I'm so sorry, It's been forever since I last updated!! I'm so horrible! I hope you guys don't hate me! But enjoy the chapter nonetheless! Please review if you've got extra time handy! :)

Previously: "Come on, go tell Rosa you're sick and you're going home."

"She won't believe me." I protested, even as I turned to go tell her.

"Yes she will," he whispered, "because you're about to be."

"About to be, wh—?" I broke off as dizziness washed over me. Oh, sick… Wait… How did he know that?


I opened my mouth to tell him so, but I didn't get anything out before spots swam in front of my eyes and I fell into darkness. No, not darkness so much as a swirl of blinding colors. Lots and lots of yellow… and lime green… But as these passed by with lightning speed, I could hear Cale whispering reassurances in my ear and one thing caught me by surprise… He called me, Marley, like only my mother used to do…

Chapter 6

My mother…

When I woke, he was sitting beside me. His eyes were a new softer shade of green and I found myself suddenly entranced. We must have sat like that for some time before he shifted his eyes away. I didn't know why but I found myself wondering about the things he had whispered to me as I floated away into the darkness.

"You called me Marley…" I mused, staring at him intently. Was it possible that he knew? No. No, he couldn't.

He frowned, "Does that bother you?"

"Yes," I said flatly. An echoing frown appeared on my lips.

His brow furrowed, "I… why?" He was clearly confused.

I wasn't sure I wanted to tell him. Yet, I was pretty sure that I'd have to tell him about her sometime. It was after all number one on my list: visit your mother. I opened my mouth, but closed it again.

"You don't—" He began, but I held up a hand to silence him.

"She used to call me that, my mom, I mean." I glanced over at him. I saw a spark of recognition light his face.

"That day, in your kitchen, you wouldn't tell me what was wrong with going to her house." He paused, glancing at me then away again.

"Say it, whatever it is that you're afraid to say."

"You… Well, sometimes if I didn't know that she wasn't, I'd think that she was… dead…"

I should have felt terrible about that. But I was resigned to the fact that she would never ever be… well, my mom again. She would never be the same person that tucked me into bed at night with a kiss on my cheek. She would never be the person that read books to me, varying her voice for all the characters and making me laugh until my sides hurt. She would never be her again. "She's not the same," I whispered, desperately wishing I didn't have to tell him this.

He said nothing, just waited. My gaze slide away from him and I found myself drawing a random pattern against the blanket that had been thrown across me. "She… She used to make me chocolate chip pancakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse for breakfast every morning when I was little," I smiled at the memory, but it faded, "It was all so… perfect… But then he came along and well… broke her heart… She was so in love with him. She already knew the damage love could do. I never knew my father but whenever she talked about him I could tell he meant a lot to her. Sometimes when she thought I wasn't paying attention or I was asleep she would cry. She stopped crying when he came. She forgot about my father when he was around."

I let out a soft, humorless laugh, "I don't even remember his name… It's been so long… I don't know why he left. I don't really care," I said. It was the truth, a horrible truth maybe that I didn't care why my mom's heart was broken. But once it had been broken well that's all I could see. "She… She hasn't been sober since… Since God knows when… She's not a mean drunk if that's what you're thinking," I said, looking up at Cale, "She's just so distant. I used to try… "

"But you gave up…" he said, softly. We feel into silence for a moment before I forced the sadness away and looked up at him curiously.

"So where am I exactly? And what happened?"

Cale ran a hand through his hair, suddenly nervous. "I… well it's…" His hand slid through his hair again. "I kinda… contaminated you…" He smiled sheepishly.

I quirked an eyebrow at him, "What does that mean?"

"My essence spilled into you, basically, I tainted your spirit with mine." He wasn't looking at me anymore. He was brushing some invisible lint from his shirt.

"Cale?" I asked, trying to grab his attention.

But he simply mumbled a, "Hmm?" and went back to straightening his shirt.

"It's permanent, isn't it?" I asked. It was the only reasonable conclusion based on the way he was acting. I wondered and not for the first time, why I always seemed to find myself in these sort of situations.

Cale looked up is brow furrowed again with worry this time. "Shouldn't you be yelling at me or something?"

"I can't yell at you when I don't even know what kind of effect this has on me…" I mumbled.

"Do you feel this?" He asked, pinching himself in the right arm. Just like that an echoing ache flared to life on my own arm.

"Yes… You mean whatever you feel I feel?"

"And vice versa," He said, nodding.

"So if I got hit by a car," I started because really that's where this all began, "And broke every bone in my body would your bones be broken?"

He winced visibly, "No, I would be in a great deal of pain though. But if I got hit by a car and broke all of my bones or even didn't, yours could be broken."

"What? Why?" It figured, really, that something horrible could happen to me and he could get off the hook but if something happened to him, I was down for the count too.

"Well, no offense, but I'm just… stronger than you are, tougher… The things that hurt you don't hurt me as much… Here think of it this way, no matter what situation you are in when something happens I'll feel the way that I would feel if I was in your place in that situation… For example you fall from a ladder and break an arm. But if I fell from the same ladder at the same height, the fall would cause me only bruises…"

"Wait. If you trip over a chair and feel a mild sting, I could bruise. That's totally not fair! We're going to end up hurting each other unintentionally when we hurt ourselves. Do you know how many times a day I trip over something? Too many. You're going to have bruises all over you from me!"

"It's not me I worry about," he mumbled, soft enough that I don't think I was supposed to hear him.

"Anyway," he said, looking at me, "I know you're tired. So get some sleep and I'll be back later. By the way… Don't leave this room." He glance on more time back over his shoulder at me before disappearing out the door.

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