Solace ~ h.s.

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

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5. ⪻ 05 ⪼

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I've learned through experience that CT Scans are a far cry from fun and you should always wee before going in.

Not ten minutes into the scan I found myself wincing and squirming slightly to relieve the ache in my bladder. Honestly, I don't remember when the last time I had gone before the scan was.

Ultimately, I got "yelled" at to keep my head still by the technician and when Harry asked if there was a problem I had to lie and say "I'm fine".

Life of an Introvert.

To say I was ecstatic at the end of the scan was an understatement, and not just because there was found to be nothing wrong with my head.

So after an amazing wee, with Harry standing right outside the door to my on-suite loo, I went straight back to bed to sleep for a few more hours, medical imaging and weeing taking a lot out of me.

So now I sit, with a hospital appointed, adolescent psychiatrist wrapping up her suggestions for speaking to Edward about the loss of our parents. She told me to use simple words, be honest with him, answer any questions he may have, and allow for all emotions to be shown; to name a few.

"And if you have any other questions about this, feel free to ring me. I know how hard this can be, not only for Edward, but for you as well. Again, I'm incredibly sorry for your losses."

The doctor stands after handing me a business card with her number on it. We shake hands briefly and I thank her for her help before she saunters out of the room on her three-inch heels.

Practically chucking the business card on the side table, I let out an audible mixture of a sigh and a groan, running a hand through my messy, unwashed hair.

Even with her helpful tips, I still have no idea how I'm to bring this up to Edward. Part of me wants to do this like ripping a plaster off, but the other half of me wants to ease into this.

"Knock, knock, you've got a visitor."

My head snaps towards the doorway to my right to see Niall standing hand-in-hand with Edward. Instead of wearing the child-sized hospital gown from last night, he's wearing a pair of sweatpants and a loose fitting tee.

"My main man!" I exclaim, smiling widely at the boy. He darts into the room, calling out my name in a high-pitched screech, and tries his best to hop up onto my bed. "Whoa, be careful there." I urge, before Niall comes up behind him and scoops him onto the bed. "How'd you sleep?"

"Great! And when I woke up, there was this really nice lady who brought me brekkie and guess what!"

"What?" Again, he looks about the room as if someone will be listening in before leaning in towards me.

"There was chocolate custard, just like Niall promised." Edward gushes happily. I reach forth and give his hair a little ruffle before leaning in and giving him a kiss to the side of the head.

"Annabelle," Niall cuts in, clearing his throat to get my attention from the energetic boy, "I'm sorry to cut this short, but Harry needs to speak with you in private."

My happy mood slowly begins to go down the drain as I look to the boy practically sitting in my lap. There's confusion written on his face, probably not understanding that he has to leave after just getting here.

"But Ed -"

"Hey, where's my my new best friend?"

I'm cut off by the tall, brunette charging into the room with a happy smile written on his lips. Edward squeals Harry's name before hopping from the bed and dashing over to the man. It's quite refreshing seeing this side to a doctor, normally their walls are completely built up.

"I haven't seen you in so long!" Harry exclaims, wrapping his arms around the boy who is clutching onto his legs. Edward bursts out laughing.

"Silly, we just saw each other!"

"Did we? Huh, I don't remember that." Harry jokes, kneeling down to be eye level with Edward. "Hey, what do you say you go check out the play area outside with Niall? Does that sound fun?" Edward gasps and turns a 180 to look back at Niall and I.

"Annie, can I? Can I go with Niall?" Edward barely even finishes his question before he's clutching onto Niall's hand and bouncing up and down. Niall gives this wide grin and begs with pouted lips at the request.

"I suppose that's alright, if Niall's really willing. I'm sure he's tired, baby."

"Nonsense! I'm never too tired for swings and monkey bars." I give them both a half-hearted laugh, the worry of what Harry having to say to me lingering in the back of my head.

I fear it has something to do with my CT scan, maybe they didn't notice something right away. Or maybe a different test came back with issues.

"Okay. But, Edward, you have to stay within eyesight of Niall and be careful. We're already in the hospital, we don't need more injuries."

We won't be able to afford it as is.

Edward cheers and practically drags Niall from the room without so much as a goodbye. Harry and I stand watching the two until they're out of sight. I don't give Harry a moment to give me a proper greeting, I simply jump right in.

"Is there something wrong with my scans? Or a test?" Harry shakes his head and pulls up a chair to my bedside.

"No, all tests and scans are good."

"Is it insurance, because I could have written numbers down wrong or the numbers bled when the card got wet?"

"No, it's not that either." I huff and shrug.

"Well, what's the issue then?" Harry sighs heavily and looks up at me.

"Due to the nature of Edward's injuries and medical status, he's being released." I laugh lightly to myself, cursing my brain for always going to worst case scenario. Edward being released is great news and considering my status I'm sure we'll be free to go soon.

"That's great."

"Well, now hold on." Harry starts, clearing his throat. "Unfortunately, due to the severity of your head injury we still have to keep you for another night or two, just to make sure everything is alright." I shake my head.

"Then where will Edward go? I assume he can't really stay here with me, or else this really wouldn't be an issue." Harry winces slightly and I know whatever he's to share next is going to anger me. "What is it? Where will he go, Harry?"

"Social services will be called and he'll go into their care until your release."

My heart stops at his confession and I feel the anger and frustration bubbling within me.

"Social services? Like foster care, or an orphanage? No. God no. He'll feel like I'm abandoning him. He won't understand, I haven't even told him about our parents. Bad things happen in social service care, haven't you ever seen a police drama? Absolutely not. He can't go into the system! What if they don't deem me a proper guardian and I never get him back? He'll resent me for the rest of his life."

I feel the tears boiling over at the mere thought of his placement into the system.There's this indescribable pain resonating from my heart and a sickly feeling taking over my stomach.

"Please, you can't. I beg of you there has to be another way. I've already lost my parents, I can't lose him too." I weep, the tears falling in streams now.

Harry stands from his place in the chair and waltzes over to me, placing a hand on my hand as I cry. I continually shake my head, babbling on about what could happen and begging him not to call social services.

"Shhh, Annabelle, take a deep breath for me."

Despite his order I can't seem to find it in me to do as he says. My lungs constrict and I heave short, laboured breaths until I'm having an attack of some sort. Having a history of anxiety, I know the feeling of what this is and though I've been able to talk myself down, I can't seem to do so right now.

"Annabelle, look at me." Harry's voice is distant and my head feels like it's floating in this moment.

The only thing I can think about is Edward being taken away from me. He is the last family that I have left and without him, I wouldn't know what to do.

"Damnit, Annabelle," With a jerk of his hand, my chin is turned in the direction of Harry. My eyes meet with his as he takes my hand and places it against his chest, "Feel my chest move up and down with every breath? Do you feel it?" It takes everything in my power just to nod my head up and down. "Good, now try and match your breathing with mine."

My breaths remain short and laboured even with my full focus on Harry. He gives my hand a squeeze every time he inhales and then releases slightly when he exhales, coaxes me down from the panic attack.

"You're doing great, Belle. Inhale with me, great, now let it out. There you go."

Finally, I feel my head start to come down from the clouds and my chest begin to relax, little by little. For being deep within a panic attack this is the fastest I've ever been able to come down. Usually my attacks last anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes.

"Let's sit you back." His voice is soft and relaxing as he works to lay me down against the hard pillow. "Do you need any oxygen?" I shake my head as my body continues to tremble. My free hand clutches as the blankets, pulling them up higher. "Are you cold?" To this I nod my head and Harry releases my hand to help pull the blankets up.

"Listen, I'm not going to let anything happen to Edward." Harry looks about the room and I hear him curse under his breath before turning his attention back to me, lowering his voice. "I have an alternative, but it's incredibly unprofessional and probably ethically wrong." He stares down at me and when I give him a nod of approval to go on, he continues.

"Edward can come and stay with me until we release you in a few days. I don't want to see a boy like him go into the system, that's the last thing I want, trust me. I was leaving work the night of the accident, but I came back and have been working every since. I'm entitled to a few days leave, so I'd be at my flat with him the entire time. I've got a spare bedroom and a friendly cat named Dusty."

My breath hitches at the mention of his cat's name, not the fact that he's offering to take Edward in whilst I'm laid up. Tears continue to fall, but moreso now at the mention of his cat.

I don't necessarily believe in fate or anything like that, but this had to be more than just a coincidence.

"Dusty." My voice shakily whimpers.

"Yeah, Dusty." Harry sighs, again looking about the room. "My colleague, Dr. Payne, would be your attending physician whilst I'm away. He graduated top of his class, like me, and I would trust him with my own life."

Although it's sweet that Harry thinks I care so much about losing him as a doctor, I really don't think he's grasped that that isn't my top concern. I know I haven't known him that long, but he doesn't strike me as someone who'd harm a child, or even abduct one. He saved our lives once and he's constantly looking out for my well-being, as well as Edward's.

"Can't you lose your job over something like this?" I question, eyeing the man up and down. Harry sends me a sideways smirk and shrugs his shoulder.

"I wouldn't worry about that. I'm too valuable to lose." He cockily replies, causing my eyes to involuntarily roll on their own.

Am I a shite guardian for even considering something like this? 

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