Chapter 15: Perfect Ending
"Where is he?" I yelled in the nurses face. "Where'd you take him?! We need to see him!" The nurse pulled herself out of my grasped and headed back down the hallway she had come from. I pulled my hands back through my hair. It was knotted, and caked in mud.
"Where's a doctor?" Dally snapped. He looked just as frantic as I felt, and was whipping back and forth, looking for a doctor.
"I don't know – I don't know!" I punched at the wall again, this time it left a smudge of blood. "Where'd they take him?!" Just than, the nurse came back down the hall with a doctor. Dally was in front of him and grabbing the front of his white lab coat before they were even that close to us.
"Where's Johnny Cade?!" He hissed through clenched teeth. "Where have you taken him?!" The doctor – who was about Dally's height – pulled himself from Dally's grasp.
"Johnny Cade has been taken to surgery." He said, and the three of us stood in stunned silence. Surgery? "We think we have found a way to help him walk again. It's going to be close, but we have a very skilled team of surgeons in the operation room with him right now. If all goes well, he should be able to walk again after he recovers from the surgery. Now, if you plan on staying, please refrain from jumping at our staff to get information. I'll have Jane here show you to the waiting area for people waiting for someone in surgery." The doctor walked off and turned a corner. I stood in shock, and waited for someone to come and tell me I was in a dream. But no one did. Instead, the nurse motioned for us to follow her down another hallway. But I didn't make it.
I collapsed to the floor, my head buried under my arms as I knelt there and cried. I'd never cried so much in my whole life, and there was no way I was going to stop. Johnny was going to live – at least there was a very good chance he was. If he was going to live, so was Dally. And not only was he going to live, but he was going to walk. He wasn't going to waste away in a wheelchair, he was going to be able to walk.
"Mia, come on, baby." I knew the voice, yet the person it belonged to didn't sound like that. The voice was too soft. I looked up to see Dally kneeling down beside me, no expression on his face. He just looked suddenly drained, like the light had been taken out of him, but not in a bad way. "We can go wait for him to get out. Here," He held out a hand and pulled me to my feet, and once I was standing, he wrapped his arm around my waist to hold me up. "Come on, Pony. We need to call the guys and have them come out here." I'd almost forgotten Ponyboy, and I took a deep breath to calm myself down.
Ponyboy was standing, as if in a daze, starring at the floor. I reached out and took his hand, bring his attention to me. We stared at each other for a moment before he nodded his head and we all started to follow the nurse. She lead us to a quiet hallway with a large waiting area, and left us alone, promising to send someone to tell us when Johnny was out, though it would be a few hours.
"I'll go call the guys. Find someone to look at him." Dally said, motioning to Ponyboy, who'd dropped himself into a chair. I nodded and watched him walk away before searching for a nurse. It would have been easier to keep the other one around to ask for help, but she was already gone.
"Come on, Ponyboy." I said soothingly as I pulled him up from the chair. "We're going to find you help, OK?" He didn't say anything, but he stood up and we walked back the way we had come. I had thought I'd seen a nurses station there. But we didn't get far before a nurse walked out of a room and gave us both a look before leading us into a vacant room a couple doors from the waiting area.
"He needs to be looked at first." I said, and dropped down into a chair beside the bed that the nurse had gotten Ponyboy to sit down on while she went for a doctor.
"Mia?" My head had lolled to the side, but I looked up as Ponyboy stared at the floor.
"Yea, Pony," I said as I got up and walked over to sit down beside him. He was quiet for a moment.
"Is Johnny really going to live?" He asked, and slowly looked up at me. In the light, I could see how badly he'd gotten beaten in the fight, and I pushed some of his hair back.
"Yea, baby." I said softly. "There's a real good chance he's going to make it out of here alive." Ponyboy nodded and rested his head on my shoulder. It was my good shoulder thankfully, because my other one was burning like someone was holding a lighter to it.
Dally came to the doorway at that moment and stood there with his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
"Darry and them are going to be here in a little bit. " He said, and I nodded as I ran my hand through Ponyboy's hair. "I'm gonna wait out here."
"You need to get checked out, too, Dally." I said. "You probably messed up your arm some more during the fight." He nodded and left, and I rolled my eyes. He wasn't going to have anyone check his arm until Johnny was out of surgery – alive. I on the other hand, was going to wait until Ponyboy was being check on. Or better yet, once his brother's were here to watch out for him. Until they got here, I felt like he was my responsibility.
"What can I help you with?" A young looking doctor asked as he came through the door. I shook Ponyboy a bit to get him to sit up so the doctor could check him out.
"He was in a fight." I said, hoping the cop hadn't talked to anyone about two kids being in an motorcycle accident. "He got pretty beaten up. I was just worried about him." The doctor nodded and started by shining a light into Ponyboy's eyes, along with some other general tests.
"There's a chance he has a concussion, so I'll need to take him for x-rays. Are you his sister?" I shook my head.
"No. His brothers are on their way though. I brought him here with my boyfriend." The doctor nodded again and helped me move Ponyboy off the bed and down the hallway.
"This will take a couple minutes, you can go wait out there for now."
"OK. I'll be right outside the door, Ponyboy." I said to him, and he nodded slowly. I walked out of the small room connected to the area they did the x-rays in and leaned against the wall, closing my eyes as I slid down to sit on the floor.
"Mia!" A voice broke me out of my half sleep, and I looked up to see the guys running down the hallway towards me. I slowly pushed myself up, feeling all my muscles clenching to work. It hurt a lot. "Where's Ponyboy?" Darry asked.
"He's getting x-rays done. The doctor thinks he has a concussion from the fight. He should be out soon though." Darry nodded and ran a hand back through his hair, obviously worried about his younger brother.
"Where's Dally?" Two-Bit asked, and I pointed down the hallway towards the waiting room.
"Waiting to hear something about Johnny." I said. "How much did he tell you?"
"Not much," Darry said. "Just that you were trying to find someone to look after Ponyboy and that Johnny was in surgery." I nodded.
"Yeah, they think they can keep him alive, and that he might be able to walk again after the surgery is over." Everyone was standing quietly, soaking the news in, and then the relief hit.
"That's great." Soda said with a smile, and I had to smile back. It was great, because it was like life was finally giving us a break.
"I better go to Dally. I think he needs to have his arm looked at again."
"You better think about yourself, too." Darry said sternly. "You shoulder looks bad. It looks like it's been bleeding." I tried to turn my head enough to see, but I was only able to see some of the dried blood that had been running down my arm.
"I'm fine." I said. "All I want right now is to sleep, truthfully. I'll see you guys later." They nodded and I turned towards the waiting room.
When I arrived, Dally was sitting in a chair with his head resting back against the wall while his legs were stretched out in front of him.
"Did you see someone about your arm?"' I asked as I walked over to sit beside him.
"Naw, not yet." He said. He was starring at the ceiling, his eyes cloudy. I didn't have the energy to argue. I didn't want to argue. So I settled for curling up in the chair, leaning my head back and closing my eyes. A moment later, I felt Dally's hand slip into mine, and opened my eyes to see him looking at me.
"You need to have your shoulder checked, Mia." He said, and I shook my head.
"Not until you get your arm checked, Dallas." He sighed and stood up, pulling me with him. He turned me to face him, and I didn't know what he could possibly be thinking. His eyes still had their hard edge, but something in them had softened. I vaguely remembered a time when his eyes didn't have the hard edge. When there was a cool look in them, but they were still the eyes of a kid. That kid died the first time he got jailed, and I hadn't seen anything but hate in them since. But there was something there now, and I didn't want it to go away.
"We almost lost him tonight." He said, and I nodded. He was holding both my hands in his, and I felt them shaking slightly, or maybe that was just me. "I don't think I could've lived if he was dead." I bit my lip to keep from crying. I knew he wouldn't be able to live without Johnny. "I just want you to know that I'm sorry." This took me by surprise. Dally very rarely said sorry, and it had to be a very serious reason when he did.
"For what?" I asked. He seemed to be fighting for the right words, and I stood quietly, waiting for him to talk.
"For everything." He said. "I treated you better when we were just friends than when we started going out, and I never did anything for you except make your life hell. I never stopped to think that what I was doing was hurting you, and that I could possibly lose you." He sighed. "I guess I took for granted that you'd been there for everything else, and that you'd automatically be there all the time. I guess I just figured that everything would always be the way it was and that nothing was going to change. But... when Johnny went into that church and then we got him here and he came so close to dying... I realized how quickly I could lose everything... how quickly I could lose you..." I'd never seen Dally at such a loss for words. I'd never heard him talk like this before either. "I don't want to lose you. I don't think I'd be able to get through life without you." My breath shook as I let it out, not realizing that I'd been holding it. "It's like... I know you can do better than me, and you know you can do better than me... yet you stick around anyway like you think something is going to change, and nothing ever has, but you seemed to have some kind of hope that it will... and I can't imagine what I'd do if that hope went away or if you turned hard like me cause you're just... I don't know. There's just something about you that makes you so different from all the other girls and I know that I shouldn't look at other girls but I didn't want to get so attached but I have. God, I've gotten so attached to you, Mia." He removed his hands from mine and held my face. I knew now that it was his hands shaking, and I reached mine up to cover his. "I don't know where I'd be without you. You're just so smart and calm about everything and you've managed to get us out of so many problems in the past that I wouldn't have been able to figure out on my own. I just... I think... I mean I..." He sputtered over his words, and I couldn't help but pierce my lips together to keep from laughing at the sight. He always knew what he wanted to say, and to see him stumbling over it was kind of amusing. "I don't know... I'm... urgh!" He pulled me closer and kissed me hard, making sure I was as close to him as I could possibly get, his hands sliding from my face down to my hips where they held tightly. My mind left the hospital. It put me in a little house where a man was holding his son, and his wife stood in front of him, clearly pregnant. He kissed her, and their unknown faces became clear. It was me and Dallas. The future I'd thought earlier would never even be possible, now seemed like it could happen. But I didn't want to get my hopes up. This moment might just be because of everything else that had been happening, a breakdown to replace a meltdown.
He pulled away, his cheeks flushed with color, and his eyes flickered away from their iciness, to something much warmer.
"Mia..." He said softly. "I... I love you." My heart stopped. I couldn't breath for a moment, and when I could, my heart picked up a pace that made me think that it was going to burst out of my chest.
"What?" My voice was little more than a whisper. I didn't know if what I'd heard was true, but I wished for it to be.
"I love you. I think I always have, ever since we were kids. I just never knew it until now." Tears filled my eyes as I wrapped my arms around his neck and held tight.
"I love you, too." I said as I buried my face in his shoulder. "I don't think I would have lasted long if you'd died after Johnny. I love you both so much and I'm sorry about what I said earlier. I was upset and frustrated at the fact that there was nothing I could do about Johnny being in the hospital and I knew you were walking such a thin line and I was afraid of losing you and I just... I love you, Dally. I really really do." He wrapped his arms tightly around my waist and held me close.
For all I knew, that moment could have been a dream – it should have been a dream because Dallas Winston didn't admit to feelings. But I crossed my fingers that it wasn't, because I'd never felt so much happiness in my whole life.
"I think we... What's going on in here?" I pulled away to see the rest of the guys standing in the entrance way to the waiting room, and a second later, Dally pulled away too.
"Nothing." I said quickly, and from the looks I was getting, they didn't believe me. "How's Ponyboy? Is he going to be OK?"
"He'll be fine." Soda said. "We're taking him home now so he can get some rest. The doctor said that he's going to have to stay in bed for a bit, but nothing too serious." I nodded, relieved that he was going to be fine. "We're gonna head out now though, call if anything happens with Johnny."
"We will." Dally said, and I nodded. Words weren't coming to my mouth, and my eyes felt like lead weights had been dropped on them.
The boys left, and Dally and I took a seat on the only bench in the room so that I could stretch out. I wanted to close my eyes, but I forced them to stay open until Dally started to run a hand through my hair.
"I'll wake you up when someone comes." I nodded and before I could say anything else, I was fast asleep.
"... Wake up. Mia, wake up." It took a minute for the voice to get through the cloud of sleep that covered my brain. But I slowly drifted back to reality and opened my eyes. The bright hospital lights blinded me, and I groaned, squeezing my eyes shut. "Come on, Mia. Doc's got some news about Johnny." Though I still wanted to go back to sleep, this news made me open my eyes and fight the bright lights. I saw a tall man standing in front of us and slowly sat up straight.
"What time is it?" I mumbled.
"Almost 2 in the morning." The doctor said and I was slightly surprised. It hadn't felt like I'd been asleep that long.
"How's Johnny?" Dally asked as I stretched my arms over my head, cracking my neck to get the kink out of it.
"To conform to procedure, I need to know what your relation to the patient is. This is really only supposed to be given out to family." Inwardly I rolled my eyes. Everything around here was only for family. "I'm assuming you're not his parents."
"No." Dally and I said at the same time, and then I had an idea.
"Adoptive parents." I corrected. The doctor looked at us in question.
"Yea, his real parents were pretty abusive on him, so we had to take him out of there." Dally added. I breathed deeply. This was why we worked so well together, we could feed off of each others thoughts like they were our own, it was how we'd gotten the fuzz to think Johnny and Ponyboy were in Texas, and it was how we were going to get to see Johnny now.
"There aren't any records of him having adoptive parents." The doctor said.
"The information hasn't finished processing yet." I said. "But he's living with us already because he couldn't stay with his parents anymore." The doctor still didn't seem to believe us, but went along with it anyway. He was probably just as tired as we were, and wanted to go home.
"OK, well, the surgery took longer than expected, but it was a success. Mr. Cade will be able to walk after a couple weeks of rest. Though it will be longer before he will walk without crutches or a cane, but I figure that within 7-9 months he should be back on his feet. He'll need physical therapy for the first 4 months or so, maybe longer depending on how he progress. He is asleep at the moment, but if you'd like to go see him, you may."
"Yea, I think that'd be a good idea." Dally said as we both stood up. He held my hand tightly as we walked down the hall towards the room Johnny had been in before. When we stepped in, I nearly burst into tears again, just seeing him lying there, a heart monitor beeping, telling us that he was alive.
"What about his burns?" I asked. "And what is this going to cost?" We really didn't have the money to pay for a surgery.
"The burns will heal. We put some cream on them to hopefully close them over a bit faster, but even if it doesn't do much they will be fine in about 3 weeks or so. They will leave scars though I'm afraid." I breathed a sigh of relief. Scars could be dealt with, I didn't care about scars. Just as long as they weren't going to cause him any trouble. "As for the payment, it's already been taken care of. Some people came in with enough money to pay for the initial surgery and said that they'd take care of any other payments when the time came." I stood in shock, and turned to look at Dally, who looked just as shocked as I was. "They said that they'd like to talk to you tomorrow after you've had some rest. For now, I'll leave you two here." The doctor made his way to the door, but stopped and turned back to look at us. "You have a very strong boy, I must say. Most people couldn't live through what he has for as long as he has. Congratulations." I smiled a little before the door closed.
"He's a miracle." I said as I walked over to stand beside the bed. He looked so young lying there covered in bandages, with lines coming out of his arm that were connected to the machines. "I didn't think it was possible for anyone to recover from that." I felt Dally's arms around my waist as he came up behind me and rested his head on my shoulder.
"He's going to be OK." He said quietly, kissing me on the cheek. "That's all that matters right now." I nodded and yawned. I wanted to fall asleep again. Even the floor looked comfortable at that moment. "Come on, baby. You look ready to pass out."
"Passing out sounds so good right about now." I said as he lead me over to a cot that I hadn't seen when we first walked into the room. "I wonder who paid for the surgery." I thought out loud.
"Don't know." Dally mumbled. He pulled me down and we both fell against the pillow. "We'll find out tomorrow.." My last conscious thought, before Dally pulled me close and I curled up beside him and we passed out, was that for once, everything was perfect. That everything was going to be OK, and everyone I cared for most was alive and besides some scratches and bruises, everyone was well.
For once, I could truly say that I loved my life, and I hoped this was how things were going to stay.