Natalie Jarrett is a seventeen-year-old girl who falls in love with the wrong boy. When she finds herself in the hospital after one of his violent attacks, she can no longer turn a blind eye. Suffering from severe injuries, her doctor tells her she will never be the same again. Although injured and feeling guilty, alone, scared and most of all, damaged, everyone seems to expect her to return quickly to her normal life – but how can she bounce back when she blames herself for all that’s gone wrong?
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from Damaged: Natalie’s Story
The next morning, I tried calling again. But, he still didn’t answer. I felt horrible all day. I tried calling every hour. I even texted him, but he didn’t respond.
I took a walk after dinner to clear my head. There was a park not too far from my house. The stars were out and shining bright, reminding me of the dance Josh took me to. I sat down on a bench and I took a few deep breaths trying to relax. After a few minutes, I saw a shadow moving towards me. “Who’s there?” Nobody answered.
The figure stepped into the light. “Josh?” I moved trying to see. “Josh? Is that you?”
I stood up. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of—” Josh raised his hand and slapped me. My cheek felt like it had erupted into flames. I was stunned and speechless. “Josh?”
He stared at me, his eyes ice cold. “I asked you not to go.”
“I’m sorry.” Tears formed in my eyes.
“Don’t you understand?” He grabbed my shoulders. “I love you, Natalie.”
“I love you, too, Josh.”
Josh pulled me to him. “I’m sorry, Nat. Please don’t leave me.”
The tears rolled down my cheeks. “I won’t, Josh.”
We sat down and he took my hand. “You are my life, Natalie.” He wiped away a tear that was running down my face. His eyes were kinder now, his face relaxed and calm.
I touched his face, my hand trembling. “Hold me, Josh.”
Josh put his arms around me. We sat there in silence for a while. I didn’t know what to say, what to think. I was scared of what had just happened. “Josh?”
“I should get home.”
“Of course.” He stood up. “Let me walk you.”
I smiled. “Okay.”
In front of my house, he kissed me and told me he loved me. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Once inside, I made a beeline for my room. Quickly, I went in and sat down on the bed. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Josh had slapped me! I touched my face replaying the incident in my mind. The pain was gone now, but I couldn’t wrap my head around his actions. How could he do that? Why did he do that?
I loved him so much and I knew he loved me too. I just didn’t understand what had just happened. It didn’t make sense.
I fell back on the bed and stared at the ceiling for hours. My heart wasn’t just hurting; it was breaking. I cried myself to sleep that night.
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