I went to check on Cade after I got Tessa settled from her diaper change. Tammy had gotten back from looking for Cade. He wasn’t in any of the washrooms on the main floor she thought that he must have gone to his room. I said that I would check on him and Tammy said she’d watch Tessa while I did. We were both unsure if Cade was using the washroom or if he couldn’t handle being around Tessa anymore.
When I got to his room the door was ajar. I knocked but there was no answer, so I went inside. His bed was messy, but he wasn’t inside. I noticed that the light was on in the ensuite, so I walked over and knocked on the door. The was no answer so I pushed the door open.
In the corner on the floor, I watched in horror as Cade cut his arm with a razor blade. I yelled out “stop!” Which caused him to look up at me. His eyes were bloodshot, and his face was covered in tears. He continued cutting his arm as I fell to the floor.
I started sobbing, I had caused this. I shouldn’t have brought Tessa. This was all my fault- just like Lucas, just like Carl- I couldn’t watch someone I loved die again. I just couldn’t.
My instincts kicked in and I stood up and grabbed a towel on my way over to Cade. I wrapped the towel around his arm and then looked around for a phone.
“Where’s your phone? We need an ambulance!” I yelled frantically.
“No, I’m fine, they aren’t that deep.” I hear Cade say.
“No, you're going to bleed out and die. We need a phone, HELP!” I yell.
“Lola stop! I’m fine,” Cade says. His words begin to sink in, I turn and look him in the eyes. He begins to pry my hands off his arm and shows me his cuts. They aren’t as deep as I thought. As the shock wears off, I begin to sob.
He grabs me and tries to hug me. I wasn’t expecting to be grabbed so on instinct I shove him away. “I thought you were going to bleed to death in front of me. Cade, I can’t take that again!” I say through my sobs. Cade sits in the corner watching me while I continue crying.
I hear footsteps and someone enters the washroom. “Oh, shit, Laura!” I hear Kyle call.
Kyle goes and helps Cade up. He starts to help him clean his arm. I sit on the floor watching the two still in shock. As Kyle cleans the wounds Cade stares at me. Moments later Laura runs in and inspects the situation. She comes over to me and helps me up. I let her lead me out of the room. She takes me down the hall to what I assume is a guest bedroom.
“Lola, I think you are in shock. Breath with me okay, in, out, in, out,” Laura instructs. I follow along and begin to calm down. As I sit there Laura wipes the tears off my face. What happened begins to fully set in.
“I thought he was going to die,” I whisper.
“I know, but he’s okay,” Laura softly tells me.
As I’m getting my bearings back Cade and Kyle walk into the room. Cade looks defeated.
“Let’s give them a moment,” Kyle says to Laura and the two leave the room.
“Look Lola, I’m so sorry. I didn’t think you’d see, and I had no idea that you’d think I was bleeding to death.” Cade says as he walks closer to me.
“That’s the thing, you don’t know me, and you have no idea what I’ve been through. I’ve only told you half-truths and all I’m going to do is hurt you. I can’t take being the reason you die. I can’t do that again!” I ramble.
“What do you mean?” Cade asks as he sits down beside me on the bed.
“My brother, I watched him bleed out. I called the ambulance but there wasn’t enough time. He died in front of me before they showed up. And Carl, oh God Carl. He risked his life for me and ended up being killed for a mistake I made that he took responsibility for. They shot him right in front of me. I watched him die and couldn’t even call for help. I can’t do that a third time.” I tell him through sobs.
“Lola, I had no idea,” Cade says as he holds me. For a long time, I cry into his chest. I’m too consumed with emotions to think straight.
After holding Lola for a while her tears being too slow. I rub up and down her back. She pulls away from me and asks, “why did you skip school when I wasn’t there?”
I shrugged and answered, “I didn’t want to go, I don’t know.”
“Cade, what’s the real reason?” She says with a serious tone.
“It doesn’t matter, please leave it,” I say.
“It does matter, what happened that you didn’t go?” She probes.
“Why are you bringing this up now?” I ask confused.
“Because what happens if we get in a fight? Or if I have to leave school because I can’t find childcare for Tessa? You’re just going to quit school?” Lola replies.
“I don’t know, what does it matter?” I say.
“It matters because I love you Cade. You can’t rely on me. Eventually, something will happen, and I’ll let you down. I can’t handle it if I’m the reason you give up!” Lola cries out.
“It won’t ever be because of you. Lola, I gave up a long time before I met you. If anything happens know it was never you.” I tell her. She looks down. “Lola, listen to me, before this year I was a mess, now I’m trying. What you saw back there wasn’t me giving up. I was trying to control how I felt in the only way I know how. It wasn’t the healthiest way, and I am working on better coping mechanisms. Please don’t blame yourself. Nothing you do is or ever will do is going to be the reason I fuck up. Hell, you could kidnap me and sell me to a cartel for money and I won’t be mad at you because I know you would have done it for Tomás and Tessa.”
Lola looks up at me, “really?” She says with a puzzled look.
“Really, and for the record, I love you too,” I tell her.
Lola takes a shaky breath and then leans in and hugs me. “I have lots to tell you that I can’t right now, please give me time, okay?” She says as we embrace each other.
“Of course, I already told you no matter what I’ll let you explain,” I tell her.
“I love you so much, and when I love someone, I do whatever I can for them. I’d never deliberately hurt you,” Lola says. At these words, I begin to wonder what she is hiding. She clearly has something going on that would hurt me if I found out. But I know Lola, I trust her, and I love her. She wouldn’t do anything she didn’t have to. I have to trust that in time she will tell me.
“I know Lola, I trust you,” I tell her.
I hold her for a while longer. I feel her fall asleep in my arms. I pick her up and move her so she is tucked into the bed. I kiss her on the forehead and leave the room. On my way down the hall, I spot Kyle.
“Is she alright?” He asks.
“Yeah, now she is. She thought I was going to bleed to death. She’s exhausted and fell asleep. I tucked her in,” I explain.
“I told mom what happened, she’s with Laura, Tomás, and Tessa in the movie room,” Kyle says as we walk to the media room to find my mom.
“Hey sweetie, how are you doing?” My mom asks when she spots me.
“Okay, um I was wondering if I could look at Tessa again?” I ask. I want to see be able to be around her. I need to try one more time.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” My mom asks.
“Yeah, I need to do this,” I say with determination.
“Okay, she’s in her car seat over here.”
I walk over and sit beside my mom. I look down to see Tessa asleep. As I watch her, I feel okay. Maybe I can do this, and even if I can’t as she gets older, she won’t trigger my memories anymore.
“How’s Lola?” My mom asks.
“Exhausted, I left her asleep in the guest room. I feel awful I put her through that,” I say as I roughly run my fingers through my hair.
“You didn’t know it would trigger her, just like she didn’t know Tessa would trigger you. Now that you know you can help her in the future,” my mom explains. “Why don’t you take Tomás up to bed and get some sleep. I can look after Tessa.”
“Sure, thanks, mom. Goodnight,” I say and then get up. I go and pick up a sleeping Tomás and leave the room. On my way, I turn to Kyle and say, “thanks for everything. It means a lot.” He nods in response, and I head upstairs.
I decide to go back to the guest room to put Tomás with Lola. As I’m tucking him into bed Lola wakes up.
“Stay with us please?” She asks while moving over.
“Sure, I’m just going to change first,” I say and then go change into pajamas. When I get back, I crawl in next to Lola and wrap my arms around her.
Lola moves closer and kisses my cheek, “I love you, sorry I waited till we were fighting to tell you.”
“It’s no big deal, I love you too,” I tell her. Silence falls over us and soon I hear Lola’s soft snores. As I dose off all I can think of is Lola. I have never met anyone like her. She was so good but yet she thought she was evil. She was one of the most caring people I have ever met yet she described herself as callous. I think it was how hard she was on herself that made her good, anyone who did all the things she had to and came out thinking they had always done the right thing would be evil. But Lola, the woman I loved, was anything but evil.