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"Okay then," Cody sings.
"Where did you learn sign language?" Charice asks me.
For a moment I have a flashback of that horrible day. When I was younger, my father bashed my head into the door so hard I lost my hearing temporarily. I had to learn how to sign, so my teachers could communicate with me at school, that went on for about two years until he finally decided it was time for me to get medical attention.
The answer I give is nowhere near the truth, as I shrug and write, 'It seemed like a useful skill.'
"Proved useful here," Gavin smiles.
'Is Chester here?' I write.
"Chester?" Charice asks confused.
Everyone gives one another a look before Chance explains that he's down the hallway and he'd bring him to me.
'Do you not like dogs?' I ask Emerson considering that he tensed as soon as Chance had left.
"Uh... I love dogs," he says a bit uncertain, but as soon as Chester walks in, I hear a growl an animalistic one. And it wasn't Chester.
I look up and see as Gavin and Anthony glaring at Chester, their eyes seemed to shine a gold like I'd never seen in my life. My eyes widen and I look over at Charice to see if she saw what I did but she was looking at the ground. When we make eye contact hers widen and immediately it's as though everyone snaps back to normal and all eyes are either on me or the ground.
What the hell?! I jump back a bit frightened at their reactions.
Had I just hallucinated it all? A voice in my head asked. Was that my voice? I don't think so. But it came back.
Maybe all those meds were getting to my head?
I didn't really agree with it, because I knew what I saw, but felt it was much easier to go along. Just then Chester rushed over to me and I immediately felt a warmth cascading over my body. I was so happy he was okay and so grateful for what he did for me. He rested his head on my knees and I leaned down kissing him endlessly and squeezing him tightly.
I mouthed the words, "I love you." And he smiled as though he understood me and I pet that spot behind his ear that he loved so much and as usual, he lost it. I felt as he tapped his back leg quickly against the wooden floor and stuck his tongue out his mouth. The sight caused me to smile.
"Are you tired?" Charice asks me now.
I nod a bit, rubbing Chester's head now, "I could follow you to your room," Emerson offers a bit eagerly.
Gavin and Cody snicker but Emerson doesn't notice as our eyes lock. I blush a bit and nod accepting his help. Chester hops to his feet and jumps up to follow us.
Emerson walks over to me and places my arm over his shoulders supporting me as I walk. My head barely reaches his shoulder so I struggle to stand on my feet. He notices this and smiles before continuing to walk up the stairs, carrying me tenderly by my bruised hip.
The floor above us is just as lavish as below. The wooden fixtures seemed to shine like any gold, silver or glass ever would. It made me wonder what Victor and Chelsea did for a living to be able to live such an effusive life with three children. Emerson continues down the hallway and begins to speak.
"This is my room and the one behind it, is where Charice and Anthony stay."
A sense of shock washes over me. I wouldn't think that Victor and Chelsea seemed like the parents who'd be okay with that. Then again I'd only met the people for a little over an hour.
"You seemed shocked," Emerson notices.
I smile nodding and he continues to speak, "They've been together for about 3 years now, and prior to that Anthony, Cody, Gavin and I basically grew up together, so he was always here regardless."
I nodded at his explanation, which made more sense.
"This is your room," he says as we near the end of the hall, "There's a bathroom between my room and Charice's, but Charice also has a personal one in her bedroom if you're more comfortable with that." I nod trying to remember all these details, "There are toiletries and if there's anything you need, don't be afraid to get me."
I nod and open the door slightly so that Chester can run inside. I smile Emerson's way one last time and begin to head to the room when he gently holds onto my elbow. I'm immediately nervous (maybe a bit afraid), my tell, a trembling in my right wrist. Chester feels me beginning to enter a mini anxiety attack and rushes over to me, rubbing his head against my leg soothingly.
Emerson also notices my reaction and releases my hand immediately. He does this as though my skin is hot lava that burned his flesh. Embarrassed now, I hastily close the door and try to brush away the feeling of discomfort.
I can't do my regular routine of taking deep breaths because that would cause the volcano in my throat to erupt. So I think of happy thoughts. Of the smell of freshly cut grass, or being lost in a meadow filled with flowers waist high, a waterfall with calm still pond just beneath. Soon enough the trembling in my wrist recedes and my heart rate seems to calm it's step.
Once relaxed though, a sense of tiredness fills my being and my limbs go heavy as I head toward the well-made bed. It looks as soft as any feather and that only made it more appealing as I fall on top of the covers. I feel as Chester climbs in his usual spot right next to me, under my arm, and I hug him as close as possible, my little teddy bear. I smile at him, kissing his forehead. Soon enough I fall asleep in bed.
~Later that Day~
I wake to the sound of Chester growling angrily at something beyond me. Suspecting it's nothing, I merely glance his way and see a pair of shimmering brown eyes belonging to another dog? I rub my eyes and look again to find Cody glaring at Chester who jogged his way over to me with something of a cocky attitude. I smile at him and look up at Cody confused. He meets my gaze and begins to explain himself.
"Chance asked me to check if you'd woken up. I think he was wondering if you were hungry?" The second part of his sentence sounded more like a question than a statement.
I think about it for a moment, rubbing my eyes again, before looking over at the digital clock next to me. It read 1:17 and I decided that getting a little satisfaction for my soon to develop hunger was a good idea. So I nod at Cody and he leaves the room so I can get ready.
As I fix my hoodie and stand to my feet, I feel as my body seems to pulse in an aching harmony and am reminded of my injuries, attacker, suicide attempt and current situation. I almost sigh but I also remember my horrible throat, so inside I carefully try to stretch the parts of my body that are capable of moving without causing severe pain and soon realize that isn't anywhere really. I move toward the door cautiously aiming to support my body on my left leg. Walking soon becomes awkward.
By the time I open the door, I notice Cody's absence realizing he must've left. What else did you think Adira? They're only housing you, nothing more. Stop expecting too much. You're not that important, a charity-
"Hey," the sound of Cody's voice snaps me out of my self-shaming, "Ready to go down?"
I find a sense of relief swim inside me as he closes the bathroom door behind him. I smile up at him, indicating a "Yes," and he supports the right side of my body carefully. We struggle awkwardly at first but soon enough we get accustomed to each other and were able to successfully travel down the stairs.
There I'm greeted by Chelsea who pats a space in the couch next to her. I smile and carefully sit in the spot.
"Ready for your tune up?" Chance jokes walking over to me.
I smile holding out my arm despite the fact that the act appalled me. Chance sees the hesitation in my eyes and gives a reassuring smile. He didn't know that it was more than a normal fear of needles, it was much deeper than that, and like most of the things wrong with me I blamed my father.
Chance came closer kneeling before me with the needle in a gloved hand. He flicks the syringe and it was as though I feel a pang within me. My father always did that before he injected small amounts of cocaine in the very same spot, the very same arm. I look up at Chance and for a second I see my father, his smug smile decorated with slowly rotting teeth, in contrast to the paleness of his face they seem to stand out. I panic, my wrist slowly trembles. I hear the voices around me but they're muffled and it's much too late to drag me back from the stage I'm about to enter. The memories.
Memories that only seemed like nightmares. Nightmares that caused my heart to break, resulting a physical pain like none other. My father broke my heart before any boy ever got the chance to, and it's seen in my horrible choices for boyfriends. They'd verbally abuse me, use my body, make me feel as though I was the problem. I believed them. I do still believe.
I could always lose some weight. Maybe my thighs were too big. I could always straighten my messy hair to make it look cleaner. My boobs could-
"But I love all those things about you," a voice rang in my mind and the fogginess clears up a bit.
I feel something wet touching my cheeks and only then do I realize my eyes were closed shut with tears slipping from them. But that wasn't my focus as I look straight in the hazel field of Emerson's eyes. When did he get here?
"Just relax, it's okay. You're safe."
I stare in his eyes and he continues to wipe the tears from my face, concern and helplessness written all over his face.
"Chance is going to give you the shot now okay?" He says this regularly, not slowly as though I was stupid. But clearly and filled with care and I respond affirmatively with a nod, "He'll use your other arm and I want you to just keep looking at me."
I listen to him, losing myself in the hazel of his eyes with a slight blue that was growing from the center. It made him look even more gorgeous. I feel as the sting of the needle pierces my skin and I make a small jolt.
Emerson holds me in place hushing me softly. I feel as the liquid is pushed into my veins and begin to panic. Emerson senses this and places his forehead on mine, our noses touching and lips centimeters apart. My breath stops and for a moment time freezes. He notices too, I can tell.
His hands tremble slowly around my face and his breath is labored. He gulps a bit and I hear a sound coming from the depth of his throat. It's a sound of... want, a sound of need, an animalistic sound and it seemed to draw me in. Closer.
"All done," Chance says, but it was as though we weren't phased one bit, because neither of us acknowledged him.
Emerson gulped and his gazed traveled down my face, taking in every pore, blemish and spot. He stops at my lips and reaches his thumb forward and rubs across it softly. When he lets go, it feels extremely dry so I pull it in, licking over it slightly. He makes a face and sound that resembles longing the same time as I grip tightly onto the couch cushions below me. His eyes shift to them and a shimmer of gold rushes past the hazel field contained there, finally he speaks. Words that get my heart leaping and my brain seems to turn to mush.
"Can we talk alone?" His voice is husky, eyes intense.
I nod, and just as Emerson begins to help me up Chance speaks, "The nutrients were mixed with an antibiotic that might get you sleepy." I nod at his instructions a bit embarrassed at how I reacted to the needle. It usually isn't that bad.
As usual Chance seems to understand me exactly and walks over, "Don't worry, we know you're coming from a shaky background, we'll try something new next time." His smile is contagious so I return it.
Emerson and I head upstairs and a bit further up. As we walk we don't really speak but I can't help the blush that develops as he holds my waist delicately, or how low he has to bend to help me but doesn't complain a bit. I liked the feeling he gave me. And that scared me.
Faezeh: I will hopefully clarify as the story goes on about their connection. What did you think about this chapter?
Miha: I'm really excited that you're this excited! Lol! Tell me what you thought about this chapter! Questions?