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Before you Fade

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Chapter 2

“Mr. Slier?” Someone shook him awake from his dream. “It’s early morning, what are you still doing here?”

Ryan shrugged as he sat up straighter. He looked at the ICU hopefully before he fixed his eyes on the doctor.

“I wanted to talk to your about your wife.” Doctor said and he nodded, his expression turning serious.

“Is something wrong.” Ryan asked, his sleep pushed away.

“No, no.” Doctor Amir assured him. “Don’t panic. I think we need to go to my office for this. You need to sit down.”

Ryan’s stomach twisted into knots making bile raise to his mouth. As they walked to Doctor’s room, his mind wandered at all the possibilities and he never liked the end result of each one of them.

“What’s wrong with her?” Ryan was now desperate. He wanted answers to stop his mind which roamed around with all kinds of imagination.

“Take a seat, Ryan.” The doctor said. “You know it was an accident and nobody blames you. It was snowing that day and the tyres slip all the time.”

“What the heck has happened to her?” Ryan’s voice rose to a higher octave. “Answer me!”

“You need to be calm for this.” Amir said, leaning forward. “It’s been more than two weeks since she’s in the ICU. We are observing her every two hours, but there is no much change. The vitals and everything is normal.”

“Then, what’s the problem?” He shouted.

“Well… don’t take this the wrong way, Ryan.” The doctor ran his hands over his hair. “The expenses here are high and you are yet to pay for the last week.”

“I’m working on it.” Ryan clenched his teeth. With all that he was dealing with, he didn’t want to be called broke.

“Taking the records of her, I don’t think we could do better than what we are doing now.” Amir said, ignoring him. “But she’s not waking up.”

“So, you want to…” Ryan let the sentence hang. They were going to… cut her off? And was Amir asking for his permission to do so?

How cruel was that?

“No! That’s not happening.” Ryan walked around the small office. “I mean, there are cases where people wake up after years, right?”

“Yes, but… Ryan, I don’t want to come out as rude, but do you have plans for the hospital bills? I mean the reception tells me that insurance was over few days back.” Amir asked slowly. “What are you going to do about that?”

Shaking slightly, Ryan sunk on the ground. “I fucked up everything. She deserves to live. Please don’t. Just don’t.”

“Just give it a thought okay? Let me know by Saturday?” Amir said. “That’s the maximum time I can hold off the staffs.”

His heart was broken and so was his hopes. There were only two days left to decide Christine’s fate.

Was two days enough to decide someone’s future?

“Well, you said you would come!” Christine shouted. It echoed through the hall and dropped like a stone in her heart.

“Sweetie, I had work.” Ryan said washing his face and wiping it on the side towel.

“You could have called me!” She shouted. “That’s four time in a row you have bailed on me! And you’ve already had dinner!”

He sighed. He really did have a tough day at work. He wanted some peace with her, but she was making it too hard to keep the conversations light.

“I did call, Chris.” He said, shoving the towel away. “But, guess what I was sent to the voice mail. When was the last time that happened?”

“That was because I was planning on our night!” She said, tears finally brimming in her beautiful eyes. “I had called the hotel to book us a table. Do you know how difficult it is to get one in Beverly Hills?”

Ryan ran a his fingers through his hair. “Who the heck needs a Beverly Hill hotel to have a good time?” He raised his voice. “I want a normal day and a normal evening to spend to. Not some hi-fi stuff on top of my miseries.”

“So, I’m your misery?” Her shock was apparent. And that was when her first tear rolled down her eyes.

He sighed and cursed himself for saying that. He had kept his cool in all their bickering, but tonight he was stressed and Christina was grilling him, taking him to the edge.

“Babe, you know I didn’t mean that.” His voice softened. He came forward to reach her, but she shook her hand away.

“Perhaps, you think marrying me was a mistake too.” She huffed. “What was I even thinking? Saying yes?”

She wiped her tears away and rushed towards the bedroom, sobbing. Ryan cursed under his breath again putting his head on his hands. They were best friends who had slowly turned into lovers.

But then again, love is friendship that has caught fire.

He went to the bedroom. As he expected, she had turned off the lights and had curled up on her side of the bed. He took the space next to her, spooning her.

“Go away, Ryan.” She sobbed, her voice had given up. “You don’t want to do this.”

“I’m sorry, Chris.” He said, kissing her side of the head. “Things went down in my office that I took it out on you.”

She slowly turned towards him. “I had asked for Grace for a romantic evening in the Hills.” He wiped her tears away, stroking her cheeks. “I knew you were having a bad time, I just wanted to cheer you up.”

“I know, babe.” He murmured, taking her lips and kissing it softly. “I love you.”

“I want to say I love you too, but I’m still angry.” She murmured, burying her face on his chest. He only laughed, kissing her head as he held her tightly.

“Take your time, sweetheart.” He said. “We are not going anywhere.”

“Chris?” He murmured as he choked. “I’m sorry, love. I don’t know what to do. But I know, I just can’t let you off of all this.”

He took her pale fingers in his and kissed it.

He had promised her time that he didn’t have the luxury to. Time that they would spend happily. Time that would be etched in their memories.

“I love you, Christine.” He said, wiping his tears away. He got up and pressed a small kiss to her forehead. “I really do.”

Suddenly, the beeper started beeping loudly and the doctors and nurses were rushing in. They pushed him away and finally out of the ICU.

Ryan panicked. Did he press any button that he was not supposed to? Did he… kill her?

“What happened?” Ryan shouted as Amir walked to him. “Is… she okay?”

“Wait here.” Amir said, his voice stronger and full of authority. He went in as Ryan sat outside, praying that everything was going to be fine.

Amir walked across the doors, his feet scruffily moved along the floor as he prodded, waiting for someone to tell him what was happening. Was he responsible for bringing her more pain than she already was?

There was no way he could live with himself if that was true.

Amir walked out the ICU after few hours, wiping the sweat from his brow. He looked tired, but Ryan didn’t care.

“How’s she? Is she okay? I don’t know if I pressed any of the buttons there? I didn’t mean to.” Ryan said, not thinking properly. “I’m really sorry, I really didn’t meant to… Amir… please.”

“Calm, Ryan. Deep breaths.” Amir reminded him. “Christine is…” He shook his head sideways. “Well, you know what, just go in and see for yourself. The nurse will help with the gloves and stuffs.”

Not waiting any longer, he went to the nurse and got ready to go in. But just before he was to enter, he stood out, anticipating the worst. Was she… already?

He nodded once, trying to muster all his energy and went in. There she was lying with ventilators and other equipment on her. He slowly went to her and caressed her cheeks.

Her eyes fluttered open.

“Chris?” He asked, not believing his own eyes. “Baby?”

There was a cough before she spoke. “Hi.”

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