Chapter 3: Chasing After You
I opened my chestnut eyes to a blank ceiling, and the feeling of a thousand weights on my chest. Coughing, I rolled over to the side. I was confused on where I was, but once I saw the weird equipment, IV fluids, terrible clothing, and the tiny TV packed in the corner, my last memories came rushing back to me. Sadness overwhelmed me, and all I wanted to do was cry. Dry sobs heaved from my chest, hurting me worse than before.
I didn't realize until then, that my hospital room wasn't vacant. Rather, my visitor was a little too close for comfort, lying right beside me in my hospital bed, sleeping. A boy, in his teens, with jet black hair running down his back, sprawled on the sheets at the moment. I noticed a singular hot pink streak flowed through his bangs. Despite his abnormally long hair, the Caucasian boy looked completely at peace. The only problem was, I was not at peace. In the slightest. In fact as soon as I laid eyes on the boy I let out a high pitched shriek. This jolted the guy out of any sort of sleep, as I turned to start hitting him as well with my pillow.
"Get! Out!" I squealed.
"Ack! Hey- cut it out, girlie!" He protested. "Do you have any idea who I-" The rest of his sentence got cut off by a pillow being jammed into his mouth, so, I didn't really care who he was in the first place. There was some shuffling it side of my room, and a couple of nurses burst into the room, trying to calm me down.
"Miss, it's all right! Calm down, you're safe." They paid no attention to the scowling boy hiding himself in my bed sheets.
"D-don't you see-" I started, but cut myself off.
"See what?" A curvy nurse asked me.
"N-nothing. Must have been my imagination, sorry." I rubbed my temples. The nurse nodded understandingly.
"It's quite all right, we've had worse before." With a quick smile she swiftly turned out the door.
"Hey, wait!" I called, and she popped her head in the doorway again.
"I- I was just wondering if you knew where my mother was, she was in the crash with me." From what little I could remember, I knew it had been a car crash at the least, and Mom had to be somewhere in this hospital. The nurse shook her head sadly.
"I'm sorry Miss, I don't know. We'll sen the doctor along now that you're awake, he should be able to answer your questions." She told me reassuringly, and glided away once more. I slumped back in my seat with a heavy sigh.
"So, are you a mommy's girl or something?" The boy peeled from the thin sheets covering all but his eyes, which were a dazzling icy blue.
"Shut up, and just who do you think you are, anyway? Sleeping with me in a HOSPITAL?!"
He looked taken aback at my words.
"Hospital, huh?" He looked around as if he only realized this was a hospital now instead of, oh I don't know, a cyborg theme park. "That's a first."
"You never answered my question, who are you!" It was more of a demand than a question, and the boy took it as that.
"Cool your jets, sweet cheeks." He sat up and looked at me face to face now. Though it was difficult to keep my eyes on his face when he was shirtless. His pale skin glowed in the bright lighting, almost blinding me.
"Gah!" I covered my eyes with my hands. "Put some clothes on, you stripper!" I got a smirk from that, as he just stuck his tongue out.
"I can wear what I feel like. It's a free country."
"How did you end up here?" I changed the subject abruptly. The smirk turned to a scowl, and the boy flicked his hair so that it covered half of his face.
"Don't know, don't care. All I remember is looking for a host, and bam- pillow to the face. Not the best wake up call."
"Well, sorry for flipping out when you could have been a potential murderer or something. You're not, are you?" I asked, just in case.
"Yes and no." He leaned onto the bed frame, making himself comfortable.
"What does that mea-" I stopped myself when I heard the doorknob turn.
A tall man, dressed in a doctors coat and seeming weary walked in the room. He rubbed the stubble goatee on his chin and made eye contact with me before sitting down.
"You must be Miss April Viali." A snicker from the boy at the mention of my name.
"I am Doctor Rarnes," he continued, and offered to shake hands. I took his sturdy hand with my slightly wobbly one. He nodded. "Good. I'm just going to check for any more damage, okay?" Doctor Rarnes held up a small flashlight, and shined it in my left eye upon a nod from me, then my right. Once he had studied them each for a couple seconds, he made a mark on a clipboard.
"All right. Now can you tell me what you last remember from the crash?"
I shifted in my seat to face him more.
"Mom offered to give me a ride home from my band initiation, and when she turned the corner, I saw a car come towards us going way too fast, and then it went black." I explained. "I think I got in the band." I added, half smiling. Doctor Rarnes smiled, and nodded.
"The car that hit you and your mother was being driven by a drunk driver. He was going 60 km over the speed limit, and had no way of stopping before he hit the drivers side of your mothers car. The man who did this survived with scratches and bruises, but he will be facing trial soon to pay for what he has done. I thought you should know that." I lowered my head in acknowledgement, ignoring the rage that lied in the pit of my stomach.
"What about my Mom?" I inquired. "Where is she? Is she okay?" The Doctors face went dark and gloomy. He gazed at me with a pained expression.
"I'm sorry April. Your mother is dead."
The words seeped through me like a spear through my chest. Bleeding, thick, hot blood pouring across my chest. Immobilizing me. I didn't know what to say, or what to do. My mother, my giver of life, the one who always brought light into my world. I saw a memory of me, no more than five years old, scraping my knee and crying to her. She would scoop me gingerly in her arms, and tell me that she had a magic power to make the hurt go away. Then Mom would blow a raspberry on my belly, causing little me to shriek in a series if giggles. Once she tickled and laughed with me, Mom would always tell me something.
"See! Laughter is the best medicine for my sunny little April! Never forget to laugh, and when you laugh the pain goes away!" I had long forgotten the pain of my knee once her face, so full of life, had held mine in its gaze. But now she was gone. No light at the end of the tunnel. I couldn't help it, or stop it from coming. I cried. Loud sobbing, obnoxious bawling, you name it. The tears fell from my cheeks to the snowy sheets, dampening them. Doctor Rarnes laid a comforting hand on my shoulder, but I continued to cry. When I would be able to stop, I didn't know. I could see the boy looking at me with an indescribable look, perhaps pity, but it was hard to tell through my moist eyes. I tried to calm myself down enough to tell the Doctor I would be all right, and should have a moment alone, but it came through muffled sobs.
"It's okay if -sniff- you go, I-I'll be okay. I just need a -sniff- moment to -gulp- recover." I felt like such a weakling, but the Doctor nodded.
"I can bring a counselor here to help, and you do have a few visitors whom I think would gladly help." When I gave him a confused look, Doctor Rarnes rubbed my back and said "Be back in a minute." He half jogged out the room, and I used the opportunity to wipe my eyes and blow my nose. Thank god there was a Kleenex box nearby. I could feel my eyes stinging red, but held back any more tears that were to come. The boy swore under his breath, still staring directly at me.
Soon came a knock by the door. Doctor Rarnes entered again, but was accompanied by three people behind him. Aiden, I expected. But the worrisome face of Barry and stone like features of Dustin I did not. Barry took one look at the bandages on my head and body and looked like he was about to burst into tears. Dustin's eyes widened, and he gave a curt nod. I almost saw his eyes water, but it must have been my imagination. One look from Aiden, and he knew everything. He looked pained himself, and I almost wondered why, but he knew my mom just as well as I did. Without question, Aiden pulled me into a light hug, in which made my eyes stream all over again. I wrapped my arms around him, muffling my screams into his shoulder.
Shaking, I felt his grip tighten on me, and moisture on my shirt. We cried together, much to the confused looks of Barry and Dustin, who were told the news then by Doctor Rarnes. I closed my eyes and wanted it to end. The hollow pain in my chest filled my entire body like a black hole, sucking out any remaining happiness. I couldn't help thinking if all the time my mother and I spent together. Every day of my life that I had with her I now cherished, a day earlier I may have taken it for granted. I opened my eyes again, and saw Barry, who was crying on Dustin's shoulder, who didn't seem to mind.
Almost unnoticeable in the doorway, Cassidy gazed at me, emotionless. She didn't seem saddened, or anything of the sort. She just stood there. Not that I had the strength in me to ask why, or the willpower.
Once I had calmed down a bit, Doctor Rarnes blew his nose and directed the conversation to where I would stay for the time being. Aiden stood up at once.
"I'll take her. She's been my friend since we were babies, my parents know her well."
"What about your four other siblings? I would just make it too crowded, Aiden." I pointed out glumly. Aiden gritted his teeth.
"I don't care."
"We c-could have April." Barry stuttered through a sniff.
"I'm not sure about that, you only just met Miss Viali just once a week ago." Doctor Raynes said uncertainly. "Not that I think any lower of you, I just don't think it be wise to do that."
"Then I have no where?" I felt scared, if I had no place to go would I be forced to live on the streets?
"Of course not! That will never happen, you have my word. " Doctor Raynes said with a fire in his eyes. "No child should be homeless. We will figure something out, I'll ask the officials about you residing at Mr...?" He paused.
"Wiles, Barry Wiles." Barry answered. The Doctor nodded.
"I'll get answers as soon as I can. For now, Miss April will spend the night here, we still need to make sure she will be all right physically." Everyone nodded in understanding.
One by one, it was time for them to leave. Cassidy vanished as easily as she had appeared, without a trace. Dustin and Barry left together, with Dustin muttering about how he would have to drive in horrible weather. It was pouring rain outside, ironically matching my mood. Aiden refused to leave my side, but his mother came to pick him up much later. When asked if she would have me at her house, she was almost as quick about it as Aiden.
"It's no matter how many children I have, April is always welcome." She said with her head held high. Aiden grasped my hand, and whispered goodbye before leaving. He looked back, and I waved to him half-heartily. Doctor Rarnes gave me a pill to help me sleep, and left as well. Then it was just me and mystery boy.
"He must really care about you. That friend of yours." He lied beside me, which I had objected against, but he refused to budge.
"I've known him forever." I replied,
"And I've known him for a couple hours of bawling. Close enough. Human nature is easy enough to detect once you have the eye for it." He scoffed. I turned to face him, our hair sprawled on the pillow.
"My names April. What's your name?"
"Yeesh, all you do is change the subject once I get a certain word in that you don't like."
There was a long pause, in which I used something that he'd taught me. I stared at him, long and hard.
"I'm Chase," He said. "Stop staring."
"I win." I turned to the other side of the bed, closing my exhausted eyes. Chase sighed from his side, but snuggled himself into a sleeping position as well.
It still seemed I was the only one who could see the guy, I made a mental note to ask him about that later. Sleep was hard to come by, but once it came it was blissful. I had a dreamless, peaceful sleep.