“Good morning, Detective Morello.” Gladys, the personal caregiver he had hired to take care of Madison, greeted him as he entered her private room at Pinecrest Recovery. He had no intention of keeping her in a completely open public place like a hospital that allowed easy access for Donovan to finish the job. Hell would freeze over before he let that happen.
“Good morning, Gladys.” He greeted back, setting down his breakfast on the counter before approaching Madison to give her a soft kiss on the forehead. “Any improvement?” His eyes sadly cast their gaze onto her reddened, and swollen closed eyelids just longing to stare into her mesmerizing chocolate pools of honey; ones that always drew him in, giving him the peace he much lacked nowadays since falling back into his usual depressive routine without her by his side.
“No, Detective. I’m afraid not.” Glady’s crestfallen face matched his upon receiving the same news he had been getting for the past two weeks since she was admitted. It hadn’t been easy on him either as she was his main support, but he promised himself he would be there for her just like he had been before until she woke up. There was no ‘if’ in his mind, but rather a certainty that she would wake up when her body was fully healed. It was one of the main reasons why he spent his month-long ban from work by her side. He wanted to be the first person she saw when she opened those beautiful eyes, not wanting to give the satisfaction to another to have the honor of sharing such a moment.
She was his and his alone, and he would be damned if anyone took her away from him.
It had, unfortunately, taken such drastic measures to make Alessandro realize that what he felt for Madison ran deeper than just a caring and friendly form of affection.
He was in love.
He was a fucking idiot not to have realized his feelings for her sooner than later. Seeing her state now, he punished himself daily for having wasted so much time trying to convince himself that it was all merely platonic. Oh, how he wished more than anything to get that time back and pamper her with hugs, kisses, flowers, chocolates, breakfast in bed, spa days, and her favorite, foot massages. He had taken her granted, but no more. He would wait forever until she woke up to smother her with love until she drowned in it, wanting nothing more than for her to cling on to him as her lifesaver.
Since her accident, he became a sort of martyr, inflicting pain on himself to try and rid of such unpleasant thoughts as he recalled his last moments with her, more specifically, his last words. He had been vile, cruel, and by far, heartless. His only source of comfort was her pillow when he continuously struggled to fall asleep at night knowing it was solely his fault that she was here. The smell was faint, but it was enough to bring forth the tranquility to his nightmares as he drifted off to sleep. He had even gone as far as stealing her perfume from her bedroom vanity in order to never lose nor forget her scent along with one of her nightgowns.
He felt like a fucking stalker.
But now, nothing else mattered besides her health. He had even postponed his search on Donovan until a new lead showed up. For now, she was his number one priority.
“What are you doing?” Alessandro’s eyes flickered over to Gladys as she was walking out with his breakfast bag.
“Heating up your breakfast.” She winked before stepping out, not giving him a chance to stop her. He scoffed amusingly before pulling up a chair next to her bed. Gladys knew he always ate it cold, and no matter how many times he refused a warm meal, not feeling right that he had all the luxuries that Madison didn’t, she still always microwaved it for him.
“I’m sorry Maddie.” He spoke whilst intertwining her hand in his whilst resting his head near her arm on the soft mattress. He had dug deep into his savings to purchase a customized Certi-PUR-US foam mattress to aide in her bedridden state. The combination of foam layers were specifically designed to help with heat transfer, neck and spine alignment, which assisted in the prevention of skin ulcers, pressure relief as well as a cooling gel that helped the patient sleep cool. It would also adjust to her body movement if she ever had any. Taking her physical insecurities into account, he was practically sold when the durable base prevented sagging and sinking. It cost a pretty penny, but she was worth that and more.
Alessandro groaned as he heard an incessant sound but drifted back into sleep.
“Is he dead?”
Gladys gasped at Mindy’s comment.
“He is most certainly not.” She asserted, hastily twisting her body towards the young nurse assistant. “He’s just obviously dead tired. I don’t think he’s getting much sleep at home. I mean look at him.” She pointed out to his sallow, tired face that showcased newly formed undereye dark circles and two-week old stubble with lackluster hair that obviously needed a trimming. “Poor thing. He’s here every day since seven in the morning and doesn’t leave until eleven at night.”
“He didn’t even eat his breakfast.” She remarked.
“Try again.” Mindy said, hopeful.
“If I die, you’re next.” Gladys retorted, leaving a wide-eyed and petrified looking Mindy rooted to her place as she turned her back to Alessandro. They had been advised by Patrick of his instability and short temper, so they always practically walked on eggshells around him as well as all the other employees on the same floor.
“Detective Morello.” She carefully nudged his upper arm. “It’s already noon. I brought you food.” She nudged him once more.
Alessandro slowly fluttered his eyes open only to be startled upon seeing Glady’s face so close to his.
“Jesus Christ woman. Do you want to give me a heart attack?” He belted loudly, trying to regain his composure as he controlled his breathing as he placed a hand on his chest.
Mindy pressed her lips together to stifle a giggle, but Alessandro heard it.
“Who’s this?” His cheeky, yet tiresome demeanor quickly changed, causing a shift in the room’s atmosphere. Both ladies gulped hard, their cheery faces dropping as they both felt his dominant aura come through. “Why is there a stranger in Madison’s room?” Alessandro gritted through his teeth, not feeling secure with just anyone coming in without a thorough background check.
“Stop talking.” He sternly ordered, averting his deadly glare to her now submissive figure. Interesting. He briefly thought. “I wasn’t talking to you.” He seethed. “Now,” He turned his attention back to Gladys. “why is she here and who the fuck approved it?” He snarled, making the fifty-year-old lady cower under him.
The facility belonged to his ex-wife’s uncle and had gotten permission to do as he pleased since he was repaying a favor. He even lowered the monthly price to a bare minimum as to not drain his bank account.
“I-I’m so, so, sorry Detective Morello. Yo-you see, she came in as a replacement for Carmen, who quit yesterday. And with such sh-short notice, she was the only viable and available employee at hand with the same credentials.” She stammered, fearing the worst.
“I don’t care.” He deadpanned. “You need to get the fuck out and not come back until you’ve been cleared.” He told Mindy whilst still looking at a shivering Gladys. I said do you understand?!” He bellowed as his eyes now peered over to Mindy who frantically nodded before scurrying out of the room, leaving behind only faint echoes of her whimpers.
“Let this be the first and last time this shit happens. Under no one’s authority but mine, is there any personnel to be hired to care for Madison. Are we clear?” He scolded.
“Ye-yes, Detective.” She muttered, her eyes still looking downward at her feet.
“Good. Don’t forget I have the power to get every single one of you fired if you fail to comply with not only your given duties, but my orders as well. Now make yourself scarce.” Gladys wasted no time and began to walk out but stopped at the door.
“I brought your lunch since you skipped breakfast and I figured you’d be hungry. Enjoy.”
Alessandro clenched his eyes shut and heavily sighed feeling like a total jackass as the door closed. Here he was reprimanding the women and yet, they had taken their time out to feed him. Once again, he was a fucking asshole.
He rubbed his face up and down with palmed hangs in mere frustration before bringing them down to his hips as he glanced over to the counter where the food tray was.
Two weeks later.
Alessandro had been in a rut for the past five days as he had come down with a severe case of the flu. He hadn’t been able to visit Madison nor communicate with Gladys to check on her as he was barely able to pry his eyes open. Patrick had offered to help Alessandro during his recovery, but being the stubborn as he is, flat-out refused. The only favor he had asked of him was to keep an eye on Madison when able to until he was able to do it himself. He hadn’t heard back in two days so he, regardless of his still fragile state, got up and showered as best he could and headed out the door.
“Detective? What are you doing here?” Gladys asked when he came into view at the receptionist counter in front of Madison’s room.
Alessandro scrunched his face in confusion.
“Uh, well, visiting Madison. What else would I be doing?” He shook his head and move forward.
“But she’s not here.” Alessandro froze.
Could it be?
Was she awake?
If so, why didn’t anyone notify him.
He turned on his heel and strode over to Gladys already sprouting a semi-foul mood.
“What do you mean she’s not here? Where is she? Was she taken for tests? Is she awake? If so, why didn’t you call me.” He spewed question after question.
“She” Gladys glanced over to the other employees who looked away not wanting to be part of the drama that was about to ensue. It was clear to them that Alessandro had no clue of what had happened. “She was taken back to the hospital at your behest.” She noticed the puzzled look on his face, which then turned to a form of anger and hung her head low, taking a few steps back when she heard a rumbling in his chest.
He was about to fucking explode. Something was definitely not panning out.
“WHAT THE FUCK?!” His tone was so murderous and utterly frightening that the other employees scattered away from their respective positions as soon as they heard him lash out.
“I did no such thing.” He snarled with assertion, stepping forward like a bull ready to attack.
“Why the hell would you do something stupid like that huh?” He huffed so hard that Gladys’ short and silvery strands blew sideways.
“We-we received a call saying that you wanted a transfer since you couldn’t afford the payments anymore.” Gladys bit her quivering lips to hold herself steady whilst her eyes watered with unshed tears.
“Who called to make that request?” He pressed causing Gladys to further flinch at his proximity.
She breathed out and scurried off to the computer to gather the information since she was indisposed to come into work that day. She typed Madison’s name and began to search.
“It says here.” She scrolled down a bit more and stopped when she saw the name.