They were the best of friends. A fight led her to her downfall, and now he had to do his part – as her redeemer to a new life.
Her glow was gone.
Part of it was my fault. If only my anger didn’t get in the way that night, she should have been the same Nikki, the bubbly sunny person in my life.
Now I am here slowly closing in on her. Her fears emanating on my skin, one must be very patient towards her. I used to know her as a very strong person, always on the go, full of optimism and has a very high pride on herself.
And now I see her in this heart wrenching image of her as I slowly walk towards her.
I lay her down on my bed and she started sobbing quietly. I started kissing her forehead, temple and, cheeks while gently calling her name.
“Nikki.” I kept calling her in a loving way. Desperation and longing laced on my voice. My lips started crawling towards her neck and I heard her make an anxious sigh.
Slowly I unbutton her shirt and saw the old scars formed by the incident. I gently touched them one by one. In gentle loving motion. Her scars never reduced her in my sight. She’s beautiful in spite of her scars.
As my finger brushed upon her collarbone, she spoke.
“That is where he bit be.”
And without any hesitation, I kissed the biggest scar, and she smiled.
“Stupid, Charles!” She shouted at me pointing at the cold, abandoned puppy, “How could you turn your back at the poor puppy here?”
We were on our way to the alley when we saw an abandoned puppy. She was about to touch it when I stopped her from extending her slender fingers towards it.
“Idiot, It might have rabies.” I said to her. She looked at me, and then her eyes trailed down to our hands, a silly blush crept at her cheeks but she let go of our hands and focused on the puppy..
Rolling her eyes she snapped at me, “You are supposed to be a doctor and save lives even if you are a neat freak OC. Plus it’s a puppy not “It””
“Well, I’m no Vet. I may be a doctor and your best friend but knowing you, you can be a pain in the neck whenever you get sick. And please, I am not an Obsessive-compulsive type of person unlike someone I know. ” I huffed in irritation.
I was answered with a pout, we heard the puppy cry and I saw that it was trying to move towards her seeking for warmth. As always, she is stubborn, well, in a nice way. She took off her denim jacket then gently picked up the puppy and treated it like a newborn baby.
“Ah! It’s a boy! It’s a boy!” She beamed at me. I can’t help but smile, she’s always this kind and gentle girl. She always sees the good side of everyone. And that is the reason why I love her. But she didn’t know about my feelings. It’s not the right time yet to tell her.
I brushed my fingers onto my hair and sighed, “Seems to me that you have plans on adopting the puppy”
She nodded her head but I saw that mischievous glint in her eyes. Then I remembered that she lives in a ladies dorm – and that dorms have this no pets allowed sign. This only means that the puppy will stay with me. Her smile got cheeky when she saw my realization. This girl can really read my facial expressions!
“Please.” She begged, the puppy looked at me and now this human girl – she’s sporting the puppy eye mode she kept on using on me when she needed something.
“When did I say no to you?” I sighed in resignation. Yes, how can I say no to the woman I secretly loved? Yes we are best friends. I am a doctor, while she is a nurse at our hospital. We met at the university 4 years ago. I was a senior that time while she was a junior med student. But even doctors have fears too – As for me; my fear is that I might loose our friendship if I crossed the line.
“Thank you so much, Charles, you’re the best.” She looked up at me and handed the puppy to me. I took the small one from her when she whispered to the puppy, “From now on, I will be your mom and Charles will be your dad.”
She really is an eccentric girl but then she burrowed her way into my heart. To be honest, I really didn’t like her at first because she is very playful, childish, loud and always laughing, but eventually as our friendship grows from acquaintance to good friends, I realized that she’s a deep person. I smiled when I saw the puppy lick her nose as if agreeing to what she said. We then walked out of the alley.
“Let’s call him Luke,” she said as we walk our way to my house.
And that was a month ago before it happened.
“Too much blood.” I heard Detective Norman said. Chief Jacob Delgado was the first one to arrive at the scene. Everyone appreciate the quick thinking of Nikki, but as for me, I was driven to unimaginable anger and regret. If only I drove her on her way home to her dorm then none of this would have happened. If only…then she wouldn’t be here lying at the hospital bed, body filled with bruises and bite marks.
One thing that’s very hard for a doctor is to treat someone very close to them. I asked one of the nurses to look after my beloved. I left the room and went to the basement. I want to see the face of the man who ruined the light out of the most special girl in my life. I scanned the hospital papers, he is a man named Tom Kurenai, half American, half Japanese.
I opened the door and saw him, his eyes were closed and the usual control I had was gone in an instant. With all my might I punched him many times on the face and it was not enough. Never enough for the anger inside me, the other doctors tried to stop me and for the first time, they saw me crying and shouting with anger. They knew what happened and took pity on me.
“Dr Beeching, stop it!” Dr. Bussey said. I slumped on the floor, trying to catch my breath. The other doctors gathered around me and helped me up. I looked one last time at Tom Kurenai’s body lying on the autopsy table. The doctors were about to start the autopsy when I barged in the hospital morgue.
“His death will never be enough.” I uttered in a shaky and angry voice as I walk out of the morgue. Dr. Bussey then tapped my shoulders and said, “We are doctors, no matter how painful it is, we pledged to save lives, your work is up there at the 3rd floor, not here at the basement. Save her.”
His words echoed in my mind as I walk up to where Nikki is.
It’s been 2 months since she was released from the hospital, I asked her parents for permission to let her stay under my care. I don’t want her to be far away from me. I even asked for 2-months leave from the hospital so that I could focus on her treatment – physically and emotionally. I am glad that the hospital said yes, and It was even a paid leave.
She’s currently seated on his sofa watching television – however – her face is emotionless. She had been very quiet, would space out every now and then. But as her doctor and guardian, I have to be very patient or else I wont be able to help her.
“Nikki,” I called her attention, on my arms was Luke. Her face lighted up upon seeing the puppy we’ve adopted 3 months ago.
“Luke!” She exclaimed, even though a bit weak, she smiled and embraced the puppy. Luke wagged his tail, very happy on seeing his “mother”. It’s been a while since the puppy saw her so I have to bring Luke to the hospital from time to time.
3 months Ago.
“Luke, my boy, how are you?” Her arms wide open as the pup barked in excitement upon her arrival. Ever since Luke came into our lives, everyday has been a good day for me; we would go “home” together so that she can see our “baby”. She would stay very late at my house just to play with Luke and take care of me – like a wife and a mother.
I have thoughts of letting her move in with us but she kept saying no, saying that she’s paid the 1 year rent on the dorm and it will be a waste of money.
“After a year, I’ll move in so that we can all be a family, you, me and Luke.”
I nodded and proceeded on making dinner for the 3 of us. There is an unspoken feeling between us, but neither of us are afraid to move forward – for fear that our little “family” like world would shatter.
It was dinnertime now. After dinner, I will start the therapy session – I have to help her get over the feeling that she is dirty, that she is very bad. I have to help her return to her old sunny self.
Luke is asleep now, I ushered her to my study room. The room was renovated to look like a psychologist therapy room, the lights were very soft and there are 2 sofas inside, 1 long soft sofa so she can lie down and 1 lazy boy for me to sit on during the sessions.
I urged her to lie down in a comfortable position; I was taken aback about what’s happening now. I am an emergency room medical doctor by profession, I am not even a psychologist but I was glad that we were trained to handle trauma victims.
First step according to Dr. Seo, my psychologist friend, is to make the victim tell the story about what happened that night. He was the one who is supposed to handle Nikki’s therapy but according to him, the best-fit candidate to help a victim was someone very close to her. I being her best friend was the perfect candidate.
Second, he reminded me that whatever might happen during the opening up session, I should listen, validate her feelings and fears. Her room should be very near mine so that when nightmares and flash backs happen, I can run to her right away.
Third, create a safe atmosphere.
Dr Seo smiled and said, “You are a man, same as the one who assaulted her, but instead of being angered by her rejections towards your closeness, show her that you are the man who will always protect her.”
I had some men renovate the house, I made sure that her room will be very safe, the door have locks but can be opened by me during emergencies. I put locks on the kitchen cabinets with sharp utensils that can harm her. I made sure that she could only see chopsticks and no knives. I also added a peaceful garden for her so that she can relax at home.
Weird isn’t it? I am her best friend, yet here I am acting like a husband to her, well yes, that was my real goal, to be her husband someday. So I have to be strong myself.
And the last part, Dr Seo smiled, “I knew you love her, in the end of the session, you have to use everything you’ve got to erase the trauma and change it into something new to her.
“Charles, I’m scared.” She whispered.
I held her hand. “I’ll be here, don’t be scared.” She nodded her head and closed her eyes.
In the silence of the room, I gently spoke to her about relaxation techniques and whispered some scenarios that would trigger her memories to come back to that night.
Slowly, her breath became deeper and what comes next is a barely audible choke of “Help”.
As the session started, Nikki’s mind slowly relaxed and drifted back to the scenes that she locked in her heart. True healing would start once she lets go and acknowledge the pain, the tears and the hurt then let it all go along with renewal of hope and resolution.
The scene unfolded at the back of her thoughts, she uttered help but she relaxed and then her memories drifted further back to when she was still at the hospital.
I was so angry at him, I had fever but he said that he had to work on some paper work for the annual Doctor’s meeting, I wanted to go home, well, not at my dorm but at our home to where Luke was because I really wanted to hug our little boy as I am a cuddler whenever I am sick. I asked him again to drive me fast to his house but he still insisted that I am taking up his time. I know he was stressed out but I couldn’t help it if I lashed out at him because I really feel so bad – well physically due to my fever.
“It’s my fault, I should have drove you all the way here, let you stay there with Luke, I should have done the report at home instead at the clinic.” Charles said to himself as he record the entire session on his recorder. Nikki, under his hypnotic therapy is currently telling him the details and feelings she felt during that fateful day.
I was so dizzy and started to drag my feet away from him anyway, I’ll just head to my dorm instead. I’ll just visit Luke tomorrow, I’m burning and I really have trouble keeping my eyes open. I wish I were on my bed now.
I walked for 20 minutes, it was so late and the way to my dorm rarely have traffic passing by. I don’t know why but I suddenly felt really sick in my gut, like something’s terribly wrong.
“I felt it too, but as a doctor, I didn’t follow my instinct, i was so worried about you at that time but my ego was hurt when you shouted and demanded at me at that time. That time, a doctor, well educated and successful man’ would experience being shouted at by someone, it really hurts my ego at that time”
I felt like someone’s following me, I nervously turned to look behind me and saw a big tall man walking slowly towards me, I decided to sprint into a hurried walk. As my pace quickened, I saw the man in my peripheral vision – still following me – this time he quickened his pace too and started running after me. I turned left into the alley that leads to my dorm and as I look back, he grabbed me by my ponytail. I tried shouting but he covered my mouth. My body is so hot from fever but my will is fighting. He threw me to the side and he pulled my hair and tried to unbuttoned my uniform. I shouted for help and he slapped me hard and covered my mouth again. Then I saw my purse laying few feet away from me. I bit his hand hard to the point that and searched my purse for my pepper spray! Shit! For the first time in my life I left it at the dorm, it never happened, I am always the girl scout and now I forgot the damn pepper spray! There’s this sudden pain on my nape, he punched me there and my head started spinning. I grabbed my cell phone, luckily it was GPS enabled and speed dialed our friend Jacob, he is the chief of police in our vicinity, a close family friend of Charles. As I pressed the speed dial button, I heard a faint hello…then I shouted help. The man grabbed me again and smashed me unto the damp wall of the alley, he pulled my hair and violently ripped my blouse, I dropped the phone near some heaps of trash and fight for my life. A few times he punched me on my stomach then my face, he scratched my arm and blood started gushing out. The pain is unbearable; the only thing in my mind at that moment is Charles… Where are you Charles!?
“I am here Nikki”
I can’t see you! Where are you as this man corrupt me?
He started biting my body, he bit me on my neck and I saw the opportunity to find a big chunk of rock, I reached for it and pound it with all my might at the head of my perpetrator.
Seeing him stand up with angry eyes, wobbling to find the rock that I’ve used, I took the chance to run, He ran after me until I fell down on my face, I realized that I still have Charles’ pen inside my pocket, he punched me again then with one full angry force I stabbed his left eye and with my final strength before I passed out, I thrust the pen on his neck. As the chill and darkness swept over me, I heard a faint sound of siren.
I saw her slumped down the chair, exhaustion evident on her face as the therapy session ended. Guilt washed over me as regret and anger burned up inside me again, the horror she went through because of my stubbornness, and she nearly died. I remembered trying to call on her cell phone at that time, after few minutes of discerning, I finally decided to drive her home but as I dialed her number, all I have was busy tone. At that same moment, I felt like something’s wrong.
I redialed her number for few times, then after an hour, I saw my friend, Jacob’s car hurried down the path to the emergency room. As he hurriedly jumps out from the driver’s seat, I saw him pull from the passenger side the unconscious, battered and bloodied body of my beloved, Nikki.
Next Chapter: Police report and healing of both hearts.