Tick, tick, tick, tick.
That was the funny thing about clocks. I'd never been able to hear the "tock" - only the "tick." I wondered if it was one of those things that people only repeated because "tick tock" was the accepted noise that clocks make.
I wondered if I was going crazy. I never thought about weird things like that. Goodness, I was always too busy to think about the noises a clock makes!
I was so lost in thought that I didn't realize Cole had come up behind me. When he put his hand on my shoulder, I practically lost it.
I screamed and jumped, falling off the stool where I'd been sitting at the kitchen counter. Cole raised his hands. "I'm sorry!" he exclaimed, reaching down to help me up. I accepted his help and stood back up, flushed from embarrassment.
"I'm sorry to scare you," Cole apologized.
I rolled my eyes. "No, I'm sorry. I was lost in thought, I guess."
"Yeah, I guess," Cole said, but the smile didn't reach his eyes.
"Sit down," I said, motioning to the barstool beside me. Cole sat, albeit hesitantly. "Can I get you anything to drink? We have milk, water, orange juice, practically every soda that ever existed..."
"I'm not thirsty."
I reached across and took Cole's hand. "Listen, Cole. I just want you to know that I know what it's like to have a brother in the hospital for wounds that you can't help to heal. If you need to talk..."
Shrugging, Cole shook his head. "I'm fine."
"You don't have to be."
"I said I'm fine!" Cole half-shouted. He swore - something that I hardly ever saw from him. Standing, he paced back and forth and ran a hand through his hair. I wondered how long it had been since he'd washed it.
We both probably looked like hot messes.
"I'm sorry," I said, lowering my head and starting at my hands. Why did I always say the wrong thing at the wrong time?
Cole stopped pacing. "No, I'm sorry. It's not you I'm mad at. I just need to get a grip on myself."
"That makes two of us," I replied, sighing.
"I can't believe I'm asking this, Nadia, but...well..." Cole looked away, eyes troubled. "I've been trying everything I can to help Devyn, but some things I can't do. Would you...will you...Can you pray with me?"