Natalia O'Connell

Natalia's cutting wasn't a subject that was brought up too much after the end of that day. Though it was certainly something that hovered in the air, that Nathan was now aware of, it wasn't talked about. Nat hadn't become as vocal about it since the day he found out and Nathan hadn't really brought it up either.

But that didn't mean it was ignored, either. There was rarely a moment that Natalia found herself alone without being supervised by Nathan. A few days had passed, to the point that Natalia was able to walk around a bit on her ankle again, yet she still wasn't left alone for cooking… or anything.

In fact, when the whole moment of guard duty came up with Nathan, he usually ended up asking around to see if someone else would be willing to take his shift - especially if it was an overnight duty.

Nat had a feeling Nathan wouldn't be leaving Natalia alone while she slept overnight at all. After all, nightmares and night terrors were… a difficult thing.

She also didn't want to be the one to tell Nate that he didn't have to watch over her. Natalia knew that he felt a sense of responsibility to watch over her, and she didn't want to take that away from him.

"I can come with you for guard duty, if you want." Natalia offered one evening while sitting next to Nathan on the couch. She had her head rested against his shoulder, her mind in thought specifically about her current situation.

Nathan hummed and shook his head at that. He kissed the top of her head before rubbing her shoulder. "I'll… figure something out. It'll be alright." He assured Natalia.

Nat merely nodded her head at that, gazing out the window for a few moments. She blew out a breath, letting her fingers play around with Nathan's for a few moments. The woman closed her eyes in thought for a moment before opening them. She hadn't talked about her self harm much at all… though she also felt like she needed to bring it up. Primarily because it had been on her mind as of late.

Specifically, the… itch.

With Victor being in town, being close, and having seen him not too long ago...

Well, it made the itch more prominent.

"Nathan?" Natalia's lips were against Nate's shoulder, her voice a bit muffled as she spoke his name. Nate hummed out his response again that he was listening. Silence echoed in the air for a few moments, primarily from Natalia debating about if she should even… bring anything up. Nat pulled back her lips from his shoulders slightly. "I've been… feeling like…" Natalia cleared her throat slightly. She didn't exactly like saying it outloud at all. She knew it was shameful. "...hurting myself today."

Nate stiffened his arm around Natalia slightly, though it was a slight stiffen. He rubbed his hand against her upper arm. The man pulled her closer into his torso and kissed the top of her head. "...How about we go for a walk before the sun sets?" Nathan offered, likely trying to use it as a distraction from what was currently on her mind.

The woman nodded her head at that, taking her husband's hand. She let him pull herself up to her feet and began to steer towards the door of the house. She squeezed her husband's hand and walked next to him, leaning against his side somewhat. Her ankle was much better, but it certainly wasn't perfect either.

"...You know how you talked about having kids together." Nat mumbled, a bit out of the blue. She wiggled her fingers against his, squeezing his palm tighter.

Nate turned his head to look over at her for a moment in slight confusion before nodding his head. "Y'warmin' up t'the idea?"

Natalia gave a slight laugh at that and dropped her head down as they walked. "I wasn't ever… opposed. I was just… scared."

Of her scars.

Nathan let go of Natalia's hand and instead wrapped it around her shoulder as they walked. "I know," He said confidently to her, kissing the top of her head. "We'll just take it slow for now. We'll know when the time is right."

At that, Natalia nodded her head in agreement. She continued to walk next to her husband, a bit of confusion on her face as she felt his fingers playing around at the hair tie in her hair. She didn't fight him as he pulled down her hair, holding onto the hair tie himself. Nathan took Natalia's hand and slipped the hair tie around her wrist.

"It's not… perfect…" Nathan started, slipping his arm back around her waist. Natalia stared down at the hair tie on her wrist in confusion, listening. "...But if y'feel like y'need t'hurt yourself…" Nate nodded his head to her wrist. "I'd rather y'use that t'snap than somethin' sharp."

Natalia stared down at the hair tie on her wrist. She brought her hand down to it, looping one finger around the band. The woman pulled the band back before letting go, letting it snap down against her skin. There was pain, just like Nathan had told her. Though, it wasn't the same kind of pain. It also didn't have the pleasure of seeing blood… and the pain tended to leave a few moments after the snap.

...But it was better than nothing.

"Thank you," Natalia mumbled to Nathan. She was pretty sure the last thing he wanted as a response from her was her thanks for giving her a method to harm herself, but she said it anyway.

"I'm hopin' someday y'won't need it anymore, but… babby steps. It's pain I can stand the thought of you takin'. Compromise, y'know?" Nathan said.

Natalia smiled slightly at that and nodded her head, her finger fiddling around with the hair tie on her wrist. Of course, while fiddling with the hair tie, Natalia also noticed the other thing on her finger that she tended to fiddle with a lot.

Specifically, her wedding ring with Victor.

Staring at the ring, Natalia placed her fingers around it and slowly tugged it off of her finger. She then proceeded to hand it over to Nathan, who seemed to take it with a bit of confusion on his face.

Natalia certainly hoped he didn't think that she was offering that ring as his wedding ring. No. That was no where close.

"What's this?" Nate murmured in confusion, holding the ring.

Nat nodded her head to the ring and leaned her head on Nathan's shoulder again. "Do me a favor," She started to speak, letting out a slight sigh. "...Take that to Victor and tell him to eat it?"

At that, Nathan started to snicker slightly. He took the ring, slipping it into his own pocket. "My pleasure," He added, wrapping his arm back around Natalia.

Natalia instead turned her attention to the only ring on her finger, her ring from Nathan. The only ring that belonged to be on her finger, in her opinion. She shouldn't have kept Victor's ring as long on her hand as she did… but she always kept it there as a reminder. A reminder for what had happened. A reminder of what should never happen again.

...But sometimes, remembering is the most painful and difficult thing.

Sometimes things needed to be forgotten.

Thank you for spending your time reading Natural Selection!

Natural Selection is currently a trilogy and has already been written - however, it's up to the readers and their support for this novel to be published on FictionPress! Alexis and I write quite a bit and we currently have over six dozen books that we have completed and we are still currently writing together. If you enjoy any of our novels, reviews of support and follows, only encourage us to post and share the stories that we write together. Little feedback diminishes our motivation. Therefore, anything is welcome! Please let us know if there is an interest in the following two books, Natural Disaster and Natural Order. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy other novels that we have posted on Alice's account, ChemistryOfLife.

Thank you once again for your ongoing support!

XOXO Alice and Alexis