I didn’t fully regain consciousness until I got to the hospital and even then, I was out of it. I vaguely remember the doctors telling me I had not only suffered severe bruising where the pistol had contacted my head, but the bone beneath the injury had also been cracked. The last thing I remember before passing out was the Doctor telling me I was lucky to be alive. If the bleeding had not been stopped when I did, there was a high chance I could have bled out.
When I came to again, I was in a hospital room. The bright lights made it impossible for me to open my eyes fully. I raised my arm to shield the light from my eyes until they adjusted. My eyes had barely adjusted when the lights dimmed in the room, allowing me to take my arm away.
“There. That should help.” Samuel’s voice spoke softly. What is he doing here? Shouldn’t he be with Ethan?
When I was able to open my eyes, I saw Samuel now standing near the foot of the bed as he looked down at me.
“Sam? What are you doing here?” I croaked out, causing him to lean forward and hand me a cup off water from the bedside table.
“What does it look like I’m doing?” A smirk slid onto his face as he moved to the left side of my hospital bed. “Someone has to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”
“You know what I mean. Shouldn’t you be interrogating Ethan or whatever it is Detectives do at the end of a case?” The smirk fell from Samuel’s lips at the mention of the word detective. A wistful look appeared in his eyes as he stuck his hands in his pocket.
“I can’t finish the case because- I’m being investigated for what went down at your house.”
“What do you mean you’re being investigated? Weren’t you just doing your job?”
“Yes, but I should have called for backup on the matter, regardless of what Ethan told me to do.” Samuel plopped himself down into a chair that had been dragged to the side of the bed. “My boss told me I should be cleared no problem but until then, I am on suspension and no longer an active detective with the Penbrook Falls police department.” Samuel’s hand gently rested on mine, the calloused pad of his thumb rubbing circles into the skin.
“That doesn’t matter though. Your safe and he can’t hurt you anymore.” He pulled his hand away and I found myself instantly missing the warmth it brought. “I know this probably isn’t the time to ask Cass, but with your mom and Ethan- what’s your plan?”
“My plan?” I asked, raising an eyebrow as I sat up in the bed. “God, I have no clue. Once the arrangements have been made and she has been cremated- “I shook my head, willing the tears away. “I’m going to keep the bookstore going, it’s what my mother would have wanted but- I think I’m going to sell the house. It’s just- hard for me to walk in there and not think of my mother. I don’t want to walk around the place, feeling depressed every time I look at something.”
Samuel stayed silent for a few moments, just staring at me. Eventually, he cleared his throat as he straightened his posture. “And after that?”
“Probably move out of Penbrook Falls, but still close enough to the shop where it won’t be a pain traveling. It’s time I got a fresh start. Maybe I will start online classes, finish my degree.”
Samuel continued staring at me with a blank look in his eyes. He managed to straighten his posture even further, leaning forward towards me on the bed. Samuel’s chin brushed against my forearm causing the hair on my arms to stand on end.
“Do you remember anything about what happened?”
“All I remember his you putting the rug underneath my head, then guiding me out of the house after Ethan was shot.” I squeezed my eyes shut as I looked up at the ceiling. The image of Ethan’s blood spilling out onto the floor and he screamed out in pain would forever be burned into my brain.
“Cassandra, there’s something I need to tell you. I’ve already told you this but- “Samuel rested his forehead against my arm, his hand reaching out to squeeze my arm. “I’m- “
Samuel was interrupted by the sound of shoes as they slid on the tile flooring. Soon enough, Hazel slid into the room. “Jesus Christ what the fuck happened Cassie?!”
He brought his head off my arm at the sound of Hazel’s voice. “I called her here. Figured you want her to know what was going on.”
“Good thing someone had the sense to call me.” Hazel made her way closer towards the bed, giving Samuel the side-eye the entire time. “I’m, for one, glad Ethan’s finally gone. I knew there was something wrong with him the minute I met the creep.”
Samuel chuckled before standing up from the chair. “You and me both. I am going to get going. Let you guys have your girl time. I’ll check in soon Cass.” He nodded his head before slowly exiting the room.
Hazel waited a few seconds before whipping her body towards me. “What was- that? Are you and Samuel a thing now?”
“Honestly? I have no idea.” I groaned, my head falling back on the pillow. “He’s been so on and off lately that I honestly don’t know anymore.”
“After everything that happened with Ethan, he’ll make his intentions known. Trust me.”
I fucking hope so.