Three

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[Evie]

"Thank you for everything." I embrace Dr. Vaughn.

The last month has been. . . eye-opening. How do I properly describe it? I'm so much happier now, I finally found what I was looking for.

"Of course, I'll see you back when we get that cast off. Let's try and stay out of the hospital though, yes?" She smiles.

"Right."

I say goodbye to the nursing staff and take the elevator to the lobby. A huge St. Anne's backpack is filled with candy and stuffed animals from my friends. It combined with Mia's tackle knocks me right over.

"I'm so glad you're better now! How exciting to find a new way to live with everything." She's misty-eyed.

"Give her some space baby." Brandon laughs and helps us up. "Her arm."

Back on our feet I wiggle my eyebrows at them. I burst out laughing when they both turn red.

"Come on. Mom's waiting to see you." Brandon takes my bag for me.

I paste a fake smile on. I'm angry with her at the moment. She lied about so many things. Tried to handle my medical files and my narcolepsy her own way. All good and fine, until she no longer had full control.

She made my uncontrollable condition into something to be feared. Sleeping spells won't kill me, they never would've. All I need are people to watch out for me. And I have plenty of those.

It feels great knowing that spring is coming up and things are changing. Mia and Brandon are happily joking around in the front seat, and I'll be back at school tomorrow.

Back with Liam.

I've done everything in my power to put him in the back of my mind and keep him there. When tomorrow comes I won't be able to hide from what I've done any more.

***

The closer we get to home, the more I don't want to go. What will I say to my mom? The last time I saw her didn't go so well. Like screaming match in the hospital not so well.

"Mia I was thinking maybe we should have a sleepover tonight." I say sweetly.

"Oh my god that's such a good idea." She turns in her seat and gushes. Brandon gives her a pointed look and she quickly takes it back. "Or maybe not?"

"Just come home E, she really misses you." Brandon turns onto our street.

"Maybe we should take Mia home first." I stall.

"I'm actually gonna stay over for a bit." She blushes.

I audibly groan and sink down. My offensive neon green cast is covered in sharpie. I made the mistake of letting my friends pick the color. Ollie, Lauren, Boston, Camille, Asher, Mia and of course Brandon all signed it.

Mia goes in ahead to Brandon's room. I won't even comment on how weird that is. I put off the inevitable in the back seat.

"Come on." Brandon motions to Mia's empty seat.

I climb into the front as best I can and huff. My arm feels ten pounds heavier, making me habitually lean further to the right. I'm dragged into a hug.

"It'll be okay, mom's just happy you're okay. If you can't make up with mom you'll never make up with Liam."

"Get off me. I hate it when you're right."

We laugh and push each other into the house. Brandon makes himself scarce as I take my shoes off.

"Door open!" Mom yells after him. I wince, mildly grossed out.

In the kitchen I'm overwhelmed by baked goods. The likes of which I haven't seen since thanksgiving. Stress baking. It's kind of my mom's thing.

"Hey." I say quietly. Spooked, my mom drops a sheet of sugar cookies.

"Evangelina." She cries, wiping her floury apron. I'm crushed in yet another hug.

"Ow." I manage.

"Oh baby, I'm sorry." She examines my bright cast. Then again, "I'm so sorry. Sit, sit."

Pushed onto a stool at the breakfast bar, I sit unsure of what to do. My anger dissipated at her apology and nothing remained between us. She slides me a plate of confectioneries. Scones, muffins, a slice of cheesecake, and infinite types of cookie. It makes me afraid to look in the freezer.

"I want you to understand where I was coming from. You don't have to agree with me, but I need you to listen." She sets to washing dishes as she explains. I pick up the raspberry scone. Where did she find raspberries? It's February.

"Okay." I munch.

"When you were born, you didn't cry. For three minutes you didn't cry. Instead you slept soundly without a care in the world. I had you naturally you know."

Oh I knew. Mom loves to talk about her natural birth and her 'darling midwife' Cindy.

"Your father and I were so scared. On and on it went. Every time anything scared you, you would fall sound asleep, Brandon quite liked scaring you. No one trusted modern medicine back then, it wasn't until after Charles. . . It wasn't until after your father was gone that I took you to the hospital."

"Narcolepsy they told me. I didn't believe it, something so rare, it couldn't be happening to my baby. You nearly died on Charles watch, he thought you had. That's why he took his life." She sighed. "I did everything I could from then on to keep you safe. I mean everything. I made myself sick with worry, I neglected your brother, I smothered you. I was so scared."

"You don't have to worry anymore mom, I can take care of myself now. We can do this together." I lean over the counter and take her soapy hand.

"I'll always worry about you Evangelina. I understand that your life is your own though, you'll be an adult and gone before I know it. I'm sorry for lying to you. If you truly think you can handle doing things your way then I'll give you that freedom."

"Thank you." I whisper.

Stuffed full, I slide off the stool and turn to go up the stairs. The prospect of sleeping in my own bed is so euphoric.

"Evangelina?"

"Yeah?" I stand on the bottom step.

"Be kind to that nice boy. People do crazy thing from shock. And even crazier out of love."

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