Reluctantly Yours

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Chapter 16

Shane's P.O.V.

I felt entirely guilty. I couldn't help but think that it was my fault. If I hadn't taken her out last night, maybe we wouldn't even be here. I couldn't stop replaying the moment in my head. Seeing her eyes roll back like that, realizing that her heart stopped beating and her breathing wasn't there anymore… it haunted me. My real question was the why though.

Was it because I had told her I loved her? I felt sadness at the thought. If that was it, then that meant that she wasn't ready, which also meant that she probably didn't love me either. I had spent an hour crying out in the parking lot. I was the one to blame here. It was my fault… but did she really think that low of me? Was I so bad that me loving her, led her to try to kill herself?

I felt my eyes start to sting again, but I suppressed the tears. I was in a waiting room full of watchful eyes now. I couldn't let them see me cry. I focused on the information that Cooper had fed to me.

She wasn't doing good. They had to keep her to evaluate her. They weren't sure if she would make it. No one was. And that thought terrified me most of all. Even if I hadn't really known her that long… a life without Jasmine was almost too much to even think about. I clenched my hands at my side and felt myself start to shake. I was losing it.

I focused on the quiet of the room, trying to distract myself. I listened to the hushed murmurs of Isabel and Mr. Johnson. I didn't know what they were saying and I didn't much care. Isabel had finally stopped crying, which was good, because hearing her cry felt… wrong. Isabel was one of the strongest, most willful and toughest women I had ever met.

I pulled out my earbuds and phone from my back pocket. I could use an escape, and music was just the way to distract me right now. I put the playlist on shuffle and I almost wanted to laugh at the irony of one of the first songs. It was Hold On by Chord Overstreet. It was a sad song really.

It about a guy walking in to see the love of his life lying on the floor, dying. He keeps trying to convince her to stay, to not leave him. He needs her to hold on to her life because he still needs her in his life. Not only I was hearing the song, but I felt the words. They rang with a truth that I wouldn't have been able to put into words. I fell asleep listening to the lyrical melody sounding in my ears.

***

When I deeply asleep, my dreams were full of her. The image of her falling to the floor kept replaying. Then, I saw a flash of a graveyard. Jasmine's body was being lowered into the ground as rain poured down. I was the only one there and the casket was still open. She was facing me, her glassy, empty eyes were boring into mine.

I felt my chest constrict and twist. I started sobbing uncontrollably. It was stronger than me. I couldn't fight against the flood of tears.

I awoke to the salty water falling down my cheeks, silently. I looked over. Isabel, Mr. Johnson, and Cooper were all soundly sleeping. I stood up and wiped my eyes. I looked around. Darkness shone through the glass windows. The waiting room was empty except for us.

I walked by the empty reception desk. They must be on break. Either way, it was good for me. I walked right through the double doors. I walked down through the hall, my eyes searching for her. When I found her, she was in the last room at the end of the hall.

I stepped inside, silently closing the door to the semi dark room. I stood for a moment, just staring at her. The background beeping of the heart monitor was white noise, but it assured me that she was alive because her looks would have made me think otherwise.

Her skin was pale, her lips was discolored, and her eyes were shut with the dark circles that was under them. I stepped closer and sat in the chair right beside her. I grabbed her hand and thought of the song again.

"Loving and fighting, Accusing, denying,

I can't imagine a world with you gone

Joy and the chaos the demons we're made of,

I'd be so lost if you left me alone.

You locked yourself in the bathroom.

Lying on the floor as I break through

I pull you and I feel your heartbeat

Can you hear me screaming please don't leave me?

Hold on I still want you.

Come back I still need you.

Let me take your hand I'll make it right

I swear to love you all my life

Long, endless highway, you're silent beside me

Driving a nightmare I can't escape from

Silently praying the light isn't fading

Hiding the shock and the chill in my bones

They took you away on the table

I pace back and forth as you lay still

I pull you and we feel your heartbeat

Can you hear me screaming please don't leave me

Hold on I still want you.

Come back I still need you

Let me take your hand I'll make it right

I swear to love you all my life

Hold on I still need you.

I don't wanna let go

I know I'm not that strong.

I just wanna hear you

Saying baby let's go home.

Let's go home. I just wanna take you home

Hold on I still want you

Come back I still need you."

I sang the whole song softly while holding on to her hand. I didn't bother wiping the tears away. They would just come back, unwanted. How did I come to feel this strongly for someone in a matter of weeks? Some of that time, I didn't even speak to her, yet I was in pain because she could be gone forever, torn away from me. I didn't even cry when my parents died, and they were a big part of my life.

I brought her limp hand to my trembling lips and softly kissed her knuckles. I leaned my head on the edge of her bed and took deep breaths, letting the tears fall. This shouldn't have happened to her. What was she thinking? Was there something wrong with her that I wasn't aware of? I felt like she would have told me that she had depression. I would've understood, I would have helped her.

"You're not supposed to be in here," came a female voice from a few feet away. I pulled her hand away from my mouth, lifted my head off of the bed and looked at the woman with bleary eyes. She looked at me in a way that I couldn't decipher.

She was an older woman, in her early forties, and her ponytail was pulled out of her face so that you could see how tired the blonde woman was. I stood up and gently placed Jasmine's hand back at her side.

"Sorry," I grasped, finally wiping my face. She pushed off the door frame, where she was leaning and handed me a couple of Kleenex. She glanced back to Jasmine while I cleaned my face then she looked back to me.

"Is she your girlfriend," she asked curiously. I glanced at Jasmine too and nodded. The woman gave me a barely there smile and leaned against the door again.

"You know you're not supposed to be in here, right," she asked. I only nodded, my eyes never leaving Jasmine. "You know that you could've been arrested if the wrong person caught you right?"

I looked back at the lady. "I don't care. I had to see her," I said in a steely voice, not caring if it was rude of not. She grinned instead and took a step further into the room.

"Seems to me like she's a lucky girl," she said with a wistful smile. "I would want to know that my boyfriend or husband would break the rules for me. I wouldn't want them to, but I'd want to know. Know that they cared enough."

I swallowed and took a deep breath, turning my gaze back to Jasmine.

"You have nothing to worry about. No matter what the doctors do here, this is all up to her. And as long as she knows that you're here, waiting for her, and knows that there's someone here that loves her as much as you seem to… she'll stay. Until she decides that, I'll take care of her for you," the woman said. I looked back at her again, my eyes once again filling with tears. I hoped that she was right.

"Thanks," I whispered hoarsely then I cleared my throat. She smiled and nodded once. Then I walked past her and left. Her words stuck to my mind.

As long as she knows that you're here, waiting for her, and knows that there's someone here that loves her as much as you seem to… she'll stay.

I wanted her to be right. I wanted Jasmine to stay here with me. She was all I had to lose now. She was my last hope at an actual life, because in my future… all I saw was her.

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