Taking a Break
“Phoenix Nightshade?” The nurse said walking into the waiting room.
I had been pacing around the waiting area anxiously waiting for the news. When the ambulance had arrived, all the paramedics had started frantically saying words like ‘head trauma’ and ‘unresponsive’ and ‘broken’ then when we’d arrived at the hospital, they’d wheeled my brother away and I had no idea what was going on.
Storm hadn’t stopped crying from the moment we’d arrived and had no idea what to do with her.
“I’m his legal guardian.” I said walking up to the nurse, I had a fake ID saying that I was 19 for emergencies like this.
Storm was crying softly and she looked at me sympathetically.
“Your son suffered a skull fracture, the doctors are doing everything they can to limit the damage, but the surgery may take a while.”
Limit the damage? What damage? No, that couldn’t be right, Phoenix wasn’t damaged, he was fine, he was going to be fine. He’d just tripped and fallen.
“Is he going to be okay?”
I didn’t know what else to ask, there were a million things I wanted to say, a million things I wanted to ask, but I knew she wouldn’t have the answer to any of them.
“We’re doing everything we can.”
“That’s not an answer.”
“Just tell me, is he going to be okay?”
“Like I said, we’re doing everything…”
“Just fucking tell me!” I shouted, tears were streaming down my face at this point.
I wasn’t a crying person. The last time I’d cried was the day Storm was born- the doctors hadn’t been sure if she would make it. I didn’t cry over relationships or grades or movies, but when it came to Phoenix and Storm, I couldn’t even bear to think about anything bad happening to them.
“Blaze.” A familiar voice said.
I looked away from the startled nurse and to the doorway. Chase was standing there with Ryder, Wild and Wild’s parents.
“We came as soon as we heard.” Wild said smiling warmly, “One of your neighbours called Mum and Dad.”
“Is Phoenix okay?” Ryder asked, Wild elbowed him.
“They don’t know yet, he fractured his skull and...” I said.
My voice broke off and Wild looked at her parents and then to Ryder.
“Mum, Dad why don’t you take Storm out for some fresh air?” She suggested, “Ry, let’s go see if we can find something to drink the nurse said we’ll be waiting a while.”
As the four of them left taking Storm away, Chase walked towards me and honestly, I had forgotten that I was mad at him and that we’d broke up, I’d forgotten everything about us. All I could think of was Phoenix and how he was struggling in surgery right now.
“It’s my fault.” I said quietly on the verge of collapsing, “That’s what I was going to say.”
“Blaze, it’s not your fault.” Chase said gently, he reached his hand out to mine and interlocked our fingers.
“But it is, Phoenix wanted ice-cream, I said no, and now he’s, now he’s…Now he’s in there because of me.” I sobbed.
“Hey, hey, it’s not your fault.” Chase said, "Everything will be okay."
He pulled me away from the waiting room and the nosy people listening in. We stood at the hospital entrance, I wanted to go back inside, in case something else happened with Phoenix, but Chase firmly held my hand. He was facing me, holding both my wrists lightly.
“Lyric, you did nothing wrong okay? This isn’t your fault.”
But it was, it was my fault. I was so fucking distracted that I’d let this happen to Phoenix. What had I done?
A few hours later
We were all still waiting on news on Phoenix. Wild’s parents had taken Storm to their house, she hadn’t liked the hospital and had been crying non-stop. It was nearly 11 in the night and even though we had school tomorrow, none of us had any plans to sleep.
“I’m going to call Mum, Ry come with me.” Wild mumbled standing up and walking out into the hall.
Blaze ran a hand through his hair and looked at the clock before burying his face in his hands. He sat up a little, even sleep-deprived he was still the most beautiful person I’d seen in my life. Something I’d grown to realise was how his eyes were a little bluer in the night, and in general, he looked a lot younger than he usually did. Maybe it was just to do with the way he acted at school.
“What if I lose him Chase?”
His voice was sharp and painful, I felt the inside of my chest tighten as Blaze spoke, he wasn’t talking much louder than a whisper, and even though he had stopped crying a while ago, somehow, those 6 words were more powerful than any amount of tears.
Then Blaze was kissing me, and then he was crying, but he was still kissing me. I didn’t know what he was doing but knew whatever it was it couldn’t have been healthy. I slowly brought both my hands up to either side of his face and pulled away.
“Blaze, you’re not thinking straight right now.” I said gently.
“I can’t lose you as well.”
“Blaze, you’re not going to lose anyone.”
“Why don’t you want me?” Blaze shouted standing up.
Ryder was about to walk in but stopped abruptly before backing slowly out of the room no doubt to report the scene to Wild who would execute an elaborate eavesdropping plan.
“Blaze, we shouldn’t do this now.” I said quietly standing up as well.
“No, let’s do this now.” He snapped.
But there was no point, he was trying to distract himself and even though I knew it wouldn’t mean anything, I didn’t mind because it seemed to be the only way for Blaze to process what was going on.
“Why did you break up with me?”
“I didn’t want to rush into a relationship, you just broke up with Taylor and I was worried.”
“What were you worried about?”
“That you’d, you’d, freak out or something, I thought you needed time.”
“Why couldn’t you have talked to me about it?”
“Because I knew you wouldn’t be honest with me!”
Blaze scoffed and took a few small backsteps away from me.
“You know what? Maybe you’re right, maybe I don’t know what’s right for me, maybe you do. Or maybe Oliver does.”
I hadn’t thought that Blaze knew about that- or more accurately- I had hoped he didn’t know about that.
“Blaze, Oliver was just…”
“Holly’s brother told me, he’s in your psychology class, he texted me after school, I didn’t believe him until now. It’s one thing for you to assume you know what’s best for me, that’s different from you deciding that the younger brother of my ex-boyfriend who called me a slut, knows what I need more than I do.”
This wasn’t about Oliver; it was about Blaze. Even if he didn’t want to admit it, I knew he wasn’t ready, and I’d had that feeling from the moment I’d kissed him, maybe only now I was starting to realise it properly.
“Do you think you’re okay?” I asked.
“Does it matter what I think?”
“Well, do you?”
“I think, if I want to date someone, it’s not up to them to decide if I, myself am mentally stable enough for dating, that’s my choice.”
“Okay then.” I said.
So I kissed Blaze, pressing my lips to his roughly, pinning his body to the wall and putting both my hands just above his waist, holding him firmly. Blaze kissed me back for a few seconds before going stiff and grabbing my wrists, pushing me away a little.
“Chase, stop.” He breathed.
I stopped, pulling away and immediately taking two paces away from Blaze.
“Do you feel safe?” I asked carefully.
“You just surprised me.” Blaze said looking at the ground.
“Did I? Or did you get scared because for a second you thought I was Taylor?”
Blaze looked at me, his eyelashes were wet and his eyes were glassy.
“Why are you being so mean to me?” He stammered, wiping tears from his eyes.
Shit, what had I done? There had probably been a better way to handle this situation than what I had done.
“I’m not trying to be mean Blaze.” I said, suddenly lost for words, “I just don’t want to force you into a relationship you’re not comfortable in.”
“I am comfortable with you Chase.” Blaze said, “I just didn’t want you to get fed up and leave because I was being tease.”
“Hold on, hold on, Blaze, you thought I was going to leave you?”
He wiped tears from his eyes.
“Well yeah, I mean, because I wasn’t with Taylor, so I thought you expected me to be with you now, and I like you, so when you kissed me I just thought that I had to, you know, be with you.”
Oh yeah, I had kissed Blaze, without thinking about any of this. That was on me.
"Blaze, I want to be with you, but I don't want to force you into a relationship when you're still figuring things out from the previous one."
"So we are, I mean we have broken up?"
"We're not broken up like that, we're just taking a break."
Blaze didn't get the chance to say anything after I said that because the nurse came in clutching her clipboard like it was her last possession.
“Mr Nightshade?” She said.
“How is he?”
She smiled warmly, it was a good smile, not a bad news smile, at least I think so, reading people wasn’t my strongest skill.
“He’s stable, the doctors are expecting a full recovery, but we can’t be sure on the effects until Phoenix is awake. You can see him if you want.”
Phoenix was sleeping, obviously, I wasn’t expecting him to be doing cartwheels around the room, but that would have been pretty cool. He murmured something quietly when Blaze stroked his head and the nurse smiled again.
“He broke his wrist when he fell, but that should be fixed within 6-8 weeks, he’s very lucky you didn’t try to move him when he fell, else Phoenix could have had severe brain injury.”
“So his brain, is everything okay?” Blaze asked.
“We won’t know for sure until he wakes up, but so far everything seems to be good, all his vitals are stable and the fact that he mumbled just now when you touched him, means that there are no major speech or response issues.”
She left us alone after a few minutes of reassuring Blaze that everything was alright and that Phoenix wasn’t about to drop dead- that didn’t sound so tactful, but it was the best way to describe it.
“I told you everything would be okay.”
“Yeah, you did.” Blaze said semi-consciously, more focused on his brother.
He seemed to be in another world, but I didn’t mind, he was happy, well, more relieved than happy to be honest.
“Everything’s going to be fine.” Blaze whispered to Phoenix, brushing a strand of dark brown hair from his face.