It’s been a month since Sarah showed up on his doorstep…well their doorstep to be exact. He and Andy had finally settled the house how they wanted. It only took the two, a year to do so. To stubborn to agree but to stubborn to let the others ideas drown
Her body was rigid in the doorframe. With the cold front sweeping through the city, it was bringing more than just frostbitten winds that nipped at your exposed skin.
With two black eyes so swollen he was surprised she could even see out of them. Her bright hazel eyes (ones that narrow, seeping into your soul just like their mother) (not like Andy’s doe eyes he gets lost in) clouded with a look that he can’t really explain.
Not an ounce of recognition that it was Sarah, even her hair was lighter. It was sandy brown, dark blonde; he was not a man who knew too much about the latest hair decor but enough of a man to observe the difference. “Sammy.” Her voice sounded miniscule almost non-existent but that rasp, familiar and comfortable.
She looked lost, she looked guilty, and she looked like she was blaming herself. Sarah was turning in on herself before he even got the chance to pull her out. To keep her head above the treading water.
What surprised him more was that he did nothing to hide what the hell he was feeling. Sam turned around, held his breath just because. Not just because. Because his sister was standing in front of him in the worst shape he’s ever seen her. He was reaching to remember a better time, anything but this, but what would he gain?
All of his life, he had protected her, being her backbone when she couldn’t stand on her own two feet. Pick up where she left off because she rode the bike of life to fast. Sarah never left the training wheels on long enough. All she wanted was to get ahead and prove something; to keep her pride, proving it to him. To be better then where they came from.
Somehow, every time he tried to protect her, he fell short.
But everything he was regretting in this moment didn’t matter. What happened to her did
A week after she shows up, she already has a routine down.
She never really sleeps more than a couple hours a night. She spends more time staring at the white ceiling and this particular chip. A tiny fragment that stands out solely to her for no other reason than her feeling that small and fragile.
A broken out of place piece. One that she isn't all entirely sure that’s wanted.
Sam has Andy now.
It’s completely selfish, god does she know it, but she has nothing left in her to be selfless. Sarah remains far from herself to this day; don’t be fooled just because she’s fooling herself. She has to do what she’s doing to get through.
She lies in bed, sunken into the mattress, until she hears both Sam and Andy leave the house. She breathes out a sigh she’s forgotten she was holding. It’s a relief. They both have been working day shifts which eases her. She doesn't have to hide wasting away in solidarity.
The best laid plans always fall.
Sam is constantly checking on her whether she is two feet away or twenty, she’s always (lying) “fine”.
And the look in his eyes, the way they darken and crease around the edges, the sad worried sigh that you can barely hear escape his lips, they tell her the truth.
Yesterday she wasn't okay, today she isn't okay and tomorrow she won’t be either.
Getting the courage to look in the mirror sucks the life right out of her. The bruises are bright, purple mixed with black rimmed around her lids. The soft waves of hair framing her face almost looked effortless. Her robe hugging her curves ideally. It was drastic because nothing about the situation at hand was easy.
When she tiptoes down the hallway to the kitchen she stops dead in her tracks. Hands trembling to grab the ties of her robe to cover up. Protect her from showing vulnerability. Hoping the tighter the strings are, the tighter hold she’ll have on her emotions.
A small sob falls from her lips, a mix between the beginning of a laugh and the choke of holding back tears. She must look like a fish at the moment. The one that is out of place, puckering for water because it’s the only place they have comfort.
Sam was desperately trying to find her comfort without being overbearing. The sun glittering through the blinds should have been a sign. It’s grey inside with no tunnel and a future light we all think will come.
Sarah knew Sam needed to find it for her.
It was in a lot better shape then she would have ever expected. Fifteen years old, and it has still had all parts intact with barely any holes. Sam had disarmed her; she had no clue he had held onto it.
Looking at him, he sucks you up with those stupid family dimples. Sarcastic comments that slip out making you several inches closer to wiping his face with the floor. You would never know Sam, a grown man, had his sister’s giant teddy bear packed away.
She lowers herself carefully to the ground. Avoiding the aches that still wracked her body was an internal fight. The external fight always won. It’s what she focused on. The soft build created a small safe haven. Sarah wrapped the bear’s arms around her, tucking her head in the crook of the arm.
There was no logic left. It terrified her to let go. She felt utterly weak.
The tears pooled from her eyes leaving salt trails along her face. Dried tears crusted her eyes shut and left the skin of her cheeks burning.
Sarah had woken a couple hours later.
The room was dark except for the glow from the television and the outline of Sam’s stiff body on the couch.
The bruises are finally starting to fade. Sarah can finally recognize pieces of the woman she used to be.
Sarah promised herself that she would finally muster enough courage to tell Sam what happened. It had been a month and a half since she arrived on his front porch with no explanation. Her face had done all the talking. If she ever planned ongoing her own way, she had to start here.
“Sam” she starts out slowly. Overly cautious of her own fragility but the look on Sam’s face tells her that he doesn’t realize it.
ldquo;Spit it out Sarah.” He replies with an even tone.
Maybe he’s finally fed up with waiting for her to speak; to open her god damn mouth. Because he probably thinks she got herself into this situation. If she’s known Sam for anything when it came to her, it was protecting but always assuming. He liked jumping the gun because he couldn’t fence any other possible idea in his head. Silly girl, what a silly girl she was.
The muscles in her body tense, “I need to start out by saying that I am sorry. I had no right to just show up, create chaos in your life without as much as a phone call warning you.”
Sam put down the knife on the counter and turned to actually face her. His arms naturally crossed, draping across his chest. “Sarah, don’t be sorry. I’m glad that you came here. Not under the circumstances but none the less.”
Her teeth dug into her bottom lip sucking in a deep breath, “I know you must have a lot of questions and need a lot of answers. Hopefully when this conversation is over between us, you’ll have them.”
“I was at the apartment when it happened. I was leaving to go meet Cade… I never made it out of the house.” She had picked up the habit of nitpicking at her nails. It was a distraction to keep her nerves in check or from having to make too much eye contact. “It just happened so fast. The door being pushed in knocked me off balance enough for him to get in complete control of me. Before I knew it, I was laying there in puddle of my own blood, not able to move. One hour. Just one hour until Cade figured out that something wasn’t right and I wasn’t coming.”
Sarah felt sick inside. She watches Sam’s face turn in disgust. How his hand roughly glides over his jaw. How not surprised she is that Sam would feel this way. Sam was a lot of things, Sarah was a lot of things, but put guilt in between their relationship and it was a sure fire way to spiral downward.
“Did they find who did this to you?” She was betting that Sam already knew that answer. Sam probably had Andy contact Cade to find out happened. He probably even contacted the station by now. Sam had probably already known what happened to her but was waiting to hear it for his own ears from her. Silly girl, what a silly girl she was.
Sarah shook her head, “No they haven’t.”
There was no time for games anymore. Sam was running out of patience. Not with her so much but the whole situation. Sarah banked on it.
His legs had started moving, pacing back and forth across the kitchen. He was gearing up. Maybe not for a fight but it sure felt that way. “So where is Cade?”
Sarah wanted to believe that Cade was trying to find out who did this to her. The problem was that he was probably drowning himself in the bottle just like his father. He couldn’t save her. It was his fault. He was the detective, he had enemies. Sam had enemies. Andy had enemies. Sarah possibly couldn’t have any enemies now could she? She’s never done a thing to make people hate her. Always perfect with every look, every smile, every movement, and every breath. Sarah had no room to make mistakes. So Cade was making it his mistake.
She shrugged her shoulders.
Sam smacked his hand down on the counter making her wince. “He should be here with you!” His voice was loud, echoing in the room. “Instead he’s back home wallowing in his own self pity. He should be making sure everyone at his fucking department is doing their jobs at finding out who this son of a bitch is. How many phone calls has he made to you?”
She felt her mouth run dry.
“How many phone calls did he make, Sarah?” he asked again.
“None. He made none.” She whispered.
This had to be a tough situation for him, she kept reminding herself. It was a funny situation they once joked about. She and Cade had hit it off. ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if you ended up married to my brother and become my sister-in-law? I mean it would happen anyways but we would have this own cool little family thing going on.’
Andy was beaming, so proud of herself for playing cupid and getting the two of them together. No one thought too much ahead to when things got rough or if things didn’t work out. It would pin everyone against each other. You’d take sides without trying too.
“Exactly my point, isn’t it? He’s an inconsiderate prick. I know you need me, but you need him too.”
It was the last words they’d spoken to each other.
Sarah never ate dinner that night.
Sam loved her more than words could say.
For so long, Sarah was the only thing he ever cared about in life. He would spend countless nights awake to look at the other side of their room to see her fast asleep. Knowing she was in peace, he would be.
He knows exactly where she is. He’s been there himself. The world leaves you blind. Every day that passes by you hardly recognize what the point was of all of this. Of why he put so much faith into one idea of how he can find solace in this life.
Being a cop was his answer.
It’s what brought him to ask Best to let him take Sarah to the academy. There were rules to be followed and Sam didn’t want to let those fly out the window just yet. Unless Best had said no, that’s when Sam would take it into his own hands.
Sarah needed to take control back. Sam had noticed it from the moment she finally decided to talk to him about what had happened. He had to question whether this was one of his more brilliant moments or stupidest. Or was he grasping at straws?
Teaching Sarah how to use the gun could be gratifying for her. A way to release everything she’s built up inside of her. An indication of whether it was working would be nice and it’s what he received when he looked back at her. We all got lost. We had to remember how it is, isn’t how it’s always been or how it’s always going to be.
Sarah would find her silver lining.
Sam wanted to remind her how it used to be. Remind her how she used to feel.
Sarah had wanted normalcy, uncomplicated in its sweetest form
Wishing all these impossible things was hers