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"Are you sure we shouldn't go to the hospital?" David asked, gripping my hair a touch tighter as I lost my breakfast in the toilet. "You've been throwing up all morning."

"Maybe I'm throwing up because you're so annoying," I wasn't trying to be mean, but it slipped out before I could stop myself. David hadn't left my side for a second that morning, which I loved and resented at the same time. I was embarrassed to be throwing up in front of anyone, especially him, and I took out my frustration on him.

David raised his eyebrows at my snappiness but didn't say anything, which only made my guilt grow. I sighed, "Sorry. This is just embarrassing and I feel like shit right now."

"It's okay, babe," his fingers grazed up and down my back as he spoke, and I was so relaxed that I almost missed the babe.

Babe. Babe. David called me babe. Not in front of anyone, not on camera, not in an Instagram comment. Alone, on the bathroom floor, with puke dripping off the corner of my mouth.

I would've gotten giddy, if I hadn't thrown up right after. Not that I liked David or anything, but he was an easy person to like if you were acting friendly. He was charismatic and charming and it was so, so easy to fall into the trap. I wasn't going to, though. We were just friends who also happened to have a baby together. That was all I would allow it to be.

"Are you feeling worse or better? I really don't have any medicine here, but I could send Jason or Natalie or Todd or Corinna or Aaliyah to get some," he named off all the people that knew the truth, but they couldn't help. Our doctor told us it was best to just brave the storm and drink some ginger ale to settle my stomach, and David stocked the fridge with it the day after. I was sure I just had to let it happen.

"I'm okay," I smiled up at him, wiping my forehead where I had broke a sweat. "I think I'm going to take a bath, though, if that's okay. I feel disgusting."

"Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, of course!" David sprung up, letting go of my hair. I watched as some of the ends scraped the edge of the toilet water, but I honestly couldn't care less. I was exhausted. "I'll run it for you. Do you want bubbles?"

"Yes, please," I nodded, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. "Thank you, David. You really are the best. God, imagine if I was pregnant with Dylan's baby."

"What even happened with Dylan?" he questioned, his hand resting under the running water to find the right temperature.

"What do you mean?" I responded.

"Well, whenever you told me about him, your sentences weren't super... coherent," he stood and gestured to the half filled bath with loads of bubbles. "You can tell me once you get out."

"Can you stay?" I finally asked once he got to the door. "Like, wait until I'm covered in bubbles and then come back."

"Okay," he shrugged and left me to undress, only coming back after I called him. "Well, tell me. I feel like I'm about to watch a Tana Mongeau video."

"Because I'm naked?" I laughed, glancing down at the bubbles to ensure everything was still covered. Not that David hadn't seen me naked before, but we weren't on that level.

"Because you're about to tell me some crazy ass story naked," he chuckled, leaning back against the wall and then gesturing for me to continue.

"Okay, um, it gets a little deep so be ready," I nervously laughed, twisting my hands underneath the water. "When I was younger, I played soccer and my coach was really, really impressed with me. I joined his team in third grade and he just kept moving with me, to different leagues even. I was really good, and he really wanted to be the one to teach me."

I took a deep breath and continued, "All of my friends told me he seemed a little creepy and like he was obsessed with me, but I don't know, I always saw him as a father figure, I guess. I trusted him. On the day I turned eighteen, the literal day, he snapchatted me a picture of his dick and said now we can finally fuck. As if I had been waiting to fuck him. As if I ever thought of him like that."

"Oh my god."

"I know," I nodded, letting out a laugh of disbelief. "I told my parents and they didn't believe me. I just stopped showing up to soccer, and I lost my scholarship to Duke. It was just so shocking to me. I thought he believed in me all this time when in reality he was just grooming me to get what he wanted. Now all my good childhood memories are gross to me. It's so disgusting."

"That is... wow," he frowned, sliding closer to the bathtub. "I am so sorry, Sloane."

"You couldn't have done anything," I shrugged. "My real name isn't even Sloane; it's Eleanor. Sloane is my middle name. Every time I heard Eleanor or El, I thought of him. Every time I looked at my blonde hair, I saw the way he would tug at my ponytail and smirk at me after a good game. Anyways, I went to USC against my parent's wishes. I changed my name and dyed my hair. Not for them, but for me. I guess I was more susceptible to abuse after the first time, and I met Dylan my sophomore year after Aaliyah started dating her boyfriend Dre. He was so cool; that's literally the only way I know how to describe him. He dressed different and acted different and didn't give a fuck what anyone thought, and it was so cool. I was, like, honored that he wanted to date me. I was so happy that I would've forgiven him for anything because I thought he was really lowering his standards to date me."

"You're really hot, though," David commented like he was confused. "And I saw Dylan. He didn't seem like he was all that."

"You just have to know him when he's not being an angry dick. Because he's always a dick and pretty douchey, but when he's not being so mean about it, it's just... I don't know. He makes you feel special and different. Hopefully that makes sense."

"It does," he confirmed.

"We were fine for a month or two. By that, I mean it was what I signed up for. He was a dick, but I knew that. He never hurt me or anything. He just started lying to me, like all the time, about things that didn't matter. It was so fucking bizarre; he would tell me he had Chickfila for lunch when he actually had Panda Express. It isn't a big deal what you had for lunch, but why the fuck are you lying about it, you know? The lies just over time got bigger until he was literally lying about everything. He wouldn't tell me where he was and he was cheating on me constantly and somehow he made it seem like it was my fault, and I fucking believed him. He told me because of my coach that I couldn't trust people and that it was impossible to be loyal to someone who didn't trust him. So I tried to change. I tried to be what he wanted for months until I realized I never would be, because he's fucking messed up, mentally."

"Wow," David sighed and leaned his head against the edge of the tub. "I know I can't fix it, but I'm sorry. No one deserves that."

"Thanks," I softly smiled at him. "Seriously, for everything. I couldn't have a better baby daddy."

"Ooh, baby daddy," David waggled his eyebrows. "I like the sound of that."





would it even be an abby book if the character didnt have a tragic backstory on why they cant love people? no because then my characters wouldnt relate to me!

hope u like this chapter, its really just character building but idk. david and sloane are cute!!! lmk what u think!! vote and comment and all that jazz xoxo abby

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