Ridian’s eyes widened and he moved to stand up.
“You have a brother?” he asked turning to look at Carla. She ignored him still focused on Danny. Without warning she ripped the sheets back from her body tore the IV out of her arm without a second glance and sprang from the bed nearly trampling Ridian as she ran towards Danny and jumped into his arms sobbing. He immediately wrapped his arms around her small torso moving his hands in soothing circles on her back as he whispered comforting phrases into her hair. Ridian looked on in disbelief.
After a minute Carla took a step back from Danny wiping her eyes and her nose as she looked up at him, her face flushed. Danny stared back his eyes soft as he awaited her next move. He should have ran. Carla reached up slowly with her right hand so that it looked like she would stroke his face but at the last second she moved past it grabbing his ear and yanking it down hard tugging his head with it making him cry out in pain.
“Where the hell have you been the past five years you jackass!” she screeched as she proceeded to pummel him in the stomach and furiously kick his shins with her free hand and bare feet.
“Carly I can explain-” Danny began but was cut off by a sharp blow to the groin from her knee making him fall short of breath as he clutched in between his legs, face contorting in pain.
“Who are you to call me by that name?! You walked out on mom and I and now you just waltz back in thinking nothing has changed and people are still the same?!” Her voice climbed another octave.
“Do you know what I’ve been through?! You were supposed to protect me but you left me! You know mom blames me for your disappearance?!” Tears once more streamed full force in rivers down Carla’s cheeks, hot and angry. Ridian had snapped out of his daze and was now attempting to pry off her grip from Danny’s ear.
A sudden wave of fatigue hit Carla as her body remembered it was injured the adrenaline leaving her body to be replaced by a mixture of emotions. Grief, happiness, anger and confusion to name a few. Her eyelids fluttered as she loosened her grip on Danny’s ear and leaned heavily into Ridian. He removed her hand and Danny immediately stood upright from his hunched over position, backing away a couple of steps rubbing his now cherry red ear lobe, a worried expression on his face.
“Is she alright?” he asked Ridian but Ridian ignored him now carrying Carla bridal style to the bed and tucking her in. He’d been surprised by how light she was. Her eyes had fluttered closed before but now they sprang open just long enough to find Danny and lock onto him.
“Don’t you dare,” she began before giving a loud yawn. Danny stared at her curiously.
“Don’t you dare,“. She tried once more. “Don’t you dare leave me again.” Danny froze where he stood.
Carla’s face was frowning but fear was apparent in her eyes. Fear of abandonment twice. He quickly nodded a sharp okay and Carla’s eyes softened slightly before they closed and she drifted off into sleep, her mind being taken over by dreams the moment her eyes were shut.
Ridian watched her sleep for a minute to make sure she was okay before calling in the nurse to reinsert her IV. The nurse didn’t ask any questions but gave the two boys a disapproving look before she hurried out to her next patient.
After she had left Ridian collapsed tiredly in his chair. He’d been up for a full 24 hours waiting besides Carla’s bedside to awaken. Roughly half an hour passed before he thought about the third person in the room. He hadn’t questioned Danny’s presence before as his mind had been full of thoughts about Carla but now that he knew who he was curiosity budded in his mind.
He turned towards Danny an amused expression on his face.
“What are you smirking at?” Danny asked suspiciously. He had a deeper voice than Ridian expected. He’d softened it when talking to his sister.
“I’ve never seen her act so violently before. You must have done something truly fucked up,” Ridian explained. Crossing his arms over his chest he leaned back in his seat. “I’m Ridian, her boyfriend.” He introduced himself confidently.
Danny stared at him with an eyebrow raised for a moment and Ridian took in a sharp breath at the striking resemblance he had to Carla when he did that.Sighing Danny sat down in the chair with his leather jacket after dragging it over to sit in front of Ridian.
“I’m Danny,” he said. “Her older brother by three years.” He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. It was too small for his tall frame.
“So,” Ridian said leaning forward slightly to rest his chin on a bridge created by his fingers. “Care to tell me what the hell all that was about?” he asked straight forwardly. Danny blinked once before sighing and leaning back in his own chair crossing one leg over the other for a more comfortable position.
“I suppose you deserve to know,” Danny said. Looking out the window by Carla’s bed at the cold autumn sky he began his story. “It all started five years ago when our father died...“.
“You’re lying,” A twelve year old Carla whispered her voice hoarse with grief. A fifteen year old Danny was silent in the chair next to her. The principal sat stiff in her chair, clearly uncomfortable with the situation.
“I’m sorry Ms.Borche. We got a call from the hospital earlier saying that your father has passed away from a car accident. Your mother will be here soon to pick the two of you up. You have been granted a week of grieving time. Again I’m so sorry for your loss,“. Her voice trailed off awkwardly.
Carla blinked slowly the information not fully sinking in. Something cold and wet landed on her hand. A teardrop. Suddenly two rivers opened up underneath her eyes and a steady stream of tears silently flowed down her face in torrents of salty grief.
The principal coughed not sure what to do. Carla turned to her brother to find him stone faced and expressionless. His hands were balled into fists that trembled slightly in his lap. He knew the principal was lying.
He’d found out a month ago that his father was cheating on his mother with the school principal but when he confronted him about it he swore he’d leave her so he begrudgingly let it go. But last week he’d been acting weird, taking the family out to the park and dinner. Being extra sweet with mom and giving Carla everything. Now he knew why. He’d been preparing to leave.
But this? Faking his own death to get away from his family? Did he hate them that much? Danny got angrier and angrier the more he thought about it. He heard something faint sound to his left.
“Danny?” It was his sister. He turned his head slightly to see that she was crying silently her eyes wide with horror and shock, having finally realized her father was gone. He knew he couldn’t tell her the truth. It would destroy her. But it would destroy him more living with this lie and seeing her innocent face day after day. That meant he had to leave too. For good.
Before he could convince himself to change his mind he sprang up from the chair and ran out of the principals office ignoring Carla as she screamed after him, now sobbing. He ran down the hall ignoring the strange looks he got from students and the reprimands from teachers before bursting out the front doors and onto the schools lawn. He kept running and didn’t stop until he had made it all the way home and in the front door.
He slid to the ground tucking his head into his knees as he caught his breath. His chest heaved and his heart beating loud in his ears and his head pounding. When he had finally calmed down he walked upstairs to his room and packed the majority of his belonging and photos in a suitcase.
Grabbing the shoebox out the back of his closet that held $2500 worth of savings he shoved that in a wallet and packed it up as well. He’d grabbed a pencil and pad to leave a note before thinking better of it and setting it back down.
The house had been empty when he’d arrived and the silence was over whelming. Slowly Danny made his way downstairs to the front door. With one hand on the door knob he looked back over his shoulder at what had been his home for the past fourteen years of his life. A single tear fell down his face before he quickly wiped it away with the back of his hand and opened the door stepping out into the orange afternoon light of a fading sun and closing the door on his old life.
“What did you do next?” Ridian asked. “I mean that was like five years ago so you were what, fifteen? You were still just a kid man.” Danny chuckled softly.
“I was probably more of an adult then than I am now to tell you the truth,“. Ridian simply gave him a blank look. Danny sighed.
“I went to a friends house for the night who’s parents were on a business trip for the week and then I bought a plane ticket to California where our Aunt lived. After I showed up on her doorstep at three in the morning she was quite surprised but she gave me a chance to explain. Once she knew the story she welcomed me into her home, granted I gave mom a call to tell her where I was and I had lived there finishing school ever since.” RIdian nodded his head thoughtfully.
“So your mother knew where you were this whole time?” Danny nodded his head.
“That is correct.”
“And she didn’t know what you knew about your father?“.
“No she did not.”
“And she never told Carla about where you were?“.
Danny looked down guilt clear in his eyes he nodded once. “I made her promise not to tell her where I was and instead just say that I was safe and healthy.” Ridian stared at him for a moment.
“Now I know why she attacked you.”
“Excuse me?” Danny said.
“I want to punch you right now myself,“. Ridian replied honestly. He gave Danny a look of disgust. “You do understand how much you’ve hurt Carla by doing what you did right? And that it was stupid as hell?” Danny nodded his head. “So why have you come back now? What are you trying to accomplish?” Danny took a deep breath.
“I was going to tell her the truth and beg for forgiveness. I have kept it from her for too long and she deserves to know who our father truly was. I’ve missed my sister so much the past five years and I don’t want to continue with her not in my life.”
“Fine,” Ridian said. “I’ll let you stick around.”
"You’ll let me stick around?” Danny said with an eyebrow raised. He leaned forward slightly, “You don’t have the power to make me go or stay. I do what I want,“. He leaned back a little. “I was her brother before you were her boyfriend. That will never change,“. Ridian simply smirked at him.
“The boyfriend she loves or the brother she hasn’t seen in five years and hates; who do you think she’ll listen to more?” Danny cut his eyes to the side as anger flashed in them, but he didn’t respond. “That’s what I thought,” Ridian leaned back and continued.
“So like I was saying, I will let you stick around on one condition; you can never tell her what you just told me.” Danny looked at him in surprise. “This knowledge would ruin her. She’s not strong enough for this. You will never tell her until I give you the okay, got it?”
“How do you know she’s not strong enough for this?” Danny asked suspiciously.
“Just believe me when I say that I do. I have history with her too,“. Both of Danny’s eyebrows shot up.
“Pray tell,” he inquired leaning forward curiously. Ridian waved him off.
“That’s a story for a different time,“. Danny sat back in his chair clearly disappointed. “Do we have a deal?” Ridian asked while holding out his hand for a shake. Danny stared at it for a moment his brow furrowed deep in thought. After a moment it cleared and he came to a decision. Grasping Ridian’s hand in his own he shook it firmly.
“We have a deal,“. A noise sounded from the bed, the sound of fabric sliding against fabric. They both simultaneously turned to see Carla looking at the both of them with an expression of pure rage. Her green eyes were brilliant as they shined with pure and unbridled fury.
“Who the fuck do you two think you are?“.