Four days had crawled by. Rachel was being released from the hospital this afternoon and I was helping her mom situate her room. Although she could talk now, Rachel was still immobile. She could lift her arms and move her fingers, but that was the extent of her capabilities. Her first solid meal would be spaghetti tonight.
"Should we add more pillows to the bed?" I asked.
"I think there's enough," her mother replied with a smile. To be fair, the bed had a full layer of pillow on top of the rest of the bedding. "Rachel would be getting a kick out of this if she could see you now."
My lips caved in to a small curl. "I just want everything to be perfect for her."
"She'll appreciate it, I know."
"Me, too. Is there anything else I can do to help?"
Part of me wanted her to ask me to stay over. I was still riddled with guilt about all of this, and I just wanted Rachel to feel my apology, my regret. If only I had used the spray sooner, if only it had gotten me instead, if only...I had to stop myself. The ifs didn't matter anymore. What's done, was done.
"You've done so much already, Hazel," Rachel's mother said as she wrapped her arms around me. "Thank you. I think she'll want some time alone to readjust to her room. You can come see her tomorrow if she's up for it, if you'd like."
"Okay," I relented, disappointed but understanding. "Tell her I'll come as soon as she calls."
Chuckling, she replied, "I will, honey. Go home and get some rest."
Rest was the last thing I wanted. The idea of spending more time alone with my thoughts made my stomach churn. All that waited for me was sadness. Not that I could ever be vulnerable enough to admit as much to her mother. I smiled and traded the comfort of their home for my car.
I hadn't even buckled my seatbelt yet when my phone began to ring. Sighing, I picked it up and checked the screen. It was Mateo. Why would he be calling me? Maybe he had something to say our last conversation. I wasn't sure I really wanted to hear it, but I answered the call anyway.
"Hello?" I said.
"Hey, it's me," he greeted.
His heavy sigh muffled the line. "Look, Haze, I'm sorry about before. I don't wanna be on bad terms with you."
Maybe you shouldn't have left me at a hospital then, I thought bitterly.
"It's fine," I replied instead. "Look, I have to go—"
"Not yet. Don't go yet."
Drawing in a deep breath, I waited for him to explain the point of this.
"I love you, Hazel," he said, "and I know I keep screwing up, but if you would just give me a chance, I can make it up to you."
"You know I care about you, but we're over." My patience with him had dwindled to such a point that I no longer concerned myself with the guilt of his disappointment. "Enjoy the rest of your day, Mat. I'll see you later."
I ended the call before he could respond and tossed my phone onto the seat beside me. My hair felt soft but oily between my fingers while I raked them across my head. I needed to shower, to clean up.
While I drove back home, my mind drifted to Boston. I wondered how he was doing. Was Bailey still with him? How long was she going to stay? My stomach knotted at the thought of them together, but they made for a cute couple. I just needed to get over myself. He and I could never be together. Such a thought was preposterous.
YOU ARE READING
Meeting Mr. WhitakerTeen Fiction
Is it possible to fall in love with the wrong person? According to Hazel Barrett, yes, it absolutely is. Especially if that person happens to be your teacher.