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The Flower That Bloomed in The Storm


Home. It was a strange concept to her, she had never had the sorts of homes people talk about. The homes full of love, with parents with secure hugs which make you feel warm and safe, or yippy dogs with tails that wag when you walk through the door.

No, she didn’t have that.

She walked up the creaky stairs to her house, passing the garden which was once full of life, now gone.

She went upstairs and did what she did every day. Her fingers shook as she dialed the number to the hospital. She knew it was useless to call as she does, they tell her every time that they will call if something changes but she won’t listen.

The phone rings before the little click is heard and the familiar voice of the receptionist filters through. “Hello, this is New Life Hospital my name is Mary, how may I help you?”

“Mary,” she breathed out. There was a pause on the other end before she continued “I’m wondering about my brother, Atticus Tillin”

Mary sighed through the phone “as we’ve told you before, he is in the same condition as last time. We will call with any updates”

She nodded, dejected. “Alright” and then she hung up. He was all she had left, he had to be the lucky one. He had to wake up.

My fingers pause over the keyboard as my phone lights up on my table. It’s pretty late, if anything, it’s early. Around one-thirty in the morning. This is what makes Levi’s call a bit more concerning.

I hit the green button and bring the phone to my ear “Levi?”

There was a shuddering breath on the other end before he quietly muttered “Connor?”

My heart picked up as I think of what could be wrong. “Levi,” I said more firmly, trying to get him to concentrate, knowing he can get lost in his head easily in bad situations.

Another breath is taken and I rush out of my seat and run through my house, only slightly trying to be quiet so I don't wake up my grandma and I rush outside in nothing but my pajamas.

I don't live incredibly close to Levi, but I run as best as I can while trying to talk to Levi on the other end of the phone, hoping the harsh breaths coming from me don't bother him too much.

“Please Levi, tell me what happened” I know something happened, he would never call like this if he didn't need to.

“He was- now- and he” Levi chokes on his words and my chest aches more in panic than the fact that I’m running.

“Breathe Levi” I instruct him “you need to breathe

I hear him swallow before breathing in harshly. “Slowly, Levi″ he needs to go slow or he’s going to hyperventilate.

I’m at a full-on sprint now as I run through the streets in my dark blue shirt, grey sweatpants, and unfortunately, my socks.

“I’m close now, don't worry. Just a few more minutes” I try and reassure him but he mutters “sorry” as he sucks in a breath.

I frown. Why is he sorry? “I will always come Levi, no matter where, when, or why”

I’m getting tired and my feet are starting to ache and just now do I regret not taking a sport like Reece or working out like Alex.

“I’m here” I try to speak quieter so I don't wake anyone up as I weave through the trailers towards Levi’s.

I have to squint my eyes to try and navigate through the dark. I rush as best as I can without tripping or falling. When I see Levi’s trailer I immediately see Levi as he sits in a ball outside leaning against the side of the trailer in the grass.

I hang up the phone and Levi's head snaps to look at the screen which has lit up due to ending the call. “Levi″ I call and he looks up at me. His shoulders fall from their tense position but that doesn't relieve me when I notice a tear fall down his face.

I rush towards him and squat down next to him “what happened?” I ask softly

His green eyes glitter with tears as his eyes meet mine. “They came again” his voice is hoarse, telling me he was probably crying. He looks away towards the ground “I'm sorry” he whispers and my eyes harden as I hold Levis chin so he looks me in the eyes again

“Never, Levi, never apologize for something as serious as this. Never apologize for anything that makes you upset. If it matters to you, it matters to me. You didn't ask me to come here in my freaking socks, I came based on my decisions, because I care about you”

He just looks at me with wide eyes and I tilt my head slightly “do you understand?”

He nods slowly in my grasp and I let him go from my hand. “Good. I’m going to go inside alright?”

His eyes fill with panic and he shakes his head “no” we both look down at the same time to see that he’s grabbed onto my shirt. When he notices, he immediately releases it and looks away.

“Then I’ll stay, alright?” I ask softly as I move to sit next to him on the grass, leaning against the trailer, shoulder to shoulder with him.

It fills me with anger that he has to go through this again. A few months ago, a bad group of people decided that the trailer park was an easy target for destruction, fear, and theft.

Levi and his dad were among the people whose place got trashed and raided. I don't think anyone could understand how worried I was for him.

Thankfully this all occurred after school while he was at work down at the bowling alley and his dad was out with work as well. It makes me sick to even think of what could have happened to him had he been there.

I hate that he has to live like this. I hate that this happens and that even though he tries his best, it still seems like he’s surrounded by water.

I understand that he wants to do things and get things himself, but I wish he would understand that he still has us, has me, to be there for him to lean on. He’s not alone. He will never be alone.

I try to get him to come over whenever he can, let him know my doors are always open to him. My grandma loves him so it’s no problem, even when he thinks it is.

Levi shifts a bit and I gently reach my hand to the opposite side of his face and guide his head to lean on my shoulder. He does so easily, either too tired and worn out to overthink it, or he’s just about asleep.

I look up towards the stars and just gently let my mind fade out as I look up into the ethereal sky.

The stars twinkle and shine, too many to count and for a moment, there is no disaster no panic as I listen to Levi’s harsh breaths over the phone, no running into the unknown, no sadness or fear. It’s just us. Us and the stars, making it all seem like a dream.

A little while after Levi fell asleep I had shifted him so I could hook my arms under his legs and support his back so I could lift him up as I stood.

I didn't want him to spend the whole night outside considering the chill that comes with every blow of the wind. I didn't want to go inside his trailer knowing the damage that must have been done.

God, the whole situation makes me want to punch every one of those guys who made Levi cry. He’s had a hard life, I know it. I wish I could have taken his pain away when he was at his lowest. When his mom died, he would never come outside, he barely came to school and he didn't talk for about a month before I could get him to open up just a bit.

I begin to walk with him in my arms towards my house. I don't care that I’m not the strongest or the fastest. Levi’s involved, so I’ll do whatever I have to.

I remember when I would come over every day just to check on him. I know the others checked on him as well but the pressure in my chest wouldn’t release until I saw him with my own eyes.

I would bring him food and when he wouldn't eat it, I would talk to him while I fed it to him. His eyes would be dull but I told him about everything that was going on anyway. I wanted to distract him just enough that he wouldn’t focus on eating too much and he would just do it mindlessly, whether it was because he was lost in his head or listening to me, I was just happy he ate.

I would bring his homework over and while I wasn't sure if he retained any of the information, I sat where he would be and would do the homework out loud, just so he wouldn't fall behind in classes.

When he started giving me responses and started doing things himself was when every ounce of fear and sadness flooded out of me and relief filled me. It killed me to see him like that, and when things started looking up, when he wasn't around, I would cry tears of relief.

I was so afraid he would be consumed with grief that I would lose him forever, and that thought terrified me to no end.

As we made it into my neighborhood I look down at him and my heart clenched in sadness and something else. I just look at him and everything in me swirls and turns. The wind makes his dirty blonde hair brush against his face in a gentle caress.

His green shirt brought out his green eyes when he looked at me with his glistening eyes. I always liked him in green.

It’s not a fluid motion, but I manage to open my door with him still in my arms and I walk in and warmth surrounds us making me sigh in relief.

Careful not to move him around too much, I bring him up the stairs and into my room where I put him onto my bed.

I immediately take off my socks which are dirty with grass and dirt. I change from my pajamas into new ones, not wanting to sleep in clothes I ran around outside in.

I move over to the bed and pull the duvet over Levi while I take the extra blanket off the end of the bed and lay on the carpet next to the bed. Not the best position, but I would never make Levi sleep on the ground. I don't care if he took the bed every day of his life, I will gladly take the floor.

I open my bleary eyes trying to make sense of the room around me. My eyes shift to the clock on my bedside table as I squint at the numbers to see that it’s around five-thirty. I push myself up into a sitting position and yawn as I rub my eyes.

I pause my movements when Levi shifts on the bed and he releases a breath before settling down again.

My eyes don't leave his face as I stand up and stretch my arms. When I do look away, a smile forms on my face as I walk out of the room and towards the bathroom in the hall.

I’m not usually an early riser. Alex likes to get up early to run and Ethan gets up early to just leave his house. Myself? Well, I would normally wake up after the sun is up, but with such a worrisome night I guess the underlying feeling of anxiety didn't pass.

I run my toothbrush under the water and start brushing my teeth. With one hand I hold the toothbrush, the other grabs my hairbrush and I begin running it through my hair. I know lots of people who don't use hairbrushes and just run their fingers through their hair. My hair is long enough that it can tangle a bit in some places and I don't want to imagine not brushing my hair.

It’s like working out, even if you didn't sweat you still need to shower. It's basic hygiene.

“Connor?” I jump a little in place and turn from the mirror to look at Levi who stands in the doorway, his hands fiddling with the sides of his shirt as he looks at me “sorry, I just wasn't sure where you wanted me”

I blink at him, my toothbrush still in my mouth. I look at his tired form and I turn away from him to spit in the sink to hide my smile.

“What do you mean?” I ask

Levi shifts a bit on his feet but doesn't look away. He’s being strong

I can’t help but feel proud of him. Here he is, standing tall, looking me in the eyes and communicating.

I wouldn't know how well I could handle my emotions if he shut down again.

“Well, I don't want to overstay my welcome..” he awkwardly points in the direction of the stairs “wasn't sure if I should just go..”

I put my toothbrush back in its spot and walk up to him. He watches me the whole time as I wrap my arms around him. “Stay, please”

I feel him suck in a breath and he shifts before nodding “alright. Eve won’t mind?”

I shake my head as I pull him to arm's length “no. she loves you, remember?”

He laughs a little “she loves everyone”

I hear shuffling around downstairs meaning that my grandma is awake and probably is getting breakfast. “How about you get ready here and meet me downstairs when you’re done. I’ll have some food ready for you”

Levi nods and I walk out of the bathroom, not worried about him not being able to find things, my grandma decided it would be a good idea to get all the guys their own toothbrushes and combs.

I go back to my room and take some clothes that he could wear and place them outside of the bathroom door which is now closed.

I walk down the stairs and see my grandma in the kitchen making toast and eggs.

“Good morning” I say to her and she whirls around.

She points the spoon that she has in her hand at me “I heard you last night, you’re not as sneaky as you think” she turns back around, continuing to scramble the eggs “where did you go?”

I put my hands in my pockets and hunch my shoulders a little, knowing she’s going to be upset. Not that Levi’s here, but at the fact that I went outside without a jacket or shoes and didn't call her or wake her up when I needed her.

“Levi was having a hard time” her eyes soften and she looks concerned “so I went to go get him and bring him here”

Her head whips to me “you what?”

I scratch my head “I went to go get him”

“Connor!-” she’s cut off by Levi's voice in the doorway behind me

“It was my fault,” he says as he approaches us “I called him”

We both give him stern looks “just like you should” she reprimands “always call when you need it”

I nod along, agreeing. But she turns to me “but you should have said something. Not only when he called but when you came back”

“Sorry” I murmur

She sighs and puts the eggs on the side of the plate and puts the toast next to it. She walks over to Levi with the plate and hands it to him “alright, how about you take this to eat and once Connors eaten you can both go out somewhere. It’s the weekend, before anything upsetting happens again I want both of you to have smiles on your faces”

He nods and takes the plate, walking into the dining room.

She looks at me while cooking some more eggs “he’s a nice boy”

I nod “yeah, he’s really cool”

She smiles slyly at me before turning back to the eggs

I take out the milk from the fridge and move to get a cup “why did you look at me like that?” I question

She simply shrugs and puts the eggs into the plate she just took out and puts them on it. She picks up a granola bar and puts it on the side of the plate “go on now, he’s waiting for you”

I narrow my eyes at her but I comply and take my plate to the dining room, taking a seat next to Levi. he’s chewing on his piece of toast as he looks up at me.

I smile at him and sit down, beginning to eat as well.

He doesn't say much through the meal and I would bet he’s thinking of the incident last night. I wish I could make him feel better, I want him to be happy.

“My dad’s at work right now. But he’ll be back in a few hours″ Levi says as he finishes the last of his food. “I don't want him to go home to what’s happened”

I nod “Then we do as my grandma says and have some time where we don't worry too much. Maybe go somewhere. Then we’ll either go back to fix things up, or I will go myself” I would never make him go there alone. I could never make him deal with it alone. He will never be alone, no matter what he thinks.

I sigh. “Just, just stay with me okay?”

Levi looks at me and his green eyes lock onto mine. “Okay”

Please stay with me

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