A/N: It started out as a drabble request but turn out to be super long; so I made it a one shot instead. It’s around 3000 words+. It’s more of an emotional piece for this. Enjoy (:
I woke up to a sense of emptiness yet again. Beads of sweat formed on my burning hot forehead as contrast to the cold still air that sent shiver running down my already sore body. I held on to the bed pillar as I staggered out of the bed to make my way to the bathroom, in my throbbing spinning head. The mirror was a true reflection of what I truly was for the past few days. Days like these, I felt like I have been in bed forever but have not slept a single bit.
My usual in styled hair now looked like an untamed bird nest that hasn’t been in wash for days. My tired bruised eyes were all puffy from the crying. Blood veins crept up around my eyes and took over the previous luminosity in it. All I see through my orbs was a lost and broken soul who I did not recognize. My dripping nose that was now red was a constant reminder of my non-stop flowing tears for the past 2 nights. I took on the courage to step on the weighing scale in my oversized t-shirt as I realized that I lost 3 pounds in a period of 2 days, unsurprisingly. What. have. I. been. doing. ?
Memories of my dad’s thunderous roar that evening still haunt me a lot.
"Enough said Lauren. You’re not gay!" The disappointment on my dad’s angry face could not be hide. On that night, I confessed to my parents that Camila and I have been dating for the past 2 months. At first, they thought that it was an April’s Fool joke but the adamant response and my solemn expression sent them crashing from heaven- the fact that their very own daughter is in love with another girl.
"You said before that your girls are just friends!" My dad, the man in the family who I looked up to and respected the most; was also in the most denial of the truth that I have broke to him. I knew he has his highest expectation of me. He always had.
It is every dad’s lifelong dream to walk down the aisle holding her daughter’s hand and hand over it to a trusted guy who will protect her and treat her like how he did. Now, the dream that he has been living up his whole life has been shattered by her honest confession.
"Certain things have changed. Sorry dad…"
"You can’t expect me approve this."
The words of my dad pierced straight through my heart. It set me crumbling down on the bathroom floor and started sobbing uncontrollably all over again. I heard a knock coming from my bedroom door. I tried to pick myself up from the emotional mess but I was too weak physically to help myself.
"Lauren! Lauren where are you?"
She opened the bathroom door to catch me in my most vulnerable state. The shock and hurt was undeniable on her face- I can literally hear her heart breaking into thousand pieces on the spot.
"Sorry mum…" It was all I managed to garner out amidst the sobs. It was a truthful apology with more than one meaning behind. I was sorry to them for I treated my own body like shit and allowing myself to drown in emotional and physical mess right now. I was sorry for I have ruined their expectation of a perfect daughter and let them down. I was sorry because I am still going to defy the way my parents they are set for me to go. Even if the whole world is set against me and Camila, I would still fight for her; for Camila she was worthy.
"Sweetheart, you have nothing to be sorry about," My mum held me up.
"I just feel really bad… for dad. How is he doing?" I asked in my already raspy voice that was barely audible now.
"He refused to speak on that topic whenever I tried to bring it up to him," My mum admitted. Both of us kept quiet for a while before my mum continued, "You know things would be much easier if you could just…"
"Mum… Please don’t…" I knew what she was trying to get to and I begged her not to say it. She simple nodded her head and gave me an assuring smile instead. She opened her arm and pulls me into an embrace. The small accepting gesture meant the whole world to me. I sobbed in my mum’s arms for the longest period ever.
The feeling of not getting approval by the people you cared most about was awful but the feeling of hurting your very own family was beyond awful. It was alike to biting the hands that have fed you. You betrayed their trust on you… to be normal. I knew my relationship with Camz was not going to easy but I did not expect it to be that hard too. I wish that I could be back to that feisty strong Lauren to face up the issue and fight for what I want; but when it involves kinship… I could not. I simply could not. I was hurting and so were they. I was crying and so were they.
I was devastated to a point that I wanted to run away. There was no more turning back from where I have came from; since the day I came terms with myself that I liked Camila. But here I am… too sick and broken up to continue any further. That was what I get when I choose to go against my pillars, which I refer it to my dad. The walls that I have built up were crumbling down and I am heading on to a nowhere. Tears rolled down my cheek uncontrollably. I am on the verge of collapsing and I do not know what to do anymore now.
I took my phone and typed a message in my delirious state. I can’t do this alone anymore…
Lauren: I am dying without you Camz I need you
I nervously rang the bell of the Jauregui’s residence for too many times. My heart is in a panic mood after I received such a message from Lauren. I simply could not sit back and relax. When the door opened, it was Mr. and Mrs Jauregui; whom I have met for too many times before. Their faces fell when they saw me. I have to admit that the 2 big figures that blocked the entrance of the front door were liken to the obstacles for the relationship of mine and Lauren.
I was scared but I mustered up my courage and spoke, “Sorry Papa J, Mama J… I know I’m probably the last person you wish to see me at your house… and I’m sorry for turning up at your house at hour… but I really need to see Lauren to make sure she’s alright. She sent me this text message and I’m really worried about her.”
“Do your parents know that you were here?” Papa J spoke out first. His eyes locked with mine with a combination of fury and hurt.
“Yeah, my mum knew about it but was not supportive of me so I ran off on my own,” I spoke too much of it as I bit my lips nervously.
“How did you get here then?” Mrs Jauregui questioned.
“Well… I actually took the public buses…” I looked down, sounding barely audible and almost ashamed at my not so rational act.
“Oh gosh. I can’t believe you did that. Did anything happen on the way? ” Mrs Jauregui exclaimed her disbelief as her previous blank expression changed to a concerned one. She now turned to me to put both arms on my shoulder.
“Don’t ever do that again. It’s too dangerous for a young girl at night,” The silent Mr Jauregui suddenly let out a nonchalant response as he turned his body and made his way into the house, leaving the entrance wide open for me. I peered inside the house, pausing for a second.
“Go on inside, Lauren is upstairs,”
I quickly made my way upstairs to Lauren’s room. It literally broke my heart on the spot when I saw my girl lying down on the bed. Her shivering torso was all wrapped around the blanket which made her look even smaller than before. Her once glorious face was as now as pale as the white bed sheet. The popped up jaw line told me she has lost much weight in the course of 2 days. I hurried over to her bedside and felt her burning body.
“Camz…” I could barely hear her in her coarse voice. The disheveled hair struggled to get up.
“Stay there,” I ordered. My brown eyes narrowed towards her tiny body frame.
Her hands held onto mine tightly as a faint smile spread across her face. It was extremely heartrending when I thought of how much pain this girl had silently suffered for the past 2 days. Based on my understanding of her, it will take a lot for the almighty Lauren Jauregui to show her weakest side to anyone; including me ahead. The pain must have been unbearable for her… to face up against her most loved family. The guilt took over me somehow as I realised that she would never be in this state today if not for me.
“Sorry baby, I should not have let you fight this alone…” I whispered and ran a hand down her curls.
Lauren simply shook her head with a contented look. She held my hands close to her heart and looked at me with the most loving eyes ever. Although she can’t speak now, but it was like her way to tell me that everything would be fine as long as I am here with her. Her free hand reached forward to wipe away a teardrop which had rolled down my cheek. An intense amount of heart wrenching pain ran across me. I did not know what I did in my previous life to deserve a girl as perfect as her.
I instinctively snuggled up to Lauren and threw my arm over her in an endearing embrace.
“Lauren, have you heard of this story called ‘The Rescuing Hug’?” I asked, trying to lighten up the atmosphere in the room.
She simply shook her head.
“Well, it was a real life story of two baby girls who were premature at birth. One was healthier while the other one was expected to live through. A nurse fought to put them in the same incubator. The stronger one did this,” I let my hand rest on Lauren’s hip now. “And almost instantly, the smaller one stopped crying and her blood-oxygen level soared. Within 2 weeks, both of their health improved steadily and they made through this ordeal together.”
Lauren let out a soft chuckle, “So you are the stronger one here Camz,” She spoke softly.
“Possibly,” I gave a big grin in return.
“Lauren,” I continue patting her. “Even though we are no longer babies, nor are we sisters at birth… I just want to let you know that we have the support of each other no matter what happen. You don’t have to suffer alone because I’m here for you. I hope that my hug will give you strength to continue further. Please believe that things will get better. You have to get well soon…”
“because we’ll be in this together,” I promised, snuggling up to my baby girl even closer. Lauren responded by holding on me tight and planted a tender kiss on my forehead, “I love you Camila, I really do,” She whispered softy into my ears. The endearing look in her eyes affirmed everything for tonight.
I spent almost the whole night awake to take care of Lauren. My clumsiness was all around as I helped her wash up, fed her medicine and patted her to sleep. I changed the towel on her forehead constantly and monitored her condition. In the middle of the night, Lauren was murmuring something and I had to hold on to her shivering body and assure her that everything was fine. I could not remember but I somehow dozed off midway and woke up at 6am.
The cold morning breeze hits my tired face as I struggled to open up my eyes. I carefully untangled myself off Lauren’s so as to not wake up her up. She was sleeping rather peacefully at last with a smile that had formed up her lips. The first thing I did was to let my hand felt on her forehead. I let out a huge sigh of relief soon after. Through the rough battle in the night, her fever had finally subsided and her condition had stabilized.
I was glad that Lauren was recovering. I look at her at peaceful face; which has rose back to its original color, for the one last time, before I made my exit towards the door.
I closed the door behind me carefully. As I turned around, I caught an unexpected face waiting for me at the dining table.
“Good morning… Papa J…” I greeted him so shyly.
“Good morning Camila, would you like to take a seat with me and have some milk if you would like to,” he motioned for me to come closer. I nervously sipped on the glass of milk in my seat as I prepared to listen to what Papa J had for me.
“Camila…” He breathes in. I was expecting for the worst already.
“You know something…I have long regarded you as one of my daughters. Whenever you and Sofia are getting over to our place, our whole family would get so excited. Mama J would be busy whipping up Cuban dishes in the kitchen; Taylor would clean up her especially messy room and Chris would prepare all his toys out for Sofia to play with. We were all so happy for your to be part of our family and I wanted you to… I honestly thought that you and Lauren were the best sister in life…” Papa J sighed at this point as I noticed how his affectionate eyes hide behind a tint of sadness.
“I’m really sorry Papa J,” I replied in a low whisper and held my head very low, almost ashamed of myself at this point now. I understand how much disappointment Papa J had been through. He always had the highest expectation from Lauren since she was the oldest child.
“No Camila… you have absolutely nothing to be sorry about. Lauren is very lucky to have met you. You are a great girl. It’s just that… it was such an shocking news to me and I would need some time to accept it, accept that you guys are actually dating,“ Papa J’s voice soften at the end. It was his first time ever speaking on this and I could tell that it was not easy for him.
“Let me send you home. Your dad would kill me if he knows that I let you go back on your own,” Papa J stood up from his chair.
The morning rays penetrate right onto my face and reflected the smile I had on my face throughout the whole journey back. The day started so brightly and I was feeling hopeful for what to come next. Whatever that has happened last night and this morning was a big leap forward to the relationship of mine and Lauren.
I woke up to the most comfortable ray that shone on my body. The dizziness that I was getting accustomed to for the past few days was all gone. Although my body was still a little bit sore but it was no longer that stiff and I was feeling much lighter than before.
I removed the towel on my forehead and I realized that my fever had disappeared through the night. I think I slept for almost a good 10 hours last night. Having Camila to cuddle to bed was the best feeling ever. Her rescuing hug really gave me the strength to fight the sickness monster away. Her words pulled me through when I was on the verge of giving up. All my negativeness were replaced by a new found positiveness in me today. I got out of bed, excited to see my girl.
I swallowed the little lump in my throat when I unexpectedly bumped into my dad at the doorstep instead.
“How’re you feeling Lauren?” my dad broke the awkwardness first.
“Dad… I’m feeling much better today. Thank you… uhmm did you see Camila around?” I responded, trying not to let the conversation fall into silent.
“She left this early morning. I sent her home,” my dad spoke coolly. I was honestly surprised by his kind gestures. It was so much a contrast to the angry man three nights ago.
“Lauren, I have thought about it for the whole of last night …” He suddenly brought the topic up. I held my breath as I anticipated what my dad was going to say. Please, let it be good news…
He looked into my eyes and paused for a while, “Bring her over for a dinner someday, and you shall formally introduce her to us again,” he let out a soft smile.
My eyes widen up in disbelievement. I could not believe the words that just came out from my dad’s mouth. Tears of joy glistened in my eyes. It was the simplest words but something that I have desired long to hear.
I know that love is not always easy, sometimes it take more than just willingness on one part for things to work. I could not be more grateful to the unselfishness and the sacrifices my family made. I knew that it took a lot of efforts for them to come to terms with my decision. But if time turns back, I would still go thru all the pain to be with her because she was already an essential part of mine. We held on to all our hopes and last till the end. All the struggles that we have been through; the moment we have been waiting for; for the acceptance and blessing of our loved ones… I truly believe love has its own way through difficult times as long as we remain as one.