I exhale slowly then I turn my head to look at the person who called me.
“Kris called me to check on you.” Jake seats next to me, “You can tell me if you need anything, consider me as your friend.”
Kris and her family have gone to attend his elder brother’s graduation ceremony. When she called me I had told her about Pops’ accident, she was really very worried.
“Thank you.” I tiredly rake my hand through my hair and lean back in the seat, “But I really don’t need anything.” I give him a polite small smile.
“How is he?” Jake asks seating in the next chair.
“Thankfully nothing serious, but he suffered from a head injury,” I reply then I close my eyes not wanting to talk about it anymore.
After sitting there with me, for some time, Jake leaves. But he told me that he will come back tomorrow and I should not hesitate to call him if I need anything.
However, I don’t need anything, I just want my Pops to be okay.
Later, a few of Pops’ friends and workers visited him. Since I am not in a mood or state to talk to anyone, so I just pretended to sleep until they left.
I puff out a deep breath and rub my hands on my face. It is been hours since I am sitting here, each second of which is like a ton of weight crushing me. Everything things look bleak, almost like the entire world is empty. And if you see from my eyes, it is actually.
“Is everything fine?” I close my eyes in irritation when I hear Alec’s voice.
Why the hell he has to be everywhere?
“What are you doing here? Everything okay?” He sounds genuinely concerned. He sits on a chair, one seat away from mine.
“My grandfather has been into an accident,” I reply impassively, trying to hide my irritation, “Currently, he is being monitored.”
“Don’t worry,” he quietly says, “Everything will be alright.”
I haven’t realized how much I needed to hear these words until he has said.
I slowly nod and turn my head to look at him. His hands clamped in his lap as he is staring at the floor.
“You look exhausted.” He lightly frowns, his eyes focus on my face, “Why don’t you go home and rest for a while? Send somebody else to be with him for some time.” He suggests looking at me.
“I don’t have anyone.” I swallow to keep my breathing even, “the only family which I have is in that room.” I point towards the ICU door.
“And there is no way I am going anywhere.” I shake my head and stare at the ICU door.
I tear my eyes away from the door when I hear Alec’s footsteps. He walks outside the waiting area, then through the glass wall I watch him mount on his bike as he leaves.
I run my fingers in my hair, with a sigh and lean my head against the cold wall. Tiredness washing over my senses, making my eyelids heavy, forcing me to involuntarily shut my eyes.
Every beat of my heart sends a prayer to whoever is listening. Prayer for the well-being of Pops, my anchor... my strength.
Maybe after an hour or so, I sense someone sitting exactly right next to me, my first instinct is to elbow them hard in their ribcage. The entire waiting room is empty, then why there is a need to intrude my personal space. Well, actually it not my personal space, it is the seat exact next to me... but still.
I hear clearing of someone’s throat.
“I thought you left, then what are you doing here?” I ask without even opening my eyes or shifting my position.
“What makes you think I am going to leave you here, alone?” Alec’s quiet and confused voice reaches my ears. Opening my eyes, I tilt my head to look at him.
This is something I was not expecting.
“I thought that you wouldn’t want to be seen with me,” I say recalling our conversation.
He turns his gaze towards the floor and nonchalantly shrugs. I wait for him to say something but he remains silent.
I assume shrug is the only response I will get from him and only he knows whatever this shrug means.
I again settle back into the seat and about to close my eyes when I hear him speak again.
“Here.” He extends a paper bag towards me. Reluctantly I take it from him, eyeing him with puzzlement.
He is weird.
“I don’t want to eat.” I make a face as I open the bag to find a sandwich inside it.
“But you have to.” He sighs, “I know you haven’t eaten anything neither you are hungry. But still, you have to eat.”
He is not even looking at me. His eyes are closed, while he is leaning back in his chair, and arms crossed over his chest.
Even with my petite body frame, these chairs are uncomfortable as hell. But the way he is sitting, even with his strong build and tall stature, it almost feels like he is really comfortable.
“By not eating you will fall sick, then how will you look after your Pops?” He questions, “If you want to take care of him, first, you have to take care of yourself.” He twists his body towards me and glances at me.
“So.” He curtly nods at the sandwich, “Eat.”
It really feels strange that he cares. Because there are not many people who care about me. For some reason, I feel myself listening to him.
“Is it an order or a request?” My lips tug in a faint smile.
“I don’t wish to die young, so I can only request.” He relaxes back into his previous position and closes his eyes.
“No tomatoes,” he says as I am about to dissect the sandwich to remove all the tomatoes, “Lots of ketchup.”
My heads turn to him with surprise, and I see a hint of a smile on his lips.
During our random talks, I vaguely told him that I don’t like tomatoes in any form whether they are cooked or raw. I just like ketchup, this is the only way I consume tomatoes. And I love ketchup, a lot.
The thing that he remembered came as a shock for me.
“Thank you.” I smile at him even though he is not looking.
This is the first time I have smiled since I heard about Pops’ accident and it feels nice. Almost it feels like everything is going to be fine.
I have forgotten the count of how many times I went to check on Pops. I can’t wait for him to wake up. He did wake up once hardly for five minutes and rambled some expletives, then he fell back to sleep again.
The moment I heard his curses I release a sigh of relief, as it is a sign that he will be fine.
“Any improvement?” Alec asks as I sit in my chair.
“Ear bleeding profanities came out of his mouth as soon as he woke up, even though he woke merely for five minutes.” I smile feeling relieved, “I think he will be fine in no time.” I lightly chuckle while Alec’s eyes held amusement.
“I will be back, just in a moment.” Alec stands and scratches his head.
“Alec, if you want you can go home, you don’t have to stay here.” I insist him to leave.
He will not say anything but the tiredness is evident in his eyes. And even then he is willing to stay here with me, brings a sense of respect for him.
He gives me a look and shakes his head, then he walks in the opposite direction while muttering something under his breath.
“Hospital cafeteria coffee is crappy, but we don’t have many options.” He comes back holding two Styrofoam cups in his hands.
“Sorry, I don’t drink coffee.” I give him an apologetic smile, “But still, thank you.”
“Really?” He puts one cup on the other chair as he holds the other one in his hand, “I thought you were just saying this, the other day because you were annoyed with me.”
“No, I really don’t drink coffee. “I shake my head.
“Then, I can go and bring tea for you.” He leans forward to stand up.
“No, you don’t need to.” I quickly stop him, “I don’t, even, drink tea.”
“Then what do you prefer drinking if you don’t drink tea or coffee either?” He pauses then adds, “In hot beverages.”
“I only drink milk.” I look down and mumble quietly, for some reason I feel embarrassed.
“What?” He frowns not able to understand my words.
Clearing my throat I speak a little louder this time.
“I only drink plain milk.”
A few moments pass, when I don’t hear his response I glance at him.
“What?” I glare as I find him fighting hard to keep a straight face.
Then a low chuckle escapes his lips, making me turn my face away from him feeling embarrassed.
“Shit,” He coughs to hold his laugh, “I am sorry, I shouldn’t have laughed.”
“That is good, milk is good,” he says with the hint of laughter in his voice, “Next time, I will bring milk in feeder bottle for you. You need someone to rock you while you are taking your bottle or pat your head, huh?” He teases raising his eyebrows.
“Alec!” I groan lightly pulling my hair, “There is nothing funny about this.”
“Of course, there is nothing funny.” He shakes his head, “It is just cute.” He smiles.
“Are you imagining me drinking milk in feeder bottle dressed up like a baby?” I glare at him. He purses his lips together to keep his laughter at bay, confirming my assumption.
“If you have any kind of kinky fetish, Alec.” I lean away from him in my chair, “Then stay the hell, away from me.” I narrow my eyes at him.
“What!” He looks horrified, “No... No...I didn’t mean like that.” He shakes his head quickly while the bubble of laughter erupts from my chest seeing his terrified expression.
“Avery, someday I will get a heart attack because of you.” He sighs, but his tone has a hint of amusement.