Tenacious Sky

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Chapter 35

I woke to the sound of beeping. My eyes shot open to reveal a cream white hospital room. I sat up slowly to find I was hooked up to a breathing machine, IV and other various cords. My chest was freed and I was wearing a hospital gown.

"You're finally awake," Leo said from beside me. He was sitting in a chair by the bed. He looked exhausted.

"What happened?" I asked quickly. The last I remembered, I'd just won Nationals.

"After your match, you passed out on the stage. You weren't breathing. EMTs responded. Your heart stopped from too much pressure. They had to resuscitate you and bring you here. You've been on a steroid drip and life support for three weeks. They induced a coma to give your body time to heal. Everyone knows you're a girl now," Leo said. The way he said it sounded scary. Was I really that close to death?

"Almost a month? Where are we?" I asked. He held my hand in his as he took a breath.

"We're still in Colorado. Your state was too critical to move you," he explained. "Do you know how worried I was? You died... right in front of me, Sky!" He said angrily as tears rimmed his eyes. I suddenly felt bad. Being that I was unconscious the whole time, I couldn't even imagine the scene. I squeezed his hand in mine gently.

"I'm sorry, Leo. I didn't expect things to go that far. I didn't mean to scare you," I apologized. He huffed out a breath before sitting on the edge of my bed. He stared at my hand as he played with it.

"I've never been so scared in my life, and coming from me, that's saying something. I want you to promise me that you'll never consider winning more important than your own life ever again. I know you decided to just push down the warning signs your body probably gave you," he said.

"I promise," I said softly.

"You're parents are here. They want to take you home after you're discharged," he switched the subject.

"But-"

"They already gathered your things from Preston Hills, and I wouldn't argue with them if I were you. They're very angry and worried and anxious. You're precious to them, and me. I can understand their feelings. Watching someone you love die is not a pleasant feeling. It's something I never want to go through again. I'm sure they feel the same. You weren't being fair to us this time," he cut me off. I shut my mouth before just nodding. I put Leo and my parents through a lot because of my stubbornness.

"Why about Nationals?" I asked.

"You still have the nerve to ask?" He glanced at me. He watched my face for a Monet before he shook his head with a ghost of a smile.

"Technically, you won, but the review board argued about it for two weeks. In the end, they allowed you to keep the first place. Preston Hills got first as well, but in order to prevent this again, all athletes have to go through a physical by an approved doctor before being registered to compete. Meaning all school applications now require a physical by the school's doctor," he explained. I chuckled slightly. Leo scoot closer to me before hugging me, careful of my words. He sighed in relief on contact.

"You have no idea what you put me through this time," he breathed. I hugged him back and allowed my eyes to close.

"I'm sorry, and I love you," I said quietly. Leo called the doctor in to have him check me. After a thorough examination, I the chest monitoring and breathing cords were taken away. All that was left was an IV for fluids. My parents rushed in and stared at me for a while as Leo moved from beside me. My mom gave me a bone-crushing hug first.

"Sky! You worried us all to death!" She said in relief.

"I know, and I'm sorry," I apologized. I felt like I would be apologizing a lot before this all blew over. They stayed and talked with me for a bit as Leo stood off to the side quietly. Finally my mom noticed him.

"It's Leo, right? We met you at the open house," my mom remembered. Leo nodded with a small smile.

"Yes mam," he answered.

"We never got the whole story of how you ended up hurt at a fencing competition. I thought Stone Lake didn't offer fencing," my dad finally asked the question I was dreading. I looked at my hospital sheets and gathered myself before I gave them the general run down of how I got into Preston Hills. I didn't tell them about dating Leo or nurse Jackie's help, but I told them about my time fencing there.

"So you've been at the all-boys boarding school this whole time, and nobody noticed?" My father asked skeptically.I blushed and glanced at where Leo was still standing quietly.

"Well, Leo actually found out the first day because we ended up being roommates, but he felt bad for me so he kept my secret. Eventually, a small group from Preston Hills and Stone Lake found out too, but they also kept my secret, but that wasn't too long ago. You met Freya at the open house. She was one of those friends," I explained. My dad turned to look at Leo.

"You roomed with my daughter for almost the whole school year, and you knew she was a girl? Why didn't you report her to the school?" My dad asked accusingly. Leo finally took a step towards us.

"I felt bad for Sky, and I understood her. If she was willing to hide herself and stay at an all-boys' school despite the risks just to be trained, I knew she wanted it badly enough. I didn't have the heart to report her," Leo answered. My mom sighed as she held my hand in hers gently.

"I mean, I always knew you loved fencing, but I never thought you would go this far. At the end of the day, was it worth it?" My mom asked. I didn't hesitate as I nodded.

"I didn't mean to worry everyone, but I would do it again if given the chance. I've improved so much under Coach Race, and I also made a lot of good friends. I won Nationals, mom," I said as a smile slipped onto my face. She sighed as she shook her head at me. She pinched my cheek gently.

"Still as cheeky as ever," she joked. I felt like the tension in the room finally dissipated as I chuckled along with everyone. I was happy that I least made it through Nationals before passing out. Like I told my mom, everything was worth it.
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