I don’t know how long I’d been crying for...
Obviously it was long enough to make my eyes and nose swell and make my face turn a blotchy horrible pink. I clutched at Ray’s pillow tighter and buried my face into it like a life-raft. The wind and rain sounded louder and the house shook harder. While I didn’t care and thought it was just normal something in the back of my head warned me that it was dangerous; that I needed to move. But, as much as I hated to admit it, I had become exactly like those women in those sad cliché romance movies where I was rendered useless to walking anywhere.
The warning bells at the back of my mind rang louder, so I stood up, still hugging my Ray pillow. Suddenly loud cracks from the wooden beams came from above and I saw the roof over the lounge collapse. I screamed as I fell hard on the ground from my surprise. What the hell was happening?! Another crack sounded from directly above me and my body moved on its own, rolling me and my Ray pillow under the bed just as the entire roof collapsed heavily on top.
The air from my lungs was forced out and for a moment I couldn’t breathe. A scorching, searing pain burst from my leg and torso that I couldn’t do anything else but scream into the loud and fierce rain and winds over and over again until I could no longer see anything.
“Ray!!! Help!!! Please!!!” But he would’ve already been in the air. He would never save me. He was gone... and I knew that soon enough I would be gone too.
“Ray!!!” I screamed wincing as the scream burned at my scratched up throat. My eyes flew open and the bright lights stung my eyes. Where was I? Heaven? Hell? Oh God, I’d never see Ray again! “Ray!!!”
In the background of my screaming I could hear a frantic beeping. Someone held my hand tightly and I could hear a deep murmuring but couldn’t make out the words. I was so scared and frantic I could barely see anything but the bright lights. I continued screaming, and before I knew it other voices surrounded me and I felt a warm oozing sensation fill my body before the bright lights dimmed and I was back into unconsciousness.
“Ray... Help... please” I whispered into the rain. He wasn’t coming. No one was coming. I was going to die here and the biggest regret I had in my life was not telling Ray I loved him. At least he’ll be happy in the Air Force. The thought made my aching face smile, at least I think I was smiling.
“Seychelles! Can you hear me? Talk to me!”
Oh wow, this must be it... I must be dying. Heaven sure is wonderful to make angels sound like Ray. How could I refuse going into the light when they call me with a voice like his? “Ray... Help... pleas-“ I couldn’t work my mouth any more. I was tired and in so much pain that I was numb already. I hope the actual dying process isn’t painful. I’m coming Ray, I just hope they let me bring my Ray pillow along with me.
With as much effort as I could muster I pried my eyes open, not because of the incessant beeping, but because of a wonderfully familiar scent that caught my nose. Apples and sea salt. I tried to move my hand but it something heavy was holding it down. Slowly, I raked my eyes down my body, which was surprisingly covered by bland sheets, to my hand and saw that it was covered by a large, calloused hand. I followed the hand up to its arm, then shoulder and then to the sleeping face of Ray. My breathing laboured and I began to choke back my tears. Ray was sleeping next to me.
“No...” I whispered. “No, no, no! NO!”
Suddenly Ray’s eyes flew open and pain etched onto his face again. “Seychelles, God baby please not again...” I continued to cry and weep as the same words tumbled out of my mouth. He quickly stood up and pressed a button next to him before holding my hand tightly to his cheek as tears slid down the bridge of his nose. “It’ll be okay Beauty. It’ll be okay... they’re coming. Shhh, I’m here. I’m here...”
I didn’t understand.
I tore my hand away from him and held my hands in fists against my face. “No! Ray! Why you?! Why are you here?! No!!!”
A confused and hurt expression coloured his face and he shook his head slowly. “I don’t understand Seychelles. Do you want me to go? I-... I came here for you. I... I lov-“
“NO!!! You can’t be here!” I screamed. “Go back! Go back!” Ray looked hurt, lost and confused as two women came running in. One held my shoulders down as I continued to scream and the other one disappeared from my sight. “Go back, Ray! Please... go back...”
Blackness was beginning to overcome me again... but the only thing I could think was that Ray shouldn’t be in heaven yet. He should be alive and back in the Air Force. I didn’t think that heaven looked so bleak, but no matter what heaven looked like he shouldn’t be dead like me. He should be alive.
I was pretty sure this was what it felt like to have my heart ripped out and crushed into smithereens. I was sure, so sure, that Seychelles felt the same as I did. I don’t know if I just took her words and actions before all this happened the wrong way but I just thought she loved me too; or was at least on the way to getting there.
But her words cut me like a knife.
Ten years of hard work in the Air Force didn’t hurt as much.
She screamed my name on and off for hours between the times she woke up and I figured she was looking for me. But this last time was the most actively awake and conscious she’d been and the way she looked at me while she screamed at me to go away, to not be here, it truly looked as though she meant it. I stood in my spot as I watched the nurses work over her again. I’d do anything to be in Seychelles’ place, for her to not have to go through this.
I thought that when she woke up that it would be a sweet moment. She’d smile, I’d return it with my own smile and then confess my love for her. This, however, was nothing close to how I expected her waking up to be like. Before the nurses left with their usual looks of sympathy for me I stopped them. “Excuse me, I’m just going to go for a walk... If she wakes up again could you please let me know?” I gave them Tom’s number (something he wouldn’t mind, I was sure) and slipped his phone into my pocket as I briskly walked out of the room with one last glance at the sleeping woman I loved.
I walked down the corridors of the hospital watching the nurses and doctors speed walking everywhere and the patients with their families either smiling or looking solemn. I nodded at a cleaner who had set up a ‘Slippery when wet’ sign on the ground as she started mopping the ground and then kept my head down as I continued walking. I had no idea where I was going. I had no idea what to do.
I found myself staring outside the wide dirty windows at the storm that still brewed outside. What was I supposed to do now? I supposed I could put Seychelles’ screaming down to confusion and being scared but the look in her eyes when she screamed at me... it will always haunt me. The frightened way her pupils constricted as she saw me and the almost painful way she screamed it at me, almost like she couldn’t believe I was there and it actually pained her to see me.
“Ray Hodges?” I turned around and saw Seychelles’ doctor looking at me expectantly. This doctor, who was on shift to take care of Seychelles, was an old greying man who looked like he’d seen his fair share of the world.
“Yes, that’s me” I nodded.
“I’d like to talk to you about your partner, Seychelles Roberts” I frowned but nodded as he led us to an empty set of plastic chairs. “Now, how long have you known Seychelles?”
I let out a breath and counted, “A few months Doc, why?”
“Well, I’m a little concerned about her. The only times she’s been conscious she’s either screamed your name or yelled for help. Now, that was fine considering what she’d gone through but the last time she woke up. She was quite shaken and spoke directly at you”
I didn’t like where this was going. “Yes, that’s right. What are you saying Doc?”
“Now, I don’t have anything against you son, but it’s my job to ask. Has there been any violence between you and Seychelles? Accidental or deliberately?”
I felt gob smacked, and then extremely angry. “No Doc. I would never lay a finger on Seychelles to hurt her. I love that woman like my life depends on it and it kills me, physically kills me, that I can’t do anything to help her through this!”
The doctor held his hands up in defence before scribbling something down on his clip board. “I’m just asking son, like I said I have nothing against you. Now, maybe you can just answer a few questions for me, hmm? It might be able to help us understand what Seychelles is going through and why she acting out like this”
I settled down and nodded again. “Okay, shoot”
“Alright, now I understand when her incident occurred she was alone in the house. Correct?” I nodded, “Okay. Do you two live together? And why was she alone?”
I sighed. I can see that although they were innocent questions, there was still an underlying suspicion to them that I could be abusing her. “No we don’t live together, technically. I was basically over at her house every day and night because at the moment I’m living with my mom. She lives in her house alone”
He scribbled notes down and nodded, “I see. You’re a big, strapping young man though. Is there a reason why you’re living with your mother?”
“I hadn’t been back here for a decade. I’d been overseas in the Air Force for the last ten years and only came back because I was injured. I was sent back here to recuperate and since then I’d been living with my mom. I mean, I didn’t exactly need a house for the ten years I didn’t live here”
Doc nodded and scribbled some more with a look of interest on his face. “Good on you, son. I’m sure your mother would be very proud of you. Now, do you have any idea as to why Seychelles was screaming for you to go back?”
I closed my eyes tight before answering. “I’m supposed to be flying back to the Air Force. I was waiting for the flight when I found out that her house collapsed. I spent the last two days with her and I was unsure whether to go back or stay with her. I was sure she wanted me to go back to the Air Force because she said it would make me happy. But, our feelings were still somewhat new for each other and... I don’t know. I thought she wanted me to go, but then figured out differently when I was at the airport. I was so certain she was saying that she was happy if I was happy. Now... I think I may have gotten it wrong...”
I wasn’t sure why I was babbling my thoughts and feelings to this doctor. It felt as though I was seeing a psychologist but the words just didn’t stop. They tumbled out like word dribble and it was hard for me to stop it. “I love that woman back there Doc. I just need her to get better”
The doctor sighed heavily and stopped scribbling. “Look son, I’ve seen my share of relationships in this hospital and in my life and I think that if she’s reacting this way to you now, it might just be better for you to wait for her to get better at home”
“What you are saying Doc?”
“I’m saying that, for the well-being of my patient, it would be better that you are not with her until she is fully awake and gives permission for you to see her again”
“What? No! Doc she has no one else! You can’t stop me from being by her side!” I was getting riled up. He can’t do that... can he?
I didn’t realise I stood up during my outburst until he sighed and stood up as well. “I can, Ray. And if you truly love Seychelles then you will listen to me. Don’t make this harder for everyone because I will put security outside her room if you do not listen”
I couldn’t believe this! He was actually serious! He was denying me from seeing her until she was better and gives permission for me to see her! I stared him down, giving him my best Beast stare, but he didn’t budge. In the back of my mind I applauded him and felt good that he had the well being of Seychelles so well at hand, but I was beyond furious that it was aimed against me. I felt my shoulders sag and bowed my head, I was giving in... solely because it was for Seychelles. If she cared enough for me then getting her permission wouldn’t be too much of a big deal.
“Fine. But please just let me get my things and say good bye to her for now. Because I can guarantee that when she’s stable she’ll give her permission. I’m already giving into you about not being here Doc so you can bet your old ass that I won’t back down about seeing her before I go”
He nodded and followed me to Seychelles’ room where I collected my bag and walked over to Seychelles. I gazed down at her. Her bruises looked pretty substantial and I bit the inside of my cheek at seeing her like this. “I’ll be back as soon as you say so Beauty. I won’t be too far and no matter what time it is, or for whatever reason, you give me the word and I’ll be by your side in no time at all” I leaned down and gently pressed a lingering kiss to her forehead. “I love you, Seychelles. Hopefully I get to tell you that again very soon”
With one more glance at her beautiful, angelic face I slowly left the room leaving instructions to let Seychelles know what number to call when she wanted to see me.
If she wanted to see me.
My poor Rayray! My heart broke writing this chapter and got so sucked into writing it that it was done in like two hours lol. I was going to wait to upload it but was like ‘what kind of cruel person am I? Upload now you poo face!’ Haha.
Lemme know what you think!
Dedicated to @Bekahelise and her hubby because I think it’s absolutely adorable that they read the story together :D
Anyone else read with their partner?