Dakota 9

***Warning!!! Allusions to extremely uncomfortable situations. Please skip this installment if you are upset by rape or sexual situations with ambiguous consent. This installment is only important to set up Piper’s backstory for a later installment. Safe Reading! ~Simi*** 

Last night had been… rough.

I sat on the floor in the costume room at work, my head in my hands, wanting to sleep more than anything. My head ached, my heart ached, everything ached, and I knew straight up that I was making shitty decisions.

Scratch wanting to sleep, I wanted to cry for an hour, eat an entire pan of brownies, and then straight up die.

Rick prattled on reminders about communicating with our performers during changes, keeping the dressing rooms tidy, and a bunch of run of the mill bullshit. I could practically quote him verbatim at this point. Once he’d finished, Heather hauled me to my feet. “You okay, Piper?”

“Kill me and then ask,” I responded, then forced a laugh. “Yeah, just tired.”

She frowned, obviously seeing through that, but simply patted my arm before we all went our separate ways to work.

I made it halfway through the day in a daze, lost in thought about the previous night. Jay and I had attempted, vainly, to remain friends. How naive of me, I thought, to believe that he wanted anything pertaining to friendship from me. The bastard had spent the past month flaking every time we wanted to get together, then whining whenever I couldn’t make time between work and school, and didn’t want to wake up at four in the morning to meet with him. Ass.

The thought of Jay made my stomach turn a little. We’d gone to dinner, specifically because I’d insisted on giving his stuff back to him, and wanted him to know that it was because the stuff was his and he should have it, not because I hated him. He hadn’t taken it well, he’d even cried. I made it halfway through the night before I caved and, in the end, went home with him. I’d wanted to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.

He didn’t do what I’d thought he would. He did something worse.

I shook myself, not wanting to think about it anymore. I was already stressing out over a pair of goddamned shoes, not even because of the shoes, but because of the path my thoughts had started to take. I didn’t want to cry at work, that was all sorts of not okay.

When the time came, I leaned against the wall and watched performers come and go, spacing out. That is, until someone tickled my side and made me yelp and jump away in panic. Dakota snickered at me, sauntering down the line without a word. “Hello to you, too,” I called after him. “Nerd.”

“Doofus,” He responded, and that was all he said as he picked up his costume and went out the door.

The costuming team and I took lunch at Taco Bell again, but I sat apart from them, with Jay and a friend of his, who happened to be on lunch at the same time as we were today. I had completely checked out of the conversation, putting as much space as possible between myself and Jay, when I caught sight of a familiar face coming away from the soda fountain. “Dakota!”

He saw me, saw the two men with me, and apparently realized that I needed rescuing. That or he wanted to make me just as miserable as they were. I was hoping for the former. He grabbed the chair opposite Jay and dropped down into it, setting down his drink. “Sup?”

I introduced him to Jay and Harold, Jay’s friend, and them to him. “I was telling them about the other day when Sound skipped a cue.” By Sound, I’d been referring to the people in the sound booth, whose names I didn’t know. “Suddenly voices from the distance were very distant. As in nearly silent.”

“It was interesting.” Dakota sucked on the straw of his drink and sort of stared at me blankly.

“At least none of the costumes fell apart on stage… again.” Jay smirked at me, probably not intending to be malicious, but snapping my thin temper in two. Heat flooded my face as my vision started to tint red around the edges. I didn’t need this pig telling me when I failed at my job, when the event he was referring to hadn’t even been my fault.

“Fuck you,” I spat, stabbing my taco salad with my fork and wishing it was his face.

“You did.”

Heat flashed instantly to cold. Hatred closed its fist around my heart and squeezed as I turned a vicious glare to Jay, but words got stuck in my throat. My brain replayed the previous night’s events over and over. His hands on my body, the word “no” escaping my lips in an exhausted daze, waking up with him on top of me, my face pressed into a pillow–

He didn’t notice the pure loathing on my face, thank god, but Dakota did. “I’ve gotta get back,” he said, standing without making it awkward. I turned to smile at him, but I knew he’d see through it. If only he understood. If only I could tell him.

“See you at the show,” I said, almost pleasantly, as he walked away.


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