Shattered Glass 6

Carrying two take away meals, Rona walked uneasily into the Changeling wing of Poe, and saw that while the physical damage had been repaired, she and Ruth were getting some strange looks, especially the horrible UV band on Ruth. Everyone had to know what had happened. She resisted the urge to turn invisible, she had to face what had happened. Dana came up to them, since she was Absinthe's roommate she had to have heard everything.

“Hey guys, what happened today?” the girl asked, trying not to sound accusing, but not doing a great job of it.

“Belle played a nasty prank, and I panicked,” Rona admitted. “Ruth got me out, and beat up Belle. It wasn't as bad as it seemed.”

With her spending all day with Dr. Bellows, Ruth being a UV, and at least a few people hearing Ruth threatening to torture Belle until she begged to die, the short explanation probably satisfied no one, but it was the only thing she could think of. Looking anywhere but the girls and guys around her, she realized that she'd turned invisible again. Willing herself visible was hard, but had to be done.

“Is everything ok now?”

“For now. We're working through some things. So if you can please just listen to Mrs. Horton and give Ruth, and... and me, a bit of time to get used to everything, it would be great.” A lot of eyes were still on the UV band. “They took away Ruth's weapons and her power armour. So she's not going to punch anyone through a wall or pull out a knife or anything.”

That made some of the watchers breathe a little more easily. Ruth was still looking at her feet.

“So are we cool?” she asked.

“Can you tell us what happened?” Absinthe asked.

Rona felt herself turn invisible, she didn't stop herself this time. Dr. Bellows had told her that talking when she was ready, could help. Was she ready? “I was kidnapped for a few days. Locked up and drugged. That was about it. I don't like being trapped now.”

She flinched when Ruth took her arm, probably guessing where she was from her voice, and started walking them down the hall. Rona felt her start to tremble, then heard her voice, just loud enough to be heard by everyone. “For me, look up... Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. Earlier this month. The bad stories.”

They entered their dorm, where both of them collapsed at their desks to eat supper, drained after the emotionally exhausting day.

As they were finishing there was a knock on the window. Looking up showed Teri flying just outside holding a kids backpack.

“Oh for the love of...” Rona groaned, and opened the window. “What are you doing here Teri?”

“Tutoring. Monday is a free day for me, so when I was told I was tutoring Ruth, I decided to start right away. Hi Ruth!” she shouted, getting a shy wave in return.

Flying inside, the fairy put her bag off to the side and went to sit on Ruth's shoulder. “Did you just finish eating? I guess you didn't want to deal with the Monday crowd at Crystal Hall. I don't blame you, sometimes it gets kind of wild. Like the first time I had supper there, there was a huge food fight, and I got blamed for it, even though I didn't throw any food. It was so unfair. If either of you ever want to eat in some peace and quiet, but not in your room, just ask me. Em, Splits and I know a few good out of the way places. All it will cost you is another wing massage. Oh, you got an armband!”

Teri slid down Ruth's arm, squeezing her legs under the band, and sliding down until it was snug under her breasts. “Hey I don't even have to hold on here and I get such a nice view! This is awesome! Can I get a ride with you if we're ever going in the same direction, this is a lot better than sitting in a hood or a pocket. On red flag days you can say I'm your Disney doll. I have a great Tinkerbell costume, that looks so cute on me. You're pretty tall, I wonder who you could dress up as.”

“Ok,” Rona said, sick of the non-stop chatter, “I'm going to tell Mrs. Horton you're here. Next time come in through the front door, you have to sign in ok, Teri.”

“Gotcha, got to protect your secret and all,” the fairy said.

“What- what secret?” Rona asked completely unconvincingly.

“That you're all lesbians. I came in once to see Splits, and her roommate was making out with a girl that would have Hustler breaking down their door if they were just a bit older. I didn't know people could bend like they did without being made of rubber or water, I swear that red head had to be warping space. Anyways, I was told all about it and sworn to secrecy on pain of a fly swatter. Don't worry, I don't judge.” She paused for a moment in thought. “Would you agree to model if I gave you kiss? And I think Miriam might swing that way a little, I could put in a good word for you.”

“NO!”

“Oh well, gave it a shot. So Ruth, I have to get your essays up to snuff. What do you like to read?” Teri asked, popping out of the UV armband to sit on the confused but smiling girls lap.

Rona left hurriedly.

**

Three hours later, Rona left the cottage library where she'd found some peace and quiet, hiding between the shelves. Invisibly she made her way back to her room, unwilling to talk to anyone. On her door was a small note, telling her to keep quiet. Curious she crept inside to find Ruth asleep, curled up in a ball in the corner, her head was visible for a change.

On Ruth's desk was a note written pretty sloppily, 'Goodnight Ruth. See you Wednesday. Great work today!!!! HUGS! Teri!'

Beneath it was an essay, it was pretty simple just three things that made Ruth happy. Hoping to understand her roommate better, she quickly read it over. The first one was helping people, second working, and third, actually there wasn't a third. Instead a space was left for it to be written later, and it went to the next paragraph explaining why helping made her happy. The reasons were morbid, talking about how she couldn't help people before and they'd died. How until now she'd been forced to watch helplessly, but now she could make a difference. The examples were intense, yet seemed to be hiding even worse things.

The next paragraph about work, was as disturbing in its own way. She wasn't hurt for doing a good job, she couldn't hurt anyone while she was working, and she was left alone. Below it were doodles of horses, fields, solar panels, a minivan, cows, chickens, a young girl in an old fashioned dress, an older man with a funny beard, and lots of scratched out words.

Turning off the desk lamp, she took out her phone and laid down on her bed, pulling the comforter over her head before dialing.

“Hey Mom, how ya doing?” she whispered.

“Rona, it's great to hear from you,” she answered sounding really happy for the first time in three weeks. "Things are going really good. I'm unofficially working with Herb as his house keeper and secretary. So I'll be able to start sending you a bit of pocket money. And Janet woke up yesterday. She's not out of the woods yet, but they're a lot more optimistic. How about you? And why are you whispering?”

“My roommates asleep. We kind of had a bad day. A really bad day.”

Her Mom became serious. “What happened? Tell me everything.”

Closing her eyes, she started talking, telling her everything even when the tears came. And her Mom listened, talking her through the harder parts, letting her get it out into the air. Finally Rona finished, feeling drained.

“Can I ask you a question, Mom?”

“Anything.”

“How did you deal with everything you had happen to you?”

“Badly. I only had John with me and he caused almost all of my problems. Don't do what did and crawl into a bottle or a needle. It seems Ruth really is trying to improve, and she see's you as her chance to do it. Let her help you, and you do the same for her,” she said.

“But,” Rona wasn't sure how to put it, “we're both so fucked up.”

Her Mom gave a little laugh, “Who isn't? When you were born, Janet was a drug addict who didn't know how to say no, unless she was negotiating a new movie contract, I was an alcoholic and recreational drug user, who just found out she was pregnant. I grabbed Janet and we used each other to get ourselves... not so fucked up. You're both younger than we were, and you have more support. Use it, and each other. And you'll be coming to Vancouver for Christmas, so you'll have my shoulder to cry on for a bit, and my foot kicking your butt to get you doing something fun.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“It's what I'm here for. You sound tired, how about you say goodnight and get some sleep?”

“Sounds good. Night Mom. Love you.”

“Love you to, honey.”



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