posted by Broody_4_Cheery
disclaimer: dont own anything.
There is something about a classroom, almost welcoming, the buzz in the air of minds seeking knowledge. Okay that is slightly pushing it, most of the time I feel lucky to have students that are awake let alone actually looking phía trước, chuyển tiếp to what I try to teach them. Then again I’m not their ‘real’ teacher; I’m a substitute so most of the time students see me as a free pass to do whatever they want and a chance to try out pranks. Switching names, lying about due dates hoặc what part of the work they are up to, hoặc even swapping classes – just to name a few.
Still there are those classes, hoặc single students, that make it all worth it and when bạn reach them it sends a feeling straight to your heart, a warm buzz that you’ve accomplished something mixed with the one bạn get when an innocent child wraps their arms around you.
I tình yêu knowing that I could have changed someone’s life for the better, in a way my whole world is focused around that and I know exactly why it is so important to me. My whole adulthood was shaped bởi two women, if it wasn’t for them I have no idea where I would be today but certainly not where I am. They gave me a chance, when I was a surly teenager with no faith in the human race they gave me something to believe in.
To do the same for someone else is the only way I can think to thank them, to be even half the type of women they were is how I repay them.
The chuông, bell rings and I let the teenagers go with a firm reminder that they’ve got an assignment due tomorrow, and then I am alone.
It’s been twenty years since I walked into that classroom and had to answer to Haley James Scott, twenty long years since Brooke Davis opened her trang chủ to me. I haven’t sat down and thought about them in a while, and I don’t know why my mind strays to them today. Maybe I am feeling nostalgic hoặc perhaps its just time.
My phone rings, I am in no rush to pick it up and take my time answering the call, “Samantha Colson” I say automatically, a smile in my voice.
“Sam, its Sylvia”
Sylvia Peters is a judge and a friend of mine, she was the one who suggested I become a guardian ad litem three years cách đây and I have often found myself standing across from her in the family court. It helps bring me a little extra money when things are tight and it helps with my reputation as well, bạn don’t have to be a lawyer to be a GAL in fact it’s probably an oxymoron considering the main requirements of a guardian ad litem is morals and a heart.
“Is this a social hoặc professional call?” I ask to cut to the chase, though I have a feeling that whatever this is it’s definitely not social.
Sylvia sighs, “work… there’s a case, twelve năm old girl seeking medical emancipation from her parents”
I can’t help but whistle, “messy”
“Especially when bạn factor in the dying brother in need of a kidney, which is why we’re trying to push this through as quickly as possible-”
“And bạn know I’m free, right” I interrupt.
There is a pause, then Sylvia begins speaking again “I was thinking about how this girl needs someone in her corner, it’s going to be messy with two such strong sides and the parents are stuck right in the middle between two of their children, I don’t envy them. Your strong, Sam, with a good tim, trái tim and I know that bạn can compartmentalise and focus on the child at hand”
“And not on the dying kid” I add dryly.
“Well, yes. And then there’s the matter of the family itself, they aren’t exactly low thông tin các nhân which is why I called you, I know I can trust bạn to be discrete”
That’s me, Sam Colson, trustworthy. I smile, mentally rolling my eyes “okay bạn can stop now with the compliments, I’m in”
There was a laugh on the other side and then she was giving me the name and address of the lawyer, I sat there speechless and tempted to ask her to repeat it but I didn’t, I gave a shaky farewell and slipped the phone back into my handbag.
Well today has turned out to be one to walk down memory lane, why not a familiar face from the past. I guess somewhere I knew it was a possibility that one ngày our paths would cross, then again I never imagined Julian taking the sort of case that could make that happen.
Tapping my chin with a pen I let his face appear in my mind. He must be what, forty six hoặc seven now, but I still picture him as a cocky twenty something who use to ruffle my hair, god, he’s the closest thing to a father I’ve ever had which thinking back on now seems ridiculous. The man is barely ten years older than me, I laugh out loud, I can’t imagine Julian as any sort of daddy in relation to me anymore but I can look back fondly on those months when he dated my foster mother Brooke and still feel like I was a part of a family.
With no classes scheduled for the last period of the ngày I leave the school early to head towards Julian’s office on the other side of Charlotte, and staring up at the modest building I’m once again surprised bởi the turn he took in life. Crossing the đường phố, street my eyes are fixed on the door leading up to where I know I’ll find him but for some unexplainable reason I don’t get there.
At the last moment I stop and turn to look behind me, my eyes go over my car and zoom in on the coffee cửa hàng I parked tiếp theo to. Following instinct I quickly jog across the đường phố, street barely acknowledging the cars on the road, the chuông, bell dings as I walk inside and straight away the chatter fills my ears. The rich smell of roasted coffee beans takes my breath away for a moment and I soak it in before really looking around. It takes all of two giây to spot him.
All the background noises fade away until they are just a faint buzzing in the back of my mind, I walk around the line until I’m just behind him and I open my mouth, no words come out so instead I close it and just smile.
His back stiffens and then in slow motion Julian turns around, something clicks into place, some long cách đây emotion when things felt so right and he smiles back. The corners of his eyes crinkle as he grins but he doesn’t speak, I kink my brow and then he half turns back to the front and orders a một giây coffee adding at the end “… three sugars, no make that five”
We continue to stand there for a while, speechless and then he hands me my coffee and shifts his eyes to one of the booths, I follow his lead.
“Sampson” he breathes out almost in disbelief.
I nervously tuck my hair behind my ear, “have I changed that much?”
He shakes his head quickly and his eyes widen, his lips pursed, then he took a sip of his drink and quickly placed it back down as it burned his mouth. I couldn’t help but smirk.
“You grew up” he finally says.
I shrug, “that happens”
“Yeah, I just… wow, you’re all grown up, the last time I saw bạn it was a angsty teen in front of me and now-” he motions to me “- bạn look happy, bạn look-” grown up I silently add on as he stops. I’m a woman, mature and I have that presence bạn get when bạn finally grow into your skin, I get it. I fit me now.
“And bạn got old” I stretched out the word and averted my eyes as his narrowed at me, he placed a hand to his tim, trái tim “ouch, Sammy”
“I tell it like it is”
“You always have, and seeing we are being so honest what are bạn doing here? Not that it’s not great to see bạn it is but I am curious”
“Business” I say.
He looks at me harder, “you in trouble?” he eventually asks and I roll my eyes.
Kinking my brow higher I smirk “don’t worry Julian my shoplifting days are over, no I’m a guardian ad litem among other things-”
His bushy eyebrows both rise and I can tell he’s shocked as he cuts in “wait! You’re Samantha Colson?”
Before I can say anything else Julian leans phía trước, chuyển tiếp “you do know who this case is about, right?”
A twelve năm old girl I thought but his expression warns me that there is something thêm important about it. Sylvia had mentioned the family wasn’t exactly low profile, just how big is it, how big can it be in Charlotte?
“Well” I say slowly and then add on thêm cockily “see that is why I’m here, to find out and pick up the papers”
“So bạn don’t know” He sits back and swipes a hand through his short hair, it looks curlier than I remember and there are dark grey strands all the way through it, I look away.
“What’s the big deal?” I ask, he pales and I really look at him “Julian, what is it?”
His eyes meet mine, “does the name Abra Scott mean anything to you?”
My tim, trái tim sinks, I can tell my face just turned three shades paler which is a miraculous feat considering how naturally white I already am. The name Scott means a lot to me, Abra not so much but Scott is definitely relevant to me.
“Sister to Keith” Julian adds on and I close my eyes. There goes that small hope it was Jamie’s little sister.
“Daughter to Lucas and-”
“Brooke” I cut in opening my eyes, my cheeks now red “yes I get the picture”
Damn. The past really did come back today and not exactly in the best way. For a một phút my mind fights to find another explanation but the facts are clicking into places I don’t like.
I down my coffee quickly and the sugar sends a nice sensation through my body but it is not good enough to help keep away the dread, “so, Abra? The twelve năm old suing her parents?”
Julian is watching me carefully, he nods.
“Keith is sick?” I ask and a mental picture pops up in my mind and I mumble under my breath “he was such a good baby”
He must have heard me because his eyes fill with a million questions, ones I am not ready to answer. “Right” I say decisively, focused on leaving the past where it belongs “show me the files”
There is a lot of medical information that goes straight over my head, a lot of dates and information to take in and I keep trying to picture the people I use to know going through all this.
Poor Brooke, why did she never tell me any of this… what am I thinking, I never gave her the choice. Damn.
The whole time I’ve been in his office Julian has been watching me, he occasionally shifts positions but his eyes never leave me. các câu hỏi burning in the gaze, finally as I reach the end of the last paragraph I break the silence “thirteen years”
With a sigh I close the folder and place it onto the desk, I look at Julian trying to mask the emotion, “it’s been thirteen years since I’ve seen her, and a few thêm since the last time we talked, I didn’t know about Abby hoặc Keith getting sick”
“I’m sorry” he whispers and I blink away the tears, “don’t be, it wasn’t your fault” I reassure him, I never got why people apologized for things that weren’t their fault especially to the people who were to blame. Suddenly I laugh; it comes out of nowhere “I was one of the bridesmaids, bạn know”
I’m not sure when I stood up but suddenly I’m pacing, “I don’t think I ever saw Brooke happier than that day” and through the corner of my eyes I see Julian wince, I turn towards him “I’m sorry, I didn’t think-”
“It’s okay, I’m not Lucas Scott, the message was received loud and clear a long time ago”
At first I hadn’t gotten the big deal, the whole Brooke and Lucas thing, I didn’t know all the details about their past. In fact I had been completely shocked when Brooke had confessed to me that she was dating Lucas, it seemed so strange to me seeing that Lucas had barely anything to do with Brooke when I lived with her, in fact he was so linked to Peyton in my mind it had seemed sort of wrong. Then I saw them together, and I saw the way people reacted to them, the way Haley so carefully watched them happy and scared at the same time. I thought it was about Lucas moving on after Peyton, that happiness but fear at the same time. Haley had to explain it to me, that it was thêm about Brooke, how Lucas was the only person who could reach a certain spot in her tim, trái tim – the only person who could break it so completely. And it worked both ways. To me Brooke and Lucas had never existed before this, for everyone else it had always been there, their names linked even if they were never đã đưa ý kiến together.
For Brooke nobody was Lucas Scott, and watching their life together I realised that there were two Brooke’s. The one with Lucas and the one without, she was complete, different and just happier with Lucas. It was hard to explain the difference if bạn couldn’t see it for yourself.
Looking back on the past I realise Julian must have figured it out the hard way.
“She loved you” I quickly say, forcing as much sincerity into the words as I can. I had seen that, hadn’t I?
Julian’s expression changes, a cruel smile tilts his lips “no, she wanted to tình yêu me”
I find there is nothing I can say to that. My mouth opens but I close it, sensing my discomfort Julian walks over and hands me the file that is meant for me, I go to grab it but he doesn’t let go. I’m forced to look at him, his hand still firmly gripping the documents he says carefully “are bạn ready for this Sam because it’s not going to be easy, you’re going to be against her and you’re not allowed to think about what this will do to Brooke bạn have to be focused on Abby, one hundred percent, and if bạn can’t do that then it’s better if bạn leave now while bạn still can”
The words hit me one bởi one and I force my eyes down to where both our hands grip the file, I tug and he lets go, I look back up diễn xuất far braver than I actually feel “I’m ready”
I have to do this, not despite of the past but because of it.
“What do bạn think? Tell me the truth because Naley thinks it should be condemned”
It’s not the same, a lot of years have been put into the house, and it’s so far away from what it was the last time I stood here and a lifetime different to the piece of shit Brooke first showed me.
It’s different yet the memories still flood back.
I suck in a breath. Did I really say I was ready? What a load of bull.
“Move it hoặc lose it kid” Julian murmurs stepping behind me and I di chuyển over, glaring at him I shoot back with just enough bite in my voice “give me a moment” and I sigh, observing the house again.
The last time I was here it was when Brooke told me she was pregnant, I missed the baby vòi hoa sen and I hadn’t shown up to the christening.
“Why didn’t bạn come?”
Her voice begs in my memory, hurt, but how could I tell her that she had moved on and I needed to as well. I couldn’t be an outsider in somebody else’s family, I couldn’t live on the sidelines, it had been time for me to finally pick my family and stick with it. Going between Rebecca and Brooke hadn’t been healthy for any of us, and Brooke would never let me go so I had to do it for her. I didn’t make it pretty.
Out of nowhere Julian takes my hand, his fingers looping through mine in a reassuring squeeze, shocked I looked at him even as his warm hand offered me the comfort that quickly soothed my nerves.
“Sorry” he đã đưa ý kiến taking his hand away, “you looked like bạn needed support”
After a few awkward moments I softened and took his hand back “thank you” I đã đưa ý kiến but he didn’t reply back, he allowed me to take his hand and cling to him as we walked to the door and then as I rang the doorbell he let go and nudged my shoulder and I nudged him back fighting the smile.
The wait seemed endless, I glanced at the jeep in the driveway then back at the door but nobody answered. Julian pressed the chuông, bell again but the door remained closed.
“Well that was pointless” all those nerves for nothing, and I turn around.
She was tall, her body slim and already hiển thị the curves of the woman she would one ngày be. My whole body froze as the girl at the end of the driveway stared at Julian and I, and I didn’t need to see his look of recognition to know who she was.
Her hair was a dark blonde, hoặc perhaps a light brown, it was hard to tell and her eyes were hazel, not like Brooke’s had been, not a dark gaze that hovered somewhere between green and brown. No Brooke’s daughter had big eyes that seemed to go between blue and grey and as she came closer, bouncing the bóng rổ in her hands, I could see the yellow and brown speckles in their depth.
She didn’t look like Brooke yet she did.
Abby plucked the headphones from her ears and looked from Julian to me, “hello”
“Hi, bạn must be Abby”
She dropped the ball and caught it between her feet, leaning phía trước, chuyển tiếp she offered me her hand “yeah, and you’re?” and the một phút she smiled her face transformed into her mothers. There weren’t two identical dimples, it wasn’t nearly as dazzling, if anything Abby had her father’s smile but it changed her features enough that for a moment it was like staring straight at a lighter Brooke.
My breath caught but I took her hand and shook it.
“Abby Scott, meet Sam Colson, she’s going to be your guardian ad litem” Julian speaks when I don’t.
A light appears in the girls eyes as she takes her hand back, “ah so bạn are the one whose opinion counts”
“Something like that” I mumble and she picks the ball up again and walks around me, her free hand searching through the side pocket of her bag.
Julian turns and so do I and soon I’m stepping through the door inside a house I haven’t entered for nearly sixteen years.
Abby drops her bag and looks around, “Mom isn’t home”
“Is that usual?” I ask, after all I’m meant to observe this girls life.
Her back may be to me but I see her shoulders tense, her ngựa con, ngựa, pony tail sways from side to side as she shakes her head. The sound of keys dropping onto the nearby bàn is loud in the otherwise silent house, “no” Abby says needlessly “this is not normal”
I’ve never felt so out of place as following this young girl through her empty house especially when she stops at her brother’s door. The gasp is mine and Julian lets out a long breath, I can feel him standing behind me his body warmth a constant shadow, and Abby just stands there for a moment unmoving and silent.
When she turns around her face looks blank, her eyes devoid of all emotion, barely glancing at us she mumbles quietly “I better clean it up”
While Julian and I can’t di chuyển from the spot Abby gathers what she needs from some unseen place and starts to wipe up the blood, she works furiously and then she begins to slow, her shoulders shaking.
bởi the time I reach her she’s crying and shaking with the effort to stop but the whole time she continues the task at hand. I take the bloody rag from her hand and pull her into my arms, her tears wet my neck and I close my eyes as I hold the fragile girl in my arms.
We continue to sit there on the ground until her body stills and then I look over her head to Julian and motion for him to take her, the moment he leads her away from the room I pick up from where Abby started.
Getting all the blood out is hard, washing it off me for some reason is even harder as I picture Brooke and Abby living this life. Looking up from my now clean hands I come face to face with my reflection, for a một giây I’m looking at a fifteen năm old me and then I blink and I’m back in the present.
Back downstairs I sit across from Julian and Abby; I don’t know what to say.
Abby is the first to speak “we had a fight” she says suddenly as she stares at her hands in her lap, “me and Keith, the last thing I đã đưa ý kiến to him is I wish he died”
“Do you?” I ask.
Her eyes shoot up, “I don’t have friends” at first I’m slightly shocked at the sudden turn, at the way she can go from where she just was to where she was now but then she continued “I have family. There wasn’t time for sleepovers hoặc play dates, my whole life the world has been focused on one thing – keeping Keith alive. I didn’t care about playing barbies when I could lay tiếp theo to Keith and hear him read me a story, I didn’t care about going outside when my brother couldn’t, I didn’t care about school when my best friend was in hospital, he’s not just my brother he is my best friend. I don’t want him to die but he’s dying and I’ve spent my whole life fighting that, I’m not strong enough anymore, I just can’t”
She’s dying, I see it as clearly as the doctors would in her brother, it may not be as obvious but on the inside Abby is dying and if she doesn’t get out soon she’s not just going to lose her brother she is going to lose herself.
“Have bạn talked to your parents about how bạn feel?”
Abby tilts her head and looks at me as she thinks about how to answer my question, her eyes narrow “my mom and dad tình yêu me just as much as Keith, I know without doubt that if it was me they would fight just as hard, my whole family is like that. For years, for as long as I can remember we’ve been focused on keeping him alive, me too, how exactly is anyone meant to say they want out?”
Her câu hỏi makes me wonder if it’s just her, how many times has any of them had a moment to just stop and think I can’t do this anymore and then had to shake it away and just keep going because they couldn’t think hoặc feel that way. At what point is it okay to give up on someone bạn love?
She’s twelve and she’s had to make a tougher decision than any I’ve ever had to make.
Abby straightens up and adds on casually “no, I haven’t talked to my parents about how I feel”
“I’m sorry” I say, I’m not sure for what, asking the các câu hỏi hoặc just what she has to be going through, she gives a one sided smile and there’s something in her eyes that makes me think she’s heard that a lot. Didn’t I mock fake apologizes not too long cách đây and here I am saying sorry for something I have no control over.
Julian shifts to sit tiếp theo to me and I’m thankful for it, Abby seems relieved too, she stretches out a little thêm and breathes in.
Then the front door opens and two sets of footsteps are heard coming closer, my back is to them but the first voice to speak I recognise immediately.
“Abra Victoria Scott, we have half the neighbourhood out looking for you” Haley’s voice sounds stressed.
Abby stands up, ignoring the bình luận she goes straight to what is clearly on her mind “is Keith alright?”
“Alive and kicking” a new voice says, I turn around.
Haley spins to the blonde teenager at her side “Sawyer!”
I look the girl over with thêm interest, a picture of a grinning four năm old stuck in my mind, she looks at her younger sister with a dry expression “sorry, I take back the kicking. I’ll be upstairs” and she walks off. Haley sighs and turns back to us, she stops when she sees me and her eyes widen for a một giây and then she forces herself to return to Abby “he’s... Keith… the doctors…” she stops and then rushes out “your Mom’s gonna be at the hospital tonight”
“He’s going to get the first plane back”
Abby nods and then looks upstairs, “I’m gonna go check on Sawyer” and she leaves the room before I can get my head around everything going around me.
“Hello Haley” Julian breaks the awkward silence that has taken the room and it gives me the courage to look at Haley, she gives Julian a brief look of acknowledgement before focusing on me.
The way my former teacher looks at me is as if she doesn’t quite believe what she is seeing, “Hi Haley”
“Sam?” she seems to wake up, shaking her head slightly she looks at me again and then she’s walking forward, before I know it her arms are around me “Is it really you?”
I laugh “in the flesh”
She pulls away “what are bạn doing here? Oh my god, look at you, bạn cut your hair. You’re in cây Hill, did bạn di chuyển back? Do bạn want to see Brooke?” her tone suddenly changes “I don’t know how much bạn know-”
“Haley, please breathe” I cut in at the same time Julian interrupts with a curt “she’s Abby’s guardian ad litem”
This is where I imagine they start breaking out in song with ‘It’s a small world’, Haley doesn’t seem one bit amused, and she looks between Julian and me “Brooke doesn’t know yet, does she?”
We shake our heads, Haley bites her lip “oh boy”
I’ve imagined it over the years, every now and then I would pick up the phone and then put it back down hoặc go type her name in the tìm kiếm engine before deleting it, in the fifteen years since I last talked to Brooke I have gone over it over and over again just how exactly I could re-enter her life.
It was never like this.