The doctors were gone. The intrusive nurses left with their multitudes of needles and vials of my sons blood. They all flooded out of the room in one storm. None of them acknowledged me as they rushed past. Instructions were barked from one to another as two nurses hastily scrawled them down on charts.
I had been left alone in the empty hallway. The walls rang with the sounds of their footsteps. Swallowing, I ripped the door open, letting it slam against the wall as I entered. A single chair had been discarded between the two beds and I stumbled towards it. My limbs were weak, the exhaustion weaving down my veins to drain away my strength. Slumping into it, I hung my hands between my legs.
They were still unconscious. The light beeping of both machines was a constant whirl around the room. It was melded with the loud whiz of the oxygen that was being pushed into their bodies.
"Ryan, Damon," I groaned, lowering my head to stare at the floor. "What should I do?"
Helplessly, my hands folded into fists before releasing. This move was repeated numerously as I raised my head and looked from one young boy to the other. My fingers trembled, the small hairs prickling upright along my arm. This shouldn't be happening, it couldn't be. Today was their birthday. They were supposed to be opening presents dressed as Batman and Spiderman. Not here, hooked up to machines as if they were about to take their last breaths.
Please, please if there is anyone up there at all...please save my sons.
The prayer rose useless to the heavens from my mind and I whimpered, fisting my hands into my hair. Tears slipped from my eyes and splashed against the floor. Useless. I was useless. They needed me and I couldn't do anything.
Trembling now, the chair scraped across the floor as I rushed to my feet. The world swirled around me for a moment before I dragged my feet closer to Damon's bed. Leaning over, I traced my fingers down his forehead to his chin. They came away wet with sweat.
"I'm here, baby boy, Mommy's here," I whispered, blinking rapidly as I leaned closer to press a kiss to his forehead. Tubes were in his nose, forcing the oxygen into his body while more were coming from his chest where they monitored his heart rate. Never before had my boys appeared as fragile as they did now.
Turning, I moved to Ryan and patted his hair before gently caressing his cheek. His lips parted as he inhaled slightly and I leaned in, thinking he'd wake. Instead, he coughed. The noise wasn't like one I'd heard from him before. It sounded wet as if something was lodged in his throat but he couldn't dislodge it. It lodged in his throat and I watched his body struggle to remove it as he gagged, chest heaving once before he fell silent.
"It's ok, sweetie, I'm here," I mumbled, swallowing as I pressed my lips to his temple, ignoring the heat radiating from him.
A loud ringing sounded just then and I jerked upright. There was no one around but the sound continued. Glancing to the chair, I frowned when I noticed my bag wasn't there. Where had I-?
Rushing out to the hallway, I found it neglected against the wall and quickly grabbed it. In my troubles of everything happening, I'd forgotten it. Seated back in the chair with my boys, I fished through my bag and found my phone.
A single notification glowered up at me. An email. One I'd been receiving once a year, for the past five years on this date. Frowning, my eyes swept over my sons before opening the email.
A lodgement has been made into your account on my behalf for your sons.
Hope young Ryan and Damon have a happy birthday.
It read the same thing it always did. Brief and to the point, there was nothing but coldness from the words. A duty done, more than anything else. My fingers twitched over the email. That night was meant to have been just a one-night stand only, yet I never knew how he got my email or how he could do this. I knew it meant he wanted nothing to do with me or our sons but he obviously didn't want us suffering.
Even still, after the events of that night, I'd woken up alone with just a business card with Dean Michaels scrawled across it and a number. At first, I'd thought nothing of it. Though curiosity had me take the card with me when I left. Yet when I realised I was pregnant I used it. That moment would always be engraved in my mind. It changed my opinion of him incredibly. He hadn't even bothered to be the one to answer the phone.
"This can't be happening. I can't be-."
But the pregnancy test didn't lie. Hell, seven of them couldn't lie. How had this happened to me? I was sure... Shaking my head, I flung the test away from me and crumpled to my knees. We hadn't used protection? But I was on the pill – Why me?
"I'm only seventeen, what the hell do I know about kids?" I asked myself, my cheeks stained with my own tears. I sniffled, wiping some snot from my upper lip as I grabbed my phone. I hesitated before dialling a number. There was no one I could call. Mum and Dad were going to flip when they found out and Clarissa? Shit, she'd freak.
Crawling across the room, I rummaged through the mountain of discarded notes and receipts in my bedside drawer. It had to be here. It had to! I never dumped it. Finally, with a pool of paper around me, I found the card and held it up.
My fingers were dialling the number before my brain registered what was happening and next thing I knew it was ringing.
"Should I do this?" I blubbered aloud as it continued to ring. Flopping onto my back, my head thumped against the hard floor and I winced as I peered up to the ceiling.My free hand was rapidly tapping the floor as my leg jittered too. "I shouldn't do this. I can't do this. I-."
The voice that answered silenced me. All words evaporated from my throat and even my ability to speak in that moment was disabled. For it wasn't the low masculine voice from that memorable night that spoke to me. No, it was a woman's.
"Hello? Who is this?" She questioned, her tone quite abrupt.
"Um..H-hi," I stammered, coughing to clear my throat. Springing up into seated position, I gripped my phone with both hands. "I am looking for Dean."
"How did you get this number? Who are you?"
"This is Dean's phone, no? He gave me his number," I found myself snapping back, my voice shaking at her growing hostility. Why was she so harsh? Who was she exactly?
"Well, he shouldn't have," She hissed. In my head, I imagined a forked tongue slithering from her mouth. "This is the company number, not his own personal slut connection."
"What did you just say? I am not a sl-."
"I do not care what you are. You have no business calling this number for personal reasons." Who the hell was this woman? Seriously? While she was speaking of a business, she was acting like she was a lover of his or something. Sibling?
Shaking my head at the ludicrous thought, I interrupted her rant. "You don't understand. I need to speak with Dean. Please. It's important, I'm-."
My voice trailed off as the dial tone sung in my ear. The phone fell from my hands as I slumped back against the side of my bed. She hung up. What, what should I do now? Letting my head fall back against the mattress of the bed, I shut my eyes to block out the piercing light as my hands drifted towards my stomach.
I'd called that number four more times after that. Before I confronted my parents, when I was kicked from my house, after my first scan, and then before I went into labor. Each time, that woman would answer and each time she would hang up before I could get the words out. I was pregnant and Dean was the father.
Sighing, my shoulders hunched over as I dragged my hands down my face. Scrubbing at my eye with my fist, I slowly clicked on the reply button to the email. My message was short but to the point, 'We need to talk. Ryan and Dean are in the hospital.'
Surely, he'd see this. He'd answer and have to acknowledge me then. He'd have too. Pressing the send button, I watched for the 'message sent' notification to appear. My lips twitched into a half smile only for it to fade when something blinked in my email. Another notification overrode the previous one 'message failed to send. Email recipient does not exist'.
How could it not exist? He emailed me yearly from it! My hand gripped the phone tightly and I desperately yearned to fling it away, through a window. Right at that moment, I wished to break many things in this room. I wanted to break the tubes that were attached to my son's bodies. They resembled hostile enemies draining my boy's lives, rather than healing machines.
Pressing my palm to my mouth, my short furious filled scream was muffled as I surged to my feet and began to pace. That son of a bitch! Deep down, I knew none of this was Dean's fault. He didn't know anything, but at the same time, a large part of myself loathed him for sending unwanted money yet refusing to answer a single call.
Exiting out of my email app, I selected my contacts and scrolled down to his name. It was stupid of me to have kept his number but I did. Pressing the call button, I continued to pace from the window to the door as it rang.
"Hello?" Her voice hadn't changed. Even after five years, it was the still the same sickeningly sweet tone.
"Put Dean on the phone. Now." Perhaps if I acted like I was in charge, she'd actually listen.
"Who is this?" She wondered and I could picture her flicking golden blonde hair over her shoulder as she picked at her nails.
"None of your business, but Dean on now."
She snorted down the line. "You have no right to make demands here. I don't know how you got this number but please stop calling here."
All the emotions that were reeling through me since this morning. The fear for my sons, my own bitter uselessness and unnecessary anger at Dean, they all exploded out of me with my next few words.
"Listen here you bitch," I growled out as I ceased my movements and glared out the window. "You will shut the fuck up and do as I say. You will get your - probably scrawny - ass out of your chair and stumble in your stupid seven-inch heels and give this phone to Dean. Right. Now. Or so help me I will find you and break your plastic nose."
She. Hung. Up.
I screamed. Whirling around, my fingers knotted in my hair as my back crashed against the window and I slumped down. My sight faded to black as my eyes closed, prickling with the sensation of building tears.
The forced cough had my body tensing. Swallowing, I slid my hands down my cheeks as my head lifted and I was met with the figure of a white cloaked Doctor. He stood awkwardly in the doorway, clipboard in hand. Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, he pressed those dark framed glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"Shit," I gasped, falling forward as I scrambled to my feet. I tugged my top down and brushed it as I straightened and stepped towards him. "I..I'm sorry about that."
"Oh it's nothing," he waved me off. Finally, he stepped fully into the room and shut the door. My eyes swiped over the hand that held the doorknob and I frowned. Why had he cuts on his knuckles?
"Have you any news? Are Ryan and Damon going to be ok? Do you know what's-?"
The doctor held up his hand and I fell silent. Clearing his throat, he lifted the clipboard and scanned through it before his eyes flickered to me. Hazel eyes peered over as he pursed his lips. "Mrs. Davis?"
"Ms," I corrected, reaching out to take the hand he held towards me. The contrast between our skin captivated me for a moment. His skin wasn't like one who'd tanned from too much time in the sun, but a natural dark beauty that I always saw in Clarissa. But again, I noticed his knuckles were decorated with little cuts.
"My name is Dr. Jarros," He greeted before pulling his hand back. Once again he looked at the clipboard and avoided my eyes when he glanced at my sons.
"What is it?" I asked lowly. I could tell. Sometimes you could tell without words. Something was wrong. "Please, tell me."
"We've done tests on your son's blood," he began. "And we feel they need a transfusion as fast as possible."
"Ok, then get it done."
"It's not that simple, Ms. Davis," He disagreed, wincing when I narrowed my eyes. "We believe that the best blood for your sons is from your family." I was already pulling up the sleeve of my top by the time he finished and again Jarros waved me off. "Unfortunately, I've taken the liberty to check your medical records and your blood isn't compatible."
"Compatible? I'm their mother."
"I am sorry," He did sound sincere. I wondered how long it took him to get that fake tone down pat. "Perhaps the father?"
"He's not in the picture," I muttered, turning from him to stare at my sons. Both of them looked as if they'd be engulfed by their beds at any moment. From them, my eyes fell to my phone, forgotten on the ground.
"Is there a time limit? I questioned, twisting my neck to look over at the doctor. "Are my sons in immediate danger?"
Startled by my queries, he looked over that stupid clipboard again before shaking his head. "Not at the moment, but their condition could change at any time. I'm sorry to say this Ms. Davis but we are unsure as to what your sons are suffering from right this moment."
"OK," I nodded and moved to snatch up my phone. Already dialling another number, I looked over at him. "I'll get their father here. Even if I have to go to him and drain him myself."
Dr. Jarros blinked at my words. He nodded slowly as if unsure of me before leaving the room. I watched him go as a perky voice answered on the other end of the line.
"Clari? I need your help..."