STAY MINE AGAIN

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9:

You are the rain pouring down on me. Never promising to stay, but leaving behind a trial of a new beginning.

Megan.

There was complete darkness as the pain in my chest subsided. It all started when I saw Miles and heard him call my name. Every memory of us being together and getting torn apart crossed my mind, and I was not ready to go through it again.

I remember begging him to go away, to let me be. He had haunted all my dreams telling me that I had hurt him, and I was not ready to face him now. It was better for him… for me, if we stayed away from each other.

I had already hurt so many people in my life and hurting Miles was the one which took a toll in me. Though I knew that I did hurt him, I was in no position to send him my apologies either. But I did try to friends with him—which was a very bad move, and that was when I saw the hurt in his eyes, that assured all my nightmares were in fact… true.

The darkness grew and consumed me, then suddenly there was a faint light far across—like a ray of sunshine in the depths of the dark sea. Ignoring the pain, I tried my best to move towards the light. As I reached further, the light increased, filling me in. Then there was only brightness.

I blinked twice or more to adjust myself to the deadly light that hit my eyes painfully. It was like having a hangover all over again. As I shifted my focus, all I could see was white—white clothes, white walls, white curtains and… white wires.

The view wasn’t unfamiliar, I instantly knew where I was—the hospital.

Shit! I had promised myself that I had enough with the hospitals and yet, here I was, blinking absently at those pathetic white walls.I turned my head towards my left and suddenly there was a massive pain in my head. I let out a soft groan. I didn’t want to stay at the hospital, I wanted to go home.

“She’s awake.” Someone said. I turned my head again to see the source of the voice and winced again when the pain in my head just intensified. “Don’t move, you have hit your head. I’ll go get a doctor.”

Just as I had thought I had recognized the person, they turned their head away from me and ran out of the door.

“Megan.” A new voice spoke towards my left, holding my hand. I blinked again, to make my vision clear. “I’m so sorry.”

It was Miles.

I shuddered slightly. The one who left the room said that I had hit my head, I must have been dreaming again. But Miles in my dream, never apologized, he only blamed me for hurting him.

“It was all my fault.” Miles said again. “I’m really sorry for not being there for you. I’m sorry for having you go through all that shit. I’m sorry.”

“M-Miles?” I asked, blinking at him. I was not dreaming?

“Yes, that’s me.” He said, as he put my hand towards his chest.

The door opened revealing two whitey dressed men walking in with sketch pads dangling in their hands. Behind them, there was Amber and Laura, worry etched in their face.

The doctors came and stood next to Miles. Miles let go of my hand and went to stand behind Laura. What’s happening?

The first doctor smiled at me warmly. “Hello Megan.” He said, “Look at my finger now, I’ll see how you are doing.”

He held his index finger near my eye. As I rested my vision on it, he angled his torch at my eyes. Few seconds later, he put the torch off and smiled again. “You just had a slight concussion that’s all. You will be fine.”

The other doctor stood at the end of the bed, scratching something on his notepad. “Well, you can go home within this eve.” He said, looking at me.

“My head… aches.” I struggled to speak and I had to clear my throat twice before I could speak again.

Laura came by my side as I coughed again and gave me a glass of water. Amber helped me sit up and smiled at me.

“We have given medications for it but it should have been long gone by now.” The first doctor said. “Let’s just give it another hour or so. If it didn’t subside, let us know about it.”

“Yes, doctor.” Amber said, nodding at him.

“Don’t let her stress.” The second doctor said, as the two of the walked out.

“I’ll walk you out.” Miles said, and walked away with them.

“How are you?” Laura asked, stroking my head. “You really gave us a heart attack.”

The word heart attack, seemed to do the trick. All the memories flashed brighter than the torch that was held at my face not so long ago.

Girls night out- the phone call- Smith’s heart attack- his death- silence- pain- the park- Miles. Like a jigsaw puzzle, everything fit beautifully in its place and the head ache seemed to dull in comparison with my internal turmoil.

Tears seemed to flow without any control, the pain increased two-fold constricting me. It was suffocating and a second later, I couldn’t breathe.

“Hush, hush.” Amber said, wiping my tears away. I could see her glare at Laura and then giving me a sympathetic look. “Deep breath, remember? Just like old times.”

“What happened?” Miles had come back and before I could see clearly, the world seemed to dim and I was taken to the darkness all over again.

~~~

“I’ve had this enough. I can’t deal with this anymore, it’s too much for me to handle. Just look at her! She—”

Amber?That was Amber.

I opened my eyes, adjusting to the light. “Amb?” I said, getting up to sit down. I felt a lot better than I had felt before. The painkiller seemed to be doing its work. Except for my hunger, I felt that I was in a better shape.

Amber rushed to my side, helping me sit up. “You need so much of time to wake up?” she chided, her voice soft rather than her shouts I had heard a few moments later. “Now drink this all up. It was the only juice that this hospital provided for their patients.”

I took a sip and pushed her hand away from my mouth. Amber rolled her eyes. “I know it’s not that good, but I don’t care, I want you to complete it.”

“I… I want noodles.” I said, my voice hoarse. I saw Amber shake her head with a smile.

“You will get them, as soon as we get out of here.” Miles came behind Amber, smiling brightly at me.

“M-Miles?” I crocked. “You… why are you here?”

“Well, one of my best friend wanted me by her side.” He smiled and put his hand around Amber. I sat up straighter, looking at her in confusion.

I did remember everything that happened, but Amber and Miles were best friends? This I couldn’t recollect. “You asked him to come?” I asked Amber, my voice too low. My vision was starting to get blurry.

“Not again.” Amber threw her hands in the air, moving away from Miles’ hold. “Miles get out of here.”

“Amber, we both know—”

“You were still in contact with him behind my back?” I asked, silencing Miles. “You knew... you knew what happened Amber… but… but still…”

Amber came by my side—her expression a mixture of both worry, anger and… pain. “Megan, take the goddamned breath.” She cursed. “I’m fed up of this— to have to see you like this. I want my best friend Megan back, not this cry baby!”

“You hate me.” I said slowly, the realization hitting me hard on the face. First, my parents, then my friends, Peter, Miles—all of them and now Amber had joined to that list. I remembered the things she was telling when I woke up—I’m a nuisance.

Amber came to my side, holding my shoulder together. “I don’t hate you, Meg. I really do care for you, we all do.”

“No.” I said, pushing her away. I didn’t want her soft talks before she finally walks on me. I had had enough of them my entire life. “It’s always like this isn’t it Amber? Once you actually get to know me, you really don’t want to stay by my side.”

Amber rubbed her forehead and rested her hands on her hips. “You really are pulling that card on me, aren’t you?” she asked, her eyes blazing fire at me. “Get over yourself! The entire universe doesn’t revolve around you, for God’s sake.”

“Amber, not now.” Miles said, taking a step towards her. But she held a hand at him and he stopped in his tracks.

“Yes, I agree that you had a tough childhood with all your insecurities, you had been fighting your way all this long and you want to quit it now?” She asked, not bothering an answer from me, she continued. “Smith wouldn’t have expected this from you.”

The tears that I had been holding till now, ran down my cheeks. Smith had loved me like his own daughter. But he was now gone, he—

“What about Hannah?” Amber questioned. “She lost her husband, Megan. And she has to see you at the hospital while she had to be there at the funeral. Everything is not about you, there are people who suffer because of your actions.”

“I—”

“No, I’m not done yet.” She said. “As for Miles, yes, I did call him. You ask me why?” She didn’t bat an eye lash at me. “Because my best friend drove herself crazy when she found that Smith had passed away. Do you know how many hours we spent locating you?”

“Amber, just stop.” Miles said in a slow voice, filled with anger of his own.

But Amber was in no position to stop. She was getting everything out of her system. “Three whole hours. You should have seen Hannah. I had to call Miles to find you, that’s why he’s here. You just can’t run away from your problems, there are people who suffer along with you—you just have to look close enough.”

“Amb, I-I’m s-sorry.” I hiccuped. “I never meant to hurt anyone.”

“Do you have any idea how many times I had to take you to the hospital this year?” She asked, but continued, not waiting for my answer. “Five, Megan, five. Do you know how much we have suffered throughout?”

“Amb, please.” I cried.

“Get your big girl panties on and face the shit!” she cried out loud and threw herself out of the hospital room, leaving me in sobs.

Amber had always been there in all my ups and downs. Though some part of me always knew that she cared for me, I never really understood why. It was one of those times that I wished no one would really care for me—at least I wouldn’t trouble them indirectly.

“It’s okay.” Miles said, wrapping his hands around mine. I was too lost in my own thoughts that I didn’t register him coming towards me. “She’s just stressed. Give her some time, she’ll be good.”

It had been a very long time since someone had consoled me. The warmth of the beating heart as he pressed me against his solid chest, was more than enough to stir my locked memories. He stroked my hair and wiped my tears. I pulled myself away sooner than I realized.

I can’t get myself attached to something or someone again. As Amber put it, I had to deal with them all myself and I had to grow strong to prove that I was indeed capable of it. “Can you call Amber in?” I asked no looking him in the eye.

I assumed that he nodded and a second later he was gone out of the room. Though I asked him to call Amber, I didn’t know what to tell her. I tried different apologies mentally, trying to hurl the best one at her.

“You have got five minutes before I give you another dirty lecture.” Amber said, folding her hands against her chest. Her brown hair had grown a bit longer, but her eyes had lost the usual mischievous sparkle. I knew that I was not the only one who had been grieving all along.

“You were right.” I said, my voice croaky. “I’ve been living in hell, even though you are making it better for me.”

I looked at her and she gestured her hand towards me. “Go on.”

“I’m really sorry.” I said, wiping the tear that ran down my cheeks. “I’ve never meant to hurt anyone.”

She glared at me. “Wipe your tears. If I see you cribbing over the past, one more time, Megan, I swear I’ll kick your ass for good. I’m sure I’ll be sprouting gray hairs for my wedding this fall.”

I laughed while I cried and it sounded as if I was choking on a snail. Smiling, Amber walked towards me and gave me a side hug.

“Now, let’s inform that doctor that you are back on your senses and we can get going.” Amber said, curtly glancing at me for a brief moment and I think I saw her eyes were filled. Without another word, she dashed out of the room.

“I am terrified of her.” Miles said, mocking horror in the direction of the closed door. “I don’t understand how Zack lives around her.”

I gave him a weak smile, wiping my tears and taking a fresh breath. It smelled like Dettol and phenol, yet I had never left more alive. It was as if a great burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Of course, the past still haunts me, but for now, I was okay.

“So, want to grab that noodles?” Miles said, awkwardly, scratching his neck. It was his signature move to pretend to be confident while he was nervous about it.

“Why are you here?” I asked instead.

“Amber answered for you, right?” Miles said, confusion on his face. “She called me when you had been missing. I came around three hours later and helped her find you.”

“No, why are you still here?” I asked, shocked that he was talking to me as if nothing happened between us. “You found me.”

“That’s the same reason why I’m still hanging around.” He said, as a matter of fact. “Unless you don’t want me to.”

He wants to stay? There were too many questions that needed answers. “No.” I said.

Miles face fell and before I could react, his face lit up as if nothing happened. “Okay then, I’ll let Amber know that I’ll be leaving. You should be… fine, then?” He reached for the door handle.

“No,” I said, a little too loudly. “I don’t mind you staying.”

He smiled at me. “I know I’ve not been very honest with you—” he started, but his cell phone rang, cutting him in between his sentence. He muttered a few curses under his breath, “I need to take this one, sorry.”

I nodded at him, as he went out of the room for some privacy. I thought I heard a girl’s voice on the opposite side of the call before he went out. I wonder if it was his girlfriend. The thought of it churned my stomach but I had to remind myself that it had been three long years and he had moved on unlike… me.

Amber came in, before my mind traveled south again. “We have to sign a few papers and then we can go.” She said.

~~~

Amber and I sat side to side in the all too familiar car with Miles as our designated driver. I finished the hot noodles that Miles brought me a while ago. He insisted that we stay at the restaurant while I eat, but I stated that I get home.

Seeing Miles now, didn’t bring any harder feelings like they did before. It was as if the wound was healing with a new medication. I just hoped that it wouldn’t leave any side effects behind, sparing me with a greater hazard than I had before.

The deep hollows of my heart seemed to enclose every time I saw him laugh and I had to remind myself that I shouldn’t get used to it. The man I saw at the party or at Emerald’s birthday was long gone. The cold Miles was nowhere in sight and I wondered if it was his coping mechanism just like I did by hiding myself.

He even talked to me as if we were still friends. But I remember him telling me that we could never be friends and then he had kissed me. I shuddered at the thought.

“You okay?” Amber asked, looking at me. She was laughing at something Miles had said and when she noticed my tremble, she zeroed on me.

“I’m fine.” I said, smiling at her.

“She’s silent.” Miles observed. We were driving back to my apartment, as the familiar streets passed by.

“She’s been that way for a while.” Amber said, looking at Miles in the rear view mirror. There was some flicker in his eyes before I could notice it, he turned his attention to the traffic ahead.

“I’m fine.” I repeated again. Amber rolled her eyes at me and looked out of the window. Amber’s cell phone buzzed a few minutes later. She pulled it out of her jeans pocket and let out a sigh.

“I’m late.” She announced, glancing nervously at me and Miles alternatively.

“For what?” I asked as Miles looked at Amber expectantly in the rear-view mirror.

“My wedding dress fitting was there today and I had to be there by three, its already four now.” She confessed. “They are one of the people who work with Zack in the modelling industry, very rare to get hold of them.”

Oh, the wedding! I had totally forgotten about it.

“I can get a cab home.” I reasoned. “Miles can give you a lift.”

“You are not going anywhere alone.” Miles said, before Amber could talk. “I’ll take you to the fitting, Amb, meanwhile you stay put in the car.”

Just as I was thinking that the cold Miles was long gone, I figured that he still lingered somewhere around and he would pounce on me the first chance he would get. “Fine.” I said again, crossing my hands.

“You should learn a new word for that.” Miles said, taking the opposite course, as Amber put the location on his GPS. “May be alright will do for you.”

Amber chuckled and settled to sing along to the radio that was silently humming at a random tune I had never heard before. I averted my gaze to the windows, looking ideally at a small kid who was playing at the park where I had fallen unconscious. She looked happy playing freebie with a kid of her age.

“Thomas was asking if he could have a day off tomorrow.” Amber filled in the silence apart from the radio. “I told him to work his ass off and I was dealing with Megan crisis.”

“I can handle the shop.” I said, still looking at the girl who just missed her catch. I turned to look at Amber, “He probably has exams or something.”

“Megan, I don’t want to repeat things here.” Amber said, wagging her index finger at me. “Last time you said you could handle the shop, you had forgotten your medicines.”

“I’ll keep an alarm for it.” I rolled my eyes. “Besides it was only one tablet.”

“Now they have increased the dosage!” Amber said, putting her hands in the air. “I don’t want any more running away or falling on the floor from you, when my wedding’s going on.”

“You are too imaginative for your own good.”

“And you are too practical for our good, right?” Amber said, her index finger accusing me.

“Girls!” Miles yelled, his voice raised above ours to get our attention. “Amber, your ever-awaiting modelling industry people are waiting for you.”

“Thanks Miles.” Amber said, getting herself up. She shut the door without a glance at me. I rolled my eyes at her. She should be fine within another half hour, running to me to tell me how difficult her fitting session was.

“Come to the front seat.” Miles ordered at me. “I don’t want to look like a driver, I’ve a reputation to cling to.”

“I’m fine here, Miles.” I sighed. “Just take me home. I won’t trouble you.”

“I’m not your driver.” He said, stressing on the word driver. “Just get in the front seat!”

I never understood why he cared about his reputation now, he had been driving that way from past half hour, looking like a driver. But I finally gave up. “Fine I’ll come. Just don’t create a scene here by your roaring.”

I saw him roll his eyes, as I shifted to the front seat next to him. The familiar seat that I usually took was still the same, giving me a rush of nostalgia and if I didn’t keep my calm, I was sure that I would have another panic attack right here in the car. I tried hard to concentrate on the lyrics of a new song that played on his radio.

The car stopped and I was thankful for the short ride where we didn’t have to awkwardly make conversations with each other. “Thank you.” I said, staring at his dashboard.

“I’ll see you around then?” Miles spoke, his voice soft and gentle. As I looked at him, he smiled at me.

“Yeah.” I said, before clipping the seat belt off of me. As I unlocked the car door and made my way out, I saw Miles rushing by my side. I looked at him in confusion and raised an eyebrow at him asking him what he was doing.

“You said that I could see you around right?” He made a funny face, scratching his neck nervously. I laughed at him as I stepped aside. When I saw him rooted to the spot, I gave him another look.

“What?”

“Just that I… thought I could never hear you laugh again.” He said, smiling genuinely at me. His features were highlighted from the evening sun—those dark eyes that I adored so much looked a shade of deep brown as the sun rays hit him, his hair was disheveled to one side as he angled his neck to look at me.

“Why are you being so nice to me, Miles?” I asked in a small voice, still looking at him. “You know that you don’t have to, right?”

“When was I ever not nice to you?” He said, his smile wavering a bit.

“You want a list?” I asked rolling my eyes, as I crossed my hands over my chest.

“You have a list?” He snorted. As if he realized something, he pressed his lips into a thin line. “I really didn’t mean any harm three years back.” He added silently.

“What about after three years?” I asked eyeing him.

“I was not nice to you when we met?” he asked, not believing me.

“What about the birthday party?” I looked away. Though I wanted to accuse him, deep inside my heart, there was a warm glow. “You said you couldn’t be friends with me and then… you…”

“I kissed you.” he completed my sentence. When I looked at him, I saw that he was intently staring at me.

“Yes.” I said in a low voice. “You are not supposed to do that to someone who’s not your girlfriend anymore.”

Miles ran his fingers at his hair. “Megan… you… That was not nice?”

“What? W-why—” I stumbled with the words. Did that mean that he actually meant that kiss, that seemed so punishing at levels? “You don’t have the right to do that. I just can’t believe that we are arguing about a kiss!” I put my hand over my head.

“Megan… I didn’t—”

“You have no idea how I have been spending my days.” I spat at him, all the anger bubbling through me. “You can’t come now and bat your eye lashes at Amber. You can’t come here and say that you were never not nice. You can’t!”

“Megan!” he shouted. “Don’t you ever dare talk to me like that! You think it was easy for me?” he asked, his eyes lost its colour. He let out a sigh. “Sometimes I thank myself that I was not around when you were suffering, I can’t imagine how I would have survived watching you like that.”

He was unbelievable. He hints that he cares for me and then comes to tell me that he was lucky that he was not there when I was walking through hell—which was all because of him in the first place? But I could hear the truth in his voice—no one would survive with me. People had left me, but he was the first one to confirm all my reasons were true.

“Well, it seems you will be lucky if you didn’t hang around me much then. I promise it will save you.” I said sarcastically, walking away from him.

“I’ll walk you to the door.” He said making me turn around.

“Didn’t you just hear your own words, Miles.” I asked, standing on the first flight of the step. We were of the same height. I looked at him in the eye. “You won’t survive around me. Get yourself out, before you hurt yourself.”

“You and I both know that I didn’t mean it the way you are putting it, Megan.” He said seriously, matching my heated stare. “You are tired and you need rest. I’ll go when I’m sure that you have taken your medications properly.”

“What do you mean you didn’t mean what you said?” I asked him, holding my head. There were a lot of questions that was in my head that I needed answers for, but my head was hurting and I couldn’t concentrate anymore.

Just as I turned my heels at him, I lost my balance on the stairs. Miles caught me in a second and gave me a pointed look that told me that he was right. I shook myself away from him. I was still angry and I wasn’t letting him go off the hook that easily. “I’m fine.”

“First we need you to learn a new word to replace ‘fine’ and then we can get you inside.” He smiled, despite my fuming glare at him.

“There’s no we,” I spat back, holding the staircase for support. “It’s only been me for the last couple years and lets just leave it at that—it’s better for everyone.”

Before he could protest or tell me wrong or even insist that he should make sure that I took my medicines, I turned away. Thankfully for once, I found the key to my apartment at time and I slipped inside, locking the doors securely.

I didn’t want him anymore.

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