Solace ~ h.s.

If he weren't there... I don't know what would have happened.

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We had this cat when I was around Edward's age. Her name was Dusty because of her dusty grey and white colouring throughout her fur. She was the absolute love of my life; we did everything together.

We watched the telly together until mum ordered us to bed. We ate dinner together, well I ate and would drop little portions of my meal onto the floor for her to eat. We even slept together, her small frame curled up at my feet.

We did everything together; until one day, we didn't.

I had come home from school and like usual the first thing I did was strip my checkered tie from around my neck and throw it to the ground, calling out Dusty's name. Mum had sauntered down the steps, biting her painted lips until she reached my frame. She told me that Dusty had gotten sick and that she had taken her to the vet.

As I child I didn't really question it much, only pondering on about when she would return home. Mum waited until dad got home from work that night before they told me the truth; Dusty was not returning home because she was in a better place.

It had been the most painful thing I had been through in my entire life, losing my beloved cat and best friend. But the pain that I felt when Dusty died was nothing compared to this pain right here in this moment. I hadn't lost my best friend, I had lost the two most important and influential individuals in my life.

I had lost my parents.

My chest was constricted so tightly that every breath I took felt like it was my last and my head spun until the black dots returned to my eyesight. Dr. Styles' worried voice and the hammering on of the heart rate monitor were the only two things I could hear around me. I couldn't even hear myself wail.

"Annabelle, take a deep breath."

From between the frantically radical heart beat I can hear Dr. Styles' voice off in the distance. I can feel his hands on my shoulders and his eyes on my body, but I cannot see him.

"You need to try and take a deep breath or you're going to send yourself into a further panic. We don't want that."

Despite all the pain of losing my parents and the want to just let myself go through with the panic attack, just so I could feel, I knew I couldn't. Despite wanting to let myself wail on for hours, I can't just bring myself to.

Down the hall sits an always happy boy named Edward, who is surely unaware of the pain of losing our parents. I need to be there for him, because there's no one else. I cannot spiral into a panic, that will only result in tiring myself out completely and the emotional trauma is potentially far worse.

"There you go, that's it." Dr. Styles coaxes as my vision begins to return to normal and my limbs stop shaking. The tears continue to run down my cheeks, but I pay no mind to them as the pain my chest slowly begins to decrease.

I had the strength to pull myself from the brink of panic, but that didn't mean I have the strength to stop my blubbering. I've the right to cry for my loss, even if crying was something my father always told me not to do.

Those grey eyes are too pretty to be clouded with tears.

"Did they suffer?" I find myself asking, despite not knowing if I really want the answer.

My blurry eyes find Dr. Styles at my side, his hand still resting on my unstitched shoulder.

"I don't believe so, no."

"That's, uh, that's good." I stutter out, looking about the room as I take a breath to try and stop the tears from falling. I can mourn after I'm sure Edward is alright. I just need to see him with my own eyes. "Can you please take me to see my brother now? I need to see him."

"Of course. Mary could you please go fetch a wheelchair?"

I don't hear a peep from Mary aside from the squeak her sneakers make as she finally exits the room.

"How am I to tell a five year old that his parents, our parents, are gone?" I ask no one in particular as I stare down at my shaking hands.

I can't fathom having to sit him down before discharge and explain to him that mummy and daddy aren't coming home with us, and that though I don't have a flat or a current job of my own that I'll be able to take care of him.

"Where are we gonna go? What am I going to do? I've got no job, no money, and the house is too expensive. We can't afford to live there, hell we as a family could barely afford to live there." My stream of consciousness wafting into the air like smoke from a fire. "We'll have to sell the house. I'll need to get a job and find a flat, which probably won't be in the area so I'll have to find a new school for Edward. Oh my God, he's not going to understand."

"Hey, enough of that." Dr. Styles finally does me the favour of interrupting my rambling. If he hadn't stopped me I'm sure I'd still be going. "You don't have to worry about that right now. As for telling your brother what happened, we have trained specialist here at the hospital that can help you break the news -"

"Break the news?" I have no reason to be offended by his words, but for some reason they hit something in me.

"My apologies, Annabelle, we have trained specialist to help explain to Edward what has happened and what is happening. Dr. Horan would be willing to lend a hand as well, he, unfortunately, has experience in the matter." I slowly nod my head, biting my lip again, something that I do out of habit when I'm nervous or angry or even confused.

"I'm sorry for lashing." I apologise, aggressively wiping the continually falling tears off my cheeks. "My brain is just on overdrive at the moment."

"I understand." His voice is soft in the moment and I find myself staring up at him by my side.

"Thank you." I say after a beat of silence, the two of us just eyeing each other awkwardly. "I suppose I haven't thanked you yet or enough for what you've done, so thank you. Thank you for getting Edward and I out of the vehicle and saving our lives. And thank you for trying to save..." The words just can't seem to leave my mouth, so I allow for them to wallow in the breeze of the air con around us. "I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't been there."

"Don't think about that." I nod my head lightly and look directly into the eyes of the man who saved my brother and I. Mary returns to the room with wheelchair in hand, breaking the eye contact between us.

"Ah, thank you, Mary. I'll take Annabelle to her brother's room myself. Page me if you or any of the other staff members need me."

"Will do."

Through the process of Dr. Styles unplugging me from the machines and moving my IV around we remain silent. My brain works on overdrive just thinking of seeing Edward, and I can't seem to stop the tears from falling. I've only got minutes to spare before coming into contact with a person I shouldn't cry in front of.

Moving to the wheelchair was a more painful process than simply sitting up in bed, but Dr. Styles tried to do it as easy as he could for me. The total process taking nearly five minutes before we were on our journey through the halls of the hospital.

As Dr. Styles had promised, we turn the corner onto the next wing and the change in atmosphere is astounding. The walls are painted vibrant greens, yellows, reds, and have murals painted outside patient rooms. Screens hang outside the rooms with a child's name on them and little cute icons. My heart warms a little at the sight, thankful that Edward can be somewhere a bit fun, even if it is in a dreaded hospital.

"Dr. Horan." Dr. Styles calls out in the direction of a blonde man at the edge of a nurse's station. The man chuckles to himself, tossing a stuffed giraffe on the counter beside him, and doesn't even bother turning 'round at the mention of his name.

"Harold, why so formal this evening? Oh." His playfully banter is cut short once he's turned around and he spots me in the wheelchair Harold is pushing about.

"Dr. Horan, meet Annabelle Chambers, your patient's sister."

"Right, hello." His accent differs from ours, the lad potentially hailing from Ireland, if I can pick out my accents well enough. "I'm Dr. Niall Horan, pediatrician and Edward's doctor."

"Hi, pleasure. My brother, how is he? Dr. Styles says he'll be just fine, but..."

"Trust me, Ms. Chambers -"

"It's Annabelle, she prefers to be called Annabelle." Dr. Styles corrects for his colleague.

"Your brother is a-okay! Aside from some bruising a minor laceration to the head that was in need of a couple stitches, he's quite alright. Very brave boy as well, barely cried when I was giving him his stitches." I let out a deep sigh of relief and relax back into the chair. "He's been asking quite a lot about you. You're like his hero."

Since leaving sixth form I haven't been around all too much, well until my adult life got flipped upside down.

It's not that I don't love my family dearly, it's just that I had wanted to get out of Northwich since I was a young girl. Seeing the world was always a dream of mine, still is, but I only made it as far as London. But no matter what, I always made time for Edward.

Nearly six years ago my parents surprised me with the announcement of her pregnancy with Edward. At first I was shocked, I mean we all know how babies are made, but then I was incredibly excited. After his birth, I was coming home from Manchester nearly every other day just to cuddle with him and love on him. I'd always had a soft spot for kids.

Ever since then I've been involved in everything, from watching his football matches to teaching him how to tie his shoes.

"Yeah, we're very close." I say, looking around the hall in hopes of seeing Edward's name on one of the screens nearby. "May I please see him now?"

Dr. Horan gives a little glance up to the doctor standing behind me before nodding his head, almost as if gathering permission to do so. With a tick of his head we begin to follow in his direction.

"I know this is a very difficult time for you both, which by the way I am very sorry for your losses. I think it would be best if we sat down and had a conversation about how to go about telling Edward of your parents' deaths." Fighting back another round of unwanted tears, I agree with Dr. Horan. "For right now, I think it would be suitable just for you two to be reunited. We can speak about the specifics in the morning if you're feeling up to it."

"That sounds good."

I practically brush the Irish doctor off as my eyes wander the halls. Unfortunately for me, the rapid eye movement and motion of the chair brings a piercing headache, which causes me to almost double over in pain.

"Annabelle, are you feeling alright?" Dr. Horan takes notice as Dr. Styles abruptly stops and comes around to my front.

"Yeah, I'm just working myself up. I'm fine." Dr. Styles studies my face before taking my wrist in his hand. The three of us silently sit in the midst of the hall whilst Dr. Styles takes my pulse and continues to study me over. "It's just a little headache from the lights. I assure you that I am fine."

"She's fine." Dr. Horan says after Dr. Styles simply stands there just staring at me with narrowed eyes.

"I think we should get her in for another CT scan, I'm not liking some of the signs that I'm seeing..."

"Oh for crying out loud!" I nearly shout, pushing Dr. Styles' hand off me. Despite the pain, I take control of the wheelchair for myself and begin trying to roll myself down the hall. "I said I am fine; I need to see my brother."

"Annabelle, there could be serious -"

I don't allow Dr. Styles to finish, even when he does take control of the wheelchair and stops my movements. I jerk around in my seat, the pain in my ribs and shoulder minimal at the moment.

"Listen here, doc, I am not going to have a CT scan or an MRI or even go back to my bloody room until I've seen Edward. After I make sure he's fine and hold him in my arms for a while, you can take me back and do whatever tests you deem fit. But for the love of God, let me see my brother."

Dr. Styles looks incredibly taken aback by my words, perhaps because he's never had a patient chew his head off before. His jaw goes rigid a bit as the vibrant eyes scan my body. His arms go over his chest and it looks almost as if a childlike pout takes over the heart-shaped lips. I'll admit, if I were weak the pout would draw me under and I'd probably give in. But I am not weak.

"Harry, it can wait. Let her see her brother." Dr. Styles sends a glare in Dr. Horan's direction before clenching his jaw one last time and cursing lightly under his breath.

"Fine, but don't come crawling to me if -"

"Mate, you're exhausted." Dr. Horan cuts him off from saying something and jeopardizing his professionalism. "How about you go, take a nap and I'll take Annabelle to see her brother. I'll have her back to her room when she's done, not a minute later and then you can put in the order for the CT scan."

My hard-headed doctor looks between Dr. Horan and I, almost as if we've been plotting this behind his back.

"Harry, just go. I promise I'll take good care of her, I mean I am a doctor after all."

After another puff of air from his parted lips, Harry relaxes a bit and runs his fingers through his chocolate curls.

"Alright, but if anything, and I mean anything, Niall, happens to her, you page me immediately."

"Understood. Now go." Dr. Horan states, swatting him away from the chair.

With one last look between the two of us, Dr. Styles backs off and carries on down the hall until he's out of sight.

"Don't mind him, he can be hard headed sometimes when it comes to his patients. He simply wants the best for them."

I don't hold anything against the man, how could I? He saved my life and Edward's too. I don't think I could ever be truly angry at him; a little annoyed, maybe?

"You know whilst you've been napping away, he's been scurrying around checking on you and Edward."

"First off, I was practically in a coma, and secondly, he's been checking on Edward? I thought that's your job, you know, as his doctor?" Dr. Horan lets out a hearty laugh and continues to push me slowly down the hall.

How long is this hall? What happened to Edward being just down the hall?

"Oh I've been doing my job, missy, don't you fret. But Harry's been, well Harry. Doctors are taught not to get involved with their patients outside the doors of this building, but your case is rather unique. You met prior to entering through the doors and that's had an effect on him. He's very passionate and I think he's taken a bit of liking to you." He mutters out the last part, but I hear it anyway.

"What?"

"What? I said he's very passionate and I think that Edward's taken a little bit of a liking towards him, that's all." I hum lightly and rub my temples.

Maybe I do need that CT Scan.

"And here we are! Edward, I've got a surprise for you buddy!"

"Annie!"

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