“Morning, Scarlett,” a tall blonde woman spoke, opening the curtains and flicking on the harsh light. “My name is Sarah. I’m going to be your occupational therapist.” She was way too chipper this early in the morning! I just wanted her to lose the grin and get out. “Let’s get you up and moving today.” Of course, no one can get any proper rest in a hospital. It was barely sunrise! Why do we have to do this now? My father was already back at work. He couldn’t tell me much, except that we were now safe. Hopefully that means those vile monsters were finally in jail or dead.
“Do I have to?” I groaned, rolling over.
“Well, if you want to walk again, yes.” Her tone turned stern, like she was scolding a misbehaving child, pulling back my covers. “C’mon now, let’s sit you up.” She pulled me up into a sitting position and wrapped a belt around my waist. “This is so you don’t fall over, and if you do, I got ya.”
“Fine.” I grunted.
Sarah wheeled a walker in front of me. “Now pull yourself up.” She instructed.
Gripping onto the handles, I lifted myself with all my strength. I was out of breath before fully standing; not realizing how weak I had become.
“Alright, let’s make our way to the hallway.”
Wait, Mason is in the ICU, too. Maybe I can find his room! I had a newfound mission to get out of bed. I squeezed the handles and pushed myself harder than I thought possible into the hallway. My legs were wobbly, like a newborn deer standing for the first time. Feeling almost as if I was walking through quicksand, each step feeling like a hundred. But I had to make it down the hallway. He had to be close!
“Woah! See, I knew you could do it.” Sarah cheered me on, not realizing my true intentions.
Hospital rooms lined the long corridor, a name tag placed next to each door. The walls were painted a relaxing beige with light wood floors. At the end of the hallway, a large window overlooked the scenic Colorado mountains. The view brought me back to the cabin, the memories of Mason and I cuddled next to one another in complete bliss. How I longed to be back in that moment. Unfortunately, the smell of sanitizer and medicine kept bringing me back to reality.
I moved as fast as I could, glancing in each room, reading every name plate. Where could he be? I became nervous, worrying I would not find him. Finally reaching the large window overlooking the mountains, I was about to give up. Reading the very last name plate, with what little hope I had left, ‘Hart’. Finally! I glanced in the room. The sounds of breathing machines and beeping swayed into the hallway. I turned the walker and began to step inside when Sarah tugged on my belt she was holding.
“Woah, woah, woah.” She spoke like she was walking a dog. “You can’t go in there.” Sarah swiftly moved to the door, shutting it in my face. What a bitch! Is she serious?
“I need to see him!” I demanded, leaning for the door again.
She blocked my way. “Not right now. C’mon, let’s get you back to your room. That was enough work for today.”.
My heart sank. All I yearned for was to see him, to know he was going to be okay. Was that too much to ask? I sluggishly made my way back to my room. Each step became increasingly more painful, my legs grew more and more tired.
Once we got back to my room, I collapsed onto the bed. Sweat poured down my forehead and body. Sarah tucked me back into my bed, giving me a list of workouts she wanted me to do daily, to regain my strength, but frankly, I couldn’t care less.
“Breakfast will be up soon, honey.” Sarah patted my leg. “You did amazing. Get some rest and you’ll be good as new in no time.”
I nodded as she saw herself out. She was not on my nice list, to say the least. I needed to find a way to make it back to Mason, but I couldn’t walk without help yet.
Not long after Sarah left, a young man in scrubs walked into my room holding a tray of food. “Miss Aberra?” He asked sheepishly.
“That’s me.” I sighed.
He gently placed the tray in front of me. “Eat up. Don’t let it get too cold.” He winked at me, motioning to the tray.
“Thank you.” I said, confused at his wink.
I lifted the tray off the plate, on top of my pancakes sat a napkin, with writing on it.
‘Scarlett, they won’t allow me to see you yet or tell me how you are doing. I bribed the lunch guy to at least deliver you this note. I love you. You better be fighting to get your strength back. You’re going to need it when I finally get my hands on you again. Love, Mason.’
My chest felt lighter, and my skin tingled reading the note. I couldn’t help but to blush. Knowing he was okay, knowing we would be together again, I needed to recover, and fast.
The days rapidly turned into weeks. Every day, I pushed myself harder and harder to recuperate enough to get out of the hospital to get down to Mason’s room. The pain was unbearable sometimes, but I just needed to keep going. The doctors told me I should be able to get out of here in another week once my lung completely heals. But that was still another week until I could see him.
Pink and orange sunlight filled my room as the sun set behind the mountains. How I longed to be back outside with Mason, watching this together, being held in his warm embrace.
“Hey Scarlett!” My night nurse, Audrey, walked in for shift change, breaking me away from my daydreams. She was the one nurse who I felt the most comfortable with. She was so kind and genuinely caring, never having to force a smile, just sincerely happy to help. “How are you doing today?”
“You know, same as usual.” I grunted. “Anything you can tell me about Mason?” The typical question I asked her every night.
“You know I’m not allowed.” She pushed my walker over to me, which I still used to help keep my balance when I was alone, even though I could almost walk on my own now. “I actually need to run down to the cafeteria…” she gave me a knowing glance. “It may be a while until I’m back. I’m pretty swamped, being the only nurse on the floor tonight.” She was hinting at something. “Don’t get yourself into any trouble. If you need me, just press the call light. I’ll have my pager on me.” She winked at me, walking out of the room.
Wait a second, did she just…? She just gave me a chance to see him. I grabbed my robe and threw it over my hospital gown. Gripping onto the walker, I made my way out the door, peeking down the hallway. Not a soul insight.
I stepped into the hallway, silently making my way towards the large window. With each step, my heart raced faster, a lump formed in my throat, butterflies danced in my stomach. Finally, I could see him, hold him. Excitement raged through every inch of my body.
I stopped at the very last door, checking the name once again, ‘Hart’. This is him. This is it. Taking deep breaths, I became nervous, not knowing the state I would find him in. Quietly turning the door handle and peeking into the dimly lit room, I could see the outline of his legs under the blue hospital sheets, a large curtain hiding the rest of the room. The steady beeping from the heart monitor was the only noise. I made my way in, closing the door behind me and leaving behind the walker. I didn’t need him worrying about me.
“Mason?” I whispered, inching closer. Tossing back the curtain, I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw. Tubes were protruding from the side of his chest, draining fluids. A wheelchair was sitting against the wall. His skin was pale, dark circles formed under his eyes. I hobbled my way to the green leather chair sitting next to the bed, looking over at him. My heart broke seeing him like this. Usually so strong and powerful, now lying here weak and tired. I took his hand in mine, squeezing it three times, something my mother used to do for me, signaling everything was alright.
“Scarlett?” Mason’s eyes fluttered open. A smile appeared on his pale face, which lit up his eyes when he saw me.
“I’m here.” My voice broke, fighting back tears.
“Come here.” He demanded, pulling me closer. Our lips crashing into each other’s, sending that familiar surge down my spine. Mason pulled me in deeper, never wanting to leave this moment like it was a dream. I felt a tear escape, falling onto his cheek, making him release and stare into my eyes, mine gazing back into his still bright ice-blue eyes. “Hey, don’t cry.” He let out a painful giggle. “I’m gonna be alright.” He stroked my cheek, wiping away the stain left from the tear. “Get over here.” He pulled me onto the small bed next to him. I gently climbed in, careful not to knock out a drain.
“Are you okay?” I asked, looking up at his masculine features.
“I’ve been through worse.” He smiled. “This is nothing, just a bullet to the back.” His warm fingers danced through my hair. “Missed my heart by only three millimeters. I must be one lucky guy.” He giggled again.
“Just a bullet to the back?” I mocked him, shaking my head. “You could have died!”
“But I didn’t and you’re still here, too. That is all that matters.”
“Please don’t you ever end up here again, like this or worse.” I couldn’t stand seeing him like this.
Mason just giggled. “I’ll do my best, Miss Aberra.”
“I’m serious, Mason!” My voice was stern.
“I promise, my love.” He kissed my forehead, resting his head on top of mine. “Let’s just enjoy this moment while we still can.”
Before I knew it, my eyes drifted shut, taking in Mason’s sweet aroma, relaxing every inch of my body. This is all I wanted these past weeks, all I needed.