Abusive Rights

Written by Isa Bedigian

Written before "Rings of Saturn" aired.

Julia leaned her arms on the table as she sipped her coffee. It had been a long night. She'd agreed to watch Diana for Charlie because he wanted to attend Kirsten's birthday party and he'd deemed Claudia "too young and immature" to watch the baby on her own. Diana had cried all night, and Julia had barely gotten any sleep. What little sleep she did get wound up being in the center of Diana's blanket under her Winnie The Pooh throw. A night alone with Ned seemed to be exactly what she needed. If she could work up the energy to drive to the dorms.

She grabbed one of Owen's crayons off of the table and began to doodle Ned's name on the back of a grocery receipt. As she doodled, the "Neds" became "Griffins". She noticed what she was doing and crumpled up the receipt, tossing it into the trash can.

"Ugh," Claudia stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. One of her socks was missing, one pant leg of her pajamas was pushed up to her knee and her hair was seriously in bed-head mode. She looked like hell. "The human alarm clock is off and running. She wants you, you know."

"Pass," she took another sip of the coffee. "I should call Ned."

Claudia opened the fridge and took out the orange juice. "Why?"

"Because he's my boyfriend?" Julia gave her a "duh" look.

"You know Jule, Julia Holbrook sounds better than.....than.....what is Ned's last name?"

"Claudia, what are you--"

"It doesn't matter. Anything would sound bad compared to Holbrook."

Julia breathed a heavy sigh. "Claudia, would you just mind your own business?"


"I mean it. Just butt out."

Claudia rolled her eyes. "When are you gonna open your eyes?" she took her glass of juice and ran up the stairs, leaving Julia alone in her mess of a life.

Awhile later, Julia realised that Charlie hadn't come home yet. She reached for the phone and was about to dial Kirsten's house when she heard footsteps outside the kitchen door and keys jingling. Charlie came through the back door, looking anything but exhausted. "You were out all night." Julia stated. "Diana never slept."

"She never does." he took his coat off. "She asleep now by any chance?"

"I doubt it."

"I'm gonna go see her."

"Charlie? What happened?"

"It was a hard party. Paul never showed, people didn't leave 'till two, I stayed to help her clean up." He noticed her looking at his shirt. The buttons were done all wrong as though he'd done it in the dark or a hurry or both.

"That's a nice husband." Julia remarked. She went into the living room.

Charlie headed for the stairs, shaking his head. "As though you're such a good spouse." He'd come to like Griffin recently. He'd realised that all this time he'd been hating who he thought was a bad guy, but that in actuality Griffin was a sweetheart. He helped him watch Diana when he could and did some light housework now and then. He had only met Ned twice, but he didn't like him at all, and he knew why. He had sneaky eyes. Not the kind of thing you want for your little sister. Griffin, on the other hand, truly cared about Julia. You could tell by the way he said her name. Even in normal conversation, it was full of love. He doubted they'd ever be back together, but he knew first hand that you don't always wind up with the person you belong with.

Julia gathered up her things and left for Ned's without saying goodbye to anyone. She'd managed to avoid Griffin the night before and wanted it to stay that way. She flew to the campus and stopped by her room first to change her clothes. Maggie was gone, and the remnants of a pizza were left in the box on the floor. Julia closed it up and tossed it on Maggie's desk chair before she left.

She knocked on the door to Ned's room and entered without waiting for a reply. She found him stretched out on his bed, reading.

"Surprise!" she threw her bag down and smiled at him.

He looked up at her. "Julia. I thought you had to watch your niece?"

"Yeah, well, I'm back." she sat on the bed and began tugging at the bottom of his sweatshirt, trying to get it off of him.



"Not now." he tried to shove her away and held the book up, covering his eyes.

Julia sat back on her heels. "Ned, I was gone all night. And all day."

"So? I've gotta study."

She took the book out of his hands and threw it. She leaned in to kiss him, but he shoved her away hard, his hand pressing against her chest. She fell back onto the floor, landing thankfully on a pile of laundry. "Just leave me alone!" he shouted. He got off the bed and kicked her bag out of his way as he grabbed the book and returned to his bed. She lay on the floor for a minute, wondering what just happened. She started to get up. Her neck hurt. "Ned...." she didn't know what to say to him. She was confused.

"Just go." he kept his eyes on the book. His mouth was set in a firm line.

She grabbed her bag and opened the door. "Your wish is my command," she commented before slamming the door behind her. She ran out of the dorm and collapsed on the grass outside. All these thoughts were running through her mind. What just happened? He hadn't just shoved her on purpose, had he? No. He just needed to study. That's all, he just needed to concentrate and I was disturbing him. I should've called first. He didn't mean anything by it, right?


Julia stood up and realised she was crying. She wiped the tears from her eyes and ran back to her own dorm. Thankful that Maggie was gone, she fell onto the bed and fell asleep in the midst of her tears. When she woke up, Maggie was on her bed, eating from a cereal box and studdying a CliffsNotes. "You ok?"

"You're talking to me now?"

"You look upset."

"I'm okay."

Maggie offered Julia the box but she shook her head. "We can talk you know. I think that's mandatory in the book of roommate rules."

"I dunno....."

"Look Jule. You wouldn't be resisiting temptation if you didn't want to."

"You dated Ned for a long time, right?"

Maggie took a deep, slow breath. "Is this about the hitting?"

Julia eyes widened. "He hit you?"

"Uh-huh. Until I hit him back. Then he learned not to mess with me. Has he hit you?"

Julia looked at the ground.

"Julia, he hit you?"

"He shoved me."

"Same thing. What did you do?"

"I left."

"Next time, and there will be a next time, hit him back."

"I'm sure there won't be. I mean, I'm sure he was just--"

"Studying? They always have some excuse." Maggie checked her watch. "I'm late for a lecture. See ya." she put her coat on and started to leave. "Julia?"


"Be careful." those were Maggie's last words. "Be careful."

Julia hugged her pillow and thought about it. It couldn't be the same thing that happened with Maggie. Ned wasn't the type to be an abuser.

At least, before, she didn't think he was.

Now she wasn't sure.