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By: Gaby (edwardcrazy9713)
I couldn’t be here. I wasn’t ready yet. I’ll go back and stay with Elmo again. He offered. I picked up my unpacked suitcase and rushed out into the wintery air of Harlowton, Montana. I tossed my bags into the trunk of my Mazda and jumped into the driver’s seat. I had to get out before the memories came back. I slammed on the gas pedal and reversed out of the driveway. I pulled onto the parkway and was going well over the speed limit. “Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way.” I dug through my purse looking for my phone. I quickly took my other hand off the steering wheel to unlatch my purse. I placed it back on the steering wheel and peeked at the road to make sure I was still in my lane. I dug deeper into my purse, getting frustrated. There was a deafening honk and then I began to flip. I closed my eyes and whimpered as the glass of my windshield broke and sliced my forehead. The airbag had deployed. I pathetically tried to pat it down, but there were two cracks that caused me to scream. My arm and leg had broken. The last thing I had heard was a man’s faint voice. “Miss? Can you hear me? I need someone to call nine-one-one! Now!” Then I lost consciousness. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep I attempted to reach over and shut off my alarm, but there was something holding me back. A warm hand touched my arm and my eyes fluttered open. I looked around the white room, my mind not registering my location. My eyes met the bright blue eyes of a muscular, blonde man. His fingertips caressed my cheekbone and he pulled a chair to my bedside. “How are you feeling?” He asked in a soft tone. His voice was so soothing and relaxed. “I’m fine, thanks. Who are you?” I asked, perplexed. I pulled myself up into a sitting position. He smiled revealing a perfect set of white teeth. He was cute, but why was he here? “Theodore Hanks, but you can call me Teddy.” He held out his hand towards mine and I shook it. “I’m--” I began. “Chandra Odetta Choverse.” He finished, interrupting me. I raised an eyebrow at him and he flipped open my wallet. “Thank you very much.” I said sarcastically, snatching it from his hands. Hair fell in front of my eyes and he brushed it behind my ear. “So Chandra Odetta—“
“It’s Chan.” I snapped. “Like Sean?” He asked, raising his eyebrows. “Yeah, but I spell it C-H-A-N.” “Nice. So Chan Odetta—wait. So your initials are C-O-C? Like cock?” He chuckled so loud that I began to get a headache. I let him laugh it out and waited a while after he finished. I sighed and said, “Yes, like cock. Grow up. How old are you?” “Twenty five.” He smiled a crooked smile and I rolled my eyes. “And why are you here?” “Look, drop the twenty questions. I saved your life don’t you have something to say?” He asked, fluttering his eyelashes and moving his hand dramatically. I laughed and nodded. “I guess you’re right. Thanks Teddy. So, why are you here?” He chuckled and shrugged. “You don’t know?” I asked. “I don’t have a clue. But something’s telling me to stay. So I am.” I glared at him and looked away. “Who hit my car?” I asked, still not making eye contact with him. “Some old drunk douche.” I laughed at his term. “But you were seriously speeding too. Where were you planning on going that was needed for you to go ninety in a sixty zone?” “No where. I was trying to leave somewhere.” I kept my eyes focused on the IV in my right wrist. “Is there a reason for that?” “Yes, but I don’t assume that’s your business.” I growled. “I guess not.” He murmured. “You broke your left wrist and your left ankle. Plus you had to get stitches on your forehead, ‘cause the glass left its mark there.” I raised my hand to my forehead and felt the gauze taped there. “Well, this sucks.” I mumbled. He nodded and let his eyes wander. “Anything I can get for you?” He asked. I let my mind wander through the things I wanted right now. I blushed as my stomach rumbled. “Yes, a Big Mac, large fries, and a large Coke. And my phone and a mirror.” He chuckled and lifted my purse onto the bed. “Somehow this survived. I can’t say the same thing for your car though.” He smiled and shrugged. I pulled out my phone that was sitting at the top of the purse and went through my notifications. As I saw the new message from Teddy, my eyebrows raised. “You put your number in my phone?” He nodded blushing. I giggled and pulled out my compact. I cringed at the sight of how weak my unusually pale face looked. I grabbed a brush out of my purse and combed through out my knotted, straight auburn hair. I took out some cream to put around my light blue eyes to make them look less restless. “Do you have Disney Land in their too?” Teddy asked, peering into my purse. I lightly pushed away his head and gave my attention back to my phone. He stood up and grabbed his keys off the table next to my bed. “Do you need a nurse or anything before I leave?” He asked.
“Where are you going? I’m fine.” “McDonalds, like you said.” He chuckled as he left he room and I laid back down and let my heavy eyelids droop shut. “Room service!” Teddy’s voice bellowed. I moaned and opened my eyes to a beautiful fast-food meal. “Thanks.” I grumbled. I felt self-conscious eating with Teddy staring at me, but I was too hungry to really care. I grabbed the remote and watched football for a while. “Odetta?” Teddy asked out of nowhere. “Melody. My mom always believed God had blessed me with a beautiful voice.” I shrugged. “Will I ever get to hear that beautiful voice?” I shook my head and turned my attention back to the game. The Seahawks were winning by a touchdown. “How long do I have to be here?” I asked, playing with my hospital band. “Well, they already put the screws in your wrist and ankle, so you have to have it in a cast for seven weeks, but you can leave the hospital whenever you’re ready.” “Thank God. I’m ready to go. Get my stuff—wait. My bags?” I asked, remembering them. “They burned when the car exploded.” “Exploded?” I squeaked. He nodded and a nurse walked in. “How are you feeling Chandra?” She asked. I smiled and gave her two thumbs up. “I feel great in fact, I’m ready to go.” I said. “Well your breaks weren’t too bad, so come back in six weeks and we’ll let you know whether you can take off your cast or not.” I nodded and took the information paper she gave me. I scanned it as she removed my IV. I swung my heavy boot over the edge of the bed and glared at it. Teddy offered me his hand and helped my stand up. I felt light-headed and he caught me as I began to lean. I blushed as my clumsiness, and then blushed deeper when I realized I was in a hospital gown. He dug in a bag next to him and pulled out folded fabric. “I kind of guessed the size, but you’re pretty small.” He said “Thanks.” I mumbled, dragging my boot behind me as I went to the bathroom. I shut the door and untied the hospital gown. I pulled the red, silk blouse over my head and shimmied the grey yoga pants over my boot. I raked my fingers through my hair and rubbed my face. I stuck my hand out of the door and cleared my throat. “Purse, please.” “Yes, your highness.” Teddy obeyed. I felt the straps of it being set in my hand and I pulled it inside the bathroom. I observed my reflection and cocked my head at the slender brunette. Her eyes had an inexplicable light to them that I had never seen before. Her face was glowing. I shook my head and found my make up bag. I rubbed some concealer on my face and put on a layer of mascara. I pulled my shoulder-length hair into a side ponytail and gave up. I just looked too… I looked like I just recovered from a car accident, to be honest. I put my bag back in my purse and came out of the bathroom. Teddy was holding out a big tan suit jacket. “What are you going to wear if I wear that?” I asked. He pointed to another jacket slung over the chair.
“I went home and changed before I got your food earlier.” He said. I noticed his clothes and nodded in approval. He was in loose jeans and t-shirt. I slid my arms in his large jacket and buttoned it at the bottom. He closed the room door behind us and we went to the elevator. He hit the lobby button and we went down in silence. He held the door open for me and I shuddered as the December air struck me. He rubbed my shoulders and kept his arms around me as he led me to his Fusion. He opened the passenger door for me and helped me in, then walked around to his side and slid in. “Nice.” I commented, motioning to car.” “Thanks.” He smiled, shaking his head. He turned the heater all the way up and waited. “Yes?” I asked after a minute. “Where am I taking you?” I thought about that and couldn’t come up with an answer. Tucker was in Hawaii with her boyfriend. Elmo was with his boyfriend. I couldn’t get him to shut up about the weekend they were going to spend together at the male spa. “Would ya look at that.” Teddy murmured, breaking my trance. I looked out the windshield and admired the snowflakes falling. He turned the radio to a Christmas station and I sighed, letting my head fall against the headrest. I closed my eyes and vowed that I’d never go back home. “Chan?” Teddy’s voice sounded close. “Yes?” I asked keeping my eyes closed. “Do you need a place to stay?” He asked hesitantly. I groaned in embarrassment and turned away from him, staring out my window. He put the car in drive and pulled out. I watched the snow fall, never looking at Teddy, on the way back to his home. He pulled into the drive of a nice homey condominium. He walked to my side of the car and lifted me out by my waist. I followed him through the doors and stopped. I gazed at the beauty of his home. It was so warmly lit and he had a chandelier hanging above the entrance room. A beautiful little blonde girl, she was probably six or seven years old, came running down the stairs. She jumped into Teddy’s arms and he swung her around. I smiled and shut his front door, leaning against it. A man, who was obviously related to Teddy, came down the stairs and stopped when his eyes caught mine. He went the rest of way down the stairs and held his hand out to me. I shook his hand and said, “Chandra Choverse.” He smiled at me and nodded. “Caleb Hanks.” He said. Teddy rested the little girl on his hip and came over to Caleb and me. “Introduce her to Chan.” Teddy told Caleb. Caleb began making signs with his hand, while also saying the words. “This is Chandra.” He said to her. She waved and began making signs pointed towards me. “She says it’s nice to meet you and that you’re pretty.” Teddy said. I giggled. “Tell her I said thank you. What’s her name?” I asked. “Her name is Abby. Chandra says thank you.” He motioned to Abby. Abby signed thank you to me and I smiled at her. Teddy set Abby down and she ran down the hall to what looked like the living room. Caleb ran after her.
“She’s beautiful.” I murmured. Teddy nodded. “Caleb’s my brother. Abby is probably the smartest little girl I’ve ever met and she’s so kind-hearted. Sorry about this. I didn’t know they were going to be here, but he has a wife to tend to so he should be leaving anytime.” I shook my head, “It’s alright.” Caleb came back with Abby slung over his shoulder. “Duty calls, brother.” Caleb laughed. He and Teddy pounded and Caleb and Abby left. I walked past Teddy, down his hallway. “Wow.” I breathed out looking at his living room. Everything was so grand. The Christmas tree in the corner made the entire house. It almost reached the high ceiling. The TV hanging on the wall was almost obnoxiously large. His large couch folded to a different direction when the wall ended. “The sofa pulls out, but you can have my room if you want.” He said from behind me. His warm breath against my neck made me shiver. “This is fine, but…” “Yes?” He asked, plopping down on couch. “How do I get to work in the morning? I don’t have a car.” “I called your boss and you’ve got a week off, and when it’s time for you go back don’t be afraid to borrow the extra car in the garage. The keys are sitting on the table in front of the door.” He saw my slight expression and patted the cushion next to him. I slugged over there and plopped down. “If we’re looking forward to this for a long time, then what’s mine is yours. I honestly don’t mind. Take whatever you want. Here.” He pulled his wallet out of his pocket and placed a gold credit card on my knee. “Why are you doing this?” I asked. “I really don’t know, but I like you Chan. And you’re giving me company in return. That’s all I need.” I put the credit card on his knee and let him win. “Fine. You’re providing shelter for me and I am so grateful for that. But I can take care of myself financially.” “Deal.” He said, smiling a crooked grin. We shook hands and I laid my head back on the couch. “You want to take a nap and then go shopping for some clothes?” Teddy asked. “You’d go shopping with me?” He chuckled and shrugged. “I guess so.” “Sounds good to me.” “Alright. I’ll be right back.” He jogged off and came back with a quilt and a pillow. I stuffed the pillow under my head and he threw the quilt over me. “Wake me up when you’re ready to go.” I mumbled sleepily. “I’ll be ready when you are. Sleep as much as you want.” He murmured. I watched him shut all the blinds and turn off the light. I dozed off. My eyes popped open when I hit the ground. “Woah!” Teddy chuckled, jogging to me. “I’m fine, I’m fine.” I repeated. He kept laughing and rolled me up in my blanket.
“What are you doing?” I asked. He picked me up and put me back on the couch. I laughed and unraveled myself. “So where do you shop?” He asked, sitting on the cushion closest to my feet. “I’ll drive.” He tossed the keys to me and I took my purse to the bathroom to brush out my bed head hair. I tried to get into the drivers seat by myself, but the boot just wasn’t working out for me. “Chan, do you need help?” Teddy asked between his laughs. I rolled my eyes and let him pick me up and place me in the drivers seat. “Thanks.” I muttered. He smiled and shut the door. Teddy walked around the car and got into the passenger seat. “Are you sure you’re ready to drive again?” Teddy asked uncertainty and worry filling his voice. “I was barely looking at the road when it happened. I’m pretty sure I can drive.” I assured him. He nodded accepting my answer. I put the car in reverse, but a question popped into my mind. “Why are you coming with me?” “We’re going to dinner after you’re done.” “And you were assuming I’d say yes?” “I was hoping.” He said quietly. I laughed at my new friend and patted his shoulder. “Sure, I’ll go to dinner with you.” He smiled. I smiled back and backed out of the driveway. We pulled up to a small shop and I slid out of the car, attempting to avoid the ice. Teddy helped me step over it and we walked into the shop. He sat in a chair by the dressing room and I hauled armfuls of clothes to the dressing room. I stuck with loose pants to slide over my boot. I smiled at one of the dresses I had accidentally grabbed. It was a little black dress. I slid it over my head and stepped out. I blushed as Teddy whistled. I laughed and pirouetted for him. “Nice. We should go out tonight.” He suggested “I thought we were going to dinner.” “We are, but I mean we should go to a bar.” I shook my head and laughed. “Good one.” I commented. “I’m not kidding.” “I—don’t drink.” I lied. “Liar. Why won’t you go to a bar?” He asked. I twirled my hair around my index finger and tried to think of a lie, but I decided the truth was the best option. I was never a good liar. “The first time I drank, my twenty-first birthday, I ended up kissing quite a few guys and I spent a lot of money on drinks and my friends and parents weren’t too happy.” I shivered when I said parents. Teddy laughed. “I’ll be here to watch you this time. I won’t let anything happen to you.” He assured me. “Maybe.” I mumbled, twirling in the mirror. “You look beautiful.”
I blushed. “Thanks.” I murmured. I scurried back into the room and put my clothes back on; grabbing the ones I wanted to buy. I purchased the black dress just incase. I pulled myself up to the drivers seat and waited for Teddy to get in his seat. “Where to?” I asked, putting the car in drive with my foot on the brake. “You mind if I drive?” He asked. He put the car in park, laughing at my mistake. I put my hand on the handle to get out but he stopped me. He picked me up by my waist and put me on his lap. He then slid me over to the other side of him, putting him in the driver’s seat and me in the passenger seat. I threw him a sarcastic smile and put on my seatbelt. We drove for twenty minutes until we reached Sportsman’s Bar and Steakhouse. I smiled at the masculine vibe of it and hopped out of the car without thinking. My boot slid on the ice and I fell, landing on my butt. Teddy chortled and I blushed with anger. I attempted to pull myself up, but there was so much ice. “You need a little help?” Teddy asked. I rolled my eyes and placed my hand in his. He pulled me up and I stomped into the restaurant. “Table for two.” Teddy told the waitress. She led us to a booth in the back corner of the busy restaurant. “My name’s Rosie, what would you like to drink?” “Coke.” Teddy mumbled while examining the menu. “Water and coffee.” Even though I had slept through out the day, I was so tired. The waitress ran off and was back in a flash with our drinks. We ordered and she took out menus. I put two Splendas and one crème in my coffee and stirred it. “Don’t be angry.” He murmured, fiddling with his straw. “I’m not.” I took a sip of my coffee and quietly moaned as it burned my tongue. Teddy laughed and looked away. “So are we going drinking tonight, or what?” I asked, grinning. “Finally, something we can agree on!” He exclaimed. “Vodka was made for me.” I commented. “Really? You don’t seem like a vodka girl. I like beer.” “Well you seem like a beer guy.” I laughed. He nodded and took a long sip from his coke. “So…what bar did you have in mind?” I questioned. He pointed to the bar across the room. “My friend Elmo loves it here.” “Elmo?” Teddy chuckled. “Elmer Alexander Willowman the second. You see why he chose Elmo?” Teddy laughed and nodded. “Is he gay?” “Why would you think that?” I asked, defending Elmo. “I’m just kidding!” “Oh, well he is.” I told him. Teddy’s eyes widened and he nodded. The waitress came up and the delicious smell of steak overwhelmed me. She placed a large steak in front of the both of us and smiled. “Enjoy your meal.” She said. Teddy rubbed his hands together and picked up a fork and a steak knife. I did the same and carefully cut my steak into ten little squares. When I had finished my second piece, Teddy was already done. “Delicious.” He shouted.
“Shut up! People are looking.” I hissed. I hated attention more then anything in the world. Teddy smiled and looked at my food. “Take some.” I muttered, understanding his hint. He and I shared the rest of my pieces and he left a fifty dollar bill on the table. He grabbed my hand and pulled me across the room. He lifted me onto a bar stool and grinned. “If you covered dinner then I’ll cover drinks.” I told him. “Are you sure? From what I’ve heard you drink a lot.” “I’m drinking? I thought I was the designated driver?” I asked in shock. “Nope. It’s your turn to have some fun.” He smiled his tilted smile and turned to the bartender. “Can we have a bottle of Smirnoff Vodka and two shot glasses?” Teddy asked. “ID’s please.” She asked. I could see her checking Teddy out. Something twisted in my stomach, but I ignored it, pulling out my ID and credit card. “Great thanks.” She smiled and took my credit card. She returned with the vodka and shot glasses. “I love Smirnoff. You seem like a man with good taste,” She winked at Teddy, “Just please be responsible.” She rolled her eyes as she said it and downed a shot glass of Tequila that was left from empty seats beside us. Teddy smiled back at her and poured Vodka in both glasses. She flicked her curly, unnaturally blonde hair and walked off. “Go ahead.” Teddy prodded me. I eyed both shot glasses and shrugged. Ehh what the heck? I gulped down the first one and the second one directly after. I bit my lip as Teddy’s eyes widened. “Impressive. It shouldn’t be too easy to get you drunk. You’re so small.” He commented. I raised my eyebrows and shook my head. “Looks can be deceiving.” I grabbed the bottleneck and brought it to my lips. The warmth of the liquid was sensational as it slid down my throat. I hadn’t realized I was sucking the empty bottle until Teddy pulled it from my hand and set it on the bar. “Careful, hon. We don’t want to hurt you.” He said, concerned. My vision was already blurring. “Don’t worry about me baby. I’ll be fine. A bottle of Corona and limes please!” I shouted to our bartender. She was back in a flash with two bottles. “The second one is on me.” She said, eyeing Teddy. I’m sure she was trying to get me to black out so that Teddy would pay more attention to her, but I knew the opposite would happen. I slipped her my credit card and squeezed lime into both bottles. The warm feeling of the Vodka was still tingling in my stomach. I downed the first bottle and my thoughts began to be jumbled. I swallowed down the second bottle and I wooziness swept over me. I would have fallen out of my stool if it weren’t for Teddy. He caught me and stood me up. He cradled me in his arms and grabbed my credit card off the bar. He stuffed it in his pocket and I caught the disappointed expression of the bartender. I smiled and wrapped my arms around Teddy’s neck. “We should do this every night!” I slurred. Teddy chuckled and shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He lifted me into the passenger seat and buckled me. “Wait! I want another bottle!” “No.” Teddy said sternly.
“Yes! Come on Teddy!” I shouted. He groaned and rolled his eyes. He shut my door and ran inside. A minute later, he came out with a bottle of beer in his hand. He slid in the driver’s seat and handed me the bottle. I closed my eyes and brought it to my lips. The warm feeling in my stomach was pleasuring. I finished off the bottle and set it in his cup holder. “Thanks for tonight.” I whispered. “Not a problem, but we gotta watch what you drink.” He laughed and pulled into the driveway. He pulled me into his arms and I tucked my head into his chest. He carefully opened the door to the house and kicked it shut with his foot. I closed my eyes, but they jolted open when I landed on the couch. Teddy threw a blanket over me and touched my face. “Do you want to go to sleep?” He asked softly. The truth was, yes. I wanted to go to sleep, but my mouth said something different. “No, let’s talk.” I rubbed my temple as a head ache crept in. “Hold that thought.” He jogged to the kitchen and came back with two Ibuprofens and a bottle of water. “You are officially God.” I muttered. He smiled at that. I swallowed the pills and chugged the water bottle. “What happened to your parents, Chan?” His question took me off guard. I tried to fight the memory, but it washed through my mind, filling my heart with sadness. I shook my head furiously and stuffed my face into the pillow. “Another time.” He murmured. He petted my hair and I groaned as the head ache got stronger. “Thanks Teddy Bear. I love you. ‘Night” I slurred. Teddy murmured something, but I was too tired to comprehend it. I threw the blanket off me and clamped my hand to my mouth until I made it to the toilet. I closed my eyes as the vomit came out. I coughed and kept my eyes closed until the toilet was flushed. I crawled up the stairs and knocked on the half open door. I heard Teddy groan then sit up. I laid down on the soft carpet of the hallway and closed my eyes. “Chan! Are you okay? What happened?” His voice was full of alarm and worry. I moaned and pointed to my stomach. He chuckled and I felt his strong arms slip under me. He placed me on the couch again and I finally opened my eyes. His bare back was the first thing I saw. I observed the movement of the muscles as he was walking around and found myself drawling. I quickly wiped it away and closed my eyes again. “Open your eyes.” Teddy’s minty breath caressed my face and my eyes fluttered open. I tried not to stare at his perfect stomach, but it was mesmerizing. He chuckled when his eyes followed mine. I blushed and look away. I took the glass of water from his hand a chugged it all. “That’s what you looked like with a beer last night.” He mumbled. I blushed deeper and caught sight of the time. “It’s not fair that I have you up at three in the morning. I just needed a towel and I need to get those bags of clothes out of the car.” “No, no don’t worry about it. I’ll go get the clothes. Be right back.” He jogged off and I looked around the room. I stood up and walked to the giant Christmas tree. Each
ornament looked so fragile and unique. There was a beautiful, flat silver one, hanging from a blue ribbon, at the bottom. I crouched down and admired it. I realized it was a frame and I looked at the picture inside of it. The girl was gorgeous. Her wavy blonde hair hung in front of her piercing blue eyes. She was skinny, but she looked like she was glowing. Her face had a smile stretched across it as Teddy’s lips presses against her cheek. He looked around eighteen and his gangly arms were hooked around the girl’s waist. I threw myself back on the couch when I heard the front door open. “Here you go.” He placed the large bag beside me and handed me a towel. He also gave me a trash bag and duct tape. “For your leg.” He murmured nodding toward the bag and tape. He knew how to take care of me better then I did. “Thanks. You can go back to sleep. I’ll be fine.” “I’ll probably watch Saturday Night Live reruns. The snow really woke me up.” He said. I threw him an apologetic smile and he shrugged. I shooed him away and he smiled before he ran upstairs again. I dragged my stupid leg to the bathroom and shoved my leg into the bag, tightly wrapping it with tape. I removed my clothes and shook out my hair. I threw the towel on the toilet seat and turned one of knobs. I stepped into the steaming shower and my muscles relaxed as the hot water hit my back. I moaned and shut my eyes, enjoying the pain of the too-hot water. The water was like a cure. I felt more awake and happy. I felt energized. I felt like I never had to sleep again. I kept my eyes closed and went through all of today’s events. Technically yesterday with it being four in the morning. Had it only been yesterday morning that I had been in a car accident? Had it only been yesterday that I had met Teddy? He already felt like a brother to me. So big, warm, and happy. A brother. I pressed my forehead against the cold tile of the wall. My heart tried to keep the memory away, but it came back for the third time in the last twenty-four hours. I groaned and sat on the floor, letting the water beat against my head. I shampooed and conditioned with what Teddy had put in my clothes bag. I ran my fingers through my hair, sighing. I turned off the water and carefully stepped out of the shower. I tossed the trash bag and duct tape into the trashcan. I shimmied on a pair of mini shorts and a big sweatshirt before stepping out into the living room. I walked to my purse and brushed through my hair. Teddy was sitting on the couch, with one of his arms draped across the top of the sofa, watching TV. I followed his eyes to the cushion next to him and scurried over, plopping down next to him. “Thank you. Sorry I woke you up.” I apologized, watching Saturday Night Live. He shrugged. “I don’t mind.” I rested my head on his shoulder and shut my eyes. I waited for him to continue talking, but I was asleep before he could say anything else. I snorted awake to the smell of bacon. I moaned as my eyes caught sight of the sizzling bacon through the door to the door of the kitchen. He extended his index finger and curled it in, drawing me toward the overwhelming smell, but I stopped when I saw his bare chest. I quickly look away and continued walking toward him. When I finally reached the kitchen he had a plate of beautiful breakfast ready for me. “How are you feeling?” He kept his hand a centimeter from my back as he led me to the table.
“Better. I have a bit of a headache, but I’m alright.” I stabbed the bacon and threw it in my mouth. The hot bacon burnt my tongue and throat. “Take some Ibuprofen.” He slid the bottle toward me, along with a bottle of water. I unscrewed the cap and popped two pills in my mouth, quickly sliding them down my throat with the water. “Thanks.” I murmured, finishing my breakfast. I placed my plate in the sink and walked back to the couch. “Any chance you have a computer? I need to check my email.” “Of course.” Teddy walked off and brought back a Mac. “Thank you.” Teddy nodded and walked upstairs. He took two steps at a time and his arm muscles flexed as her groped the stair railing. I scanned through my emails and cursed under my breath as I saw how many were from my boss and co-workers. Almost all of them were get-well emails. Todd, my boss, had emailed me the most out of all of them. His first email was a get-well email and the others were just catching me up on work. I looked through all of them and the last one was almost a week old. I must have accidentally skipped by it. It was also from Todd. He wanted to know if I’d want to go to dinner with him some time. Todd was attractive, but he was my boss. And what would Teddy think? Wait Teddy? Why would I care what Teddy would think? I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Todd’s number. “Chan! How are you doing?” Todd’s deep voice boomed. “I’m wonderful. How about you?” “I’m pretty good. How bad did you get scratched?” He laughed. “Broken ankle and wrist and stitches in my forehead. Nothing too bad.” “Oh well I hope you feel better. Why did you call?” “Well, I just saw the email that you sent me. I guess I had accidentally skipped over it earlier by mistake and I’d like to take you up on your offer.” “Dinner?” “Yes. If you still want to go with me.” I answered, unsure. “Of course. How is tonight?” He asked. I opened my mouth to speak, but looked around for Teddy. Why did I feel like I needed his permission? “Perfect.” “Where should I pick you up?” I walked to the front door to tell him Teddy’s address. “Sounds good. I’ll be there at seven.” “Alright, Todd. I’ll se you then.” I hung up the phone and walked back the couch. I sighed and looked at the email I has just received. It was from Elmo. I heard what happened, Chan. I was calling you. I feel responsible for everything and I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I hope you’re alright. Felix and I are having a good time and we’re leaving soon, so we have to meet up. Where are you staying? Message me back. Talk to you soon, honey. –Elmo I smiled at his email and replied, answering all his questions. I dug through my bag of clothes, pulling out the black dress and red heels. The soft, flowing satin slipped over my head and I tossed my dirty clothes in the bag. The clacking of my heels must of alarmed Teddy. He came down the stairs. His wide eyes made my stomach tingle. “You look…gorgeous. Where are we going tonight?”
“Well--” There was a knock on the door and my heart dropped. I must’ve lost track of the time. Teddy wasn’t supposed to be here. “Oh I’ll get that. I wonder who it could be.” He turned his back to me and walked to the door. I groaned and rubbed my forehead. “I’m here for Chan. I’m Todd Knight.” “Oh--,” Teddy’s hesitation made my chest hurt. “Teddy Hanks. Nice to meet you. Chan! Your—date is here!” He choked out “date.” But why? I snatched my purse and walked to the front door. “I’ll meet you out at the car.” Todd said, raising his eyebrows. I threw him a smile and turned to Teddy. He cocked his head and threw his thumb in Todd’s direction. “That guy? Chan, he’s not good for you!” “He’s not good for me? Teddy I’ve known you for all of two days! Who are you to say who is and isn’t good for me?” My face was beginning to get red. Teddy’s eyes stopped that though. “I’m sorry.” He threw me his crooked smile and shrugged. I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him in for a hug. He rested his cheek on my hair. I attempted to pull away, but Teddy had me in a deathly lock. I looked into his eyes, bewildered, and my knees began to get shaky. “I have to go. I’ll be back early. Just have a few drinks ready and we can watch a movie.” He waited until the last possible second to release my hand. I slipped on my jacket and scurried out to Todd’s Mercedes. I turned at the last second and saw a rose slip out of Teddy’s hand. “Hey, who is that guy?” Todd asked, when I was seated. “Umm…my roommate I guess.” “A roommate with benefits?” “Not at all, Todd. Please stop.” “Alright, alright, but he likes you.” Todd insisted. “No he doesn’t.” I gritted my teeth in frustration. “You like him.” Todd said softly. “Stop hounding me and drive or I’ll get out.” “Fine, fine. How do you feel about drinking and dancing?” “Sounds like fun.” I muttered, unenthusiastically. He put the car in drive and we continued the ride in silence. We pulled up to a club and met me in front of the car, winding his arm tightly around my waist. I squirmed a little, but he kept his firm grip. I dragged my leg and struggled to get on the barstool. Todd helped me up and order tequila for the both of us. I hated tequila, but it would be rude to decline the offer. I took a little sip and shook my head. It was too strong for the moment. Todd continued to refill his glass until he was slurring his words. He drunkenly stumbled off the stool and took my hand, leading me to the dance floor. He awkwardly began to shake parts of his body. I stepped side to side, holding his hand, and trying to keep him upright. He placed his hand under my chin and attempted to pull my face towards his. I noticed the unnatural green color of his face. I could feel his hand moving farther and farther down my back. He was eyeing my chest. My breathing quickened and I ripped myself away from him.
“Come back, ba--” His sentence was interrupted by a gargle and I knew he had vomited. I pulled out my cell phone, willing myself not to cry, and found Teddy’s contact. “How’s everything going?” I could hear his careless tone. “Please come get me.” I whispered. My voice was shaky. “I’m getting in the car now. Where are you?” I told him the street name. “Hang in there. What happened?” “I—Todd…” I couldn’t finish, because I’d burst into tears. “Shh…Chan, it’s alight. Wait outside for me. I’ll be there in less then two minutes.” I hung up the phone and put on my jacket. My lazy leg and I made it outside and I collapsed on the cold pavement. I sobbed quietly and waited for Teddy. He must’ve recognized my hair, because my head was buried in my jacket. “Chan…” He whispered. He picked me up as if I were a little child and set me in the passenger seat. I buckled myself, through my teary, blurred vision. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the quiet purr of the car. He picked me up again and I felt myself rising. I opened my eyes and saw him taking me up the stairs. “Where--?” “I have a surprise for you.” I nodded and laid my head on his chest. I must’ve fallen asleep in the couple seconds it took to reach our destination. “Open your eyes.” I was in a beautiful blue room. So many different shades. “Do you like it?” “I love it.” I sighed. He pushed back the sheets and laid me in the large bed. Teddy tucked the sheets around me and lightly kissed my forehead. I grabbed his hand and sighed again. He half-smiled and walked away, but I kept his hand firmly in mine. “Stay…” I whispered. I patted the bed with my other hand. His eyebrows scrunched together and he walked to the other side of them bed. I heard him kick off his shoes and he slid under the large quilt. His body heat radiated, warming me. I took his hand and wrapped his arm around me. I held his hand in mine and felt his other arm slip under me, so we were spooning. “Thanks.” I breathed. He was already snoring. I carefully turn over, so that I was facing him. I traced the bridge of his nose with my index finger. His blonde hair had fallen in his face. The room was wonderful. Every piece of furniture was the same, but different. I pondered the thought that he knew I loved blue or if he had just guessed. My mind and heart ran wild with jumbled feelings. It ran so fast that I had a headache. Without jostling Teddy, I slid out of his arms. The soft carpet soothed my feet after a night in the killer red heels. I slowly treaded down the stairs and into the kitchen. I scanned the cabinets looking for medicine, but I came across something else. It was a green and red mug, tucked deep into one of the cabinets. She was on it. She and Teddy were kissing in front of a Christmas tree. She didn’t look quite as unhealthy as she did in the picture on the ornament. Finally spotting what I was looking for, I pushed the mug aside and popped two pills in my mouth, downing them with tap water. I slowly climbed the stairs and slid back between Teddy’s arms. I faced him again and tucked my head in his chest. Sleep came over me less then a minute later.
I slowly opened my eyes and leaned forward, stretching. I’d accidentally stretched too far and my lips hit Teddy’s. A shock flowed through my veins. Almost as if I were electrocuted. I quickly pulled away and sat up. His eyes were wide open. “I’m sorry.” I mumbled, tucking my hair behind my ear. Blood boiled under my skin in embarrassment. “It’s alright...” He said, sounding disoriented. I stood up and rubbed my eyes, taking in the sunlight. I brushed my fingers over my lips, still feeling the sting from when I’d accidentally kissed him. “I’ll um…go get breakfast. Donuts and coffee?” He asked from behind me. “Yeah…sounds good.” I said quietly. The sun poured through the windows and I listened to him softly shut the door as he left. “I am an idiot!” I threw myself on the bed, face first, and screamed. “I forgot my shoes…” I heard Teddy’s voice from behind me. I turned over and smiled as if nothing had happened. But my red face gave away the deep embarrassment I felt. He half smiled and saluted me? I raised my eyebrows and watched his back as he left again. Oh my god. How can I be so stupid? I walked downstairs to the bathroom and carefully brushed through my hair. While scanning the cabinets for extra toilet paper, I found a bracelet. ♥Hadley is what it read. I admired the beauty of the dangling diamonds and slipped it into the pocket of the sweatpants that I had put on. I thought I heard something so I went upstairs to Teddy’s room. I knocked on the open door and waited for an answer. “Come in.” “Where’s breakfast?” You idiot. Why did you ask that? “It’s on the counter. I thought you might have smelled it…” “Oh…” My sentence was interrupted when Teddy came out in a towel. His hair was wet and he smelled wonderful. What’s happening? “Yeah…feel free to take as much as you want. I’m not hungry. Look, Chan, we have to--” “You play guitar?” I wasn’t ready to talk. The guitar had caught my eye anyway. “No. I got it for my birthday last year and I never bothered to learn it. Chan--” “Would you mind if I borrowed it?” “No, but Chan--” “Great, thanks.” I interrupted him yet again and grabbed the guitar, ducking out of the room. I trotted down the stairs trying to avoid the conversation. The soft fleece of the jacket that I slipped on was so warm. Like Teddy… I shook my head and plopped on the couch with the guitar. I shut my eyes and played the first few chords of my favorite song, “Smile,” bye Charlie Chaplin. Absentmindedly, I began singing along. Opening my eyes, I carefully played along with my voice. I closed my eyes again and finished. Teddy’s claps were drowned out as a million thoughts flooded my head. No… No. No! He’s a friend. “Thanks.” I mumbled, laying the guitar beside me. “That was amazing. Who taught you to play? You were--” “Just stop.” “What?” One of his bushy, blonde eyebrows raised.
“Who is she? What are we?” The second question escaped before I could shut my lips. “What she are you talking about? We are…” He couldn’t finish. “Hadley? She’s beautiful, but she’s everywhere. We are what?” “How do you know about Hadley?” His voice cracked on her name. I saw his eyes begin to water. “Teddy…” I wound my arms around him and we stayed like that for what seemed like eternity. I pulled him to the couch, his arms never unwrapping from me. I put my head on his lap and rested there. Ready for him to talk, but also prepared for him not to. His warm hands stroked my hair. I breathed carefully, waiting. “You look lovely. You asked me something earlier…” He murmured. “I…well…forget it.” I shook my head. “What are we?” He mocked. “You tell me.” I sighed. “We could be us…if you want.” “I’ve known you for three days.” I wasn’t making an excuse or whining. I was stating the truth. Which sounded strange when said aloud, but in my mind, it didn’t matter whether I had known him for three days or three years. It wouldn’t have made a difference. He was the first person who made me forget my horrible past. He was the first person who made me feel truly loved in so long. But what kind of love? Brotherly love or in love love? Either way, a risk was the only way that I would find out. I laid on my back, my head still in his lap, facing the ceiling. He angled his neck so he was looking directly into my eyes. I placed my hand behind his neck and pulled his lips down to meet mine. This kiss was different then the first. This one was on purpose. We both wanted and expected this one. He had pulled me up, so I was sitting in his lap. His lips parted and I hesitated for only a second. I broke off the kiss, in need for air. I smiled and stroked his hair. He pecked my lips one more time and laid his head back against the wall. “Let’s trade.” He said, simply. “Trade what?” “I’ll tell you about Hadley, and you tell me about your family.” “Deal. Hadley was your first love?” “How did you know?” He locked his fingers with mine. “The look on your face in all the pictures.” “Well, yes she was my first love.” “And?” I was anxious to find out. “She died.” He said, emotionlessly. My heart may have broken for Teddy at that moment. “Oh, Teddy. I’m so sorry.” “Cancer…” He told me. I knew he had more to say. “You can tell me.” I whispered. “It was so horrible to watch her dying. It was horrible to know that it was the end and I had to spend it wisely. You know the saying that’s like, live today as if you’ll die
tomorrow? Every morning, Hadley would wake up and say ‘Let’s live today like I’ll die tomorrow.’ And that was always the case. We spent our days doing everything we could together. She was always in a positive mood. She made her heart deny the fact that she was dying. I dropped out of college for her. She was worth it. When she died…I felt like I could never love again. I stayed with Caleb and his family for a while, but they were practically soaked in love for each other. Therefore, I got a job and bought this place. “I saw you before your car had flipped. I thought, that beautiful girl is going to have a great future. Then you started digging through your purse and I tried to get your attention, but you were too preoccupied. Then it happened. I pulled over and jumped out of my car. If there was a possibility that I could prevent death, then I had to try. I couldn’t stop Hadley from dying, but I could try to help you. Two other people stopped. The paramedics let me in the ambulance with you and we rode to the hospital. You were unconscious and all scratched up. I told you when we were in the hospital. Something kept me with you. “Your eyes had that same denial that Hadley’s always had. There were things that you didn’t want to believe, you didn’t want to be true, so they weren’t. In some ways, you’re just like she was. Your positive outlook on everything and your voice. Her favorite song was “Smile” also. But you both are different in ways also. You’re a lot more determined and more shy then she was. She was the most bubbly and easy-going girl I had ever met. This is going to sound strange, but since you’ve been around, I’ve been able to think clearly and my heart sounds stronger…” “How long ago did she…” He’d laid down and I laid on top of him, placing my ear to heart. It was beating fast. “Five years ago.” I nodded and looked up at him. “You look beautiful.” He said, tucking my hair behind my ear. “Thank you…” A knock on the door interrupted my sentence. I didn’t realize I was crying until Teddy wiped his thumb below my eye. I smiled and followed him to the door. “Chan! Why are you crying?” Elmo pushed past Teddy and threw his arms around me. I laughed and hugged Elmo back. “Did he rape you?” Elmo shouted, glaring at Teddy. “No! No!” I laughed. I ran and put of arms around Teddy’s waist. “Oh. Well then, I’m Elmo.” Elmo kept his hands behind his back as he introduced himself. “Teddy. Nice to meet you.” Teddy nodded to Elmo and wrapped his arms around me.
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