If you know where to find me
If you know how to reach me
Before this light fades away
Before I run out of faith
Be the only man to say
That you’ll hear my heart
That you’ll give your life
Forever you’ll stay
Adagio – Lara Fabian
Songwriter(s): Rick Allison, Dave Pickell, Vleminckx, Tomaso Albinoni, Remo * Giazotto, Amable Massis, Remo Giazotto, Lara Crockaert
Copyright: G. Schirmer Inc. O.B.O. Transatlantiques Editions, Universal Music Publishing Ricordi S.r.l.
Lyrics from <a href=”http://www.elyrics.net”>eLyrics.net</a>
In an instant day turns to night. A blanket of nothingness is thrown over me bringing with it involuntary-bodily-fluid-release-terror. I have no idea how I might have fared on that front because there is nothing apart from the sensation that time is suspended. If I can feel at all, it would best be described as weightless, transported into that other world that Kate threatened me with. God, that seems like a lifetime ago. In those timeless, weightless moments her face angry, beautiful, challenging, laughing, loving flash in halting movie frames behind my eyes. God, I’m gonna miss her.
The first sensation is the force with which the ground comes up to meet me. Given the disorientation, I’m not totally convinced that the trailer hasn’t been launched and landed on my chest except that my hands slide through gravel before I roll. Nope, definitely just ate dirt.
After that initial impact time switches back on but nothing else seems to want to work. The sky is still dark, the air is silent and due to the safety suit I’m doing what must be a very attractive stranded turtle dance. I figure any time now the lights and sound will come back on but my first issue seems to be an inability to suck any air into my lungs.
My hands flap around my head, trying to gain some traction on the mask over my face. In my desperation to get some air on my skin I smack away other hands before I register they are trying to help. With the release of the mask comes a cool breeze and my mouth goes all goldfish in an attempt to fill my gills. Fuck that hurts. Who knew breathing could be so painful? I groan, or at least I think I do. I can’t hear it but the feeling resonates in my chest. Fuck!
The absence of any sensation is some scary shit. Grit in my eyes prevents me from opening them but since I can’t sense the light I decide that’s a shit storm I don’t want to confront. More concerning is my efforts to move are getting me nowhere since I can’t feel diddly-squat below my hips. Jesus, Fuck!
Hands are on me again as my body gets rolled gingerly on to one side. I want to keep going to my back but I am stopped and I can feel someone supporting my neck. Everyone seems intent on keeping me still. I am intent on running. I need to find her. I need to know that she is okay. Only the lights and sound are still off and my legs seem to be gone. Looks like I might have to settle in. Besides, the in and out stuff is about all I can cope with right now. Panic over injury can take a flying fuck at the moon, breathing is all that’s keeping me on earth.
There is a flurry of movement behind me, something hits my upper back as it is slid into place beside me. I’m guessing it is some sort of isolation board and that is just hunky with me. At least I felt it. There must be a team of people gently rolling me onto my back because the movement is so slow and controlled but I have this weird feeling of being about to fall off a cliff. There ain’t nothing below me. A collar goes around my neck, a mask over my face and I suck on that beautiful oxygen like it’s my last drink because let’s face it, it just might be.
Pain is overwhelming in the absence of these other senses. Pain in my chest, pain in my back, both working to squeeze me flat like a toothpaste tube in a vice. I want to ask them to take the weight off me but I’ve been strapped into place and the mask swallows any sound I might want to make.
Liquid gets squirted into my eyes, followed by a cool cloth. It soothes and stings at the same time. I must be imagining this because that million dollar designer fishbowl they put over my head a few hundred hours ago should have stopped anything from hitting my face, right? Slowly I try to open my eyes but there is nothing. Only the sensation of gunk sticking my lids together. I might have to leave this one until later.
Slowly the first thing to return are the sounds. I feel like my head is in a bucket of water but I can at least hear something. People are yelling instructions, someone leans close to my ear. I can’t make out their words. I think I can hear the word ‘back’ but there isn’t much else I can make out. I feel the sensation of something pulling on my upper thigh but it is indistinct. Hell, everything is indistinct. A hand slips into mine, I feel her kiss and the moisture of her tears. She’s safe. That’s all I need to know, and the last thing I think before I pass out.
The surface beneath me has changed. Cool, firm but not gravel. It feels good. I’m aware of motion but with no sound and no light and no sensation below my chest there isn’t a reason to stick around.
Light. Thank fuck for that. It’s going by too fast and it’s way too bright. I try blink but that blurry glue is holding my lids firm and besides I can’t hold on. I’m vaguely conscious of shutting it all out before I pass out again.
In my dreams I see the flash in front of me but I know that can’t be right because I know it came from behind. My feet plant hard as I run but the blast throws me forward at a thousand miles an hour completely lifting me off the ground and tossing me like javelin – only a big ugly, lumpy one. The noise begins as a hiss accelerating past me, wrapping me in intense heat before ripping the sounds from the air. A hot burst of orange lights up the sky above me as it singes the hair on the back of my neck. My body slams towards the ground at the same moment that I know, without a doubt, that the sound and light will be rent from me. My eyes open with a start, breathing ragged, heartbeat racing.
I’m on my back so I’ve worked out the direction of up. My sight is still blurred but I make out that I am surrounded by machinery and tubing. I can’t hear it though. The beep and blip of monitors must be happening because I catch flashes of light in the darkness and sense the rise and fall of an oxygen pump. There are people, forms, indistinct, moving around me. I try to follow their movement but I can’t turn my head. My hand moves to grasp the bed for traction and it is then I feel the cannula and follow the line of the tube with my hand. God only knows what they are pumping into me. My throat feels tight and I want to swallow but something is blocking me. Movement rapidly followed by scratching discomfort as a tube is pulled from my throat. I guess we’re not in fucking Kansas anymore, Toto. A mask is placed over my face and I let myself go.
It’s dark again. Shit. Then my eyes register shapes. It must be night. I see the end of the bed. The shape of unknown equipment beside and above me. A silhouette of a body in a chair across the room. The spread of the legs, the angle of the body, says it is a man. Where is Kate? I close my eyes and drift again.
Light. Morning? Everything is still indistinct and silent. Fuck. I can’t handle the silence and I scramble to try to sit up but nothing is fucking working. Hands again, steadying me, stilling me. I want to push them away but I have no energy and then cold floods through my veins. I sink back down but not out. A cloth is wiped across my eyes, clearing the glue and I blink my way into some semblance of vision. It isn’t great but it is better than nothing. I see her standing on the other side of the room, worrying a fingernail. The most beautiful fucking perfect thing I have ever seen. When the uniform moves away from me she crosses the room and takes my hand.
“Hey.” I don’t so much hear it but read it on her lips. The smile is forced, the eyes are tired, but her voice is still behind a wall of cotton wool and I feel the floodgates open. Jesus, her voice is the husky sound of sex in the early morning. Her voice is a screaming banshee that raises my blood pressure and makes me feel alive. Her laughter is the lilting echo of bells ringing out across my heart and the cry of ecstasy claiming my own release. Her voice is the song of my soul. I shut my eyes, hoping that my ears might compensate if I bring back the darkness. It doesn’t work. Somehow I could live with the sight of her burned only on the inside of my head but to never hear her music again would fucking kill me.
Her hands are on either side of my head pulling me back into the room. I open up and stare at her through my stupid girlie tears. She leans over and kisses my forehead, lips soft and silky, relaxing my brow. I try to calm myself for her, sucking deep breaths down my scratchy throat and forcing my lungs to expand through the pain.
I see her looking around, talking to someone else in the room. Christian is there. He walks forward and takes my free hand. The one without the dinky Tupperware attachments. Our hands wrap around each other before he lifts it to his mouth and kisses the back of my clenched fist.
“Fucking, poofter.” He laughs and I’m biting back tears again at that muffled barrier. He lowers his head and looks at me carefully. Then begins to speak slowly.
“You will hear again. No damage.” He repeats it so I understand and I nod, squeezing his hand with relief before bringing it to my mouth. His face is back in mine. “Now who’s gay?” The uniform moves back into view ushering them out. A doctor starts poking and prodding at the end of the bed and I finally notice the wires and pulleys. Fuck, I’m strung up like a sub in a playroom and it seems this over-qualified sheet-changer seems to think it’s time to adjust the ropes. After a while he gives up, and starts writing notes on his clipboard. I’m thinking he was trying to get some sort of response out of my legs. I don’t want to finish that thought.
The nurse meanwhile is blood pressuring and heart beating up a storm. I try to relax but I know that my anxiety is through the roof in spite of whatever they shot into my tubes before. Another thermometer, another show. More notes are made. Times are checked and written down and I am transported back to the trailer with Ethan. Fuck I wonder how he is.
After the uniforms are done Kate moves back into view. Christian shifts a chair in behind her so she can sit at my side. He leans over and kisses the top of her head, her hand goes to the hand he has placed on her shoulder and pats. Words are spoken but I can’t read their lips so I don’t know. Platitudes I guess. Reassurances. She turns back to me nodding her head as he leaves the room.
“Ethan?” Her eyes widen and then her mouth lifts a little at the edges before she gives the ok signal.
“He’s fine.” Thank fuck for that. Poor bastard got completely caught yesterday and I know that it is because of my relationship with Kate that he put himself in the firing line. Who knew the psyche major was a fucking CIA hero? I can’t quite wrap my head around that one. Any more than I can wrap my head around my baby sister being a bad ass with a gun fetish.
“Are you going to tell me how she ended up in the fucking CIA?” We had just watched Mia drive off to go and meet Kate. By this stage of my day I figured only dead would make it worse so tearing a few strips off my brother-in-law seemed like pretty good sport as a last wish.
“You aren’t ready to hear it and it really isn’t my story to tell.” He was taking that line and sticking with it. He took in the look on my face and decided to throw in a peace-offering. “She is awesome at her job. That’s all you need to know.”
All I need to know. I’m thinking now about all the things that Christian didn’t know about me and all things that neither of us know about Mia. Then it dawns on me.
“Paris was a big fat fucking lie?”
“Not all of it. She crammed four years of training into about six weeks just before we came back to Seattle.” My jaw hits the ground with a resonating ‘fuck me’. “Mia is incredibly smart.”
“Yeah, she was always pain-in-my-ass smart but six weeks?”
“No, I mean genius fucking Mensa-for-life, IQ-through-the-roof smart.” Kinda speechless right now. I mean I always knew she was a clever kid, a talented musician and I remember the fight over her leaving high school but I know that Mom and Dad were more concerned that she be allowed to grow up. That and the fact that the whole ‘special classes’ thing seemed like a money-making routine on the part of the university.
“How smart are we talking?”
“Masters degree and PhD smart. Topped her classes at the academy including firearms and unarmed combat. Computer forensics expert, speaks five languages fluently and another three with competence. And she can cook. Really cook. Oh, and she can get half a dozen close kills before you notice she’s in the room.”
“Holy shit! And you still married her?”
“Yeah, go figure.” I sense there is a lot he isn’t saying. In fact, things went pretty fucking quiet until Kate joined the party a couple of hours later.
“What’s wrong with my legs?” I have no idea if I am shouting but I guess from the way she jumps that I am.
“Nothing.” Liar. “You’re back.” It takes a moment to process. I take a deep breath before I ask the next question.
“Broken?” She shakes her head. That has to be good. Doesn’t it?
“Trauma, not broken.” I got ‘drama’ instead of trauma but the rest was pretty loud and clear. Those two words go rapid fire mantra through my system. Yeah, all cool. All good.
“Temporary?” At that point she breaks down, makes the sign of the cross before dropping her head on her hands. Fuck. Fucking hell. Fucking fuck fuck. I want to throw up but I guess that sensation goes south with the lack of dancing. I turn my head to the side anyway. She doesn’t need to see me lose it again.
Another uniform comes in, more meds are administered and I guess it must be enough to take the edge off my consciousness because when I wake up next there is both good and bad news.
Voices. Still muffled but more distinct. Fucking A. Sluggishly, I turn my head toward the sound.
“…steroids…no response …sensory tests…time…” Christian. Kate. Mom. Sleep.
“Hey stranger.” Her face a picture of concerned love standing over me. This waking is different, this one is painful. A hiss echoes through the space. It’s me. “You’re awake.”
Am I? It comes flooding back. The hospital, the blast, my legs, the pain. Then I realize the differences. I can feel pain. And I heard her. Loud and deliciously resonant and not just memory in my head.
“Say it again.” All I’ve got is a croak but at least it is my croak and not the creature from the black lagoon that I was delivering earlier.
“Hey. Can you hear me?” Oh God. Merciful God. That is the sweetest fucking sound on this whole godforsaken earth.
“Sing for me.” She stalls, eyes wide, unsure. I nod, squeezing my eyes shut, hoping that she will get how much I need this.
“How much do I love you? I tell you no lie. How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky? How many times a day do I think of you? How many roses are sprinkled with dew? How far would I travel to be where you are? How long is the journey from here to a star? And if I ever lost you…” Her voice falters and the tears fall as she hits that moment of realization.
“It’s okay, baby.” And I sincerely fucking hope that it is because there is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to saddle her with a paraplegic. “Where’s the doctor? Where’s Mom?”
“I’m here, Elliot. Mama’s here, sweetie.” And then she moves into view, all elegance in a crisis and shit. Just seeing them together gives me hope and crushes my spirit in one hit. Mom doesn’t need this shit either. I need to talk with Christian about contingency plans.
“Take me through it.” She looks at the grim determination on my ugly mug and then decides to go with me on this. Kate pulls away from the bed. She obviously can’t sit there and listen to the worst case scenario shit again. If I know my Kate she will have bothered the medical staff into submission trying to get a handle on the prognosis and possible timelines. I’m taking it from the body language that it isn’t good.
“It was, according to Ethan, a shrapnel blast. The upshot is that apart from the young man who died, you took the full force of the blast.” Shit, that guy, what was his name? Spooky? Fuck. “You had two trauma sites. The first was a shard of metal that lodged in your upper thigh not far from the main artery. You were very lucky with that. It missed by half an inch. The second was an impact injury in your spine causing severe swelling between T6 & T7. Hence the paralysis below the waist. The good news is that there was no fracture or damage to the spinal cord. The bad news is that there is no way of knowing what the actual damage is until your body responds to the anti-inflammatory medication.”
I take a moment to breathe through all of this information. Lucky breaks, no fractures and a vein that missed a major hit. All good. I try to visualize where in my back the problem is, willing it all to take a hike and let me get on with the good job of healing. In my mind right now, knowledge is power.
“Give me the options.” I know there will be a plan A, B and C. There always is. And Kate will have heard all of them before.
“Time. Let the drugs do their work. Failing that surgery. No guarantees but it might release the pressure and then that would be followed by…”
“Time and letting the drugs do their work. Right got it. And Plan C?” Silence. Kate who has had her back to us the whole time wipes her face and then turns back with force-a-grin face on again.
“Not gonna happen, not gonna need it. One or other of those is what we’re working with.” At least she is giving it to me straight. I level her with a let’s-get-real stare.
“And if they don’t work?” The chasm opens up between us in an instant. If they don’t work, then my life is fucked and hers along with it. I see her fear and raise her a not-on-my-fucking-watch.
“Then we take it from there. We get on with our lives. Plan our wedding. Bring Mattie home and you rehabilitate. We’ll get equipment installed in the gym, TJ can remodel downstairs and make sure that the access….”
“STOP!” I don’t want to yell at her but she’s off in lala land, planning a future that she is never gonna have cos I won’t be moving back to that house if the worst case kicks in. “Mom, what are my odds?”
The silence is deafening but I know my mother. She will tell me what I need to know. Pragmatic to the fucking end, bless her soul. “1 in 4.” Okay. I can live with that. 1 in 4 won’t recover from this sort of injury. 1 in 4 end up training for the special Olympics. 1 in 4 won’t marry the girl of their dreams and subject her to a life she doesn’t deserve.
If that is the case then we better start this fuckfest the right way. No sense in throwing a ball with no dancing. No sense in holding the dead string and waiting to see if the balloon comes back.
“I need a moment.” They look at each other and then move out of the room.
So this is it. I look at my legs all trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey. I can feel pain in my back as a dull ache that the meds are keeping at bay and part of me wants to believe that is a positive sign but it could mean nothing. When the nurse comes back in she asks me if my mother and Kate can come in but I’m not ready to deal. I can’t see that look on her face as she realizes what a dead-end life could be if she sticks around.
“No. Can you send me the doctor?” A few minutes later the jacked-up specialist gives me the lowdown on the possibles and probables. No holds barred, he puts the odds at more like 50:50 and all just fucking dandy on the future. After we’ve talked for about half an hour he does a few more pointless checks, scribbles a few more meaningless notes and leaves the room. The nurse comes back in offering to feed me something fucking awesome from the cardboard a la carte.
“Just give me something so I can sleep will ya, babe?” She smiles at me in that way that chicks always used to as she leans across my head to make an adjustment that could probably have been done a few feet from the bed. All in the name of giving me a happy titty shot. Yeah, that’ll be a barrel of laughs. The charity fucks will be years of empty fun. I can just see it all stretched out before me.
Alternatively, I could be a selfish prick and hold Kate here in my life as she watches me waste away. Dealing with my pity-parties and self-loathing turned outward. We’ll do a bit of the Flynn-tango but it won’t scratch the surface of the disappointment. Maybe we’ll keep it physical with a few toys and a lot of imagination but it won’t be the same for either of us. And that little promise to have kids of our own? Well, that’s probably out the window.
Back at that trailer I remember her focus. She was worried as all hell about Ethan but in her mind he was the one who could walk away. It wasn’t his foot stuck on the get-your-jollies switch so she seemed willing to let a little thing like putting his life on the line, being in the CIA and not telling his sister, all those big fucking elements of our most brilliant day got to slip by. Or so we thought. Then the notes started coming. The ‘get your ass back behind the safety cordon’ note. Quickly followed by the ‘when were you going to come clean’ note. signed off by the Kavanagh special, ‘offer to slice and dice for the sake of women everywhere’ note. Ethan took it all in his stride but we both knew that Miss Kate had a bee in her pretty little bonnet and his every move for the last ten years was about to come under some intense scrutiny, once we all got clear of the present danger.
The problem with Kate is that she is a woman committed. To her ideas, her causes, her hunches. It is what makes her great as a journalist and a pain in the ass to the people who love her. I adore that quality because I am happy to watch her do her thing so sitting around in a wheelchair is a walk in the park for me. I get to see her every day. But the other side of my Katie is vulnerable and needs physical embodiments of love. She has only just discovered how tactile she is and I’ve watched her relationship change with people She lets them in. Let’s them hold her. She blossoms under that attention and part of that is this amazing private life we have. I’m not saying that we don’t have anything else but I know her. She’ll convince herself that she doesn’t need it and when the distance grows into something the size of the Grand Canyon she will still be there tenaciously trying to hold on to something that deserves a burial. She won’t walk away. So I’m going to have to step up and the sooner the better because if I spend any time with her during the happiness of rehab then she will have me convinced that it’s for the best. By the time the poison sets in we’ll both be too fucking stubborn to give up.
The night ticks over to morning and despite the drugs I haven’t slept. My heart is a ball of pain, throbbing away in my chest. Maybe I’m wrong but the odds aren’t good and she’s so young. She’ll fall in love again and I’ll want to run him over with a train but she doesn’t deserve this. It seems ironic that only a few short months ago I was worried that she would never love me. Now I wish like hell that she didn’t. She will always be mine. Even when I have done what I have to.
My mother and Kate breeze into the room with flowers and happiness as soon as visiting hours kick off. I smile but I don’t feel it. Not when my heart is going to slip out the door in an hour or two. I’ve called my Dad. Asked him to be here. So even though it is only Mom and Kate in the room I know he is hovering at the ready. He has no idea why.
We chew the fat for a while, trying to make out the world is a happier place than it is. Eventually I can’t take it anymore. If I am going to cut my arm off I better get it over with before I lose the nerve.
“Mom. Can I have a moment alone with Kate please? And can you send Dad in?” The two most important women in my life look at each other across the bed, sending some sort of secret female code. Fucking mind reading shit,I bet. Having been to enough dinners with our parents in recent weeks I know just how freaking scary the hoodoo voodoo of these women can be. Part of me feels a little guilt right now for not having Ana and Julie here to scrape Kate off the floor when I kick her out of my life. Fuck this hurts. More than any pain my body can throw at me. I’m so strung out and near tears here that I don’t want to look at anyone. I keep my eyes focused on the windows as if some big fucking bluebird will just hop right in and carry me away. For a moment I wonder if I can adjust my own meds enough to check out after she’s gone.
“I’ll go find Christian, too.” Bringing myself back into the room I let my eyes follow my mother as she walks out of the room straight into the arms of my father. She’s crying, like she knows what’s going on. My father just looks across at me haunted before handing her off to some unknown hands. I wonder for a moment who else is waiting to watch this funeral and did they bring popcorn. Dad enters the room and closes the door, standing just in front of it. My eyes go back to the window while Kate stands in the middle of the room with her back to me. She is silent. Has been for past ten minutes or so. That’s how I know she knows what’s coming.
“Come in, Dad. I need you to witness this conversation.”
“Son, you’ve got all sorts of pain medication in your system. You shouldn’t be doing this. It won’t stand up in a law court.” Seems he’s guessed the worst of it, too, and he looks pretty grim but I’m feeling pretty fucking grim myself, so I push on.
“Then you better make sure that it does. That’s what I’m paying you for. Now. I had some good long hours of standing around a couple of days ago and I’ve got this fairly fucking straight in my mind.” A couple of days ago I thought I was a dead man. Today I’m dead man not walking. I almost laugh at my own joke.
“I want everything transferred into Kate’s name. The house, the business. I want it done today. I’ll keep my portfolio for future medical expenses but the assets and future income are hers. You got it?” He nods. “Now, if you don’t mind, I would like to speak to Kate alone.”
“No.” Kate speaks for the first time.
“Please, Dad.” He looks unsure but there is that stinking resolve in Kate that comes out when she is backed into a corner. And this whole situation is one freaky-assed corner. She’s gonna fight me but she’ll lose. I’ll make sure of it. Dad waits for her permission, pansy, and she moves her tough-as-nails greens to his face.
“If you move out of this room, Carrick, I will serve your balls to you on a plate.” Instead she takes herself over to the door and signals down the corridor. Suddenly the room is full of bodies. Hell, I don’t know if they’ve been sitting out there the whole time but by the bedraggled looks of them, they have. In fact, Mia and Ethan haven’t changed out of their CIA duds. Does that mean they haven’t been home in two days. Fuck! Even Kate’s parents are here looking a little strung out. Dad shuffles back in last giving the room a little bit of over-crowded elevator atmosphere.
The irony of being flat on my back, dead legs suspended in the air on ropes and pulleys, collared neck and tubes for Africa is not lost on me. “Some surprise party and here’s me without my best frock.”
Kate levels me with an eat-shit-and-die glare. I guess timing is everything. I’m not backing down on this one. This is one time when the tenacious Ms. K does not get her royal way. Her life is just taking off and she is not going to spend the best years of her life wiping my ass. I look around the faces as best I can from here in between my rock and hard place. No Christian or Ana, I notice. I don’t quite know what to think about that except that it looks like whatever Kate has cooked up with the rest of the family, Christian isn’t in agreement.
“You don’t get to make any decisions on my behalf, Elliot. Not this time.” Ah, we are going for safety in numbers.
“Kate, be sensible. This could be a life sentence. That should only ever apply to one person. You don’t get to come down that path with me just because we’ve been fucking for a few months.” My mother gasps but I take no notice. If I’m going to get through this I have to be hard. That means taking the niceties off the table.
“Nice, Elliot. Thanks for demeaning this relationship. I’ll put down to you being a prick with a problem and a few too many happy pills in your system. Now the doctors have said could be. Not will be. If you go there then you’ve given up before you’ve even started and we all know that isn’t your style. It’s been 48 hours. Not even. Grace, how long before the drugs should give a result?”
“Could be hours, days, weeks. It’s an unknown.”
“An unknown. Therefore I could be stuck like this forever.”
“An unknown, in that the future could bring anything. That is what you sign up for in life. No guarantees. What the hell gives you the right to go for the money back warranty on our relationship just because you might be a bit faulty?”
“A bit faulty? Being in a wheelchair, needing everything done for me. That is not a ‘bit’ faulty. That is a lot fucking faulty. That is the motherload of fucking faulty.” I look at Kate’s mom and feel awful. “Sorry, Julie. No offense.”
“Now he apologizes.” My sister earns herself a fuck-off glare for this little utterance.
“Or it could be over tomorrow. You want to risk me walking out that door and never setting eyes on you again for the sake of a few hours, a few days, a few weeks?” Yep, she’s out of her corner with both gloves swinging.
“Baby, it’s just easier that way. The longer you stick around the harder it will be for you to let go.”
“Don’t ‘baby’ me. Do you think it’s going to be a snap to leave you here right now? Just because you say so? You’re out of your tiny wee mind.”
“Listen, Kate. Do we have to do this with an audience? This is between you and me.” I expect the gathered crowd to look sheepish, embarrassed at our outbursts, hoping the ground will open up and swallow them. Instead I sense amusement and hostility mixed together.
“He really is an idiot.” Ethan leans over and whispers to Mia.
“Yep. Stubborn and stupid. That’s Lelliot!”
“You two, really. He is hurt and confused right now. Give your brother a break.” My mother sounds like she might send someone to time out.
“He was fairly adamant about the finer details. Are you sure we shouldn’t go with his wishes?” At last, my father brings the voice of reason. My mother elbows him hard in the ribs. “Oof, alright, just kidding.”
“Balls, Carrick. That’s all I’m saying.” Kate doesn’t take her eyes off mine. They are all waiting and I can’t think why. This is a done deal as far as I’m concerned. The next moment door opens and Ana peaks around the corner.
“We’re here.” Kate looks back over her shoulder at Ana then back at the gathered crowd.
“Right, don’t let him go anywhere.” Like that isn’t just the funniest fucking joke I’ve heard all day. No one else seems to be laughing. “Dad?”
Sam and Kate leave the room to join Ana and I’m left with the rest of the Brady Bunch. I shift my eyes from face to face and all I get are these benign grins. I half expect theme music to blast out.
“Is someone going to tell me what’s going on?” No sooner are the words out of my mouth than Christian enters the room with a small older gentleman in a black suit. A parade of nurses file in after them with flowers and other bits and pieces I can’t quite make out. I’m trying not to let my mind go to where it is going but it looks like she’s fucking trumped me again. The small man walks over to the bed and takes my good hand.
“Hello, there, Elliot. I’m Father Kelly.” Fuck. I hope he’s ready to administer the last rites cos I’m gonna fucking kill her.