As promised, here is the last Bonus Chapter for Hush from Noah's POV. If you haven't read the first one yet, you can find it below...
I hope you like it :)
Please note: There are spoilers ahead if you haven't read Hush yet...
Breathing hard, I tried to shove the anger down to a place where I might be able to grasp it and regain control of it. Across the room, Adam, Isaac and Micah watched me with weary eyes. I couldn’t see them. I had my back to them, but I could feel their gazes like pin pricks.
Bending down, I picked up the picture of Kaeli off the floor, barely refraining from going off in another rage at the sight of yet another smashed frame, and sank down on the edge of my bed.
Clenching my jaw, I carefully took out the worn picture and tossed the frame on the floor to join the rest of the things I’d just managed to break.
Shame was quickly starting to overshadow the anger, and I still couldn’t bring myself to meet my brother’s gazes.
All the doctors and psychologists had told me I’d most likely be an emotional fruitcake over these coming weeks, but I hadn’t been prepared for the explosion of anger that had come when Dad had told me Aaron was still at large. He and Eli had had to drag Mom out of the room so I didn’t hurt her. Of course, she resisted the whole way.
I hated that they had to see me like this. I knew I’d probably made Mom cry, and knowing that made me feel like crying too.
Slumping forward, I leant my forearms on my knees and dropped my head into my one free hand. My heart still felt weird, like it was jittery or something, waiting for something bad to happen.
I looked up to see a brand new frame dangling in front of my face.
Without a word, I took the frame and carefully placed Kaeli’s picture in its fourth home.
“Am I that predictable?” I asked, my voice strangely fragile.
I glanced up to meet Adam’s kind eyes.
“After the first one I just thought it’d be easier if I got a few. I was told to expect it.”
Even though the psychologist had told me the same thing, it helped to hear Adam say it. “So this is normal?”
“Yes, Noah. It’s a process. Just give it time.”
The thing with time was that it could be your friend, or it could be your enemy. And when it came to Kaeli I wasn’t sure it was in my favor. It made me feel anxious and fidgety.
Blowing out a huff of breath, I walked over to the window and gazed out without seeing. I was disappointed in myself for exploding like that. I thought I’d come so far in the last couple of weeks. I’d gotten over the insomnia, dealt with the nightmares and night sweats, and made it through the weight loss, the cramps and the tremors.
The psychologist had said my progress was great, all my tests had come back clear, the removal of the tattoo on my neck had been a success after only one treatment - courtesy of it being an amateur job, as was the treatment to heal the skin where my eyebrow and lip piercings had been.
Now I just felt like I’d fucked up everything I’d strived so hard for, and was back to where I’d started from. Fuck my life.
A soft hand slid into mine and gently squeezed. “Hey.”
I turned to come face to face with Mom’s shining eyes. I was such a prick.
“I’m sorry, Ma.”
She shook her head and wrapped her arms around my waist, squeezing me tight. “You don’t have anything to be sorry about, baby.”
The top of her head barely came to my chin. She was almost as tiny as Kaeli. Folding my arms around her, I squeezed her back.
Dad cupped the back of my neck with his hand. “I’m sorry, son. I should’ve known now wasn’t the right time to tell you.”
Lifting my head to meet his gaze, I sighed. “No, I’m glad you did. At least now I’ve got time to process what that means. Just as long as someone’s watching out for Kaeli.”
Dad nodded. “Yeah. I made sure of it.”
“Good.” And as soon as I was out, I could make sure she was taken care of properly.
Releasing Mom, I turned to find Isaac standing beside me. Drawing me into a fierce hug, he thumped me on the back. “Stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing good.”
Isaac didn’t give out those kind of words very often, so they meant a lot to me. There actually weren’t that many people in the world who I cared what they thought of me. All but one was in this room.
Dragging me over to the sofa, he pushed me down while everyone else found some space around me. I cringed when I noticed the mess I’d made had been cleaned up. I had no idea how I hadn’t noticed that.
“So where’s that hot nurse I’ve been hearing all about?” Isaac asked, twitching his eyebrows.
I scowled at him while Eli and Adam laughed.
“What hot nurse?” Micah asked. “What did I miss out on?”
“Nothing,” I grumbled.
Adam shook his head, still laughing. “Noah didn’t seem to realize that walking around in his underwear might cause havoc with the one of the younger nurses.”
“Oh my god,” Mom said, her eyes wide with horror. “You didn’t?”
I sighed. “I was in bed! I woke up in a cold sweat and needed clean sheets. I didn’t think I needed to get dressed for the occasion.”
Dad laughed then. “That’s my boy!”
“Jesus, only you could pick up in freaking rehab, Noah,” Micah said, shaking his head.
Isaac cleared his throat. “No, I’m pretty sure I’d have a fair chance.”
“Oh, that poor girl,” Mom said. “You leave her alone, Isaac.”
Isaac widened his eyes in mock offence. “What? I didn’t say I would…”
We were all still laughing when the nurse in question opened the door and walked in, carrying my lunch tray. Her eyes widened when she saw us all crowded around the small lounge area, and her cheeks instantly went pink.
“Oh, is this a bad time? Do you want me to bring it later?” she stammered.
I looked her over. She was pretty cute, in a girl next door kind of way. She had strawberry blonde hair tied back in a bun, and pale, white skin. She was small. Maybe even smaller than Kaeli, and her eyes were an intriguing, vibrant green.
Mom clucked her tongue. “No, no, sweetie. You’re fine. Bring it in. This boy needs to eat.”
She nodded and nervously brought the tray forward, carefully placing it on the coffee table in front of me. Isaac shifted in his seat, trying to get the nurse to look at him. I kicked him in the shin in warning.
Straightening, the nurse immediately started backing away.
“Thanks,” I muttered, hoping to save her from my idiot brothers as she dashed from the room like she was being chased by a murderer.
Micah immediately started laughing. “Isaac didn’t even get a look in.”
Mom scowled at us all. “That’s because the poor girl was intimidated. I can’t say I blame her though. You’re all pretty darned good looking if I do say so myself.”
“Thanks, Ma,” Adam chuckled. “Although I think you’re a little biased.”
She simply shrugged.
“So what’s next?” Eli asked, training his gaze on me.
Pulling the tray closer so I could start eating, I pursed my lips. “Tattoos.”
I didn’t even bother looking to see what Mom’s reaction was going to be. She wasn’t happy I was choosing to get cover up tatts done on my arms. I wasn’t even going to tell her I’d organized for a piercer to come in with the tattooist. I hated that I had to get rid of my piercings, so I was going to get some in other places. I hadn’t decided where yet. Maybe my tongue. Kaeli might like that.
Smiling, I started shoveling down my food, picturing exactly what I’d like to do with it.