The Sass Account
"What is her name, sir?" The nurse shook me out of my staring.
Standing behind the front desk at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center I tried to make sense of the current situation. It wasn't working because I honestly couldn't focus at all. I saw her eyes; I know them, why did she seem so familiar? Her hazel eyes triggered something inside. I looked back at the nurse who was writing down information and cleared my throat.
"Sorry, what was that then?"
"What is the patient's name?" She asked, bolder this time.
I shook my head, genuinely, looking at her still passed out on the hospital bed.
"I don't know."
Surely I knew. Why couldn't I remember? I meet a ton of people daily but I knew I couldn't forget eyes like that.
"Alright well, she is a Jane Doe. Does she have insurance at least?"
I tensed, pressing my lips together. "Just put it in my name."
I watched the nurse finish the rest of the paperwork. This girl, the one I can't seem to place but I could swear I know, was punctured deeply and lost a lot of blood in her foot. She actually had to have a minor blood transfusion to recover the loss. It was same thing that happened to me 3 years ago at the X-Factor house. They said if I waited it could have been infected and loads of things would have been done had we not gone to the hospital immediately. Like amputation. I still shudder at the severe brutality of it all. I knew nothing about that stuff, it was a scary time.
When the girl fell in my arms I called for help right away. I knew what it was and we didn't have much time. I didn't care if she might have been a stalker or anything. You don't leave someone who needs your help just because of what you are. I made sure to stay with her until a car come pick her up, wrap her foot and lift her inside the EMT van.
I didn't have to come along, paramedics told me to wait because they had everything handled, but I did. Should I have stayed back? That's not me. As much as people seem to think fame has changed me, that I have no heart, it couldn't be further from reality. If anyone was in my position, even the most popular celebrity, they would have done what I did.
I looked back at the girl. That's all she was right now. An anonymous girl without a name. I just went from having a great conversation to playing superman.
She laid peacefully on the folding bed of the room. It wasn't a main emergency room since the doctor did all the procedural healing on the spot. She wasn't in the ICU, it didn't go that far.
This entire thing was basically me 3 years ago. Before all this fame, before I was Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. A time where I was known as Louis, or Lou. People knew me, I was known in my high school as the George Clooney. I enjoyed it very much. It made me who I am. Sometimes I wish what would have happened if Hannah never persuaded me to audition for The X-Factor, what would I really do? Who would I be?
I shook from this when I heard groans and looked up as the girl rose from the bed, her stringy hair falling in her face. I looked at her gauze to make sure nothing had ripped, suddenly feeling nervous. What? I don't get nervous; I'm not performing for the first time. Strange how in that moment I couldn't distinguish the difference.
"What the fu-" Her eyes came on me, bulging out. "You?!" She pointed but her eyes squinted in pain. "You…what are you doing here?"
I cleared my throat, if possible getting more nervous. "I'm uh, glad you're OK."
She moved herself off the bed slab sloppily and looked around the room. "What the fuck? Why am I here?"
"Because I brought you here." I said, simply.
"What? Yeah right, this is a fucking dream." She moved to stand but fell over, I went toward her to help but she pushed my hands away.
OK, this one is feisty. Have to go at this another way. "You should really let someone help you."
She groaned, grabbing her forehead. "I can help myself."
I had to laugh at her disposition. "Yeah, you're doing a great job of it all by yourself love."
She rolled her eyes, hoping on one foot. I offered again but she harshly whispered for me to back off.
"Look, I really don't need your help. I can stand on my own. I'm not fucking disabled."
"You're having a hard time. Why don't you slow down and—"
She faced me, her honey-hazel eyes turned dark. "Go away. Since when do you ever do nice things for anyone beside yourself?"
Huh? OK, she knew who I was; her cognitive memory is all there intact. Why did she go there? This girl has some personal issue with me.
I chuckled, sighing deeply biting my bottom lip, slowly putting it together. "OK not a fan, I get it."
"You got that shit right." She replied rapidly. She seemed eager to boast that.
Maybe I should leave. This might be a pay it forward thing that I don't quite understand now but maybe she'll do the same for someone else. I should just leave, yeah.
Things were quiet for a few moments and I didn't move. I felt obligated. I did all the things I'm supposed to do, why am I still here?
"Uh, why are you still here?" She asked in an irritated tone.
I stuttered, looking at the ground. Good question. "Well, do you need a ride?"
She smirked, flashing some teeth as she narrowed her eyes in my direction. "It's OK, I know where I live."
I checked the time, it was nearly 4am. Basically dawn, Harry told me cabs in LA don't run like they do in New York or London.
"Alright, well just offering. You fell pretty hard back there."
She sucked in her bottom lip, she looked weary suddenly. "You really brought me here? Why?"
"Because you needed my help. Anybody else would have done the same. You would too."
"Oh yeah sure." She rolled her eyes, looking down then back up at me. "Aren't you surrounded by bodyguards 24/7?"
I threw my head back to laugh. "Not the way it works babe. They aren't with me all the time. Only when I need them."
"Oh…" She trailed off. "What makes you think I'm not a crazy stalker?"
"Because you just told me you weren't a fan."
"Oh, shit…" She blushing, turning pink and looked at the floor. "I could be lying…"
Please don't let that be true. "Well you knew who I was and you didn't scream or ask me for an autograph right away."
"Maybe the pain had something to do with it." She emphasized pain as a bold point.
I laughed, not responding. There was an awkward beat between us, I felt her eyes on me, something about the way she looked at me held some kind of realness.
She pursed her lips, fidgeting as she bit her lip. "I don't get that way with people."
People? Wow, not celebrity or hot shot? I didn't think anyone out there referred to me as part of the people in years. I really have sunk so far into myself. This conversation was getting too real.
"Right well, I should leave you be as you wish. Blue cabs are still running." I added and turned around to leave.
I stopped, not sure where this was going but I waited. I turned around and saw her looking at her injured foot wrapped in the strong gauze. She looked back at me and swallowed slowly.
"Been a while since anyone has…" She looked down again then at me, holding my attention. "Cared. I didn't think you would stay, you didn't have to."
I didn't notice she was inching closer to me. My lips parted and I cleared my throat. Here come the X-Factor nerves. "It's the right thing to do is all."
"I know, still, I'm sure someone would have, I don't know, maybe someone else would have been there and called. Or I don't know…maybe not, people aren't—"
"You don't trust easily do you?"
She shrugged and hopped to sit on the bed. "It's not just people. I don't have faith in a lot of things."
This is more than what I signed up for. I just wanted to help her out. I didn't expect to psychoanalyze life with a stranger.
"I see. Well, I'm glad I helped. Had the same thing happen to me years ago."
"I know." She said quietly.
"What?" Had I heard her right?
She squirmed around. "I mean, you're right I guess it could have been worse. Sucks you had it happen. The sight of blood is scary."
"It is." I took a seat next to her in the visitor's chair. I can't believe I was taking this further. Famous Louis, well the restricted me, would have left hours ago, before she woke up.
Oddly, I didn't feel bothered as I normally would. As I sat next to her, the tension in my body melted almost right away.
Things were quiet again for a million seconds. I snuck looks at her and she caught me but didn't say anything about it.
Her sudden deep breath broke the staring.
"It's morning…" She looked at the open window at the hours of dawn starting to dissipate. She walked, more hobbled up to look closer.
"Yeah, almost." I said, folding my hands together. "Are you going to be alright by yourself?"
She continued to stare outside not saying anything for a few moments. "In the end we're always by ourselves."
I stood up at that coming near her. "What do you mean?"
What the hell is going on? Why is this girl such a downer? I get that she's in some pain but they told me she was going to be fine. They signed a prescription for her to take in case the pain comes back. What's with the negativity?
She shook her head, turning around and leaned against the wall. "Means nothing." She stared at me. "Yes, I'll be fine."
She said everything so straight. No hint of emotion streaming through any of the words. "I can still take you back. It's not a problem really."
"I think you've done a lot already. I don't even know how I'm going to pay for this. My insurance isn't going to cover something like this."
I don't know what made me do it but I took her hand gently in mine. Shit, she's going to slap me, or worse, pull away and call security.
She did none of these things. She looked blankly at our hands interlock. A shocked expression swept over her eyes. I know those eyes from somewhere. Why can't I piece together what's in front of me? She looked like a scared wild animal. Her face had this rough, been through a lot snapshot. I wondered what made her look so tough. But now, the lines at the corners of her eyes unwound, the creases around her lips becoming soft and young.
"You did it didn't you?" It was more of a statement than a question. "You…really didn't need to."
"You keep saying this. Yeah, I did. It's what people do. I'm not soulless."
"I ne-you-" She stuttered.
We pulled apart when the door opened. I still had her prescription note in my pocket but waited when the doctor walked in.
It was easily my incident 3 years ago. I can't help but feel like I'm reliving it all over again. Maybe this is why I felt so nervous. It wasn't the girl, she was reminding me of those days. I still think this girl is terrified of me or she actually hates me. I can't decide which one is true. I backed away in the corner of the room and listened to the doctor and nurse giving her papers to fill out. I had to put everything on my name since I knew nothing about her in terms of where she lived or even an identity.
Yeah, it's true, I never got her name.
The nurse looked at me. "You should take her home; she can't walk too much right now."
The girl looked at me; her long sandy-colored hair was swept out of her eyes as she heard what the nurse said.
"Not necessary. I'm calling a cab."
The nurse was about to leave when she looked at both of us. "It's best you get rest dear." She looked back at me, her eyes welcoming and kind. "Please see that she is brought home safely."
I nodded. Now that I had the nurse's permission I tried to be more confident about giving her a ride now. We were left alone when the nurse had gone.
"Harry told me cabs are sparse around this time." I mentioned quietly.
She was looking anywhere but me. "Nice to know."
I threw my hands up, frustrated. I was surprised I had any energy left.
"Look, I don't really do this often with everybody. In fact it's hard for me to go anywhere and do anything normal ever again. But I care about people just like any normal person would. It would be nice if you accepted my offer to take you back. I'm not asking you for anything more. You'll never see me again. We'll never talk to each other. We'll forget about this entire thing. Please just accept this offer and I will leave you alone like you want."
I commanded the last words. Halfway through the speech she turned to look at me, directly in my eyes. The shocked expression was still on her face by the time I finished.
"I made you mad. Wow, guess fame hasn't made you a robot after all."
I almost cracked a smile. Sarcasm? Really? Not when I'm trying to be serious. "Come on. If you want to pay me back then let me take you home."
She yawned and slid off the bed, adjusting herself to stand. I took this as my cue and handed her shoes over and she put them on carefully.
"OK, I'm slightly desperate and I don't wanna sleep here. Hate hospitals." She moved with me and I did a silent finally before rolling my eyes. She stopped and touched my shoulder, immediately feeling it. "How good are you with your word?"
"Extremely. I never break my promises." I said, my voice serious my face stolid.
She nodded, I feel like I convinced her. "Fair enough." We walked out of the room soundlessly.
She filled out the checkout information at the front while I told the nurse I was taking her back. She gave me a weird smile. I shook it off and walked with this weird girl who put me in the hospital at 4am. I still didn't understand why I was so persistent in taking this girl home. She could have easily bummed a ride off a friend or a car service.
We took the elevator down in silence. I could hear her breathing and tried to shut it off. There was nothing left to say. I was going to take her home. That was it. I'm shutting off everything else that didn't belong there.
I lead her to the car, unlocking the door. She insisted on helping herself in the front seat. I rolled my eyes, it was nearly over. Was beginning to think this girl truly hates me for some unlawful reason. Maybe she's jealous. The way she talked about not freaking out around famous people, could be a cover for seeing green. I watched her look out the window on her side as I turned on the engine, pulling out of the hospital parking garage.
The only words she spoke were directions to her place, no "thank you" no "I'm grateful to be living, I appreciate this." Don't people praise me enough? But this time it mattered. I actually did something for somebody else and gained nothing from it. She didn't show any gratitude. Is this what the real world feels like?
The freeway silence was trying enough so I tuned the radio to classical morning music.
"Louis…" She whispered finally. I thought I was imagining this.
I glanced at her when I got off the freeway ramp. When she didn't continue I urged her. "What?"
"This has been a weird day for me. Sorry if I'm a bitch to you. I'm just...I don't know what to say. Not a lot of people really ever help me."
I swallowed, there was more, I know there was, that's why I didn't interrupt her.
"I don't have a lot of luck in my life." I turned onto a residential road, hers more specifically from the directions she gave me and looked at her. Her hands were covering her face.
I pulled the car over a few flat buildings from hers. I was tired beyond my mind but I felt like I needed to stop the car. I put the car in park, still not saying anything.
She moved to unlock the door with the lever. "You don't understand."
"I do." My hand came on her shoulder. "Maybe I do. Sometimes I wish I was normal. I wonder what my life would be if I never had any of this. I have too much luck. It's overrated."
She didn't turn around. "Says the celebrity so many people envy."
"It's a lonely life…look I don't even know your name. Why am I confessing all this?"
I was genuinely confused. She stopped trying to escape, her eyes found mine but I didn't look at her. "Because you need help."
"Help? How the fuck do I need help?" I said, anger evident in my tone.
"Maybe no one really talks to you unless they want something. Maybe that's what you're used to."
I pressed my lips together in a line, squeezing the wheel so hard my knuckles turned white.
"It's true isn't it? Wow that is sad." She continued. I couldn't deny it nor defend myself.
I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair. Why was I sweating? Maybe this was a shit idea. Having this girl here, around me, she's probably some psycho fan who thought I brushed her off at one of our gigs and now she has it in for me.
She needs to get over herself.
"No, nothing is true, person with no name."
She turned her body, twisting it around so she faced me completely.
"No one listens to you anymore. You want someone to but they don't, do they?"
I unlocked the car doors, clearing my throat as cotton balls appeared inside my mouth. My vocals were shot. I didn't like what she was doing, not one bit.
What she was saying, this wasn't true. I found someone who did. Charlotte cared. This girl can't even understand someone might actually care about a lonely, worn-out pop star.
"I do have someone. I unlocked the door, you can go home now. A deal's a deal."
"Wanna know why I haven't told you my name Louis?"
Do I have a choice? I shook my head, a slight gesture as she leaned forward.
"Because it belongs to me. It's the only thing this world can't take away from me. I only trust myself. I don't believe in sharing something so sacred with people who don't appreciate what knowing my name means. You think it's just a name. It's really not, it's everything. Without my name, there is nothing left."
I gulped harshly staring forward. The dryness in my throat getting worse the longer she stayed around me. This is how it feels to be hated. To be truly embarrassed.
She looked at me once again before laughing slightly, looking down. "You have nothing to say to that?"
Was she challenging me? A stranger who doesn't know me from Adam and never had a conversation with the real Louis? Is this really happening? My entire body was shaking and I could feel my blood bubbling up the surface.
She sighed, her big hazel eyes focusing on me. "I understand. Who am I right? You don't even know my name." She paused. "But then again I don't really know yours. I've forgotten too."
I lifted my head at that. She was getting ready to leave again when I caught her. "What? Forgotten what?"
She looked down, her lips trembling as her eyes trailed up slowly to meet mine. "How hard it is for the rest of us unlucky people."
She removed my hand harshly. Just as I was about to ask her a follow up question she took a deep breath. "I wish I could see life through your eyes but unfortunately I can't. Thank you for helping me tonight. I'm sorry I couldn't help you."
"Wait, what are you talking about?"
She looked at me, smiling sadly while a tear slid down her cheek. "Goodnight Louis. Thanks for the ride. A deal's a deal."
She took herself out of the car and all I could do was watch her leave. She walked slowly to her building without turning around. The space between us getting wider the further she walked. She didn't once look back.
I thought this entire time I was doing the right thing. I was so spaced out with confusion I didn't check to see if she made it home alright. She was gone. Almost like she was a ghost.
Am I dreaming? When do I wake up from all this? Holy shit, I rubbed my eyes unable to focus.
My phone beeped, I don't know why but I looked at it. Some shred of normalcy will be the best thing now. Anything.
I smiled, seeing a new DM from Charlotte. I had someone, I wasn't alone. This girl was wrong. People still cared.
Charlotte: The best part about this day was you. Please don't forget that :)
I'm not, don't worry about me love.