No more running, no more pretending, and no more lying. That's the promise Rachel Berry makes to herself the day she gets the news. The thing about making promises, though, is that you never forsee the unexpected. In a single moment, two lives are altered and a life changing decision is made.
"None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives."- Kathleen Norris.
The snow drifted softly to the ground as the young girl trudged through the slick streets towards her destination. The biting chill of the wind cut through her thin clothes and forced her to pull the bundle in her arms tighter to her chest. She listened to the small whimper and fought back her own tears, pushing forward.
"Shhh," she whispered as the cold air burned her throat and lungs, "we're almost there."
Growing up she never imagined her life would end up like this, never imagined the cruelty and pain and fear and loneliness. Then again, there are so many things they don't tell you as a little girl. They don't tell you that life is nothing like the books that were read to you as a child; there is no prince charming, no happily ever after. They also don't tell you that people only look out for themselves; the world is far much more cruel and unkind than is even fathomable to imagine.
She was wiser now, though. And she knew it all.
The tall building loomed in front of her, the final destination for the bundle in her arms. She stopped just a short block away, her eyes stinging from the cold and looked down at the pink blanket letting her tears fall and freeze to her cheeks.
"I know that this may be hard to understand," her words caught in her throat and she choked back her emotion. "But I pray that one day you will." She laid a gentle kiss against the cloth, her face snuggling into the tiny ball of warmth before she trekked the last block.
The electronic doors swung open and she was hit with a burst of heat that made her face sting and her eyes water. Taking a deep breath and willing back the tears, she stepped inside. The lobby was filled with people bustling about their day. A small desk to her left offered pamphlets and information. Another offered directions.
She bypassed them all, making her way to the right walking past the coffee shop and gift shop before stopping in front of an open office door. A young girl sat at the desk, shuffling paperwork as she hummed along to the festive music. Her heart lurched in her chest as she looked at the sign next to the door.
Dr. Elijah Berry – Pediatrician.
She walked into the office and up to the desk, feeling her stomach drop as the girl set her paperwork aside and smiled at her kindly.
"Hello, may I help you?" the girl questioned.
Her nametag stood out against the brightness of her childlike top, the black letters etched into the white sticker. "Yes, Rachel," she replied softly, "I think you can."
She lifted up the pink bundle, her heart breaking in her chest. She held her small baby girl out, placing the pink bundle into Rachel's arms. She fought back the tears and the overwhelming sense of dread as the young secretary looked on with confusion on her face.
"Tell her I'm sorry and that I love her," she whispered as she took one last long look at the swaddled baby.
And then, she ran.
There's something about the way the rain falls and splatters against the ground, the monotonous nature of the whole thing, which brings her peace even in her most troubled of times. The irony of it all is not lost on her. When she feels like she's drowning, when she struggles to keep her head above the waves that seem to crash down around her, water is what comforts her.
Rachel stands with her face turned towards the sky, the droplets tumbling against her skin and she breathes in the moment. It seems like lately all she does is go through the motions of the day. She idly wonders if anyone can truly see how lost and alone she feels; a small girl set adrift in a big city. She doesn't think they can because if they do, what does that say about the people she surrounds herself with. What does it say about humanity in general? She tells herself that she's just that good of an actress and sometimes she believes it.
She stays outside until her fingers start to prune and her body is shaking from the chill of the wind. Her tears have mingled with the water that litters her clothes and skin. She feels refreshed, renewed. Only then does she force herself to move.
The dorm is bustling with people getting ready to head home. She watches her fellow classmates as they lug suitcases and boxes full of presents on and off the elevator and finds herself thinking about how different this year's Hanukah is going to be. Before she can really contemplate it, the elevator dings and she squeezes her way off.
Standing outside of her door, she uses her sleeve to brush the tear streaks away and forces a smile on her face. Her two roommates will be inside; each of them sitting on their beds, oblivious to the way her world is crashing down around her. Every fiber within her wants to keep it that way.
A few things...
There will be some jumping in time but not as much as Borrowed Time (I think).
I probably won't be able to get the first chapter up this week because of Christmas (It's a crazy week), but I wanted to get this up so you guys could see what I am working on.
If you haven't heard of the Safe Haven laws that we have here in the U.S. I recommend you google it :)