CHAPTER 16: Welcome back.
There was a distinct sound in the background, a whiff of chemicals in the air when I found myself stirring up from a deep slumber. It took me a difficult while to actually open my eyes and just to have them feel all prickly. A stinging sensation on my hand made me groan, and then came the overall realization that my body felt beaten. The surface beneath me was soft yet my back hurt for some reasons.
My eyes at first saw clear white, a blinding light that brought tears. Surprised by the white walls of the room, I whipped my head to the side and noticed an IV drip attached. When I groaned, my throat hurt as if I had swallowed a hand full of coarse sand.
“Oh god, Anna.” A sobbing female voice called out, and I thought I was dreaming as the face of Beth appeared in my vision. Her clothes were shabby, her hair was a mess as if she had gotten into a cat fight. Her eyes sparkled with tears, lips trembling as fat drops of tear fell from her eyes.
I felt dizzy as her features still seemed a foggy in my vision, making me believe that it was still a fragment of my dream.
“Did he kidnap you too?” I muttered, trying to keep my eyes open. That asshole. He kidnapped her too.
She was saying something that I completely missed because I tried to recall what actually happened.
Where the fuck am I right now?
My mind went blank for a moment, Beth’s voice in the background subduing as I zoned out in memories of the night.
We were in the car…he was driving…
And then what happened?
The answer was a buzzing pain in my head. Right then, I heard another voice, but it sounded distant. In my view, came a man in a white coat, glasses sitting on the high bridge of his nose.
“What?” I asked, not catching what he was saying. He offered me a smile before repeating what he had said early. His lips moved but I couldn’t focus on his words.
“How are you feeling right now?” I didn’t know if that was the question I wanted to hear, and my mood just soured at the smile on his face.
“Beaten up.” I said, eyes averting to see his ID card, just to see there was none.
“That’s expected as you have been in a car accident.” He actually laughed, making me sit upright.
I stared at him, not believing a single word he was saying.
“Do you recall something from that night?” He questioned, and I shook a head in disdain. Maybe my head was all over the place, but I felt as if a look of relief took over his features for a second.
“You are alright now. I would suggest you to stay a day or two for some more tests. Take rest for now.” It was overly weird how he was hurriedly concluding our conversation and with that, he left the room.
What the fuck just happened?
Just as he left, Beth entered. She seemed to be looking behind her back, before nervously making her way towards me.
“Hey.” I croaked out a smile as she pulled the metal stool and sat on it. Her tiny nose seemed red and puffy as she sniffled, her lips shaking to form a smile.
“How are you feeling?” She asked, tucking a strand of brown hair behind her ear.
“Horrible. But I feel better to see you.” I said, and her face morphed into a frown.
“I am sorry for this. How did he get you?” The moment I see that man, it’s over for him. I can’t believe he dragged Beth into this.
“He found my number on your phone, and called me yesterday morning.” She whispered, as if she was being burdened by something.
“What happened?” It was unusual of Beth to remain quite, especially for her to look down while talking to me.
“I am sorry.” A whimper came from her, and I managed to hold her arms as it seemed she was falling down. The movement made me wince internally, a jab of pain ricocheting on my back.
“I should have been here earlier…I am so sorry for being late.” She cried out as I held her, patting her trembling back.
“Shh. I just woke up, and there’s nothing that you could have done earlier.” I cooed to her, but that didn’t seem to calm her either.
After a while when she finally wiped her dripping nose and breathed out heavily, she gave me a smile.
“He didn’t act harshly with you, did he?” Suddenly remembering about Elijah, I queried her. Her brows shot up as she looked at me confusedly.
“What are you talking about?” She asked, now making me confused.
“Elijah, the man who brought you here.” I said, and she only eyed me.
“I don’t know Elijah…who are you talking about?” She said with a laugh and that just added more to my turbulence.
“Where are we right now?” I gulped after asking her, and she just looked at me as if I had grown two heads.
“Where do you think we are right now? Brooklyn, duh.” I gasped, comprehending her words.
Then what about him?
“Hey, are you okay? You don’t-”
“What about the man with me? Is he okay?” I asked her, and she nodded.
“Well, he will be paying a fine time at the police station for drunk driving.” I scrunched up my face, her words not making much sense to me.
“The uber driver was stoned and the cops arrested him after he was out of the hospital yesterday.” I had to raise up my hand to stop her, unable to recall any such thing happening.
“Uber driver? What are you talking about?’ She let out an exasperated sigh and reached out to grab my shoulders. She gently pushed me on the bed, pulling the thin blanket just midway over my body even before I could protest.
“You should stop thinking, and just relax now.” She kissed my forehead, shutting me up.
“But-’’ She shushed me, placing a finger on my lips.
“You need rest.” I would have further pushed her, tell her what exactly had happened if I completely recalled everything.
Things were going wrong ever since I had met him. With Beth keeping strict eye on me, I decided it would be best if I just relax now. Just for now, I will close my eyes and act like nothing happened.
That went on for two days, till I was discharged. A part of me had been anticipating Elijah to pop out of nowhere and make a hell out my life, but that never happened.
I remembered what had happened in the car, and it wasn’t surely me taking an uber and the driver crashing the car as he was intoxicated. I wasn’t sure how Beth would react to my side of what happened, especially after the police visited me to the hospital, giving me a run-down of what actually had happened.
There was definitely something that didn’t sit right with me, especially the hospital doctor and the police. Something in my gut told me that they were trying to make me believe that I was indeed in an accident because of a drunk driver.
There would be a million reasons to why they had a completely different story than mine, one of them being that I am actually crazy and Elijah is just someone I made up in my head. I obviously liked that idea of all the bullshit I went through the past couple of weeks was just in my head. None of it was actually real.
I sat on the car with Beth, who bothered herself to secure my seat belt. It was weird to be back in town, seeing lanes that paranoid me for months. It was stupid to think none of it was real because as much closer I got to my house, the more I reminisced those nights I walked on my toes knowing someone was following me.
Unconsciously, I grabbed Beth’s hand when we reached our home. A thought entered my head and I asked her the fearful question.
“Are you still staying with Matt?” She gave me sad smile, patting my hand.
“I guess he kind of ghosted me. I didn’t hear from him for weeks and then a few days ago the landlord of his place kicked me out.” She said with a hurt laugh, making me feel guilty for asking. I squeezed her hand in reassurance, thinking that it’s the best that he is out of her life.
I just hope he never returns.
With that bitter thought, I entered the house. At first, I was welcomed by the darkness but soon the cheers and laughter filled the place. Lights flickered on, confetti bursting in the air as my eyes landed on two familiar people.
Lily and Jake.
They both stood near the table with huge grins stretching on their faces. I felt myself growing happier each second when Lily engulfed me in a hug, squealing as she crushed me between her arms.
“Welcome back!” She screamed in my ears, making me laugh hysterically. My face stretched to a huge grin resembling everyone else’s present in the room when my eyes caught Jake’s.
“They both were worried heck for you.” Beth whispered to me with a smile when Lily finally let go. My heart felt warm as I looked at the table that was filled with all foods, a few present boxes.
Words would fail to describe I felt in the moment, but my tears justified my emotions. I soon found myself in a giant hug with the three of them, all saying comfort lines to me.
And I needed this most probably. Talking to them made me feel less burden, as if I had finally let go of something heavy off my shoulders. I cried, laughed, joked till my mouth muscles ached sore. None mentioned the accident nor my vacation, just how they missed having me around.
Time passed quickly with our chattering and eating, and when the clock hit 12, Lily and Jake got up to leave. I hugged them both the last time before bidding farewell to them.
“You enjoyed?” Beth asked from the kitchen. I heard the clattering of plates and wet to find her washing the dishes.
“Yes. A lot.” I beamed, joining her to clean the dishes. It was peaceful to be back in my regular routine, it was peaceful to be in the house.
“Jake is quite handsome. Is he single?” My brows raised her at her question, giving her sneaky smile.
“I don’t know that. Why don’t you ask him yourself?” I elbowed her a little, but she slapped my arm away.
“I am not asking for myself idiot.” She scoffed, before turning of the tap. She rested her hands on the counter, giving me a serious look.
“You both look good together.” I cringed at her words, shaking her head.
“Oh come on. He totally has the hots for you.” She groaned as I dried my hand on a towel.
“I don’t think so.” My mind wavered a bit to someone else but was disrupted by Beth’s rambling about how I should start dating and take a break from my single life. Even though that idea was tempting, I don’t think I am capable of handling a man right of the moment.
“Oh, by the way.” Beth called me as I was ready to departure to my room.
“A few days ago a man came by and dropped a box, saying it was something belonging to you.” She said it with a slight disturbed look, shrugging her shoulders.
“I didn’t check it though. I left it in your room.” She added, and I nodded. I tried to rummage through my memories, trying to remember if I had order something before I went on my vacation as I walked up to my room.
There was indeed a small box laying on my bed. It didn’t have any postcard or anything writing on it and was very light. I almost suspected that it was empty as I shook it.
I opened the small box, somehow managing to rip apart the cardboard box. A paper fell out of it, landing on my feet. When I picked it up, I had to scratch my neck in confusion as I started at a picture.
Why would anyone send me a picture?
My frown relaxed as I looked at the picture carefully. A red headed woman held an infant wrapped in blankets in her arms, the picture seemed to be taken right after giving birth most probably. The face of the woman wasn’t clear but there surely was a teary happy smile on her lips. Blithely, I turned around the picture, hoping to see some address or postcard info written on it but there was nothing written. Except for-
“Welcome back sweetie. From your father, Allen.”
Phewww…another heckish boring chap!! I want to thank you all as we have hit 51k reads on this story!!!!!!!!!!!! You guys are amazing!! Thanks to all who read, left comments and likes on my chapters. I really appreciate you all.
DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT, LIKE & SHARE!!! REVIEWS ARE ALWAYS APPRECIATED AND DON’T FEEL SHY TO FOLLOW ME ON INKITT