Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 3- Heaven Everywhere Installment Six

**

We got home on Sunday night and I didn’t go to sleep until five A.M. in the morning. When I woke up I found myself in the kitchen pouring milk into a bowl of cereal and a sore throat.

“Natalie!” Momma cried. She looked upset. “Couldn’t you have waited? Donna and I are making breakfast this morning.”

“Sorry,” I rasped. “But I’m getting my cast off today and…”

“And you’re not getting your cast off until noon,” Momma snapped.

“I said sorry,” I said walking away. I didn’t even want the stupid bowl of cereal. I didn’t understand why Momma was so upset. It was just a bowl of cereal. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was another coco episode.

“Natalie Zoey Baldwin, get back here and eat this bowl of cereal!”

I sighed and walked back into the kitchen.

“I’m not hungry,” I stated. I really wasn’t and my stomach hurt all of a sudden.

“Eat,” Momma commanded as she cracked eggs. I took the bowl of cereal and sat down.

“Morning, Natalie,” Mr. Steve said walking into the restaurant.

“Morning, Mr. Steve,” I grumbled. Mr. Steve looked at me and then walked into the kitchen.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with her!” Momma shouted.

“Shh! She’ll hear you!” Mr. Steve shouted not so quietly. I rolled my eyes. I put the cereal in my mouth and nearly choked. Pain went through my throat. I couldn’t eat anything the way my throat was feeling.

“Morning, Natalie,” Darcy said walking into the restaurant. “You look tired.”

“Jet lag,” I lied. Darcy nodded.

“We moved the baseball game to two so you could play today,” Darcy said. “After all it is the last day of spring break.”

“That was sweet,” I rasped.

“You ok?” Darcy asked. I nodded.

“I notice your knee is out of its cast,” I said. Darcy nodded.

“I got it off on Tuesday,” Darcy said. “Dr. Walters said I was doing better than he thought I was. He told me not to run on it for at least a week but um…..”

I laughed.

“Morning, Darcy,” Momma said walking from the kitchen. Mr. Steve wasn’t far behind.

“Morning, Mrs. Bald…I mean Mrs. Matthews,” Darcy said. Momma smiled.

“Natalie, can we talk?” Mr. Steve said.

“I’ve gotta finish this cereal,” I said swallowing. It hurt but the pain was worth it. Mr. Steve walked away. Momma looked at me.

“Morning,” Jaci said walking into the restaurant. “What’s up with Dad?”

Momma looked at me and I got up.

“I’m taking a shower,” I mumbled.

“Oh no you’re not,” Momma said. “You’re finishing that cereal. It’s clearly very important to you.”

I sighed and sat back down. It took me twenty minutes the finish the bowl of cereal, and when I finished my throat hurt so bad I felt like throwing up blood and my head hurt so much I felt like I had been hit with an avalanche.

**

I stared at Mr. Steve as Dr. Walters sawed off my cast. Momma made him take me to get my cast off. He tried to talk to me when I got into the car but I put my headphones in. I wasn’t even listening to anything. I just didn’t feel like talking to him.

“Now your foot and part of your leg might look a little weird and it my smell since you haven’t washed it since December,” Dr. Walters said. I nodded.

“How should we clean it?” Mr. Steve asked. “When I broke my arm I had to let it soak in warm water mixed with soap. I couldn’t scrub my arm or scratch it.”

“The same. Soak the leg in warm water and soap, twice a day,” Dr. Walters said. He took the cat off and I looked at my leg. My skin looked at dry and flaky.

“No scratching,” Dr. Walters said. “Walk.”

I walked around.

“How does it feel?” Dr. Walters asked. “Any pain?”

“It’s a little stiff,” I said.

“That’s perfectly normal,” Dr. Walters said. “Ease into reusing it. Don’t play baseball this afternoon like Darcy did when he got his cast off. He hit his knee and it got swollen. Thankfully he didn’t re-break it.”

To tell the truth I felt too sick to play baseball.

I opened my mouth to say something but by the way Dr. Walters looked at me I guessed he thought I was going to protest so I closed my mouth.

“Open your mouth again,” Dr. Walters said taking a flashlight out of his coat pocket. I opened my mouth.

“Your tonsils and lymph nodes are swollen,” Dr. Walters said. “How’s your throat feeling?”

“Sore,” I said.

“How long has it been feeling like that?” Dr. Walters asked.

“Since this morning,” I said. Mr. Steve looked at me and then a hurt look came upon his face. He now knew I wasn’t hungry but that I didn’t want to talk to him.

“Let me take your temperature,” Dr. Walters said. He walked away and came back with a thermometer.

“She’s a hundred and three,” Dr. Walters said. “This may be a stupid question because you were just in England and anyone could have gone outside of their house and have strep throat, but have you come in contact with someone who had strep throat?”

“Um, maybe,” I said. Mr. Steve nodded.

“I want to do a rapid strep test. Don’t worry all I do is swab the inside of your mouth and we should know within ten to fifteen minutes,” Dr. Walter said.

Dr. Walters did the test and came back fifteen minutes later.

“The test came back positive,” Dr. Walters said. “Strep throat usually gets better on its own but we treat it with antibodies just to be safe. You should stop being contagious within twenty-four hours, but it may take up to three weeks for your symptoms to go away. Give her some Tylenol to help the pain and lower the fever. It says here on my charts that she has an Anaphylaxis allergy to aspirin so no ibuprofen whatsoever.”

I tried not to remember the time I got into the medicine cabinet and took an aspirin. Not a pretty memory. It shook my mother up because we had just lost Daddy and come to think of it she might have thought I’d been poisoned.

**

“Is there anything you want?” Momma asked me. Since I was still contagious, I was placed in what was now Momma and Mr. Steve’s room. I didn’t like being in here. There were pictures of Jaci, Abby, and me. Megan poked her head in here a second ago and complained that there were no pictures of her.

“Can I have one of Daddy’s journals?” I asked. “I think the one I’m on is red.”

Momma nodded and walked away. I should have told her it was under my pillow on the couch.

Momma came back with a red journal. She looked like she might be sick herself. She handed the journal to me and quickly turned away.

“Are you all right?” I asked.

“Fine, just fine,” Momma said, but I had a feeling she was lying. She quickly walked out the room. I opened the first page of the journal and quickly realized from the date that journal I was not the journal I was on but was also the year before I was born. The words on the page jumped out at me and I had to read them.

March 6th

 I knew something was wrong. I just knew it. In my previous journal I mentioned that last week Riley acted really weird at the supermarket. She looked over her shoulder, noticed some man, and nearly had a panic attack. The guy was in his late fortiesor early fifties. He did look a little creepy, but by the way Riley acted I had a feeling the two of them had history.

 Well maybe they do. Riley went to the same supermarket…alone and now she’s missing. I know it was stupid of me to let Riley to to the supermarket by herself but well I didn’t know she was going to the supermarket. I told her that I needed a new journal and she said she’d get one. I didn’t think she’d go to the supermarket, but we didn’t have any bananas and she did say she was in the mode for some banana bread. I mean I was at work when she went so there really was nothing I could do about it.

  The police aren’t so sure she was kidnapped. They’re very open to the possibility that she ran away. I’m not. Her car was found in the supermarket parking lot and I just know she wouldn’t just leave. I have a feeling this has something to do with her um shady past. I told the police everything I knew including that strange man. I did my best to identify him….but….Oh Lord, I just pray that Riley is all right cause I have no clue about her past and have no idea what kind of danger she is in. It’s all in your hands, Lord.

My life just kept getting weirder and weirder. I nominate my mother for the Most Secretive Award.

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