The Fox (Riders of War - book one)

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Chapter Thirteen

Bella

It’s Monday morning and I am back at work. I am ready for things to go back to normal. And for a moment everything was.

“Your cutting my hours back?” The paper flicks as I wave my arms around.

“It’s not by much,” Matthew says calmly. He always has a level head, nothing seems to make him mad.

“It’s by a whole day actually.” I slump back in the chair. I don’t understand why they are doing this to me.

“It’s just one day,” he tries to reason with me. It may just be one day but this place in my life.

“What about my bills? Did you even think about that?” Im not sure why I am fighting him in this. Maybe it will be a good thing.

“It’s not forever, just until you feel better,” he reaches forward across the desk to take my hand. I lean back away from him before he can.

“I feel fine.”

“Bella as much as you don’t want to admit it you went through something traumatic,” I can hear the sympathy in his voice.

I don’t need sympathy. I’m not the one that was scared for her life, I’m not the one what bleeding to death.

“No Emily went through something traumatic.” He has no idea what happened.

“Bella this is non-negotiable, I’m sorry I don’t want to be the bad guy, but there is nothing you can do.” I roll my eyes and scoff as a storm out to the office.

The rest of my day carries out as usual. I am glad to have some normality back in my life. This last week has been so hectic.

I am back at the hospital. It would have to be my favourite part of my day going to see Emily. She is like my little sister.

I shuffle my way into the hospital, manoeuvring around all the bodies that are crammed into the small waiting room. Doctors and nurses are run off their feet.

“Bella!” I hear my name being called behind me. When I turn around I see Opal, the nurse that helped me.

“Oh hi, how are you?” I politely ask.

“Busy,” she laughs as someone pushes past up. Opal is a small woman so she stumbles a little when pushed.

“I see that.” I have never seen the hospital so busy.

“Are you going to see Emily?” She shuffles from one foot to another. It’s like she isn’t use to being still for this long.

“I am.” A calm expression took over her face. She let out a dreamy sigh.

“She changes when you get here. She’s happier. You’re good for her. I just wanted to tell you that.”

A smile spreads across my face. I think I change when I am around her too.

I leave Opal to her work and head down the hall to Emily’s room. When I get there she is sitting in bed off in her own word. I sit in the seat next to the bed. Her head turn to me and she smiles realising I am there.

“How have you been?” She gets comfortable in her bed. Something isn’t right.

“Okay I guess. My therapist and I are making a few break throughs.” She looks guilty, I couldn’t quite tell why.

“Oh that’s great. What do you remember?” I try to sound cheerful. Hopefully I can bring her out of the slump she is in.

“Still not a lot. But I remember the lights going out and then arms around me.” Her voice cracks as she remembers.

“Oh Emily. That’s horrible.” I hold her hand tight. A tear slips down her cheek. I get up and sit next to her in the bed, wiping the tear away. Soon more and more tears come until she is sobbing into my chest.

“I’m trying so hard to remember anything about him that could help the police but I can’t.” Her breathing goes heavy and she curls her legs under her. “I’m not sure I want to remember the man that hurt me. Does that make me selfish?”

“Not at all. It makes you human.” Ashamed, that’s the look on her face.

“But what if he has done this to other people?” All I can do is hold her. About 20 minutes pass before her breath evens out and the tears stop. “Can we talk about something else?”

“Sure. What do you want to talk about?” We lay back in the bed.

“How are you and Bennett going?” She laughs when she sees me roll my eyes playfully at her. I think she likes stirring me up.

“Oh there isn’t really a me and Bennett,” I say truthfully. She give me a suspicious eyebrow raise.

“Do you want there to be?” The life has come back to her eyes. She has a tendency to unintentionally ask philosophical questions.

“I don’t really know what I want.” I feel like Allie from The Notebook. Nothing is really that simple. Is it?

“Well what does he want?” The innocence in that question makes question everything.

“I don’t know. I don’t know anything about him.”

On the drive home all I could think about was my conversation with Emily. I really don’t know Bennett at all. This relationship or whatever you want to call it was going so fast yet going nowhere at the same time. We had already had sex and I had met some of his friends. But the conversations we had have been especially trivial.

I have always pictured myself settling down and having a family. I know plans change and things don’t always go the way you imagined. I don’t know how these things work in Bennett’s world. Maybe these things are done fast.

When I pull but Bennett is once again sitting on my front steps. Frustration settle in my gut and I could help but roll my eyes to myself.

I sat in the car for another few minutes just grinding my teeth and taking deep breaths. I don’t know why this has gotten to me so much today. It has never bothered me before.

When I finally decide to get out of the car, I stomp over to him and cross my arms.

“Are you going to do this every night?” My foot taps on the ground and my lips purse.

“I just want to make sure you are safe,” he said confused. He tries to brush the hair out of my face but I pull away before he can even touch me.

“Well you know what I am so over everyone else thinking they know what’s best for me. I am a grown ass adult.”

“I know that.” I push past him and unlock my front door.

“Then why do you insist on checking up on me?” You have to admit it’s a little weird. I spun to face him again still crossing my arms.

“Because I care about you.” When he says that it warms my heart and for a moment I forget why I am so mad.

“Care about me? You don’t even know me.” I have to snap out of it. I can’t keep romanticising our situation.

“I know you.” Tears well up in my eyes. I run my hands through my tangled hair. I take another deep breath and look him in the eye.

“Oh yeah, what my favourite colour?”

Silence

“When’s my birthday?”

Silence

“Where did I grow up?”

Silence

“You don’t know me Bennett. You’ve known of me for a week and we have already slept together. What does that make me?” The gravity of this relationship hits hard.

This is not right. I feel sick just thinking about the things I have let him do.

“What do you want from me? Do you want me to stop coming around here?” He is getting just as angry as me now. Tears stream down my face. All I want is for him to want to get to know me.

“No that’s not what I want.” I open my front door. I turn to invite him in. Maybe we can have some dinner and talk. Before I could get the first word out of my mouth, Bennett interrupts me.

“Well then tell me. What is it?” He grabs my shoulders forcing me to look at him.

“I want normal.” I finally say. Bennett takes a step back, shaking his head. He pulls his keys out of his pocket. My stomach drops. None of this is what I wanted.

“Well I’m not normal Bella.”

Bennett storms off and gets on his bike. I watch as he rides off down the street.

The further he rides away the bigger the hole in my chest feels. I hoped he would want what I want. That he would want to be with me.

I suppose it is crazy to think so highly of a man you have only just met. This isn’t a fairytale.

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