Kitty was humming in front of the stove top when Rita stepped into the kitchen, a smile forming on her lips as she simply stood there and watched her little girl interact with her partner. Cameron was just in front of Kitty, holding a bag of fun sized Hershey’s bars and staring down at the milk warming on the stove. Kitty’s left arm was wrapped across Cameron’s stomach, and her right was holding the spoon she mixed the milk with.
“Okay, baby girl, you can start putting the chocolate in now, I think it’s warm enough.”
Cameron nodded and started pulling out the chocolate, unwrapping them one by one before dropping them into the milk, a beautiful, timid smile on her lips as Kitty held her close, kissing the back of her head as she started to hum again, setting her chin on top of Cameron’s head.
“How much chocolate do you want?” she asked, and Cameron held up the bag before shaking it, smiling more, “All of it?” Kitty laughed, “That’s pretty rich.”
Her girlfriend just nodded quickly and unwrapped another funsized bar as Rita walked further into the room, “It’s pretty late, girls. Shouldn’t you be in bed? You have school tomorrow.”
Cameron’s smile faded and she hugged the bag to her chest as Kitty looked over at her mother, “I know, I’m just making us some chocolate before we have to sleep. It’s only, like nine or ten. We’ll go to bed really soon, I promise. Cam wanted chocolate.”
Cameron nodded slowly, and Rita chuckled, “I understand, it’s fine. I’m just making sure you won’t be over tired tomorrow.”
“No promises for that,” Kitty teased, and Cameron’s face burned red as Rita rolled her eyes.
“Very funny. You know, I didn’t expect so many of my children to be gay,” the humor in her voice had Kitty giggling uncontrollably, “I wanted grandchildren.”
“Hey that’s mean!” Kitty laughed, “Dylan gave you a grand-daughter, Cam and I can adopt!” Cameron squeaked and covered her blushing face with her hands, “When Chris wakes up he and Sam can adopt... to,” she trailed off, her smile fading as she looked away.
The uncomfortable silence reigned for a moment until Rita came closer and kissed Kitty’s forehead, “I know, sweetie.”
“He’s gonna wake up,” Kitty said quickly, mixing the chocolate into the milk, her hand trembling, “I don’t know why everyone is so worried,” Cameron set down the bag of chocolate and turned around so her hands could cup around Kitty’s face, stroking her cheek with her thumb and leaning up to kiss her. Kitty wound her arms around the smaller girl and buried her face in her hair, “He’s... he’s gonna wake up... right?”
Cameron nodded, stroking her fingers through Kitty’s hair and rubbing her shoulders. Rita was chewing on her lip when her phone sang from her pocket, and she reached for it as her body sagged, looking at the caller ID and a sigh leaving her lips.
“Well look at that,” she said, her voice trembling as she answered the phone and pressed it to her ear, “Dr. Marin...,” she greeted weakly, “I... I think I know what this call means... it’s been three years...,” Kitty’s crying grew harsher, and Rita covered her eyes with a hand, “He can’t live like this... pull the-.”
“He’s awake, Mrs. Mitchelle.”
“Who... who are you?”
It was his worst nightmare compacted into three simple words, and it felt like the walls he’d been struggling to hold up for the past three years were finally crumbling around him, the floor falling out from under him and sending him into the dark abyss he’d been trying so hard to keep out of. By then it was a familiar feeling, the horrid despair that seemed to constrict around his lungs and heart, making it so hard to breathe, sinking deep into his veins like poison.
The arm he had reached out to Chris began to slowly pull back, despite how badly he wanted to run his fingers through his hair, touch his face and lips, and his fingers curled in against his palm as his mouth dried up and all words left him. He couldn’t think, couldn’t comprehend the horror that was happening, and it took a long time for him to respond, his voice shaking.
“Y-you don’t... remember me?” he asked, and Chris shook his head, his blue eyes filled with uncertainty as they searched Sam’s face.
“No...,” his voice was broken and scratchy, and Sam’s heart raced faster as he leaned against the side of the bed, his eyes burning from his tears.
How could this be happening? Chris was awake after so long, but he couldn’t remember his own boyfriend? It wasn’t fair. Tears were falling rapidly down Sam’s face, but he couldn’t wipe them away or speak, as he was in far too much shock for such a simple action. When Jack grabbed him by his arms, heaved him to his feet and started leading him to the door, he didn’t fight back, but his eyes stayed locked on Chris until the door shut.
Outside in the hall, Jack released Sam, letting him back up away from the room’s door until he was across the hall, leaning against the wall and sliding down so he was sitting on the floor, his knees against his chest as his eyes stayed locked on Chris’ door, “He doesn’t... remember me...”
“He just woke up from a three year coma, Sam,” Jack said, sitting down beside his son and clapping a hand over his knee, leaning forward to see his face, “He probably has no idea what’s happening, it makes sense he would forget a few things.”
“But he said... he said he’d never forget me no matter what...,” Sam whimpered, his arms winding around his stomach, “He said he wouldn’t...”
“Give him some time,” Jack reassured, squeezing Sam’s knee, “Marin should be calling Rita, and by the time she gets here he’ll be done with his tests, so... just hang in there and you can see him again in a little bit. Okay?”
Sam shook his head. He didn’t know how to reply, what to say, or even if words were needed. It felt like his world was crumbling, the darkness that had been surrounding him was finally closing in for the kill, and for once he considered losing himself to it. What was the purpose of fighting when his light... didn’t remember him?
“Who is that man?” Chris asked as the door closed, and Marin turned his attention away from the monitor sitting by the bed to look down at the young man.
“You don’t recognize him?” he asked, and Chris’ brow drew together.
“I don’t... know,” he murmured, his head rolling to the side so he was looking at Marin, “Should I?”
“His name is Sam,” Marin revealed, turning back to what he had been doing originally, checking Chris’ heart beat and brain waves and writing down the numbers before turning to Chris and slowly pulling out the IV’s in his arms and hands, “I would tell you more, but if you have amnesia, then overload of information wouldn’t be good for your mental state.”
“Amnesia?” Chris repeated breathlessly, “Why would I have that? What happened?”
Marin hesitated, “Give your body time to adjust before you ask that question, alright?”
“No,” Chris shook his head, trying to sit up, “I don’t understand what’s happening. Why am I in a hospital? What’s going on?”
“Please lie down,” Marin said gently, placing his hand against Chris’ shoulder, “You were in a coma.”
Chris’ eyes grew wide as he laid back down, “I... you’re joking.”
“Unfortunately I don’t joke often,” Marin sighed, holding Chris’ wrist and watching his watch to check his pulse, “Your vitals seem to be in check. That’s good,” he looked at the screen of the monitor again, “Heart and brain function are both steady. I’ll have to run a few precautionary tests to make sure you’re healthy, but you seem alright.”
“I was... in a coma...,” Chris gasped and sat up again, “My mom! Oh god, my mom and my sister, are they okay?!”
Marin slowly helped Chris lay back down, “You... you remember your mother?”
“Yes?” Chris looked confused, “Why wouldn’t I?”
A thought occured to Marin and he sat back a little, “How old are you, Chris?”
“What? Shouldn’t you know? You’re a doctor.”
“I’d like to hear from you.”
“I’m fifteen,” Chris said, and Marin inhaled sharply, “I’m a High School freshman.”
Marin shook his head and chewed on his lips, “I don’t want to tell you this, Chris, but you’re twenty-one,” Chris’ face paled, “You went into a coma three years ago during your senior year in High School. You were eighteen then.”
“But,” Chris’ voice was airy, his eyes cloudy, “No, I...,” he winced, raising a hand to clutch his head, “No, no I’m not, I can’t be, I... owe...”
Marin chewed on his bottom lip as he stood up, “I’m sorry, Mr. Mitchelle. I’m going to call your mother now, and tell her you’re awake.”
“Wait!” Chris grabbed his sleeve, “My mom... a-and Kitty, are they different? My brother, is my brother... are they all alive and okay? Please tell me they are.”
“They are,” Marin assured, and Chris dropped his hand, “I’ll let them explain this to you, alright?” he started for the door, but stopped when Chris muttered something, looking over his shoulder, “What?”
“Sherry,” Chris said louder, staring up at the ceiling, “I remember that name, but I don’t know why. Is... is that familiar to you? Do I know someone named Sherry?”
“I... don’t know,” Marin admitted honestly, “You’ll have to ask your family.”
He left the room, and Chris continued to stare up, repeating again, “Sherry...”