Chapter 11: In Safe Hands
I wake up to banging on the door. I jerk at the movement, and it hurts. “Ow.” I groan. I turn my neck to see Eric stirring awake. He gets up and goes to the door.
“Is she awake?” I hear a voice ask. Are they talking about me? Why would anyone care if I’m awake? I groan as I sit up.
“She is now.” Eric yawns. He looks over at me. I stare back at him. “Give me ten minutes. I’ll call you.” He closes the door and comes back to sit on the bed. He grabs something from his dresser and hands it to me. “How are you feeling?”
“Like an idiot.” I put the ice pack on my jaw.
“Why?” Eric smiles a bit.
“Because I was stupid for walking alone. And for letting Christina get me to go out last night. And for trusting stupid assholes.” I look at Eric. “Who was at the door?”
“Why was he at the door?” I just want to forget about this.
“Because I called him last night after I put you to bed. He wants to know if you wanna file a report.” Eric gently puts his hand on my shoulder.
“I just want to forget this happened.” I hold back tears. “I shouldn’t have walked alone. I just had to get away from Four.”
“What does Four have to do with any of this?” He asks. “Tell me.”
“Four told me why you two don’t get along. He went in to all the specific details. I just walked away. I didn’t even think twice before leaving the party. I just walked out. I just wanted to get away from Four and all of my friends. Then I run in to the guys from the floor an-”
“Wait the guys live on this floor?” Eric interrupts me. I stare at him like a deer in headlights. “Please tell me you remember their names.”
Tears leak out. “Eric, I just want to forget this happened. I made a stupid mistake. If I only walk away from it with a few bruises then I can live with it.”
“Tris, if you tell me their names I will promise you that I will do my best to keep you out of it. We can speak to Max, I can be the one to identify them. But I need names. Please Tris? I don’t want to see them even look at you.”
I continue to cry. Eric pulls me to him. It hurts, but I want him close to me. “Drew and Peter.” I mumble. “Those are their names. They live on this floor.”
“Thank you.” He kisses the top of my head. Eric holds me until I stop crying. “Do you want some clothes to change in to? I didn’t want to change you last night.”
Eric pulls away and searches through some drawers. “These are probably going to be big, but it will be comfy.”
“Thank you.” I get up slowly from his bed and go to the bathroom. I groan as I change. Everything hurts. Drew must have held me tight. There are bruises on my ribs. I am an idiot. I walk out to see Max standing in Eric’s bedroom.
Eric sends me a look that can only say I’m sorry.
“What’s going on?” I question.
“Eric called me last night and said that a resident was attacked. And I don’t take lightly to my residents being attacked. So if you know who they are then tell me. I don’t want them around others. I called campus police last night after I spoke with Eric. I told them a resident was attacked and when you woke up I’d give you their number to speak with them. They can arrest whoever attacked you. They are then automatically going to get a judicial hearing with the school. I can make it so they won’t know that it’s you who told me. Eric saw their faces. He’s an RA he’s supposed to know everyone on his floor. Instead of you being the witness he can be, but if you’re brave enough you can do it yourself.” Max smiles reassuringly at me.
“I already told him their names.” I look at the floor.
“Good. Please just tell me what happened.” Max sits on the corner of Eric’s desk.
Eric guides me to his bed, sitting down next to me. I tell them what happened once I left the party. I tell them how I bumped in to Peter and Drew and I didn’t feel safe, and I called Eric in case something happened. I tell him how Drew held me and Peter beat me, ripping the top of my dress, before I blacked out.
“Okay.” Max stands. “I will speak to campus police since I know their names. I will get a business card for you to give them a call. As the hearing gets closer I will do everything on my end to keep you out of it. I just needed to know all the facts.”
I nod. “Okay.” Max walks out of Eric’s room.
Eric turns to me. “I’m sorry, he just kinda barged in.” Eric pulls me to him and hugs me. “Everything is going to be okay Tris. Max helped me out with something worse.”
“With a coke addiction?” I ask timidly.
“Yes.” Eric pulls back from me, but he doesn’t remove his arms.
“Tell me. I was coming here to speak to you.”
“My freshmen year I partied too much. I was stupid. My parents never let me do anything. Everything at home was far from normal. My parents expected perfection. I always had to be in first place, the top of my class, and the perfect child. It was torture growing up in that household. So when I got freedom I wanted to stick it to them. So I partied as much as I could. Someone I was hanging out with introduced me to coke. And it was great. I was on top of the world. No one could stop me. Four tried. He really tried. Amar too, but then I just thought of Amar as Four’s little sidekick.” I finally look her in the eyes. “Know what the thing that got Amar kicked out was? He smoked pot in the room that night. And the smell went all the way down the hall. Max came up. He had the cops search the room. I guess I dropped a baggie of coke. Amar must of put it with his stuff. They found it. I wasn’t even there that night. I came back to the cops searching the room. The dogs barked at me, but Max intervened. He got me to say what was going on. And he got me to go to rehab and meetings. When I came back Max got me a job as an RA to keep track of me.”
She nods. “Does Four know all of this?”
“Probably not.” I pull Tris to me and hug her. I blame Four for this! Why the fuck would he allow her to leave that party alone? I feel so guilty. I should have asked her to stay in for the night with me.
“I’m sorry he told you last night. I was waiting to tell you about my past until I’d known you longer. I didn’t want to scare you away. I was kinda hoping that you would be my girlfriend when I told you.” I laugh.
Tris laughed for the first time since she woke up. “Eric, I already feel like your girlfriend.” She smiles at me. “I’ve been drawn to you since I first spoke to you.”
I smile. “Then I want it official.”
“What do you mean official?” She questions me with a smile.
“That I get to kiss you in the halls, the dining room, the basement, hell anywhere that we want. I can get dinner with you. And if someone see’s you leaving my room it’s not a big deal.” I can’t help but have a huge smile.
“Okay.” Tris wraps her arms around my neck. She gently guides my lips to her. I pull her to me without thinking. “Ow.” She pulls back.
“Shit I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” My hands drop from her.
“It’s okay.” Tris smiles. She looks around my room. “Do I still have my phone and purse?”
“Yes.” I reach for them on my dresser. “I picked them up last night. You somehow managed to hold on to them. That’s pretty impressive.”
“Thank you.” Tris unlocks her phone. “Holy shit.” She gasps. “I have 32 missed calls from Four. Not to mention a bunch of texts from Christina and Marlene.” I watch her scroll through the texts.
“What are they asking?”
“The basics of where I am, did I get back safe, and if I’m okay.” She responds. She puts her phone to her and listens to her voicemail. “And Four called asking where I am, if I’m still at the party. Now he’s asking if I’m in my room. Now he just wants to talk to me. Now he is worried about me. Oh this is from Chris asking if she can have the room tonight so she and Will can hook up.”
I roll my eyes at her roommate. She really only cares about herself. “Are you gonna respond?”
“I’ll text Christina that I’m safe. The same can be sent to Marlene. I’m texting Four to leave me alone. I made it clear last night that I don’t want anything to do with him.” She says as she furiously types. When she’s done she puts her phone and purse on the dresser.
“All done?” She nods. “Do you wanna go back to sleep for a little bit? It’s only seven, and you got here around 1.”
“Yeah I guess.” She slowly climbs to her side. “You’re gonna stay with me right?”
“Of course.” I pull the blankets over us. Instead of pulling Tris to me, I slide next to her, putting my arm under her head while the other goes around her waist.
I can hear Tris sigh. “I feel safe next to you.”
“You’re always safe with me.” I tell her before kissing the back of her head. Slowly we both manage to fall asleep.