“Mrs. Rossum, I’m going to need you to come this way.”
Addison squinted at her, “Are you one of those hospitals that only let family visit the injured while it’s still critical?”
“Yes, that is generally accepted procedure, why is there someone that you would not like visiting your husband?” she pointed out a chair in the waiting room and Addison settled into it.
“Oh, no, just don’t want him to get overwhelmed all at once, you know?”
“Yes, of course Mrs. Rossum. I’ll get the paper work for you to fill out and I will come get you when your husband is out of surgery.”
“Thank you so much.” The nurse nodded and walked back to her desk to grab the legal documents. Addison noticed, now that her adrenaline was running out, she was suffering an immense amount of pain. Her head throbbed and her stomach where she had been punched was screaming at her for attention. She put the pain out of her mind and tried to focus on the clipboard the nurse was handing her.
The leather wallet that she had grabbed from Rossum’s pocket proved to be invaluable to her. It had all his insurance information and she had just finished filling out all the information when the same nurse came to get her, “Mrs. Rossum?”
She held out the clipboard to her to indicate that she had finished, “please, call me Addison. I am all done.”
“Thank you, that is wonderful. I am actually here to tell you that your husband is done in surgery and you can go see him now. The doctor asked me to tell you that he is still unconscious from the anesthesia, but he should wake up soon, although he will still be groggy.”
“All I’m interested in is the fact that he will wake up.”
A smile spread across her face and she motioned for Addison to follow her, “yes, he will wake up.” Addison let out a strained groan as she stood up and pain shot through her entire body, “Are you alright Mrs. Rossum?”
“Yes, I’m just fine. Don’t worry about me.” They stopped in front of a room and she peered through the small window and gasped a little at Rossum’s unconscious body. The nurse shot her a curious look and Addison shook her head, “sorry, it’s just… I’ve never seen him look like that. He’s a man of action, you know. He is the one always jumping up and running around catching the bad guys. This… him like that, it isn’t right.”
She placed a comforting hand on Addison’s shoulder, “He’s going to be just fine. Doctor Aimes told me that he would make a full recovery. He’ll be chasing down bad guys again before you know it. Oh, that reminds me.” She looked to the ground and picked up a small plastic bag, “We had to take these off of him before he went into surgery. We really don’t allow guns in the hospital, but we made an exception for Special Agent Rossum.”
“Thank you, he’ll be ecstatic to hear that.” She took the bag, nodded at the nurse and finally walked into the hospital room. The sterile smell made her nose tingle and Addison noted that she hadn’t been in a hospital in over 15 years. Her stomach lurched when she thought about the circumstances now, and considered all the events that had led her to now.
Pulling the chair closer to the bed she cautiously sat in it and placed his badge and gun onto the table. Her shaky hand grabbed his and she rested her head against them. “What is wrong with you old man? Why would you do that?” Addison whimpered against their clasped hands, “I told you to go away! I just didn’t want you to get hurt.”
She looked up at him and ran her thumb across his cheek. Her voice lowered and so did her eyes, “you scared me so much.”
A couple tears dropped down her cheeks, but she let them rest on her thumb tracing circles and the back of Rossum’s hand. A gravelly voice interrupted her thoughts and her head shot up, “Do my eyes deceive me or is Addison Grace crying?”
Addison laughed lightly, “I must have got some dirt in my eye or something.”
“Ah, yes, all the dirt in this immaculate hospital room.” He looked straight into her eyes with a cocky smirk on his face. The longer they looked at each other the more that smile faded away. “Addy, I’m sorry –”
“Rossum!” Addison quickly interrupted. When she heard that word some out of his mouth her stomach sank. She felt an overwhelming guilt for everything she had put this man through. She shook her head violently before continuing, “I’m pretty sure this whole situation means that you never have to say sorry again. Ross, you saved my life. I can’t imagine anything I could ever do to make this up to you. I just want you to know how truly grateful I am. That being said, what the hell were you thinking? You could have died, Rossum, do you get that?”
“Yes, but I didn’t and neither did you. That was kind of the point.”
“I told you to go away for a reason. I was trying to protect you.” Addison’s temperature was rising. She needed him to acknowledge that what he did was reckless. She wanted to know that he wouldn’t do it again.
“And I was protecting you.” He pulled his hand out and patted the back of hers, “I know what you want to hear. I know you want me to apologize and tell you that I won’t do it again, but that is something I can’t do. I’m not going to apologize for doing the right thing, and to be completely honest I would do it over in a heartbeat. I would do it over even if it meant I wasn’t here anymore, as long as all the meant that you still were.”
Addison felt inexplicably sad when he said that. Like he was saying that her life was worth more than his, “if anyone deserves to live Agent Rossum, it would be you. It would always be you.” Rossum moved to reach out for Addison but flinched and dropped it, “please be careful, Ross, you were just shot.”
“So, we’re not going to talk about this. We’re going to just sit here and pretend like this is normal?”
Addison closed her eyes and shook her head, “I don’t want to talk about it, not right now. Right now all that’s important is you getting better, we can deal with everything else after.”
“And you? How are you doing? You have blood all over you.”
“Your blood. Thanks for that by the way.”
He looked at her skeptically, “it’s all mine. That person did nothing to you?”
“I hit my head and I have a small puncture wound on my thigh, but none of that is anything to worry about. Oddly enough the thing that hurts the most is this punch he delivered right into my gut. It’s killing me.” Addison felt dizzy now that all the focus was on her injuries, but she tried to put a smile on her face.
“Do you want me to take a look?”
She lightly slapped him, “you old horn dog, you just want to get a look at me in my bra and panties.” He gave her a stern look so she rolled her eyes, stood up and opened up the blanket.
Rossum’s eyes went wide and she saw his adam’s apple bob as he swallowed hard, “Addy? I’m going to ask you to sit down and I’m going to call a doctor.”
“What, why?” Rossum yelled to stop her, but Addison was already glancing down to her stomach. At first all she saw was blood. It was dried on her upper stomach and turning a burnt orange colour, but the stuff covering her lower half was deep red and still wet. Her fingers automatically went to it and found out why she was in do much pain. With only a slight depression her fingers slipped into her stomach. A horrified look spread over her face and she glanced at Rossum. She could tell that he was saying something to her but her hearing seemed to have been overtaken by a ringing sound. The last thing she saw was Rossum jump from the bed before her vision went fuzzy.
The darkness consumed Addison. Not only could she see nothing, but she felt it too, it felt cold and frightening. She pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them, “Hello?” she asked into the darkness.
“Shhh,” a voice came from across the room, “not so loud.”
The voice was small but familiar. Addison could hear that it was one of a girl, she sounded young. The shake in her voice made her sound scared, but Addison didn’t know what of. “Where am I? How did I get here?”
“We don’t know where it is we are or how we get here, just that we cannot leave.” Her voice was just above a whisper.
“How long have you been here?” Addison wanted to stand up and go towards the girl, but she couldn’t move her legs.
“I’ve been here forever.” She was silent for a moment, “you have to stop talking. We’re going to get in trouble. I don’t think you’re supposed to be here.”
“I don’t think I’m supposed to be here either. What are you so scared of?”
“I’m scared of the same thing you’re scared of.”
Addison shook her head and tightened her jaw even though she knew no one could see her in the pitch black. “I’m not scared of anything.”
She heard rustling from the other side of the room, “everybody is scared of something.”
Suddenly a light turned on in the middle of the room and the metal pull swung clanging slightly as it collided every once and a while with the glass light bulb. Addison’s eyes immediately went to it. The first thing she saw was a small leg step into view. Red blood was streaked down it and Addison sharply drew a breath in, “Are… are you hurt?”
The girl didn’t answer; instead her whole body came into view. At first Addison couldn’t do anything. She was looking at her childhood self. She was wearing a loose floral dress that was torn and cut in some places. The long brown hair was matted with blood, but it was unmistakable. Her big green eyes stood out against all the red drying on her face. Addison’s horrified face glanced up and the top of her skull was gone. She could see the tip of her pink brain peeking out. “Wha –what happened to you?”
She slightly tilted her head, “it’s going to happen to you too.”
The bloody little girl stepped towards her and smiled. Addison tried to move again, but she couldn’t. No matter how hard she tried her legs would not move. The girl got closer and closer with every step. Addison thrashed her head until it throbbed in pain, then she closed her eyes and screamed as loud as she could.
She felt hands clasp her shoulders and shake her, so she screamed louder until she heard a familiar voice, “Addison. Ow, Addison, Jesus, wake up!”
Addison froze, “Rossum?”
“Why don’t you open your eyes and find out.”
She peeked them open and saw a bandaged Rossum standing over her, “thank god.” She whispered and pulled him into her arms.
“Addy, I’m glad you’re alright and everything, but you are killing me right now.”
“Oh, sorry!” she let go of him and pulled herself into a seated position. Finally, she took a good look around the room. The last thing she remembered she was in Rossum’s hospital room, he was in the bed and she was in the chair beside it, but it seemed like they had switched places. “Um… what happened?”
Rossum rolled his shoulder and winced, “remember how you thought you got punched?”
“Yes… wait, thought?”
“Yeah, well what happened was that you were actually stabbed.”
Addison started laughing, but Rossum’s face stayed straight, “wait, are you serious?”
“Afraid so. I’ve heard of it happening sometimes, people getting stabbed, but thinking that they only got punched. If you don’t see the weapon then it’s completely understandable.”
“You’re being incredibly patronizing right now. I get it; I’m the idiot who didn’t know that she was stabbed. God, there was blood all over me, how could I not have known? Who does that?” Addison pulled up her hospital gown and looked down at her bare stomach. Black stiches stood out against tender red skin. “Would you look at that? I got stabbed. The last thing I remember I was sitting in your room.”
“You passed out. The doctor said that you had lost almost 40 percent of your blood. If you had passed out anywhere but inside a hospital you probably would have died.”
“Well, this is all cheering me up.”
“I don’t want to cheer you up. Do you know how angry I would have been if you died after I risked my life to save you?”
Rossum was looking at her seriously, and Addison was trying to keep a straight face, but instead she burst out laughing. The force of her laughter pulled on her stiches and made her cut throb, but she couldn’t stop it. Rossum’s eyes widened and he looked very confused, but that only made her laugh harder, “I… oh my god… I’m sorry… it’s just we’re both so mad at each other for... for… for almost dying. We both almost died today.” She wiped the tears from below her eyes, “don’t you think we should be happy… at least happier than we are.” Rossum tried to hide the smirk that spread onto his face, “it’s okay to smile, Ross. I’m alive, you’re alive, we’re… alive. Isn’t it kind of great?”
“I get the being alive part, and you’re right, I’m happy about that, but we can’t really lose sight of the fact that someone definitely tried to kill you.”
Addison ran her tongue over her bottom lip and bit it before looking right at him, “Rossum, just…I don’t want to think about it right now. I am going to spend plenty of time thinking about it, and, I’m sure explaining it, but for now why can’t you just be happy that I’m alive?”
Rossum slowly cupped Addison’s cheek in his left hand. She felt the warmth spread over her face and couldn’t help but notice how close his face was to hers. His thumb ran comfortingly along her cheekbone and he shook his head, “you have no idea how grateful I am that you are alive.”
For a moment Addison was sure that she saw Rossum’s eyes flick to her lips. Her throat felt dry and her eyes were begging to be closed, but she couldn’t rip them away from Rossum’s. Biting down on her lower lip seemed to be the only thing that Addison could do at that moment and as quickly as the heat had picked up between the two, it was gone. Rossum backed away, but let his hand linger on her cheek for a moment longer.
They looked at each other in silence until the short woman who performed Rossum’s surgery appeared in the doorway. She looked up at the pair and for an instant surprise flickered over her face, then it turned to a frown, “Agent Rossum! How many times do I have to tell you to stay in your bed! You were just shot, you cannot be up and moving around. I let you share a room with Miss Grace, but if you can’t control yourself I’m going to have to split you two up!”
Addison chuckled quietly, “yeah, Rossum, control yourself!”
He glared at her before he hopped back into his bed, “It’s not really my fault when she is screaming bloody murder over there. I thought she was dying or something.”
Doctor Aimes was absentmindedly checking his vitals and nodding her head, although it didn’t seem like she was listening to him, “you’re lucky, everything seems fine with you.” She then turned her gaze on Addison, “it’s nice to see you are awake Miss Grace, how are you feeling?”
Addison shook her head slightly and placed a half smile on her face, “I think I’m alright. Mostly trying to get used to the idea that I was actually stabbed and I didn’t even know it. I feel like an idiot, but other than my pride, I feel fine. In fact, I think you could take me off the pain killers.” Her eyes welled up with tears but she easily pushed them back, “Really, I… I feel like a million bucks.”
“WHAT?!” she heard Rossum call from beside her, “why on earth would that be your first request? Are you delusional? You were stabbed, do you get that?”
“Mr. Rossum, I’m going to need you to calm down.” The doctor softened her eyes as she looked into Addison’s. When she slightly nodded Addison let a relieved breath escape her lungs, “How about we cut back on it and we can see how you feel. If you are still good after that we might be able to take you off everything completely.”