Carla’s eyes slowly flickered open to face the window on the left side of her bed. Her back was to the door and she could see the setting sun outside her window. She hadn’t realized she’d fallen asleep. She only remembered beating up Danny and then suddenly feeling really weak. As she thought harder she remembered what she said to him before she passed out and blushed at the memory.
Whatever, she thought. I meant it. The little buster can’t run away right after walking back into my life. Sighing in contentment she realized that two people were talking. As she honed in on the two voices she realized they were Ridian’s and Danny’s. She was just about to say something when something Danny said caught her attention.
“Fine I’ll tell you,“. Curiosity took over and she silently shuffled closer to the two teenage boys determined to eavesdrop.
As Danny began his story he had no idea that Carla was awake and listening to every word. With each sentence that Danny said about their past Carla’s eyes grew wider and wider until they were practically bulging out of her head. Her heart beat quickened to a pounding race and her breath came in short gasps that she muffled with the thin hospital blanket. Her headache came back in full force and racked her head with extreme amounts of pain making her almost cry out from the agony.
Silent tears were running down her face by the time Danny finished his story. No! she mentally screamed. This can’t be true. Dad wouldn’t do that. Dad loved us. He loved me. Dad’s dead. He’s gone. He didn’t leave us. He wouldn’t. He promised. No! I haven’t been suffering under the heavy hand of an abusive mother because my father faked his own death and left us. That’s impossible. This isn’t a fucking melodrama with some backwater celebrity outcast like Lindsey Lohan playing the lead role. He’s lying! Danny has to be lying!
Even as Carla tried to convince herself that what she had heard wasn’t true she knew that he had no reason to makeup such an elaborate lie to Ridian of all people. He barely knew him and that would be unreasonable. Plus, the Danny she remembered was no liar. He was a lot of things, but he wasn’t liar. The reality began to sink in that what he said was true and Carla reared her head back and laughed maniacally with no sound escaping her mouth, a silent scream of misery.
A new thought set into her mind. They were going to continue lying to her. Her brother came back after all these years and he was just going to lie to her all over again because her boyfriend of one fucking day told him to?! And that so called boyfriend thought she was to frail to handle the truth? Who did he think he was? Anger set in, hot and furious making Carla’s blood boil and her cheeks inflame in a fiery red that made them hot to the touch. She sprung upright facing the two traitors.
“Who the fuck do you two think you are?” she hissed her tone lathered in outrage. Ridian’s back tensed up in surprise at being caught in the act and Danny’s face went pale with fear. Ridian turned around and flinched at Carla’s facial expression.
Tears had made her cheeks blotchy while rage made them red and tears were still streaming down them as she glared at them. Her hair was a tangled mess and her fists were clenched so tightly her knuckles glared white while her fingernails dug so deeply into her skin they drew blood that streamed down her palms in tiny rivers, staining the bed bright red.
Her eyes were the worst. They were wide with fury yes but deep with betrayal and a tortured look of an abused animal who knows its going to die and has known for awhile it couldn’t do anything about it. It was a look of such utter grief and patheticness that it tore at Ridian’s heart and he ached to comfort her.
Danny’s face was a wretched mask of regret and sadness as he stared pitifully at his sister. He hadn’t fully realized just how bad the truth would hurt Carla but as he looked at her now he regretted ever coming back. He had sincerely missed her and wanted her to be happy but now realized it would’ve been better if he’d stayed away. The regret weighed heavier than the secret of their father. The two boys still hadn’t responded to Carla’s question. Ridian was close enough to Carla that she could reach out and touch him so she did.
Lifting her right hand in the air she back handed him with all the force she could muster, her nail busting the corner of his lip and drawing blood. A loud smack rang out in the air. His head flung to the side and hung there. He’d made no attempt to stop the blow or reciprocate knowing full well that he’d deserved it. She felt betrayed by everyone, even him.
Danny was too far for Carla to reach so instead she took the pitcher of water from the side of her bed and flung it at him drenching him from head to toe where he sat in his chair before throwing the plastic pitcher to the ground in a loud clatter. He blinked the water from his eyes but made no move to do anything as he too knew he deserved much worse.
“Are you not going to say anything?” Carla screeched. The two boys kept their eyes on the ground now, the courage to make eye contact had left them. Carla’s chest heaved with emotion as she gasped for air.
“How could you?” she whispered. Ridian snapped his head up at the change in tone in Carla’s voice. Her head hung on her chest and her hands lay limp on either side of her.
“Carla?” he asked tentatively now worried about her. Danny leaned forward slightly in his chair as well. She made no move to acknowledge he’d said anything before she continued talking.
“You are my brother but you left me. Dad hated me so much he faked his own death and then you followed his lead and split too. Do you know how much mother blamed me for your disappearance?” Carla’s voice was soft and empty, her face held no expression as she stared at the bed sheets.
“Do you know how much she’s hated me for it? Do you know what’s it like to live with the hatred of your only remaining family member?” Danny’s head snapped up at this his eyes full of disbelief.
“That can’t be true-” he began a frown apparent on his face but he was quickly cut off and silenced by Carla’s facial expression. It was so completely and utterly lost he lost his breath and could find no words to say. Slowly he shut his mouth and sat back.
“Every day you have to struggle for a reason to get out of bed because there is no light in your day. There’s nothing but darkness. I thought it was getting better when I met Sam and then you Ridian but now, what do I have left. I have nothing,“. Her statements angered Ridian that she thought so little of herself and that she believed that everything between them was over because of this stupid lie.
“It’s not that fucking serious,” he snapped his frustration, anger at himself, Carla, Danny and his regret for the decision he’d made earlier all coming out in one emotion; anger. And it was all pointed at Carla. After his words her head snapped up her eyes wide with disbelief and shock at his outburst. He’d stood up hands clenched at his sides and chest heaving with emotion, as he breathed sharply out his nose.
“Not that fucking serious?” she asked slowly. Her anger came back and she repeated the phrase shouting now. “Not that fucking serious?! Name one part about this that isn’t fucking serious! I just found out my father faked his own goddamn death so that he could screw another woman and not get shit from my mom or me but it’s not that fucking serious?!” She gestured wildly in the air as she talked. Ridian faltered slightly his anger fading a little at her rage.
“I just think you’re blowing this way out of proportion right now I mean you said you have nothing but is that true? You still have Sam and I don’t you? And Danny did come back after all didn’t he?!” Ridian was yelling by the end as he turned to point at Danny. Danny simply raised his hands in a defensive position.
“Please don’t drag me into this I don’t need more shit on my plate,“. Carla sneered humorlessly at his statement as she climbed out the bed hands in fists on her hips ready to fight. There were too many emotions raging through her head for her to register how sore she still was or the pounding in her head. Both the boys backed up wearily at the sight.
“Oh sure Danny came back. Because I am so fucking happy right now thanks. Even if he came back do I want him? He left me on my own with an emotionally unstable mother because his selfish little dweeb ass couldn’t accept the fact the Daddy was fucking some other chick but he left me to the handle the fact that he was presumably dead!” Carla screeched the last part her voice almost cracking as it rose in octaves unthinkable and Danny cowered before her. For a brother he was a little weakling.
“Oh get over it!” Ridian yelled. He had no idea what he was saying and didn’t mean any of it but blinded by a mixture of emotions mostly aimed at himself he couldn’t stop the words coming out of his mouth even if he tried.
Carla looked ready to blow, her shoulders shook with the effort of restraining herself from pounding the life out of Ridian. She had never been so pissed at any one in her life and it was making it hard for her to breathe. After a moment she registered that she couldn’t.
The realization hit Carla and she gasped for air as a sharp stab of pain stuck her in her chest. She doubled over crying out as she clutched her chest. Her lungs constricted and she couldn’t breathe. Her vision had become hazy and hearing was fading in and out. As she gasped for air her chest burning and her muscles screaming out in protest as every last one of them cramped, the nerves sending shockwaves of pain all over her body.
Vaguely she heard someone yell, “Give her space. It’s a panic attack!” before she lost her hearing again. As she slowly drifted towards unconsciousness she wondered if she was dying and decided that she liked that idea. The last face she saw was her dad’s hovering behind her eyelids, smiling and warm as he called out to her to join him. The father she knew and loved who would never hurt her.
I’m coming Daddy, she thought before embracing the darkness with open arms.
Carla didn’t die. She simply passed out from the panic attack and Danny and Ridian were asked to leave. The next day Sam and Peter came to visit her.
“Carla!” Sam cried out as she burst into her hospital room, rushing over to engulf in a hug. Carla let out a muffled “oof!” before tentatively hugging her back. Sam leaped back up and started fluttering around her like a worried mother bird. “Are you okay? Does any part of you hurt?“. Carla shook her head no a small smile on her face as Peter came in next, closing the door and taking a seat next to Carla’s bedside.
Sam breathed out a sigh of relief before opening her mouth again. “What were you thinking?! Do you know how dangerous it is to skate on a frozen lake? What was Ridian thinking taking you there? What were you thinking trusting his stupid self?“. Sam would’ve continued but Peter placed a hand on her shoulder and gave her a look.
“Maybe we can postpone the interrogation till a time when Carla can actually stand up and face you on her own two feet and run if she has to okay?” Carla snorted at the run comment making Sam narrow her eyes but she relented.
For the rest of the visit Sam fussed over her like the mother bird she was and made sure was comfortable to the point where she was doing more than the nurses. After giving Carla her homework Sam had to leave for Dance Practice but promised to visit the nest day on her discharge before leaving Carla and Peter alone.
They sat in comfortable silence for awhile, Peter holding one of Carla’s hands and rubbing the back of it with his thumb. It was a small gesture but Carla took comfort in it. She felt him shift and looked up to see him staring at you.
“What’s wrong Carla?” he asked. She blinked in surprise.
“Um what?” she answered stupidly.
“What’s wrong? Not once has your smile reached your eyes since we’ve been here. It’s like you’ve got this cloud over your head and this weight on your shoulders that I don’t think was caused by a little dip in the pond. And why isn’t Ridian here?” Carla tensed at his name and slowly drew her hand back from Peters. His eyes widened in understanding.
“What did he do?” he growled out. “I swear if he hurt you in any way-“. Carla held up a hand to stop him and he clamped his mouth shut waiting for her to speak. Carla then told him the events of the last couple days starting with seeing Danny before she hit the water and then ending with getting a panic attack when she confronted them.
“Well damn.” Peter stated. Carla nodded once.
“I know right.”
“That like really sucks. Like a lot. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now.” Peter ran a hand through his hair looking slightly confused on what to say or do. “Well if you ever need anyone I’ll always be here. Wether its as a friend or for a little “loving care”.” He waggled his eyebrows and Carla managed a small laugh at his stupidity.
They settled back into their earlier positions letting silence fall over them once more. Carla couldn’t help thinking how lucky she was to have people like Sam and Peter in her life. They were the family she’d always wanted for. Carla filled Sam in the next day and she nearly blew her top with anger to go kill Ridian and “whoever this pussy ass Danny fellow is” but Peter calmed her down.
Danny and Ridian tried to come back when she was discharged but Sam sent them running. When Carla returned home she was emotionally exhausted, mentally wrung out and physically aching all over. She wasn’t at all prepared for what happened next.
As soon as the lock clicked in the door signaling it was shut Carla was grabbed roughly from behind by her hair and dragged backwards down the hall to the bathroom she’d fixed her injuries in last time she was beat. Her bag had fallen off her shoulders and her keys had flung from her hands from the strength of the pull.
Fresh tears were already appearing in her eyes from the stinging pain of having her hair pulled. When they entered the bathroom her mom released her throwing her to the floor and giving her a sold kick in her hip with her heel so that she didn’t get back up again but instead screamed loudly in pain causing a smirk to appear on her face.
“How dare you embarrass me like that?” Carla’s mom ground her heel into Carla’s stomach making her cry out at the sharp pain. “You’re gone for two days with no call and then you fall into a pond?! Are you a fucking idiot?!” her mother screeched putting more weight onto her foot. Carla sobbed as she begged and pleaded with her mother.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she chanted over and over again. Her mother glared down at her in utter disgust.
“I should have tossed you in the trash where you belonged the day you were born,” she sneered. Carla’s whole body quaked with shudders of pain both physical and emotional. It had been a long time since the verbal abuse had gotten to her but it was starting to again. Suddenly the pressure of the foot disappeared and Carla took in deep gulps of welcome air as she cradled her aching stomach. It wasn’t long after that a hand appeared in front of her face holding pills. “Swallow it,” her mother ordered.
Slowly Carla opened her mouth, her lips quivering and the pills were immediately shoved in and her nose and mouth covered until she swallowed. Her mother smirked down at her, her job now complete and stalked out of the bathroom disappearing upstairs in her room. Carla stared into space in confusion at what the pills were for when suddenly she leaned over the toilet and threw up all the hospital food and anything else she’d eaten in the past two days.
It was horrible and it had her whole body heaving while leaving a disgusting taste in her mouth. Thinking it was over Carla tried to sit back not prepared for the next wave. Or the next wave. Or the next wave.
Carla retched over and over into to the toilet until she was simply vomiting stomach acid that burned as it eroded away at her throat every time it came up. Light headed and weak she couldn’t stop the flow of liquid that came out of her mouth or the salty one that flowed freely from her eyes. At last three hours later there was nothing left to throw up and she collapsed on the cold tile floor teary eyed, in pain and once again, gasping for air.