Strict Standards: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/gravitud/public_html/ssx_forum/includes/arcade/functions_arcade.php on line 626
The Gravitude Bar • View topic - New Kid In Town, pt. 2
Back to the SSX Fan Site Gravitude Bar Index
It is currently Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:57 amBoard indexFAQSearchArcadeUser Control PanelPrivate MessagesLoginRegister
 



Post new topic Reply to topic
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 7:07 pm  Post subject: New Kid In Town, pt. 2  
User avatar
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:19 pm
Rank: Champ
Location: NC
Elise spent most of the night in Brodi’s arms. When she was satisfied that he was going to sleep through the night, she eased herself up off the bed and out the door.

She looked at her watch and was glad that she didn’t have a race in the morning. She was so tired she had actually considered spending the night in Brodi’s room. Two things stopped her. Firstly, there wouldn’t have been any sleep, and not because of anything interesting. She kept finding herself checking his breathing pattern, even though she knew he was well past the healing point where that needed to be watched. Secondly, she really did not want anyone seeing her come out of his room. Least of all Anya.

Not that she was concerned about competition for the surfer’s attention. She was confident about where she stood with the man. It was just that Anya seemed—unstable seemed too harsh a word, but it also seemed to fit. And when Eddie had seen her talking to Brodi…

She had come to Brodi’s room to confront him about his white knight syndrome. She was all ready for the argument, but when she saw how he looked she had decided to just work on getting him to sleep. He really looked like he had been to hell and back.

Maybe Brodi wasn’t the only one with white knight syndrome…

*********


Anya wouldn’t say that she was in a better mood when she woke up, but she did at least feel rested. She blinked her eyes and stretched so hard one of her legs started to cramp.
“OW!!”
She shot up in bed, cursing as she grabbed her leg and rubbed the kink out.

“Well, that’s ONE way to wake up,” she thought as she limped to the shower.

Later, showered and dressed, she pulled her hair back into a tangled, untamed ponytail. She grabbed a diet coke from the mini fridge, popped her daily allotment of sanity, and headed out the door.

She was starteled to see a note taped to her door. With shaking hands she took the note down then slammed her door shut and locked it. Sitting on her bed with tears streaming down her face, she looked at the envelope carefully. She was relieved to see that she didn’t recognize the handwriting. Still, she held her breath as she opened it and removed the piece of paper inside. It was a single piece of unlined paper, folded in half. Unfolding it gingerly as if it might disintegrate, she finally gathered the courage to read it.

“Anya,
I enjoyed our conversation yesterday. Please don’t forget your promise. Come have breakfast in the café with me if you like.
Your new friend,
Brodi”

Anya smiled, then laughed with relief. Of COURSE the note was from someone here. She was actually so relieved she felt up to having breakfast and conversation with someone.

She walked into the café with a hopeful look, but was at first worried that she might have missed him or that he had changed his mind. Then, while at the counter grabbing her coffee, she saw him sitting alone in the very back of the café, reading quietly. She walked hesitantly towards his table, and he looked up when she was about halfway across and smiled so warmly she had to smile back.

“Anya!” he called out, rising to meet her. She hurried across the floor to the table and he pulled out a chair for her.

“Morning. Thanks for the invite. Sleep well?”
“I was worried my note had gotten lost. Yes, I did sleep well. You?”
“Courtesy of Ambien, yeah.”

He nodded. Once again, if he felt any judgement, it wasn’t to be read in his eyes.
“Sorry to hear you have trouble sleeping. That always bites.”

She raised an eyebrow. “The ZenMaster has done battle with insomnia?”

He laughed that warm, infectious laugh of his. “An interesting way to put it, but, yes.” He set his tea cup down. “While I was in the hospital, I was on such heavy drugs that I slept nearly all the time. When I was weaned off of them, my body had to find its own rhythm again.”
Anya nodded. “That must have been a horrible experience for you. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”

He smiled. “Probably worse for my friends than it was for me. I was mostly unconscious, and I don’t remember much of the time when I was awake. Usually what we imagine is worse than actual experience.”
Anya actually gripped the table so hard at that statement that he leaned forward and rested his hand on top of hers.
“Anya?”
She made no response; her mind just seemed to blank out at that statement. She didn’t realize tears had started to fall until she noticed that Brodi had moved from across the table to the chair next to her, and was gently dabbing at tears with a napkin.
“Anya? Come on, babe. Talk to me?”
“I…I can’t right now. I really should go. I’ve got runs later today.”
“Anya, please.” He rested a hand on her forearm; gentle, not restraining. “Don’t run away again. I can tell you’re hurting. I have a good ear. Let me help.”

She smiled, blinking away her tears, suddenly embarrassed.
“Brodi, you’re very sweet, and I am honored that you have been so kind, but . . .”
Brodi stood up in front of her. “No buts. I’m offering a listening ear, but I’m also offering friendship, no conditions. I’m reaching out my hand, “he said as he extended his hand to her. “All you have to do is take it.”

***********

Brodi silently let out a sigh of relief as the young woman reached out and took his hand. Something he had said had touched a nerve, and she looked ready to bolt. And if he was right in his thinking, if he didn’t get through to her now, there wasn’t going to be another chance.

“All right. I have no idea why I’m trusting you when I just met you yesterday, but I do trust you. And you might regret that after this, but follow me.”

They left the café and went down the hall and up the stairs. Brodi was ashamed to admit to himself that he had trouble keeping up with her, but he still got winded easily and she was walking fairly quickly. She seemed to notice about halfway up the stairs and slowed down for him.

She stopped in front of her room and fumbled for her keycard. She slid it through the lock and opened the door, motioning for him to go first. He entered the room, and she followed, shutting the door behind her.

“I want you to know that just standing in an enclosed room with a man is a big step for me. I say that up front so you’ll know how important it is. Uhm, we should sit—probably better for you anyway.”

Brodi nodded gratefully and purposefully chose the chair by the window. He had a feeling that if he planted himself between her and the door she was going to panic.

She sat at her desk, turning the chair to face him. She leaned forward, resting her arms on her knees, wringing her trembling hands.

“I don’t know where to start.”

Brodi folded his legs up underneath him and leaned forward. “Just take a deep breath and let it come to you. You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”

Anya took a deep breath.
“I guess the best way is to just put it out there as is. Three years ago a man broke into my apartment and raped me for the next four hours. I, uhm, know it was four hours because he broke in just after 2am, and left just before my boyfriend got home from work.”

Brodi closed his eyes. This was not going to be easy to hear.

“Turned out the guy was a friend of my boyfriend’s, and I had been bargained off to him for the night as payment for a lost $50 bet.”

Brodi forced his breathing to remain even and calm, though his fists were clenched in anger. He reminded himself that he was here to listen, to bear witness, not to react.

“$50! Someone I loved and trusted sold the use of my body for a $50 debt. That’s all I was worth to him.” Anya choked back a sob, then brushed her hair out of her eyes. She then folded her arms around herself and leaned forward. “I, uhm, I…I wasn’t worth even that, apparently. The guy game and demanded his money, saying I was a lousy lay and fought too much, had no idea what to do with a man. This is how I found out. I, I….”

She started wringing her hands again, opening her eyes only when Brodi took her hands in his.
“I’m listening,” he said gently.

************

Anya idn’t realize she had been wringing her hands until she felt Brodi’s gentle touch on her hands. When she opened her eyes, she found he had knelt in front of her and was looking at her with a deep sorrow in those eyes that gave her chills.

She laid a hand on the side of his face and with one soft motion of her thumb wiped away a tear forming in his eyes. He caught her hand and kissed her palm before she pulled her hand back.
“Go on, babe. I’m listening.”
“This is a bad idea.”

Brodi sighed. “I’m not here to lecture or judge. I’m here to listen and to be a friend. But I’m not going to hit you over the head with it.”

A tear fell from her eyes as she hugged herself and rocked back and forth. “How did you know?” she whispered.

Brodi sat back and tilted his head slightly. God, those eyes were going to kill her.
“Well,” he began, “how did you know you could trust me? What does your heart tell you that lets you know I’m safe, that I’m not going to hurt you?”

The question made her stop, and she looked at him in surprise. “Uhm. Well, now that you mention it….”

“We all get these gut feelings. Problem is, most of us learn to ignore them. Me? I tend to get into trouble if I don’t listen to them.”

When she looked puzzled, he stated simply, “I know the look, babe, because I’ve worn it.”

Something made her sit on the floor beside him and lean her head on his shoulder. “I haven’t been able to sleep since that night. I keep an active prescription of sleeping pills. I’ve been on four different antidepressants, and three different antianxiety meds. I’m in and out of therapy. I feel like such a loser. Some nights,” she paused to wipe more tears from her eyes, “some nights, if I’ve managed to make it through the day without breaking my neck on the slopes, I bargain with myself. I take just one sleeping pill. Just one. I get safely through the night, and pretend my way through another day.”

She swallowed hard and Brodi squeezed her hand. “Yesterday was going to be it. I’d had it, it was over. I just didn’t count on one thing.”

She felt Brodi kiss the top of her head. “What was that, babe?” he whispered.

“You.”
He shifted and put an arm around her. “Well, start counting, babe.” He said quietly. “Start counting.”


************

Brodi looked down at the woman sleeping in his arms. He had an urge to pick her up and put her on the bed, but he was afraid to wake her up. So, he made himself as comfortable as he could on the floor, leaning up against the bed and letting her settle down onto his lap.

He looked at the pretty redhead in his lap and brushed a few curls out of her eyes. She was sleeping fitfully, but at least she was sleeping. He had a feeling that even the Ambien didn’t protect her from the nightmares. He knew it hadn’t helped him. He slept, all night, and usually wouldn’t remember any dreams, but he could always tell by the tension in his body when he awoke if he’d had a nightmare.

As if in response to his thoughts, Anya shifted on his lap and moaned painfully. Gently he rested a hand on the top of her head.
“Shhhhh. You’re OK.”
Anya opened her eyes at the sound of his voice and gasped, jerking herself up and away from him.
“Anya! It’s OK, hon. You’re OK. It’s just me. Take a deep breath—that’s good. Look at me.”
“Brodi? What…”
“You fell asleep. I didn’t want to risk waking you or scaring you by picking you up to put you on the bed.”
“Oh, my God. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”
“Anya, it’s OK. Really.” He fell silent momentarily as he held her hand in his. “I was glad that you felt safe enough with me to fall asleep, even if only for a short bit.”

Anya stood and moved back to the bed, patting the bedside indicating he could sit beside her. He did, resting his hand along the side of her face, relieved when she leaned into it instead of pulling away.
Anya closed her eyes for a moment, then smiled at him tentatively.
“You know you have a reputation, don’t you?”
Brodi laughed. “Almost everyone does. But I’m almost afraid to ask.”
“You have a bad case of white knight syndrome. I’m sure your friends worry about you being taken advantage of.”
“Ah, I see.” Brodi cocked his head to one side and looked at her softly. “And what do you think?”
“I think you’re intelligent enough to know when you need to pull back. I also know that I wouldn’t intentionally take advantage of you, so I don’t feel like I pose any danger to you.”

Brodi smiled his warmest smile and touched her cheek with the back of his fingertips. “Not worried. I have a gut feeling you’re stronger than you think you are. And I’ve already told you how I am about my gut feelings.”

She smiled hesitantly. “I hope you’re right.” Then, after a moment of silence, “so, my white knight, what happens now? You’ve seen me melt down, you know I have baggage.”
“Everyone has baggage, babe.”
“And you know now that I am damaged goods.”
Brodi stood suddenly but regretted it when Anya winced. He took a deep breath and knelt in front of her. He took her hands and held them gently in his.
“Anya, look at me.”
When there was no response from her, he took one hand and gently tilted her chin so that she was facing him.
“Look at me, sweetheart.” He reached up and wiped a tear from her cheek as he spoke. “You are not damaged goods. Do you hear me? You. Are. NOT. Damaged. Goods. Someone did something horrible to you. You’ve done what you had to do to survive. And you HAVE survived. It may not feel like it at times. But you survived. And you’re here. You did NOT deserve to be raped. And you did not deserve to be blamed for it, or to be treated like you were property. No one deserves that.”

Brodi stood again and sat himself back on the bed.
“Now, as to what happens next. That depends on you. I’m offering my friendship, and that hasn’t changed. I don’t put conditions on my friendship or love. Can you trust me enough for that?”
Anya nodded her head meekly. “You haven’t stormed out of here in disgust, so yeah, I think I can.”
Again he lifted her chin to face him. “There is no reason for me to. And if you can trust me, you can believe me. Am I right?”
Again, she nodded.
Brodi sighed , not wanting to get into this next part of the conversation.
“Anya, I’m going to ask you something. Please don’t get upset. Are you in any danger? From yourself, or anyone else?”

Anya stiffened at the question, and for a moment Brodi thought he might be kicked out of her room. But she only let out a sigh and looked at him sorrowfully.
“Well, love, since I’ve already admitted to medicating myself to prevent rash decisions, I can’t exactly say no to the first part of your question.”
Brodi nodded.
“But you know that somehow or you wouldn’t have made me promise to meet you today.”
“And the second part of my question?”
Anya looked down.
“Anya?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. I never pressed charges—and please don’t lecture me about that. He finds me every once in a while—my ex, that is—leaves me a couple of taunting messages, then disappears again.”

Brodi’s eyes went wide. “Anya, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have…”
She held her hand up. “No, it’s OK. You couldn’t have known. Nothing wrong with leaving a note on someone’s door. Well, unless you’re a psychotic idiot.”
Brodi nodded again. “Has he left you any notes here? Or have you seen him?”
Anya smiled grimly. “I always think I see him. Always looking over my shoulder, so to speak.”
Brodi nodded and sighed.
“A horrible feeling.”
Anya frowned. “So how long ago was it?”
“How long ago was what?”
Anya squeezed his hand. “Your assault…”
“Oh….”
“You’re not the only person who can read people, love. And don’t make me pull the ‘I showed you mine, you show me yours’ card.”

**********

For a moment Anya was afraid she had pushed Brodi too hard. She had asked a very personal question about a very painful event in his life, and had just insisted on an answer. In a way, she felt she had a right to know—she had bared her soul for him and felt she should be awarded the same level of trust. But, on a deeper level, she knew she had trusted him willingly and needed to afford him the same chance. He offered friendship without conditions—she couldn’t place conditions on him.

As the silence lengthened into an uncomfortable stretch, she relented and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Brodi, I’m sorry,” she began tentatively. When he kept staring at the floor, she continued. “I had no right to say something like that, and it wasn’t meant to be hurtful.”
He finally looked up at her and smiled. “It’s OK. I know what you meant.”
“I am so sorry, sweetie. I…”
“Anya, it’s OK. I’ll answer you. You just caught me off guard. I wasn’t aware that I was throwing off signals.”

“Not so much that as the way you’ve been with me. You knew to make me promise to meet you. You’ve been careful about touching me. Hell, you were even careful not to place yourself between me and the door…yes, I noticed. So you’re either the kindest, most thoughtful and considerate man in the world, or you’ve been through it yourself.”

Brodi offered a faint smile. “And how do you know I’m not just the kindest man in the world?”
“You know what I mean.”
Brodi laughed. “Yes, I do.” Then he took a more serious tone. “I was 19, about two months from turning 20. End of school-year party. Hanging out on the beach, surfing, swimming, live bands. Loads of fun. Until a girl who was upset that I’d turned her down told her boyfriend that I’d macked on her. I left my drink on my beach towel while I went to catch a quick wave. Drink gets spiked, I spend the next day or so alternating between being a punching bag and a boy toy.”

Anya gasped.
“My God, sweetheart….how did you get away?”
Brodi shrugged. “They drugged and overpowered me. Didn’t mean they were smart. They left me alone a bit too long while they went to the next party, I got out and called a friend to take me to the hospital.”
“So what happened?”
“Nothing really. Told the hospital I’d been mugged. No one questioned it. I didn’t say anything about sexual assault. To anyone. Not even the friend who took me to the hospital. In fact, you’re only the second person I’ve ever told.”
“In ten years?”
“In ten years. My own mother doesn’t know.”
Anya said nothing for a moment, but leaned her head on Brodi’s shoulder. When the silence finally became too much, she said merely, “How have you coped?”
“At first? Lots of working out—still my favorite release. Well, one of them, anyway. When school started up again, I threw myself into my studies. Yoga helped me get re-acquainted with my body, as did lots of meditation.” There was more silence, then, “You have to find your groove, what works for you, babe. I can help you or give you suggestions, but I can’t tell you what will work for you.”
Anya stood and walked over to the window, hugging herself as she leaned her forehad against the cool glass. “I don’t want to re-acquaint myself with my body. It hurts. Too much.”
She heard Brodi get up, felt up come up close behind her. He hesitated a moment, then gently rested his hands on her shoulders. “It takes time,” he whispered. “It just takes time.”

She choked back a sob, but it came full force. Brodi wrapped his arms around her as she started sinking to the floor. She was shaking uncontrollably as he picked her up and sat down on the bed with her. He neither chastised nor criticized her, but held her like a child and rocked her back and forth as she continued to be racked with sobs.
“Let it out.” He was saying. “Just let it out.”
And let it out she did. She cried a river of tears that she had been holding back for what felt like centuries. When she was finally empty of tears, she fell into a deep sleep

_________________
Never choose the well from which you will not drink.
Marion Zimmer Bradley


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:32 pm  Post subject: Re: New Kid In Town, pt. 2  
User avatar
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2006 12:22 pm
Rank: Master
Location: in the Gate of Greed, killing stupid n00bs
hey bookwitch, nice story again :thumbsup ,but why don't u just past it into the other topic,
then u delete it here and gondee will lock this topic because it's useless
OK ?

_________________
Image
creds 4 this awesome piece of art go to [yeti]
Grandmort visited on my b-day | Click to reveal hidden content
Image

Last updated: 2015/01/25 13:38


Last bumped by bookwitch on Fri May 08, 2009 3:32 pm.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic


Jump to:  



Information
Page 1 of 1 [ 2 posts ] 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Show or Hide Information
cron


Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group