Zora had retired to her bedroom but sleep was a long way from her. Something wasn’t right and she wouldn’t rest until she knew everyone was alright. She paced her bedroom until it was close to midnight and that’s when she heard the truck pulled into the driveway. She slipped her robe over silk short sleep set she had on and dashed out the door, down the stairs. She was at the end of the staircase when the front door was pushed open and Thomas and Graham carried in a bloody David.
“Oh my God!” She started to rush to him when suddenly a strong hand caught her. “What happened?” She pulled against the hold but Melissa had a tight grip on her.
“Let them get him down.” Melissa whispered in her ear.
“Zora, go upstairs.” Graham said as they hauled a limp David into the living room and laid him out on the rug in front of the fireplace. Zora followed and she stared at David’s beaten and bruised body. It was a sight she would never forget. The only indication he was alive was the groan he made when his shirt was ripped from his chest. Thomas rushed in with towels from the kitchen and started wiping at the blood on his chest.
“Oh no!” Aria rushed in and now Melissa had her arms around her.
“Melissa, take them upstairs, please.” Thomas stressed. He couldn’t take the broken cries when he was trying to make sure his son could live another day.
“That’s a lot of blood. Why didn’t you take him to the hospital?” Aria questioned.
“She’s right, Thomas. What if-” Zora started.
“Melissa, please! Get them out of here!” Thomas yelled.
“No.” Zora pulled away when she reached for her. “Let me help.” Thomas was a stubborn man and it wasn’t the time to argue about decisions that had been made. Zora eased down and pulled David’s head into her lap and grabbed a towel to clean the blood from his face. “Who did this to you?” She whimpered.
Thomas felt a grumble from his son’s chest and he would have laughed from the fact that even in that state he was responding to Zora. He continued checking for broken bones while she cleaned his face and whispered affirmations to him.
“This is not his blood on his shirt but one of his ribs is cracked and his leg is broken. Where is the damn doctor? I called him when we picked him up.”
“The man is sixty, Thomas cut him some slack.” Melissa said as Aria held her hand, resting her head on Melissa’s shoulder watching Graham join in on David’s cleanup.
“Who did this to you, David?” Zora cried. David hand reached out, limply falling to her thigh. She grabbed his hand and he squeezed it and that made her cry harder. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t, Zora. You have nothing to be sorry for. Whoever did this will pay and you can bet on that.” Graham said as he tossed the bloody towel to the floor to join the rest that had been used.
Aria eased away from Melissa and went to kneel behind Graham just to be close. She was crying all over again burying her face in his neck.
“I’m going to see if I see the doctor coming.” Thomas pushed off his hunches and moved out the front door and Melissa followed.
“Thomas.” She touched Thomas’s back and felt him flinch. “He’s going to be okay.”
“Something told me to lock up with him tonight but he assured me he would be okay.”
“You don’t know what happened.” She shook her head.
“I know I wasn’t there, Melissa.”
Before she could say anything else the beams from a car light came shining on them and Thomas rushed to help the doctor with his things. She prayed that David would be fine and that Thomas wouldn’t count this against himself like he did everything when he couldn’t be superman and rescue everyone. The only question she always asked was who would rescue him...
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
David felt like shit.
He tried to open his eyes but only one of them would open, the other wouldn’t budge. He started to move his body but the pain that shot through him made him reconsider. However, it wasn’t the only thing that made him lay back down. Against his chest were long, black curls and a soft hand laid against his stomach. Zora.
“Where is he?” He thought that voice sounded like Summer’s but he couldn’t be too sure with his head throbbing like it was.
“Calm down. He’s sleeping. That medicine had him in and out since yesterday morning.”
“I want to see him, Thomas.” Yep, that’s Summer. He slowly turned is head towards the voices outside the door and that’s when he realized he was in the guest room, with Zora. God, he didn’t want to fight with Summer about this. Zora was sitting in the chair laying more on the bed than him. Plus he was hurt so there couldn’t possibly be anything going on between them.
“You don’t want to see him like this.” He heard his father say to her. He wondered was it that bad? He saw the bandage wrapped around his chest then he saw the cast enclosed on his left leg and his face probably was unrecognizable because it felt like his whole head was swollen.
“Just for a little while. I am his fiancée.” After a brief moment he heard the door open and he tried to turn his head but it took too much out of him to try so he just closed his one good eye.
He heard the click of her heels come closer and he heard the intake of her breath. He opened his one eye again and he saw the look of sorrow in her eyes before she backed out the room. He wished his heart ached when she left but it didn’t.
His heart did clench when he looked down at the woman spread out over him. He remembered hearing her cry out for him when his brother and father laid him out on the floor. He couldn’t help but question even after how he left, why she would still cry out for him. She was way too good for him. She needed to be with someone worth all the love she had to give.
“Zora.” He said hoarsely as he rubbed a hand over her arm.
She started to stir and she propped herself up on her elbow to look down at him. “You’re awake.” Her voice had a sweet rasp and her lips turned up into a smile.
“I’ll feel like shit.”
She laughed before reaching over for the pitcher and a cup that was sitting on the nightstand by the bed. She poured him some water and handed it to him and he sat up slightly to drink it. The liquid gave his lips much needed moisture and his throat immediately rejoiced as he swallowed a healthy amount before handing the cup back to her.
“Let me go get Thomas.” She said as she placed the cup on the stand and moved for the door.
He nodded his head and closed his eye once again. He would talk to his father about what happened to him then hopefully he could get some rest. He could feel himself drifting away but there was going to be consequences for whoever was stupid enough to set him up.
Zora pressed her back to the closed door and thanked God that David was awake. She knew he had been alive but it was nerve-wrecking waiting for him to awaken.
“You okay?” Thomas asked as he came down the hall from the kitchen.
“Yes. I was just coming to get you. David is awake.”
“Well it has all been arranged.”
Zora turned to see Summer walking in from the front door towards them. She looked back at Thomas, his once calmed features where now frowned up. “What do you mean?” He asked.
“Arrangements for David to come home and let his wife take care of him.”
“Are you out our mind? My son is not leaving this house under his condition.”
“So you can keep allowing her to disrespect my relationship with your son? I don’t think so.”
Zora moved to approach Summer but Thomas put out his arm to prevent her from advancing.
“He’s not going anywhere, Summer no matter what you believe. He’s not in any shape to be moved.”
“I’m his wife. I have a say on what happens to him.”
“You keep saying wife like you’re married already. Newsflash! You’re not his wife yet!” Zora yelled.
“Both of you cut it out.” Thomas stood between the two raging women.
The words were no sooner out his mouth when the door was snatched open and David stood with a crutch in one hand and his other shoulder propped against the doorframe. “Stop arguing over me.”
“Baby, what the hell happened to you?” Summer moved to stand in front of David.
“I’ll explain later.” He looked at Zora. “I thought you were getting my father?”
She shrugged. “Your girlfriend interrupted before he could come to you.”
“You need to be in bed.” Thomas said as he moved to help him but David stopped him with a hand.
“You can’t be considering leaving, David.” Zora frowned.
“Listen, Zora. Summer is right about the disrespect having to stop. I enjoy being your friend but it’s time you realize that if I wanted you then I would be with you.”
“My poor heart.” She clutched her chest dramatically. “You two belong together.” She scoffed. “Both of you are so full of yourselves.” She threw her hands up, dismissing everything and everyone. She moved passed them and headed for her room.
“Zora.” He growled.
“No, David.” She turned back but she walked backwards as she spoke. “Really, I hope you get better and enjoy all your future marital bliss.” She waved her hands in the air moving down the hall.
“Zora.” It was Thomas’s worried voice that had the tears she’d been holding ready to fall. She began to rush up the stairs and closed herself off in her room.
Only her room wasn’t her room...She couldn’t breathe. It was happening to her again. She played herself again.
The door burst open and in came Thomas.“Hey. Hey. Hey.” He held her by the forearms. “Breathe, damn it!”
“I can’t stay here.” She wheezed out. “I can’t, I can’t.” She pulled and tried to tug out of his hold. “I have to get out of here.”
She was having a panic attack. The more he tried to soothe her the wilder she got. He released her and watched helplessly as her shaking form dropped to the floor.
“Tell me what will help you.”
“I want to go!” She cried out as she pointed to outside the window.
“I’ll take you with Aria but you have to calm down.”
“I’m trying, I’m trying.” He could tell she was but the weakness in her voice was killing him. “Water.”
“I’ll go get you some.”
“No. The shower. It’ll calm me. Just go.”
“Are you sure you can handle it?” He was hesitant about leaving her alone.
She nodded her head and moved for the bathroom. He waited until her heard the shower start before he left.
Afraid to go too far he moved to the Graham’s old room next door so he could keep an ear out for her if she needed him.
He paced the room trying to control his own breathing. “I’m trying, Lisa.” His son was raised better than that! Better than treating women this way but he knew that he would have to make his own mistakes and learn from them. Yet, he didn’t know how much more patient he could be with his youngest son when it came to this thing between him and Zora. “You would love her, baby. She reminds me so much of you.”
Maybe that’s why he was having a hard time letting her go. Thomas sighed and plopped down in the chair that was next to the bed and rubbed at his temples.
He had no right to try to force her to stay there. He would talk to her. Not tonight but he would have another talk with her and be more supportive. He might even help her pick out a place.
Thomas was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn’t hear when the shower shut off so he waited another few minutes before he went back to check on her.
Thomas knocked on the door and when he didn’t get an answer back he pushed the door open and sighed. Zora was wrapped in a towel passed out on the bed. He knew the poor thing probably tired herself out.
He didn’t want to wake her but he knew it could get cold in the house. He moved to pull the warm blankets over her a much as he could with disturbing her slumber. He then went to the closet and pulled out an additional blanket to make sure she was warm. He kissed her forehead before heading downstairs.
He wished he could say he was surprised to see his son at the bottom of the steps but he wasn’t.
“She’s fine. Sleep. She hasn’t had much of that in the past two days.”
His words weren’t lost on David. He could tell by the way his brows dipped and his one eye lowered in shame.
“Well, I was going to stay a couple of more days just to put your mind at ease about my wellbeing then I’ll head home towards the end of the week.”
“You can leave in the morning.” His father turned away.
“Oh, I made your little princess upset and now its fuck me, your blood?”
“You know it’s about more than that. Wrong is wrong and watch your damn mouth in my house.” Thomas stopped and looked over his shoulder. “Don’t upset me further.”
“I can leave tonight if it’s that damn big of a deal. You letting some woman come between us.”
“That medicine must be going through your system like liquor to give you all this courage but you’re my damn son, under my damn roof, and you better lower your got damn voice and remember who the fuck you’re talking to.” His father was in his face now with the expression that used to put fear in his heart but he wasn’t a boy anymore, he was a man.
It was Summer’s voice that reached out to them in a heated moment and he swore if it didn’t sound like she was about to cry he would continue on with his father. He had to let him be a man!
“Goodnight.” His father walked away.
“You did the right thing, baby.” Summer wrapped her arms around his waist.
She nodded. Then why didn’t he feel like he did the right thing. If anything he was more confused than ever. Why was his life so difficult now? Why wasn’t his life going according to his plan!?