Once alone, she sorted through the small bag of belongings her parents had left, Levi had placed it on the table before leaving after realising she wasn’t going to carry on speaking to him.
She almost laughed at the clothes they’d chosen. Not a single one of her favourite clothes. Her old stuffed bear was in the mix, her pillow, a ten-dollar bill with a Post-it note that said ‘vending machine money’, and – surprise, surprise – her new notebook.
There was a loud knock on the door and she looked up, startled.
Chase stood in the doorway.
“Can I come in?” he asked.
“Does it matter if I say yes?”
“I’d prefer we started on the right foot tonight,” he said and seemed to mean it.
But she was stuck in attitude mode and couldn’t muster a reply, Levi hadn’t directly addressed her view that Chase didn’t want to be doing what he was doing leaving her with the conclusion that she had been right.
He clearly took her silence for an agreement to come inside because after a moment he walked into the room and sat down on the armchair.
“How are your wounds? Your wrist? Are you in any pain?”
She swallowed, unsure why his husky tone affected her. ”
No,” she managed.
“Would you like me to re-dress them for you?”
“I get a choice this time?” she blurted out.
He gave a small smile. ‘Yes.’
He nodded and ran a hand through his wayward hair.
The silence stretched and she found it hard to look in his direction. She didn’t want those eyes staring into her, trying to search out her secrets.
“I know they told you, Chase. I heard you all in here this morning.”
He shrugged. ’” wondered if you were awake.”She rolled her eyes.
“Whatever. Look, you clearly don’t like me and I don’t particularly have generous thoughts towards you.′
He grinned at that, which only irritated her more.
“Let’s just bottom line it and save ourselves all the drama. There’s nothing you can do or say that’s going to “fix” me,” she added the finger quote marks for emphasis,
“and I have nothing to say to you that you’re going to be able to get your head around so why don’t you just fill in your charts, say whatever it is you need to say to not get in trouble, and go back to your coffee lounge or wherever it is that you would rather be”
Chase watched her, unperturbed. He paused as if contemplating everything she’d just said. She braced for the comeback.
But he just stood up and said,
‘Okay, then,’ before heading straight out the door, closing it behind him.
She had so not been expecting that.
Suddenly she was alone again.
She couldn’t understand why she felt so terrible. She did not care what Chase thought of her, or about spending time with him. She definitely didn’t need to have him know the truth about her life.
And yet ... She couldn’t stop watching the door, waiting to see if he would come back.
Her experiences had taught her that people were not to be trusted, but just for once she would have felt better knowing that there was someone who might just care, her heart and her mind tugged her in opposite directions, she closed her eyes just so she could see the darkness and remind herself that in the grand scheme of things none of this would matter.
Every so often she heard him walking up and down the hall, opening and closing doors.
After it had been quiet for a while, he returned, carrying a mirror.
“Don’t think I forgot Florence” he said half-smiling “You still owe me three questions”
Despite herself, she smiled back.