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Rating: PG-13 (language and angst)
Author’s note: This one’s kind of intense, but if you’re old enough to watch Dawson’s Creek you’re probably old enough to read this.
Losing An Enemy
“You can do this, Tatum.” Joey said encouragingly “It’s just salad, it won’t make you fat.”
Tatum stared at the piece of lettuce on her fork “I know, I know. Don’t pressure me, ok?”
“It’s ok.” Pacey told her, patting her shoulder gently “You’ve been doing great.”
“What do you want, Abby?” Tatum groaned.
“Nothing.” Abby said “I just wanted to ask how you’re doing.”
“Why?” Tatum asked “So you can make fun of me? So you can blab everything all over the school?”
Abby put up her hands as if to stop the accusations and shook her head “No, really. I-I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
Tatum was taken aback “Well, I’m doing a lot better. Thanks.” as soon as Abby was gone, she turned to her friends “Ok, I’m not hallucinating, that did just happen?”
Jen blinked and rubbed her eyes “I think so.”
“That was *really* weird.” Andie said “Abby Morgan just came over here, asked how you were doing, stood at this table for a good thirty seconds, and didn’t insult any of us even once.”
“Ok,” Joey said “so we’re all in agreement, someone needs to go over there and pull that monkey out of Abby’s ass.” no one answered her “What? Tatum gets to say it.”
“Maybe that’s not Abby.” Pacey suggested “Maybe it’s an evil alien worm that’s taken over Abby’s body......oh come on! Didn’t any of you see ‘The Faculty’?”
“Maybe it’s her evil twin.” Tatum added “Or, in Abby’s case, *she’s* the evil twin, and the person who came over here was the good twin, whom Abby’s had locked in the boiler room forever.” everyone rolled their eyes “Well, do *you* have a better suggestion?”
* * * *
“Alright, ladies,” Tatum called to the other cheerleaders in the gym, shouting to be heard over the loud music “let’s try the pyramid again. Valerie, Vanessa?”
The McNeal twins, Valerie and Vanessa, carefully hoisted Tatum onto their shoulders “Are you ok?” Valerie asked.
“I’m fine.” Tatum replied.
“Are you sure?” Vanessa asked “Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.” she and Valerie gently set Tatum down on the floor.
“You guys!” Tatum moaned “Dammit! Why must you insist on treating me like a china doll? I’m not made of porcelain, I won’t break.”
The twins looked at the floor “Sorry.” they both muttered.
“I appreciate your concern.” Tatum said gently “But too much coddling is going to drive me insane. I promise all of you that I wouldn’t try anything I wasn’t strong enough for.”
* * * *
“How was school?” Bessie asked as Tatum and Joey entered the house.
“Pretty good.” Joey replied “And Tatum ate her entire lunch.”
“Good for you!” Bessie said to Tatum.
Tatum blushed “It was just a salad. And I did feel a little anxious afterward, but I managed to keep it down. And the girls on the squad are driving me insane. They treat me like I’m going to break if they aren’t careful.”
“They just want to make sure you’re strong enough.” Bessie said comfortingly.
“They care about you.” she looked at her watch “I need to head down to the Ice House. I’ll be back in about half an hour. You gonna be ok?”
“Sure.” Tatum sighed “You know, I’m never going to get better with everyone fussing over me all the time.” she stood up “I’m gonna go for a walk.”
Bessie nodded “That’s a good idea. Just take some time to clear your head. Don’t stay out too late, it’s gonna get dark soon.”
“I won’t.” Tatum called over her shoulder “I think I’m just going to go over to Pacey’s house and hang out for a while.”
* * * *
Tatum looked up and so Pacey walking towards her “Hey! I was just on my way over to your house. What are you doing out?”
“I had to get out of there.” Pacey explained “My parents were fighting again. It was giving me a huge headache. Besides, it’s not like they’ll notice I’m gone even when they do stop screaming at each other.”
“I’m sure they will.” Tatum said.
“Not likely.” Pacey sighed “The only time my parents ever talk to me is to tell me to clean up my room or yell at me about my grades. And my brother and sisters never talk to me at all. Even when I made the football team, dad just muttered ‘congratulations’ and went back to talking to Doug. At least I think he said congratulations.” he shook his head “So, what are you doing out here?”
“I had to get out, too.” Tatum sighed “I just needed some time to think. You know, clear my head.”
Pacey nodded and put his arm around her “Well, it’s not safe for a lady to be walking alone at this time of night. Mind if I join you?”
Tatum smiled at him “You’re a perfect gentleman. I don’t mind at all.” she noticed the way he was staring at her “What?”
“Nothing.” he said “I just love seeing you smile. I haven’t seen it very often lately.” he kissed her cheek lightly.
Tatum laughed and leaned against his shoulder “You are just too sweet.” she paused for a moment “Did you hear something?”
Pacey nodded “I think so.”
“Sounds almost like someone crying.” Tatum said. She pointed “Look.”
“I wonder who it is.” Pacey said.
Just then, the person sitting on the dock looked up at them “Go away!”
Tatum gasped “Abby? What are you doing out here?”
“Go away!” Abby repeated.
“Why are you crying?” Tatum asked as she and Pacey approached Abby.
“Just go away!” Abby sobbed “I’m going to die!”
“Abby, what happened?” Tatum said as she knelt down next to her.
“I’m going to kill myself!” Abby wailed.
“Have you been drinking?” Tatum asked.
“Yes! And I’m going to keep it up until I’m dead!” Abby vowed, waving around a bottle of whiskey.
“God, where the hell does she get this stuff?” Tatum muttered as she wrenched the bottle out of Abby’s hand “No you’re not! Trust me, whatever happened can’t be so bad that this is the only way out. Come on, up and at ‘em. We’ll take you to the Ice House and get you some coffee, and then you can tell us what happened.”
Tatum stood up and pulled Abby to her feet, then led her away. Pacey followed the two girls without a word.
* * * *
“What happened?” Bessie asked when she saw Tatum and Pacey come in, dragging Abby between them.
“We found her on the docks.” Pacey explained “She’s pretty hammered, and she kept on saying she was going to kill herself.”
“We figured we should bring her in here for some coffee, maybe try to figure out what happened.” Tatum said as she helped Abby into a chair.
“After everything she’s done to you, Tatum.” Bessie said “You’re a living saint, you know that?”
Tatum shrugged “I don’t like to see other people in pain. It doesn’t matter who they are.” she looked at Abby, who was slumped over on the table, and noticed how dirty and torn her clothes were. “She looks like she’s been wrestling a tiger. This might be more serious than I thought.”
“Well, I really should get home.” Pacey said “Is there anything you need me to do?”
Tatum shook her head “No, it’s ok. I’ll give you a call later and let you know what happens.”
Pacey kissed her “You know something? You’re a real Joan of Arc.”
“And I think I’ve just been handed a stake.” Tatum sighed, glancing at Abby.
* * * *
“Feel any better?” Tatum asked as Abby finished her seventh cup of coffee.
Abby moaned incoherently and let her head fall back onto the table “Not really.”
“You want to tell me what happened?” Tatum said.
“Not particularly.” Abby sighed “I don’t see why you’d care.”
“That’s not true.” Tatum insisted “Something must have happened to make you want to kill yourself.”
“But why do you care?” Abby asked
“Don’t ask.” Tatum said “I’m not sure I even know. I just can’t take seeing other people in pain.”
Abby sighed “I was hanging out with a bunch of older guys at my house this afternoon since my parents are away until Monday, and we were drinking beer and acting stupid.” she paused and wiped her eyes “And I guess I passed out, because one minute I’m sitting in the den with the guys, none of whom I really know that well, and the next I was waking up on my parents bed, and I was naked, and all the guys had left.”
Tatum’s eyes widened “Oh my God. Abby, you don’t think they-”
“Raped me?” Abby interrupted “Yeah, I do.” she sobbed “And I’d only had two beers, I think one of those fucking bastards slipped something into my drink.”
“Oh, Abby.” Tatum said softly, “I’m so sorry this happened to you.” she stood up “Bessie? We need to get Abby to a hospital right away.”
“No!” Abby pleaded “Please, I don’t want anyone to know about this.”
“Abby, you have to get help.” Tatum insisted “If any of those guys raped you, you need to find out for sure so you can make sure you didn’t catch anything.”
Abby looked at Tatum beseechingly “Tatum, please, if this gets out, I’ll die.”
“It’s ok,” Tatum whispered, “it wasn’t your fault.”
* * * *
“Pacey? It’s Tatum.” Tatum said when Pacey picked up the phone.
“Hey, where are you guys?” Pacey asked.
“Capeside Memorial.” Tatum replied.
“Are you ok?”
“Oh yeah, I’m fine.” Tatum explained “It’s Abby.”
“What happened to her? Is she ok?” Pacey asked
“I’m not sure.” Tatum glanced around and lowered her voice “Pacey, she was raped.”
“Oh my God.” Pacey said “By who?”
“She isn’t sure.” Tatum sighed “She was hanging out with a bunch of older guys who she didn’t know very well, and it looks like one of them slipped something into her drink.”
“And that’s why she was so upset?”
“Yeah.” Tatum sighed “It’s so awful, Pacey. I know she’s a bitch, but no one deserves this. I have to go, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Yeah, ok.” Pacey said “Oh, and Tatum?”
“I think what you’re doing for Abby is really incredible.” Pacey told her “After the way she’s treated you, well, most people wouldn’t even consider helping her. You really are amazing.”
Tatum sighed “I just don’t like seeing other people in pain.”
“So you’ve said.” Pacey replied “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Tatum said. She hung up the phone and sat down.
A tall, thin nurse walked into the waiting room “Ms. Potter?”
“Right here.” Tatum said as she stood up.
“You’re the one who brought Abigail Morgan in?”
“Yeah, how is she?” Tatum asked.
“Well, unfortunatly, she was raped, and her blood test showed that she had a large amount of Rophynol, a date rape drug commonly called Roofies, in her system.” The nurse explained “She’ll need to come back in forty-eight hours to get a blood test to make sure she didn’t catch any STDs, and in the meantime we’re going to give her some emergency contraceptive pills and refer her to a rape crisis counselor. She should also report this to the police as soon as possible.”
Tatum nodded “Of course.”
“Ms. Potter, this is very important.” the nurse told her “I’ve seen this kind of thing too many times. Most drug rape victims never report the crime.”
“I know,” Tatum said “I’ll make sure she does.”
“You should also encourage her to talk about it.” the nurse said “She’ll probably insist that she’s fine, but she isn’t. Even if she doesn’t seem upset, things like this can have permanent psychological effects if the victim doesn’t seek counseling.”
“I’ll see to it that she does.” Tatum promised.
The nurse nodded “Good. She’s all checked out, you can take her home now. Oh, and Ms. Potter?”
Tatum turned around “Yes?”
“it’s really wonderful that you’re doing this for her. A lot of people wouldn’t bother.”
* * * *
“Bessie’s going to bring the truck around and pick us up.” Tatum told Abby “How’re you doing?”
Abby shrugged “Tatum? I just want to thank you for doing this for me. I mean, I’ve been so awful to you. Why do you want to help?”
“Well, Abby, I’ve had a pretty rotten childhood.” Tatum explained “I grew up as the bastard daughter of a never-around mom. I was raised by relatives who hated me. I had an aunt who abused me and cousins who pretty much enslaved me. I had only one cousin who cared about me, and, well....you know what happened to him.”
Abby looked at the ground “I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s alright.” Tatum said “it doesn’t seem to matter now. I mean, raised by people like that, I could’ve gone either way. I could have grown up into a bitter, angry hack, but instead all of that abuse that I suffered made it hard for me to see other people suffer.”
“I can’t believe that this happened to me.” Abby sobbed “I mean, they did an awful thing to me. And yet, I’m the one who feels dirty. Like it was my fault. That’s way I tried to kill myself tonight. I kept on thinking that I must have done something to encourage them.” she almost laughed in spite of herself “Oh, God, look at me. I act like a slut and treat people like shit, and now something like this happens and I want people to feel sorry for me. How pathetic.”
“It wasn’t your fault.” Tatum said “And you do know you have to report them for this, right? Abby, if you don’t they’re going to do it to someone else. The mixture of Roofies and alcohol could be enough to kill their next victim.”
“I know.” Abby sobbed “Listen, I know that I have no right to ask you this, but I can’t be alone tonight. Could I stay at your house?”
Tatum nodded “Of course.”
“And for now,” Abby added “ please don’t tell anyone, ok?”
“I promise. Come on, there’s Bessie. It’s time to go home.” she led Abby toward the truck. It had been a long, strange day, and Tatum had a feeling that there were more ahead.
* * * *
Part 12 coming soon!
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