I couldn’t let go of him, I never could. My arms remained holding onto his body as he slept with my head resting on his chest, feeling him breathing. My eyes were closed when someone gently touched my shoulder, and I heard a voice say, “Stephanie, you need to go home and rest. You’ve been here for hours.”
My tired eyes looked up to see my mother standing there. Had I really been here that long? I slowly sat up before looking back down at Louis. My mother touched my arm, “Sweetie, he will be just fine.”
“That’s what they said the last time, mom. Look what happened!” I softly said, worry edging my voice.
“Honey, please. You need your sleep. We can come back first thing in the morning, I promise you,” she stated quietly.
I shook my head, stubbornly protesting, “You can’t promise he will be fine. You don’t know.”
“No, I can’t promise that. Stephanie, you need rest and so does Louis,” my mother persistently stated again.
I remained where I was on the bed and she tried to grab me off it. I pushed her away, crying. “Let me go.”
“Honey, you need to let go! You need to trust the healers and everyone else that Louis is in good hands and he will be just fine.” My mother argued.
How could I trust them after what just happened? I shook my head, tears in my eyes as I spoke quietly, “I can’t.”
“Stephie, you need to try.” My mother touched my head, stroking my hair.
My eyes glanced back at Louis, “The last time I did, I nearly lost him.”
My mother bit her lip before adding, “Stephanie, you’ve spent so long trying to make sure that I was okay and now that Louis will be okay. You’ve cared so much about what happens to other people, you forgot to care about yourself. You need to think of yourself just once.”
I bit my lip, my fingers entwining Louis’. “Give me a minute, okay? I’ll be along.”
“Alright but if you are not out in that hallway in more than six minutes, I will come and drag you out personally,” my mother stated, walking out the door.
The room was quiet except for the sounds of Louis’ steady breathing and my heart thumping wildly in my chest. I leaned down and kissed him lightly before whispering, “I’ll be back tomorrow.”
Just as I was about to get up, I heard him say in a low voice, “I’ll be fine.”
I looked back at him and he met my gaze with tired eyes. I squeezed his hand, “You were listening.”
Louis managed a smile, mentioning softly, “I’m always listening.”
I smiled slightly before kissing him one last time. He pressed his lips against mine as his fingers delicately stroked my cheek. There weren't enough words to begin to describe how I felt when he kissed me. My body turned to Jell-O, my heart filled with thousands of anxious butterflies and my mind raced faster than the speed of light. I savored every moment before he finally pulled away, whispering, “I'm fine.”
I kissed him lightly, “I will be back tomorrow.”
His fingertips tenderly touched my face, near the dark shadows forming under my eyes. I knew I probably looked like a mess but he didn't care. He loved me and that was what mattered most. The lady healer entered the room, “Time for another potion.”
Louis groaned, reluctant to take another potion that would make him drowsy. I smiled, standing and the healer bid me goodnight. I dragged my feet to the door before turning around, my eyes gazing at Louis. He was sitting up in bed, taking the potion from the healer. His blue eyes met mine for a brief moment and I searched his gaze for a hint of pain or hurt. I saw none. I only saw the tiredness and the love built beneath the layers. He was going to be okay, we were going to get through this. I knew we would.
I returned home with my mother and headed into the bathroom to clean up before bed. I looked in the mirror and saw how drained I really was. My skin was pale, dark circles forming around my red eyes as I had been crying a lot today. I washed my face and threw on some pajamas. My mother handed me a cup of tea, “I'm going to go downstairs to talk to Hannah. Do you need anything, honey?”
I shook my head, sipping the tea, “No, I'm going to bed. Night.”
She kissed my forehead and headed downstairs. I sat on my bed, staring into the pool of steaming liquid inside the cup. My fingers traced the silver spirals of words; it was the mug was the one Louis had gotten me for Christmas. That happy day seemed so long ago. I set the mug down and curled up in bed, trying to sleep. My eyes closed and slowly, I found myself in the depths of dreamland, a land consisting of Louis and me, together.
I rose early the next morning as I wanted to visit Louis as much as possible. Hannah had given me the next couple days off work, I could not thank her enough. After dressing warmly and eating breakfast, I headed to St. Mungo's. The moment I walked by the reception desk, the woman sent me a look of fear. The second I looked at her, she shrunk away, burying her face in her Daily Prophet as though she was afraid I would snap at her again like I did yesterday. I sent her a small smile before heading down the hall to Louis' room.
As soon as I neared the doorway, I could hearing talking and it wasn't in English, it was French. I recognized Louis' warm, beautiful voice but then I heard an unfamiliar girl speaking back to him. Slightly confused, I walked in the doorway and saw an exquisite brunette girl, my age, perched on the chair near his bedside. Even with her back to me, I could imagine the smile on her face and she wore the most expensive looking winter clothing I had ever seen. Louis was was sitting up, looking loads better than last night but who was the girl?
I frowned slightly and then it happened right in front of my face. He probably hadn't even seen me enter as I had been so quiet. She leaned over to him, whispered something in his ear and lovingly kissed his cheek. My heart stopped beating. I couldn't breathe. My fingers clenched into fists as tears began to form in my eyes. Had I just witnessed that scene? Was I dreaming? I could only pray I was because right now, my whole world crumbled into a giant mess and I felt my heart break in two.
My thoughts were interrupted as I heard Louis' quiet voice say my name. “Stephanie.”
The girl turned around, smiling at me and so perfectly saying with a French accent, “Hello, I'm Madeline.”
I didn't respond, I remained where I was and then I saw her fingers on his arm, stroking his skin before resting on his fingers. Trying my best to fight back the tears, my voice squeaked out, “How do you know her?”
Louis hesitantly responded, “Stephanie, when I was in France, I met Madeline, we sort of hung out and were-”
I didn't want to hear the rest. This made me sick. My stomach lurched inside me as I felt the urge to throw up. Was she an ex-girlfriend? If so, why was she here? What right did she have to be here? Louis had kept enough secrets from me in the past with his name, his sickness but this drove me to the edge. I couldn't take it anymore. I was supposed to be his girlfriend - I was.
Tears spilled over my eyes, streaming down my cheeks and I said with anger in my tone, “I don't want to know.”
As fast as I could, I ran out the room, hearing Louis call after me, “Stephanie! Stephanie, please!”
I didn't want an explanation this time. I was done with those. Rushing past confused healers, I collided into someone. I tried to move but the person stopped me. “Stephanie?”
My eyes slowly looked up to see the warm face of Bill Weasley. He asked concernedly, “What's wrong?”
“Just let me go. I never want to see Louis again.” I cried, breaking free of his grip on me.
Fleur tried to reach for me, “Stephanie, I am sure Louis can explain-”
“No. He can't because I'm sick of listening! I keep getting hurt and I'm done feeling like that,” I shouted angrily before running out the door into the frigid. late January air. The snowflakes melted into my tears as I ran across the street, wishing I could run away from the world, a world that held no pain.
Not even watching where I was going, I found myself slipping on the icy sidewalk and my body slammed onto the pavement, my head meeting the hard ground with a harsh blow. I winced as I lay there, staring up at the morning sky. My bare skin of my hands shivered from the cold snow. The last time I had fallen, someone had picked me up. Louis. He wasn't here this time. So, who was here to help me up and make sure I was okay? No one. I had only myself.
Closing my eyes, I wept, recalling our first meeting. The tears wouldn't stop coming from my eyes as I lay there in agony. My heart was bursting inside my chest, causing me so much pain I could scarcely move. Why was it always me? What did I do to deserve this? Lying on the sidewalk, people rushed past, yet no one stopped to see me. And for some odd reason, I was okay with that. If I could be numb, maybe the pain wouldn't hurt so much.
As I lay there in pain, eyes closed, I descended into the unknown and let the darkness fall around me....
A/n: My dear readers, thanks so much for all the support!!!! I hope this was okay for a chapter. Don't hate me for the twist at the end!!!!! I know you are all anxious for more, I'm working on it slowly and surely. I'm in school, have loads of Advanced Placement courses as well as other things... but I will find time to write! Thanks for reading!