Just One Love

Time Stands Still

It was odd how life could still go on around her; how time could still be ticking while her life was at such a standstill. The rush of voices, of movement, of emotions could do nothing to affect her. Nothing could touch her; not here, not now.

Amulet (or Leta, as she was preferred to be called) couldn't stand the thought of hospitals. The smell of medicine being administered, the sound of sobbing coming from worried relatives, and the constant threat of death in the air were sensations she'd rather avoid. Actually being in the hospital and having to go through the whole process only escalated her anxiety.

Her eyes flickered. Hayden was watching her, a mixture of concern, sympathy, and wariness reflected in his incredible blue eyes. "Do you need something to drink? Maybe some water?"

A doctor stepped out of the rooms and was heading towards them, a clipboard in his hand. Her fingers tightened on her shirt as she stated fidgeting with the sapphire choker around her neck. A small token of her late mother; she never took it off. Her ears were ringing, but the sound of Mrs. Bell fretting was jarringly real to her.

She smiled. "Yes, thank you." He handed her the glass, and she stared into the water, staring at her own pinkish violet eyes glancing back at her. Her eyes dropped, and she found herself staring at his shoes.

Outside, the distinctly loud pitter-patter of the rain could be heard from inside the waiting room. The flash of lightning illuminated the entire room, making Leta jump in her seat, her grip on her shirt tightening considerably. A few seconds later, the roll of thunder filled their ears.

"It's still raining, huh," Kyle commented, staring out beyond the window. The doctor cleared his throat, and then they were all focused on him.

"Ah…are you the family of Bell?" He checked his clipboard, just to make sure.

Across the room, Hayden's identical twin brother, Shane was laughing with his friends, jostling each other and teasing around. Normally Hayden would be with them. Not today, however…

Neither Leta nor Mrs. Bell seemed capable of speech, so Kyle spoke up. "She's Hayden and Shane's mother," he nodded at the latter. "While Leta's just a classmate."

"And who are you?" The doctor inquired.

"I'm Leta's older brother. Are they going to be okay?" Kyle's arm had instinctively and awkwardly wrapped around Leta's shoulder. It tightened as he uttered the question.

"They're going to be okay," the doctor confirmed. "But it seems Hayden is going to need an eye transplant. His father, having received suffered several serious injuries, is going to need surgery. Shane merely passed out, and no major injuries are found."

"Oh! Thank goodness!" Mrs. Bell burst into tears at his statements. Leta, tense from the suspense, relaxed slightly.

"Hayden and Shane are twins, right?" The doctor chuckled. "It might be easier to tell them apart after the transplant is over."

"That doesn't matter," Mrs. Bell sniffled, vastly relieved. "As long as they're alive and well."

Leta bit her lip. Hayden and Shane, always together, and so popular; so liked…how could this have happened to them? And so soon after their junior high graduation.

The doctor had left them. Kyle bent down, whispering gently, "Mom and Dad set up a therapy session for you. I know you hate it and all, but after this whole thing, maybe you need it. So what do you think? Are you up for it?"

And under Kyle's questioning gaze, Leta nodded just slightly.

"Ryan…do you think she's going to be okay? Leta seemed so shook up back there…"

"Relax, Airi. We didn't raise her to be a weak girl. Leta's strong; she'll heal." Despite his confident words, he was pacing in the small room.

Eventually, the door opened, and in emerged the therapist. The young couple rushed at him. "Well? How'd it go?" Airi asked worriedly.

"Surprisingly well, for a girl who didn't say a word for the whole session." He smiled wryly. "Are you two her siblings?"

"Parents," Ryan answered, and at the therapist's startled look, he added quickly, "Adoptive, of course."

He consulted his clipboard. "She's thirteen, I believe? In the eighth grade."

"Just graduated." Airi was trembling, and Ryan drew her against him, soothing her softly.

"So, uh, what happened to her real parents?" The therapist asked casually as he wrote something on this clipboard, barely glancing up at the couple.

"They died in a train crash when Leta was a baby," Ryan replied curtly, coldly. "The entire back side was busted. It was a miracle that Leta even survived. So miraculous, in fact, that it appeared in the newspapers."

"So what exactly made you want to adopt her?"

"Her parents entrusted her to us. The four of us were childhood friends, you know. When she turns 21 she'll inherit their entire fortune." Ryan continued. "Can you please tell us what we should do now? Instead of asking questions about something you're not a part of?!"

Airi jabbed her husband lightly with her elbow. "Calm down," She reprimanded quietly. "Calm down, Ryan."

"I can't help it," He snarled. "Talking about her like some kind of gossip material. Our daughter hasn't spoken, hasn't slept, in two he have any idea what she went through recently?!"

The therapist looked slightly startled. "Sorry," he continued. "Her case just seems so interesting. My apologies."

Airi smiled tightly at him. He went on to say, "Now, should I refer to her as Amulet, her given name, or 'Leta', which you two seem to call her so much?"

"Whichever one works fine," Airi replied. "We just call her 'Leta' because of an old nickname that stuck."

He cleared his throat. "Very well. Amulet is coping pretty well for…one of her circumstances. She's not speaking because of the traumatic effect and the stress, is all."

"Thank goodness! Leta hates therapy, you see. It was a wonder that she even agreed to come down here," Airi explained.

"So? What do you suggest we do, Doc?" Ryan questioned, having calmed down.

"It's too early to know yet, but so far I believe a change of scenery is advisable. This place probably holds too many painful memories for her."

"You're saying we should move?" Airi asked, concerned.

He nodded. "Exactly." The door shut, and then he was gone. The two exchanged a glance once they were alone.

Airi sighed, collapsing in her husband's arms. "So? Do you think we should move back there?"

Ryan thought about it for a moment. "I propose we should," he said slowly.

"You mean go back to – "


"Near – "


"You sure?" She looked at him anxiously.

He regarded her; Airi's eyes were currently a stormy gray. "If you want to."

She bit her lip, but finally, she nodded weakly. Ryan smiled at her reassuringly; he closed his eyes and kissed the top of her head softly.

"To Oceanside Ridge it is then."

Soundtrack: Comatose By Skillet