Lia,

OUAW

-


MAY 5th (LIA),

After about fifteen minutes, they’ve almost persuaded Officer Padesko to come back into the kitchen. Will’s out there, trying to figure out what the h-ell’s going on, and Murphy is just doing his best to convince this guy that I’m not scary. But I don’t want to see them right now, and I don’t want to explain anything.

Out the window, then. I poke my head out into the hallway for a second, only to be greeted by the sounds of arguing. They’re still occupied. That’s good, right? I return to the kitchen quickly and push the window open. Clambering out, I land softly on the grass and shut it again.

Once it’s locked, I notice that the arguing seems to have stopped. I creep around the house and am almost ready to leave when I see the broken glass from last night’s window. I try to be strong, but I remember the way that man’s eyes flashed, and the way he cavalierly spoke about my family…like he was the one who hurt them. And like he wanted to hurt me, too.

I sink against the wall. It only takes a few minutes for Will and Murphy and (the reluctant) Officer Padesko to find me. I remember them carrying me inside, and then I fall asleep.

-

MAY 20th (LIA),

I haven’t been able to sleep right since the break-in. I started inviting Will to spend the night, but his warm arms on my cool back are no help at all. He’s too honorable to do anything but lay here, but what I really need now is not comfort or love. It is distraction, quite simply. I need to think about something different, something other than how tired I am or how there is a man who wants to kill me or how the world is not the way it always seemed.

But Will won’t do something simply for the sake of /doing/ something. He is pure, incorruptible. He’ll be the warm arms there for me. But I don’t want warmth. I don’t need any warmth. I am a fire, consuming the other people in my life. No, I don’t need any heat. I need cool air. I need to breathe.

I lace up my shoes quickly and pull on something semi-presentable. No one’s going to see me outside – it is the middle of the night, after all – so it doesn’t really matter, but I yank a brush through my hair anyways.

-

MAY 20th (WILL),

Will wakes up in a cold bed. Alone. Rubbing his eyes, he sits up and looks around. “Lia?” he calls, waiting to hear the reply he knows won’t come. Ever since her parents’ accident, Lia’s been…different. Distant.

He just wants Lia to be okay again.

Pulling on his shoes and socks, he heads downstairs to grab a coat. Even before the accident, Lia had a tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, he’s willing to bet that she’s gone out. Sometimes, she goes for runs to clear her mind.

But now is not the right time for a run. Now, it’s the middle of the night, and it’s stormy outside. Will would love to crawl back into bed and cover his head like he used to when he was little, but he’s grown up now, and Will knows you can’t solve your problems by hiding from the monsters.

-

MAY 20th (LIA),

It’s colder than I thought out here, and the wind is whipping through my hair. I can’t stand this. I’m already regretting coming out, but I can’t help myself. Something keeps me going. I don’t even know where I’m going until I end up there.

I stand there and look out for a little while, watching as the rain pours down. Some part of me knows that I need to move, that I can’t just stand here and let myself fall apart, but the rest of me is frozen.

I’m not sure I even remember how I got here.

I’m cold.

So cold.

-

MAY 20th (WILL),

It doesn’t take him long to realize that the car’s gone. Swearing quietly to himself, he dashes back inside and grabs his own keys. In the cold, it’s hard for him to lock the front door, but he manages it.

Once inside his car, he cranks up the heat and takes a few deep breaths. He doesn’t know where Lia is, but he has to figure it out. He doesn’t want to call the police again. He can’t bother them again. It’s been too many times this week that Will has seen the police. He never wants to have to call them again.

He hates this. Seeing Lia fall apart. In front of him, the girl he loves is turning into someone he doesn’t even recognize, and he doesn’t know why. 

-

MAY 20th (LIA),

I look at the broken guardrail. They haven’t fixed it yet. I don’t understand why. I would have fixed it. They should have fixed it. Please, let someone fix it. Come back and fix this guardrail, and fix everything.

My parents are broken. They lay on hospital beds, waiting for something to change. But nothing is changing, and no one is there with them right now.

The other car is broken. It is crushed beyond repair.

My life is broken. Something has changed. One of my parents is not who they said they were. I don’t understand anything, and I don’t feel anything.

I’m broken.

Please fix me.

-

MAY 20th (WILL), 

He already knows where she’s going to be. But his car won’t start, and the rain is pouring down. He knows she’s not at the hospital, because Lia isn’t that kind of girl. But she’s going to be as close to them as she can. She’s going to be there.

He has to hope. Because if she isn’t, then Will won’t know what to do.

When he finally fixes the car, he hops back in and slams on the pedal. He doesn’t know what she’s feeling now – he can’t even pretend that he feels a fraction of the pain she must feel – but he knows it must be bad. Bad. He can’t express it in words.

He starts driving, and it only takes a minute before he gets close. This happened too close to home. Will knows that you aren’t safe anywhere, but he doesn’t like to see it. He likes to pretend that everything will be okay.

As long as Lia is okay, he will be okay.

-

MAY 20th (LIA),

I can’t understand how any of this could have been the man’s fault. What did he do here? I should see his influence here somewhere, but all I see is flashing car headlights…and then…nothing.

Stepping forward slowly, I rest my arms on the metal rail. It’s so close to the edge. The rain is making the ground slippery, and I feel the wind pushing me closer to the edge, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Lulling me to sleep. Making me feel safe.

I am hit by a sudden, profound feeling of loss.

I sink to the ground, clutching my knees to my chest. I’m supposed to be the strong one. But at midnight, on a cold night, in a storm, I am not strong. I am not perfect. I am still broken.

My phone rings.

-

MAY 20th (WILL),

He screeches to a stop, his headlights shining on Lia. She is crumpled in a ball at the edge of the guardrail, rain and tears streaming down her cheeks.

Will gets out of his car quickly. He dashes over to Lia, who does not acknowledge his presence.

“Lia?” he says softly, his arms around her. He wants to make every problem disappear, but he’s no magician.

She doesn’t respond.

Again, Will says, “Lia?” He’s persistent.

There is something different about Lia. He saw her only this morning, after two weeks of near-confinement, and though she was deflated and distant, she was…okay.

But now, she is something else. Something that Will cannot begin to comprehend.

Finally, Lia looks up to him. She shoves something into his hand. Her phone. Will looks down at the screen. The call log. He sees his number many times. But at the top, it says, “HOSPITAL” in big, bold letters. Only five minutes ago. They called in the middle of the night.

And it is then that Will finally understands.

-

Let me know if you read it. Tagging everyone who read the last one. Yeah. Let me know if you want to be tagged for the next one. Etcetera.

@followyourbliss @sky-rocketer @volonte @ingrid
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