THREE WEEKS AGO
I’ve always been the type of man who never needed religion to elevate my life in a spiritual sense. I’ve never needed to get close
to the heavenly father
, because it was quite simple; I didn’t believe in him. My religious upbringing only opened my eyes to the hypocrisy and contradictions in what we call faith.
There was a time when my mother used to force me and my siblings to go to church, and I can honestly say that I never felt the Lord's presence within the confines of such a “holy place.”
Our church minister, Father Launighan, was a hard-core bible thumper. He always tried to instill the fear of God in me. The bastard was a two faced piece of shit.
He would be at church every Sunday, preaching to the choir, telling us that we’ll all burn in hell fire if we do not follow the will of the Lord,
when he was the one who was breaking every rule, and committing every sin behind that pious mask he wore on his face. Someone should’ve wrapped those rosary beads around his neck, and choked him to death, because that scum bag broke every holy covenant at the expense of the most vulnerable.
I was very young when I denounced my faith, and swore never to take my future children inside a church, ever
. There was too much evil in this world. What kind of a God would allow people to suffer so much? Was God so proud, that he couldn’t admit he made a mistake in creating Lucifer? Why not just destroy and kill off that rebelling angel?
If the Lord was all powerful, why didn’t he demonstrate that power? Oh right, he did…eons ago.
I had so many questions that always went unanswered, and anyone I ever sat down and debated with regarding religion, would tell me the same thing over and over. ‘You have to have blind faith. It’s all part of the test.’
Well, fuck that. I refused to worship a God that allowed so much pain and suffering in this world. I waged war with the Lord,
and vowed to curse his existence till my dying breath. In my eyes, he was nothing more than a mythological deity that long needed to fade away.
But none of that mattered that day when I stepped inside the tiny chapel in the hospital. It had been only a few days since the collision, and I had been discharged because my injuries were not that serious. I was lucky to have survived with only some cuts and bruises. That white four by four T boned us at the intersection, and slammed right into Aria’s passenger door. The car was upside down when the firefighters came and used the Jaws of Life to cut through the metal and get my daughter out. She slipped into a coma, and I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get her back.
I walked up the narrow aisle, and sat down on an empty pew. There was no one around, and I preferred it that way. I hung my head down, and tried to find a part of myself that could somehow break through my titanium armor, and reach out to God, if he even existed.
“I really don’t know how to do this. It’s been such a long time since you and I had a heart to heart. The messed up part is that I don’t even know if you’re really out there, but I guess I just have to believe, right?” I looked up at the big wooden cross, and felt foolish for talking to it. “I didn’t come in here today to pour my heart out, and tell you about all the times I felt you failed me in life, because maybe in your eyes, I’m the one who’s failed you. All I know is that my daughter is in that hospital room, and there’s a very real chance that she will never wake up.” I could feel an uncomfortable lump at the back of my throat, but I sifted through my emotions as best as I could, and pulled it together.
“It’s pretty clear that I’m far from being a saint. I’ve sinned more times than I can count. I mean, where do I even begin? Pre-marital sex as a teen, ignoring my fatherly duties, drug addiction in my college years, sleeping around with women, and finally the worst of it all…” I stared down at my hands, and watched my tears fall, before I whispered, “I fell in love with my daughter.”
There it was; the truth.
“None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. Leviticus 18:6,”
I looked up at the cross again, convincing myself that it somehow represented a vessel to the Lord himself. “Funny that I remember that,” I snickered under my breath. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that line over and over in the bible. I can’t express to you how torn I feel inside. I don’t want to feel this way about her, but I do. More than anything, I want her to live, and breathe, and carry out her life the way she is meant to do. I want to see Aria graduate, and establish a career for herself—get married, become a mother. I don’t want to have to burry my daughter. So please, please bring her back to me. I’m not here to strike a deal with the devil. I’m here to make a divine contract with you out of blind faith. Please let Aria wake up, and I promise to love her the way a father really should. I will repent, and never touch her in any wrongful way. I’ll do whatever it takes to live my life free of sin. Just bring her back. Bring her back to me.”
I clasped my hands together in prayer, and pressed my forehead against them. I just couldn’t control my emotions as I began to break down, stifling my quiet sobs. Maybe this was my karma. Eight months. I let this incestuous relationship carry on between Aria and I for eight months,
and now I was reaping what I had sown. It started out subtle. We developed this emotional dependency on each other, sharing almost everything with one another, even really personal things like we were best friends, not father and daughter. And it only escalated from there; Aria kissing me, me kissing her on that Ferris wheel, making out with her for hours in my car. I wasn’t being a good husband to Vanessa, or a good father to Aria. I had failed both women that I loved in my life. This was truly my all-time low.
“I didn’t expect to ever find you in a place like this.”
I suddenly whipped my head around and saw Emily standing by the doorway. Shit, how long has she been standing there?
I wondered. “Desperate times, call for desperate measures.”
“I’m sorry,” she paused. “I just wanted to make sure that you were alright,” she walked down the aisle, and moved in next to me.
“Any changes?” I asked, avoiding her eyes. Needless to say, I didn’t feel so masculine at that moment. I always struggled to show my most vulnerable emotions. I didn’t like breaking down in front of anybody. I didn’t like breaking down, period.
“No. I’m so worried her kidney function will worsen.”
“The doctors have her on dialysis. We can only hope for the best,” I replied.
“Please tell me she will wake up from this, Noah. Please tell me that our little girl will survive.” Emily’s voice was shaky, and I knew that she was seeking some sort of comfort in me.
“Aria is a fighter. She’s going to wake up,” I wrapped my arms around her, and let he cry in my chest.
“Why? Why did you have to take her away from me? If she was still in New York this never would have happened.” As if I didn’t feel guilty enough.
Her crying never ceased while she grieved in my arms and vented her anger.
“I’m so sorry, Em. I never should have taken her away from you. I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” it was all I could say to her. I couldn’t confess my transgressions with Aria. I couldn’t tell Emily that I was in love with our daughter. My silent pact with God was between me and him only. And I planned to honor our agreement if Aria ever woke up. That was the deal. Strike me down if I ever look at her the wrong way again,
I thought in silence, while Emily sobbed in my arms.PRESENT DAY
JULY 8, 2013
Her voice. Her sweet voice was all I needed to hear to pull me out of my deep sleep.
“Hey, you’re awake.” I stretched my arms and smiled at her.
“How long have you been waiting in that chair?” she sounded sleepy and groggy, but it was mostly because of the pain meds she was under.
“That depends. Do you mean today, or in general?” I pulled up my chair and looked at her. It was nice to see her without that damn tube down her throat.
“Well,” I took her hand in mine, and breathed out. “I’ve been in this hospital room for the past three weeks, Aria. You were in a coma.”
Her heart monitor suddenly increased, beeping at a faster pace.
“Now, just calm down. I don’t want you panicking, okay? I’m going to explain what happened, but I need you to relax first. Can you do that for me?” I looked at her with worry in my eyes. “The worst part is over. You’re awake, and alive, and I’m here with you.”
She held my gaze and I tried my best to make her feel safe. Aria’s heart rate slowly relaxed, and I continued, “Do you remember that night at all? When I came and got you from Evan’s place?”
“You mean when you barged in and threw me over your shoulder, practically forcing me to leave?”
No memory loss. That was good. I guess.
“Yeah, do you remember anything afterwards?”
She took a moment to think, while I caressed her hand. God, I missed her so much. It was a miracle that she woke up yesterday.
“We were arguing in the car.”
“Right, and then I stopped at a traffic light, and—”
“Oh my god!” her face crumbled and she suddenly started to cry. “I told you I hated you.”
“Aria, it’s okay baby,” I leaned in closer, and caressed the side of her face.
“I didn’t mean it! I said some horrible things before we crashed. I’m sorry, Noah. I—”
“I’m so sorry,” she held onto me, and cried in my arms. It was breaking my heart.
“I love you. I could never hate you.”
“I know. You don’t have to stay it. I know you didn’t mean it.”
“But you could’ve died. I could’ve died, or may never have woken up, and you would’ve lived your life thinking that I hated you. Why does this conversation feel like dejavu?”
I can’t express how heart wrenching it was to hear her cry like that. I felt responsible for all her pain. And I couldn’t take it away.
“I said some awful things to you too. So please,” I pulled back, and stared into her sapphire eyes. “No more tears. Do you forgive me?”
She nodded right away.
“Good. I forgive you too. Now we’re even. No more pain. No more tears. Let’s just focus on your recovery,” I kissed the top of her head and then relaxed back in my chair.
“I want to know what happened.”
“We got hit right at the intersection. A huge white four by four pickup truck hydroplaned because the driver was speeding, and he slammed right into your passenger door. The car flipped and somersaulted sideways. The next thing I knew, there were cop cars, ambulance, and a fire truck on the scene. I was knocked out at first, but then regained consciousness when they pulled me out of the car. Your injuries were more critical than mine. I didn’t even want to go on the stretcher, but they pretty much forced me.”
“What happened to the driver?”
“He died during the crash.”
“How old was he?”
“Twenty—a college kid.”
“What was his name?”
“Jeezuz, Aria. Why do you want to know? He was responsible for putting you in this hospital bed. I don’t remember his name.”
“But it was an accident.”
“No, he was speeding. He could’ve prevented it. Careless driving is not
“Was anyone else hurt?” she asked.
“What else happened?”
“You went straight to the intensive care unit when they brought you to the hospital. Your injuries were internal. You had a collapsed lung, and your head was hit pretty badly from the whiplash. Aria, you suffered a traumatic brain injury. You weren’t conscious when they pulled you out of the car.”
“I see my patient is awake!”
I turned my head, and noticed that Doctor Patrick Peters had stepped in. He was a client at our firm, and also a good friend of mine.
“You’re a very lucky young woman, Aria. Every time I walk in, he’s right at your bedside. I’m Doctor Peters, by the way. ”
He was a tall man in his late forties, with short, salt and pepper hair, green eyes, and a dimple in his chin.
“Nice to meet you,” Aria politely shook his hand.
“That’s a nice firm grip you’ve got there. I see that you’re gaining some of your strength back,” he smiled at her, and then looked at me. “How are you doing today, Noah?”
“Much better—relieved that she’s finally opened her eyes.”
“It’s a miracle,” Patrick offered me a kind smile, and then started examining Aria.
“Could you please explain the extent of my injuries? Why am I still hooked up to all this machinery?”
He took off his stethoscope, and hung it around his neck. “You suffered a brain injury, which caused you to slip into a coma once you were rushed into the ER. We’ve had you on a respirator to help you breathe, as extra precaution. There was extensive injury to the cerebral cortex of your brain, as well as the reticular activating system, which is located in the brain stem. You scored a three on the Glasgow Coma Scale.”
“What does that mean?” she asked.
“It means that you were unresponsive, in spite of strong, painful and verbal stimuli. Your ribs are severely bruised, and there has been internal damage to your kidney.”
“Yes, you have acute kidney failure,” Patrick continued. “And this was caused by the impact, and trauma of the collision you were in. We’ve been trying to introduce liquids back into your body. Diuretics were used to flush your system, and blood pressure. But your case is so severe, that dialysis was required to cleanse your body of toxins.”
“Has that been helping?”
Doctor Peters wavered a bit, “I’m afraid you’re going to need a kidney transplant.”
was my cue to step in, and reassure her that everything was going to be alright.
“Aria, don’t worry. Everything’s going to be fine,” I squeezed her hand. “Your mother and I are going to get tested to see if we’re compatible.”
“Wait, mom’s in LA?”
“Yes, she went back to the hotel she’s been staying at, to shower and rest.”
“When did she fly here?”
“I contacted her on the night of the accident— look, it’s almost five in the evening. Your mom will be here soon.” I was about to ask Patrick something, when I heard Evan’s voice down the hall. What the hell?
He wasn’t alone, Emily was talking to him.
“I’ll be right back,” I immediately got up, and stepped out of the room, but ended up regretting it. Because the two people I saw walking beside Emily, were my mortal enemies. “What the hell
are they doing here? I thought I told you not to let Evan see Aria,” I looked at my brother in distaste, and then regarded Rob in a very cold way. “You seriously brought this scum bag with you?” my voice sounded rigid, and I couldn’t mask my seething anger.
“Noah, calm down. Doctor Peters said that it was best to get as many organ donors in the family to volunteer and get tested, remember?”
“And that piece of shit is offering his
kidney?” I was referring to that pathetic excuse for a husband she had. “Over my dead body!”
“Em, I told you this was a bad idea,” Rob muttered.
“No. It’s not. Let’s just go inside, and visit her.”
“Like hell you are!” I raged. “She doesn’t need your kidney. It’s probably on the verge of failing with all that booze you’ve been chugging all your life.”
“I’ve been ten years sober! Relapsed once!” Rob shouted.
“Get out of my face, and leave this hospital, before I put you
into a hospital bed myself.” I was ready to give him a black eye.
“Noah, chill the fuck out!” Evan grabbed me just in time, and pushed me back.
“Get your hands off me,” I said to him, through gritted teeth.
“If I do, then you have to promise not to punch his face in.”
“I’m tempted to punch yours instead.” It was extremely difficult to control my temper. I hadn’t been sleeping, or eating well for weeks.
“You know I can hear you guys fighting out there!”
Shit, that was Aria.
“Please, for the sake of our daughter, keep the peace.” Emily looked at me with pleading eyes, begging me to be agreeable, instead of argumentative.
“Fine,” I glared at Rob in a hostile way, and then entered the hospital room after Evan.
“Hey there, doll face,” he gave her a hug, while I just stood in the corner, and let my three least favorite people shower my daughter with love.
“I’m going to let you all have some time for yourself, and return in an hour.” Patrick addressed us all.
“Doctor Peters, before you go, I have to ask,” Emily approached him. “When can we come in, and get blood drawn?”
“We can schedule an appointment as early as tomorrow morning.”
“That would be great.”
“That excludes Robby
,” I added bitterly, folding my arms in my chest.
“No, it doesn’t. He wants to donate a kidney to Aria. You should be grateful.” Emily was quick to defend the prick.
“What’s going on?” Aria glanced over at us, and raised herself up a bit on her elbows.
“Nothing, sweetheart, we’re all going to get tested tomorrow to see if we’re a compatible match for your kidney transplant.”
“Rob wants to donate?”
“Yes,” he cleared his throat, and sat down next to her. “Aria, I wish I could take back all the hurt I’ve caused you in the past. I know I haven’t been a great father to you. Life’s been stressful, and I regret all the times I ever took my anger out on you. I’m really praying that I’ll be the one who can give you this kidney, in hopes that it can somehow make up for all the bad things I’ve done.”
“Wow…” I gave him a slow round of applause. “That almost
passed for a half decent performance,” there was nothing but sarcasm in my voice. “You really had me going there for a moment, Robby boy. I must admit.”
“Who are you calling, ‘boy’? I’m older than you,” he grumbled.
“True,” I paused, and cocked my head to the side. “You do look pretty damn prehistoric.”
“Noah!” Em looked crossly at me.
“Perhaps it’s best I leave now. Clearly you all need some private time,” Patrick sounded uncomfortable. I didn’t blame the guy. There was too much awkward tension in the room.
“You’re staying,” I said to him, looking dead serious, before focusing my attention back on that fuck face.
“When was the last time we saw each other, Robby?”
“It’s Rob, not Robby.”
“Oh yeah! Now I remember!” I was using dramatic emphasis in my words on purpose, so that I could successfully sound like a condescending asshole. “I believe I
was the one who beat you to a bloody pulp in your apartment. Ah—good
” my smile was sardonically sly. “Would you like me to refresh your memory, Robby
“Alright—easy now,” Evan stepped in front of me once again.
“Will you stop doing that? What are you, his body guard? Do you even know what that S.O.B has done to my daughter?”
“Yes, I know,” he sighed.
I wasn’t expecting that. Had Aria told him?
“And I know you’ve got beef with the man, but you need to put your differences aside for Aria’s sake. You’ve been selfish, forbidding me to see her. I won’t allow you to be selfish enough to stop me from getting tested. She’s my niece. Her life is in danger, and I want to help.”
I stared at my brother long and hard. “Look at you, acting all grown up
“You know I’m right, so stop being so damn stubborn, and let us help.”
“You guys don’t have to help.”
All eyes were on Aria now.
“I don’t want any of you to lose a kidney because of me. Put me on the transplant list and I’ll wait.”
“We only need one to function, sweetie.” Emily said to her.
“I don’t care. That’s a major surgery. You’re going to be losing an organ, permanently.”
“Aria, we’re all getting tested. End of story.”
“I should let you all know that transplant results are best when the donor and the patient are identical on the white blood cell antigen series.” Patrick informed us. “Because of inherited genes, this can only happen between brothers and sisters, where there is a one in four chance of a perfect match. Parents and children have only a fifty percent match, because only half of the genes in a child come from each parent.”
“See,” I smiled at angel eyes. “Your mother and I will most likely be a perfect match.”
“Although this is usually acceptable, occasionally there are problems with red cell (ordinary blood group) typing. Transplants with living related donors are more likely to be successful than with unrelated, because the body tissues are more likely to be closely matched.”
“Thank you, Patrick.” I said to him. “Now do you all understand that it’s really a pointless effort to get Evan and Rob tested? The doc pretty much summarized it for you.”
“I would recommend that they still get tested, Noah,” he suggested.
“This is all in Aria’s best interest.” Emily stated.
I looked at our daughter, and she seemed to be on the verge of drifting off to sleep. Nothing else mattered to me in that moment. I just wanted to spend as much time with her as I could.
“Fine, we’re all getting tested. I won’t argue about it anymore.” I was confident that I would be a match. She and I were so connected in every way. I knew deep down that I would be compatible, and that I’d end up donating my kidney to her. I had made a deal with God after all. This was the next part of our deal; giving her a part of me selflessly, the way any father would. All I cared about was her wellbeing.
“Noah, may I have a word with you, please?”
I nodded at Emily, and followed her outside of Aria’s hospital room. We stood in the hallway near the door, and started to talk.
“You’ve been here since six in the morning. Please go home for the night, and get some rest. I can stay here with Aria till the morning,” she said to me.
“I don’t want Rob or Evan in there with her.”
“She just survived a fatal accident. Be glad that she’s still here with us. Just let her be around the people who love her most.”
“You expect me to believe that douchebag really loves her?” I couldn’t help feeling so protective of Aria.
“He’s willing to donate his kidney. Isn’t that love?”
An attractive blonde nurse walked past us with a smile. Correction, she was smiling
“Fine, whatever. I really do need some sleep. It’ll probably take the edge off,” I rubbed the back of my sore neck. “If anything happens—”
“I will call you,” Emily interjected. “Don’t worry.”
“And keep an eye on Evan. I don’t trust him.”
She rolled her eyes at me, and sighed, as I walked back into Aria’s hospital room.
“I’m going to go home and shower, baby girl,” I kissed the top of her head, and looked into her sleepy eyes. “You should rest.”
“I’m tired of sleeping. I feel drowsy because of all these drugs they keep pumping in me.”
“Your body needs to recover.”
“When will you be back?”
“In the morning,” I caught something in her eyes. It was fear. I think she was afraid I wouldn’t be returning.
She gave me a little nod, showing that she understood, and I was about to leave, when she called out to me again.
I turned around, and watched her motion me closer with her hand. Leaning forward, I felt chills go down my entire body, when her lips lightly brushed against my ear. Aria whispered something, and then met my eyes.
“Do you promise?”
I offered her a subtle smile, and kissed her hand. “I promise.” oOo
It was almost six in the evening when I got home. Vanessa wasn’t around. She had sent me a text saying that she was working late. She was busy with launching this new bikini line for her company the past couple of weeks. I told her not to put that on hold, despite me taking time off from work. Lately, I had this rising suspicion that she was having an affair. Maybe Aria had been right all along. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe it. I kept giving Nessa the benefit of the doubt.
My body was exhausted, and I needed a hot shower to relax, before turning in early to get some rest.
I fixed myself some dinner, and checked my voice mail on my phone. I was shocked to hear that my mother had called me. Evan probably told her what happened to Aria, and now she wanted to come and be the supportive grandmother? Not a chance in hell,
I thought, as I deleted her voice mail, and headed upstairs. oOo
Sleeping was an epic fail. I kept tossing and turning, and was more worried about my daughter than anything. I promised her that I would stop by in the evening, and stay with her. I just couldn’t say no when she asked me. So I threw on a black button down shirt, some dark blue jeans, and shoes. Then I grabbed my keys to the Audi, and headed out the door. Vanessa still
wasn’t home yet. I tried calling her cell, but went straight to voice mail. Minutes later, my cellphone vibrated
Text message from Vanessa to Noah: Sorry honey. Over at Hannah’s place. She’s sort of in crisis mode. Will explain later. Be home late. Don’t wait up. xox
Since when did she and Hannah become best friends? I found this weird, but pushed it aside, and drove back to the hospital. oOo
“Noah?” Emily looked surprised to see me. “What are you doing here?” she spoke in a quiet tone, careful not to wake the sleeping angel.
“I promised her that I’d come back later in the evening. You can head on over to the hotel, and rest for the night. I’ll stay here with her till whenever you want to come back.”
“Are you sure?”
I gave her a little nod, then watched her stand up and leave a gentle kiss on our daughter’s head. I felt sorry for Emily in a way. Our lives would’ve ended up so differently had I not broken her heart all those years ago. Her life with Rob only proved to have really aged her.
While my wife strutted around in six inch heels, designer dresses, fake tans, fake boobs and Botox injections, Emily’s everyday style was very conservative. Her dirty blonde hair was short and wavy, and needed a touch up at the roots. There were dark circles under her eyes that were the color of alabaster grey. She seemed to have lost a bit of weight since I last saw her in New York. Maybe it was because of the financial stress that prick was putting on her. I made a mental note to have a discussion later with her in private, to see if I could offer any financial aid.
“Please call me if anything.”
“I know. Don’t worry,” I reassured her, before she picked up her hand bag, and left.
It was almost eleven o’ clock at night, and the hospital was pretty quiet. I walked over to the armchair that was stationed close to Aria’s bed, and sat down, gazing at her.
She had her mother’s cute little nose, and plump, sensual lips. Although our daughter was taller, she was definitely fully developed in the chest. So was Emily when she was Aria’s age.
I was about to pull out my iPhone, and set it on silent, when I noticed her stirring. She was waking up. Those beautiful blue eyes met mine, and I felt like I was being pulled under a huge tidal wave, ready to drown.
“You came,” she welcomed me with a warm smile.
“Hey, gorgeous,” I returned her smile, and leaned forward to kiss her forehead. “Don’t fight the exhaustion if you’re tired.”
“No, I napped earlier,” her voice still sounded sleepy. “How long have you been sitting there?”
“I only just arrived.”
She ran her fingers through her long, dark hair, and sighed, “I know, I look like crap.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You always look beautiful, Aria.”
She really had no idea what she did to me.
“I’m completely high on these pain meds they keep giving me, so I’m going to enjoy the high, and pretend not to care about how crappy I look at the moment.”
“You do not
look crappy,” I said to her.
“I’ve looked better,” she nervously tucked back a strand of her hair behind her ear.
“Who are you trying to impress, your handsome doctor?” I teased. “Doctor Peters is happily married.”
It made me smile to hear her laughter.
“You don’t need makeup and fancy designer clothes to impress me, Aria. Trust me on that.”
I made her blush, which added some color to her pale face.
“How can I impress you then?”
“It’s simple really– breathing, living, being you. You’re a miracle. I mean, you beat the odds. The doctors didn’t think you would wake up. That’s pretty damn impressive if you ask me.”
We locked eyes, and I tried my hardest to figure out what she was thinking. Her genius mind was always a mystery to me.
“And I forgot to mention, you graduated your senior class with honors, and I also took the liberty of opening your university applications, since you procrastinated for months on doing that.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
“Good news, Aria, you got into Berkeley,” I waited for some sort of response.
“Cool, could you please pass me my Tic-Tacs
? I think mom left them on the side table.”
I was hoping for a more enthusiastic reaction, but she didn’t look all that excited. Maybe she was too tired to talk about her plans for her education, so I dropped the subject, found the mints, and popped one in her mouth.
We looked at each other for the longest while, and I think I was making her uncomfortable with the way I was staring at her.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
See, I was right; mad points for telepathy.
“I’m just so happy you’re out of that coma. You have no idea how difficult it’s been for your mother and me.”
“Don’t be sorry,” I took her hand in mine. “I’m seriously grateful you’re alive. It feels like I went through hell and back.”
“Can we cuddle?”
Her bed seemed like it would be a tight squeeze, and I was worried about her moving. But she shifted over, and made room for me, before I could decline.
“Of course,” I got up, and lay down next to her, stretching my legs out. She felt really warm, as I wrapped an arm around her shoulder, inviting her to rest on my chest. “Are you comfortable?”
“Mhm,” she replied. “Are you?”
“Yes. I’m right where I need to be.” I kissed her head, and cuddled her close.
“Could we listen to some music?”
Her pink iPod was resting on the night stand next to me. I reached over, and grabbed it.
She turned it on, and scrolled down to a playlist with my name on it.
I tried to hide my smile, as soft music started to play.
“So, I have a playlist of my own?”
“Yes,” Aria blushed, and hid her face in my chest. It felt so good to feel her in my arms like this.
“You really like doing that, don’t you?”
“Doing what?” her voice sounded slightly muffled.
“Hiding yourself in my body,” I stifled a laugh.
“Only when I feel embarrassed,” she finally looked up at me. “And I only hide my face. If I could completely hide myself in you, I would.”
“Oh yeah? Why’s that?” I arched an eyebrow.
“No, actually, I don’t.” That was a lie. I just wanted to hear her say it.
She fixed her eyes back on the buttons of my shirt, and started to fidget with them. “Because you make me feel safe, and protected. Hiding in your body would feel…familiar, like it’s the safest feeling ever. I can’t explain it.”
That moment right there, that very second was incredibly bitter sweet, and overwhelming for me. I felt good knowing that I made her feel safe. I was able to express my protectiveness over her in a fatherly way, but I failed to love her in the same sense. Her lips whispered temptations to me that I only imagined in my mind, because I so badly wanted to kiss her. Thankfully, she broke the heated eye contact.
“Is this a, ‘I’m hiding my face in your chest because I feel embarrassed,’ moment?” I teased her, jokingly.
“No, this is a, ‘I’m hiding my face in your chest, because I secretly have this embarrassing cologne fetish,’ kind of moment.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Well, good, I prefer that, because you never have to feel embarrassed around me, Aria.”
I felt her cheek tug upwards, revealing her secret smile.
“Tell me everything you’re thinking. What did I miss out on these past three weeks?”
I couldn’t tell her everything I was thinking, so I had to settle for option two; describing the shortened synopsis on the time she lost.
“Well,” I stroked her hair. “Ever since the night of the accident, I have been by your bedside, hoping and praying that you would wake up.”
“Praying?” she sounded shocked. “You don’t believe in God.”
“You made me a believer the second you opened your eyes,” I swallowed hard when Aria looked up at me. I wasn’t sure what she was thinking, but I continued, “I knew there was no way that I’d be able to pull the plug if it came down to that, but at the same time, I didn’t want you to suffer in comatose for years. I was really going out of my mind, Aria. I didn’t want to have to bury my daughter in the ground. That’s just not the natural way of things. A parent should never have to bury their child.”
“I’m not a child though.”
“You know what I meant.”
She intertwined her fingers with mine, and just listened.
“I took time off from work, so that I could be here with you constantly. I can’t explain it, but I felt like you needed me. Every day I would play your music on your iPod, read you my favorite love poems,
whisper secrets in your ear—”
“I wish I remembered those secrets. Did those love poems happen to be by Rumi?
I was stunned for a second. “Yes, they were. Rumi is one of my favorite poets.” Did she remember? Was she actually able to hear me the entire time she was comatose?
“I think I remember. I was sort of living in my own alternate reality. I know I missed graduation, and prom.”
“What did you dream about?”
“I think the best way to explain it would be,” she paused for a moment, and sighed. “Life as I knew it was passing by as normally as possible. I attended grad, went to prom. I didn’t even remember the accident.”
That was a relief. At least she wasn’t stuck in some sort of endless purgatory.
“I dreamt that we had come close to getting hit by that truck, but ultimately cheated death. You pulled over, and lectured me about marriage, and then…” she trailed off. “That’s when I lost a huge chunk of time.”
“Maybe your subconscious was supressing the truth.”
“Clearly—you showed up at my prom.”
“Yeah, I was planning on um,” Aria hesitated. “Sleeping with Ryan, but you sabotaged our plans.”
“That sounds like something I would do.”
“Yeah, you read my diary. That’s how you found out.”
“Now that is something I would never
do. It’s a big time violation of your privacy.”
“I know. Trust me. I was so
mad at you.”
“I’m sure you let me have it,” my fingers took on a will of their own, as I began to caress the side of her arm. Her skin was so soft, always
“I can’t believe I’ve been in a coma all this time.”
“Your friends often came to visit you. Did you read their cards?”
“Yes, I did. Jessica and Ryan both dropped by shortly after you left today. Apparently prom really sucked. I’m glad that Jessica was crowned as Prom Queen though. In my dream, Ryan and Steph were crowned Prom King and Queen.”
“I guess waking up to reality wasn’t so bad after all.”
“Not entirely, no,” she laughed lightly, and looked as if she wanted to say more, but stopped herself.
“So what happened when I showed up?” I asked.
She responded with a shrug. “Nothing, you just dragged me home, and were in the middle of giving me a lecture. And then I woke up, back on earth. No more warped-coma dimension. ”
We were both silent for a while, just listening to the music.
“Yes, baby girl?”
“Did you mean what you said to me when…” Shit
. This was the part I feared. My pulse was racing. I couldn’t lie to her. Not after realizing that those very words I said out loud pulled her back to me. How was I going to get myself out of this now? I couldn’t go against my promise, but I knew I couldn’t break her heart either. I had done enough of that.
“Every word,” I finally confessed.
“I meant every word.”
She let go of my hand, and wrapped her arm around my stomach, hugging me tighter. It only made my heart ache more, because I desired to touch her in ways that I couldn’t.
She looked into my eyes, and slowly nodded, as I reached over, and brushed the hair out of her face with my free hand.
“Aria, this doesn’t change our situation. You know that we can’t—”
“I know,” she interrupted. “But I have hope.”
“Remember when I said that you took me home after you messed up my plans with Ryan in my dream?”
“Well, technically that didn’t happen. You didn’t take me home.”
“What did I do then?”
“Maybe I’ll tell you one day,” she flashed a sweet, half smile.
“Why not now?” I asked in curiosity.
“Because I’d rather tell you when I’m not stuck in a hospital bed, poked with needles, and hooked up to all this medical machinery.”
“Fair enough,” I was surprised she wasn’t as sad as I expected her to be—probably because she was high from all the pain meds.
“Can I touch your dragon tattoo? It helps me fall asleep when I’m touching your chest.”
It felt like instinct. Without even giving it a second thought, I began to unbutton my shirt with one hand, until I was halfway down. Only then did I realize that I shouldn’t be doing this, but it was too late to stop. I felt her hand slip in, resting her palm right against my heart. It was impossible to deny the way her touch was affecting me. I couldn’t deprive her of something that made her feel safer. She needed my comfort. How could I say no?
“Thank you,” Aria murmured. Why does she make me feel this way? Why can’t I just stop-feeling-attracted?
The thoughts were relentless, playing over and over in my mind, like a broken record. I tried to ignore how good her hand felt against my naked chest. You and I…You and I…
The music played on, as I closed my eyes. It was difficult to relax, when she was caressing my pectoral muscle in a slow, circular motion. It was arousing me, and I started to visualize her touching me like this in a bed that wasn’t
inside a hospital room, but inside a luxurious hotel room in Italy. And the rest of our clothing would be scattered on the floor, and…
Aria hummed a sigh, and cuddled into me more.
“Thank you for being here with me tonight,” she whispered.
“I’ve been with you every night. How could I stay away from you?” I kissed her on the head, and shut my eyes again.
I loved the way she said my name.
I kept my eyes closed, and tried to filter my thoughts from anything remotely sexual.
“Can you tell me a story?”
“You know I suck at story telling, Aria.”
“Please? It’ll help me fall asleep. I like your stories, and your voice relaxes me,” she looked at me with this serious expression on her face. Back to being the caring father,
I thought to myself.
“Okay, okay,” I finally caved. “A story, hmm...did I ever tell you about how the moon fell in love with the sun?”
She shook her head.
“Four and a half billion years ago, the moon was orbiting the earth in the solar system. There was this incredible nebula in the galaxy, and within that nebula, the sun was born.”
The minutes passed, as I rambled on about the science of astronomy, and before I could really get into the story, Aria fell fast asleep. Mission accomplished.
I loved her. I was in love with her, and I knew that I shouldn’t be, but it’s what brought her back to me. Telling her my feelings pulled her from whatever dark dimension she was trapped in. If only I had done it sooner.
I turned off her iPod, placed it back on the desk, and rested my head against hers, until I eventually faded. *****
He woke up drenched in sweat, heart racing, and completely disoriented. It was the second night in a row since Evan started having nightmares about her
again. He threw his legs over his bed, and stood on his feet, before he made his way to the kitchen.
His body felt sore from his work out earlier that evening, but he ignored the dull ache in his massive muscles, and filled up a glass of water. He couldn’t understand why the nightmares had returned. It had been years since he had them.
The thick pool of blood was still fresh in his memory, as a compilation of gruesome images flickered in his mind; the screaming, the gun shots…that dead look in her eyes before her final breath escaped her punctured lungs.
He took one last gulp of water, and glanced at the time on his microwave; it was 3 o’clock in the morning. Evan made his way back to his bedroom, and removed the books that hid the keypad leading to the secret room in the wall.
The light bulbs suddenly lit up, as he stepped inside, and looked at his twisted, artistic mural. He stepped in front of the collage of pictures, and lightly brushed his fingers against the photos.
“I almost lost you,” he whispered.
“I won’t let that happen again. As soon as you’re out of that hospital bed, you’re mine,” he kissed his fingers, and placed them on Aria’s photographed cheek. “You are meant
to be mine.
” Evan smiled darkly at the photo, and held onto the tiny blood vial necklace that hung around his neck. It was clasped to a silver chain, and the crimson liquid inside was
real blood…Aria’s blood.
He had drawn it from her vein during one of his hospital visits, while she was heavily sedated. In his mind, it didn’t seem sick or wrong. He believed he loved her in his own way, and he just wanted to feel closest to her when she wasn’t around him.
He sat down in his beat up leather arm chair, and opened the blood vial from his necklace. The next thing he did, was not only disturbing, but psychotic, because he liked it, really liked it.
Evan raised the vial to his lips, closed his eyes, and dropped a few drops of Aria’s blood on his tongue.
“Fuck—you taste so sweet.”
He had an instant hard on. Slowly, he licked his lips, and sealed the lid on the tiny vial, before pulling his boxers down a bit. Apparently he had vampire tendencies he was never aware of, metaphorically speaking of course.
He was escaping to his world of sexual fantasy, as he pictured Aria slowly undressing in front of him, and straddling his lap.
“You’re going to taste my blood too, Aria. And then we’ll truly be connected—forever.”
Evan wrapped his fingers around his stiff cock, and stroked it really slow, but hard, until he eventually exploded.
He soon left his secret shrine, entered his bathroom to clean up, and crashed back in bed. Tomorrow morning he would stop by at the hospital, get his blood tested, and pray that he would be the best match, so that he could donate his kidney to Aria. Having a part of himself inside of her forever really got him off. *****
Will Aria pull through and not need a kidney transplant? Will Noah keep his pact with God, and will he ever discover the truth about Vanessa’s cheating ways? Is Evan really the bad guy, or the misunderstood underdog? Find out in chapter 11 :) Author’s Note:
I will be writing Noah’s POV in past tense from now on(which is what I have done in this chapter), just so that there’s no confusion. Music In chapter:
all songs can be found in my video gallery on my profile, and check out my official blog for updates, promos, music and graphics :) link is in my profile, website section.
Louis M^ttrs - War With Heaven (Catching Flies Remix)
Synthetic Epiphany- Visiting Hours
Washed Out- You and I
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com
with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/incest/i-shouldnt-love-this-way-chapter-10.aspx">I Shouldn't Love This Way- Chapter 10</a>