Chapter 16 - A call to Zeke
After last night, I felt so... so... so bad, embarrassed, and in panic! I hated it. I couldn’t withstand being near James, my fear of being recognized got the best of me and I left.
I’m afraid that if he finds out I’m his niece and that I’m pregnant that he’ll be disgusted by me. I’m afraid of being seen as dirt...
I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. My ‘irrational fears’ as aunt Jully calls them, got the best of me last night and made me leave the hallway. I don’t feel like talking about this with Consetta, I feel like she won’t understand and that she may tell my aunts. Perhaps I’ll talk with someone else, someone who understands what it’s like to have this anxiety.
8 a.m., aunt Jully will arrive at any moment now, I’m going to ask her for her phone, maybe she’ll let me use it and I’ll be able to call Zeke.
Some moments later aunt Jully arrived and brought with her my breakfast consisting of one yogurt, an apple, and a half a sandwich with butter.
“Good morning Sage. Here is your breakfast.” Aunt set’s the train on the small table with wheels and moves the table towards me.
“Good morning aunt. Can I use your phone for a few minutes please?” She looks at me weirdly and hands me her phone.
“Why do you need my phone Sage, tired of the Tv already?” She playfully asks me.
“I want to call Zeke.” Jully’s eyes widen a bit, she takes the phone from my hands and starts searching for something in it.
“Here.” Jully hands me back the phone and looks at me inquisitively.
“Why do you want to call Zeke and not your grandparents? Aren’t they still in Boston worried about you?”
“My grandparents...?” I ask out loud, a little unsure of where she wants to go with this topic.
“Yes, your grandparents Sage.” Jully replies a bit more confident. “They must be worried sick about you!” She dramatically exclaims this while making hand gestures.
“No, they aren’t. Nonna (grandma) and abuela (grandma) know that I’m here, if they aren’t back yet it’s because they still have matters to attend back in Boston.” Jully arches one of her brows at me still not convinced with my answer and I just shrug my shoulders, not giving a damn about the topic since I know I’m right.
“Ok, you stubborn girl. I’m going to check on my other patients and I’ll be back in an hour.”
“Sure.” As soon as Jully is out of my room I touch the call button and call Zeke.
The phone rings for a few moments before he finally picks up the call.
“Si zia? (Yes aunt?)” His tired voice answers me.
“I ain’t your zia(aunt), Zeke boy!” His breathing hitches the second he hears my voice and I almost laugh.
“Sage!” He whispers shouts on the phone. “Is that you?” The happy and energetic Zeke I meet a couple of months ago almost screams the stupid question through the phone.
“Damn right it’s me!” Zeke heartily laughs at my statement and I can hear the worry leave him and relief taking its place.
“Oh, Sage, you don’t know how happy I am just from hearing your voice! I was so worried when I heard your avó? I think that’s how you say grandma in Portuguese, anyway, I was so, so, SO worried! Your avó Rosa got drunk alongside Nonna and abuela, she started asking around for you, and then the three of them also started speaking about you. Your father tough they were crazy and keep them away from the wine but I knew something happened when Rosa said you were supposed to be at the funeral!” Zeke’s breath started getting labored and I knew he was about to have a panic attack.
“Zeke.” He didn’t hear me. His breathing keeps getting worse. I have to do something fast or else he’s going to have a full-on panic attack!
“Zeke boy listen to me.” My stern voice caught his attention, I heard him trying to stutter something but I couldn’t understand what.
“Take a deep breath right now! Your panic is passing on to me and that’s bad for my blood pressure.” I mumble the last part but he heard me, and let loose a small snicker.
“Come on, I’ll breathe with you.” We took deep breaths for a few moments and soon we were both ok.
“I’m sorry Sage.” Zeke mumbled ashamed.
“You have nothing to be sorry for Zeke, I’m the one who should be sorry.” Before he could question me, I start ranting and Zeke lets me, or at least I think he does because if he is complaining, I can’t hear anything.
“I can never do anything right! I thought I had liberated everyone but your mother has been in their grasp for all these years! Vinico was right! I’m good for nothing! When your father finds out that I’m the reason why your mother has been away from you during all these years, he’ll forbid me from contacting you ever again! Maybe he’ll even kill me! And my father... He will never accept me, especially after hearing from Francesco what I did! GOD, I’m such a fucking bitch! I should have gone back after and made sure that everyone got away from those bastards! Maybe I should just leave, my father won’t accept me and seeing my condiction he’ll never ever accept me, he’ll be so disgusted with me. I can’t handle it. I meet uncle James you know. I shouldn’t be saying this, but he’s awake, I saw him today during dawn. He saw me and he spoke to me, I thought I was ready to meet him and the rest of the family, but I’m not. I didn’t even last one hour in front of him, I almost had a panic attack just from him staring at me and speaking to me. I had to leave and that’s what I did. I’m so fucking weak, Zeke! I can’t even walk without something or someone’s support right now! I’m sorry for being such a disappointment and a weak friend. You’re my best friend Zeke, and I’ll understand if you want to cut all ties with me now..." I'm weeping after this crazy rant, Zeke is silent, only his harsh breathing can be heard and it's very unnerving.
"I'-I'm-I'm s-so-sorry Z-Zeke, fo-for being a b-bad fri-frien-friend and for d-dumping this all on you." I tell him between sobs. In the beginning, he doesn't answer me but after hearing me starting to sob harder, he releases a deep exhale.
That's it, I thought, he's going to scream at me and then he will stop being my best friend.
"Sage, you break my heart thinking the way you do. If it wasn't for you, I would have never met my mother. If it wasn't for you, the Hell Sinners would be all dead, and if it wasn't for you, nonno (grandpa) would still be a grumpy, unapproachable drunk old man! What you don't realize, Sage, is that even without being here physically, you've changed and saved more people than you could ever count. And I'm going to prove it to you." Zeke started walking somewhere, the sound of his footsteps was the only thing I could hear until he spoke again.
"Excuse me, is my mom awake?" I heard him ask lowly.
"Yes sir, she has taken her meds and is currently reading a book." A woman's voice answers him, she too is speaking lowly.
"Zeke, what are you doing? Why are you going to visit your mother and don't end the call with me?" I ask him, a bit apprehensive of his plan.
"Relax, Nina." He mockingly utters the name. "Just wait a moment." Suddenly, my aunt's phone starts vibrating in my hands. I check who it is, and surprisingly, to me, it's Zeke who is asking to video call me. I end the one we're currently into and accept his video call.
His camera is pointing towards the floor, I can see his feet moving and the floor color changing from a dark brown to a light cream color.
"Mamma." Zeke vulnerably calls out to the beautiful woman.
Xana Morelli, shoulder-length black wavy hair, light golden skin, with a small beauty mole over her right eyebrow and another one over her upper lip, on the left side. Her eyes a very dark brown tone. I can see it in her eyes, those eyes are haunted and full of nightmares, and it's because of me. It pains me to see her like this, knowing that it's my fault hurts more. She is looking at Zeke, her guard is up and she's a bit unsure of what to do or how to react, her gaze moves from Zeke to his phone, looking directly to the camera.
"Mamma, can I sit beside you? I wanted you to meet someone but it's ok if you don't want to." He quickly added at the end. Xana crunches her eyebrows in deep thoughts and after thinking for a few seconds, she nods her head and Zeke starts to slowly move towards her.
"Thank you, mamma." Zeke mumbles and softly kisses her forehead.
"Mamma, this is my best friend, Sage." Zeke introduces me and, without even looking at me, he hands his phone to his mother. He changes the camera so that I can see her and when his hands leave the front of the camera I'm face to face with Xana.
Xana moved the phone closer towards her face, her eyes observed my image and once she took a good look at my face, she gasped. A silent gasp, but still a gasp. She covered her mouth with her hands and from her wide eyes some tears fell, she quickly but carefully put the phone on the bot she was sitting on and left running towards.
"See Zeke, I knew she would react badly. It's MY FAULT WHAT HAPPENED TO HER! SHE KNOWS IT TOO. That's why she ran away!" I scream and, once again start sobbing.
I can't tell if this is because of me or if it's my hormones who are making me cry but damn it, I'm so tired of it. For a moment Zeke doesn't say anything, but then, a big ass smile takes over his face muscles and he shows me the image of his mother coming back with a notebook in her hands.
Xana bends down and sits on her knees on the floor, she starts scribing rapidly on her notebook, and then she trusts it on Zeke's chest while looking at me with a big smile.
Zeke looks down at the notebook and starts reading out loud what Xana wrote.
" 'I remember you! You are so big now. Thank you so much for all that you've done for me and my family!'" I'm glad that Xana doesn't blame me for what happened to her, it feels as if a weight has been lifted from off my shoulders.
"You're pregnant..- YOU'RE PREGNANT!?" Zeke suddenly stops reading and yells. Looks like the cat is out of the bag now. I was going to tell him but looks like his mother noticed it before I could speak about it.
"Surprise?" I whisper.
"SURPRISE? SURPRISE!? H-" Xana touches Zeke's arm and gives him a pleading look. Zeke stops yelling and I thank Xana for making him stop.
"We'll speak after you finish reading your mom's note." He nods his head and goes back to reading.
" 'You're pregnant and I know from what I've heard that you've been missing this last seven months, are you ok? You can talk to me if you want even though I won't be able to answer you back. In which hospital are you in? is everything alright with your baby and you? I've heard that James is in the hospital, do you know anything about him? They won't tell us anything.'" Zeke finishes reading and I answer their questions. I told them a bit about what happened to me while in captivity, and then I told them what happened this dawn with uncle James.
" 'In a way, James is like you, Sage. He woke up from his coma and is hiding himself from the Sinners because he too is ashamed of what happened to him. You say he's in a wheelchair, meaning he can't walk on his own, he's ashamed. He's hiding from his supportive family, who he knows since forever and knows that they will support him no matter what and you, you are hiding from a family that you don't know yet. One family that will love you and accept you no matter what, and if your father ever rejected you, Leane and Valeria will kick his ass to the moon and beyond that.'" This was the last thing Xana wrote before we ended the call.
It was refreshing talking with Xana and Zeke, I'm happy I did it.
I'm sorry if this was boring, I hope you enjoyed it still.