Phoebe still felt responsible.
It had been just over a week since she had been attacked by her sister’s fiance and things weren’t getting better. She had withdrawn almost completely, staying in her room until the house was empty before venturing out for food, the little that she could force down. Her showers had grown longer and hotter as she tried desperately to scrub the memory of his touch from her skin.
And through it all, she wanted nothing more than to tell her big sister what had happened to her.
Prue had been suspicious of her and Roger for weeks, however, and that was part of why she had remained hidden in her room. If Prue hurled another accusation at her with how fragile she felt now, Phoebe thought she might break and never recover.
She couldn’t blame Prue, though. She had been stealing her sisters’ boyfriends since she was thirteen years old, desperate for their attention even if it was negative. Though older now, she knew her behavior was still outlandish and what everyone would call ‘acting out’ and she knew that Prue wouldn’t hesitate to believe whatever lie Roger spit out about their encounter because of it.
It was her fault, every bit of it, she thought darkly as she lay in her dark bedroom, staring at the ceiling. She must have done something to encourage Roger, to make him think that he could force himself on her. She’d been called a tease plenty in her life, enough to start to believe it and she assumed that must have been the case with Roger.
Just then, a knock sounded on her door and she swallowed hard as she rolled over onto her side to look at it, the sliver of light shining underneath the door partially obscured by the person on the other side. Touching her cheeks, Phoebe was surprised to find them wet; she’d thought she had run out of tears long ago. “Who is it?” she called softly, her voice hoarse from disuse.
“It’s Prue. I need to talk to you Phoebe.”
Phoebe squeezed her eyes closed tightly, hoping that she would just go away. But instead, she heard the door open and heard the light switch flip. The bed dipped slightly near her feet and she couldn’t hold back the hoarse sob that ripped from her chest when she felt Prue’s gentle touch on her arm.
“Hey, Phoebe talk to me,” Prue’s voice coaxed, making Phoebe feel secure enough to open her eyes, taking a moment to adjust the unaccustomed light.
“I can’t,” she whispered, feeling like she was drowning as she desperately tried to avoid her big sister’s gaze that could always see right through her.
Prue didn’t try to push farther, no doubt uncomfortable with her emotions the way she so often was. But she stayed with Phoebe for an hour, then two, then three; ultimately falling asleep holding her hand and although she felt guilty for the comfort she found in her presence, Phoebe soaked up every bit of comfort as she rested her head on her shoulder.
She didn’t sleep a wink that night.
Just two days later, Phoebe was finally starting to feel more herself. Something had changed that night with Prue and although she still felt responsible and guilty for what had happened with Roger, she’d found the strength to start putting herself back together. The secret still ate away at her but she found it easier to ignore in the company of others, even the one she was keeping the secret from.
But nothing could have prepared her for coming home and finding Roger sitting alone in the living room. Phoebe felt as though all the air had been sucked from the room as their eyes locked and as he stood up, she felt for all the world the prey afraid to run from the predator, knowing he would just give chase and finding it all so terribly futile.
“Don’t touch me,” she still found the courage to hiss as he drew closer, slapping him when he put his hands on her hips. That only seemed to amuse him and he tightened his grip, forcing a kiss on her lips….
Phoebe took a beat to push him away, too shocked that this was happening again and that was when Prue walked into the room.
“What the hell are you two doing?!” she demanded.
“He made me, Prue,” Phoebe desperately tried to explain, the secret bursting forth with all the force she’d wished to tell it. “He tried to rape me last week and now he’s trying it again,” she sniffled, feeling herself shrink as Prue narrowed her eyes.
“That’s disgusting, Phoebe, you could at least own your actions,” she said, her voice colder than Phoebe had ever heard directed at her. “You’ve always tried to steal our boyfriends but this is ridiculous,” she glared, making Phoebe feel smaller than she’d ever felt in her life as she shrank back into the couch.
“Save it,” she cut her off, her voice leaving no room for argument as she stormed from the room, leaving Phoebe alone with Roger once more.
Bolting up the stairs, Phoebe locked herself into her room and cried for hours, ignoring even Piper’s attempts to see her and Prue’s shouting through the door equally. Only when she found herself with no more tears to cry and the entire house dark and quiet did she emerge from the bedroom, her eyes red and puffy as she went into the bathroom and gathered her things.
Packing no more than two bags, she took a long look around the only bedroom she’d ever known and fought back a sob as she realized she may well never see it again.
“Bye, Grams,” she whispered, missing her with a fierceness that nearly overwhelmed her. Grams would have been able to help her fix this, she would have listened to Phoebe without judgment as she always had done.
But Grams was gone and it was time for her to grow up and quit tormenting her sisters with her presence, she thought bitterly as she slipped out of the house. She had very little money, just enough to get a ticket to New York and she felt so very small and alone as she tried to imagine what she would do once she got there.