Last chapter of this part people! I hope you have enjoyed it and will hopefully be back for the next part. It will start in a couple of weeks. Check back on my profile for part two. For now enjoy!

Chapter 20

"The man you saw a couple of days ago is Dave. He is my ex. I loved him and I believed he loved me too. Maybe he did, in his distorted way, but that is not really what this is about. I was together with him for fifteen months. Fifteen months I felt like I was in love with the most reliable man I could know, one with great morals and strong standings. That was until a year and three days ago."

He sighs, faltering for a second like he almost wishes he didn't start this, but then going on with new strength in his voice. "That day, when he got me from the train station, he simply asked me if I'd like to be his best man at his wedding in two days. I froze up as he kept on talking about what it was going to look like and shit. At first I thought he was joking with me, but when he seriously told me that I would need a suit that fit the theme of the wedding I realized he wasn't. When that realisation set I broke. I started crying and he corrected me, so I shut up. It turned out that he had been together with his wife for two years and they were expecting a baby girl in two months. They wanted to seal their happiness with a wedding."

Vic lets out a degrading scuff. "That evening I sneaked out of his house and when he found out he corrected me again. He told me that he still loved me and that it wouldn't change a thing between him and me. He told me that he couldn't live without me. I took that to heart and sneaked out when he was at work the next day. When I got back home I tried to kill myself for the first time." Vic looks up at me with fear in his eyes, waiting for me to say something, to do something.

But what can I say? What can I say that would change anything? One thing keeps bugging me, one word in the whole story bothers me more than his last sentence. "Correcting?" I choke out. "Correcting how?"

Vic immediately turns his head away, no longer looking at me, but now focussing all his attention on the curtains. "I don't want to talk about that."

"So that is the real deal Adam was talking about, right? It's not about you trying to hurt or kill yourself. It's about his grip on you, even now. That is why everybody hates him, not because of his cheating but because of the way he had his grip on you." Thoughts I was too scared to think are confirmed by the defending stance he is giving me. I finally allow myself to go over the things that have been going on these past couple of days. The way everybody hovers around him and always makes sure he is fine. But also the harsh words towards his ex, the way everybody tries to make sure they don't meet again. "He abused you didn't he?"

The look on Vics face confirms more than I had ever wished to know. He looks down at the sheets, his hands balled into fists. A short nod is all the warning I get as he suddenly pushes himself up and pulls the blue operating shirt open and off as far as possible.

"Look." His voice is harsh, his eyes tightly shut. "Look at my back. How would you still be able to tell me you love me after you saw this? Huh? HOW? I don't want pity! I want someone to just love me!" He starts shaking and silently sobbing, his thin frame hunched over exposing his back further.

I look at his back, tears stinging in my eyes as I see the thin white ridges of scars criss crossing over his back. Some scars laying over other scars, almost as setting a time frame of abuse. I reach out for him but then see that some scars make words. MINE, BAD, LOVE and somewhere on his lower back I can make out DAVE. I drop my arm and stand still for a few second. I no longer know what to do or what to say. I never thought about it like this, in my mind abuse was something you might mentally have to take with you for the rest of your life. I never realized that some people would actually go this far. I reach out and touch a dark round scar, a cigarette burn. He goes rigid under my hand and I feel a pang in my heart.

"I love you." I stand up and pull him in a tight hug. I put my arms around him touching his scars with my bare hands on purpose. "I don't care about all this. I love you for you, for who you are now. Well not really now, as you don't really feel well but for who you are when you are feeling better." I grin sheepishly and Vic pulls me tighter, a tortured sound escaping from his mouth. Warm and wet spots start to appear on my shirt and I hold him close. After a couple of minutes he seems to have cooled down a bit. I'm almost afraid to voice my thoughts but do it anyway. "Does everybody know?"

He shakes his head before he lets go of me and covers himself up again. "Chris, sort of knows but has never seen them. Adam knows and everything, but he refuses to look at them. He can't deal with it. And... I understand that."

"Who treated you then? Or did you just go to the hospital?" I sit on the bed, his hand in mine as I softly brush his hand with my thumb.

"Tom, Anne or Eliza. She is a friend of Tom and Adam from medical school, she used to be Adams house mate until he moved in with Tom." The words come out awkwardly as he is not used talking about this.

I try to reassure him by softly touching him. I feel like I need to know everything now and I don't want to scare him away any more. There is one last thing I want to know.

"Vic..." I take a deep breath. "Adam told me Dave freaked out about the scars on your stomach. So that means they were there before he met you, right?"

Vic nods, looking more uncomfortable about this than about the other things, his eyes dart from side to side. "Adam and I had just broken up and a couple of guys at school were giving me shit about me being gay. They called me names and beat me up a couple of times. I couldn't deal with it no longer. I had gotten addicted to cutting but it no longer gave me the rush I needed. One day I've had it and take the train to Adam because I need to talk to him. But before I reach his place I crash. I needed my fix and after cutting my arms I was still not satisfied, so I cut my belly." Vic takes a couple of deep breaths. "Adam still lived together with Eliza and she took care of me. Adam couldn't cope. I never cut my stomach again after that." He falls quiet and I don't know what to say to that so I keep quiet too. The atmosphere is heavy and I'm still rubbing his hand. He looks at our joined hands and says "Did you know Adam and Tom actually finally had the balls to admit that they liked each other that week? If it weren't for me they would probably still be going out as 'just friends'."

Vic starts to laugh and it works as a charm as I find myself grinning to the mental picture of those awkward dates they would have had.

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