The last day and a half had been hell for my mom and I, but she was stronger than me. She didn't leave my side for one second, even choosing to sleep on the small bench in my room last night.
The surgery went well, apparently. My mom said Dr. Lowery came by to check on me soon after I woke up, but she didn't say anything else.
And I hadn't seen him since.
There was a knock on the door, startling me. I was expecting a nurse to come in and check on me but instead, it was an unexpected visitor.
As he shut the door behind him and took a few steps towards my bed, I scowled. What the hell is he doing here?
"What do you want, Peyton?"
"How are you feeling?"
I felt too tired to care about how the truth was going to make him feel. "I'm feeling like you're the last person I want to see right now."
"He nodded and sighed. "Yeah, I figured. Anthony told me what happened. I was worried about you."
"You didn't care about me when we were together. It's a little strange to start now."
"Don't say that. Riley, you know you..."
I cut him off mid-sentence, losing my patience. "Why are you here?"
"What he said, about the girl in the hot tub? I fucked up. I'm sorry, okay?"
"You came to apologize?"
"Why?" I repeated. "Why do you feel you need to apologize to me?"
"You don't think I did anything wrong?"
"No, I do. What I mean is, coming here and saying this isn't fun for you to do. You could get away with not doing it. So, why are you? No one's making you apologize."
"I screwed up, I'm sorry."
His voice sounded sincere, but I couldn't fully tell. "But don't think that makes what you did with my dad okay. Because it's not."
"Can you just go? I'm too tired to hear this shit."
"I told him this was stupid."
I noticed Anthony standing outside the door, looking at Peyton sitting down next to me with his hand placed on mine.
"No, Peyton. That's not good enough."
"I held up my end of the deal. I said I was sorry."
"Looks like you need to tell her again."
The sound of Anthony's voice in the background startled me.
"You know," Peyton snapped, "you can't make someone forgive you."
"Oh believe me, I know. I'm not giving up, and you don't get to either."
He took a few steps closer to my bed and sighed. "Peyton. I'm sorry I made the wrong choice when I was young and stupid, and I'm sorry I was a selfish, shitty father. I can't change that, but I wish I could. But, if you want to be selfish and shitty to me, I get it. I haven't earned your forgiveness, so all I can do is try."
Peyton stood up and scowled at his father.
"You haven't earned her forgiveness either. What about that? I think the least you can do is not give up."
"I'm not dealing with this bullshit right now." He shoved his father aside as he left the room, shutting the door behind him.
"I'm sorry about him. And I'm sorry about a lot of things. That I couldn't choose us. That I made you end things. I was weak, and I couldn't do it."
He came closer to me and tried to get me to look at him. "I miss you."
"I wish I could believe that."
"Riley, I do. You have no fucking idea how much I miss you."
"I-I miss you too..."
As he went to open the door, he stopped and said, "I'm working on the deal with him."
* It was late in the afternoon as my mom helped me into my bed, as Max sat in my bed, wagging his tail.
"Max, shoo!" My mom tried to get him to get off my bed, but once I laid down, he curled up in a ball and placed his head on my chest.
"He loves me too much."
My mom chuckled. "I know."
"He's fine, mom. I promise."
She nodded. "You need anything else?"
"I'm good." I picked up the TV remote on my nightstand and turned the TV on. "Thank you. I hope your garden's okay."
She laughed and smiled. "They're just flowers. I'm sure they're fine."
"But thanks for staying with me."
"That's what mothers do." She looked down at my wrist band and frowned. "Do you want me to cut these off?"
As she clipped the bracelet off, I shocked her when I said, "I'm in love with Dr. Lowery."
"Oh Riley, I know. I figured that out watching you two in the ICU."
"W-what did I do?"
"You looked at him."
"You looked at him the same way that I used to look at your father. Men like him are a lot of heartache."
"He's not like my father."
"He's certainly old enough to be, isn't he? Plus, a man who walks out on his son only cares about himself."
"He was young and dumb, but Peyton is the most important person in his life now."
"I find that hard to believe."
"He'd do anything for Peyton, and that included giving me up."
"I don't know how to feel about that man anymore. He broke your heart, but also saved your life."
"I know, I just..."
"He look at you the same way, you know. He came into the ICU after your surgery, took your hand, and held it the entire time he told me how the surgery went."
My heart ached as I pictured Anthony doing that.
"Well, I know you're hurting honey. So get some sleep. I know we both need it."
*** After a few hours of sleep, I texted my mom as the pain medicine was wearing off.
Riley: Can you bring me something to drinking? I'm ready for some more drugs.
Mom: Good, you're awake. Are you up for some visitors?
It had to be Jasmine. My mom texted her when I went in fr surgery.
Riley: Yeah, send her up.
Footsteps creaked up the stairs, causing Max to look up at the door. The person who I least expected was standing in my doorway, looking at me.
God damn it, again?!