A World Without Words

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Chapter 4

Chloe and Ethan both started to walk toward the front door. Ethan didn’t say anything after announcing that he would ignore her in the grocery store. That wasn’t really nice of him, not nice at all actually. But Chloe couldn’t help but smile when he had said it, for some unknown reason she found it amusing. She really appreciated his presence, he was a breath of fresh air. She also cherished the fact that he didn’t treat her any differently, even though he thought she was mute.

“Wait!” They both heard Emma yell from the other end of the hall. Ethan already had his hand on the handle of the door.

“What now, Emma?” Ethan sighed annoyed.

“First of all, good morning, and if you are wondering, yes I’m fine thank you,” Emma exclaimed before turning toward Chloe and hugging her, leaving a small peck on her cheek and then letting go of her to turn back toward Ethan. Ethan smirked when he saw Chloe rolling her eyes at Emma’s behavior but he didn’t say anything about it.

“Did Chloe give you her medication?” Emma asked Ethan knowing Chloe hadn’t since she had them in her hands right now.

“No, what medication?” Ethan frowned not knowing what Emma was talking about at all. He looked at Chloe, who had an emotionless expression plastered on her face once more.

“Here, these are Chloe’s pills.” Emma handed them to Ethan who took them from her hands and put them in the back pocket of his denim jeans. He was still as confused as ever though. “She can’t go anywhere without her pills. It’s just a precaution though. Just in case,” Emma continued and Chloe felt her anger rise. She knew that Emma was doing this for her but she didn’t want Ethan to treat her like a baby. She didn’t need it.

“And what do I do with it exactly?” Ethan wondered.

“If she has a panic attack you have to give them to her to calm her down-” Emma started but Ethan cut her off.

“She can take them on her own, Emma. She had a panic attack the first time I saw her and she went to her room and took them on her own. She is old enough to take care of herself,” Ethan pointed out which tamed Chloe’s anger to know that he thought the same way she did.

“What? I wasn’t aware of that? Chloe?” Emma exclaimed turning toward Chloe. “We’ll have to mention it to the doctor.” Chloe shook her head silently begging Emma but she wouldn’t hear it. “Your mother trusts me and the doctor said that if you had panic attacks we had to warn him.” Chloe looked at Ethan angrily, she didn’t want to tell the doctor. He would just give her more drugs that she didn’t need and didn’t want, and he would want to see her more often.

Emma turned back toward Ethan. “Next time she has a panic attack you have to tell me. And you were lucky that she was able to handle it on her own yesterday, Ethan. This is a serious matter, so now you listen to me,” Emma continued a little angry that he didn’t think it was something serious. “Her panic attacks can be more intense or less intense, it depends. But if she has a panic attack you give her the pills and if she doesn’t calm down even with the pills then you have to call an ambulance and explain that she is having a severe crisis and that her drugs are not working.” Chloe, not wanting Emma to say anything more about her case to Ethan, grabbed his arm and started to drag him out of the house which angered Emma to say the least. She was just worried about Chloe, nothing more, nothing less.

“Chloe!” Emma exclaimed angrily. “You know these are serious matters stop acting like a child.”

Then stop treating me like a child, Chloe wanted to yell but nothing left her mouth and she stopped on her track knowing that Emma was right and that it was important. She just didn’t want all of this anymore, she couldn’t take all of this anymore, she had enough being treated like a child, it was just too much, it was too much to hold all her emotions inside. And for a split second Emma could have sworn that she saw Chloe’s eyes filling with tears for the first time since the incident. But Chloe quickly swallowed them and her face turned back to her usual emotionless expression.

It was just all starting to be overwhelming for Chloe. And she knew that if she let go it would be too much. It was Ethan, before he arrived in her life Chloe would never have reacted that way. She wasn’t saying that it was Ethan’s fault, far from it. It was just that Ethan had been the first to make her show her emotions since the first time she had laid eyes on. He had triggered something in her, he had made a small crack on the walls that were protecting her heart and now they weren’t as strong as they used to be. And the more she was around him, the more she felt like it was impossible to hold her walls in place, he just made her emotions resurface and she couldn’t do anything about it. She had met him the day before. How was it even possible for him to have such an effect on her after a day?

And now even with Emma it was starting to be difficult to keep it inside of her, and she wanted to keep it for herself. She needed to feel safe.

“Ethan, Chloe’s case is far more complicated than you think it is and I’ll have to explain it to you if you are living in the same house as her,” Emma stated and Chloe once more dragged Ethan away from her rather forcefully.

Ethan was just staring at Chloe intrigued by her behavior and by what Emma had said. He didn’t even understand why Chloe seemed that mad. He was confused as to why Chloe was having panic attacks too. He had a lot of questions without answers but he didn’t say anything seeing that the situation didn’t seem good. He opened the door on the driver’s side and entered the car as Chloe did the same on the passenger side.

Once in the car he turned on the engine and drove away from the house. Chloe put some music on and looked outside the window on her side not saying a word, well, obviously. Ethan kept looking at her every now and then trying to figure out the mystery that she was.

“You know, Emma is just looking out for you.” Ethan spoke after a few minutes of silence. Chloe turned toward him and looked at him with a hard look. “But I get it, you are tired of being treated like a child.”

Chloe’s gaze softened realizing that he understood her and she simply nodded before once more looking out the window. The rest of the ride was quiet and Chloe enjoyed it, she reached the same conclusion she had come to already, she felt comfortable around him because he seemed to feel comfortable around her.

Once they arrived Ethan quickly parked his car in the parking lot, before turning off the engine and climbing out of the car. Chloe climbed out of the car as well and started to follow after Ethan. They both entered the grocery shop side by side but as soon as they were inside Ethan turned toward her and looked her up and down before stopping at her face looking at her in the eyes, God she had stunning eyes, so deep and full of emotions. She had no idea how beautiful she was.

“I don’t know you, remember?” He announced before turning away from her and starting to walk deeper in the grocery shop. Once he had his back turned on her Ethan let the smirk appear on his lips at her annoyed look.

Chloe mentally scoffed at his behavior. She thought he hadn’t been serious back home when he had said he would act as if he didn’t know her in the store but it seemed he was serious. He was acting like a child and it was annoying to say the least. She started to follow after him, she didn’t talk anyway so he wouldn’t have to talk to her either and people wouldn’t know they knew each other. After a few seconds, Ethan stopped walking and turned back toward her.

“Can you, please, stay at a few feet of distance from me,” he politely asked and the fact that he was polite enraged Chloe even more. God, if she was still talking she would gladly give him a piece of her mind. But of course she ignored his wish and continued to follow him staying close to him, she wasn’t some piece of shit and she wouldn’t let him treat her like one.

“Listen, Chloe. You are beautiful,” Ethan said and when he saw the blush reaching her cheeks he added. “Just not today.” And with that he started to walk once more his smirk still on his lips. To be honest, he didn’t care that he was seen in public with her even dressed like this because she truly was ravishing no matter what she put on her back. Let’s just say that he liked to annoy her a lot. The look on her face was priceless as she walked away from him and he could tell that she was a little hurt but well, she would get over it.

“Me saying that you’re beautiful is even more than a compliment, because I never say to a woman that she is beautiful unless she really is,” Ethan said almost yelling so Chloe could hear him. She didn’t turn around and just showed him her middle finger which brought a huge smile on Ethan’ lips. He turned back toward the task at hand as soon as she disappeared from his view. Only once she disappeared because, of course, he couldn’t stop himself from admiring the way her hips swayed as she walked away from him. She certainly had class walking away from him. Once she was gone he realized that he had his head tilted to the side and his mouth slightly open, he licked his lips before shaking his head and walking deeper in the shop.

Chloe walked aimlessly and upset through the alleys of the store. She stopped when she noticed Will’s favorite candies, she walked toward them and smiled when she remembered how he used to forbid her from eating any. She would always take some and eat them just to bother him. He would be upset and run to their mother. It was the beautiful years when they were still kids and everything was good. But her smile soon disappeared when she heard the perky and annoying voice she had always hated.

“Oh Gosh! Look who is here, it’s crazy pants,” a brown haired girl exclaimed with her mouth opened in false shock. And if Chloe might add, she had a really big mouth, she was sure she could fit her fist inside it without troubles.

“Oh yeah, what is creepy-Chloe doing here? I thought she didn’t go out of her room anymore,” a blonde one continued looking Chloe up and down. “Did you escape the asylum?” She asked looking back up at Chloe’s face.

Chloe had always, as far as she could remember, hated Alex and Cassie. They had always been jealous because she had been cheer captain, Miss of the town, and a lot of other things that they weren’t. She turned around to face them and Alex, the brown haired one, gasped.

“My, my, you look awful, Chloe. Not that you were pretty before but well...” Alex trailed off with a bitchy smile on her lips, big smile since her mouth was so huge.

“Alex, how was your date with Steven two days ago?” Cassie asked keeping her eyes transfixed on Chloe. Chloe didn’t let any emotion show, she didn’t really care anyway, she was upset that Cassie was trying to make her jealous but she didn’t really care that Steven had been on a date with Alex.

“Oh, yeah. My date with Steven. It was awesome. Everything went well, he even brought me home,” Alex said making sure Chloe heard the part about Steven driving her back home, as if she cared, Steven could shag whoever the hell he wanted.

“You don’t say? He brought you home,” Cassie repeated, were they really stupid or did they do it purposefully? “Creepy-Chloe, you seem jealous, it doesn’t look good on you,” she continued with an amused smile on her face. Oh, how much Chloe wanted to slap that face. They had left high school a few years ago and yet they acted like they still were in high school. Couldn’t they move on from the fact that Chloe had been popular back then and no them? Chloe wasn’t the same person anymore, being popular was the last thing she wanted now.

“I’d say she looks more angry than jealous.” Ethan’s voice interrupted them. Chloe noticed the way Cassie’s demeanor changed as soon as she turned toward Ethan and now she could feel the jealousy coursing through her veins. She had no reason to be jealous though, Ethan was nothing to her, but she couldn’t help it. Cassie straightened up, pushing her shoulders backward so her breasts came out. “And if you want my opinion, creepy-Chloe doesn’t suit her at all.”

“I told you crazy pants was better, Cassie,” Alex interfered looking at Cassie.

“Come on, Ethan,” Cassie started, and Chloe’s blood boiled when she realized that they knew each other. One more word leaving Cassie’s mouth and Chloe was done, she would jump on her. “You don’t want people to see you with her, especially dressed like this. Maybe we could have a drink-” And Chloe slapped her. She didn’t slap her because of Ethan but because she was done hearing them criticize her. And to be honest, she realized what she had done only once her hand dropped back at her side. She shouldn’t have let her anger take over herself like that. Cassie looked at Chloe in shock and Alex pushed Chloe’s shoulders forcefully. Chloe felt a sharp pain on the shoulder Ethan had bumped into last night.

Chloe took a step toward Alex with a furrowed brows but a strong arm enveloped her waist keeping her from getting any closer. She tried to fight Ethan’s hold on her but seeing that he was much stronger than her she gave up after a few seconds. Chloe was even more upset at the fact that Ethan didn’t let her get closer to Alex, was he protecting her or something?

“Well, I actually prefer to be in Chloe’s company rather than yours, Cassie. I thought you had understood a long time ago that I don’t like you and that for me you were just a shag, a one-time thing, not even that good anyway,” Ethan stated.

What? Ethan had slept with Cassie? Chloe couldn’t believe it, she just couldn’t. Ethan had slept with this bitch? Well, that was none of her business anyway, Chloe tried to convince herself that she wasn’t jealous at all, well, she wasn’t jealous of Cassie, because obviously Ethan had seen her and used her.

“Shut up!” Cassie yelled hurt by Ethan’s words but all Ethan did was smile as he kept an arm around Chloe’s waist.

Chloe on the other hand started to feel dizzy. Cassie’s words echoed in her head and she kept hearing them, shut up, shut up, shut up, until the voice changed and it became a manly voice saying those words, shut up, I said shut up, if you don’t shut up you’ll regret it. The voice was yelling it now and Chloe brought her hands to her head gripping her hair forcefully as the voice continued to ask her, to yell and order her to shut up. Chloe started to shake frantically, her breathing became heavy. Her legs gave out under her and she was ready to meet the floor forcefully but Ethan’s strong arm kept her up as small groans started to leave her mouth. She could hear Ethan talking to her but she couldn’t make out what he was saying. All she could hear was this horrible voice, the voice she didn’t want to remember, just telling her to shut up over and over again. She felt Ethan’s hand forcing her mouth open and putting her pills inside of it before tilting her head backward hoping she would swallow them.

Emma had been right, he didn’t know anything about Chloe’s situation and it clearly seemed worse than anything he had imagined. She was in his arms shaking, pulling at her hair, breathing heavily, groaning. Her eyes were tightly closed and Ethan didn’t know what to do now that he gave her her medication. So he just held her closer to him hoping she would calm down. He was holding all of her weight, if he let go she would fall to the floor.

“Ssh, it’s okay, Chloe, it’s me. You’re safe. Calm down. Please calm down I don’t want to call an ambulance,” Ethan whispered near her ear as she stopped groaning and he felt her hands grabbing his shirt.

She was trying to calm down. The voice started to fade and was replaced by Ethan’s soothing whispers.

“Chloe, sweetheart, open your eyes,” Ethan ordered as her breathing became normal again. She could stand by herself now and Ethan let go of her waist to cup her face between his hands, “Open your eyes, it’s okay.”

Chloe opened her eyes and Ethan was met by an ocean of emotions in her big brown orbs. He wanted to know everything about her. He wanted to know what was making her react that way, he needed to know everything about Chloe. She was beautiful and intriguing; she was fierce, but also weak, even though she was trying to hide it. The fact that she was holding it all in meant that she couldn’t handle it and she preferred to bury it as deep as she could. But Ethan wouldn’t let that happen, he had to find out what was the situation.

“Oh, I understand why you don’t like Cassie, you prefer the crazy, creepy kinda girl, well, you found the right person,” Alex snapped.

At Chloe’s biggest surprise Ethan placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, her skin was burning where his lips touched her, she wanted him to stay like this, and he stayed longer than he should have if he hoped that she would believe he didn’t want to stay like this too. But then he took a step back and turned toward Alex and Cassie.

“I don’t ever want to see you near Chloe again. I don’t ever want to hear you talking to her the way you did again. And now I want you to get out of my sight before I lose my temper and do something I’ll regret,” Ethan growled angrily and Chloe was taken aback by the anger she saw in him and heard in his voice. It was the first time she saw him that angry, oh no, there was last night, but even though he had seemed angry at her he still hadn’t talked to her that harshly.

After that, Cassie and Alex both left, Ethan went and finished his task, and then paid before going out of the grocery store, he looked toward Chloe, a smirk back on his lips.

“What are you waiting for? Maybe you want me to walk away so you can admire my royal ass, sweetheart,” Ethan provoked her and he smiled when he saw Chloe smile as well before following him and giving him a small tap on the arm when she walked past him.

She was glad that even after seeing her like this he still treated her like he had before. She had been scared about it, but now she was relieved. They walked toward the car and Chloe climbed into it on the passenger’s side. Ethan followed after her and climbed on the driver’s side before starting the engine and driving away from the grocery shop. The whole ride back home was silent. Once they arrived and Ethan turned the engine off he turned toward Chloe instead of climbing out of the car.

“You know that I’ll have to tell Emma about what happened in the grocery store,” Ethan said seriously. Chloe didn’t look at him, disappointed, she didn’t need all the drugs the doctors would give her, she didn’t need to see him more often, she just needed to be left alone, nothing more, nothing less.

“Chloe, look at me, do you want me to tell her?” Ethan asked and Chloe looked at him shaking her head to say ‘no’ and he sighed. “But Chloe, it’s for your own good and I have to tell her about it,” Ethan explained.

Chloe opened her door and climbed out of the car and walked inside the house not looking back at Ethan. Why was he asking her if she wanted him to tell Emma if he would do it anyway? She quickly climbed the stairs and went into her room before she would cross paths with Emma or Jason.

Ethan sighed when Chloe left the car and entered the house. He quickly did the same taking with him Emma’s new dishes. He walked toward the kitchen and put them there on the counter top before walking toward the stairs but as he did so he heard noises in the living room. He walked toward it to see who was inside and found Emma seated on the couch alone and watching TV. But it wasn’t some movie or TV show, it was a homemade video.

Emma didn’t notice that Ethan was here. When Chloe and Ethan had left the house she had wanted to see all of her good memories with Chloe. She would have loved to watch them with Chloe instead of alone but she didn’t want to, it was like she didn’t want to hear her own voice.

On the screen was Emma and Chloe’s ‘wedding’. Emma was playing the boy and she was waiting for Chloe to walk through the aisle. Then, little Chloe appeared on the screen with a big smile on her lips and Will’s arm locked with hers. Chloe whispered something in his ear and Will laughed. He brought her to Emma and they both giggled happily.

“Who is it?” Ethan asked making Emma jump.

“Oh God! You scared the hell out of me,” Emma exclaimed turning toward Ethan. “It’s me, Chloe and Will.”

Ethan approached the couch and sat next to Emma. “Chloe had better tastes in clothes when she was a kid than now,” he pointed out which earned him a punch in the arm from Emma. Emma didn’t explain who Will was but Ethan didn’t ask and kept watching.

Then the video changed and on the screen was Chloe dressed in a beautiful ball gown. She was glowing, gorgeous; Ethan couldn’t take his eyes off of the screen. But what took him aback was when she took the microphone and started to speak. She had such a beautiful voice, a true angel. Ethan frowned though, Chloe was mute, and yet he was hearing her saying her thank you for being elected Miss of the town.

“Care to explain what this shit is?” Ethan snapped not leaving the screen with his eyes.

“What are you talking about, Ethan?” Emma asked annoyed and Ethan turned toward her.

“Chloe, she is mute. She can’t talk,” Ethan said waving his hand toward the screen that was saying the contrary.

“Chloe is not mute,” Emma announced to a perplex Ethan.

“Well, she seems mute to me, I never heard her talk,” Ethan continued not understanding.

“That’s because she hasn’t talked in three months now,” Emma explained and when she saw that Ethan was still confused she changed the video to put one from her marriage, it was the most recent video of Chloe talking, the last video of Chloe talking.

Ethan turned toward the screen to see the wedding he had missed because he had been out of the country. The first thing he saw was Emma and Jason seated at their table with a happy smile on their lips and looking at something straight in front of them, Ethan could even see tears in Emma’s eyes. The camera turned toward a small stage and Chloe was on it, she looked ravishing of course. She looked nervous and Ethan smiled seeing her like this. It changed from her emotionless self.

“Hi everyone. Like you all know I’m Emma’s best friend.” Chloe giggled nervously. “So, as you can see I am nervous, which is not a normal thing coming from me, it’s not like I’m not used to speaking in front of a lot of people, you know, Miss of the town and all that,” she continued as everyone laughed in the room.

“But today I’m nervous. I’m nervous because I had the wonderful idea to replace my speech for a song. And now that I’m here in front of you it doesn’t seem that wonderful of an idea anymore.” Everyone laughed once more. “Anyway, I wanted to do something special for you Emma, and a speech, especially coming from me, wouldn’t have been special enough. So here I am and I am going to sing something for you. I’m gonna sing ‘All of me’ by John Legend.” Chloe took a deep breath and looked behind her to say that she was ready. She then turned back toward the newlywed couple and smiled.

What would I do without your smart mouth?

Drawing me in, and you kicking me out

You’ve got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down

What’s going on in that beautiful mind

I’m on your magical mystery ride

And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright

My head’s under water

But I’m breathing fine

You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you, ohoh

How many times do I have to tell you

Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too

The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood

You’re my downfall, you’re my muse

My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues

I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing, in my head for you

My head’s under water

But I’m breathing fine

You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you, ohoh

Give me all of you

Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts

Risking it all, though it’s hard

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you

I give you all of me

And you give me all of you, ohoh

During the entire song Chloe had kept this huge smile adorning her lips, she was so magnificent. Ethan couldn’t get over how beautiful her voice was. And now all he wanted was to hear this voice, but not through a video, he wanted to hear it coming out of Chloe’s pink lips. He wanted to see her beautiful chocolate eyes shine like they were on the video, he wanted to see her nervous like she was on the video.

Emma stopped the video exactly when it was zoomed on Chloe’s face as she was smiling happily. “Chloe stopped talking three months ago,” Emma stated again.

“Why would she stop talking?” Ethan wondered frowning.

“Something happened, one night she didn’t come home but her mom didn’t think anything of it at first. And her brother, Will, he didn’t come home either. In the morning Chloe’s mother started to panic. They searched for them without stopping once but they found them only six days later,” Emma explained.

“They were kidnapped?” Ethan asked. “Where is her brother, he wasn’t at the dinner.”

“Yes, they were kidnapped. No one knows what happened during those six days save from Chloe. They found Will dead and Chloe curled up in a small ball in the corner of a small cage. It was disgusting, they caged her like an animal, she didn’t even have room to stand up. But the Chloe they found wasn’t the Chloe that we all knew; she didn’t speak once since that day, she didn’t even cry,” Emma continued. “But she’s gonna be fine. She is far better than when they found her. She couldn’t look at people; she just looked at the walls, no smile, no reaction at all, the doctors even made some tests to see if she was deaf, because she wasn’t reacting when we talked or anything.”

“That’s why she has panic attacks,” Ethan pointed out more to himself than to Emma.

“Yes, and she has to see a doctor often. That’s why you have to tell me if she has panic attacks, Ethan. I have to know so I can tell the doctor,” Emma said seriously and Ethan nodded.

“And what happens if you say to the doctor that she still has panic attacks?” Ethan asked.

“Well, I guess he will want to see her more often, give her more medicine to keep her calm,” Emma answered. “Anyway, how was the grocery shop with Chloe?”

“About that,” Ethan started and then paused, he looked at Emma seriously and continued. “We crossed Alex and Cassie’s path there and Chloe doesn’t seem to like them much.”

“She hates them! Just like I hate them!” Emma exclaimed. “And how did Chloe react?”

“Well, not really well. She slapped Cassie and I think she tried push Alex as well but I held her back, and then-” Ethan started but Emma cut him off.

“Oh, that’s my girl; you should have let her rip Alex to shreds,” She almost yelled. “Sorry, and then?”

“And then we came home,” Ethan lied before standing up and walking away. He had her pleading eyes engraved in his head and he just couldn’t tell Emma. Drugging Chloe wouldn’t be the solution to make her talk and free her emotions. He climbed the stairs and stopped in front of her room. He looked at the door for a few seconds and then knocked.

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