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She met Frankie J the next day. He hugged her immediately, so happy she was okay.
“I’m fine, physically, except the shoulder. I need to sing, and I was hoping you could help me?” she asked.
“Sure, but why singing?” he asked.
“I can’t dance right now and that’s normally what I do to relieve stress. Singing’s the next best thing,” she explained. He nodded, understanding.
“What song?”
“Story of my life,” Elisa said.
Frankie grinned.
“Take it away.”
He strummed the guitar as she began to sing.

“Lay your head on my shoulder
Everything is gonna be alright
Baby don't you cry
Baby don't you worry 'bout a thing
I see a rainbow at the end
It's gonna be alright
So many problems around me
Dammit won't they just go away
Every night I pray, yeah
Lord won't you come my way
Won't you come and rescue me
Help me see the light

What do you do when your water runs dry
When your greens and your blues turn to black and white
It's the story of my life
When the fires get out, can you turn 'em off
Can you turn 'em off

I've tried so hard to make it
Tried to do the best I could
Tried to do some good,yea
Like the people that I could
Like my family if you would
Trying to live a better life
Fake friends always around me
Trying to be up in my scoop
Acting like they're cool, yea
They don't know that I ain't blind
So stop trying to waste my time
And go on with your bull, yeah

What do you do when your water runs dry
When your greens and your blues turn to black and white
It's the story of my life
When the fires get out, can you turn 'em off
Can you turn 'em off

Cada vez que siento que el mundo se me esta cerrando
Solo pienso en escaparme del mal
Y cada vez que siento que el aire se me esta acabando pienso en volar
Hasta donde nadie me pueda encontrar

What do you do when your water runs dry
When your greens and your blues turn to black and white
It's the story of my life
When the fires get out, can you turn 'em off
Can you turn 'em off”

“Thanks,” she said, wiping tears from her face.
Frankie hugged her.
“I don’t think a song is going to help this hurt,” he said softly. She shook her head.
“Me either.”


Nick saw Elisa in the pool at the gym a few days later, working her shoulder out. He could see the scar from the bullet and his stomach turned.
He opened the door and walked in.
She turned and flinched.
“I’ll be out in a-“
“Nah, don’t worry. Just going to swim a few laps, then I’ll be out of your way,” he said, jumping in.
Elisa sighed and went back to doing a backstroke, wincing every now and then.
When Nick surfaced, he saw her, with her back to him, resting her arms on the edge of the pool while the rest of her body stayed submerged. He watched her and was shocked to hear her crying.
“Fucking damn it!” she screamed, punching the water.
Elisa turned to him, tears streaming down her face.
“I want my fucking life back!” she shouted. “My shoulder is killing me, I haven’t slept well in weeks, and every time I hear something that even sounds like a gun, I want to run and hide! I hate this shit!”
Nick swam to her, and felt her shoulder. She pulled away.
“Stop, before you fuck it up even worse,” he snapped at her, feeling the wound. It was swollen a little.
“You need to quit overworking it,” he said seriously. “It’s swollen, and if you do too much, you’ll make it worse.”
“You’re a doctor now?” she asked sarcastically.
“No, just someone who’s had enough injuries to know what the fuck he’s talking about,” Nick said hotly.
Elisa sighed.
“Sorry,” she finally said. “I’m just…exhausted.”
Nick calmed down some.
“Want to talk about it?”
Elisa laughed.
“I guess I just did, in my little outburst.”
Nick laughed, too.
“I’m really sorry you had to go through that,” he finally said.
Elisa nodded.
“Me, too,” she said. Sighing she pushed herself out of the pool. “See you later.”

Elisa drove home, replaying the conversation her and Nick had in the pool.
She couldn’t stay in that pool one more minute with him without putting her hands on him. She wasn’t expecting that at all. She wasn’t expecting the desire for him to still be there.
She pulled in her driveway and walked in. Rochelle was out and Leah was with Diane. Elisa kicked her shoes off and walked to her bedroom. She realized she needed to wash clothes when she saw that the only thing she had to sleep in was the oversized T-Shirt Nick had given her months ago. Shrugging, she put it on and climbed into bed, wincing when her shoulder protested.
Her phone dinged. She checked and saw she had a text message. It was from Nick.

Did you get home okay?

Yeah, I did. Thanks for earlier.

Anytime. I mean that. We may not be together but if you need to talk, I’ll listen.

I’ll keep that in mind. Goodnight

Goodnight, hope you sleep well.

Elisa smiled a little as she drifted off to sleep.

She woke up, refreshed and rested the next morning. She didn’t have any nightmares, and she struggled to remember what had happened the night before. She looked at her phone and realized it was Nick. Nick was the reason she had slept so well.
Picking up her phone, she texted him.

Thank you. So much.


I don’t know. All I know is I didn’t have a single nightmare last night, best sleep I’ve had in weeks

That’s good, Leese. Glad I could help


Nick felt hope stirring in his chest when she had texted him. Picking up his keys, he headed over to her house.
When he got there, he stayed in his car a while, and then swallowed his pride and walked to her door. He knocked and waited.
When Elisa answered the door, he was speechless.
She was in the T-shirt he’d given her, with her belt around her waist.
“Shit, sorry, I’ll come back-“
“No, come on in.”
Nick walked in and was happy to see not much had changed in her house.
“I’m sorry, I have to wash clothes and this was the only clean thing I have,” she explained, sitting on the couch and picking up her journal.
“I wanted to talk things out with you,” he explained. “I should have never compared you to your mom. You were right about me being a drunk, though. I don’t know why I even started drinking again.”
He leaned against the wall with his hands in his pockets, waiting for her to speak.
“I still shouldn’t have said it. We both said things we probably shouldn’t have,” she finally said. “You were angry, I was angry.”
“So what now?” Nick asked her.
“I don’t know, Nick.”
“Do you still love me?” he asked. Elisa’s eyes widened.
“Nick, I-“
“You don’t have to answer. We can do this the way we’ve always done things. We’ll take it slow. But Elisa, you belong in my life, I have no doubts about that. When I thought you were- well, I lost it. I felt my entire world crumbling around me, and the last thing I had said to you was to get the hell out of my house.”
Elisa wiped away a couple tears.
“I don’t know what I want, Nick. I’m still dealing with what happened in Argentina. You guys don’t know half the shit I saw. I hope you never have to see the stuff that happened to me."
“Then let me help you. Please, Elisa, it kills me to see you like this,” Nick said, sitting by her.
“It’s not that simple. I tried to help him, I did. When he pulled the gun on me, the last thing I saw was your face. I begged him not to kill me. I told him I could help him. And then he…he shot himself. I saw him die. I saw them all die. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. All I see when I close my eyes is him shooting everyone,” Elisa said, breaking down and putting her face in her hands. “I feel like I could have done more.”
Nick rubbed her back as she cried, processing what she’d just told him. She was actually that close to being gone. He was thankful for whatever changed the gunman’s mind, but he wished he could take all of the bad memories away from this girl. She’d dealt with enough in her 29 years, that most people never had to deal with.
“I think that there wasn’t anything you could have done, Leese. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it, but I don’t know what else to say except that I’m so sorry you had to go through that,” he finally said.
Elisa looked up, her eyes red and puffy.
“I need time, Nick. Please. Just give me time to sort this all out.”
Nick nodded.
“You got it. For real this time. And please, call me if you need someone. I would be here as soon as I can to help you.”
Elisa smiled softly.
“I know.”
Nick squeezed her hand as he got up to leave.
“Nick,” she said, standing up.
He turned around.
She walked to him and hugged him. Sighing, he wrapped his arms around her, welcoming the warming feelings that came whenever she was in his arms.
“Thank you,” she whispered as she stepped away.