I have been on such a long journey with Brittany since this series began, that when I think of where I began and where we are now, I’m so proud of the character she has become. When I created her, sitting in my room in my mid 20’s, I never thought she would go anywhere. My ideas of who she was and what she would represent were very personal and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to share her with anyone.
Of all the characters I’ve created, Brittany is the most polarizing. I have received incredibly harsh criticism regarding her and I have also touched many abuse survivors who connect with the realism she projects. At her core, I want Brittany to be a symbol of strength and love and although deeply flawed, I adore her.
I will be sharing more about her and the “how’ and “why” I created her.
This scene is a powerful reminder of a fraction of the burden she carries, and the grace I feel she exemplifies. I would love to know your thoughts…
Brittany woke up and looked around. She saw his keys on the counter, but didn’t see him. She got up and walked into the bedroom where he was sitting in the dark, petting Tramp. “Hey, are you okay? What happened to you today?”
He looked at her as she turned the light on. “I messed up. I did something and I need you to understand why.”
She walked over to the bed and sat down across from him. “Okay.”
“I read some of the report,” he said as his chin quivered, knowing how upset she was going to be.
She was quiet for a minute. “Oh. Okay then,” she got up and went to walk into the other room.
“Red, wait. I need to talk to you,” he followed her, feeling lower than he thought was possible.
She stopped, but didn’t look at him. “I don’t need to hear it. It’s okay, I get it.”
He looked at her and shook his head. “What does that mean?”
“I went to the precinct without telling you after you asked me not to. You understood, so I have no business getting upset about this. I just need to let you decide what you feel you need to do,” she walked outside into the backyard and sat on the chair by the grass.
He followed her onto the deck, sitting down next to her. “I’m sorry.”
She shook her head but didn’t look at him. “You don’t have to be sorry, Tommy, it’s fine.”
“Why won’t you look at me?”
“Can you maybe give me a minute? Why don’t you go back inside?”
“No, you need to look at me, please.”
She felt her tears spill over. “I can’t.”
He knew he did this. Now, her pain was because of him. “Why not?”
She sighed and rubbed her arms. “After I woke up in the hospital, everyone who came into my room had this look on their face. I will never forget how that made me feel. It was as if what was on the medical records became who I was. Nothing before that mattered. I was now the sad lonely girl who was a shell of whoever I was before. I deserved pity and sorrow and I got it. My attack became everything and it wasn’t until I started my life over and no one knew what happened that I finally stopped seeing it,” she let a sob escape. “But now, I saw it again from the detective and I felt like it happened yesterday. I can’t bear to see it from you,” she put her face in her hands.
No, he couldn’t let her go there. She was so wrong and he needed to make her understand. “I love you. I am not the detective or the nurses or the doctors who treated you. They looked at you that way because that’s what you were to them. They didn’t know how you look in the morning when you wake up and your hair is a mess and your cheeks are flushed and your eyes are the bluest. They didn’t know how you twirl your curls when you get angry with me but don’t want to let me know what I did. They didn’t know how you love so completely that there is nothing left unsaid. They didn’t know how you dance around the room and sing to Tramp when you think no one is watching. They didn’t know how you survived what would end the strongest person. They didn’t know your courage and your strength and you heart. They didn’t know how you fought to live and how you fought for our baby,” he moved to tilt her face to
him and brushed her tears away. “But I do. I look at you and I see all of those things. I’m truly sorry that I looked at the report because you asked me not to and because you feel that it would change how I see you, but nothing could be further from the truth. I am so angry that this happened to you. I am horrified that someone I love so completely had to endure such a vicious attack. I am sick that there are still people out there who haven’t been punished. But Red, I will never look at any of that as a reflection of you. You have to believe that.”
She looked at him as her eyes searched his face. She studied him and touched his cheeks, resting her forehead on his. “I’m sorry you had to go through this. I’m so sorry you endured so much pain. I’m just so sorry,” he said as he held her in his arms. “Let’s go back inside.”
She nodded and they walked back inside and she sat down on the couch. He walked into the kitchen and brought her a banana. “You need more potassium.”
She took the banana and looked at him. She hadn’t said anything since he spoke. “Do you want to talk about what you read?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he said as she peeled the fruit.
She took a bite and looked at him, eating out of necessity, but having zero appetite. “Do you have any questions?”
He sighed. “We really don’t need to talk about it anymore.”
She stared at him. “What part did you read? All of it?” She forced herself to eat.
He shook his head. “No, just the medical report; your injuries.”
She finished the banana and walked to throw out the peel. She sat back down and waited.
“Do you remember everything?” He asked her softly.
“No. I thought I did, but I don’t. There are a lot of holes and it never bothered me before, because I didn’t want to remember. I still don’t, but obviously there are things that are important to the case. I need to remember everything,” she took a drink of water.
“How long were you in a coma?”
“Three days.”’ She said. “I remember waking up in the hospital. Do you know what my first thought was?”
He shook his head.
She smiled. “I was worried people were going to be mad that I missed my concert. I had never cancelled a concert and I felt terrible that people would be upset. I had no memory at first of what happened. I didn’t know why I was in the hospital.”
“Wasn’t anyone there with you?” He simply couldn’t wrap his head around the isolation she must have experienced.
“I remember my manager was out of town and there was a fill in from the agency. You know that John was away, so the security was also a substitute,” she looked at him. “I never thought about that, but the people who were always surrounding me weren’t there that night. Do you think that’s important?”
He shook his head. “It might be. It shows that the people who were involved in your routine were different. It might be significant.”
“It wasn’t long before I remembered things,” she felt her eyes fill with tears. “When I saw my body, I flashed to how certain injuries happened,” she stood up and walked to the window. He walked with her and turned her to look at him.
“I don’t want to make you go through this tonight. I just want you to feel safe and loved. I know we need to talk about this, but you have been through so much the past few days, let’s just be together,” he smoothed her hair behind her shoulders.
“I think I just want to take a bath and soak in the water. It will help my muscles. Why don’t you just watch some TV and relax,” she said and moved to walk away from him, still closed off.
“I would like to sit with you in the tub. I think you and I have both been alone too much today. I just want to hold you,” he said softly.
She looked at him. “Are you sure you can look at me and not see what you read?”
His chin quivered as he realized again that what he did made her question her ability to be attractive to him. “I only see you. I have always only seen you.”
She nodded and turned to walk into the bedroom while he filled the tub. She took a shaky breath and sat down on the bed, unable to shake the feeling of being dirty. He came into the bedroom and walked over to her, holding his hand for her to take. She did and followed him to the bathroom. He looked into her eyes as he lifted her shirt up and off her body, flinching at the bruising on her arm from the IV. She pulled her shorts off and stood in her bra and panties. “Tommy, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can do this,” she grabbed her bathrobe and put it on before walking back into the bedroom.
He followed her and shook his head. “Can I ask you something?”
She shrugged. “I’m kind of tired of talking. I’m kind of tired of everything.”
“Okay, I get that, but you keep insisting that I am thinking about things that I am clearly not. It occurs to me that what you think is on my mind is what is running through yours. When I look at your body, my heart races and my blood pumps faster and my stomach flips because of the love and excitement I feel. I’m afraid when you look at your body you still see what that report says. It’s not my feelings that worry you, it’s yours.” He hoped he wasn’t overstepping, but he needed her to let this go.
“I don’t see what the report says, Tommy, I see what happened. I don’t need to read a report to know what was done. I remember it. I remember the smell and the pain and the fear. I remember thinking I was going to die and then praying for death. You wanted to know if I remember it all, but it doesn’t matter. I remember enough. I remember enough,” she looked at him. “I’m going to take a bath and I really want to be alone, will you respect that?”
“Of course,” he said and watched as she walked into the bathroom and closed the door.