Hey, y'all! I was hoping to have this chapter out sooner, but I got slammed with finals and assignments and wasn't able to find time to squeeze this in too. I originally had a different version of this chapter nearly ready, but I decided the other day to rework it instead of posting it as is. Hope y'all enjoy it and drop a review to let me know what you think!
It was dark when I woke up, and I knew immediately that I wasn't in my bed. I started to panic, thinking he had taken me somewhere until I heard the faint beeping of the heart monitor, and felt the tug of an IV in my arm.
I was in a hospital.
I hated hospitals.
I tugged the sticky pads off my chest, and pulled the IV from my arm, not paying attention to the blood that started to well up. I was uneasy on my feet as I stood, the world spinning slightly. The door opened easily, and I stumbled into the hallway.
A nurse spotted me immediately. "Miss! You shouldn't be up."
I turned at the sound of Lissa's voice to see her walking down the hall towards me. "You need to go back to bed!"
"Liss, you know," I whispered. "I can't."
"I know. But you need to, at least for a little bit."
She grabbed my arm to lead me back to the room, but I jerked out of her grasp.
"No! You can't make me!"
I started to stumble as my vision blurred, and then I felt arms wrap around me, picking me up.
"Please! No, stop!" I started to cry, fighting weakly against whoever was carrying me.
I felt the bed under me once more, and the pinch of the IV before the sedative hit me.
"It's going to be okay, Roza," a man said, his hand brushing over my forehead. "Get some sleep."
When I woke up again, it was light outside, and the room was too bright. There was a throbbing pain between my legs that made it unable to forget about last night. It wasn't a nightmare. The pain proved that. But I refused to stop trying to make myself believe that it was a nightmare and that everything would be okay.
Everything would be okay.
If I repeated it enough, maybe I would start to believe it.
"Rose?" Lissa knocked lightly on the door, pushing it open. It was then that I realized I wasn't in my room at the apartment and was instead in a hospital. "How are you feeling?"
"Why am I in a hospital?" I demanded. "Did you take me here? You know how I feel about hospitals."
The door pushed open the rest of the way, and Lissa entered the room, followed by a nurse and a man with shoulder-length brown hair.
My heart ached at the sight of him. His brown eyes were as gentle as ever, though they were guarded more now than they ever had been before.
Neither of us said anything, and Lissa cleared her throat awkwardly.
"Hi, Rosemarie," the nurse said. "I'm Priya."
"Do you prefer Rosemarie or Rose?"
"Rose," I said. "It's easier."
"Can you tell me what happened last night, Rose?" She was standing in front of a laptop, but looked at me over it, instead of looking at the screen.
I glanced over at Lissa, noticing her pale face and the way she gripped the armrests of her chair. Dimitri was standing against the wall next to her, his face impassive, though his eyes told a different story. In the few seconds I took to look, I could see the pain and longing before he glanced away from me.
"Why am I here?" I asked instead.
"I brought you here," Dimitri said.
"What?" I turned to look at him again and saw the emotion in his eyes gone.
"I found you last night, in an alley. You were unconscious, and it was obvious that you had been attacked. I couldn't just leave you there," Dimitri said softly. He looked down at the coffee cup in his hand, fingers tapping against it slightly.
He doesn't drink coffee.
It was a stupid thought, and I chastised myself. A lot could change in three years.
As if reading my mind, he stepped forward, holding out the cup. "I got this for you. Tea. Just the way you like it. It's not very hot anymore."
My hand was shaking when I took it from him, the cup still warm but not too hot. Our fingers brushed, and I flinched. He pulled back immediately, walking back over to lean against the wall again. I took a sip and could taste the honey mixed in.
"Rose?" Priya spoke up. "Do you remember what happened?"
I wanted to scoff. It would be impossible to forget.
"I was walking home from work, and he pulled me into an alley," I said, nearly choking on my words. I had to put the cup down so I wouldn't end up squeezing it too hard. I couldn't look at Dimitri or Lissa, even though I felt both staring at me. "I told him to stop, and he wouldn't. I think he left when he was done. I don't remember."
"Where is work, Rose?"
"Paradise Books," I mumbled. "It's only a half-mile to my apartment."
"Rose, it's highly recommended that you do a rape kit. You don't have to report it right now if you don't want to, but it's recommended that we gather as much evidence that we can in case you chose to report it and file charges," Priya said.
"Will it take long?"
"A few hours," she said.
I sighed. I fucking hated hospitals.
"Fine. I just want this to be over with and get out of here."
Priya typed something into her computer before leaving the room. I assumed that she went to gather what she would need to do the exam.
"I just want this over with," I interrupted Lissa. "I just want to pretend like it didn't happen, and I want to get out of this fucking hospital."
"Don't. Please. Just don't."
A knock on the door stopped her from saying anything else, and Priya walked back in. She glanced at Dimitri and Lissa.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave," she said.
Dimitri was already heading towards the door, but Lissa hesitated.
"Liss, I'll be fine," I lied. I turned to Priya. "Can I listen to music while the exam is going on? I don't want to listen."
"As long as you have headphones," she said.
Lissa pulled a pair out of her purse and handed them to me before leaving the room.
"Rose, this exam will take a couple of hours, and it is very invasive. We will need to swab for DNA, take pictures, do internal ultrasounds, and a few other things. You're in safe hands, okay?"
I nodded, putting the earbuds in. They were Bluetooth and already linked to my phone. I chose a playlist, hit shuffle, and closed my eyes. "I'm ready."
As the music blared in my ears, it was easy to pretend that I wasn't laying on a hospital bed, but the second I felt the first touch, I couldn't help but tense. It felt weird, and the tools were cold, and I squeezed my eyes shut when the pain set in.
My five-hour playlist was at least halfway through when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
I paused the music and took out the earbuds as my bed was propped up a little. Priya had a grim look on her face and tossed her gloves in the biohazard trash can before going back behind the computer and typing furiously. When she came back around the computer, the look was gone, and she had the soft look on her face again.
"Rose, did you have any bruising elsewhere, such as on your breasts or anywhere else you can think of?"
"I don't know," I said. "I haven't looked, and I don't want to. I'm scared of what I'll see."
"I would like to examine your chest and back quickly," she said. "It won't take nearly as long as the first exam."
Priya directed me to untie the top part of the gown I was in, and she took pictures of bruised areas and the bite marks and hickeys on my chest. At her direction, I turned around, exposing my back to her. I heard her put on a new pair of gloves and the sound of a camera going off. Priya's hands brushed over my back slightly, and I winced when she hit a sensitive spot.
"The exam is done, Rose," she started. "Your friends can come back in now."
I wanted to say Dimitri wasn't my friend, but I didn't want to get into it. I sent a quick text to Lissa, ignoring the fact that I could have sent one to Dimitri too, provided that he hadn't changed his number from the one I've had for the past four years. From the one I haven't touched in three years, no matter how many times I've thought about it.
Priya left the room as Lissa walked back in, but Dimitri didn't follow. Part of me was dying to ask, but I restrained myself.
"How did you know I was here?"
"Dimitri called me. I'm on your list of emergency contacts on your phone," she said.
"How are you not hungover?"
She laughed. "I am. I slept most of it off once I got here, but I didn't get completely wasted last night. Good thing too."
"Do you know if he called anyone else?"
"I think he might have called Adrian. You'd have to ask him." Lissa paused. "What's he doing here anyway?"
I glanced over to where the cup sat on the nightstand, surely cold by now. "I don't know. But I don't care."
She gave me a look. "I'm sure you don't."
"Lissa," I warned.
She held her hands up. "I seem to remember you being very upset when he left three years ago, that's all."
There was another knock on the door, and Dimitri walked back in. I hoped he hadn't heard what Lissa had just said.
Lissa jumped up. "I'm going to run to the café for some food. Do you want anything, Rose?"
"Surprise me," I said dryly. I knew what she was doing, but I couldn't deny that I was starving. "Something chocolate."
The door shut behind her, and Dimitri took her seat. I could smell his aftershave now that he was closer, just as intoxicating as it was before.
"What are you doing here?" I blurted.
"In Ithaca or at the hospital?"
"Viktoria graduates next week," he said. I had forgotten that his younger sister was my age. She attended Ithaca College last I knew, not wanting to be pressured by the expectations of Cornell's Ivy League status. "Thought I would come up early to surprise her. As for the hospital, I guess I just needed to make sure you were okay."
"So now you care?" I snapped before my brain could filter it. I regretted the words as soon as the hurt flitted across his face.
"I wasn't going to just leave you there, Rose. Despite what happened in the past, I do care about you. I've always cared."
"Sure didn't seem like it," I muttered.
"You were pushing me away!"
"So it's my fault? What was I supposed to do, Dimitri?" I said, weary. "You were leaving, leaving me, after promising that you wouldn't."
"Do not call me that!"
I met his gaze, and I wasn't backing down. Hurt from years before reared its ugly head, and my heart started to ache again.
Caught in a staring match, I could admit to myself that the years had done him good. I didn't think it was possible for him to get hotter, but he did. There was slight stubble on his face now, and part of me wanted to kiss him again just to see what it would feel like now. To see if that spark was still there.
I jerked back, realizing that we had both been leaning in, and closed my eyes. I heard the door open and close a second later, and when I opened my eyes, I wasn't surprised to see the room empty. Lissa appeared with food a few minutes later and didn't question where Dimitri went.
He slipped back into the room shortly after we finished eating, followed by Priya and a tall woman.
"Hello, Rose," the other woman said. "I'm Doctor Olendzki."
Her face was gentle, and she held out a hand for me to shake. She had a clipboard tucked underneath her arm, and when she pulled it out, I could just barely make out my name on it.
"What's up, doc?" I said weakly, and she cracked a small smile.
"I'm very sorry that this has happened to you," she said. "You've faced a lot of trauma, physically and mentally. Priya said there was a lot of bruising and that you might be suffering pain for a while. I would highly recommend holding off on consensual sex since there is a high chance with your bruising and scarring that intercourse will be extremely painful for you."
I looked away. I couldn't meet her gaze, and Lissa squeezed my hand reassuringly. I blushed as my gaze met Dimitri's, and I quickly looked away.
"You have a couple of choices to make, Rose," Doctor Olendzki said. "The first choice is something that needs to be decided now, and that's whether you would like us to administer emergency contraceptive. Your paperwork noted that you were off birth control, which means there is a chance that you could get pregnant. The chances of you getting pregnant from this are in between three and five percent."
It hadn't even crossed my mind until now.
"Three to five percent?" I repeated.
She nodded. "We do have Plan B on hand that we can administer, and it is 89 percent effective at preventing pregnancy."
"So there's a chance I might still end up pregnant."
She hesitated. "Yes, but it is a small chance between the likelihood of you being pregnant and Plan B not working."
"I don't want to risk it," I said. I wasn't ready to be a mother, and I didn't want to carry his child. "I'll take the pill."
"Priya will grab it for you to take," Doctor Olendzki said as Priya slipped out the door.
"Your second choice is whether or not you've thought about reporting this."
I looked down at my lap. "I don't even know him, not really."
"He said he saw me at work a lot. But I didn't recognize him. It was dark."
"If he's stalking your work, Rose," Dimitri started.
"I already decided to quit," I said, interrupting him. "I don't ever want to go back there."
Doctor Olendzki continued. "Rose, it is completely up to you if you want to report and from there, if you want to file charges, but I do want to let you know that there is a chance his DNA might already be in the police database."
"I know. I've already thought about it," I said. "Would I have to go to court and physically see him again?"
"Unfortunately, I can't answer that. It all depends on the court and lawyers, if he takes a plea deal, et cetera," she said. "You don't have to decide right now if you want to report or even if you want to file charges. It's just something to think about."
"I want to report it," I said, pushing down the nausea of having to go through this again with the police, and potentially having to see him in court. "I don't want him to be able to do this to anyone else."
As a side note, for this fic, I'm making Dimitri three years older than Rose, instead of the canon seven years, just because I can. I also made Rose and Viktoria the same age, just for the purposes of this story.
Another side note: have any of y'all read the additional stories included in the 10th-anniversary edition of VA? I'm debating buying it, but I wanted other's opinions first!