Author: When We Stand Together PM
Bella moves to Seattle to live with her father after an event shakes her emotionally and physically... Better summary inside the first chapter.Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort - Bella - Chapters: 20 - Words: 103,459 - Reviews: 30 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 25 - Updated: 01-03-11 - Published: 07-05-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5191734
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Here it is. The finale. I've been looking forward to moving on but I could not live with just letting this story go and not finishing what I started. Oh and I Google translated everything which needed to be translated so take it up with Google if there are any errors in the Spanish.
My left side was throbbing. I tried to move my arm but it felt pinned. It wasn't till seconds later I realized it was my body pinning it down. I tried to move but a deep burn seeped up and down my arm. I felt the vibration of my groan but couldn't hear it. For a fleeting moment I started panicking why I couldn't hear. There were voices around me, I noticed, but it was all in mumbled incoherency.
Slowly, I opened my eyes.
There was dust everywhere. I could barely see. I felt like I could cough up my lunge. My throat scorched and my hearing was returning within reason. It felt like someone was consistently turning up the volume, one beat per second. Soon, everything was coming at me. The headache was manageable.
Until I heard the screams.
Clenching my eyes shut, I zeroed in on the woman screaming at the top of her lunges. I couldn't understand a word. Or if there even were words. I did hear the medics trying to calm her down but it was to no use. If she didn't shut up soon, I would crawl over there and put my fist through her head.
I would come to regret those words as soon as they entered my mind. Something cracked above us. The woman stopped screaming long enough to look up and a thick piece of concrete came soaring down, crushing her. I felt splats of blood land on my face and in my hair. Nausea surged through me but I looked away and kept it down.
My limbs were coming back to me. I tried to lift myself but the pain in my side throbbed harder and I resisted the urge to put my dirty hand against what I knew to be an open wound. I felt the blood drip down my ribs and stomach. It was until now I noticed the sharp pain in my left ankle as well as the left wrist. Come to think of it, my whole left side was numb and throbbing.
Sitting up, I shifted for the favor of my right side. Movement caught my attention. A small child crouched against the wall, wide open eyes staring at the dead woman. She saw everything. I am not a kid person. I don't like them and don't understand why someone would put themselves through pregnancy and labor for something and someone they can get by adopting – while simultaneously guaranteeing that child get a better upbringing. But that image will haunt me for months to come, probably even years. There are things kids shouldn't see or experience. I felt myself feeling sorry for her. Actually sympathizing. I don't do that often. I'm too much of a bitch.
There was another crack above the cart. That's when I realized the train was laying on the side. The plastic windows had been blown apart and partially melted. I smelled it now. It was toxic. If we inhaled enough we would die.
But I didn't get to think about that. There was yet another crack. The medics retreated. Before really understanding it, I pushed forward, grabbed the girl and hurled her back to where I was sitting, pushed her over to the side and shut my eyes as another boulder came crashing down. The ground shook. Metal screeched. People screamed. But my hearing was muting. My skin was getting colder. I looked at my palms and saw how impossibly pale they were, even with the excessive dirt. That's when I saw the blood on the floor. My head fell back and as much as I fought it, my eyes closed and I soon fell into the abyss.
I don't remember anything after that. Until I woke up in the emergency room. I remember bits and pieces. People were shouting various medical terms across the room. I felt a deep numbness seeping through me but before I panicked, I fell asleep again. Morphine registered in my mind before I passed out. I wish they hadn't given me that. I would have to remember not to take the pills they would subscribe to me. I somehow doubted I wouldn't take them.
The third time I woke up, it was morning. I didn't know which but by the look of the still wounded people; I'd say it was at dawn the day after. The steady rhythm of my heart monitor lulled me and I had to fight the urge to fall asleep again. The nurses were scrambling around and I didn't want to bother them. I tried to sit up. I felt lightheaded. Low blood sugar, I suspected. I remember barely eating anything yesterday. My stomach rumbled. I didn't care.
I saw a TV at the far corner of the room. They were showing a previously taped show of various entrées to the subway stations. I looked away from the screen. The distance was increasing my headache.
I remembered the blood now. The wound at my side. I felt across my lower ribs and found stitches. I didn't touch them, fear they might come undone. My foot hurt but it wasn't broken. My wrist on the other hand was. A thick layer of bandages had been tightly applied around my wrist. I knew from experience a cast would take several hours to be done.
A nurse saw me sitting up and jumped to the chance of treating a living patience. Or at least that's what it looked like. She started speaking rapidly in Spanish and I couldn't – with every single class I've taken and self studying late at night – seem to bring myself to understand what she was saying. At that moment.
"Inglés, por favor," I pleaded with my index finger and thumb pressing against my eyelids.
"How are you feeling?" Oh.
"Just peachy." I release the hold of my lids.
"I'm fine," I assured her, not at all feeling it but not wanting someone to fuss over me. I always felt… weird whenever someone took care of me. I'd rather take care of myself. "What happened?" I asked whilst clearing my throat. The nurse looked up from the chart.
"That's what they say on the news." She reached for the morphine button but I shot up my good hand, pushing hers away.
"Don't." She looked at me with confusion.
"The pain medication is leaving your system. You'll be in much pain."
"I'd rather not take it," I let go of her arm and looked away, feeling weak because I knew I couldn't take it and then stop. It felt too good not to feel.
"Okay. But if you start to scream. I will give you morphine. Okay?" I nodded. "What is your name? We found no id."
"Bella. Swan. I study at the university."
"Would you like me to contact your family?"
"No! I mean… can I call them instead? They'd get worried if a nurse called. Probably freak out and come over here," I spoke lower towards the end; mostly to myself. They couldn't come here. They didn't even need to know everything. Renee… she'd definite rush over here and Charlie... Charlie would probably have a heart attack.
The nurse nodded and started disconnecting a few cables.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"We have a room for you. We're the closest hospital and very overcrowded. But we can't have recovering patience's in the ER. Which reminds me. There is a little girl asking for you."
"She says you saved her." I had no recollection of this. I kept asking the same question.
"They brought you in at the same time. She didn't want to leave when you went into surgery." I started to think back but it was all a blur.
"I don't remember her."
"Not unusual. Your memories will probably return within 24 hours."
"Sometimes the mind won't let you remember. It happens with trauma."
She rolled the bed into an empty room. Or semi empty. The curtains were drawn across from me; I could hear a deep snore coming from behind. Fuck.
"Was my phone with me when I came in?" The nurse shook her head, checking my vitals. Double fuck. "But there is one across the room." My gaze fell upon the beige old styled phone. I tried to sit up but she pushed me back down. "I'll bring it to you."
I waited for her to leave me alone before I lifted the receiver. I pressed the digits before hanging up. Renee wouldn't let me get a word in. It was better to let Charlie talk to her.
"Char- dad. It's Bella."
"Bella! We've been trying to call for hours! Where the hell are you?"
"I'm home. I had a major headache and went straight to bed after classes."
"Don't you know about the attack?" Did he have to yell?
"Yes father. I know."
"Don't speak to me like that!"
"Then stop yelling at me!" I hissed, looking across the room towards the shut drapes.
"I'm sorry. But don't you understand how worried we've been. And what number is this? Where is your cell phone?"
"I lost it. Can you call mom?"
"Can't you do it yourself?"
"You know how she gets. She'd buy a plane ticket before listening to me."
"Maybe she should get over there."
"No. I said I am fine. I don't need people coming over here. Just… call her. Tell her I'm fine. I'll call you later or something." I hung up before he had a chance to get another word in. Triple fuck.
My head spun again and my side felt like it was on fire. But I wouldn't show it. I wanted the drugs. I could taste it. They were so close. But as I was about to press the button, the door opened and the nurse came back. With a kid. As soon as I saw her, I remember her fearful expression in the cart.
The kid came running forward, jumping up on the bed, clutching my arm for dear life. I froze in shock and confusion, slightly leaning away from the kid who had tears running down her cheeks and my arm.
I turn towards the nurse. "Why is she here?"
"She doesn't have any substantial injuries. She wanted to come-"
"I don't know what she wants but she needs to get back to her mother or father." The nurse looked unsure and came closer.
"Her mother died. Doesn't look like the father's in the picture. Or any other family." Someone shouted outside and the nurse looked towards the door. "I'm sorry but I need to get back. Just make sure she stays here for now." She left before I had a chance to object.
"I don't suppose you speaking English," I said whilst looking down at the girl. She looked up at me with the most heartbreakingly glassy eyes, completely confused at what I was saying. Great," I sighed. "¿Cuál es tu nombre?" The girl sniffed and rubbed her tiny hands under her eyes.
"Sofía," she says quietly. I tried to rack my brain for words I barely knew anymore. I was parched and there was a bathroom five feet away.
"¿Podría hacerme el agua del baño?" The girl – reluctant to leave at first – let go of my arm and jumped down onto the floor. I sat up straighter, not sure how to react for the time being but decided not to mention anything as the girl – Sofía – came back with a Tupperware container and glass. I drank two.
"¿Cuántos años tienes?" I asked as she sat opposite me on the bed.
"¿Dónde está tu padre?" She looked away, playing with a strand of her hair.
"No lo sé."
"Usted no cumple?" She brought her knees close to her chest.
"Él nos golpeó." I stopped asking. A flash of a tall man standing over a smaller child, getting ready to hit her, entered my mind.
"Lo siento hijo."
"Quiero estar contigo," she whispered barely audibly after a few minutes.
"No puedes quedarte conmigo," I said with a sigh, feeling my side burn and start to throb. I unconsciously touched it, regretting the decision instantly. A deep scorching flame of pain hit instantly and I retrieved, leaning back slowly, careful not to show it in my expression.
"¿Por qué no?"
"Porque la vida no funciona así. Ni siquiera me conoces." She seemed unfazed. She must still be at the stage where everything is possible. Cartoons are real. Everything adults say are the truth. Even older kids on the playground. Santa's probably still reel. Along with the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy.
"¿Dónde voy a ir?" Her voice had a deep since of hopelessness within it. I tried to ignore the sympathy.
"Se encontrará a alguien en su familia."
"Sólo tengo mama. Quiero que mi mama," She started to cry again and I let my head fall back; the headache was growing. I wanted to bash my head in. If only there would be another attack at this hospital. It would be so amazing with peace and quiet and no little girl sitting and crying ten inches away from you.
"You and me both kid," I whispered before falling asleep again.
"How are you feeling today Bella?" I hated the sound of her deep monotone voice. It's how I imagined a psychopath to sound like. Not being able to care about anything and anyone. I hate the tight bun she keeps her hair in ever fucking day. I hate her glasses – too big in rich red. Did she honestly think it looked good?
"Fine." My voice cracked. I must remember to clear it before speaking. I didn't know a lot about psychology but I knew they looked deeply into every aspect of my living and breathing status.
"How are you sleeping?" And what's with those clothes? Did she choose light grey because she liked it – I hoped not; that's just wrong – or is it because she thinks bright colors will make me freak out, maybe even jump for the letter opener and stab her?
"Fine." I scratch lightly at an itch just above my right ear. She distinctively looks at my hand and then scribbles something onto her board. I sigh. Un-fucking-believable.
"How are you eating?" I gently rub my wrist whilst placing the other hand just below my thigh, trying to find a comfortable position on this metallic chair. Was it too much to ask for anything with cotton on it? Apparently.
"The nurses say you don't want to take your medications." There are two large windows in this white painted room. With bars on them, of course. Wouldn't want the crazies to run wild. The floor is something plastic; clinical. Even with the sun whining in, I've never felt so depressed. And I used to love the sun.
"Bella?" I look away from the window, momentarily forgot she spoke to me. I'm used to the simply questions to which I will always automatically answer 'fine' or 'okay'. "Would you like to tell me why you don't want to take your meds?" It's sad they stuff overworked and underpaid PhD's who barely passed their exams towards those who society claims needs the most help.
"Not particularly," I answered in my usual pesky and attitude flooded tone. Carol Fleming did not like that. She tightened her lips in annoyance and scribbled something else onto the board. I rolled my eyes and looked out the window again; wanting the hour to be over so I could go back to lying flat on my back on my bed in my room until it was time for dinner.
I shouldn't even begin to discuss the food. It's worse than airplane food. The pasta is overcooked or undercooked. Never in between. The bread is beyond white and tastes like stale air. The baked potatoes are about the only think I've found myself not wanting to throw up as soon as ingested. But there is only so much baked potato one person can eat before she loses her mind completely. Ironic.
"You need your meds to get better. Don't you want to get better?" I almost snorted. I knew better now. Wasn't there just one pill so I'd get better? I may not be a doctor but I know there is such a drug as anti-depressant. If that's what I am. Don't they come in one neat little packaging? Did they have to force five down my throat?
There was only one right answer. They didn't like my sarcasm. I never relented on that one though. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. They never thought anything of it.
"No. I want to spend my time here since it's been such a freaking picnic." I rolled my eyes at the end. I would have cursed but they really didn't like that. I'm a very fast learner. But I am not a follower. They may think I'm obeying but they fail to see past the protective wall I've built and won't ever knock down. Especially not wannabes like Carol Fleming.
"We've talked about the sarcasm Bella," I sighed. "Don't make it a habit."
"Too late," I breathed. She pretended not to hear.
"Let's talk about the accident." My throat constricted. My eyes burned. Every day she asked me this and every day was the same response. I would never back down. Did she not understand this?
"How about we don't." My voice failed me. It became lower and huskier. I pinched my wrist.
"You have to talk about it some time. It's unhealthy to keep something like this inside." It's gotta be healthier than talking about it with Carol Fleming.
"I don't remember anything, either way."
"Well then not the act itself but the outcome."
"The outcome is the same either way." Carol Fleming sighed and took off her glasses. Thank the fucking universe! Though without them she looked more like a praying mantis who bleaches her hair.
"How does that make you feel?" Is she serious?
"Are you serious?"
"I can't help you if you won't let me in." Exactly. "Let's change the subjects." Yes, lets. "What did you feel when you slashed your wrists?" Were doctors supposed to talk that crudely to their patience?
"It felt fantastic," I said with sarcasm. She pretended not to have heard the tone.
"Why did you feel like ending your life was the only solution?" I sighed heavily and raked a hand through my hair. The camera at the corner blinked red every half second and it made me highly uncomfortable and self-aware.
"Because I just did."
"When did you decide to do it?"
"I didn't. It just happened."
"You just happened to take a piece of glass to your wrist in an effort to end your life?"
"I wasn't trying to kill myself!" I exploded and pounded my hand onto the table. The echo crashed across the room. The door opened. Two guards came inside. They held restraints. I shied away. Not again.
Carol Fleming decided this was the time to do something proactive. She stood up and told them to back off, promising this was the last time. It wasn't.
"Let's not have that happen again," she said and put on her glasses again.
My eyes popped open. For a moment I didn't know where I was. But then it all came back to me. The attack. The hospital. The nurse; so insistent I take pain medications. My eyes felt heavy again. What a weird dream to have at this time. Before it had time to slip away, I passed out.
The wet pieces clung to my arm. I frowned as a shiver ran through me. The kid was still by my side. I couldn't tell her to leave since she started crying every time I brought it up. No family had come in and so far, the social worker or whoever they were trying to contact, had a hectic schedule and therefore had yet to make a visit.
I am not a people person, nor will I ever admit to enjoying the company of kids but I had grown fond of the kid. A little. A very small part. I, at first, realized the pain of having a younger sibling but it wasn't too bad. I wasn't bored 24/7. I taught her Texas hold em' and some English. She seemed more perceptive on the latter, wanting to learn to talk the way I did, understand what I said.
I looked at Sofía who was eating a candy bar before turning back to the doctor.
"There," he said. "It will take some time drying. You will be able to leave tomorrow."
"What will happen to her?" I nudged my head to the side.
"The social worker is expected some time tomorrow."
"If no family members come to claim her, she will be put in an orphanage."
"It's the best we can do. If no one comes forth. We are still trying to find her father but she won't give us his name."
"He abused them, she told me." The doctor sighed in sadness.
"I really wish there was more we could do." I nodded.
"At the orphanage; what future will she have?"
"If no one adopts her – which I'm afraid will be hard considering most couples want a newborn – she will stay there until she turns 18 and then she will be on her own." I didn't like hearing that. She's just past eight years old and already she has no one.
"And there is nothing on the mother. Very close friends who could take her?" The doctor shook his head.
"She was not in our database. If the story of abuse is true… I believe she may have changed her name recently. She probably moved across the country to get away from the girl's father. I think she," he nodded over to the kid, "is too young to understand." I nodded as well and stood up. This caught Sofía's attention.
"Tengo hambre," she announced, standing close to me.
"Come on." I pushed lightly at her shoulder, leading her to the elevators, going down past the lobby. The sun felt amazing against my cold complexion. I lead her over to the small rehabilitating garden to the side of the hospital.
"Siéntate. Necesito hablar con usted," I said and sat down myself. She looked up at me curiously, squinting her eyes at the glaring sun.
"What?" Her words broke several times but she would only use the simplest words in English.
"Mañana, un trabajador social está llegando a hablar con usted."
"Sobre el lugar donde se alojará a partir de." She seemed even more confused now.
"I stay with you?" I shook my head.
"Porque yo voy a la escuela. No tengo tiempo para- Te dije que la vida no funciona de esa facilidad."
"You no like me?"
"Of course but… I can't take care of you. No puedo cuidar de ti. Apenas puedo cuidar de mí mismo." Her head sank.
"¿Entiendes lo que te estoy diciendo?" She sat still for several seconds but then shrugged and nodded. "Good," I said and leaned back.
After that, the mood lightened and she started asking me to teach her every name of every little thing she saw in English. I did without complaints.
After eight, Sofía fell asleep and I caught the chance to call Renee. She was still adamant to drop everything and come see me. If I hadn't just been in an attack, I probably would have found some resentment towards her almost suffocating way of treating me like I was still a child. Technically yes but with everything I've been through, I think I can consider myself an adult now.
"Are you eating alright?" She asked after I had yet again calmed her down from a rant.
"Yes mother," I responded mechanically.
"You're not gulfing down Red Bull's with cold leftover pizza?"
"Not since a few days back," I joked. "Mom. I'm fine. Really."
"There was a terrorist attack right in the city of which you live. I will not be fine until I see you."
"So we can Skype. But I'm still at the library. I'll call you tomorrow after classes and whatnot. Okay?" She sighed. "Okay?" I asked again.
"Fine," she grumbled before hanging up. I leaned back, feeling the stitches at my side catch in my shirt. I gasped at the intense pain but clenched my hand and waited for it to pass. I resisted the urge to press the morphine button to call one of the nurses to do it for me.
I grabbed for the plastic bag next to my bed. They managed to find my bag or what was left of it. My keys were unharmed. Though I couldn't understand how pieces of metal could be harmed even if scraped by concrete. My school- and notebooks were ruined beyond repair. My wallet was badly scraped but only one gift card was broken. My cell phone, on the other had had been completely crushed. The sim card was intact but the display, keys and pretty much the whole thing was destroyed.
I frowned at the pieces before putting it back in the zip lock.
"No me gusta su," said the tiny person sitting at my right. She fidgeted with her hands. I rolled my eyes.
"Usted ni siquiera conoció a su."
" Sé que no será como ella." The social worker came up the hallway, looking at her clock as she sat down next to Sofía. She gave me a look but when I didn't leave, she ignored me. I tuned out most their words.
While I was doing progress on the Spanish, I couldn't phantom understand every rapid word they said to each other. Though Sofía remained mostly quiet, only speaking when spoken to.
"Excuse me?" I shook my head lightly and turned towards the social worker. Sofía had left us and was cutting paper at the nurses' station.
"I would like to know your relation with Sofia."
"We just met. At the subway. She's sort of clung to me ever since." She nodded while scribbling something in a large notebook.
"Has she said anything about some form of family?" I sighed.
"No one at all?"
"No. She said it was just her mother and her."
"I see." She scribbled some more.
"She's very fond of you. Says you've been teaching her cards and English."
"Just a little. What's going to happen to her?"
"She will be brought to an orphanage. We will put out her description on missing children's site. But if there are none to claim her, she'll be but up for adoption or placed in a foster home." It sounded too cruel.
"She told me her father abused her mother, maybe even her. Just so you know." The social nodded and scribbled something more. I looked over at the kid. She was smiling… days after her mother was brutally killed. I wondered if she would ever remember her. The social stood up but I hesitated. "She-" I started. Social looked at me and sat down again.
"She could… she could stay with me… just for a little while." The social shook her head.
"I don't think it would be a good idea. You are still in school, have bills to pay and you're not a Spanish citizen."
"It wouldn't be permanent. I have money. Lots of it, actually. Just until you are sure she has no family available. I don't like the fact that she will live in an orphanage or a foster home."
"There are plenty of good families out there."
"But you said you can't place her in one for a while."
"I'm just afraid she will grow attached and when she has to leave, will be too upset. At this stage, she barely knows you. In the long term, she probably won't remember you too well." I frowned. "I'm thinking of the child."
"So you'll place her in a home with a hundred other children. What if she won't fit in. It's not as easy as falsely reassuring me that she will." The social sighed and checked her watch.
"You are discharged soon?"
"Give me your address and phone number. For the time being, she may stay with you but I must come at least three times a week. It is not up for discussion."
"And she must say she wishes to stay with you."
"Fine." The social brought the kid back. She asked her to sit and asked what she thought of staying with me for a little while. Sofía smiled brightly and leaned into me.
I turned the key and opened the door slowly. Sofía stepped inside, looking around. I closed the door and went into the kitchen, unloading the mail I managed to receive in just over a week. I opened the lid to my laptop and powered it up.
The brown package from .uk was ripped apart in less than five minutes. Fast travel indeed. I opened my new Motorola flipout and put in the sim card before plugging it into the adapter. The greeting came fast and soon I was typing in the broadband password. Ever contact was still there.
Sofía came into the room, sitting down on the bar stool next to mine. She picked up the phone gently and then put it back.
"Hungry?" I asked. She shrugged, still looking around. I went to the fridge but frowned at my lack of options. Plenty of energy drinks and soya based chocolate puddings which barely needed expiration date. The milk was bad, as were the cheese. The bread had started to mold. And the apples on the small island were so soft I could have crunched them with my hand. I threw it all out, gave Sofía a pudding and some water. I put on nickelodeon for her in the living room while getting into my bedroom to change clothes. I finally caught a good glimpse at myself. My hair was greasy and my skin pail but still rosy under the eyes and on my nose. My whole arm was bulky with the cast and pulling up my shirt, I saw the deep red mark of stitches.
I went out of the room and started a shower. The plastic bag over the cast rustled and felt awkward but I managed to stay in there for just over five minutes before the heat became too unbearable on my scar. I stepped out and went through my routine. I shaved my legs, toweled my hair almost dry before pulling a brush trough it.
I put on sweats since I couldn't handle the course material of my jeans and an old grey t-shirt. I went back into the kitchen, finished paying what little bills I had to pay and then sent the remainder to Charlie. I turned the laptop off and then retrieved my new charged cell phone.
I leaned forward, watching kid laugh at one of SpongeBob and Patrick's many games. It took me a few minutes to get the basic of the phone but I got myself to contacts and scrolled down till I found Alice.
It rang five times. With each heartbeat, my leg jumped even more nervously and I started biting my thumb nail. Finally, she picked up.
"What took you so long?"
"Sorry. Didn't hear it ring. What's up?"
"I should tell you something."
"But you can't tell anyone."
"I'm serious Alice. You cannot tell anyone."
"You're starting to freak me out."
"It's nothing really. But um… you read about the terrorist attack, right?"
"Yes." Her voice seemed unsure. She probably knew where this was heading.
"And you know how I said I was nowhere near it?"
"Well I was." I could only hear her breathing the next five seconds.
"I don't… understand."
"I was taking the subway home from school. I don't remember much."
"Okay." I waited for more but there wasn't anything.
"Alice? You gotta say something."
"How are you? No bullshit."
"I have a broken wrist and stitched at my lower back."
"That's it?" She knew me too well.
"It hurts. So fucking much. Every time I move too fast I lose my breath."
"Did they give you anything?"
"Yes. But… Alice. I can't take them."
"Have you taken anything?"
"No. They gave me morphine at the hospital but when I became lucid, I asked them to stop."
"I want to though. I really fucking want to." My knee started jumping nervously again.
"Do you have the prescription or the bottle?"
"Tear it apart." I stared at the piece of paper. It didn't want to. It was like a safe haven. That single piece of paper would make the pain go away so quickly. But I knew that once I started, I couldn't stop. Not again. I'd find something else. Sofía laughed from the living room. I couldn't do that. She just lost her mother. At least I could let her live here drama free. I tore the pieces and dropped them in the sink, turning the water on high.
"Okay," I breathed.
"That's good. I'm really proud of you." I shut the tap off and leaned against the counter.
"There's something else."
"Alright," she treaded cautiously.
"Strictly off discussion. When the attack happened, this little girl, sitting in front of me; her mother was killed and she's sort of staying with me now."
"What?" Her tone was more prominent now.
"It's just until they can find somewhere else for her to stay. They said they could place her in a foster home but I just didn't like that."
"So she's there, right now?"
"In the same room?"
"No. She's watching cartoons in the living room."
"But you're not a kid person."
"Believe me. I know that."
"She looked so sad and you know I get all warm and fuzzy when living things give me the puppy eyes."
"Will this turn into a Dr. Seuss novel?" I chuckled.
"I knew I could count on you."
"Always… Can you tell me something?"
"If – hypothetically – someone sort of special – if you will – were till call me for an update. Would it – hypothetically – be alright if I answered semi truthfully?"
"Eh… I… I don't- I'm not… sure. Has someone – hypothetically – called?"
"Hypothetically, I'd say about three times a week for six weeks." So it took him two weeks to finally call my cousin? I wasn't sure whether or not I was glad he was giving me space or angry that he was calling her and not me.
"I think that – hypothetically – it would be okay. If you were to be vague on one very recent addition to this household."
"And what about the other thing? Hypothetically?"
"Let's droop the H word. I don't want Charlie or Renee to know. Renee would… do something rash and Charlie… Charlie would have a heart attack. And die. I really don't want my dad to die, Alice."
"I can understand that," she said lightly, to which we both laughed. I checked the watch. It was past seven. My stomach was rumbling. Wasn't there a Pizza Hut just round the corner?
"I have to go."
"Okay. Take care of yourself."
"Nothing stronger than Tylenol!" she shouted before hanging up. I smirked and put the phone in my pocket and left the kitchen, stopping by the archway of the living room.
"Pizza Hut?" I asked. Sofía nodded her head vigorously and jumped off the couch. I turned the TV off and put on brightly red flip-flops.
I was awakened by a large bang on my door. Sofía retrieved into the kitchen and I grumbled while stumbling into the bathroom to brushed my teeth. I wasn't particularly hungry this morning. It's been three weeks since the attack and my left side still burn. The cast was becoming almost unbearable and I kept knocking things down.
I splashed ice cold water in my face, only using one hand. I almost missed my face and drops of ice went down my arms. I dried with the towel and ran a hand through my hair before coming back into the kitchen. I grabbed the zipper hoody from the island and pulled it up my skinny arms.
"Good to get back to school?" I asked calmly and sat on the bar stool. She barely heard me but nodded her head either way. "Do you want me to follow you, or?"
"It okay. I know way." To give her credit, we'd walked the same path the entire week.
"Alright." My sweats felt heavy and way too hot. I went back into my bedroom and pulled on black cotton shorts. I pulled my hair messily back and pinned it in a ponytail before leaving once more. It was barely thirty minutes before school started. I was still free to roam my hallway for another week. I decided I liked the time off. Even though I had the whole summer for that.
I grabbed the pink and purple bag from the kitchen counter when my phone buzzed.
"It's Maria." Social worker. "We may have found a family for Sofía."
"Already?" She'd barely been at my house for more than two weeks.
"I warned you it might be soon."
"Are they willing to adopt."
"They want to try it out for the weekend."
"She's not a puppy."
"These things take time."
"Where do they live?"
"Just outside Madrid. It's not too far. If you would like to visit. Bella?"
"Yeah. Should I drop her off or?"
"I'll come tomorrow so she can meet them quickly. What time will she be off school?"
"Okay. I'll see you then." I hung up and glanced at the small figure running into the kitchen, looking expectantly at me. I reached out the backpack, decided to wait until later to tell her. She grabbed the bag and got her shoes on. I yelled bye and went to lay the phone to change. When I noticed the math book still on the counter, I grabbed it quickly and hurried out the door.
"Hey kid! You forgot your-" I stopped short. Sofía was staring at someone I would recognize everywhere. Standing just inside the iron fence, the gate still partially open.
"Edward?" Looking exactly the same as when I last saw him. I took another step out and handed the book over. She looked up at me.
"¿Quién es este?" I looked away from him long enough to answer.
"Un amigo. Ir a la escuela." She gave me another look before hurrying past him. Edward stared at my arm and I started fidgeting nervously.
"What are you doing here?" He ignored the question.
"Who was that?"
"Sofía. She's just staying here until they find another home for her. It's a long story." He still seemed surprised. "I guess Alice didn't mention that."
"She seemed to mention a lot of other things though," I said, starting to get mad at her for telling him anything, even though I gave the okay. I went back inside, fully expecting him to follow. I turned back around. "Do you need me to invite you in?" I mocked. He snapped out of it and came inside, closing the door behind him. I jumped up to sit on the counter, watching his every move.
"What are you doing here?"
"I'm not sure." He came to stand in front of me, leaning against the other side of the counter. "I kept replaying it over and over but never actually found a reason as to why you would leave and not tell me."
"I did tell you."
"Days before, Bella. Did you really creep past my door so I wouldn't wake up?" I adverted my gaze. "Un-fucking-believable," he whispered.
"Did you come here to make me feel bad? You're succeeding, by the way."
"No. But it's a bonus." He looked me straight in the eyes. "You were in the hospital for a week and don't even have the decency to call? What the fuck, Bella?" I flinched.
"I didn't want people to worry."
"Worry? You could have died. You do realize that, right?"
"Actually it never crossed my mind," I replied sarcastically while rolling my eyes.
"Do you find this funny? Do you know how…"
"Do you know how worried I've been?"
"I honestly didn't think you'd care."
"Whether you died or not? What the fuck, Bella! Shit! Of course I would care."
"Then why haven't you called me once?"
"I didn't think you wanted me to. You snuck out of the house and went to Spain. I thought it was a clear sign to stay away." I shook my head.
"Well, I'm alive. You may go back and further the message."
"I didn't tell them I was coming here."
"No? Don't they miss you at dinner time?"
"I wouldn't know. Mom and Charlie broke up."
"Quite verbally. Lots of cursing followed by a lot of slammed doors. I don't think my mother liked you very much."
"Well no offence but your mother's a bitch."
"How could I take offence to that?" He chuckled.
"I missed you," I said quietly after a few seconds of silence.
"Yeah?" I nodded, watching how he took a step forward.
"I eh…. I'm sorry I kind of… freaked out." He raised a brow. "I'm not… I'm not so good when things get serious. At all."
"I got that."
"I don't think I could handle things getting semi serious and then when you found out enough you'd leave… or die."
"Find out what?"
"What I did before all that shit happened with Jake."
"Did you kill someone?" I rolled my eyes.
"Then it can't have been that bad."
"Yes it really was. I did drugs. And not the legal kind." He didn't say anything. "I smoked, I drank… a lot. I had sex at an age I really shouldn't have."
"But you're not like that anymore."
"How do you know?" I asked, sounded a little mad.
"Because I know you. I actually notice small things every once in a while. And that shit doesn't bother me."
"It's doesn't?" He shook his head. "How about by the time I was released from the hospital, I was taking six Vicodin a day so I had the strength to even get out of bed?"
"A lot of people get addicted."
"And most people would care." He took another step back. If the pain at my side wasn't so excruciating whenever I moved, I would have hopped down.
"I can deal with that." He took another step, just barely touching my knees. "How your arm?" He gently touched at the base of the cast, near my hand.
"Does it hurt?"
"Nothing I can't manage." I think. He nods absentmindedly, letting go of me, giving me space.
"So I was thinking…" he started.
"I've never been to Spain before."
"I probably should stick around."
"Won't you miss the constant rain?"
"I think I'll manage." He took a step forward, gently touching the side of my face before wowing his fingers into my hair and pulling my lips to his.
¿Cuál es tu nombre? – What's your name?
¿Podría hacerme el agua del baño? - could you get me water from the bathroom?
¿Cuántos años tienes? - How old are you?
Ocho – eight
¿Dónde está tu padre? - Where is your father?
No lo sé - I don't know
Usted no cumple? - You don't meet?
Él nos golpeó - He hit us
Lo siento hijo - Sorry kid
Quiero estar contigo - I want to stay with you
No puedes quedarte conmigo - You can't stay with me
¿Por qué no? - Why not?
Porque la vida no funciona así - Because life doesn't work like that
Ni siquiera me conoces - You don't even know me
¿Dónde voy a ir? - Where will I go?
Se encontrará a alguien en su familia - They will find someone in your family
Sólo tengo mamá - I only have mom
Quiero que mi mamá - I want my mom
Tengo hambre - I'm hungry
Siéntate. Necesito hablar con usted. - Sit down. I need to talk to you.
Mañana, un trabajador social está llegando a hablar con usted -Tomorrow, a social worker is coming to talk to you
Sobre el lugar donde se alojará a partir de ahora - About where you will be staying from now on
Porque yo voy a la escuela. No tengo tiempo para-Te dije que la vida no funciona de esa facilidad - Because I go to school. I don't have time to- I told you life doesn't work that easily
No puedo cuidar de ti - I can't take care of you
Apenas puedo cuidar de mí mismo - I can barely take care of myself
¿Entiendes lo que te estoy diciendo? - Do you understand what I'm telling you?
No me gusta su - I don't like her
Usted ni siquiera conoció a su - You haven't even met her
Sé que no será como ella - I know I won't like her
¿Quién es este? - Who is this?
Un amigo. Ir a la escuela. - A friend. Go to school.