Just a one-shot of how Hanna is dealing -or not dealing- with Caleb being in the hospital.
It's the first story I've posted on here. Constructive criticism is very welcome but please be gentle.
I do not own PLL, Caleb Rivers, Hanna Marin or any other characters mentioned. If I did, things would be very different. (Starting with the addition of many more Haleb wall kisses. Maybe even a Spoby-like sex scene for them.)
Hope you like it! :)
Numb. I am entirely and completely numb. Head to toe. Inside and out. Numb. Unfeeling. Nothing.
That's how it's been since I saw the love of my life getting hauled away in that ambulance.
I sit here, staring at his lifeless form, almost as motionless as he is.
They've moved him to a private room. His mother called the hospital and said that she wouldn't have him out on display, that he wouldn't want the attention.
I know that he wouldn't care. He never shied away from prying eyes. He stood tall and powered through, ignoring glares and glances and whispers. He didn't let himself care what others thought or saw.
I guess it's better this way, though. Caleb doesn't care what people think, but I do. I wouldn't want everyone seeing me like this.
Greasy hair pulled back as much as the length would allow. Dark circles under my bloodshot eyes. Leftover makeup streaked across my face. One of his sweatshirts covering my pale body as I sat curled up in the chair by his bedside.
Then again, I probably wouldn't notice if anyone were to see me. I was too focussed on him.
They had finally let me see him once he was stabilized. It was agony waiting for them to get to that point.
Knowing that the owner of my heart could die at any moment, knowing that he may not make it through the night. The hour. The minute.
That was the closest to hell I had ever come.
Nothing that Alison did. Nothing that anyone could ever do. Nothing that I'd ever been through with A. Nothing was worse than that.
Nothing was worse than not knowing if he would come back to me.
I could feel my heart breaking with each second that passed. Not knowing. Not seeing him. Not touching him. Not being able to be with Caleb Rivers.
That was my hell.
And now, looking at him so still. So… empty. This isn't much better.
For a moment when I wake, I forget. I forget that I'm in a hospital. I forget that the man I love is laying in the bed where I rest my head. I forget that I'm the reason he's laying there.
I lift my head slightly and realize that it had been resting on his mattress. My one arm acting as a make-shift pillow and the other resting on the soft surface, supporting my hand as it gripped Caleb's.
I straighten up, cracking my back and releasing his hand only long enough to stretch before I entwine it with his again.
Sitting now, I survey the room. It's dull. Depressingly dull. It's almost as if people expect things to go bad.
Why bother decorating the room if the patient's going to die anyway?
No, I can't think like that.
My eyes land on his face, peaceful yet wrong somehow, and stay there. Glued as if nothing in the universe could pull them away.
He won't die. I know that he won't. Because if he dies, I will too.
I know how stupid and naive that sounds. "I'll die without him."
It's so incredibly cliché. I hate that.
But it's true.
I don't think that I could keep living without him.
That thought is awful and terrifying, especially when I'm only seventeen years old. But it's the truth. I may exist in a physical sense without him, but I would never be truly here again.
Caleb Rivers owns my heart and if he goes, it goes with him.
I go with him.
I snap out of my trance as I feel a fragile hand touch my shoulder.
I look away from his face just long enough to glance at my mother before I my eyes return to his features and I'm dazed again.
I don't move. I don't speak. I barely even take a breath.
"Hanna… I know that you can hear me."
"Okay… I'll talk. Just listen to me… please?"
I even out my breathing and she takes that as a good sign.
"I know that this is incredibly hard for you. I know that you've checked out. And I know that you want nothing more right now than for Caleb to wake up."
I wince slightly at the sound of his name. Normally, it would calm me. But not now. Not when hearing his name makes the flashing lights go off in my eyes and the sirens pierce my ears as if it's that night all over again.
She notices, she's making sure to catch every small sign I might give that she can interpret as me taking steps toward reality.
"Hanna, you love him. I can see that. And I can see that he loves you just as much. Maybe more, even."
I wince again.
I don't think it's possible for a human being to feel more love for another than I do for Caleb.
I love him so much that it hurts.
Even when everything is perfectly fine in our lives and relationship.
My heart aches because I love him so much. I can never get close enough to him. I couldn't even try.
My entire being aches with love and lust and need and want for him. I ache because I need to protect him and I ache because I know that he needs to protect me. I ache because I would die for him. I ache because he almost did for me.
I ache because I love him with my entire heart and soul and mind and body.
And it is the best ache in the entire world.
And I hope that it never stops aching.
And I know that it won't.
My mother went on talking for a while.
I couldn't tell you how long. My eyes didn't leave Caleb once.
I could barely tell you what she said.
I'd started to block her out after she'd said his name one too many times and the lights and sirens had gotten to be too much.
I do know that it ended with something like "I'm here for you." or "I understand." maybe it was "You need to snap out of this, you're killing yourself."
It didn't really matter.
Eventually she's stopped talking and opted to sit in the chair by the door.
That's where she is now, I assume.
I can feel her eyes on me but I don't care. I feel as if one glance away from his beautiful face will result in him leaving me forever.
Like looking at him is the only thing making him real.
Like my gaze alone can keep him connected to the world.
Like I'm his lifeline.
"Mrs. Marin?" I hear my mother stand up after a nurse said her name.
Her heels click as she steps into the hallway. I only catch part of their conversation.
It's plenty loud for me to hear, I'm just not listening.
Something about "visiting hours" and "hospital policy" and "she can't stay here".
They walk back into the room and I don't give them a chance to speak.
"I'm not leaving." I said this with a finality that would have startled me if I'd had any emotion left. The only thing left inside of me seemed to be the endless trail of silent tears coating my face.
"I. Am not. Leaving."
"I-", this time she stops herself. "She's not leaving."
"With all due respect, I know my daughter. She does not do anything she doesn't want to do. She does not want to leave him and she's not going to."
I hear the nurse sigh. "I'll have to call his mother in California."
Her nurse shoes slap against the linoleum floor as she walks away.
My mother's hand is on my shoulder again and I barely hear her as she says, "I'll be back. You'll need clothes and a toothbrush. I won't be long." She kisses the top of my head and her heels clink as she vacates the room.
Four days. Thirteen hours. Twenty-seven minutes. Thirty-no …Thirty-two seconds.
Caleb has been in the hospital for four days, thirteen hours, twenty-seven minutes and thirty-six seconds.
Since I've been aloud to see him, I have only spent a total of 19 minutes and forty-eight seconds away from him.
That was only to shower and go to the bathroom.
The nurse called Claudia in Montecito two days ago to approve my staying with Caleb.
She didn't have a problem with it.
Apparently talking about me was one of his favorite activities when he visited her.
Hearing that only made this harder.
My mom had set out a tray of food for me next to my chair about three hours ago. I never even lifted the lid.
I've been staring at him for what feels like years.
Every once in a while, I'll look around. Take in the dreary atmosphere again.
It never stays in my memory for long.
I keep getting lost in myself. Lost in him.
I lose everything but the knowledge that he's in front of me, hurt. Because of me.
I hear heels clinking and can tell by the size of the hand on my shoulder that it's Aria. I look up at her for a brief second before turning back to face Caleb.
"Han…" she lifts the lid on the food. "Hanna, you have to eat something…"
I can tell she's getting worried. She knows about my eating disorder and I can practically hear her furrowing her brow.
"It's not like that. You know it's not." my voice is raspy and my throat aches with each word part.
She knows. I didn't have to say it. But I had to make sure. The last thing I needed right now was food being shoved down my throat.
"I know." she sighs.
Her hand moves to rub my back and I remain still.
Everyone thinks that it's comforting to rub my back or to hold my hand. Kiss my forehead.
The only touch I want to feel is his and any other only reminds me of how I can't have that.
How I might never have that again.
It's been five days. Five days, three hours, one minute and fifty-eight seconds.
It's been three days since I've eaten. That is, unless you want to count the four baby carrots that my mother shoved down my throat two days ago.
I know that I should eat something. I just can't.
The thought of food makes me sick.
Besides, I probably couldn't get it down if I tried. My throat's still too raw from crying.
Thinking that is when I realize that I haven't cried in about two days. I've been too numb. I guess I let out enough sobs the first time to keep my throat feeling this way.
I look at Caleb's face. Something snaps inside of me, the tears well up.
But none flow. They're right there and they refuse to come out. Why won't they come out?
I need a good cry. I've been numb for too long. I need the relief. I need to feel something.
I can feel myself losing it and I grip the arms of my chair tightly to hold on to some sense of reality.
My knuckles turn white.
I recognize my mother's voice. I didn't even notice her coming in.
I realize that I have dove deeper into my hole. I'm so numb. Lost.
"You should get some rest."
I've been napping with my head rested on his mattress when necessary. It never lasts longer than an hour.
"Why don't you come home for a little while?"
It's not like the words force me to crawl from the depths of myself. It's like I've been thrown a megaphone. And no matter what I say, the only things echoed are the words "don't save me".
Her words take the ladder out of the hole. They trap me within myself.
My head snaps toward her. I can tell she's startled. I'm not sure if she knew I could hear her in the first place.
"I'm not leaving him."
Just the thought of being away from him hurts.
I know mom can see the pain in my eyes. I can see it mirrored on her face.
"Oh, Hanna…" mom kneels next to me and I'm shocked that she'd touch the floor in a public place. She puts her arms around me and squeezes me tightly.
It takes a moment for my body to register the contact. Before I even realize what's happening, my walls crumble.
I wrap my arms around her and let my body be taken by the sobs. I'm a blubbering mess within seconds and I might actually care if I weren't so broken.
"He ca-an't die! Mo-mom, he can't! I-I can't- I can't let him! He can't leave me!" by the last plea, I'm screaming my words.
"Shhh… Baby, it'll be okay. It'll be okay." I can feel her own tears on my shoulder and know that they're more for me than Caleb. She cares about him, I know she does. But I also know that seeing me like this kills her. I'll let the guilt of that hit me later. For now, I sob.
"He can't leave me, he can't leave me, he can't leave me!" I'm still screaming my words but it's not enough. I can feel the big one building and I don't try to hold it back.
"HE CAN'T LEAVE ME!"
It's a strangled, aching, heart-wrenchingly painful scream. It rips through my throat as I somehow manage to turn it into those four words.
Mom is crying full out now. My shoulder's wet but I couldn't care less. I can barely get my brain to function. My sobs are sending quakes through my body and I can't stop the tears from flowing.
"This isn't happening. This isn't happening. This isn't happening…" I whisper that to myself over and oner again in a broken, wet voice.
Maybe if I say it enough, everything will disappear.
Maybe if I say it enough, that entire night will have never happened.
Maybe if I say it enough, he'll come back to me.
It took at least half an hour to calm me down. I'd say it was more than that. Much more.
By the time I'd cried everything out, my eyes were bloodshot and my voice was raspy. Nearly gone altogether.
Mom had pulled away slowly, her eyes red and watery as well.
She brought over the other chair from Caleb's room and helped me make a make-shift lounge/bed for the night.
We finish setting up the chairs and she stands up straight, looking at me with an unreadable expression.
It's nearly time for visiting hours to end and I was the only one aloud in Caleb's room after then.
She walks over to me and pulls me in for another hug. "He'll be okay."
That's the first time anyone's said that.
It's always "It'll be okay." or "Everything will work out."
Never "He'll be okay."
I realize that that was all I'd needed to hear.
I pull her tighter and let out a raspy, whispered "Thank you."
She pulls back slightly, keeping me in her hold, "Hanna, you're my baby girl. I'm always here for you." She wipes a stray tear and sniffles. "Well, I'd better get going."
"I'll see you first thing tomorrow."
I nod again and she kisses me on the cheek before leaving.
I let out a sigh and sit on the edge of Caleb's bed, grabbing his hand in mine.
I look down at him and take in a deep breath.
"Caleb… I- I know that whatever world you're in right now… I know that it's probably a hell of a lot better than… this." I look around the room.
"But I need you. And I know how selfish that is but I don't care. I know that I should be saying things like "As long as he's happy." or some shit about a better place but I can't. I can't be happy that you're not here."
There are tears streaming slowly down my face. I'm not hysterical, but this sort of crying is almost worse.
I can feel my heart aching.
"You said- Remember? You said that you had one very reason to always come back. You said that was me and I can't let go of that. You said you'd always come back to me and now I'm holding you to that."
"You meant it. I know that you did. And you have to keep your promise. You have to come back to me. Please."
I lean down, placing a soft kiss on his forehead.
I burry my head into the side of his neck, the feeling is so familiar and my body relaxes instantly.
Tipping my head, I whisper against his ear, "Please come back to me…"
I stay like that for a moment before heaving a heavy sigh, wiping my tears away and getting off the mattress to curl up into my "bed".
I'm close enough to his bed to keep a tight hold on his hand so I do. I hold onto his hand as if it's the only thing keeping me on this planet.
For the first time in nearly a week, I fall into a peaceful sleep.
I wake up to the sound of the machine beeping in Caleb's room.
My hand twitches limply and I realize that the reason it's not at my side is that Caleb has a firm hold on it.
My eyes shoot open.
My heart stops beating. I slowly sit up.
All I can do is stare at him.
I don't move.
I don't blink.
I don't breathe.
He looks worried. I bring my free hand to my face and notice that I'm crying.
When did that happen?
It doesn't matter.
It's a good two minutes before I can react.
When I do, it's still not much.
"Caleb." It's barely a whisper, but I know he heard it by the grin that spreads across his face.
Everything hits me at once and I break down. The tears are flowing like a river and my body is shaking. At the same time, though, I'm grinning like an idiot.
He's matching my grin with a few silent tears streaming down his face.
I crawl onto his mattress and into his arms, careful not to touch his wound.
His face is buried in my neck and mine in his.
We're both laughing just as much as we're crying and this moment couldn't feel better.
I feel relief. I feel happiness. I feel love.
I feel like myself again.
I've got my other half back and I finally feel whole.
"Caleb, I missed you so much." I can't tell if I'm mumbling or screaming and I don't care.
"I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you." I'm mumbling in his ear and he's holding me tightly. "Baby, I love you so much. If you didn't- I- I couldn't-"
"Shhhh… I'm here. Baby, I'm here and I love you too. I love you so much, okay? God, I love you, Hanna…"
I lift my head to look at him and he brings his hand up to wipe my tears away.
I can tell he thinks I don't notice his wince. I decide to ignore it. This moment is too beautiful and if he's not complaining, I won't.
I'm looking into his eyes and I can feel my heart rate picking up. Just like it always does when I look at him.
He leans toward me and I take in a sharp breathe.
I haven't kissed Caleb in five days. I've been staring at him, limp in a hospital bed, for the past five days.
My eyes flutter shut and I lean toward him.
The anticipation of the kiss is nothing compared to the act itself.
Fireworks set off in my head. My lips are tingling as they move against his. My heart rate is through the roof and my head is spinning.
God, I missed this.
We pull away breathing heavy, my forehead against his.
The kiss was sweet. It was soft and lasted only a handful of seconds. But it still managed to take my breath away.
"I love you." I whisper again, a tear trailing down my cheek.
"I love you too." He whispers softly, wiping away the drop. I burrow back into his neck and I can feel him breathe into my hair.
In this moment right here. With Caleb's arms around me and his breath on my neck. In this moment, nothing could possibly be more perfect.
What did you think? Reviews are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for reading! 3