Chapter 31. Kaily

In movies, people woke up in the hospital with a fluttering of the eyelids to see friends and family standing around them.

Kaily, on the other hand, struggled to open her eyes. Her lids felt like they weighed a million pounds, and her entire body ached.

She felt dizzy, disoriented. Why was she in a hospital...?

Then she remembered.

It was a struggle, but she managed to turn her head enough to see Joseph asleep in a chair. No entourage of family and friends for her, then.

She felt almost guilty that her first thought was not that she was glad Joseph was there. She was, but her first thought was why Blake wasn't there.

He'd rescued her. And the brutal images of Dom attacking her came back. She'd gone into her apartment, more than ready for sleep and then he'd grabbed her. Pinned her down. Yanked up her shirt, pulled down her pants. And he'd begun to brutally rape her, and smacked her, hard.

She'd begun to scream, and no one had heard her. And Dom covered her mouth when Blake came in. So why wasn't he here now?

She realized that the whole situation had probably, finally, scared him off. He wasn't used to this kind of shit.

She shifted a little in her bed, feeling an uncomfortable sensation in the lower part of her body.

The movement seemed to awaken Joseph, who murmured to himself before his eyes flew open.

"Joseph," Kaily rasped weakly.

His dark eyed widened and he got up to kneel by her bedside. "Hey, chica," he said with a small smile. "You're awake."

Kaily swallowed, feeling a dry sensation in her throat. "Yeah."

Joseph reached out to touch her hair, but she flinched back and he dropped his hand. "Do you remember anything?" he asked her.

She nodded slowly. "Yeah. I... I think I remember everything."

Joseph shook his head. "I'm so sorry I sent you home by yourself. It-it's my fault."

"No," Kaily murmured. "No, don't say that... It's not your fault."

"It is, I should have thought..." he told her regretfully."And... About the miscarriage-"

Kaily winced.

"-Why didn't you tell me?" Joseph asked. "Why, Kail'?"

Kaily swallowed. "I don't know," she murmured, "I was scared."

"Sweetheart, why were you scared?" Joseph asked. He looked so, so weary, and Kaily felt horrible that she had done this to him. To everyone.

"Because," she said, "I thought you would judge me, and pressure me get rid of the baby. I was going to, but I changed my mind and for once I was happy..." she swallowed the lump in her throat and tried not to cry again. There had been too much of that already.

"Oh, Kail'," Joseph said softly.

"And then I had the miscarriage, but it's not like I had a chance to tell you, because I went to Jam and you said that Mom was in the hospital..."

"I'm sorry," Joseph told her, "For everything. I haven't been the best friend... Not even knowing what's going on..."

"Do not blame yourself, Joseph," Kaily said firmly. "If anything, I should be blamed. I kept secrets from you and..."

"Let's just say that we both suck at being friends, okay?" Joseph said suddenly. "And forgive each other."

Kaily instantly felt relief. "Okay," she nodded with a soft giggle, "I can do that."

"I love you, chica," Joseph said seriously. "And... I think Blake might too."

"You think so?" Kaily asked, a small smile forming on her face. "But wait," she continued, "Where is Blake?"

Joseph looked at her. "Kaily. Blake's at school."

"School?" Kaily asked, "But..."

"You've been unconscious for a week. It's Monday."

"W-" Kaily started, but her throat caught.

Joseph nodded. "Yeah. We were all pretty worried."

"Is my mom...?"

"She's still in the hospital, recovering from her surgery," Joseph said. "But, yes, the surgery went well and she's fine."

"Oh..." Kaily said softly, "That's... Um, good."

It felt awful that she was hesitant to be glad that her mother was all right. But, still. After all, her mother was a cause of all the recent shit happening. If Janet hadn't spent the rent money at the casino, Kaily never would have had to get the money from Dom. If she hadn't done that, she wouldn't have gotten pregnant, wouldn't have a miscarriage, and wouldn't end up in the hospital.

You could drive yourself insane with "what ifs".

"Hey, and it's almost three," Joseph said, "Blake and Amber should be getting out of school soon. Blake said that he would bring her here so I don't have to leave you."

At that, Kaily noticed how exhausted Joseph looked. Like he had spent every night with her in the hard plastic chair.

She leaned her head back into the pillow with a deep sigh. She felt like she'd lived a lifetime.

A nurse came in and stopped when she saw Kaily was awake, then turned back around out the door.

A minute later, she came back with a doctor. Luckily, he had an aura that made Kaily feel comfortable. It could have been his smile wrinkles, or maybe his graying hair, but Kaily relaxed a bit with him just being in the room.

"Hello, Miss Kaily, I see you decided to wake up," the doctor said, "I'm Fernando. No need to call me doctor; it's too formal." He smiled, a slight Mexican lilt to his voice.

She smiled back, but her body tensed up. Fernando being her doctor meant that he knew what she had gone through. That she had been pregnant at 17, had a miscarriage, and was raped.

She winced. She had to stop thinking about it. But still, she didn't want the nice doctor judging her.

But Fernando just smiled at her again and adjusted the bag of fluids above her bed. "How are you feeling?" he asked gently.

"Um, I've... Been better," Kaily said with a weak laugh, "But right now? I'm fine."

"You are comfortable? You don't need more pillows, or anything?"

Kaily nodded, "But, could I get a drink of water?" she asked timidly.

Fernando gave her a nod, "Of course, I should have thought of it earlier."

He spoke into the phone that was in the room, and soon a nurse came in to fill up the water cup.

Kaily gratefully flooded her dry throat with it the cool liquid.

"Fernando?" she asked shyly," When can I get up? My mother just had a surgery, and-"

"Yes, I heard about your mother," Fernando shook his head, "Your family has not had good luck lately, no?"

"No," Kaily said quietly. She shook her head, staring into her cup.

"We just need to do the basic check-up... Blood pressure, etcetera. Just to make sure everything is normal. But everything else is healing nicely, so you should be fine."

"Thank you," Kaily told him honestly.

The door to the room opened again, and Amber stepped through the door, Blake just behind her.

Kaily's heart leapt unexpectedly at the sight of Blake, and her hands began to tremble slightly. Not in a bad way, like she had been shaking for other reasons. Just the way a typical teenager's hands would shake when she saw a boy that she really, really liked.

Amber gasped when she saw that Kaily was awake, and simply ran over and jumped up on the hospital bed.

Amber buried her face in Kaily's chest and hugged her tightly in the way only little kids can.

It was perhaps the most depressing thing of all; that Kaily felt strange at show of affection.

Hesitantly, she wrapped her thin arms around her sister. Amber was equally as skinny, her small ribs protruding from her torso.

As she hugged Amber, Kaily vaguely registered that Dr. Fernando quietly left the room.

"I missed you," Amber told Kaily thickly in a small voice.

"Sweetie," Kaily said, a familiar lump growing in her throat, "I'm sorry I got sick. I didn't want to leave you."

"It's okay," Amber said. She laid her head on Kaily's chest again.

Kaily looked up at Blake and her eyes caught his. He gave her a small smile, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans.

And she noticed that he looked different than when she'd first seen him. When she'd first seen him, he looked like the typical rich preppie kid. His hair combed perfectly to the side, prepster collared shirts, and a general aura about him that made Kaily sick.

But now...

He looked... Normal. Hair in disarray, a plain shirt, jeans. His posture was more casual, not as tense. He no longer had a cocky smirk playing on the edge of his lips, and Kaily realized that the smirk was just a show for Blake's friends anyway.

She watched him swallow as his eyes traveled down her bed-ridden body that was hidden under the sheet. "Um..." he gave her a dangerously shaky smile."Hey."

And although she was confused at the emotion in Blake's icy blue eyes as he stared at her wordlessly, she simply mumbled a "Hey," back at him.

What Kaily didn't know, was that it was killing Blake, seeing her so broken. Her body was so thin, so bony, arms looking like they could snap in the wind. Her green eyes were dead. It was awful.

Blake didn't know he could feel like that for someone, and yet here he was.

The doctor came back in a moment later to check her vitals and blood pressure.

"Well, Kaily," he said in that Mexican lilt, "You're looking good for having just woken up. I'd say you can leave in just a day or two. That is, if you aren't feeling any extreme pain or nausea?"

"I'm okay," Kaily told him honestly. Except for her dry throat and a general weakness, she felt good. Physically, anyway.

"But first..." he said, "There is a matter besides physical health that we need to take care of," Dr. Fernando said, "We have a lovely counselor all ready to speak with you and to find out what's going on. In your state," he said gently, "It would be best if you talked to someone. Would you like to meet her?"

"Yes," Kaily said. What other choice did she have?

But she got a surprise when Anna- the social worker from so long ago- walked in the door when the doctor got her.

Both of their eyes widened when they saw each other.

"Um... Hi again," Anna said softly.

"You two know each other?" Dr. Fernando asked.

Both Kaily and Anna nodded.

"All right. Come along, you all," he gestured for the others to go out the door, leaving just Kaily and Anna.

Anna smiled and sat in the plastic chair at Kaily's bedside. "I'm sorry that I had to be in here so soon. I told the agency it would be best if I waited a few days, but they insisted. "

"It's fine," Kaily said weakly, "Um... So, what are you doing here, exactly?"

"I'm not just a social worker," Amma explained, "I was actually hired as a psychologist, as well. I came to talk to you about what's happened."

Kaily felt herself instantly stiffen, and she automatically flinched away from Anna's hand that she had tried to rest comfortingly on Kaily's arm.

"W-what do you want to know?" she asked.

Anna gave her a dead-on look, and though her eyes were gentle. "Kaily, sweetie. You had a miscarriage, you were raped. Neither of those things is something you can just move on from... That's why I'm here."

Kaily's breath halted sporadically as Anna spoke to her and a painful sensation grew in her chest as her heart began to pound at the words.

Anna, being a psychologist, understood. "Honey, you don't have to tell me anything you don't want to. Just tell me what you can right now. Eventually, though, you'll want to let it all out. Not necessarily today. Sometime."

Kaily swallowed. "Okay," she whispered.

Joseph

Joseph took in a deep breath of the disinfectant-tinged air, and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"Are you okay?" Blake asked, exhaling.

Joseph nodded, then shook his head. "Not particularly," he admitted, "I'm exhausted."

"Yeah," Blake agreed.

In the past week, both guys had seemed to adjust to each other, little by little. And now, though they weren't friends, they didn't completely despise each other.

Which was still hard for Joseph. He still didn't want to completely trust Blake, but it was getting more difficult not to as the days progressed. The kid was a friggin' hero.

Joseph shifted uncomfortably, leaning against the wall.

"What do you think they're talking about in there?" he asked.

Blake shrugged. It was silent.

"Thank you," Joseph told Blake.

Blake gave him a questioning look. "For?"

Joseph shook his head and chuckled slightly, "Man, I'm sorry, but you are a dumbass unless you know exactly what I'm talking about."

He looked over to see Blake smiling at him. "I know. It's not something you have to thank me for, though. I would have done it for anyone."

Joseph shook his head, "No, really. It was incredible."

Both boys were quiet again, then Joseph continued, "The doc told me that she could've died if you hadn't come. If she had just been left there... Or that man would have killed her."

Joseph regretted his words when he saw Blake wince and turn away slightly.

He gave him a moment, and watched from behind as Blake ran a hand through his hair, shoulders shaking slightly.

And when Blake leaned back against the wall again, Joseph was shocked to see that his eyes were bloodshot. Blake shook his head slightly and sighed.

"You like her," Joseph stated softly. And his stomach dropped slightly when Blake shook his head.

"No," Blake said, "I... I thinkā€¦ I love her." he shook his head, a small, rueful smile on his face. "I... Joseph, look, it's so weird to me. But somehow, she's got me. She's got me good."

Joseph nodded, suddenly understanding.

"It's like... Seeing her in all that pain makes me want to be there more," Blake continued, "Pretty fucking sick, right? But, it's not like that. There's just something about her that makes me feel like I'm the only one who can... Protect her."

Joseph would normally make some comment about how she had him to protect her and that she didn't need some "rich bastard to come in on his lily white pony", but this time he kept silent.

"I want to know her, you know?" Blake said, and Joseph realized that Blake wasn't even paying attention to him; he was just staring at the wall opposite from them.

"Hey, Joe."

The voice seemed to snap Blake out of it. Joseph turned and his father was walking down the hall towards both of them.

"Hey, dad," Joseph said slowly, "What are you doing here?"

"I came to talk to you," Robert told his son. "Can you come with me, for a second?"

"Sure," Joseph said in confusion. He glanced at Blake and Amber. Blake nodded, and Amber was asleep in a chair, so he followed his father down the hospital hallway, stuffing his hands in his pant pockets.

"I was talking to Anna earlier this morning, even before Kaily woke up," Robert said casually.

"Um, yes?" Joseph said, even more perplexed. "What about it?"

"Kaily's mother is going to jail for several years for child abuse and neglect."

"Thats... Wow," Joseph said honestly. "What about it?"

"Well..." Robert stopped and looked directly at his son. "I was wondering if you want us to adopt Kaily and her sister."

You all, of course, realize that I expect you to review after this. I mean, it's pretty obvious.

My God, it's about time Blake admitted that he loved her. And Joseph's father is the best.

What do you think?