“What the bloody hell are you doing?” Matt yelled as Mathilda ripped the covers off of him. “Get the fuck out of my room!”
“You’ve been lying in this bed long enough, Matt, and I’m sick and tired of it,” Mathilda snapped. “I am going out tonight with my friends, and you are coming with me.”
“No bloody way.” Matt tried to snatch his duvet back, but Mathilda held them out of his reach.
“I am not standing by and letting you fall into a depression,” Mathilda told him sternly. “Life has to move on and you’re not even putting any effort into it.”
“It’s only been a week, Mathilda!” Matt yelled. “Let me have them back!” He held his hand out.
“No!” Mathilda clutched them tightly. “You’re getting up, you’re taking a shower, and you’re coming with me!” The look in her eyes said she wasn’t going to give up until Matt agreed to go with her.
“Maybe your mates will be there too.”
“I don’t want to meet my mates,” Matt snarled.
“Then you’ll meet new people! No matter what, you’re getting out of that bed. I’m dragging you out if you don’t do as I say.”
“As if you could!” Matt snapped, but he got up. Maybe there’d be alcohol; that would be a really nice way to spend the evening. Plastered and blissful. That was the only reason he decided to go with her, because he certainly didn’t want to meet any new people. Or old ones, for that sake.
“Serena is picking us up in half an hour. You’ve got a lot to do, so you better get going.” Mathilda nodded towards the bathroom with her chin.
Matt glared at her, but did as ordered. She stood clutching his covers until he was out of the room, then he heard her dumping them on his bed before she too exited his room.
“I’ll be in my room trying on clothes.”
He slammed the bathroom door a little harder than was strictly necessary, just because he felt like it. She had no right bossing over him like that. She was not his mother. However, she might provide some alcohol, which would be good right about now.
Matt jumped in the shower and scrubbed himself clean. He washed his hair twice for good measure. When he was done he stood in front of the mirror and regarded himself as he used a towel to dry himself. He seemed thinner than he remembered, but then not having eaten much for the last few days did that to a body.
He wrapped the towel around his waist and took out a smaller one to dry his hair. He walked back to his room to find suitable clothes for a night of alcohol indulgence and he settled for his skinny, black jeans, a white tank-top and a tight, black sweater. Matt supposed he was rather fond of black. He grabbed his belt and a pair of socks, then went back to the bathroom. As he dressed and once again ran the towel over his shaggy, black hair, Matt’s gaze fell on Mathilda’s make-up, which lay scattered atop the washing machine.
Matt had always been rather fond of eyeliner, though he’d never actually used it himself. Mostly because of the whole keeping-his-sexuality-a-secret business, because his parents were bound to suspect if he started wearing make- up. Why had he never dared do it before, anyway? It wasn’t like they would care about the make-up or the fact he was gay.
He felt a pang of regret and sadness and he stood clutching at his chest for several minutes before it let him go. Once the wave passed, Matt grabbed Mathilda’s eyeliner and set to work.
When that was done he ran his hands through his hair, ruffling it up. It’d just have to be wet; he didn’t have time to dry it.
“I’m done!” he called out to Mathilda when he finally exited the bathroom.
“I’ll be down in a minute!” Mathilda yelled back.
Matt contemplated going over to ask what she was doing that was taking so long, but if she was standing there in her underwear, or worse naked, he did not want to see it. Instead he dashed into his room to get his phone, suddenly feeling excited about the prospect of getting plastered.
That’s what you get for calling it a slow night in the A&E.
Granted, it hadn’t been Damian saying it, but the end result was the same; not ten minutes after the words were said, the A&E was swamped. There had been a car crash, involving several cars.
Some victims had gotten away with a few scratches and bruises and the fright, but there were also multiple traumas. Damian stepped outside just as an ambulance came to a halt.
The backdoors were slammed open and the stretcher lowered as the paramedic talked a mile a minute about the patient’s condition. Damian didn’t hear any of it, however, because he’d gotten a look at the patient’s face, and his blood ran cold. Blood covered most of her face, but Damian still recognized her. He couldn’t not after having lived all of his teenage years in her house.
Someone was yelling Damian’s name and it broke him out of the shocked trance he’d gone into. Damian hurried after the stretcher inside the A&E, eyes only for Claire’s limp, bloody body.
“Where’s her husband?” He asked the female paramedic. “Were there teenagers in the car?” He grabbed her arm in desperation.
“No teenagers. Only her and a man. He was brought in before her,” the paramedic informed him, casting a quick, worried look. “He was badly hurt, too.”
Damian backed away. He heard someone call his name again, but he didn’t have time. He had to find his uncle. He went to the trauma rooms, checking each one in turn. When he entered number four, he saw Ray’s familiar face, pale and unmoving.
“Time of death … 23:45.”
No! Damian pushed his way past a nurse and another doctor and took Ray’s hand. It was still warm, still bloody, but there was no life in it, no pulse. No, no, no!
Damian snapped out of the shock and he stared at the
doctor who’d called his name. Then he remembered Claire. He had to go to Claire; he had to be there for her. There was nothing he could do for Ray—Ray was dead and Claire was all alone.
He pushed his way out of the room again and found Claire in trauma two. She lay just as unmoving as she had when she’d been strapped to the gurney; her face was just as bloody. Some of it was coagulating, but fresh blood still trickled from a nasty gash in her temple. The blond hair on that side was a mess.
“Dr. Fielding, get out of here,” the trauma doctor told him sternly when he caught sight of Damian in the doorway. “We’ll do the best we can, but you cannot stay in here.”
“I have to stay,” he insisted, his voice low. “She’s all alone. I don’t want her to be alone when—”
The older doctor came up in front of him. “Dr. Fielding. Get out. You cannot stay in here while we work on her. Go to the waiting room. Now!”
Damian knew he couldn’t be there, but part of him still held onto that he had to be there for her. The other part of him, the logical one, knew he would never be allowed, so he turned and walked stiffly back out into the A&E proper.
He could hear the beep of the machine as Claire coded and he knew, though it clawed painfully at his insides to admit it, that it wouldn’t be long before her body gave up.
Yesterday’s Tears releases on November 20th, from Less Than Three Press.