Chapter One: The Hale Family
The evening shift at the clinic was boring.
Honestly there was very few times when the clinic wasn't boring, what with the boring nature of its patients.
That was mean. She shouldn't say that kind of thing. Patty, the head orderly, had berated her time and time again for her disrespectful ways with the patients.
'They're people too, Karen. Some of them can hear you.'
But there were reasons Karen worked in the long term care clinic, rather than the maternity ward where she'd originally been hired. And those reasons were called 'Bad bedside manner', 'more pay' and 'less babies'.
She didn't really understand why she had to be nice to the coma patients. If they were actually bothered they'd wake up and tell her to shut up - which was kind of the point. If she annoyed someone into consciousness would she get a raise?
Karen stripped the sheet from Mr. Thompson's bed with a small smirk on her face. The other orderly, Jamie, had drawn the short straw and was currently giving the 89 year old coma patient a sponge bath.
She dumped the armful of sheets into her cart, rubbing a few loose strands of hair out of her face as she checked the tiny little stopwatch she kept on her cart. Only 2 more hours. She sighed, and looked at the clock on the wall. It was nine, if she finished early maybe she could get out of here early and actually go to bed early before school started tomorrow.
Karen jumped slightly and turned to see a woman standing behind her. She frowned for a moment, looking around, then then back to the woman who was staring at her with large questioning eyes.
"Um…" Karen fidgeted, "Can I help you?"
"Yes." The girl smiled, but it didn't quit reach her eyes, "I was looking for my Uncle…er- Peter Hale?"
Karen actually paused at that, looking at the girl up and down. She looked a bit like Peter - she could see it in the blue eyes and sharp facial structure. But instead of Peter's blonde hair, this woman had long strands of dark brown hair that fell straight around her face.
Karen had been at the hospital for three years now, a volunteer and then as an orderly once she turned eighteen, and in her entire time there she'd never seen anyone visit Peter Hale. She hadn't even been aware he had any family left.
Karen pursed her lips, "Didn't you sign in with the front desk?"
"Yes." The woman replied quickly, "I just…I can't remember the room number."
Karen was still a bit suspicious of the twitchy girl, but the family resemblance was obvious enough that Karen nodded and pointed to the last room on the left. The woman thanked her quickly before walking down the hall like a woman on a mission, vanishing into the bedroom.
It was the first and last time she had seen that woman.
Actually, it was the last time anyone had seen her.
The next day the high school was abuzz with news.
Everyone was huddled int their groups, the freshmen sticking with each other, making their new cliques and friends. The sophomores walked like they owned the place, the confidence that came with no longer being freshman. Lydia Martin strolled by with her hair in perfect curls, strutting up towards the school. The juniors were in a state of numbness, just looking to get through the day without falling asleep.
And the seniors, the category Karen fell into, we're all milling around with wide smiles on their faces, looking forward to graduation. After all, it was the last first day of school they'd ever have.
She had chemistry first thing in the morning, which had to be some sort of punishment. Nobody deserved to have Harris that early in the morning.
He stood at the front of the classroom, the look on his face was a permeant mixture of boredom and disgust.
"Alright." Harris' voice was soft and dull, but it still commanded the attention of the class who knew better than to keep talking, "As many of you have probably already heard, last night there was a body found on the preserve. Before you ask, no I have no information. And while I have little confidence in the matter, I'm sure that you'll be able to concentrate on the syllabus for the class, as well as your first day of notes."
There was a low groan that echoed through the class as everyone opened up their notebooks or pulling out a spare piece of paper.
Karen had a pinched look on her face as she pulled out a small notebook and opened it to the first page. Someone had died last night?
It wasn't that weird. She worked in a hospital and people died all the time. Back when she was fifteen and had first started volunteering, one of the women in the maternity ward had died. She'd blacked out soon after finding out about it and the next thing she remembered was sitting in her grandfathers car, tears stuck to her cheek. That had been her last day working in maternity.
But this wasn't someone dying in a hospital. Someone had died on the preserve. A murder maybe? In Beacon Hills?
A low buzz from her pocket made her frown and she gently pulled it out and looked at the text message.
Sally: Please tell me you're not dead.
Karen snorted and complied a quick response.
Karen: I wish.
Nothing else happened for the rest of the day. Well, nothing important. She got homework, got a second hand invite to a party on Friday night, and probably more summer gossip than she had needed.
She took the bus home to her tiny apartment that she'd inherited from her grandfather when he'd died. She hadn't brought herself to get rid of anything, so the floral furniture that still smelt like mothballs was in place, and the twenty year old television was still placed precariously on stacks of old National Geographic magazines
She threw her backpack on the pea soup green chair and wandered into the kitchen to pull out a carton of orange juice and taking a swing right from it.
Her cell phone started to buzz in her pocket, making her jump.
She yanked it out and opened it, not even looking to see who was calling, there was only one person in the world who knew her number.
"Hullo." Karen answered dryly.
"You sound jam packed with enthusiasm." Her friend Sally joked through the line. "But never mind that, tell me about this murder."
Karen rolled her eyes, leaning against the kitchen island, "No murder, just an animal attack."
"Well that's not very interesting."
Karen snorted, "Sally be serious, someone died."
"Like you're one to give lessons in tact." Sally retorted, chuckling softly. "Nothing interesting ever happens in that crap-hole - when are you moving back to Seattle?"
"Um…" Karen winced, wondering how exactly she was going to explain to her best friend that she had decided to stay in Beacon Hills after graduation, "I don't know yet. I mean…I still have a whole school year and...you know."
"Have you started applying to schools yet?" Sally urged.
Actually she had already started out her application to Beacon County Community College, but no way was she telling that to Sally, "Nope."
"Well get on that girl." Sally snorted.
"I will." Karen flinched noticeably, "Look I have to get ready for work."
"I still don't understand why you have that job Kare-Bear. You have more then enough money to pay your rent and College for at least six years."
"I've already told you." Karen sighed, "I'm not gonna live off my Father and Grandfathers life insurance."
"Well no one else is going to use it."
Karen chuckled, "Look, I don't know when I'm moving - but I'll be sure to drive up for your birthday, alright?"
"Obviously." Sally snorted, "Anyway, I'll let you get back to your job and I'm gonna to get drunk like a responsible adult."
Karen shook her head at her friend and started to get ready for work.
The long term care clinic was small - half because of the small size of Beacon Hills, and half because of the ever shrinking budget they had. There was only about a dozen residents, those who were permanently hospitalized, but not dying. It was depressing, but not as depressing as working in hospice.
She walked into Peter Hale's room near the end of her shift. He'd been here the longest out of everyone, six years in total. His nurse, Jennifer, was weirdly optimistic thought, constantly saying that he's snap out of it 'any day now'.
Karen wasn't so optimistic.
Peter was the same as he always was. Sitting, facing the window, his hands resting on his legs in the wheelchair. His face was relaxed and his pale blue eyes emotionless, his hair pushes back from his face where it curled back behind his ears.
The most noticeable thing about him were the scars. Half of his face was like melted wax, scarred and disfigured beyond recognition. She knew that the scaring went down his right arm, and over his chest, covering nearly half his body.
Karen had taken to calling him Harvey Dent when she had first met him - Jennifer hadn't like that at all.
"Hey there Two-Face." She smiled at him, moving to open the window. "It's nice out today. Gotta get you that Vitamin D."
He didn't respond - which really made him the perfect conversationalist for her.
"I'm gonna change your bed now." She moved to the sheets, unhooking them from the bed. She looked over at him and winced, "They still got you in that old man sweater huh? I'll have to talk to Jennifer about getting you into something more fitting of your age. Maybe some leather?"
Karen paused, looking down where there were brown stains that had been hidden by the scratchy hospital blanket. Blood.
"Are you bleeding?" She asked out loud, genuine concern moving into her voice. She may be somewhat of a bitch, but it didn't mean she didn't actually care about the patients.
She studied the scaring from the fire - looking for any open wounds. There shouldn't be anything, but continued down over his neck, unzipping his sweater to look over his collar bones.
"If I didn't know any better I'd think this was a ploy to get you out of these clothes." She jokingly winked. His face stayed expressionless.
She gave a one over his clothing, trying to see if there was any obvious wounds or blood stains, but she couldn't see anything.
"You seem okay…" Karen frowned, standing up, "Just speak up if anything hurts."
He didn't respond.
She shook her head, letting out a long sigh, "Yes, I know I'm a terrible person."
She imagined that in his head he agreed with her.
As she put the new sheets on his bed, she continued in her one sided conversation, "So they found a body in the woods last night - kind of weird. I feel like I shouldn't care, but it's kind of the most interesting thing to happen in this town in years. Or maybe I'm just morbid."
Karen tossed the dirty sheets into the cart, making a quick note on her chart about the blood. She moved into his private bathroom, which was immaculate except for the thinnest sheen of dust. Peter was catatonic, not in a coma like many of the patients. He'd eat, go to the bathroom, and even shower if you told him too. But other than the most basic necessities for life, Peter would only be found in his wheelchair, staring at the window like he was waiting for someone.
Once Karen had asked him who he was waiting for. He didn't answer her.
Maybe it was the girl from last night. The one with the round eyes and the thin face and the same dead look that Peter had.
"You had a visitor last night." Karen said as she grabbed a few clean towels from her cart. "Your niece, right?"
His finger twitched.
Karen stopped, holding the towels in her arms as she blinked at his hand.
It wasn't like she'd never seen him move. She'd stayed with him while he ate, feeding himself with slow methodical movements.
But he'd never responded to her talking before - in any way. He never twitched, flinched or even exhaled more out his nose.
He was still again, staring out the window.
Karen gathered up the towels and moved into his bathroom, "You must've had fun with her."
If Karen had been looking at Peter's face in that second she would have seen a bright flash of red, and the corner of his mouth twist upwards in a smirk.
"You coming to Lacrosse tryouts?" Chloe Smith asked her before English.
Karen blinked at her blankly- the two of them talked in class, but they never hung out or even conversed outside out school. Neither of them had many friends in school so they usually ended up sitting next to each other or being partners for class. Karen didn't even remember her name half the time, calling her 'partner' in her mind usually.
"I don't even go to lacrosse games." Karen gave her a weird look.
"Oh." Chloe nodded, looking embarrassed, "I heard that James is trying out."
Karen sorted through her backpack, not even looking up at the girl, "Who?"
Chloe blinked at her, "James? James…Porter? You've gone to school with him since freshman year?"
Karen paused, then shook her head, "Doesn't ring a bell. Why should I care that he's trying out?"
Chloe sucked in a breathe, her face bright red as she fidgeted, "Okay look. I like him, and I need someone to go with me so that I don't look like a total stalker watching him try out."
Karen looked up, pausing and then shrugging, "Okay."
"Okay?" Chloe frowned, "That's it?"
"Sure, whatever." Karen pulled out a pen with a frown, "I don't have any plans - I was just gonna go home and watch re-runs of Friends all night."
Chloe blinked, "Oh. Okay. Thank you."
Karen nodded, and inwardly gave herself a high five for talking to another human being without insulting them in some way.
"You hear about that girl who was killed?" Chloe asked in a conspiring whisper. Karen let out a deep sigh. Maybe that had been a mistake.
"Nope." Karen shrugged, doodling on her notebook, "Didn't even know it was a girl."
"Yeah, just a few years older than us." Chloe leaned in, "Apparently it was a cougar."
Karen grimaced, wrinkling her nose at the image in her mind. She didn't care who the girl was, nobody deserved to die that way.
"Why is Lacrosse so popular here?" Karen asked Chloe as she tried to keep her blond hair from flying in front of her face.
Chloe snorted, "You've been here four years and you're only asking now?"
"Yes." Karen replied bluntly.
Chloe gave her a weird look, "Our Lacrosse team is really good."
"Is it really good? Or do the other teams just really suck?"
Chloe snorted, "We've won a bunch of championships."
"Ah." Karen nodded as she watched the team members wandering out onto the field. "So our football team sucks then?"
Chloe sighed, "I don't even think we have a football team anymore."
Karen watched the people on the field without a care in the world. Chloe was watching number 16, which must be Jared. Or was it James?
"Who are all these people?" Karen asked, deciding it was probably polite to at least pretend to care.
"The captain is Jackson Whittemore." Chloe pointed, "He's good - really good - but he's an ass. Danny Mahealani is usually the goalie, but they got some other kid in there right now. They're trying out for first line, but most of the team is made of sophomores and juniors. I think James is the only Senior."
Karen shook her head at the influx of information, coming too just in time to see the goalie twist his body quickly to make an impossible catch in the goalie net.
"He seems good." Karen shrugged.
Chloe squinted her eyes, "I think that's jaw guy."
"Jaw guy?" Karen snorted.
Chloe blushed, "Yeah - I don't know his actual name, but his jaw is kind of uneven…."
Karen blinked at the ginger girl and shook her head, chuckling lightly, "You're not too bad."
Work was strangely busy the next day.
At least half of the patients had visitors, which seriously hampered on Karen's ability to do her job. Nobody wants to see their love ones spoon fed mashed peas. So most of the day was spent fiddling with her phone by her cart as she waited for families to slowly leave so she could changed sheets and clean the rooms.
She could see someone moving towards her down the hall and she subconsciously moved out of the way, but didn't look up from her cell phone.
The person stopped beside her cart.
Karen raised an eyebrow and looked up.
The guy standing in front of her looked like one of the murderers on the late night reruns of Law & Order with his thick eyebrows and slightly too big leather jacket. He was handsome but any sort of attraction she might have towards him was put off by the complete and total 'back off' vibe he had.
"Can I help you?" Karen asked cautiously.
The man stared at her unblinking for a few moments before clearing his throat, "I'm looking for my uncles room - Peter Hale."
Karen stared at him for a few second, "You were a lot prettier when you were here before."
The man frowned, "Excuse me?"
"I'm sorry." Karen sighed, "I'm not as funny as I think I am. Someone else came to see Peter earlier this week." She pointed down the hall, "He's down there, last room on the left."
The man hesitated, "Someone else…a woman?"
The man reached into his bag and pulled out a picture, his lips pursed as he shows it to her, "Is this her?"
Karen frowned but looked at the picture, nodding, "Yeah that's her."
The man sighed lowly, and without another word pushed past her and walked into his uncles room.
"Nice talking to you." She mumbled, turning back to her game of solitaire.
Apparently one lacrosse game had been all it had taken for Chloe to officially adopt her as her new best friend. Once in a fit of annoyance Karen had snapped for the girl to hang out with her other friends. Chloe had blushed and stuttered that she didn't really have any and Karen was apparently a nice enough person to let the girl continue to trail after her.
It was weird though. Chloe was nice. Karen didn't have nice friends. Even when she was a child her and her friends seemed to have 'bitch' tattooed across their foreheads. But Chloe didn't seem to notice it and constantly clung to her with a wide smile and cute freckles.
So it wasn't a huge surprise when, at the end of the week, Chloe ran up to her locker with the same enthusiasm that she did with almost everything.
"Are you going to Lydia Martin's party tonight?"
Karen sighed, yanking her Chemistry textbook out of her locker, "Maybe?" She wrinkled her nose, "Isn't it a bit weird to go to a sophomore party?"
"Unless it's Lydia Martin's party." Chloe corrected.
Karen closed with locker, "Isn't it at her boyfriends house? Whittemore?"
"Whittemore's a complete push over when it comes to her." Chloe snorted, "It's still her party."
Karen nodded, and they started to walk through the halls toward the classroom, "I guess I'll go. But I swear if there isn't at least two other seniors there I'm leaving."
Chloe blinded her with a smile, "Deal."
It turns out there were a lot more than two seniors. In fact, it seemed that most of Karen's grade had shown up and we're dancing to some obscure house party dance track and drinking obscene amounts of alcohol.
"What are you doing?" Karen gapped at Chloe as she sloshed vodka into her solo cup, filling it almost half way.
Chloe shrugged, "Drinking?"
"I swear to god." Karen groaned, grabbing her cup, holding it up, "This is a ticket to the hospital to get your stomach pumped."
She dumped the vodka onto a drunk Junior, who just cheer and yelled something about shots before running into the crowd. Karen snorted and moved back to the drinks.
"Here." She grabbed a shot glass, filling it up and pouring it into the cup before filling the rest up with orange juice.
Chloe accepted the drink with a small thanks, and sipped at it, "Thanks. How do you know how to make drinks."
"My dad was a drunk." Karen said bluntly, starting to mix her own rum and Diet Pepsi. "Eventually he couldn't be bothered to make his own drinks, so he taught his six year old daughter to do it."
"I…" Chloe opened and closed her mouth a few times before settling on, "I don't really know what to say to that."
Karen snorted, "That's fine. No one does."
She took a huge gulp of her drink and looked around the party. She spotted the guy that Chloe said she liked standing by himself in the corner, swaying slightly.
She yelled to Chloe over the music, "You should go talk to Jared."
Chloe blinked, "Who?"
Karen pointed, "Jared, over there."
Chloe turned, spotting him, and then whipped her head back, "You mean James? No, no, I couldn't."
"Sure you could." Karen nodded, but looking back it seemed like 'James' was about to pass out. She pursed her lips and filled up a solo cup with just orange juice, handing it to Chloe, "He looks like he about to pass out - give him that."
Chloe nodded and drowned the rest of her drink, grabbing the cup and juice and strutted across the party with a look of determination.
Karen snorted and poured herself a few shots, ready to get drunk enough to actually have fun. She turned around and spotted several people that she knew from around the school. She couldn't name any of them, then again the other day she called Chloe 'Cameron' - she'd never been good at names.
She saw the sophomore kid from the Lacrosse team who she'd dubbed 'jaws' because she thought it was funny. He was dancing with a pretty brunette who Karen had never seen before in her life.
She sighed and downed another drink before heading out into the crowd. She bobbed around absentmindedly to the music, trying to blend into the crowd of people. Chloe was chatting with a much more sober looking James and gave her a thumbs up. Karen gave her a terse grin in return, and a thumbs up in return.
She spotted a flash of leather and turned to mentally make fun of whoever was wearing leather in the summer when she saw the same creep that had been at the clinic earlier in the day.
She chuckled and moved over to him, her semi-drunken state making her a lot braver than usual.
"Hey!" She yelled to him over the music.
He blinked down at her, looking confused that she was talking to him. Finally after a few moments a flash of recognition entered his eyes and he scowled.
"You're the one from the clinic." He noted.
"Yeah." Karen chuckled, "And you're the guy I'm only about 80% sure is not a serial killer."
He didn't laugh, in fact his face didn't show any emotion whatsoever. "What're you doing at a high school party?" He asked.
Karen snorted loudly and rudely, "I'm in high school. What're you doing here weirdo."
He scowled again, "I thought you were a nurse."
"I'm an orderly." Karen correctly, "I just change the sheets and make sure you're uncle eats his veggies.
He nodded absentmindedly, looking into the crowd, "Thanks for taking care of him."
Karen couldn't help the sliver of surprise that came over her. He sounded genuine, but it was hard to tell with his regular scowl.
"So what are you doing here?" Karen asked, sipping at her drink.
The man let out a breathe of annoyance, "I'm waiting for a friend."
"No idea who that is." Karen replied.
The man closed his eyes in aggravation, "Yes, you're very helpful. Now don't you have some friends to go play with?"
"I'm eighteen, not five." She snorted.
She turned at a sudden commotion and saw Jaws running through the crowd, pushing past everyone as he made for the front door - the pretty brunette trailing behind him.
The man beside her huffed under his breath. He started to make his way towards the house to follow the sophomore.
"What's your name?" Karen called after him.
He didn't reposed, not looking back as he rushed out of the house.
Karen snorted into her cup, "Jackass."
An orderly comes in once a day, either a man in his thirties with shaggy brown hair and a pair of headphones in his ears, or a young woman with messy blond hair always done up in a bun on the top of her head.
Honestly he preferred the blond woman. The man with the brown hair was dull, his eyes glazed over as he did his work like a zombie. But the woman would talk to him, even though she knew he'd never respond. He enjoyed her bluntness and the way she teased him - not walking on egg shells or speaking to him like a child.
He even preferred her to his nurse, though Jennifer knew about his…predicament. The orderly woman wasn't sacred of him, and it was…refreshing.
There was a knock at the door and he brought his face back to its usual blankness.
"Hey there Mr. Hale." The orderly, Miss Davidson, spoke as she propped open the door and brought the cart in. She sniffed the air once, much like a wolf would, and wrinkled her nose, "Air's a bit stale - doesn't your nurse ever open your window?"
Peter hadn't really thought about it - he'd gone running last night, Jennifer covering for him. It had felt nice after six years of confinement. But soon he had tired and needed to come back to the clinic. His body still wasn't 100% healed, but it would be a matter of weeks with his new Alpha status, rather than the years it would have taken before.
Miss Davidson wandered over to the window, pushing it upwards. Her blue scrubs were a bit small on her and they lifted up, exposing her lower back where he couldn't help but focus on two dimples with rhinestone piercings in them. It was surprisingly attractive.
"There." Ms. Davidson nodded, looking pleased with herself.
She walked over to the bed and made quick work of the sheets, tossing them into the laundry basket and then started to dust all the other surfaces int he room - the same as she did every day.
"So." She started to talk, "I met another one of your relatives. David? Derek? I think he's your nephew, right?"
Peter didn't respond outwardly, but inside he felt a weird spark of…something.
"Yeah he's about as emotionally responsive as you are." She snorted, "But he's got a pretty face - something he must get from your side of the family." She winked over-dramatically and he chuckled along mentally.
She put the cloth and spray back onto the cart and smiled at him, moving around so that she faced him, a curtesy that not many others offered him.
"Alright, I'm gonna go get dinner. It's meatloaf night, and.." She paused, her brown eyes narrowed in confusion. She leaned forward and reached for something behind his neck. A loose strand of her hair escaped her bun and fell slightly in his face.
She smelt like…tea, english breakfast - the kind that Talia used to drink every morning. And grapefruit and a hint of…something he couldn't identify.
She leaned back, frowning as she looked down at the thing in her hand, a dried leaf that had been caught in the collar of his sweater.
"Did Jennifer take you out today?" She frowned, twirling the leaf in her hands.
Peter smirked inwardly, taking a strange pleasure in watching her confusion.
After all, being in a situation like his he needed to take his enjoyment from the little things.
A/N: Welcome to the OC-stravaganza. In which I post all the OC fics I found on my computer half finished and that I didn't just outright delete. This story is actually one of my more completed fics that I found so there's a large chance I'll update it sooner, but I'm not gonna promise anything. Which fics I update depend on which ones end up being the most popular.
People from my actual fics that I haven't updated in a while do not interact.
everyone is free to check me out on tumblr amarysue.
Until Next Time,