AN: A very light hearted story I wrote just to force my inspiration to wake up.
Hello, friends. My name is Delia Griggs, and I'm here to tell you about how I became the world's biggest home wrecker. Please, don't shake your head and laugh. It's true.
It's why I'm currently standing against a dusty shelf in the hospital storage closet. I'm hiding.
All right, all right, I guess I have to start from the beginning.
"Thank you so much, Delia. We've been running low on staff lately and your help is greatly appreciated," says Mrs. Emms, the elderly secretary at Wellingsten Local Hospital. She reminds me of Yoda. But female.
Do you see? Clearly, I started out a perfectly nice girl whom everyone loved. Okay, not really, but an elderly woman from a hospital, come on, that's cool, right?
In all seriousness, I would say that I'm a nice person, if volunteering every day after school at a local hospital isn't big enough of a clue, and the fact that I'm only doing it to be able to graduate is a small technicality.
So I'm in my nurse costume – I mean, uniform, and have been given a bundle of sheets I can only assume is a patient's file.
"Torn ligament in left knee," I read aloud, shuddering. That sounds gorgeous.
I was told that I will be assigned to him as one of his nurses, and after being told what I'd have to do, I'm beginning to question the job title. I'm supposed to wait on this person like a puppy. I may as well just shine his shoes and sweep his chimney while I'm at it.
Nevertheless, I'm excited. Sort of. I'll finally be able to prove to my mother that I'm not just a lame 'senior student who will have to pay the school to let her graduate'. I decide not to point out that it's called 'school fees'. She's very tempestuous.
I leaf through the file and find the room number: S22, and a map of the hospital in a sleeve.
I make my way to the second floor, trying not to feel intimidated by the clipboard-holding, head-torch-wearing doctors that stalk by. It's hard. Those stethoscopes creep me the hell out.
Ah ha! Here it is, room S22. I feel like Harry Potter when he finds Platform 9 ¾, with the help of a kind family of redheads. I pat the hospital map fondly.
Assignment Numero Uno is officially underway.
My hand advances towards the doorknob, and I barely even touch it before it flings open, sending the file rocketing out of my hands and my arse onto the ground. Whoa. I didn't realise I was that excited.
A flustered-looking girl is hovering above me, her eyes a-craze, and without even offering a hand, she sends me a pained look and sprints down the hall.
I scramble off the floor and poke my head inside Room S22 and the patient, a boy of maybe 18, give or take, is propped up on his elbows with his left leg elevated and his hair looking like a procreation of a tornado and some PVA glue. His eyes are wide and delirious.
Why are people so stressed these days? In my politest of voices, I say, "Is everything okay?" I sprinkle a little bit of concern, just in case.
And out burst a tirade: "Did you see that girl who just ran out? Did you see what she looked like? She just came here and kissed me and then I woke up and she just ran! You have to go find her."
I wait for a delicate pause before saying, "Like Sleeping Beauty?"
I seem to make matters worse because he screeches: "Run!" through gritted teeth.
"Okay, okay, just relax and lie down – which may be hard considering your hair looks cemented – all right, I'm going," I cry in response to a hell of a glare and launch myself in the direction the girl headed.
All right, so she had blue eyes and flippy blonde hair. That's all I remember. Does he want me to bring back half of the country? However, I do also remember the floral pink, knitted cardigan she had on… I decide that that's enough to go by. Not many people wear clothes from the 1600s.
I'm almost flattened by a trolley full of, I shudder to think, dismembered elements, but I dodge it masterfully before slamming into another opening door. I decide I hate doors.
And goddamn, I'm unfit. The 'Sorry excuse me pardon me coming through I'll get ice for that toe when I come back, I promise!'s are exhausting enough. Now I'm playing mighty steed (is a steed the horse or the knight?) chasing wild boar for Sleeping Beauty? Dear Lord, I expect some sort of lavender bubble bath when I get up there.
I hit a fork and am forced to decide: ER, bathroom or stairs. I immediately rule out the ER. Emotionally unstable plus blood equals failure. Hey, I did my studying before volunteering here. And besides, it's locked.
I tap my chin. If I was a girl who kissed a guy while he was knocked out on drugs, and then made a run for it, I must be desperate or stupid (I'm of the female discipline: I notice when things are good-looking) so I'd want to get out of here a-to the-sap. But I'd also want to fling myself off a great height on account of my humiliation. And stupidity. Running down to the ground floor is no good for that.
I opt for the bathroom.
Once I'm in, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My uniform is wrinkled and sweaty and my ponytail has drooped down to the base of my neck leaving a mushroom-looking hairstyle in its wake. Why, I look lovely.
I hear a hacking sob to my right and see a pink cardigan-wearing girl leaning against the wall next to a stall door. Wild boar: LOCATED.
"Hello," I say, trying my best to smile until I realise I'm panting and if I smile that'd mean I'd have pant through my nose and that's entirely too awkward.
The girl gasps and takes her hands away from her face to frantically wipe her eyes. I'd say it was counterproductive because all it did was smear her make up across her cheeks like a warrior and all over the sleeves of her medieval cardigan. Well, isn't she just a myriad of character?
And spit in my face and call me Po, if she isn't the most stunning girl I've ever seen. Gorgeous girl and gorgeous guy, I muse, thinking back to the patient in room S22. Aren't they just the perfect couple? Imagine the babies, phwoar. But sadly, I don't choose the occupational path of cougaring. Too expensive, what with the eyes, nose, lips, hair and knee surgeries.
I steal some tissue from a nearby stall and hand it to her.
"Thanks," she mumbles, her voice thick from the crying. I wait for her to finish cleaning herself up before saying:
"Um, the guy in room S22 told me to run after you."
After that comes out of my mouth, she freezes and stares up at me with big, sky-blue eyes. "Really?" She whispers.
She looks so hopeful it breaks my heart. "Yeah… he… didn't…know… who… you… were…" I do that when I get uncomfortable. It's a habit that makes my mum brandish the kitchen knife.
Her faces falls like sack of lead – yet she still looks gorgeous doing it. Why is the world so unfair? I feel like I need to talk to her from inside a stall so her face won't be tainted by my royal sweaty-and-puffy-ness.
"Oh…" Her eyes drop.
"Well, he did say that you flew out of there at warp speed – my words, not his," cue relieved look, "but the fact that he wants to know who you were is something to smile about, right?"
She sniffs. "I guess…" Then she lets out a mighty moan and buries her face in her hands again. "God, I'm so stupid!"
Hey, that's what I said! "Why…?"
"I can't believe I just went in there and kissed him!"
Boy, I would. Oh crap. I hope I didn't say that out loud.
"What was I thinking?"
"That he'd open his eyes, realise who it was, and then what?" A few seconds pass.
Wh – Is she asking me that question? "Um…" My eyes dart around and I twist my hip this way and that. "I don't know…?"
She ignores me. "I can't believe I just ran away. God, now he's going to think I'm a freaking squeaky pansy—"
"But he doesn't know who you are." I try to be helpful.
She shoots me a look. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?" She snaps.
I blink, affronted. "Okay, clearly someone doesn't want any help, so I'll just go and tell lover boy you flung yourself out the bathroom window." I start to stomp away, until I hear her call out:
"Hey, wait!" She stands up and folds her hands together. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. I just… I'm just…"
I nod, silently. Sometimes my compassion astounds me.
She smiles in gratitude and looks down at her shoes. Patent heels. Who would've guessed? "Can you do me a favour?"
I think voluntarily giving myself a semi-asthma attack is big enough of a favour to cover all my good deeds for the rest of the year.
"Can you not tell him it was me?"
Now this gets my attention. "Why not?"
She opens her mouth but then closes it, shooting me a wry grin. "I don't think I'll give up my secrets to a complete stranger that easily."
"Okay, my name's Delia Griggs. It's nice to meet you."
The girl laughs. "I'm Mandy Thrip. It's nice to meet you, too. But still, no," she smiles, shaking her head.
She walks past me, incredibly steady in those heels, but then again, I'm comparing her to myself and I think a giraffe in heels would look better than me.
"Thanks, Delia." She calls behind her and walks out the bathroom door.
I gather up the loose sheets of the file and open the door to room S22. The guy is in the exact same position I left him in, wide-eyed and all.
"Hello-" I glance down at the file, "- Jacob Greene." I move to the side of his bed, ignoring his expectant look. "How's your knee today?" I pretend to look intently at his wrapped knee despite having no idea what I'm looking for. Adhesive can be quite fascinating.
"So?" He says, impatiently.
Jacob rolls his eyes in exasperation. "Did you find the girl?"
"Is it really important?" I ask, nonchalantly, even as my insides squirm.
Jacob looks at me as if I'm stupid. I hope I didn't have that expression on when Mandy saw me. "If a guy came up and kissed you, wouldn't you want to know who it was?"
No, I'd just be happy that a guy kissed me. I sigh to make sure he knows that I'm using up my energy to do him a favour. "Yes, Sleeping Beauty, I did find her."
He compensates for my name-calling by sparing a moment to look me up and down with a 'wtf?' look on his face. It's very expressive. "Who was she? Do you know her name?"
"Um… no… yes, yes I do!" What? When an adorable young man looks at you, crestfallen, raise your hand now if you would've resisted. Yeah, that's what I thought.
Jacob straightens his elbows and looks at me intently. "Yeah?"
Uh oh. "She… told me… not to tell you."
Oh, God. I hate being the messenger. We receive no respect what so ever. "I'm sorry, I told her that I won't tell."
His mouth drops. I have a feeling he's never been refused before in his life, especially not by a schmuck like me. Before long, he composes himself and studies me through slitted eyes. "Tell me who it was. Now."
I clutch the file to my chest, vehemently. "No."
"If you want me to threaten you—"
I can't help but laugh.
A spark flits across his eyes and he looks like he is about to growl at me.
"I'm sorry," he he he "it's just… seeing you threaten me while you're reclined to a bed with your leg elevated past your head… It's amusing, is what it is," I chuckle behind my palm.
Jacob glares at me.
I sober and say the words that will eventually ruin me: "There's nothing you can do to make me tell you, Sleeping Beauty."
And then comes the smirk. The evil, evil smirk. The Devil's smirk. The smirk born from Satan himself – er, herself? Okay, you get the picture.
"Is that a challenge?"
No! No, it's not! You're going to get yourself killed – but wait. He's practically strapped to the bed so he can't possibly kill me from there. I just have to make sure I stand at a minimum of two metres around the bed.
That's not too bad.
I step into the hospital and a curly-haired woman bustles towards me.
"There you are! Thank God you're here."
I blink. "Have no fear, citizen, wherever the fire is, I'll stop it," I chuckle. I apologise when she purses her lips.
"Jacob Greene from Room S22 has been asking for you. Here's his file." Miss. Prickles, as I have so dubbed her, hands it to me and clomps away in her 1950s crossbred sandal slash boot combo. It's irony in shoe form.
I sigh and head towards Room S22, half dreading what I'm going to be walking into.
"You called?" I deadpanned, warily eyeing his tilted grin.
"Yeah, can you get me a glass of iced water? Please." His grin widens.
Boy, if you weren't so good-looking… "Why do I have to do it? You could have asked any nurse to do that. Damn, you could have asked a pig to do that for you."
"Are you saying a pig would be more competent than you?" Laughter dances across his green-brown eyes.
I open my mouth to reply wittily – ah, what the hell, I got nothing. Instead, I glare and dump his file on the table before striding towards the water filterer.
"Here." I thrust the plastic cup at him, making sure to spill a little.
Jacob doesn't take it, and simply peers in the cup. He makes a tsk noise. "There's ice in there."
The corners of my eyes crinkle. "Yeah?"
"I asked for no ice."
My mouth drops. "You're kidding me. I distinctively remember you saying, 'iced water'."
"I did no such thing." He's enjoying this too much. He knows that I can't just empty the cup's content onto his face; I'd be fired so quickly I won't have time to pick up a crutch and hit him in the knee.
"Fine." I make a show of tipping the cup's contents into the sink and fill it again, with no ice.
However, before I make it back to the side of his bed, he says, "Oh, hang on, I changed my mind."
My eyes widen. "If you're going to say that you want ice, I'll freeze your arse and give it to you in a bowl."
His lips crack a smile. "Actually, can you make me a coffee? I like mine with—" His pause makes me look up from my wringing hands. "I think you should write this down."
Oh, great, now I'm his bitch.
"Hey, can you rise the incline on this bed?"
"The button is right next to your hand."
"Do it yourself."
"Excuse me, Doctor. Topher—"
"Can you ask the Doc to reschedule my physio to twelve o'clock?"
"What? Didn't you hear him when he said that eight thirty was 'not negotiable'?"
"When the sun is up all the way, it helps me concentrate when I exercise."
"That is beyond idiotic."
"It's the truth. Eight thirty is a really bad time for me because that was when my tennis match was on, and that's how I tore my knee. I mean, it holds such bad memories—"
"I don't care about your stupid knee! Your physiotherapist is a very busy woman and she—"
"Did you know that patients have to fill out evaluation forms on the nurses every week?"
"I'll see what I can do."
"The muffin was too hard, can you get me another one, please? And this time, don't get crumbs on the bed."
"But you already ate it."
"Lunch break's over, they're probably all gone."
"Are you going to tell me who the girl is?"
"Remember, no crumbs."
"Can you close the blinds a little, the glare's annoying me. No, that's too much. A little bit more… stop, go back… a little bit more… a little more…"
I curl my fists. "For the last time, my name is Delia." I spin around from my position at the window – dear God, what I'd give to dive out right now. "And technically, I'm not a nurse, I'm a volunteer."
"Yeah," he says dismissively, pushing himself up with his hands. Look at those muscles—time and place, Delia! "I need to go the bathroom, will you help me, please?"
I blanch. "What?" I take back what I said earlier. He's not an eighteen-year-old man, he's a thirteen-year-old, lego-building, action-figure-wielding monster.
"I need. To go. Pee." He raises his eyes mock-expectantly.
I know he's only saying it like that to get a rise out of me. "Okay…"
I have the pleasure of seeing his smile falter for a second, before it recovers.
Cautiously, as if walking through a minefield, I move to the side of his bed. If I were someone else watching the scene, I'd be chortling like a maniac. Getting Jacob off of the bed was a bucket load of awkward with a capital A, and now I'm shuffling him towards the bathroom in a fashion that I hope is graceful. Of course, my hope is like a grain of sand to a beach because even if, by chance, he were a ballet dancer and I a synchronised swimmer, no amount of our lifetime build-up of elegance and poise would have prepared us for this. Why, he's hopping around on one leg and I'm koala-hugging him around the chest for it's the only way in which to support the tall lad! Imagine it.
"How on Earth do you go to the toilet when I'm not here?" I grunt, ducking to avoid his arm around my shoulder.
"The other nurses help me," he replies, "and trust me, it's not hard to find help around here. The other ladies would kill to be in your position right now, so soak it up."
I scowl and shove him into the bathroom, refusing to go any further. I laugh when he loses his balance and falls into a wall. At the moment, I'm having trouble finding that smidgen of sympathy. "Have fun." And I slam the door.
The question that is gurgling inside my head as I wait for him is this: Why in the heavens does Mandy Thrip like this guy? The only reason (okay, one of the reasons. The other is my pride, but that's not important) I'm not telling him who she is because I believe in the sanctity of a predestined love, i.e. the cliché happy-sappy couples I've read about in all sorts of young adult literature. And by young adult literature, I mean Cosmo magazines and online fluff.
The unexpected voice makes me jolt.
Speak of the devil. Mandy Thrip is standing at the door. "Mandy Thrip," I greet, amiably. I note that she's wearing a knitted cardigan again; this time, it's light blue. Ugh, what is this, Dress Like Fairy Floss Week?
"Delia Griggs," she nods, a smile edging around her shapely lips. "Where's Jake?"
Oh, nickname, I see. I jerk my head behind me at the bathroom door and she nods in comprehension, and I swear I see relief somewhere in that mixture.
She doesn't say anything, her eyes darting back and forth as if she's watching the ball in a pinball machine with unfading loyalty.
"Can I… help you?" I wave my arms around somewhat awkwardly.
She sighs, shaking her head. "I don't know. I don't know why I'm here."
I resist the urge to sigh. As much as I despise 'Jake', nothing should deprive a human being of true love. But then again, the 'human being' part is debatable. The attitude he has displayed as of late barely constitutes as humane. "Pull up a chair," I order as I grab one for myself and lean it against the bathroom door. I sit down and fold my hands on my knees. "I think you need someone to talk to," I say in response to her sceptic look.
She sits down.
"Okay, first thing's first. Please, enlighten me: what is it that brings you back all the time to this guy?" I mean to say 'cretin' but for the purposes of this exchange, I decide not to. "I mean, as far as I'm concerned, I'm having trouble seeing past his obnoxious hair and demonic presence. No offense."
To my surprise, Mandy laughs. "He's like that when you first meet him. But once you get to know him, he's so—"
Right about now, Mandy motor-mouths about all things Jake and please know that I'm doing you a favour by bleeping it out. It's almost nauseating. Almost. I will admit that a fluffy pillow drops onto my stomach when she finishes.
"And you don't want me to tell him it was you because…?" She likes him, all right, but her logic seems a little off. Maybe it's the stupidity again.
The rose in her cheeks vanish, and she bites her bottom lip. "It's… not important."
I raise my eyebrows, suspicious.
Mandy looks away, helpless. "It's a long story."
I nod and stand up. "Well, as far as I can tell, you have no other business here. When he comes out of the bathroom…" I look behind my shoulder for a moment. How long has it been? He's surely taking his time. "… Which will be soon, I hope, he'll see you and we both know that you don't want that."
I usher her out into the main lobby. "But, Mandy, a little advice from a kind stranger: if you like him as much as you seem to, just tell him it was you. I'm sure he'll feel the same about you." As I say it, a strange feeling settles in my stomach, like a mountainous rock of some sort, dropping. Metamorphic, maybe.
Despite the sadness that settles in her eyes, she smiles. "It's a little more complicated than that," she says softly and exits the door.
I sigh and make my way back to Room S22. As I approach, I hear a distinct banging and muffled yelled curses. I look behind my shoulder curiously. Boy, someone's in the wrong hospital. Mental institution is down the street, bucko!
My eyes widen as the voice calls my name.
"Delia, you sick bitch, let me out!"
Oh. I rush towards the bathroom door and listen in horror as Jacob continues to assault the door, handle jiggling. Oh. The chair. Somehow, it lodged itself directly underneath the handle, barring it from any downward movement, thus effectively locking him inside. Oh.
I tentatively move the chair across. If I do it quietly, maybe he won't realise – WHAM!
My head suddenly feels like it's being pinched by God's gigantic hands and I find myself on the floor. Again. Before I have time to yell in agony and clutch my forehead in fervent desperation, something heavy lands square on my chest, sending all memory of breath shooting straight out of my lungs. Oh dear God, save me now.
"What are you doing, you land mass?!" I wheeze. Holy bejesus, this hurts. I feel like my head is supporting the weight of a five tonne slab of cement and this whale on top of me is really just the cherry on top.
Jacob swears and lifts himself from on top of me. "What the hell am I doing?! What the hell did you do?!" The heated rage in his eyes sears my face. Really, I sunburn inconceivably easily.
As much as I want to argue, I know that if I scream (which I usually do when someone screams at me – it's an involuntary defence mechanism, I can't help it) it'll only attract a swarm of pain to my head like baked goods attract a mob of middle-heavy mothers.
"I'm sorry, just get off me…" I groan, squirming under him. I need ice.
"It's not easy with just one working leg." He grumbles, shifting uncomfortably.
For the second time, we engage in a deathly uneasy tango as I try to help him up. He unnecessarily decides to point out that if someone walked in, they'd think we were—and I shove him off before he can finish.
We are on our backs, side by side, and as I hack laboured breaths, he asks, "What were you doing, anyway?"
Um… "Getting a muffin," I turn away so he can't see my face. I'm terrible at lying, okay?
"Really?" He sounds doubtful. Thank goodness he doesn't know that I'm allergic to gluten.
"Yes, yes I was," I say, nodding incessantly. Yeah, overact your way out of it. Good work, dork.
He lifts his head to get a good look at my beetroot face. "What type?"
"Chocolate," I answer confidently. There's chocolate everything. There's even chocolate-flavoured chicken, for crying out loud.
He nods slowly before sitting up. I resist the urge to do the sign of the cross.
I help him to his bed and strap his leg to the… leg-elevator… thing and head out.
"Hey, where're you going?" Jacob calls.
"I need to get ice," I grumble, clutching my forehead.
There's a pause. "Oh. Sorry."
I wave off his apology behind my back as I shut the door. It took me about three hours to figure out that he was, for once, being civil with me.
Not that I was thinking about him for three hours.
"I really am sorry about your head. The bruise is really red."
Thanks for the reminder, Bobo. I just wasn't satisfied with the one thousand (and still counting) strange looks from every passing person. Honestly, it's not a neon flashing sign, people; just get over it!
"It's fine, constapo," I mumble, more than a little uncomfortable with his breath splashing against my ear and his hair sweeping my cheek as I help him down the stairs. They don't have a ramp, so I have to help him down the stairs and then walk back up to retrieve his wheelchair.
Jacob glares. "I wasn't constap—okay, it's hard to stand up and aim, all right?"
His look hardens when I laugh. "Relax, Princess."
"What's your problem? I'm not a fucking princess," he growls. I'm feeling sorry for the stair railing. Had he been Superman, I'm sure it would have crumbled under his grip.
I look down at him, placating. "Aurora, it's in your blood." I lay a hand on his arm, at which he looks down and splutters.
I begin to walk down the stairs, with the intention of leaving him there by himself, only to have Miss. Prickles emerge around the corner like an angel of righteousness ('Sif, man. As. If) and scold me with her eyes.
Making a face, I trudge up the stairs to a smug-looking Jacob, despite his clutching of the railing like a parasite, and help him down.
I wheel him to the physio building and am obligated to sit and watch him do his rehabilitative exercises (not that I'm complaining). As expected, he manages his new crutches like a pro. Something about this guy just screams: Mr. Multitalented. No wonder Mandy Thrip likes him. Against my will, I begin to daydream about the two of them together as the poster Perfect Couple. And then I realise that I'm creepy and stop.
On our walk back to the main hospital, I can't help but laugh when he stumbles when one crutch gives way to a puddle of water that somehow spilled from my cup. It stops being funny when he uses said crutch the trip me over.
We enter his room in a slightly more genial manner than previous times and when I leave for the day, we actually smile and wave.
"Hey," Jacob smiles when I walk in.
I falter a little and look around, expecting a spider to drop on me or a bucket of water to fall. When I give myself an 'all clear', I quirk my eyebrow and say, "Hello to you too."
He's in his crutches, practising, I presume, and I notice a chocolate muffin on his bedside table. I frown. "How'd you get that?" I ask, pointing, "they don't come out till four." It's three thirty now.
A side of his lips turn up. When I thought he couldn't look more charming… "Special request."
"Ah, of course," I nod, and begin flipping through his file.
"It's for you."
What the hell? I imagined that. I continue skimming his progress report until he says:
"Hello? I got the muffin for you." He sounds agitated, and I get the feeling he doesn't do this often. Give, I mean.
Before I allow myself to feel flattered, I peek up from the sheets and blink from the muffin to Jacob. I bet it's poisoned. I close the file and eye him dubiously. "Why?" I say slowly.
Jacob looks away and shrugs gruffly. "I feel bad about… look, I know I was being immature before…"
Oh Lord, bless him. I think want to hug him. I know I have an insanely wide grin on my face because my cheeks are beginning to ache and when he looks back at me, he looks assaulted.
"But what about the mystery girl?" I ask, taking the muffin in my hands. I'm drooling at it, even though it'll only end in severe stomach aches and diarrhoea, but he's not about to know that.
Jacob looks at me for a while and then turns away. I notice his shoulders have slumped a little. "I would've thought she'd come back by now, but since she hasn't… what the hell, you know?"
I look down at my muffin; it's making me feel uneasy. The gluten has nothing to do with it.
"I'm over it," he says, sounding resigned.
I look down silently, troubled.
Yeah, right, you're glad. You're happy, admit it.
What are you talking about?
"Hm? Oh, um, I need to go… call someone."
Jacob nods anyway and watches me walk out of his room.
I wait till I'm a hundred metres away before I drop the muffin into a bin. It makes me sad as I hear the thud.
I dance into Room S22, a little happier than I care to admit. What? Compared to school, coming here is a holiday.
"Hel-lo, J—" I clamp my mouth shut at the sight before me.
Sleeping Beauty is, you guessed it, sleeping. A nurse smiles at me as she hands me his file. "He's had a long day at the physio. Poor boy's knocked out," she whispers, and leaves.
Softly, my feet pad towards his bed and I take a long moment to admire his sleeping form. Oh, to freeze time, what a life that would be. It's surprising how empty this room feels without him barking orders at me.
I tilt my head to the side and study his bed. The incline is far too high. With a wave of impulse, I begin searching for the incline control button. Oh. It's on the other side. I reach my arm over his steadily rising and falling torso towards the button. Nope.
With the utmost delicacy, I lean my other hand beside his pillow for balance and find that I can reach it if my whole arm is pressed across his chest. Eh, what the hey. I press the button down and swear under my breath when the bed shifts upwards. Of course it would. I grunt and press the button beside it and the bed shifts downwards with a whine of machinery.
Satisfied, I let go of the button. But I don't move from my position above him. I'm quite enjoying his heat enveloping me, and come on, when else am I going to be in the pleasurable company of a shut up Jacob?
I lean over his face and peer curiously at the contours of his nose and cheekbones and… lips. I avert my eyes quickly (I feel sudden empathy for Mandy), and look at his hair instead. It's incredibly characteristic. Aside from its haphazard messiness, I see lighter shades splashed here and there; sun streaks. I almost giggle when I see a distinct, light line just underneath his hairline, clearly from wearing a cap during his games.
I don't realise how close I've become until I feel his breath whisper against my chin. If I just dipped my head that millimetre more…
Wait. What's that—his eyes are open. HIS EYES ARE OPEN. Retreat, retreat!
"What are you doing?" He whispers, sounding absurdly calm, his eyes still slightly dilated.
My heart is hammering against my chest like a ticker timer as I feel his fingers touch my cheek tentatively, his forest orbs, convoluted, as they roam around my face and rest on my mouth. I'm sure I'm going to die.
There is a growling feeling tumbling inside the base of my stomach and I refuse to say it is lust. I. Refuse.
I feel his hand at my neck pull me down at a snail's pace and I'm at a loss as to why I'm not doing anything. I'm not even puckering my lips like a normal person.
Then I think of Mandy.
Before any lip-on-lip action comes to pass, the feeling of instant guilt is like one of those toys with a spring and a boxing glove at the end just punched me in the chest and I'm sent flying across the room and out the door.
Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit, that cotton candy girl is going to kill me. I think I just ruined all hope of them coming together in love. All that energy, trying to keep her ruddy little secret was a darn old waste. Damn mother—
"Excuse me, miss," a bearded doctor (I think) calls to me, as I speed down the hall, "Can you hold this door open, please?"
Are you kidding me? "Sure." I grit. So I'm standing here holding the door open for a million nurses as they wheel out a billion trolleys from the ER, quaking in my boots, letting the remorse riddle up my feet and legs, just eating away greedily.
They're not very graceful, either. The trolleys have knocked the door against my knee so many times; I decide they're doing it on purpose. They must know about my hatred towards doors.
"Thank you," the doctor says, sounding nasal and posh. I smile impatiently and hear the voice that makes me squeak like a three-year-old.
Oh crap. He's out of his bed and walking (crutching? That's sounds mildly perverse) towards me, a confused-slash-amused-slash-determined look on his face.
I'm not kidding, it was terrifying. Does he always become this manic when a girl tries to kiss him? I thought he hated me. Without a second thought, I pummel down the hall and when he's out of sight, I swing open the first door I see.
You hate me, God! I scream (in my mind) at the sight of the dead end of a mangy old storage closet, before throwing myself in and slamming the door.
Okay. This is where I left off. Do you see my predicament? Or worse, do you see the predicament of lovebirds, Jacob and Mandy, as a result of me? I feel terrible, to say the least.
I feel dirty (not in a sexual way, because nothing happened, but in a meddling traitor way). Like Linton, tearing apart the passion of Catherine and Heathcliff. Or Mr. Darcy, convincing Bingley to leave Jane, but at least his was of noble cause.
The fact that I'm comparing myself to men is a little disturbing.
Light bulb! Cho Chang. I feel like Cho Chang, keeping Harry and Ginny apart. Although, she didn't really tear them apart, she was just annoying and whiny and… I'm not doing myself any favours.
And then I make the mistake of sighing, something I seem to do entirely too much. My breath creates a brush that sweeps the dust up from the shelf before my face, and holy Jesus my nose is starting to itch.
Perfect timing, really. I decide to never sigh again.
I pinch my nose. Oh crap, what if I'm trapping the dust in there? I let go of my nose.
Big mistake. Again.
A man with a machine gun in Siberia could have heard it.
The door swings open and lo and behold, there he is. And he's got that smirk on. The devil one that I told you about earlier. Yeah. That one.
"Hi…" I croak, rubbing my nose weakly. I don't know why, but I keep imagining his crutches as machetes or something.
"Hello to you too," he drawls, stealing a line from my book.
I gulp. "Just stay where you are, and I'll tell you who the girl was." I curse the feebleness of my voice. Roar, woman, roar!
"I told you, I don't care about her anymore." He takes a step forward. "A new little birdy tried to kiss me back there and I'm not about to let her run away."
My mouth drops, nervousness forgotten for a moment. "You're kidding me."
Jacob shakes his head.
I narrow my eyes. "So, one minute you're trying to annoy me to the depths of Davy Jones' locker, and now you're… looking at me like… like… stop looking at me like that!" I screech, sinking back into the shelves as much as I can, but all I seem to be able to do is stick my arse between the gap of two shelves. It's not getting me very far.
"You're cute when you're angry." His face is right above mine, and he has taken the liberty to lean his whole goddamn body into mine. Yeah, this shelf is not slicing into my back or anything.
I shift, uncomfortable, hoping that the darkness of the closet is doing a good job at hiding how hot my face is. "Uh… I don't think this is a very good—mmf."
His lips are on top of mine so quickly I find it a flabbergasting miracle that we didn't knock foreheads. Jacob doesn't seem like the type for pleasantries because his tongue has already found its way between my teeth, and I yelp in surprise. What a gentleman.
With my hand on his chest, I pull away enough to say, "It's Mand—" Yeah. Productive.
Jake groans and captures my lips again and my hands stupidly wrap themselves in his fantastic hair, drawing him closer.
The clatter of wood tells me that his crutches have been dismissed and his hands find its way onto the shelf on either side of my head as he wraps his teeth around my bottom lip and sucks on it, eliciting an embarrassing moan from my throat. Yuck, what a dork. I don't know how long kisses are supposed to go for, but it doesn't seem like Jake's having any intention of stopping when I tear my lips away on account of a high-pitched noise in the foggy background. He makes that disgruntled noise again and drops his lips to my throat and licks my pulse. Oh God. He rakes his teeth up the side of my neck, trailing a flaming tongue against my skin—
What the f—
"Oh my, God."
What is it with this girl and timing?
Jacob finally decides to turn his attention away from my neck (or what's left of it) and looks over his shoulder. I feel his body tighten against mine. "Mandy?"
I want to sink behind him, mortified, but I don't. I ruined this, and only God can stop me from fixing it. "Mandy, I'm so sorry, it's—"
Jacob interrupts me, and turns to fix me against his back. "What are you doing here?" There's venom in his voice that I'm not prepared for.
"I came to see you," Mandy replies, just as icily. She's clutching the sleeves of her pink knit to the point of near-tear. I can feel her glare through Jacob's body. Yep, it's definitely directed at me.
I listen to Jacob's heavy breathing as a taut silence ties us up. Jacob breaks it. "It was you. You kissed me last week, didn't you? And then you ran?" It sounds as if he's mocking her, snide and bitter.
I'm missing something here.
"Jake." her strangled voice shows the first sign of sadness. Her puddle eyes are next.
I can't take it any more. "Stop, stop." I try to push past the brick wall named Jacob.
"What are you doing?" He grunts, snappily.
I ignore him. "Listen, Mandy," I look at her wide, puppy-eyes earnestly, "it's not his fault. This whole thing, it's my fault. I'm in the blame."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Jacob hisses. Ouch. Way to let my nobility go to waste.
"Don't let your relationship crumble because of something a stupid moron did." I struggle out of Jacob's vise-grip arm and step towards her—
"I still think it's a little funny."
"Jeez, woman, have a sense of humour."
"I said, shut up," I grunt, humourlessly. Guess where I am. No? Well, I'll tell you. Yesterday, after admitting my guilt for home wrecking a supposedly perfect couple-to-be, I tried to step towards the poor girl, but ha ha my foot caught on someone's disregarded crutch and I was sent tumbling head first onto the floor and out of the closet. I think I should start counting how many times I fall over from now on. Ironically, this all happens in a hospital.
Anyway, I busted my knee (actually, I tore the ligament in my knee, but I don't really want to repeat it because it will automatically replay Jacob's laughter in my head) and let me tell you, it hurt like a mother-fo. If the volume of my sneeze is any indication, imagine how loud my scream was. Yes, I attracted help pretty much instantaneously.
So I am now reclined to the bed with my leg elevated past my head. Boy, that sounds familiar. It was only under someone's special request that I share a room with said someone, which is where you will find me right this moment. In Room S22.
After a moment of silence, I change the subject. "So what was all that between you and Mandy?"
Jacob turns his head to regard me. "She cheated on me," he answers simply, "with our school captain at his party."
My jaw unhinges. "What?" I turn to the door, as if hoping she'd turn up. She just so jolly good at it, and all. "She made me have a semi-asthma attack! She made me lie! She made me doubt my virtue! That sonuvabitch, where is she?!" I make a move to get up but a twisting pain shoots up my leg and I fall back onto the pillow with a groan.
Jacob laughs and I glare. "Relax, I'll deal with her when I get out of here." He says, he voice smooth as he grins at me.
I turn to him and tell him, "You know, I thought you guys would have made the perfect couple."
Jacob's eyebrows run up.
I nod, "Yep. That's why I didn't want to tell you who it was. It's not like I know who she is, so I wouldn't have kept her secret, but I just thought, 'What the hell. For the sake of fluff.'" I shrug, laughing a little. "And look how that turned out."
"Reality check, eh?"
"Yeah," I exhale and look up to the ceiling. I feel a hand touch mine and I let him take my hand and we dangle them between our beds.
"Well," Jacob snips, sitting up, "I'm almost healed. Now I can take care of you, like you did so brilliantly to me."
I crack a grin. "That's right, Sleeping Beauty, be a good princess and tend to your prince's wounds."
Thank goodness, it's in Jake's principals not to hit a girl.
AN: Hey, people, thanks for reading. :) I know, it's quite different from my other stories, but, again, I want to try out different types of stories and writing styles.
Please review; I'm relying on you guys for constructive criticism!
(I'm sorry, this note is so boring. It's 8 in the morning. Not. A. Good. Time.)
Disclaimer: I do not own anything you recognise.