*"I will always be there for you. No matter what I'm doing or where I am, just call me and I'll be there."*
I tried to get comfy in the hospital bed, well, as comfy as someone with an incision and broken ribs could get in this uncomfortable bed. My stomach was already throbbing and everyime I changed positions, it hurt more. I finally gave up on sleep when I turned for the the tenth time to try and get comfy and ended up hurting my stomach more.
It was ten-fifteen when I got on my phone to play Brick Breaker, hoping to fall asleep soon, then I remembered to text Julie to ask her if Belle could come over. I figured it would be okay with her, but if she says she can't watch her then Tori can just bring her here. Julie texted back saying it was fine and I texted Tori the directions to her house and asked her to make sure Belle was sleeping by now.
I was about to press the call button to ask a nurse for something for the pain when the door opened and Julian walked in.
"Julian? What are you doing here? Didn't the officer find you and tell you I said to go home?"
He walks up to the side of the bed and says, "Yeah, she did, and I asked her why you were here in the first place because the doctors didn't tell me anything and she didn't either. I know your spleenn burst and the doctor said that your ribs were broken and... How did your ribs gets broken in the first place? Is someone hurting you? Did Spencer do something to you? Is he why you always flinch whenever someone touches you? I will kill him I swear to-"
"No! Julian, no one is hurting me," I said looking into his eyes, equal parts hoping he won't see the lies behind them and hoping he will, so he can save me. But I can't let him know, so I put as much conviction in my voice as possible. "I fell down the stairs the other day and that's why I stayed home, not because I was sick, and that's why I was limping." The lies flowed effortlessly out of my mouth.
"Why didn't you just tell me you fell down the stairs? You said you tripeed."
"I know. I just... I tripped and fell down the stairs and I thought I was fine. My stomach was hurting, but I figued it would pass."
"You just collapsed. You scared the bloody hell out of me. I drove you to the hospital and the doctors told me I should've called an ambulance and not moved you. Do you think I caused your spleen to rupture by moving you?" He asked looking down at me with a mix of fear and sadness on his face.
"No! When I fell down the stairs, I broke two of my ribs and the doctor said that my ribs were poking my spleen and that's what caused it to burst."
"You must've fallen pretty hard," He remarked.
"Yeah, we have wooden stairs," I answered.
"Well, next time you decide to take a tumble down the stairs, tell me, so we can get you checked out before something like this happens again."
"Okay," I giggled. "Aren't your parents worried about where you are?"
"I told my dad what happened and he said that I could stay as long as I wanted."
"Wow, you have a cool dad," I said. "What about your mom?"
"She dies a few months after Jax was born. It was a hit and run. They never caught the person who did it."
I nodded my head in understanding. I know what it's like to not have a mother around to take care of you. Protect you. Keep you safe. "I'm so sorry, Julian. That must've been so on you guys, and your dad."
"Yeah, but we managed. He got a new job as an accountant and he moved us here a little while ago. We weren't all that happy at first, but the new house is huge and we adjusted," He explained. "Speaking of parents, where is your dad?"
*Probably raiding a liquor store.*
"He was here earlier but he had to go. I don't know when he'll be back." Hopefully never.
"Well, then... I will stay here with you and keep you compacy," Julian said, pulling the armchair that was by the wall up to the bed and plopping down on it.
"No, you don't have t-"
"I want to," He says firmly, looking into my eyes, and if I thought I couldn't any more than I was definitely wrong.
*No! Stop it! I can't like Julian.*
"Okay, I can press this fancy little button and get a nurse to bring you a blanket," I said, pointing to my call button. "I'm about to press it anyway for some morphine or something because my stomach really hurts."
I press the button and a nurse comes in a few seconds after I press the call button.
"Can you bring him a blanket and can I have something for the pain and to help me sleep?"
"Yes. I'll give you a sedative and some morphine," He said before walking out of the room.
I look over at Julian to see him staring at me. He's wearing a lip ring. I didn't know he had a lip piercing I've never seen him wear one. I stare back into his mesmerizing hazel eyes not wanting to look away, letting myself get lost in his stare.
The nurse bustles back into the room, breaking our stare. He hands Julian the blanket and empties two syringes into the IV drip.
"How long is it going to take to work?" I asked him.
"It will only take a few minutes," He answered.
He nods at me before leaving the room.
"Are you staying up all night or until I fall asleep? Cause' I don't think it's going to be that long until I'm sleeping," I said, already feeling tired.
"Whatever you want," He replies.
"I want you to stay. Unless you have to go, then you can go."
"I don't know about you, but I've got nowhere to be," He answered.
"Okay," I whispered smiling.
My eyes start to droop as I look at Julian.
"Go to sleep," Julian said. "I'll be here when you wake up."
It's only a few more a seconds before the sedative kicks in and I fall into a dreamless sleep. No nightmares.
*Damn. These drugs are good.*
"Mama! Mama!" I hear.
"Shh, Belle. They're sleeping." Another voice said.
I feel hands touch my face. "Mama." The voice whispered theatrically.
I groan and bury my head in the pillow. I feel a weight lift off the bed and sink further into the hard bed.
"Hello? Who are you?"
"Irabella!" I hear a startled voice say.
I open my eyes to see Irabella climbing onto Julian's lap and is now poking his cheeks. Julian jerks awake, almost launching Belle off his lap but he grabs her arms and pulls her forward before she tumbles to the floor.
Belle giggles as she sits up on her knees on Julan's lap and tugs on the gold lip ring on the left side of his mouth.
"Belle," I grunt as I try to sit up.
"Mama! Look! He has something funny on his lip," She said, pulling on it again.
"Belle, come here. That probably hurts," I tell her.
She clings to Julian's neck and scrunches up her face at me as he says," No, it's fine. It doesn't hurt." Yawn. "And what might your name be, love?" He grabs onto Belle's waist and sets her back down on his lap.
"Irabella. Why do you talk so funny?" She giggles putting her fingers to her mouth.
"I'm British so I talk a little different," He answered. "Irabella is a very unique name."
"What does unique mean?" She asks.
"It means your special," He replies.
I smile as I watch their exchance. I've known him for over a month and he's proven that he wouldn't do anything to hurt me and his reaction to Belle only further's my point.
"What's your name?" Belle asked Julian.
"Isn't Julian a girl's name? Lke Julie!" She giggles, pointing to Julie who is standing by the door listening to them talk.
"Well, boys can have a girl name and girl's can have a boy name," He tells her.
Belle opens her mouth in a silent 'O' then yawns and lays her head on Julian's shoulder and closes her eyes. Julian looks at me surprised and I shrug. She's so comfortable with anyone.
I take my phone off the stand they put your food on and check the time.
It's not even seven yet! No wonder she's still tired, Tori must've gotten her up early.
"Hi, Julie," I said as she walked closer to the bed. "Sorry, I didn't give you much warning before you got Belle."
"It's no problem. Now, you said you had the flu and now you're in the hospital. What happened?' She asked.
"I fell down the stairs, it's no big deal."
"You're in the hospital," She repeats. "Of course it's a big deal."
"I fell down the stairs and hurt my ribs, no bid deal," I said. "What are you guys going here so early?"
"Your friend said that she had to go to work early, so she dropped Belle off earlier than I expected," Julie explained. "Now, who is this?"
She looks over to Julian who is now rubbing Belle's back and she looks fast asleep.
"Oh, give her here, Julian. I can hold her," I said holding out my arms.
"No, she's fine." He shakes his head.
I sit up in the world's most uncomfortabel bed as I talk to Julie. "This is Julian. He's a friend from school. He's the one that drove me here."
"Hello, Julian," She said smiling. Julian nods at her in greeting. "It's nice to meet you. McKenzie doesn't talk to me much about her friends, but I'm glad she has someone to talk to, I know how rough school can be for her."
"Julie!" I exclaimed, giving her a look.
"What? I'm just making small talk," She replies.
"Talk about something else, please."
"Okay. So how long have you known each other?" She asked.
Oh, I see where this is going.
"Little over a month," I answered cautiously.
"Are you two hooking up?" She asked and I sputtered. "As the kids say these days."
I knew it! I knew she was going to ask something like that.
Julian chuckles quietly.
"Julie! No!" I said my cheeks heating up. "We're just friends."
"I'm just asking questions, Kenz," She said putting her hands up. "Well, I better go. I would've let Belle sleep a little before we left the house but Cassandra called and asked if I could watch Clary for her, they're going out with their friends for anniversary. SHe said it would take a few hours to get wherever they're going, so they are leaving early. Miles was going to watch her but something came up."
"It's fine, and tell them I said Happy Anniversary."
"Will do," She said. "Take care, and be more careful. Don't want you falling down any more stairs."
"Okay, I will," I said, hiding the guilt that's tearing me up inside for having to lie to everyone. But I have to or it'll just get worse.
"Bye, Julian," She said. "It was nice to meet you, young man."
"Bye, ma'am. It was nice to meet you, too," He answered.
"Oh, please call me Julie. Ma'am makes me feel so old," She said.
She walks out the door, closing it behind her.
"Oh god! I'm so knackered," Julian groaned quietly. "I didn't to anticipate waking up early today. I don't even like waking up early on school days."
I chuckled quietly.
"Irabella agrees with me apparently, because she just crawled up on my lap and went right to sleep. Cutest bloody thing I've ever seen in my life," He murmered, gently shifting her head to lay on his arm, gazing at her.
"I can take her if you want. I'm about to go back to sleep, it's not even seven-fifteen yet," I said tiredly.
"No, she's fine. I'm going back to sleep too," He answered, settling down into the chair, Belle's head falling on his shoulder by his head. Julian closes his eyes and lays his head lightly on top of Belle's head.
And this is cutest thing I've ever seen.
A little while later, Julian's breathing deepens, his chest rising and falling steadily along with Belle's. I watch then together for a few more moments before taking out my phone and getting a few pictures of them like that.
It's only at forty percent so it's not going to last long. I've got to find a charger.
Dr. Parker walks in as I'm setting my phone down on the stand by the bed. "Good morning, McKenzie." He keeps his voice low when he sees Julian and Belle. "Well, is this your daughter?"
He gestures to the chair they're sleeping in.
"Well, she is the cutest little thing," He said. "How old is she?"
"She's three," I answer.
"Is that her father?"
"No, he's not in the picture."
Sensing my reluctance to talk, he changes the subject. "Okay, I'm just going to change your dressing then I'll be out of your hair. Can you rate your pain on a scale from one to ten for me, please?"
"Um, a five," I answered.
"Okay," He pulled the covers down and reached for the hospital gown. I flinches violently when his gloved hand grazed my leg. I was wearing sweatpants but I still felt his touch, like it was burning my leg.
He looked at me surprised. "Do you want me to call another doctor or female nurse in here?"
I cleared my throat and shook my head. "No, you're fine."
"Okay," He said. "I'm going to lift your gown."
He lifted the gown and took the gauze off, then he put some yellow dressing on the cut. He puts new gauze on the cut and when he finished, I hasitly pull the gown back down and pull the covers back up.
"What was that stuff you put on it?" I asked curiously.
"It keeps you're incision from getting an infection," He answered.
He looks at me suspiciously. "Are you sure there's nothing you want to tell me?"
"About what?" I ask, pretending not to know what he's talking about.
"My pain is still at a five," I answered. I'm being a smartass but I don't need him asking any more questions and getting more suspicious than he already is. I need to learn to not flinch when people touch me.
"Okay," He said dissapointedly. "I can get you some morphine or Ibuprofen. The morphine will make you loopy though."
"I'll just have some Ibuprofen, please."
"Alright." He leave the room and I settle back down into the bed, burrowing down into the covers. Dr. Parker comes back a few minutes later when I'm half asleep with a small pill cup and one of those big hospital cups filled with water.
"Here." He hands me the cups.
I gingerly sit back up and swallow the two pills in the cup the cup then wash it down with the water. I set them back on the try and sit back.
"Can you turn the light off when you go, please?" I asked. "Belle or Julie must've turned it on when they came in."
He nods. "Who are they?"
"Belle is my daughter and Julie watched her for me some days when I'm at school," I answered.
"What about your father?"
"What about him?"
"Does he help me out with her?"
No way in hell would I let him near her unsupervised and even then she's never far from me.
"Yeah, he watched her sometimes but he works. He has to work now, that's why he's not here."
He's probably halfway down his third bottle of scotch and raiding my room for money.
"Well, it's good to have a support system like that," He said.
"Yeah, it is," I replied.
Something in his coat pocket beeped and he takes it out and turns it over to look at it. "I'm being paged. Get some rest, me or another doctor or nurse will be in later to change your dressing and make sure your incision is healing correctly."
He turns the light off and closes the door when he leaves. I lay back down and bring the covers up to my shoulders. I gingerly turn on my side and get comfortable without hurting my incision or ribs. It doesn't take long for me to fall back asleep.