Chapter 21: A Moment of Rest
Lea was enjoying a good rest, in a comfortable bed, and with no intention of getting up. Unfortunately, something was bothering her peaceful rest, and it was none other, than the sunlight on her face. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy some sunlight, but she wanted to keep sleeping. So, in an attempt to escape the annoying rays of the sun, Lea pulled the blankets all over her body, not wanting to let even a single ray of light to hit her.
"Good morning, Ms. Anderson." Greeted a female voice.
"Morning." Responded Lea with a sleepy voice. Then, Lea started to wake up and thought. "Wait a minute." Lea quickly sat up as fast as possible, and looked at the woman, who was moving some curtains.
"How are you today?" asked a female human. She had dark brown skin, which made it easy to see that she was of African-American descent, dark hair, and light brown eyes.
"I-I'm good, but who are you?" Lea started to look around, and discovered that she wasn't in her apartment. "Where am I?"
"My name is Dr. O'Neil and you're in the hospital," answered the doctor with a smile.
"Hospital?" Lea didn't remember going to the hospital and tried to remember anything before landing there. Then, she quickly remembered what happened. "Oh yeah, I had a tough fight last night, and I won." Lea started to feel joy, until the doctor said.
"Last night? Uh, whoa, it must have been quiet the match." The doctor started to feel a little awkward.
"What…what is it?" Lea was starting to feel nervous.
"Well…the thing is…you have been asleep for a whole week." The doctor's answer left Lea in shock.
"A whole week!" yelled Lea, and the doctor quickly tried to calm Lea down.
"Please don't yell in the hospital, and don't worry, there's nothing wrong with you. You're actually pretty healthy, considering that you injured your tail."
"My tail?" Lea quickly threw the blanket away and took a look at her tail. A part of the lower half of her tail was bandaged, and Lea tried to move it, but Lea didn't feel anything. Then, when she tried to move it a little more, Lea felt some pain, but nothing that would make her scream.
"Please, don't push your tail too far. You barely saved your career, thanks to your tough muscles." Explained the doctor.
"I see. I'm glad for that, thank you, doctor," said Lea as she gave the doctor a smile.
"You're quite welcome. Sleeping for a whole week helped your tail to recover at a faster rate," said the doctor as she looked at a notepad that she was carrying. Lea felt relieved to hear that, but remembered something important.
"So, can I leave today? I actually have to go somewhere." Lea tried to get up from the bed.
"No need to rush it, I just need to sign some papers, and you're free to go."
"I also need to make some phone calls." Informed the doctor as she started to leave the room.
"To who?" Lea didn't knew what a phone call had to do with her leaving. The doctor stopped and turned to look at Lea.
"I received a request to call your friends when you wake up, so they can pick you up."
"I see, okay, sorry for the trouble."
"Don't worry about it. I'll be right back." The doctor left to make the phone calls.
Lea was just resting and waiting to leave the hospital, until she heard a knock on her door. Lea looked towards the source of the sound, and found all of her friends on the door with a smile on their faces.
"Lea! You're awake!" cheerfully yelled Salena, and a nurse nearby asked her to be quieter. While Salena apologize for her outburst, Salena and Hilda entered the room.
"It's quite a relief to see you up and about, Lea. We were worried that it was taking you long to wake up," said Alinda, who was joyful to know that Lea was finally awake.
"You're quite the hardy lass. I knew that a good sleep would fix you up, but I wasn't expecting it to take this long," said Hilda, who was a little surprised about it.
"Well, at least she's awake now, and that's all that matters." After Alinda said that, Salena entered the room.
"Yeah, now we can celebrate our victories," said Salena as she lifted her fists in the air.
"Victories? Did you have a match after mine?" asked Lea.
"Salena had a championship match last night, and actually won it." Informed Hilda with fake disbelief on her face.
"What do you mean by 'actually'? Of course I would win. I trained really hard for that match," said Salena.
"Congratulations!" Lea congratulated with a smile, but then, she dropped her gaze to the ground. "Sorry I couldn't be there." Lea looked apologetic about it.
"Hey, don't worry about it, your victory gave me motivation, I think it helped me at some points in the match. Besides, you couldn't help it."
"Okay. So, how was it?"
"Oh, you know, fists flying and sweat, nothing out of the ordinary," said Salena with a wave of her hand. Lea didn't notice it at first, but she could see some patches on Salena's face, indicating that it wasn't an easy victory.
"It must have been a great match."
"Yeah, but enough about me, we're here for you. Now, let's go." Salena started to leave the room.
"Salena, Lea can't leave without the doctor's permission," said Alinda.
"Come on, she was only sleeping the whole time, and she's awake now. So, let's go." Salena was impatient to leave because she wanted to celebrate.
"Wait, you paid me a visit?" asked Lea.
"Actually, all of them paid you a visit, every single day," answered the doctor from the door.
"Hello, doctor, is our friend here ready to go?" asked Hilda, who wanted to get Lea home and celebrate her return.
"Yup, and let me tell you, it was a pleasure to talk with her. She's friendlier than the harpy I'm working with," said the doctor as she rolled her eyes at the mention of her other patient.
"That's one of her great points. Thank you for everything, doctor, and have a good day," said Alinda.
"You're quite welcome, and I wish you all a great career." With all farewells done, Lea and her friends left the hospital, got on Hilda's car, and drove Lea back home.
While on the way, Lea started to ask her friends some questions.
"I was wondering, what happened to my prize money? I need to give it to someone before the end of the month."
"The coach has the check and just waiting for you to take it," answered Hilda.
"Great, and I have a favor to ask."
"Allow me to guess, you want to go to Julie's house," said Alinda.
"Please?" asked Lea with a pleading look.
"Of course we'll take you there, once you get the check," said Salena. With that said, they head straight to the gym. When they arrive, they saw that there were some members working out, and Lea immediately started looking for Alonso. Lea didn't have to look for long, because Alonso was already working with some of the members. Without wasting any more time, Lea headed straight towards Alonso, but slowly because she had an injured tail.
"Coach." Called Lea.
"The check is at your table," said Alonso. He knew what Lea was going to ask for, so he just told her where the check was, and kept focused on working with some members.
"Uh, okay." With that said, Lea headed straight to her apartment, got inside, and slid towards her table. Just as the coach said, the check was right on the table and Lea wasted no time in grabbing it. After that, Lea's group left the gym and headed to a bank, where Lea opened a new bank account some time ago. Lea exchanged the check and withdraw $8,000 dollars. Then, she put it in an envelope, headed back to the car, and they drove towards Julie's house. It didn't take long to arrive and Lea asked a favor of them.
"I need you all to wait for me here." Asked Lea in a serious tone.
"Why?" asked Salena.
"I just have to do this alone."
"Um, okay, I'm sure Julie is going to be delighted to see you," said Alinda.
"Well, I'm not going in, to be specific."Said Lea.
"Why not? Just go in and give the money," said Hilda.
"Looking like this? Besides, they might ask where I got the money," said Lea.
"Just tell them that you got it from work."
"I don't think they would believe it, considering that I pay bills and food."
"Good point, you don't earn that much."
"Exactly, so I need to deliver this without being seen."
"I know, get someone else," said Salena, who felt smart after saying that.
"Well, you guys could do it, but Julie knows all of you." After Lea said that, she saw Nick walking out of the building and heading to his car, and Lea tried to hide. Then, an idea popped into her head. "That's it! One of you could give it to Nick. He doesn't know any of you."
"I'll do it! I'll do it!" Cheerfully said Salena.
"Considering that you might reveal that it's from Lea by accident, I say that I'm the better option," said Alinda with blunt honesty.
"I agree," said Hilda.
"Sorry, Salena, maybe some other time," said Lea, and Salena pouted.
"Fine," said Salena and crossed her arms, but they knew that she would go back to her cheerful self in no time. With that settled, Lea gave the envelope to Alinda, and Lea's hoodie. Alinda got out of the car, and headed straight to Nick.
"Excuse me, good sir." Called Alinda once she reached Nick, and Nick turned around spooked.
"Whoa there, I didn't hear you coming," said Nick, putting a hand to his chest.
"I apologize, but I was asked to deliver something to you." Informed Alinda and showed an envelope to Nick.
"What's in it?" asked Nick suspiciously.
"There's a donation for the house inside the envelope, $18,000 dollars to be precise." After hearing that, Nick's eyes opened wide and he quickly grabbed the envelope. He opened it, pulled out the money, and started to count it all. Just as Alinda said, there was $18,000 dollars inside.
"Whoa, this is more than we needed to keep going, who sent this?" asked Nick with a smile.
"I'm sorry, but I was asked not to reveal anything. Have a good day." Alinda turned around and started to leave.
"Wait, can you at least tell the person that we are very thankful for this?"
"Of course," answered Alinda while sliding away. She reached the car and they drive off, leaving Nick with the money. Once they were far enough, Lea sat up.
"So, was it enough? Are they going to make it another year?" asked Lea.
"Do not worry, Lea. Nick said that it was more than enough," said Alinda with a smile. Lea let a sigh of relief.
"I'm glad, thanks for your help." Lea said it to everyone.
"No need to thank me." Responded Alinda with a small wave.
"Anytime, lass," answered Hilda while driving.
"Always happy to help a friend. Now, let's celebrate!" yelled Salena while raising her fists into the air.
"Lea needs her rest, perhaps another time," said Alinda.
"Oh, then lets party at her place!" Salena's response made Alinda groan.
"You just won't let it drop, are you?"
"It's okay, I don't mind." Informed Lea.
"Great, then let's get you home," said Hilda and drove them back to the gym, ready to celebrate a happy occasion.
After the mysterious Lamia left, Nick quickly got back into the house and headed straight to Julie's office. When Nick got inside, he found Julie already having some of her stuff in boxes.
"Hey, Julie, what are you doing?" asked Nick, who was a little surprised to see that.
"Oh, well, you know, just…starting to pack. Since we have to get ready," answered Julie while barely resisting from making her voice quake.
"Whoa, good thing I got here." That got Julie's full attention.
"Well, we just got a last minute donation of $18,000 dollars," said Nick with a smile and showed the envelope. Those news left Julie surprised and Nick could see it in her face.
"Don't play with me, Nick, because it wouldn't be funny," said Julie as she pointed a finger at Nick.
"Fortunately for you, I'm not. We just got enough to last another year." After hearing that, Julie simply walked to her chair, and dropped on it.
"God, you don't know how much weight was lifted from my shoulders." Julie said it while closing her eyes.
"I can imagine, but I recommend that you go to the bank and give the payment." Nick walked to the desk and put the envelope on it.
"Don't worry, I'll do it right now, I can't wait to see the face of that little prick when he sees the money." Responded Julie as she grabbed the envelope and headed out to her room.
"Well, good to see you up and about." Nick decided to take his leave. "Thank you for this second chance, whoever you are."
Julie arrived at the mentioned bank, dressed professionally for the occasion, even though she knew that she wouldn't be in there for long. She went inside, and headed straight to the person in charge of her debt. The man was a red goblin in a business suit, with combed blue hair, and red eyes. He was talking on the phone, but the moment he saw Julie take a seat, he ended the call and hanged up the phone. Then, he gave a friendly smile to Julie, but she knew that it was fake, and she gave a fake smile of her own.
"Welcome, it is unfortunate that we have to see each other at such a hard time for you. Have you come here to call bankrupt?" Said the goblin, who had the guts to ask that while keeping that smile on his face.
"Actually, I came here to make a payment," answered Julie with a smile, which surprised the goblin.
"Um, yes, of course." Then, the goblin checked Julie's debt, which also had interests, and informed her about it.
"Now, you need to pay $16,748 dollars to keep the house for another year." After the goblin said that, Julie pulled out the envelope and gave it to the goblin.
"There you go." The goblin quickly opened the envelope and pulled out the money. Then, he counted it two times to be sure that he was counting right.
"Yes, it's right here. Thank you," said the goblin, trying to put a smile, but Julie could tell that he didn't like that one bit. After paying, Julie was given a receipt and she left the bank. Julie was happy to know that she managed to keep the house for another year, and to wipe that smile away from the goblin.
"Today was a good day. We should celebrate the occasion, but maybe tomorrow. We can throw a small party, and I could invite Lea, I'm sure she would like to know that the house will keep going for another year." In that moment, Julie simply decided to take the day off because tomorrow, she was going to spend it partying.
The next day, Lea woke up from a good night rest, and did what she always did when she woke up. Lea got dressed, ate some breakfast, and she stayed in her apartment, since she was ordered to do so. Lea's tail felt better that day, barely feeling any pain in it, but would prefer not to push it. Since Lea felt better, she took the bandage off, and applied an ointment that she received from Alonso. The previous day, Lea celebrated with her friends for her recovery and her victory in the tournament. Even Alonso, Fergus, and Alfred joined the party, who were also celebrating Salena's success on winning the national championship. After the party, they helped clean the place up, and the apartment was looking as if the party never happened, which Lea was thankful for. While enjoying her day, Lea received a knock on the door, and she went to answer it. It turned out to be Alfred.
"Good morning, Lea. I hope I wasn't interrupting anything," said Alfred.
"No no, don't worry. I was just watching the TV. How can I help you?" asked Lea with a smile.
"You have a phone call from someone named Julie."
"Oh, I'll be right there." Before Lea started to descend the stairs, Alfred gave another message.
"Also, the coach said that you better get a cell phone, or a phone of your own."
"I will, I promise," answered Lea as she continued her descent. Lea got into the office, and grabbed the phone. "Hello, Julie."
"Hey, Lea, how are you?" asked Julie. Lea could hear that Julie was very happy.
"Good as always, and you sound very happy. What happened?" asked Lea, even though she knew about it.
"You won't believe this, but we got a last minute donation for the house and we're going to have another year to go."
"That's great to hear! I'm sure everyone is glad for that."
"They are, and we decided to throw a small party here."
"Yes it is. I was calling you to see if you would like to come."
"Yeah, I would."
"Great, I'll go and pick you up."
"Okay, see you later." After that, they both hanged up and Lea went to her apartment to put some clothes for the party. Lea already knew how long it would take Julie to arrive at the gym, so Lea waited in her apartment. When she saw how much time had passed, Lea went out of the gym, and just like she expected, Julie arrived.
"Come on, Lea. We're just waiting for you to start." Informed Julie with the bright smile that Lea was familiar with.
"Okay, let's go," said Lea, and they go to Julie's house. They arrived at the usual time, got inside, and head straight to the backyard, where everyone was celebrating. Lea didn't even spend five minutes before Jenny ran straight towards Lea, jumped to her, and grabbed her in a hug.
"It's just like you promised." whispered Jenny on Lea's ears, pulled back, and showed her bright smile.
"Well then, let's get this party started!" yelled Julie and everyone joined her. From there, everyone simply ate as much as they wanted, drank what they wanted, which was soda, since they were celebrating with kids, and there was music. Everyone was having a good time, Nick eating as much as possible, Lucy was cooking food, but she would take a bite every once in a while. Some of the kids were playing, while others were enjoying some food. Jenny spent most of the time by staying close to Lea, just like Julie was doing. In that moment, all three of them were eating together, simply enjoying the time they spend together. Lea looked around, and it made her think.
"I just woke up from a death match that sent me to the hospital for a whole week. Normally, it would make people think that I should just quit, leave a sport that could get me killed, but when I look at this. If I can keep their smiles, it makes it all worth it." And so, Lea spent the day in the party, enjoying the company of Julie and friends. That day was going to be another good day.
It was a new day at the bank, but there was one goblin that wasn't enjoying it one bit. Not because he was working, but because he knew that he was going to be called any time soon. The boss was just back from his vacation, and sooner or later, he was going to discover that the house was still open, and was going to stay open for another year. The goblin's phone ringed, and he prayed that it wasn't who he thought it was, but when he answered the phone, his prays weren't answered. The voice at the other side of the phone didn't say much.
"Come to my office." Then, he hanged up, but it felt like a death sentence to the goblin. As ordered, the goblin went to the office of the boss, opened the door, and entered. Inside, the room was luxurious for an office, with furniture made of great quality. The only person in there was a massive ogre.
Ogres were believed to be monsters that ate human beings, and other times, babies. Of course, that was wrong. They simply killed bandits or slavers and used their bodies to scare people off. They were actually very normal people, as normal as they could be. They were as tall as 8 to 9 feet, sometimes of different colors, and with horns, but sometimes they would have one. They were enslaved for labor because of their massive sides. The ogres managed to avoid slavery by hiding in places that wasn't easy to reach. Mountains were a good example, and anywhere else that was impossible to climb. In modern times, they were normal citizens, who worked on many fields.
The ogre was quiet for a moment, which made the goblin extremely nervous, until the ogre spoke.
"Mr. Cooper, I have read a report, a very interesting report that says that we received a payment for Ms. Johnson's debt. Is that correct, or am I reading wrong?" asked the ogre in a mysteriously even voice.
"N-No sir, the report is correct," answered Cooper, who was close to sweating.
"And I would like to know how that is possible. As far as I have heard, you convinced their last opportunity from donating to the house." The ogre was using an even voice, but the goblin could feel the ogre's anger.
"I-I don't know how she got the money, she just came in with $18,000 dollars in cash. Someone must have given a donation at the last minute." That made the ogre think. Since there was no check, there was no way to know who send it, and that would mean that he would have to find out who it was.
"I see. That would be all, you're free to go." The goblin thanked the ogre and left. The ogre leaned on his massive chair and started to think about that development. "Coincidence or not, I will find out who gave the donation. I won't let anyone stop my plans from taking that house, demolish it, and build what should be there. With such a good spot, I could build a shopping mall, or another bank. There are many possibilities, but before I can do anything, I need that piece of rotten wood destroyed." Unfortunately, he would have to wait, and with the money that the owner of the house was paying, he could get someone to find out the last person to save them. Meanwhile, he will try to change the minds of anyone who thought that it would be a good idea to keep that place open. It wasn't that he was evil. It was just business for him.