Chapter 5: Running

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 151

Chapter Four
I pull into the parking lot and instantly jump out of the car, almost forgetting to pull the key out of the ignition before I run inside. My feet are moving, taking me through the signs and past nurses, but I have no idea where I’m going. I’m just running now. I know eventually I’ll find the room, but for now I’m just going.
The woman at the front desk looks at me with concern, but she doesn’t say anything. A few patients move out of their way in the hallway to make sure I don’t crash into them. I swerve around a man in a wheel chair who’s forced to carry an IV around. He’s shriveled like a prune, looking at me like I might be one of his grandchildren. As soon as I pass him, his face drops and he looks towards his toes for answers.
My tennis shoes skid across the freshly polished floor as the janitor screams at me not to run. I don’t hear him, I don’t even see him. I only know he’s there because of the discarded mop on the side of the hallway.
Third floor, I climb the stairs as fast as I can, taking some two at a time and taking others three at a time. No matter how fast I run, I can’t get there fast enough. My feet hit the top stair and slip, but I discard the pain going through my shins. I don’t know if I’m bleeding or if they’re just bruised, all I know is that I have to get there. I have to find the room.
Tears are streaming down my cheeks no matter how many times I wipe them away with the edge of my sleeve.
I stop at the front desk on the third floor and slam into it with my hands. The nurse looks up with a startled face.
“Gemma Hernder.” I tell her quickly. The nurse sighs and places her clipboard down, her face stern and solemn. I have a feeling in my gut that she’s going to give me the worst news possible. My sister is dead, she is going to say it, I ken=ow it.
The lady sighs again as she puts her scrawny little fingers on the computer and begins to type rapidly. I begin swaying and jumping from foot to foot nervously, trying to cool the turmoil that’s spiraling through me.
The seconds seem to tick away like hours as she continues to make me wait. I tap my fingers on the desk until she looks up for a split moment to give me look that says to stop.
“Down the hallway and to the left. She just got out of surgery, and,” the woman takes a slight pause as she flicks her short brown hair back behind an ear, “she’s going to be okay.”
So I take off again, towards the room and down the hallway to the left without thanking her. I instantly know which room is her’s, there’s a gathering of relatives outside of it. They crowd the room, forcing some of my aunts and uncles to sit outside the room and wait for their turn to go in. Some turn to see me, their faces drop just like the old man’s did.
You’d think that many would be hateful if someone tried to commit suicide and ended up killing someone else instead of them, but no, they all just want to swoon around her and cry for her. I’d rather pray for the teenager that was killed in the car crash. It was all over the news, and here my sister is, lying in a bed that clearly should've been holding a dead person. I don’t want her to die, but I didn’t want to the other girl to die either. No one did.
Aunts and uncles clear a pathway for me as I walk into the room. I walk past stricken faces, tears, open embraces, and attempts at consoling me. Dad is sitting in the armchair with his head in his hands, mom is sitting by Gemma’s bedside. They’re holding hands. Gemma sits with her back propped up against some pillows, an IV coming out of her wrist.
Dad looks up for a moment, no tears but just worry and frustration are plastered onto his tired face. He has large black bags sag deep into his cheeks. I want to run to just him, allow him to engulf me in his arms and tell me everything is going to be okay.
Just seeing them there makes me cry even more. I’m not crying out of sadness, but I don’t understand what’s going on. She just murdered someone, and we’re all acting like it’s nothing more than a suicide attempt, which it was.
I stutter back at Gemma reaches out for me.
“Please Chasen,” she begs softly.
I can see the pain in her eyes. Her arms are full of scratches and her tears are causing streaks down her face. She looks like a lost puppy, her blue eyes bigger than the moon. There’s a large gash on her forehead covered by a bandage that is still leaking blood. Mom seems to follow my gaze to the trickling blood so she pushes the nurse button.
“Please,” she begs again, this time a little more demanding.
Stuttering back even more, I shake my head and wipe a tear away from my cheek. I curl my sweatshirt farther into my fists, bringing my arms to close to me. She makes another gesture for me to come closer. Again I stumble backwards away from her and away from my crying mother and desperate father. Dad looks up for a moment, but the pain in his eyes is too much for me to look at.
I stumble back one more time, tripping over the back of a chair and falling into my uncle. He catches my hundred pound frame easily before helping me back to my feet. I look back at him, he’s not smiling like he usually is.
Turning back to look at my immediate family, I’m at a loss for words. Is there really anything left me for me to tell them? What can I tell them that they don’t already know? What can I do when the problem was never me?
“I,” I stutter and go to leave, “can’t,” leaves my lips as I escape back my family and into the hallway.
I hear Mom say, “don’t worry about her, sweetie, she’s just stressed and doesn’t know how to handle this.” That’s wrong, I’m not stressed, I’m up. They don’t know anything about me anymore. They don’t get it anymore. They don’t even try.
So I run, up more flights of stairs because I know my parents won’t be expecting me there. I cut through empty hallways that have empty rooms and forgotten souls. I fly past the newborn viewing room that contains only a few bubbling children. They stare me with huge eyes, but I keep running.
I need to get away, I need to get out of here, but I’ve lost my place. Finding my car would be a waste, they’d find me before I could even make it to the parking lot.
Faster, farther away from the room. Up a few more floors till I can’t go up anymore. The top floor is filled with sneezing and coughing, I cover my nose with my hand to for a precaution, but at this point I really don’t care anymore.
“Excuse me, miss. Are you lost?” a man moping the floor asks.
I stop to face him, standing barely a foot away. He’s young, probably took an after school job cleaning to make some extra money. I recognize him. He goes to my school. He’s a senior, in my sister’s grade. He was in the trainer’s office.
“Wait,” he leans on his mop, “you’re Gemma’s little sister, ain’t yeah? And Derek’s best friend?”
I nod.
“Wow, she always talked about how smart and funny you are, guess you’re a little shy around people you don’t know,” he goes back to mopping the floor. “And Derek really only talks about your ass.”
I clear my throat, “I’m not quiet!”
“You talk,” he cheers and puts the mob back in the bucket before rinsing it out. “Sound like your sister. How is she, by the way? I heard about the car crash suicide attempt.”
“News travels around the hospital pretty quickly, Baby Girl,” I swallow my pride when he calls me the nickname, but I’m not so thrilled about it. “Is she going to be okay?”
I nod, “but in the car she hit, the girl driving it died.”
Stepping back so my back hit the wall, I fall to the floor and put my head in my hands. I know I don’t know him, but something about him makes the atmosphere calmer and sweeter. I feel a body plop down next to me as an arm stretches out and reaches across my back.
I allow him to hold me, though I still don’t even know his first name. He pulls me into his shoulder, where I proceed to continue to cry.
Then he’s rocking back and forth soothingly. “It’s gonna be okay,” he tells me softly as his lips tickle my temple. I can’t focus on anything but the boy next to me and how soothing his actions are being. I stop crying and manage to wipe away the rest of the tears away with the edge of my sleeve.
“How old was the girl?” he asks.
“Sixteen,” I breath out.
“Well I’m sorry for her family. But isn’t it a stroke of luck for yours?” he breaths out which pushes hair into my face. A breath escapes my lips.
“It should be.”
“Why isn’t it?”
I turn to face him, “how well do you actually know my sister?”
He rolls his shoulders back, “you want my opinion about her?” Quickly, I nod. His arm tightens around my shoulders as I stare up into those beautiful green eyes. They hold me captive for a few moments as I steady myself for the impact. “Honestly, she’s a bitch to me.”
“Remember Jon?” Again, I nod. How could I not? He had been over to our house almost every day, showing up randomly and treating my sister like a princess. Then she dumped him for the trailer trash from the next town over. It had almost broken Mom’s heart.
“Well he’s my best friend, and honestly, I could care less for your sister. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t be thinking about her and praying for her.”
I wipe my eyes, “thanks.”
“Why do you ask?”
“Because some people have texted her telling her that she should try again. Mom and Dad deleted the texts before she could see them, but the message is still there. I mean, I always knew that a bunch of people don’t like her, but I didn’t think they were that serious about it.”
The boy pulls me closer, until I’m almost on his lap. He doesn’t say anything else, he just holds me. I feel the tears coming again, and with his blessing, I allow them out. Gently, he wipes the tears away with the edge of his sleeve. Cringing against the fabric, it really just causes me to fall farther into him.
When there’s no more tears to cry, I push out of his arms and stand up. He stays on the ground and watches me intently.  His eyes whisper for me to sit back down next to him, and even though I want to, I stand my ground.
“I should get going,” I tell him while I watch my shoes squeak back and forth.
He cocks an eyebrow, “got to keep moving so your parents don’t find you?” The boy finally gets to his feet and picks up his mop to continue with his job.
“Something like that,” I laugh and look at the floor, accidentally causing my long wavy brown hair to fall into my face. Fingers grip the strands and push them back behind my ear. I stare out at the hand, and then I move my glance to the boy.
He offers his hand to me, “I’m Levi.”
“Really? Didn’t Derek call you Chase?.”
I nod, “that’s what everyone calls me.”
“Well it was nice to meet you, Chasen, maybe I’ll see you around in school sometime,” Levi smiles at me through pearly white teeth. Suddenly, he grips my hand tighter and pulls me up against his chest. I smile into his jacket, leaning my head against his chest and wrapping my arms around his waist.
I breath in his scent, it’s nice but not over done like some boys.
We let go a few seconds later, but it seems that neither of us want to. Again he tucks a strand of brown wavy hair behind my ear.
“Hopefully.” Then I’m off again, not running but a fast walk, trying anything to get away from a place my parents will find me. Finally, I settle in the birthing waiting room where fathers impatiently wait. A few look towards me, but my face is stuffed so far into my sleeves that they can’t see the tears falling down my cheeks.
Around one in the morning, when I’m sure that most of my relatives have gone home, I stand up.
One man looks to me, “you aren’t here for a baby, are you?” he laughs.
I shake my head and begin a brisk walk back out towards my car. When I slump into the driver’s seat, there’s a note on the window. I reach out and take it out before rolling the glass back up and buckling myself in. It’s from my grandpa.

Mother says don’t be late for school.
Father says take your time and he’ll call you in sick tomorrow if you don’t want to go.
Everyone else says we understand.

No they don’t. They don’t get what I’ve gone through. They don’t understand the feeling of thinking you’ve lost your best friend to death only to realize that she, herself, is the bringer of death. It’s all too much to handle in the span of a couple of hours. They don’t get it, none of them do.
I look in the back seat and pick through the sweatshirts before I tear off the one I have on. It’s bugging me to no end with the lack of hood. After throwing on the other sweatshirt, I place the only one in the backseat with the rest and start the car. The engine sputters to life before my jeep goes through the parking ramp. At the bottom I pay the three dollar fee.
I drive around for a good three hours until I feel my eyes getting tired. Being in a car after my sister’s accident should make me shaky about being in a car, but I’m naive and careless tonight, pushing myself to the limits to see how far I can go without pushing the edge.
Finally, I put into a driveway that’s all too familiar.
I bang on the door a couple of times before it opens. A familiar, groggy face smiles down at me.
He rubs his eyes and then his chin, “I heard about what happened.”
A blush appears on my cheeks, as do tears in my eyes. He reaches forward, grips my shoulders, and pulls me into his bare chest. I cry out in pain of thinking about losing my sister, my best friend. He doesn’t move much, just shushes me quietly and rubs my back in a comforting way.
Or at least what he thinks is comforting.
Derek has never been good at expression sympathy. I envy him for that, he’s just him. He hates chick flicks and feelings. Explains why he has so many booty calls, he doesn’t want to get connected with a girl. It’s just that he knows that he’ll break the girl’s heart with his arrogant and insensitive nature. It isn’t his fault though, it’s the way he was raised. His dad’s in the military, born hard and strong. Runs the house like he’s back on the base.
Maybe that’s why Derek rebels so much, he just wants to get away from the rules and show his father that he doesn’t own him. Maybe that’s why he rebels against me so much, wants to show me that I can’t control him and I don’t know what he’s going to do next. I concur with his thoughts, disagree with his methods, though.
He pulls me out of the cold and into the house, pushing me down onto the couch and wrapping his arm around my shoulders.
I bury my head back into his chest as he flips on the TV. There isn’t much else to do, at least there’s not much else for him to do. I’m currently occupied with trying to get my feelings out, trying to forget the pain.
After falling asleep half way into a movie, I spring up after a horrible dream. Derek notices and jumps up beside me. Form the look on his face, he was deep in slumber.
Softly, he grips my chin and makes me look at him.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” I reply, “just a bad dream.”
Derek knows me better though, “didn’t sound like just a bad dream!”
“It was just a memory of when Mom called. The panic of wether she was alive or not, the horrific realization that she had done it, the fear that this would be the final straw that tears my whole family apart.” I bury my face back into his chest. “Derek, I can’t deal with it, what if this is it? Mom always said that everyone had their breaking point, what if this is it?”
“What if it’s not?” he replies in a scary, calm voice.
I jump out of his grip, “what?”
“What I mean is that, what if your sister is just working through her problems. I just don’t want you to think that this is all just going to go away because she’s hit rock bottom. You never know, there could be a basement.”
I glare at him, “you’re such a fortune cookie.”
“Correction,” he pokes my nose, “I’m your fortune cookie.”

Submitted: May 19, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Adaza. All rights reserved.


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