Chapter 38

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Robyn

In the hours that he shuffled his emaciated self around the apartment he did not once ask her if she had any more H nor did he mention his inevitable need to leave and 'score', and she in turn did not mention the bags she had safely hidden away in her purse, but rather she took the moment he went into the bathroom and quickly hid them in the drawer in her master bathroom under the sink.

He was folding away the couch bed when she reemerged, and he flashed her a weak smile. She smiled brightly at him, hoping that he had not seen or suspected anything, and she wrung her hands together nervously as she headed into the kitchen.

"So...are you hungry?"

She asked, looking in her neatly organized refrigerator and hoping he said yes so that she could focus on cooking instead of how awkward the air between them was. What is there to say to someone who you just watched over for the night, dreading and anticipating the moment their soul would slip away from their body? How do you express your relief at the fact that they held on? Why is it so hard to say all the things you were thinking and feeling and pleading for with God or the universe to do and not do and stop? She had no idea how to express the relief she felt; the words to make him understand how happy she was that he was still alive escaped her, but she felt that way and wished she could communicate that to him.

"No I'm not. I'm never really hungry though."

He sat on the couch and rested his head in his hands. His leg bobbed up and down very rapidly and he hardly seemed to notice it. She looked out from the window just above the counter and stared at him, trying to figure out what he was doing.

"Are you alright?"

She asked quietly, her confusion and concern evident in her tone. He lifted his head slowly and nodded.

"Ask me again in the morning."

She smiled, not at all sure what his response meant but happy to pretend that she understood. When dinner was prepared she sat the bowls of chicken soup upon the table and he shuffled over to eat. She noticed his walk was slightly stooped and slower than it had been before; he was sluggish. He sat down and with shaking hands lifted his spoon.

"Niall brought your car back." She spoke and broke the silence between them. "I have the keys...all your stuff is still in there."

"Is that so?" He glanced up at her, and as he grinned his gaunt features seemed to flesh out and become rounder for a moment, and his handsome face was once again in fact and as it should be. "Is that your polite way of telling me to get going?"

She smiled and laughed before catching herself and shaking her head no.

"I was just saying...it's there if you need it."

He nodded and continued to pick at his soup, using his spoon at the very middle of his bowl, allowing it to fill with broth and dumping out any meat, noodles or vegetables that happened to float in. She noticed the way he ate, so carefully and so particular about what he put into his mouth, and if she didn't know better she'd have thought it was because he didn't like her cooking.

But she did know better. She knew the symptoms of addiction well enough to know that a diminished appetite is one of them; the taste of food isn't important, often times that sense becomes dull like all the others.

"I'm taking a break."

"I think that's a great idea."

She said calmly, fighting down the smile that pulled at the corners of her mouth. He rolled his eyes but she hardly noticed.

"Do you think I could get some of what they gave Niall?"

His voice was quiet, almost hopeful, and she nodded.

"You just need to see a doctor and explain yourself to him I suppose."

"No doctors."

His face was blank and totally serious, she nodded again, and not wanting to lose this moment of trust or make him feel pressured she decided not to push the issue.

"That's your decision." She spoke carefully, choosing her words and trying not to patronize. "Only I'm not sure how we can get the medication without a doctor...I'm sure Niall's lawyers would be willing to help since they need your testimony but still that would mean a doctor seeing you."

His spoon clattering against the side of his bowl made her lift her head and pay attention.

"They need my what?"

His eyes were narrow, yet still suspicion and mistrust showed in them. She shook her head and felt her patience suddenly wearing thin; she would not even try to understand how or why he could have any apprehensions about helping Niall.

"Your testimony is a huge part of his defense from what I understand."

With a laugh and a deep roll of his eyes Harry stood from the table and crossed over to the door beside which his shoes laid.

"So this is why I'm suddenly welcome in your apartment and your life."

"The drugs have completely rotted your brain."She spoke as though it was fact; he chuckled. She stood behind him as he reached for the doorknob. "He'll probably be convicted if you don't testify."

"I'm not testifying against anyone. Niall and I both would end up dead. Besides I don't know anything."

She pushed the door closed just as he opened it and surprised herself as much as him by the force with which she accomplished the task. With her back against it she effectively blocked his exit and he took a step back, running a hand through his hair in slightly amused annoyance and frustration. She was not at all amused but rather quite astounded at the depths of his selfishness and his ability to lie so quickly. He clearly knew a great deal about this murder that Niall was accused of, and at the moment rather than letting that fact scare her she felt offended by it for Niall's sake.

"You're a fucking coward."

"And?"

Her eyes were wide as though seeing him clearly for the first time. He smiled.

"You don't even care! You don't care that this man, your friend -your only friend as far as I can tell- needs you to help him and you won't lift a finger!"

"That's about it. You don't seem to understand who we're dealing with, I can't testify against these peop-"

Her outstretched hands stopped his words.

"No one asked you to testify against anyone. They want you to speak for Niall."

"I can't."

"You won't."

"I would but I can't."

"Why not?"

"You don't get it, and I can't explain it to you; just be happy that you can be so innocent and naive."

"I'm not either one of those." She felt as though she was weakening his resolve, getting even a slight rise out of him by nagging at his conscience no matter how small he claimed it was. "I don't want to fight with you while you're trying to come down, and i don't want you to leave. But neither one of us knows exactly what the lawyers need from you; the least you could do is go and hear them out...they may be able to help you."

His shoulders and demeanor fell and he placed his shoes back on the floor. She sighed as he walked back into the living room area. Whether her feelings were of relief or not she wasn't quite sure, but the fact that he had not left yet was a good thing, that much she knew. So when he laid down on the plush white area rug on her floor she didn't protest, she just listened as he mumbled a response.

"You don't know what you're talking about, and I'm too fucked up to argue. I don't want to be in my car when I start shitting myself and throwing up and what not...so okay. Call them and take me there or whatever to see if they can get me what they got Niall."

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