Chapter 29: Him
He hit her. Oh my gosh, he hit her. Eliza falls sideways to the floor, hitting her head on the table on the way down. Before I can remember where I am or what I’m doing, my fist is to his face and he’s halfway across the floor. Caroline gasps and gets out of the way. I always knew Thomas had anger management issues, but that was not okay. I step forward to pummel him into the ground, but Timothy grabs my shoulder and holds me back.
“Don’t.” He says. Marcus comes running out.
“What are you all fighting for in here?!” Marcus looks around at the situation and looks at Eliza on the floor, Thomas on the floor and me with bruised knuckles.
“The man on the floor hit Miss Rein.” Timothy covers for me. “Jack was just defending her.”
“Right. A bruised jaw won’t kill you. OUT!” Marcus picks up Thomas by his collar and belt and throws him outside before going to my side. I lean over Eliza. She’s bleeding. She hit her head hard. Oh no.
“Eliza! Eliza!” I call her name over and over, but she doesn’t respond to me. “Eliza!”
Marcus calls an ambulance and they arrive too slowly for my liking. Everything happened so fast. Cops came and interrogated me, asking what had happened. I ratted Thomas out in a heartbeat and just asked if I could go see Eliza. I wanted to know that she was going to be okay. He should not have hit her. He’s made me angry. If she dies or goes into a coma, he’s dead. I’ll put him into a coma.
Needless to say, I didn’t go to work today. Spent the morning with the cops, spent the afternoon in the hospital looking for Eliza. They didn’t want to tell me since I’m not a family relation, so I just sat around, waiting.
“There you are!” Who should grace my view but Cassandra, trotting over in her slick business suit and looking very upset. “I have been calling you. Why haven’t you answered?”
“You called me?” I look at my phone. 27 new messages. Oops. “Sorry. I didn’t hear it.”
“Probably the shock. It’s alright. I’m here to get you up to see Eliza. She said you’d be worried. Come on.” Cassandra leads me through the maze of hallways and elevators to Eliza’s room. She’s awake under a lot of blankets and her head is all bandaged.
“Jack! You’re okay.” She smiles at me as soon as I walk in.
“Of course I’m okay! Are you okay? How’s your head?” I rush to her side, relieved that she’s not in a coma.
“My head is fine. Mild concussion and a very bloody scratch. But that’s not the best part.” Her eyes are all shiny.
“That’s not the best part?” I ask. Concussion and blood don’t sound very good to me.
“She’s on a lot of medications. I’m not really sure what’s going on in her head right now.” Cassandra shakes her head.
“I’m fine, Cassandra, thank you. But thanks to Mr. Angry, I have a cancer diagnosis!” Eliza exclaims, appearing very happy about it.
“Cancer?” I scratch my head. “How is that the best part?”
“It’s a brain tumor, the doc said. If I hadn’t had hit my head on the table just right to get a concussion, I wouldn’t have been bleeding, I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital because I really very much dislike doctors, and I wouldn’t have the diagnosis! I’d have gone months and weeks and years and stuff before ever going to the doctor and by then, it would be really, really hard for them to treat it. The doctor says I only need maybe three or four treatments and the tumor will be gone. I think I can get it all done in one.” Eliza smiles wide at me.
“Oh really?” I look at her in shock. She’s amazing. Truly amazing. Just got punched by a guy twice her size, hit her head on a table and she’s grateful for a cancer diagnosis. What is this girl made of that she is so pessimistic and yet so happy?
“Yes really. See, Mom tells me that cancer cells grow on the stuff in meat, so if I stick to the evilest of vegetables and ignore all my beloved steaks, bacon, etc. I’ll probably be just fine in no time.” Eliza frowns. “I will miss my meat though. I do love bacon.”
I laugh and just laugh for a good 10 minutes. Cassandra sits down in a chair and pulls out a magazine while she waits for my giggle fit to be over. Eliza smiles at me the entire time. Even though she’s all bandaged up and hopped up on who knows what, she’s still beautiful. She smiles at me, just waiting politely. She doesn’t know how funny she is.
“Oh Eliza. Eliza Rein. You’re a wonder. A true wonder of the world. You get a cancer diagnosis and don’t bat an eye, but remove the bacon…” I double over in laughter.
“What? I like bacon.” She smiles gently at me. Woah. She’s so pretty. “And it’s all thanks to your wicked friend who decided to hit me while I was trying to talk!”
“Yeah. Yeah. Oh my goodness. You’re astounding. I’d kiss you if you didn’t have a concussion.” I smile, calmed down.
“Well, thank you, but I’d rather not. I wish my first kiss to be at the altar.” She says quietly and shyly.
She’s never been kissed? Ever? Oh man. Oh my gosh. I probably offended her big time. Oh no. No-no-no. It’s much better than that. She just told me that. She trusted me with that information. She… Wow. Okay, now I feel like I’m on drugs. She likes me! She likes me and she trusts me and she’s never been kissed in her whole life. Holy cow! I’m so lucky! She comes with no baggage… she’s totally sane.
“We need more like you in the world.” I say without thinking.
“I think that would be boring.” She replies coolly. “I’m special because there’s no one like me in the whole world. Even with all my snark and my problems, I am the only one like me. Although, I agree that a lot of people give in too soon and crazy sickos just hurt kids. I’m glad I’m not one of them.”
“Me too. I’m honored. Truly. I’m sorry to say I haven’t lived up to those expectations. I’ve been kissed and have kissed before, but nothing beyond, I swear.” Totally true. I’ve had other girlfriends and destructive relationships, but I’ve only ever kissed. Nothing more.
“Okay. I trust you. I’d like to meet your family sometime. Cassandra, do me a favor and give him my dad’s number, would you? I am tired. I know these crazy doctor people will wake me up at an ungodly hour of the morning and I’d like an 8-hour nap between now and then. It was good seeing you, Jack.”
“It was wonderful seeing you, Eliza. I’m glad you’re alright.”
“Yeah, me too.” She smiles and starts falling asleep right there.
Cassandra gets me her father’s phone number and I go home for the evening. That was not at all how I planned for today to go, but it was really, truly, wonderful in its own weird way. Her joy is incredible, her happiness is so relative and nothing seems to dull that tongue of hers. Maybe I’ll dull her tongue one day. It sure hasn’t gotten sharp from kissing. I can’t believe it. She likes me. It’s like she’s a brand new person. It might just be the drugs, but she seemed so happy and calm. Maybe she’s not a pyramid. Maybe she’s a cube. Or one of those weird octagon dice. So many sides to her. I like the cute and shy side. It’s beautiful. Sure, watching her debate and reading her blog is great, but nothing like her just smiling at me like I’m a human being. She’s amazing. Really, very much amazing. I adore her. I love her so much. And not so much like a stalker anymore. I love that she’s a person, with her own thoughts and feelings and dreams and things that she is and that she wants. I’d love to see her smile more often. It’s a beautiful smile. She’s everything I’ve dreamed of and more. Oh, but I have to ask her dad if I can date her. Better not screw that up.
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