Titanium

Kerrigan Brady just wanted to meet her favourite band. Not like this. Never like this.

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12. -Eleven-

-11-

Mum stood at the foot of the stairs, hollering up them to save herself the journey. “Kerrigan, come on! Time to get up!”

I groaned quietly, checking the pin-board by my computer desk. This was the second time in ten minutes she’d shouted the same thing; I knew that if she reached three or four, she’d come up to physically drag me out of bed. I had no desire to get up and be driven to my weekly check-ups at the hospital, even if they were followed up with cake and coffee. What I really wanted to do was lie in bed and sleep, since I hadn’t been doing much of that lately.

The dreams were back. And getting worse.

At first they were like flashbacks; I’d hear a bang and wake up sweating and panting like I’d sprinted three miles straight. I suppose not remembering what happened made my dreams worse; I’d blocked it all out when I was awake and while I slept, nothing was in the way of those memories. Lately, I’d been seeing faces, hearing voices; some asked if I was okay, I heard someone scream oh my God, and- the worst of the lot- was the dreams in which I didn’t move on time.

Where the bullet missed me and Liam…

I felt sick just thinking about it. Pinching the bridge of my nose, I rolled out of bed and dressed as neatly as I could be bothered, which consisted of old sweatpants, a blue polo shirt and a hoodie. Just as I’d yanked a brush through my hair, I heard Mum’s footsteps on the stairs and limped to cram my feet into a pair of converse before opening the door. “I’m ready,” I said, stepping out.

“Not quite,” Mum replied, giving me an up-and-down look. “People have caught on that you go to the hospitals on Thursday mornings. Paparazzi are waiting for you- the nurses warned me.”

Looking down at myself, I caught the unspoken hint. “Right,” I said, shutting the door and grabbing nicer clothes. If my photo was going to be taken and maybe sold, I wanted to look somewhat okay in it. I had been warned now that everything I did reflected on One Direction; I refused to do anything that might harm their careers, and if that included dressing up when I felt like crap then so be it.

After that first interview- nearly two weeks ago, I couldn’t believe it- my face had been splashed all over the world, on magazines and on TV. I’d been hot property; everyone wanted a piece of Kerrigan Brady, and the thought had made me so terrified of screwing up that for the first week of being home, I’d made Mum, Max and Layla buy everything I was in so I could read it and make sure nothing nasty was printed.

I hadn’t had the courage to go online yet, either, aside from sending a few quick tweets out. I couldn’t bring myself to search up the story of my injury, or the stories written about me while I was in hospital; I didn’t want to know what happened. I just knew that it had been two and a half months and I was still suffering with the consequences.

“Better?” I asked Mum as I pulled open my bedroom door. Red jeans and a white top, denim jacket combination. She gave me the once-over and nodded, helping me navigate the stairs that I still had trouble going down. I should have slept in the spare downstairs room instead, but I was determined to use the stairs as part of my rehab process. The more I could do here, the less time I had to spent at hospital. I’d had quite enough of those to last me a lifetime.

Along the way to the hospital, I texted Max and Layla to meet me afterwards. I needed to get out of the house for a little while, and since Mum was finally going back to work as soon as I was looked after, today was the perfect day for it. Retail therapy sounded bloody good.

“Good morning, Kerrigan,” Doctor Barns greeted me as I was rolled- they insisted on the chair- into his rehab clinic. I waved tiredly and he went to work, checking my vitals that didn’t really need checking, making sure the wounds on my leg from surgery and from the bullet were healing fine. Upon getting the all-clear, I gritted my teeth because I knew what was coming. “Alright, now, the session begins!”

Barns was far too pleased with himself for me to relax.

The moment I was upright he was pulling me to a treadmill. “Alright, I want you to match speed until you can’t anymre, okay? Tell me when and where it starts to hurt.”

And he pressed the button. I was fine with the walking pace and even light jogging I could do now; but the faster it got, the more agony that shot up my spine because of my stupid hip. Mum was in the waiting room, a fact I had never been more grateful for as Barns slowed down the treadmill and I let myself roll off it. I had never regretted what I did but in that moment I resented the injury more than anything else in the world; tired, frustrated, sore, and still a little bit terrified because if I wasn’t here then Liam would be… Liam would be…

“Have you been sleeping alright, Kerrigan?” Barns asked me gently, seeming to know exactly what was wrong. I wanted Hannah suddenly, my nurse from Orlando, because she knew me and didn’t need to ask to know that no, I wasn’t sleeping well. “What about eating? How’s your appetite?”

“I eat like a soldier,” I muttered, wiping my eyes and feeling angry with myself for crying in the first place. “Sleep… not so much. I… I have dreams.”

Barns lead me to a bed and had me lie down while he sat beside me. “What kind of dreams?”

My eyes caught the psychology degree on his wall and rolled my eyes. Figures. He knew just what to say to get under my skin and make me work harder; and now, he was patiently waiting for me to open up. “Of… when it happened,” I answered carefully, trying not to make it out as a big deal. “Sometimes I get hit twice… other times not at all.”

“Have you spoken to anyone in the way of counselling?” he asked quietly.

I shook my head. “I was given a diary, about three hours of counselling in Orlando… but I didn’t have the dreams then.”

“Alright,” Barns stood up and petted my hand gently. “As far as I can see, your physical recovery is going well. My concern is with your mental health. I don’t want to give you pills to sleep; but try sleeping with a light on tonight. It might help. Chamomile tea and lavender is also good… take my card, and call me- any time- if it doesn’t work, or you need to talk to someone, okay?” he smiled as he handed over his card and though I wanted to toss it immediately, I didn’t, and slipped it into my pocket as I turned to go. “And Kerrigan?” I paused, waiting; “Make use of the diary. It’s a good idea.”

I rejoined Mum in the waiting room and waved goodbye, all fake smiles, to the staff. I changed plans to have Max and Layla come to mine, as I didn’t feel like going out, and asked that they bring bad movies and good popcorn. I needed a damn good distraction from everything… normally, with the time difference, Max and Layla would have been asleep when I wanted to call and it would have been Liam or Niall.

I missed those rowdy bunch of lads, I really did. I’d barely heard from them as their tour wrapped up- a few tweets here and there, a five-minute Skype conversation last week- and I hoped this wasn’t them trying to keep their distance to prevent us actually being good friends. I wanted so badly to keep them in my life; they made me genuinely happy.

As it were, Max and Layla and I amused ourselves with bad reality programming and tossing popcorn across my living room until they left at eight, having stayed for dinner. Mum came home not long after and went straight to bed, as I followed her slowly up the stairs.

That night, I sat at my computer desk with the diary open to the first page in front of me. I had no idea where to start with it… so just scribbled across the top.

Hello. My name is Kerrigan Brady. And I was shot.

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