Looking For Now[l.h]

in which a lost boy tries to fix a broken girl.

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5. Monster on Paper

 

"Now, I'm going to ask one more time, the third time to be exact; what happened before you went to the railroad tracks?" Leigh Anne glares at me waiting for an answer I refuse to give her. She started with other questions about my medical history and my family. I told her my whole family died due to a tragic accident which is a load of bull, but that is about as deep as our conversation has gotten.

"And now for the third time, I'm going to tell you, that I'm not answering that question," I cross my arms defiantly.

"Fine. Next question, where were you staying before you attempted suicide?"

"In an apartment," I say without giving details about who I was with.

"Alone?"

"Yes," I lie.

"Were you going to school?" She asks after scribbling a few notes on her clipboard.

"I took a few online classes," I reply debating on exactly how much information I want to give her if tougher questions come up.

"Now, can you tell me how you were feeling as you were walking to the train tracks," she looks to me with a concerning expression and I decide I'll answer this one damn question so maybe the session will end early.

"I felt helpless. I was broken inside and emotionless. There was no purpose to my life anymore, and I didn't like the way I was living. I figured if I died no one would even notice except-" I bite my tongue realizing I've said too much and quickly look away from her deep blue eyes.

"Except who, Cora? Please talk to me, you have nothing to worry about. I honestly only want to help," she pleads with me and I fight the tears threatening to spill. Just talking about it makes me scared. I feel weak like prey fallen to a predator even when he's not around. He's got a grip on me I can't explain and I'll never be able to escape it; not even within the cement walls of this institution.

"Him. You don't understand, he did this to me," I choke out and break into sobs. She walks over and sits beside me on my bed and lays her hand on my trembling back.

"He's not here now; you'll never even have to see him again I bet. Who is he?" She speaks in a hushed voice trying to calm me, but it doesn't work. I just want her to leave and let me be alone.

"I don't want to talk about it," I sniffle and wipe the tears from my face with the back of my hand.

"Okay, well there's a few minutes left in our discussion, so do you think we can talk about something else?"

"Depends on what it is," I grumble annoyed at how she can't see that I am obviously in no mood to talk.

"Well you told me how you felt before, not how did you feel while you were laying there on the tracks?"

"I felt... peaceful. Like I was righting a wrong that shouldn't have happened in the first place. I grew numb as I waited and I counted down from... from one hundred and then-and then at number eighty-two, that man, the lumberjack, he took me away. When he stopped me I felt devastated. Like I was so close to being free only to be stopped," I let it all tumble out of my mouth, and it feels surprisingly good to talk about it. I honestly didn't think I would tell her anything. I still am not willing to speak about him yet. I don't think I ever will be.

"Cora... I'm truly sorry you felt that way. I am still very unclear with the whole situation, but I want you to know that your life is worth something. I hope you never feel like that again, there is always a solution, okay?" I can feel her staring at me, so I turn to look her in the eyes. I bite my lip to stop the quivering and nod, mostly so she'll leave.

"Thanks," I mutter softly.

"I'd say that's a good enough session for today," she stands up and removes her hand from my back, "dinner starts at 5:15 and I expect you there on time, or Walter will come in and get you."

"Okay, are there showers in here?"

"Yes down the hall and to your left. Oh, and I'll take your dirty clothes to the laundry room," she holds out her hand and I pull the balled up clothes out of my sack and give them to her, "normally you would take it to the laundry yourself, which is down the other way, but I'm on my way over, so it's not a bother. Oh, and I forgot to give you this yesterday, but you might need it if you plan on showering," she says and hands me another small bag.

I nod my head in thanks, and listen as the door shuts behind her before I bury my face in the thin cotton pillow. I feel the need to let all of my emotions out, but I am sick of crying. Before I completely think the action through, I scream into the pillow. I let it out and my heart feels a bit lighter. I bite down on the pillow to stop from screaming again. I know Walter is surely right outside of my door, and I do not want him coming again.

I ball my fists in the fabric of the loose sheets on my cot and clench it tightly. Maybe I really am insane. Maybe this is what he has brought me too. I decide in that moment that I will not become crazy. I will not let him have that strong of a hold on me that even when I am far away, he is messing with my head and causing me to lose it. I will not let that happen. He can hurt me, and break me down from the inside out no matter where I am, but he cannot make me lose the one thing I have left, my sanity.

I lay there for a long time before I take a deep breath and slowly sit up on my bed and throw my legs over the side of it so my feet touch the floor. Get a grip, Cora. I tell myself, and slip on the flats I wore here. I dig through the new bag and find a couple of sports bras and a new pack of underwear. There is also some body wash, face wash, shampoo, and conditioner along with a towel and washcloth. Staring at these items make it all seem so official. This is really going to be my life now. I used to live. I used to wake up every morning and put on a different outfit everyday. I lived with regrets, happiness, and adventure. Now, all I do is exist. In real life, I exist but in my dreams, I live. If only this wasn't true, God knows where I'd be.

I grab clothes to change into, but decide to change back into the hoodie since it's the only thing with sleeves. I tap on the door and Walter opens almost immediately.

"Going to the showers miss?" He asks in his gruff voice and I nod my head as he tells me I am allowed fifteen minutes in there.

I allow the scorching water to wash over my body as it stings along my many bruises. The pain almost feels good, but I can't take it for too long so I end up turning it down. I look down at my stomach where the baby I don't even want is forming. I haven't started to show yet, but I'm sure that's pretty normal. I wonder what Leigh Anne will do when she finds out. Will she kick me out? I shake the thought out of my head deciding I will deal with the matter when the time comes, until then there is no point worrying about it.

My fifteen minutes fly by and soon Walter is pounding on the door and I rush out before he can come in.

"What time is it?" I ask once we start back towards my room.

"4 o'clock miss," he replies without looking at me.

"You know, you don't have to call me miss, my name is Cora," I point out and he nods his head, but doesn't speak.

We get to the room and I stand with my back against the door for a few minutes, then I decide to try to write in the journal. Maybe it will help.

I sit down at the desk with the pen in my hand. I wait for words to come, but they don't. Soon I'm drawing something instead of writing. I always was a good artist. In high school I took all of the higher level art classes. My hand takes over without my mind really thinking and before long there is an intricate drawing of Elias staring back at me.

I don't even know why, since I am the one who drew the monster after all, but as soon as I look at the finished piece I begin to cry out and scream loudly. I rip the sheet out of the journal and begin to tear it to pieces when strong arms wrap around me restricting my movement. I clutch the remains of the drawing in my hands refusing to let go until it is completely destroyed.

The person drags me away from the desk and sets me on the cot. I look at the figure through my watery eyes and recognize Walter. He's shaking me and saying things, but I don't hear him; I am too preoccupied with shredding the face on the paper.

Walter pries the small bits from my hand and grabs my shoulders roughly, "Cora, you need to calm down, right now!" He shouts at me and I choke back the sobs and try to take deep breaths. I count backwards from one hundred and once I hit seventy-three I have manage to stop crying and wipe the tears from my face.

"I'm okay, I'm okay," I breathe and reassure myself more so than Walter.

"Yes, everything is okay. You are at Safe Haven, and no one here is going to hurt you, okay?" He speaks quietly and his usual gruff edge has disappeared. I nod my head slowly, then he continues, "dinner starts in two minutes, so if you want you can take a minute to, um, recover, but then we really need to go."

"Okay," I whisper and turn my gaze to the white-carpeted floor. I hear his footsteps followed by the door closing and I rub my hands together. I close my eyes and try to clear the image from my mind. I wipe at my cheeks one more time and then step out into the hallway to go to dinner.

"Thanks," I say as the kitchen lady from before puts spaghetti and meatballs on my plate.

"Welcome, sweetie," she gives me a sad smile, and I turn to look for a place to sit. This time there is an empty table so I instinctively walk towards it, but I am interrupted by a slightly familiar voice calling my name.

I turn in the direction it is coming from and see the curly haired boy from lunch smiling a wide dimpled grin at me. This time there are three other boys next to him, "Cora, over here," he laughs and waves his hand, so I reluctantly go and sit in the chair next to him. Across from us there is a boy with strange hair that looks like an inside out skunk, a boy with coarse black hair, and another one with blonde hair.

"Whose this, Ash?" The black haired one speaks up and looks at me. He has an accent similar to Ashton's and I think it's Australian.

"This is Cora. Cora, this is Michael, Calum, and Luke," he indicates each one as he speaks, "they all work here too, but only Luke works in this wing of the building. Michael and Calum work in the other wing, but they sometimes come over here for meals."

"Hey," I greet them with a small smile and they all grin back at me, except for the one Ashton called Luke. He seems rather shy, and doesn't make eye contact.

"So, how's your first day been?" Ashton asks when no one else says anything. They probably all think I'm a freak, but I can't say I blame them.

"Um, it's different I guess. It could be worse though," I say and take a bite of spaghetti.

"It's not so bad here. You do get free time and all, so if you ever want a good game of ping pong, meet me in the rec room," Calum winks and they all laugh.

"Calum, everyone knows you're rubbish at ping pong," Michael chuckles in the same accent and Calum looks offended.

"I am not. I'll kick your ass any day," he sticks out his chest proudly and I smile at their childish behavior. It's quite refreshing to be around some more lively people.

"Alright then, let's go right now," he challenges.

"You're on," Calum narrows his eyes, "well I'll see you around guys, I've gotta go teach this loser a lesson," he finishes and they both stand up from the table and exit through a hallway opposite of the one I came in from.

"They're in awfully good moods today. Normally they're a bit... calmer when they're here. The place does give you that sorta feeling, eh?"

"Yeah, it's not really an exciting place to be in by any means," I agree glumly.

"You've been quiet over there Luke, you okay man?" He says to the boy at the end of the table and his head snaps up. I look into his bright blue eyes for a second before he looks to Ashton.

"What? Yeah, I'm good it's just been a rough morning that's all. Did you know that Delilah's parents came to take her home? She had a week left, but they demanded to take her now. I got stuck in the middle of clearing that on up," he explains with an Australian accent just like the others. While he is talking, I notice that he has dimples like Ashton.

"Wow, that's crazy. She was pretty young though, only fourteen if I'm not mistaken. I can't blame them for wanting their little girl back," Ashton shakes his head sadly, and I look down at my half eaten spaghetti. At least she had someone that wanted her back. I add to myself.

"How long are you staying?" Luke speaks to me for the first time and I look up to meet his crystal gaze.

"Don't know yet. Leigh Anne is deciding I guess," I reply softly.

He replies with a nod, then looks down at his lap. I eat as much more of the pasta I can take without feeling sick as I listen to Ashton and Luke talk about other things that happened at work recently. I notice that Ashton has a tendency to tap on the side of his chair or the edge of the table constantly. At some point they stop talking and Ashton turns to me.

"Are you okay?" He speaks quietly so only I can hear him.

"I'm fine," I nod my head feebly, "why?"

"Your eyes are a little red, like you've been crying," he points out, "if you ever want to talk, then you can come get me. You are allowed to leave your room after all, and if you need to find me I will most likely be in here or the rec room with patients."

"Thank you, I might just take you up on that some time," I say genuinely grateful for his offer. I doubt I would ever talk to him about what happened, but it might be okay just to get out of my room, "I'm going to head back now, I'll see you later."

"Okay, good night Cora. See you tomorrow," Ashton says as I stand up from the table. Luke says good-bye and I walk off towards Walter.

It is only about 6:30 when I get to my room, but I have nothing else to do, so I lay on my small bed and wait for sleep to take over.

"Cora?" Elias's eager voice fills my ears through my phone.

"Yeah?" I mumble rubbing sleep out of my eyes.

"It's 7:30 and I thought I'd give you a wake up call. Don't want to be late for your first day of classes, babe," I can almost hear his smile. My first class is Psychology, which is the one class we have together.

"Okay, I'm getting up," I swing my legs over the bed and stand up. My roommate went to some party last night and never came back. I'm already not a huge fan of her.

"Do you want me to pick you up and we can grab some Starbucks before class? It starts at 8:45 so if you're ready by 8:20 we can go and have plenty of time," I smile knowing he probably planned the whole thing out. He can be a bit OCD at times.

"Sure, you know I can't say no to a frappe," I laugh and walk to grab clothes from my closet.

"Alright, well I'll let you go get ready, and I'll be by around 8:25. Love you," I can't help the grin that spreads over my face as he says those simple words that hold so much meaning.

"Sounds good, bye I love you too."

A/N hey guys! I'm so happy with how this book is going and so far the feedback I'm receiving is lovely, so thank you so much!! I really hope everyone is liking it, I really enjoy writing it! Please VOTE & COMMENT to let me know what you think so far, it honestly makes me so happy to see I've gotten a comment or vote(:  What do you guys think of Luke? Thanks for reading, love you guys xx

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