Stay Strong

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Chapter 10

I woke to the sound of beeping. I opened my eyes before quickly closing them against the harsh light.

“Aspen?” I felt a hand on my leg. I slowly opened my eyes and looked right into Bryson’s blue eyes.

“How are you feeling?” he asked, moving from the foot of the bed to stand beside my hand.

“Tired. Really tired. What happened?” I croaked out. I looked around the room, taking in everything from the white floors and walls to the machines against the wall. I looked down at the IV in my arm and the heart monitor that continued to beep.

“You-you fell, Aspen. You were so tired that your body just...forced you to sleep, I guess. You’ve been asleep for a few hours. If-if I hadn’t been there... you would have hit your head on the floor,” he says sadly, clutching my hand.

“Thank you, Bryson,” I mumbled as I closed my eyes. I was about to fall asleep again when I thought of something he had said.

I bolted upright in the bed, the heart monitor going crazy. “Where’s Candice?” I half yelled, ready to bolt out of the bed.

“Calm down. Vanessa went to get her. They’ll be here soon. It’s okay,” he whispers gently as he pushed me down on the bed. I sigh and relax, letting my head fall against the pillow.

Just as I was about to fall asleep again, the door opens and a man with a white coat walks in. “Hello again Aspen,” Doctor Lewis smiles down at me.

“Long time no see Doctor Lewis,” I reply, nodding my head in his direction.

“How’s the scar?” He shifts the file he had in his hand.

I rolled back my sleeve to show him. “Fading a little.” He nods his head and I push my sleeve back down but I don’t miss Bryson’s sad gaze as he stares at my arm.

“Well, It turns out that you were exhausted. Extremely so. You need to take a few days off of work before returning and you need to take tomorrow off from school. I will give you a note for work and school,” he states as he hands me the two notes. He pushes his now completely gray hair out of his eyes.


“Aspen. He said no working. I’ll call our boss and let him know,” Bryson snaps at me then nods his head at the doctor.

“Good. I’ll get your discharge papers and then you’ll be free to go.” Doctor Lewis smiles at us before walking out of the room.

I sit up, throwing my legs over the side of the bed. Bryson is instantly by my side, one hand on my shoulder. “Careful,” he whispers. I roll my eyes at him as I bend down to pick up my shoes.

As soon as I finished putting on my shoes the door opened again and a nurse walked in and handed me the discharge papers.

As Bryson and I walked through the halls I smiled grimly. “You know...,” I whisper, not sure if Bryson could hear me, “this is where they brought me for physical therapy. I remember every detail of this hospital.”

Bryson says nothing but he grabs my hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze. I smile gently up at him before he drops my hand and we walk out of the hospital.

“I drove your car so Vanessa could go get Candice in mine,” Bryson states as he sits down on one of the benches. I sit down beside him and rest my head on his shoulder.

I was dozing off again when a car pulled up. Bryson’s car specifically. Vanessa got out of the car before helping Candice out.

Candice rushed up to me, wrapping her tiny arms around my waist. I got on my knees and hugged her tightly. “Let’s go home,” I whispered in her ear.

As I stood up I thanked Vanessa and Bryson, hugging them tightly. “I’ll see you two at school the day after tomorrow, then.”

“See you.” Bryson smiled.

“Go home and sleep!” Vanessa half yelled.

I rolled my eyes at my friends before putting Candice in my car. We drove home and I had to take my time because I knew how dangerous driving while tired was. When we got home I was barely able to get Candice to bed before changing into pajama’s and getting to my bed.

The next day passed quickly and soon I was back at school. I had more sleep in that one day than I have had in a week. And man did I feel energetic. It’s amazing how a full night’s sleep can make someone feel. And on top of that, I didn’t have any nightmares, even though the anniversary was tomorrow.

“Aspen!” Vanessa yelled, waving her hands over her head enthusiastically. I laughed along with Bryson as I approached.

“Vanessa!” I yelled just as enthusiastically. We get a few strange looks but we ignore them as we dissolve into fits of laughter.

“You look a lot better,” Bryson stated matter-of-factly.

“I always look this good, what are you talking about?” I drawl sarcastically, flipping my hair over my shoulder.

“Where were you yesterday?” A voice comes from behind us. I turn around and watch as Landon approaches. Sonia wasn’t too far behind him either. Was she ever going to give up?

“I had to take yesterday off.” I shrug like it was nothing.

“Why?” He crosses his arms over his chest.

“Because?” I say, feigning confusion. He rolls his eyes before Sonia forcefully drags him away. I suppose he wasn’t any better than Sonia. He let her drag him around like that. He didn’t seem to mind her so long as she wasn’t literally hanging off of his arm. I try to ignore the pain in my chest but I can’t. I...I think I might have developed feelings...for Landon... Shit.

“Hello, Earth to Aspen?” Vanessa waves her hand in front of my face.

“Yeah?” I jump slightly.

“Nothing,” she remarks with a sly smile. I try to ignore the way she was smiling at me and then at Landon’s retreating back.

Lunchtime rolled around and before long I was sitting next to Bryson, eating a salad. It was such a nice day outside. It was cloudless, it wasn’t too cold and the fresh air felt so rejuvenating. That was, until Bryson asked, “Are you going to miss tomorrow?”

My fork stops in mid-air. I slowly lowered it down into the plastic salad bowl. “Yeah. It’s the anniversary,” I mumble.

“Why are you going to miss tomorrow? Who’s anniversary is it?” Landon’s curious voice carried over to me.

I turned around and saw Sonia hanging onto his arm, he didn’t seem to notice her and only focused on me.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but, that’s not something you need to know,” I say, the essence of politeness.

“Oh, please. Give it a rest Aspen,” Sonia scoffed. I stared at her in shock. Give it a rest? She can just get over herself. I stand up and get ready to tell her just that, but she opens her mouth first. “Landon, the reason that Aspen isn’t going to be here tomorrow is-”

Before she can finish her sentence I am in her face, snarling, “If you say one more damn word...” My blood was boiling, rushing through my body. I was seeing red.

She flinches back, regret in her eyes, but she’s quick to cover it up. I’m too angry to care.

Sonia drawls, “Your grandmother is right, you know? You’re weak. You can’t even take care of yourself, much less a child.”

I stumble back a step, the breath knocked from my chest. I hear something clattering behind me. I stare at her, frozen for a moment. Then my body moves on its own, rushing towards Sonia. But I never reach her.

While she ducks behind Landon, peaking out from around his arm, Vanessa and Bryson grab my arms and shoulders, pulling me back. It takes all of their strength to keep me from breaking out of their grip and punching Sonia in the face.

“Aspen,” Vanessa hisses in my ear. I don’t hear anything, I was to busy yelling.

“You know nothing! NOTHING of hardship and struggle! Because you’re just a little princess!” I continue to launch myself at her, I break free of Vanessa’s hands and reach out towards Sonia, but Bryson wraps me up in a bear hug, lifting me off of the ground.

“You-your crazy!” Sonia yelled from around Landon.

“ASPEN,” Bryson’s breath was warm against my ear, “stop now.”

Vanessa walked in front of me, gripping my face. “Calm down. Don’t do this. Don’t do something that Lorelai can use to take Candice away,” she whispers, warm blue eyes shining with unshed tears.

I stare at her and she flinches as I make eye contact and she doesn’t let go of my face. “Calm down,” she whispers as if I was some wild animal.

Slowly, my senses return to me. I notice then that there was a crowd, their camera’s out, videotaping what just happened. Pathetic. They do nothing to stop a fight, they feed off of it like a lion does an antelope. I looked around and noticed that teacher’s were making their way towards us.

I hang my head and Bryson slowly sits me back down on my own two feet, mumbling to himself.

“See! This is all you wanted, wasn’t it? Attention,” she scoffs, stepping out from behind Landon.

I look at her with anger in my eyes and she shy’s away from my stare. Vanessa starts to march her way over to Sonia but I grip her shoulder, shaking my head.

We turn away and start walking. But Sonia can’t shut up. “That’s right. Go back on your leash like a good little bitch,” she spits at Vanessa.

Oh’s echoed through the crowd. I turned towards Sonia. Shaking my head at her and said in a cold, hard voice, “The only one here that is a bitch, is you, Sonia.” I make eye contact with Landon who looked confused but his gaze held no other emotion. I shake my head and turn away, following after Vanessa and Bryson.

A/N:’s the next chapter. I know, Sonia can be a bitch. Understand that she isn’t used to being told no, or being denied something, so that is why she’s acting like this. She wants Landon but she can’t get him. I’ll post one more chapter today and then try to get some more up next week. Hopefully... Fingers crossed.

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