Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chapter 41

I stood in the bathroom staring at my reflection in the mirror. It was time to end this, to put this chapter of my life behind me. Hopefully for good this time. Patrick walked in and wrapped his arms around my waist.

“Ready to go?” he asked. I sighed.

“No, but I don't have a choice.” He placed a kiss on my forehead. When he let go I turned and followed him out of the room. It was time for court.

About a month ago Patrick and I went out for dinner. I didn't leave the house much unless it was for work, but he'd convinced me to go that night. We pulled into the driveway and found Quentin sitting in a chair on the front porch. He stood up when he saw us and I eyed him warily as I got out of the car.

“Sorry to be waiting, but I wanted to give you the news in person.” My breath caught in my throat. Could it be? “We got him.”

I hadn't been sure how I'd respond to the news. Would I laugh? Cry? Jump up and down? Fist pump like I'd seen Patrick do after a goal? Moonwalk? I did none of the above. My legs turned to jelly and I sank to the ground. Patrick and Quentin both rushed to my side.

“Gabby! Are you okay?” Patrick asked, kneeling down next to me. I looked up at him wide eyed and shrugged.

“I don't know.” He helped me inside and Quentin followed.

I sat on the couch and listened to what Quentin had to say. When he finished was when my laughter started. Apparently Vince had been staying in some fleabag motel you could rent by the hour under some alias. Prostitution was also prevalent at this place. A hooker got arrested and in a desperate attempt to stay out of prison for the third time she gave Vince up. The case had become a little high profile because of Patrick and she'd seen it on the news.

Now I was walking into the courthouse for the first day of the trial. Despite the evidence, Vince had plead not guilty and now I have to go through a trial with him all over again. I sat in a row and listened to the DA's opening argument as Patrick held my hand. When he was done it was time for Vince's lawyer. I clenched my jaw as I was portrayed as vengeful, as someone looking to put a person who made a mistake in the past back in jail because I was still angry. He said that instead of bringing the real criminal to justice I was trying to pin it on an innocent man I couldn't forgive. He said a lot of bullshit. I could feel Patrick's hand tightening on mine at everything Vince's lawyer said.

When the first part of the trial was over I was partly relieved and partly sick. It had gotten started so it would be over soon. I also still had to get on the stand and describe what he'd done to me and that was never easy.

We walked out into the hallway with the DA. He was telling us what would come next and what to expect. Patrick was listening and I was tuned out. While this was the first trial he'd experienced, I'd been through this before. I was looking around at all the other unfortunate people who had to go to court. And then I stopped dead in my tracks.

Standing on the other side of the hallway was someone I never expected to see. She was standing there looking at me and wringing her hands nervously. I was too in shock to do anything more than stand there and stare back at her. That was when Patrick realized I was no longer walking next to him.

“Gabrielle?” he called back to me. I didn't answer because she'd started making her way over to me.

“Hi,” she said quietly.

“Hi,” I repeated awkwardly. Patrick was now standing at my side, his hand on my back, looking between the two of us. Then his hand tightened on me and I knew he recognized her. “What are you doing here, Bailey?”

“I heard that the trial was starting and I wanted to be here,” she told me. I didn't get it. I didn't know why she'd come. Plenty of things had happened in my life that she'd been absent for, so why was this one any different?

“Thanks.” I wasn't sure what else to say. I hadn't seen my sister in 10 years. Suddenly I saw her eyes fill with tears and she covered her mouth with her hands.

“I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. This is my fault. All of it. I should have been there. I'm your older sister and I abandoned you and you almost died. I don't know how you could ever forgive me. I just know that even though I wasn't there for you in the past when you needed someone, I'm going to be here now, as long as you'll have me.”

I didn't know what to do or say. I hadn't spoken to Bailey in 10 years and now suddenly she was standing here in front of me telling me that she was here to support me. I'd never seen my sister in distress, and I'd never seen her cry. I didn't think she was capable of it. Now I struggled between shock, anger, and hope as I watched her.

“Why don't you come back to our house? We'll talk there,” I suggested.

I knew full well that we couldn't have any sort of conversation standing here in the middle of the courthouse in front of hundreds of people. I didn't know what direction the conversation would take and I wouldn't chance an argument. And despite it all, I didn't want people seeing Bailey cry the way she was. I may not know my sister well, but I knew that was something she wouldn't want.

Bailey followed us back home and parked on the street. I held the door open for her and Loxley and Dudley greeted her at the front door. She widened her eyes in surprise at the two dogs winding themselves around her legs, tails wagging, before smiling and bending down to pet them both.

“I always wished Mom and Dad would let me have a dog,” she said as she accepted kisses from them both. That took me by surprise as well. I'd had no idea she liked dogs, or animals in general.

I led her into the living room and Patrick offered to get us something to eat or drink. We both declined, and he left us alone to talk. Bailey and I looked everywhere but at each other in an uncomfortable silence for what seemed like forever. I finally realized that someone needed to get this started and decided to just dive right in.

“I don't want to be rude, and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I don't understand why you're here. Why now?” I asked. Bailey took a deep breath before answering.

“I feel guilty about everything. I have for a long time, but didn't know how to try to fix it. When this happened, I felt responsible and I had to come. I wanted to see if there would be a chance that you could ever forgive us.”

I was about to ask her why she could possibly feel guilty or responsible for what happened when it hit me. The family meeting Kaylen had called me about that had ended up being about Vince getting out of jail. I felt like someone had wanted to tell me. Now I knew. Bailey had wanted to warn me. Knowing that made sitting here across from her a little bit easier.

“They wouldn't let you tell me, would they?” I asked quietly, not wanting to hear the answer, but needing to. Bailey seemed just as reluctant to tell me.

“Mom and I tried, but they wouldn't listen,” she said, her voice filled with shame.

“Mom? Mom wanted to tell me?” I couldn't believe it. I hadn't expected that. Not after the way she'd treated me my entire life.

“That surprises you?” Bailey asked.

“All of this surprises me.” My head was spinning with conflicting emotions, just trying to make sense of what was going on.

“I guess I deserve that.”

“I didn't mean it like that. I just didn't expect this. I didn't think I'd ever seen any of you again, and now I've seen you all within the last year. It's just difficult. Especially after my death.....” I let my voice trail off. I hadn't intended on bringing that up, but it just came out. Now it was out there. And Bailey groaned.

“I was never okay with that. I didn't even know they were going to do it. They never told me. I had to read it in the newspaper. I didn't speak to them for months.”

Another wave of surprise hit me. This hadn't been a family decision? Bailey hadn't wanted to do that to me? She'd actually defended me? I hadn't expected that, or any of this. I was happy about it, but then again, what would that have changed? She defended me after the fact. Where was she when I'd needed someone to defend me when I still had a chance?

“I wish I'd known that.” She turned her gaze to the floor and sighed.

“How could I tell you? I wasn't there for you when it mattered. I didn't speak to them, but I didn't search you out either. I'm not like you. I couldn't ever stand up to them. You were always so strong, even as a child. I envied that, and I think that's why. You were who I wish I was, and I resented that.” And the hits just kept on coming.

“Strong? I let the whole family run me over. I hit rock bottom. That's not being strong,” I told her. She shook her head.

“No, you were strong. You still are. You didn't let them turn you into someone you weren't. You stood up to them, became your own person. Maybe you fell down, but you got back up. Weak people can't overcome addiction, especially without any support from family. I didn't want to be the way I was growing up, but I was too scared to challenge them. I just did what they said and there's not a moment of my adult life that I don't regret it.”

I'd had no idea that Bailey had ever felt that way about. I was caught so off guard by the admission. Here I had been, a child wishing I was more like my older sisters, when one of them was wishing she was more like me.

Bailey and I continued to talk, and I could feel any anger I'd held towards her melting away. She hadn't abandoned me, she'd just been too worried about what my family would do to her. And then she hit me with a bombshell, one that made so much sense when she said it. My mother was terrified of my father.

He never physically abused her, but the things he said, the power he wielded kept her in constant fear. She couldn't so much as disagree with him or the threats of being out on the streets, poor, disgraced, and unwanted would start. She hadn't wanted to kick me out, she just didn't have a choice. She wanted to return Olivia and my phone calls, but she was too afraid of being caught. She wanted to talk to me, to see how I was doing, but he'd killed me. The one time she'd stood up for me was the day they'd come to the hospital. My father hadn't wanted to go, but she wouldn't let up, and she finally fought him until he gave in.

I was crying by the time Bailey finished. The signs were all there. They always had been. How had I not seen it? How had I not seen the fear my mother had lived with everyday? How had I not seen the monster that my father was? I was trained to notice these things, and I'd neglected to see it in my own parents. I felt horrible.

“She wanted to come today but she was afraid you wouldn't want her here,” Bailey finally told me. I wiped away tears and sniffed.

“Tell her I do. Tell her I want her here if she wants to be.”

Bailey nodded and we sat in silence for a while. We'd talked about everyone on the family. I knew about Rachel and her family. I knew that Rachel had sided with my father on everything, but Bailey was sure it was because she didn't know how to do anything else. Being the first daughter had made Rachel the guinea pig and the most easily controlled.

There was just one person we hadn't discussed. Apparently my thoughts were written all over my face.

“She's beautiful, you know,” Bailey said, breaking the silence. My breath caught in my throat as Bailey grabbed her purse.


“Quinn. She's the spitting image of you. I can look at pictures of you at her age and can't tell the difference. She's stunning.”

My breath caught in my throat as I glanced down at the photo that Bailey handed me. I stared down at the image of my daughter. It was the first time I'd seen her since I'd left. New tears came as I stared into eyes that looked just like mine. I didn't know what to say, and I was pretty sure that even if I had, I wouldn't be able to speak.

“She doesn't just look like you. She is you. It's funny how someone who didn't grow up knowing you can be just like you. She's strong-willed, independent, intelligent, funny, and artistic. Half the time the only thing she wants to do is paint, just like you. She's good at everything she does, just like you were. She's perfect.”

Hearing about Quinn, listening to Bailey describe her was almost too much. It hurt to hear it, but I couldn't get enough. I grilled Bailey about her. I had to know everything, no matter how badly my heart ached. I didn't know my daughter at all and this was all I had right now. Maybe someday, but for today, this would do.

Bailey stayed for dinner, and Patrick and I invited her to stay with us. The day's revelations left me needing to have her around, to get to know her. I wasn't sure how I felt about everything, but I had time to figure it out. All I knew at the moment was that I had a sister sitting across from me at the dinner table telling stories and laughing. I'd never expected that to happen again, and it felt amazing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chapter 40

So sorry it's been pretty much forever since I've posted. I'm still around, don't worry, but on occasion my life happens to suck. Nothing major or awful has happened, but things just keep coming up and happening. There might be a small window in here where I can get some writing done, but then life is going to get crazy again for a bit. I can't promise anything, but hopefully it won't be this long again. I also have a kind of wacky idea. I had a dream the other night and when I woke up I realized I could totally turn it into a short story. I've already gotten a little bit of it written, but I'm not sure if I should post it or not, so I'm going to leave it up to you guys. It'll definitely be short, maybe 10-15 chapters. What I'm not sure of is how long it will take me to finish it. Do you want me to start posting it as I go, with possible long gaps between, or should I save it until I have time to finish? Your choice! Now on to our scheduled programming.....

It was quiet in my hospital room. It had been since the day before. There had been virtually no conversation between Patrick and I since my parents had walked out of the room. I was just spent and hadn’t been up to listening to an explanation of how Patrick had known my parents and they had known him. He hadn’t offered one up either.

He had stayed with me the rest of the day and night, but we’d just avoided talking. This morning looked like it was heading in the same direction. Patrick was here, sitting next to the bed, and we were just watching TV. The only other thing to do when you were stuck in a hospital bed was talk. I was ready to know now.

“Why did you go see my parents?” He turned his head and looked at me, not quite in surprise, but in uncertainty.

“I just wanted them to know what they’d done by not telling you that Vince was out of jail.” His explanation seemed true enough, it made sense, but he looked uneasy, like there was something else.

“You didn’t have to do that.” He let out a sigh and turned his entire chair to face me.

“There’s more.”

“What do you mean, ‘there’s more’?” I asked.

“I can’t stand what they did to you. When I got to the hospital and saw all the flowers and people that cared, I snapped. I wanted them to know that they didn’t just almost kill you by keeping things from you, but that they’d lost someone worth knowing. I wanted them to know that despite all they’d done, you’d become an amazing person in spite of them,” he said.

I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. It obviously made me think about that other thing we had to talk about. That whole, what are we going to do about our relationship now, thing. I knew I was going to have to start that conversation. It was me that ran out on him afterall. I figured now was as just as good a time as any.

“Patrick, I…..”

“Good morning, Miss Tunney. How are you feeling today?” my doctor asked, walking through the door, cutting me off.

“Better than yesterday,” I told him, like I had every other day he’d walked in here and asked.

He went over a few things, checking my chart, all the things doctor’s do when you’ve been laid up in the hospital for over a week. I had to pick a bunch of numbers on a scale of 1 to 10 to tell him how much things hurt, and so on. It was like being back in elementary school all over again.

“Well, Gabrielle, I have to say that things are going exactly the way we had hoped they would. I see no reason why we can’t discharge you today,” the doctor told me.

“Really? I can go home?”

I’d initially been excited and then the word hit me. Home. I didn’t have a home. Not one I could actually ever step foot into ever again. Where was I going to go? I forced a smile onto my face and thanked the doctor, even though I suddenly wished I had another week stuck in bed in a hospital.

“Do you have a way to get home?” he asked.

“I’ll give her a ride,” Patrick offered.

“Good. Then I’ll send a nurse in with the discharge papers in a little bit. You can set up an appointment to come back and see me so I can check on your progress.”

With that the doctor said goodbye and walked out of the room. I released a breath and turned to face the window. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Even if I managed to talk to Patrick before I was officially out of here, I didn’t think there’d be anyway that everything would be solved by then.

“So where am I taking you?” he asked.

“I can’t go home,” I whispered. Even just thinking about my apartment was bringing back some really bad memories that I only wanted to forget.

“No, I wouldn’t think you’d want to. Am I bringing you to Paige’s, a hotel?” he pushed.

I didn’t know how to respond or what to say. There was only one place I wanted to go, but it didn’t sound like it was going to be an option. I wanted nothing more than to have Patrick ask me to move in with him one more time. I wouldn’t make the same mistake and would accept this time around.

“I’m sorry,” I blurted out, surprising Patrick as he grabbed my things together.

“For what?” he asked.

“Walking out.” He sighed and sat down on the bed next to me.

“It hurt to come home and find that you were just gone, no explanation,” he told me. I’d never felt so ashamed about anything in my life.

“It’s not a good excuse, but I panicked. And then instead of just letting me take time you pushed even more on me. I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t know how to handle it. I’ve always run and so I did it again. I ran away from the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I’ve never regretted anything so much.”

The nurse came in then with the discharge papers. I went over everything, signing where I needed to. Then I made the appointment to return to see the doctor. When I was done, Patrick helped me out of the bed and into the bathroom so I could finally change out of the hospital gown and into my own clothes.

The nurse was waiting with the wheelchair when I came out. Patrick was already gone, having gone down to pull the car up to the door. Usually I would have fought taking the wheelchair out, but I was too weak and tired to fight. Patrick was there waiting when we got downstairs. He helped me into his car before he got in himself.

“If Vince hadn’t gotten to me, I was going to come see you Sunday,” I told him. I could tell that caught him off guard.

“Why?” he asked.

“To apologize for doing something I thought I was past doing. I panicked and I ran like I always used to do, and it wasn’t fair to you. Not after everything you’ve done for me. I shouldn’t have reacted like that. Most of all, I shouldn’t have lied to you.”

“I can’t say it didn’t hurt to find out that you would rather risk your own life than be with me.” A tear slipped down my cheek when he said that.

“I wasn’t thinking clearly. I thought I was. I thought I’d figured things out, but I hadn’t. It was just too many things all at once. My family, Vince, what you said, it was too much at once. Instead of being rational I threw away the best thing to ever happen to me. I can’t even imagine how badly I hurt you. I hate knowing that. I’m just so in love with you that I do crazy and stupid shit because I’m terrified that I’ll screw something up and then I just end up doing it anyway. I’d spend the rest of my life trying to make this all up to you if you’d let me, and even then I know it wouldn’t be enough.”

“Gabby, stop.” I did. I stopped talking. “Say it again.” I wasn’t sure what he meant. I looked at him, trying to figure it out when it hit me.

“I love you.”

“Jesus, I’d kiss you if I wouldn’t hurt you doing it.” I let out a small laugh as I lightly touched the split in my lip that still ached. “Am I pushing my luck if I ask if you’ll move in?” My smile grew.

“I was hoping you’d ask me again.” He smiled back at me and put the car into drive, taking us home.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chapter 39

I've been working on this chapter forever and I still don't feel like I got it right. It feels like Gabby is too bitchy and bitter, but I guess she has a reason, right? Oh well, here it is. And if anyone cares, the song for this chapter is Bridges by Lifehouse. For some reason I couldn't get it to upload so I just wanted you to know.

I woke up in the morning to see Patrick sitting in a chair next to me, asleep in an uncomfortable position. I had no idea how long he’d been here, but I knew that he’d hardly been away from my side for the past three days. All except yesterday, when he’d been gone for most of the afternoon.

We hadn’t talked much, not about what really mattered anyway. He hadn’t asked what was going to happen with us when I got out of the hospital, and I hadn’t initiated conversation either. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tell him how I felt, that I didn’t want to apologize, it was that I was scared that despite the fact that he’d been here, he wouldn’t forgive me.

He began to stir as I watched him. I smiled when his eyes opened and he glanced over at me, like I was his first thought upon waking up. He smiled back when he saw me looking at him, grinning like an idiot.

“Good morning,” I joked as he yawned and stretched out.

“I was tired!” he defended himself. I felt my mood darken slightly.

“You don't have to be here all the time you know,” I told him. His smile faded too.

“I know that.”

Those words hung in the air, the real meaning behind them going unspoken, but clear as day. We were both quiet as we kind of took it in, wondering who was going to speak first, what we should say. We had to talk. It had to happen, and now was as good a time as any. I just wasn't used to talks like this. I finally opened my mouth to say something when the door opened.

My mouth closed quickly as my eyes widened in complete shock. I could feel my heart start to race as I saw who was in the doorway. I squeezed my eyes closed for a moment before opening them again and seeing that what I had seen was not a hallucination. They were really standing there in the doorway to my hospital room. I just didn't know how that was possible.

I swallowed what felt like a basketball sized lump in my throat as they took a few steps into the room. Then I watched as my parents looked from me to Patrick. They gave him weak smiles and nods and he returned the gestures. What the hell was that?

“Hello, Patrick,” my father said to him.

“Sam, Vanessa,” he returned. I looked between my parents and Patrick, utterly confused. How the hell did they know each other. What was going on? “I'll wait outside.” I watched as Patrick stood up from his seat and walked out of the room, giving me one last glance before he did.

“Oh, Gabrielle,” my mother sighed when the three of us were left alone. I clenched my jaw, fighting the urge to just tell them to get the hell out, to not even pretend that they cared I was laying in this hospital bed.

“Are you okay?” my father asked. I choked back the laugh that threatened to leave my mouth.

“I'm in the hospital on strong painkillers with a couple fractured ribs, a concussion, stitches in my face, and recovering from a rape. Other than that, I'm just fine,” I responded.

My words had their intended effect, on my mother at least. She let out a gasp, covering her mouth with her hand. My father stood there, his face like a statue, not displaying any emotions. Something he'd learned in politics that he now used on his own daughter like I was a stranger.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“We came to see how you were,” my mother said, her voice shaking slightly.

“Now you've seen me.”

“Gabrielle, please,” my mother begged.

“Please what? Be grateful that after 10 years you showed up for once?” I was past being diplomatic when it came to my family. They'd inflicted so much hurt, even after all this time. I knew I'd never fully heal if I couldn't tell them how I felt.

“Don't talk to your mother like that,” my father scolded me, like I was still 8 years old.

“Mother?” I laughed derisively. “Mothers don't abandon their children when they need them. Neither do fathers now that I think about it.”

“I told you this was a mistake,” my father said, turning to my mother who looked like she was about to break down.

“Can't handle the truth, Dad?” I asked. He turned back to me, a glare fixed right on my face.

“Let's go, Vanessa,” he ordered. I wasn't done, however.

“Wait, please. You came all this way. We should have a talk.” My father shook his head and took my mother's arm, pulling her toward the door.

“Sam, wait,” I heard her say to him. He looked like he wanted to argue, but thought better of it and turned back around. My mother turned her teary gaze back on me. “Say what you have to say.”

I took a moment trying to figure out exactly what I did and didn't want to say. I hadn't had time to prepare, to think this out. I didn't want to just go off on them. I wanted to let them know effectively what they'd done to me. I wanted them to see that I'd turned into a good person, and I'd done it without them. I wanted them to see what they'd lost. There was just one thing I had to know first.

“How did you know Patrick?” I asked.

“He came to see us yesterday,” my father replied.

I was surprised by that since Patrick hadn't said a word. Why hadn't he told me what he was doing, even if it was after the fact? Why had he done that? Those were questions for him however, and right now I had my parents to contend with.

“I spent my whole childhood wishing that you both would love me even a fraction as much as you loved Rachel and Bailey. I felt then that you didn't, and I know now that you didn't. Even so, I did everything I could think of to prove to you that I was worthy of love, that I wanted nothing more than to have you proud of me.”

“You had a funny way of showing it,” my father interrupted. I narrowed my eyes at him.

“You know what? When being good didn't work I thought being bad might be how I'd finally get your attention. I'd spent too many soccer games and concerts looking into the crowed to see the empty space where you two should have been. I figured it was easier to ignore the good things I did than the bad, so I rebelled. I did it on purpose just so you'd notice me.”

I took a moment to let that sink in. I watched as my mother's expression transformed from sadness to surprise to understanding. I looked at my father waiting to see what his reaction would be, but it was stone cold. There was nothing in his eyes that told me he gave a damn about what I was saying at all.

“When you kept ignoring me I did things that were worse hoping they would work. Eventually I got out of control and I couldn't stop. I needed help. I'd never needed you more than I did then, and you still ignored me. All you cared about was your stupid public image and not your own daughter. I was beaten, raped, and pregnant as a result and you weren't there. I got clean for Quinn and then overdosed after a panic attack and almost died. Your response was to kick me out instead of getting me help. What kind of parent doesn't even try?”

“Until you raise children, you can't ask that question,” my father said through clenched teeth.

“You wouldn't let me raise my own! You took her from me! Maybe I wasn't ready to be a parent then, but I changed. Olivia took me in, sent me to rehab and to school. I cleaned up, I got better. I made something of myself and you ignored every phone call, every letter I sent trying to tell you. I went through family counseling sessions without family, had no one there for either of my graduations, and had no one to call when I got my first job. I stopped trying after a while because I realized you would never be back in my life. I accepted that. You never cared about me or loved me, and that's fine. I survived and I became a good person without you.”

Telling them all this was draining. I could literally feel my energy just leaving my body at every word I spoke. Oddly enough though, I didn't want to cry. No tears threatened to fall and I figured that was a good thing. I was now officially over my past.

“Look around at everything in this room. This is how much I mean to the people I have in my life now. I don't need you to be happy anymore, because the people I have in my life now have shown me what real love is. Love is filled with laughter, caring and charity, not faked obituaries.”

Finally there was a crack in my father's shell. It was slight, but I saw the flash of embarrassment in his eyes and the twitch of his mouth. So he did have a soul. My mother on the other hand was visibly crying now, hit the hardest by my last sentence. I wasn't happy to see her cry, but they had to know what they'd done.

“Thank you for coming to see me. I really do appreciate it. I'll never forget it.”

My mother looked up at me through wet eyes and looked like she wanted to say something, but my father didn't give her the chance. He took her by the arm and led her out of the room. I watched them until they disappeared from view. That was when Patrick came back into the room.

“Are you okay?” he asked. I thought for a moment and then realized that I was smiling. He looked at me strangely as my smile continued to grow bigger.

“Yes, I really am.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chapter 38

Patrick left the hospital room to give Gabby some time alone with Olivia. She’d just gotten into Chicago this morning and he knew that Gabrielle was going to need to talk to her. He got onto the elevator and took it down to the first floor before walking outside and pulling out his phone. He’d been granted time off from practice today and tomorrow at least to stay with Gabrielle while she was in the hospital. He’d promised to give an update and he left a message on Tazer’s phone.

It was cold outside so he made his way back inside and went to the cafeteria. He wasn’t hungry, but he grabbed a coffee and sat down to drink it before he’d start to make his way back to Gabrielle’s room. It had been hard for him to see her lying in bed looking the way she did. That bastard Vince had done this to her a second time. He wanted to kill him. However, he knew that he needed to leave this to the police. If Quentin was telling the truth, Vince wasn’t going to be getting out of jail when they caught him and sent him back.

There was however, some people that he could blame. He had half a mind to go to St. Louis right now and knock on their door to tell them exactly what he thought of them. He knew he couldn’t, but it didn’t stop him from wishing. He just couldn’t imagine cutting your child out of your life to the point that you hide something that could potentially end in their death. Then again, he supposed they had already killed her once already.

He finished his coffee and made his way back upstairs to Gabby’s room. If her and Olivia were still talking, then he’d just wait in the lounge that was provided on the floor until they were done. When he reached the door he saw that there were more people than just Olivia in the room. Upon closer inspection, he realized it was Paige, Isaiah, Gia, and Nathan.

“And see, I got a B on my English essay,” he heard Nathan announce as he handed something over to Gabrielle.

“That’s great Nathan. I’m glad your grades are going up in that class, but are you enjoying reading any of the books you’ve been writing about?” she asked him.

“We’re reading Heart of Darkness right now, and I actually really like it,” he told her. She smiled at him.

“Heart of Darkness is a great book. I’m not surprised that you like it. And what have you been up to?” Gabby asked, turning to Gia.

“I think I’ve got most of my portfolio done for college applications,” Gia said. Gabrielle’s smile grew when she heard that.

“Any chance you have it with you and I can look at it?” Gia beamed at Gabby’s interest and produced the portfolio from a bag she was carrying.

Gabby started to flip through the pages, offering up encouragement and praise as she went. It was amazing to him. Gabby had just nearly died, she was stuck in bed in a hospital, and she was still finding ways to be there for her kids. He just didn’t know anyone else that would do something like that.

The sight in front of him spoke volumes. He knew if she had the choice she wouldn’t want the kids to see her like this in the hospital, yet she cared enough to swallow her own pride so they could come and see her. It was also telling that teenagers were even making time to go to the hospital to visit her. She obviously meant a lot to them too.

He didn’t really need to see this scene to know that. The fact that her room was filled to the brim with stuffed animals, cards, and bouquets of flowers from his teammates and their families, faculty from the school, and even parents of students who had come to see her showed him how much she was loved. It made him even angrier at her family.

“I have some stuff to do today. Are you going to be okay without me here until tonight?” Patrick asked her early the next morning. She gave him a look that told him his concern was unnecessary.

“I have Paige and Olivia to stay with me, along with all the hospital staff, and the rotating cast of police at my door,” she assured him.

“Okay, I’ll be back tonight.”

He turned and walked out of her room and then the hospital. He got into his car and drove straight to the airport. Gabrielle would kill him if she knew what he was doing today, but he had to do it. He couldn’t just sit by and let her be treated the way she had been. He checked in, went through security, and then waited at the gate for the plane to St. Louis to board.

He’d practically begged Quentin for Gabby’s parents’ address. He’d finally caved and found it for him. Patrick had immediately booked a flight with the information in hand. The flight was only about an hour, so he had plenty of time to get to St. Louis, talk to her family, and then fly home in one day.

The plane touched down and he headed straight for the line of taxis. He rattled off the Tunney’s address and went over what he wanted to say in his head for the billionth time. It was all he’d been able to think about since yesterday afternoon. He was dropped off at an enormous estate. Gabby wasn’t kidding when she said she came from money. He walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. It was answered by a housekeeper.

“Hi, I was wondering if Mr. and Mrs. Tunney were at home,” he told her.

“Can I ask who’s calling?” the women questioned him with a wary eye.

“My name is Patrick Sharp. I’m a friend of their daughter’s.”

At the mention of a relationship to one of their children, he was ushered inside and led into a room that probably was only used as a formal sitting area to entertain guests. He almost felt like he should be taking his shoes off and not sitting on the furniture. The housekeeper told him the Tunney’s would be with him shortly before she left him alone in the room.

He took the opportunity to look around him. There were many pictures along the mantle of a fireplace in the room. Most looked like pictures of Gabrielle’s sisters. Not a single one held Gabby’s image. He clenched his jaw and had to force himself to calm down. It was then that he heard footsteps coming into the room.

“Mr. Sharp, I’m Sam and this is my wife Vanessa,” Gabrielle’s father introduced them as he walked in. Patrick shook both of their hands and forced a smile onto his face.

“Please, call me Patrick.”

“Okay, Patrick. Please, have a seat,” Sam said, gesturing to the chair behind him.

Patrick obliged and sat down opposite the Tunneys. He got the impression just looking at them, that Gabrielle’s father took control and her mother simply stood there smiling in silent support of her husband. She seemed more a trophy than a spouse.

“Thank you for inviting me into your home despite never having met me before.” Patrick figured it was best to start off on the right foot so he’d be able to say all he planned on saying before he was asked to leave.

“That’s not a problem. Can we get you anything? A drink perhaps?” Vanessa asked, speaking up for the first time. Patrick assumed that it was her job to offer the comforts a guest might want.

“No, thank you.” Before the conversation could continue, a white blur sped into the room.

“I finished my spelling. Can I please go and paint now?” a little girl asked.

Patrick was taken aback by the sight of the young girl. It didn’t take a genius to know that he was looking at Quinn. She was the spitting image of Gabrielle. They had the same hair color, the same eyes, nose, and mouth. Even the little giggle she emitted after asking was identical to a laugh he’d heard come out of Gabrielle. And she liked to paint.

“Quinn, honey, we have company,” Sam prodded. Quinn turned her eyes to Patrick and gave him a polite smile. “This is Mr. Sharp.”

“Hello, Mr. Sharp,” she greeted him. It seemed too formal. She seemed too formal.

“Hello, Quinn.” She then turned her eager attention back to her grandparents.

“Why don’t you go on up and change into your art clothes. I’ll come up when I’m done down here to get your supplies,” Vanessa told Quinn. She let out a little squeal of delight before turning and bolting from the room.

“That was our granddaughter, Quinn,” Sam announced.

“She’s beautiful,” Patrick responded truthfully. Part of his heart ached knowing that he’d seen and spoken to Quinn when Gabrielle hadn’t since she’d left 10 years ago.

“So did you say that you knew Rachel or Bailey?” Sam asked. Here we go, Patrick thought.

“Actually, I know Gabrielle,” he replied. He watched as the smiles faded off of both of their faces. He knew he’d caught them completely offguard, and he felt a little satisfaction in that.

“We haven’t spoken to Gabrielle in 10 years now,” Sam told him, his expression dark.

“I know that. Gabby told me all about her past,” Patrick responded.

“So what can we do for you?” Sam questioned. Just get it out, before they have a chance to kick you out, Patrick told himself.

“I just thought that despite not speaking to her, and going so far as to kill her in a false obituary that you would want to know that she’s in the hospital. She almost died the other day, for real this time.” He could see that his little shot had gotten to both of them. His anger threatened to boil over, and he had to struggle to keep it under control.

“What happened?” Vanessa asked, a hint of a tremor in her voice. Based on that tremor, and the look on her face when he’d announced why he was here, he thought maybe Vanessa and Sam weren’t on the same page when it came to Gabby.

“Do you remember the name Vince Dodds?” Patrick asked. Vanessa let out a small gasp at the sound of his voice. “It seems that he was released from prison and despite being told she’d be notified, no one ever told Gabby. He found her, and raped and beat her, almost killing her in the process.”

“We’re very sorry to hear that. Thank you for letting us know,” Sam said.

Patrick understood a dismissal when he heard one. He got up from his seat and made a move to leave the room, and Gabrielle’s parents behind. When he reached the entryway to the room he paused and turned back. He wasn’t done, even if they didn’t want to hear it.

“She’s not the same person you kicked out 10 years ago. She got clean, went to school, and got a degree. She’s a school psychologist helping students in any way she can. She cares more about those kids than herself. She’s sweet, kind, funny, loving, and remorseful. Everyone who meets her loves her. She’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met. It’s up to you what you do with this information. I just wanted you to know that she’s made amends. Have you?”

He didn’t wait to hear or see a reaction if there was any. Instead he headed for the front door and let himself out. He called another taxi and met it at the end of the street. The taxi dropped him off at the airport where he waited until he could board a plane back to Chicago. Once back he drove straight to the hospital and walked into Gabrielle’s room, feeling so much lighter than when he had left.

“Did you get everything done?” she asked him. He smiled before bending down and placing a soft kiss on her forehead.

“Yeah, I did.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I feel like I'm always apologizing

No, I have not forgotten about Patrick and Gabby. There's still so much for them to go through coming up, but life has gotten in the way of writing it all out and sharing it with you all. I'm so sorry, but hopefully I'll have an update up sometime soon. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chapter 37

Patrick practically leapt out of Tazer’s truck before it even came to a complete stop. Even so, Tazer was hot on his heels as he ran into the hospital. He’d called Quentin Monahan back on his way here to find out what room Gabrielle was in. Now he was weaving through people to the elevator that would take him to her floor.

He and Tazer both stood impatiently as the elevator seemed to stop on every floor on the way up. When they’d finally reached the floor they both ran out and headed straight to where Patrick could see Quentin standing outside of a room. Quentin glanced up at the commotion in surprise only to hold his hands out to slow the two of them as they approached.

“Where is she?” Patrick asked in a panic.

“In the room behind me. Whoa, hold on. We need to talk,” Quentin said, holding out a hand to stop him from rushing in.

“Let me just see her!” he insisted, desperate to know if Gabrielle was okay or not.

“Sharpie,” he heard Tazer whisper as he placed a hand on his shoulder. Patrick let out a deep breath but then nodded.

“What was Gabrielle doing at her apartment?” Quentin asked. Patrick’s eyes widened in surprise. Her apartment? Gabrielle wouldn’t have gone to her apartment.

“What do you mean? She was there?” he asked. Quentin narrowed his eyes a little and nodded.

“You didn’t know that she’d go back there?” Patrick shook his head.

“We got into a fight. She moved out of my place a week ago. She told me she was staying with a friend. I have no idea why she’d go back there. She knew it was the one place Vince could get to her.”

“You two had a fight?” Quentin questioned. Patrick suddenly understood what was going on and held his hands up in self defense.

“Hey, am I a suspect here? I was out all night. I was with Tazer here,” he said pointing over at him. Quentin sighed.

“No, you’re not. These are just standard questions I have to ask. We talked to the neighbors. Apparently Gabrielle had been living in her apartment for the past week,” Quentin told him.

Patrick felt sick. She’d lied to him. She’d lied right to his face about where she’d be staying when she walked out. It was part of the reason he’d let her go, because he thought she’d be safe. To think that she’d rather be alone in her apartment while Vince was out there and could easily get to her instead of be with him hurt more than anything else had ever hurt him before.

“A neighbor heard crashing coming from Gabrielle’s apartment and knowing what had happened before called the police. Whoever was there was gone when they arrived, but another neighbor had seen a man with a ponytail and facial hair that he’d never seen in the building before walking down the hallway just before police arrived,” Quentin continued.

“I can’t believe she’d do that. I don’t understand. Is she going to be okay?”

That moment was just like a bad TV show. It was like how just as someone happens to mentions something, something related to that statement miraculously seems to happen at that exact moment. Suddenly there was a sort of alarm going off from the room Gabrielle was in and nurses and doctors began to rush in, pushing them all out of the way. Patrick watched from the window as Gabrielle was surrounded by them.

He couldn’t see what they were doing to her. He had no idea what was even wrong. All he knew was that Gabrielle was in the hospital and something was happening to her right now. He watched in horror as the doctors yanked the bed away from the wall and pushed it out of the room. He watched helplessly as they pushed her unconscious body past him and down the hall towards the OR.

“No. Gabby, no,” he managed to choke out, covering his face with his hands.

Tazer helped him to a chair in a waiting area where he sat and stared at the floor, rocking, shaking, and wringing his hands nervously. He couldn’t lose her. If anything, this had shown him that he needed her in his life. He didn’t know how he’d go on if she was gone. He waited in silence, even as a few of his other teammates showed up to wait with him.

A doctor walked out and immediately made his way over to Quentin, who had stuck around as well. Patrick figured there’d at least be one cop here at all times to look out for Vince in case he’d decided he hadn’t had enough. It didn’t occur to him until this moment that maybe they were waiting to see if they were going to charge Vince when they caught him with battery or murder.

“What’s going on? Is she okay?” Patrick questioned, making his way over to the doctor and Quentin.

“She’s stable. Her brain was swelling and she wasn’t getting enough oxygen so we had to remove a piece of her skull and relieve the pressure. It seems to be under control. We’ll have to wait and see on the rest until she wakes up,” the surgeon explained. It all sounded horrible to Patrick, but there had been two words he hadn’t missed.

“She will wake up?” he questioned.

“We can’t know for sure. There was a lot of trauma to the head, but she seems to be a fighter. I’m optimistic that she will, but the longer she’s unconscious the less likely it will become.” Patrick nodded and let out a deep breath.

“Can I see her?” he asked.

The surgeon led him and the group of his teammates who were here with him to another room. They were informed only one person was allowed inside at a time, but that wasn’t an issue. Only Patrick was going to go in, the rest of the guys were just there as support. He was told what to expect to see when he went in, but it didn’t take any of the shock away.

Gabrielle was lying there with a bandage wrapped all the way around her head. Her face was swollen and all different shades of black, red, and purple. There were stitches in her left eyebrow and cheek, and her lip was split. If they hadn’t told him it was Gabby, he might have had a difficult time recognizing her. He sat down in the chair next to her and grabbed her hand.

“Gabby, it’s Patrick. I’m here, Babe. I’m going to be right here until you wake up. I don’t care what happened with us a week ago. I just need you to wake up. I need to see those beautiful eyes again. Do me that one favor and please wake up soon,” he begged. He didn’t know if she could hear him, but he talked to her anyway.

“Excuse me, Mr. Sharp?” a woman’s voice called to him from the door. He turned to see a nurse standing there motioning for him to follow her into the hallway. He gave Gabrielle’s hand a kiss before doing just that. “There is no contact information for Miss Tunney and I was wondering if you knew about any family we should inform.”

“No. There’s no family. I mean, she has them, but they don’t speak and haven’t in 10 years.” The nurse nodded and made a note. Patrick suddenly remembered something then. “Wait, there is someone. Olivia. She took Gabrielle in when her family kicked her out. She’s like a mother to her. I have her number.”

Patrick pulled the number up on his phone and gave it to the nurse to copy down. Once she had he went back into Gabrielle’s room to wait. He wasn’t going to leave this room again until she woke up. It didn’t matter how long it took, he wasn’t leaving, because he just knew that eventually Gabrielle was going to wake up.

I could faintly make out a beeping sound that seemed to get louder each beep. I couldn’t figure out what it could possibly be. Then the foggy feeling struck me. It was a strange feeling, one I couldn’t figure out either. The throbbing came last. It wasn’t necessarily painful, just unpleasant, and it seemed to me that it might hurt if I didn’t feel like I was so out of it.

I struggled to figure out why the hell I felt like this and what the hell was beeping as I began to open my eyes. My first instinct was to close them again as soon as the light hit them, but I had to figure out what was going on. I forced my eyes to open, batting my eyelids a few times to try to help the process.

“Gabby?” I heard a voice say. I felt someone squeeze my hand and I turned my head slightly to see who was there. The pain that shot through me at the movement told me what a bad idea that had been.

“Patrick?” I asked, the voice suddenly recognizable.

“Oh, god, you’re okay.” Okay was relative at this point in time, I thought.

“What’s going on? Where am I?” I asked, his face coming into view.

“You’re in the hospital,” he told me.

Before I had a chance to ask him what had happened there was a flurry of movement and I saw more people enter the room. Patrick backed away as the doctor and nurse approached me. I was asked a few questions about how I felt and I answered them the best I could. Finally I had my unspoken question answered.

“You were attacked last night,” Patrick told me as I looked up at him. I could see Quentin standing beside him.

“I was what?” Someone had attacked me?

“Do you remember anything?” Quentin asked. I closed my eyes and tried to think, to remember. My mind drew a blank and I opened my eyes to tell them.

“No, I don’t…..” Suddenly I had a flash of memory. “Oh, Jesus, it was Vince.”

“Are you sure?” Quentin asked. Was I sure? Was what I was remembering from last night or from the time he’d attacked me before?

“Yeah, I think so.” I pictured Vince in my mind and tried to figure it out. That’s when I realized I was picturing Vince with a ponytail and facial hair, neither of which he had when he’d first attacked me. “Yes, it was Vince.”

“Can you tell me what happened? Anything you remember?” Quentin prodded.

I closed my eyes again and struggled to remember what had actually happened. I told him what I could remember, and some of his questions prodded new pieces to pop into my mind. I watched as Patrick’s face twisted into shock and anger as I talked. He looked ready to kill somebody.

After I finished telling Quentin all that I could remember I began to feel tired. I knew from my previous experiences in the hospital that it was probably from the drugs. Quentin left the room and Patrick sat down in a chair next to the bed. I looked over at him and our eyes connected. I could see the worry in them.

“You’re here,” I finally managed to choke out, tears filling my eyes.

“Of course I am. I couldn’t be anywhere else right now,” he told me.

I did my best to smile over at him as he gave my hand a squeeze. I wanted to stay awake, to talk to him, but my body had other ideas. The last thing I remembered thinking was how happy I was that he was there by my side.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chapter 36

I walked out of Paige’s after giving Loxley a long hug. I missed not having him around all the time, but I hadn’t wanted to risk anything happening to him if Vince got to me. Now I may not have to worry about that anymore if tomorrow went the way I hoped it would.

I was still planning on going over to Patrick’s in the afternoon. I fully intended on groveling at his feet and begging for him to forgive my momentary lapse of sanity. I knew how I really felt about him now, and I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. Hopefully he’d be able to forgive me for what had to be the millionth time in our relationship.

I got out of my car and walked inside the building, stopping to grab my mail on the way. The entire ride up the elevator and walk down the hallway to my apartment door I practiced and revised the speech I was going to give him in my head.

I was so distracted that I realized just a second too late that the doorknob had turned in my hand before the key had unlocked it. I nearly stumbled through the doorway in surprise. I caught myself even as my brain screamed at me to turn around and run.

My legs didn’t react in time. The world went dark before I ever saw anything coming. Suddenly I felt like a thousand sharp objects were being shot through my skull. My head was throbbing and I quickly remembered feeling like this once before in my life. My vision began to come back slowly, but everything was still blurry.

At some point I realized I was lying on the ground surrounded by my mail. I let out a groan of pain as a bout of dizziness joined the stabbing sensation. I tried to move, to push myself up off of the floor, but it didn’t seem as if my brain and the rest of my body were currently connected. Then a blurry figure moved into view.

“Hello, Gabrielle.” My stomach clenched at the sound of the voice.

Suddenly I felt my arm being grabbed and then I was being pulled up to my feet. I struggled to get my feet under me and hold me up. I could see clearer now and took in the sight of my attacker as he stood and grinned at me.

Ten years in prison maybe have gone by, but Vince didn’t look all that different. His hair was longer, pulled back into a ponytail. He had a goatee that I’d never seen on him before. The one thing that hadn’t changed at all was that sick expression. It was the same one he’d worn the night he had beaten and raped me.

“Vince,” I managed to choke out. He laughed at the sound of his name.

“Good, you remember me.” Like I would have ever been able to forget him. “It’s nice of you to let me into your home.”

“What are you doing here?” I chose my words carefully to try to keep from angering him. I figured that as long as I kept him talking I might be able to find a way out of this.

“I just wanted to visit an old friend.” He was still gripping my arm and began to pull me into the living area, and further away from the door.

“You greet friends like this often?” I asked. I grimaced as soon as it came out of my mouth, but I hadn’t been able to help myself.

“Friends that send me to prison, yeah,” he growled at me. He threw me down onto the couch and then sat down next to me. “I thought we could talk.”

“About what?”

“The last ten years of my life. Did you know that prison isn’t a cake walk? It seems there’s a hierarchy among criminals if you can believe that. Guess where convicted rapists land on the totem pole.” I looked at him, but didn't respond. “They’re a fucking step above pedophiles, Gabrielle. The fucking bottom!”

His fist connected with my cheek as he yelled out the last sentence. I let out a cry of pain and surprise at the action. Immediately I put my hands up to my face and when I pulled them away I saw blood on them and tasted it in my mouth. I needed to find a way out of here, and fast.

“I’m sorry,” I apologized.

“You’re sorry? You’re fucking sorry?!” he yelled jumping up from the couch to tower over me. “You should be. You put me in that hell hole. You ruined my life. While I was in there rotting away you were out here living the life apparently,” he said gesturing to my apartment.

I could feel the two blows to my head starting to get to me. My vision was less than perfect and I could feel my eye swelling shut. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to make my move and get away from him. I watched him as he paced around my apartment continuing to rant about how I’d ruined his life.

I swallowed hard as I tried to gauge his route and his speed. I wasn’t paying any attention to the things he was saying anymore, I was just trying to focus on his movements. Then I saw it, my only chance. He had his back to me and was as far from me as he could really get. I gritted my teeth against the pain, jumped up from the couch and ran for the door.

“You bitch!” I heard him yell from behind me. His footsteps echoed through the apartment as he chased me.

“Help me! Someone please!” I screamed as loud as I could.

I was nearly at the door when I felt my legs being knocked out from under me. I yelled in pain as I hit the floor with a thud. Vince spun me around so I was facing up as he grabbed my ankle and dragged me across the floor. I started to scream out again, but Vince pulled me up and clasped a hand over my mouth. Then he threw me back against the wall, my head hitting it hard. The dizziness started to take over.

“Shut up. Shut the fuck up! I’ve had it with you!” I struggled in his arms, but he pulled me into the bedroom and threw me down on the bed.

“Stop, please, stop,” I begged him.

“You fucked with the wrong guy,” he spat at me.

He hit me again and I could feel my strength draining out of me. I wondered if this time he was going to make it count, if he was going to finish the job and kill me this time around. The pain and dizziness took over and closing my eyes and giving up seemed so appealing. I tried to fight back, but didn’t have it in me.

I fell into near unconsciousness as I felt him tear my clothing off and rape me again. Tears fell from my eyes as I lay there unable to do anything about it. This wasn’t fair. I didn’t deserve to die this way without being able to tell Patrick how I really felt. He was my last thought before my entire world drifted off into total blackness.

Patrick walked out of the locker room pissed off. They’d lost and on a flukey fucking goal too. That goal was fucking bullshit bouncing off the glass the way it did. That’s how they lost, on a fucking lucky bounce? He was absolutely livid.

He knew that it shouldn’t have pissed him off that much. Those things happened and it really wasn’t anyone’s fault. They’d won four straight games before this loss so it wasn’t exactly a crippling loss either. It didn’t matter. He’d been pissed off for a week now.

“Want to grab some beers?” Burs called over to him.

They had tomorrow off, so yeah, he did. He left his car in the parking lot and hopped into Burish’s front seat. Let Burs drive tonight, because he really needed more than just a beer or two. Fuck it, he’d take a cab home if he had to.

“Talked to Gabby lately?” Tazer asked him as they sat at a table in some club downtown somewhere.

“No,” he growled out and finished the beer in his hand.

“Are you going to?”

“I don’t know,” he answered truthfully.

He glanced out at the dance floor and saw Kaner out there with three chicks hanging off of him. The other guys were either talking or dancing with their girlfriends or hitting on girls. Even Burs had ditched him to talk up some broad at the bar. Only Tazer had stayed back with him, but that was like him. He didn’t like to make a scene of himself.

“I think you have to, no matter what the outcome of the conversation is.”

“Why is that?”

“Because you can’t go on like this. You need to know whether things can be fixed or if they’re over. Not having a clue is taking its toll on you, and you know it.”

Tazer was right, he had to talk to Gabrielle, and he had to do it soon. He pulled out his phone and pulled her name up. Then he caught sight of Tazer shaking his head. He nodded and put his phone away. It was far too loud in here, and he was far too drunk to have any sort of important conversation right now.

Not wanting to stick around and watch his teammates dry hump broads on the dance floor before they made it home and did the real thing, he tossed money on the table and headed for the exit. It wasn’t until Patrick was in a moving cab that he realized just how drunk he was. He never got like this. He was going to have to talk to Gabrielle soon, maybe even tomorrow.

The cab dropped him off and he stumbled up to his front door. It took him a few minutes to find the right key to let him in the house. He didn’t even bother changing before falling into bed. He simply dropped his suit jacket on the floor, and slipped his shoes off. Then he let his body fall, felt the bed shift under his weight before he was out.

The sound of a ringing phone woke him up. His head was pounding and all he knew was that he needed to stop that sound immediately. He groped around the nightstand next to the bed trying to find it before realizing that his phone was in his jacket pocket. He put a pillow over his head instead of getting up, and the ringing stopped.

He let out a sigh of relief and tried his best to forget the headache and spinning of his head so he could fall back to sleep. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been out for or even what time it was. All he knew was that he didn’t want to be awake right now. He just wanted to sleep off the beer.

The sound of the phone began again and he groaned in annoyance. He was going to murder whoever was calling him right now. He debated ignoring it again, but changed his mind. He pulled himself out of bed and dug the phone out of his jacket pocket. He didn’t recognize the number on the screen.

“Hello?” he grumbled out.

“Patrick? It’s Officer Monahan.” The officer’s name snapped him to attention.

“What’s going on?” he asked, suddenly on alert.

“It’s Gabrielle,” Officer Monahan began. Patrick suddenly felt sick.

“Gabby? What’s wrong with Gabby? Is she okay?” He fired the questions into the phone, desperate to hear that she was fine, cursing himself for letting her walk out the door the entire time.

“She’s in the hospital, Patrick. It’s not good…..”

“What hospital?” Patrick cut him off. Officer Monahan rambled off the name and Patrick grabbed his keys and ran into the garage, only to find his car wasn’t there. Fuck, of all night’s…..He pulled out his phone and dialed.

“Sharpie?” a groggy voice answered.

“Tazer, I need you to get your ass over here and pick me up now,” he demanded.