Chapter 31

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CHAPTER 31

The room was quiet. It was an apprehensive quiet, the silence awaiting sound, the air carrying it awaiting movement, while I awaited Rose. Aside from her chest rising and falling with soft breaths, the room was still. Lori stood at the far wall, unmoving and unspeaking. She waited not alongside me rather along with me in that patient, profound quiet.

But Rose would wake up soon and she would break the silence. Or at least I hoped and prayed that she would. But my hope was great where my doubt was not, because I could feel her slowly awakening. In her hand which I held at this very moment, while I sat in a small plastic chair beside her bed, her fingers twitched every so often. Her eyes shifted under her eyelids, and her lips moved every once in a while as if she were dreaming.

Maybe I was overreacting, watching her with great care while she laid there. Because I knew that she just hadn't drank or eaten much the past few days, and Lori had informed me that this was the precise reason she had passed out. I hadn't noticed that she didn't eat at lunch, either, and I didn't see her for breakfast or dinner. So there weren't many ways to tell whether or not she had been eating. Apparently she hadn't been.

I had been too self-absorbed trying to sort lost thoughts to even ask how she was doing. This must have been difficult for her as well, I should've asked how she had been, I should've paid closer attention. There were a lot of things I should and shouldn't have done.

And due to my lack of care was a terrible premonition that when Rose awoke she wouldn't want me here. That she would cower back into her sheets and wince away from my touch. I wouldn't blame her, though. My outburst was uncalled for and it shouldn't have happened. But I wasn't in control, it wasn't me. Well, it was me, I wouldn't try to discard the blame, but I hadn't meant it. Something strange was entering my thoughts, something alien to my mind eased its way in. A surge of energy and impulse and all of the madness that was being kept inside me couldn't be sustained amidst my hazy state. So yes, it was my fault, but it was not in my control.

But seeing Rose's horrified face, seeing her sink to the floor and cry in fear at my expense, inflicted a kind of pain worse than a whipping or electroshock therapy. The mental pain was deeper than the psychical pain by a long shot. Because my body was strong and could take the pain where my mind could not.

But at least my actions had one good outcome. In my shock of what I had done it had come back. It started with just a simple feeling, a worry intertwined with a heavy guilt. And then it spread like food coloring in water. I remembered Rose's importance and I remembered why I was really here. A ghost of my old self was reminisced along with the grave fear of almost hurting Rose. Suddenly brought back to me was every feeling I had felt with her and with others. I remembered the emotions of pain and hatred and passion and love.

The shock pulled me out of my mind's quicksand, and finally the picture was clear. I felt myself again; just with more guilt.

A door opened, but I did not look toward it. "Hi, Grace," Lori spoke.

The second woman, Grace, had a voice that was small and whispery as if she were apprehensive to speak. "Hi," she said. I had met her minutes earlier so I didn't need to turn around to uncover the beholder behind the word. She was quite plain, looking as if she could be anywhere in her twenties or thirties. She had thin, flat blonde hair and a pale face. She was the new nurse's assistant who had come in Rose place, but was nothing compared to the beauty laying before me.

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