I slowly take my shoes off then walk over to the bed. Ivan shakes me awake a few hours later. “Hey, dinner is here.”
“I really am not hungry,” I say and pull the covers up higher.
He sighs, “You need to eat, Bella, come on lazy bum.” He then pulls the blankets off me. I sigh and get up we make our way to the sitting area. He puts a plate of pasta in my hands and then a glass of water. He pours himself a glass of wine and sets it on the table. I put the glass down and stir the noodles around. “Eat.” He demands this time, tone completely changing to very serious. Shakily I bring the fork up to my mouth. My heart aces and my eyes sting from tears that want to escape. By the time half the plate is gone my stomach hurts and I feel like it might come back up. I set the plate down and try to get a sip of water. On my second sip, I realize the food isn’t going to stay down and run to the bathroom. I vomit everything back up, Ivan comes up behind me and pulls my hair away from my face. “You should have told me you weren’t feeling well,” he says while rubbing my back. “I will have a doctor here soon.” Ivan then grabs a hair tie and ties it into a pony. He leaves the bathroom after. A few more dry heaves rack through me.
A sob escapes after I am done and I no longer have the energy to even get up. Ivan comes back in and lifts me up, he puts me on the bathroom counter and then gives me some mouth wash. I quickly rinse my mouth and then try to stand but my legs give out. Ivan catches me and then puts one arm under my legs and another on my back. “Shh, the doctor will be here soon,” he says quietly as he carries me over to his bed. He puts me down on the right side of the bed and pulls the covers over me. He then runs a cold cloth over my face. Tears still escape however, I can’t seem to stop them.
A soft knock comes from the door then Emma comes in with an empty cart but a teacup on it. She picks up the teacup and sets it down on the nightstand. “Apollo will be up soon, Eva was caring for him,” she tells me then starts to clean up the dinner dishes. I pull up the blankets so my face is touching the soft material. Ivan sits next to me after Emma leaves and starts to read his book while petting my back. Soon I start to doze off but before I can another knock is heard.
Ivan gets up and opens it, “Doctor, thank you for coming so quickly. I just want to make sure she is fine.” Ivan sets Apollo down
“Of course I was already here for Sarah so it is no problem.” A man’s voice says, stepping into the room. “You said she took a three-hour nap and threw up correct?” Ivan agrees with him. How did he know when I fell asleep? The doctor comes around to where I lay and bends down to my eye level. His light blue eyes meet my green and he smiles kindly. Making his wrinkles appear more his hair is styled but gray and thinning out. He has a white lab coat on and a dark blue button-down. “Hi sweety, why don’t you sit up and we will check your vitals.” For some reason when he puts his hand on my back to help me sit up I flinch. Concern shines through his eyes. He sets down a medical bag and then pulls out a thermometer. He goes through checking my vitals and then stands up. He rubs his imaginary beard and then grabs his stethoscope. He then lifts up the back of my shirt and tells me to breathe in and out deeply.
When he is done he has me lay back down and gets a needle and tubs out. “Her vitals are a little low so I think she is a bit dehydrated I am going to run a test on her blood to make sure she is healthy besides that. With her not feeling well I will have to suggest you do not punish her right now. Also, remember to apply ointment after you do. Do you have any Ivan?” the doctor asks.
“I haven’t punished her… What are you talking about?” he asks him as the doctor puts a band around my arm. Punishing people is really that common here?
“The welt on her back, it looks very recent,” I watch as the needle slides into my arm with ease but don’t feel it at all, that’s nice. The blood slowly fills up one tube then the doctor replaces it with another.
“Doctor, is there any other welts? Besides her back?” Ivan asks him with anger lacing his voice. The doctor pulls the needle out and applies a piece of cotton while he reaches for a bandage.
“Sweety, is there anymore welts?” I shrug at the doctor’s question and look down, they both sigh. The doctor then bandages up my arm.
“They got from her parents that she sometimes goes quiet for weeks or months on end,” Ivan says as he runs a hand through his hair.
“I would suggest getting a therapist, nobody should go that long without speaking.” He says as he stands back up. “Would you like me to apply the ointment to her back?”
“No, that’s fine I have some and I’ll make sure she doesn’t have anymore.”
“Ok, right now just make sure she gets plenty of fluids and rest.” He tells Ivan as he packs away his bag and puts the blood samples in a plastic bag. I roll the other way and put my hand under the pillow as more tears escape. I don’t want to be here. I just want to feel Dad’s tight hugs and taste Mom’s vegetable soup. Mom at least never hit me that hard. The door clicks shut after they exchange a few more words.
I can feel someone walk around the bed, it must be Ivan. He pets my hair back and sighs. I don’t open my eyes. Eventually, he stands and walks away. I use the other hand that my arm isn’t resting on and wipe away the spilling tears. I thought Ivan was going to leave but no, he comes back and sets something at the end of the bed.
“Let’s get you changed into some pajamas, ok?” Ivan says in a gentle voice as he pulls the blankets away from me. When his hands move under my skirt to grab the tights I quickly move away and wind up rolling off the bed. I again don’t feel anything but my breath picks up and quickly then roll to under the bed. I curl into a ball and my body beings to tremble. Everything Dad taught me about fighting and defending myself long gone as fear takes over. “Hey, I only am trying to get you in more comfortable clothes…” Ivan sighs as he bends over and tries to reach for me. “You’ve got to come out Arabella, all that dust isn’t good for you. You already don’t feel good.” I still don’t move, at least my body has stopped trembling. “Fine,” Ivan says sounding angry again, and leaves the room slamming the door behind him.
My eyes start to droop again as exhaustion comes back. I’m startled awake as I feel a hand wrap around my ankle causing me to cry out from surprise and fear. I reach for anything but the flooring is smooth and my nails just scrap against the hard floor. One nail catches and breaks causing the finger the bleed. Another hand wraps around my ankle and I am out from under the bed in seconds. “Thank you, Crow,” I van says as he pulls me into his lap and wraps his arms around my arms so I can’t get free.
“Do you need any more help, sir?” Crow asks sounding even more detached than before.
“Stay outside the door just in case. If she doesn’t start listening I think I will need your help.” He mutters as I continue to wiggle to get free. When the door closes Ivan’s hand immediately meets the inside of my thigh to slap it. Shocked I freeze up for a second. Why am I not feeling pain? Ivan uses this shock and lifts me back onto the bed and makes quick work of removing my clothes. He leaves my bra and panties on at least… He grabs a bottle from the nightstand and starts to rub it on my abdomen then rolls me over and adds it to my back. “Aldrich will be dealt with. He has already been arrested and other students he tutored are being reached out to see if he has done this before.” He then unclips my bra and slides a silky shirt over my head. I look down at it and rub the smooth texture between my fingers. It’s nice. He then slips matching pajama pants over my hips. He leaves me be after that and goes to work at his desk.
A dog, that looks like an older Apollo, barks as he runs after a flock of birds in a beautiful garden. The wind slowly blows making the pollen stir and causing me to sneeze. When I pull my arm up to cover my mouth I notice I am in a flowy knee-high sundress. Suddenly hands are on my sides tickling me, laughter escapes from my lips as well as a deep laugh from behind me. When the man stops he hugs me from behind and I rest my head on his chest and close my eyes to feel the summer sun on my skin and the cool breeze move the soft dress against my skin.