“Morning, Ryan Wilson here,” Ryan said when he answered the phone.
“Good morning Mr. Wilson,” someone said on the other end, “This is Judge Whitmore. I am just calling to advise you that this proceeding has been adjourned until further notice. Mr. Sanders will not be able to join us. I have been advised that there has been a family emergency and that he will be unable to participate indefinitely.”
“Thank you Your Honor,” Ryan replied uncertainly, “I hope everything is ok and will await notice of a continuation.”
After Ryan hung up his phone, he sat down on his couch and stared at the wall in front of him. He wondered if everything was ok but was afraid to pick up the phone and call Nicole to ask her if she knew anything about it.
He sat there and thought back to the night before when he just left her there, standing all alone in the kitchen. He hated how hard it was for him to just be her friend and instead of just sucking it up and waiting patiently for her to come to him, he bailed, just like he promised her he wouldn’t. He was an idiot, but he wasn’t sure she would forgive him this time. She had been through so much already.
He dialled Nicole’s number and waited as it rang and he could feel his heart rate rise when she answered.
“Yeah,” she said quietly.
It sounded like she had been crying or was crying, but he couldn’t put his finger on which one it was.
“You don’t have to forgive me Nic,” Ryan started quietly, “But I want you to know I’m sorry. I want you in my life, but for a moment there last night I had a one track mind…”
“Don’t worry about it Ryan, I have bigger fish to fry right now,” Nicole replied, cutting him off, “I’m assuming that you don’t have to go to the trial today as Chad won’t be there. So if you want to step up and be the friend you promised me you would be, you can meet me at Vancouver General Hospital.”
Her words stung and confused him all at the same time. It was clear that she knew what was up with Chad if she knew that the trial was no longer happening.
“Do you actually want me there?” Ryan asked, regretting it the moment the words were out of his mouth.
“Wha…what the hell kind of question is that?” Nicole spat on the other end, “My husband is in the hospital fighting for his life…of course I want you here, but whether or not you want to be here, that’s up to you.”
He was about to respond when he heard a click and the phone went dead. What the hell just happened, Ryan wondered, what did Nicole mean by Chad being in the hospital and fighting for his life?
It was 8:30 a.m. when Nicole looked up and saw Ryan walking down the hall of the hospital towards her. She had felt bad, after she hung up the phone earlier for how she had talked to him, but she was stressed to the max and she was beyond angry at Anna and the situation. She felt a little bit of relief as Ryan sat down on the chair beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
“What happened Nic?” Ryan asked quietly as he looked at her.
“Chad was upset last night, or at least that’s what I’m assuming,” Nicole replied, the sleeplessness evident in her voice, “He went to a pub after our counselling appointment, drank himself into oblivion and then thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk. He got hit by a car and he is pretty banged up. They had to do emergency surgery on him to try and stop the internal bleeding and they have to go back in this morning to check on it.”
“God, Nic, I’m so sorry,” Ryan whispered, “This is the last thing you need.”
“I thought it would be a good idea to pick up Anna on the way,” Nicole continued with a hint of sarcasm, “So since 4:00 this morning she has been in his room and she hasn’t come out. I made the mistake of saying “take your time”. I haven’t seen him at all yet and on the inside I am screaming and throwing punches. Who does she think she is?”
Nicole looked up at Ryan as she clenched her fists in her lap. Her hands were shaking and she could feel the anger tears in her eyes, threatening to fall. She was really hating the fact that she had thought bringing Anna was a good idea.
“What room is Chad in?” Ryan asked.
She could see that he was up to something and she could tell that he was angry. He was always trying to protect her and do what was best for her and she could see that now wasn’t any different.
“258,” Nicole replied.
Without another word Nicole watched as Ryan stood up and made his way down the hall towards Chad’s room. He disappeared into the room and about 30 seconds later he walked back out with Anna behind him.
“You have absolutely no respect for others,” Ryan growled to Anna as they walked towards her, “You may be his girlfriend and you may be pregnant with his child, but you are not his wife. His wife deserves to be with him, much more than you do. So sit down and let her be alone with him.”
“Where do you get off?” Anna snapped at him, “She told me to take my time and she wanted me to be here...”
“That may be Anna, but four and a half hours is more than enough time,” Ryan snapped, “You’re just being selfish...”
Anna looked at Nicole with anger in her eyes and Nicole wanted to smack the look right off her face. Anna sat down in the chair beside her with a loud sigh and without missing a beat Nicole stood up, gave Ryan a quick look to mentally say thank you and then walked down the hall.
Her heart was thudding in her chest and her hands were clammy and cold as she slowly opened Chad’s hospital room door. It was dark inside and there were machine’s everywhere. It was quiet besides the beeps coming from the heart monitor and the noises coming from the machines.
Nicole sat down in the chair that was already pulled up to Chad’s bedside and reached for his hand. His hand was cold and there wasn’t much life coming from him at that particular moment. She could feel her heart break inside, this time not from the pain he had caused her but from the fact that he could quite possibly not survive his injuries. She held onto his hand and leaned in to softly place a kiss on his knuckles.
“Oh Chad,” she whispered, “I’m so sorry. This is not what I wanted for you...”
She ran her other hand through his hair and looked at his face. There were bruises on his cheeks and there was a scrape on his forehead which was bandaged up. There was a gash that went from the right side of his lip and part way down his neck, which had about 20 or so stitches holding it together. This was not the same man she had seen the night before at their appointment.
“But I deserved it...” Chad whispered in reply, completely catching her off guard, “Karma’s a bitch...”
Nicole jumped and looked up into his eyes which were now open and staring at her intently. There was no sparkle in his eyes like there used to be and the life and happiness was gone as well. Nicole stood up and kissed him softly on the lips and then ran her fingers through his hair. He smiled weakly at her after she kissed him and he slowly lifted his arm up to brush her hair out of her eyes. He winced and struggled to catch his breath.
“Careful Chad,” Nicole whispered, her breath hitching in her throat, “You are a very broken man right now. You need to rest and heal up.”
“You and I both know that I’m not going to survive this Nic,” Chad replied, “I’m not holding out hope for recovery...”
“You can’t talk like that!” Nicole exclaimed angrily, “You have to bounce back. Hudson needs you. Anna and the baby are going to need you...you can’t give up!”
“What about you?” Chad asked, reaching for her hand, “Don’t you need me?”
“I’ll be ok Chad,” Nicole replied sadly, but still smiled as she looked at him, “I know where we stand.”
“Did you know...” Chad started, but stopped for a moment as he had run out of breath, “That the entire time Anna was in here with me, I pretended to be asleep...I didn’t want to deal with her crap...”
“I thought things were going so well with you two?” Nicole questioned, clearly surprised with his revelation, “You’re having a baby, you’re living together now. I thought everything was perfect?”
“I thought so too,” Chad breathed, “Until last night...when I...when I saw you. Nicole, I love you so much...I hope you will forgive me one day...”
He stopped talking abruptly and struggled to get a breath out and Nicole panicked. The tears broke through and fell down her face before she had a chance to stop them. She held onto his hand as tightly as she could without hurting him and he stared into her eyes as his breaths came out short and staggered. She could see sadness and fear in his eyes as tears threatened to spill from his eyes.
“I love you Chad, so much more than I have showed you or told you lately,” Nicole whimpered, her voice cracking, “I forgive you for what happened. Please just hold on. I’m going to get help.”
Before she could leave the room, the door opened and in walked Dr. Burrows. She noticed that Chad was struggling to breath and noticed that both Nicole and Chad were extremely emotional in that moment.
“Ok, I need you to leave Nicole,” Dr. Burrows said urgently as she put her hand on her shoulder to comfort her slightly, “We have to get him into emergency now. I’ll keep you posted on his progress.”
“Chad, I love you,” Nicole cried as Dr. Burrows began to escort her out of the room, “Please Dr. Burrows, make sure he knows that I love him.”
“I’ll make sure to tell him Nicole,” Dr. Burrows reassured her, “Go sit down and rest. We will do the best we can to save your husband.”
Nicole walked out of the room in a zombie like fashion. Everything was a blur, she was terrified and she was unable to walk straight. Her heart felt like it was being squeezed in a vice and she was having a hard time breathing properly. She gripped at the wall as she turned the corner and slowly made her way down the hall towards Ryan and Anna, but her legs couldn’t hold her. She fell to the floor as a loud cry escaped her lips as every shitty thing that happened in recent months came falling into her lap. The sobs took over and her whole body shook as she sat in a heap on the floor in front of her husband’s hospital room.She just wanted to the pain to end.
Ryan watched the events unfold right in front of him as he sat in a chair beside Anna. He watched as Anna turned her head towards Nicole who was on the floor in tears and he was disgusted by the lack of emotion that she had for Nicole and Chad for that matter.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Ryan spat before pushing himself out of the chair and running towards Nicole.
He sank on to the floor beside her and pulled her into his arms. At this point, there was nothing stopping her from sobbing uncontrollably. Her body was shaking intensely as he held her and the strangled cries of anguish and sadness that were coming from Nicole destroyed him. He wished there was some way for him to help her, but he knew there was nothing that he could do except hold her and wait this out.
The doors to Chad’s room swung open and Ryan pulled Nicole out of the way and against the wall as Dr. Burrows and a couple Attendings pulled his bed out and rushed down the hall.
Nicole stopped crying for a moment as she watched the bed being pushed away towards the operating room. As soon as the doctors and Chad disappeared around the corner Nicole curled up against him as tight as she could. Her body was shaking uncontrollably but she wrapped her arms around his waist and held on tight.
“I don’t want him to die,” she whimpered into his shirt, “We have been through so much and our life together is over, but I never wanted this for him. He has to make it through this, Ryan, he just has to.”
“I know sweetheart,” Ryan said quietly in response.
He continued to hold her as she cried quietly in his arms. He knew he had to try and be positive for her, but he knew, and so did Nicole, that the odds were against Chad. Ryan sighed as he leaned against the wall and pulled her against him. He only wished that he could change the outcome for Nicole.