Acceptance

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Chapter Twenty-three

[ETHAN]

I hurried out the car at the sound of the second loud scream. I had thought I’d been imagining things at first, but it sounded like Andrew — it sounded like him a lot.

I’d parked the car a street or two away from the cabin. I knew I should have been heading to class but the curiosity to find out what Andrew’s birthday surprise to me was had been too tempting so I’d caved in. I’d been planning to just follow the cab I saw him in into town, but the cab with him inside never passed. I had started to think I might have missed him just before I heard the first loud scream echo through the neighborhood. I’d waited in the car for another five to ten minutes just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, and sure enough, I heard it again.

My brain went on haywire at the thought of Andrew being in trouble, at the thought of someone hurting the man I loved.

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I finally got to the cabin. It killed me inside — I wanted to kill the bastard that was laying his hands on Andrew.

“Who on earth do you think you are?!” I yelled as I approached the suited figure that was looming over Andrew’s curled up body on the floor.

The person looked up, giving me a twisted smile clearly proof that he doubted my capabilities.

“Oh, isn’t it lover boy?” he chuckled, straightening up from his bending position. He was a little taller and more built than me, but that didn’t faze me. Hell, I could take on the devil himself if he dared touch, Andrew.

Andrew...

I let my gaze drift to Andrew’s unmoving body in worry before looking back up at his attacker. The crease of my brows deepened at the realization that I could put a name on the face, and that name alone gave me enough reason to tear his guts out.

“Why don’t you just run along? I’m just teaching him a lesson; I don’t want to harm you in the process...” He trailed with a side smile before turning his attention back to Andrew.

“Get away from him!” I ordered, pulling him roughly by the shoulder. He stumbled backward before turning to give me a threatening glare. I ignored him, looking over at Andrew as worry gripped at my gut. He hadn’t moved or made a sound since I got here.

“Andrew...” I trailed, trying to keep an eye on him and on the cold-hearted bastard that was trying to deliver blows at me while I was not paying attention.

“E—Ethan...” I heard Andrew say in a small low voice before he began to cough violently.

“Thank goodness,” I sighed in relief, running a hand through my hair as I sidestepped from another failed blow from Christopher.

“Like you care,” Christopher mocked with a scuff as he tried to swing at my head from behind. I staggered to the left, dodging the blow before backing up before delivering a punch that sent him to the ground.

I got on my knees quickly, pinning him down with my leg before he could scramble away.

I looked down at his pathetic figure. He was so weak. I couldn’t believe he was the one who’d been terrorizing Andrew throughout these years. I gave his neck a suffocating squeeze before he could carry out his obvious plan of throwing me underneath him.

“I’ve lived in slums and trailer parks for a good sum of my life to know how to fight. Stop attempting to get away, you’re predictable,” I said, giving him a bored look as he inhaled deeply, anger clear in his figures. His hands were trying to pry my hand from his neck. I could feel the sting of fresh blood meeting air as his nails scraped the skin of my hand. But that was all it was — a sting. I couldn’t dwell on the pain he was causing me. He’d hurt Andrew, and I wanted him to know what it felt like to be defenseless.

I let go of his neck, quickly gripping his arms and holding them behind his neck. I thought deeply as I looked at his angered figure, wondering if I could hold his hands back with the power of just one hand. I needed to get him tied up, and I could stay her holding him down until someone came.

I gripped his hand forcefully using one hand before trying to fumble with the tie he had on with the other. In the struggle to undo his tie he knocked me over but I just balled him in the crotch before taking advantage of him again.

“Shit,” I groaned, quickly undoing his tie and restraining his hands behind his back before heading over to Andrew’s figure.

“Ethan...” I heard him mumble in a weak voice as I came into view. My face fell at the sight of him. He was covered in bruises and scratches, his bottom lip was bleeding and his pale hands were covered in familiar burn marks.

Cigarette burns. I thought as my eyes started to sting with tears. I’d gotten them occasionally when the butt of the cigarette would fall on my arms or hand when I was still having a smoke. I couldn’t still believe someone could intentionally do that to someone.

“It’ll be okay,” I finally muttered in a choked up voice as I got down on my knees in attempts to comfort him. From the little first aid, I knew I understood that I wasn’t supposed to move him, and I didn’t want to cause Andrew any more harm because I was too impatient to know what the monster had done to him.

“Where does it hurt?” I asked, brushing his arms with my fingers lightly. I watched as he winched as my fingers brushed a spot on his left arm. I looked at him, noticing that apart from the bruises and scratches he’d gotten from being kicked and dragged around, he looked treatable — okay enough...

“My head...” he mumbled in reply to my question. It was only then I noticed the soaked damp hair at the side of his hair.

“Shit!” I groaned, getting up. I looked down as Andrew gave a small broken whimper of protest.

“I’m not leaving you. I have to call the police and an ambulance quickly, okay?” I assured him, earning a small in an audible response from him. I jogged to the car soon after to retrieve my phone.

I called the police hen the nearest hospital for an ambulance. They were there at about the same time. The police dragging Christopher of as he cursed at me, Andrew and the first aid Meds taking care of him at the back of their truck.

“He’ll be fine,” one of the Meds said, casting me a sorry look as he turned his attention back to Andrew that her colleagues were still examining.

They soon decided that he had to be taken to the hospital and after some begging, they let me say in the back with him even though I was technically not his next of kin. They seemed to think I was his boyfriend. Even though I quite appreciated the assumption it wasn’t something that brought a smile to my lips at the moment.

“Are you okay?” I asked as came to sit by the stretcher he was placed in. The two other meds in the back of the truck with us turned their gazes away as if giving us some sort of privacy. The truck started moving soon after, causing the noise of the moving vehicle to voice over Andrew’s whispered reply.

“Yeah...” I kind of made out of what he said before he cringed in pain.

“My left arm and leg hurt. My head also feels fluffy...” he trailed, squinting up at me.

“It’s going to be okay,” I said, taking the fingers of his good part. At least he wasn’t dying or unconscious because I really don’t know what I would have done then.

“The meds said you have a broken arm and a small concussion apparently,” I explained to him as a fresh set of tears clouded his eyes.

“I don’t understand. He couldn’t have done that much damage,” Andrew muttered, his voice completely all shaken up.

“It’ll be okay, don’t worry—”

“It’s not going to heal Ethan,” Andrew said, cutting me off.

“My arm isn’t going to heal...” He trailed again as he started to sob softly.

I didn’t understand what he was saying, so I just sat there and watched him cry.

*

“From the medical records we have with us you have Osteoporosis. It’s a kind of side effect of anorexia, a bad eating diet or more commonly old age...” the doctor said looking from me to Andrew who was lying in the hospital bed with a blank face. From his response to the news, I realized Andrew already knew that- already know he had whatever the disease was.

“It makes the bones soft and fragile so they fracture and dislocate easily. It’s even harder to heal broken bones. Apart from getting his arm twisted he suffered multiple kicks and blows to it,” the doctor continued, looking at me. It seemed he realized that Andrew wasn’t exactly interested.

I frowned at the look the doctor was giving to me. If he had something to say he should say it already. His look was hopeful and I didn’t see why. There was nothing remotely hopeful about the situation at hand.

“I got your tests back and it seems your nutrition and bone structure has improved considerably. I’m hopeful that your fracture will eventually heal,” the doctor said, turning his gaze from me to Andrew.

Andrew gave a sigh of clear relief and my overly hopeless expression was gone.

“It’d take about five months but it’ll heal,” the doctor said, getting up before giving Andrew’s casted arm a reassuring pat before leaving the room.

I smiled as the door closed shut behind the doctor. I place my head on Andrew’s laps then. They’d put his concoction under control and they’d taken care of his ankle. The real hassle was his arm.

“Did you call my mother?” Andrew asked, looking down at me. I sat up, retrieving his phone and mine from the trolley beside his bed.

“I already did...” I trailed, tucking my phone into my pocket.

“I called Mr. Collins too, I pleaded with him to bring Devin over here and handle Roxanne for a while,” I explained as I caressed the case of his phone. I had a question to ask Andrew, but I couldn’t do it now when he was still hurt. But my human jealously couldn’t quite get over the texts I’d come across in his phone with someone named Ace.

“Did you call Ethel?” Andrew asked, earning a nod from me.

“Good,” he sighed as he closed his eyes but they fluttered back open soon after.

“Could you dial up the number under the contact name Ace for me?” Andrew asked. I nodded stifle before dialing the number. I put the call on speaker and the room was soon filled with a soft-spoken voice.

“Andrew?” the voice called out calmly. I watched as a small smile graced Andrews lips as he hummed in response.

“What’s that sound? Are you okay?” he asked again, probably referring to the rhythmical noise of the medical machines in the background.

“Well, I’m in the hospital...” Andrew trailed as he stretched out his hand in a motion for me to give him the phone.

“You’re in the hospital?!” I heard the panicked voice from the other end say before Andrew returned the call to handset mode.

Andrew didn’t ask me to leave, but I did anyway. I wasn’t sure what to think, and I didn’t want to come across as jealous now that Andrew needed my support the most.

A nurse came up to me, telling me it was okay if I went home. I did leave the hospital to get from things from the cabin but I was back in less than an hour. Devein joined me in the hospital later, taking sips of coffee from the flask I’d brought with me in an attempt to fight sleep.

Mr. Collin’s had come to pick her up after she talked to Andrew but I refused to leave, unwilling to leave Andrew alone on his first night here. I was probably going to get a backache when I wake up from sleeping the stupid uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room, but I didn’t exactly care.

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