NINETEEN – MAKING A CHOICE
Sydney walked into her mother’s room the next morning, with a basket of food. Cage, who was sleeping in a chair by their mother’s bed starred when she closed the door. He stretched out his legs under the bed and pulled his arms over his head, yawning in the process.
Sydney placed the basket on the floor, next to the bed and moved over to throw her arms around her brother. For the past two days, he had been around to take care of their mother and had really been a good boy. He did not drink or act stupid as he always did. His actions surprised Sydney, but she was happy to see that he was changing.
“You brought food, good. I was starving.” Cage pushed her away, got up from the chair and picked up the basket.
“It’s for mum, do not eat that.” She warned, but he did not listen.
“Whatever, the hospital is giving her food anyway.” He replied and walked out with the basket.
Sydney sighed after he banged the door behind him. Maybe she should not have judged too soon. Moving closer to the bed, she watched her mother sleep. Slowly, she reached for her hand and held it between hers.
Since two nights ago after she went hysterical, the doctor tied her to the bed and has not released her from the bondage yet. According to them, it was normal for a patient to be aggressive in the withdrawal stage of addiction. Therefore, it was best to restrict the patient’s movements as much as they can, to avoid someone getting hurt.
The doctors even suggested that they move her into a rehabilitation center for better services. Sydney saw it as a good idea, but she did not have enough money for it. If only she still had her acting job. Moreover, she should have been wise enough to add money into the contract she signed with Anderson.
Argh, she had been a fool not doing that. Me, myself and I? She remembered what she told herself. How on earth, did she think that she would be able to live on this earth without her family? Family was everything, whether they treat you good or bad, they are still family and one can never ran from family.
Now her family was back in her life and has become, “me, my family and us.” Sighing, she pulled the chair Cage was sitting in close to the bed and sat down.
“I am sorry, mother.” She said, rubbing her thumbs on her mother’s knuckles. She now regretted being selfish. Had she not been driven by the urge to be successful as an actress, she would have gotten money from Anderson and would have been able to take her mother to rehab.
“I will pay you twice of what my son offered.” Her conversation with Mary suddenly echoed in her mind.
Sydney’s gaze fell on her laps and she heaved a sigh. Mary’s offer was tempting, the money and the part with her career. Last night, she had said she would think about it. Today, after seeing her mother again, she was considering taking the offer.
Her phone buzzed in her purse and she pulled it out. The number on her screen was unknown to her. While wondering who it was, she answered.
“Have you made up your mind yet?” Her heart skipped a beat when she realized who it was. Biting on her lip, she thought about it.
Getting the money would be great for her. She could do many things with it, with the first being taking her mother to a rehab center. In addition, her career would get better. She would get better acting jobs and make better money for the family. They would leave that small town and move to the city. Life would be good for them.
“The check is ready. Come over to the house for it, whenever you make up your mind.” With those words, Mary hanged up.
“Sydney,” she jumped when a hoarse voice spoke her name, harshly. Looking down, she saw her mother, awake.
A smile spread across her face before she asked. “How are you doing mother?”
“Do I look fine to you?” Adeline snapped. “Look what those knuckleheads did to me.” She squirmed and pulled to get free. “Get me out of this.”
“No, mother this is good for you.” Sydney said, but she snapped.
“No it’s not.” Her voice broke towards the end and she stopped squirming. “I can’t move. I cannot leave this stupid bed. I want a drink.” Tears hang at the corners of her eyes.
“No. No more drinks mother.” Sydney rose to her feet. “And I am not getting you out of this.”
A frown creased Adeline’s forehead and she yelled. “I want to leave this place.”
“No!” Sydney raised her voice, startling Adeline. “You will not leave this place. And even if you are leaving, you next destination will be a rehab center.”
Adeline snickered. “Rehab center? Huh, you cannot take me against my will. And even if you can, where is the money you are going to use?” She continued to laugh at her daughter.
“Money? I know exactly where to get the money so do not rejoice yet.” Adeline’s laugh caught in her throat and Sydney smirked. “I shall have the money with me by the end of the day.” She grabbed her purse.
“And where are you getting the money?” Adeline asked.
“From, Mrs Niles.” As soon as Sydney spun around, she saw Hansen standing at the door.
She froze for a moment, eyes bulging. How long has he been standing there? She wondered. Did he hear what she said? Clearing her throat, she said.
“Hansen, I did not see you standing there.”
“I just got here.” He replied and moved inside.
The tension that had built inside Sydney suddenly dissolved, knowing that he just arrived. It meant that he had not heard what she said.
“Okay.” Sydney moved towards the door and left the room, leaving Hansen behind.
“Sydney, wait.” He ran after her. “Won’t you say something?” He questioned as she rolled her eyes.
“Say what? I have nothing to say to you.” She replied and continued to move.
“Say you forgive me.” He crossed her path and she halted in her footsteps, nostrils flaring. “Come on, I am not the only one who lied to you yet you single me out and give me the silent treatment.” He complained.
“You lied to me about Anderson and that’s that. I will talk to you when I want, so please do not come after me.” She said and walked around him, then continued her way down the corridor.
Hansen followed her out of the hospital, before speaking again. “Are you going somewhere?”
“Yes.” She replied.
“Allow me to give you a ride.” He offered.
“No thank you. I will go on my own.” She said and continued her way towards the gates of the hospital.
Sydney reached the roadside and stood, looking out for a taxi. She clutched her purse and drew in a shaky breath. She asked herself if she was doing the right thing. Was she really going to accept the money?
“Oh God, am I doing the right thing?” She asked, looking up at the bright, blue sky.
There was a sudden honk and she brought her head down. In front of her, stood a black Bugatti. The windows rolled down to reveal a strikingly handsome Anderson. He was dressed in his usual fashion, black shirt over black denim jeans with a black blazer on top. His golden hair matched with the gold watch around his wrist.
“Going somewhere?” He asked, eyes locking with hers.
“No.” She replied while moving her eyes away from his.
“Good.” He said, while stepping out of the car. “Get in. We are going somewhere.” He held the door open for her.
“Where are you taking me?” She asked.
“It’s a surprise.” He replied, a small smile playing on his lips.
She could not help her own smile, as his smile was infectious. “Come on, tell me.” She said while getting into the car.
“I am taking you to the set of a movie at Disney Studios. Also, you get a brief appearance in the movie.” Her jaw dropped at his words, while he moved around the car to get behind the wheel.
“Are you serious?” She asked, eyes bulging.
“Have I ever not been? Here’s your script.” He leaned back and reached for a white file laying at the backseat. He handed it to her and she flipped it open.
“It’s a script!” She gasped.
“Yes, it is.”
Sydney suddenly lurched herself at him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Anderson froze in his seat, without knowing what to do. She squeezed him and let go. When she was moving back, something caught a strand of her hair, making her squeal.
“Hold on.” Anderson’s hot breath fanned her face and she froze.
Neither of them moved, as their faces were very close. He felt her breath against the crook of his neck and he gasped. Sydney tried to move once again but winced when her hair was still stuck.
“I said, don’t move.” Anderson moved his head around; searching to find what caught her hair. He moved his hand, making her scream into his ear. That was when he noticed what caught her hair; it was his watch.
“I found it.” He said and untangled it.
Sydney got back to the seat and he took the wheel. There was silence in the car as he drove. She read her script, while he sneaked peeps at her occasionally from the corner of his eye.
* * * * * *
Anderson pulled over outside Hansen’s mansion gates and turned off the car’s engine. Looking over his shoulder, he glanced at Sydney who still had a huge smile on her face. He could tell that she enjoyed her visit to Disney Studios. Of course, why would she not? She guest appeared in a blockbuster movie, so her happiness was justified.
“Thank you.” She said.
“This is probably the hundredth time you said that today.”
“I know, but I feel like my thank yous aren’t enough for what you did for me today.” She glanced at him, still beaming.
“Hey, I am only fulfilling my part of the deal.” He told her and she nodded. “Just make sure to fulfill your part as well.” He added.
Sydney’s head hang low with guilt and she rubbed her thumbs together. “Alright, I will go now.” She quickly pushed the door and stepped out of the car.
The cold late night air blew over her, making her shiver with cold. She quickly wrapped her arms around herself and then moved about the car towards the gates. Upon reaching them, she waited while the gate-man unlocked the gate.
She let out a shaky breath, at the same time something warm landed on her shoulders. She glanced at it and noticed it was Anderson’s blazer.
“It’s cold.” He said and she spun around. Sydney was surprised when her forehead brushed against his chest. He was closer than she imagined he would be.
She raised her gaze and saw his stunning figure. At that moment, she realized how truly tall and physically built Anderson was. The bright moon hanging over his head darkened his features, making him look fearsome.
Her heart skipped a beat as she stared at him. Blue eyes stared back at her and she took a step backwards. She let out a shaky breath before speaking in a low voice. “Thank you... and good night.”
Sydney rushed into the house and went straight to her room. She moved to the window and parted the curtains to take a peep at Anderson before he leaves. She saw the lights of his Bugatti just before it made a turn and disappeared.
Sighing, she returned to her bed and threw herself on it. She rolled on her side and hugged her pillow close to her rapidly beating heart. His words echoed in her mind and she buried her face in the pillow.
He was fulfilling his part of the contract, but what about her.