Charlotte didn’t like hospitals. She had been to them so many times (her father’s associates were incredibly stupid), and something about them made her uncomfortable. Now she was swimming in it; the smell of ammonia, the intercom messages, the beeping machines, the nurses checking on her every two seconds as they rushed from room to room.
Luckily, she hadn’t suffered any terrible injuries. In fact, Charlotte had gotten out relatively unscathed compared to her friends: Paige had sprained her neck and would be wearing a cast for the next several months, while the dealer had only sprained her ankle. Then there was Lexi.
Hobbling down the hallway on her crutches, Charlotte thought about it all. Lexi had managed to snap two bones and tear three tendons in her arm from the fall; the bones would heal, but the tendons required surgical repair. She had been whisked away from her two friends, the doctors prepping her. Now came the best part: waiting.
Coming up on her room, Charlotte slowed. Lexi was lying in bed, a splint holding her right arm in place. She seemed very calm for a woman who had punched Corey Graves only a few hours ago; the alcohol had finally worn off.
“Knock, knock,” Charlotte whispered, entering the room and trying to avoid hitting anything with her crutches. Looking up, Lexi smiled. “How are you doing?”
“Okay, I guess. Just waiting for them to call me.”
“Ah, the unpredictability of hospitals. Bound by their rules.” Charlotte grinned as she settled onto a tubular footrest. Unsurprisingly, Lexi didn’t smile.
“I hate this...sitting, listening to them talk.” Her voice hitched slightly. Charlotte had a suspicion about the nature of Lexi’s reaction, but couldn’t think of a good response.
“Accident prone as a kid?” The younger blonde shook her head.
“Surprisingly not, considering all the cheerleading I did.” Her face fell once again, eyes sparkling in an unhealthy way. Charlotte tried to think.
“You don’t talk about your past life. Are hospitals a reason for that?” She instantly winced, but Lexi smiled at her friend’s brashness.
“I guess you could say that.” Scratching at her wrist, she whispered, “I wasn’t the happiest kid in high school. Sports were my life, but I never felt like I was good enough, you know?”
“I started…” Lexi hiccuped, obviously trying not to cry. “I started thinking food was bad for me. I had no desire for it, no care about my body. And then one night at dinner, I just passed out.
“My parents took me to the hospital. They had to keep me overnight, and it was just...several long weeks of trying to swallow food again. Thankfully insurance covered it, but I still felt horrible.” Lexi shook her head. “A month after my time at the hospital ended, I packed up my stuff and drove to Vegas, started training to be a cop.”
“Do your parents know?” A nod came from the younger blond.
“I wrote them a letter. Didn't want them to think I hated them. And honestly, it was for the best. They were trying so hard to make ends meet, and I was one less thing they needed to worry about.” Charlotte nodded, staring at the floor. Something had crossed her mind.
“Lex...I’ve been thinking.”
“Yeah?” Lexi shifted, a hopeful look on her face.
“This new behavior; it’s not healthy. If Paige hadn’t called me, things could have gotten way worse. You need rehab.”
“And why is that your decision to make?” Lexi snarled, looking at her friend with sudden hatred in her eyes. “Why should you be the person who gets to tell me what I want?”
“It’s just a suggestion, Lexi,” Charlotte replied, raising her hands in a “calm down” gesture.
“But at what point will it change?” Lexi’s voice was hot with anger. “At what point will you abandon me, just like everyone else?!” Settling back into the mattress, she shook her head. “You should go.”
“Okay...okay, Lex.” Slowly rising, Charlotte grabbed her crutches and limped out of the hospital, doing her very best not to cry.