By: L. A. Casey

Both of them said nothing; they only shook their heads with their silly smiles still in place on their faces. I narrowed my eyes at them, but shrugged it off as I stood up. “Go on, get goin’. I’ll go up to his room and wait.”

I hated when everyone else started to smile at me.

“I’m not doin’ this because I care or anythin’. I just don’t want to listen to him complain that he was on his own when he wakes up. That’s all. I’m doin’ this for me own benefit when you really think about it. I’m savin’ meself a future headache.”

The fuckers just continued to smile at me. Alec was smirking though, and I wanted to wipe the stupid look from his face. I shook my head, dug the car parking card and keys out of my back pocket, and handed them to Ryder.

“Fourth floor in the multi-story car park, closest spot to the stairs and elevator.”

Ryder winked at me.

“He’s in room nine, right?” I asked the brothers.

They all nodded, still smiling.

I opened the door and walked through it. “I hope your faces get stuck like that,” I threw over my shoulder.

Their laughter didn’t fade away until I got into the elevator next to the waiting room. I shook my head as I pressed the button for the first floor and watched the elevator doors close. They reopened a few seconds later when it brought me to the first floor. I nervously swallowed as I stepped out and looked up at the signs on the wall in front of me. I saw St. Peter’s Ward was to the right so I turned and walked down the hallway and straight through the set of double doors for the correct ward.

I walked by the nurse’s station and avoided eye contact with them. I didn’t want any of them to stop and ask me questions. I continued to walk down the hallway and followed the room numbers. Room number nine was down at the very end of the hallway with the door closed. I swallowed as I reached for the handle, pushed it down and nudged the door open.

I looked at Kane as I entered the room and closed the door behind me. I stood motionless and stared at him for a few minutes. He was too big to be in the bed they had him in. He’d lost weight and muscle mass over the past year, but he was still a big lad, and seeing him lying down on a small bed with a hospital gown on looked weird.

I walked over to the large chair next to the head of the bed and quietly sat down. I flicked my eyes over Kane to see what else was different about him. He had an IV drip in his arm to give him fluids, I assumed, and a dressing on his forehead. It was spotted with little red dots. I figured that was from when he fell and hit his head.

Other than the drip and bandage, he looked okay. He was pale, and his face looked sullen even in sleep, but that was how he always looked. At least how he looked over the past year. I leaned forward and pressed my hand on top of his.

“Kane?” I murmured. “It’s me, Aideen. I just want you to know... you aren’t alone. I’m here with you.”

I removed my hand from his and sat back in the chair when he gave me no reaction. He was deep in sleep, so I decided not to speak anymore. He needed his rest. When he decided to wake up that was when the real tiredness was going to start because everyone would be breathing down his neck.

I relaxed into the big chair and was so pleased to find it had cushions. It wasn’t plastic like the ones in the waiting room—it was a real chair. I snuggled back and folded my arms across my chest. I was aware that my eyes felt heavy, but not surprised, because I had the worst night’s sleep on the chairs in the bloody A&E waiting room.

When I was sure Kane wasn’t going to wake up, I closed my eyes, and like the flip of a light switch, I was out.

I awoke later when a God-awful pain struck my stomach and caused it to churn and roil. “Oh, fuck!” I grumbled as I jumped up out of the chair and ran over to the sink in the hospital room.

I vomited into the sink until I was dry heaving and nothing else came up. I ran the water in the sink and splashed some of it on my face. I filled my mouth with water, gargled some of it, and spat it out before I shut the tap off and got some tissue papers to wipe my face and mouth dry.

I felt disgusting.

“Aideen?” a raspy voice behind me grumbled. “Are you okay?”

I spun around.

“Kane,” I whispered and moved over to the side of his bed. “Hey, you’re awake.”

He blinked up at me. “You were throwing up.”

I waved my hand. “Don’t mind that, I’m fine.”

Kane frowned, then reached up and touched his bandaged head. “What the hell happened? Where am I?”

I frowned. “You collapsed. You’re in the hospital, but you’re okay. This is just a precaution.”

Kane furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “I don’t remember much. I was with Keela and we—” I jumped when he gasped. “Did it happen while I was driving? Oh, God, Keela! Is she okay? Is she—”

“Shh. Stop. She’s okay,” I cut him off and took hold of his hand in mine. “It happened while you were inside Tesco. The car was parked and you were both in an aisle inside the shop. She is okay.”

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