Later that evening. Dave, Danielle and Holly are sharing the couch and each other's warmth under a blanket as Holly relates more of her story.
Holly: ...of course mom was in complete denial. She was a heavy drinker and Dad would come for his visits when she was out cold and too drunk to be wakened by the noise. I'd learned to keep quiet anyway, since he'd beat the crap out of me if I screamed.
Dave: Jesus Christ. But I repeat myself.
Holly: It took her forever to accept that I'd killed dad in self-defense. The night it happened she tried to have me arrested. They took me to the hospital instead and ran a rape kit and fixed up my cuts and bruises. The rape kit was conclusive, but mom was in denial for months. I was with a foster family, and she refused to communicate with me. When she finally realized what she'd allowed to happen...
Holly pauses, stricken
Holly: They found her in the car, in the garage, dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. I don't want to feel sorry for her - the woman was a complete cipher, and she let me down in the most horrible way possible. I can't forgive her, but I still grieve for her, somehow. The realization...what that must have felt like.
Danielle hugs Holly.
Holly: I spent the next 3 years with my foster parents, the Smithsons. Nice folks, but every bit as psycho-Christian as my own parents. I spent most of the time in polite but open rebellion. I renounced my faith -- and all others -- at our first Thanksgiving dinner together. I kept up my grades, had perfect behavior, but displayed complete contempt for their religion. The harder they tried to bring me back into the fold, the more cynical and jaded I became. I never raised my voice, but I cursed like a sailor. I listened to death metal even though I didn't really like it.
Our second Thanksgiving dinner, I announced that I was a lesbian. They sent me to one of those camps where they try to get you to pray the gay away. It was great, because I got to meet a lot of other lesbians. Got laid a lot, too, because the people who ran the camp were completely inept at maintaining order and discipline.
After I got home from straight camp, I took a job and began pushing for emancipated minor status. The Smithsons finally gave in and dropped their objections around the time of my 17th birthday. It must have been a huge relief.
I've been on my own ever since, and things have been pretty good. I got a full scholarship to Syracuse and devoted myself to science, particularly evolution and human sexuality, just to piss off my parents' ghosts. I met Liz my senior year, and the rest is...well, it's a bit of a mess at the moment, but everything will be okay.
Danielle: Of that, I have no doubt. You're unstoppable. If I'd been through a tenth of what you have, I'd have been in a rubber room in a fetal position for the past decade.
Holly: I don't know. You'd be surprised what you can survive if you have no choice. I've spent some time in institutions, and I've met people who have been through stuff that makes my life look like a cakewalk. Stuff that has given me worse nightmares just hearing about it than anything I actually experienced. There are a lot of sick fucks out there, a lot of sociopaths.
Luckily, there are lots of nice folks, too. (she kisses Dave and Danielle on their cheeks, and cuddles deeper between them.) I feel really safe here. I always did. (she yawns) So, what do you think -- do you have room for two more?
Dave and Danielle look at each other, taken aback.