twenty - seven
When Ezra looked at me with those eyes of his, I knew that he knew. It was the same look all of my foster parents have ever looked at me with. Hell, Mrs. Donna never bothered to look at me normally after she found out. It was all people could look at me with.
I didn’t deserve it nor did I want it. Sure, I was an accident, a major accident. Sometimes I even question why my mother didn’t just end my existence with a hanger, but I hated that some people thought that that was all I was. That I’d never amount to being anything more than a product of a night full of pain and regret. It seemed that my mark on this world began and ended when I was born, and I even managed to convince myself that I would never be more than a rape child. But then I met them.
The grass was hard and crusty under my feet as I dove out of the cabin and onto the front lawn. I didn’t bother to close the front door - figuring I would be soon followed.
Sure, I didn’t understand them at first. They made me feel these things I wasn’t supposed to feel, and yes there was attraction, but I normally felt that towards other people I found hot. No, it was how I could feel their emotions towards me. I could feel their want for me and I’ve never felt anything like it before.
The sight of the thick and burly trees in every direction made me halt in my tracks. What was I doing? Running away from what - exactly? The truth? I collapsed into the ground, my knees soaking with dew.
They made me feel like I was worth more than my circumstances. That I was normal, and rightfully so. They didn’t even know my background yet treated me as if they knew nothing but affection. It was different - but god did I love it.
But now they know.
“Cleo.” I heard their voices, and ironically enough, my chest heaved with regret. Why was I so dramatic over this? Was I being irrational?
But I’m so scared of them changing how they act toward me now. I don’t want to be pitied, and I don’t want to be cradled with fear that I may break, I just want to be treated as if I wasn’t damaged goods. I want them to see me as one of them.
I just want to be home, where the comfort of familiarity is there, and no one cares for my background. I want them to be there, of course, where we grow and make a family together. Maybe that’s what I need to bring myself together - a place to call home. But where was home, exactly?
I thought Mrs. Donna’s foster house was my home, and maybe it was, but now I knew better. A place full of lost dreams and endless kids could never be a home for me. Sure, I lived in sorrow, but I didn’t thrive off of it.
I thought back to their cabin. It was a beautiful mess of wood and stone, and though it was in the middle of stark nowhere, it had a certain aura to it. It was where I was held when they first kidnapped me, the place where I escaped -
The aura of the cabin suddenly shattered.
It was where Jessabel and I had first met. It was where she had originally threatened me, and where she began to plot my demise. But she had been to the cabin before that, before me, and had done god knows what in it.
Call me childlike, but I didn’t want to sleep in a bed that she had previously been in. She had tried to murder me, after imprisoning me in a mental institution. I think I’m being reasonable.
I had also had my first panic attack trapped in their attic. In the worst way possible, that was where I discovered I was claustrophobic.
So, the cabin wasn’t home to me, that much could be said. But it was to them - and how could I tell them that I wanted to move? They have provided for my every need, small and large, and how do I repay them? By saying I need a change of scenery for my own mental health?
No, I couldn’t do that to them.
After all they have done for me, I could never tell them that.
It’s fine if my mental health suffers a little bit.
It’s what I’ve done my entire life.
A blinding white suddenly shot into my eyes. The area around me was a blurry mess of gray figures and for a second, I had no idea where I was.
“ -ppears to have -”
“- trauma -”
“- lucky -”
I groaned as a headache lodged itself into my brain. I moved my hand up to feel my forehead, when I felt the presence of an IV sticking out of my arm.
Fuck. I was in the hospital. Again.
“Cleo?” A deep male voice spoke. My vision began to sharpen, and I could loosely make out a small and frail doctor perched at the edge of my bed.
I could only mumble nonsense in response.
Slowly, the rest of the room came into focus. A closed window on the left of me, an empty armchair next to my bed, and a clear hospital door that was closed. Behind the door, although it still remained fuzzy, I thought I could make out two figures peering into the room from afar.
“Cleo, how are you feeling?”
“My head hurts like a bitch.” The filter in my brain was currently non-existent as my thoughts were straight chaos. Nothing was making sense.
“You passed out about an hour ago.” The doctor continued, writing some notes down on the clipboard he held in his hands. “Your friends brought you here immediately, where we’ve been keeping an eye on you.”
“O-okay.” My strained voice erupted.
“What do you remember last?”
“I was outside the cabin, I collapsed into the grass, and that was it. I think I heard my name a few times, but I never really focused on it.”
Clicking his tongue once, the doctor said, “Those boys told me they were calling your name but you were unresponsive.” I nodded, taking a deep breath as it wheezed through my nose. “I believe that you passed out due to your past psychological trauma. Now, you may not believe it yourself, but your body is still mentally recovering from your previous attack.”
Well shit that made sense.
Of course Jessabel was still able to ruin my life from afar. Damn her.
“Usually with these episodes, there is a trigger. Do you remember what might’ve been said or done to potentially set you off?”
Yes. Of course I do. It’s been haunting my thoughts ever since I woke up. But if I told this doctor that, he’d tell Kieran and Ezra, and then they’d have even more reason to pity me. They’d keep looking at me with those eyes of worry, casting down glances at me, constantly thinking about how hard it must be for me.
That poor girl.
I was sick of being that girl.
It was bullshit. I didn’t pass out because I got a little upset over Kieran and Ezra finding out how worthless I was. I got a little emotional over nothing because that’s what it was. Nothing.
Yet, my heart suddenly started rattling, and I could feel it echoing in my chest.
The doctor flickered his eyes over to the heart rate monitor but said nothing.
I was not going to let them define me as a rape child any longer. I was more than that.
“Cleo?” The doctor repeated. “Do you remember any possible triggers?”
Swallowing my guilt, I answered, “No.”
Shuffling his clipboard, the doctor clicked his pen once. “Cleo,” He hesitated. “Has had a rough few weeks. Although she thinks she feels fine, mentally, she is still healing. As I like to say, mentality is the hardest part of recovery.”
“So how do we help her, doc?” Kieran asked.
“Try to get her to share her emotions more often. Avoid topics that might upset her or trigger bad memories. Therapy is an option, though based on her past interactions, I predict that Cleo may have difficulty speaking with one, especially if it was a psychiatrist.”
Stupid fucking Jessabel. Had to emotionally scar me and what not.
I glanced outside of my hospital room, where the doctor stood with Kieran and Ezra. As my legal guardians, they were liable for my well being and got to hear everything about my condition - whether I wanted them to know or not. Perks of being underage.
Luckily they stood within earshot, so I could hear everything, and could intervene if the doctor were to say something too private. I mean I think I could. But it’s not like the doctor was just going to start spewing about how I was late to have my first period when I’m here for fainting. Right?
The doctor walked away and the boys came back into the room.
“Cleo,” Ezra started, walking up to my bed and grasping my hand. I sat up straighter, catching his beautiful eyes into mine. “Do you need anything?”
I shook my head. “Can we just go . . . to the cabin?” My voice hesitated at the word home. I couldn’t bring myself to say it.
God. I was dramatic.
Smiling, Kieran nodded. He suddenly hooked his arms under my legs and lower back, yanking me up from the bed.
“Kieran!” I squealed, but he was already bounding out the door.
A/N - Just a warning, these next few chapters are gonna be long! Next update on Thursday!