Fighting For Hope

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TWENTY

HOPE

I packed up for a visit to the hospital later this afternoon.

Unfortunately, Tyler will be absent because he had to bring Ashley to the doctors and have lunch with his sister.

I texted him the address of the hospital, just in case he could visit since I enlightened him about the pandemonium planned. It might be hazardous and a little wild to have a big fight in a hospital, but I wanted to be the villain. Just to show Calvin Woodland how it felt to be the victim.

My lips shaped into a frown as I remember how often Tyler is being dragged into situations I should face alone. After a long time of doing everything unchaperoned, I had lost the stupendous ability to put someone else before me. He deserves to make his own choice, even if I dreaded to lose his presence with me.

It is farcical how mere months can result in me trusting him more than any living person in the world. Preposterous and ludicrous, but it happened nonetheless. Perhaps it was his patience, his infuriating propensity to persuade, his understanding and his company that gives me a sense of home. For a moment, I felt that with Josh, from that comfortable embrace.

The diminutive spark of felicity felt so new for me. It distracts me from my past. Happiness is a feeling I could barely remember since it had been years since the last time when I was genuinely contented with life.

I tuck a small but effective switchblade in my pocket, one I bring along only occasionally. I was fuelled with umbrage the last time I touched it. Hurting the ones that wounded me was my only path. That time Ian burnt the pictures I cherished the most.

I set off with confidence, getting a lift from around the neighbourhood to the hospital. I received another text this morning about my mother’s state. She could be giving birth at any second.

The glacial air of the hospital greeted me and kissed my skin. A shiver travelled my spine. With every passing second, I wondered how life would be like after my baby brother is born. I sent a text to my mother’s phone, informing her that I arrived at the hospital. Calvin invited me to meet him downstairs for a few minutes, causing confusion to settle. He should be beside my mother, giving her the support she needs.

My expression had written it all since he answered, “I told the nurses I had hemophobia.” I wanted to deride him. That was a complete joke. Calvin did not have a fear of blood. He had once convinced my mother to perform murder on my father. A twinkle of animosity flashed in his face before it faded.

“How’s school?” Calvin surprisingly started a conversation. “Spring break’s almost ending, right?”

I smile, signifying that everything related to school is alright, though any assignments given for the holiday were yet to be done.

“How did you spend this break?” he asked, sounding sincerely solicitous. The enmity in his eyes vanished, and I wondered if the look was feigned from my imagination. However, I could see through him like crystalware. My father’s voice rang in my head, ’None of his intentions are pleasant.’

“With friends perhaps?” he asked, and I nod again, not engrossed in having small talks with him. There was a long pause between us when we shared a gaze. I concealed the distasteful look I was yearning to give, while he drowned in an ocean of thoughts.

“Follow me,” he said simply. I took a venturesome and tailed behind without a second of hesitation as he casually led me into an empty patient’s room, where he is undoubtedly prohibited from entering. The sharp tip of the knife regularly brushes my hand from inside my pocket, reminding me it was there whenever I need it.

“I want to privately tell you that you’re my daughter, although you’re another man’s blood. The whole town will soon know that I have a wife, daughter, and an heir to my company,” he said vehemently. He knows I will never accept him as my father. “I love my son immensely, and I hope he grows with a sister. However, you will have to behave accordingly.”

“Be careful, Angel, none of his intentions are pleasant.”

“I’m guessing you’re aware of what occurred a decade ago, the truth about your father’s suicide. That’s why you attempted drugging me just a few days before. It’s because I gave orders to kill your father,” he said bluntly, and I knew he was testing my reaction.

Rooted to the ground, I felt exasperation wire within me. Cameras were absent in this room. If they were present, I would have gotten my proof without effort.

Calvin probably thought I would lose it after his confession. Little did he know I saw it with my own eyes. I knew it the moment it happened. “I told your mother to end him.”

I knew that too.

“Your father was a fool. He deserved to die. It was quite amusing how the person he trusted decided to go against him,” he said, looking at me with false empathy.

I decided then he had sealed his fate. I wanted to inflict pain, just like he did to my father. I briskly closed the gap between us and delivered a punch to a side of his face, followed by an elbow.

“You’re stronger than your father,” he commented, looking unfazed by my attack. “Let’s play a game; the person who falls unconscious first loses.”

I accepted the challenge with a simple swing of my arm, aiming for his jaw. He handled it with ease, as expected. I chose my next move rigorously by raising my leg to kick his liver, a practical move. My hand was released as he fell on his knees. Without mercy, I stepped on his head, and the upper half of his body slumped forwards.

He extended his hand, rigidly grabbing onto my ankle and then removed the grip with force. Without any warning, he climbed back onto his feet and threw my leg towards the ground, causing my body to follow. I had yet to lose. I had an advantage with the knife in my pocket.

I stand tottering, and we were back to where we started, just with a few distressed spots. I clutched a wooden chair beside me hurled it towards Calvin, catching him off guard. He ducked, causing the chair to smash onto the wall behind him. I threw a punch square on his face the second he looked back up after the chair launched towards him.

Incandescent, he held the side of my face and smashed it towards the monitor machine beside the single bed. The world swirled as I pushed myself to continue fighting. I kneed his stomach, watching as he stumbled back before reaching out to grab something, which happened to be rubber tubing and jammed it into his eye.

He groaned, covering his eyes with his hand. I punched his nose and paused as he used his free hand to grab onto the side of the hospital bed for support.

I was so close to thrashing this man. An enraptured smile formed on my lips, and I dug into my pocket and held out the blade. I did not want him to perish in my hands. I just wanted him to lose everything.

First, I wanted to take his pride, to know he had lost to his stepdaughter, someone closely related to a man he had called pitiable.

I was a second from pressing the knife against his shoulder when the door to the room was slammed open. Perturbation arose when I looked behind my shoulder, but relief washed over when I realized it was Tyler. He probably located the place after all the raucous clattering which could be indistinctly heard from outside. The nurses might be too agitated from patients to fret.

“Hope, stop!” he boomed after he found out what I was seconds away from doing.

I startlingly lingered after I heard his voice. It was an abysmal mistake because, in a blink, the weapon was removed from my hand. Calvin gripped it tenaciously and positioned it on my throat, minacious.

“He’s a weakness, Hope,” Calvin told me, his right eye now red from the tube to the eye. He pressed the edge of the knife against my neck, “Sometimes the only way to win is by trusting no one but yourself. Nobody will stop you.”

With that, he astoundingly drops the knife and lets me off, leaving the messy room after sparing Tyler a glance. “Are you okay?” he asked with disquiet dripping from his tone.

“Yeah,” I lied. Calvin’s words have affected me more than I want to admit. We exited the room after I slid the weapon back into my pocket, ignoring the broken chair, disintegrated monitor and disarranged tubes.

In just a moment, I found myself in front of a door with the number thirty-eight staring back at me in bold. I pushed the door open, revealing my mother in a hospital gown and my stepfather beside her, grabbing onto her hand unceremoniously. His grasp loosened after detecting me.

“Hope.” My mother offered an incapacitated smile. I nodded politely in reply, choosing to sit on the chair in the corner of the room. My mother cradled a new-born baby in her arms, smiling with pleasure as she cast an affectionate gaze at him.

“Come here,” my mother told me, gently holding out the new-born, whose body was covered with a white towel. Tentatively, I carried the baby over and treated him as if he were more delicate than a pendant. I had never held a baby, and it felt awkward. But as I looked into his large blue eyes, I felt like I was carrying valuables.

The new-born started calming down, his tiny fingers brushing across the skin of my hand as he peered into the new world outside the womb. Tranquillity comes into mind, and I realize how reprehensible it is to rip his parents away from him, despite my blatant repugnance towards them.

“I have to weigh the baby and take down his height,” the nurse interrupted my train of thoughts, taking my brother into her arms in a tender manner. I glanced behind me, where Tyler stood. He had a small smile on his lips as he beheld the sight.

“Hope,” my mother called out once again, shifting her hand under the covers of the blanket. “Your father and I decided to let you name the baby.”

My lips parted as I look between my mother and stepfather in disbelief, Calvin shrugged and went back to his phone as if letting me, who he abhorred, name his baby was not a big deal.

I walked towards a table in a gradual manner, where I found a paper and pen. I then write down the noun that flooded my mind the minute I laid my eyes on him.

Justice.

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