Chapter 10: Memories
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Rand Aldo- Thinking like the flowers)
I smelt food.
The ceiling is the first thing I see when my vision clears. It was boring and dull.
The second thing is my surroundings.
Drawn curtains cover the window, several chairs line the walls and beside my bed is an array of flowers.
Roses, sunflowers, orchids and grass.
My body felt sore. Sore but numb.
How long have I been under?
I vaguely remember being in and out.
Nothing more then that.
Reaching for my forehead, my fingers come in contact with something smooth. It’s wrapped around my head like a beanie and the smell of medicine is enough to make me gag.
Two needles enter my bloodstream through my left hand and I watch the fluids from the bags hung up on poles with careful caution.
This is the part where the heroine rips of her ivy and magically walks.
Well, not today.
Shifting slightly, I lifted the covers to apply pressure on my left side.
The wound was a dull throb and a slight prod towards it made me hiss.
The pain travels all the way down my spine but stops at my tailbone where the rest of my legs remain un-moving and lifeless.
Why couldn’t I feel my legs?
Beside me, a slim figure shifted uneasily in her sleep, curling in on herself by the lounge chair.
Her platinum blond hair fell over her shoulder in waves and her expression conveyed lines of worry even though she was sleeping.
After weeks of avoiding my calls...
I want to yell out at her. Tell her I’m relieved that she’s back but I can’t find my voice so I resort to simply staring.
How did she find me?
A manly groan erupted to my right and I find several more figures I’ve failed to see, all sprawled around in laid back positions, fast asleep.
All of them, save one.
There’s a missing member among them.
A missing member who’s name is struggling to get out from within the depths of my foggy brain.
The room spun as I tried to remember and I stopped, feeling as though I might faint if I do it any longer.
The dreams... Memories.
Memories I tried so hard to suppress.
Memories that I buried so far back I don’t remember them until today.
It's pressing at the back of my head and the fear of it is threatening to cease me.
A sound must have erupted from my throat because Hailey’s green eyes shot open like a bullet, her hand that was half stuffed inside a pizza box is pulled away.
She threw herself off the chair and into my arms without a second wasted. I stuffed a groan when she collided against my throbbing side.
“You’re okay, you’re okay...” Hailey murmurs in my ear and I can only stay still as my body locked up from the sudden touch.
It’s unfamiliar and disarming.
Another groan escapes from the same figure to my right as he stirs awake, a yawn escaping his lips.
For a second those brown eyes stare at me in confusion before he bolted upright from his brother’s shoulder, somehow managing to push the older twin off his chair.
“She’s awake!” Evan screeches.
Those two words could have woken up the entire hospital.
Everybody was up on their feet in an instant, features wide, mouths agape and relief clear.
Someone crosses my peripheral view and it takes me a while to remember his name.
“Oh, thank god.” Is all he says.
Behind him... Elios, that was it.
Elios is banging his head against the wall and muttering incoherent words.
I heard a; “The earth is saved,”
Hailey’s grip around me tightened and this time I let out a small, “Ow.”
“Oh, right sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean...” Pulling away, she hastily pat herself down in nervousness. “I was just so worried and so scared and so-”
“H-How long...” The sentence dies out.
I can’t speak it. My throat has clogged up. It’s like trying to speak with a mouth full of cotton balls.
Everybody pauses in their steps and shoot me concerned looks, obviously unsure what to do.
Hailey notices my discomfort over what I couldn’t do and pours a glass of water. “Here,”
Before I can reply she was already helping me drink it down.
The cool liquid brought instant relief.
I nod as a gracious thanks, hoping she could see it in my eyes.
It took a full minute before everybody else settled down, their body languages telling me they were more then tensed.
“Vanessa, how are you...” Mason trails off, unable to form the proper question before he eventually sighs. “How are you feeling? Are you in pain anywhere?”
I don’t answer him when I hear his concern. My eyes are traveling further across the room, scanning faces and taking in my surroundings.
I’m in the hospital.
“I feel... confused.” That’s the word I’m looking for. Confused.
Mason nods and the relief is clear at my response. “Well they had you heavily sedated for a while so don’t be surprised if you are.”
That, I can understand. It’s the only thing I can.
“I was afraid if you didn’t wake up soon, that sarcasm of yours was going to go away.” The corner of Matthew’s lips twisted into a small smile.
All of them looked disheveled, their usual clean cut attires had been reduced to sweats and normal T-shirts.
That didn’t mean they were any less attractive then they actually are.
“How long... have you all been here?” My voice is still cracked so I resolve to just whispering.
Evan is the one that ultimately responds. “We come by everyday after classes but... I guess we forgot about that today.”
My fingers reach for Hailey’s still wrist who’s gone immobilized in a strain position, fingers knotted.
“You didn’t go home?”
She shakes her head. “I-I’m just glad you’re okay. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up and it could have been any moment so...”
Her expression cuts my heart.
That was my best friend and she was hurting.
I don’t hide the disapproval in my tone. “Did you clean up at least? Bring a change of clothes? Eat?”
My best friend shakes her head and plays with her fingers on her wrinkled skirt. “I didn’t want to leave you. Not until I was sure you’d be alright.”
Her admittance makes me sigh. “It won’t matter if you get sick and end up beside me.”
I let go of her hand and pushed up on my elbows even as the soreness burns across every inch of my skin.
“How long have I been out?”
No one answers.
In fact, no one looks at me in the eye.
“Vanessa, you should eat something.” Mason attempts to diffuse the situation, a light smile gracing his lips as he gets up from his crouched position by my right side. “I’ll call the doctor.”
My fingers latch onto the sleeve of his sweatpants and it stuns him as I do this.
The whole room goes unbearably quiet and in the silence, I feel tears spring in my eyes at the growing dread. “I need to know.”
My tone is desperate. A quiet whisper. “Please,”
Those green blue eyes wavered, unwilling to tell me. “We need to focus on getting your health back up first, so-”
His voice startles me a bit. He rarely spoke but when he did it always strains volumes.
“It would have been four... if you didn’t wake up today.”
I go silent.
“M-My wounds,” My voice shakes. “How bad were they?”
“Bad.” Hailey’s hand wraps over my wrist and squeezed comfortingly. “You had a concussion at the back of your head from when you fell.”
Something solid flash across my peripheral vision and I whirled around only for it to slam against my chest.
My foot slips, the attack throwing me off guard.
The ice comes up in slow motion but doesn’t provide comfort even as my head finds the surface and a terrible pain hit the base of my skull.
The memory sends a direct stab at the center of my forehead. I winced and covered my face with my palms.
“This?” Somehow, I managed to pull the covers off with my face still covered, so they could see what I was referring too.
I didn’t miss how everybody hitched in a breath at the sight of it.
“Sepsis.” Hailey need only answer.
I dropped the covers and retreated back on the bed, face still covered and my eyes squeezed shut as I longed for the void that had taken me so reluctantly earlier.
I could have died.
“Vanessa you had an infection.” Hailey continues, her voice urgent once she sees I’m seconds away from breaking in half. “They had to do something about it, you were in the ICU for 5 days.”
“That can’t be right...” I manage to find my voice and it interest’s the others immediately. "I would've remembered."
“What do you mean Vanessa?” Jared is patient with me. This is a side of him I don’t see at all.
“Most times I would be awake.” The elaboration is brief. “Most times there would be darkness, but the voices. Always the same voices.”
Jared doesn’t need to hear my answer to know who I’m talking about. The older male crouches in front of me so we’re eye level.
“Vanessa if you did hear his voice that would be five days after you were allocated to this room. No one was allowed in the ICU as we weren’t family.”
Jared’s telling me I’ve been in complete darkness for 5 straight days.
Flashes of when I was in an out of consciousness filtrated my thoughts.
I imagine Hailey peering into the glass doors, tears in her eyes as worry carve in her heart.
I imagine Mason, running his fingers through his hair, muttering words incoherently.
I imagine Thomas, staring soullessly, a black cloud over his face as his expression conveyed nothing but emptiness.
I imagine the others struggling to joke but failing altogether.
For a second I allowed myself to think if any of them were in the ICU.
I wasn’t family so I wouldn’t have been allowed in, but having to pace outside the doors... for hours, days...
Suddenly, I didn’t feel like facing the world as much anymore. All I wanted to do was go back to the void where I’ve grown comfortable.
It scares me.
It scares me shitless just as I’m suddenly aware of what I’ve been missing this whole time.
“Why can’t I feel my legs?” There’s a panic in my tone. “I-I can’t even move them.”
“The burns on your ankles Vanessa,” Mason is still speaking softly to me. Like one does to a child. “The skin had to be replaced so they injected you with something to keep you still.”
How will I skate?
How will I walk around?
How will I do anything?
“The doctor says you’ll heal in due time.” Hailey is hopeful. Her green eyes are filled with it. “You don’t have to worry abut it Ness at least not now.”
But her words do not bring me comfort.
They bring me fear.
The locks chaining my chest is about to be pried open.
“It was my fault.”
That didn’t come from me.
That had came from the brown eyed, black hair male who is staring at me with a mixture of pity and guilt.
His name irks me. It stirs something in my heart that lashes out with uncontrollable force.
“I was scared.”
“If you’re scared then you don’t deserve the title, Vi.”
The tension in the room suddenly shifts.
Everybody’s eyes are on him.
Everybody knows what he did wrong.
Everybody, but me.
His head is hung low and it’s like a walk to death’s door.
The silence stretches for prolonged minutes. He doesn’t say anything, neither do I.
“What Karen did to you, revealing what happened to your father...” Zanthus wordlessly shakes his head and battles a heavy sigh. “Vanessa, all of that was my fault.”
When he tries to meet my eyes, I don’t give him the satisfaction.
Instead, I stared at the covers on the bed and traced the circle design with my forefinger.
Zanthus grows pressured under the silence. He succumbs to his guilt in a matter of minutes. “I can’t take it back Vanessa. I can’t take back what I’ve done to you and I’m sorry. You have no idea how sorry I am.”
Our audience has gone quiet. Listening in on our conversation with flat faces. Neither of them enjoyed this. Neither of them enjoyed watching their friend suffer.
But no one stops it.
As for me?
I was just tired.
Tired and empty.
Slowly, I do look at him. But it’s not to accept his apology but rather to get him to acknowledge the wrong he’s done. “He loves you.”
It freezes Zanthus in his tracks.
“He wouldn’t have done it. I know he wouldn’t have. But he did... for you.”
Zanthus shakes under my stare and when he finally breaks eye contact, the older male releases a pained croak.
“I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. He came up to me and told me about it and all I did was freak out and left him there.” Zanthus runs his hands through his matted black hair.
“I swear, Vanessa, I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean what I said to him. He told me he didn’t want to choose so I chose for him. I chose...”
He doesn’t finish.
The story is clear in my mind already.
Karen threatened Kale about Zanthus’s hidden truth.
That he was gay.
Somehow she found out and tried to blackmail Kale into giving up my secret in exchange for keeping his.
But with Zanthus’s reputation on the line and his fear of being found out, Kale had no choice.
So he told Karen and I... I took the fall.
Kale knew fully well the dangers he’s brought on himself when he made the decision to tell my secret.
He knew the boys were going to go after him but that didn’t matter so as long as Zanthus stayed safe.
It was funny.
How I had pieced the pieces together after seeing it for myself back in my apartment when all of them were there.
Kale didn’t betray me.
He was my friend.
In some way he loved me as much as I loved him.
He would have never done this.
People call it love.
Love is overrated.
“Zanthus, don’t come back.” My tone is dead, emotionless. “At least until I’ve come to terms with your choice.”
He recoils from my words and stands up to his feet, fingers in knots. “I’m sorry. You have to know that.”
“I do.” Closing my eyes, I hear his footsteps get lighter as he neared the door but then they halted, coming to a pause.
“If there is anything... anything I can do...”
“Find Thomas,” I reopen my eyes and stared directly at him, my words repeating. “Find Thomas, Zanthus.”
He is gone without a word and the remaining members glance at each other with unreadable expressions.
“You know, then?” Elios is hesitant to ask me, in fear that I actually, do not know.
But I do. I’ve just been too blind to see it.
“When was your first time, Elios?” My eyes find the ceiling. I’m lost. Drifting. “Finding out about who I was?”
“The Helipad.” His answer is curt and effortless almost.
Almost a year ago.
“But you weren’t sure?”
He shakes his head and exchanged glances with his friends, the Moore side of the group.
“I wasn’t sure either.” The smile didn’t quite reach my eyes. “But now I am.”
Against all odds, I’m suddenly laughing.
These people in front of me aren’t just ordinary heirs to rich companies.
Out of all the ways I imagined myself reacting to this conversation, this was not one of them.
“Is this a delayed reaction?” I ask all of them after feeling tears build up in my eyes.
Nobody answers. I think they’re as surprised as they are confused.
So I laughed and laughed.
Until tears streak down my face not from amusement but rather from fear.
Fear of what I went through.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of the memories.
My laughter turned into sobs and I heave into my hands, scared.
“Oh god,” I couldn’t stop. The tears kept coming.
Whether from relief or resentment I don’t know.
“We should do something.” Evan sounds panicked, he whips his head back and forth between the others around him.
“What do we do?” Matthew shared a similar expression.
I continued to choke.
“Oh god, oh god.” My heart continued skipping beats until I hear someone yell to get a doctor.
A couple of nurses, followed by a doctor ran in and they double checked my condition before advising the boys that I was going to have to continue sleeping until my brain caught up with the events.
At that point I was hysterical. “No! Do not put me under! I don’t want to sleep!”
Gone was the quiet reserved Vanessa.
It was replaced with someone much more animalistic. Someone desperate enough to yell to the high heavens and demand; ‘Why?!’
“Miss Vail, this is for your own safety-”
“Fuck that!” Throwing my pillow at the doctor, I felt my whole world tilt to the side at the action. “Don’t make me sleep. Please? I’ve been gone for too long. I-I can’t-”
“Ness it’s okay.” Hailey places a hand on my shoulder and forces me to face her. “I’m right here, I’m not going anywhere.”
“But you did!” The tears continue to fall. “You did leave me Hales! I don’t want to wake up and see you gone again!”
I don’t want to wake up and be alone.
Several pairs of arms all clasp down over my struggling limbs, making me cry out even more.
“Vanessa, please!” Mason is begging. He wants me to stop even as his grip over my arm tightens.
Hailey falters at the sight and for the first time in forever tears brim at the corner of her eyes.
She refuses to let them fall and some sane part of me knows she’s doing this to stay strong.
She had to.
She had to stay strong for me.
“I don’t want to go to sleep.” I’m pleading. “I don’t want to see their faces.”
My vision was tunneling, my head spun like a merry go around.
Weak, I slump on the bed and watch the dots on the ceiling glide effortlessly over each other.
It should be the drugs.
I wouldn’t be acting this way if it wasn’t for that.
A soft hand held mine and Hailey’s green eyes glowed softly. “I won’t leave ever again.”
“Promise?” The word is garbled and in the corner of my eye a nurse retreated back outside with an empty syringe in hand.
They must’ve have injected something into the ivy when I wasn’t looking.
I believe her. She’s my best friend. I know she won’t break it.
“Hmm?” Her voice softens in the distance.
Instead of the black void, I feel a cloud of white surround me in hazy mists.
I hear a bite of laughter. “Go to sleep Ness, he’ll be here when you wake up.”
Everything fades to white.
A/N Double-double update, see you there. ;)