″Good afternoon, Dr. Anne. You’re glowing today,″ One of the nurses say as she smiles at me, making my cheeks heat up at her compliment before smiling back at her; stopping near the counter to write down my latest reports as I gaze up at the television, seeing a robbery happened at the national bank which causes me to frown.
″What is wrong with the world?″ I mutter under my breath.
″Everything is wrong. It’s such a shame to live in a world like this where humans are the main cause of destruction,″ Penelope, one of the nurses here replies, her eyes wandering up to the television again before sighing. ″How are you, Dr. Anne?″ She asks.
″Good. What about you, Penelope?″ I respond, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear before dropping the pen with the reports; shoving both of my hands into my coat’s pockets.
″Restless night with Johnny,″ She chuckles.
Johnny, her two-year-old son has been her main source of happiness after her husband passed away due to cancer. Apparently, she and Johnny always seem happy together to an extent that it makes me want to have that kind of life where I’d look at my son’s face and just be content.
Just as I’m about to respond, she continues. ″Babies, toddlers, kids . . . they just suck the energy out of you. So, believe me, appreciate your current situation while you can because once you start popping one out . . . boy, don’t let me get started.″ She adds and we both continue to laugh, my head shaking as I agree to her statement.
″I’ll keep that in mind,″ I wave at her before walking down the hallway, heading straight towards Albert’s room.
My eyes widen as soon as I see an unknown young man with dark brown hair stands near Albert’s bed, smiling as they talk about something but as soon as I step inside, they both turn to look at me. The unfamiliar man appears to look quite familiar if I keep on looking at Albert and back at him for a few times which makes me wonder, who is he?
The man takes one hand out from his slacks’ pocket before giving me a handshake, in which I accept. ″Brayden Adams,″ He introduces himself, making me furrow at his last name.
He cuts me off, ″Albert Adam’s son.″
I remain speechless as I stand in the middle of the room before clearing my throat, ″How rude of me. I’m Kenna Ashton, your father’s neurologist. It’s just that I’ve never seen you before but Albert has mentioned you a few times,″ I reply with a small smile plastered on my face.
Albert’s son, Brayden, nods his head with his lips slowly curving up into a smile. ″Can we talk outside, Dr. Anne?″ He glances down at my tag before gesturing for both of us to step out of his father’s room.
My eyes wander to Albert who keeps on staring at his late wife’s scarf as I follow Brayden out. As soon as we’re standing in the hallway, he starts to let out a deep breath. ″I’m sure he has told you about my sudden disappearance and I don’t blame him, as his doctor, you should know everything that is going on with his life but I had my reasons. It took me years and a lot of regrets but I’m here and I want to be there for him,″ He speaks.
″I understand, Mr. Adams but—″
″Brayden’s fine,″ He cuts me off.
I blink a few times, ″Right, Brayden . . . I understand but your disappearance did affect him in ways I can’t possibly put into words. He was devastated especially about his late wife, your mother but now that you’re back in his life, I’m actually more than glad.″ I reply.
He breathes out and I take my moment to eye the man in front of me, seeing him standing quite tall in his suit and tie, leaving me to believe that he’s probably a lawyer or something much more . . . formal with his hair neatly combed to the back but with a few strands out. It doesn’t take me long to realise just how much he looks like Albert when he was young and believe me, he stands with a seven.
″I want to be there for him. To make sure that he’s happy because that’s what he needs,″ He continues to speak, ″Look . . . I’m not the perfect son, I may have lost track of time and I may have forgotten about my responsibility but I want to fix that starting now,″ He adds.
″What are you saying?″ I ask, raising an eyebrow.
″I want him to be discharged with only monthly check-ups. I think he has been at the hospital long enough,″ He replies.
I nod my head, ″There’s definitely nothing wrong with that. I’ll handle the papers. Give me an hour or two, tops?″ I ask him, wanting to receive other confirmations from the other two doctors that have been attending him for the past years, wanting to make sure that Albert does not have any chronic diseases that would cause any malfunctions or disruptions in his daily life as soon as he is discharged.
″Thank you, Dr. Anne.″ He smiles.
Just like that, he walks back inside, leaving me to think that miracles do happen in life and they’re by far unexpected. With that, I walk down the hall and straight towards the emergency room, wanting to meet with Dr. Lin who has been handling Albert’s prescriptions according to his daily needs.
″Kenna!″ Lucas calls out which causes me to turn and smile at him, ″Talk to you, later?″
I raise my hand up before giving him a thumbs up as I run down the hallway, straight towards the emergency room but to stop dead at my tracks as soon as my eyes land on a familiar face being pushed on the stretchers which causes my whole body to freeze as everything slows down.
The same dark brown hair, the same features and even the same everything with one slight different which is small bruises forming on his face as blood continues to glide down from his forehead and even from the back of his head, making me run after him, my heart racing with every step.
″Wait! Wait!″ I call out as one of the doctors turn while the other nurses continue to push him straight towards the operating room.
The doctor stops to grab onto my arms, trying to calm me down as soon as he realises my hands are shaking in shock, my eyes are tearing up and even my lips are trembling. ″Where are you taking him? Wh—where are you taking him?!″ I stutter, trying to push past him but he continues to hold me back, calming me down.
″Kenna . . . Kenna, calm down.″ He breathes.
With all of my strength, I push him away before I immediately run down the hallway, catching after the stretcher; stopping them in the middle of the lobby just as I get a closer look at Aidan’s face, seeing one of the nurses trying to pump oxygen into his windpipe with both of his eyes closed, his tie gone and a few buttons undone.
Without even thinking straight, I start to grab onto his left hand, seeing the same wedding band which causes me to close my eyes as the tears are streaming down my cheeks; coming to fact that this is all hard to believe, not wanting to even accept the fact about his current condition.
″Dr. Anne, this patient needs to be in the operating room as soon as possible.″ One of the nurses say, but my grip around his hand continues to tighten as the pain in my chest increases.
″The patient is her husband,″ My eyes look up to the previous doctor who tried to stop me, Dr. Williams, says before crouching down to my level. ″Kenna, you need to let him go. He’s going to be alright if you just let go,″ He says as he gestures towards my hand, trying to make me loosen my grip.
Slowly but surely, my hands around his loosen and they begin to push the stretcher straight towards the operating room, leaving me on the ground with Dr. Williams trying to calm me down by rubbing onto the back of my body as unexpected sobs begin to escape from my mouth, leaving me to place one hand on my chest near my heart, feeling the clenching.
″Just save him,″ I grab onto his collar as he nods, his hands grabbing onto mine to slowly caress the back of it before quickly running into the operating room, leaving me on the ground as tears are continuing to fall.
Ten minutes have passed and my eyes are remain staring onto the doors as I sit on the nearest bench, my heart beating fast and my fingers shaking in anticipation before seeing Williams coming out, his eyes show slight amount of relief as soon as he sees me.
I stand up as he starts to speak, ″We need a neurologist. You’re all we got,″ He says, leaving me to feel the sudden waves to past through in my body as my legs weaken but I immediately nod my head; knowing that Aidan needs me.
″I’m all you got?″ I ask as we both immediately walk back inside the operating room.
Without even caring, I immediately take my coat off and head straight towards the locker room at the back before taking my clothes off, pushing them away as I change into my scrubs after tying my hair up into a high ponytail. Then, I make my way towards the sink before pressing my leg to turn the water on as I wash my hands with the assigned soap.
Williams remains near the door, ″You’re the fastest we can get. I’m sorry, Kenna but he’s not in the best condition and you’re the quickest option,″ He replies as we both step inside, all of the nurses turn to look at us while the other two doctors are exchanging glances.
One of the nurses walk towards me to get me ready with the gloves and all before letting me walk towards his figure, my heart racing with each step I take but I keep myself strong for him.
″Are you okay, Dr. Anne?″ David asks, my fellow colleague who has been working with me ever since but he’s a cardiologist. I turn to look at him and see that he has a concern look plastered on his face which causes me to nod.
″Whenever you’re ready,″ Williams add as he stands at the back with David standing by to make sure that his heart’s beating normally.
My eyes wander down to Aidan’s head, seeing that he is facing the other way, leaving me to look up at the X-ray on the screen; seeing the damage while Dr. Willows—my fellow neurosurgeon waits for me to explain the necessary damage. Even though Willows is very good and an expert in this but as a neurologist . . . there are certain things that I know and he doesn’t. He’s more into performing surgery for patients with brain tumours and such while I try to diagnose the patient’s sudden and certain pains.
″When did this happen . . . ″ I mutter under my breath, furrowing my brow at the sight of the injury in his neck.
Willows raises an eyebrow, ″What is it?″
″Anterior cervical discectomy,″ I reply before slowly looking down at Aidan’s face, seeing both of his eyes closed as he is breathing with the help of a machine; leaving me to think that the sudden blow to the head has somehow cause a damage to his spinal cord.
″Do we need an otolaryngologist?″ Williams speaks from behind.
″No, we don’t. I have to expose his spine through an incision in front of his neck next to his windpipe,″ Willows replies, nodding his head a few times. ″Through that incision, I’ll remove the herniated disk and any bone spurs that may be causing pain. Afterward, the space left between the vertebrae is refilled with a piece of bone either his own, taken from his hip bone, or a bone graft from a donor or other material, fusing the adjacent vertebrae together.″
″We don’t have time for a bone graft or other material,″ I mutter.
″You’re allowing me to take it from his hip bone?″
My eyes meet with Willows, leaving me sighing deeply at the decision before looking at the more severe damage done to his brain. ″That’s not my only concern. He may be in a coma,″
I continue to speak, ″His brain is swelling as a result of trauma and the fluid pushes up against the skull. This will eventually cause the brain to push down on the brain stem which can damage the RAS,″ With every word that has left my lips is only causing me more and more pain.
″RAS?″ David asks, furrowing his brows.
″Reticular Activating System. A part of the brain that’s responsible for arousal and awareness,″ I reply before sighing, ″Which will only cause an anoxic brain injury,″
Without me realising, my hands are already shaking which causes David to grab onto them, looking me straight in the eyes—trying to calm me down by rubbing soothingly onto my back with his other hand, making me nod a few times, assuring myself.
″You can wait outside, Kenna.″ Willows says, the room quiet with only the sound of the machine beeping.
Williams steps beside me, ″I’ll take it from here.″
My eyes wander to look at him before nodding and take a few steps back to look down at my hands, leaving me to walk out of the operating room.
My heart clenches at the sight of him as I fall onto the ground, running my fingers through my hair as soon as I’ve taken the gloves off—letting the tears fall down my cheeks again, leaving me to place a hand on my mouth to avoid any further sobbing.
″God,″ I mutter as I feel the pain continue to increase without showing any signs of letting me breathe properly.
With every step I take towards the intensive care unit, my heart continues to race because I know that as soon as I reach the room, his family will be there; Diana, Marc, Mia and even Harley but of course, not Alain which is not a surprise because according to Aidan, he’s nowhere to be found for the past weeks.
I walk inside the intensive care unit before taking a deep breath and step inside his own private room, seeing Diana, Marc, Harley and Mia turn to look at me. Their eyes widen at my sight and within seconds, I feel Diana pulling me in for a hug; leaving me to feel my eyes tearing up again.
″I’m sorry, Kenna.″ Diana whispers as she wipes away her own tears.
″Where’s the doctor?″ Marc asks, he seems to hesitate at first according to the look on his face before turning to look at his son, who seems to be in the same position ever since he was placed here a couple of hours ago after the surgery.
I stand in the middle of the room as they all continue to look at me, ″I’m the doctor. ″
Mia’s eyes widen, turning to look at Harley in surprise before she breathes out while Diana and Marc appears to be speechless; their eyebrows frowning but their eyes are wet with tears. ″A neurologist . . . why?″ Diana mutters.
″Aidan’s in a coma due to anoxic brain injury,″ I reply and the four of them turn to look at Aidan, seeing the machine helping him to breathe. ″A brain condition caused by total lack of oxygen to the brain and lack of oxygen for a few minutes causes cell death to brain tissues. He had a severe blow to the head,″ I mutter, somehow hard for me to let the words escape my lips; knowing that this is normal procedure for the doctor to explain about the patient’s current condition but with me being involved with the patient and family, it’s somehow hard for me to even breathe.
″Oh my god,″ Harley breathes out.
″I’m sorry,″ I say before feeling the tears escape from my eyes which causes Mia to immediately pull me in for a hug; her arms wrapping tightly around my body, ″I’m so sorry,″ I continue.
″I need a few minutes to myself,″ Marc says before stepping out of the room, the tension rising in here as Harley takes a seat, her mouth slightly apart as she looks down at the ground while Diana starts to grab onto Aidan’s hand, her tears running down her face.
″It’s not your fault. You saved his life,″ Mia whispers near my ear as she continues to soothingly rub onto my back, letting me snuggle closer as my eyes land on Aidan’s figure, seeing both of his eyes closed with the bandage wrapped around his head and neck due to the injury and the surgery as his mouth is slightly apart due to the machine helping him breathe.
″Mother, I think we should give them a minute.″ Mia turns to look at her mother, as they both nod before Diana smiles at me as the three of them walk out of the room, leaving me alone with Aidan who seems to soundly sleeping in his coma.
I take a seat beside him, eyeing down at his chest to see it moving up and down in a slow pace before grabbing onto his hand, gripping hard. My heart clenches at the sight of him and it’s only hurting me more to see him laying on the bed as if he’s lifeless with only the machine helping him breathe for the meantime.
″I’m going to assign you to another doctor,″ I mutter under my breath. ″I can’t do this, Aidan. I can’t always be in the same room as you to check your conditions and be disappointed if you’re not making any progress. I want to be in this room to talk to you everyday or when you wake up but I’m not strong enough to disappoint myself,″ I say.
″I don’t know when you’re going to wake up. You’re not showing any signs and your injury is quite severe—it’s painful for me to say this but, Aidan, you’re a rare case.″ My voice almost inaudible at the end as I lift his hand closer to my face, feeling the same warmth meeting my skin.
″Don’t leave me, Aidan. You have to come back to me. You have to come back to me,″ I close my eyes to let the tears stream down cheeks, leaving me to hold my breath. ″Please, come back to me.″
I wipe away the fallen tears before I begin to entwine our fingers together, eyeing how his hands are much bigger than mine but whenever we hold hands or have our fingers entwine, we just fit perfectly. I place the back of his hand on the side of my cheek, somehow reminding back of when we were together and how he was touching me endlessly, it felt like hours ago.
Just like that, I kiss the back of his hand. ″I love you. I’ll wait for you—it doesn’t matter how long it will take for you to wake up because I’ll be here everyday just like how we promised,″ I breathe.
As I step out of his room and walk away from the intensive care unit, I look up to see Flynn staring back at me, his eyes are red as his hands hold onto Aidan’s phone. He walks towards me, ″Hi, Kenna . . . this belongs to you,″ He hands me the phone, letting me press the ‘home button’ to look at his lock screen, seeing a picture of me smiling as I was looking at the camera.
″Thanks, Flynn.″ I mutter.
Just as I’m about to walk away, ″I was there, Kenna. I was there with him,″ He stops me which causes me to turn around and look at him, seeing his shirt is slightly dirty with blood.
″Are you hurt, Flynn? That blood—″
He cuts me off, ″—is not mine. I want to say sorry. I should’ve done something but I was scared, I was shocked and I didn’t know how to react. They had guns, Kenna . . . they were, they—″
I immediately grab onto his hand, ″Stop. Don’t force yourself. Don’t blame yourself, either. Anyone would’ve been as scared as you and it’s not your fault, Flynn. You and Aidan were just at the wrong place and at the wrong time,″ I reply.
″Go home, please. Take care of yourself,″ I add before I continue to walk down the road, my whole body continues to weaken with every step I take but I try my best to stay strong.
To my surprise, I find Dimitri immediately pulling me in for a hug as soon as he sees me, his arms wrapped around my body as he snuggles close, letting me place both of my hands on his back.
″Are you okay?″ He asks, pushing my hair away from my face.
Without even needing to utter any words to tell him the truth, Dimitri seems to have caught and understood just how things are not going well as he continues to rub onto my back. My heart clenches at the thought of Aidan laying motionless in his room, not knowing when he’ll be able to wake up and see the sunrise or the sunset in the nearest future and it pains me.
″I’m here. I’ll always be here,″ Dimitri whispers.
After standing and being in his arms for approximately five minutes, he pulls my body away to look down at my face before he starts to wipe away the fallen tears as we both walk down the hallway, straight towards one of the benches where less people are wandering with only a few nurses and doctors hurrying away.
″How did you know?″ I ask, turning to look at him as he runs his fingers through his thick yet neat hair.
″I’m on his emergency contacts.″ He replies and I look down at my phone to see a couple of missed calls from an unknown number, realising how Dimitri and I have always been on his emergency contacts—it has been that way ever since we started owning a phone. ″Kenna, this is fucking insane. I’m losing my mind,″ He adds.
″He was just at the wrong place and at the wrong time,″ I mutter under my breath.
″They’ve captured them. All of them,″ He replies. ″They deserve to rot in jail just as much as they deserve to rot in hell—they tried to harm a child, for god’s sake. Who does that?″ He continues to speak. ″What is wrong with the whole damn world?″
Just as I turn to look up at Dimitri, an unknown person calls out my name which causes me to turn and see two men standing with their badges—making me blink a few times, ″Mrs. Kenna Ashton—wife of Aidan Gabriel Ashton?″ One of them asks, leaving me to nod.
″Do you have a moment? We have to talk regarding your husband,″ He continues.