A/N: I AM trying to move this story forward in order to EVENTUALLY get to the present, which I know a lot of you are (not so!) patiently awaiting. So, sorry if this chapter seems a little choppy and rushed. I kinda tried to cram in as many events as I could in order to get this story moving along. But I do hope you enjoy it.
The water was freezing as Bill Hamilton stepped into his shower Monday morning.
He winced as he reached for the bar of soap, cursing the blasted hot water tank that never seemed to actually spit out hot water. One of these days, he was going to get that damn thing fixed, he promised himself.
He was out of the shower and dressed five minutes later.
As he walked into his open doorway, his mind flashed back to a few nights before. The way Maura's eyes had flashed with hurt. If he was honest with himself, maybe he was trying to hurt her. They had gotten close over the last year. Too close. Close enough that he always thought about her, even when she wasn't around. Close enough to send alarm bells off in his head, warning him to back away. So he hurt her, the only way he knew how. He wasn't even planning on her walking in. He had been with Shannon more to prove something to himself. Maybe to remind himself of who he really was. A means to an end. The end of him and Maura, even though they hadn't really began.
But damn, she was under his skin.
Not that she'd ever talk to him again. Not now. Not after what she'd seen.
That was the thing about girls like Maura Abbot. They were all about ideals. They read too much into things. They expected too much from people.
People who had nothing to give.
Even if they maybe wanted to.
Patrick Bowers's morning was not getting off to a good start.
It started when he woke up and promptly fell off the bed. Although Michael's bed was a lot larger than his own, it was situated in the middle of the room instead of against the wall. So he rolled over like he did every morning…and fell off the side.
The shower situation had not been much better. Besides the fact that Maura had the most complicated and high-tech bath water system ever, she also only used an assortment of exotic fruit shampoo and soaps. He was convinced he would have to go around the rest of the day smelling like a girl. A girl who smelled good, but a girl nonetheless.
He stepped out of the shower, a towel slung low around his waist, wondering what else could possibly go wrong. With his luck, Maura'd probably walk in on him naked any minute now. He paused, looking at the door, waiting for it to happen.
He shrugged and laughed at his own paranoia as he let the towel drop to the floor and prepared to brush his teeth.
Damn. In all his haste, he'd forgotten to grab his toothbrush from home. He considered asking Maura if she had an extra one for him to use, but then he remembered that she wasn't exactly the most cheerful person in the morning. If he woke her up now, it was very likely that he'd get his head bitten off.
The medicine cabinet was probably his best bet. He opened it. It took him a moment to realize what all those tiny bottles were, even after seeing the standard prescription labels stuck on their sides. His eyes ran over their names, not wanting to pry, but unable to look away.
Paxil. Valium. Symmetrel. Patrick was no doctor, but he knew enough about the streets to know what people used these pills for. He checked the dates on the prescriptions wondering how long Maura had been hiding this from him. The dates were almost a year old. Maybe she was weaning them off? Maybe she wasn't telling him because it was old news and she was better now, and was too ashamed to bring it up?
He knew he should have felt more worried than he did, but he trusted Maura enough to know that if it was anything major she'd tell him about it. He figured she was all better now and just wanted to keep that part of her life a secret. He'd keep her secret. But still…It was weird. Intimate, almost. Knowing he was looking at things he was never meant to see. It felt a little bit wicked to know something about Maura that she didn't know he knew.
He closed the medicine cabinet, deciding it wouldn't kill him to use his finger as a toothbrush this morning.
"My God, Patrick, ever hear of locking the door?"
He paled even before he felt the gust of cold air making its way into the now steamed bathroom. It took him a second to gather his wits and quickly grab the towel off of the ground before wrapping it around his waist.
"My God, Maura, ever hear of knocking?"
He was almost too shocked to be embarrassed. Almost.
Maura couldn't believe this. It was like a terrible cliché from a B-List teen movie.
She couldn't stop looking at him. It was like her eyes had a mind of their own. "It's my bathroom. I forgot that you might be-," she fought to find words even though she was extremely distracted by the sight of Patrick, beads of water dripping down his sculpted chest, disappearing somewhere beneath his towel… "-in here." She blinked. "Naked. Oh, eww!" She slapped her hands over her eyes and turned away, as if she hadn't already seen his…erm…goods.
As if she didn't kind of like it.
She stayed there, back to him and eyes closed, for what seemed like an eternity. "Well?" she asked impatiently when she still hadn't heard him move. "Why aren't you moving?!"
"I was in here first." He paused "And besides," she could actually hear his smirk and winced, wondering what was next. "I have to pee."
She ran out the door as fast as her legs could carry her, wondering if the sudden yelp she heard at his words had really come from her mouth.
There she was.
He was supposed to be avoiding her. That was the plan. So why did he suddenly find himself walking towards her locker, where she was oblivious to him as she stuffed her first period books in her knap sack?
Bill came to a stop a few feet behind her. Maura wouldn't have noticed him there if she hadn't chose that instant to look up, seeing his reflection in her locker mirror.
At first, it looked like she was happy to see him. But then it was like someone had flipped a light switch, because all of a sudden the light in her eyes just died. It was the way she used to look at him before, when they didn't know each other.
Bill felt his throat close up at the thought. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. She was looking at him expectantly, bored. When he still didn't say anything, she rolled her eyes and turned back to her locker.
It was easier to talk to her back. "Can we- can we talk?" He didn't even know that he wantedto talk until he saw her. All of a sudden the only thing he wanted to do was talk to her, and make her understand. Make her not hate him anymore.
Even though he hated himself.
She paused what she was doing for a moment, then went back to shutting her locker. "There's nothing I want to say to you, and there's nothing you could say to me that I'd want to hear."
She slammed her locker door shut and leaned against it, her arms crossed.
People were starting to stare. He didn't care, but he knew that she did. And, surprisingly, that mattered to him. Even more surprisingly, shemattered to him. Too much to let her go.
Looking around, he grabbed her arm, pulling her off of the locker. He walked in front, gripping her hand as she walked behind. She wasn't putting up as much as of a fight as he'd thought she would.
The air was brisk outside, but at least it was quiet and allowed them some privacy. In the distance, they heard the school bell ring, signaling class's start. Neither of them made any move to go back inside.
He didn't realize he was still holding on to her hand until she let go, crossing her arms over her chest instead. He stuffed his hands deep in his pocket, not liking how empty and cold they suddenly felt.
She was rocking back and forth slightly on the heels of her shoes, her eyes cast downward. She was starting to get goosebumps and was rubbing her hands over her arms to keep warm, childishly refusing to meet his eyes and show him even a little weakness. Looking at her right then, she looked so damn beautiful and vulnerable he wanted to scream.
He took of his school sweater and draped it over her shoulders instead.
She finally looked up at him then, but the anger he had expected wasn't there. He felt his breath catch in his throat.
Her voice was quiet, uncertain. "What's going on between us?"
"What are you writing?"
Patrick looked up to see Louise Riverton peering over his shoulder in homeroom and promptly snapped his spiral bound notebook shut. "Nothing," he said, looking away.
She laughed. "Patrick," she had a nice breezy voice "we play this game every day. When are you going to stop being so secretive and let me know what you're always scribbling away at?"
He wondered what she would say if he told her the truth. But what was the truth? That he was writing his feelings? That he was writing his thoughts? That didn't even begin to describe what he was doing. There was no label that he could put to explain it. He wrote because he wrote. He wrote because he needed to.
"And here I thought you enjoyed this game we play every morning." He said wryly.
Louise blushed and looked away.
She looked real pretty when she blushed.
She looked real pretty when she wasn't blushing too.
Patrick went back to his writing.
"What's going on between us?"
There. She had finally said it.
"I mean, there issomething going on, right? I mean, I'm not just imagining things. Right?"
Oh God, he wasn't saying anything. Great. He dragged her out here to talk and he says nothing. Typical. He just kept…..looking at her
She took a deep breath. "You know what? Forget I said anything. I'm not supposed to be talking to you in the first place. Especially not when I have to be in class. I mean, they fail people for these kinds of things, don't they? I can't fail. What would I tell my parents? They'd kick me out, and I'd have to get a job. But I wouldn't be able to get a job if I failed. So I can't fail. Did I say that already?" She was babbling. She knew that.
Seeing your best friend naked first thing in the morning kind of did that to a girl.
But then again, so did standing in front of the boy you lov— like. Like. Really, really like. Like.
Oh, Damn it.
"I—I gotta go." She turned to walk away.
The next thing she knew her back was against the school building, and Bill's lips were on hers as he pressed his body against her own.
And thoroughly intoxicating.
His tongue ran over her bottom lip and she fought to keep breathing. Screw it, she thought as his tongue slipped into her mouth and his hand slipped underneath her shirt to caress the small of her back. Breathing is entirely overrated.
A part of her knew that this was wrong. It was wrong to be kissing someone she was so incredibly furious at. It was wrong to be kissing someone who she knew was with another girl just days before. But another part told the other part to shut up because nothing she had experienced before this had ever felt so right.
Oh God, he knew how she liked to be kissed. Hard, long, and oh-so slowly. How did he know that? She didn't even know that until just now.
His arms slowly made their way from around her back and down her sides. She was still shivering, but she knew that this time it wasn't because she was cold. He brought both his hands up, cupping them around her neck while his thumbs wreaked havoc with her sensitive jaw line. Her own palms lay flat against the rough brick of the building, trying to hold on for dear life as he continued his sweet torture on her mouth.
Tentatively, she began to explore his mouth with her own. She'd never done this before, so she figured she'd just go with it. She angled her head a little to the side so that she could gently nip at his bottom lip with her teeth, wondering if he would like that. She must have done something right, because this caused him to moan softly into her mouth.
She was breathing heavily now. He started planting small, enticing kisses on her neck and up her jaw line, his body pressing closer into hers, securing her even more firmly against the wall. Not that she wanted to be anywhere but right there at that moment. By the time his lips reached her earlobe, she knew she was a goner.
"God, Maura," he whispered huskily. She waited for him to say something else, but he never did. Instead he went back to kissing her, just the way she liked.
The thought came to her suddenly.
Did Shannon Trevors like it when he kissed hard, long, and oh-so slowly?
Her mouth broke away from his almost immediately. "Wait," she murmured, the word coming out softer than she'd intended.
"What?" His forehead was leaning against hers, his eyes still closed. His body was heaving, and she could feel it as he tried to catch his breath.
It took her a moment to remember what she wanted to say. Being this close to him was having a dizzying effect on her. She couldn't think clearly. "Just," she tried to clear her mind, telling herself to show some of the common sense she knew she possessed somewhere. This was wrong. He was wrong. He was wrong for her. Hadn't the whole Shannon incident proved that? "Just stop. I gotta go." She pushed herself off of the wall. He wasn't expecting it, so it wasn't much of an effort to get out from underneath him. "Pretend this never happened." She called out from over her shoulder.
"You've got to be kidding me." Bill jogged to catch up with her. "Why are you walking away from me?" His heart was pounding a mile a minute both from the kiss and his anticipation at her words.
"Look," she said, turning back and giving him his sweater back. "We just….got caught up in the moment. The moment is gone." She started to walk away.
"The hell it is." He walked up to her again, grabbing her arm and forcing her to turn around and face him. He cradled her neck again, bringing her face close enough so that their foreheads were touching. She was thankful that this part of the building had no windows facing out. She didn't even want to think what would happen if someone saw them this way.
"How are you trying to tell me," he whispered "that you can just forget that that ever happened. Thatkind of thing doesn't happen everyday, Maura, and you know it."
Her eyes flashed. "It seems to happen pretty often to you, though, doesn't it?"
He backed away. "Now just what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
She flashed back to that night in his room. "Shut up. Just shut up. You know God damned well what it means." God, how could she have been so stupid?
"Look, if this is about Shannon, then-"
"Who the hell else would I be talking about!" Her eyes narrowed, a thought suddenly occurring to her. "Unless that kind of thing is a habit for you? Oh God, this was just one big mistake. Forget it. I'm so gone."
It suddenly occurred to Bill that maybe her walking away had nothing to do with Shannon at all. Maybe she was just as scared as he had been. "Do you want to be with me?" he called out desperately at her retreating back.
She spun around. "What?"
He stayed rooted in his spot. "It's not a hard question, Maura. I want to be with you," God, did that really come out of his mouth? "Do you want to be with me? You can't tell me you haven't thought about it. You don't kiss like that and not think about it." His heart was pounding in his ears and he wondered if she could hear it.
Her head was spinning. Too fast, this is all just happening too fast. Did she want to be with him? Yes. Did that change anything? No. Still, her heart was racing. "I don't have time for this."
Her avoidance drove him crazy.
"That's your problem, you know? You never want to get things out in the open!" He ran up to catch up to her again, blocking her path to the doors so that she couldn't get inside. "You always just want to push what is so obvious to everyone else aside so you don't have to deal with it. It's getting real old, Maura."
She was mad now. "Explain to me how Iam the one to blame in this situation?! I wasn't the one who was," she glanced down at his crotch unconsciously, "indisposed."
"Forget about Shannon! Forget about everything other than the way you feel about me! Do you even know how you feel about me!? I swear to God, every time I think I have it figured out, you do something and I'm back to square one. You're so damn hot and cold! I just don't understand you sometimes!"
"You're not exactly an open book yourself!"
Bill raked a hand through his hair, exasperated. Why did he even put up with this girl?
Because spending time with her, even if they were arguing, was the best part of his day.
He sighed, wondering how he could make her understand that sometimes he just did stupid things. "I like sex, Maura. It may sound typical, it may sound crude, but it's true. Okay? I'm sorry I'm not perfect. I'm sorry I don't live up to your standards. God."
She couldn't believe that this was the way he tried explaining things to her. Asshole. "So, what? You'd just do it with anybody? God, don't you- don't you want it to mean something? Shannon Trevors? Fuck! She's been with like half the guys at this school!"
"She has not! Don't be such a martyr and quick to judge people before you get a chance to know them! And even if she has, who cares! What's it to you what she, or I, or anyone else for that matter does in our own personal time?! I mean, it's not like you have feelings for me,right? God forbid you should do a stupid thing like that." He took in a deep breath and ran a shaky and through his hair in an attempt to gather his wits.
"Oh! Don't do this. Don't make me out to be some prude little priss, because we both know that that's not the reason we're having this fight. I just—whatever, forget it."
"No, no. You started it, so finish it."
"I just- I thought you were different, all right? But you're not. I can see that now."
"So sorry I don't live up to your standards."
"See? That's what I mean! You're trying to turn this around on me, and I'm not going to let you! You say you care about me, but how am I supposed to believe that when you keep hurting me! It hurt, okay? It really did, Bill, and I didn't ever think that a friend could hurt me like that. And now you're telling me that you want me, and I'm just supposed to what, forget it? I know we weren't together, but how could you do that and not know how hurt I'd be?!"
"I," God, did he really want to admit this? "I knew it would hurt you."
She stopped breathing. "You—you what? You—you knew and you did it anyway?"
"Look, I was confused. I didn't know what to do! I was scared of," he grabbed her palm cupping it in his own, holding it against his cheek, his voice now desperate "of this." He kissed the inside of her palm. "Of you. Of us. But I'm not scared anymore. God, the only thing I'm scared about right now is you not believing how much I want you."
She snatched her arm away, remembering how incredibly painful she had felt that night. Why was he doing this to her? "And that makes it alright!? Sleeping with her but wanting me? Do you even understand how fucked up that is? What it did to me seeing the two of you together like that?!"
"We didn't sleep together, Maura, I swear. Nothing happened after you left."
"And what if I'd never shown up? Huh? What would have happened then?"
"I, I don't know! Okay?! I'm sorry! All I know is that you're the one I want to be with! I'm sorry! I just—you asked what was going on between us. And I'm telling you…I want to be with you. And deep down I know you want it too."
Oh God, she did want it. Dear God, how she wanted it. But since when did what she wanted matter?
"Whatever it was that was going on between us?" Her eyes flashed and her tone turned icy. "It just ended."
Patrick's eyes were already half trained on the door and half trained on the clock when Maura walked in twenty-three minutes late to their Algebra class.
He watched on as she explained to Mr. Morrison that her father had dropped her off at school, but there was a lot of traffic and she didn't arrive until just now. It was a blatant lie; Her father had dropped them both off this morning over an hour ago. He wondered what was going on, but waited until she took her seat beside him before he asked her anything.
"It's nothing," she said, unzipping her pencil case and slipping on her eye-glasses simultaneously.
"Don't lie to me," he warned quietly, shooting a look at the teacher to make sure they weren't drawing attention to themselves.
"Patrick, will you just," She took a deep breath, and it was at that moment that Patrick saw the defeated and tired look in her eyes. "Please. Please, leave it alone, okay? Please."
Patrick's mind shot back to the pills he had seen in her bathroom this morning. Maybe she wasn't getting better after all.
He turned back to the front of the room, giving Maura the space she needed.
He'd just have to keep a better eye on her, that was all.
Maura flushed the toilet once more in the bathroom stall, wiping her mouth as she stood up. It was getting easier, not hurting as much when the food came up. The tricky part was trying to hide the noises. She had turned on the hand dryer before she entered the bathroom stall and flushed the toilet a bunch of times. She hoped it worked. Next time, she'd have to find a bathroom in the school that people hardly visited.
She checked her watch; seven minutes until her lunch hour was over. That gave her just enough time to go to her locker and get to class. She'd have to take a different route to class, though. She usually stopped by to talk to Bill for a few minutes, but that was obviously out of the question now.
She washed her hands and dabbed at her mouth one last time before she turned to leave. She bumped into someone and looked up to say a hasty excuse me.
Maura looked up at the person she bumped into and mentally winced. "Hi, Alice."
She tried to leave before Patrick's young stalker tried to actually converse with her, but it was no use. The girl could actually be quite feisty at times.
"I just wanted to ask you," She cocked her head to the side, her ebony curls bouncing against her shoulder as she did so. God, even her hairwas peppy. "What's going on with Patrick and Louise Riverton?"
It took a moment for Maura to clue in to what the girl was saying, and even then she was confused. "Huh?"
"You know, are they, like, a couple?"
Maura blinked. "A couple of what?"
Alice eyed her. "So they aren't, then? Because I'm friends with Rachel Rosario, and she has homeroom with them, and she said that they-"
The girl stopped talking, mercifully "Yeah?"
"I'm gonna go now." She turned to leave.
"Okay," Alice said as Maura started walking away. "Tell Patrick I said hi!" Maura rolled her eyes as she pushed open the door. It was not even one o'clock and already the day had been shot to hell.
"I can't wait 'till I get my own car." Maura said as she and Patrick walked home that day after school. She was trying to keep the conversation light, hoping it would distract Patrick from bringing up why she was late to class that morning. "Walking sucks."
"It's not that bad."
She snorted. "Who're you trying to kid? You want a car just as bad as I do."
"Yeah, well unless Mr. Connors ups my pay like 200%, I ain't getting a car any time soon." He slung an arm around her shoulder. "Looks like I'll just have to wait until my super rich best friends' Pops buys her one so I can bum a ride."
Maura rolled her eyes, but didn't move his arm from around her. "Ha Ha, funny boy." She waited a beat. "Or you can always wait around for Louise Riverton."
Patrick stopped in his tracks. He waited a moment before he started up again. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Maura smiled softly. "Whatever you want it to, Pat." Her eyes wandered to her house as they moved closer. "Hey, is that your Mom?"
Patrick looked up to follow her gaze and his stride slowed down when he saw that she was right. His mom was standing outside her parked car on the side of the road. "Yeah…."
They were right in front of the house now, and the silence was thick and uncomfortable. "I'm gonna let you two talk alone," Maura said as she moved away from Patrick. She gave Mary a light, albeit strained, smile before she made her way inside the main gates. "Be nice," she silently mouthed to Patrick from behind his mother's back.
Patrick watched as Maura walked up the drive and let herself into the house, trying to prolong the inevitable and looking into his mother's eyes.
She was the first to speak. "Patrick, baby-"
"—What are you doing here, Ma?"
Mary let out a breath and tucked a strand of her dark hair behind her ear with a shaky breath. "What do you think I'm doing here, Patrick?" When he didn't say anything, she continued. "Look, I'm not mad. I should be, but I'm not. I just wanted to see how you were doing. Is that so wrong?"
"Why'd you do it, Ma?" He asked suddenly, referring to the incident two days before. Had it really been two days? It felt like a lifetime. His voice was childish and it broke her heart.
"Patrick," She sighed and leaned against the car, sliding her sunglasses up to rest on the top of her head. She looked tired. Patrick was sure she spent another sleepless night on his behalf and he felt a pang of guilt at what he was putting her through. "I was a very young girl when I had you," she began. "I was terrified. Was I going to be a good mother? Would I make mistakes? Would I be able to love you enough? I was so scared, I didn't know what to do. But the moment I saw you, Dios, the moment I held you in my arms, I knew." She was looking up at the sky and smiling softly at the memory. "I knew that no one could possibly love another human being as much as I loved you."
"But why'd you have to do what you did? Ma, if you loved me so much, why'd you do it?"
"Patrick, I," she looked away and ran a hand over her face. "I know I should have never have hit you. But you should have never said what you said. That's not the way I raised you. I raised you to respect your parents, and that includes your father." She paused and licked her lips. "He's been worried sick about you."
"Bull! He's the one who kicked me out!" he reminded her.
"First of all, don't use that language. And second of all, you left first."
Patrick looked at her incredulously. "Unbelievable! You're still taking his side!"
She sighed, standing up. "Look, nothing I say to you is going to change your mind right now, but I'm going to say it anyway, because I'm your mother, and I love you, and I only want the best for you. Come home. It doesn't have to be today, but come home soon. Dr. and Dr. Abbot have been really kind letting you stay here, but that doesn't mean you have to push it. Come home."
She took her car keys out of her purse and walked over to him. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Call me if you need anything."
He watched as she got into the car and drove off. His eyes followed her until the small car could no longer be seen at the end of the street. He stayed in the base of driveway a long time, thinking.
Maura was waiting for him on the staircase when he finally walked inside, shutting the door softly behind him. She still had her knap sack on.
"Wanna talk about it?" she asked as he sat down beside her.
"Wanna talk about why you were late to class this morning?"
She looked away. "Point taken."
"That's what I thought." He took a deep breath, wondering if he should really ask the question that was on his mind. "Maura?"
"You think your parents would mind if I stayed an extra month?"
It turned out that her parents did not mind.
Days rolled by, turning into weeks as they passed. Maura and Patrick developed a routine, neither wanting a repeat of their first morning together. It was understood that Patrick would get the bathroom first, as he woke up earlier, and the door would always be locked. When he was finished, he would go into his room and turn on the stereo, effectively waking Maura up and letting her know that the bathroom was free for her to use.
He bought himself a new toothbrush and placed it beside hers. It made Maura smile every morning to see his wet toothbrush next to hers, as if the two were best friends just like their owners were. She was happy to see her toothbrush did not look so lonely anymore.
Though Patrick bought himself a new toothbrush, he continued to use Maura's shampoos, secretly liking the way they smelt. She had offered to change the brand once, and was confused when he quickly told her not to bother because he wouldn't be staying forever, and it made no sense to change just for him. She sensed that he was lying, but left it alone, figuring it would hurt his male pride if she made him admit that he loved smelling like kiwi and strawberry.
Living together made it much more difficult for the two to keep the few secrets they had from each other. Maura could tell that Patrick was falling for Louise Riverton. He tried to hide it from her at first, stating that the two were "just friends". She thought that maybe Patrick wasn't admitting his feelings to himself either, though she couldn't understand why. Louise was one of the few girls at school that Maura could actually stand half the time.
Patrick in turn knew something had happened between Maura and Bill Hamilton. He was never a fan of their friendship to begin with, but he noticed the way Maura didn't talk about him anymore, and the way she refused to take his calls.
He also noticed Maura creeping to the bathroom after every meal. The pills he had seen that first day always stayed at the forefront of his mind, becoming more pressing as each mealtime went by.
It was after such a mealtime three weeks into his stay that Patrick decided that he had had enough of pretending he knew nothing about the pills and Maura's visits to the bathroom. Maura always forgot to lock the door, and Patrick figured that he'd walk in and "accidentally" see her taking the medication, effectively making her deal with the truth and let him help her get through the pain.
Her parents were out for the night, so Patrick didn't bother excusing himself from the dinner table. He ran up the stairs and opened the bathroom door before he could stop himself, expecting to find Maura popping pills in front of the sink.
He did not expect to find her on her knees, hunched over the toilet, gagging herself.
"Wha-what?" He was dumbfounded.
"Patrick!" Maura gasped, bringing herself to her feet immediately. "Don't you ever knock?" She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Wha-why?" was all he could manage to get out, the reality to what she had been doing not quite sinking in.
"Get out!" she hissed. She could not believe this was happening. "Why did you follow me in here!?" She was hysterical now.
"I—I found your pills. I thought you were depressed and I wanted to come in here and make you stop lying to me about it. But you're, you're-"
"Depressed?" Maura interrupted, not knowing what he was going on about. Her heart was racing a mile a minute, and he thought she was depressed? She felt fat, not depressed!
He nodded dumbly as he walked over to the medicine cabinet and took out the pill bottles stored there. When Maura saw the forgotten bottles, her eyes cleared, understanding. "Those were given to me right after Michael," she paused, taking a breath. It was getting harder and harder to breath. "Right after he died. I didn't like the side effects and I haven't taken them in ages. I forgot they were even in there."
Patrick nodded, his witts beginning to return to him. "Okay, that explains the pills. But how do you explain what I just saw?"
Maura turned away. "What the fuck did you just see, Patrick? Nothing."
He closed the door shut, leaning against it, effectively blocking any escape from the room and from him. "Cut the crap, Maura, cuz I ain't buyin it. You don't want to tell me about you and Bill? Fine. But you're sure as hell going to tell me about this."
Ten minutes later, Patrick was still leaning against the damn door.
Maura was sitting on the edge of the bathtub, looking anywhere but at him.
Neither had spoken in the last ten minutes.
It was Patrick who finally broke the silence. His voice sounded hallow, echoing off the bathroom walls. "How long have you been doing this?" He would have had a nice singing voice, Maura thought insanely. His tone had a nice acoustic in the bathroom.
She licked her dry lips. Her voice cracked when she spoke quietly. "Only about a month," she admitted.
"A month," he repeated. The way he said it made it sound like more of a statement than a question. "Why?"
She began examining her nails. "Why not?
"Stop trying to be cute and answer the damn question. You're basically killing yourself, and I want to know why."
"Shut up Patrick. I'm not killing myself. God."
He sighed. He sounded so pained she almost wanted to hug him. If he wasn't being such a pain in the ass, that is.
"I already lost Mike, okay? I couldn't take it if I lost you too."
She scoffed and turned away. "Don't be so melodramatic," she said in the most cool, calm, collected, and in control tone she could muster. She hoped he bought the act.
One look into his eyes and she could see that he had not.
She was mad at him. She was mad at herself. Why couldn't he understand that she wasn't proud of her actions? Why couldn't he understand that she hated the way she was feeling? Why didn't he get that her life was spinning out of control and this was the only thing she could control? He was looking at her now like he could see into her soul, so why couldn't he see all that?
"Just stop it!" She didn't even realize she was crying until she heard her own shriek lodged with hysteric tears. She pounded her chest for emphasis as she began to let out her frustrations. "It's my life, Pat, my decision! It has nothing to do with you! What I-"
"YOU'RE ALL I HAVE LEFT, OKAY!?" He yelled hysterically before she could get out another word. His loudness and desperation startled her, even scared her a little bit. His voice was raspy when he spoke again and it caused a flutter somewhere deep inside her. "Do you get that? You're it, Maura. You are everything! You," he went up to her and grabbed her, pulling her into an embrace "are the one thing in my life that I can't lose." His voice began to croak and she found herself cease fighting against him, instead holding onto him tighter, more for her own sake than his. "I can't lose you. Don't do this."
"I—I can't stop." She cried into his chest. It wasn't until the words escaped her lips that Maura realized they were true. She couldn't stop. Oh God, why couldn't she stop? When had she lost the control she was so desperately seeking?
"Shhh," He smoothed a hand over her hair and rubbed her back, trying to calm her down. Her body was convulsing against his now, the sobs wracking over her body. He felt the wetness from her tears seep into the collar of his shirt, wetting his neck in the process. He welcomed it, wishing there was a way to that he could take her pain into his own body so that she wouldn't have to feel it any more. "Shhh, just, just don't worry, okay? I'm going to help you. We're going to get through this."
She pushed herself off of his chest. "No! Patrick, you can't tell anybody about this, okay? You just can't! I'll get over it on my own, I will! Just don't say anything, please!"
The look he gave her was incredulous. "You need help! You can't do this alone, and I don't know what to do either! You can't honestly tell me that you're going to get better on your own!"
She wiped at her eyes. "Stay out of this, Pat, I mean it."
"Maura, you need to tell your parents. They're doctors, they can help, they can help you deal wi-"
"I'LL BE FINE!"
"YOU'RE NOT FINE, YOU'RE BULIMIC!"
She paused suddenly. She wasn't bulimic! Super thin crack-whore models were bulimic. She was….God, was she really bulimic? "I'm not bulimic," she said automatically.
"Don't kid yourself, Maura." He looked at her, and his eyes were filled with pity, and Maura wanted to scream.
"Please." he said quietly, finally opening the bathroom door. "Just don't kid yourself."
She slammed the door so hard when he was gone that ricochet back. She let out a blood curling scream, sliding against it, burring her face in her hands as she cried.
She had a horrible dream that night.
It was not natural do dream of your own funeral.
Patrick was not surprised when she crawled into his bed at 3:00 in the morning.
"I'll talk to them tomorrow," she whispered.
He kissed her forehead and wrapped an arm around her.
She was asleep in minutes.
He was not.
She was gone when he woke up from a restless sleep the next morning.
Not just from his room, either. She was nowhere to be found in the entire house.
Patrick wasn't worried. Maura always kept her promises.
He knew exactly where she'd be.
Her father looked up from the patients' chart he was looking at, shock registering on his face when he saw her. "Maura, honey, hi!" He snapped the chart shut and held it against his chest. "What are you doing here? Is something wrong?"
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Maura realized that had she been having this conversation with her mother, her first impulse would have been to snap at the woman for implying that she only spoke to her when something was wrong. But this was her father, and Maura had always been a daddy's little girl at heart, even if she normally didn't show it.
Maura opened her mouth to say the obligatory "no, everything's just fine", but as she stood there, she found that she couldn't. She was looking at her tall, strong father, and all she could see were visions of him giving her piggy-back rides as a child, and swinging her around and around, and letting her ride his leg as he walked. Everything was so perfect back then. She had loving parents. She had her brother, her other half, really. She had been happy. God, had she ever reallybeen that happy? The concept seemed so foreign now. When did her simple life become so messed up and complicated? When exactly did bear hugs from the man standing in front of her stop making the world okay?
Before she could stop herself, Maura's face crumpled and she stepped into his waiting arms. "Daddy…"
Later, she would be very embarrassed and angry with herself for showing this weakness. But now…..now she just wanted the hug that would make her world okay again.
"Maura, you want to tell me what's going on?"
Her arms still around him and her face still pressed against his chest, she shook her head no. She was probably soaking his white doctor's coat with her tears, but she really didn't care. And, she had the sneaking suspicion, neither did he.
"Sweetie, unless you tell me what's wrong, I can't help you." His voice was soothing as he ran a hand through her hair.
Around her, Maura could hear announcements over the PA system, children playing in one of the waiting rooms, and the telltale beeping of a distant machine keeping some obscure person alive. Still, all she felt was her father's hand sweeping through her hair and the calming beating of his heart under her ear. She heaved in a deep sigh and prepared herself for the situation that lay ahead.
"I- I need help." There. Now that wasn't so bad, was it?
Her father looked at her, his eyes in question from behind his glasses. "What kind of help are we talking about, exactly?"
Damn it. She knew she had spoken too soon.
"It's just that, well…. It's kind of stupid, actually. I mean, the only reason I'm doing this is for Patrick, really. He has this crazy idea and thinks that" she glanced up at her father and saw the concern in his eyes. She saw the love there too, and it somehow made things easier. "You know what? That isn't completely true. It's not that crazy. I," she sighed and prayed that everything would be okay, "I think I might have an eating disorder."
Paxil, Valium, and Symmetrel are drugs used to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety. I have no medical knowledge on their proper dosages, just what I've been able to research on the internet. It's dangerous to take a combination of any prescription drugs without the advice of a doctor. If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, please consult your doctor. Don't try to take the combination I used in this chapter as I have no idea on whether it is lethal or not.
Bulimia (also called Bulimia Nervosa) is an eating disorder categorized be extreme binging and then purging.