She watched him go, and Angie slid over to the chair next to her. "Busted," she teased, and Nishka just rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"He didn't see...he's been tutoring me after all those classes I missed," she explained casually, sliding her notes back into her bag and slipping it over her shoulder. Angie shrugged and got up with her.
"Fine, fine, but just in case he does accuse us of cheating, I'll deny everything," she said with a grin. "Later," she called over her shoulder, as they parted ways in the hall, Angie on her way to head home, and Nishka glancing around before heading off towards the teachers' offices.
She didn't bother knocking, just slipped inside where he was already waiting for her. His arms were folded and he had an almost stern look on his face as he watched her close the door. "I saw that," he said directly. She would have thought he was serious, would have felt that twinge of guilt and apprehension such a situation should elicit, but for the slight quirk she saw at the corner of his lips.
"You could have said something," she pointed out, dropping her bag near the door and stepping forward. a small smirk slowly drawing across her lips. He chuckled and closed the distance between them, not wasting time in pulling her flush against him, his lips tasting hers.
His hands roamed possessively over her, and she returned every touch with one of her own, her soft moans both encouraging and demanding. They ended up on his couch, and then the floor, and not long after she found herself lying naked and panting in his arms, listening to his heartbeat beneath her cheek.
"Scott?" she murmured lazily, one finger softly drawing nonsense patterns on his damp chest. He replied with a questioning grunt and she rolled her eyes, pushing herself up on her elbow so she was leaning over him, looking down into his eyes. "Do you love me?" she asked. She wasn't playing now, she was serious. It was near the end of the year...they'd been at this for most of that, and she was worried about when school would end in May.
Scott looked back up at her, catching on right away. He stared at her a moment and then rolled away from her. "Ohh, come on don't start with that again," he moaned, sitting himself up and searching for his clothes, starting to pull them on. She frowned and did the same.
"I need an answer," she insisted, catching his eyes again. He held them this time.
"Yes, alright? I do..."
"Do you love me more than her?" she prodded, pausing as she pulled on her jeans, glancing surreptitiously down at the wedding band on his left hand. He paused too, stopped what he was doing, his eyes averted. He sighed.
"I don't...want to talk about this now, Nish..."
"Don't call me that," she said sharply, cutting him off. He looked at her. "Only my friends call me that."
"What, I'm not your friend?" he asked.
"My friends love me," she shot back irritably, standing and pulling her shirt back on, quickly buttoning it up. He chuckled and stood, coming up behind her and hugging her around her waist.
"But you don't fuck your friends," he whispered in her ear, pressing a hot kiss to her neck. She squirmed out of his hold and stepped away. He frowned. "I'm not your friend, but you'll sleep with me?" he asked her, a tinge of annoyance in his voice now.
"I go to AA meetings three times a week," she said nonchalantly, doing up the last button and then crossing her arms. "Do you think that's the worst of my problems?" He snorted softly.
"Touché." He turned back to his desk, and she headed for the door. Rummaging around in a pile of papers, he pulled one out and let it fall on an empty corner of his desk.
"You got an A+ on your paper," he called after her, before she opened the door. She turned, her mouth open as if to retort, and he cut her off. "On your own," he added, before she could ask. "I've never given you marks you don't deserve, Nishka."
She frowned at him, almost a glare, as if deciding whether or not to believe him. Getting her own way almost all of the time had a way of making her doubt the sincerity of the people around her, but she’d been careful with him, not making any of her requests direct commands. She wanted something real, but the downside of that was that sometimes he told her ‘no’. Several times, she’d almost told him to leave his wife for her, but something kept holding her back. Maybe it was knowing that it wouldn’t be real. Maybe it was fear of what might happen once Stephen found out she’d been fooling around on him.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said softly, leaving his office, the paper untouched on his desk so that he’d have to hand to her in class with everyone else’s.
first posted, oct. 21, 2012
PAUSE || re.wind << STOP [ ] PLAY >
"How many times?" "What, you want me to count them for you? You wanna know how many times he came in my mouth too? How many times he was better than you?" "You bitch...you FUCKING BITCH..." "No, stop...you're hurting-" "I'll teach you to screw around on me..." "Mommy?" "..." "It- it's okay, Stephen. Go back to bed."
"Hey Steve, wanna sleep over this weekend?" "Sure." "Your dad won't mind?" "No, he's got another new girlfriend, he probably won't even notice I'm gone." "Cool...come over around seven, mom's making shake and bake." "Sure."
"Whoa, where'd you get that?" "My dad, he keeps it in a locked cabinet but I found the key years ago." "Sweet...is it loaded?" "Nope, but I got bullets. I also got this." "Shit, is that real?" "Yep...40 proof, whatever that means. Tastes like shit, but hey, it's supposed to, right?" "I guess." "So...you and Brittany, huhh?" "Yep" "Kiss her yet?" "Let's just say, I now know more about women than you do, Rob." "Did she...she let you..." "She didn't let me anything. She was begging for it." "What was it like?" "Fucking awesome."
"Hey man, I'm sorry about your sister. Heather was a great girl." "Thanks, Stephen." "You know I'm here for you, man, right?" "Yeah."
"Nish...hey Nish, wake up." "Wha?" "You're home, come on, I'll help you inside." "Whatappen? Wherami?" "You were at a party, Nish, you dropped acid or something." "Didn't." "Look Nish, I'm not Rob, I won’t judge you for the stuff you've been up to. You know I just want you to be safe, right? I care about you." "..." "I just...god, Nish...when I see you with other guys, I just...I wanna punch his face in. I just..." "Whydyo care?" "You know why. God, you're probably so stoned you won't remember tomorrow anyway. I love you, Nish. I love you, okay? And it kills me that you'll probably never love me back." "...I....I'm gonna puke."
"You know I love you, right? Ohh god, Nish I'm so sorry. I never meant to...you know I don't want to hurt you. But sometimes you just - I can't control the way I feel about you. I can't control it when I love you so much. I just want us to be together, I want us to be happy. I never wanted this to happen. I never wanted to hurt you. I'm so sorry." "I know, I know babe. I love you too."
March 21, 2003 Age 22 Written November 27, 2017
Nish’s last class of the day had finished late; or rather, the group she was working with in that class had completely dropped the ball on their assignment that was due on Monday, and they’d all stayed an extra two hours to try and figure out a way to fix it. Now finally home, she was tired, stressed and angry, all she wanted to do was have a drink and go to bed.
She let her purse fall to the table by the door, kicking her shoes off and letting her coat fall somewhere inside the closet as she padded through her dark apartment. Sudden movement caught her eye and she whirled around, but not fast enough to avoid being trapped by the body standing behind her, muscled arms wrapping tightly around her chest and pinning her own beneath them.
“You’re late,” a harsh voice whispered in her ear, rumbling with smokes and smelling of whiskey, “you’re gonna pay for making me wait.” She struggled, her heart suddenly pounding with fight or flight as she twisted and squirmed in his hold, but all to no avail. Her assailant dragged her down the hall to the bedroom, throwing her onto the bed and climbing on top of her. She did her best not to make it easy on him, but soon he had her arms yanked over her head, tying her wrists together and then to one bedpost, with the convenient silk ties on the endtable.
“Please,” she begged, “don’t hurt me…” but he cut off any more words with a hand pressed to her mouth. He leant in close, hot breath coasting over her ear, his teeth grazing over her skin with the promise of a bite.
“Ohh it’ll hurt,” he ground out, “and you’ll like it.” He dragged his tongue down her neck, his hand shifting from her mouth to her jaw, holding it against him as he raked teeth over soft skin, then down around her throat, squeezing just enough to limit, but not completely cut off her air. She moaned softly and let her eyes slip closed, her breath starting to come in shallow gasps now as he nipped at her neck and collarbone, his free hand starting to yank her shirt up, revealing more skin to his greedy touches.
And then she struggled again, on pure reflex, her knee accidentally coming in contact with his groin, forcing him to let her go with a cry of pain. “Fuck, Nish…” he cried, doubling over next to the bed.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” she said, quickly coming back down to earth, hands still bound to the bedpost. She awkwardly shifted to sit on the edge of it, trembling now with real panic. “Stephen…” she tried to get to him and then with a frustrated groan, used her teeth to undo the loose knot on her bonds. She crouched next to him and hugged him while he groaned in pain, though soon he started chuckling darkly.
“At least I know you can handle yourself,” he groaned, still doubled over, but smiling at her. She let out a short laugh and pressed her hands to his cheeks, leaning in for a quick kiss and then helping him up onto the bed.
“Nobody takes me without permission,” she laughed softly, curling up against him and pressing another soft kiss to his neck. “Bet you’re regretting teaching me that,” she murmured.
“You and your sharp knees,” he chuckled.
“I’m so sorry,” she laughed again, “really. I needed that today, and uggh, you were so convincing.”
“Hmm, I’m not sure how I feel about that,” he admitted, giving her the side-eye. “Convincing as a burglar taking advantage of a defenceless woman-’”
“I’m not defenceless,” she corrected.
“But still, not exactly something I’d like to be good at,” he reasoned. “I’m hoping to one day put dirtbags like that in prison.” She smiled and shifted, carefully straddling him above his currently tender groin so as not to cause more discomfort, and then leaning close over him.
“And you will,” she said, kissing him, “but you were the one who asked me what I wanted. About...fantasies...I liked…” she blushed delicately when she said it, ducking her head just a little in embarrassment. He found it adorable, lifting her head with one hand so that she’d look at him again.
“I did,” he agreed, “and I don’t regret it. I like making you happy,” he said, tracing the warm pink skin on her cheek with his thumb. “Just...not so much with the rapey scenarios,” he added, to which she chuckled, embarassed.
“I didn’t think of it like that,” she admitted, shifting back off of him to lie next to him, one leg twined with his, her head on his shoulder. “I just...I like not being in control,” she said with a half shrug. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, holding her tight to him the way she liked.
“That I can do,” he said, caressing the back of her neck with soft fingers. “It makes sense...you’re in control everywhere else. At school, at work...I’m not surprised you like to let someone else take over once in a while.” And to let go so often with drugs, with alcohol. It concerned him, how often she used. Practically every weekend, and sometimes during the week if she didn’t have a class the next day, she’d get blackout drunk, or high as a kite. Sometimes both. Fortunately, he was usually there to keep her out of trouble, and even enjoy it with her sometimes, but he worried about when she would finish the year; she was planning to go to Chicago for her pre-law program, and he wouldn’t be able to follow her.
She shrugged in his arms, accepting the explanation, but feeling it didn’t really explain it all. “I guess,” she said, going quiet, letting her eyes slip closed as she listened to his heartbeat. She sighed softly and would have slipped off to sleep had he not nudged her.
“Come on, I bet you didn’t have dinner,” he said. “I got pizza…” She smiled softly, eyes still closed.
“God, I love you,” she chuckled, and then shifted to get up and find the promised food.
January 1, 2006 Age 24 Written November 28, 2017
“Don’t you dare walk away from me,” Stephen roared after her, catching the door to their bedroom mid-slam and pushing his way into the room. “How long have you been fucking him behind my back?” he demanded, to which she groaned loudly in frustration.
“Ohh my god, just because I was talking to a coworker, at a work party, doesn’t mean I’m fucking him,” she shouted back, her eyes bright with anger. New Year’s day, and they were both hung over, but no sooner had they started eating breakfast that he started in on his ridiculous suspicions.
“It wouldn’t be the first time I caught you with someone else,” he shot back. “I saw the way you looked at him; what, am I not good enough for you anymore? You have to pick up whoever’s convenient for a quick fuck? I bet you even do your clients; no wonder you get so many fucking billable hours,” he added with a sneer. She spun to face him, seeing red, and slapped him hard. Rather than phase him at all, it only made him smile coldly.
“I am not a whore,” she shouted at him, angry tears in her eyes as ugly emotions grew exponentially inside her. His smile quickly changed, becoming a look of rage as he stepped forward, clamping his hands around her upper arms and roughly pushing her back into the wall behind her, knocking the breath out of her.
“Yes you are,” he growled, crowding her up against the wall, one hand clamped around her jaw to force her to look at him, “you’ve always been a fucking whore, ever since high school. Do you know how many times we chased you down when you were high as a fucking kite or so drunk you didn’t know what the fuck was happening to you?” He shook her, and her head slammed against the wall, dazing her. “I kept you safe.” His fingers dug harder into her arms, enough to make her yelp in pain.”I watched over you, when you didn’t give a shit about yourself. You’d probably be dead if it wasn’t for me. Is that what you were you trying to do? Kill yourself?”
“Maybe,” she retorted savagely. “Maybe one day I will,” she retorted, “I’ll probably be happier when I’m dead.” That earned her a slap across the face. Her cheek throbbed with fire and her lip bled. The sound of that slap seemed to reverberate around the room like a thunderclap, snapping them both out of their vicious argument.
Stephen immediately released his bruising hold on her arms, lifting one hand up to caress the angry red welt now blooming on the side of her face, his thumb just barely grazing her split lip. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice as soft as it had been harsh only seconds before. “I just...can’t stand to think of you with anyone else. I don’t know what I would do if you ever left me.” A tear rolled down her cheek and he swiped it away with his thumb.
“I’m sorry too, I didn’t mean it,” she said, the fight immediately draining from her until she slumped a little in his now more gentle hold. “Any of it. I’m so sorry, baby, I swear I’m not sleeping with anyone else…”
He shushed her with kisses, muffling any other words she would say. Lies, he told himself, but words that she knew he wanted to hear. And he knew her. He knew how easily she strayed, just as he knew how later that day she would probably start drinking again to drown her remorse, chasing one hangover with another. What was that cliche? ‘You know an addict is lying when their lips are moving’? But they were sweet lies, and he eagerly swallowed them all, until his rage built again and he couldn’t control it anymore.
He started lifting her pajama top, their kisses heating up until he picked her up and lay her in bed, where they made love, drowning in each other. Their mutual drug of choice.
January 11, 2007 Age 25 written June 21, 2017
The phone woke her up.
Groaning, she opened one eye just enough to see the time on her nightstand - 4:21am, she’d been asleep for less than an hour - and search for the phone. Next to her, Stephen grumbled and shifted in bed, though she knew he was awake, listening. She picked up the phone and pushed the talk button.
“H-hello?” she murmured, her voice thick with sleep, and other things.
“Nish?” It was Rob’s voice, sounding serious and too alert for this early in the morning. If she hadn’t still been high it would have jolted her awake immediately.
“Whatdywant, Rob?” she asked into the pillow. She could hear a sound like something shifting.
“Jesus Christ, Nish, you’re high? I can hear it in your voice…”
“No, imjust tired,” she insisted, “I mean, sleeping.” He sighed heavily, but didn’t argue with her. Now wasn’t the time.
“Nish, it’s mom and dad,” he said, hoping his tone and his words would shake her out of whatever it was she was in right now. Instead, she frowned, shaking her head just slightly which managed to wake her a little more, though her head was still swimming.
“Look, I told them on Christmas, alright? You said I had to. I told you they’d be mad if they knew I was using…”
“They’re pissed at me now, and it’s your fault; why couldn’t you just leave well enough alone?”
“Nish...they’re dead.” There was silence between them, as sudden as if she’d been muted. “Mom and dad...they’re dead.”
Nish was stunned into silence, frozen in shock as the meaning of those words slowly started to sink into her drug-addled brain. By now, Stephen had fully woken up and was sitting up in bed, looking at her. Silently, she turned to him, her face drained of colour, and she handed the phone to him, curling up next to him and hugging her pillow to her chest.
“Rob?” he said, “It’s me, what’s going on?”
“She’s right here...she handed me the phone; I think she wants me to talk to you...what did you say to her?”
“Stephen…” he hesitated, and then finally blurted it out. “Mom and dad are dead. They were in a car accident late last night. The cops said they were driving home from the movies and hit a patch of black ice and spun out into a ditch.”
“I’m at the hospital now. I...had to identify them for the police.”
Stephen paused and looked down at Nish next to him, her eyes squeezed shut as if she could block out both sight and sound from reaching her. “Look man, Nish is in no condition to deal with this right now…”
“Well that’s too fucking bad, Stephen,” he shot back angrily. “This is happening, and she has to deal with it, no matter what she’s on right now.” He paused, raking one hand through his hair. “This is on you, Stephen...you could have done something about her, but instead you let her turn into a fucking junkie.”
“If you love her at all you’ll get her clean. She can’t live like this.”
“Rob, you’re angry, I get that. But we need to deal with your parents right now,” he deflected. “What do you need, do you want us to go there?”
Rob sighed heavily, closing his eyes and rubbing his face roughly with his free hand. He hadn’t slept all night, and the combination of grief and shock and exhaustion was fraying every last nerve he had. “There’s not much she can do here, but...I’m waiting to speak with the coroner and the police. You can come to wait with me if you want. I’m at the General.”
“Okay,” Stephen nodded, looking down at Nish. She’d need to be there, to make this real. Right now she was still on the tail end of her high, she needed to be jolted back into reality. “Alright, we’ll be there soon.”
He hung up the phone and looked down at Nish next to him on the bed, curled up like a child trying to hide from the world.
“Nish…” he said gently, one hand resting on her bare shoulder. “Come on, honey, we have to go.” She shook her head, gripping the pillow tighter. He sighed and got out of bed, rummaging around behind her in the closet and picking out some clothes for her, tossing them on the bed beside her and then pulling her up to sit.
He crouched down in front of her, holding both of her hands and trying to catch her eyes with his, though they were unfocused and turned away from him. He looked down at their hands, frowning at the ring of bruises around her wrists, glad he’d chosen a long sleeved sweater for her to wear. “Come on, we’re going to go see Rob. He needs you right now,” he said softly, caressing the back of her hands with his thumbs. In answer, she took a deep shuddering breath and then let it out slowly.
Stephen stood, dressing her while she sat there unresisting, bruises in various stages of healing littering her bare skin until he covered them up with warm clothes. Once she was dressed and he’d dressed himself, he pulled her up with him, kissing her forehead and guiding her to the door. “Come on,” he said encouragingly, helping her into her coat and boots.
Just as they were about to leave the apartment, she turned to him, wrapping her arms around him and burying her face in his chest, clinging to him as if he was her only lifeline. He held her close, whispering soothing words to her, planting kisses on her hairline, gently prodding her to walk with him out of the apartment and into the frigid night.
October 26, 2007 Age 26 first posted, oct. 19, 2012 edited june 16, 2017
I'm an alcoholic. I'm a battered woman. I’m an orphan. I'm scared. I'm alone. I don't know what to do. I should know what to do. I should be able to handle this on my own. I should call for help. I should tell someone that I'm not okay. I can't tell anyone that I'm not okay. I love him. I hate him. I can't let this ruin my life. I can't admit how bad things really are. I can't hide this forever. I can't stop lying to myself. I need to get out of here. I'm afraid of being alone. I don't want to be alone forever. I love him, even though he hurts me. I hate him because he hurts me. I'll die if I don't leave him. I'm terrified of dying alone. I can handle this. I need help. I don't want help. I -
"Nish?" She startled, crumpling the paper up in her hands, stuffing it deep into her pocket and jumping out of the chair. He was there in the doorway of the bedroom, smiling at her lovingly. "You coming to bed?"
She looked at him for a long moment, her features softening into a soft smile of her own. "Yeah."
October 29, 2007 Age 26 first posted, oct. 29, 2012 edited june 16, 2017
She had a headache.
Even after everything was said and done, she'd hold to that. She'd had a headache. She took some aspirin. After that...things were fuzzy.
She remembered the bottle of whiskey. That much was clear. She couldn't remember how full it had been though, just the comforting wink of amber liquid flashing at her from inside the glass as she downed full mouthfuls, chasing handfuls of pills. Later, they would tell her there had been ex in her system too. That was news to her.
She tipped her head back again, the liquid sliding down her throat, no longer burning on its way down. Now it was just warmth, comfort. Her head spun, but it was a pleasant feeling. Things started to go numb, things like her fingers and toes and large sections of her skin. It fascinated her, and she spent a long time testing an area on her arm for feeling, amused at the loss of sensation.
At one point she wanted to go to the bathroom. Maybe she felt sick and needed to throw up, but she never made it. She tripped, fell, the bottle smashing on the floor a few feet away from her outstretched arm, a chunk of it slicing her arm as she hit the ground hard, though she barely felt the impact. It didn't matter anymore anyway, or wouldn't. Not for very much longer.
In that moment she felt oddly free. As if the combination of chemicals and alcohol had killed something inside her, something toxic that had been plaguing her for months. Years. Possibly forever. She was overcome with emotion, tears slipping down her cheeks, dampening her hair, at the sweetness of that lifted burden. Whatever it was, whatever she'd been trying to stop, it was gone.
Her thoughts drifted, images of Stephen flitted behind her closed eyelids, him hitting her, kissing her, loving her. An ache tore at her heart at the thought that she'd never kiss him again, when at the same time, like the undertow of a wave, she felt joy at the same thought. Stephen would never touch her again. No more bruises and apologies and lies. No more fear and guilt. She was throwing out the good with the bad. Babies and bathwater.
Suddenly she saw Heather standing over her. A little girl compared to her now, frozen in time at the moment of death, blood from her wrists dripping down her upturned palms, splashing onto the floor beneath her. She tried to speak, to tell her how sorry she was. Beg her forgiveness for not saving her. But she didn't see blame in her eyes, or anger. She saw sadness. Pain. She wanted to get up and comfort her, tell her everything would be alright, but something was holding her down. Invisible somethings pinning her to the floor. In the back of her mind she knew it was the drugs, but it terrified her. She couldn't move.
And then the fear hit her like a kick in the stomach. She was going to die. This was it. There was no turning back after what she'd done. No help was coming. Nobody knew she was here alone. Stephen thought she was at work. Work thought she was with Stephen. She'd bought herself hours of alone time to accomplish her mission. But now that it was almost completed, she was terrified that she would succeed. Now, she didn't cry for Heather. She didn't cry for everything she didn't do. She didn't cry for her endless parade of failures and lost loves and broken hearts. She cried for herself. Mourning her own death.
Somehow, though she wouldn't be able to remember it, she dug her cell phone from her pocket. Rolled over onto her back and hit the redial button. She had no idea who would be on the other end. She couldn't for the life of her remember who she'd called last. Maybe, she thought as a sudden terror seized her, it would be Stephen. But she couldn't stop now. Every movement took supreme effort, as if she was under water, struggling for every inch, every breath. Someone answered but she couldn't hear them through the sound of her own blood rushing through her ears.
'I...I need...I think I'm dying,' she said. Maybe. She couldn't be sure she'd even spoken. She couldn't even hear her own voice. The phone slipped from her hand, and she blacked out.
October 31, 2007 Age 26 first posted, nov. 8, 2012 edited June 16, 2017
Comas are strange things. Not quite dreams, not quite reality. Sort of in between. She vaguely remembered hearing the doctors talk about her like she wasn't there. Vaguely heard a voice she only half recognized as her brother's, scaring and comforting her at the same time as he demanded answers. She would find out later that they had called him, as her power of attorney, and he'd driven all night to get to the hospital as fast as possible. She would also find out later that the fateful phone call that had saved her life had been to her boss. She'd completely forgotten calling him just that morning to let him know she wouldn't be in to work.
The room was quiet when she surfaced two days later, the steady beeping of the electrocardiogram pulling her slowly back to consciousness. Her eyes fluttered open, the room slowly coming into focus from that shadowy half-real place she'd been in for what felt like an eternity. Voices and thoughts from that place spinning around in her head, though she couldn’t remember any of them. She turned her head slightly, but the sudden discomfort of the tube down her throat made her start coughing.
Immediately Rob was up and out of the chair he'd been dozing in, at her bedside and smiling through the tears lining his red-rimmed eyes. She barely heard him call for the nurse or paid attention to instructions as she was extubated. All she could think about was the pain on her brother's face, eating away at him. And thoughts of what she'd just done to him. Made him suffer through another sister's suicide attempt. Because now that she was awake and alert and sober, she could recognize what she'd done for what it was. She'd just tried, and failed, to kill herself.
"Rob..." her voice was raw in her own ears, damaged by the tube that had saved her life.
"Shhh," he leant over her, cradling her face with his large hands and kissing her forehead. "Shh, I know...god, Nish, you scared the shit out of me. Heather...Mom and Dad...and now you?" She saw a tear bounce down his cheek and it hit her like a physical blow. She'd never seen him cry.
"Rob...I'm so sorry," she managed, her voice cracking with emotion. He hushed her and shook his head, pulling his chair closer to her bed so he could sit and hold her hand between both of his.
"Hey, don't worry about me, Nish," he said, smiling through his tears, leaning forward to wipe one of hers off her cheek. "I want you to concentrate on getting better, okay?" He smiled, but she could see the pain behind it. How much she'd hurt him by her latest...stunt. He'd had to deal with so much shit from her his whole life; so much shit and pain and hurt...it killed her to know how much this must have cost him. And this, swiftly on the heels of their parents’ deaths...
She wrapped her fingers tighter around his, holding onto him like he was a lifeline. "I didn't...I couldn't do it anymore," she murmured, suddenly coming back to herself, her situation, remembering. She glanced to the side, towards the windows into her room, watching a nurse rush hurriedly down the hall, as if expecting Stephen to be standing outside her door. As if he would come here to get to her. She swallowed thickly, her throat still aching from the tube that had been keeping it open for two days.
"He's not here," Rob murmured, tightening his own fingers around hers. Her eyes shifted to his in shock - she hadn't told him about Stephen, and what went on between them. She hadn't told anyone. She'd been too scared. "Nish, listen to me," he said, sitting forward a little more, on the edge of his seat, waiting until she met his eyes before continuing.
"While you were out I got some paperwork. I know what's happened, I know what he did to you. I pulled some strings, and if you were to sign the papers, I could get them in front of a judge tonight, you'd have a restraining order by tomorrow morning. He won't be able to touch you." Her eyes never left his while he spoke, her hand gripping his tightly, even as it started to tremble. She was scared, relieved, heartbroken, all at once. She wanted to sign those papers, but was afraid to. Afraid of what would happen the next time, not if but when he broke the law to see her again. Because she knew him. A court order wouldn't stop him.
But she was safe now. Here, in this room, with her brother's warm hands wrapped around hers, being cared for and healed. She was alive. that was a miracle in itself. The fact that at the last possible second she had wanted to live, made the call that saved her life...that meant something, didn't it?
She swallowed and nodded, her thumb gently stroking the back of his hand, drawing encouragement from his strength. She was safe now. Nothing could hurt her anymore. He wouldn't hurt her anymore. Rob smiled and stood, kissing her forehead again as he murmured something about going to get the papers and talk with her doctor. Shortly after he left a nurse came in to change her IV bag. And shortly after that her doctor paid her a visit.
He explained her condition, that they were able to clear the drugs out of her system and suture the cut on her arm, that she had damaged her liver but that it was recovering nicely. He also told her that she would get a visit later that day from a psychologist, who would administer a psychological evaluation.
"But I'm fine now," she protested. "I was just...upset." The doctor sighed.
"People who are upset get drunk and go to sleep, they don't end up on a ventilator." He gave her a sympathetic smile. "Don't worry, we'll take good care of you." She watched him leave, suddenly feeling tired and defeated.
HISTORY OF PRESENT ILLNESS: The patient is a 26-year-old female who was admitted to the ER two days ago with an apparent drug overdose. Her attending physician noted that her toxicological screening revealed a blood-alcohol level of 0.28, as well as toxic levels of both aspirin and 'ecstasy'. She was comatose and cyanotic upon admission, and was treated with a GI charcoal lavage and IV Naloxone. She regained consciousness early this morning. She was then extubated and able to breathe on her own
SOCIAL HISTORY: The patient has been treated in the past for PTSD following the suicide death of her sister (1995), and has a history of alcohol and substance abuse.
CURRENT MEDICATIONS: The patient currently taking ethinyl estradiol 28 and over the counter antihistamines for seasonal allergies.
PHYSICAL ASSESSMENT: The patient presented with a laceration to her left forearm which appears to be an accidental, rather than self-inflicted wound. There is also considerable bruising in various stages of healing on her arms, torso and pelvic regions, which are consistent with ongoing domestic abuse.
PATIENT OBSERVATION: The patient seemed distracted and melancholy. She asked repeatedly for her brother and seemed worried about other visitors. She was cooperative and pleasant, though at times distracted and lethargic. She spoke of mounting life stresses, her work responsibilities, and several past relationships she described as ‘stormy and complicated’.
She admits to the suicide attempt and reported hallucinations prior to losing consciousness. She has occasional dissociative episodes, most commonly occurring in the presence of her boyfriend. She has difficulty expressing and confronting her feelings of guilt, shame, and anger over various traumatic events in her life and this is apparent in her word choice and inflections.
TESTING: I have ordered a CBC and TSH to rule out a possible Thyroid imbalance.
DIAGNOSIS: The patient’s symptoms align with the DSM-IV criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Impulsive type with comorbid dysthymia.
TREATMENT: I have started the patient on 20mg of citalopram and have recommended her for short-term admission to the psychiatric ward of the hospital for observation and treatment by a psychologist.