Look After You by Abbey
Summary: Can Natalie overcome her addiction and bring her relationship back to the way it was with Howie?




Categories: Fanfiction > Backstreet Boys Characters: Howie
Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Sexual Content
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 3 Completed: No Word count: 3056 Read: 2621 Published: 03/24/06 Updated: 04/04/07

1. This Is Not You by Abbey

2. Decisions by Abbey

3. Abandonment by Abbey

This Is Not You by Abbey
Natalie

“Nat you never listen to me. Why? Why don’t you ever listen to me?” Howie’s eyes wouldn’t tear away from mine. He was so dissapointed–I’d never seen him so dissapointed in me. Howie never really got angry, he just got sad instead. And the looks he gave me...I never could handle the looks.

I lay, almost passed out and drunk on his couch yet again.

“I’m sorry.” I barely mumbled.

“I know.” He whispered. I could see him running his hand through his hair as he paced back and forth. I was so disposed, it was almost like he was one big blur.

He picked me up and I clung to him as he carried me into his bedroom. He tucked me into his bed and I was immediately lost in the smell and warmth of his sheets. Before I knew it, I was completely gone.

***

I woke up in the morning with a pounding headache, which seemed to be a regular occurrence for me. I couldn’t even figure out where I was or what I was even doing here. I looked around and finally realized...I was at Howie’s. I stumbled out of bed, realizing every bone and muscle in my body hurt like pure hell. I barely made my way to the kitchen, tripping over a few things as I guided my hands along the wall. What had happened?

I saw him at the kitchen table, just sitting there. He turned his head towards me as I sat down across from him, resting my head in my hands.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, his face as cold and expressionless as possible.

“Okay.”

“Do you even know why you’re here?”

“No...” I looked around the room again, before letting my eyes fall to the table top, “What happened?”

Howie shook his head, rubbing his arm slowly, “Well, you went out again last night and drank way too much. After searching for you for about half the night, I finally found you outside of some sleezy bar, nearly passed out for any creep to find.”

“Oh.” Had I heard this before?

“Natalie, we can’t do this anymore.” He said simply. I could feel his eyes on me, but I still couldn’t look at him.

“I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry isn’t good enough anymore Nat. I can’t watch you hurt yourself all the time. You’re always going out and getting way too drunk, or you’re here drinking...you’re home drinking. And somehow, someway I always end up putting you to bed at night, taking care of you. Then, the next night you do it all over again. Why can’t you just stop Natalie? We had a good life together, what did I do to deserve this? What did you do to deserve this? Can you...can you please just...stop?” I could see Howie’s eyes go dark, was...was he about to cry?

“You’re just hurting yourself Natalie.” He repeated.

I swallowed hard.

“You were so drunk last night I couldn’t even talk to you. If I wanted to tell you I loved you, you wouldn’t of even known.” He sighed, and I saw him turn his eyes away from me.

It was silent, except for the pounding in my head. Now what? What could I possibly say to him that would make this situation any better? Had it really gotten that bad?

"You need help Natalie." He told me, running a hand across his forehead.

"I know."

"No I don't think you realize. You need professional help. You need to go to a place where they will help you recover."

"Recover? Howie, I'm fine."

He raised his eyebrows at me, "Fine? You think this is fine? Natalie you're digging yourself a grave! You can't even see what you're doing? Are you serious right now? "

Again I couldn't say anything.

"Are you willing to get help? Are you willing to let me help you?"

"I don't understand what the hell you mean by help." I shot at him.

"Natalie, your drinking is out of fucking control, you're an alcoholic."

Had he really just said that to me?

"Don't....don't treat me like a child Howie. I'm not a child."

"Explain to me then...explain to me why you're acting like one. I've taken this for too long Nat, I love you more than......more than anything and I can't just watch you throw your life away. You promised we would share our lives together. How can we do that if you come home drunker than hell every single night? And if we were to have a family? Oh I'm sure the kids would appreciate that--"

"HOWIE!" I screamed at him. A drink. A drink....I needed a drink. Something strong, something that would make me numb to what he was saying.

He swallowed hard, "I'm sorry...." He shook his head and moved his chair closer to me. He ran his hand through his hair before speaking softly, "You....you know that I love you. This is the only reason why I am acting like this. You've got to understand that. It just scares me that you don't seem to understand how bad this has gotten. I had to go and throw away every trace of alchohol in this house. I have to keep the local bars on speed dial. I have to--well I've been doing things I shouldn't have to do Nat. I've got my best friends and my family telling me that I can't be with you anymore because all I'm doing is hurting myself. But....I can't listen to them because....because..."

I looked up at him, my eyes filling with tears, "Why don't you listen to them Howie? I don't need help, I just...I just need to leave."

"Because I believe in you Natalie." He brushed his hand over mine and I bit my lip nervously. "If you were to get help, if you were to realize that you have an addiction that is tearing you apart, I know that you could overcome it. I don't know what else you want me to do. I think I've done just about everything I can do, and this is all I have left."

We sat there for a few minutes, in complete silence. He lightly caressed the top of my fingers with his thumb all while gently searching my eyes. What had happened to us? What had I done?
Decisions by Abbey
Author's Notes:
I'm sorry it took so long for me to update. Thank you so much for the feedback. This story really means a lot to me, and I'm really trying to tell it the best I can. Again, thanks!
Natalie

I woke up a few hours later, nestled beneath the sheets of Howie’s bed once again. My eyes were glazed over as I looked around for any sign of him. Where there was none, I lay my head back down against the pillows, silently cursing at myself. I glanced over at the clock next to me, squinting to see the bright red numbers. Six. Was that p.m. or a.m.? How could I not even know the difference? It had seemed like this had become my every day. I hadn’t worked in weeks. My photography business had gone out the window. How did I even expect it to stay afloat when I didn’t return any of my client’s phone calls? I hardly even spoke to Howie anymore. Pushing those thoughts out of my mind I crawled out of bed, walking down the hallway to the kitchen for the second time that day. I searched the cabinets for something, anything to drink. Finding nothing, not even a drop of alcohol, I headed towards the door, pulling a coat around my body.

“Where are you going?” A voice from behind me asked.

I turned around to see Howie standing there, arms crossed.

“I just need to run to the store.” I explained as he flicked on the light, the brightness of it blinding me.

“What do you need? I’ll get it.” He walked over to me, pulling the keys to his car from the hook.

“Howie, I need to get out of here for a minute. I’ll be fine.”

“Do you think I’m a fucking idiot?” He asked startling me, putting himself between myself and the door.

“You’re not my father Howie, I’m just going to the store.”

“You’re damn straight I’m not you’re father Natalie.”

He never used to get this angry with me, in fact he never used to get angry at all. We’d spend hours in bed together, tracing each other’s skin with our fingertips. Saying everything, and nothing at the same time with only a look. Now, I had no idea what his looks meant. I really had no idea what I was doing to him.

I couldn’t say anything.

“Coat off, nice try. I told you I was done with this. We just had the same damn conversation about three hours ago.”

I felt tears sting my eyes, “I need it.” I said lowly.

“You do not need it, Natalie.” He retorted.

I looked up at him, “I do…please?

Howie

What the hell was I supposed to do with that? I stood between the love of my life and what seemed the doorway to hell. She’s pleading for alcohol. Never in our relationship had I imagined her sinking so low.

“No. Coat up, I’m not letting you do this.” I reached for the other set of keys that hung by the doorway and stuffed them in my pocket. There had been so many days when I wondered why I just hadn’t left her yet. Days when I wondered what the hell I was doing in such a damaging relationship. I hated every minute of it. We had so much to look forward too. So many plans for our life. Marriage, a family, a future. I couldn’t just let that all slip away, could I?

After a moment, she gave in, pulling her coat off of her.

“I’m calling tonight Natalie.” I said softly, watching as she headed back towards the bedroom again.

She froze, “Howie, no.”

No?, I thought, No?

“I’m done. I’m finished. This is it. I’m calling and we’re going tomorrow. I’m packing your things tonight. You don’t have a choice in this anymore. I’m not watching your life rot away for one more second.” She couldn’t even turn to look at me. Even if she did it wouldn’t matter, she had no emotion in her eyes anymore. Everything I said and did was ignored, except when it denied her of something she thought she needed. I missed the days when she actually wanted my company. Wanted me for something other than being her care taker, and her taxi, and her…What did it matter?

I saw her nod, and walk away from me again. I collapsed on the couch, reaching for my laptop, fighting the urge to chuck it against the wall. I must have stared at the phone number at the bottom of the page for a good five minutes before finally entering it into my cell phone.

“Good evening, Beginning’s Rehabilitation Center, how may I assist you?”

Raking my memory for the name I had been given hours I go, I gulped, “Hi, I spoke to someone a while ago I believe her name was Melissa. Is she still available?”

“Yes hold on one moment,”

I sighed as the hold music started playing in my ear. I leaned against the cushions of the couch, closing my eyes. I wondered how many other people had to do this for the ones they loved. Would it even work? Would she come back to me?

“Thank you for holding this is Melissa.”

“Yes, hi, this is Howie Dorough, we spoke--”

She quickly interrupted, a smile filling her voice, “Howie, yes I remember. Natalie correct?”

“Yes ma’am, thank you for remembering,” He sighed, “Melissa, I need to bring her in tomorrow. How early could I do that?” The words pained me, I was sending her away, but it couldn’t wait.

“When she wakes up in the morning, give me a call, and I’ll set up an appointment okay Howie? We definitely have a place for her here.”

“Alright, thank you Melissa.”

“You’re welcome Howie, get some rest if you can.”

If only she knew how hard that was going to be. I said thank you and hung up the phone, closing my tired eyes once again. I felt like this might be the answer to everything. But, I wondered, how much help could Natalie really get if she didn’t want it?

Abandonment by Abbey
Howie

I sat on the couch the morning, next to the bags I had packed the night before for Natalie. Anyone else would certainly find this situation insane. Me, surrounded my by alcoholic girlfriend’s bags, waiting for her to wake up at one o’clock in the afternoon. I sighed, checking my watch once again. Standing up, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. I walked down the hallway to the bedroom, wanting to scream at her sleeping form. How could she just lay there, sleeping well into the afternoon, without a care about what I was going through to look after her.

“Natalie,” I said softly, leaning on the door frame. When she didn’t stir, I moved in closer, sitting next to her on the bed. It took everything in me not to brush away the few strands of auburn hair that had fallen in her face. I just wanted to touch her and have it bring her back to normal. She’d sit up, press her palm to my cheek and tell me to come back to bed with her. If only… “Natalie,” I tried again.

“What…” She mumbled, with out even a glance in my direction.

“You’re bags are packed, you have an appointment this morn--afternoon with a rehab center. It’s time to get up and go.”

She groaned, pulling the covers over her head. I wanted to scream at her. Flip the bed over, make her get up. Make her realize what she’s been doing to herself all this time. How could she not know?

“I’m not playing around Natalie. You need to get up,” I stood up, shoving the covers off of her, “Now.”

Natalie

I couldn’t understand what he was saying to me. Get up? Bags packed? The air felt like ice as Howie shed me of the warmth that his blankets provided. As I started to sit up, my head began its usual pounding. It was as if someone was throwing me against a wall over and over again.

“Howie,” I whined, “I’m tired.”

It didn’t take me long to realize that I should not have said that. “Tired? You’re tired?! Natalie you have been doing nothing but sleeping in my bed for weeks. You’ve hardly moved. How in the hell can you be tired right now? If you do not get out of bed, I’m going to personally haul your ass out myself.”

I just stared at him for a moment. Who was this man sitting in front of me? Had I done this to him? How horrible was it that I couldn’t even remember what he used to be like? All I could remember was this. This anger and frustration. The crying and the sadness. I never remember Howie crying before this. He kept telling me that he had lost all hope. That there was nothing he could do now; he had lost me. But had he? How could I not know?

He glared at me, pointing to the bathroom. “I’m going,” I muttered, standing up and walking slowly towards the shower.

* * *

An hour later I came out into the living room where Howie was waiting for me. He was sending me away, I kept repeating to myself. Why couldn’t I have just listened to him all those nights when he told me if I didn’t stop this he was going to have to leave me. Could I survive without him? What if I didn’t make it through this? Who would be there to take care of me? I remembered how often I used to tell him I loved him. I didn’t say that anymore. He stood up, walking over to the door. “Your things are in the car.” Opening it, I walked out in front of him, my eyes only watching the movement of my own feet.

It wasn’t too much longer and we arrived at Beginning’s Rehabilitation Center. Not a word was spoken in the car on the way there. He didn’t even look at me once. Howie got out of the car so fast, I didn’t understand it. How badly did he want to get rid of me. Pulling my things out of the trunk, he waited outside for me. I couldn’t even unbuckle my seatbelt. I needed a drink, something strong. Something to make me just forget about this and go back to sleep. I could forget about everything in the safety of Howie’s bed sheets. My own private hideaway. I closed my eyes, sighing, before I got out of the car to follow him into the resort like building.

“Howie I don’t want to go.” I said quickly, before I could take another step.

He turned around, pulling my suitcases along with him. “Natalie, we are going. If you for one second thing this is easy for me--well…you don’t even know. C’mon…” He waited for me to start walking before continuing on towards the doorway.

He held the door open for me and I walked in, not being able to shake the feeling of abandonment. He was sending me away.

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