Anticipation(5)

By: Sarah Mayberry



He could feel her gaze on him as he started pacing again, needing to do something to burn off the adrenaline jangling its way through his body.

“You don’t know that.”

“Blue’s tough. She’s young. She’s healthy. The ambulance was there within a matter of minutes…”

Eddie shook his head, unable to accept Maggie’s reassurance. The image of Blue’s slight form being tossed through the air like a rag doll was still too bright and terrible in his mind. He could hear the explosive crash of the motorbike crumpling on impact, the sickening thud of her body hitting the road. And every time he closed his eyes for longer than a few seconds, her too-pale face smeared with blood was there, filling his vision.

The worst moment of his life, hands down. Watching the bike swerve out from around the stationary car, knowing that she was going to be hit, that there was nothing he could do about it…

Nausea churned in his gut. Why didn’t someone — a doctor, a nurse, someone — come and tell them what was happening? Didn’t they know that people went nuts imagining the worst when they had nothing else to go on?

“Sit down. You’re making me dizzy,” Rafel said.

Eddie ignored his brother, pacing to the end of the room before swiveling on his heel. If he was a religious man, he’d be on his knees, pleading with God to spare her. Since he wasn’t, he settled for willing her better. Willing her to fight. Willing her to survive so that he could once again be the victim of her sharp tongue and take-no-prisoners attitude.

Blue had been a part of his life for ten years and was as dear to him as his brother. She kept Eddie honest, goading him to do better, to look his faults square in the eye and attempt to mend them. She celebrated with him, teased him, partied with him. She was his friend, his confidante, his conscience.

If she died…

“Jesus.”

He wasn’t aware that he’d spoken out loud until he felt the warm weight of Maggie’s hand on his arm. He stopped pacing as she slipped her hand into his.

“She’s going to make it, Eddie.”

“She’s five foot nothing. I can lift her with one arm.”

She might have personality to spare, but Blue was tiny. No match for a motorbike.

Maggie simply squeezed his hand again before putting her arms around him and giving him a hug. He stood like a rock, resisting her comfort. Needing to hang onto his fear. At the moment, it felt as though it was the only thing keeping disaster at bay.

“You’re waiting on Ms.Sullivan, is that right?”

Eddie swung toward the voice. A nurse dressed in baggy theatre scrubs stood in the doorway.

“Is she okay?” he asked, taking a step forward.

His heart was pounding so hard and fast he could feel his chest vibrating with the force of it.

Please let her be alive.

“The doctor will be with you shortly, but he asked me to tell you that she came through with flying colors. He’ll give you more detail.”

“So she’s going to make it?” Eddie asked, unable to trust what his ears were telling him. Unable to accept that his worst fear wasn’t going to eventuate.

“She is. She’ll be sore, and she’ll be on crutches for a while, but she’s a very lucky lady.” The nurse gave them all a weary smile before slipping back into the corridor.

“Thank God,” Maggie said, and he could hear the tears in her voice.

She crossed to Rafel and sat on his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck. Eddie stared at them, his mind blank, aware of a sudden, crushing pressure in his chest. Rafel said something, but Eddie couldn’t hear it past the white noise in his ears.

He took off, striding from the room, leaving behind the walls that had been closing in on him, speeding up when he spotted the glowing green sign for the exit. And then he was outside in the cold night air, away from the sights and sounds and smells of the hospital, away from his brother’s gaze. He let his head drop back, staring at the stars, the knowledge that Blue was going to be all right finally sinking in.

Which was when relief hit him, taking out his knees, stealing his breath. He sank into a crouch, his butt barely an inch from the ground, his eyes burning with unshed tears. He dropped the rest of the way down, letting his head fall forward as emotion slaughtered him.

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