Broken Crystals

When Crystal collapses in the middle of the road after another beating, headlights are the last thing she sees. She wakes up in a strange house, surrounded by five strange boys. She refuses to relax around them or be herself. But can the one Irish boy with the beautiful blue eyes show her what it means to be loved and fix her cracks?

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93. Angel Is Sleeping

I look up at the name of the café and swallow the lump of bile that suddenly rises to the back of my throat. I cough nervously and push my hair behind my back. I let Perrie and El enter first, Perrie pushing Calla in her pram and both of them concealed well by scarfs and glasses. It was a small local café that Niall took me to once when we first moved here and I choke back the memories as I shake my head; desperately trying to contain myself and my emotions. I glance at my phone screen, telling me that I had precisely four minutes until my Dad was due to get here. I wait a few seconds then peer inside the window before heading in and taking a seat at the front of the shop; occupying myself by looking out the window. The waitress comes over and asks what I would like so I ask for a cup of tea and stir it aimlessly when it appears a few minutes later. I tap my phone screen with my nails, becoming more agitated and nervous by the minute. Two minutes. From where I’m sitting I can clearly see Perrie and El sitting on one of the tables lining the wall. Cee keeps reaching out for me and making noise so El eventually gets her out of her pram and sits her on her lap; placing a coulouring pencil and pad in her podgy hands. I watch Calla for a while, lost in my tangle of thoughts so deep that I don’t notice when the chair infront of me is slowly drawn back and a deep cough rumbles from a chest. My body freezes in fright and my eyes burn as I lift them to the table. I watch the salt and pepper in the center of the table as he takes a seat before I finally lift my eyes to meet his. He takes off a hat and I gasp inwardly. He looked… older. Wrinkles have appeared on his face, a deep scar tracing his right eyebrow. His eyes are still the same piercing brown; small flecks of green visible. Seeing his face just brought back so many memories and I nearly choke with the concentration of trying not to cry or whimper.

“You look… different.” He says after a while, his voice different to how it sounded on the phone. I just nod and try to say the same but I can’t form the words.

“What can I get you sir?” The waitress appears at the table again, after moments of awkward silence between us.

“I’ll have a coffee please, Miss. Two sugars.”

“Coming up,” She totters off and I watch her back as she heads behind the counter and begins to operate the coffee machine.

“How… How are you, Crystal?” He says after a couple of long seconds and he looks uncomfortable as he glances down.

“I’m sure it’s pretty hard not to know,” I say quietly, hinting that my life was hardly private anymore. He just nods gruffly and we wait in silence before the waitress re-appears and places the coffee cup infront of him. He thanks her before taking a few cautious sips and I stare down at my nails in my lap.

“How much do you know?” I ask, voice crackling slightly with nerves and fear. He looks taken aback by my question and I keep my expression blank as he puts the mug back down on the saucer with a soft clink. He clears his throat, avoiding eye-contact with me. I don’t know why but I got some kind of pleasure from making him uncomfortable. It was a small but step-forward in being the equal one in our shattered relationship. I wanted him to experience even just a tiny snippet of what he put me through.

“Do you mean the fact that you have a child?” He asks me, bringing me back to the present moment. I take a while but I nod slowly just once. He looks at me; brown eyes boaring into my own.

“I don’t suppose I could meet her.” I sense something in his tone and my head is screaming at me that it’s disappointment and regret but I can’t bring myself to believe it.

“No. I need to know, first.” I say, voice slightly stronger with each word.

“Know what?”

“If you’ve changed.” I reply simply and he looks away again. He’s silent for a while before he picks up the tea-spoon on the side of his saucer and gently begins to swirl the coffee hypnotically around the mug. I look up and our eyes meet before he clears his throat.

“Crystal, I’m not here to say sorry. I know… it won’t really make a difference to you but I honestly am. And I understand if you don’t believe me or you don’t want to believe me; either way, I just want you to know that if I could turn back the clock and do things differently, I would. Everytime.” Hearing those words leave his mouth with some trace of truth in his tone almost made me want to crawl over to him and wrap my arms around him in an embrace but I couldn’t bring my limbs to move. In my head he wasn’t the caring father he had been all those years ago; he was the menacing, abusive and drunk one he was after that and the last time I saw him. I couldn’t let that go and I was sure I would never be able to.

“Dad I…” The word feels foreign in my mouth as I look down at my trembling fingers.

“I can’t let you anywhere near her until I know for sure.” I whisper the last part and his fist slamming onto the table startles me so much I nearly bump my knee on the table.

“God damn it, Crystal! Can’t you see I’m sorry? Isn’t that enough?” He raises his voice, sending a shiver down my spine and memories of him come flooding back. I’m about to get up and get the hell away from him when Calla jumps down from El’s hip and runs over to me, clutching her paper and pen in hand. She completely ignores my father as she jumps up onto my lap and wraps her arms tightly around my midriff, head buried in my hair.

“Hey, baby.” I say shakily, turning my body slightly in a mere effort to conceal her from his view. I cast a glance at him and see him standing there; frozen between going to say something and going to sit down again. He stares at the back of Cee’s head for a while before gently lowering himself into his seat. I look over at El and Perrie and see them both looking at me with startled eyes but neither of them make a move towards me.

“Mummy, look what I drawed,” Calla mumbles into my chest before pulling away and lifting the crumpled piece of paper for me to see. Scribbled in various colours are three undistinguishable figures. Two have their stick arms connected whilst standing on a wobbly green line at the bottom of the page whilst the other is at the top of the page with sloppy looking ‘Zs’ coming from it’s mouth and drifting up the page whilst it’s sitting on a cloud which was obviously drawn by either Eleanor or Perrie.

“What’s this?” I ask, smiling slightly as she turns in my lap to place it on the table infront of us.

“This,” She says proudly as I scoot the chair in closer so she can lean towards the drawing.

“Is me and you, mummy.” She prods her podgy finger to the two figures at the bottom of the page.

“And this is Angel.” She points to the top figure and I furrow my eyebrows in mis-understanding.

“Who’s Angel?” I ask, peering closer.

“You said she was sleeping with the angels, Mummy. I draw this so I can sleep with angels as well.” My heart burns as I think back to our conversation about her having two sets of grandparents.

“Why can’t I sleep with the angels, Mummy? Is there something wrong with me? Am I not a good angel?” She furrows her eyebrows slightly at me with a frown and I shake my head, leaning to the side of her to kiss her cheek.

“You can sleep with the angels, Cee. But you’re not old enough yet, baby.” I hold back tears as I risk as glance at my father across the table. He’s sitting there, shoulders slumped, back arched as he stares mindlessly at Calla’s drawing. His expression is blank and unreadable.

“When will I be old enough, Mummy?” She asks, spinning to face me again, looking crestfallen.

“When you’re ready, Calla.” I soften my tone and she seems to accept this. I let her sit for a few more minutes before I finally look up at my Dad and he’s staring right back at me.

“I should go…” He half mumbles under his breath, before beginning to stand up.

“Wait, Dad, please. Don’t.” I whisper the last part, confusing myself as Cee spins in my lap to look up at my Dad. He meets her eyes and I see him freeze slightly before just standing there awkwardly.

“Dad, this is Calla. Or Cee as everyone calls her.” I say gently, standing up and moving Calla onto my hip.

“Baby, tell him what you’re full name is.” I whisper in her ear and she giggles slightly before pushing her hair out of her face with a toothy grin.

“I’m Calla Sapphire Horan.” She says proudly, smiling up at my Dad through her eyelashes.

“Cee, this is my Daddy. So he’s your other Granddad.” I say softly, waiting for her reaction. She stays still in my arms for several moments. Then she does something that shocks all of us. She jumps down from my arms and rushes over to him; wrapping her body around his leg. I hold my breath slightly as he looks down very slowly, taking in the scene before him. Then, ever so slightly, he bends down to kneel on his haunches at Calla’s height.

“Hello, Calla. That is a very beautiful name and you are a very pretty girl.” He says with a smile, causing her to blush.

“Tank you,” She says gently and I find myself smiling slightly too.

“If you’re my Granddad does that mean you will take me to the zoo like my other Granddaddy promised he would when they visit?” She looks hopefully up at him with her innocent bright blue eyes and he nods slightly with a grin.

“I have to go now,” He tells her and her small face crumples.

“Why can’t you stay?” She asks him.

“Because I’ve pushed my time here too far already,” He replies, keeping his eyes on her face.

“But can you come see me very soon?” She hurriedly asks as he stands up to his full height again.

“Of course I will, chick.” He puts his hand on her head for a few seconds and goes to say something else but then casts me a glance. Me, El, Perrie and Cee all watch him turn his back on her and then walk out of the door.

 

 

 

 

 

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