Destructively Oblivious

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Chapter 26: Diabetes

di·a·be·tes

/ˌdīəˈbēdēz,ˌdīəˈbēdis/

noun

1. A condition in which the pancreas secretes little or no insulin; elevated glucose levels.

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*Chloe’s Point of View*

My last strands of sleep were ripped away from me as I was sprayed in the face with something I hoped was water. Along with my rest, my patience was torn away too. Eyes closed, I made my way into a sitting position, simultaneously throwing a pillow at whoever had thought it was a good idea to ruin my peaceful slumber with a spray bottle and what I still suspected was water.

When my eyes subsequently opened, I glowered over at Asher. I should have known. “What. The. Hell.”

“Your boyfriend’s downstairs,” he grumbled. By the look on his face, it was quite clear he wasn’t in the most considerate mood, but my face and hair were covered in what I had finally deciphered was water, and I wasn’t exactly in the most thoughtful mood either.

“What?”

His voice harsher, he reiterated the previous statement. “I said, your boyfriend is downstairs.”

He turned to leave, but I hoisted my out-of-energy body out of bed, tightly clutching his arm to spin him around. “I don’t have a boyfriend, Jackass.”

“Hayden,” he gritted.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” I gritted back.

“Close e-fucking-nough, Dol. He’s on my couch. Now I have to burn it.” As he shifted to leave again, impatience scaled through me causing my grip on his arm to tighten.

I gripped onto him with all the power I currently had, gasping, “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

Feigning shock, he took a step back in false astonishment. “Whoa, it’s almost like I’m not Hayden’s biggest fan.” He had escaped my clutches, heading straight for the door. “I was a fan of that couch though.”

As my mind caught up with my mouth, my chest constricted. “Wait. Hayden’s here?”

Asher rotated, giving me a nod, extending his chin over at my clock to inform me it was far past six in the evening when I was supposed to be ready.

My harsh language and fiery mood came to a screeching halt, swiftly replaced with panic. I ripped jeans from my dresser, pitching them on beneath my sizeable white shirt. “Why didn’t you wake me sooner!?”

“I didn’t realize the asshole was on his way over, Dol. And he’s dressed nice. You might want something other than jeans.” He twirled and left the room after that, abandoning me in my fit of hysteria.

______________________________________

Hurrying down the stairs in a white sundress, I settled on the bottom step, watching Prim rest at the bar. Patrolling her as she drank a glass of orange juice like her life depended on it, Asher stood on the opposite side of the counter. When his eyes locked on me, his concerned expression narrowed into displeasure and he motioned to the couch that was holding my date, mouthing, Get him out.

Propelling him my most intense glare, that irritated cast shifted when Hayden craned his neck, making his way over to me immediately. Murmuring something about how great I looked, his lips apprehended mine in what felt like the lengthiest kiss of my life. What couldn’t have been more than a mere two-second peck felt like the most passionate makeout session as I sensed Asher’s intruding eyes on us.

The moment fell to an end and, on instinct, I flitted a nervous glimpse at Asher. Afraid of his reaction, it was relieving to know his eyes never left his sister and her agitated juice drinking.

Discerning for the first time the oddness in the situation, my heels sounded through the house, the vibration coming to an end as I arrived next to the little girl. Softly taking her chin in my fingers, I lifted her head, dragging her eyes to mine. My hand making contact with her forehead, I leaned forward to peer into her dilated eyes.

“Prim, are you feeling okay?” Taming the eye contact with her, I glanced towards her brother.

“You think I haven’t asked her that?” Asher’s bothered attitude had finally drawn my last straw, sipping all the self-restraint out. With a deep scowl in his direction, I shook my head and returned my attention to Prim.

She grasped my wrist and tore it away from her deliberately, separating the contact between my hand and her temple.

“I’m okay!” She turned to her brother. “Can we still go to mini-golf?”

Asher frowned. “I don’t think you’re fit to play golf today, Weasel.”

“But Ash-Ash-” Prim cried.

Her brother cut her off with a head shake. “We’ll go next week, I promise.”

Feeling a hand on the small of my back, I turned my head to look behind at Hayden. A slight smile aimed at me, he sighed. “Hey, I don’t mean to rush you, but we’re going to miss our reservation.”

I gnawed on my lip, worryingly looking back to Prim. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Nodding once, she hopped from the barstool, with slight aid from me, and unsteadily moved to the couch. Turning to Asher, I gave a confused gesture. “Are-”

“I think I’ll be okay with my sister.” Sending one more annoyed glance towards my date, he made his way towards Prim. Still troubled with leaving, my worry was furthered at the remembrance of Amy’s trip that would have her absent from the house for the rest of the night.

Forcing a grin on my face, I indicated a finger to Hayden stating, “One second,” and yanked Asher’s elbow, tugging him to the opposite corner of the living room.

“Alright, what’s your problem?”

Shrugging, his voice dropped a notch. “Like you said, I guess I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“Is this about Hayden?” I gritted out, trying hard to preserve my hanging-by-a-thread composure. “Because you-”

His eyes disengaged from mine to find my date, narrowing when they landed on the blonde boy. “It doesn’t concern you, so leave it alone.”

I scowled. “Why do you have to make things so hard?”

Fingers massaging the bridge of his nose, I could see the muscles in his jaw working against each other as he struggled to control whatever tolerance he had left, if any. “You mind giving me a second, please?”

Nodding at him, I threw my arms out to my sides, smack out of patience. His presence at that moment seemed to buzz around me like a fly that I couldn’t swat.

With narrowed eyes, I nodded once. “Fine. Have fun being a dick.”

I turned on my heel, waving for Hayden to follow me out the front door. When we were seated composedly close to each other in the car, his warm palm came into contact with my bare thigh mindlessly. My eyebrows drawing together instantly, I wished the hand away, hoping he’d lift it. A splash of guilt hit me and I looked away from the innocent touch in an attempt to ignore it.

He checked his mirrors actively and began to pull out from the driveway, asking, “Do you want to talk about what happened?”

Debating whether or not I wanted to go on an Asher-Rant-Of-The-Day, I shook my head. “No thanks. I’m so sorry about today. My nap went on much longer than originally planned.”

He finally lifted his hand from my leg as he set it on the steering wheel to make a sharper turn. “Don’t worry about it. Happens to the best of us.” Casting a teasing smile my way, he followed it with, “Plus, it increased the quality Asher-time I like so much.”

Just the mention of his name made me want to roll my eyes, but I kept my apologetic grin even. “He didn’t say anything, did he?”

He frowned like he was going to explain a terrible discussion the two had shared, but shook his head slowly. “Not really… only gave me the usual death glares.”

I nodded slowly, curious as to if the two had discussed anything interesting but not wishing to push the information.

Several minutes later, we walked into a rather elegant restaurant and I thoughtfully wondered why the exterior of it seemed so familiar. Seated at the table with Hayden, the realization hit me as I glanced out the window, spotting my favorite sushi restaurant across the street.

My mind began to wander, though I tried hard to stop it, and I remembered a time Asher and I had eaten dinner there, the first we’d ever had together.

As that memory came into play, so did the conversation we had shared that night. I remembered sitting across from him, moments after I had agreed to take part in a bet about whether or not I stayed with his family while my mother was away.

“Okay... so what’s the competition aspect?”

“Good question Dol, I’m not sure yet.” He looked down into his menu again. “But I’m going to win.”

Smiling at him, I held my menu up and began to glide my eyes over it as we sat in a comfortable silence for a few short seconds. When I finally glanced up at him from over the leather casing, he was staring directly at me, very thoroughly. Immediately self-conscious, I gave a nervous laugh. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Squinting slightly, he leaned forward with his elbows against the table and looked deeper into my eyes, studying them. “Your eye color, it’s rad.”

Rad. What an outdated term. He was certainly the first to ever describe my eyes that way.

“They’re like the ocean on the sunniest day of the year.” Asher let a smirk crawl across his face.

I grinned at him, chuckling to myself. “I hate to burst your bubble, Shakespeare, but they’re most commonly referred to as blue.”

“That’s not specific enough, Dol.” Asher’s smirk switched into a small, award-winning smile. “Saying your eyes are blue is like saying fire is orange. An adequate response, but not sufficient enough to cover it.”

“Okay.” I chuckled, amused by his words. “Then what color are my eyes?”

His expression fell eerily serious. “Your eyes are the color of a crystal clear, shimmering beach with crashing waves. They’re the color of faded paint flaking off a decade-old shed in someone’s backyard, or a favorite sweater that’s been washed too many times. They look like someone trapped a million volts of electricity inside your eyes.” He managed to grin. “Blue doesn’t do them any justice.”

I smiled at him, trying to continue my quest for a meal with an even-colored face. “Like you would notice.”

His smile descended into a soft expression. “Like I wouldn’t.”

Stumbling out of the memory, it brought a smile to my face and I could almost feel myself internally forgiving Asher from the thought of it. Stupid subconscious. When Hayden struck me with an odd expression, I inwardly swore at myself for still thinking about him.

Hayden grinned at my sparkling expression. “What’s got you all smiley?”

I blinked once, searching for any sentence that didn’t have the word Asher in it. “Just the thought of food.”

Hayden let out a tiny chuckle as he handed me a menu. “Well, search away. The Pad Thai is great, just by the way.”

Hayden and I continued talking and I was in a better mood than I had been in the car. I couldn’t deny that the memory of Asher had dragged me out of my little funk — strange considering he was the one who planted me there in the first place.

Just when I thought that maybe, maybe, I’d be able to get through the date without any more Asher-related distractions, I swung my head and saw my tremendously panicked roommate.

Asher scrambled over to our table, his eyes wide with fear. “You don’t answer your phone much, do you?”

Everything moved so fast I almost got whiplash. I had to blink a few times to clarify that yes, that was Asher standing next to the table and no, he didn’t seem to be in a better mood than earlier.

Sending a perplexed expression his way, I drew the phone out from my purse. Fifteen missed calls. “I’m sorry, what’s wrong?”

He looked out the window and towards his car, but his gaze promptly landed back onto me. He swallowed hard and I found myself unable to ignore the panicked look on his face. “Something’s wrong with Prim. I need your help.”

I inhaled a sharp breath at his words and his worried expression, neither of which doing much to tame my growing anxiety. “Jesus, what happened?”

He sent a micro-second long glance at Hayden, who did not look happy, before letting his frenzied gaze surrender on me. “Please, Dol, I need you.”

I immediately picked up on the urgency in his voice and found myself nodding. I grabbed my purse and stood, veering towards Hayden. “I’m so sorry. I promise we’ll reschedule. I really have to go.”

Hayden shook his head, visibly annoyed. “You’re leaving?”

I frowned at him, looking to Asher and noticing his long-drawn glimpses out the window weren't lessening any, before looking back to my date. “Hayden, I’m really sorry, but he needs my help.”

Fidgety, Asher stared at me, worry scrawled all over his face. “We really have to go.”

His displeasure switching to frustration, Hayden stood. “What the hell, Asher.”

I kicked a glance over at Asher to make sure he wasn’t irate, but his face was still filled with fret.

Hayden took a step closer and my inner being urged me to hop in between the two men, setting both my hands onto his chest. “I understand you’re upset, and I'm sorry. But-”

Hayden huffed, cutting me off, and looked upwards at Asher. “You’re an adult, Asher. You don’t think you can handle your sister’s issues yourself? You’re acting like a child, begging for Chloe.”

“Hayden!” I blurted out, shocked he’d say something like that.

Puzzledly studying him for an unwinding second, Asher gave a subtle swing from left to right, moderately calm. “Says the guy who’s trying to force his date to stay here with him rather than take a little girl to a hospital.”

Asher dropped his hand into mine, tugging me closer to him and farther from Hayden, racing me out of the restaurant.

______________________________________

Within the next two hours, we had... I had checked Prim into the hospital, gained knowledge on what checkups and exams they were going to do on her, and filled out her paperwork. Asher paced nervously around me asking every twelve seconds if she was going to be okay. I really couldn’t give him a clear answer.

She hadn’t looked particularly great in the car and was rushed into a room as soon as the woman behind the desk understood her condition. It had been a while since anyone had updated us on how she was.

Sitting in the waiting room, I watched Asher walk back and forth throughout the empty room. The only sounds were his shoes hitting the linoleum tile.

One step, two steps, three steps, and a squeak when he would turn, starting again.

My elbow resting on the wooden bench arm, I had my head in my palm. I held my other up to get Asher’s attention. “Ash, please stop. You’re giving me a headache.”

He sucked in a deep breath and nodded once before letting it out, sitting to the left of me. He slid down the chair, his head reclining on the back, and masked his face with his hands as he let out a remorseful, “I’m sorry.”

I shrugged confusedly at his overly-guilty apology. “It’s fine. The noise was a little obnoxious-”

Sitting up a little straighter, he gave me a sparse head shake. “No, not about the noise. I mean, I’m sorry for fucking up your date. I’m sorry for fucking up your night.” He flung his hands over his face again, muffling the words, “I’m sorry for fucking up your life.”

My brow pleating, I clutched his hand off his face and retained it in my own, squeezing it until he peered over at me. “You did not fuck up my night, nor my life. My date... well, I forgive you for that one.”

He gave me a small smile. “And I’m sorry for being a dick this morning.”

I grinned. “It’s okay. I’ve learned to deal with the fact that you have the unbalanced hormones of a thirteen-year-old girl.”

He playfully nudged my arm and I laughed, laying my head on his shoulder.

Quietly, I told him, “You were a dick this morning, though. What was that about?”

He shrugged, which lifted my head slightly. “I just really fucking hate your boyfriend.”

I corrected him quickly. “He isn’t my boyfriend. But I’m sorry that you hate him.” I nestled myself closer into his shoulder, smiling when his arm cinched around my waist. “You’re my best friend. I hate upsetting you.”

After a slight pause, Asher huffed in amusement. “Is this the part where you tell me I’m like a brother to you? Because if it is, please refrain from saying it aloud.”

Not that I would ever consider his and my bond familial, I giggled and sarcastically asked, “What? You don’t want to be my brother?”

“No, I’m quite sure you and I have broken some laws if we consider each other siblings.” He chuckled loudly.

I shot up from his shoulder, punching him where my head once laid. “You’re so gross!”

He laughed and after a second, so did I. But as my laughter subsided, Asher turned, eyes broad, towards an approaching nurse.

She looked down at her clipboard, lifting the papers to find our names. “Are you here for Prim Freed?” We nodded. The nurse glanced back at the papers on her clipboard, her eyes descending on Asher. “What Prim suffered from is called hyperglycemia, which can mean multiple things. Taking either too much or too little insulin can cause it. For Prim, it won’t affect her in any dangerous ways, especially since you brought her right in. She’ll be fine to leave tonight. If you’d like to follow me into the room, the doctor will gladly talk you through the rest of the details.”

Upon that note, Asher, his hand still in mine, raced back towards the room his little sister was in. She was fine, and we could all breathe again.

______________________________________

“Are you sure she’s okay?”

Amy’s worried voice came through my phone in the car as we made our way home. It was completely dark out, already close to midnight by the time we were able to leave. Prim was sitting in the back seat with a new Bunny stuffed animal, a Spongebob sticker, and a Barbie band-aid on her upper arm.

I gave a sympathetic smile through the phone. “She’s fine, really. It was a problem with the insulin she had.”

“O-okay.” Amy stuttered, then exhaled in distress. “I’m sorry I can’t come home tonight. I can’t get an earlier flight.”

“It’s okay. We’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay. Tell Prim I love her. And tell Asher too. Goodnight!”

Hanging up the phone, I turned to the backseat where Prim was sitting, adorable as all can be. She had her feet on the back of Asher’s seat, which she knew he hated, and immediately dropped them from the backing when I turned as to not get reprimanded. I chuckled at her.

“Your mom says she loves you.” She joyfully glowed after that and I turned to Asher. “She loves you too.”

He grinned, pulling into the driveway and parking the car. He twisted to face his sister, giving her a small smile. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“Yes!” She sounded exasperated like she had heard the sentence enough in the last couple of hours than she needed in a lifetime. She held up her hand that had one painted finger. “I didn’t get to finish painting my nails.”

Grinning proudly, Asher jerked his chin at the house. “Do you want me to finish them for you when we get inside?”

After Prim’s excited nod, we all got out of the car and walked into the house.

*Asher’s Point of View*

Not long after the hospital visit from Hell, my sister, who had almost given me a total of seven heart attacks that day, sat on my lap, and Dol, the girl who had ceased my seven heart attacks, sat next to me, watching as I painted the hot pink color onto Prim’s fingers. Finn laid on the opposite side of Dol as he tried to ignore the three of us and lure himself to sleep.

When I’d finished the nail painting, I held up her hand so Prim could see. “How’s that?”

She grinned down at her nails, squealing something about how great it looked.

“I can’t wait to show Mom when she comes back!” Giggling at the variety of colors, Prim jumped off of my lap to grab another bottle of nail polish. Sweet as ever, she shifted to me and held up a bottle of purple liquid. “Can I paint your nails, Ash-Ash?”

My eyes widened with fear, and fear alone. “Absolutely not.”

Dol’s face raised into an enthusiastic smile. “Oh my God, can we?” I shook my head for the second time at the two of them. My solid demeanor faltered a bit when Dol turned her body and threw her legs over my lap. She pressed her cheek against my shoulder, half-smile in view. “Please, Ash-Ash?” she mocked.

The potency of her grin began to demolish any ounce of my uncertainty and I looked between her and Prim, my two favorite girls staring back at me. Sighing, I held out my hand. “Fine. One hand.”

They both let out delightful sounds as they grabbed at the limb offered. Dolphin rested it on her knee as they both took a color and started to paint it on, Dol going carefully and Prim, carelessly. Though I’d specifically only given them a single hand, they found a way to convince me to let them paint both, because I had a hard time saying no to either of them. When they finished, Dol laid her head back onto my chest.

Her legs were angled into me, her side cuddled into mine, and I couldn’t help but smile at the warmth her body emitted onto me. Unable to help myself, I wrapped my arm around her legs, happy to hold her against me for a few more seconds. The simple touch she gave excited me but at the same time, it calmed me, and I was far passed addicted to it.

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