Chapter 5: Troubles
I sat upright in the creaky bed, chowing down on dinner. Even though the dinner was just some mushy peas, mashed potatoes, and what looked like a slightly overcooked pork, it was all right. The nurses here were really nice, and even gave me a side of gravy. A knock came from the door, and Dr. Rarnes stuck his head in the door frame.
"Can I come in?" He asked politely.
"Of course." I set down the platter of food on the mini table beside me, giving him my full attention. Dr. Rarnes carried with him a familiar looking case that seemed a bit... Dusty. That was something I wasn't used to seeing on it.
"Got you a little present." He couldn't stop smiling, and it made his eyes crinkle at the sides as if he was older. I almost sprung out of my seat, anxious like a toddler.
"No way." I breathed. Dr. Rarnes handed me the case, and I set to unzip it upon contact. My sleek and smooth guitar slid out of its case, looking slender than ever. I grazed my fingers across the neck, and felt a small warmth in my stomach. The familiarity felt almost sickening, but I still smiled. I strummed each of the strings, one by one. It was ridiculously out of tune. I set to tune it instantly, slightly forgetting Dr. Rarnes' presence.
"I'll leave you to it then. Oh, and we also found this in the wreckage." I looked up from my guitar, to see a cracked photograph.
It was my mother and I, just last year when we had the photo taken on her birthday. She was in the prettiest dress that could be found in her closet, the same dress that needed a wash because of all the dust it collected. It was just a simple yellow and orange plaid, and it complimented her quite nicely. Even I wore my navy blue dress (with sparkles) to make her feel not as awkward. I took the picture in my hands gingerly.
"You might need a new frame for it though."
"I'll get to that."
It went silent for a good, long, painful time.
"It hurts me to talk about this so early, but..." Dr. Rarnes gulped. "The bill for your treatment has to be paid off, but seeing as you have no parent or guardian right now... We found records of your father."
I felt myself go pale.
"No. There has to be someone- anyone else that I can live with!"
"I'm terribly sorry. I don't know what happened between you and him, but he's the only family that is able and willing to take you in." Dr. Rarnes looked almost as pale as I did, but had no idea what that man put me through.
"Would you like to talk about it?" Dr. Rarnes offered.
"No, not right now."
"Okay. Sorry to leave you on a sorrowing note, but I must attend to another patient."
I nodded, and he walked out the door. My mind went on a track of its own, playing the record in my head. The music showed my father and I, happy as could be, but then the music took a darker turn, and the image was smudged with an ink-like substance. I blinked. I shouldn't think of things like that now. After all, I had my guitar to keep me occupied.
At least, somewhat. After a while I got bored, and the constant stare of Chase was starting to bother me.
"Why do you keep looking at me?!" I finally snapped.
"Nothing else worth looking at." Ooh, nice comeback. I had to give him at least that. "But I've been meaning to ask you something." I set my guitar down gingerly.
"Can you explain what all happened before we got stuck together?" I wasn't sure if he was serious or not, the playful smirk never once left his face.
"Well, I tried out for a band, which Dustin and Barry are in, and I'm fairly sure I got in. After that my mom came to pick me up, we came to an intersection and-"
"Crash." Chase finished."So, what, you sing?" I snorted, the laughter hurt my stomach.
"If you wanted your ears to bleed. I play lead guitar. Do you sing? We need a singer."
"Eh, I do and don't. Depends if I want to. And no, I'm not joining your cumbersome group. You guys have enough trouble handling that emo dude."
"Dustin's not emo." I huffed, feeling heat bubble in my stomach.
"Really? He looks like the kind of guy who lies on the couch all day, not caring about anyone else, being all 'woe is me' or something."
"That doesn't mean-"
"Stop defending him, you hardly even know the guy. Unless maybe, you like him? Bad choices right there."
"Ah, denial, one of the many stages of love." Chase said sarcastically.
"If you would shut up for one second," I paused, Chase seeming almost tranquil. "Just because you hardly know a guy doesn't mean he has to be labeled, and the same goes for liking someone. You really know nothing about human nature." I shook my head, disappointed.
"Yeah, whatever. Point is, girlie, I will never join your band, got that?"
"Fine." It was a lost cause to begin with. We would find a singer eventually, I guess. I looked over at the picture of my mother and I that now rested on the nightstand. In an odd way, it made me smile. The memory of it was sweet like cotton candy. I strummed all of the strings one by one, playing around with it until I made my own soothing lullaby. I didn't know what I would do without music, it was one of the few things keeping me sane.
"April?" A voice came from the door several hours later.
"Come in." I said lazily. The door pushed open quietly and slowly, revealing none other than Cassidy, who wore a peculiar grin.
"I heard you got in the band."
"I might've." I said slowly, watching her breeze over to my bed and sit on the edge. "It's something that's more in the air at the moment. I have more... pressing matters to deal with." My gaze fell.
"And so you do, my dear. What that man did to you has no excuse, and you would do well to, ah, diminish the burning fire, if you would. It will only tear at you more the longer you leave it be." Her smile hadn't once changed the entire time and it was starting to freak me out.
"Why are you even here?" I switched the subject.
"Suspense. Or perhaps just a filler, I'd think. By the way, you should come back to school, everyone's fretting over whether you're dead or not. If you would do me the favour of putting those rumors to a rest I would be grateful. Perhaps I should go, my company isn't taken lightly. So long, April."
"Uh, bye." I watched her walk towards the doorway with a circumspect look.
"Say hello to your friend for me." She disappeared into the bustling corridor, out of sight. What a weird girl, I thought. She really needs to speak more, how you say, commonly. Chase guffawed to himself, shaking his head.
"Guess you're not the only person I can talk to, thank God."
"I dunno, that seems a little fishy to me."
"Fine," He rolled his eyes. "Just don't curl your whiskers at me when you figure out I'm right." I sighed, resting my head in my hand. What more could I do? School seemed like a foreign country now, mysterious and utterly offbeat. Understandably, I did miss my classes and other friends, but my life had just been pulled out by it's roots and planted upside down. I could always wait until things got more laid down and smoothed out before trying anything...
"You're not thinking of staying home the rest of your life, are you?" Chase interrupted my thoughts, observing me.
"Obviously not the rest of my life!" I blurted. "Only until things calm down." His brow furrowed and he opened his mouth several times as to say something, but thought better of it. He did spill the beans, so to say, after a moment.
"Go back," He said firmly. "Starting tomorrow, you need to go back to school." I motioned to my bandages.
"I'm kind of hospitalized at the moment, that might be a little hard. If you're desperate I could ask when I'll be released, but I doubt it. Besides, I can't even walk."
"Good enough for me." Chase said curtly, but leaned into more of a relaxed position. What was his deal? It's not like I could just quit school entirely, Mom would kill me from the realms of the Underworld if she knew. I smiled at the thought, but at the same time felt a twinge of sorrow. I didn't know what would become of me in the future, I figured all I could do was wait until I could move freely again. Ugh, patience really was a virtue. I gazed out of the window lazily, watching the trees sway in the breeze. Soon, I reminded myself, soon.