Well, I'm back with a new chapter. This one is dedicated to theuntitled for her amazing support and reviewing. Go check out her story called Shattering Glass.
I added a very slight mention of Castle in this. You'll know what I mean when you read it :)
So I've got my lasagna, my juice and I'm ready to get this show on the road.
Please Review And Enjoy!
The first thing I was aware of when I woke up, aside from my worn black t-shirt and denim jeans sticking to my sweat covered body, was the mumbling coming from my right. I could see my black sneakers were on the floor beside the bed. I turned my sore head slowly and what I saw had to be a mistake. Gary Bell was sitting in the blue chair against the wall, flicking his right hand, stopping for a moment to spread his first two fingers before curling his hand into a fist and then the process repeated itself as Gary mumbled disjointed sentences like "Hicks' perfect game", "Tell Tyler I love him" and "Raiders win against all odds".
It was almost exactly the way I found Gary that first day that we met and before I could stop myself, the tears in my eyes overflowed and a raw sob escaped my throat. Gary's head snapped towards me, concern written all over his face, and I so badly wished it to be real. I raised my hands to my face, pressing lightly as I continued to cry, hard, raw sobs of despair filling the room.
Gary mumbled, "Tell Doctor Rosen she's awake. Patient is awake."
I then felt his hand hesitantly touch my own and as he went to pull away, I twisted my hand around to intertwine our fingers, sobbing even more as I felt a real thumb rubbing my hand softly.
It was real. Gary Bell was here.
It took everything in me to stop crying enough to pull my hand away from my face. Gary's worried face greeted me and I gave him a watery smile. "I thought you disappeared."
Gary frowned at me. "But I didn't disappear. I came to work with Doctor Rosen. And Nina. And Bill. And Rachel. And now Hicks. And maybe you."
I didn't see where Gary was going but I knew now that I'd found him, that he was okay.
In a move neither Gary nor I saw coming, I flung myself into his arms, sobbing into his shoulder. Gary hesitantly wrapped his arms around me. "Don't be sad, Jessie. I'm here. I'm in front of you."
"I'm not sad, Gary," I whispered in his ear, "I'm happy. So very happy."
We stayed like that for another moment before I heard a knock at the door. I pulled my face from Gary's shoulder, not even caring that I probably looked a mess with puffy red eyes and tear tracks down my cheeks.
The woman with black curls opened the door. She saw me and smiled politely but I could tell she was shocked. Probably because Gary was letting me hug him, which even when he was little was a rare occurrence. "Uh, Gary? Doctor Rosen wants to come in and see how she's doing. Is that okay?"
Gary turned out of my embrace, moving to stand in the space between me and the wall and my heart fell slightly. "Yes. Doctor Rosen can come in, Nina."
So this was Nina. She was certainly beautiful. Tall with a slim figure, rosy lips and lovely brown eyes, everything I used to wish I could be.
Now, I just wish that Red Flag would leave me alone.
Nina smiled at Gary and me before retreating from the room. Seconds later, the older man from before walked calmly into the room. He cleared his throat. "Hello. I am Doctor Rosen." He introduced himself.
"Hi, doc," I replied shyly, my arms resting next to my legs, quivering slightly.
"I see you know our very own Gary but I thought it might be best to have a proper introduction. Now, I'd like to run a few small tests, just to assess your wellbeing. You've been unconscious for over eighteen hours," Doctor Rosen continued, giving me a non-threatening smile.
I nodded my head, lying back on the pillows. My head was beginning to spin. I heard Doctor Rosen move around my bed, grasping my wrist and checking my pulse, asking me to breathe while he listened to my lungs and feeling my head and throat for any lumps, bruises or cuts.
The tests also included an MRI, to "see if there has been any lobe damage to your brain from being suffocated for over a minute" Doctor Rosen said.
The MRI room was just down the hall. Doctor Rosen helped me stumble down the hallway. I was still shaky from being unconscious and from my increasingly dizzy sight. Eventually, Gary's help was needed to keep me walking. However hesitantly, he did help Doctor Rosen take me to the MRI machine and sit me down.
I felt very dizzy and my stomach was becoming more and more unsettled with each passing moment. Doctor Rosen must have seen from my face that I was about to be violently sick as he rushed from the room, instructing Gary to keep me sitting up so if I did vomit, I wouldn't choke on it.
I don't know how long Doctor Rosen was gone but as soon as he left, Gary's hand was on my back, rubbing lightly in small circles, not pressuring but constant, kind of like our friendship.
Though it did nothing to help quell my nausea, it did comfort me to know that Gary was still my friend.
Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, a bucket appeared in my hands, catching the first wave of vomit. For a while, I was violently sick, pausing every few minutes to get a breath in before it would start all over again, Gary's hand never leaving my back. Tears welled up in my eyes and spilled over the lids, drawing lines down my cheeks.
I was so sick of crying.
Finally, there was nothing more to throw up. I could do nothing more than dry heave for a few more moments before I collapsed to the right, right into Gary's chest. My eyes slid shut and I was more tired than before. I couldn't move even if I tried.
And I certainly didn't want to.
Arms wrapped around my shoulders, steering me to lie down on the MRI machine. Gary and Doctor Rosen left the room and the machine whirled to life. I felt myself being moved into the middle of the machine but after that I knew no more.
When I woke up again, it was morning and there was no Gary in my room. At first, I thought that Gary being here had been a dream, the same with Doctor Rosen and everyone else but that fear was soon put to rest as the woman in the blue dress walked into the room through the open door.
She didn't realise I was awake until she lifted her head from her notebook. She jumped. "Oh! Y-You're awake. H-Hi, my name is R-Rachel. How are you feeling?" She asked me, seeming to be nervous.
I smiled inwardly at her. She reminded me of a very young Gary Bell. "I'm fine. I feel much better now," I replied.
Rachel gave me a shy smile before we both turned to the door as we heard chatter from outside. I didn't recognise either voice but I could hear that they were talking about me.
"Hicks, what do you think about this girl of Gary's?" A deep voice asked.
"I don't know, Bill. She doesn't seem like she's here to hurt anyone, let alone Gary, so you can quit being over protective," The other voice, Hicks, replied.
'Bill' grumbled quietly but didn't say anymore as a man with dark skin poked his head into the room with me and Rachel inside. Instantly, he saw I was awake. I chuckled quietly. "If you wanted to know anything about me, Bill, it's always better to ask than to bitch behind someone's back," I said.
Bill gave me a hard look but I just grinned back. Bill seemed like the kind of person to always be in charge and the kind to know everything. I'm sure my being here was putting him off quite a bit.
Oh, I could have a lot of fun with this.
"Also," I added, "I'm not Gary's girl. Gary is my friend, my best friend."
Bill looked at me like he was trying to size me up. I was beginning to get annoyed with him looking at me like I was just a threat to his perfect office life. The handle on the door began to jiggle and its shaking grew with each passing second that Bill stared at me.
Finally, I'd had enough. I willed the door to close, slamming it in Bill's face. Rachel looked at me shocked but I just grinned. That'll teach Bill.
Bill opened the door again and glared at me. I glared right back.
A second head poked in through the doorway, revealing the first man I'd see in that alleyway. "Hey there, kid. I'm Cameron, but call me Hicks."
I waved to Hicks, still glaring at the annoyed Bill. Hicks shrugged and pulled out his phone, no doubt texting Doctor Rosen and/or Gary, saying I was awake.
The room was getting crowded and it was making me uncomfortable. I never liked being in a small space with so many people. So I asked Bill and Hicks to leave. "Bill, Hicks. Can you both leave the room? I get claustrophobic and with too many people in this room and right now, I'm getting uncomfortable."
Hicks nodded in understanding while Bill still stared at me. Hicks just grabbed Bill by the upper arm and dragged him from the room, despite his protests. Rachel decided to leave as well, saying she would be back when she finished her analysis. Analysis of what I wasn't sure but I was glad for the space.
I shifted a little on the pillows and closed my eyes. Oh, if Martha and Richie could see what's going on right now. Wait….
Martha and Richie!
They had to be worried sick about me. I scrambled from the bed, feeling my dirty clothes stick to my person. I didn't care, I needed to get to a phone or get out of here. I stumbled out of the room, kicking the blankets from around my feet as I put my sneakers back on. I narrowly avoided slamming into the wall opposite the doorway.
I spotted the elevators at the end of the hall. I had to get out of here and check on Martha and Richie. If Red Flag tracked me here, they could track where I've been staying. Just as I reached the elevators, they opened, bringing with them the sight of a person that I had been wishing to see for three years: Gary Bell.
He seemed distracted, flicking his hands and mumbling sentences to himself. I tried to move around him but my right leg decided at that moment to become jelly and I braced myself for impact with the floor.
When I didn't feel myself hit the floor, I opened my eyes. Gary had caught me and was now kneeling in front of me, hands barely on my arms. I looked at Gary with tearful eyes and knew I had to tell him. He wouldn't let me leave if I didn't.
"Gary, I need to go. Those people who attacked me, they tracked me here. If they can track me here, they can track who I've been staying with. I won't let Martha or little Richie get hurt because of me!" I was firm in my decision. If Gary didn't want to help me, I would just have to find another way to get past him.
Gary rose from the floor, pulling me with him. "Where were you staying? Who are Martha and 'little' Richie?"
"I've been staying with a friend of my father's. Her name is Martha Jameson and she lives with her son, Richard. East end village," I replied. I was trying to focus on telling Gary what he needed to know but I was so sick with worry, it was very difficult.
Gary steered me towards an office to the left. Bill was sitting at the desk in there, writing on some papers. I didn't want to deal with Bill right now. I just needed to get to Martha's.
"Bill, Martha's in trouble. She's a target, so is Richie," Gary said. Bill sighed, clearly not understanding.
"The people who are letting me stay with them right now are in trouble, like big trouble. If I don't warn them, then Red Flag might go after them," I said, silently pleading with Bill to help but the moment I said 'Red Flag' his head snapped up and his eyes hardened.
"How do you know about Red Flag? Gary, what have you been telling her?" Bill snarled, turning his glare on the autistic man next to me.
Gary shrunk back slightly but shook his head. "Didn't say anything to Jessie. I didn't say anything about Red Flag."
Bill was growing even more like a dick than I originally thought he was. "Bill, Gary didn't tell me anything about Red Flag." Gary interrupted me.
"That's what I said," Gary said bluntly.
"I know, Gary," I smiled at my friend, glad I'd found him, before I turned back to Bill, a hard look on my face. "Red Flag have been chasing me for two years. They want to recruit me and those people who had me cornered in the alley? They were the ones using force. My dad," I paused, swallowing around the sudden lump in my throat, "He sacrificed himself to protect me from them. I have no idea what happened to him. I can only hope he wasn't captured. Red Flag are ruthless. They will hurt anybody just to get to me."
"How do I know, how do we know, that you're not just going to run off once we get outside? How do we know that you won't contact Red Flag and let them know where you are? How do we know you're not working with them?" Bill questioned and to be fair, he had a right to.
But it didn't make me any less angry at him.
I slammed my hands down on his desk, ignoring Gary as he jumped next to me. "These people mean the world to me. They're like a second family to me and I would die to protect them. I have never joined nor will I ever join Red Flag because they're just a bunch of horrible people who only want to hurt everyone else. They barely have any humanity inside of them. My father sacrificed himself for me, so I could escape when they stormed our house. He gave up everything, possibly his freedom or even his own life just to keep me safe. Why would I go back on something like that? Why would I join Red Flag with everything that they have done?"
Bill stared at me for a second longer before grabbing his coat and the keys from the bowl on his desk. "Come on, Gary, Jessie. Better go check on this Martha and Richie. Don't want non-Alphas mixed up in this."
'Alphas?' I wondered to myself but decided not to voice my thought. It would probably be explained to me after we checked on Martha and Richie. I was glad that Bill listened to me and allowed me to come along. I was true in everything I said. Why would I join such an evil group after all the horrible things they've put me through?
Gary sat next to me in the back of the car while Bill claimed the whole front for himself. Gary kept his hands close to his chest, occasionally flicking his right hand. Bill asked me for directions a couple of times and those directions were the only words spoken the whole trip.
When we arrived, I leapt from the car, running into the apartment complex and up to Martha's door. When I spotted her bright red hair as she opened the door, I flung myself into her arms, overjoyed that she was safe. She hugged me back with abandon, actually lifting me up off the ground. "Oh, Jessie, where have you been?" She demanded, pulling back to look me over, "Your clothes are all dirty and you look so tired. Come inside."
I returned her embrace for a moment before I let go and took a step forward into the apartment. I then remembered about Gary and Bill. "Martha, this is Gary and Bill," I gestured to them as I said their names. Bill jerked his head in a quick nod while Gary waved shyly, fidgeting with his wristband. "They've been helping me and when I told them I was worried about you and Richie, Gary asked Bill to drive us over to check on you guys. I'm so glad you're okay." I said, following Martha into the apartment with Gary and Bill following behind me.
Martha went into the kitchen and brought out three glasses of water for us to drink. Gary lifted his up and felt it for a moment before he decreed, "Perfect temp" and drank his water. Bill glared at his glass, like it was full of poison. I sipped mine quietly.
"I've been worried about you since you didn't come home yesterday. I kept Richie home from school today because I was too worried to have him out of my sight," Martha said, "I was scared that he'd be taken as well." She added, absentmindedly.
I raised an eyebrow at that last statement. "Taken?"
Martha looked at me like she was just realising I was in the room. "Oh. Taken by Red Flag," She said, stunning me into silence. I saw from the corner of my eye Bill's jaw drop.
"You know about Red Flag?" I asked, surprised.
Martha nodded. "Yes. Your father warned me about them before he disappeared. He said that one day you might need my help so he needed to warn me about the people who might still be chasing you. Your father was a great man. He knew you'd never join Red Flag willingly."
Tears flooded my eyes again and I wiped at them furiously. I hated crying. "So you know about my ability?" I asked quietly. I saw Bill and Gary look at me then.
Again, Martha nodded.
"Thank you, Martha for not treating me differently. But we need you to come with us now. Your safety is compromised. Red Flag tracked me to New York. If they tracked me here, they can track who I'm staying with and I would rather not put you or Richie in the line of fire," I said to Martha. I prayed she would listen to me and leave before she was hurt or worse, that Richie would be hurt.
Martha smiled at me. "Oh, don't worry about Richie and I. I've had an escape plan in place since the week your father sent me that letter warning me. Richie and I are headed to my sister's house in West Virginia. I have a list of contact numbers for you. I'm tossing my phone so I'll have a new number and my sister's numbers are on there as well." Martha handed me a sheet of paper with three numbers on it. One I assumed to be Martha's new number. The other two I assumed to be her sister's mobile and her sisters landline.
I leaned forward and hugged Martha. "I'll get my stuff and you better go now, before they figure out I'm here," I whispered in her ear. I would miss her terribly.
"We'll miss you, Jessie. You know that, don't you?" She asked me. I nodded my head, unable to speak.
"Jessie?" A quiet voice called. I pulled away from my hug with Martha to see Richie hanging onto the door frame leading to his room. I smiled at him and gestured for him to come over.
When he was by my side, he threw himself into my arms, sobbing into my throat. "I don't want to go," Richie cried.
I rubbed his back in big circles and with tears filling my own eyes; I replied back, "Richie, you have to go. I don't want you to leave either but you need to go. I can't have you or your mother hurt because of m-me." My voice cracked at the end. It broke my heart to see this usually strong young boy in such pain.
A throat cleared behind me, interrupting the moment. I turned around to face Bill but he just looked at Gary. "Jessie, you need to get your stuff. Doctor Rosen isn't going to be happy. We left the office and didn't tell Nina or Rachel or Hicks," Gary said, fidgeting with his wrist band. In all the time I'd known Gary, I discovered that he only did that when he was nervous.
I smiled at Gary, letting know it was okay and that he was right. I did need to get my stuff and we did need to get back before that doctor blew a gasket.
Quickly, and with Martha and Richie following me, I travelled down to the guest room. I'd probably never see this place again. All of my stuff was either in my bag or strewn on my bed. I didn't like to unpack much because I knew I'd probably move in a week or so. My phone rested in my pocket. All of my clothes were packed, as well as all of my money, my iPod and the few little trinkets that I'd collected over the last two years. There weren't many, just a little figurine of Superman that I'd collected in Baltimore, a pizza key ring I got in Chicago, a little toy fishing rod that I'd received from an elderly woman in Oregon and a corn figurine with eyes and a green jumpsuit, mimicking the covering when it was picked from the vine, given to me by a farmer in Tennessee.
I'd travelled so much in the last couple of years but I never felt like this when leaving.
Martha and Richie gave me one last hug by the door and then we were both off, her and Richie to pack and drive to West Virginia, and me, back to where I'd woken up this morning.
My head leaned against the window as we drove back. Despite the bumps in the road that caused the car to jiggle and knock back into my head, it was a pleasant drive. My tears could fall and Bill didn't care, instead concentrating on the road, while Gary was flicking his hand again.
Before long, I was fast asleep, the lulling sounds of New York casting me away into dream land.