Chapter Twenty-Five

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My apartment being cleaned was a really good start. It made my head much clearer, which meant that I could actually think. My checklist was a long arduous one, and it sure as hell felt good to finally cross something off of it. It was a positive step in the right direction, and that was something.

Then, I took the bull by the horns and I called my mum. I knew that was going to be particularly difficult task to complete, but I couldn't let it go by any longer. I was a little shocked that she hadn't called me, but that just proved how pissed she was.

"Yes?" She answered sharply, the anger evident in her tone.

"I'm sorry." I replied instantly, feeling like a naughty chided child all over again. Mum didn't answer me, and her icy silence was loaded. "I had to go, mum." I pleaded, begging her to understand me. "I need to move forward, and I couldn't there. My life is here."

"I thought you might, I don't know, I guess I just assumed that you'd come back to stay permanently." She admitted, totally unexpectedly. I'd never shown any sign that I would want to go back there ever. "You just...you don't seem happy where you are."

"I will be." I promised. "I'm working on it."

"You could be happy here though..." She started, sounding more hopeful than I would like, forcing me to jump in.

"No, mum. There I'll always be associated with being sick. That's all I'll ever be to people." I heard her sigh, wanting to argue, but luckily she seemed to think better of it. "Here, I've made my mistakes, but I can start again. It's not as...claustrophobic."

"What are you going to do?" She asked tentatively. "I want to help in some way."

"I'm not sure yet." I replied honestly. "I'm working on that."

"Okay." She sighed again, starting to sound increasingly exasperated. "Well I do have something I can do for you. Me and Carter put some money aside to help you get a home here. How about I send it to you, to help get you started?"

"No, mum you don't have to..." I said, but my mind began whirring with possibilities. If I had something to keep me going, then I could really do something great.

"I want to sweetie." She continued. "I feel so helpless, please let me do this."

"Thank you." A massive lump had formed in my throat, making it difficult to speak, but I managed to get that much out. "I appreciate it."

"Of course."

I had my family, I had my friend, I had a future—but what the hell was I going to do with it?

                                                                                                      ***

I spent the next few days really trying to figure that one out, but there was one distraction that kept cropping up, getting in my way. He was taking up so much of my brain space, that it was actually really difficult to focus.

Charlie.

He was the one problem that I really wanted to solve, but I had no idea how. I liked him so damn much, even now after all this time, and I wanted to make things right between us.

I knew it was unlikely that he would give me another shot, but with him out in the world somewhere, hating my guts, I wasn't sure if I could ever move on. If I could just view him as a failed experiment, as a step on my path to getting better, it might be easier, but I couldn't. I still longed for him, ached for him, I still wanted him to be mine.

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