Genre: gen, episode tag
Characters: Melissa from 6x12 "Like a Virgin"
Rating: thematic R (no graphic content)
Word Count: ~1300
Warnings: [Spoiler (click to open)]rape aftermath
Summary: Her father says it didn't count.
Melissa declines an invite on Facebook and skims through some dragon memes, her fingers cold beyond her comforter. But if she tents it above her head, she’ll breathe too much condensation out, and her touchscreen won’t work anymore.
Status update: i haaaate winter :(
It is 6:27AM on February 10th.
Melissa’s alarm will go off in seven minutes. She used to sleep through it. But when it chirps its way through Justin’s “U Smile,” Melissa is already standing in front of her mirror. She digs at the gummy adhesive left on the frame--left side, eye level. There used to be a sticker there, from one of those Asian photobooth things, from her team trip to San Francisco sophomore year.
The mirror used to be floor length, but Melissa had her father turn it horizontal. No more outfit selfies, #retro #maryjanes #leggings.
Melissa sees herself from the shoulders up.
Her hands slide down to her breasts, then lower. She winces.
A few days ago, Melissa’s mom asked if she didn’t want to think about some concealer? Or a little blush, some BB cream. Maybe give it a think, honey?
But makeup used to be a Sunday privilege.
Melissa pokes at the skin under her eyes, and catches the gold of her ring in the mirror.
On her way downstairs, she twists it until her finger is warm and raw.
Her dad is making breakfast, which is unusual. Usually they’re a toast-and-go sort of family.
Her mom’s been crying.
Melissa sits down in front of pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse, except with blueberries baked in, which look like bruises. Mickey gives her a wobbly syrup smile.
I rearranged my meetings--I don’t have to meet the new client ‘til 4, so I could pick you up in the afternoon if you want, sweetie, says her dad.
I wanted to stay for practice, says Melissa.
Now her mom is crying again.
Melissa’s dad frowns.
I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I mean, your suit will--
Melissa eats a Mickey ear.
Her dad sighs. Text me at lunch if you still think you want to stay, pumpkin.
Dad, it’s February 10th.
Babe, that’s only six days. It’s only been--
Melissa stiffens. I just meant--’pumpkin.’ Pumpkins are for October, Dad.
Okay. You’re right. You’re absolutely right, pumpkins are for October. Would you like some orange juice, pomelo?
Melissa shakes her head. She takes her dish to the sink and grabs her sandwich from the fridge and thinks about what she’d remember about the kitchen if she never came back.
The crusty weatherstripping on the patio door? It’ll gouge your toe if you’re not careful. The big refill jug of oil, sticky and dusty in the pantry. The big calendar by the napkin cupboard, with the three big hippos on it. The lumpfish caviar at the back of the fridge, from her parents’ wedding day.
(Those fish eggs are older than she is, she realizes.)
She follows the little kids to school. They waddle around her like a patch of wildflowers with umbrellas. Like sentries.
Melissa passes St. Mary’s--her old shortcut.
Like every day for the past six days, she expects the whole school to turn and stare when she walks up. Everyone knows. The questions will be unavoidable, except from the people who avoid her. They won’t know what to say, how to act around her; they’ll suddenly get busy. Then it’s like they were never friends at all. Melissa’s seen it happen: the freshman whose dad died last summer, on the lake. The two girls who got suspended because of the vodka.
But Melissa takes her seat in her zero period, the buzz of her classmates unabated. Lillian Lee wants to know what she got for 17c. of the pre-calc homework.
Is that the one with all the exponents? Melissa asks, very loudly. She’s chipper; she’s normal. She doesn’t know what no one else knows, either. And she loves pre-calc.
Her pocket vibrates. It’s her mom, commenting on her Facebook status.
DAD rly wants to pick you up after school 2day!! maybe go see erin 2gether?! luv u so much
‘Erin’ as in Dr. Lessig. The therapist.
Melissa wishes her mom knew how Facebook worked. She lets Lillian see her work for d = 12.457 repeating, and opens chapter seven of the second Earthsea book.
Asad just asked Tina to the prom on Vine, Janey whispers. You gotta see this, it’s freaking hilarious. She pulls it up on her new iPhone 4. And Melissa giggles alongside Janey, because it’s freaking hilarious.
Has Matt asked you yet? Janey prods next. It’s Matt Barne, right? Or were you gonna just go to his in April? Oh my god, I heard Eastern’s prom is so much cooler. I am so jealous of private schools!
Melissa says she doesn’t think he’ll be asking. She says, well, at least, I know I won’t be saying yes.
Janey gives her a big, theatrical pout and a big, for-real hug.
Oh babe I’m so sorry. You wanna talk about it? I am totally good at being a breakup bouncer.
Melissa thinks yes and then says no.
She likes Janey.
Melissa bleeds through her swimsuit in the locker room. It’s just her dive suit, black, so you can’t really tell, but she can feel it. She leaves red fingerprints smeared over the bruises her suit can't hide.
At 4:15pm on February 10th she’s crying in a bathroom stall wishing she’d asked her dad to come pick her up six days ago.
Elizabeth slides a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup under the door with a :D? face drawn on a Post-It note. It’s wet because Elizabeth ran all the way back in here during water break.
That makes her feel pretty good. But Melissa waits in the bathroom until the rest of the team is toweled and gone. She doesn’t want to talk.
One in four, she thinks. Elizabeth, Janey, Lillian.
She cuts through the St. Mary’s green, because she needs to be home for dinner or her mom will freak, and it’s stupid to be afraid of St. Mary’s. The lawn never did anything to her.
She opens a Facebook chat and types E l i z
She thinks it’s a bat at first.
Then, for the second time this February, Melissa wakes up in the ER.
not again not again not again
A nurse squeezes her hand. It’s the same nurse as last time. Evette.
There are some detectives here, says Evette. (Not like last time. Last time, Melissa showered, and Mr. Barne is a powerful attorney. He knows all the cops.)
Melissa glances at her backpack, Earthsea wet and warped from where it landed in the grass, and she tells the detectives a story about dragons. Except she calls them bats.
When all is said and done, the detective counters.
Should you really be wearing that ring?
There’s a glint in his eyes like him and her, they share a beautiful secret. He looks at her like he knows. He’s been in her shoes. He knows that dance. He knows everything about her--that’s what he thinks.
But he’s wrong.
Her throat tightens.
Matt Barne didn’t count, she says.
Her daddy kisses her fingers, and even her ring, and his cheek is wet against her wrist. Then he clasps her hands between his, as if in prayer, and he looks her in the eyes and he tells her that it did not count.
You’re my little girl, he says. You keep that ring on, pumpkin. You don’t have to give it up. Don’t ever think that.
It didn’t count, he says.
Melissa hates it when her parents cry.
That doesn’t count.
Melissa looks out the window, at the rain. She rubs the raw, empty spot on her finger.
a/n: I've been meaning to write this since this episode aired, but didn't because it seemed...idk. Be careful what you assume, Dean, bb??