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Point of retreat, p.28

  Point of Retreat, p.28

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat

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  “She’s in a room now,” the nurse says to Gavin. “You can go see her. Room 207.”

  “She’s okay? Is the baby okay?”

  The nurse nods at him and smiles.

  And he’s gone. Just like that.

  The nurse turns to me. “Dr. Bradshaw wanted me to let you know they’re still in surgery. He doesn’t have any updates yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find something out.”

  “Thank you,” I say.


  My grandparent’s eventually come back with Kel and Caulder. My grandfather and Kel are trying to fill out the paperwork for Lake as best they can. There aren’t any questions on the form I could answer that Kel doesn’t already know the answer to. They leave most of the questions blank. My grandfather walks the forms to the nurses’ station and returns with a box.

  “These are some of the personal items that were found in the vehicles,” he says to me. “Take what’s yours and Layken’s and leave the rest in the box. I’ll take it back.”

  I lean forward and look inside the box. My satchel is on top, so I pull it out. Lake’s purse is there. So are my cell phone and my jacket. I don’t see her phone, though. That doesn’t mean anything…she probably just lost it again. I open her purse and pull out her wallet and hand it to my grandfather.

  “Look in there. She might have an insurance card or something.”

  He takes the wallet out of my hands and opens it. They must have already given Eddie’s things to Gavin, because there’s nothing left in the box.

  “It’s late,” my grandmother says. “We’ll take the boys home with us so they can get some rest. Do you need anything before we go?” she says.

  “I don’t want to go,” Kel says.

  “Kel, sweetie. You need some rest. There isn’t anywhere you can sleep here,” she says.

  Kel looks at me and silently pleads.

  “He can stay with me,” I say.

  My grandmother picks up her purse and coat. I follow them out and walk down the hall with them. When we get to the end of the hallway I stop and give Caulder a hug. “I’ll call you as soon as I find out anything,” I say to him. My grandparents hug me goodbye and they leave. My entire family leaves.


  I’m almost asleep when I feel someone shaking my shoulder. I jerk up and look around, hoping someone’s here with some news. It’s just Kel.

  “I’m thirsty,” he says.

  I look down at my watch. It’s after midnight now. Why haven’t they told me anything yet? I reach into my pocket and take out my wallet. “Here,” I say, handing him some cash. “Bring me a coffee.” Kel takes the money and leaves, just as Gavin walks back into the room. He looks at me for answers, but I just shake my head letting him know I still don’t know anything. He sits down in the seat next to me.

  “So Eddie’s okay?” I ask.

  “Yeah. She’s bruised up, but she’s okay,” he says.

  We’re both quiet for a while. I’m too tired to make small talk. Gavin fills the silent void.

  “She’s further along than we thought she was,” he says. “She’s about sixteen weeks. They let us see the baby on a monitor. They’re pretty sure it’s a girl.”

  “Oh yeah?” I say. I’m still not sure how Gavin feels about the whole thing, so I refrain from congratulating him. Doesn’t feel like a good situation for congratulations right now, anyway.

  “I saw her heart beating,” he says.

  “Whose? Eddies?”

  He shakes his head and smiles at me. “No. My baby girl’s.” His eyes tear up and he looks away.

  I smile. “Congratulations.”

  Kel walks into the room with two coffees. He hands me one and plops down in the chair and takes a sip of the other.

  “Are you drinking coffee?” I ask him.

  He nods. “Don’t try to take it from me, either. I’ll run.”

  I laugh. “Okay, then,” I say. I bring the coffee up to my mouth but before I take a sip, Dr. Bradshaw walks in. I jump up and the coffee splashes on my shirt. Or Joel's shirt. Or Gavin’s. Whoever the hell’s shirt I have on, it’s got coffee all over it now.

  “Will? Walk with me?” Dr. Bradshaw nudges his head toward the hallway.

  “Wait here Kel, I’ll be right back.” I set the coffee down on the table and walk out.

  We walk to the end of the hallway before he says anything. I have to brace myself against the wall…I feel like I’m about to collapse.

  “She made it through surgery, but we aren’t close to being in the clear yet. She had a lot of bleeding. Some swelling. I did what I could without having to remove a portion of her parietal bone…now all we can do is watch and wait.”

  My heart is pounding against my chest. It’s hard to pay attention when I have a million questions on the tip of my tongue. “What is it we’re waiting for? If she made it this far, what are the dangers?”

  He leans against the wall next to me. We’re both staring at our feet, almost like he’s trying to avoid looking me in the eyes. I know he has to hate this part of his job. I hate this part of his job. That’s why I don’t look him in the eyes…I feel like maybe it takes the pressure off of him.

  “We don’t exactly know the extent of the injuries. We won’t know until we can run scans, but for right now, we’re keeping her under anesthesia. Hopefully by morning we’ll have more of an idea of what we’re dealing with.”

  “Can I see her?”

  He sighs. “Not yet. She’s in recovery throughout the night. I’ll let you know as soon as they take her to ICU.” He stands up and puts his hands into the pockets of his lab coat. “Do you have any more questions, Will?”

  I look him in the eyes. “A million,” I reply.

  He takes my response as it was rhetorically intended and he walks away.


  When I walk back into the room, Gavin is still sitting with Kel. Kel jumps up and rushes to me. “Is she okay?”

  “She’s out of surgery,” I say. “But they still won’t know anything until tomorrow.”

  “Know anything about what?” Kel asks.

  I sit down and motion for Kel to sit down next to me. I pause for a moment so I can find the right words. I want to tell him in a way he’ll understand. “When she hit her head, she hurt her brain, Kel. Until they can do scans, they won’t know if there’s any damage, or how bad it is.”

  Gavin stands up. “I’ll go tell Eddie. She’s been hysterical,” Gavin says.

  When he leaves the room I soak in the moment. I feel like a weight should be lifted off of my shoulders after finally getting answers, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. It feels worse. I feel so much worse. I just want to see her.

  “Will?” Kel says.

  “Yeah?” I reply. I’m too tired to even look at him. I can’t even keep my eyes open.

  “What’ll happen to me? If….she can’t take care of me? Where will I go?”

  I manage to open my eyes and look at him. As soon as we make eye contact, he starts crying. I lean over and wrap my arms around him and put his head against my chest. “You aren’t going anywhere, Kel. We’re in this together. You and me.” I pull back and look him in the eyes. “I mean it. No matter what happens…”

  Friday, January 27th, 2012


  I don’t know what’s about to happen in our lives. I wish I did. God, I wish I did.

  I was lucky enough to be nineteen when I lost my parents; you were only nine. That’s a lot of growing up left to do for a little boy without a dad.

  But whatever happens…whichever road we have to take when we leave this hospital...we’re taking it together.

  I’ll do my best to help you finish growing up with the closest thing to a dad you can have. I’ll do my absolute best.

  I don’t know what’s about to happen in our lives. I wish I did. God, I wish I did.

  But whatever happens, I’ll love you. I can promise you that.

  Chapter Fifteen


  I try to open my eyes, but only one of them opens. I’m in the floor again. I close my eye before my entire head explodes.

  “Will, wake up.”

  I sit up and run my hands along the chairs next to me, pulling myself into one by the arm. I still can’t open my other eye. I shield the fluorescent lights with my hands and turn my head toward the voice.

  “Will, I need you to listen to me.”

  I finally recognize the voice as Sherry. “I’m listening,” I whisper. It feels like if I spoke in any louder of a tone, it would be too painful. My whole head hurts. I bring my hand to the bandage over my eye, then to my eye. It’s swollen. No wonder I can’t open it.

  “I’m having the nurse bring you some medicine. You need to eat something. They aren’t keeping Kiersten so we’re going home soon. I’ll be back for Kel after I get her into the car. I’ll bring him back up here during the day, I just think he needs some rest. Is there anything you need from your house? Besides a change of clothes?”

  I shake my head. It hurts less than actually speaking.

  “Okay. Call me if you think of anything.”

  “Sherry,” I say just as she exits. When I say her name, I realize nothing audible even comes out of my mouth. “Sherry!” I say louder. When I say it, I wince. Why does my head hurt so bad?

  She comes back to the door.

  “There’s a vase in my cabinet. Above the fridge. I need it.”

  She acknowledges what I said with a nod and turns to leave again.

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