Chapter 10: I will Survive
I remember waking up to the sounds of sirens and thinking the cops had knocked me unconscious for whatever I'd done this time. But I didn't feel handcuffs, nor did it feel like I was in a cop car.
I struggled to sit up and the pain that shot through my shoulder cause me to groan and drop back down.
"Please miss, try not to move, it's only just stopped bleeding." I opened my eyes, and everything around me was dark and blurry.
"Wh-" My voice broke down to nothing when I tried to speak, and I clear my throat before trying again. "Where am I?" I got the words out, but just barely, and the effort it took to get them out left me breathless. "What happened?"
"You're in an ambulance on the way to the hospital in town. Your shoulder has been badly burned. Please don't move." I looked at the person speaking and saw the woman from the church sitting on a bench beside me. I took a quick glance around, trying to get a hold on where I was and what was going on around me. I was in an ambulance, and I could see another one through the back window.
"Where's Dally? Johnny? Ponyboy?" I didn't think at the time that this woman would have no idea who I was talking about, but all I wanted to know was that they were somewhere close – that none of them were dead.
"The boys you were with? They're all in the ambulances behind us. It's going to be OK once we get all of you to the hospital." She paused. "That was a very brave thing you did for those kids. I can't thank you enough for it. One of them was my son." I could barely nod my head, and I took in a deep breath of the air, heavy with the smell of a hospital, and cringed. I hated hospitals, always had since I was a kid.
"How are they? Are they all... alive?" I almost didn't think I wanted to hear the answer. What would I do if any of them were dead? Especially Dally? As often as we fought, he meant everything to me.
"They're all alive. Two of them are going to be fine – all of you inhaled a lot of smoke, you got the least though. But one of them is in rough condition, he was pulled out of the church unconscious." I couldn't help the sob that passed through my lips. Johnny. It had to be Johnny since Dally had gone in to pull him out when I blacked out on the ground.
I bit back the rest of my sobs for the rest of the trip to the hospital. I hated the feeling of being wheeled down those halls by the doctors and nurses that surrounded me. But it didn't take long for them to get me into a room and patch me up, though they said that they wanted me to stay for a few hours, just in case there were any complications with the medicine they gave me. They than tried to confine me to the bed, I struggled for a moment, but it wasn't worth much. The stuff they'd given me was to dull the pain in my shoulder, and it was making my reaction time slower than I liked it to be.
"Dally. Where's Dally?" I slurred.
"He's getting stitched up too, you can see him in a little while. The worst of the medicine last about an hour, you need to sit down." I took a seat on the bed that they pushed me towards and nearly fell over on my way there.
"When does this feeling go away?" I asked, referring to the sick feeling in my stomach when there was only one nurse left in the room.
"The sickness should only be a few more minutes." She said as she cleaned up all the bandages and wrappers. "That's some burn you got there, miss." I nodded and placed a hand on my forehead. The nurse left and I sat there, waiting for the worst of the effects to fade away.
When I finally felt like my legs could hold me up, and I made my way out of the room and down the hall to the nurses station I'd noticed when I'd been wheeled in.
"Where's Dallas Winston?" I asked, still feeling slightly off balance. The nurse behind the counter looked up at me and then down at a chart in front of her.
"He's unavailable at the moment." She said. "But if you want to wait in the waiting room, I can have someone come find you when he's ready. What's your name?" I gave her my name and started for the waiting room.
"Mia!" I had been starring down at the floor but when I heard the voice, I looked up to see Soda standing there with his brother wrapped tightly in a hug. I gave him a small smile and wave as I made my way over.
"Hey, guys." I said, Soda started to wrap me in a tight hug as well, but I hissed in pain and he pulled back. "Got a burn on my shoulder." I said, and pointed at my shoulder. My shirt was trash, and so was the jacket I'd been wearing. I didn't own a lot of jackets, so I wasn't too happy about it.
"That doesn't look good." Soda said and I shrugged. It hurt a bit to do so, but I managed through the pain. The medicine was running on it's last efforts of keeping the pain at bay. "Have you heard anything about Dallas or Johnny?" I shook my head and bit at my lip. I hated to think about what could be wrong with Johnny from what the lady had told me in the ambulance. Dally on the other hand, I just wanted to know what was wrong with him. Since I'd blacked out and the lady had just said he was going to be fine, I didn't know what had happened once he'd disappeared throw the window.
"I wasn't told anything." I said. "I was just told that he was unavailable." I took a deep breath and sat down on one of the plastic chairs in the waiting room. "They said that someone would come to find me when they had some news." We all sat down, and a moment later, a crowd of cops and reporters filed into the area where we sat. I made myself as small as possible, since the fuzz always had it out for me and I hated reporters – too noisy.
But they had no interest in me – thankfully. They just wanted to talk to Ponyboy about what had happened. One looked at me and saw my bandaged shoulder and turned on me. I tried to move away, but it took Darry stepping in for me to make him go away. A moment later he also got them to move away from Ponyboy a bit. He didn't look too good – Ponyboy I mean – almost like he was going to be sick, but he answered a few more questions.
Soda kept everyone laughing for awhile, mimicking the reporters and what not. He tried to take a cops gun, but got caught. His smile was an infection, because he just grinned at the cop until he was grinning too. That was so like Soda, and it was nice in comparison to what was going on around us. Soda was a great distraction from reality. But he got tired of it after awhile, and he stretched out along the bench with his head in Darry's lap before falling asleep. I moved myself to the other side of Darry, and he put an arm around me, letting me lean against him. None of this really felt real, and I was so tired at this point that all I wanted to do was sleep.
The reporters slowly drifted off with the cops, and we were left in the quietness of the hospital, with only the sound of the nurses soft footsteps at odd intervals. I closed my eyes at some point, and drifted in and out of consciousness, waiting for someone to come and tell me something about either Dally or Johnny. Finally it seemed that I wasn't going back to sleep and I started to pace a bit. I stopped a few nurses but they wouldn't tell me anything.
"We need to get a doctor." Darry said and it just so happened that one of the doctors that had been there to wheel me down the hallway at our arrival rounded a corner and started towards us.
"Hey you." Darry said as he stepped out in front of the guy to step him. The doctor opened his mouth to say something, but Darry's a pretty big guy, and is pretty intimidating when he stands at his full height.
"Can I help you sir?" He asked once he'd cleared his throat.
"Yea, we want to know what's going on with Dallas Winston and Johnny Cade." Darry crossed his arms over his chest, and gave the doctor a stern look. Only crazy people ignored that look. When Darry wanted answers, he got them.
"I'm sorry, unless you're family, I'm not authorized to tell you anything."
"We're all the family those two have, now tell us something." Soda said as he sat up on the bench. The doctor shook his head and started to make his way around Darry.
"I'm sorry, but you must be direct family for me to tell you anything." As he continued down the hall, an idea burst into my head and it spilled out before I could stop it.
"Dallas Winston is my fiancee." I almost laughed at how funny it sounded coming out of my mouth. Dally would get a real kick out of that one when I told him.
The doctor turned around and looked at me for a moment, he must have decided that it was true because he scanned a clipboard that was tucked under his arm.
"Mr. Winston is going to be fine. One of his arms were badly burned, but he'll have full use of it in a couple of weeks. It will be a scar for the rest of his life and he needs to stay here for a couple of days so we can keep an eye on it." I breathed deeply. Dally was going to be fine, a scar wasn't going to stop him. He had plenty already, this would just be one more to show off to his friends.
"Thank goodness." I breathed. "What about Johnny Cade? His parents don't care about him, we're all he has." The doctor looked like he was about to shake his head, but Darry stepped up and started to talk to him quietly. Soda came up and put a hand on my good shoulder. I turned to look at him and saw the laughter in his eyes over what I had told the doctor to get information.
"OK, Johnny Cade is in rough condition." The smile that had started across my face now dropped and I was left in a state of shock. "He's in critical condition, has third degree burns, and his back is broken from where a piece of timber fell on him in the church. He's also in severe shock at the moment. We've given him some pain killers, but he isn't going to feel anything from the waist down anyway since he has a broken back." He paused for a moment. "If he lives through this, he'll be crippled for life." I felt my eyes burn, and breathing seemed to become harder to do.
"If?" I questioned. "What do you mean if he lives?" The doctor gave me a look that told me exactly what he meant, and my knees started to shake.
"You wanted it straight and you got it straight," The doctor said after a moment. He started to back away and move down the hall. "Now go home and get some rest." He started to go, but I stopped him. He didn't look too impressed that he was being stopped again.
"What room is Dallas being held in, I want to see him." I had no intention of going back to Buck's alone.
"Room 102." He said without argument and took off down the hall at a brisk walk, making it around the corner before we could stop him again.
"I'll take it you're staying here than, Mia." I turned to look at Darry and nodded.
"Yea, I'm sure I'll see you boys tomorrow at some point. I'll call if I hear any news on Johnny." They all nodded, and I gave Ponyboy's shoulder a gentle squeeze before I made my way down the hall until I found Dally's room. I stepped in quietly and found him observing his arm that was wrapped in bandages. He looked up when I walked in and grinned.
"There's a pretty face to look at." I raised an eyebrow at him and then figured it out on my own.
They have you on some pain stuff, don't they, Dally?" He gave me a lazy shrug, but I could tell. There was something in his eyes that made them look a little off their regular look.
"I don't know, but I feel great." He laughed as he poked at his arm. "No pain no gain baby." I shook my head and walked over to the side of the bed.
"I should warn them not to give you such a high dosage next time." I muttered as I ran my hand over the blanket that he had over him. I thought about Johnny, and how I was going to have to tell Dally at some point. From what the doctor said, there was no way Johnny was going to make it through this alive. Even if he did, life for him would be worse than before, he'd be better off dead than with his parents while he was crippled.
"Doctor says you're gonna be fine." I said as I fought off the tears creeping to my eyes. "I told him that we were getting married so that he would tell me how you were doing." Dally laughed and his good arm came up and pulled me down to the bed beside him.
"You always were able to think on your feet." He said as I rested my head against his chest and closed my eyes with a deep breath. "I can't believe he fell for it though." I smirked, but inside, for a moment, I'd made myself believe that the lie was true. But reality was that Dallas Winston was never going to get married. Any girl who wanted marriage, wanted kids. Dallas hated kids so that left him out of the marriage pool.
So what did I want? I'd never thought about it before, since being around Dally all the time kept my mind on other things. But I could have lost him today – though it was heading into the very early hours of the next morning at this point. Could I stand to live a life without Dally? I'd never gone through any of my life so far without him – save the months one of us was in jail and the other wasn't. But to go a whole lifetime without him almost seemed unbearable. The thought that I could have truly lost him hit me in the chest and I was left with a panicked feeling.
"Careful baby, you'll bruise the merchandise." I realized that my grip on Dally had tightened as my thoughts ran away from me. I looked up at him, and found him giving me a strange look. I smiled and leaned up to kiss him.
"Sorry, Dal." I said, and curled back up against his side. I yawned and pulled the blanket up over myself. "I think it's time to sleep off the day." Dally mumbled something over my head, but either he was drifting off or I was, because it made no sense. I would have asked what, if it wasn't for the fact that I was asleep before I got the chance.