“Morgan, Morgan, you’ve got to wake up,” I heard someone say. There was a hand gripping my own, and I could tell there were multiple people in the room.
I slowly blinked my eyes open. The first person I saw was Asa, who was sitting next to my bed in a plastic chair. He was the one who was holding my hand.
“Morgan?” he asked softly.
“Yes?” I asked. A huge smile broke out on his face.
“You’re awake,” he said softly.
“I’m awake. What happened?” I asked.
“You were hit by a car on your way to school. The person who hit you brought you here. No one knew who you were but Lucy figured it out that something might have happened to you and then they were finally able to contact people and tell them what happened to you,” Asa explained.
“Who found you?” I asked.
“Jordan,” was his simple answer. I nodded. By that time, everyone else in the room had figured out I was awake and they all swarmed around my bed. Questions came at me from everyone, and I began to feel overwhelmed. Asa noticed and said,
“Whoa, back up everyone and give her some space.” they complied, only after seeing how I was reacting to all the attention.
“Are you okay, sweetie?” Linda asks, coming up to my bedside.
“For now, yes,” I said. She smiled at me.
“Good.” Then she backed away and Lucy approached me, crushing me in a hug.
“Morg, you scared me half to death!” she said.
“Luce...can’t...breathe,” I choked out.
“Oh, sorry. How’s the pain?” she asked.
“It’s fine right now, I can’t feel it because of all these pain meds,” I said, laughing. “How hurt am I?”
“Well, you have a few broken ribs, and you had some pretty bad blood loss, along with your shattered arm and leg,” Lucy said cautiously. “You’re going to need to be in a wheelchair until you can walk on your leg.” She said the last part extra cautiously because she knew that I wouldn’t like having to be pushed around, literally, all day.
“Ugh. But that’s it?” I asked. Lucy nodded and I breathed a sigh of relief. “Also, how long have I been out?”
“Um, about three days, your body had some pretty intense healing to do,” Asa said.
“Wait, so it’s Wednesday?” I asked. Everyone in the room nodded. “Where are the girls?” I asked, finally noticing their absence from the room.
“At home,” Linda said. “Richard has taken quite a liking to those girls, so he offered to stay home with them.” I nodded.
“How long have you all been here?” I asked. There were mixed replies of ‘a couple of hours’ and ‘a few minutes’ or even ‘a couple of days’. But Lucy and Asa both said, ‘the whole time’. “Really? You’ve both been here with me the whole time?” I asked them. They nodded. “You guys are the best.” They smiled at me and for everyone else in the room, it was a slightly awkward moment to witness.
“Yeah, I could barely drag Lucy away to even take a shower,” Jordan said, breaking the awkward silence. I laughed.
“Really? Lucy never misses showers.”
“These past few days I did,” she said.
“And I had to cover for this guy at work yesterday,” Jordan added. I snapped my head towards Asa.
“You missed work for me?!”
“It’s not that big of a deal,” he said, shrugging.
“It is a big deal! You could’ve been fired!” I said.
“It’s fine, Morgan. I wasn’t fired, and my boss knew the situation,” Asa reassured me. Little did I know that everyone was slowly filing out of the room, leaving Asa and me alone.
“But you need this job. Don’t let me get in the way,” I said.
“You can’t get in the way. You’re more important to me than that silly, low paying job,” Asa said. Then he leaned down and kissed my forehead. “I should let you get some rest.” He stood up from the chair beside my bed, but I wouldn’t let his hand go.
“Please stay and talk? I just woke up,” I pleaded. I scooted to one side of the bed, patting the covers next to me. He seemed to have an internal debate about something before nodding and laying down, on top of the covers.
“What do you want to talk about?” he asked, turning so that he faced me.
“Anything. I don’t know much about you,” I said, also turning.
“Okay...I grew up in New York City, in a small apartment. We moved to a small country town when I was ten, when my mom was pregnant with the twins. A few years later we were on a road trip to my grandma’s house back in New York, when we got in a car accident just outside of this town. My parents both died and I was left to take care of Lizzie and Ellie, who were three at the time.”
“What about your relatives?”
“They think we died too.”
“Why didn’t you tell them the truth?”
“Our relatives had never been nice to us, and I figured that it would be easier living on our own. I haven’t contacted any of my family in three years.”
“It’s not your fault. Now tell me about you,” Asa said, propping his head on his hand.
“Okay, I was born in Ohio and my parents got divorced when I was two. All I knew was switching back and forth between homes. Then they died when I was eleven and I moved here with Linda and her previous husband, John. My parent’s last wishes were to put me in a super nice private school, so that’s how I started going to the school I go to now. And then when I was about thirteen Linda married Richard. I think their songs match, too, so maybe she’ll actually stay with Richard. They seem to be in love enough,” I said.
“Do you like living with Linda and Richard?” Asa asked.
“It’s not the best, but they’ve been better recently,” I said. “Almost so nice that it’s suspicious.” I started thinking then about what they may be hiding but I decided not to dwell on it. “What were your parents like?” I asked Asa. He looked into my eyes and took a deep breath.
“They were amazing. My mother was the most beautiful, smartest woman you would ever meet. My father was the best father anyone could ever ask for. My dad was a firefighter, and my mom stayed home and homeschooled us. She spent so much time with us as kids it tore me up when they died. I know the girls don’t remember them very well, but I tell them stories about them every day. And I still miss them a whole lot.” I heard in his voice that he had begun to get choked up. I raised a hand to his shoulder and rubbed it soothingly. “Tell me about your parents,” He requested.
“All I remember about the two of them together is that they wouldn’t talk to each other and they’d argue when they thought that I couldn’t hear. But on their own they were amazing. My mom taught me how to be a lady but we had our un-ladylike moments. My dad taught me how to play sports and I was obsessed with football when I was younger, I always dreamed about being the first girl on a professional team. Of course, I stopped playing when they died and I honestly miss playing football, it’s been so long. Maybe I’ll start again when I get better.”
“That might help you reconnect with them in some way,” Asa said. I nodded in agreement.
“Hey, I added a new clause to our agreement,” I said.
“I’m going to help you reconnect with your family.”
“I’m going to do it, Asa, and you can’t stop me. Just like you can’t stop me with helping you find somewhere to live and with your current jobs.”
“Fine. but at least let me help you with this one.”
“Of course,” I said. “It is your family after all.”
“Why are you doing all of this for me, Morgan?” Asa asked.
“Because...I care about you and the girls, and I want to see you in a good place. It breaks my heart to see that you are living in a school at night and I want what’s best for you guys,” I said. Asa had an unreadable expression in his face, and he stared at me with a gaze that could see through my soul. I took the chance to study his features, the dusting of tiny freckles across his nose, the sharp angles of his jawline and cheekbones. I studied his eyes the most, though. His olive-green eyes with subtle hints of brown and blue scattered through them. Those eyes that held my gaze so steadily that I felt the need to look away. I broke his gaze and my eyes traveled down his face to his lips, and I quickly looked away before he could catch me staring at his lips. I blushed and looked down. Asa picked up my chin with two steady fingers and brought my gaze to his. This time I didn’t break eye contact for minutes, and we stared intently into each other’s eyes, seemingly reading each other’s every word that was written on their soul. Asa broke eye contact first, and this time I caught his gaze wandering down to my lips. I rolled my lip between my teeth and tried to keep myself from kissing him. He seemed to be having the same battle because his gaze would continue to wander to my lips.
“Forget it,” he growled before kissing me. When our lips met, as cliche as it sounds, I felt like fireworks erupted in the pit of my stomach. Asa’s hand moved up to tangle in my hair, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. After a few minutes, we broke apart, our chests heaving from the lack of oxygen. I slowly opened my eyes and made eye contact with Asa.
“You know, that was my first kiss,” he said.
“Hm. It was mine too,” I said.
“Well, you’re a darn good kisser for that being your first time,” Asa said.
“Right back at you,” I said, giggling.