The two and a half days that Rachel had been sick, she had adamantly refused to go to Doctor Cullen. Whenever Brandon suggested it, she would give him a glare so evil that he would quickly either pretend he hadn't mentioned it or leave the room in a timely manner. Another thing Sloane had quickly realized about her aunt: she hated any kind of doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Rachel was deathly afraid of needles — a fear Sloane remembered her mother having as well — and thought that going to a doctor automatically meant that a shot was inevitable. Sloane would have found her aunt's terror amusing if her health wasn't in question. She remembered her grandma Fran clicking her tongue in disapproval whenever Amy Saunders was sick and refused to go to the doctor. "Trypanophobia isn't a real thing!" Fran would shout.

      It was. Sloane had researched it.

      "I'll take you if you need me to," Sloane said dutifully, checking the clock. She didn't know what time Forks Community Hospital closed, but it was only one in the afternoon. Most urgent cares back in Texas were open until nine at night, sometimes even later. She figured the hospital was open. "The drive's not far." Especially not with the Camry Brandon had purchased for her. The five dollars he had bet against Rachel had been spent buying his wife medicine, so it wasn't a complete win for him, but Rachel appreciated it, which made him happy. The new car had been driving as smoothly as a car could, with no future of breaking down from what Sloane could tell.

      "I might have you," Rachel agreed, holding her hands out. Sloane pushed herself off the couch and offered her hands to her aunt, grasping Rachel's manicured hands and lifting her up off the couch with a pull. A flurry of blankets fell to the floor with the action, but Rachel ignored them, stepping over the bundle as Sloane led her away from the living room and to the coat closet directly next to the front door. Sloane handed Rachel her rain boots and a hefty coat, made for the cold weather of Forks, and opened the front door. "Am I really doing this?"

      "You'll be fine. Who knows if they'll give you a shot?"

      Rachel glared at her but didn't choose to answer.

      Making sure to turn on the heater on the second the car was started so her aunt wouldn't get too cold, Sloane buckled her seat belt and waited for Rachel to do the same. As soon as the both of them were buckled in, Sloane quickly glanced behind her to make sure there was no one driving by before she back up out of the driveway and started on the familiar path down Main Street. Driving in Forks was different than just sitting in the passenger seat, in the way that Sloane couldn't daydream whilst staring at all the green foliage that covered the trees and dirt. It was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it kept her mind focused on the task at hand; she didn't want to run into a deer or a tree or anything else that Forks offered that Texas hadn't. A curse because daydreaming meant she could tune everything out.

      The hospital was easy enough to find, and Sloane pulled into the parking lot after only five minutes of driving. Rachel angrily huffed, but the red tip of her nose let Sloane know that the cold was probably a lot worse than Rachel had let on. "C'mon, aunt Rachel," Sloane said, giving her aunt an encouraging smile. "Let's get this over with, yeah?"

      "I hate hospitals," Rachel commented underneath her breath as she reached for the handle of the Camry, pulling it towards her and releasing the pressure that opened the passenger door. "Yeah, let's get this over with," Rachel agreed, swinging her body out of the car and into the Forks frost. Sloane followed her lead, helping Rachel to the front of the hospital.

      Sloane noticed Forks Community Hospital was kept at a delightfully warm temperature, warm enough for Sloane's teeth to stop chattering. Rachel waved at the receptionist at the front of the hospital, who gave her a look. "Afternoon, Cecily," she muttered to the curly-haired woman whose eyes were narrowing as Rachel spoke.

Saudade ▸ Jasper HaleWhere stories live. Discover now