Only For You(109)

By: Genna Rulon

Sam nodded her agreement vigorously.

“I found an amazing center that can provide the medical attention and rehabilitation you need during your recovery. They specialize in women who have been through similar experiences.”

Sam shook her head in protest.

“Sam, I know you want to come home and hide under your covers. I get it, I would probably feel the same, but I can’t let you do that. I love you enough to give you what you need—even if it isn’t what you want.”

Sam slammed her fist on the bed in response.

“Don’t give me attitude! You refuse to speak, you can only tolerate my touch, you’re broken—you said it yourself. You need to get better, I need you to get better, but I don’t have the skills to help you with this. Please, Sam, you are the only family I have. I can love you and support you, but that will not be enough. I don’t know what to do other than to send you to the most qualified professionals.”

Sam turned her head, refusing to look at me.

“You’re mad at me. Fine, I’ll accept your anger and you can hate me if you want to, but you are going to Phoenix Center. You may have experienced a tragedy, but I will not let you become a tragedy.” I stopped, wanting to guide the conversation in a more positive direction.

“The center is outside San Diego, on the beach. It’s a private complex that has every amenity you could want and need—they even have a salon and spa on site. Their reputation is stellar and I spoke to the director myself, you will love Shelly.”

Sam still refused to look at me.

“I’m going to miss you like crazy but I will come visit soon and you will be back before we know it.” I was swimming in guilt as if I too had betrayed her, “You can’t make the right decisions for yourself at this point, so I will make them for you, until you’re stronger. Please do this, give it a real chance—for me. You always said that you would do anything you could for me and this is what I’m asking of you. Go and heal, get better because I need you. You’re my bestest friend, my sister, and I can’t live without you. Please,” I finished on a whisper with tears glistening on my face.

Sam finally looked at me and nodded her agreement. She held out her uninjured arm inviting me near, and I went without hesitation and hugged her gently.

“Thank you,” I kissed the top of her head as if she was a small child.

“Only for you,” she whispered in return.

With those three small words, my hope was restored. Sam would come through this, scarred but living again.

I slept at the hospital that night, not willing to leave Sam alone. She didn’t speak again until she was leaving with the staff from Phoenix Center. I bent down to her wheelchair to hug her when she whispered, “love you” in my ear. Yeah, Sam would find her way. She may have to claw and fight to come back, and she may not be the same Sam she used to be, but the new Sam would be stronger than ever before.

I returned to work the day after Sam left, Marty was overjoyed to have me back. Her patience was unparalleled while I was attending to Sam but she was ready to get back to the usual routine. I threw myself into work needing the distraction it provided. It was odd not to spend all my time at the hospital. I still worried about Sam incessantly, but was confident she was well cared for. School was over; I had graduated. The actual commencement Friday would not include me. I had no desire to accept my diploma on stage with no one there to care or cheer for me. My solitude was too depressing to emphasize by walking in the ceremony.

Heath was arraigned and bail had been denied, despite the protests of his lawyer and father. Police revealed Heath’s two best friends were accomplices in his crimes, usually as voyeurs but they had also committed several of the attacks. Heath had cleverly planned his absence during several of the assaults ensuring he had undeniable alibis should he ever become a suspect. His friends apparently confessed once arrested in order to obtain leniency for their testimonies.

A commercial for the evening news caught my attention the week after Heath’s arrest. It promoted an exposé including “untold details about the conspiracy and capture of ‘Heath, the Hensley Hunter’.” Great, Heath had a new alliterated moniker. I’m sure the twisted psycho loved it.

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