She needs you
The hospital room was filled with silence once the doors to the room closed. Then Elijah turned to look at Peach, asking, “Are you okay?” “Yeah… Yeah, I am fine.” Peach muttered, crossing her arms across her chest, lowering her eyes to the ground, and sighing softly. “I’m sorry…”
“For what?” Elijalı asked, tilting his head slightly to the side.
“For being like that…” Peach murmured, clenching her teeth together and averting her eyes away from him. “When you start fighting for your right at a young age, you get angry at whoever tries to take it away from you…” “You don’t have to explain yourself, Peach, I understand where you are coming from,” Elijah replied simply.
Peach shook her head, still refusing to meet his eyes, “No, you don’t. It was unfair for you to have to defend me… And I am sorry. I should never have put you in such a position..”
Elijah gave a small smile, reaching out to touch her arm. He rubbed his thumb gently over her wrist, giving her a reassuring look, and said, “Don’t worry about it.”
When Peach looked over at her mother, Miss Grace wanted to be mad at her daughter, but she knew after her husband died and she had a heart attack, Peach had to fight against everyone coming after them at a young age, and it was not easy for her either.
So seeing her like that now reminded her too much of what they had gone through, especially in regards to how cruel and uncaring some people could be at times to them.
“Mama, I am so sorry,” she quietly uttered, her voice cracking with sadness. “I shouldn’t have said”
“It wasn’t your fault, Peach,” Miss Grace interrupted gently. “I mean, it was not your fault. I’m sure your father would have done the same thing in this matter. You have his fighting spirit, and he would be so proud of you.”
A sad, longing expression overcame Peach’s eyes, and her lips began quivering uncontrollably as the memories of her father flashed through her mind, the warm smile on his face, gentle eyes filled with concern when he looked at her, and the way that he made her feel safe.
The sound of the room door opening startled everyone, making them all turn to see Doctor Ben standing there with a confused and worried expression on his face. Then he fixed his eyes on Peach and said, “There’s a… umm… Well… there’s a little issue.” The look of guilt in his eyes and how he won’t stare directly at her face made Peach furrowed her brows in confusion as she waited for him to continue.
Doctor Ben cleared his throat and began walking toward Peach, stopping when he was close enough and saying, “My job is at risk. Apparently, someone reported to the board of directors of the hospital that I was treating your mother without any payment or insurance and now I am in quite a mess… You guys need to..” When Elijah saw the worried look on Miss Grace’s face, he darted his gaze to the doctor and said, “We have the money.”
“All Twenty thousand?!” Doctor Ben blurted out in surprise. “Yes,” Elijah answered calmly. “We can make the payment now.”
“But… how…? When…? How did you…?” Doctor Ben stammered.
“Have you heard the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover?” “But… What’s… what is the content of this book?” “You just have to be patient and watch the chapters unfold… you would be shocked about the ending.” Both Miss Grace and Peach looked at each other with their faces contoured in confusion just as Doctor Ben was too because the three of them were not understanding anything that Elijah had said.
Turning his focus off the Doctor, Elijah looked over to Peach and handed the briefcase to her, saying, “Twenty thousand like I promise.”
The look of shock on Doctor Ben’s face grew even deeper than before, and as he gazed at Peach, she opened the briefcase with a shaky hand and took a glimpse inside, finding a hundred bills piled over one another.
Now, it was Miss Grace’s turn to gape at Elijah in disbelief, staring at him incredulously as she tried to grasp what was going on, and how he could get his hands on such money so easily and fast, knowing the news about who he was when he was married to Melina.
“You and Doctor Ben should settle the bills. I will stay here with Miss Grace.” Elijah stated, smiling at Peach, trying to ease the tension in the room. Silently, Peach nodded with a weak smile before closing the briefcase, leaving out of the room with Doctor Ben, who was still confused about what was going on. Watching them leave the room, Elijah sighed deeply, ran his fingers through his hair, and then fixed his eyes on Miss Grace.
Both of them stared in silence, waiting for something to break their awkward mood, which lasted until finally, Elijah broke the silence as he asked, “How are you feeling?”
“What are your plans for my daughter?!” Miss Grace asked calmly, yet, her words carried a hint of fear. “Did you know who she was when you walked into our motel that night?”
“No, and also, I don’t have a plan for Peach,”
“Why? Are you making it up as you go?”
A faint chuckle escaped Elijah’s lips, nodding his head at her question, and he responded, “I am not. Peach is not some piece I want to use in my game of chess.”
“What is that supposed to mean?!” Miss Grace raised her voice with a sense of fear lingering within her tone.
Calmly, Elijah walked over to the hospital bed and sat down beside Miss Grace, looking her straight in the eye with an honest expression plastered onto his face, and said softly, “Peach is innocent, and the innocent don’t deserve to get dragged in the battlefield of hell.”
“You are not a simple man, are you?” Miss Grace questioned, raising her eyebrows.
Elijah didn’t say anything, instead choosing to look up at the ceiling, letting out a small smile on his face, before turning his attention back to Miss Grace and grinning at her. “I don’t know you or what your plans are, but please for this sick, old woman’s sake, please, I am begging you, keep Peach out of your game of chess.” Miss Grace pleaded. “Honestly, with everything that has happened so far, I am the one who has gotten dragged into her mess. So don’t you think it’s unfair to be asking me when your daughter is the one who is pulling me along with her?”. When Miss Grace didn’t answer, Elijah smirked and said, “I am not the one who started this game, Miss Grace. So let’s not paint it as what it’s not.”
After staying silent for a few seconds, Miss Grace sighed and said, “Then can I ask you for a flavor… Peach may seem like a happy and wild girl, sometimes shy… But she had to grow up when she was just a child, and I am begging you to keep an eye on her.”
“I don’t want such liability or responsibility. I am not the type to play the knight on the board. I am more of a loner, and I like it to stay that way.” Elijah said calmly. “Besides, if I agree, and she gets hurt, it would be all my fault.” “Peach only has me. Without me, she has no one, so if you don’t agree and she gets hurt, the would be no one, absolutely no one in her life.”
“This is awkward, and I don’t want to seem like the villain here
It grew quiet once more between the two of them, and Elijah continued to look up at the ceiling in thought while Miss Grace kept on staring at the floor.
“This is pushing my kindness way too far. We have known each other for like what..? Days!? And you are already putting me in such a position. Do you think that’s a good choice, Miss Grace?” Elijah said, looking down to focus on her.
“Sometimes, in desperate situations, you have to have blind trust in a total stranger because you have nothing else left,” Miss Grace replied as she shook her head.
“And right now…” She paused for a moment, trying to calm herself before continuing, “I trust you more than anyone I have ever met in my entire life because you and your men have shown Peach way more kindness than those she shares a bloodline with.” !
It got quiet after her words, and Miss Grace raised her gaze off the floor and looked at Elijah whose eyes were still fixated on hers.
She gave a small smile to him, giving him a warm reassurance that she truly meant what she was saying before she turned her gaze away from him, saying softly, “I believe that you can protect her better than I can. That’s what this second heart attack has thought me.”
“I am sorry, but I can’t give you the answer you are looking for. I can’t be Peach’s safe haven when I, myself, am not trying to take the safe route and back down from any fight in the future.”
“Elijah,” “I’m sorry, Miss Grace. But your daughter can’t be my responsibility or burden.” Elijah let out softly.
Then he stood from the bed, his hands stuck in his pocket. But as he was walking away, Miss Grace grabbed his arm, and when he turned, she dropped to her knees, and Elijah’s eyes widened slightly in surprise and worry. Immediately, he rushed to help her to her feet, but she refused to stand, saying, “I know this is taking advantage of you… putting you in a difficult position, but the forces against my daughter are far beyond your imagination. If you do not come to rescue her, her fate is already sealed…”
“Miss Grace…” Elijah whispered as tears pooled in the corner of her eyes. “This was not their first, and it wouldn’t be their last. My health is not getting any better. Another heart attack or surgery could be the death of me, and if that happens, then I don’t want her to be alone in this cruel world… Peach is so young…”
“I know her unruly attitude shows a woman who is ready to take on the world, but she’s not prepared, Elijah. At least not without someone to guide her… Someone to take care of her and protect her… The person she needs the most now is you.”