Hell Bound

Start by pulling him out of the fire and
hoping that he will forget the smell.
He was supposed to be an angel but they took him
from that light and turned him into something hungry,
something that forgets what his hands are for when they
aren’t shaking.

When is a monster not a monster?
Oh, when you love it.

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19. Chapter Nineteen

I actually believed that Bucky would still be at my house when I got home, but I was still eager for the day to end. Though this time I tried not to rush anyone. I still felt guilty about rushing them the day before. So I let the meeting take its natural course before Graham and I hurried to get packed up and out to the parking garage.

Just like the day before, we passed my therapist on the way out. I made a quick promise to set up an appointment with her and then we hurried to my car. But as we were both getting our seatbelts on, something dawned on me, and I felt idiotic for not mentioning it before.

“Wait, we see the same doctor?” I asked once Graham and I were on our way.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“When was the last time you saw her?” He shrugged.

“I dunno. Like a week ago.”

“She didn’t know that you didn’t have a place to stay?”

“I didn’t tell her.”

“Well—that’s dumb. Don’t do that. She could have helped you—But second, you’re cool with not telling her things?” He looked at me and finally seemed to grasp what I was asking.

“I won’t tell her about him. Or anything. We don’t even really talk. I usually just talk about my books and she occasionally asks me how I’m doing. It’s all very dull.”

“It’s just that—I’m very pro-therapy—and I think it’s important for you to have someone to talk to. But—I uh…”

“I understand. You don’t want anyone to know about him.”

“It’s not just that, though—my last therapist worked for SHIELD. Well, it turned out she worked for HYDRA. I spent five years of my life developing a relationship with this woman, just for her to turn out to be the bad guy, you know? And I mean—not everyone worked for HYDRA, but she did. And apparently, she had no trouble feeding information about me and other people right to them. And the fact that she knew me so—intimately—really messed with my head. For all I know, HYDRA knows every single thing about me. And it’s just—hard to trust anyone after that.”

“I won’t tell her, I promise. Besides, it’s not like I’m alone anymore anyway. I have someone to talk to now.”

He was gazing out of the window again and didn’t see me wince. I didn’t want the responsibility of filling in as his therapist. I wasn’t even sure I was doing a good enough job organizing these meetings. And now he was living in my house and depending on me for more than just food and shelter. I could handle the physical dependence because it was easy to bounce back from if you lost it. It was the emotional dependence I wasn’t prepared for. And I hated that I was asking him to keep information from the one person who was actually qualified to help him in that department.

“Yeah,” I said anyway. “You can tell me anything.”

“Her name was Janey. I always thought that was weird. I thought her name was like Jane and everyone just called her Janey as a nickname. But it wasn’t. It was her legal name.”

“It’s a pretty name.”

“We were kind of the underdogs, so we stuck together. I was there when she died. It was the same explosion that almost got my leg chopped off. It happened so fast that I didn’t even know she was dead until I woke up after surgery. Now I have this stupid bum knee to remind me every day.”

“I’m so sorry, Graham.”

“That’s why I told you not to be dumb about the Bucky thing. Sometimes it’s hard to admit things, but you know—it’s harder to tell someone how you feel when they’re dead.”

“That’s a pretty sound piece of advice.”

“Meh.” He shrugged again, quickly bottling it back up. He had his arm resting on the door as he looked out of the window at the passing city lights.

“Can I ask you a question?” I spoke after a few minutes of silence.

“Sure,” he replied, not looking at me.

“Did you love her?” He took a long moment to answer.

“Yeah, and the worst part is—I think she loved me too.”

“Would it have made it easier? If she didn’t?” He thought about this for a long time before finally shaking his head.

“No,” he said.

When we got home, we found Bucky on the couch. He was leaning against the back of it, looking more uncomfortable than he had in the morning. He didn’t seem to be watching TV or resting at all. He looked like he was in pain. I dropped my bag on the floor as Graham got the door shut. Then I approached Bucky and stopped right between him and the coffee table.

“What did you do?” I asked. He had his hand on the larger section of stitches on his stomach. I still hadn’t bothered to find him a shirt so he was sitting perfectly still with a bare chest, looking like a god in the golden sunlight. He moved his hand away from the stitching to show me a dark smear of blood. “What happened?” I moved to his side to examine them.

“I went to the kitchen,” he told me.

“Bullshit. Tell me the truth.” I looked back up at him, and he had his jaw clenched tight.

“I’ll go get the first aid kit,” Graham said. Then he disappeared down the hall.

“You said you wouldn’t leave,” I reminded Bucky.

“No, I said I’d be here when you got back,” he replied. I groaned.

“You’re not ready to leave, do you understand? I know you’re probably bored out of your mind here all day by yourself, but you won’t be able to defend yourself out there.”

“It’s not about defending myself. It’s—time sensitive.” I reached up to cup his face in my hand. His jaw was still tense, but he seemed to relax when he looked back at me.

“You have to heal. Healing is time sensitive too. I need you here.” He just dropped his head back onto the couch and pinched his eyes shut.

“I went back for my backpack,” he told me. “And I was going to try and fix the mirror.”

“Don’t worry about the mirror. And I didn’t know you had a backpack.”

“I dropped it in the yard when I came over the fence.”

The bag was tucked into the space between the couch and the armchair. Just within his reach. Since he hadn’t shown up dirty and disgusting, I figured he must have had supplies somewhere. But he was still wearing the sweats I gave him and nothing else. That I knew of.

And okay, I did know because I looked.

“I have the next few days off. It’ll give you time to rest and then we can talk about whatever it is you’re eager to get back to, okay?” He didn’t answer. Graham clunked back into the living room, and I moved away from Bucky and took a seat on the coffee table. He set the first-aid kit down beside me. “Thanks,” I told him.

“No worries,” he said as he turned back toward the kitchen. “I’m gonna—go see if there’s anything I can make for dinner. I was always good at making things like—chicken nuggets.”

Once he was gone, I moved toward Bucky again. I set my knee between his legs and leaned my elbow on the back of the couch. I ran my fingers over his scruffy face. He didn’t open his eyes, but he moved his head to the side, facing me without looking at me. He seemed comfortable just knowing I was there. I wanted to kiss him again, but I was still upset that he’d tried to leave.

“Hey,” I whispered. “Give me time. Please?” His eyes opened, and he nodded slowly.

“They’re coming for you,” he told me. “They’re going to take—everything from you. That’s what they do.” I moved back and reached for the first-aid kit. I needed to fix the stitches that he’d ripped and clean up the blood, but I wasn’t ready to talk about it yet.

“You need to take it easy for at least a week,” I explained. “That would be my usual recommendation for basic stitches. I can’t say with a wound that deep and accelerated healing. I’ll know when I see it healing.” He wrapped his hand around my wrist as I reached for something to clean the blood with. Then he leaned forward, squinting from the pain of the movement. He didn’t stop until his face was just an inch away from mine. He glanced at my lips, and I almost thought he was going to kiss me, but his lips were still pinched, and he didn’t look happy.

“We need to talk about it,” he said. “Time sensitive.” I shook my head.

“We’ll talk about it later.”

...

Sorry for being late today. I was watching ~*The Force Awakens*~ <-Those are sparkles.

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