Long Way to Happy
Warnings: see first chapter
Disclaimer: see first chapter
A/n: It's up it's up it's up! Chapter 15! Let's get cracking! We've got just over 1,800 words! Spoiler alert: FLUFF!
Oh, I just wanted to send out a big thank you for all of your support, dear readers! I'm so happy for all the comments, follows, favourites, and overall support I've gotten from you. Thank you! Enjoy the chapter!
The first thing I noticed was the smell—that familiar overly clean smell that one can really only associate with hospitals. Ugh, I hated hospitals. Then I noticed that while I felt a few aches and pains, it was significantly less than it was before…before… I sucked in a deep breath as my thoughts shied away from the past. How was I still alive? I shifted away from slight discomfort of lying in one position far too long and forced my sore eyes open. I studied the ceiling and took in some of the light pooling onto the floor of the hospital.
A gentle snore caught my attention and I slowly turned my head to my right. There, passed out on a very uncomfortable looking chair, was the man who saved my life. He was rumpled, had some dark circles under his eyes, and looked like he hadn't shaved in a few days—I even noticed a few bruises and minor scrapes on his cheeks—but he was alive and he was next to me. I felt a small burst of happiness envelop my chest and I couldn't help the smile that turned up my lips. Alfred did save me. He saved me, and I gulped nervously, but he deserved to know the truth. My self-disgust and my sense to do what was right warred within me and I couldn't help but feel crushed by it; once he knew, everything would change. And I was certain things would not change for the better.
My thoughts were interrupted by a light knock on the door. I turned my gaze towards the door and saw the bushy eye-browed Englishman standing there rather awkwardly with an old knapsack. I noticed there was an American flag taking up the majority of the bag so I figured it had to be Alfred's.
Arthur cleared his throat, jostling out of my thoughts again. "Oh um, h-hi A-Arthur. S-sorry I d-didn't say a-anything."
Arthur gazed at me with emotion-filled eyes. "Not a problem there, Matthew. I was just bringing extra him clothes. He hasn't left you once."
I swallowed and didn't fight the heat suffusing my cheeks. "R-really? H-how long?"
"Four days," Arthur replied.
"I-I want Alfred to do well i-in school, n-not stay h-here w-with me," I explained.
Arthur frowned. "I see."
"N-no, that is, ah I m-mean, I w-want him t-to help people w-who deserve it. He-he's going to be a-a great l-lawyer," I assured the Englishman.
Arthur looked at me sadly. "Do you not think you deserve to be helped?"
I looked away from his calculating stare and shrugged lightly. I looked over at Alfred who was still evidently asleep and glanced back at Arthur.
"No, I don't think I d-do. B-but I w-want to," I replied feeling very certain of this. I knew there was something broken inside of me, but for the first time ever, I felt keen to fix it.
The Brit smiled for the first time and said, "You'll be OK then, lad."
He walked over with the bag and quietly dropped it by the bed and nodded to me. "You'll come round for tea soon then, Matthew? I'd like to get to know the boy my son seems to like so much."
Warmth suffused my cheeks and I blinked at him. "Y-yeah, tea s-sounds good."
Arthur quirked his lips and left.
My mind kept going over the conversation. Obviously Alfred's dad didn't know much about what happened to me and I wasn't sure how much I wanted him to know. Then again, if Alfred truly knew everything, maybe he wouldn't want anything more to do with me and I wouldn't have to try and get to know his dad.
As if reading my thoughts, Alfred grumbled, "No…"
"Al-Alfred?" I called quietly.
"Mattie?" He opened one bleary blue eye, followed by the other one. His eyes focussed on me and he stumbled off his chair towards me.
"Mattie! Mattie! Are you okay? How are you feeling? I'm sorry I took so long to find you! Please forgive me," his hands gently held my face and his fingers ran through my hair. It felt really nice, I thought with a smile.
"I-I'm OK, Alfred. I-it's OK," I assured the other man. I lifted a less injured hand to his hand that held my face and squeeze it lightly.
Alfred smiled, although I sensed he was still upset, so, even though it was awful of me, I just couldn't resist. "K-kiss me?"
He lent down and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. He smoothed my hair and held me close and kissed me over and over again. I smiled into the kiss. Maybe it would be OK, I thought.
My lips were swollen a few minutes later and Alfred had taken up half of my bed lying next to me holding me close.
"You sh-should take a shower," I suggested lightly.
Alfred pulled away and looked at me, brows furrowed. "Are you telling me I stink?"
I stifled a laugh. "N-no. But I like it when you smell clean."
"Same thing. You're just passive-aggressive," he said with a grin and then his fingers came to my sides and tickled me.
I let loose a laugh, "Hey! I'm t-ticklish! Stop!"
"Not until you admit it, Mattie! Say what you mean!"
"I did!" I laughed and wiggled in his arms, trying to escape his tickling fingers.
"No you didn't!" Alfred replied.
"OK OK, I give. You smell. P-please take a shower, Al," I said, still grinning back at him.
Alfred smiled back and pressed a soft kiss to my lips. "You win."
The blond American got up and noticed the knapsack by the bed.
"Your dad was here. He br-brought them," I told him. Alfred nodded. "Th-thank you. For e-everything, Al. F-for staying and uh e-everything else."
I looked up and met bright sapphire eyes. Alfred smoothed my hair, "Always."
I swallowed and pushed him, "Go sh-shower."
"Kay, but we have stuff to talk about," he said. "Not now, but later. Don't worry, Mattie."
"Oh, here's your phone," he said, as if remembering for the first time. "I got it back for you. Gilbert's been here…and some of your other friends have been too. They were here this morning actually."
"Oh, um, thanks. I-I guess I-I should l-let them know I'm OK…" I said faintly. I wasn't too keen to tell people everything about what happened, even if I only knew my side of the story. I still didn't know how on Earth Alfred had found me. A thought struck me as Alfred picked up his knapsack, what happened to Gary? Would Gary come here and seek revenge on me? Or worse, would he seek revenge on my friends or boyfriend? I sucked in a deep breath.
He looked away from his bag, "Yeah?"
"I-is he going to c-coming back?" I clutched tightly at the blankets swaddled around me.
Alfred cocked his head as I dug my finger nails into my skin, then he came toward me again and took my smaller, tenser hands in his gentle ones. He met my eyes, "You're talking about your stepfather?"
I nodded and looked down ashamed. Alfred knew what had happened and it made me sick.
"Hey, don't do that. It wasn't your fault," he said gently.
I shook my head, "No, it-it was. I-I sh-should have st-stopped it. I sh-should have d-died in-instead of my mum… It's s-so messed up."
Suddenly, Alfred pulled me against his chest and gently rubbed my back. I still felt the pain from the welts that were there and slowly healing, but somehow, Alfred's touch kept me in the moment and calmed my hitching breaths. It was only then I noticed the tears coming down my cheeks dampening his shirt.
"It's OK. We'll get through it. He's not coming back. He's in jail right now. Hopefully we can provide enough evidence to get him put away for good. But I'll do my best to make sure he never comes near you again," Alfred said in a strong steady voice.
I didn't say anything. I just let his voice wash over me and bring that sense of comfort and peace while in his arms.
I nodded against his chest, "Yeah?"
"I'm so glad you're alive. When I thought you were…" his voice sounded wrecked. "You mean so much to me, Mattie. I'm glad you survived and I met you. I'm even more glad that you're here with me now. You're going to be OK, Mattie. I know it. I'll make sure of it. But I need you to know it and stay on board with me here. I need you to be strong too, Mattie."
I sniffled and looked up at him, "Y-yeah. I-I w-will try."
He smiled through suspiciously red eyes, his cheeks slightly damp looking. "That's all we need. We'll get through everything."
I bit my lip and nodded. I felt safe knowing that Gary couldn't reach me here but I still wanted Alfred to stay by my side. He needed to take care of himself so I had to let him go do that. I would call Gilbert.
Alfred pressed a kiss to my temple and then another chaste kiss on my lips. "I'll be back in a couple hours then. You'll be safe here. You're in a private room after all."
"Th-thanks," I said gratefully.
He got up with his bag draped over his buff shoulder and glanced at me one last time from the door. "See you soon!"
I smiled at him knowing that I could count on him. After he left, I looked down at my phone and saw that there were thirty text messages. Feeling slight overwhelmed, I began to go through them—the newest ones first. I decided that I would go through the other ones later; it would help me piece together what had happened.
Gilbert: Dude! When are you going to wake up?! Wake up soon, Matt.
I could tell that that was Gilbert-speak for "I'm worried about you." I licked my lips nervously and replied to this latest text. His response was instantaneous.
OMFG! I'm coming over right now! I was there with Antonio and Elizabeta this morning and shit. And you know that really cute Italian boy, Feliciano something or other? He was asking about you too when he heard from my bro that you were hurt. He said something about bringing heaps of pasta to fatten you up. I'll pass the word on that you're OK. See you shortly!
A knot of anxiety threatened to make me sick but it fought with a nervous happiness. No one had forgotten about me, I thought in wonder. I was happy but overwhelmed. I looked around and pressed the button to summon the nurse. I figured I ought to let him or her know what was going on.
A/n: Wow… I really feel like I want to run to the finish line with this, but it's just churning out like this. Thankfully, this fic seems to be writing itself. More soon! Please review! Reviews make me super happy!