Seeing Shawn today threw me a little off balance. I was shocked when he stood up and asked, well demanded that Ryan get him more coffee. I sat there, just staring, unmoving. So much so that Ryan didn’t know whether to leave me or not; which is quite sweet of him really. This week I felt I had been getting somewhere with myself, with my mind; but talking with Shawn just put me ten places back.
I had often thought about him over the past few months. I had asked Alex if she knew where he was, but she didn’t. I’m not even sure Logan knew where he was. Chris had never mentioned seeing him either. He sends a message about once a month, basically just letting me know that he is still alive, I don’t fully agree with him, that leaving was the best option for him, but I understand why he did it.
Shawn was my saviour. My actual saviour. When Alex shouted at me to run, I wanted to do just that. However, I froze, and the more I sat there, the more I realised that my time to escape was running out. That was one of the lowest times of my life. I had managed to almost block it out, but those minutes I sat there with that piece of broken mirror in my hand; they had never left me.
Shawn came in, and I honestly thought that he would be the person to kill me.
He did the opposite; he saved me.
I always felt bad that I had never thanked him. When Vicky died, I felt guilty. I knew a little about mates and learnt more after we got out, and the more I learnt, the more guilt I felt. Shawn should have been by his mate’s side, instead he was by mine; and Vicky died.
It should have been me.
Mates apparently have such a unique bond, that sometimes it’s been known that when one of the pair dies, the other half dies shortly after, of a broken heart. But that doesn’t always happen; Shawn is still alive.
I’m still alive.
I look down at my arm and lift my sleeve. In the confines of my room is the only place I allow myself to look at my arm. CD… carved deep into my skin. Clayton Denver, he may be dead, but he is always with me. He got exactly what he wanted, while I got nothing but an ugly scar.
I spend the rest of the weekend tucked away in my house; some would call it hiding. I call it, getting a head start on my work. By the time Monday morning rolled around I needed out. I got myself up early to continue with my morning runs. I had spent the weekend mopping but now I needed to get back to where I was at the start of last week. I refused to head back down the rabbit hole.
I got to same point where I had on Saturday, crowded roads or the woods. Surprising myself I chose the woods. I would be careful to not go so far though today. Not paying attention to where I’m going my foot struck a large tree root, raising from the ground sending me flying towards the hard ground and landing with a thud.
“Great, Amber. Just what I need.” Talking to myself I attempt to pull myself to my feet, but a shooting pain goes through my ankle. I crawl over to the nearest tree to assess the damage. Not that I know what I’m doing of course. With my back against the large tree trunk I bring my damaged ankle closer and try to rotate it round. I can do it but not without wincing from the pain, I’m fairly certain that means it’s not broken. I close my eyes and lean my head back on the tree, still needing to calm my breathing from running.
Feeling of sense of someone watching me I open my eyes and look around, but not seeing anything I lean back on the tree again.
“You alright Amber?” a small squeak leaves me, and I jump causing me to bump my ankle.
“Ouch, yeah all good. What are you doing here Shawn?”
“Same as you, I think. Well, before you sat down. You hurt your ankle?” he crouches down in front of me and reaches out towards my foot, but I pull it back into myself.
“I was just going to check it out.” He reaches out again and gently stretches out my leg and moves my ankle back and forth. I try not to say it hurts even though it does, but my face must show.
“I don’t think its broke, but we should probably get doc to check it out.” He keeps looking at my foot, pressing and turning it.
“Oh… no… its fine. I was just going to rest it and then I’ll get going. I have school to get to today.”
“Okay that’s fine. We’ll head to see doc and I’ll drop you back at yours after. You’ll get to school on time, no worries.” He stands up and reaches out his hand again, I however just sit there and stare at it. He quirks his brow in question at me.
“It’s alright Shawn, I can manage on my own. I have my own doctor I can go see… if I need to. Which, after resting, I’m sure I won’t need to.” I don’t know why I’m being stubborn in accepting his help… actually that’s a lie. I do know why.
“Amber, your ankle is probably sprained just…”
“Shawn it’s fine. I don’t need you to save me.” I didn’t mean to snap at him the way I did. He backed away and held his hands up in surrender.
“Sorry. I’ll leave you to… bye Amber.” He turned around and continued to jog away. I pull myself together and eventually manage to stand up, balanced on one foot, the injured one off the ground. A small smile appears on my lips, at my momentary small win at being able to stand. I attempt to take a step, cautiously and lift my foot back from the floor, suspending it in the air just above the dirt.
“Damn it. Come on Amber, you can do this.” Talking to myself again I work up the courage to try to take another step and push the pain from my mind. Mind over matter; that’s all this is.
“Ow, ow, ow … Damn it.” Regretting shouting at Shawn, my only help, I slump back down the tree. Nothing else to do but wait for the pain to subside.
After a few minutes a set of feet walk into my sight line. My eyes work their way up the muscled body stood in front of me. A large, strong, tanned hand extends out to me and I take it.
“Thank you, Shawn.” His arm wraps around my waist supporting me and I place my arm around his shoulder and lean in, letting him guide me and take my weight.
“Well, I was going to make you sit there longer, see how long you would wait; but I was getting hungry. So…” he laughs, and I feel his chest rumble with it.
“I’m sorry I snapped. I guess I did need you to save me… again.” I feel his arm tighten ever so slightly.
“Amber, I’m just helping you out. You are making this much more than it is, you've hurt yourself, I was passing by.”
“I know, but still. Are you sure we need to go see doc? We are probably closer to my house from here.” He chuckles again.
“You really don’t want to go see the doc, do you? Is it her or the house? Logan said you hadn’t been there much.” He picks a route and I limp along with him, noticing we are heading back to town, back to my house. Relief fills me quickly.
“It’s not so much the house, but the… people who live there.”
“Huh, so people in general or a person in particular?” He asks gently, obviously aware that I do actually have issues with the house… or the people there. It takes me a while to answer, trying to find the right way to word what I want to say.
“The house itself is fine, but there’s so many… people there. I feel caged in there. Surrounded. Does that make sense? Ow…”
“Careful, yeah actually it does. This is going to take for ages to get to your house. I could just carry you?”
“What? No, I’m okay. I can go quicker.” I try to move faster, and a whimper slips out as I stumble a little.
“Amber this is ridiculous, it’s going to take forever at this speed and by the looks at the sky I think it may rain.” He stops walking and looks up at the dark clouds.
“I don’t need to be carried Shawn. I can take care of myself.” Getting annoyed that yet again someone thinks I can’t cope by myself. The fact that right now I can’t cope by myself, hasn’t slipped my mind.
“You’ll be late for school, let’s face it, you’ll miss the whole day if…” I unhook my arm from around him and stand by myself, balancing as well as I can on one foot.
“Fine, you can carry me.” He scoops me up and our faces come close together. He looks like he wants to say something but thinks better of it and walks towards my house. I feel awkward, not knowing where to look and the feeling seems to be mutual, so I make sure to keep my head down. We stay silent most of the way, Shawn asking questions about school, staying away from anything too personal.
We reach my house and he lowers me to the floor, just as I’m about to open the door it opens for me and my mom greets us.
“Hey sweetie, I was expecting you back earlier. Is everything alright? Good morning, I’m Amber's mom.” My mom reaches out her hand for Shawn to shake formally, while watching us confused
“Good morning, I was out running and found Amber, she had fallen over and hurt her ankle. It’s not broken but she just needed a helping hand to get home.” She pushes him out the way to get to me, fussing over my hair and guiding me to a kitchen chair.
“Mom, I’m okay, really. I just need to rest it.” I look around and notice the clock on the wall.
“Mom, you’re late for work, why did you not leave already?” I scold her, she hates to be late for anything, I have that trait from her.
“I wasn’t sure where you were. You were late and I tried calling but you didn’t take your phone.” She starts to tear up and turns away so I can’t see her cry but it’s too late, I’ve already seen.
“Mom, I’m sorry I scared you, but I was just out for a run. You didn’t need to worry…” I stand and start to walk towards her, forgetting about my ankle and start to fall but Shawn catches me, and my mom turns at my small whimper and engulfs me in a hug, her tears flowing more freely. She clings to me, as if when she lets go, I will disappear forever.