After our ice cream, we ended up leaving the zoo and we waited a little for our taxi to arrive. Once it was there, I opened the door and let Nazar and Ethan enter before closing it behind them. I then sat at the front and the taxi brought us back home. I paid the driver before opening the back door and we all made our way back home.
"I'm going to make dinner." I announced as I made my way to the kitchen.
I watched Nazar sit on the sofa while Ethan made his way up the stairs, probably to go in his bedroom. I started to cook, taking the pans out to make an omelette with ham and red peppers. On the side, I made a carrot salad and put the food in three different plates once it was ready.
"Dinner is ready!" I exclaimed with a smile to Nazar while making my way up the stairs to get Ethan. I opened the door gently after knocking and I stuck my head in the doorway. "Come, dinner is ready."
Ethan looked at me with big green eyes as he hastily put the toys he was playing with away. He then followed me down the stairs and we went to the kitchen where Nazar was already sitting. We began to eat while listening to some music. No one was talking but the mood was relaxed and even Ethan didn't seem as tense as before. This trip to the zoo was a really good idea.
"I'm doing the dishes." Nazar said once we were done eating.
"Thank you." I replied, kissing his cheek. "Ethan, please come with me." I added, turning toward him as I got up.
He looked at me worryingly but followed me slowly. I walked up the stairs, praying it would go more smoothly than yesterday. I stopped in front of the bathroom and turned toward Ethan, facing him.
"I know you won't like this but you need to take a shower." I told him in a gentle voice as I crouched in front of him. His eyes widened at my words and he took a step back. He shook his head strongly, making his brown curls bounce around. "I promise I won't touch you. I will only stay to make sure everything is fine but you will shower on your own, alright?"
He shook his head again and took another step back before turning away and trying to go in his room. I got up and gently grabbed his arm to stop him and lead him toward the bathroom. I quickly realized it was the wrong move when he started to cry and his free hand grabbed my arm, trying to remove my grip. I flinched when I felt his nails - short but sharp - dig into my burnt skin.
"Stop, you're hurting me!" I exclaimed as I let go of his arm.
It took him a minute to realize that I let him go and his nails got deeper until realization kicked in and he let me go.
"What's going on?" Nazar asked while making his way up the stairs.
I looked at my arm before going in the bathroom to clean off the blood and disinfect it. "I wanted him to shower and grabbed his arm. He planted his nails in it." I explained while opening the faucet and applying lukewarm water on my arm. It hurt. Knowing his past, I should have known better than grab him. It was a stupid mistake on my part.
"Don't hurt him, that's mean." I heard Nazar say and I could hear that he was upset.
I couldn't hear if Ethan answered but I could still hear his cries so I hurried to clean myself before leaving the bathroom.
"It's fine, it was an accident. I shouldn't have grabbed you, I'm sorry." I said, wanting the situation to calm down. "But you need to shower. I know you're scared and that you don't want me in the room but I only want to make sure you don't hurt yourself. I can let the door open and stay outside if you prefer." I added, trying to find a solution that would suit everyone.
"What if I'm the one staying?" Nazar asked after a minute where the only thing we could hear was Ethan's cries.
I frowned, not understanding where he was coming from. "And how would you check if he's alright?"
"He can talk no? And if he doesn't answer after a minute then you enter the room and see if everything is fine?" He explained as if it was obvious.
"I-I'm not sure it's safe..." I started to say but was cut off by Ethan's small voice.
"What?" I asked, the frown on my face deepening.
"I will talk and take a shower b-but I want to be alone..." He explained as he wipped his eyes, trying to stop crying without much success.
"Sounds like a plan." Nazar stated, making me sigh.
Sure, the plan itself didn't seem so bad but if something went wrong - and I believed that anything could go wrong if a young child was alone in a bathroom - I would never forgive myself. Plus, I was now in an awkward position as I felt like I couldn't refuse unless I wanted to pass as the bad person.
"Let's try but if anything starts to go wrong, we're doing it my way." I ended up saying after a minute of silence.
Ethan looked slightly relieved at my words and wipped his eyes again. I stepped outside and watched as Nazar entered and stood next to the sink. Ethan looked at me as he slowly entered the bathroom, turning around to close the door behind him. I sighed again and sat against the wall, my ear against the wooden door to listen to what was happening. I couldn't believe I just agreed to do that. I waited as I heard the noise of the shower turning on and the water falling against the floor. I couldn't understand what Ethan was saying through the door but I could faintly hear his voice which was reassuring. At least everything seemed fine.
When the water stopped, I stood up and waited for a few minutes so he had time to dry himself and put his pajama on. A small smile appeared on my lips as the door finally opened.
"See? It wasn't bad." Nazar said as he stepped out of the bathroom.
I smiled and watched Ethan leave the room quickly, giving me a quick glance as he rushed to his room. After wishing him a good night, I turned toward Nazar and took his hand into mine, leading him toward our bedroom.
"I admit that at first I didn't like when you suggested he could shower alone but I think it was the best solution. He showered and hopefully he will realize he's safe here." I said as we laid next to each other. "I know I already said it but you're really good at that."
"Honestly, it was the first thing that came through my mind, I just wanted him to stop crying." He admited with a small chuckle. I looked at the way his nose crinkled slightly as he laughed, making me smile. "How is your arm?" He asked, suddenly changing the topic.
Without waiting for my answer, he took my arm and gently touched my skin being careful not to hurt me. "It's fine, it stings a little but I've had worse. In a few days, it will be healed." I answered, removing my arm from his grip and putting my hand on one of his cheeks. I kissed him softly before pulling away. "Sylvie, the babysitter, will come about ten minutes before I leave for work."
"I know, I didn't forget. I hope things will be fine."
"I'm sure it will. Ethan seems to really like you." I reassured him with a smile.
He smiled at my words and crawled closer to hug me. I put my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes, trying to sleep...
The morning, I let Nazar sleep as I got ready for work. I made my way downstairs to make some pancakes and put the plate in the middle. I then left a voice message to Nazar so he would know that I prepared something and where to find them. When this was done, I quickly went upstairs to see if Ethan was awake. Without much surprise, he was sleeping so I closed the door as softly as possible before going back to the kitchen. I drank a cup of coffee and ate some pancakes, putting my empty dishes in the sink just in time as someone knocked on the door.
I opened the door with a smile and greeted Sylvie, the babysitter. "Thank you for coming. Ethan is still sleeping." I informed her as I stepped aside to let her enter.
"The pleasure is all mine. I can't wait to spend some time with Ethan." She answered with a smile.
"I'm sure Ethan will be happy to see a feminine presence. Oh, and if Nazar doesn't mind, you could maybe include him in some activities. Ethan seems to like him more since he realized Nazar is blind."
"I'm sure we will find something to do." She replied with a smile, making me nod.
After one last goodbye, I left for work, enjoying the nice morning breeze. I quickly arrived in our office and greeted Imogen.
"So, how was this weekend?" She asked curiously, a cup of coffee in her hand.
"Not easy but he seems like a great child. He just needs to realize we won't hurt him. And he does seems to appreciate Nazar already."
"Really? Well, that's great. I know you were worried about them not getting along."
"He started to be less scared when he learnt Nazar's blind. But otherwise it will take time to make him trust us. He's so young and already went through so much." I explained as she nodded.
"Oh, before I forget! On Friday, just before closing time, a woman came wanting to see you. I told her you already left but to come back next week so you might have some visit today."
I frowned at these words, not expecting it. "Who is it? What did she want?"
"A woman who wanted to book a session with you." She explained, making my frown deepen.
"Why didn't you tell her that we only work with children and teenagers?" I asked, confused.
"I told her but she insisted. She really wants to meet you and have sessions with you."
This answer left me speechless and completely lost. Who would want to meet me that badly even after being told a session wasn't possible? I tried to think about the different possibilities, but couldn't find any...