Majorly important notes at the bottom.
Myka could barely focus on the movie Pete had put on. She would catch a few moments, a line or two, then her attention would be dragged to the window and the driveway.
Logically, Myka knew that there was no way Jane would be back, she probably hadn't even reached the hospital yet, but...still.
Helena was moving in.
Myka was excited, but nervous. She had never shared a room before, and had no idea what to expect.
She glanced out the window again.
What if they ended up hating each other? What if Helena was a slob? What if she had to sleep with the window closed?
Myka looked back at the TV, to find the movie paused. She turned to Pete.
"I think you should see the counselor," he told her.
She stared at him. "What?"
"I think...it'll really help."
She shook her head and looked at her hands. She had fallen asleep quickly after telling Pete, and hadn't expected him to bring it up. She definitely hadn't expected him to agree with Jane.
He nudged her slightly. She looked at him.
"It helps, promise."
"How do you know?"
Pete shrugged, and rubbed the back of his neck. "I'll be right back."
She watched him leave the living room, then looked outside again.
She had no idea what Pete was going to get, and wasn't sure she wanted to.
She didn't need help. She needed to forget.
Movement drew her attention to Pete walking back into the room. He was moving slowly, holding something carefully. He handed it to her before sitting again.
It was a picture of a girl with the same jawline as Jane and the same deep eyes as Pete. Her hair was in a loose ponytail, curls fell over her shoulder.
When Myka looked up, Pete was still looking at the picture with a sad expression.
"Who is she?" she gently asked.
He looked up and shook his head slightly. When he replied, he didn't speak, only signed.
'My sister.' A smile tugged at his lips. 'J.' The smile vanished. 'Died, same fire as dad.'
Myka looked back at the picture. The girl, J, looked so happy, it was hard to believe that she could be dead.
Pete tapped the picture slightly. Myka looked closer.
A hearing aid was just visible in J's ear.
Myka looked back at Pete. He nodded, then took the picture. He stared at it, his face blank.
Myka's chest constricted. She looked back at the picture. "I'm sorry."
When he responded, he was speaking again.
"I had a counselor after, and another when we first moved here. They help. They really help."
Myka closed her eyes and bowed her head. She didn't know how to respond. She didn't know how to explain how she felt to Pete.
"I'll think about it."
Helena ran her knuckle along the sole of Christopher's foot. He kicked slightly.
She smiled before bending down and pressing her lips to his forehead.
"I will be back soon, promise." She wiped a tear from her cheek.
She was really about to leave him. He was still so small, still so delicate, and she was going to leave. Her parents had caught a flight back to England that morning, and she was going to move back to Jefferson.
God, she was going to be so far from him.
"Mummy's going home. Once you're strong enough, you'll come with. You will love it, I promise, and you will love everyone. Jane, and Pete, and," her smile grew for a moment. "And Myka."
A knock pulled her attention from Christopher. One of the nurses was standing in the doorway, giving Helena a sad smile. Helena nodded.
"I will be back, love." She pressed another kiss to his forehead before passing him to the nurse.
"Mrs. Lattimer is waiting for you downstairs," the nurse said.
Helena watched as the nurse prepared Christopher, then stepped out of the room. She looked over her shoulder one last time, then started down the hallway.
Her heart grew heavier with each step. It had been hard enough to leave the hospital, but this, to be hours away…
She stepped into the elevator and slumped against the back wall. The doors closed, and her chest tightened. She couldn't do it. She couldn't leave him.
She reached up and pressed her palm against her chest. Her fingers pushed into the flesh above her clavicle, her thumb into her throat. Her heart beat into her hand. She slowed her breathing and focused on the beat calming.
There was no point in panicking; she had to go. She knew that. She wouldn't be able to stay in the hotel the entire time, not with her parents gone, not with them unwilling to continue to pay for the hotel room.
The doors opened.
She took a deep breath before stepping out.
A group of kids laughed. A toddler shrieked with joy. Claudia turned her music up to drown them out.
She glanced around before turning back to her notebook. She ran her pencil over a line, darkening it. She wasn't sure what she was drawing, maybe an actual circuit board. Maybe some other form of elaborately lined square.
A figure stopped in front of her. Her headphones were pulled away from her ears.
She startled, her notebook slipping off of her lap.
"Sorry," Todd said as he bent and picked it up.
"It's okay," she replied.
He sat, and smiled at her. "So, what's up?"
She lowered her head, eyes closed, one lip between her teeth. Her fingers tightened around her notebook, the spiral edge dug into her skin.
"Todd," she started before her throat closed. His voice was so happy; how was she supposed to do this?
She felt him move closer. "Something wrong?"
Claudia took a deep breath. Quickly, just do it quickly.
She tried to say something else, but it caught in her throat. She shook her head.
"I'm sorry," she repeated.
She opened her eyes and looked at him. His eyebrows were furrowed just a bit. He looked down, then around for a few moments, before blinking a few times and turning his attention back to her.
"Are you…" he cut off, shook his head, then started again. "Are you breaking up with me?"
They sat in silence for a few moments.
"I'm so sorry," she finally said.
"No," he replied. "It's fine; figures even." He stood, his back to her, his hands shoved in his pockets. "Happens every time."
"No, it's fine. Find a girl I like, and I'm just not good enough."
He glanced over his shoulder. "I'll see you, Claudia."
He walked away, not looking back. Claudia pulled her notebook to her chest and blinked back her tears.
Relief hit her, dragging a weight off, but, she had never wanted to hurt Todd. She did like him, as a friend at least. He would have been great if she liked boys.
God, she really didn't like boys, at all.
She pulled out her phone and pulled up Leena's contact information. She stared at it for a moment before closing it.
She wanted to tell Leena, she needed to, but - she glanced at Todd's retreating figure - not just yet.
She stood, and walked off in the opposite direction.
Despite an entire day anticipating, Myka had no idea how to react when she saw Jane's car pull into the driveway.
She just stared out the window as Jane stepped out. She just stared as Helena appeared. She just stared as they entered the house and stopped in the entrance to the living room.
She just stared, then she was standing, and crossing the room, and wrapping her arms around Helena.
Her body relaxed as Helena returned the hug. She hadn't seen the girl since leaving the hospital, and it felt... god she didn't understand it. She had only known Helena for, what, three months? Then everything happened, and, now she felt, not necessarily safer, or more relaxed than with anyone else, but, more secure maybe, more grounded.
Helena was grinning at her when they pulled apart.
"Hey," Helena said.
"Hey," Myka replied.
She glanced at Jane, who was also grinning. The woman jerked her head upwards.
"Why don't you show her your room."
Myka nodded and looked back at Helena.
She grabbed Helena's hand and pulled her towards the stairs.
"I did my best to clean, but it's still kinda a mess. Sorry. We can switch beds if you want. Actually, we can move the furniture as much as you want." She had no idea why the words were coming out of her mouth, but she couldn't stop them, and added a few more unnecessary comments by the time she pushed the door open.
Helena stepped into the room, took it in, then looked at her. "This is a mess?"
It took Myka a moment to understand what she was saying, then shrugged, "The way Pete stacked your boxes bothers me."
Helena rolled her eyes with a smirk. She ran a hand over the haphazard boxes as she walked through the room. She said something Myka didn't catch, but guessed must have been good from the way Helena was smiling.
"You probably have time to unpack a little before dinner," Myka suggested, sitting on the edge of her bed. "If you want to, of course."
Helena watched her for a moment, then sat next to her. She said something. Her expression was open and concerned. Myka stared at her, then started laughing. Confusion crossed Helena's face.
"Your accent. I still have trouble reading your lips," she explained.
Helena blinked, then smiled. She leaned towards the nightstand and grabbed her notebook. She wrote swiftly, but when she passed the book over, it was the neatest handwriting Myka had ever seen.
Are you sure that you are alright with sharing the room?
"Of course I am."
Helena looked down, then tapped the question.
"I'm sure," Myka told her. "Promise."
Helena smiled and took the book back.
Want to help me with the books?
"Do you even have to ask?"
Helena grinned. She stood and pulled her box of books from the pile. Myka watched her struggle to carry the box to the bookcase, then moved across the room to sit next to her.
Helena pulled the first book out, and handed it to her. Myka turned the book over in her hands. Dracula.
Myka thought for a few moments, searching for a good quote, then laughed.
"'Once again...welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring'."
She handed the book back to a smiling Helena, who set it on the floor before pulling the next book out.
Before anyone freaks out about the story now being marked as complete, I am not leaving it here. I will be starting a second part. When this will happen, I don't know. My next day off isn't until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so I don't know. I just know, that I have to put some space between myself and this specific part. I started it right when my depression started, and thinking about working on this just feels, weird. It is also, partially, due to the fact that in the past two years, I have grown as a writer, and I get a very strong urge to either rewrite, or trash the entire thing when I go back through it. Hopefully, having a separate part, that won't happen.
I will probably post an update here, when the first chapter of the next part is posted, so look out for that if you want to.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck through to this point. I hope you decide to continue with me, but if not, I understand, and am grateful that you have read to this point.