“Expansion means complexity and complexity decay.” - C. Northcote Parkinson
| c l a r a |
Nick and I were stuck in hospital for another two weeks before we were allowed to return home. Well, truth be told, I was stuck in the hospital. Nick just flat out refused to leave the hospital without me. Every single nurse thought we were going out, and Nick wasn’t helping.
“Nick,” I say.
“What’s wrong, Clara?” Nick asks worriedly, looking over at me.
“I thought of something.”
“You know how everyone acts like they are together?”
He nods slowly.
“Well, Harriet and Layne can be...Larriet, and Zeke and Luce can be...Zuce.”
“That’s a great idea!”
“Not to their faces! At least, until we know for sure they are together.”
“Which will be a relief,” Nick sighs.
“Why did Jeremy start bullying you?”
I mentally cringe. “I don’t know.”
My phone vibrates and I check it. it is a text from an unknown number.
From: Unknown Number
We need to talk. -J
I save the contact and sigh. Why now?
When and where? -C
Park. 2morrow at 4. -J
I lock my phone and Nick parks the car in the drive. I get out and ‘walk’ to the door. I open the door and go straight to my room. I collapse onto my bed and pretend to be asleep when Nick comes in. He chuckles and brushes my hair out of my face.
“I know you think you are ugly, love,” Nick sighs. “You’re beautiful, and I love you.”
I hold back a comment.
“It’s more than friendly love, and I don’t know what you feel.”
“Really, Nick,” I sit up. “You wait until you think I am asleep to tell me.”
“You’re a coward.”
I get up and he backs away.
I throw him a pillow and a blanket.
“What are you doing?”
“Admit it or get out. They are your only options.”
I push him toward the door and he fights me.
“We’re home!” Harriet calls.
“Get out!” I hiss. “Or I’ll make a scene.”
“No!” Nick snaps.
I shove him. “GET OUT!”
“Clara?” Harriet yells.
“Calm down, Clara!” Ni hisses.
“No!” I snap.
“Clara, what’s going on?” Layne calls, footsteps running up the stairs.
“Just admit it, Nick, and I’ll stop.”
“I’m not a coward!” Nick exclaims.
“YES YOU ARE!” I scream, slamming the door.
I lock the door and lean against it. A sob rises in my throat and I wish that I could cry. I slide down the door and pull my knees up to my chest, hugging them tightly. I bury my face in my knees and thoughts rush through my mind.
When did this start?
Why did this start?
Did I lead him to believe that I still liked him?
Did he think that he could keep that secret from me?
I block out everything and close my eyes. Someone knocks on my door and I ignore them. They sigh and I realise that it is Layne. I have half a mind to answer it, but I can already imagine what he will say. Layne walks away a few minutes later and I eventually fall asleep.