Solace ~ h.s.

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

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9. ⪻ 09 ⪼

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Three days: the amount of time I've spent in this bloody hospital with nothing to do but panic, self loathe, and make arrangements.

Since Edward went to stay with Harry, I haven't had much social interaction with anybody.

Doctors come by, little is spoken between us. I only go as far as to answer about how I'm feeling. I don't need to befriend anymore hospital personnel.

Our family lawyer stopped by a few times, going over plans and wills. There's not a lot of speaking involved on my part, only a lot of reading, listening, and signing.

Then there's been the conversations with the funeral director. My parents went into his care shortly after the first visit with the lawyer and some other important names. According to the will, my parents wanted to be buried together in a local cemetery. The funeral director and I have had probably the most conversations, behind Harry and I.

Harry and I talk everyday, mostly about how Edward is doing and what my current condition is. I thought I'd be best for Edward to get as far away from the hospital scene as humanly possible. I don't want him to worry or get confused. So I asked Harry to keep him busy and away from me.

It's not that I don't love my brother to the fullest of my heart, I just can't confuse him with frequent visits from the funeral director and lawyer. Thankfully, according to Harry, he's been having fun, or so they're both leading me to believe.

To the benefit of us all, despite if I'm ready or not, I'm being released today. Dr. Payne, with close correlation with Dr. Styles, thinks a release today is under way. As soon as I was told, I had texted Harry and he replied back saying he'd pick me up, they both would.

Here I sit, in a glamorous pair of light blue scrubs waiting for the two boys to arrive and take me away from this place.

"May I enter?" I hear from the entrance into my room, along with a soft knock on wood. My head snaps in the direction, a small smile taking place on my lips as I see the man standing against the door.

"Hey, I thought today was your day off." I say, waving the doctor into my room. Niall strides in as if he owns the place and tosses down a pair of NIKE slides into my lap; my reflexes were never incredibly quick.

"It is." He replies. I thank him but remain a bit confused as to why he brought the shoes for me.

I asked Harry when I told him I was being released to bring me a pair of shoes because I'm currently shoeless. Meaning he's probably not going to show, great. 
 

"Then what are you doing here?" I question, sliding the slippers onto my feet with ease.


"I'm here to drive you home. Edward apparently did not want to get up this morning." I let out a groan, mixed with a bit of a chuckle for my brother. Mornings were never really his thing. 
 

I shake my head at my brother's inability to wake easily in the morning, my damp hair swaying side to side in the long plait that I've tied it in.

Finally, after three days in the hospital, Dr. Payne allowed me to take a well needed shower. I haven't felt this clean in a long time. Although the nurse standing right outside the curtain wasn't very pleasant, the water itself was.

"He probably just wanted Edward to be well rested for when you come home." Niall gushes, leaning up against the side of my bed and looking about the room. My eyes follow his, where they land on a few plastic bags on the chair at the side of my bed.

Upon signing all the discharge papers, I was given a bag of my personal effects from the car; well mainly my clothing, as I was given my soaked handbag and phone long before. They also brought me two other clear bags, one with my mother's things and one with my father's.

I gulp lightly, climbing down from the bed and walking over to the bags. I take them all in hand and clutch them to my chest, holding my parent's things close to my chest. Niall straightens up moving his eyes from the bag to my face. WIth a clear of his throat he moves back onto a conversation.

"But don't worry they're going to meet us at your house." I both perk up and feel sadness at his confession.

I want more than anything to go home to my house and sleep in my own bed. I want to cook in my own kitchen and watch the telly in my own lounge. I want to push Edward on our swing set in the garden and kick a football around with him. But then I will be forced to face reality.

My mum won't barge into my room in the early hours of the morning to wake me. I won't cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner with my mum like we used to. My father won't be there to watch Sherlock with me at unGodly hours of the night. Nothing will be as it was before and not for the better.

"Are you ready to go home?" His voice is hesitant, as if fearful for my answer.

I think for a moment to send him a glare before bursting into tears and storming out the building. But then I would look like a complete wuss, lose a new friend, and lose a ride home.

"I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be."

No other words are spoken between the two of us as we walk through the halls, passing nurses and doctors who look rushed and busy. As we exit the building and into the cool air of the Manchester city limits, I find myself wanting to run back to my room and call it a day.

The air is thicker than I remember. There's a haze everywhere I look and a smog that makes my lungs burn with every intake. Droplets of water fall from the sky, drenching every surface and splashing onto my socked feet.

"Here we are."

Niall stops at the passenger side of a white Range Rover, pulling open the door and looking expectantly over at me.

I want to run; but I only find my feet taking me into the warmth of the vehicle and onto the leather seats. I swallow the dread that lingers from sitting in another car. We all know how well the drive from Manchester to Northwich ended the last time.

"So, Annabelle, tell me more about yourself."

I can't tell if Niall is asking out of genuine curiosity or if he's simply asking to keep my mind off of him shifting the car into first gear.

"What do you want to know?" I ask, taking a deep breath, resting my head against the seat, and closing my eyes. I feel nauseous all of a sudden.

"Anything. What do you like to do in your free time?"

"I cook. Yeah, or I bake, whichever I feel more inclined to do." Niall hums in response, which I take as a cue to continue on. Oddly enough, it's helping the anxiety a little. "I grew up loving to cook and then that shifted on to loving to bake as well. My earliest memory was of my mother teaching me to make a full roast dinner. From then on I knew that's what I wanted to do. My dream was to become a chef or a baker."

"Is that still you're dream?" I sigh heavily, finally prying my eyes open only to keep them focused on my lap.

"I don't know. I went to university for culinary arts, thought I'd enjoy going to class and cooking everyday. Don't get me wrong, it was great, but by then end I was just going through the motions. I finished strong though. My passion shifted little by little over to baking and I was in the process of opening my own bakery."

Niall peeks over at me from the road with a raised brow. I look up from my lap and cross my arms over my chest, the clear bags still clutched to me. I grow slightly angry just thinking back to those plans.

"Well, what happened?"

"What didn't happen? Everything that could have gone wrong, did. It's a very long story."

I hate talking about everything that happened in Manchester. Truthfully, mum and dad were the only two I told the entire story to.

My friends were his friends, there was no one for me to talk to.

"We've got the time."

"In order to open a business you have to have the funds, so I got a well paying job in the city. I had a lovely boyfriend whom I lived with, which saved me money on rent for our flat. He was incredibly supportive one day and then the next he wasn't. I began to work all the time, coming home late and exhausted. I suppose one day he had just had enough of it.

"I came home one night, earlier than usual to surprise him with a fantastic homemade dinner and then his favorite dessert, sticky toffee pudding. I waltzed in the house and into our bedroom, only to find him screwing our friend, Elise."

"Fücking cünt."

"Your words and mine. I just lost it that night. We had been together for nearly four years and he was going to help me open up my bakery. So in one night, I lost my love and my bakery. Then of course I lost interest, my home, and then ultimately my job as a result of the loss of love and interest.

"I moved home and tried to work my way back up to a-okay. I thought things were looking clear. I was looking for an apartment in the city, scouting out locations for my bakery, and just moving on with my life." I breathe out heavily, feeling the tears work their way to the corners of my eyes. "And then tragedy decided to take another stab at my life."

Angrily, I wipe the tears from my eyes and then wipe the damp fingers on my pants. Niall takes notice in the tears, but doesn't say a thing in return. I don't expect him to. What's there to say? I'm sorry? I'm tired of hearing things like that.

"So, what about you? You don't get to just hear a sad story like that and then be off the hook. How did you become a doctor?" I inquire, turning the attention on to the fake blond at my side. He clears his throat and straightens up in his seat a bit.

"My story is definitely not as interesting as yours, that's for sure. I grew up in a family of wealth, my mother a doctor and my father a lawyer. Before you jump to conclusions, they are actually great people. They give to charity, call me up once and awhile, and never really forced me to be something I'm not. There were days when I would go to work with my dad, but ultimately it was my mam's job that brought me true interest.

"I loved the hospital scene, even from a young age. Mam worked in Emergency Medicine, but I found myself wanted to specialize somewhere else. I had a friend growing up that had a little sister. She was very ill for a long time and watching what she had to go through just made me want to work with her age group. Plus, I have a nephew called Theo and he's the greatest in the world. I just love kids and working alongside this is truly a blessing." Niall turns to me with a small shrug. "Like I said, not very interesting."

"I beg to differ, it was quite interesting. How long have you been a doctor for?"

"I started university at eighteen, graduated at twenty-three, did three years of residency, and next December marks a year of me doing this on my own at the hospital."

"You met Harry through the hospital, I presume?"

"Actually, no. That smart arse and I went to school together. First day of university, I'm sitting in my Clinical Medicine Introduction class and in strides this tiny, quiet, curly-headed kid. He takes a seat next to me. Introduces himself as Harry Styles, age sixteen."

"Sixteen?"

"Sixteen and attending the University of Manchester with hopes of being a doctor. It was mental. Part of me figured he'd fail on the first day, the other part of me knew he was smart enough to handle it after the first question he was asked. After that I kind of took him under my wing, watched over the guy. Unfortunately for me it wasn't exactly that easy to watch over him. He finished with university before I did; bastard took summer classes and excelled in every bloody thing he did."

"So he's how old then?"

"Well, he came in at sixteen, left at twenty, did three years of residency at the hospital and he's been a full-time doctor for two years." Niall motions his head back and forth as if thinking. "So, twenty-five."

"That's incredible."

"I know, right. He makes the rest of us look bad." I chuckle slightly, shaking my head and feeling even more unaccomplished with my life.

"Not too bad."

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