Rosette's mouth clapped open as she found Chrno with an injection in his arm.
"Chrno!" She shrieked loudly.
The shook was written on his face. Why was she back again? Couldn't she have stayed away for one minute longer? Only one minute!
"What are you doing?!" Her voice rose as she looked unbelieving at him.
"Wait, wait! I-I can explain that!" Chrno stuttered. "It-it's not what you're thinking-"
"You're taking drugs." The blonde said emotionless. She needed time to realise it.
"Okay, okay. It IS what you're thinking…" Chrno turned his eyes away from her and pulled the needle out. "I admit it. I admit it. I'm taking drugs. Fine. Now you know it."
"Why didn't you tell anyone?! Since then do you to that?!" Rosette screamed at him. "Why do you always lie if someone asks you if you are okay? WHY?! Why has nobody else noticed it until now?!"
"Because I know how to hide the stuff!" He shouted back angrily.
"Where?" She crossed her arms and stared sternly at him.
He turned his gaze away from her. "Under the hay in the store…"
"WHAT?" Again Rosette's voice was too loud and too high. "Then you were always lying at me about the lost ring?!"
Chrno nodded shortly.
"And you also lied about the thing that you wanted to use the money for your college. But you're only using it to buy new drugs. That's disgusting." Rosette's voice calmed down again. Now she was nothing but really angry with him. She was fuming.
"No!" He said loudly. "No! That was no lie! I want to go to college! I want to study medicine! I want to save lives!" The tune in his voice told her that he was telling the truth.
"Then why don't you start with your own life? Why don't you save your own life. Why?" Rosette whispered and shook her head. "Why do you take drugs?"
Chrno narrowed his crimson eyes and hugged his knees. "The heroin kills the pain… It makes me forget the pain… it makes me feel happy again…" His nails dug into his legs. Soft sobs escaped his lips and he leaned his forehead on his knees. His dark bangs covered his face.
Rosette had never seen him being so… weak. She sat down next to him and waited for a moment. "Wanna talk?" She finally asked and stroke over his arm.
He looked over to her with teary eyes. Chrno nodded nearly invisible and muttered a thanks.
"From what you have said earlier I guess, Joe told you what happened in July." He didn't wait for Rosette to reply. "But I also guess that he didn't told you that I was with her, now did he?"
"No… what happened?" Was she now to direct? She didn't want to urge him to tell her.
"See, her father was driving the car. My girlfriend Mary sat next to him on the passenger's seat and I was in the back. Well, I guess that saved my life… Anyways, we were driving down the street. Suddenly a tire broke and we were thrown off the road. We crashed against a tree next to a precipice. The tree prevented us from falling down in the first moment. But the impact destroyed the front of the car and Mary's legs stuck. Suddenly the tree in front of us broke and fell into the depth. With it some parts of the ground. Panicked we tried to get out. The only one who couldn't was Mary. Together with her father I tried to pull her out. Just in the moment the ambulance and emergency arrived, the car lost balance and fell down. It crashed on the ground. If Mary's father wouldn't have been there to hold me back, I would have jumped after it. But that's not all… Mary still lived when the emergency took her out of the car. She died during on the way to the hospital because one of damn doctors made a mistake… That's the reason why I want to become a doctor… I want to save lives… I want to do it better than him…" Talking was difficult for him now. More and more sobs escaped his lips. "If I had been a doctor back then, I would have been able to save her." Now he cried loudly.
Not knowing what else to do, she hugged him. He hugged her back a little bit too tightly, but she didn't mind. He buried his face in her shoulder and cried for some time.
"That was the worst day in my life…" He continued after he had calmed down. " I had a trauma and tried to kill myself several times… Then… then my brother Aion came and gave me some heroin and… and it… it helped. At first I took it once a week, then two times, three times, four, then every day… Now I need it every five hours… You've seen what happens to me if I don't get it… I get pissed, I get aggressive… I screamed at you. Sorry." He closed his eyes and sighed. "Without it I am totally mentally labile. I scream, shout, laugh or curl up crying under my blanket in my bed. It's terrible… it also makes me so tired, that I can't even stay awake for dinner in the evening. Since August I lost five kilos of weight I think… It's terrible and I can't break the addiction." He continued lamenting about it.
"I'll help you. You can do it. You can break the addiction." Rosette told him softly and patted his back.
"You won't tell anyone, will you? If Joe knows, I'll lose my job, I won't earn money anymore. It'll be a horror… I don't want to end like one of those homeless junkies on the street." He chuckled sadly.
"No, no, I won't tell anyone. Your secret is safe."
"Thanks…" He closed his eyes and fall asleep.
Rosette waited a little moment and put him down next to her before she fell asleep too.
The next morning Chrno was already awake and made the horse ready. He mumbled a 'Good morning' and tied the saddle.
Rosette stretched her back. Spending the night on the hard ground had been highly uncomfortable and her back hurt now.
Chrno had finished his task and climbed on the horse. He his hand to her and pulled her onto the horse behind him. "Hold tight, I don't want you to fall off." E told her and she embraced his waist.
It took them almost two and a half hours until they arrived at the ranch. Rosette almost fell asleep behind Chrno. When she heard the voices of her relatives calling her she looked up though. She smiled at them and got off the horse.
Her mother took her in her arms and hugged her. "Thanks God!"
Vinsent thanked Chrno for helping his daughter.
"No problem, sir." Chrno said and brought the horse to the stable. Afterwards the first place he went was the hay store.
Some days later Rosette went downtown with new friend from the school. Her name was Azmaria and she also brought another girl, Sathella, along with her.
They were shopping in the mall at first. The mall was huge. Rosette felt completely home there. Then they watched a movie in the movie theatre. Afterwards they went into a pizzeria.
All of a sudden they saw Chrno walking past the window. All three girls waved. He waved back, but he didn't come in to greet them.
"Hey, that's the first time since July, I see him in town." Sathella said and watched him going down the street. She had been in a class with him. And as far as Rosette already knew Azmaria, Sathella and some of the others had been good friends. "What a pity that he's so distanced at the moment." Sathella said and took a sip of her coke.
"No wonder… I mean, it's normal, that you're not yourself anymore after seeing your love die…" Rosette replied her and two surprised eyes looked at her.
"Where do you know that from? Not even we've known that he was with her until now. Who told?" Azmaria asked puzzled.
"Oh, he told me a few days ago." It was nearly incomprehensive. She spoke again with her mouth full of pizza.
"Really? He really did? Wow, he hasn't told anyone yet. Well, except for you. He didn't even talk to us, we heard it from Mary's father..." Sathella told her a little bit enviously. "You're a good friend of Chrno, hu?" she asked curiously.
"What? Oh, well, not really. I guess I just asked him to the right time." Rosette replied and laughed nervously.
"Ha! You're blushing!" Sathella shouted teasingly.
"No, I'm not!" Rosette covered her cheeks with her palms. "I'm not!"
"Oh, you so are!" Azmaria joined the game
It went on like this for a little time. After eating the whole pizza and some dessert they went outside. The main street with all its lights was beautiful in the red evening light.
Suddenly it was already eight o'clock.
Rosette checked her watch and shrieked. "Oh no! I just missed my bus! And the way home takes three and a half hour anyways! My father will kill me, if I come home after twelve o'clock!" She began to panic. Her father could be really strict about stuff like that.
Just in that moment a car stopped next to them. The window went down and Chrno's head popped out. "Hey, I just heard that. Shall I take you home with me? I'm done here and now on the way back."
"That would be great!" Rosette cheered and hopped a little.
Sathella and Azmaria also came along with them. Chrno took them home. Fortunately they didn't live far away from the ranch.
"Goodbye~" Rosette sing-song as they got out of the car and waved widely. "That was a nice day." She said, closed the window and turned to Chrno. "And how was your day?"
"Hm… actually the usual and buying some different things and groceries. Well, I'm not going downtown often, you know." He told her and turned the radio on.
"By buying various things, you don't mean drugs, do you?" Rosette glanced suspiciously over to him.
"CHRNO! I thought you'd stop!" She yelled at him.
"That's not that easy, you know?" He shouted back and looked at her.
"Waaah! Look on the street! A kangaroo!" Rosette screamed loudly and pointed on the street.
"Ah!" The car braked abruptly and the kangaroo hopped away. "Phew."
The blonde girl continued yelling at him for buying the stuff.
"Hey, okay, okay, I got your message. But really, it isn't that easy. I can't stop all of a sudden. You have to understand!" He defended himself.
"You don't even try to!" He pouted after she blamed him for this.
"I do try to." He mumbled.
"Fine. Then give me the heroin." Rosette said and held her hand to him.
"Are you crazy?" He looked shocked at her. "I'll surely not give you drugs of any kinds. No, no, no. In the end it's my fault that you're addicted too. No, no, I can't risk that." He shook his head and stayed hard no matter how often she tried to convince him.
"Pah." She crossed her arms and legs. "It seems like you don't want my help."
"What? No, I do want your help, but more like mental support, you know?" He didn't want to lose her now. Furthermore she could go to Joe if he angered her.
"But my idea is more effective." Still, it was always her who spoke the final word.
They arrived at home.
In the next morning Rosette sneaked into the hay store and went to the place Chrno had always been. She brushed some hay away and found a loose board on the floor. She lifted it and found what she was looking for. A bag with injections and another bag which didn't show the content. She put it in her own bag and closed the hole in the floor. Then she covered it with hay again and left the place as fast as possible without being suspicious. She ran upstairs and into her room. Where she spun around in search of a good spot to hide it. Her eyes fell on the second drawer of the wardrobe. That was good. She opened the drawer and took some pieces of her underwear out of it. Then she placed the content of her bag in the left corner. Afterwards she covered it with some pants and bras.
Well, okay. It was relatively improbably that someone would look for it there.
Satisfied with her work she went downstairs to help Molly in the kitchen.
Later in the afternoon she strayed around on the ranch like she did so often during the last time. Actually it wasn't so bad here. She began to feel home again. Perhaps the idea of staying here forever wasn't as bad as she thought.
Later on she saw Chrno. He was coming to her and he had a visible bad mood.
"Where is it?" He hissed directly in front of her face.
"I don't know what you mean." She chirped and continued her way.
"You know exactly what I mean." He growled dangerously and followed her. "You do not know what happens if I don't get it in time."
"Can't be that bad." She wasn't impressed. Now she even began to hum a song. Suddenly she felt a tight grip on her wrist. She was turned around and pressed to a tree.
"Where is it?" He growled next to her ear.
"You're hurting me!" The blonde screamed and struggled against his grip.
He gasped and jumped away. "I'm sorry." He said heavily breathing. He was again close to tears. Chrno turned around on his heel and ran away.
"Wait!" Rosette chased after him. She stopped as the door of Chrno's room was nearly slammed into her face. Wildly she drummed with her fist on the door. "Open the door!"
"No!" Chrno screamed from the inside. "No, I don't know what'll happen next. And I don't want to hurt you seriously…"
Rosette's hand glided down the door as she stopped knocking. "I see…"
Some minutes later she knocked again at his door.
"Go. Away. Now."
She plead him again to let her in and told him that she had something for him. Though she really hated to do that, she had to.
The door was opened and she was let him. Like promised she gave him the things she had stolen.
It didn't take a long time until the drugs showed their effect. Chrno became much calmer. "I'm sorry… I'm just too weak." He apologized and gave the bags back to her. "You're right. I can't break the addiction alone. Please hide it, or destroy it, whatever you like, but do not give any of those to me anymore... I think the others will burn some broken pales during the next week. Put it under the wood pile and the damn stuff will burn… Until then, please hide it from me. And don't come close to me while I'm on withdrawal."
Rosette gave him a nod and placed her hand on his arm. "Don't worry. Together we'll make it." She smiled warmly at him and turned to the door. "I guess you're again not coming to dinner, hu?"
He shook his head and lay down on the bed.
"Good night then." Rosette turned off the light and closed the door behind her.
It was now the day afterwards. Chrno's situation had become worse. His mood deteriorated. He had also become more aggressive than usual. Because of this he told Joe that he was sick. It was better for him to have some days free. Like this nobody would fall prey to his bad mood.
Rosette hadn't visited him. He had prohibited it.
The blonde thought it was best to respect his wish.
Already in the afternoon he couldn't take it anymore.
Rosette was scared that he could possibly hurt himself, she had to bring him some stuff again.
The next day was a damn schoolday again. Weekend was over.
When she came home in the afternoon the great shock awaited her. Both of her parents stood in the doorway and awaited her with a pissed look on their face.
"Young lady." Vinsent growled. Rosette gulped. It wasn't a good sign that he called her like this. "Care to explain this?"
"Explain what?" She asked innocently.
They took her inside and made her sit down on the cough. Her parents stood in front of her, blocking all ways to escape, and looked down to her.
"Explain that." Her mother held the two bags ten cm in front of the girl's face. "And why I found it between your underwear while I was putting the laundry in your drawer."
The blonde gasped and searched some words. "I… I can explain that. R-really, I can!" She stuttered. "You see… it actually isn't mine." He felt like she was shrinking under her parents' glare.
"Do not lie to us! We are your parents and we want you to tell the truth! Please, tell us! Why do you do such things?" Her mother nearly cried – she was a woman who liked to cry because of everything.
"I-I…" Rosette stuttered again. She couldn't tell them the truth! She had promised Chrno not to tell anyone! And she would definitely not betray him. "I won't tell you anything!" she shouted… louder than she wanted. Joshua came downstairs and looked puzzled from one of them to the other.
"Go upstairs!" Vinsent commanded him. Quickly Joshua nodded and ran upstairs again.
The front door also opened and Chrno peeked inside.
"I was just next door and heard a scream. Is everything okay?" he asked them.
While the two adults' attention was on Chrno, Rosette tried to tell Chrno what happen which was pretty difficult without making a sound.
"Oh, it's nothing. It's just one of those arguments teenagers have with their parents." Vinsent smiled at him. Unbelievable that his mood could change so fast…
The Chrno noticed the bad in the woman's hand.
He cursed quietly and entered the room.
"Get out!" Rosette hissed.
"Have you just said something?" Vinsent turned to her again.
She quickly shook her head and looked on the floor.
"Anyways you are in lots of trouble now, young lady." The older man warned her.
"Wait." Chrno called and entered the room. He took the stuff away from Rosette's mother. "This is not hers. I-it's mine. She didn't do anything wrong. It's not right to punish her." He said. It was most likely that he had ruined his life with that.
"Shut up! It is mine!" Rosette yelled trying to protect him.
"No, it is not and you know that." He addressed the girl. "I'm sorry." He addressed the parents and was about to leave.
"You little brat are giving drugs to my daughter?!" Vinsent yelled at him furiously.
Chrno stopped and took a deep breath. "Not for her to take it, but she should hide it, so I don't get it."
Vinsent was about to say something, but Chrno already left the room. He thought it was better to pack his suitcase now...
A new argument started. Vinsent also called Joe to tell him about the news. Dismayed Joe gasped. "I didn't think that of Chrno… I didn't think that I was so easily to deceive. I guess I'll have to throw him out then." The old man sighed and ran his hand over his face.
"No! Don't do that!!! Please! He needs the job! And hasn't he always been a good help to you?!" Rosette shrieked.
"You shut up. You've already made enough trouble." The mother said.
"Go and pack your stuff." Vinsent ordered her.
"You heard what I said. We're leaving immediately. I don't want to live in a country where my daughter becomes a junky in less than a month." Vinsent said and gripped her arm. Then he led her upstairs and observed her while packing.
"That's so mean! You can't do this!" Rosette cried under tears while she collected her stuff. Wow, at the beginning she had wanted nothing more than to go back to the USA, but now she wanted nothing more than to stay and to help Chrno. And always… there was her father who wanted something different.
The tears streamed over her cheek as she put the last shirt in her suitcase. Her father observed every step of hers and closed the car door finally. The other family members were also ready to take off.
Chrno tried to talk to Vinsent for a last time, but the older one turned around and pointed with his finger on Chrno's chest. "I want you to stay away from my family. Don't you dare to come any closer again." With that he sat down on the driver's seat. The engine roared and they drove away from the ranch. Rosette turned around in her seat and waved for a last time with a last tear on her cheek.
Back in the USA everything returned to the normal life. Soon it seemed like Rosette had never been away. She met her old best friends; they went to school and did other things together. The topic of moving back was a total taboo in the family and she didn't hear anything from Chrno again.
Well, at least almost. About half a year later she sat with some friends in a café. Suddenly her cell phone vibrated telling her that she got a message. It said: "Thanks a lot. I'm clean now."
She was so happy to hear that…
Year by year had passed. Rosette had grown older, as well as her brother did. The two of them were now driving along a street. They were on the way to visit their parents. It was her mother's birthday. It was winter and the streets were icy though. Suddenly Joshua lost the control over the car and they were thrown off the road. They crashed into a tree.
Rosette opened her eyes and saw the bright light of a hospital neon lamp. She groaned and sat up. A nurse helped her and called a doctor to talk to her.
The doctor entered the room. He was focused on the folder in his hands.
"Well, you were lucky, Miss." He said still not looking at her. "As far as the file says you have no serious injuries, Miss.. uh…" He turned the page around to look for the name. "…Rosette?" Chrno's red eyes looked over to her.
At first Rosette stared at him then she started to laugh.
He came over to her and hugged her shortly.
"I see you really made it." She grinned widely at him after he had let go.
"Yes, but only because you helped me."
The messenger on his belt peeped loudly. He looked on it.
"What's wrong?" Rosette asked as she saw the worried look on his face.
"Your brother." He said and started to hurry out of the room.
Rosette got out of the bed, yelled something at the nurse who tried to hold her back and followed him. She stopped in front of a huge door. There the nurse caught her and made her sit down on a chair next to the door.
"Please you have to wait here. Can I bring you something to make you feel better?" The nurse asked kindly.
"Yes. MY BROTHER." Rosette shouted.
What had happened to him? Was it bad? Well, it had to be bad since Chrno looked so worried. It seemed like an eternity until the door opened again. Chrno stepped out of it took off the thing in front of his mouth and the rubber gloves. He looked tired and stressed.
"And?" Rosette asked. Her hands were balled to a fist. The fingernails dug into the flesh. It hurt. She didn't mind.
"He'll live." Chrno finally said.
Rosette collapsed in his arms crying 'Thank you' for a hundred times.