Chapter Four

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Chapter Four


Beep, beep, beep.

Rolling over, I turned off my alarm and squinted at the bright screen.

"Mmmmm..." I murmured.

I reached for the remote on my nightstand and turned on the television. The cheerful hosts of Good Morning America popped onto the screen. The camera swept from their smiling faces to Ginger Zee, who eagerly pointed to a large storm system invading much of the west coast.

A few seconds later, the local meteorologist announced the threat of thunderstorms, some of which could be severe.

Forcing myself out of bed, I made my way to the bathroom and twisted the shower knob. As steam filled the air, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Hmmmm, I thought to myself with surprise, the bags under my eyes aren't so bad this morning. For the first time in ages, I actually felt rested.

I grabbed my towel off of the hook on the door and threw it over the towel warmer in the corner of the bathroom. A small smile crossed my face. Hudson bought it for me last Christmas. I don't know why you want one of these things, he had said with a lopsided smile. Looks like something one of those housewives on Bravo would want. I had giggled. I don't know if you got the memo, but I'm kind of a big deal, I had said between fits of laughter. Hudson laughed too. Our inside jokes never needed an explanation.

My smile faded as I stepped into the shower and my heart stung with grief. I missed him so much. People always said twins have a special connection and Hudson and I were no exception. When we were seven years old, he had gone to his first overnight camp with his Boy Scout troop. In the middle of the night, he had to be rushed to the hospital with abdominal pain. My grandmother had come over to stay with me as my parents hurried to the hospital. Before I even knew he was sick, I woke up and began crying. When my grandmother came in to comfort me, I told her that my stomach hurt and that I was scared. A few minutes later, we found out my brother had just had his appendix removed and my pain slowly evaporated as he began to recover. We were connected on such a deep level. No one would ever truly understand.

Tears filled my eyes and my knees went weak. Sinking to the floor, my body shook with sobs. Hudson, I miss you so much...

Four Days Later...

I made my way up the smooth steps to Dr. Charlie's office. My fingers trailed on the railing as I ascended the stairs. The first time I had made my way to his office, I had felt incredibly self-conscious. I knew I needed to talk to someone about my loss. I knew I needed help, but the thought of sharing my most private and pain-filled thoughts with a stranger made me feel uncomfortable.

As I reached the top of the steps, I took a deep breath and made my way to the clouded glass door. A small plaque on the door read, "Dr. Simonson, Ph. D., Dr. Alvarez, Ph. D., and Dr. Andrews, Ph. D." I liked that Dr. Charlie went by his first name instead of Dr. Andrews. It made him seem more down to earth.

I pushed through the door and approached the receptionist. Her bright red lipstick always caught my attention. Although it struck me as an odd choice for someone working in a physiatrist's office, it somehow managed to suit her perfectly.

"Hadley Jasper, here to see Dr. Charlie," I said in a quiet voice.

She adjusted a small nameplate that read, "Jacqueline."

"I'll let Dr. Charlie know you're here."

I forced a weak smile and turned around. I scanned the waiting room. Two patients waited to be called. An older woman with a wrinkled face and a young man with trembling hands both looked up at me and then quickly adverted their eyes.

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