Incandescence (Part I)

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Whilst I was sleeping Bradley contacted the Police and within 15-minutes of my waking up, the Police Officers were ready take my statement and collect the evidence (which in this situation was a bunch of flowers and a card). Bradley demanded the Police Officers obtain CCTV footage from the hospital to determine where the flowers originated.

Before the police left I had a thought that I decided to share out loud ‘Bradley, who has access to our staff car park’?

‘Employees’ Bradley replied.

‘Can anyone from outside our Company gain entry to the carpark?’ I continued

‘Not unless they’re with an employee’ and before Bradley could continue he was interrupted by the Officer ‘Do you know who’s behind this?’

‘No, I just have a feeling the person is closer than I think. Someone has my personal mobile number; knows where I live, when I leave work. They even know which hospital I’m at. Whoever it is knows me and seems to know my movements. They shot me and only just missed my heart; whoever shot me intended to kill me.’ Hearing myself say those last words out loud brought me to tears. I didn’t remember the Police Officers leaving, I just remember sobbing uncontrollably into Bradley’s chest as he tried to tell me everything would be ok.

At some point I must have fallen asleep again, because I woke up to find Bradley’s head resting on my stomach and my hand firmly grasping his.

Bradley’s sleeping position looked very uncomfortable. His head was slouched, resting on my stomach whilst the rest of him was positioned upright in his chair. As uncomfortable as his position appeared, he looked peaceful. As he lay there, I just watched him and found myself stroking his hair. And as luck would have it, that was the moment my parents decided to waltz into my room.

I continued to subconsciously stroke Bradley’s hair as my parents stood in the doorway watching; tears streaming down their faces. Bradley woke when he heard their voices and pulled himself up as they ran over to me to give me a hug.

‘Sweetheart you’re alive’ mum kept repeating as she held my face not wanting to let go.

‘Honey, we were so worried’ Dad started ‘I’m so glad you didn’t leave us, you’re my baby girl. We love you so so much’. I kissed dad’s cheek and held mums hand kissing it.

“You know I can’t leave you. If I did, who would you have to worry about’ I laughed, trying my best to make them stop crying.

Bradley got up from his chair, offering it to mum. He left our room momentarily before returning with a few more seats. ‘How do you do that?’ I asked

‘Do What?’ he replied confused.

‘Leave my room and return a few seconds later with your hands full. It’s as though you have a stockpile of everything outside my door.’ I was genuinely intrigued.

‘My family own this hospital. So getting dinner and a few chairs isn’t really that difficult’ he was so matter of fact in his response, he didn’t seem at all phased.

‘Oh’ was all I could think to say.

‘We don’t just own BL Corp. Mum and dad set up that business for Leonard and I. Our family own loads of businesses and enterprises across the State. So rest assured, you’re in the best hands.’ Bradley smiled.

I could see mum beaming at Bradley’s words, but I was in no mood for the looks of approval she was giving.

‘Bradley, I don’t know how we can repay you for this. You haven’t left our daughters side this whole time’ Dad's words were heartfelt.

‘No thanks needed Sir, I’m just happy I was able to help’ Bradley wasn’t one for accolades and I could tell he was becoming uncomfortable.

‘Dad’s right, I don’t even think I’ve thanked you, so Thank You’ I said smiling before continuing, ‘Now, seeing as though you have all the contacts here, any chance we can get some coffee?’ I gave him a little wink knowing he would appreciate the opportunity for a short reprieve from my family. And with that Bradley quickly left the room.

‘Sweetheart, I really like him’ mum started. ‘The way he hovers over you, protects you. You know, if he were there that night, I have no doubt he would have taken that bullet for you.’

‘Mum, do you really have to turn every moment into a romance novel?’ I cringed.

‘Darling, you know I’m not the romantic type, but even I can see the bond you two share’ Dad started and his words took me by surprise. ‘The way he looks at you; the way you were looking at him just then when we walked in. Please, stop being so naive and see what’s right in front of you’. Dad was right; I just couldn’t believe that I hadn’t realized.

‘I really can be such an idiot’ I said out loud and my parents just laughed and held me.

‘A Latte for you, two Cappuccino’s and an Espresso for me. Cheers’ Bradley said as he gave us our morning coffees. I was so grateful for my Latte, it really helped lift my spirits.

After coffee my parents got up to leave, but before they left my room they made Bradley promised to call them if I needed anything; which I found really sweet. I actually really liked how my parents had taken to Bradley.

Soon it was Bradley and I alone in the room. I tried readjusting my bed so that I could sit up comfortably and Bradley jumped up to give me a hand. As he was helping readjust my pillows, I reached over to his hand, slowly picking it up and bringing it to my face.

Without thinking, I gave his hand a soft kiss ‘Thank you for everything’ I spoke softly. ‘You always seem to be there for me. Sorry you had to be the one that found me with the gunshot wound, that couldn’t have been easy on you’. I broke my sentence as Bradley smiled and leaned over, giving me a kiss. The kiss was a short, soft peck on my lips, but instantly it set my heart racing.

I was glad when a heard a knock on my door, as it shifted Bradley away from the heart rate monitor I was still attached to; which was showing a sudden spike in my heart rate.

‘How’s the patient?’ Leonard asked as he entered my room.

‘Hey Leonard, it’s so nice to see you, come on in and make yourself at home’ I laughed.

‘Clothing and work for you’ Leonard handed Bradley a Bag ‘and Donuts for you’ he said, handing me a box of assorted donuts.

‘Breakfast’ I announced as I opened the box, sharing the donuts around.

‘You would have to be the only female know that eats so much junk food’ Leonard laughed. ‘I mean seriously, I’ve never seen you eat lettuce – it’s always donuts, pizzas and Chinese’.

I just shook my head at Leonard and helped myself to a second donut.

“Listen, I’d love to stay and watch you eat the whole box, but some of us actually have to go into the office and work!' Leonard smirked while looking at his older brother ‘Let me know if you need anything, OK!.’

‘Will do, thanks for dropping my bag off’ Bradley said as he walked Leonard to the door. They stood at the doorway for a few moments, chatting in hushed voices. Whatever it was they were discussing it was clear they didn’t want me hearing. After a few moments the door closed and Bradley made his way to the bathroom in my room to freshen up.

As he was in the shower, Amelia arrived in my room. I could tell she had been crying and was wondering what had made her so upset.

‘I was wondering when I’d see you’ I greeted her, tyring to sound chirpy ‘Come, join me for a donut’.

And without waiting Amelia ran to my bed, gave me a gentle hug and started crying ‘when Jacob called me to tell me you’d been shot, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Tori, I’m your best friend, I was at your house when you saw someone in your window; but I’ve been too busy with Jacob that I failed to take care of you. I’m an awful friend’ she sobbed.

‘Wrong, you’re the best friend ever.’ I said as I squeezed her hands tightly. “Now, cheer me up with some gossip. What’s happening with you and Jacob?’ and with that Amelia told me everything. Her and Jacob were now officially seeing each other and I was so happy for them.

‘Where’s Bradley’ Amelia’s attention shifted, she almost looked concerned. ‘He never left your side once, and now that you’re awake he’s disappeared. You two are both so stupid, it’s like you’re made for each other’. That was the second time this morning that I’d been insulted. I would usually scowl at her for such a comment, but instead I found myself pointing to the shower.

As if on cue, Bradley opened the bathroom door, stepping out whilst putting on his t-shirt. I never thought seeing his chest would have such an impact on me, but there I was, trying my best to stay calm.

I could feel my heartrate elevate just as Amelia let out a laugh as she noticed my heartrate spike on the monitor.

‘Amelia, shouldn’t you be at work?’ I tried desperately to shift her focus, but to no avail. Fortunately, Bradley was clueless as to why Amelia was laughing uncontrollably; I was just grateful she didn’t point to the heartrate monitor as she laughed.

It took a while for Amelia to gain her composure, each time she looked at the heartrate monitor she would break into fits of laughter. In the end Amelia’s laughter caused me to start laughing; which then resulted in Bradley looking at us both as though we were silly teenage girls. This went on for a solid 10-minutes before I finally kicked Amelia out of my room, as good as the laughter was for my spirit, it was actually causing my body to ache.

Not long after Amelia left I fell asleep, my body was tired and I knew I needed to rest and recover.

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