I watched as two bullets hit him in the chest and he fell to the ground, smashing his head against the concrete as he went down. "Raaaaaaandyyyyyy!" I screamed as I ran to him, oblivious to the guy still holding the gun.
I kneeled over him watching the blood slowly seep out of the wounds on his chest as he struggled to breathe. "Oh my god oh my god oh my god! SOMEBODY HELP ME! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME! The ambulance is already coming Randy please stay awake!" I looked at his as he struggled to breathe.
He looked like he was fading away with each passing second, I was scared to death I might lose him right there. "No! don't you do this to me Randy! LOOK AT ME!
YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME!" I screamed as I grabbed both sides of his head and made him look at me. I looked around at the crowd of people that formed around us for something, anything that would help me get out of this nightmare. I could feel blood on his head from where it hit the ground and knew he busted his head open.
Ashley was still frozen in place standing in that same spot shaking, just as scared as I was. "GIVE ME SOMETHING TO PUT UNDER HIS HEAD! You aren't going anywhere you hear me! You're not gonna leave me by myself, I need you!" I glanced back at Ashley who was still standing there with that stupid look on her face.
"ASHLEY! GIVE ME SOMETHING FOR HIS HEAD!" I snapped her from whatever she was in and she took off her hoody and gave it to me. I wrapped it up like a pillow and put it under his head, making sure to keep his head inverted.
"Rita… Rita I'm… I'm so sorry. I never…" "Save it Ashley, I really could care less right now!" I didn't even think about what I said, I just said it. I didn't care if it hurt her feelings or not, I was only concerned with one thing right now, keeping Randy alive.
"You have to put pressure on his wounds to stop the bleeding, I saw it on TV," Ashley said. I looked at her, and she looked like she was trying to help, so I tried it, anything to help keep him alive. I put both of my hands directly over the wounds and pushed down hard, it did stop the bleeding a little, but it also put him in a lot more pain.
"It's supposed to hurt, but it'll stop him from bleeding out," she said as I glared at her. I held my hands in place and looked at him while trying not to cry. He looked like he was in so much pain I could bear to see him like that, but I wasn't gonna leave, not even for a second. "WHERE IS THE FUCKING AMBULANCE!" I screamed at noone in particular. "The dispatcher said they should be here any second," someone responded. Some guys in all the confusion had managed to get the gun from the guy and had him pinned to the ground, I wanted so badly to go over there and kick him in the face, but I needed to stay here and keep Randy alive until help got here.
It felt like forever, and they hadn't shown up yet, I was beginning to get even more worried than I already was. He drew my gaze back to him when I felt him struggling underneath me, still not saying a word. He was starting to lose energy, I could see him start to fade in and out, and I went into full on panic mode. "No no Randy look at me, stay with me! Don't you give up on me Randy!" He tried to talk but nothing came out, but with his silence came the sound I was desperately listening for, the ambulance.
They were close, it sounded like they were a couple streets over. "The ambulance is almost here Randy, just hold on a little longer, just a little bit longer!" He makes eye contact with me for a second, and he gets quiet, really quiet.
He stops making the breathing noise and he quits moving around. His eyes are fighting with him to stay open, and all I can see is his chest barely inhaling and exhaling, he was slipping away, literally as the ambulance pulled up to the parking lot. "They're here Randy, keep your eyes open! Keep looking at me! You can't leave me yet, we still have a lot of places to go, a lot of famous people to meet, all the things we wanted to do… come on stay awake, stay with me!" Not long after I'd finished talking the most horrifying thing in my life happened.
He made an attempt to breathe again and again, and then he looked at me, and just stopped moving completely. His eyes fell closed, and he just lay there, not a sound, no movement, nothing.
"Oh my god." I looked around, at the crowd, at Ashley, not wanting to believe this was happening, but it was, Randy, my Randy, was… I didn't wanna say it, I didn't want it to be true, I wanted to believe he just passed out, but I knew better, I know how these things tend to play out.
My heart sank. I felt like my whole world ended, my life was over. I looked at his still face, and burst into tears. I tried my best to will him awake, he was still bleeding, but slowly, so I tried to convince myself that it was only happening because he was still alive. "Come on Randy, the paramedics are here, get up!" I cried pushing in on his chest. "Randy they're here get up!
GET UP! Please Randy get up!" The paramedics came into view, one went straight to Randy and the other kneeled right in front of me, taking my hands of Randy and sliding me back until he made me look directly at him. "Miss, were gonna need you to step back so we can…MISS! MISS!" he said as I tried to get back around to Randy. "Miss, we're gonna do everything we can for him, I promise, but I'm gonna need you to give us some room so we can do our job." I gave in and moved back out of their way so they could work on Randy.
I stood there and watched as they pulled out all kinds of tools and needles and whatnot and used them all back to back on him. This couldn't be real, it couldn't be. I had to be having one of the worst nightmares I've ever had, there's no way this could be real, it's not possible.
That had to be the only reasonable explanation, it was the only one I would tell myself. I would not allow myself to believe the love of my life just died in my arms, I wouldn't believe it. I looked down at my hands, covered in so much of Randy's blood, then looked around the crowd of people, and in the process saw the police handcuff the guy who shot Randy and start walking him to the squad car. I lost it. I took off after him and hit him with everything I had, trying my best to hurt him while staining his clothes with Randy's blood.
"YOU MOTHERFUCKER!" I screamed, continuously hitting him as the police tried to move him. "SOMEBODY GET THIS BITCH OFF ME! SHE'S MESSING UP MY CLOTHES!" "Hey shut your mouth buddy," the cop holding him by the handcuffs said. The other cop came around and grabbed me around the waist and sort of lifted me away from him, but it didn't stop me from trying to kick him in the face. "IF HE DIES I SWEAR TO GOD!
I SWEAR TO GOD I'LL…" "You'll what bitch? You'll die with him? Fucking skank," he laughed. "HEY! I said SHUT UP! Jenkins get her out of here before she does something stupid!" He put me down, even though I was still flailing about, and held my shoulders in place so I had to look at him.
"Hey, I know you're mad, I don't blame you, but don't give that asshole anything to help his case. We don't want him trying to throw an abuse charge at you, just calm down, and check on your friend, we'll deal with this guy." Friend. He just doesn't know. He was so much more than that. He let my shoulders go and I walked back over to where they were working on Randy. They had a lot of kits and boxes open and splayed on the ground and were using just as many needles on him as they hovered over him.
I watched, not knowing what I was looking at, but I watch to watch, I had to see it, I had to know if tonight would be the last time I see him alive, and it hurt just thinking about it.
"I HAVE A FAINT PULSE! OK LETS GET HIM IN THE TRUCK!" one of the paramedics said. I perked up immediately. I was elated. I know they still had a long way to go but to hear that made me so happy my heart almost leapt out of my chest. They grabbed the gurney and gathered up all their stuff as they loaded it and Randy onto the truck. I turned away from the truck for a second to collect my feelings and saw the police putting the guy in the back seat of the car. Somehow he found me and just stared at me, and I just stared right back.
I wanted to hurt him so bad, I wanted to take a metal baseball bat with razor wire wrapped around it and bash his head in, but that would make me no better than him. I watched the car drive off and clenched my fist looking at it until it turned out of sight. "Rita! The ambulance is about to leave!" I heard Ashley's voice shout from behind me. I turned around just as they put Randy and everything else in the truck and were about to head off.
I looked at Ashley but didn't say anything, and she went to say something to me but I cut her off by running to the ambulance and hopping in before they closed the doors. "I'm coming with you," I said as I hopped in the back of the truck before they could object.
"Sit in the back and make sure not to get in the way or touch anything," one of the guys said. "What hospital are we going to?" "Mercy General." "Why! We're closer to Lincoln, what if something happens on the way there!" "Mercy General has a better facility, they just upgraded the whole emergency wing, Lincoln won't have everything we need on hand immediately, Mercy General is the best shot for him." I sat down and stopped asking questions so they could work on him.
They were blocking most of his body so I didn't get to see much of what they were doing. I was sitting there wondering what to do next when an obvious thought entered my mind, I still had to tell mom and dad what happened.
I had been so focused on Randy that they completely slipped from my mind. I didn't know how to tell them, nor did I wanna be the one to tell them, but I didn't have a choice, so I was just gonna be straight and quick, and try to avoid crying.
I pulled out my phone and dialed moms contact, noticing I had a missed call from her and dad, with everything that happened I didn't realize how late it was. Even though the blood on my hands had dried by now, it still left a smudge wherever I touched the phone. It didn't take mom long to pick up. "Where are you, it's almost midnight! Your father and I both called you…ooooh, you two made up didn't you? You probably just finished having make up sex didn't you?" mom laughed. Her happy attitude only served to make what I had to tell her that much worse.
I gathered myself, took a deep breath and got straight to the point. "Mom I have to tell you something." Her voice pattern changed when she heard my voice. "What is it honey? Oh no you and Randy got caught didn't you? I told you two to be careful…" "No mom we didn't get caught," I cut her off. Knowing what I was about to tell her broke me down, and I couldn't hold the tears back. "Why are you crying honey?
Where's Randy?" "He got shot!" I said as clear as I could while still crying my eyes out. She laughed like it was part of a joke. "Haha very funny Rita, put him on the phone." "He really got shot mom!" She was quiet for a second.
"Rita if this is your idea of a joke it's not funny!" "I'M NOT JOKING MOM!" I screamed as I wiped my face with my sleeve. "We were at the ice cream shop arguing with Ashley then that guy I told you about showed up and Ashley started belittling him then she slapped him and he pulled out a knife, he was gonna stab her but Randy wrestled the knife away from him and they fought then he pulled out a gun and shot him!" I could hear her start to panic. "Oh my god! Oh my god!
MIKE! LISA! Not my baby! Not my Randy! Are you ok? Did you get hurt?" "I'm ok, he shielded both me and Ashley from getting hit." "I wanna know EXACTLY what happened! what hospital are you in?" "We're still in the ambulance, we're going to Mercy General." "Lincoln is closer to us! Why are you going all the way… you know what never mind, we're coming up there right now, MIKE! LISA! Don't you let him out of your sight you hear me Rita! Oh my god I can't believe my baby got shot!" "I won't, please hurry mom," I said as I hung up.
I sat there still trying to get a look at what they were doing to him but they still had him blocked off. The loud ringing of the siren drowned out any sound the paramedics made that weren't screams, so that made it hard to hear what was going on, which was killing me. I looked at Randy's blood on my hands again, and couldn't help but notice the irony. While Ashley was the one who escalated everything, it was my fault he was there in the first place.
If we had talked everything out, we would've been at home cuddled up in our bed, but I was stubborn, and didn't wanna talk. I'd give anything to be cuddled up with him now, for him to wrap his arms around me and tell me he loved me, I'd give anything, I just wanted him back.
"HIS EYES ARE OPEN! LET'S GET HIS PULSE GOING!" one of the paramedics said. I snapped from my guilt trip and stood up as much as I could in the truck and came around the side of one of the paramedics. Randy's eyes were open, but he looked dazed, like he had spun around in a chair a million times and tried to look at something like nothing happened. He turned in my direction and looked at me. For the next two minutes he didn't take his eyes off me, and I didn't look away from him either.
He squinted in pain with everything they did to him, but he never stopped looking at me. I'd never fully stopped crying since the phone call with mom, but looking at him seemed to start me up again.
"I love you," I mouthed to him, holding my hands to my chest as I said it. He tried to acknowledge he heard me, but any movement he tried to make was stopped by the paramedics, who were still working frantically to save him. "Give me the… no the other one, yeah that one, two doses." I tried to see what it was they were giving him but the writing was too small, all I noticed was it had a red end with stripes.
I made a mental note to check it later and find out what it was. Whatever it was didn't look like it did much, nothing really happened and he still looked woozy, but as long as his eyes were open I was happy. They pulled out another one of those needles, this time with a yellow end and were prepping it for him when out of nowhere he started to shake, slow at first but it intensified with each passing second, faster and more violent looking.
"He's going into shock! Hold him down, keep him from moving around!" I panicked, not knowing what I was seeing but I knew it wasn't good.
"DO SOMETHING!" "He's fading! Dammit I'm not about to lose this kid now! Get me the capsule from the second shelf with the green tag!" I got as close as I could without interfering.
I couldn't see what they were doing with the capsule thing, but I could still see his face, and he was still shaking violently. I was still panicked because I didn't know what was going on other than he went into shock, and that they popped some kind of capsule but I didn't know what was in it, or if it helped, then slowly his shaking started to slow down, little by little, until he came to a complete stop.
His eyes were closed, but he was still breathing, which I was at least still happy for the way this night was going. All of a sudden I could feel the ambulance start to slow down, and then we came to a complete stop.
The back doors opened all the way and two more paramedics were standing there. "Ma'am, we're gonna need you to step aside so we can get to our patient please," one said. I didn't argue, I just climbed down out of the truck and stepped aside so they could bring Randy out. They wheeled him out of the truck and rolled him through the hospital, two keeping a close eye on him and the other two directing them through the hospital.
I followed right along with them, making sure not to let him out of my sight. After making a few turns we hit the emergency wing of the hospital and turned to a room where there were a team of doctors waiting for him to be rolled in. I knew they weren't gonna let me in, but it didn't stop me from trying, so I wasn't surprised when one of the doctors stopped me at the door. "You're gonna have to wait out here Miss," the female doctor said. I saw them do the thing where they transferred him between beds and then the double doors in front of me closed and the emergency light came on.
I stood there, covered in blood, a million things running through my head, but none of them could do anything to help Randy right now. It was out of my hands. All I could do now is wait, wait for the doors to open and the doctors to come out, wait for some good news or some bad news.
I felt so helpless. I didn't move from that spot, I just stood there, looking at the door, waiting for it to open, but at the same time not wanting it to. The doctor could come through the door and say he's gonna be fine, but there was a chance I may never see him again.
Just thinking about never seeing him again hurt so much, I don't think I would ever be able to deal with it.
Ashley. Words could not express how badly I wanted to bash her face in. The only reason I didn't do it before was because I was too concerned about Randy, if she popped up now who knows how I'd react.
Forget about her, I'd had enough negative thinking, I needed to be thinking about Randy, and how we were gonna get out of this. I was still standing at the door when I heard a bunch of erratic footsteps heading towards me, and I turned around to see mom, dad, and Aunt Lisa all in around the house clothes, on the brink of crying as they approached me.
Mom held out her arms, and I walked right into them as we both cried, holding on to each other for support. "Did you hear anything?" mom asked. "No, they wouldn't let me in, they're operating on him," I responded. She pulled back from me and wiped her face as she looked directly at me. "Tell me the truth, how bad is it? Do they think he'll make it?" Everyone's eyes were glued to me waiting for me to answer, which was harder than I thought.
"He got shot twice, in the chest and the shoulder from what I saw. He kept blacking out and waking up between the ice cream shop and getting here, then right before we pulled into the hospital, he went into shock…and…I don't know, they wouldn't let me see him after that." Mom immediately started crying again.
"My baby, not my baby…" Dad walked over and hugged her, and she squeezed him back as she cried into his shoulder. "Don't worry honey, he's tough, he'll pull through this in no time." Aunt Lisa walked over to me and hugged me and I hugged her back, finding comfort in being around family. "He'll be ok Rita, like your father said, he's tough, two little bullets aren't gonna keep him from us…from you." "I'm just so scared Aunt Lisa, he was so miserable and he lost a lot of blood, what if they…" "Hey, don't think like that, he'll be ok.
We're waiting to see how long before he gets to go home, nothing else. We need to stay positive in situations like this." "Where's the fucking prick who did this? Did he get away?" dad asked, right on cue. "No dad, the police got him, these guys held him down until police came and got him." "They better give him the death penalty or I'm gonna do it myself." "Mike!" mom said snapping her head up from his shoulder.
"Sorry honey, I'm just pissed off. It's always the good kids that pay the price. Randy didn't do anything to anybody, and for someone to just walk up and shoot him, I just don't get it." It was silent for a minute. He didn't know the whole story, and I didn't wanna tell it, but I knew they were gonna ask.
I was just hoping this was a really bad nightmare, and I was gonna wake up any second from it, and everything would be normal and Randy would be fine and we would go back to the way we were before everything went downhill, before all this. "Do the Wilson's know?" Aunt Lisa asked. "Not yet, I had to tell you guys first. I'll call them now," I responded. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket, wiped off the smeared blood stains and called Stephanie. With it being well after midnight I thought I'd be waking her up, but she practically answered on the first ring.
"Good timing! I was just getting ready to call you," Stephanie said not sounding sleepy at all. "Hey, can you guys come up to Mercy General right now?" Her enthusiasm calmed down a little. "Why, what happened?" "Randy got shot," I said fighting to hold back tears.
"Oh my god!
I'll get everyone, we're gonna come up there now! Is he ok?" "We don't know, he's still in surgery. They've been in there for a while now." "We're on our way.
We'll be there in like fifteen minutes." "Ok, thanks Steph," I said as we both hung up. "They're coming," I told everyone. Aunt Lisa held my shoulders and walked me over to one of the chairs by the room Randy was in, it was the first time since we got to the hospital I moved from in front of the door. We all just sat there, in quiet, a different scenario probably running through everyone's head but it all leading back to the same place, the well being of Randy.
"I know you don't want to Rita, but can you tell us exactly what happened?" dad asked. I didn't want to. I really didn't want to. I know he could see the look on my face saying just that, but I didn't think it was fair, they all deserved to know, I just hated I had to tell them.
I sighed, the sooner I started telling the story the sooner I could get it over with. "Ok. Randy called me from the ice cream shop and said he wanted to talk, I didn't want to at first but I finally said ok. I guess Ashley found out somehow because when I got there she was already arguing with Randy.
I jumped in telling her to leave that she caused enough damage, but she wouldn't, so we were about to leave, then that guy showed up out of nowhere. At first he was just talking trash but then Ashley started belittling him in front of us and he was getting pissed.
It escalated and he grabbed her and she slapped him hard on the face and told him to quit touching her. He warned her but she didn't listen and tried to hit him again, but he stopped it and pulled out a knife.
He held on to her and Randy tried to get him to put down the knife but he wouldn't listen, then Ashley broke away from him and when he chased after her Randy tackled him into a table. Randy yelled for help and the guy went after him with the knife. They beat each other up pretty bad but Randy eventually got the knife from him. We thought everything was ok at that point, then he taunted Randy and pulled out a gun, and Randy pushed us outta the way and ran towards him and…and he shot him, and he hit his head on the ground," I said, the last part being especially hard to get out.
It was quiet again as everyone took in everything I just said. Dad had his hands together with his elbows resting on his knees looking down, mom was clutching her purse and twiddling her fingers at the same time, Aunt Lisa couldn't stop her feet from twitching, and I just sat there, perfectly still, willing myself not to cry.
I had cried so much that night it's a wonder I still had anything left. But my body never ceased to amaze me what it could endure. "They sure are taking a long time in there," mom said breaking the silence. "That's a good thing Anna, it means he's still alive," dad followed. I looked up and saw the Wilsons coming down the hall checking all the room numbers, looking for which one Randy was in, so I stood up and flagged them down.
"We're down here!" Stephanie was the first to get to us followed by Chris, then Jim and Marie went to mom, dad, and Aunt Lisa. I was glad they came, glad someone else cared about Randy besides us. "How's he doing? Did you hear anything?" Marie asked. "No not yet, he's still in surgery," mom replied.
"I'm so sorry, we came as soon as we heard. We hope he's ok." "Do you have any idea who did this?" Jim asked. "It was the guy we've been telling you about, the one from the pizza shop and the one who tried to cause a scene, he just showed up out of nowhere," I said.
"What exactly happened?" I sighed, I knew it was coming, but I wasn't gonna go through it again, I couldn't. "Could one of you guys tell them, I don't wanna talk about it anymore." I went to the window and looked out. I was drowning myself in self-pity and guilt, if I hadn't done this, or if I'd done that, then this wouldn't have happened, or we would've been there and that would've happened, but it always came back to me, even though I didn't act alone in all this.
There was nothing I could do now, just wait for the doctors to come out and give us some good news or bad news, I could only hope for the former. I felt someone tap my shoulder and looked around and saw Stephanie standing there. "He'll be ok Rita, watch, you'll see." "But what if he's not? What if something goes wrong in surgery?" "Then he'll work his way out of it, he's not gonna leave you for a million years without a fight." "I don't know what I'd do without him.
How would I even go about living my life?" "Let's hope you never have to find out. Come on, let's go sit back down." We walked back over to where everyone else was sitting as mom was finishing up telling Marie and Jim what happened. Chris was sitting by himself so we went and sat next to him, with me in the middle so I could lean on either of them if I needed to. I tried to drown out them still talking about what happened and leaned on Chris' shoulder. He didn't fight me or say anything, and that's what I needed, just a small bit of comfort without any hassle to take my mind off the situation, if even for a little bit.
I had actually started to feel a tiny bit better, stress wise, by just sitting there leaning on someone, but then it disappeared when Chris' body tensed up ten times over and wasn't as comfortable anymore, in fact, it started to hurt my neck.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE!" Chris yelled. I looked past him to see the reason for his sudden change and couldn't believe what I saw, Ashley walking towards us, carefully, but nonetheless walking towards us, the nerve. Earlier I said I didn't know what I'd do if I saw her, but now I did. I stood up angrily with clenched fists and walked towards her ready to knock her head off.
"Wait! Rita please wait!" Ashley said, a little fear noticeable in her voice. "Lucky for you you won't have to go far after I smash your face on the ground!" "Rita please, I didn't come here to start any trouble I swear!" "What the fuck do you want?" I asked through gritted teeth.
It was more of a statement than a question, I could care less what she wanted, I just didn't want her to be here. I never cursed in front of my parents like that, but seeing Ashley set me off, anything rational went out the window the second she stepped into the hallway.
"What do you want!" I asked again, trying to control myself in front of mom and dad. "Is he ok?" "We don't know yet, why do you care?" "Because he saved my life twice in one night." "Yeah and look where it got him. If it was me I would've let him take you!" "Rita!" mom said, shocked that I would ever say something like that. "It's ok Mrs. Stevens, I deserved that. I probably deserve more than that since I'm the reason he's here in the first place." Her talking to my mom using her name pissed me off, so much that I lost it again.
I didn't care if she still had information that could bury us, she had no right to come in here and talk to us like we were close. "Don't talk to her like you know her, you don't know her! The whole time you've been around us you've been fake, putting on an act so you could act like a bitch and use us however you wanted, well that's done.
We're not falling for any more of your bullshit Ashley, so you can save the fake sob story for someone else. You need to leave right now." "Please let me stay, at least until you hear something. I know you all probably hate my guts right now and don't trust me at all, but I'm willing to stand here and be hated until I find out if Randy's ok. Please, I'll leave right after." I studied her face for a long time, looking for a sign of anything to tell me she was lying, but I didn't see anything, instead I saw something else, something completely unexpected, sincerity.
She was pleading with me with her eyes and had a look like she was about to cry, not to mention her hands were shaking as she clutched the hoodie she used to sit under Randy's head after he hit the ground, something I missed in my haste to do bodily harm to her. This was the first time I'd ever seen her any bit of sincere, but I'd bet any amount of money I'd be the last. Sincere or not, I still didn't wanna be around her, but she wasn't my main concern, Randy was.
I unclenched my fists and took my seat back in between Stephanie and Chris. "As soon as we hear something you GO! You hear me? You leave!" I said. "Ok. Thank you." She sat down on the only other bench in the hallway across from us and kept her head down to avoid any contact, smart move.
She just kept staring at the bloody hoodie like it was a priceless artifact, like some sort of reminder of what the blood on the hoodie meant, I don't know, I was just looking for a reason to hate her even more or something.
I checked my phone to see what time it was, 2:27 am, he's officially been in the emergency room for two hours and we still don't know what's going on. The only thing that kept me thinking positive was when dad said them taking a long time was a good thing, which made sense, because they wouldn't spend so much time in there if he wasn't alive, still though, I couldn't help but wonder, no matter how hard I tried not to. Finally, after a little more waiting, and hoping, and praying, at 2:49, the emergency light above the door went off, and one of the doctors came out.
We all immediately popped out of our chair and met him basically just as he stepped through the door. "Hello everyone, I'm Dr. Garrett I'm the one who has been looking after Randy." "How is he? Is he alright? Please tell me he's alright! Did he make it? Does he have any permanent or long term damage?" I asked bombarding him with question after question. "We've stopped the bleeding and took out the bullets, but there were some complications…" My heart stopped.
"Complications? What kind of complications?" mom asked. "Well he was shot on the left side of his body twice, in the chest and in the shoulder, and when he fell he hit his head pretty hard, and on the way here he went into shock, then throw in everything we gave him to keep him alive on the way here and finally having to do emergency operation upon his arrival here, that's entirely too much stress on one person." "So what exactly are you telling us doctor, are you saying my son is dead?" dad asked, his voice cracking a little.
We were all extremely quiet waiting for an answer, praying for a no, I was shaking all over as he shook his head no, but still had a troubling look on his face. "No he's not dead, but he fell into a coma. His body couldn't handle the stress." A small sigh of relief, but only a small one, going into a coma is the next worst thing, depending on how bad it was, but at least he was still alive, at least he still had a chance.
"Do you know how long he will be in a coma for?" Aunt Lisa asked. "We don't know. It could be days, weeks, or even months, it's different with each patient. I'm not gonna lie to you or beat around the bush, his body really took a beating, there's a 50/50 chance he might not wake up, it depends entirely on him now." Mom started to cry, but held it in.
"Can we see him?" "Yes, but the family only. He's stabilized so you can go right in." Mom, dad, Aunt Lisa and I gathered ourselves and slowly walked into his room and turned the corner. There he was, sleep in the bed, just as peaceful as if he was taking a nap, if only it were that simple.
Any composure mom had when she walked in here was now gone, she burst into tears as she ran to the side of his bed and held the side of his face to hers. Dad went to the other side and messed with his hair as Aunt Lisa and I stood there. When dad was finally able to pry mom off of him Aunt Lisa and I went over.
Aunt Lisa kissed his forehead and whispered something in his ear, and then she rubbed my shoulder as she passed me and let me have my turn with him. I just looked at him.
I didn't know what to say, and I couldn't show any real affection in front of dad, at least not deliberately. I rubbed his cheek and leaned in to kiss him, getting real close to his lips in the process. "I'll be waiting right here when you wake up, I promise," I said as I kissed him again. I sat there a little longer and just looked at him until the doctor came back in.
"Ok everyone, we have to move him to another room now," Dr. Garrett said. We all got one last look at him sleeping in the bed then went back out to the waiting room, where everyone, including Ashley were waiting on us to tell them something. "How does he look? It doesn't look bad does it?" Marie asked. "It just looks like he's sleeping. He looks about as best as he can look given the situation.
He's putting up a fight, so the only thing we can do is wait," mom replied. "If it's alright with you all we're gonna head back home since visiting hours are over," Jim said. "It's ok, we're gonna head home too, we'll come back tomorrow," dad replied.
I wasn't leaving. I couldn't go home and sleep in that bed knowing he was here fighting for his life, I wanted to be right here with him, and I was going to be. "I'm staying." "You can't Rita, the doctors won't let you," Aunt Lisa said. "They won't have a choice. I'm staying. They can't get rid of me." I walked to the doctor and let him know my situation, he was skeptical, but he eventually agreed, as long as it was just me and I didn't cause any problems.
I got the room information that Randy was being moved to and walked back over to everyone. "He says its ok, as long as it's just me," I said. Mom cupped my cheek and smiled, not surprised at all by my decision to stay. "How long are you gonna stay here for?" "I'm staying until he wakes up, however long it takes." "We'll come back tomorrow with some clothes and toothbrush and things." "Thanks mom, and before I forget, our car is still parked at the ice cream shop." I gave her the keys as everyone gave their hugs and said their goodbyes and were on their way, and up until that point I had forgotten Ashley was still there until I saw everyone walked past her and give her the cold shoulder, something I was about to do, but I knew she would try to stop.
"Rita, I just wanna…" "I don't wanna hear it Ashley, you know his condition, now just get out of here." "I'm so sorry, all I want is a chance to make it right." She was trying to draw me in with sympathy, and it kinda worked. "You wanna make it right? Go in there and switch places with him, that's how you can make it right." "I would if I could, it should be me in that bed anyway.
I'll make sure he's fully taken care of while he's here, the best medicine, treatment, everything, I'll pay for all of it." "We don't want your money Ashley, we can pay for his treatment ourselves." "I already gave my consent, when you were in there looking at him I was talking to the doctor, anything Randy needs will be paid for no question." "Even now you're still trying to control the situation!
Its ok though, I'll just undo it." "Rita please let me help, I owe him that much." That comment set me off. "You owe him more than that!" "I know, and I'm gonna make good on it, I promise, and if you know one thing about me that wasn't an act, it's that I keep my promises." I just stared at her for a minute, trapped between wanting to clock her in the face, and cut her a little slack, even though she didn't deserve it.
"It took him risking his life for you, getting shot twice, and falling into a coma for you to have a change of heart." I said it as a statement rather than a question. I wanted her to feel shitty, as low as she could possibly feel about herself knowing her selfishness almost got someone killed. She put her head down and looked at her phone, ashamed, then forced herself to make eye contact with me.
"I did set Randy up at the party. Everything he told you was the truth. I put Stephanie in the same clothes I had a copy of and tricked you into getting him drunk, then had Chris put him in my room. I dressed up like Stephanie, blonde wig and everything and seduced him, and waited for someone to catch us. I hated that you and Stephanie preferred him over me. My whole plan was to break them up and make you hate him.
I'd been planning it since my father told me I'd be hanging out with you. Even after the party I was still making plans to fuck his life up. Tonight, when I showed up, I was gonna make Randy come with me and I was gonna record him giving me head and send it to you, then when you showed up I changed it to making you two have sex in front of me, but I was still gonna record it. I was gonna use that to bribe you into having sex with each other in public, and make either of you do stuff to me whenever I wanted you to, and I was gonna drag it out for a long time.
I would've never told anyone, that would've ruined the fun for me, unless you refused to do what I said anymore, then I was gonna send it through the internet, to the newspaper, through the community, everywhere, because I had to have my way. Randy knew all that, and he still jumped in front of a knife and a bullet for me. After everything I did to make his life hell, he still risked it for mine, without a second thought. He could die in there and it'll be all my fault. I'm such a SELFISH BITCH!" She threw her phone into the wall so hard it shattered into a million pieces.
She sat down on the bench, still clutching the bloody sweater, covered her face with her hands and started to cry. A couple nurses came around the corner to see what the noise was but I waved them off, trying not to attract any attention. On one hand, I was glad she felt like this, I wanted to see her suffer for all the shit she put us through, but on the other hand, I actually felt a little bad for her. Her phone was her life, and she slung it against the wall like it was nothing.
She actually, sincerely, finally came to realize what kind of person she was, it was a shame Randy had to get shot for her to realize it. she went to pick up the pieces of her phone off the ground while still crying, and I went to help her, I don't know why, I just did. She sifted through all the pieces and pulled out the SD card and gave it to me, then threw the rest of the phone in the trash.
"I'll delete everything tonight. I'll make good, I promise." I watched her walk out the door and then sat down. That was completely unexpected, but not completely unwelcomed. I wondered for a second if she was pulling another act, if maybe she broke a dummy phone and turned on some fake tears, but I checked the phone, it was hers, and she gave me the SD card from it, not to mention she's supposedly paying for all of Randy's treatment.
This time, I do believe she actually changed, permanently, and for the better, but I'm still not ready to trust her, she has a long way to go before I ever trust her again. I shook Ashley from my mind for the moment and walked to the room they moved Randy to. When I got there I went to the sink and washed the blood off my hands that had been there the entire night, then walked over to his bed and sat down next to him, taking his hand in mine and just looked at him, hoping his eyes would open up and he'd look back at me.
"Come on, fight your way out of this, come back to me," I pleaded, grasping his hand. I stayed in that chair the rest of the night, and planned on making it my new bed until Randy woke up.
I didn't remember falling asleep, but I woke up with my head on the bed next to him. I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and sat up, looking back at him still resting in his peaceful like state.
His skin looked a little lighter than before, I didn't know if that was normal, or if it was the way the room was lit or what, but it was definitely noticeable. This was gonna be tough, watching him like this hoping each day would be the day he wakes up, only to be disappointed it's not that day, but that wouldn't stop me from doing it, I made a promise to be here when he woke up, and I was gonna keep it.
I checked my phone, 11:37, it was almost time for visiting hours. I got up and washed my face clean but with no toothbrush or toothpaste I had to keep my morning breath.
Someone had come in and checked on Randy while I was sleep and managed not to make any noise in the process, which was nice but also made me a little uneasy that I slept through that, but I just chalked it up to a hectic night.
I had no missed calls or anything so I sat back down in the chair and grabbed his hand again, rubbing it between my fingers as he lay still in the bed. I was sitting there when I heard a knock on the door and looked over to see one of the police officers who had arrested the guy who shot Randy, he waited until I gave him permission and then he came into the room. "Hi miss, I'm Officer Jenkins, I was on the scene last night." "Yeah I remember you, did you need to ask some questions or something?" "Just a few, first can I get your name?" "Rita Renee Stevens, its Renee with two e's." "Ok, and can I get his name?" "Randy Roderick Stevens, he's my brother." I really didn't wanna tell him that, but I knew he'd find out anyway, so there was no point in delaying it.
"Ok, and you were at the shop around what time the incident occurred?" "It was almost ten when I first got there, everything happened over the next half hour." "Ok, one more question. Did any of you touch the knife or the gun at any point during the night? Even if it was just to pick it up and throw it away or for self defense?" "Randy got the knife from him, but he didn't use it or anything, and noone but the guy touched he gun, unless one of the people who held him down grabbed it." Got it.
Ok that's enough questions. About the guy who shot your brother, his name is Johnny Adams, he's 25 years old with a criminal past; robbery, assault, and now attempted murder." "So he's not gonna get away with this right?" "Not a chance. We have the gun and the knife.
Once we test the gun for fingerprints and his hands for residue of a fired weapon it's an open and shut case." A huge sigh of relief. "Thank god, I was scared he would get off on a technicality." "Not in this case, and we're checking the area for cameras, the ice cream shop didn't have one but we're checking other stores and traffic lights for anything we can get.
We basically got him without it, but video evidence won't hurt." "Thank you, I'm sure that'll be some comfort to my family that he won't get away." He went into his wallet and pulled out a card.
"Here's my desk number, if you or your family need anything or want to know about the case, give me a call." "Thank you Officer Jenkins, we'll be sure to." He left the room and I put his card on the table, glad at least that the bastard wasn't gonna get away with this. Johnny Adams. That name would stick in my head for a while.
If it had to go to trial I would be there bright and early every day to make sure he got put away. It passed noon, which was now visiting hours in the hospital and I sat there looking in on Randy until everyone (meaning mom dad and Aunt Lisa) came into the room. "How's he doing?" mom asked as she came over to the side of the bed.
"Still the same, nothing much really changed," I replied. "Well I can't expect too much to change after just one day I guess.
I brought you a bag with your toothbrush, soap, all of your feminine hygiene things, your pills, your phone charger, and a few changes of clothes, I'll take the dirty one's home and wash them when they build up.
We brought you some food too in case you don't wanna eat the hospital food." "Thanks mom. One of the cops came in and said the guys name was Johnny Adams and that they pretty much got him for this." "Yeah we know, one of the cops came to the house earlier and told us, they said for this and his past crimes he's getting at least ten years without the need of a trial." "He better get more than that if they're counting his past crimes," dad said.
"They'll handle it Mike, they have everything pretty much laid out for them, if they screw this up, they'll never hear the end of it," Aunt Lisa jumped in. "I still wouldn't rule it out, you know how these things work sometimes." "Ok enough about that guy, we're here for Randy remember?" I interrupted.
"Yes we are. I brought you some breakfast in case you were hungry," mom said. "Thanks, I'll eat it over the sink." I walked the tubberware over to the sink and picked at the food and watched them all talk around Randy.
They seemed to be still talking about the Johnny guy, at least dad was, and mom and Aunt Lisa were more concerned with wiping his forehead clean and making sure he was comfortable in bed. When I'd had enough breakfast I went back over to sit with everyone. "I know noone wants to talk about this, but we have to be ready just in case…" dad started. "Just in case what?" mom interrupted. "Just in case he doesn't wake up. You heard what the doctor said, it could be weeks, or even months before he wakes up, he might not even wake up." "That's a long shot.
What happened to he's a fighter? Did you give up on him already?" "No I didn't, and I won't ever give up on my son, I'm just saying we need to be prepared is all." "Can we please not talk about this now?
I don't wanna hear about Randy not waking up," I said. "Sure, sorry honey, we didn't mean to upset you," dad apologized and gave me a hug. We sat in silence for a while around Randy just looking at him, I'm sure all of us wondering what life would be like without him, which I couldn't even begin to think about.
An hour or so passed with little talk, and then another with us trying to stay positive by remembering a lot of funny and stupid things we did, and pretty soon visiting hours were over, and everyone had to leave. "Keep us up to date on how he's doing, and let us know if you need anything," mom said. "Ok, I'll see you guys tomorrow." I hugged everyone and they left out of the room and went back home.
I called Stephanie and Chris and let them know what was going on with Randy and told them about the Johnny guy, and they were just as happy as I was that he was going away. I sat back in the chair I had made my how bed and turned on the TV, I didn't care about watching it, I just wanted it for the background noise, or maybe it would aggravate Randy and wake him up, who knows, it was worth a shot.
I'd fell asleep in the chair again and started to get into a routine as the days passed with no sign of waking up from Randy.
I told the doctors I would make sure he was cleaned and was comfortable in his bed every day and all the nurses had to do was come check his vitals and stuff like that. I made myself somewhat presentable (I really didn't care), ate enough food not to worry anyone, had visitation time with everyone and would call everyone else who didn't come with updates on Randy's condition, then I would sit in the chair and hold his hand until I fell asleep, every day was like this, and each day it would take a little more out of me.
I was doing my best to stay strong, but I didn't know how much more I could last. Days in the hospital turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, three months to be exact, and there was still no movement from Randy, if I hadn't actually seen him breathing I wouldn't know if he was alive or not, but he was, and his condition still hasn't changed. Noone was sure how to react to all the time that passed, but the doctors assured us this was normal for a coma, but that didn't make it any easier on us.
Everyone still came in during visiting hours, and whenever the Wilson's couldn't make it I called them and let them know Randy was still fighting strong, and that he should be waking up any day now. Since the first visit, Ashley came in to visit him every week, and each time she came with a with a new video game, ones he always talked about getting when they came out and she called him a nerd for wanting, but she remembered every one he said, and she'd bought all of them.
Each time she would try to talk to me, but I wouldn't let her, I was nice enough to let her see him and not start an incident so she had to be happy with that, I wasn't ready to trust her yet. About two months and twelve days in I had the TV on as usual sitting next to his bed when a show that was on caught my attention, I didn't catch most of it, but the part I did see had a guy save his sister from getting hit by a truck by pushing her outta the way and getting hit himself.
He was in the hospital with his sister watching over him just like I was doing, and I got to actually see from another point of view what I was going through.
That on the TV was just a show, this was real, my brother actually was fighting for his life, he wasn't gonna wake up completely fine because of TV magic, there was a chance he might not even wake up. I got up and turned off the TV, trying to erase that show from my mind. I washed up in the sink like I'd done a million times since staying in the room and grabbed my bag of clothes and went back to the chair. I rummaged through them and found the clothes from the night Randy was shot, even though they were washed there were still a few blood stains that didn't come out, but I didn't care.
I put those clothes on and grabbed his hand, trying not to think about the show, and failing miserably. Up until this point I had controlled my emotions pretty good, holding it together for everyone and myself, but after having reality set in like that again, and not go away messes with your head, it breaks you down, and that's exactly what it did to me.
I thought I was all cried out since he was first shot, but I was wrong, the TV show and the thought of him not waking up broke me, and I burst into tears again. "Randy please wake up! I love you so much, I need you here with me!
I can't do this by myself!" I laid my head on his chest and cried, we'd been through so much, but yet not enough. I wasn't ready to give him up, but there was nothing I could do except plead with him to fight, to come back to the world, and hope he could hear me.
"Please Randy, come back to me please." I stayed like that the rest of the night, my head never leaving his chest. I let my head rise and fall with his breathing, adding some bit of comfort in a much needed situation. I didn't even get up to turn the lamp off, I stayed right there, right on his chest, through the remainder of the night until I eventually fell asleep.
I woke up the next day in the exact position I went to sleep in, right on Randy's chest. I sat up and yawned, but before I could do anything else I was drawn to Randy. Something was different, I could feel it. he was more vibrant, he looked like he'd gotten a small tan, and his arm had definitely moved, that last one could've been me but there was still no doubt that something was definitely different about him.
I watched him intently, looking for the smallest sign of movement from him, anything. My phone must've rang about ten times but each time I let it go to voicemail, not wanting to take a chance and look away and then that be the same moment something decides to happen.
About an hour passed and nothing happened. I had been sitting still for an hour watching him and neither of us moved. If there was a motion detector in the room it never would've gone off.
I finally decided to look away, hurt that I'd gotten my hopes up only to have them shattered. I squeezed his hand between both of mine and looked down, trying to again fight crying. I squeezed his hand over and over simulating a heartbeat, wondering when would actually be the day he did wake up, and then it happened. He squeezed my hand back. I felt it. I know I did. He definitely squeezed my hand back, I know for a fact he did. My eyes darted to his face just as he woke up, turning to me with a smile on his face.
"Hi." I broke into tears as I threw my arms around and hugged him as hard as I could. He came back. He was alive and back in my arms again. It was the happiest day of my life. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I woke up, peeling a slight pain as air rushed through my lungs again, but it was a pain I was more than happy to feel, I was back in the real world again, I was alive.
I turned over in the bed and saw the most beautiful person in the world looking back at me, Rita. She was holding my hand, looking like she was holding her breath with her eyes locked onto me and looked as if she was holding back crying.
I didn't know how long I was sleep for, and I didn't know exactly what to say or how to say it to her, so I said the first thing that came to mind at the moment. "Hi." Yeah that felt right. Immediately upon saying that she started crying and threw her arms around me in a hug, almost choking me, but I wouldn't break her hug for anything, I missed her so much, and I was happy to have her back in my arms.
We hugged for what felt like hours, and I was the one who decided to break the hug, but only because I wanted to see her face. I pulled her back and looked her in the eyes, those beautiful blue eyes I thought I'd never see again that looked adoringly back at me.
I went to say something, but was cut off by a nurse entering the room. "Oh my god doctor, he's awake! The patient in room 1134 is awake!" She took off out of the room and before we could blink a whole team of doctors and nurses came back in. They surrounded my bed with a bunch of equipment I had no idea what it was and pulled a bunch of small machines and needles out of a cabinet in the room. "We're gonna need you to step outside for a minute miss," one of the nurses said to Rita.
She definitely didn't wanna go, and I didn't want her to go. I had just woken up and got to see her for barely a minute before they made her leave. She got up slowly and walked out while looking at me the whole time, I felt bad, but the sooner they did whatever they had to do, the sooner she could come back in and they could get out. They hooked me up to all kinds of machines, on my chest, arms, head, everything.
They checked my blood pressure, heart rate, brain activity, I even think they checked my cholesterol. It took them about fifteen minutes before they finally finished with everything, then they huddled around each other and discussed the results, then everyone but one doctor left the room.
Rita tried to come back in, but he gave her a kind of "hold on just a second longer" sign and turned back to me. "I think that's the first time she actually left the room since you came in," the doctor said.
"We're very close," I said. "I can tell. Everything looks normal, which is strange considering the condition you were in." "What do you mean strange?" "I mean you were badly beat up, lost a lot of blood, and had all sorts of problems stemming from getting shot, and now it appears as if nothing happened. Are you in any pain at all?" "Just a little, but nothing that doesn't feel like it won't go away in a couple of days." He kept looking at the chart in his hand as if the answer to his questions were gonna pop up on it.
"I don't know what happened, but you're basically…fine! You're a lucky son of a gun you know that? I'm gonna go put this on file, I'll be back a little later." He walked out of the room and Rita came back in. she came around the bed and sat in the chair and immediately took my hand, keeping her eyes locked on me the whole time. "Hi." "Hi," I said back with a slight smile. "I'm so happy to see you, I missed you so much." "Me too, you have no idea. How long was I asleep for?" "Two months and thirteen long days.
The doctor said it could be longer and there was a possibility you could have brain damage, or not wake up at all." She started to cry and I immediately wiped her tears. "Hey, its ok, I did wake up, and I'm fine, no brain damage. Its gonna take more than two bullets to keep me down. Speaking of bullets, what happened to the guy that shot me?" "He got rushed after he shot you and held until police came.
His name is Johnny Adams. They said it's an open and shut case and he's going away for a long time." "The important thing is you didn't get hurt." I paused for a second and covered her hand with mine. "Look Rita, about the whole Ashley thing I." "I don't care anymore. I don't. You almost lost your life over some middle school pettiness that could have been easily avoided.
I'm not taking the chance of that happening again. everything that happened with Ashley doesn't matter anymore, besides, she came clean about it all." "She did? About everything?" "Yeah, the night of the party, the wigs, all her plots against you, everything. The confessed it all to me, the guilt finally got to her, she even smashed her phone against the wall." "She did?
That phone was her life! Everything that was Ashley was in that phone." "Yeah well all that's left is the SD card she gave me from it. She kept apologizing and promised she'd make good. She came to visit you every week, even though I wouldn't let her get too close, and brought you a new video game each time she came in, that's the stack over there. She even paid all of your hospital bills, which weren't cheap at all, even though I didn't want her to.
I hate to say it, but I think this time she actually did change, but if you don't want her to be in here, I won't argue with you, I won't trust her so easily either." I look at the stack of video games and smiled, it was all the ones she called me a loser for wanting, but she still knew exactly which ones to buy.
"It's ok, if she comes in I won't kick her out, I wanna see her face when she tells me whatever she has to tell me. Maybe she really is trying to change, and all it took to humble her was me getting shot." Next thing I knew before I could say anything else mom, dad, and Aunt Lisa came flying into the room and damn near choked me out with a hug that was tighter than Rita's.
I looked over at her through the bodies huddled around me and she was smiling back. "I called them when the doctor had me step out." Mom was kissing every part of my face she could get ahold of. "My baby! Oh my baby!" "I'm happy to see you too mom, can you loosen it up a little, you're squeezing my neck!" "You had us all scared to death!
With the doctor talking about not waking up…" Aunt Lisa said. "Don't you ever do anything like that ever again you hear me! Never again!" mom said. "Count on it mom, I don't plan on getting shot ever again." Dad pat me on the shoulder when mom and Aunt Lisa finally released their death grip on me. "I knew you'd make it, you're a fighter just like me." "Yeah believe me, it was definitely a fight, and not an easy one. So Rita told me I was out for about 2 ½ months, what I miss?" "Nothing much, just a lot of the waiting game really that's about all.
You know nothing exciting ever happens around here," dad said. "Except in this family," Aunt Lisa said as she winked at me. "That's very much true," mom agreed and game me her signature look, that didn't take long. We spent the rest of visitation talking about a bunch of nothing, but had a lot of fun doing it. they told me about how boring and on edge everything was while they were waiting for me to wake up, and how Rita refused to leave the room the whole time I was here.
I held off on telling them about my experience with my conscience, I would talk about that with Rita first, and then if it felt right, I would tell everyone else.
When visitation ended the doctor came in and informed everyone it was time to go, and that they wanted to do some overnight tests on me just to doublecheck everything they already did, and when he said everyone, he stressed it, making sure Rita knew he was talking about her, which didn't please her too much. "Come on I won't get in the way, I was fine the first 2 ½ months!" Rita said.
"Come on honey, let them do their jobs. You said you wouldn't leave until he woke up, and now he's awake, besides, don't you wanna take an actual shower instead of using the sink again, and sleep in an actual bed instead of being folded up in that chair?" mom asked.
She thought for a minute, she still wanted to stay but she knew mom had made some valid points. "It would be nice to have a shower, but he just woke up and we have to leave already?" "It's only for one day honey, we'll be back bright and early, I know you'll make sure of that." She wanted to protest again, but mom gave her the stern look, the one where we knew to just give in.
"Fine. But we're coming back at 12:00 exact, wait, it's the weekend tomorrow, so we'll be coming back at 3:00 exact!" I said my goodbyes and see you laters to everyone, and when I got to Rita she turned my head at the last minute and snuck a kiss from me.
She was the last one to leave out the room, probably hoping someone would change their mind about letting her stay, but when she realized it wasn't happening, she finally accepted it and left. "I've never seen someone who just didn't wanna leave," the doctor said. "Yeah that's us. She only left now because she knows I'm ok." "I guess all twins are like that, well most of them anyway." That caught me off guard.
"How'd you know we were twins?" "You mean besides it being on file? It's quite obvious. You two have that invisible bond, that closeness, only a few siblings share it, and nine times out of ten they're twins." "I guess we're unique then, being one of the only few." "You could say that. I'm gonna run a few tests while you're awake and the rest while you're asleep, you should be able to sleep right through them." Fine with me doc, whatever gets me outta this bed and back into mine." He called his help team in and they hooked me up to more stuff and clipped more things to me and drew more blood which took up nearly the rest of the day, and having to sit perfectly still while it was happening was extremely boring.
They checked the areas where I'd been shot to make sure I'd healed properly, and while they were doing all this they didn't tell me any of the results, I just had to cooperate. When they finished he gave me a cup with two pills in it, but they didn't say what they were, they just had an RX on them. "It's to help put you to sleep and keep you sleep so we can run the last of the tests, special for patients who just woke up from a coma. Don't worry, we're not drugging you, everything we're giving you has been approved and paid for by the person paying your hospital bill," the nurse laughed when she saw the look on my face.
When she said that I immediately thought Ashley. This would be a messed up way of messing with someone, but apparently she was done with that, so I had to choice but to trust it. I took the pills and laid back, waiting for them to take effect. "They'll kick in very soon, so just lie back and relax," the nurse said. I did as she said and within twenty minutes the pills did start to kick in. My eyes got heavy and I got lightheaded, and before I knew it, I was asleep, not even remembering it happening.
I don't remember dreaming, or having a nightmare, or anything, I was just asleep, I don't know for how long, but I wasn't in any pain, so I took it as a good sign and enjoyed my first actual night of sleep in a very long time.
I woke up the next day feeling pretty good, the soreness was still there but that was about it. The doctors told me since I was fine I should wash myself up and do whatever morning ritual I normally did.
I got out of the bed for the first time in over two months, and while it took me a second to get my legs under me, I was eventually moving around on my own. I didn't have my phone to call anyone, so I laid back down and watched lifetime, which the TV seemed to be stuck on and there was no remote, so I had to suffer. About an hour or so later the doctor came back in holding the chart, and he had a puzzled look on his face.
"So doc, how am I looking?" I asked. "You're perfectly fine. Like I said before, you went from near death, to perfect health. I don't know how to explain it, but it's like that night never happened." "Well I'm still sore where I got shot at." "That's the only thing I've recorded, but other than that, nothing. Remarkable. I'll inform Ms. Jennings of your recovery." "Ms. Jennings? Who's that?" "The girl who paid for your entire stay and meds, a Ms.
Ashley Jennings, which by the way were not cheap, not by a long shot. They must really care about you." He tossed me the remote to the TV as he left the room.
How about that, after all this time I never knew her last name. I never bothered to because I never thought we'd be friends, not with as snobby as she was. Was, I wonder if that's gonna stay past tense now. I turned to anything besides lifetime and stopped at Pirates of the Caribbean and sort of fell into the movie, so much that I didn't know what time it was, so I was caught off guard when everyone rushed into the room and plopped on the bed, Rita right next to me.
"Did you forget what time it was? Three o'clock on the dot, just like we told you!" Rita said. "The only clock in here is on the TV, and I can't see that far, but YAY YOU'RE HERE!" I replied. "She made sure we were in the car at 2:15 in case of traffic," Aunt Lisa said. "I'd probably act the same way if she was in a coma for nearly three months." "Good to see you up and active, now you can finally get out of the hospital," dad said.
"That's the plan, he's been telling me all good news so I might be out sooner than expected." Mom planted a big kiss on my cheek. "I'll have to make you a big welcome home meal; fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and wash it all down with some orange pop." "Nothing like a big welcome home plate of trans fat, grease, and diabetes," dad laughed. "Hey I haven't eaten in a long time, maybe a plate of grease is exactly what I need. We all shared a laugh and the Dr.
Garrett came back in with the clipboard, that thing was his life man, it's like he thought we wouldn't believe he was a real doctor if he didn't have it. I laughed to myself as he walked up to us with a big smile on his face. "So how's everyone doing today?" "Pretty good pretty good. You have some news from us?" dad asked.
"A clean bill of health, though how he came to it astounds me." "What do you mean by that doctor?" Aunt Lisa asked. "If I can speak freely, I can't explain how he's fine.
In actuality he should be dead." "What do you mean you can't explain it? Why should he be dead?" mom asked. "There's so many things. he lost so much blood I thought he would've died from that, plus when he was shot he hit his head really hard on the concrete, which is very bad when you're losing blood, then he went into shock and ultimately into a coma, with all this happening to one person your body, your mind should be…" he hesitated when he saw Rita looking at him.
"Go ahead doc, you can say it," I said. "That amount of stress on the brain would render it unable to function, you should still be in a coma, or worse. I don't know how you did it." "I didn't give up, I had a reason to live," I said as Rita squeezed my hand. "You sir, are lucky to be alive, damn lucky. You better enjoy life." "Don't worry I will. So how long before I can get out of here and enjoy life?" I asked.
"It's mandatory we keep you until the swelling and soreness goes down, so I'd say about another two weeks. It's a good thing you had some muscle mass on you, it slowed the bullets down just enough, if they'd hit someone smaller than you it would've killed them." "The guy was aiming at me and another girl," Rita said.
"Same build as you? If so then your brother saved yours and the other girls life." Before I could say anything the Wilson's came into the room and gave me the same welcome my family did, pats and handshakes from Jim and Chris, and hugs and kisses from Marie and Stephanie. They both almost choked me out too like mom and Rita did.
"I knew you'd wake up, I wasn't worried at all," Chris said. "Good to see you up and around, now just to get you out of this hospital," Jim said. Marie slapped his arm as she sat down on the bed next to mom.
"Oh hush Jim they'll release him when he's good and ready. So how are you feeling Randy? Do…" "Mom you're crowding him! He's probably answered those questions all day. What he really wants to know is what games came out, huh Randy?" Stephanie asked. "He already knows, and he has them, courtesy of Ashley," Rita said pointing to the games. "Speak of the devil," Chris said looking at the door and us following his gaze to see Ashley and her father standing at the door, then come in when we noticed them.
"There's more people than I thought would be here, I'll give you some privacy," the doctor said. Ashley's father walked up to the bed as close as he could get with everybody sitting around it. "How are you feeling son?" "Like I've been shot," I said being slightly sarcastic.
"Yes that would be the feeling wouldn't it? My little girl told me what you did, how you took a bullet for her. She's been checking in on you to see how you were, and when she told me you were awake I had to come in personally and shake your hand. Thank you for saving my little girls life," he said as he stepped a little closer and held out his hand.
I looked at him for a second, then at Ashley who was still standing at the door, then I remembered what it took to get back here, and the promise I made, that I intended on keeping, so I held my hand out and shook his. "Don't mention it, just don't ask me to do it again." We shared a laugh.
"Haha no no, wouldn't dream of it, once is enough." "Thanks for covering my hospital bills, I know they weren't cheap." "Don't even worry about it. A small price to pay for what you did. If you ever need anything, don't be afraid to ask. I'm afraid I have to leave now, but if you need to reach me I'll be in touch with your father, we have some business to finalize before the weekend is out." "Ok no problem, thanks for stopping in," I said.
"Sure thing, and remember, anything." "Hold on dad, I wanna talk to Randy alone, if that's ok with everyone?" Ashley asked. Everyone looked at me for confirmation on whether or not they should leave, and I for one wanted to hear what she had to say, so I agreed.
"It's ok everyone, just for a second." They all took their time getting up, letting Ashley know she'd better watch it without actually saying anything, and Rita was definitely skeptical of her, so I knew she wouldn't go too far from the door. Once everyone was gone she closed the door and walked over to the bed and sat down in the chair that was next to it. "So is there something you have to say?" I started. "Why did you do it? Why did you risk your life for me?" "Because it was the right thing to do, regardless of the situation we had." "As nasty as I was to you, you didn't even hesitate, you jumped in front of a bullet for someone you hated, for someone who didn't deserve to be saved." "Nobody deserves to die like that, gunned down in an ice cream parking lot." "But yet it almost happened to you, and it would've been entirely my fault." "But it didn't happen, so now we can move past it like it and get on with our lives." The whole time we were talking she looked as if she was trying to control her emotions, but the situation proved to be more than she could handle, and she started crying in the chair.
"I'm so sorry Randy, I'm sorry I almost got you killed." I sat for a minute, slightly caught off guard by a crying Ashley.
This is only the second time I've ever seen her cry, and the last time, for me at least, felt like a few days ago. "I believe you, and I don't hate you, not anymore. Life is too short to be caught up in all that unnecessary hate." She reached out to grab my hand, I flinched for a second, which made her flinch back, but I relaxed and let her.
"The old Ashley is gone, forever, I won't be nasty like that ever again, and I'll make it up to you, and to Rita, I promise." "Just make sure that other Ashley never shows her face again and we have a deal." She smiled, relieved that I'd been so accepting of her. "Can I have a hug, to seal the deal?" Caught off guard twice in five minutes, and she was serious.
I figured if we were gonna start off clean it might as well be on a good note, so I accepted. She stood up and I leaned forward and she gave me a full hug, squeezing into me and keeping it going a little longer than expected. "You know, that was the first time since I've known you we hugged," I said as I pulled back. "Yeah, but hopefully it won't be the last." "Listen, I know you're turning over a new leaf, but that doesn't mean we just forget about everything you've done. It's gonna take a while before we can fully trust you, you know that." "I know, and I'm willing to take the time to fix it, as long as you give me a chance." "I don't see why not," I laughed.
"See? Us guys aren't so bad after all." "Tell that to the one who shot you, but at least there are decent guys out there." The door opened and Rita came walking in, heading straight for Ashley. "Everything ok Randy?" "Yeah, everything's fine.
We're both witness to a brand new Ashley." Rita looked confused, but Ashley cleared it up for her. "I promised to turn over a new leaf, I won't be nasty like that ever again." "You say that, but talk is cheap, do you really mean it?" Rita asked.
"Yes 100%, you'll see. I went home and erased everything off my computers, tablets, and broke up every CD and flash drive I had with anything showing how close you two really are, noone will ever find out about you two from me." "That's a good start. What about Becky, Carina, and Dana, do they know anything?" "I never told them anything, not yet. I was gonna show them the video of when you… of when I made you… you know, sorry about that, I didn't mean to bring that up." "It's ok, well I won't say it's ok, it just reminds me that we still have to get even for that." "I can't say whatever it is I won't have it coming, just don't be too harsh please?" "Oh!
Haven't even told you what you had to do and you're already being polite!" "Ok I deserved that.
Whatever it is I'm sure I can handle it." There was a knock on the door and Ashley's father poked his head in the room. "Ok Ashley bear we have to get going, I don't want to be late for my meeting." Rita and I burst out laughing. "Ashley bear? Oh you're done! You better get going Ashley bear!" "Thanks dad," Ashley said embarrassed, but looked kind of happy at the same time.
"Take care everyone, and thanks again Randy, remember, anytime." They left out of the room and everyone else came in right behind them and took up their spots they had before they left the first time. "Everything ok between you guys?" mom asked.
"Yeah, I guess it is," I said. "At least for now, it's too soon to tell." "Well this time around I'm definitely keeping more of an eye on her," Aunt Lisa said. "She won't be coming to the house anytime soon, if we do hang out with her it'll be somewhere public, or not at all, not until we see she actually changed," Rita said. "You kids are better than me, if I were in your shoes I wouldn't have anything to do with her, not after everything she did," Jim said.
"I still wouldn't have anything to do with her if it were up to me, but since Randy's the one whose been on the receiving end of everything it's his call," Chris said. "Can we talk about something else, like when Randy's getting out of this bed," Stephanie said. "He has a little over two weeks before they said he can go home, and when he does he'll have the biggest welcome home breakfast, lunch, and dinner waiting for him, along with a few other things that shall remain nameless," mom smiled.
"What time is that breakfast? I'll make sure I'm there fifteen minutes early," Chris said. "Nice try, my own husband won't even be getting any of this, so you're out of luck." "What? I don't get to eat anything?" dad whined. "I'll set the Frosted Flakes out for you before you leave for work." "Aargh! I don't even eat Frosted Flakes anymore! Well I guess it's ok just this once, seeing as he got shot and all. I won't have time to eat it anyway with all the paperwork Ashley's father is gonna have me doing.
He's throwing a lot of business at me thanks to Randy, when this is all done there's no doubt in my mind I'll be a partner." I sat straight up in the bed. "You're welcome dad. I'll need a new car, a bigger TV, candy, lots of candy, an expense account to name a few…" "Look at this already bribing me! Well once I do get partner I can probably afford it, they get paid way more than everyone else, plus they get a partner bonus." "Yeah you can sign that over to me," I added and everyone laughed.
"So what do you plan on doing once you get out of here?" Marie asked. "I don't know, but it's gonna be something stupid, like bungee jumping or something." "Bungee jumping? You might as well just jump off a building! I'll never trust my life to a rubber band, anything could go wrong with that!" Jim said.
"Yeah you're on your own with that," Chris followed. "Bunch of scaredy cats, Rita and Stephanie will do it with me won't you?" "Uhh, pass, I'm with dad, I don't trust rubber bands all like that," Stephanie said. "If you're serious I'd do it, but we'd have to do it at the same time," Rita said. "Why does it have to be that? Bungee jumping, really?
Why can't you just do something a normal kid would do?" Aunt Lisa said. "Fine, we could go climb a mountain, or go sky diving, or deep sea diving…" "You're just trying to come back to the hospital aren't you?" dad laughed. "You are all so gullible, he's not gonna do any of that, he's probably gonna go home and play all those new games and go stuff his face with all the junk food he can, there's no way I'm letting my baby jump out of a plane for fun fresh out of a coma," mom said.
"Yeah that pretty much summed it up, I'm too lazy to fall out of a plane," I laughed. We all talked for a little more and then Marie pulled out a portable Apples to Apples game out of her purse, as big as her bag was she could've fit the whole game in there.
Chris, Steph, and Rita went to all the food vending machines and cleared out everything that looked good and stashed it all in the room with us so we didn't need to get up to leave.
We played for about two hours before she pulled about five packs of Uno cards out of her purse. We played that for a while until it started to get a little boring, then Rita made it fun by betting one of her sandwiches on winning, and that opened up a whole new game.
Everyone was betting any food they had, and when we had no food left to bet, or once we ate it all, we started betting money, and then chores, anything to keep the game going. We had been playing the rest of the time everyone was there, well past visiting hours, and when the doctors noticed they came in and asked everyone to leave. By the end of the day Aunt Lisa won the most food, Chris had to do all of the chores at his house, and mom and pocketed all the money, even though I didn't win anything, it was a good time.
When it came time to go everyone got their stuff and got up to walk out the door, but Rita stayed seated as if nothing was happening. "Come on Rita, visiting hours are up, we can't stay any later?" mom said.
"I'm gonna spend the night again, we have a lot to catch up on since he's awake now." Dr. Garrett wasn't surprised at all. "She certainly is persistent, I'll give her that." "Come on Doctor, just one more night, I'll leave with everyone tomorrow, I promise." "What about Tibbles?
You haven't seen him in nearly three months," Aunt Lisa said. "He'll be ok for one more day, I know you've been taking care of him." Dr. Garrett sighed. "Ok, one more night, but tomorrow you leave when visiting hours are over." "Sure thing doctor, thank you," Rita smiled as she sat back in her chair. "I'll let you say your goodbyes, and I'll be back first thing tomorrow. Try not to sleep on your left side Randy, you don't want any unneeded pressure there," the doctor said as he left.
"Sure thing doc, sleep on my right side, got it," I replied. Rita hit me on my leg and rubbed it a little, it felt completely innocent but when mom is around nothing seems innocent. She gave Rita a smug look and Rita pretended not to see it as everyone said their goodbyes and gave their hugs and whatnot. She whispered something in Rita's ear and then probably the same thing to Aunt Lisa as they left the room giggling after everyone else, leaving Rita and I to ourselves.
"So, we have lots to catch up on huh, like what?" I asked. "I just said that so they would let me stay, I've been in this room as long as you have basically." "Oh, ok then, lying so you can get some alone time huh?" I joked.
She went from happy to sad in a matter of seconds and I forgot completely about the joke. "What's wrong?" "I was so scared I'd never see you again.
All these days kept going by and you wouldn't wake up. I tried to stay positive, but I knew there was a chance that you would stay sleep." "Sometimes things like this take time, it's probably not good to rush out of a coma." "I know, but all the waiting didn't make it any easier. That wasn't even what was bothering the most, it was that the last time you were awake, we were fighting, and I'd given you the cold shoulder for a week, I didn't want that to be the last image you had of me." "Even if that had been the last time I saw you, that wouldn't be what I remembered you for.
We had thousands of good times, that one bad isn't gonna erase all the good." "Well you're back, and you're healthy, so we can just put that whole incident behind us." I contemplated telling her about what happened when I was in a coma, I wanted to, but I thought it would do more harm than good, but she still needed to know, that way everything was out on the table and we could move forward.
"I have a confession to make." "What kind of confession?" "I almost chose not to come back." She looked at me weird.
"What do you mean chose not to come back?" "When I was in a coma it was like I was alive in my head, no that's actually what it was, I was alive in my head. My conscience was there and everything, he told my mind was too damaged to go back into the real world and if I did, I would basically have brain damage.
He said before I could go back I had to solve the riddle of my life to get a second chance, but I almost gave up." She looked like she believed what I was saying, though it took her a second to process, then she caught the part where I said I almost gave up. "Why would you not want to be alive?
Was it something in your head making you say that? I don't… why would you volunteer to die?" "Because I thought you hated me, I thought we were done. I didn't wanna come back to a world where I couldn't be with you, where I had to watch someone else be with you." "Oh my god. I didn't mean for it to go that far, I was just mad at you, I felt betrayed, I wasn't thinking clear. I walked in and saw you… even though I didn't completely believe what I was seeing, I was still seeing it, she was kissing you.
I was hurt. I wanted you to feel as bad as I did, maybe worse, but I never hated you, least of all wanted this to happen." "I thought I had nothing to live for, and then my conscience showed me a vision or something of you sitting in that chair, crying, begging me to come back to you, I knew at that moment I had to get out of there, that we still had a chance," I said as I took her hand.
"Of course we still had a chance, I can't just turn off all my feelings and emotions like that, you are way too important to me. I was being stubborn and stupid, but we would've worked it out." "That's how I was able to get free, the whole riddle, it led to me forgiving Ashley." "What?
How? How is Ashley involved in this?" "It went all the way back to when we met her. It was the only time I ever really hated someone, and it manifested inside my head. All that stress from her and getting shot on top of that broke my mind, and the only way to fix it was to forgive Ashley, thus relieving the stress." "So… you forgive her, for everything she's ever done to you? All of it?" "Yeah, the whole riddle was don't let anger control my life, and Ashley was the source of the anger.
I feel a whole lot better about it too, you know figuratively." "Well if you can forgive her then I guess I can too. Can you forgive me?" "You don't even have to ask. It might take you a little while to forgive Ashley though, she made you eat her out, and recorded it, and almost made me do it." "Yeah thanks for reminding me.
Don't worry, we're gonna get her back for that," she grinned. "I know that look, but I'm not gonna press it right now, my body hurts, and I'm sleepy." She shed the grin and went serious for a second.
"Can we put this behind us, this whole thing? Let's never bring it up again, we'll pretend like we never went to that party." "It never happened. As far as we know we set up for it then went home." She smiled as she rubbed my hand. "Any room in that bed for me?" I played stupid. "I don't know, it's pretty small, we'd be all bunched up." "That's ok, I prefer it that way." I pulled the thin cover back and she walked around the right side of the bed and climbed in, making sure to steer clear of my left side.
There was just barely enough room for both of us as long as she stayed on her side. "I missed this," she said as she squeezed in tight to me. "Me too, we have a lot of time to make up for." She turned her face to me and was looking me directly in the eyes, and without saying anything pushed her face forward and kissed me softly on the lips. It felt like everything that had been a problem had been erased with that kiss, it was like starting over without completely starting over, like this is what should've happened instead of us going to that party.
When we finally did break the kiss she lingered for a moment, her frazzled hair falling over her big blue eyes looking just as beautiful as ever as she stared back at me. "I love you." "I love you too." Nothing else was said that night, nothing else needed to be said.
She put my arm around her and pulled the cover over us, and I squeezed her into me, happy to have a second chance, happy to have Rita back, happy to have my life back, just happy.