Homebound

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eighteen

Cleo

Her voice was faint.

“Cleo?” She softy said, and for a moment, I imagined where she must be. Probably in her bedroom at the foster house, sitting on her bed, with her brother Derrick in the adjacent one. “What do you want?” Her voice sharpened, as if she finally realized who she was talking to.

“I know we haven’t always gotten along, b-but I just didn’t know w-who else to call right now.” I despised the way my voice wavered and I hated to think that Heather was about to laugh at my pain.

“Look, I get that you’re going through some stuff right now, but I just can’t right now. I don’t know why you bothered calling me, I don’t even know what you want from me.” Heather’s facade slipped for just a brief moment, and I caught onto something from her.

“Heather? What’s wrong?” I managed to shove aside all of my hatred and dislike for her in this moment, hoping that if I help her she’ll help me. It was ironic, or comical, that while I stood in this police precinct about to be evaluated, that I asked Heather what was wrong.

“Nothing. I’m just tired.”

“Just suck it up and tell me,” I snapped, gripping the phone tighter. The officer glanced at me, just for a mere second, before returning to gazde at his phone.

“Fine. Whatever. It’s not like I’ll see you again.” Ouch. That kinda hurt. Maybe this was a mistake calling her. It was stupid thinking she’d be all nice and comforting after we hated each other for over a year.

“Ugh, I don’t mean to lash out. I’m just stressed.” Heather corrected, lessening the weight in my chest a little. “It’s just that I turn eighteen next week and have nowhere to live. I have to leave the day of my birthday, I don’t even get a day to celebrate.” She sucked in a deep breath before continuing. “And Mrs. Donna told me that Derrick might be transferred to another foster house soon. If he gets transferred, he may move states and it’ll be that much harder for me to get him. And I can’t claim legal ownership of him until I’m eighteen but I have to have a place to live, which I can’t find. Not on short notice. I always thought I’d have more time, but it just seems like I’ve run out and will be homeless and without any family in a week.”

“Oh, Heather -”

She cut me off. “- you don’t have to act sincere. I was just venting, I’m not looking for your sympathy. But - what’s up with you?”

“Uhh, my boyfriends got arrested because the Elisons accused them of kidnapping me after they got an anonymous tip. They’re being held while some investigating is being done, while I have to go to a psychiatry center to get an evaluation to see if I’m mental sane, and/or suffering from Stockholm Syndrome since I defended them earlier.”

“Man. Both of our lives have gone to shit.”

Humorouslessly, I chuckled. “You could say that,”

After some time, she said, “I hope everything works out,”

“For you, too.”

“Bye, Cleo.”

And when I hung up, it was weird. I felt much better.

It was something about finding comfort in the absence of it.

The psych ward was nice. White walls, grey checkered floors, every employee wearing a pastel blue set of scrubs. It was also spotless, which seemed odd because I assumed that a place harboring the mentally insane would have some flaws. Maybe a broken tile here or a scratch on the paint there - but there was nothing out of place. No escaped patients screaming bloody murder as a handful of security officers drag them back to their room, nothing.

With getting multiple phone calls today and seeing this building, television has really let me down.

Officer Mendez had left me in the hands of a worker, who then led me down a few hallways into someone’s office.

The office was as simple as the rest of the hospital, with just a metal desk, a few chairs, and a bookshelf. The room was about the size of my bedroom back at the cabin. The worker instructed me to sit in one of the chairs in front of the desk, saying that someone will be in here shortly.

I only nodded at her. I still couldn’t believe that I was suspected of being mentally insane - that the Elison’s accusation was being held accountable.

Since I had a few moments to myself, I glanced about the room. A few books were opened on the bleak desk, with a single blue pen uncapped nearby. There were no picture frames or any sort of personalized decor on the desk. The only clue as to who was about to evaluate me was an overturned name plaque on the edge of the desk. It had been flipped so that the name was not visible.

I was about to flip it over when the sound of the door opening caught my attention.

Turning my head slightly, I craned my neck to catch sight of who was entering.

My heart stopped.

No.

This couldn’t be happening - not now - not after everything that’s already happened.

Hastily, I turned back towards the desk and flipped up the overturned name plaque. It couldn’t be true - it couldn’t.

But the name on the plaque didn’t lie.

JESSABEL CASTEL - it read, PSYCHIATRIST

A/N - Double update coming next Saturda. Stay tuned!

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