Bed Of Thornes

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Chapter Three

I wake up feeling rough, as though I haven't slept at all. I peek beside me and see my vibrator resting on the bed. I clutch it in my hand and turn it on to see if it's still alive after my triple threat last night . . . dead, I killed the batteries. Thankfully, I have a drawer packed full of the damned things. I look at my laptop that's at the end of the bed. I left it on all night . . . it's also lifeless. The sun is shining rather brightly – oh no, what time is it?! I check my phone. Nine forty five. I slap my palm onto my forehead and over my eyes. I groan. Not again.

I jump to my feet, run to use the bathroom and freshen up. I brush my teeth and fix my hair as quickly as possible, and rush back into my bedroom to find something in my closet to put on. I pick my favorite blouse and A-line skirt that comes just above my knees. I pull my skirt up and zip it. My phone rings.

"Yes." I say. Normally I would answer more formally, 'Ms. Thorne speaking', but I'm in a panic.

"Ronni, where are you?" Jenna's voice sounds as if she's also panicking.

"I'm on my way Jen, I'll be there as soon as possible."

"Okay, are you all right?"

"I'm fine, I just overslept. Yes, again. Let me finish getting dressed and I'll talk to you when I get there. I'm sorry I left you to open up by yourself for a second day in a row, I don't know what's wrong with me lately."

"Don't worry yourself, just get here before Mr. Clayton shows up this morning. It's Friday." She reminds me.

"Oh shit, I can't be late for this meet up or he'll probably find someone else to do the project for him. Mr. Clayton is very punctual. I just had to be running late on the day I'm to meet with him." I manically ramble. "Ten 'o' clock is our meeting, I have to go!" I hang up the phone before Jenna can get another word in.

I grab my purse, frantically search for my keys that aren't hanging at their usual spot on the wall, and slide my heels on all at once. I dig through my purse, finding my keys next to my wallet. I run out the door, lock it behind me, and hurry to my car. I can't believe that I'm running late for such an important meeting. I'm never late. I need to get my shit together for real. All this mess I've been in with my hormones is putting my career in jeopardy. What's wrong with me? I turn on the ignition, throw it in reverse, and back out of the driveway.

I take the quickest route to the gallery, speeding past all of the traffic on the way. I have three minutes to make it in time but this will take at least another five minutes, if not longer. Damn, I've let too many emotions take over lately, my head is all over the place. I weave in and out of the two lanes and pass up every vehicle going far too slowly. I near a red light and I'm going at least ninety. I slam my foot on the brake.

"NO!!!" I scream as I try to stop in time, but it's too late. The car coming through the green light barrels into mine. Glass breaks like the sound of crackling thunder and it shatters in every direction. The metal of the car makes a soul-crushing noise that rumbles through my chest. My head slams into the driver's side window, bashing out the glass. The car spins out of control, making a complete circle, and bends around a street pole on the other side of the road. Everything goes black and silent.

I pry open my eyes, it feels like I literally have to peel them open. Oh my god, where the fuck am I? I try sitting up but I can't move. I can't move! Am I dead? Am I . . . shit, it even hurts to think right now. Where am I? I want to scream. I can feel myself moving, it feels like I'm floating on my back, with a bump every few seconds. Somebody tell me where I am. Somebody help me! I open my mouth, but nothing comes out. There's something around my neck and on my face restricting me, holding me still and flat as a board. I start to panic inside. I can't see anyone around me. Everything is blurry, but I don't even see a blur of someone. Am I alone? Where am I going? I can tell I'm moving.

All at once I hear a voice and someone leans over me into my visual, the figure is so blurred that I can't tell who it is. I hear them speak again, it's a male's voice. "Ms. Thorne . . . Ms. Thorne, are you awake now?" I can finally make out what the voice is saying, but the figure remains to look like a shadowy blur. "Who . . ." I manage to get out, nothing more than a whisper. I don't think they heard me. I want to ask who they are, I want to know where I am and why I can't move! "Ms. Thorne, just relax, don't try to speak until we can get some tests done. You're on the way to the hospital. You've been in a car accident and you're in an ambulance. We're going to take good care of you, just keep calm and relax your body." The voice says to me in a comforting way, but I feel no comfort at all, I'm scared to death.

A car accident? Holy shit, I remember now. A tear forms in the corner of my right eye. My car, daddy's car. Jenna's probably worried as hell. Mr. Clayton must be so pissed at me right now. And my other clients' projects that I need to work on today . . . oh fuck, this can't be me. Why? Why did this have to happen? I can't breathe. My heart begins to race. I can't breathe! "Relax, Ms. Thorne. You're going through some shock, it'll be all right, calm down so you don't send your body into a panic attack. We are almost there." The figure starts to clear more and I can pick out certain features of an older man with light brown hair and glasses. I can see he has on a uniform.

I suddenly feel sleepy. My eyes start to slowly close. I hear the man's voice, "Don't go to sleep on us, Ms. Thorne. Stay with us." I feel a big bump, that must be the speed bump going into the hospital. So . . . tired . . . I can barely hold one eye slightly open. "Ready." I hear multiple voices, one coming from a radio of sorts, another corresponding with the first voice. "Ready!" One of the voices shout. I can feel myself lift up. They pull me out of the back of the ambulance. I see the clouds above me as I'm brought out and I quickly shut my eyes from the brightness of the daylight.

They both grab the sides of the bed that I'm laid out on. Another couple of people join them and they all wheel me inside of the hospital. I can't see any of their faces, all I can see is the white tiled ceiling flying by above me. Voices, words, and noises are spitting out everywhere around me. I hear so much at once, I can't understand anything. I continue to be wheeled down the long hallways, what's beginning to seem like an everlasting torture of ceiling tiles. My eyes are rapidly opening and closing. Trying to keep myself awake but so desperately tired. I just want to close my eyes, they hurt. Everything hurts.

They finally pull me into a room. "One, Two, Three!" I hear. "AHHH!" I let out a scream as I suddenly feel an excruciating pain shoot through my spine while they lift me up and over to slide me on the other bed. "Sorry, Ms. Thorne." I hear a female say, she must be one of the nurses in the room. A brightness is in front of my face without warning, my eyes just about jerk backwards into my skull to hide from the stunning light. "Ms. Thorne, can you open your eyes more for me hon." The same female voice asks. I force them open as wide as I can. "We need to look at your pupils and see if you can follow this light. Can you follow it with just your eyes for me please?" She sweetly asks. I move my eyes along with the movement of the light. "Great, thank you sweetie." The nurse says to me as she takes away the light. Now I have to adjust to the normal florescent lighting in the room.

"Can you say your name for me?" She requests.

My name . . . this should be easy enough. "Veron---" My voice cracks. Okay, maybe not so simple. I clear my throat and try again. "Veronica" I harshly whisper.

A male voice steps in. "Can you tell us your full name, Veronica?"

"Veronica Thorne" I get out as clearly as possible so I don't get asked again. I hear beeping all around me, machines I'm assuming.

"Veronica, I'm Doctor Clayton. I'll be taking care of you today, along with my incredible staff of nurses and interns. I see you got quite banged up this morning. On your way to meet with me?"

No way, it can't be. I turn my eyes towards the doctor speaking. My client, Mr. Clayton, I was supposed to be meeting with him at my gallery. I know he's a doctor at this hospital, but I didn't figure he'd be here. "Mr. Clayton?" I ask, confused.

"The person who collided with your vehicle . . . it was me, Veronica. I was running late to meet with you. I assume you were also running late. As soon as I hit you, I was able to stop my vehicle and climb out unharmed besides a few bruises from impact. I ran to see if the other person involved was all right then I realized it was you. You were blacked out. I called the ambulance, not wanting to move you in case of any injury that could worsen. I followed behind them the whole way, ready to do whatever was needed to make sure you would be okay. I was in a slight shock knowing the person I was headed to meet with is the one I almost killed." He confesses all of this to me while the nurses prep to have me tested.

"I don't know what to say, this is crazy." I tell him, still in complete shock and speechless from how all of this occurred.

"You don't have to say anything, try to clear your mind as much as possible right now. We're going to get some x-rays done. I just wanted to let you know what happened so you wouldn't be so confused." He explains. "I'll see you shortly, I'm going to have Nurse Teresa take you back to the Radiology Lab."

"Oh, okay." I force a weak smile at him.

"You'll be all right, I promise." He says with a certain gleam in his eyes.

Dr. Clayton walks off and the nurse comes over to me. "Hello, Ms. Thorne. I'm Nurse Teresa Rodriguez and I'll be helping the doctor get some testing done on you today. What is your level of pain right now on a scale of one to ten?" She asks with her clipboard in hand waiting on my response.

I can't even think straight. Mr. Clayton, well Doctor Clayton, was the one who hit me? All of this because we were both rushing to meet. It's so bizarre. Now here I am and he is the one caring for me in the hospital. What a twisted situation. My stomach starts to do flips, I feel nauseated.

"Ten, I've never felt this horrible in my entire life, definitely a ten." I tell the nurse, realizing she was patiently waiting on me to answer.

"Okay, and do you have any allergies to medications or any possibilities of pregnancy?" She jots down my reply as I answer no to both questions. "All right Veronica, we're going to take you back to Radiology and get this process started so you can rest soon."

A male nurse and Teresa grab the sides of my bed to wheel it out of the room. As I'm lying there, once again staring at the ceiling go by, I can't help but start to cry. I wish my dad was here, or my mom, both of them would be nice. I feel so alone. Does anyone know that I just brushed shoulders with death? Jenna, oh god, I wonder if Jenna knows yet. She was there waiting for me to arrive. She must know something is wrong. Maybe one of my other friends or regular clients has heard the news. I just want someone I know to be here, I feel like I did die or I'm in a bad dream with nobody around to help me out of it.

They pull me into a dark room with very little light, it's so quiet in here. I feel cold and tired. My tears stop, I can feel them starting to dry beside my eyes but still wet where they have fallen into my ears. My mouth is so dry, I almost can't swallow. Let me out of this damn contraption so I can get a drink and lay the hell down already. My anger starts to kick in. Angry that I'm in this situation at all. Angry that my dad is dead and not here to comfort me. Angry that my mom doesn't even know and isn't here with me. Angry that I have nobody who cares enough to come see me and let me know I'm not utterly alone in this fucking world. Angry that my dad's car is totaled, at least I assume it is, I don't even want to see how bad it is. Angry that I can't get a grip on my life lately. Why?

"Veronica, we're going to lift you onto this table to get your x-rays done, you might be uncomfortable for a moment." The male nurse warns me. I'm silent. I don't care anymore. Just get it over with. They slide me onto the x-ray table, it's cold as death. My back feels like it's breaking. My heart is already broken, what a fantastic match. "Hold your breath, please . . . okay, let it out." Teresa says from behind the monitor room. "One more deep breath in . . . and you can release." They take a series of x-rays and move me back to my original bed. "All right, let's get you back to where the doctor can have a look at the x-rays and talk with you." We proceed down the hall and they wheel me back into the initial room.

I want to scream.

After what seems like hours, Dr. Clayton knocks and comes in. "Veronica, how are you feeling?" What a stupid question doctors ask when they know you're feeling like you're half dead. I just look at him. Anger, hurt, and sickness still residing within me. "Well I got the results of the x-rays and it looks like you're going to be fine. You do have some bruising on your muscle tissues in your back and what looks like a very minor hairline fracture on your shoulder blade. But nothing too serious and will heal rather quickly. No broken bones or hemorrhaging, so we're very happy about that."

"That's good to know." I say without emotion.

"Definitely.” He briefly pauses. "Veronica, I know it's rough going through such a terrible accident. I hope that you will be all right after all of this, emotionally and mentally, it can take a real toll on someone to deal with such an experience. I want to deeply apologize. Believe me, I may seem calm and collected, but inside I'm beating myself up over this. If there's anything I can do for you, outside of the hospital stay, please don't hesitate to let me know."

"Thanks." My words are short. I really don't know what else to say. I'm not upset with him, I'm frustrated with the entire situation, I wish I could just rewind.

He puts his hand on my knee, pats it gently as if to say he's sorry again, and walks off. I could tell he was genuinely feeling guilt. My shortness with him probably didn't help much, but I wasn't ready to smile and talk about it.

A few minutes pass, someone knocks and calls in, "Ms. Thorne?" The nurse steps inside and swings open the curtain. "Came to get the braces off for you." She says as she comes close to my bed. She unstraps the Velcro and buckles one by one and gently removes them. Finally free. What a huge relief. She stops me from squirming, "Don't move too much just yet, take it easy, your body has been locked up for many hours and you don't want to strain yourself."

"Thank you so much, it feels like I was just released from a strait jacket." I chuckle a bit. The first time I had a smile on my face since this incident.

"I can imagine." She laughs.

My smile quickly fades as I think about things.

The nurse starts gathering the braces to take with her. "Do you need anything?" She asks me before heading out the door.

I look at her with tears starting to form in my eyes and ask, "Do you know if anyone has called or came by looking for me?" I feel pitiful for even asking, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I could have died and nobody would've had a clue.

She shakes her head, "Not that I'm aware, honey, but I'll double check for you."

I force a crooked smile, "I appreciate it."

She turns to head out the big door and turns back around to close the curtain, "Are you sure I can't get you anything, water maybe?"

A tear is falling down my face. "That sounds nice, thank you."

She smiles, "All right, I'll bring it right in for you." She turns to open the door with the braces in hand and leaves.

I go full blown bawling, my emotions are a complete wreck and I feel like I would have rather died. It's so cold and empty in this hospital room, the walls are white and bare. The clock is ticking away on the wall. I can hear people walking by the door in the hallway every so often, distant voices as they pass. My heart feels as empty as this dead room. Nobody has even called the hospital? Wait, I wonder if my belongings were brought with me. I didn't even think to ask. There could possibly be missed calls on my phone. I press the nurse's station call button.

"Can I help you?" A static voice asks over the intercom to the room.

I clear my throat, "Do you know if my purse or phone were brought to the hospital?"

There's a short pause. "Yes Ms. Thorne, your purse is in the locker closet in your room. Do you need someone to come in and get it for you?"

I look over at the tall closet by the door. "No, thank you, I can manage."

The nurse tells me to buzz if I need anything else and I put the call button towards the end of the bed, in case I fall when attempting to get up. I slowly bring my legs over to the edge of the bed and carefully let them down to the floor. Damn this floor is like ice. I'm nervous to walk yet, but hopefully my body is ready for it. I ease up from the bed and stand up like a shaking newborn fawn. I sit back down then begin to proceed to try again. I hold onto the rail of the bed and start shifting my steps toward the closet. Inching my way there, I reach the closet door and tightly grip the metal handle, pulling it open to reveal my purse hanging inside. I grab it, making sure to hold onto the closet door for stability.

Okay, time to sit back down, my back is killing me. Where's my pain medication? I could use that right about now. Oh, and that water I was promised. I couldn't wait to sit back down, I dig into my purse as I'm barely taking steps back to the bed. My phone is flashing, I pull it out and press the notification button on the screen. Nice, the battery is dying. That's my notification. Not one call. Really? Oh wait, a text, from Jenna. I knew she'd be concerned if nobody else.

'Ronni, I'm on my way to the hospital as soon as I lock up, please be okay' read the text. It was sent three hours ago, it must have been when she found out. Where is she though? It's been hours since she said she would be here. I hope she's all right.

I've almost made it to the bed when someone knocks on the door and walks in. I turn my head to see who it is since I didn't hear anyone say anything.


I practically collapse.

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