A month later Florence was surprised at how Oakwood Clinic which she had once seen as the greatest form of punishment was now starting to feel almost like home, she had slipped into an easy rhythm, she woke up, she read, Dr Levi sometimes came to talk to her and run some tests on her blood sugar and water levels.
She had even started eating thin slices of apple as well as popcorn which to some people may have seemed insignificant but to Florence slowly eating was like finally breathing again after being submerged under water for minutes on end.
But her talks with Chase were, of course, the highlight of her day, they hadn’t spoken about the one time they had left the clinic again, and they never attempted to leave again, but she was fine with that, the shock of seeing Davis had been enough to put her off from leaving.
Her mother and father had visited twice, both times she’d refused to see them, just because life at the clinic wasn’t as bad as she had imagined, it didn’t mean she forgave them for allowing her to be carted away like she was mentally insane.
It was while Chase sat next to her in companionable silence that she remembered what she’d read in her diary the day before, an entry from last year.
“We met after you left Phillipson High you know” she said to him
“I practically threw you into a bush”
He raised two dark eyebrows “Sounds scandalous”
She couldn’t help but laugh.
“Don’t kill me Florence but my memory of last years rather hazy, so I don’t remember that particular encounter”
“So this entire time you’ve been encouraging me to relive my past and allow it to create my future yet you can’t even remember seeing me for the first time?”
Chase was giving her his full attention now.
“I don’t know how I forgot, you’re certainly unforgettable”
She felt the heat rising in her cheeks and needed it to stop, so she began to ramble because that was her favourite way to divert attention from her ever-changing emotions.
“What would’ve happened that day Chase, if I hadn’t gone to school if I’d just chased you after I remembered who you were, would we have been friends?”
He smiled “I like to think so, so were friends now are we Florence?”
She nudged him “Well we can’t exactly say we’re mortal enemies anymore can we”
He hadn’t asked her his questions today, she had been waiting for them but they hadn’t come, then out of the blue, he asked her.
“How do you feel about yourself Florence? Dr. Levi tells me you’re making good progress, you’re eating more and drinking more, he said you’re steadily becoming closer to having a healthy BMI”
This didn’t make her flinch like it would have a month ago, the thought of gaining weight a month ago would have caused her to be sick.
“I feel like this is just a brief space of happiness Chase” she replied.
“I’m not happy with how I look but being here at the clinic makes me feel safe, makes me feel protected”
“If you could face all those people who made your life a misery when would you choose to do it?” he asked.
She didn’t even have to think very long, when she had been on her diet she had one goal in mind, Prom.
She wanted to go to the end of high school Prom, which was creeping slowly nearer, it would be in three weeks, she wanted to walk in and be the most beautiful girl in the room, the slimmest girl in the room and show them that they were wrong about her, that she didn’t deserve the title she had received.
“Chase can I ask you something?” she said already thinking it was a mad idea.
“If I carried on doing as Dr. Levi said, carried on eating and taking my medication do you think he’d let me leave here, just for one night”
“Erm, where exactly would you want to go?” he asked.
“Um.. well high school prom is coming up in three weeks” she braced herself for his laughter and objections.
But instead, he beamed “I think he could be persuaded if you have a chaperone that is”
She groaned, she didn’t want some decrepit Doctor shadowing her on a day where she wanted to look her best.
“Who? Anyone but Mitch, I beg you”
He looked highly amused.
“Well I know this guy,” he said laughing. ”
A highly understanding and extremely dashing nurse who could be persuaded to escort you”
He pointed at himself.