Comfort

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I crossed number four off of my responsibility list, and noticed that tomorrow, I'd be able to cross off the last one required of me from Shellsea Recovery Center. I'd asked Darlene about the other workers assigned to the B Ward, and she was shocked I hadn't met any yet, but assured me that when I wasn't in the ward, they checked in on the boys every four hours or more if needed.

She'd explained, while laughing of course, that they were a little understaffed at the moment, but would probably hire some new people soon if it got to be too big of a problem. I thought back to when Gabriel Coleman would have died had I not been on the clock, and felt uneasy leaving the boys alone for even a moment. But I knew it was needed.

The shopping trip wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I found a nice pair of jeans and three nice tops, that I could wear until I could find time to do a better shopping trip. I went grocery shopping afterwards, and ended up making way more than I could eat for myself, so I put the mexican lasagna in a pan and wrapped in in tinfoil to take to the boys on the following day.

My things still hadn't arrived, and sleeping on the floor was starting to make my back hate me. I made a mental note to call Dr. Roberts and ask about it the next day. Just before I went to bed, I remembered that the boys had asked me to check in with them, and immediately felt guilty upon opening my messages and seeing the missed texts from each of them.

I was getting ready to reply, and explain that I had forgotten, and that my volume was on silent for some reason, when there was a knock at my door. Fear gripped my heart as I jumped from my sleeping space in the corner of the living room. Why I chose to sleep there, I wasn't sure, but I knew I hadn't wanted to sleep in the bedroom, sans a bed.

What if it's my mother, coming to punish me?

Realistically I knew it probably wasn't her, but the fear that it was bit at my every step until I checked through the peep-hole, and saw a head full of blonde hair paired with blue eyes and a t-shirt that was so loose, I thought it was from a pirate costume.

I unlocked the deadbolt, and the chain, and opened the door.

Luke smiled down at me. "Hey Sugar, you didn't ever reply, and North was getting worried. He was going to get out of bed, so I volunteered to come make a house visit before he hurt himself. Little brothers, what can you do?" he said the last part as if I would understand the sibling dynamic.

I wasn't at all surprised that he was older than North. Everything else about them seemed to be different than my expectations, why not their age?

"I'm sorry Luke. I didn't mean to worry anyone. My ringer was off for some reason, and I only just checked my phone. I'm not.." I swallowed, not sure why I wanted to tell him this, but feeling like it was right, "I'm not used to having anyone to check in to. Or anyone who cared enough to come track me down when I didn't check in."

Luke's eyes softened. "Hey now, don't cry. We're just protective, that's all."

"But you barely know me, and plus, I'm the doctor, shouldn't I be taking care of and making sure you guys are all safe?"

He smiled at this, and I felt a wash of pride at having been the cause of the beautiful sight.

"We might have just met, but every one of those boys you're assigned to care for know more about you than you'd probably like. North could tell instantly that something was broken about you. You can't even handle touch very well. Someone hurt you. Probably your family."

I flinched away from how spot on he was.

We stood there in the door, watching each other for a while, until I finally decided to take a leap of faith and let this crazy situation play out. I'd spent far too long worrying about what my mother might think of me.

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