Completed: a Devoured Novella
I’m numb as I throw on the first clothes I find—one of Lucas’ band tees and my wrinkled jeans from earlier—all the while trying desperately to get in touch with my brother. By the time I’ve dialed Seth for the seventh time, and he doesn’t pick up, I’m fully dressed. My vision blurs as I slam my phone in my bag and I grab my car keys from the basket in the foyer.
“Dammit!” I cry, dragging my hand through my damp hair. “He won’t pick up, he won’t—. How can he send me a text like that and not answer?”
“He might be with your grandma.” Lucas plucks my keys from my hand, and when I try to grab them from him, he shakes his head. For the first time since seeing the text message, I realize he’s gotten dressed—it’s his usual attire of jeans, a dark Henley, and Converse. “There’s no fucking way in hell I’m letting you drive anywhere like this.”
My heart is in my throat—a painful, nauseating lump—as I stumble beside Lucas to his car, and the only thing I can ask myself is what if?
What if Seth isn’t picking up because Gram’s situation has worsened?
What if I had checked my phone sooner?
What if—and this is the one that makes my chest twist into awful knots—what if Gram is gone?
Squeezing my eyes shut, I shake that thought out of my head, refusing to even let myself think that. Out of everyone I’ve ever known, Gram has always been the one in my corner. Whenever my mom went AWOL when I was a kid, it was Gram—not my father—who came to the rescue. Gram who put me in dance lessons (I was shitty at it) and enrolled me in piano.
It was my grandmother who had always consoled me. Who’d wiped away my tears—from my mom, my very first heartbreak, to Lucas, my most recent—though I like to forget about the months he and I spent apart. I press my hand to my chest, attempting to reassure myself that everything is fine.
In the darkness, Lucas’ hand finds my knee and he squeezes it. He doesn’t say anything, but when he slams on the brakes at a stoplight and looks over in my direction, he doesn’t have to. He wants to reassure me that everything will be fine.
I nod in understanding, bobbing my head a little too quickly.
There are a million thoughts racing through my head when we finally reach the hospital, and I jump out of the Audi before Lucas can fully put it in park. I find Seth quickly—in a waiting room with my mother, of all people—and when he sees me, his shoulders sag in relief.
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with—” I start, but my baby brother jerks me to him and hugs me.
“She’s gonna be fine. Just a scare, Si.”
I almost crumble in relief, but that’s short lived when my mom speaks up, “Luckily, that’s all it was.”
I lean back from Seth, just in time to see my mother’s green gaze slip to Lucas as he walks into the waiting room. Mom lifts a light eyebrow, and even though I can tell she’s been crying, her next words leave me livid. “Guess you were too busy with that to care about getting here any sooner for Momma.”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve made fun of those talk shows. The ones where trashy families go at each other on TV. But the moment I completely break away from my brother, shoving my mom into the nearest seat, I feel empowered.
I bend over her, one arm on either side of the chair, and I glare down at her. “If you ever say anything about how I feel about Gram—or how much I care about her—again, I’ll be the one teaching you a thing or two. And I don’t care what you think you learned in prison.”