Chapter 7

 

My head finally feels good enough to function without getting dizzy. After I spent so much energy with Sookie a few days ago I ended up going back to my room and crashing for hours. Definitely a bad idea to fuck that hard while injured. She had a good time though, that’s all that matters.

 

I’m on my way to Octavia’s office to get checked out so I can get the go ahead to go back to work when I get stopped by Felicia. I haven’t been out to smoke with everyone since I passed out. I’ve been going around to the swing I fucked Sookie on the first time. No one seems to go out there but us now.

 

“Hey,” I smile at her. I’ve been a little anti-social since the Freyda shit. I really only talk to Sookie and Quinn now.

 

“Hi. Nice speed bump,” she says, glancing up at my forehead. “How are you feeling?”

 

“A lot better. I can bend without getting dizzy,” I chuckle. “Which means I might have to start working again.”

 

“I’m sure the johns have missed you.”

 

“Please tell me someone else has been cleaning them. I don’t want to clean a week’s worth of that nasty shit.”

 

“Chow has,” she chuckles. “He’s a big queen about it too.”

 

“Just for that I should offer to hire him to help our maid when I’m outta here,” I snort. She’s close to retiring anyway. “I heard about you and Charles. Is that getting serious?”

 

“Seriously old,” she replies. “He thinks he’s in love with me. This is just a way to pass the time between chores and therapy sessions.”

 

“Oh, that’s cute,” I laugh. “Nothing worse than a clinger.”

 

“I guess that’s why you like Sookie so much, huh?” Felicia lights another cigarette.

 

“We’re friends,” I shrug. “She’s easy to talk to.”

 

“Yeah she is,” she agrees.

 

“Plus, I like to watch her tits bounce,” I joke. Kinda joke. I still like watching them and she still doesn’t wear a bra.

 

Felicia laughs and says, “She certainly seems to be allergic to underwire. I haven’t seen her outside of yoga very much in the last week.”

 

“She’s been reading or with me,” I explain. We haven’t had sex since the shower and I haven’t even tried. I didn’t mean to take it that far in the shower even though it was fucking awesome.

 

“Gotcha. I saw her running in the gym late last night but I didn’t want to bother her.”

 

“I’m sure she wouldn’t have minded,” I shrug. As far as I know she likes Felicia.

 

“She looked like she was in the zone. I didn’t really have anything to say anyway.”

 

“With any luck I’ll be given the green light to go back today,” I sigh.

 

“Good luck with that,” she says.

 

“This thing is getting out of control,” I chuckle, lifting my shirt to pat my small belly.

 

“I’ve seen way worse,” Felicia snorts. “I think Sookie’s pot is bigger than yours.”

 

“Damn, I worked hard for this,” I pout. I’ve seen Sookie’s stomach and it’s hot as fuck no matter what anyone says. Maybe I just find Sookie as a whole hot as fuck…

 

“Get back to those midnight fry binges.”

 

“You know, as good as those fucking fries are I’m limiting myself to once every two days. I’m starting to wean myself off of them so I don’t have withdrawals when I leave this place.”

 

She laughs again and says, “You better do the same with Tits McGee.”

 

“Nah, I’ll make sure to keep in contact with her. That month without her will be rough, but as soon as I’m out I’ll go see her.”

 

Felicia smiles but I can tell she’s biting her tongue.

 

“Say it.”

 

“You won’t stay friends,” she says.

 

“You don’t think so?”

 

“Previous experience tells me you won’t.”

 

“We’ll see,” I shrug. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. I won’t know until I’m out of here so I don’t want to dwell on it.

 

“I gotta get to my counselor. I’ll see you later,” she says as she snubs out her cigarette.

 

I wave goodbye and finish my trek to Octavia’s office.

 

***

 

I got the all clear. I can work again, starting tomorrow, and work out again. After my meeting with Octavia I had my session with Quinn and then I ran to my room and grab my sneakers so I can go to the gym. When I get there I’m alone. I haven’t been in here since the head injury, so I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to work out, but I need to start somewhere.

 

Everyone gets a full physical and blood work done when they arrive to see if we have any diseases that need to be treated. When I was weighed that day I was 164. That’s only bad because I’m close to six and a half feet tall. I pretty much looked like a skeleton. When I weigh myself on the way in I give myself a little pat on the back. I’ve officially gained thirty pounds. According to Octavia and Quinn that’s normal for people as underweight as I was. I still have a little ways to go, but now that I can work out again I can do it all the right way. The fat I’ve gained needs to be flipped into muscle.

 

I go over to the treadmill to do my warm up. I’ll do the heavy cardio at the end of my weight training. I do my five minutes and hop off to go to the weight machine so I can work my arms and back. I’m about thirty minutes into my workout, sweating like a fucking mad man, when Sookie walks in for her afternoon session. She’s starting to drop weight and she looks amazing.

 

“Hey,” I pant, mid-row.

 

“Hi,” she smiles and goes over to the Elliptical. “I need to get one of these things for home.”

 

“I have one at my house,” I tell her. “We have a full gym. I just never use it.”

 

“Slacker.”

 

“I got my workout in other ways,” I chuckle as I finish my set.

 

“I can only imagine,” she says as she gets going on the machine.

 

She has no idea.

 

“Eh, well, according to Mom I’m not going to be having anymore parties at the guesthouse when I’m out of here. I’ll get more gym use,” I shrug as I move to grab a twenty pound barbell so I can do weighted squats.

 

“I’m sure you’ll make new, sober friends.”

 

“I’m sure I will,” I agree. Then I think about what Felicia said earlier. “What about you? Are you going to be one of my sober friends?”

 

“We’ll see,” she winks.

 

I smile at her and finish my set of squats. I go to the mat and grab an exercise ball. I position it under my lower back and begin to do crunches. By the time I reach twenty I feel like my abs are about to burn through my spine. Fuck, this sucks. I pause for thirty seconds and power through another set. I keep doing this until I reach a hundred and twenty before I roll off the ball and lie flat on my face.

 

“I might die,” I grumble just loud enough for Sookie to hear me.

 

She chuckles on her machine and says, “All those fries are coming back to haunt you, huh?”

 

“Yes.” I force myself up to my feet. I put the ball away and head over to the machine next to Sookie. “I think you should give me a full body massage after dinner,” I tell her.

 

“I’d love to but I have a hot date with Dorian Gray.”

 

“I’ll read it to you while you rub my body.” My muscles are going to hurt like a motherfucker later.

 

“You should stretch before you work out.”

 

“I know. I just forget,” I shrug. “Back to this body massage though, you have strong little hands.” The scratches on my back are just now healing from those hands.

 

“I’ll think about it.”

 

“I guess that’s all I can ask,” I grin and start the treadmill. I don’t waste time. I bump it up to nine and start running.

 

Sookie and I go silent as my feet pound on the belt. The elliptical Sookie is on squeaks a little and even though I’m not looking at her, I can tell she’s going pretty quick to match my pace. We go on like this for close to an hour before I have to hit the stop button. The treadmill gradually slows down to a stop. I lean on the bars, panting. Jesus, I know I ran for a long time but I was ready to call it quits five minutes in.

 

“You know, you could always come massage me now,” I pant.

 

“I better get you an oxygen tank,” she pants. She’s all sweaty and breathing hard herself.

 

“I need to stop fucking smoking,” I chuckle, which ends up in a cough. “Come on, rub my muscles.” I haven’t had a good massage in a long time.

 

“I’m not done yet.”

 

It takes all of my willpower not to hit the reset button. She can still move but her progress will be lost. It annoys the shit out of me when that happens.

 

“I’ll go shower so I’m not all sweaty. Come in when you’re done,” I suggest hopefully.

 

“Maybe.”

 

I take her nearly empty water bottle out of the holder and go to fill it up for her. I put it back and say, “I’ll see you when you’re done.”

 

“If you’re lucky. Thanks for the water,” she smiles.

 

“You’re welcome,” I smile back. “Enjoy the rest of your workout.” I pat her on the thigh as I turn to leave the gym.

 

I don’t stop to smoke like I normally would. If I’m going to workout this hard I need to be able to breathe. When I get back to my room I jump in the shower. It doesn’t take long to wash the sweat off and when I’m done I scrub my hair dry, pull on some basketball shorts, and lie on my bed to wait to see if Sookie is going to come to my room.

 

SPOV

 

After my workout I go back to my room and shower. I haven’t had a cigarette in two days and I’m proud of myself for that. The warm water feels good and afterward I get dressed in an ivory summer dress and a pair of sandals. I leave my hair down and pick up my copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. On my way out of the building I grab a bottle of water. I’ll eat dinner later. At the moment I’m not hungry.

 

Eric and his sore muscles are just going to have to get along without me. I’m starting to think about what I want to do after rehab. I know I’m going to have to go to meetings and find a sponsor, but I can do that anywhere. As much as I’ve enjoyed California, it might be good for me to get out while I can. I don’t think moving back home is really an option, but I wouldn’t mind being somewhere on the east coast.

 

The water being nearby is good. Maybe I’ll try Maine. It couldn’t be more different from southern California. Having seasons might be nice for a change. I can start over there. I’ll be away from any bad influences and I can maybe get back into training. It would be a hell of a comeback.

 

I get absorbed in my book after settling on the swing out at the bluffs. Occasionally I sip my water, but mostly I just read. I stay out until I have to get in for headcount. Once I’ve checked in with Betty Jo, I go down to the cafeteria to eat.

 

There’s a new face sitting alone at one of the tables. She’s got milk white skin, long red hair and bruises on her face. She’s also crying. I get two bottles of water and take one to her. This girl looks younger, eighteen if that.

 

“Are you okay?” I ask as I set the water down in front of her.

 

“No,” she sniffles.

 

“Can I help?” I don’t know her or what brought her here, but she’s obviously very upset. Probably scared, too.

 

“No,” she says, turning away from me.

 

“Okay,” I nod. I won’t pry. “My name is Sookie. I’m in room 317 if you want to talk.”

 

She just nods and pushes her food around her plate. I leave her alone and go fix myself a Caesar salad without the anchovies or dressing. I have a cup of cauliflower au gratin soup on the side. There are plenty of empty tables, so I pick one and sit down. I don’t want to make the new girl uncomfortable so I sit facing a different direction than her.

 

I take my time eating my dinner and then go to the frozen yogurt machine to get myself some ice cream. I go with the chocolate/vanilla twist and sprinkle some chopped peanuts on top. I grab a plastic spoon and turn to take my dessert back to my room. I nearly run smack dab into the new girl.

 

“Sorry,” I apologize.

 

“Yeah,” she says as she scoots around me.

 

This poor girl looks so broken and sad. I just want to hug her, but I don’t. I take my book and my ice cream back to my room. There isn’t much on TV, but my brain needs a rest from reading. I couldn’t sleep last night so I went for a run. I don’t think I’ll be having that same trouble tonight.

 

After I finish my ice cream, I stretch out on my bed and find some forensic investigation show that holds my interest. I’m just nodding off when there’s a knock on my door.

 

“Come in,” I call out. It’s either Eric, a counselor or the new girl.

 

“Hey,” Eric says as he comes inside.

 

“Hi,” I yawn. “How are your muscles?”

 

“They’re starting to hurt. Tomorrow is going to be a bitch,” he says. “Want me to go?”

 

“You can stay if you want, but I might pass out,” I warn.

 

“That’s fine.” He closes the door and comes over to sit on my bed next to me.

 

I scoot over to make more room for him. I don’t even want to get up to change clothes. Eric lies down behind me and wraps his arm around me.

 

“Sorry, I feel like snuggling,” he whispers.

 

“It’s fine. My ex wasn’t much for snuggling.”

 

“That’s too bad,” he says and kisses my shoulder.

 

“I got used to it. I wouldn’t expect you to be a snuggler either.” Snorting a line off a girl doesn’t count.

 

“I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff you wouldn’t expect from me,” he tells me.

 

“That’s true,” I agree.

 

Eric goes quiet and his hand rubs up and down my stomach slowly. My eyes close and in no time at all, I’m out cold.

 

***

 

When I wake up for yoga, Eric is still in bed with me. I can feel his morning wood poking my leg.

 

“Eric, wake up,” I murmur and wiggle against him.

 

“Mmm,” he hums, flexing his hips against me.

 

“I have to go down for yoga,” I tell him.

 

“Mmm, don’t go,” he murmurs, locking his arm around me a little tighter.

 

“I need to.” It’s been a great way to start my day.

 

“I’ll show you yoga,” he says without opening his eyes.

 

“In a twin bed? I don’t think so,” I snicker. “Come on, let’s get up.”

 

“I can make a twin bed work,” he says with a sleepy smile.

 

“Eric, seriously,” I sigh.

 

He lets me go and rolls onto his back. There’s a tent in the blanket over his crotch. I slide off the bed and go to the dresser to get my workout clothes. I change in the bathroom after I do my normal morning stuff. Before I leave the bathroom I pin my hair up in a bun.

 

Eric is sitting on the edge of the bed when I come out of the bathroom. He rubs his eyes and instead of saying good morning or something like that, I drop a bomb on him.

 

“I’m going to move to Maine when I get out of rehab,” I say.

 

“What the fuck?” he asks with wide eyes.

 

“I want a fresh start,” I shrug.

 

“Well… fuck,” he says. “I stopped smoking yesterday after the gym and now you really owe me that fucking massage.”

 

“How do you figure?” It’s good he stopped smoking but I don’t see what that has to do with his sore muscles.

 

“I don’t know, just sounds good,” he chuckles. “I’m proud of you for making positive changes, Sookie. Looks like I’ll have to come to Maine for our challenge.”

 

“I’m sure my house won’t sell that fast. Plus I have to go out there and find a new place,” I say.

 

“Hmm, wait for me, I’ll help you look,” he offers. “Are you sure you don’t want to do my kind of yoga?”

 

“Positive. You could probably talk Felicia into trying things your way,” I smirk.

 

“I don’t want to do yoga with Felicia,” he informs me.

 

“Since when?” I chuckle and grab a pair of flip flops to wear.

 

“Since I found out she fucked Charles. I have standards and I like to sleep with people that have them too. Clearly she doesn’t.”

 

“Okay,” I shrug. “I gotta go. I’ll see you later.”

 

“You know where to find me,” he says as he stands up. His morning wood is just now going away.

 

I follow my morning routine and stop for water before going out to the lawn for yoga. Felicia is already stretching on a mat.

 

“Mornin’, camper,” I say as I roll out my mat.

 

“Morning,” she smiles.

 

“You look well rested.” I sit down and stretch my legs.

 

“I feel really good for the first time in years,” she tells me. “You look pretty well rested yourself.”

 

“Passed out early last night,” I tell her.

 

“That always feels good.”

 

“Did you shake Charles?”

 

“Not quite yet, working on it though.”

 

“Ugh, it’s so awkward when someone feels more serious about you than you do about them.”

 

“It is, but I can handle it.”

 

I look over and see the redhead sitting out on the deck.

 

“Have you heard anything about the new girl?” I ask.

 

“Not yet. She doesn’t talk to anyone. Give her a little time to detox and she’ll start talking,” she tells me.

 

“I spoke to her last night, but she didn’t really say anything. She looks like a baby. I wanted to hug her.”

 

“You’re not here to heal the other patients, Sookie, you need to fix you,” she reminds me.

 

“I know. She just looked so sad,” I sigh.

 

“We all look like that when we get here. Either sad or pissed off. Occasionally you’ll see someone that’s relieved.”

 

“I guess, but it’s still sad,” I shrug.

 

Our conversation comes to a close when our instructor starts class. My focus goes into my poses and emptying my mind. As usual, I transition smoothly from one pose to the next. During the meditation time, I try to visualize myself after I get out of rehab. I have so many more options now that I’m clean and not a slave to pills.

 

After class I go to the dining room to get something to eat before counseling with Sophie-Anne. I’m a little more than a third of the way through my stay, but I think I’ll be okay to leave at the sixty day mark. We’ll see what Sophie-Anne thinks.

 

I get blueberry pancakes, some fresh fruit and a few sausage links, along with a glass of orange juice. There are a few people in the dining room, but not many. I take a seat and pop a strawberry in my mouth. I notice the new girl going straight for the sugary cereals and she keeps scratching her left arm. I don’t know what she’s detoxing from, but it doesn’t look good.

 

The pancakes are perfect. Just the right amount of blueberries in them. A few minutes later I have a mouth full of fruit when the new girl sits down across from me. She doesn’t talk and doesn’t look at me. She just eats in silence.

 

I want to ask her how she’s doing, but her black eye, busted lip and bruised cheek tell me she’s probably not doing so hot. Plus, if she’s not talking she probably doesn’t want to be bothered. She’ll have enough people asking her questions in the next few days. She knows where I am if she wants to talk.

 

When I’m done eating I stack up my dishes. Before I get up though I say, “Have a good day.”

 

She nods and quietly replies, “You too.”

 

I smile at her and then take my dirty dishes to the conveyor belt that will deliver them to the kitchen. I head back to my room to shower and get ready for the rest of my day.

 

Chapter 7

 

3 thoughts on “Chapter 7

  1. I’m proud of Sookie for thinking about her future. I’m glad Eric is pretty much healed from his injuries. I look forward to reading more.

    Like

  2. Yay! Sookie’s thinking about the future… Not sure if faraway Maine is the best idea but a change of scene is probably a good thing… We do not know why she’s estranged from her parents but perhaps that needs to be addressed before moving cross country?
    Eric and Sookie sleeping in the same bed (and not having sex) was adorable… However did Sookie empathise with Felicia about how bad it is when someone wants more from you when Felicia mentioned dumping Charles? Mmmhhhh….

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