I sighed when it got to lunch and Eden hadn’t stopped ignoring me. I’d royally pissed her off and I had no idea what to do about it. I just... I knew she came from a small town, but I’d never thought anyone would’ve died around her. That just doesn’t happen in small towns. I don’t think anyone died where we lived in Australia, and half of them were still kicking about in their wheelchairs when me and Maxxie took the kids over. I sat down in the cafeteria, all set to each lunch on my own just like I used to in high school til I met Caleb, when I felt someone pull me up by my collar. I looked round, ready to start a fight with whoever it was but met Eden’s familiar smile.
“We’re going to the roof, kiddo” she said, letting go of my collar and walking off.
I grabbed a couple things off my lunch tray before following after her. The ride in the elevator was spent in silence. Eden seemed happy not to talk, but for me it was fucking awkward. I wasn’t sure if she was still mad at me or what, so I just kept my mouth shut and waited for her to make the first move. She made her way past all the security signs and warnings and plonked herself down at the very edge of the building, her legs dangling over the side. She looked back at me when I didn’t follow and I flashed her an unsure look, but she just patted the space next to her and turned her gaze back to the view over the hospital. I bit my lip, making my way over cautiously and sitting down next to her, though I sat a little further back from the edge. Forgive me for being cautious when I work in a roughly ten storey building.
“Sorry again about earlier” she said, still admiring the view.
“You wanted to know how Keith died, right?” she asked and I nodded. I guess she saw out of the corner of her eye or something because she continued. “How about we make a deal? I tell you how Keith died if you accept that you’re not coping and need some help”
“Eden” I sighed.
“Please, Hadley” she said quietly, almost pleadingly. “Jac and Rosie said they were coping and then next thing I know, I’m standing over their graves while everyone talks about how brave they were”
“I’m not gonna kill myself over it” I said, laughing slightly.
“Yeah, they said that too. Think about it deep down; would you rather spend the rest of your life without him with everything reminding you of him, or would you rather just end it all in the hopes that there’s an afterlife so you could see him again?”
I bit my lip, not able to answer her and she nodded.
“So please, Hadley, even if you think you don’t need it, just accept my help. I know I shouldn’t have, but I spoke to John and the others; they’re all worried about you too. You didn’t tell me you’d stopped taking the kids to see Beau”
“Just forgot” I shrugged.
“Listen, I’ll make dinner tonight, give you a night off. And I can get the kids from school next week to save you having to find somewhere for them to go each day after school” she said softly and I looked up, confused. “I know they gave you all the long shifts next week, Hadley” she explained.
“So do you accept my help?” she asked and I nodded silently. She shut her eyes, taking a deep breath. “Keith died from a stab wound. The four of us had all been out drinking, but Keith stayed sober since he was driving us. Me, Jac and Rosie... Well, we were all pretty wasted but Rosie was the worst. I mean, I was at the ‘keeps nearly falling over’ drunk stage, and I was the least drunk, so we were pretty much having to drag her around. Anyway, we just about managed to get her on her feet, and some guy with a knife showed up. He grabbed her and told us to give him our money or he’d slit her throat. And since me and Jac were wasted, we just sort of started laughing thinking it was a practical joke or something. Keith obviously knew something was wrong and went for this guy while he was distracted by us laughing, but he saw Keith coming and turned on him. This knife went clean through the aorta and, well, you’re a doctor, you know what that means”
For the record, that means he would’ve bled to death in a few minutes.
“So this guy ran off and just left Keith lying there. We phoned an ambulance and did all the stuff they teach you to do if someone’s been stabbed and there isn’t a medical professional around, but it did fuck all. So, yeah, we felt pretty helpless. That’s part of what made me decide to become a nurse, though”
“I can imagine”
“And I’m sure you can imagine that Rosie felt the guiltiest about it. After all, she was the most drunk and an easy target. And Jac felt like she could’ve done more or just given him her money, since she was the daughter of the richest guy in town and what she took with her on a night out was hardly something to turn down”
“Did you feel guilty?”
“Of course I did. We’d gone out to celebrate me getting into med school and moving off to Hollywood”
“But like I said, I made peace with my ghosts there and came here to start again. I don’t mind talking about it, I’d just rather not” she said and I nodded, understanding what she meant. “Anyway, anything in particular you want for dinner?”
I shook my head and she got up, ruffling my hair. “I’ll go get some ingredients and stuff once I finish my shift”
I stood up as well, walking back inside with Eden and feeling like a weight had been taken off my shoulders or something. I just had to hope Maxxie wouldn’t mind someone else being in his kitchen.