Chapter 23

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After a few minutes, I looked up when I heart footsteps. Normani rushed towards me, a look of panic on her face.

"Shit, they did this to you? The nerve.. I'm going to kill them," she said angrily, helping me to my feet.

"It's whatever.. Please, let's just go," I said softly.

Normani went to pull me in for a hug, and I winced. Pain shot through my body. She moved back and her fingers gripped the fabric at the bottom of my shirt, giving me a questioning look. I nodded, and she pulled the shirt up. Her eyes widened, and she reached forward, her fingers grazing the large bruise.

"You should really go to the police with this, Lauren. It's assault. And you especially need to go to the principal! You can't just let them get away with this, you haven't done anything to them."

"Why? So they can get in shit and eventually come back to retaliate? I can't, Normani, I just.. I can't do it.."

"I might not be able to convince you to.. but your parents are going to be pissed," she told me. "I don't want them to get away with hurting you like this.."

I looked at her and I could see the anger in her eyes. But mixed in with that, I could see the sadness and worry. I knew that she was probably right, but I was in no way ready to take this to the police. It wasn't worth all the trouble. Eventually I'd either be dead, or I'd be university, and they would be out of my life anyway.

"Let's just go.. please? I want to get cleaned up, and I want to see the girls," I told her, and she nodded.

The car ride back to my house was silent. There were no cars in the driveway, so I pulled my key out of my pocket and opened the door for us. I let my backpack fall to the ground and I sighed. Everything was aching. I didn't think anything was more than some bruises and cuts, but it sucked. Normani closed the door, and bit her lip as she looked at me.

"C'mere, Lauren," she said, looping one of my arms around her shoulders.

"W-what are you.." I began, but before I could even finish the question Normani had picked me up bridal style.

Being carried like that was a little painful, but I appreciated the gesture and if she wanted to carry me, I wasn't going to argue that. Normani was strong, and I trusted her not to drop me. She carried me up to my bathroom, and set me down on the counter top.

"Wait here," she instructed, before disappearing.

She came back a minute or so later with some cloths, and bandages. I sighed, and said nothing as she began to clean me up. This situation felt familiar, having someone trying to tend to my wounds. It wasn't that long ago that I had Ally and Dinah trying to fix me up after that big breakdown.

Luckily my lip wasn't as swollen as I thought it'd be. It was a little bit, and there was definitely a split in it, but it could have been much worse. My eye was bruising, I definitely had a black eye. It wasn't attractive, but there wasn't much I could do about that. Normani cleaned off the scrapes, bandaged them up, and helped me down from the counter.

"I should get changed," I muttered, walking into my bedroom. "Even just my shirt touching my side really hurts.."

"Hm.. let's see.."

Normani helped me get undressed. It was hard to do things with the pain from the huge bruise. I hate feeling useless but I appreciated her help.

"What about this?" she asked, holding up one of the crop tops I own. It would sit in a good spot.

"That'll do.. Could you please toss me the white one too? And maybe a pair of jeans for? I'm gonna pack them for tomorrow, and I'll just wear the black top now and wear it to sleep or something," I told her with a nod as she tossed both crop tops in my direction, along with a pair of white jeans, a fresh pair of black ones, and underwear for tomorrow.

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