Stuck With You

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Chapter 21

Everything was still fresh in my memory and I was buried with guilt each time I thought about his condition. I lost count of the I shouldn’ts. The only thing that relieved me was that the surgery was successful and he is expected to make a full recovery.

I swear the first time he opened his eyes I felt the pain that I couldn't describe as his eyes wore heavy. I was aware that I wasn't the one that pulled the trigger but I sure as hell felt like it. Something I could never forgive myself for.

“ How bad is the pain?” I had managed to ask once we were alone. I had seen the nurse give him some painkillers earlier and his food remained almost untouched. It was his third day here and I noticed he slept most of the day.

“Bearable, it didn't hit any organs,” He said as he tried to sit a bit more comfortably on the bed. I stood up to help him, I grabbed the pillow and placed it behind his back in a way that supported his back. As I did I was close enough to touch the tight bandage on his shoulder. His body tensed as my fingers brushed past his bandage. He hissed and I retreated my hand.

“ You will need to eat to recover well” I said as I gave him an apologetic look. His eyes were on me as I went to the table to bring his bowl of soup. The bowl's warmth spread to my hands as I placed it beside his night table.

“ Let me help you,” I said once I was seated on my chair, I began carefully scooping up some vegetable soup on the spoon and bringing it to his mouth. To my surprise, he didn't argue with me, so I continued

“ Rachel, don't blame yourself for this. I was the target” I escaped his eyes and stared at the window instead.

“ But I-” My sentence was cut short when a cold hand reached for my chin, then turned to face him. His fingers kept in place as his eyes traveled across my face.

“ Even if we hadn’t gone out that night, which I insisted on, they would still find a way” He continued as we brushed some hair away from my face, gently placing it behind my ear.

I might have cried if it weren't the nurse that interrupted us. Hours later I was back at the hotel after another sleepless night. I flipped the card between my fingers, who leaves a single card as a message.

What did it mean?

A challenge perhaps? But how many cards can this person afford to show me? Why show your opponent what lies in your hands. Somehow I could see the answer.

Which card will I put down, that's the real question.

I stared at the front side of the card, a hand-drawn ticking bomb. I found it in my bag as I had searched for my vitamins earlier.

The bomb was drawn specifically on the queen's face. Should I feel flattered that I was depicted as the queen rather than just a number? Plain and normal.

‘Nothing normal about this’ I thought to myself as I put the card back into the drawer on my nightstand. The night lamp was on as I walked towards the balcony of the apartment. The air felt dry and hard to inhale, I opened the balcony door. The cold air embraced and I inhaled deeply.

Her brown eyes scanned the room as the boy brought his game set. The frightened girl was lost for words when his parents advised them to play.

“ You two wait here, I will call your parents and grab some snacks to munch on” The mother had said before she left the room. That would have calmed the girl if it weren't for the fact that the lady hadn’t asked for her parent's number.

The boy offered her one of his consoles to play. But she only stared at his hand.

“ Don’t worry, I can show you how to play this game” The boy tried to comfort her but she had other plans.

“ Aj, I don’t want to play that, let's play hide and seek” She said as she tried to sound excited. The boy looked hesitant.

“ Only one time, I hide and you seek,” He said as he placed the game set on the board.

“ 1,2,3” The girl began counting as the boy ran out of the room, leaving the door slightly open.

“ Here I come,” She said as she began leaving the room and walking around the house, trying to be as quiet as she could.

As she walks down the empty hall she sees the front door, her breath gets stuck and her heart beats loudly. She couldn't miss her chance; her instinct was telling her to run.

And she did. She swung the door open and ran into the rain.

I watched as the rain fell on the city as I recalled my dream two hours ago. I couldn't go back to sleep, how could I when the loop of nightmares suddenly played a new part. I drank out of the water bottle taking small sips while I drowned in my thoughts.

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