As I stood at the serving end of the bar opposite Brendan Brady I was seriously starting to regret my earlier decision to help Bart. He'd yelled at five people so far in the time I'd been stood here and the only member of staff that seemed unfazed by it was Ash Kane – my supposed reason for being here. When questioned by Cheryl about why I was here when I'm underage I'd explained that Callum had asked me to pass a message onto his sister – really I was waiting for a quiet moment to have a word with Brendan in private. To be fair to Bart he had offered but he was rarely allowed to set foot in this place since his little stunt at Halloween last year. I'd told him I'd do it – joking that one of us had to stop acting like a girl – but really I was bricking it. I decided I'd better start up a conversation of some sort at least.
"Hey Brendan", I said, using up all my courage on just those two words. He turned to face me, twitching his moustache. I gulped silently then continued. "Have you heard any news about how Mitzeee's doing? I've been dead worried".
It wasn't much but it was the only conversation starter I could think of.
"Ah", Brendan replied stroking his moustache. "Mitzeee". He walked closer to me. "Now why would you ask a thing like that?" He inspected me closer. "How old are you, anyway?" He asked, pausing before the last word to do some sort of weird twitch with his face. "Seventeen?" I nodded. "So why would a little girl like you, care about some-one like Mitzeee?" He stared me down with a deathly glare. "Unless you're just looking for" – he got even closer to me as he whispered the last word "gossip". He laughed then as if he'd said something funny, which he hadn't. "You see the thing is you don't want to mess with me, kiddo", he laughed. "I'm sorry – did that term insult you? Did it?" He tilted his head to one side. "Let's see, what else can we come up with instead? Something less … derogatory. Kiddie. Kid". He tilted his head to the other side now. "Adolescent. Pubescent. Child". He leant against the bar with both hands, facing me directly. "Whatever you want to call it it's too young to be in here so I suggest you get the hell out of my club", he told me sternly. I left quickly, secretly feeling a little bit shaken. I guessed we were going to have to come up with a plan B for finding Silas because we would definatly not be getting any help from Brendan.
She looked so peaceful – lying there with her eyes shut and her head flopping down and framing her face perfectly. Without all her slap she looked even more beautiful than usual. If it wasn't for all the wires and machinery surrounding her she'd look great. But she needed it – it was keeping her alive.
"She's still not woken up then?" Seth asked me, standing by my side holding a cup of coffee. I hadn't even noticed him leave to get it. I shook my head.
"Riley's on his way", he told me. "He had to find somewhere to park".
I simply nodded, feeling unable to form words.
"Bart called", Seth continued. "You should probably call him back some time".
"He's always calling", I told my twin. "I'll call him when I'm ready".
"You know Bart hasn't actually done anything wrong", Seth told me. He paused, suddenly looking concerned. "He hasn't has he?"
"No", I replied. "I just … I just don't feel like talking right now. Not to him – not to anyone".
I stood up and walked out of the hospital room. The sight of my cousin lying unconscious in that bed was too much to handle. Seth got up and followed me out.
"Any-one", I repeated. He went back inside.
I stood outside by myself, leaning against the door to Mitzeee's room, trying to figure out when I got so screwed up. Why I don't want to talk to anybody – not even my twin brother or the love of my life. I think it's because deep down, I know it's my fault that Mitzeee's in hospital. I was always Silas's favourite over Seth – I was always Mum's favourite too, and Dad's. Deep down we both knew that – only neither of us had the courage to say it out loud. For fifteen years Seth was stuck in the shadow of Jasmine Costello – and even a near gender change didn't change that. Even with Jasmine gone she was still the focus of my parents' concern, especially Mum's. And even Jason, the idea of whom neither of them really agreed with, came before Seth. Sure Silas loved Riley too but he knew he was old enough to take care of himself – and anyway he must have known that there was no way his oldest grand-child would ever want to see him again – except maybe in a coffin. No, Silas came back for me and me alone – because I have to be the bloody golden child of the family. Not only have I forced Seth into the backseat all my life I've also been the cause of what could be Mitzeee's death. She's been in a coma for a scary amount of time now. And if she doesn't pull through it's all going to be my fault. That's why I can't talk to any-one – I don't want anyone to get that close to me. I don't want anyone else getting hurt. I'm Jasmine Costello and everything I touch I destroy.
Slowly, tears brimming in my eyes, I reach for my phone out of my jeans pocket knowing what I have to do. I tap the screen to display my contacts then scroll down to the only person that close to me that I'm not related to. The only person I can actually set free from the curse that seems to surround me. The person who's life was finally fine and rosy until I came back. I press dial before I can change my mind.
As I lift Bobby out of the car I notice something – a smell. It's only been ten minutes since the last time – I swear flatulence issues is a problem Bobby's inherited from the McQueen side of the family. Myra just has that look about her.
I scan the car park for a portaloo or something – anything that means I don't have to face the embarrassment of carrying a stinky baby through the hospital until I reach a baby-changing facility. There's nothing. Damn it.
I carry him as far as the hospital entrance before I realize I've forgotten to lock my car – something that isn't unusual for me in these last few weeks since Mitzeee's been in hospital. I don't know what it is – I've had family in hospital before – Seth with the steroids, Jasmine when she got herself hit by a car, Bobby after he escaped the volt Silas was holding him inside (albeit inside Mercedes). It hurt every time – seeing a member of family in that much pain. Bobby's my son and my paternal instinct was a strong one even if I didn't visit him as often as I should have done – I had no idea at the time if he was even mine. Jas and Seth mean almost as much to be as my son – I practically raised them some of the time. I know what it feels like when your family is in hospital.
But with Mitzeee – maybe it's just because she's more critical I don't know – but there seems to be this kind of strange pull, dragging me here from start to end of the visiting hours. Not being able to leave her bedside in the time that I'm here. I don't know what it is – or maybe I do and just aren't ready to even admit it to myself yet – something to do with what happened shortly before Silas's intrusion on New Year's – but I do know that there's something about my cousin that makes me need to get inside there and see her right away. Once I've got Bobby cleaned up that is.
As I head outside Chez Chez to tell Bart we need to get thinking of another plan where Silas is involved, I notice he's nowhere to be seen. He's just walked off a left me. Fucking brilliant. As I get out my phone to call Ruby and bitch about it to her I notice him walking away in the distance, kicking the ground as he walks.
"Oi – Bart!" I yell after him. At first I think he isn't going to turn around but to my surprise he does – his eyes slightly red and blotchy.
"Bart?" I repeat his name, my tone softer, as I approach him and give him a hug.
"It's Jasmine", he tells me. I start to panic – I don't like the girl much – well at all – but if something serious has happened to her … "She's dumped me", he continues.