Firewatcher

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Two Weeks

Two Weeks

When I woke up a few days later I almost had a heart attack.

Two days ago I had been discharged from the hospital. There was nothing wrong with me anymore and they had no reason to keep me there. It was a good thing too, since I was ready to discharge myself. The four walls of my room was beginning to make me claustrophobic.

The doctors gave me some sleeping pills and recommended that I start seeing a therapist to help me adjust to normal life. I didn’t want some head doctor poking around in my brain. I didn’t fully understand my own brain yet, and just the thought of someone else knowing it better than I did scared me. Unfortunately my mother thought it was a great idea, so I guess I’ll be stuck with some Sigmund for a while.

So anyway, back to the reason I almost had a heart attack. Upon leaving the hospital I decided to try the pills, and surprise, surprise, they don’t work. By now I’ve gone three days without sleep and I was exhausted. The strange thing was how I wasn’t physically tired, no I felt like I could run a marathon twice and not break a sweat, I was emotionally exhausted. My mind needed to shut up for once, but because my body wasn’t tired it kept my mind awake. So I decided to swallow some more pills, five to be exact. That knocked me out cold, but only for a few hours.

That’s how I got here.

I woke up to Harry Styles’ freakishly large mouth smiling own at me. It was enough to give anyone a heart attack, and certainly a sight I did not want to see first thing when I woke up. I turned, trying to get away from the face when I almost fell out of bed. Luckily I caught myself, but I was not having the best of time. I was positive that I woke up in a horror movie.

The room I was in, my room, looked like it came straight out of a Mr Price kids catalogue. Three of the four walls were painted a soft cream colour, and the fourth wall behind the bed was pink. The pink wall itself didn’t bother me that much, it was the rest of the decorations that bothered me. One Direction and Justin Bieber posters covered the walls, along with pictures of various famous actors cut out from magazines. It was like I had stepped into a 13 year old, hormone crazed teenager’s rom.

It was not pretty.

I sat up, pushing the princess covers back as four or five teddy bears fell to the ground. I was horrified. The old Mina was such a girl.

Sunlight filtered in through the light pink curtains and I quickly made my way to the window, pushing it open and taking a deep breath. That made me feel better. I could tell it was late in the afternoon, the sun always set behind our house, giving me the perfect view of the sunset every day. I hadn’t seen a sunset in two years, yet it still looked the same. I used to love sunsets, it meant that the day was over and the night could get started. Fun things always happened at night. There was just something about the darkness that enticed me.

I pulled the curtains as far back as they would go, letting the last remaining sunlight of the day seep into my room.

“I live in a pink palace,” I muttered to myself as I turned back to look at my room. I was still wearing an embarrassingly short hospital gown and I was pretty sure Harry Stiles was checking out my ass.

“You all have to go,” I told the posters on the wall, as if they would listen and just magically float out of my room. Apparently not.

This was all so terribly strange. I woke up in someone else’s room, in someone else’s life. I felt like an imposter, like the person I was now had all of Mina’s memories but wasn’t Mina anymore.

Mina used to like pink things and Justin Bieber, but the girl standing in her place today didn’t. The old Mina and I were two different people, trying to live the same life.

I walked over to the built in closet, determined not to get too freaked out about all of this.

I almost had another heart attack as I pulled the doors open.

“This is ridiculous,” I exclaimed as I stared at the abundance of pink and brightly coloured clothing almost falling out of the closet. There were dresses, shirts, skirts and camisoles, along with scarves, hats and other fashion accessories. I was most definitely a girl.

It took me at least half an hour to find some plain black slacks and a white tee. I had to go through a horrible amount of flimsy see through shirts just to get to a solid t-shirt.

I pulled my hair into a ponytail before heading downstairs. It felt strange being home. I knew the layout of my home, where everything was and what everything looked like, but once again I felt like an imposter.

I made my way to the kitchen, the smell of mashed potatoes and steak floating through the house.

“You’re awake?” My mother looked surprised as she saw me, but no one was more surprised than I was. Catelyn stood in the kitchen she barely used, making mashed potatoes. My mother never, ever cooked. She hated it. My father was always the one who cooked, he even got my mother into it for a while, but when he died she avoided the kitchen like the plague. His death was very hard on my mother, and she hasn’t been the same since. She built up her walls and never let anyone in again, not even me.

I stretched out before taking a seat at the black marble counter top.

“You didn’t sleep very long, you were only out for a few hours. I was just about to wake you,” Catelyn said, adding salt to the mash.

“I’m not really that tired.”

Catelyn laughed half-heartedly, shaking her head. “Yes I suppose you’ve slept long enough.” Catelyn’s eyes travelled over me and my slacks and she closed the lid on the pot, wiping her hands on a cloth. “Take a shower and get dressed, we’re having guests over for dinner.”

I groaned. “I just got out of a coma.”

“I think you’ll like this dinner guest,” Catelyn winked at me. “Besides, you smell like a hospital, you’re going to shower no matter what.”

I raised my brows at her, but I knew she was right. I did smell like a hospital, and that wasn’t a good thing, but I was in no mood to get out of my slacks. It was probably the only piece of comfortable clothing that I owned.

“Who’s coming over?” I asked, but she just zipped her lips and motioned to the stairs.

“Shower, now.”

I groaned again, making my way back upstairs to drag my ass through the shower. It did feel good to get clean though, but once I finished I got right back into my slacks. Whoever was coming was just going to have to deal with the fact that I just woke up from a coma and wanted to spend some time in my slacks. I earned time in my slacks, if you ask me.

By the time I made my way downstairs again, our company had arrived.

Cade Reed sat in the kitchen, making small talk with my mother as she grilled the steaks. I couldn’t believe it. He looked older, was older, but he looked older. He had grown at least 10 centimetres in the two years I last saw him. His shoulders were bigger, as was his torso. His brown hair was cropped short like it always was, but he had stopped gelling it up.

“Cade…” I whispered, causing him to turn around. His emerald green eyes widened as he saw me, as if he didn’t really believe I was standing in front of him. Emotions flickered across his face, each one plainly visible. Hurt, loss, pain, and finally relief.

“Mina…” Before I knew what was happening Cade’s arms were around me, hugging me tightly. “You’re awake.” His voice was deeper too, more masculine.

“I’m awake,” I echoed, my arms pinned to my sides. The old Mina had feelings for Cade, strong feelings from what I can remember. She used to feel butterflies every time he looked at her, but I didn’t feel a thing.

Okay so maybe that was a lie, I did feel something. Nostalgia accompanied Cade. He was a part of my old life, an important part, and he was my friend. If I wanted to be normal, if I wanted a normal life, then I would have to accept him, even if my feelings for him did change.

“I thought it would be good for you to see him, and he wanted to see you, so I invited him over,” Catelyn said when Cade let me go. She had a sneaky smile on her face, that typical knowing smile that all mothers wore when a cute boy came to visit their daughter. “Dinner should be ready soon, you two can go wait in the living room.”

Cade and I shared an awkward glance before I turned and headed for the living room. The doors to the pool stood open, letting in the now cool night air. In the distance I could just make out the inky black ocean. I curled up on one of the beige coloured couches, tucking my feet underneath me. Cade must have thought that I was cold, because he grabbed a blanket off the arm rest and draped it over me. I shifted uncomfortably as he tucked me in, his hand brushing against my leg. He was babying me and I didn’t like it.

He sat down opposite me, and I could see he had a lot of questions, he just didn’t know how to ask them. “How do you feel?”

I snorted, it was a stupid question, but one I was probably going to hear a lot from now on. “A little strange, and overwhelmed,” I told him.

Cade frowned, lines appearing on his forehead. “Strange how?”

“Just strange. It felt like I took a nap and then ended up sleeping for two years. That kind of strange.”

“And overwhelmed?”

I nodded. “Yeah, two years have gone by. I know I’ve missed so much, and I don’t know how I can even begin to catch up,” I cleared my throat, shifting a little bit. “I mean look at you, you’ve certainly grown.”

I didn’t want to go into how I was feeling too deeply, the person sitting opposite me was not the Cade I knew two years ago, and I wasn’t the Mina he knew two years ago. We both changed.

“Two years do that to a person,” he laughed a little nervously, and I could tell it wasn’t just the years that aged him. Hurt and loss aged people too. “And yes, you did miss a lot.”

“Yeah tell me something I didn’t know,” I muttered under my breath. “Is there a Pitch Perfect two yet?” I asked a little louder, trying to keep things light.

Cade gave me half a smile, shaking his head. “No not yet. We have missed you Mina.” Cade rested one of his hands on my leg and I shifted uncomfortably. He moved his hand when he sensed my discomfort, avoiding my gaze for a few seconds before looking back at me.

“We?” I asked.

“Scott, Marx, Vanessa, all of us.”

I noticed how he didn’t mention Ridley, but before I could ask he continued. “And I missed you too. Things were hard after…after you fell into the coma.”

Guilt flashed across Cade’s face and I leaned forward. “What is it Cade? What’s wrong?”

Cade shook his head as if to clear it, the guilty expression gone from his face. “Nothing, just missed you.” He leaned forward, tucking a lose piece of hair behind my ear. I sat back out of his reach again, crossing my arms over my chest.

“I saw that look Cade,” I pressed. “Tell me.”

“Drop it Mina, it was nothing,” he said harshly and I raised my eyebrows at him. He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, these last two years without you have been hard.”

His face scrunched up as he recalled the painful memories, and I could only imagine what it must have felt like being on the other side of the coma. It was easy to forget that I wasn’t the only one affected by this. I was the one in the coma, but Cade and my mother and my friends were on the other side. They must have stood by my bedside, hoping and praying for me to wake up for days, weeks, months, but I just kept sleeping. They must have given up hope at some point, and tried to pick their lives up again.

“Does it hurt seeing me?”

“We had all given up, which was wrong, but we had to move on Mina. I’m glad you’re back, really I am, but it is hard.”

“I’m sorry Cade,” I wanted to make it easier for him, but I didn’t know how to.

“It’s not your fault Mina,” Cade sighed, running a hand through his hair, causing it to stick out in various directions. “Is it hard seeing me?”

I nodded a little. “You’ve grown up Cade, it’s hard because I missed so much, and I don’t really know the person in front of me anymore. I know the Cade that used to flirt shamelessly with me when I played hockey games. I know the boy who used to buy me chocolates when I had a bad day. I missed that boy turn into a man.” I realised that I probably shouldn’t have said all that, but it was good to get it out of my system.

“You seem different too Mina, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something different about you.”

I looked down, avoiding his gaze. He was right of course, there was something different about me, and I didn’t know what it was myself. “Maybe I just grew up too.”

“You seem taller,” Cade joked and I couldn’t help but laugh. It wasn’t what I meant when I said that I had grown up, but he made me laugh and it felt good. “And the eyes, that’s just freaky.”

“Side effect of the coma,” I told him.

“I missed your laugh,” Cade said and I looked back up at him. He was wearing that lopsided smile that used to drive me crazy and I just…I couldn’t.

“Do you still have feeling for me?” As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them. When on earth did I become so blunt? The old Mina would have never asked Cade that question.

“Seriously Mina?” Cade asked, raising his eyebrows. “You don’t waste any time do you?”

I shrugged. “I just woke up from a coma, I still have to figure stuff out.”

“Two years is a long time Mina. We should get to know each other again.”

I didn’t know why I agreed to that, since I didn’t even know myself at this point. Maybe it was nostalgia, or maybe I was sentimental about Cade, I don’t know.

That was the only answer I got that night, and I guess it was all I really needed. Dinner was awkward, and saying goodnight to him was even more awkward. I wasn’t too big on the physical contact just yet, I was still uncomfortable in my old body.

“If you need anything, call me,” Cade said as he unlocked his blue BMW.

“Oh he can drive now?” I teased.

Cade winked at me. “Two years.” He leaned in to kiss my cheek and I took a step back.

“At least take me on a date first,” I told him. Classic brain to mouth malfunction.

“I’ll take you up on that,” he said as he got into the car. I closed the door behind him, giving him a quick wave before turning around and heading back inside.


“Are you alright Mina? You look a little pale and you barely touched your food,” Catelyn’s voice was laced with worry as I came back into the house. I fell into the couch next to her, rubbing my head. I didn’t have much of an appetite anymore, and the food tasted funny in my mouth, but I knew if I didn’t eat she would take me right back to the hospital.

‘I’m fine, it was good seeing Cade.”

Catelyn smiled and I could see her relax. “I’m glad you enjoyed it Mina.”

Catelyn was for the most part of my life an absent mother. After my father died and she took office she was always too busy for me. I understood for the most part, being the mayor of Alder Port could not be easy, but sometimes it felt like she was deliberately avoiding me. I guessed that seeing the child of the man that was your soul mate made things hard. Even though I looked a lot like Catelyn I still had some of my dad’s qualities. I guess she saw more of my father in me than she saw of herself and that’s why she couldn’t bear to be around me. I was fine with it, well as fine as I could be. My mother’s late nights meant that I was always free to go to parties or clubs, even though I was underage. I didn’t have a curfew and no one ever checked up on me, so basically I was living the good life. Catelyn also bought me a lot of stuff, clothes, make up, whatever, because buying me things was easier than giving me her time. I was fine with that too, since I always had the best clothes and make up.

We never really had a good relationship, we sort of just lived past each other.

“I have something for you,” Catelyn said, interrupting my thoughts. She got up off the couch and came back a few minutes later with a white box in her hands. I could spot the Apple sign from a mile away.

“No way,” I said, sitting up a little straighter.

“Brand new phone,” she smiled, handing me the box. I eagerly ripped the plastic off, taking in the smell of a brand new iPhone.

“This is amazing, thanks,” I said, reaching out to give her a hug.

“You’re welcome Mina, use it wisely,” she told me before stifling a yawn. “I’m going to be, are you good?”

I nodded. “Yeah, go get some sleep, I’m good.”


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