I stared at her closed window intensely.
I know she is sleeping. Behind those curtains, I can almost picture her all cuddled up. I sighed deciding to let it go for this long night as well.
I turned around and walked out of my room, which I have avoided to sleep in because I don't want to face Stella just yet. Not when I have failed to comprehend her. Though its been not hard, seeing how she is practically helping me to steer clear of her. She has kept her window shut with curtains drawn all the time when I know she likes to keep it open so that her room would know sunshine. She loves her room when its breezy in there and to think she can bear the stuffiness from lack of it just so I wouldn't see her is enough for me to take a hint from. She doesn't want to see me.
Yeah I have figured out that part. Its the part where I don't know why she is doing this is whats been giving me a very hard time. Nightmarish.
I walked into the spare bedroom which was completely unfurnished and bare except for my grand piano. I went inside and shut the door behind me.
I haven't played it in a very long time but right now, the urge was too strong for me to hold back myself like I have grown to do. So, I snatched away the sheets that were covering it and gazed at it, its shiny black surface reflecting the little light that was coming in through the window, the window that didn't have a view of Stella's bedroom.
I gulped and sat on the bench.
My hands were shaking as I tested my fingers on the smooth surface of the keys that I have been away from so I stopped and took a deep breath, picturing my dad and his proud smile whenever he saw me playing.
His favourite composition by Johann Pachelbel came to my mind, instantly forcing my fingers back on the keys and this time there was no trace of hesitation in them, it was like the keys were an old friend of mine.
I closed my eyes as I put myself through the melancholy of endurance that was filling me with every second that took me to play the beautiful melody of Canon in D, all the while frowning at how even the serenity of this peaceful sequence was not enough because he wasn't here to stand over my shoulder and hum along with the music that came from underneath my fingers.
I stopped. Not really able to handle the drift that stands between me and the music that used to be my life. Now its just another tainted part of me that is useless.
No one is here. Not my dad, not my mom, not my Stella and most importantly not even myself.
The eerie stillness of this moment crawled excruciatingly slow under my skin and when I let a deep breath fill my lungs, letting the sound of that moment reach my ear, it allowed me to picture only one person that I have been trying to avoid from facing altogether.
That girl is fucking up with my entire system and I am simply letting her bring me down with no protest. Its like I want her to bring me down from the high I have chased so hard to be on, the high that has left me completely alone in my own mind. Its her, who makes me want to be not alone.
I don't know what is it with her that renders me fucking unprotected from all these feelings that have been structurally unfolding me and even though I am aware she knows nothing about me but one look into her eyes, I feel naked. She strips me from my own thoughts without even knowing what she is capable of.
And just like I had feared, she did judge me.
It was that day-at the hospital-I saw it in her clear ocean eyes that had grown dark and stormy from accusation that was pointed at me, accusing me for keeping my last name from her.
As if me being a Hyland was not enough of a pain in my ass already.
Her judgement was just a fucking unicorn shit on top of my perfectly ruined day.
I know she thinks I am mad at her for leaving Rosie here alone but thats not true. I know she didn't mean to because had she known how much of a waste my mother's presence can be then she would have not. It wasn't her fault that Rosie ate something she was not supposed to but my mother is the one to be blamed here. I can't help but think how it was her who came here just so she can push my buttons, how it was her that I left and Stella came looking for me.
She came. For me.
She had the choice not to, but she did anyways and I? Like a fucking jerk I am, I snapped at her when she was the only person who acted sensibly and took Rosie to hospital. I was so angry at myself for letting my anger get the best of me that I forgot, it was Rosie who needed me in that moment and I let her down instead choosing to direct my anger towards my mother.
If something had happened to Rosie, Christ! I would have never forgiven myself.
She is okay now though. In fact they'll be discharging her today. Elijah and Julie had come back in mere hours when they heard about Rosie and I held myself back from lashing out again when Elijah decided it was my fault that Rosie had to suffer like this. Technically it was and I apologised to Julie for not being able to take care of Rosie like I was supposed to. Still none of it felt enough because I know a certain girl wasn't okay with me.
It was a very ugly day.
I kept pacing around, waiting for the doctor to come out of the ICU and tell me that Rosie was fine but no one did!
"She'll be fine Charles." Mae said sounding pretty confident which for some reason really irritated the fuck out of me but I just nodded in response somehow hoping she was right.
Even someone as stranger as her who didn't even know Rosie was able to grow a bone to worry about the little girl inside that ICU but this woman right here who is unfortunately my mother couldn't even blink her eye for her own grand daughter. Every time I think about how she left Rosie lying cold on the floor and how Stella was the one who brought her here riles me up like anything. I hurt her so bad just because of this woman here who is incapable of feeling anything and thats why I asked her to leave. I know she hates me right now but I just couldn't bear to look at her and see those judgemental eyes as she came to know who I was.
"Excuse me Sir," A very scared looking nurse asked for my attention and I shot her an impatient look to say whatever it was and go away. "There is a couple asking for you at the reception."
"Elijah?" My mom asked the nurse and I ignored the conversation there on. Elijah and Julie were here. I don't know how they'll react to any of this. Julie trusted me and I let her down too.
"Charles!" I winced when I heard her frantic voice as she ran in our direction with Elijah following her closely behind. "Where is she?! Where's my baby?"
"She is still in there with doctors. There is no news." Mae quickly got up and I mentally thanked her for answering Julie because I don't think I can do this right now without cursing my mom out.
I could see Elijah who was barely holding his disappointment back. Since Mae was here, mother as well as her perfect son were holding their pretentious self together. Where as Julie, she was a mess. I am grateful for Stella leaving from here because I don't think I could have handled this well if she had stayed.
We all turned away when the door behind me opened and the doctor came out.
"How is she?" I asked him quietly.
"She is stable." He said nodding and I could feel everyone collectively relaxing. "But still unconscious so we are going to keep her under observation for tonight."
I nodded and walked away to get some fresh air. Everyone in the hallway stared at me as I walked past them on my way out, their eyes scared into submission as I let my annoyance consume me and be my open sign to take the hint from and stay the hell away.
"Charles!" Of course Mae thought it was okay to ignore my mood and followed me out as well. I didn't answer her and kept walking until I was out in the open air, letting the cold air hit my face. "Stop walking!"
"Stop annoying me."
"Asshole." She muttered and I had to remind myself to just endure this one out.
"What do you want?"
"Nothing but I hope you got what you wanted by not telling Stella about yourself."
She finally managed to draw my attention. Her face was set in firm wrath that was too cold for her to act on it.
"You shouldn't be so quick to make opinions about me Mae when you don't know anything." I said acidly.
"Then don't allow me the ease of making opinions about you!" She snapped. "Why do you always have to be such a jerk to her?!"
I gritted my teeth. My patience was teetering over the edge and this woman clearly didn't know how to take a hint and back off.
"I don't know okay?! I. Don't. Know!"
I pulled at the ends of my hair in frustration.
"I anticipated her judgement and I wasn't wrong about it, was I?" I said glaring at her. "She was so quick to jump on some rather untrue assessments about me just like I had known she would."
"Well its your fault seeing how you didn't tell her sooner!" She defended her friend and I remained silent. Maybe she was right, maybe I should have told her indeed but whats done is done. She is not here and I don't know what to do with that myself.
"Where is she?" I asked instead.
"Why do you care? Last I checked, you were too quick to send her away."
I almost called Val to take this insufferable creature away from me so I wouldn't kill someone just out of sheer annoyance induced in me because of Mae's bitter yet honest words.
"Thank god you are not the one living opposite to my window." I said pinching my nose.
"Oh you will wish for that too once Stella stops looking out from that same window." Her jab was enough for my already sore wounds.
"I am. Keep me informed though." And she left which finally gave me a chance to breath. How does Val bear that one is fucking out of my reach.
My phone buzzed with Elijah's text to come back and I groaned making my way inside.
I entered in the waiting room where they all were seated, except Julie who I am guessing was with Rosie. I prepared myself for Elijah to finally snap knowing damn well my mother had already done her work with him.
"Go on." I said looking him dead in the eye.
He gritted his teeth.
"If anything happens to my girl, you will never know peace, brother." He said quietly. Still managing to stay calm as ever but his threat wasn't lost on me.
What he didn't know that his words had already come true in my life. Its him who took away my peace without even stopping to blink in my direction.
"I am guessing, our dear mother, here told you everything?" I asked chuckling. "Did you mom? Or you skipped the part where you left Rosie lying on floor so it wouldn't ruin your precious manicure? Because she did Elijah and Stella brought Rosie here on time."
He stopped and for the first time ever, I really saw his eyes conflicting against his blind faith in our mother.
"I apologise for my negligence, Elijah. I wasn't there." I said blankly, numb from everything that has happened today. "She was there," I pointed at Valerie. "and still Rosie is in this condition."
I turned around and left him to decide the consequences of my words while I went into the private room I had ordered for Rosie. She was still not awake when I entered and found Julie sitting beside her, next to her little daughter's bed.
"I am really sorry, Julie." I let the words out quietly standing beside her, my eyes fixed on my niece who was in this condition because of me. She looked so small with all the machines and tubes attached to her, monitoring every beat of her heart. It broke my heart.
"Its was not your fault, Charles." My head snapped at Julie who gave me a shrug. "Mae told me everything."
Okay I'll not kill that woman after all.
"But it still is. I shouldn't have left so hastily." I said not really finding comfort in her words.
"The only thing you should be sorry about is if you allow Stella to take the blame she shouldn't be burdened with in the first place." Julie said making me nearly choke on my on breath.
"How do you know about Stella?" I asked though taking full note of her words which sank deep in my already guilty conscience.
Jesus Christ. Does she ever shut up?
"I would like to meet her someday." Julie continued to give me a look. "Thank her for helping my baby girl here."
"Rosie likes Stella." I said smiling.
"I think I would too." She nodded.
I need to talk to her. I need Stella to know that it wasn't her fault. I know I am just waiting this out, trying to find a reason to justify myself but its all in vain. I know I should have told her everything but I didn't and now she is not here. Its been two fucking days and all I can think about is her.
She is insanely stuck in my thoughts and all I do is mask my deep unarticulated desire for her into a crap of mere liking.
I'll be damned if I let her feel guilty when she was the one who saved Rosie.
I'll talk to her tomorrow. I wouldn't let her slip away so easily.