Chapter 18:

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

Reads: 87

‘Ouch, my head,’ Kara mumbled, rolling over and raising a hand to her head. She opened her eyes to find herself on the couch in her cousin’s rec room.
‘Hey,’ Corey looked down at her noticing she was awake. “You alright?’
Kara groaned and curled up into him, ‘Have fun driving home.’
Corey laughed and ran his fingers through her hair, ‘You scared me half to death. One second we’re just sitting there talking, the next you tune out completely and then next thing I know you’re on the floor.’
Drew and Amber came downstairs from Drew’s room.
‘Hey,’ Amber said. ‘You’re awake.’
Kara groaned, ‘No. No I'm not. I'm dead.’ She felt Corey stiffen at that last statement so she looked up.
Aunty Kathy came into the room wiping her hands on a wet dishcloth, ‘Nice way to get out of the dishes missy.’
Kara smiled and then looked at Corey.
‘Ready to go yet?’ she mouthed. Kara waited until she saw him nod slightly. ‘Guys thanks for having us for lunch. But I'm not feeling so great. We might just go.’
‘Oh. Okay. Sure. Drew, see your cousin out. Nice to meet you Corey,’ Kathy said bending down and kissing Kara’s forehead before heading back to the kitchen. “Hope you’re feeling better soon, dear.’
* * *
She shrunk into the corner of the front seat, looking small and pale. Her hair fell across her face, hiding her eyes from his worried glances. She knew he’d want to know what was wrong. She knew she’d have to tell him eventually. But it was too painful. She couldn’t talk about it. She didn’t want to. She didn’t want anyone to know. Not Corey. Not anyone. She was too humiliated. Humiliated by what had been said. She was too angry. Angry with Sandra. Yes, Sandra. The woman who didn’t deserve to be called mum anymore. Not after the horrible things she’d said. Not after doing this to her.
Kara hasn’t actually done anything. Not to herself at least, but somehow she doubted Corey would believe that. He cared about her, that much she knew, but he wouldn’t believe her when she said she hadn’t done anything. She felt sick.
‘Kar…’ Corey was too worried to stay quiet anymore. He couldn’t sit there and watch out of the corner of his eye when he should have been focusing on the road, while she tore herself apart. ‘What’s going on? You had me so worried…’
It seemed like hours had passed before he got a reaction from her although really only seconds had gone by.
She nodded carefully. Kara could feel the cool tears well up in her eyes. She didn’t want to cry. Not here. Not again. Not in front of him.
‘I don’t feel so good…’
Corey pulled over when he heard her whisper these words. He could hear the tears in her voice and it tugged at his heart. It hurt him. Has she done this to herself? He wondered as he got out of the car and went around to her door. Or is she just feeling sick?
She was still leaning against the door so he moved making sure that she would fall against him when he opened it. She fell back, her head forced up by the sudden movement. Corey caught a glimpse of her face, of her swollen eyes and slightly red nose, of the pain.
‘What’d you do to yourself, Kar?’ he asked in a small voice as he forced her to move so that he could slide into her seat. She stood for a moment, using the back of the seat for balance before she plopped down on his lap. She fell back into the same tiny, scared position that she had been in moments before, cowering in his lap as he watched her in fear.
‘I don’t know,’ she whispered eventually, before leaping off his lap, out of the car and proceeding to throw up in a bush nearby.
‘Lovely,’ Corey mumbled sarcastically, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist. He was worried now. Was there something she could have done to herself to make her throw up? Or maybe she was just sick. He couldn’t doubt her, whatever she said. Even if she was just sick, he suspected there would be something else going on as well. Kara didn’t exactly come free of problems. ‘Come on, let’s get you home.’
Kara wiped her mouth and allowed him to guide her back to the car. She felt horrible and rather embarrassed. She didn’t exactly want people to watch her throw up, especially not Corey. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. He buckled her seatbelt and kissed her gently on the forehead, pushing her hair out of her face.
* * *
He glanced at her and raised his eyebrows quizzically.
‘I'm sorry…’
He wanted to ask why she was sorry, what this was all about, but as he glanced at her again and saw the tears running down her cheeks, the hollowness below her eyes and just how sick she looked, he couldn’t bring it up.
‘We’ll talk about it tomorrow, okay?’
She nodded slightly, a faint sob coming from her throat.
‘Try and sleep now. You’ll feel better after you do. I promise.’
Kara started shivering. She felt cold, frozen even. Everything was freezing and she couldn’t stop shaking. The tears poured down her cheeks. She tried to stop them but they just kept coming harder and harder.
As Corey stopped the car at a red light he reached behind him and grabbed his jacket off the backseat. Gently, he tucked it around her and wiped the tears from her cheek. ‘It’s all going to be alright. You’ll see. Sleep now.’
* * *
‘Katrina,’ her mother’s voice rang out. ‘Katrina.’
She looked up from the dining table where she was setting places for her mother’s dinner party.
‘Katrina, you’ve ruined everything. It’s all your fault. I hate you. You’ve ruined my life.’
Her mother slapped her, hard across the face.
‘I don’t understand,’ Kara replied, flinching slightly as her mother’s hand made contact with her face. ‘What did I do?’
‘As if I have to explain this to you, Katrina, you dumb, stupid child. I refuse to play a part in your nonsense.’
Another blow. Harder this time. This would bruise, Kara knew. She shouldn’t argue, she knew that too, but she just couldn’t help herself. She just didn’t understand.
‘Don’t touch me.’
‘Don’t talk back to me. I'm your mother. You should treat me with respect.’
She was shoved this time. Hard, against the wall. Her head flew back and smashed itself on the corner as she fell.
‘Get out of my sight. In fact get out of my house. I don’t want you here when my guests arrive.’
Kara stood up and walked about five steps down the hallway before fainting. She awoke hours later, tossed on the floor of her bedroom, dry blood across the back of her head and down her neck.
She heard the laughter, smelled the food. The dinner party. She didn’t want to be there. She stood up and went to the window. She tried to open it but it wouldn’t budge. She checked to see if it was locked. Sure enough it was. The key was missing. She would just have to sneak quietly through the house. Kara walked to the door. She turned the handle but it wouldn’t budge.
She was trapped. Trapped inside her own personal hell. On the ground near the door was a note. She bent down to pick it up so she could read it…
* * *
‘Kara. Kara, wake up. We’re back. Kara?’
Corey knelt beside her, gently nudging her. She shuddered as she opened her eyes.
I’ll never sleep again, she silently vowed. She knew how the dream ended, she knew it by heart and she didn’t like it.
Kara groaned and rolled off the seat onto Corey. He groaned softly as she landed on his lap, before wrapping his arms around her and holding her close.
‘How are you feeling?’
Kara shrugged.
‘Any better?’
‘Maybe a little.’
‘Good,’ Corey stood up, letting her slide gently off his lap. ‘Come on, let’s get you inside.’
He grabbed their things and took her hand leading her to the front door.
* * *
It wasn’t long before he’d made a cup of coffee and got her settled on the couch with a blanket, a pillow and a movie. Kara lay on the couch, curled up in the blanket with a distant look in her eyes as he drank his coffee.
‘Hey Core…’
‘You can’t leave me. You have to promise me. Promise me you won’t leave.’
Corey smiled at her and sat beside her on the couch. ‘Don’t worry. I'm not going anywhere.’
* * *
Corey started a new movie and went back to his spot on the floor, leaning against the couch. They’d been in the same places for hours now. Kara curled up at one end of the couch and him leaning against it, using her knees as a head rest. He groaned slightly as he sat down and rubbed the back of his neck.
‘You know,’ Kara said as he turned to face her. ‘You don’t have to sit down there. I mean if you want to, go for it and if you’re worried about getting sick I get that. But this is a huge couch. There’s room for both of us. That is if you want to sit on the couch. I just thought you might but if you don’t-’
She smiled slightly, ‘Rambling huh?’
Corey nodded and stood up, ‘I just wasn’t sure that you wanted me on the couch with you. I guess there aren’t many times when you really want to be right near someone even when they’re sick.’
He slid behind her, wrapping her up in his arms and lying alongside her. ‘But this,’ he whispered. ‘Is definitely one of those times.’
* * *
The doorbell rang at around ten o’clock, startling them both out of a deep sleep. Kara sat up suddenly and immediately felt sick again.
‘Get the door,’ she called as she raced for the bathroom.
Corey groaned and sat up. He rubbed his eyes and headed for the door. As he opened it he saw Tyra and Sam standing outside. He let them in.
‘Corey, mate,’ Sam grinned at his old friend.
‘Hey Sam. Hi Tyra. What’s up?’
‘Nothing,’ Tyra said quickly before Sam could tell him about her problems. ‘Is Kara here?’
‘Yeah. Somewhere. She’s not very well right now.’
‘You can say that again,’ Kara said, coming down the hall. ‘I’d hug you but, you know.’
Tyra smiled.
‘So what’s going on? I'm sure you wouldn’t be standing in my hallway if there wasn’t something I could do. Knowing you two you’d much rather be making out under a tree,’ Kara grinned wickedly at her friend.
Tyra poked her tongue out. ‘Well actually…’
‘I knew there was a catch.’
‘I was wondering if I could stay here for a few days. Everything’s crazy at home right now, with the divorce and everything. If you’re not up to guests right now I totally get it.’
Kara shrugged. ‘Hey I'm sick but if you want to run that risk feel free. You know where the guest room is. Sam you’re free to stay if you want. I'm not going to be particularly entertaining. Corey and I are just watching a couple of movies but you know where everything is. Make yourself at home.’
‘Thanks Kar. I knew you’d be okay with this. You have no idea how much it means to me.’ Tyra went to give Kara a hug and then pulled back, thinking the better of it. She and Sam then went to get her things out of his car.
‘Lock the door on your way back in,’ Kara called as she and Corey headed back towards the lounge room.
* * *
Tyra and Sam went back inside with all of Tyra’s bags of belongings. She had enough stuff to stay for a month which made Sam laugh. He knew she would stay with Kara if she thought she could. They headed down the corridor towards the main guest room. As they did they passed the doorway to the lounge. The door wasn’t quite closed so Tyra peered through the gap. She saw the television playing a movie. She saw an empty coffee mug and a ‘chuck bucket’ sitting on the coffee table along with a glass of lemonade and a packet of Panadol. And then she saw them.
Kara and Corey. Curled up together on the couch. He held her close as she shivered slightly, fiddling with her hair, running his hands in circles on her back, talking to her. Suddenly Kara threw back her head and laughed at something he had said. She poked his arm and said something back to him that made him laugh just as hard.
They look so happy, Tyra thought. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen Kara looking that happy.
‘Aren’t they cute?’ she whispered to Sam.
He rolled his eyes and grabbed her arm. ‘Come on. Kara might not be so willing to have you stay at her house if she catches you spying on her and Corey…If you know what I mean,’ Sam raised his eyebrows.
They both laughed and went to put her things away.
* * *
‘Well, I'm all unpacked.’ Tyra flopped down on the bed beside Sam.
‘It’s about time. I'm hungry.’
‘Do you think of nothing but your stomach?’
‘No. Not really.’
Tyra rolled over and leant her head on his chest.
‘Well, except for you of course.’
‘Glad to hear it.’
‘So,’ Sam lifted her chin. ‘You’re going to be okay here?’
‘Yeah, I’ll be fine. You can always…You know, stay.’
‘Yeah. I might do that.’
‘Good.’ Tyra leaned up and kissed him.
‘Now that we’ve established that…Can we get some food, please?’
* * *
‘Hey guys,’ Tyra called as she came down the hall. ‘We’re getting food. Do you guys want anything?’
She opened the door to the lounge room and found both Kara and Corey fast asleep on the couch. They looked so peaceful, lying there in each other’s arms as they slept. Her head was resting gently on his chest; her face holding a serene smile as she softly rose and fell each time he took a breath. His head rested on top of hers, his arms falling around her waist, holding her tightly to him. He looked so content, so comfortable and at peace with her in his arms. It was as though she was with him so he could keep her safe, so that he could ensure nothing bad would happen.
‘Come on then. I guess they’ll eat later.’
As Tyra was about to close the door Kara sat up suddenly, waking Corey as she did, and threw up in the ice cream bucket beside her. She groaned and allowed herself to roll onto the floor.
‘Let’s go.’ Sam closed the door and pulled Tyra down the hall way. ‘You know perfectly well that Kara wouldn’t have wanted us to see her be sick. She’d be embarrassed.’
‘I just want to know that she’s alright,’ Tyra tried to move back down the hallway towards the door.
‘That’s what she’s got Corey for.’
* * *
Kara groaned and pushed the ice cream container away from her as she allowed herself to fall to the floor.
‘Hey,’ Corey sat up and placed his hands on her shoulders. ‘You alright?’
She sat on the floor, sobbing and wiping the edges of her mouth. Carefully Kara shook her head. She just sat and shook her head. It was as though she could do. Nothing but shake her head and cry. She couldn’t think straight. She just felt sick. She was glad Sandra wasn’t there. If she had been Kara would have received a lecture about growing up. She was happy that Corey was with her and yet embarrassed at the same time. She didn’t want him to have to see her like this. Kara picked up the bucket, still shaking her head and went into the kitchen. She washed it out as he followed her into the room. Corey passed her a tea towel and made her sit down at the table.
‘Don’t you think you need to tell me why you’re sick now? What if something happens to you? What do I do then? How do I know what to do if I don’t know what is wrong? Are you just sick?’
Kara opened her mouth to say something but Corey didn’t give her the chance.
‘Or did you do this to yourself? Is it her fault? Did she make you do this?’
‘Because if she made you do this you need to tell me.’
‘I need to know Kar…’
‘You’d know if you gave me the chance to tell you.’
‘Right. Sorry. Go on then.’
‘I’ve been feeling a little off since I woke up. Yes, Sandra called last night. Yes, we fought – well she screamed at me and I sat there and took it. Yes, I'm in a completely shitty mood. No, I did not do this to myself. You know why I didn’t do anything to myself after last night? You Corey, you. You’re everything to me. And you’ve given me back life. You’ve shown me how to take it and deal with it in ways other than hurting myself.
‘I didn’t do this to myself. Well, not intentionally anyway. I'm just overtired and stressed and sick. Granted, I'm pissed off at Sandra but that isn’t what’s making me sick. I'm sick because I'm sick.’
Corey nodded and wrapped his arms around her. She sighed and leaned into him.
‘I feel so much better now.’ Kara yawned and rubbed her eyes. She stood up and took him by the hand, leading him back towards the lounge room. ‘Come on. You up for a movie?’
‘Sure, why not.’
* * *
Everything was dark when he woke up. The television blared in the background but everything else was quiet and still.
It must be the middle of the night, he thought, moving her aside carefully so that he could sit up.
Corey rubbed his neck and glanced at Kara, fast asleep beside him. He sat and watched her for a moment, letting his arm rest gently on her side. He shook his head slightly. She looked so calm when she was sleeping, so untroubled. As he watched her he noticed her hidden beauty. Corey had always thought of her as beautiful but there were just little things that made her seem so perfect to him. Of course, he’d already acknowledged that you could never say anyone was actually perfect since everyone thought of perfect as something different. Obviously most of the other guys didn’t agree with him about Kara, something he was glad about. He didn’t know what he’d done to deserve someone like her, someone so amazing and smart and beautiful. But somehow, for some reason she’d chosen him. Of all the guys out there, she’d chosen him. He didn’t have any idea how or why it had happened but it had and being with her had made him happier than he’d ever been before in his life.
He sighed and gently kissed her cheek as he got up to make himself a cup of coffee. He entered the kitchen and put on the kettle. He looked around the kitchen. It was long and L shaped with a chef’s bench in the middle of the shorter side of the L. There was a well kept oven that Corey could tell was one of Kara’s favourite things in the house. The honey coloured wood of the kitchen table and chairs was accentuated by the beautiful baby blue table cloth and a vase of daisies in the middle. On the whole it was beautiful.
Corey heard laughter as Sam and Tyra came back into the house. He glanced at the clock. It was three in the morning. How could they only be coming in now? He shook his head and poured the water for his coffee. ‘You two want one?’
Tyra and Sam entered the kitchen and grinned at him. Corey rolled his eyes and took down two more mugs. The three of them sat together at the kitchen table with their coffee. They talked quietly for a while.
‘Ahh shit.’
Tyra and Corey exchanged a glance and then looked at Sam.
‘Tomorrow’s Monday.’
‘Well, we haven’t had a wink of sleep for like two nights.’
Corey held up his mug, ‘The miracle that is coffee.’
‘No Sam’s right. The two of us start at your school tomorrow.’ Tyra took her boyfriend’s hand over the table.
‘God, you two make me sick.’
‘Hah, like you can talk Core.’
‘What do you mean by that?’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Do not.’
‘Do so.’
‘Do not.’
‘Do so.’
‘Guys. Hate to break up the flashback to reception but Corey she means you and Kara are entirely cute too. And Ty, I think you need to lay off. These two have had a few big days lately, you know that.’ Sam flipped his hair and sculled the last of his coffee.
‘Well anyway, as I was going to say,’ Corey tapped on the side of his mug. ‘I might not even be going tomorrow. Not if Kara isn’t feeling better. I don’t want her here alone.’
‘Well, I'm sorry but it’s so sweet.’
‘She passed out at lunch today. Did I mention that?’
They were all quiet for a moment. All lost in thought. None of them noticed Kara standing in the doorway. She walked in and slid into the spare seat next to Corey.
‘I know it’s still a little early for breakfast but does anyone else feel like pancakes?’

Submitted: October 15, 2009

© Copyright 2021 TimeTruthHearts. All rights reserved.


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