~Chapter II: Staying Around~
"Alright, we're done. Is there anything else I can get you before I leave?" the female nurse asked as she straightened out a few items on the counter near Edward's hospital bed. Edward shook his head, impatient for the woman to leave. He felt annoyed that he needed to have someone help him should he do anything. His wounds were still healing and that left the nesoh limited on what he was able to do alone. However, he tried moving normally despite it all, often causing self-injury and then being reprimanded for doing so.
Charles had come to the hospital to visit Edward every day to keep the nesoh company, coming for a few hours in the evening and more commonly for the whole day. The telepath informed him that he was a substitute teacher and didn't have a permanent job yet and so was able to visit more often.
One thing that Edward was reminded of and constantly wished to ask Charles was why he was never questioned by the hospital staff on his condition. He wondered if the telepath had made a false report on his behalf for how he got his injuries. He decided to ask the telepath that day when he arrived.
"Morning," Charles chimed as he entered the room just as the nurse left. Edward only gave a small nod in acknowledgement as the other male took off his coat and draped it over the chair near the bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine. When will I be released?" Edward asked impatiently, a question he asked almost every day since he was first admitted into the hospital. Charles smiled.
"Tomorrow. I've convinced them to let you out a bit early," he answered. Edward looked at him but wasn't surprised. After spending time with the telepath, Edward realized that he was a lot kinder in nature than he looked. Anything the nesoh asked for Charles would do without question as long as it didn't jeopardize Edward's health. Edward found this quality both annoying and useful. It would make it easy to get the telepath's trust, which he believed he already had on some degree, and be able to manipulate Charles into the direction he wanted him to be in. In the meantime Edward knew he had to continue to act nice and indulge the nesoh as much as possible in order to get even closer to him.
"Tomorrow," he repeated.
"Yes…but only if you stay in my care," Charles informed. Edward raised an eyebrow to show his slight confusion while his mind wanted him to jump at the opportunity. Charles elaborated, "Your wounds still need to be healed, and from what I keep hearing from the nurses you keep re-opening them. The doctors are very reluctant to release you but I convinced them that you would be more comfortable back at your own home and wouldn't move as much."
"My own home?" Edward questioned. Charles blinked.
"Oh, right, I forgot to mention it to you. I told the doctor you were my roommate. So they're releasing you knowing that I'll be in the house to look after you," he explained.
"…Did you tell him that you will look after me because you are or because it's a cover story to get me out?" Edward asked.
"I am," Charles replied. "I know I lied by saying you're my roommate but I can't just let you leave the hospital in your condition. So I'm taking you back with me. So in some sense I didn't lie because you're going to become my temporary roommate."
"I see." The metal manipulator couldn't be happier. He felt as though fate was putting all the pieces he needed in front of him. Being in the same household as the telepath would give him more than enough time to do what he needed to.
"You're okay with it, right?" Charles asked cautiously. "We haven't known each other for long, but you're comfortable with this, right?" Edward gave him a look and shrugged.
"I don't mind," he answered, hiding his eagerness. Charles nodded, relieved, glad that he had made the right decision. There was a moment of silence as the telepath settled into the chair beside the bed, Edward watching him carefully.
"I have a question for you," the metal manipulator finally said. Charles looked at him before nodding. "What did you tell the hospital when they asked what happened to me?"
"Oh, I said I hit you with my car," he answered with a smile. Edward blinked, surprised that the telepath would take the blame.
"…They believed that?"
"Yes, I was very convincing. Because you're my fake roommate they were more sympathetic. I said it was an accident. I was coming home, you came out of the house to help me with the groceries, I accidentally forgot to shift to park, and my car rolled down and hit you. I've also been paying for everything needed to take care of you, so it's really hard for the story not to be believable. The police wanted to ask you some questions on it but I insisted that you couldn't remember much of that night. That and I might have tweaked their minds a little so they wouldn't question you," Charles explained, an embarrassed and sheepish expression on his face at the last part. Edward could only stare at him not sure on what part of the fake story he wanted to comment on.
"I thought you don't invade the privacy of people's minds," he finally said. Charles nodded slowly.
"It's hard to resist sometimes… It's like breathing, you can hold your breath for only so long before you're going to have to release."
"You didn't read his mind – you changed it."
"Barely! Alright, it's horrible what I did, but I was getting overwhelmed with the lie and all the questioning that I just needed it all to go away unnoticed – so I had them stop questioning the event and just move on. It wasn't anything big… Besides, this all took place the day after the accident. I knew you didn't want to talk about what really happened, and I didn't think there was enough time to hammer into your mind the lie I made up, so I took the easy road out. It was wrong of me, I regret it, but I have to live with it." The telepath sighed, slumping into his chair. Edward just watched him.
"The police didn't question you the day before? When it actually happened?"
"They did, but I kept insisting that I had to go with you in the ambulance and to question me the next day. Actually the basis of my lie started there. They asked for a quick explanation of what happened before I got in the ambulance and the first thing I said was 'hit and run'. So I had to elaborate on that."
"Sounds as though you had a fun first two days."
"I suppose…and yet after all I've covered for you you still won't tell me what really happened to you?" Edward shook his head with a mocking grin which got a huff out of Charles. "That isn't fair."
"Life isn't fair."
"You know I can see why you have no friends."
"I have friends."
"Oh really? Then why am I here instead of one of them?" Edward gave the telepath a look but stayed silent for a moment.
"I'm not from this country, neither are my friends," he finally replied. Charles only crossed his arms with a raised brow.
"Took you long enough to answer," he mumbled. Edward had to hide a grin as he decided to take the opportunity to better befriend the nesoh. The faster he got closer to the telepath, the better for him, he was thinking.
"Besides, I have you here, don't I? Don't you count as a friend?" he questioned innocently, not obvious enough for the other to detect. Charles blinked.
"You think I'm your friend?" he asked bluntly. Edward almost face-palmed at the question. Obviously I haven't been making the proper impression if he doesn't think I'm his friend, he thought with a mental sigh.
"Apparently you don't think so."
"Oh no, I didn't mean it like that! I meant we've only known each other for a while, and you think I'm your friend?"
"Of course," Edward said smoothly, almost casually. Take the bait, Charles, Edward thought forcefully.
"Hmm?" Charles said while looking at him strangely. Shit he heard my thoughts; the nesoh quickly calmed his mind so that his thoughts weren't so loud.
"I said 'of course'," he repeated. Charles looked at him for a moment before smiling.
"Well, I guess you're my friend too. Though having one friend still doesn't make you sound better," he replied.
"I told you I have other friends."
"Sure you do." Edward rolled his eyes but let the subject drop.
"So how will it work tomorrow," he asked as he closed his eyes and relaxed into his bed.
"I'll pick you up around noon, fill out everything I need to, and then I'll bring you to my house. It's only about a five minute drive, not far at all. I'll prepare everything for you tonight. Do you have anything you need to bring? Clothes or such?" Charles asked. Edward opened his eyes, not having considered what the nesoh had said. Being in the hospital he didn't need to think about his clothes or his personal belongings, but now that he thought about it he realized he didn't have any. When he had come to Wales he hadn't planned on staying. He was going to apprehend his target, call his organization, and have them send the sole teleporter on their team to come and get him. While in the hospital he had made contact with his organization to tell them he was on a new mission, so if he were to contact them he was sure they would send him his belongings, but he didn't want Charles to question where he had received them from.
"I don't have any. I wasn't planning on staying in Wales overnight," he explained, looking at the telepath.
"I see… And where exactly do you live?" Charles asked curiously. Edward stayed silent, only raising his eyebrow to show that he wasn't going to answer. Charles huffed. "All this secrecy isn't going to help this situation, you know."
"It doesn't matter where I live. There's no one there to send me my belongings. I live alone and have no family," the metal manipulator lied. Charles accepted it with a nod.
"Alright… I guess I'll just have to get you new ones for now until you're healed," he said more to himself as he mentally noted that he had to do that.
"I'll pay you back."
"You don't have to. My father gave me and my sister our inheritances early since he is in retirement and doesn't use it, so I have a boat load of money I need to get rid of," he replied. Edward gave him a look.
"Get rid of?"
"Yeah, I don't like owning money I haven't rightfully earned. That and I have issues with my father. It's a long story. Anyways, it all works out for you," Charles chimed.
"Must have a lot of it," Edward mumbled, loud enough for the other to hear. The telepath shrugged.
"I suppose, not so much anymore. I already gave most of it up on charities and paying for my house. You're exactly what I need to get rid of the rest," he answered happily.
"But if you don't have a permanent job isn't it bad to get rid of it all?" Edward asked.
"I would rather barely get by than have anything my father gave me," Charles replied more seriously. Edward was quiet but slowly nodded, taking the hint that the issues the telepath had with his father were deeper than he hinted at. "Anyways," the telepath continued, bringing the other nesoh out of his thoughts, "Let's move onto brighter topics. Have you eaten yet? If not we can celebrate."
"Celebrate?" Edward echoed.
"You're being released tomorrow, I think that's something to celebrate," Charles replied with an assertive nod. Edward sighed but yielded.
"What did you have in mind?"
"We're celebrating you, aren't we? So you can decide what we have for lunch. Anything's on the menu – anything that won't worsen your condition or kill you, that is," Charles said with a smile. Edward didn't find the words too charming but he liked the idea of eating better food.
The rest of the day was spent in a similar manner; the two talked or enjoyed each other's company in silence. Charles left at the hospital's designated time for visitors, promising to come at noon the following day. The telepath was very punctual, Edward found, showing up at precisely noon the next day and not a minute later. He had brought with him a change of clothes for Edward to put on which the nesoh dressed in gratefully. He was thankful that Charles didn't try to force his more proper clothing on him and had brought him a simple black t-shirt, jeans, and a dark grey hoodie. They fit a little loosely on the nesoh but he didn't mind as long as they stayed on.
When he was finished and Charles had filled out the rest of his paperwork they both left the hospital. The telepath led Edward to his silver Fiesta in the parking lot and helped him get into the passenger seat despite the metal manipulator's protests. After both were properly seated in the vehicle Charles turned on the ignition and pulled out of the driveway.
Like Charles had said the previous day, his residence was barely five minutes away. Edward wondered why the telepath brought his car at all, but in his condition he didn't think he would want to walk the distance. Charles' home was a small cream colored bungalow accented by white window frames and an ivory garage door.
"Here we are," the telepath announced as he drove into the driveway before parking. Edward's eyes looked over the house distastefully; it looked too friendly for his liking.
"It's charming," he said though his tone suggested otherwise. Charles chose to ignore it as he unbuckled himself.
"I try to keep it nice and cosy. Besides, I have a lot of time on my hands to make it look good," he explained before getting out of the car. Edward nodded slightly to show he was listening, though he wasn't, as he got out as well. The telepath was by his side in a flash, watching him carefully to make sure he didn't hurt himself.
"Stop watching me," Edward huffed, annoyed. "You're turning into a vulture." Charles gave him an unhappy look at the comment.
"If you had behaved better at the hospital and didn't try doing everything yourself I wouldn't worry so much now. The last thing I need is for you opening your wounds again and having to go back to that place," he replied while crossing his arms. Edward growled slightly at the suggestion but nodded in agreement. He didn't like being watched as though he were a child but he had to continue indulging the telepath despite his annoyance.
With Charles close beside him the two made their way to the house's front door. Charles took his time getting his keys out and unlocking the door allowing Edward the time to observe the exterior further. Outside the front entrance was a beautiful well-kept garden filled with various types of flowers from roses to buttercups.
"When you said you had a lot of time on your hands I didn't think you gardened as one of those pastimes," he commented as a click was heard from the door's lock. Charles glanced back at him and smiled.
"When you have a lot of time on your hands you learn to like many things so that your day doesn't seem so boring," he replied. Edward nodded in understanding. You wouldn't like plants so much if you met that woman, he thought bitterly as he recalled the night he got his wounds. He hadn't forgotten her but he was in no position to pursue her either. His boss didn't urge him to continue his mission until he got into better shape.
Edward followed Charles inside the house as the latter locked up behind them. The inside was just as neat as the outside but it had a more welcoming feel. The main entrance was nothing more than a cream colored hallway that led to many open doorways. There was only a small table pressed up against the left wall near them, a small bowl set on top waiting for keys to be dropped inside. A meter away there were wooden pegs nailed into the wall where a singular coat hung motionless.
"Make yourself at home," Charles said happily as he motioned for the nesoh to follow him. Edward nodded slightly as he walked behind the telepath further into the household. Further down the hallway the area opened up more allowing a staircase to fit on the left hand side leading upwards. Edward thought that was the direction they would head in but Charles seemed to have a different plan. The telepath led him through an open doorway on his right into a medium sized lounging room. There didn't seem to be too much furniture in the room: a couch, an armchair, a coffee table in the center, a small TV as the main focus at the front of the room, a small table beside the couch where a cordless phone sat, and a cabinet in the far left corner whose doors hid its contents.
"Sit down and I'll make us something to eat," Charles insisted as he motioned towards the couch before leaving the room, presumably towards the kitchen. Edward gave a nod in acknowledgement before slowly walking towards the couch and carefully sitting down.
"So how does it feel to be in a house again?" Charles called nearby. Edward figured by the sound of pans banging against counters that the kitchen was adjacent to the room he currently sat in and that the walls were not even close to being soundproof.
"It's been a while," he replied as he slouched onto the couch slightly.
"I have a room ready for you upstairs. I'll show it to you after lunch," Charles said as the noise subsided slightly. Edward nodded in reply though the telepath couldn't see it. Looking around the room the nesoh noticed a small knick-knack sitting on the table beside the phone. It was a structure made of rock that formed a strangely shaped man, one of its arms much longer than the other. It looked distantly familiar to him as though he's seen the image briefly a long time ago but he wasn't sure exactly what it was.
"Charles, what is this?" he called after a moment of gazing at the figure.
"This little rock man." Edward looked up a little annoyed when he heard an 'oh' followed by an enlightened laugh from the telepath.
"It's an Inuksuk. It's a rock structure that looks like a man. It was said to be used for navigation in the north, but for me it represents home," Charles explained as he appeared in the doorway of the room. "The water's just boiling," he added in explanation.
"Represents home?" Edward questioned. Charles nodded.
"I'm Canadian, always have been. I was born and raised there. I came to England for schooling and my father, who's family is Welsh, inherited a school here. My sister now runs it so I moved to Holy Island to be closer to her," he replied.
"Canadian," Edward repeated. "No wonder you're so nice." Charles laughed.
"I would still be nice if I wasn't Canadian. I can see you're not used to being around nice people," he stated.
"I've met nice people," Edward retorted. "Only one as nice as you."
"Well, you've got to meet more," the telepath said before turning and making his way back to the kitchen. Edward rolled his eyes but relaxed back into his seat. A vibration in his pocket alerted him and he quickly pulled his mobile out of his pocket to check the caller ID. Seeing the familiar name he looked around to make certain Charles wasn't there before quietly opening the phone to answer it.
"I can't talk now," he whispered urgently. "Yes, I'm fine. The telepath is keeping me in his house… I almost have his complete trust – once I have it I'll being persuading him in the direction we want… Yes, I'm sure. He'll be perfect for what we need… Trust me on this… I won't fail." Hearing humming in the next room slowly getting louder Edward rushed the call. "He's coming. Don't call again, I'll call you," he instructed before shutting the mobile just as Charles entered the room. The telepath looked at the phone curiously.
"Did you get a call?" he questioned. Edward shrugged as he pocketed the device.
"It was just a friend. Told them where I was, that's all," he explained. Charles nodded and Edward narrowed his eyes noticing that there was something about the telepath's expression that hinted he might have heard something.
"Well, I'm glad everything's alright," Charles chimed to the nesoh's annoyance. "Lunch is ready."
"Fine," Edward huffed as he stood. The telepath left the room again and the metal manipulator slowly followed. For his sake he better not have heard anything, he thought darkly as he tried composing himself as he made his way to the kitchen.
A/N-Please review with your thoughts!