Chapter 46 - Fix you
I knew November would be tough. I wanted to be close to her, to know what she was doing, how her classes were going. I wanted to know all the smart person shit she'd learned around all of her smart friends. I wanted to know every thought that had crossed her mind since I had spoken to her last.
But I was in no way prepared to see her.
But there she was, sitting not even fifteen feet away from me.
And at the clinic no less. It took every muscle in my body to stop myself from getting up and pulling her into my arms.
She coughed, it was deep and she winced so I assumed it was painful too. Now I was resisting the urge to drag her ass into the Emergency room.
Someone called her name and she looked up, grabbed the clipboard she had written her information on, and followed them down the hall and into patient room number four. My desk was positioned to where she couldn't see me, but I had a perfect view of her. Her arms were crossed over her chest and he looked like she was trying to warm herself up.
After a few minutes the person who brought her into the room came out and I knew that I had at least ten minutes until the doctor would be knocking on her door.
I spent a minute of that time contemplating what I should do until I caved. I could not let her leave this building without speaking to her. And if she didn't want that well, maybe that was for the best.
I walked toward patient room four and took a deep breath before tapping my knuckles on the door. I eased it open without waiting for her to tell me to come in, my minutes were passing quickly.
She looked up and when her eyes met mine, she hung her head.
"I guess I should've known you would be here."
She said the words then broke into a coughing fit.
I reached out and rubbed her back without thinking twice about it. I could immediately feel how hot her skin was through her thin shirt.
"How long have you been feeling bad?"
"Is that really what we're going to talk about?"
"I think we have to."
"Just since I woke up today."
I walked to the drawer and pulled out a thermometer and put a new cover on it before taking her temperature.
"It's a good thing you came in. You have a 104.6 fever."
I looked down at her but she was avoiding my eyes.
"Jackson made me."
Jackson knew that I would be at work and that she could've gone to the other clinic so I was a little hung up on the fact that she came here. Was it because she wanted to take the chance of me being at work? I pushed that thought aside and focused on my job.
"Tell me about your symptoms."
Tell me so I can fix you.
"Coughing, chills, and I feel sort of sluggish. That's all I can think of right now."
"Okay well just so you know the doctor is going to order some tests, probably flu, and strep, and maybe a couple of others. You might need a shot."
I remembered from the busted lip incident that she doesn't like needles, so I felt like I should give her a heads up.
"I don't want a shot."
She shook her head.
The doctor knocked on the door and I excused myself but I didn't go far. I stood right outside of the room and waited for him to come back out. When the door opened he looked at me questionably then smiled.
"Invested in my patient are we?"
"You could say that. What do you think it is?"
"I'm running flu and strep tests but I'm willing to bet it's phenomena by the way her breathing sounds. I'm ordering a chest x-ray too."
I walked to my office and grabbed the hoodie that I kept there before heading back to River.
I opened the door to find her curled up on the exam table.
"Are you cold?"
She nodded as she sat up.
She lifted her arms and I pushed my hoodie over her head. It swallowed her small body and despite these circumstances, it made me happy to see her that way.
A nurse came in and took her for the x-ray then swabbed her nose and throat. We sat in the room in silence until the doctor came back in.
"Well, Ms. Stafford you have pneumonia. I'm going to send the nurse back in to give you a shot and if I had to guess I would say you will be back to normal in a couple of days."
He smiled at her, completely ignoring me and I was thankful for it.
"Beau I can't get a shot."
She whispered after he left.
"It's going to work way faster than if you were to take medication. It'll be quick, I promise."
"Can we make a deal?"
She looked up at me and finally looked me in my eyes.
"I'd have to hear it first."
"If I get the shot, you have to explain yourself to me before I go back to school."
God, didn't she know that was all that I wanted? But it was also the one thing that I couldn't give her. I couldn't speak the words. And even if I managed to get them out, I would beg her to give them back.
"I don't think that's a good idea but the shot is best."
She nodded and looked down at her feet as they dangled over the exam table.
The nurse came back in and River tensed. My feet moved on their own and I pulled River's arm out of the hoodie. The nurse cleaned the area and River looked away as she brought the needle up to her arm. Just a few short seconds later it was over and the nurse left the room.
I could tell that River wanted to cry but she didn't. Even though my brain warned me not to, I leaned down and pressed my lips over the band-aid and she let out a shaky exhale.
I asked with my lips still on her skin.
She whispered and when I looked up at her, her eyes were filled with fresh tears. One escaped and before I had the chance to, she wiped it away.
She shoved her arm back in the sleeve then hopped off the exam table and grabbed the doorknob. She turned back around to face me with more tears rolling down her face.
"You want to know what I wished for this year?"
I wanted to know more than she could've imagined. I had thought about what she wished for on her birthday more times than I could remember.
"I wished you would've never made me love you."
She turned and walked out of the door, slamming it behind her.
That confirmed what I had feared this entire time.
She hadn't read the letter.
There weren't a lot of words that I couldn't say to her, but that letter held every last one of them.
And they were by far the most important.