I raced home, Mark came with me. When I got there, Jenni sat there crying, her hands in her lap.
"What happened?" I asked frantic.
"I knew that he was wrong. I knew mom was making a mistake." Jenni sobbed, she stood up and then looked at Evan, "Just tell them, we need to go, like now."
"The ambulance just took Kaleb, him and Jim got into an argument..."
"Over what!" I cut in, "What the hell was Kaleb and Jim arguing about?"
"Hanna, it doesn't matter now. We just need to be there for him. We need to go, Mom went with Jim to the police department."
"Are you kidding me, she went with Jim!" I stormed out of the house over to my car.
"Hanna wait!" Mark was behind me. He grabbed my waist and spun me around. "You need to calm down. No one can drive like that and second, I know you are headed to the police department but don't you think you can talk to your mom later. You should be with Kaleb, Hanna we need to go see him."
I nodded and I hopped into the car. We rode over silently and all the way up to his room, I didn't say a word. I looked at Mark before I walked into his room and said, "I love you. You know that right, but I'm scared. I don't want to see my brother like this and I don't want anyone upset. I need to be strong for him, but I don't know if I can."
I could feel a tear start to fall down from my face and I quickly wiped it. I hated crying, it was a weakness I hated. It showed the real me and how everything was falling apart, no amount of makeup could hide that.
He hugged me and said, "Hanna I love you, and your family. I will always be here for you. I know this may be hard, but Kaleb wants you there crying or not, he needs you."
I wiped my eyes and walked in, there he was looking dazed and out of it, the white sheets covered any wound, there were IV's hooked up to him and machines beeping. Just like that I lost it. I ran over to the side of the bed, "Kaleb, I'm so sorry, what happened?"
"It's not too bad," he said smiling at me.
"How could you smile?" I asked, "our stepfather just hurt you."
"Wait, what did he do to you?" I asked not knowing if I were ready for the answer.
"It's just a little cut," he said.
"A cut!" The tears came now flowing right out of me, a nurse walked in.
"Sweetie, can I explain you what happened? We have an antibacterial going into him, so no infections start. The surgery was quick and easy, he has a gash about ten inches long on his side and another maybe four inches on his back. They were minor gashes but could have been worse if he wasn't rushed to the hospital. He is only allowed a few visitors and so soon you will have to leave. But the wounds should heal soon and we are going to keep him for about a week for healing and then he can go home with rules, of course."
I looked at her processing everything. I looked at Kaleb and he smiled at me again. Then I kissed his cheek said, "I love you, you are so strong, I'll be back," and walked out.
I knew, I shouldn't get worked up about this right now. I was supposed to stay strong and supportive but I couldn't. I waited for the elevator until I realized, I wasn't patient enough. I bound down the stairs, past workers and other visitors. I got to my car but not before I saw Evan, he came toward me.
"Hanna, don't," was all he said, he turned and started walking toward the hospital where I could make out Jenni standing at the front desk.
I had to, I knew I shouldn't but I had to. I started the car and headed toward the police station. I went through things I was going to say and do, what I could and couldn't say at the station.
When I got there, they lead me through the station and into a back room. It was white and had a metal table and two couches, my mom and Jim sat on one and an officer sat in a folding chair at the table.
"Honey!" My mom said, there is a bruise around her neck and her left arm.
"Have you gone to see your son who is in the hospital because some lunatic has stabbed him multiple times."
The officer turned to face me, "Hanna, right?" I nodded. "Have a seat, I'm just here to supervise. We will start investigations soon."
"There is no need for an investigation, this guy is crazy and should have been locked up a long time ago. I mean look at what he's done to my mother, knocked her up and then beaten her family and her, while she is carrying his child."
He nodded at me and then said, "Do you mind talking to me, alone."
I nodded and he stood up, asked for another person to come supervise into his walkie-talkie and then headed out with me. A woman rounded the corner and headed into the room. He brought me back to another room, it had to be a lounge or break room. It was painted in a light blue color and had a flat screen on the wall, there was a fridge in one corner and tables and chairs. There was a long couch and a reclining chair. "Sit," he said walking over to the fridge, "Anything to drink?"
"No, thanks." I said, he grabbed a water bottle and then sat in the chair across from the couch.
"So, Hanna, how old are you?"
"Seventeen," I said.
"Really, wow I remember when I was that age, believe it or not I wasn't a good kid." He laughed at himself and then said, "but look time changes, things look only five years later I'm sitting here in a uniform stopping people from becoming what I was."
I didn't say anything.
"Hanna, I just want to ask, how long have you known Jim?"
"A while like three years maybe."
"So he isn't some new guy that was just brought into the family?"
"No, my mom started seeing him before my parents were divorced, and then they got married, and now the baby."
"And has he always been nice to you?"
"Well, I never paid much attention to him. He was usually out at nights. My mom and he would go to parties, not until lately did I feel weird about him like he would go to visit his family but he never talked about having a family. Later, he and I started fighting. My brothers liked to protect me, so that's probably what's going on, Jim and Kaleb probably got into it."
He nodded and then took a drink, "I just want to get to know you and see how your life is, I mean the kids have a big part of the parents' actions."
"Me? Gosh I was the goody-goody for a while. I loved helping my mom. I set up the nursery and everything I did. Everything for her, and now I don't want to talk to her. I've slept at friends' houses because I'm scared to sleep in my own bed alone, just things have changed so easily."
"That happened to me too," he said moving onto the couch and sitting facing me. I moved over a bit. "Look Hanna, you can be better than this, you know that right. Don't turn to boys or drugs or partying because of your mother. I know a lot of kids do it, and I'd rather be talking to you like this than in my car with a stash or coke or weed."
I nodded, I didn't do bad things on a regular basis, I just ran into them every once in a while, didn't everyone?
"Thanks for talking with me. I know Jim may not be a good guy and I am going to try hard to get him put where he needs to be, but until then here's my cell number. This isn't the station's number. This is my personal phone but feel free to call whenever."
He handed me a paper with his number written on it.
"Put it in your phone now and call, so I have yours."
I didn't know if this was normal. I didn't know if he was flirting with me or he really wanted to help me. I did what he said though and then I stood up. "I need to go."
I drove around for a while and then parked at one of the town parks not too far from my house. I watched as little kids ran around some, trying to run up the slippery slide, where had all this gone. I can remember clearly, my dad pushing me on the swing and my brother complaining when I went higher than him. I can remember playing hide-and-go-seek and really thinking that my dad couldn't find me. I missed all of it.
I heard my phone ring and an unfamiliar number came up, I hesitated and then answered. "Hello?"
"Oh my goodness thank God." I could hear a male breathe into the phone.
"I'm sorry, who is this?"
"Hanna? It's your father." He said.
"Who?" I asked.
"Your... Dad?" He said slowly.
I took a breath and said, "Oh dad, hi?"
"Look Hanna, I know I left and that things got out of hand, but I'm just calling to make sure everything is okay. I know that man your mom is with isn't the nicest person."
"You know Jim?" I asked.
"Jim?" My dad half-laughed, half-questioned.
"Um, yeah, Jim."
"Wow, is that guy surprising or what?"
I stayed silent, and he continued.
"His name is Ian, and clearly he's lied about a lot."
"Dad, you know you can't do this. I don't want you calling me, telling me crap just to win us back. You screwed up, not me, so stay out of this and go find some other family to screw over." And I hung up, although I didn't know whether my dad was telling the truth or not, I didn't know if I wanted to know.
I went home and stayed in my room, rest of the night, things were just weird. About an hour into my bumming night the doorbell rang.
I opened the door in my sweats and t-shirt, and my hair threw up to Elliot. He was in Levi's jeans and t-shirt.
"Um, hi," I said.
"I'm sorry," he said, "for coming with no notice. I just heard some things and I thought we could hang get your mind off of things."
I stepped aside welcoming in, but not saying anything. He followed me upstairs and into my room. I walked in and he closed the door behind him. I laid on the bed, he stood there until I patted the bed next to me. He walked over kicking his shoes off and laid next to me. He boosted himself up on his elbow and I said, "Elliot, my life is a mess."
"Why is that?" He asked moving a piece of hair out of my face. He was gorgeous, I had to admit that.
"Nothing goes as planned."
"Does it ever?" He asked. "But think about it. If my life wasn't a complete mess then I wouldn't be here lying in your bed with a beautiful girl, whose life is just as screwed up and maybe if it wasn't just as screwed up, you wouldn't have been home tonight, so maybe, just maybe things work out for our odds."
I looked him straight in the eye and said, "You know Elliot, I like you, like a lot."
He looked me in the eye and leaned down.