Who breaks her first

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Early mornings were always busy affairs. Jack ran through his closet, looking for his jacket without disturbing Alissa's neatly folded and hung clothes on every single shelf and rack in the closet. Almost everything in the room was hers anyway, Jack barely had much belongings so he had gotten used to keeping an eye out for touching or ruining anything in her neat order. Once he finally found his jacket, he quickly skipped out of the room on his toes as to not wake Alissa so early in the morning. He ran past all the bedroom doors and was not surprised that nobody was awake yet. Rose and Ashley had stayed up talking in their room all night but Chanel and Micah seemed to have been asleep all night. Jack glanced at his worn out watch. It was almost six in the morning and time for both he and Chanel to be going to work. She must be waiting downstairs in the kitchen, probably brewing up coffee for them both. But as he ran down the stairs, there was no sound or sight in the kitchen. The used glasses and dishes were still in the sink, the pizza they had ordered last night was hardening in the open box. It seemed that nobody had touched anything in the kitchen.
Something did not look right at all. Jack looked around the living room and the bathroom but there was nothing else. Could she have left already? But no she couldn't have, Jack thought as his eyes found her car keys on the coffee table on top of her text books. But then where was she? Could she have slept through her alarm? Though it was unlike Chanel to sleep in, Jack still tiptoed back upstairs to check on her without waking anyone else. Her bedroom door seemed shut but once he looked closer, he realized that it was not completely shut. He still knocked but no response came. Worry grew in him as he entered the room. And what he had dreaded came true. Her room was empty, her bed unmade and her things on the floor. Her textbooks and notebooks were still on the desk, her backpack was on a chair along with her jacket and shorts but Chanel herself was nowhere to be seen. Two things caught jacks eyes immediately. Her glasses were sitting on top of her books. Chanel could never go anywhere without her glasses, she could barely see ten feet ahead of her without them. And the white bedsheets stood out. The clear white sheets were no longer pure white. He picked up the sheets to confirm his horror. The white bedsheets were stained with red blood.
His heart skipped a beat.
A nasty voice in his head whispered his worst nightmares to him.
He looked around the room for a blade, a knife, anything sharp but there was nothing.
Then what?
What?
It was only then that he noticed the bathroom door was shut. Chanel's room was the only room with a bathroom suite. But could she really be late to work because she was taking too long in the shower? That was nothing like Chanel and with every passing moment an awful feeling of dread was growing in him. A small voice in the back of his mind repeated that he knew what was awaiting him in there but Jack denied it.
    His hand froze on the door knob. He could hear the shower in the bathroom. But it did little to comfort Jack in fact it only added to his anguish. The situation was the same as it had been two years ago except now he knew what to expect. But somehow that made the whole situation even more terrifying. His heart was jumping into his mouth. He wanted to run inside but he had lost control of his own limbs. But there was something he could hear aside from the water. It was muffled and quiet but it was enough to spark up hope in him. It was enough to drive him.
     He burst into the bathroom, not bothering to knock first at all. And he was met with the cruel reality of their lives. The cruel reminder that they could probably never escape the demons that cornered them from all sides. But to his relief it was better than he had expected. Chanel sobbed and screamed without giving Jack a moment of notice. The water from the shower washed down rained down on her head and trailed down her back. It washed away her blood like a river of red down from the open wounds on her arms and stomach and down the drain. Now that Jack saw her naked, he got a good look at how far her self destruction had really come. But before he could take a good look at her, he had to help her. He shut the door before anyone could hear her and make it any worse and ran to the her.
"What have you done?" He asked as he knelt in the water and took her in his arms.
He checked every inch of her body for any serious wounds that may have been fatal. But much to his own relief there was nothing but cuts over her arms, thighs and stomach. They were not deep enough to be fatal but they were cuts nonetheless. To him this was a relief compared to what he thought he was anticipating.
"It's okay, baby, it's okay." He shushed her, "You're okay."
"I don't want to live anymore." She cried hysterically, "Please make it stop, make the pain go away."
Jack tightened his arms around her, pushing her into his chest, "It'll go away, Coco, it'll be over soon."
"No it fucking won't! It's only getting worse!"
"Shhhh, don't say that."
"Please make it go away." She wept, clutching onto him, "Please make it stop..."
"Cutting and crying won't make it stop, Chanel."
"It hurts-"
"I know it does, baby, I know it does but you've been through worse. You can make it out safely, Chanel, you're stronger than you think." He replied as he ran his fingers through her wet hair.
"How about we get you cleaned up, hm?" He suggested.
But she did not reply. She only pressed her body closer to his without a word.
"Come on, get up." He sighed as he lifted her up to his feet, "Let's get you squeaky clean."
    He struggled to slip his arm off of Chanel and reach for the shampoo. It was quite a task to pry Chanel off of him so he could wash her hair. But Chanel refused to turn around. She only wrapped her arms around her body, keeping her eyes anywhere that wasn't in jacks view. "I won't look at you, Coco, I promise." He reassured.
"Alissa's gonna kill us if she finds you in here with me." She said quietly.
"She's asleep." He slowly uncoiled her arms from around her body, "Let's hurry before she wakes up."
Chanel was more hesitant than usual. Jack knew where she was coming from but much to his relief, she did not resist him. She slowly turned her back to him. She hardly moved in his hands. She stood like an obedient child as Jack began washing her hair. Chanel was nineteen but she was small. She was just barely an inch above five feet tall and she had not but an ounce of fat left on her. Her bones were peeking through her skin with barely any fat to cover them, the cuts bled out with the hot water but Chanel never once complained of pain. Jack wondered if she could feel it at all anymore. Her body was so pretty yet so small and fragile. Jack felt as if though she would simply snap and break in his hands. Her skin was soft but he could barely run his hand over her before he would find yet another cut in her skin. Each cut he found felt like he too was cutting through his own chest because he knew very well that they were self inflicted.
"When do you find the time to do all this?" He asked in a mumble that he was shocked Chanel could make out.
"Jack?" She said quietly.
"Yeah?"
"Are you helping just so you can l-look at me?" She asked nervously.
"What?" He turned her around and held her by both shoulders, "Chanel, firstly you're my best friend. My world starts and stops with you, I'm helping you because I want to help you. And secondly, I have a girlfriend."
Chanel did not say anything. She simply wrapped her arms around him and seemed to forget that she had had him soaked in water by then.
"Come on, you big baby." Jack chuckled as he wrapped her up in a towel.
Before Chanel could protest, he scooped her up in his arms. She was really light, Jack could estimate that she probably weighed just a little above ninety pounds if not less. But she did not protest like she usually would. That was yet another red flag that told Jack that something had happened besides her usual problems.
     He set her down on the bed and reached for her clothes. He had long known that Chanel's only remaining clothes was her everyday clothes and a black dress but her underwear caught his attention. It was the same ones he had seen in her room almost three years ago. The strap on her bra was hanging on with just a thread, her panties had visible holes in them and they were just as worn out as the rest of her clothing.
"Why are you still wearing these? You bought these like junior year of high school." He said.
She shrugged, "I don't have any other ones."
"Wha- Chanel, underwear isn't that expensive, you know?" He said as he handed her her clothes.
"I don't have any money, Jack, I need every single dime."
He let out a deep sigh of dismay.
Every dime.
It reminded him of what he had tried so hard to forget. He was reminded of how he would have to live without Chanel for months. The thought paralyzed him but he pushed it away. He had to be there for Chanel right now.
"What happened, Coco?" He asked as he helped her slip her panties on.
She hesitated, trying to dodge his question as she put her bra on.
"What are these stains on the sheets? They're not what I think they are, are they?" He persisted.
"No." She answered simply.
He handed her camisole, "Then what are they?"
Chanel stayed quiet at first. She avoided his eyes as he put her camisole and shorts on.
"I gave it to him." She answered shortly without much other explanation.
Gave-
Jack was left more confused than he was before she replied. Her answer did no good except tighten the knot of worry I his stomach and leave him confused. But he was too enveloped in his own thoughts to ask her any further questions. He stayed quiet just like how she did and only watched her put her shorts on as the worst scenarios flashed before his eyes.
"He asked for my v-card and I gave it to him." She said idly.
"You- wait what?" He asked, "What do you mean-"
Slowly the pieces came together. The blood on the sheets, Chanel's breakdowns, the bruises on her body. Rage took over him uncontrollably but he hung onto his logics for a moment. She said that she gave it to him.
"You can't just leave it off there dammit. What happened? I thought you weren't ready-"
"Who said I was ready?" She coaxed, choking back tears and still refusing to look him in the eyes, "But what the fuck is just one night? He gave me two years of his life."
Jack stared at her in shock. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" He bellowed.
"Well what?" She looked at him, her tears running down her cheeks, "You started sleeping with Alissa years ago."
"I started sleeping with Alissa when she herself confirmed that she was ready and when she asked for it. I never pressured her into anything dammit!"
Her idle expression was beginning to crack.
"Well what was I supposed to do?" She choked tearfully, "He's always been there for me I needed t-"
"He's never been there for you, Chanel." Jack interrupted.
"I h-had to d-do it at some p-point..."
"No, you didn't have to if you don't want to."
She tried to wipe her tears away but she simply could not catch up with the rate of the streams that were rushing down her face, "Everyone has needs."
"And personal space was a need you had. If he couldn't respect your choice then he could've just broken up with you not done-"
"What the fuck can I do now? I already slept with him! It's over now!" Chanel screamed, completely forgetting to keep her voice down as she had done before.
She was right.
Jack realized where he was going so wrong. He was pushing her and throwing options she had had back at her when it really did not matter anymore now that it was done. She did not need to know how many other choices she had or be reminded how stupidly she had chosen the wrong one. She needed comfort.
"You're right." He sighed as he took her into his arms, "You deserve better than this. He's just an asshole."
She was struggling to catch her breath though she was not sobbing. It was like she was being robbed of all air in her lungs.
"I hate my body! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It's all everybody wants." She wept in his arms.
Jack could not think of anything to say to that. Because for once she was right. He had seen men cat call her randomly on the streets, people would touch her every time she had a night shift, in fact he saw very clearly that Micah's eyes saw her body more than he saw her as a person. No matter how much damage and pain she inflicted onto her body, nobody ever saw that. All they saw was the hourglass figure and pretty face with no one thinking to look past her smile.
"Do you have band aids?" He asked as he got to his feet.
Chanel tried to wipe her tears away and nodded. She pointed at the drawer in the desk as she sat up straight with the idle expression back on her face. Jack fetched the band aids from the empty drawer beneath the pile of her books. He sat down by her side. Chanel stretched her arms out for him and watched him gently plaster the band aids on her throbbing wounds.
"You're not going to work today, you hear me?" He said as he caressed her cuts.
"I need money, Jack, I'm leaving in less than three days."
"I'll give you how much you need."
Chanel chuckled weakly as she ran her hand through his hair, "You barely have enough to meet all your needs. Plus I won't be here for two months, you'll need all the money you have to pay all the bills and buy everything alone."
"I still-"
Chanel stopped him for she knew exactly what he was about to say. She crawled into his lap and buried her face in his chest. She was small enough to be a child and she was holding onto him as if she were one. Her muscles loosened and her guard slowly lowered. Relief fell over him. He wrapped his arms around her and ran his fingers through her hair. He did not move a muscle to not disturb the calm bubble she was slowly blowing around them both. Perhaps it was because she knew that she would leave this darkness for more than two months, she was taking another huge step towards her dreams or perhaps because she was in the arms of someone who truly did love her but whatever it was, she was finally calm. Despite what had happened to her.

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