I moaned loudly in response to the ice-cold water hitting my face. My head felt like it was about to explode, and the sunlight streaming in through the window wasn't helping. I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter to block out the offending rays.
"Abby? Abby? ABBY?" shouted a concerned voice.
"Shut up," I mumbled, shoving the pillow over my head to keep the noise out. The water in my hair began to soak into the pillowcase.
In spite of the obvious signals I was sending that I wanted to be left the hell alone, a pair of arms wrenched me from my comfortable bed and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug.
"Oh Abby, thank God you're alright!"
I recognized the voice now. It belonged to my so-called best friend, who was at that moment giving me a hernia.
"Hillary, let go," I managed to say. She obliged, and I flopped back onto my pillow, holding my throbbing head in my hands.
"How're you feeling, Abbs?" asked Chase, hovering over Hillary, who was sitting on the end of my bed.
"I'm feeling like a herd of elephants started a fucking mosh pit in my brain," I answered.
"I'm sorry, hun," said Hillary with sympathy in her eyes. "Aubrey and James ran out to get you some painkillers, so they should be back in a few minutes."
"Mmm," I replied.
As the water dripped from my face and onto my pillow, I tried to recall what had happened to me. The last thing I remembered was Mike shouting at me.
"What happened?" I asked.
Chase sighed. "I'm not really sure," he said. "All I know is that you either got really smashed or you were drugged."
A vague memory of funny-tasting gingerale surfaced in my mind, and my eyes widened.
"I think," I began, wincing as my head seared with pain. "I think I was drugged."
"Oh my gosh," whispered Hillary, starting to panic. "Abby, you've got to remember what happened. We need to figure out what happened so we can go find the bastard that did this to you and castrate him!"
"Abby," said Chase as calmly as he was able. "I know this isn't a fun question, but it's important."
Chase loved to watch doctor shows like House and ER, so I was expecting some weird medical questions.
"Do you have any pain…you know…down there?"
Yup, I was right: medical question. "No, not really," I answered.
Both Chase and Hillary let out a sigh of relief.
"Good, then the bastard didn't rape you," said Hillary, her voice filled with venom and hatred for my assailant.
The door to my room opened, and a panicked Aubrey came in with a CVS bag tightly clenched in his fist. He saw me and calmed down slightly.
"Oh good, you're awake," he said, as James rushed in behind him with a glass of water.
Aubrey dropped his bag and came right over to me, leaving James to fumble with the childproof cap of the painkillers. Aubrey pulled me gently to a sitting position and embraced me. As his chest collided with mine, I felt a horrible pain sear through my left breast and cried out in pain.
"Abby, what's wrong?" asked a very concerned Hillary.
James rushed over with a pill and the water. "Here, take this," he said. "It'll help."
"Abby, why did you scream out like that?" asked Chase.
I swallowed the pill and gently touched my breast, wincing. "My breast," I said, ignoring the awkwardness of the topic. "It hurts so much."
"Ok, all males out of the room. Now!" commanded Hillary.
Chase, James, and Aubrey left immediately, and Hillary closed the door behind them.
"Abby, we need to look at it," she said. "Take off your shirt."
It was only then that I became aware of what I was wearing. I was in my pajamas – an old tee shirt and boxers. I had no idea how I had gotten into them.
"Hillary," I asked, perplexed. "What happened to the clothes I was wearing last night? And how did I get home anyway?"
"We… don't know," she admitted. "Chase just got a call on his cell from a payphone at like one in the morning. He said he didn't recognize the voice, but whoever it was told him to go home right away because his sister was hurt. We left right after that."
"So you just found me here?" I asked.
"Yeah, basically," she answered. "You were lying on your bed in your nightclothes, completely out cold. Chase freaked out, of course. But enough of that, Abbs, we need to figure out what's wrong with you. Take off your shirt."
I scrunched up my nose as I realized that whoever had brought me home had seen me naked. I ignored this bizarre problem for the moment and took off my shirt, causing Hillary to gasp.
I looked down and saw why she was so shocked. My left nipple was the nastiest shade of purple I had ever seen, the bruise pattern resembling teeth marks.
"Oh my gosh…" I whispered, tears beginning to well up in my eyes.
Hillary screeched out a few expletives, resulting in three pairs of pounding footsteps rushing down the hall and into my room, the door flying open with a resounding bang.
"HOLY SHIT!" shouted Chase, his expression full of shock and fury. "What the FUCK happened to you, Abby?"
"I-I…d-don't know!" I sobbed. Out of shame, I pulled my sheets up to cover my body, then curled up in a fetal position.
"We are going to find that guy, whoever he was," seethed Aubrey, his nostrils flared in anger. "And we are going to make him pay."
James, albeit furious, seemed slightly more collected than the rest of my companions, and he slowly walked over to me, placing a comforting hand on my back.
"Abby," he asked. "Do you remember anything from last night?"
The painkillers were starting to kick in, and James' light touch had a very soothing effect. My tears slowed down slightly, and I took a deep breath, trying to remember back as far as I was able.
"I…I remember having a fight with Mike," I began.
"After that," said James patiently.
"I cried, I think, and went inside. I remember having some kind of weird gingerale, which is why I think I was drugged."
"Who gave it to you?" asked Chase, the rage in his voice barely contained.
I struggled to remember, then gave up. "I really don't know," I sighed. "I don't want to talk about it any more."
Chase nodded in understanding, then ushered everyone else out of the room, shutting the door softly behind them.
As I lay there alone, upset, and slightly woozy from the painkillers, I realized something that should have been obvious, leaving a single question floating around in my mind: Where was Mike?
I suppose I must have dozed off at some point, because when I next opened my eyes, five hours had flown by. I gingerly got to my feet and ventured out into the hall. I stopped in front of Chase's closed door, and, knocking softly, let myself in.
Chase was seated at his desk, scribbling away at some kind of homework.
"Hey," I said softly.
He turned away from his writing and regarded me with a loving smile. "Hey sis," he said. "How are you feeling?"
"Better, thanks," I answered, sitting down on his bed. I hesitated a moment, then voiced something that had been bothering me. "Do Mom and Dad know?"
Chase bit his lip. "No," he answered. "I told them that you just weren't feeling well. They were at the supermarket this morning when everyone else was over, so they have no idea what happened."
"Good," I said, quite relieved. "I'd rather they didn't get involved."
Chase got up from his chair and came over to sit next to me. "Come here, you," he said, pulling me into a hug. He began to rub my back slowly.
He pulled back and raised his eyebrows expectantly.
"Have I been being a bitch to Mike?"
"What are you talking about, Abby?" he said, trying his best to sound confused.
"You know what I mean, Chase," I replied, not fooled one bit by his little act of innocence. "You must have heard us fighting last night. I think everyone did. Have I really hurt him so much?" I felt a pang of guilt in my heart.
Chase sighed, then brought his gaze up to meet mine. "Abby," he began softly. "Don't feel so guilty about it. Nothing you did was your fault. You had no idea that you were hurting him, cause he never told you…" He trailed off, and I raised my eyebrows, wanting more, even though I was fairly sure of what he meant.
"Never told me what, Chase?"
My brother hesitated, a debate raging in his head about whether or not he should spill the beans. "Well…" he started. "You might have figured this out anyway, but you never let on that you had, and I suppose you'd find out eventually, so I'll tell you."
He took a deep breath in, worried about my reaction to what he was about to say. I tried to suppress a smile, finding his aversion to telling me something that I already knew quite amusing.
"Abby, I'm just going to put this plainly and simply. Mike is in love with you."
There was a pause.
"Yeah," I said with a grin. "I kind of already knew that."
Chase looked completely dumbfounded. "You mean the ENTIRE time you were just pretending to be oblivious to reality?"
"Well, no," I admitted sheepishly. "I probably wouldn't have figured it out on my own. I heard Mike say it last night before the party."
Chase's face fell. "Is that why you guys had a fight?" he asked.
"No," I answered. "He doesn't know that I know. He was just upset because I took his vodka away." I smiled at that last statement.
Chase laughed. "Off to drink himself into a stupor over my sister, eh?" he joked, and we both collapsed in laughter until I realized that it hurt my chest.
Once the laughter died down, Chase returned to the topic at hand. "Ok, Abbs," he started. "You know. So how do you feel about it?"
I smiled bashfully. "I suppose I'm pretty happy about it," I answered. "I mean, at first I was kind of shocked, but then I thought about it a bit…and I think I actually like the idea."
"Do you like him back?" asked Chase eagerly.
That was a good question. Did I? I had thought about it a lot since I found out, and all the signs really did point to "yes": The bubbly feeling I got that time on the bed, the way we danced at the Christmas party, the way I blushed after he kissed me on the cheek, the way he was always there for me when I was upset…
I smiled at Chase and nodded. "I'm pretty sure that I do."
"That's fantastic, Abby!" he gushed, giving me a hug. "You have no idea how long we've all been waiting for this!"
"Wow," I said. "How many people are in on this?"
Chase laughed. "More or less everyone we know has some idea that Mike has a thing for you. We've been trying to give you hints for the longest time, but you're kind of oblivious, no offense."
"None taken," I chuckled. "I suppose it should have been obvious."
"Yeah, just a tad."
"Chase!" Mom's voice drifted up the stairwell. "Dinner's ready! Check and see if Abby feels up to it."
Chase got up and stuck his head out of the door. "Yeah, Mom, she's up. We'll be down in a minute."
"I'm going to go get some clothes on," I said, wrinkling my nose at the grubby nightclothes I had on. "Go ahead down, I'll be there in a sec."
Chase headed down the stairs, and I retreated to my room to search for something more suitable to wear. While rummaging through my drawers, something on the floor by the window caught my eye. I walked over and picked it up, examining it in my hands. My eyes widened as I realized what it was.
It was a cell phone. Mike's cell phone.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
My eyes opened slowly as the annoying sound persisted. I squinted at the clock. It read 1:36 AM. I groaned and rolled over.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Someone was throwing rocks at my window.
Tap. Tap. CRACK!
I immediately jumped out of bed. I gratefully observed that my window was only cracked and not completely shattered. Heaving a sight of relief, I began to open the window to see what kind of a dumbass would throw rocks at someone's window during the wee hours of the morning when most normal humans were asleep. I stuck my head out of the open window and peered down at the front lawn, where a lone figure was illuminated by the moonlight.
"Mike?" I asked, feeling butterflies beginning to flutter in my stomach.
"Um, yeah, hi," he said awkwardly. "Er, sorry about your window…"
"It's okay, I don't mind." I smiled, trying to lighten the tension, and he grinned gratefully back.
"Alright then," he said, relieved.
"Mike?" I asked.
"Are you still mad at me?"
He smiled. "No, Abby," he reassured me. "You were right about the drinking. I'm sorry I freaked out on you like that."
"It's alright." I waited a moment. "Thanks," I said.
"What for?" he asked.
"For saving me last night. I don't remember what happened at all, but someone brought me home last night, and I found your phone by my window."
He smiled bashfully, and in the moonlight, I could have sworn he was blushing. "I guess it was just one of those 'right place at the right time' kind of things…I mean…I couldn't have just let him…" He shuddered, thinking about what could have happened to me.
Leaning against my windowsill, I smiled knowingly down at Mike. He looked up at me and all nervousness melted from his face, leaving only determination.
"Abby," he said, reaching for something behind him. "This is for you." He pulled out an acoustic guitar that I recognized as my brother's, and my heart began to pound in my chest as he began to play.
give her all my love She gives me
everything A love like ours
That's all I do
And if you saw my love
You'd love her too
I love her
The kiss my lover brings
She brings to me
And I love her
Could never die
As long as I
She gives me
A love like ours
you near me Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I love her
Bright are the stars that shine
Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I love her…"
My mouth was open in awe. Even though Mike's newly learned guitar skills weren't exactly going to win any Grammy awards, I was blown away by his actions. He had just fulfilled my romantic dream. I was amazed that he knew the deepest desire of my soul, and that he was willing to attempt to learn the guitar and risk making a complete fool of himself for me.
"Oh, Mike…" I whispered as he gazed up at me.
"Abby…" he whispered back, putting the guitar down.
As I watched him, I was filled with an overwhelming desire to hold him in my arms. I dashed from my room and down the stairs, finally bursting out of the front door and running to embrace Mike. He held me tight to him, his body fitting perfectly against mine.
After a moment, he pulled back to look into my eyes. I looked back into his, and they were filled with the emotion that I had seen in them so many times before, but had never been able to name. Now, I knew what it was: love.
"Abby," whispered Mike. "I don't know how you feel about me, and I don't know how this will end up, but there's one thing I do know: I love you. I love everything about you, even your crazy little quirks. I've loved you for years now, but I was afraid to say anything. Now I need to tell you, and I want to tell the whole world. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I love you, Abby!"
I felt a rush of emotions flood into my heart, and before I even realized what I was doing, I reached forward and pulled a rather surprised Mike down to my lips.
Mike wrapped his arms tenderly around me as I savored the strange, yet wonderful new feeling of his lips on mine. I pulled back for a moment to look into his beautiful deep blue eyes. Seeing the pure love still blazing in them, I smiled, and Mike pulled me back for another kiss. This time, I felt as if his lips had reached beyond mine and kissed something far less tangible. I felt as though he'd kissed my very soul.
I smiled against his lips, realizing what I should have known a long time ago. I never had to search for my Prince Charming. He was there all along.
Abby Bishop and Mike Adams continued to date throughout highschool. They took time off from their relationship during their freshman year of college, then got back together after the separation proved too much for both of them. They were married after graduation. They now have two children, Eden and Luke, and live near Boston, where Abby is the minister of a church. She and Mike keep in regular contact with Chase and Hillary.
Chase Bishop and Hillary Draper broke up the summer before senior year. They both dated around, but neither found what they were really looking for. Hillary took a year off after graduation to study in Europe, and by the time she returned, it was clear to both of them that they needed each other. They were married at the age of 28 and now live in Vermont. Chase works as an author, and his first novel was recently published to widespread critical acclaim. He and Hillary are currently expecting their first child.
Aubrey Eaton went his own way after highschool but never lost contact with his old friends. He began to teach English at the highschool level in the New York area after college, but his work eventually brought him back to New England, where he met his life partner, Tom Stevens. He is now an English Teacher at a private school in northern Massachusetts, only about a half hour from where Mike and Abby live. He and Tom have become favorite "uncles" to Eden and Luke.
James Clement's family moved to Rhode Island shortly before senior year, but he stayed in touch with his friends in Massachusetts. He now works as a photographer in New York, but visits his old friends regularly. He's been seeing a man named Dave Whitney, and the two of them are fairly sure that the relationship will lead to a lifelong commitment.
Kyle Eaton eventually came clean and apologized to Abby for what he did to her. The two of them repaired their friendship as much as they could. Kyle was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after graduating from college.
John Phillips was caught for sexually assaulting Abby and was sent to a reform school for the rest of his highschool career. His current whereabouts are unknown.
"Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton
"Dateless Losers" by Reel Big Fish
"Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane
"So This Is Love" from the soundtrack of Disney's Cinderella
"Let Me Be Your Wings" from the soundtrack of Thumbelina
"Love Hurts" by Nazareth
"Yesterday" by the Beatles
"Dance With Me" by Orleans
"Jesse's Girl" by Rick Springfield
"Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen
"With a Little Help from My Friends" by the Beatles
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
"Underneath It All" by No Doubt
"It Is You (I Have Loved)" by Dana Glover
"And I Love Her" by the Beatles
A/N: It's over! I'm actually pretty sad about that. As a disclaimer, I do not own any of the songs or artists I just mentioned in any way, shape, or form. I'm going to miss writing this story, but I promise that I'm not going to just fade away. I'm probably going to continue work on one of my old stories, Falling for a Falsity, and I might also start a new one. So stay tuned!
givelifeyourall: Thanks! I'm glad that you can relate to Abby, since I based her off of myself, lol. I know the story can sometimes be a bit predictable, but what can I say? I'm a huge romantic sap, so I love all that cheesy stuff. By the way, I love your penname.
TwinkleHeart: Haha, interesting digital interpretation of a facial expression. Thanks!
Tunny's Girlfriend: I think C2s are just collections of stories that have some kind of similar thing. Like the one I started was for romances. Anyway, chapter 11 was pretty easy to write. This dream I had was so crazy that I actually wrote it down. Bizarrely enough, it fit in this story, even though I had to make a few changes. And no, I wouldn't be so mean as to change the plot drastically just to spite you, lol. Besides, then I wouldn't be able to have my cheesy ending! And I do love my cheesy endings.
stuge: Thanks! I'm glad you like my writing style. It's ok if you can't figure out what the dream meant. It's kind of psycho, lol.
aimee: Thanks, I'm glad you like the way I wrote my crazy little dream sequence, lol.
purpletoother: I know how you feel about the wanting to kill John thing. He's kind of an ass, and a lecherous, vicious ass at that. I understand your viewpoint about sex. I think that sex is very special and should be reserved for someone that you truly love. Of course, I have absolutely no personal experience with it, being a virgin and all, but that's how I feel about it. It's no skin off my hide, though, if other people want to do it, so long as I'm not being forced into anything (like Abby was). You're definitely right about Abby not taking care of her own problems because she's busy helping other people. That's what her helping the woman on the side of the road was about. You're also right about the tollbooth being her subconscious trying to move her forward in life. Props to you for figuring that out! You sound a lot like me (I based Abby off of myself, after all) in terms of the whole fear of change, romanticism, and helping others instead of yourself thing. I'm also lacking in the romance department, lol. I agree with you that a lot of Disney characters fall in love too fast. I think that's why my favorite Disney romance is Beauty and the Beast. The two main characters actually get to know each other and gradually fall in love. I still enjoy the sappiness of all the romances though, lol. And no, your review definitely didn't bore me. I quite enjoyed reading it!
shattered.heart.baby: I totally agree. Date rape drugs are definitely not awesome. They end up hurting a lot of people. I know that chapter 11 was kind of weird. It was totally allegorical, which is why it seemed so whack, lol.
Mae Serenity: I'm so glad that you like my story so much! I agree: Mike is totally sweet.
DancingChaChaFruit: Haha, yeah I know it was a weird chapter. I'm glad you thought it was funny, though. I tried to work in some humor along with all the crazy allegorical stuff. Don't worry about not being able to figure it out. It is really confusing… if you weren't the one who wrote it, lol.
Since this is the end, I'm going to thank everyone who's ever reviewed!
Kate in Melbourne
Do Re Mi Fa
Raven of Ice
Wings of Compassion
dAwN's UnFoRgIvInG dArKnEsS
fox of the night
Thanks a million to everyone! I love you all and I hope to see you again on another story, perhaps yours, perhaps mine. Auf Wiedersehen (until I see you again)!