Chase was back again, Neeta was gone again.
He sat down on the seat placed next to her bed for ‘visitors’ she didn’t have any of those.
“Don’t you ever leave work?” she asked
The clock on the wall read five to midnight.
“I got put on night shifts” he replied simply.
Her mouth opened to ask why a seventeen year old had been put on night shifts at a hospital he probably shouldn’t have been working at in the first place, but then firmly shut when she realised this was some kind of power game. The head doctor, Levi was his name probably thought by giving her a nurse her own age she would be more likely to open up and tell him everything and once they knew everything they could start trying to make her feel better.
Only she was completely fine, and not about to spill her life secrets to someone she barely knew in return for weeks of pills and counselling that would achieve nothing.
Chase reached over and picked up the container containing the untouched fruit.
“Florence can I ask you something?” he said keeping his eyes fixed on the strawberries.
“Sure” she said, her guard already up, she hadn’t answered the counsellors questions, and she wasn’t about to answer his.
“Do you think you can get better?”
She was so startled by the question she found herself replying.
“What I think is” she tapped her skull, trying to signal how spiraled out of control her thoughts were.
“That everything inside here is so messed up Chase inside here, everything is mad inside your own mind if you heard the thoughts I sometimes have, you’d probably want me locked up somewhere far away, with the key thrown away. But then at the same time everything is fine, it’s only not fine when I don’t let it be fine, right now lying here all I want to do is go home, I don’t want to be fixed”
She didn’t like how much she’d just revealed given the fact that she’d made a vow to not tell him anymore than he needed to know.
He was staring at her, directly at her now.
“Your mother called us up today” he said
“Demanding to know why we weren’t giving you access to you’re mobile phone, but the nurses told us you had ten minutes”
“Chase as far as I’m concerned I don’t have a Mother anymore, she’s dead to me”
The words left her mouth before she could seize them and stuff them right back in, a million memories of her Mother flashed through her mind but she resolutely stared ahead refusing to remember them only remember how passive her Mother had been as her only daughter was dragged away by two people in white coats.
“Okay,” he said nodding, she’d expected some kind of admonishment about what she’d said, he seemed to be someone who clung onto his morals, but no lecture about how valuable her parents came her way.
“Is that all you have for me?” she asked sarcastically
“Because I’m beginning to feel like this is the Spanish Inquisition”
If all else failed she would certainly use sarcasm as a defence mechanism.
“How about we make a deal” he said
“I have to visit you everyday and complete a report on you at the end of each visit, I’ll write that you’re doing fine and cooperating so you’ll get more privileges but you in return have to promise me that you’ll answer three questions every single day.”
“Okay deal” she said
“But you also have to add to the deal that you’ll keep what I say to you in here between us, and that you’ll tell Mitch seeing as how I’ll be talking about my ‘feelings’ with you I won’t have to see that creep Dr Marsden ever again”
“Deal” he said stretching out his hand to her.
It was only then that Florence properly looked at him.
She knew he was her age, they’d been in the same year at school, a kind of humour radiated from him, but there was something... more. In his eyes. They were startling: dark blue and intense, with a depth she didn’t usually see.
Eyes that could easily see through someone.
Chase stared right back at her, his hand hanging between them in mid-air.
Florence quickly grabbed it and shook it, a random and comical movement like they were securing a business deal and she wasn’t currently locked in her room every night other than being allowed to go to the bathroom where she was accompanied to.
She didn’t want him seeing the chubbiness of her face up close, the sagging flesh between her neck and chin.
“So are you going to leave now or?” she asked when the silence became too much.
“Nope, you still owe me one question”
She couldn’t help the tiny curve of a smile appearing on her face, she didn’t smile anymore, not genuinely it was always a guarded smile, it felt strange to properly stretch her lips into a smile.
“My last question is can I bring you a mirror tomorrow?” he finally said.
No, he couldn’t.
She didn’t look in mirrors anymore, not since that first day with the mirror where she’d seen something she never wanted to see ever again, the very thought of looking into the smooth reflective surface made her want to wretch.
But for some reason, she didn’t want Chase to know just how broken she was, that she hadn’t properly studied her face in months because her face didn’t matter because of the body it was connected to.
“Sure Chase, you can bring me a mirror tomorrow”