Twenty Thousand Dollars
The room door slowly opened, and Peach walked inside to see Miss Grace, sitting upright on the bed, looking extremely pale and weak. But she didn’t want her mother to worry about her, so she forced a smile and walked toward her. “Mama,” Peach whispered as she got near the bed, “are you okay?” Looking over at her daughter, Miss Grace siniled weakly and nodded her head, answering,” I’m fine, sweetheart. I’m just a bit dizzy and nauseous, is all.” Placing her hand on top of Miss Grace’s hand, Peach whispered, fighting against her tears,” I’m here, Mama. No matter what happens, I will always be here for you.” “Oh, dear,” Miss Grace whispered, reaching over to squeeze Peach’s hand, “You have no idea just how much I love you.” Smiling lightly, Peach leaned forward and kissed her mother on the cheek gently, saying, “I love you too, Mama.”
After Peach pulled away and sat down beside her mother, Miss Grace hesitated for a moment and then a look of concern spiked in her eyes as she asked, “What happened to our customers, Elijah, Matt… umm… James, Ryan… yeah, and Rookie?”
The thought of how she treated Elijah earlier crossed Peach’s mind and she felt a sense of guilt as she looked down at the floor, sighing softly and answering, “I… I don’t really know… Maybe they have already left the motel.”
Raising her gaze to meet her mother’s eyes, Peach’s lips trembled as she spoke, trying hard to keep her voice steady and to stop herself from breaking down, “I am so, so sorry, Mama-”
Before she could continue speaking, Miss Grace quickly interrupted her by saying, “No, darling, it’s alright. Everything is going to be just fine. We’ll figure something else out, I promise,”
Even though she knew that nothing was going to be fine, Peach smiled widely and nodded, faking a look of excitement as she said, “Yes, yes, of course!” Clapping her hand against her pocket, she thought of the twenty thousand dollars medical bill the doctor had given her, and her heart dropped into her stomach. She didn’t dare look at Miss Grace, afraid that she would notice her sadness and worry, but that didn’t stop her from feeling helpless and useless. It was silent for a while as her mother ran her tender hand through Peach’s hair, and Peach closed her eyes tightly, wanting desperately not to cry, but unable to stop her tears from slipping out of her eyes.
“What did Ben say about the cost of my surgery?” Miss Grace asked finally, still stroking Peach’s hair.
Pinching her jeans, Peach took a deep breath before whispering, “Don’t worry about that, mama. He gave us a lot of grace period to pay the bills.”
“Is that so?” Miss Grace asked, sounding slightly amused but clearly unconvinced.
Nodding, Peach kept her tears in her eyelids and whispered, “Hmm,” “That’s good then.”
The room grew silent again and Peach couldn’t help but let the silence become comfortable for a moment. She hated that this was happening, but there was nothing she could do to change it. “You look drained. Maybe you should go home and rest,” Miss Grace suggested, her tone soft and loving Peach shook her head immediately, “No, Mama. I’ll be fine.” “Please, Peach, take care of yourself. I will blame myself if you fall ill because of me,” Miss Grace pleaded, squeezing Peach’s hand. A sob slipped out of Peach’s mouth before she could stop it, and Miss Grace reached up to wipe away Peach’s tears, smiling at her affectionately. “Now why are you crying?” she asked playfully, caressing her daughter’s cheek with the back of her hand.
“I… sorry for being a crybaby, but … well…” she trailed off, sniffling lightly, her eyes filling with more tears. Taking Peach’s face between her palms, Miss Grace kissed her forehead and softly said, “. There’s nothing wrong with crying. You don’t need to apologize for anything. Now, go home, take a bath, eat something, and rest yourself, okay?”
A sense of hesitation washed over Peach and she wondered if it was wise to leave her mom alone right now. But the words she wanted to say wouldn’t come out, so she simply nodded and kissed her mother’s forehead.
“Okay,” Peach said, getting up from the bed.
Then she gave her mother one last look before walking out of the room, feeling weak and
completely defeated. Where would she get a sum of twenty thousand dollars to discharge her mother from the hospital was now her biggest concern. And as much as Peach tried to put it aside for now, it was breaking her heart. Sighing deeply, Peach turned down the corridor, her head bent and eyes watery as she mumbled, “Should I sell the motel?”
Shaking her head and wiping away more tears, she felt a sense of betrayal toward her father because that was the only thing he left behind for her mother and her. The land that that motel was built on was very expensive, and a front view spot of the city. That’s why her uncles have been trying to get their hands on it because of its value. Their every attempt to make the motel run out of business was so they could force Peach and her inother to sell it to them in the end. And the thought that she has to sell the land made Peach feel like her devilish uncles were breathing down her neck again and winning when she hated them with everything she had in
After arriving outside the hospital, she stopped a car, opened the back door, and climbed into the passenger seat.
She was met with the coldness of the air conditioning and sighed heavily, turning to look at the driver smiling at her in the V-mirror. “Where to?” He asked, starting the engine and pulling out of his parking spot. “505 West 6th Street. Paz motel,” Peach said as she rested her head back, closing her eyes and enjoying the cool wind on her face. Finally, after a while, the cab parked in front of the motel, and Peach paid the driver before opening the door and stepping outside into the chilly afternoon air.
Her mind was disturbed as she made her way through the front door, and then she froze, looking at the spotless tiles and cleaned walls
There were no blood stains or broken pieces of vase anywhere to be seen. It felt strangely… clean. “Hello…!” Peach called out not moving an inch from where she stood, feeling a sense of dread and fear fill her chest.
After some quiet seconds, she took two steps back and said in a firm tone, “I have the police on speed dial, so if you don’t show yourselves right now, I will call them.” Knowing the only five people who have been here recently, Peach swallowed hard and shouted, “Elijah!-“.
“What?!” A familiar, deep voice exclaimed, making Peach jump, her heart rate increasing.
Looking at the hallway entrance, she saw a dark figure approaching, and the closer he got, the calmer she felt until Elijah was standing right before her with his arms folded across his chest.
“You are still here?” Peach whispered, feeling nervous and remorseful about the incident that happened in the doctor’s office between them. “Well, we couldn’t leave without paying the bill for the one night we stayed here,” Elijah said, his eyes cold and his tone distant.
“What did you think?”
“Nothing.” The truth was they were the first customers she and her mother had had in five months, and she didn’t know if anyone else would book “Paz hotel” after the new events that took place, and her mother’s medical bills were the top priority in Peach’s mind. “Where are you guys going after here?” Peach mumbled, not looking up from the ground as she bit her lip and rubbed her arm nervously. “None of your business…” Elijah said, pausing when he heard Peach’s sniff and watched her teardrop hit the tile.
It grew silent between them as he looked at Peach, standing in front of him, and noticed that she was shivering, his heart softening for a second.
“Why did you ask, ” Elijah mumbled, clearing his throat, feeling a bit like a jackass for his tone earlier Not knowing how he would respond again, Peach simply shrugged her shoulders as she held back her tongue, afraid to offend him again. “I… I promise to be… I will be open-minded to your question and reasonable with my answers “Elijah said, running his fingers through his hair and sighing heavily. “If – If… Well, the thing is… I was wondering… Do you guys have..” Peach started, staring straight into the floor, trying to find the courage to ask the question that haunted her mind for a while now. Elijah glanced up at her with an eyebrow raised and softly said, “Do we what? What are you talking about?” “Um… The thing is, I mean… Um… Well, the thing is,” Peach stuttered, feeling heat rise to her cheeks as she realized that she might actually be able to talk herself out of having to ask him, and yet, a part of her didn’t want to because she was disparate Pushing aside her fear, Peach raised her head, keting his eyes, and asked, “If you guys have twenty thousand to pay, you all can stay here as long as you want! When silence followed her words, Peach glanced around, expecting Elijah to storm out or start yelling at her, but his expression remained unchanged.
Unsure of what he was thinking, Peach began to fidget with the hem of her shirt nervously “Twenty thousand?” Elijah repeated quietly and slowly like he wasn’t sure if he heard her correctly.
“Uh, yeah! Twenty thousand, uh… I mean, if you guys have it Ten thousand is okay too. I can even accept five. or…” Peach said, her voice slowly falling apart when Elijah just stared at her, a blank expression plastered upon his face.