inspired by but not based on a true story
“Melanie! Melanie, don’t do this to me, please. Wake up.” Jeremy pressed his hand to my stab wound, putting lots of pressure on it. He took one hand away got out his cell phone and dialed 911.
“This is the police. What is your emergency?”
“Melanie, she’s been stabbed. She’s unconscious and bleeding a lot. I’ve put pressure on it, but it’s not working.”
“Okay sir, where are you?”
“The corner of 8th Ave. and El Evado. Please, I can’t lose her.”
“Someone’s on their way.” Jeremy hung up his phone and put his hand back on my wound.
“Come on Melanie.” He cried applying as much pressure as he could, but the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Finally, an ambulance came. They put me on a stretcher and attached a breathing mask to my mouth. When the police came, they asked Jeremy questions.
“What is your name?”
“What happened here?”
“A guy was holding Melanie against her will. I told him to let her go, but he wouldn’t. I took a few steps forward before he took out a knife and said he’d slit her throat. I didn’t think he’d actually do it, so I stepped forward, and then he plunged the knife into her stomach.”
“Can you describe this guy for a sketch artist?”
“I can try.”
“One more thing, what is your relation to Melanie?”
“I’m her brother’s best friend.”
“Who’s her brother?”
“Nicholas Gibson. He’s a part time electrician and works at Stater Bros.”
“Okay. We need someone to ride with her. Can you do it?”
“Yeah.” And that was it. He got in the ambulance alongside me and we were off to St. Mary’s Hospital.
“Melanie, it's Nick.” He says, while holding my hand. “I need you to wake up, it’s been a week. You need to come back to us, to me, to Jeremy. Melanie, please.” I want to say something, but my mouth won’t move. I feel him let go of my hand and hear his footsteps leave the room. But then I hear someone else’s footsteps come in. They sit where Nick left. It’s a man. I can tell by the texture of the hand holding mine.
“Melanie, it’s Jeremy, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand, or anything to let me know.” I try to move any part of my body, and strangely enough the only part that moves, is my hand. “You can hear me?” I squeeze his hand as an answer. “Oh, thank God. I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have moved forward. I’m so sorry.”
“Water.” I whisper hoarsely.
“Water.” I slowly open my eyes as he brings the cup of water to my lips. “Thank you. For everything.” I whisper.
“But, I almost got you killed.”
“No. You saved me from things far worse than a stab in the stomach. Lord knows what he would’ve done, if you hadn’t been there.” I manage to murmur.
“I should tell your brother you’re awake.”
“’Kay.” He leaves the room to get Nick. Moments later, Nick is by my side.
“Melanie. I’m so glad you’re awake. I love you, sis.”
“I love you too, bro.” He chuckles a little. “Did they catch him?”
“No, but the police are doing all they can. Melanie, who is this guy?”
“Not know.” I say before heading back to sleep.
“Okay.” He says in a hurt tone and starts to walk out.
“Nick, wait!” I open my eyes just as he turns around from the door.
“Stay. Please. I need my brother.”
“Okay.” He comes back and sits in the chair. Soon we are both asleep. Jeremy comes in a couple hours later and shakes Nick.
“Hey man, why don’t you go home and take a shower?”
“No, I’m fine.” Nick says groggily. “She needs me.”
“I’m sure she’ll understand if you go and take a shower.”
“Yeah, okay.” He gets up and stretches his arms. “If she wakes up, tell her I’ll be back.”
“Will do.” Jeremy sits down in the chair and kisses me on the cheek.
“Why did you do that?” I ask opening my eyes to him.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” He evades my question.
“What time is it?”
“Why can’t I go home?”
“You’re sick Melanie.”
“What... what do you mean?
“You were in a coma for a week, not because of loss of blood, but because of you’re eating disorder. Your body wasn’t strong enough to pull you through.”
“You told them?” I say accusingly.
“No, they ran tests. Melanie, they’ll only release you, if you agree to get help.”
“You mean, like therapy and programs?”
“The programs are optional, but the therapy is not.”
“I can’t go to a therapist. I won’t.”
“They go to me. I already talked it over with the doctors and they talked it over with my professors. Let me be your therapist.”
“It’s the only way. There is no other option.”
“There has to be.”
“But there’s not. Melanie, what is so wrong with letting me help you?”
“You can’t help me. You don’t understand me.”
“I understand perfectly. You see, I had an older sister; she was four years older than I was. Three years ago she died, because of anorexia. She never ate. My parents were two country club hoppers who didn’t care what happened to us. So she just withered away pound by pound. I, unlike your brother, had no idea what was going on with her. And one day she just wouldn’t wake up.”
“But that’s just it, you didn’t know. So how can you understand what I feel?”
“Because, one look in your eyes tells me everything.”
“Please, just leave.”
“No. I’m not leaving you Melanie. I won’t ever leave you.”
“You say that, but you don’t mean it.”
“Then give me the chance to prove to you that I mean it.”
“Do I really have a choice?”
“You know you do. But, you will have to see me every day, all day, so it might be easier to just corroborate.”
“Well then, when can I leave?” I say bitterly.
“Just change out of their gown and we can leave now.”
“Okay.” I wait for him to leave but he doesn’t. “Um I’m going to change now.” I sit up.
“Okay.” But he still doesn’t leave.
“I need you to leave.” I finally make the message clear.
“Oh, right. I’ll be outside your door, when you’re done.
“Okay.” He leaves the room and I begin to change. God, can’t he just leave me alone. Why does he keep trying? Can’t he be like everyone else and give up on me! Once I’m done, I head out the door, to find him standing there waiting for me, just like he said he would. He looks me in the eyes and starts to smile. I would ask why, but I have a feeling he’d say nothing. Jeremy escorts me out of the hospital and into his car.
“What about Nick? Does he know?”
“Yes.” He replies once we’re in the car. “He’s not too happy with the…arrangement, but he has agreed to let me be your therapist.”
“Can I ask you a question?” I ask while starting out the window.
“You just did.” He jokes.
“You know what I mean.” I snap.
He sighs, “Yes.”
“What do you mean?” He becomes serious.
“Why do you want to help me? Why go through all the trouble of persisting, when I just keep pushing you away?”
“Why not?” He evades yet another question.
“Why won’t you tell me?”
“I will, one day.”
“Why won’t you tell me?”
“We’re going to go to Stater’s for some groceries. It’s about time you start eating.” He completely ignores my question.
“Whatever.” I say, looking back out the window. We go to Stater’s and though I try to stay in the car, he disregards my protests and practically drags me along with him into the store. He asks for my opinion on certain food items, but since I never really eat, I don’t know what to say. He takes notice of this and will tell me if he thinks something is delicious and what’s not. A question popped in my head. How is he going to make me eat? How am I going to see him every day? “Hey Jeremy?”
“How are you going to be my therapist? I mean you have school, I have school, you live twenty minutes away, and Nick has work. Speaking of, don’t you have work?”
He chuckles slightly. “Melanie, there are a few things I think you should know about me.”
“A few things?” I mutter lightly.
“One of those things is that when I mentioned my parents work country club hoppers, I meant owners. My parents own twenty different country clubs, apartments, houses, and companies all over the country. I have a trust fund that I won’t inherit until I turn twenty-five, but in the meantime, my parents give me money.”
“Oh. But that doesn’t explain how you’re going to watch over me day and night.”
He just laughs. “I am going to rent a room in your house.”
“My parents are letting you?”
“Well they said that since they are going to be gone all the time and I’m Nick’s best friend, I’m welcome to.”
“Oh.” With that, we walked over to the clerk and he paid for all the food he bought. We leave the store and head home.
“Nick! Nick are you here?” I call out once we’re inside my house. “Hmm. I guess he’s not here.”
“Oh yeah, Melanie, I forgot to tell you, Nick called me earlier saying that he has to go back to work.”
“Oh okay.” I plop down on the couch. Jeremy joins me when he’s done putting the groceries away. “I think I’m going to take a shower.” I start to get up, but when I take a step, I almost faint. Jeremy catches me.
“Easy. Here let me help you.”
“Help me take a shower?” I ask in disbelief.
“No. I’m just going to help you get upstairs and into the bathroom.” I think I hear him mutter, “For now.” He picks me up bridal-style and walks up the stairs. “Which one is your room?” I point to the first door on the left. He opens the door, and gently puts me down on my bed. He then walks over to my vanity.
“What are you doing?”
“Picking out nightwear.” He chooses a pink mid-length nightgown. I have no idea why he chooses that one. I mean, it’s not like I look good in it or anything. Nonetheless, I grab it and he picks me up again and walks over to my bathroom. He sits me down on the toilet, turns on the bath and tells me to undress.
“You’re kidding right?”
“No, I’m not.”
“But… I’m sure I can get in the shower by myself.”
“Melanie, you can’t even stand. Looks, if it will make you feel better, I will turn around as you undress, then you wrap a towel around yourself. I’ll put you in by the back and then when the curtain is closed, you hand me the towel. Deal?”
“Melanie, you have two choices and two choices only.” He says with annoyance. “You can either undress in front of me or you can do the option I told you about.”
“Fine, but don’t you dare look.” He just smirks and turns around. I shed my clothes the easiest way: I take of my shirt, my bra, my jeans, and my underwear. Of course, I put my undergarments in my jeans and shirt. I wrap a towel around me, “You can turn around now.” He does and when he looks down at me, I see a look of lust and passion. A look I’ve never seen before. However, it is quickly replaced understanding, like always.
“Wait, you didn’t give me and underwear.”
“Do you want me to go through your clothes and choose one for you?” I thought about this and I knew the answer, no.
“Okay then.” He picks me up bridal-style again. I can feel his palm on my ass. I slightly blush as I feel him gently squeeze. He puts me in the back just like he promised and turned around when I took off the towel. I threw it on the floor and closed the curtain as I sat down. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes okay?”
I sigh, “Fine.” I soak for about five minutes then wash my hair, body, and shave my legs, arms and armpits. By the time, I am finished; Jeremy comes in and sticks his hand in the shower to unplug the bath. When the water is gone, he hands me the towel. I wrap it around my just as he opens the curtain to pick me up, then he set me down on the toilet again. He turns around again, just as I put on the nightgown. It is comfortable, but I feel naked. You see, I usually just wear an oversized T-shirt and short-shorts. When I am done, he picks me up and carries me to my bed. He un-tucks my blankets, sets me down, and re-tucks. He says goodnight and kisses my forehead. He turns to leave.
“Can you st-stay with me? Please?” I ask before I could swallow the words.
His face lights up, “Of course. Let me just take a quick shower, then I’ll be back.”
“Promise.” God, what am I doing? I don’t really know him and yet I ask him to stay with me. I lay there, thinking, worrying about what I had just asked. I am getting surprisingly tired, just as he comes out of the shower. He sees me start to close my eyes. “Go to sleep. I’ll be right here on this chair.” He says pointing the chair where Nick slept that one time.
I can’t believe I’m going to do this. “Do you think,you could, um, maybe sleep next to me? I thought about it, and right now, I don’t really feel like being alone.”
“If that’s what you want.”
“It is.” I reply quickly. It is now, I realize, that even though I don’t know him, I’m starting to trust him. He nods his head and comes to the other side of the bed. He lies atop of the blankets with his hand behind his head. I turn on my side so I’m facing him. “Jeremy?”