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BELLA was seated beside Cole's sleeping body as she checked his breathing every few minutes. She nervously looked at the door, trying desperately to listen for any movement - her only hope was Mommy, or else she knew the outcome of Cole's infections would not be pleasant.

"Thank you for defending me," Bella whispered to him, though she was sure he couldn't hear her.

Cole began mumbling under his breath, his eyes still shut as he pressed his cheek into the powder blue tile of the bathroom floor. Bella sat upright and tried to listen to him, but couldn't hear his words under his heavy breaths.

"What's wrong?" Bella asked, her heart racing in her throat as she noticed a lazy smile on his lips. Was he dying? "Cole?" she cried out.

"What's happened?" Elliot's small voice asked from against the bathtub, and Bella looked over to find him looking over in worry, buried into his towel to the point where only his eyes were showing.

"Nothing, don't worry about it," Bella dismissed, looking back towards Cole.

"Ciao mama, dove sono andato?" Cole whispered under his breath, his ice coloured eyes opening slightly as he seemed very hazy and unusual. "Significa così tanto che io possa vederti," he mumbled happily, laughing a little bit with a small smile on his lips.

He was clearly hallucinating. Bella worriedly grabbed his hand, which made him look over at her with a drowsy stare as his lips lifted into a big smile again.

"Mamma?" he asked, gazing at Bella in amazement. His bloodshot eyes were wide and seemed forced open, and his lips were parted. "You are beautiful. I missed you while I was away."

Bella took a deep breath and gnawed on her bottom lip, something she had been doing a lot lately. His fever was spiking by the minute, and it had to be at a dangerous temperature.

"Cole, it's only Bella. Please stop," she breathed, trembling with fear. She hastily stood to her feet and grabbed Cole's unused towel off the floor, wetting it in cold water under the faucet before kneeling beside him again and pressing the cold cloth against his forehead.

"Why did you put a cold blanket on me?" he whispered, his words groggy.

"Shhh, please," Bella begged, her fingers shaking as she pressed the towel to his clammy cheeks, staring at the blood that stained the white cloth after pressing it against his flesh.

His eyes closed again, his dark eyelashes fanning across his cheekbones in peace as his smile faded and he fell asleep again. Bella worked the towel around his chest, wiping it against his infected wounds as well as the fresh ones.

She grew terrified at the possibility of somebody dying in front of her.

She heard movement at the door, and took a breath of relief. When Mommy swung the door open, Bella noticed that she had a huge bandage covering her forehead.

Mommy stepped over Cole's body and handed Bella a small pile of skimpy clothing. When Bella held the shirt up, she noticed it was an ivory, nearly transparent tank top with lace lining the neck and straps and beneath it was a pair of tight and white, overly tiny shorts.

"Th...These are my clothes?" Bella whispered, gazing up at Mommy as she handed Elliot a pair of jeans and a blue tee shirt.

"Yes, I figured you would enjoy wearing close to nothing," Mommy's grin was spiteful and filled with disgust as she threaded her thin fingers through her crispy hair. She seemed surprisingly sobered up compared to her state from hours ago.

Bella stared at the pile of clothes in her palm, holding her towel up with her other hand as she began formulating a plan. She knew that she had to ease Mommy's anger a little bit in order to get her to comply to her request.

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