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The Last Straws of Life (pt 3)

He looks at her in amazement with how she memorized that. She just shrugs and runs off to find her foster brother. Once she has left he recline in the small patch of flowers looking into the creek. A few minutes later he feels pressure on his lower back, she is sitting on him going “Ride them cowboy!!” He rolls over to see Willis running at him full speed. Willis keeps running. At the last second Dade moves out of the way, which sends Willis into the ice cold creek. The boys send Belle home so she can help Amy make lunch. They remain to help Leocadia finish up in the fields. While they are on their way back Belle meets them half way out of breath and tells Dade “You have visitors, they say you know them.” Dade looks sharply towards Willis. She continues on to say ‘They have a court order to see you, Amy couldn’t do anything about it.” They slow their pace to take longer. When they can see the house Dade notices the two familiar silhouettes. It is his parents standing on the door stoop waiting for him to return. They have the same stance they always had, the “ Where have you been?” kind of stance. He tries to enter the house without acknowledging their presence. They step in front of the door leaving the three teens staring at them in disgust. “How can you have the nerve to try and make up with him?!” yells Willis throwing off the others in surprise. This also brings Russ to the front door taking Leocadia inside. They boys remain out there face to face with Dade’s old parents. The silence is abruptly ended by Dade saying to both his former parents “Why have you come here? To hurt me again? To find a way to torture me?”
His parent hesitate and then answer “No, we haven’t come for those reasons. I can’t believe you would think that.”
Dade interrupts “Why is it so hard to believe it was the only reason you come to me when I was at home.” Taken back they snap the words “ HOW DARE YOU!” The argument lessens when Belle comes out of the house coming to get the boys for lunch. They push past Dade’s old parents and enter the breath cynical and angered. Amy looks at them with a look to tell them to hide it till after lunch. They understand why she looks at them like this. She doesn’t want Belle to be aware or scared. They sit and eat their lunch and head for their room. Their fists tightly clenched they slowly calm down. They go for a run through the fields. They are stopped by a scream from Belle. They head for where they think the scream was located. They see two masked strangers gripping Belle by the hair and Leocadia running full speed at the one in the van. They got the van up and running for about thirty- seconds. The boys arrive there in time to hit the other person to the ground. They tussle long enough for the girls to escape. The one the are both on trying to pin on the ground takes a knife out of his back pocket. The boys hear a click but, mistake it for a twig snapping. Willis is pulled off by the other man. Dade keeps hitting him over and over. Suddenly there is a gasp then a long groan. Dade rolls off the man and is still. Belle starts screaming but, is then quieted by Leocadia’s hand over her mouth. They back up into the brush and wait for the men to leave. Once they disappear from sight they emerge and Leocadia sends Belle to go get Russ and Amy. She starts to run but, is tripped by a tree root torn from the ground from the stuck tires finally freeing themselves. When she returns to the house out of breath and alone Amy and Russ know something has happened for, Leocadia and Willis would never let her be alone by herself. She speaks in between gasps and uses key words of “Dade, hurt, bad, field.” They took the truck and sped into the opening. They hit the brakes and jumped out of the car and headed for Dade. Amy stopped and talked to Willis seeing if he was okay and then went to Dade. They load him up and head to the hospital.
They arrive at the hospital ER and wait and fill out paper work. Belle and Willis are standing in front of the doors trying to see into the room but, a curtain is drawn. They can’t sit down for they are to scared. They start pacing when the doctor walks in. He introduces himself by saying “My name is Jamie Blake I am the family doctor.” He mainly said this to the foster kids. He announced that the knife had punctured his left lung at the bottom. “May we see him?” asked Belle with a glimpse of hope to see her new adopted brother. “Well, I don’t know if that is the best thing.” Amy hesitated to let her go in there but Leocadia volunteered to take her in. They walk towards Dade’s holding room and draw back the curtain. Belle starts to cry seeing him motionless on the stiff cot. She walks up and strokes his forehead so gently that it doesn’t even look like she is touching him. She puts her head on his heart and looks at her sister saying “His heart, it reminds me of footsteps on carpet. It is so soft and slow.” Leocadia steps closer to her sister and Dade. She feels a tear sliding down her cheek and quickly wipes it away. She can’t stand crying in front of her little sister. The sight of him getting stabbed, and the motionless body just overwhelmed her. Willis entered and walked up to Dade. He looked at his stomach. He could see the blood lightly seeping through the cloth bandage. He thinks back of how he just lay on the ground watching. ‘I could have pulled Dade off, pushed him away, it could have been me.’ he thinks to himself silently. They all remain by his side throughout the night. Amy and Russ come in and carry Belle out to the truck.
They leave Leocadia and Willis there, knowing they would be fine by themselves. They come back in the morning to see Dade awake and slowly moving to sit up. They go to help him but, he starts getting scared. “He obviously doesn’t remember us.” said Russ backing up. Dade tries to focus on the three figures from afar and slowly starts to remember. “Why am I here?” he asks. “You got stabbed when you saved Belle from two men.” explained Amy carefully. “I don’t think I could do something like that.” he said puzzled. “Well,” hesitated Amy “it happened in the field, it might have just been a reaction.” Willis intervenes in the conversation adding “I think what she means is you had a reflex considering what happened with your sister.” Dade rests his head on the pillow and closes his eyes. Belle looks at him and says to the others “Can I have awhile alone with him?” The others nod and walk out of the room. Once out of the room Amy stops outside the door to listen, but Russ takes her to sit down. Belle looks at Dade filled with wonder and says “Thank you big brother, you saved me from the mean men. Even if that meant you getting hurt. You did it anyway.” Dade lays motionless with tears growing in his eyes. He inhales deeply then says “You called me big brother. I never thought I would hear those words again.” He strains to lean forward, but is forced back to the bed from pain. He tries again and stays up long enough to invite Belle into his arms. She crawls into his arms and onto his lap. Slowly he leans back with a few grunts of pain. She falls asleep in his arms for awhile. Leocadia enters the hospital room with a slow solemn filled walk. She takes Belle off of Dade’s lap and takes her to her parents. She reenters alone and with a peculiar look in her eyes. Dade looks almost confused.
She takes a few steps toward the bed, but pauses with a little indecision. She goes to her knees by his cot. She looks at him contemplating her next step. She slowly rises and looks into his baby blue eyes. She runs her fingers through his hair and slowly leans forward. She gives him a kiss and pulls back. Dade is in amazement but doesn’t want it to end so he goes to kiss her. She shows no objection. They pull apart she whispers “I love you Dade.” He answers with “I love you to Leocadia.” She holds his hand and just sits with him through the night. Willis walks into the room and see’s that she has her head gently placed on his upper chest. They are asleep, but it is time for Leocadia and Willis to go home so he walks up and gently shakes her. She opens her eyes and looks at Willis. She moves careful not to wake Dade. They walk to the door and she looks back one last time. She will never forget the previous night. It will be something her and Dade share for a lifetime. With a long yawn and stretch Dade wakes up. He looks around somewhat startled. His eyes flicker like a light turning on after a long time. He looks from one side of the room to the other scanning for people. When he sees no one around he slowly rises into a sitting position He reaches for the phone with a disgruntled sigh. He pages a nurse and asks her to dial his foster families number. She does so and then strides out of the room. When someone answers it is Russ. He talks for a little and then hands the phone to Amy. When she starts to talk it sounds as if she was about to cry. Then the phone got passed to Willis and they talked for awhile. Then Belle was on the line. Dade could tell she left the crowded room because he heard tiny footsteps. Her frail voice comes on the phone with a little static. "Hey big brother, I am sorry I wasn’t more careful out there. It is because of me you got hurt." Dade responds gently "It is not your fault Belle, you couldn’t help it." He starts to hear a muffled cry. He tries to comfort her but, with little success. He hears Leocadia’s voice and pauses, unsure of what to do. He takes a deep breath and waits for a voice to come over the phone. He takes a sigh of relief when he hears Leocadia’s voice.





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