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Point of retreat, p.32

  Point of Retreat, p.32

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat
 


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  “It’s weird how much energy everything takes. It feels like my arms weigh a hundred pounds.”

  I open the bar of soap and hand it to her, but it slips out of her grasp. She feels around in the water until she finds it, then she rubs it in the washcloth.

  “Do you know how long before they let me go home?” she asks.

  “Hopefully by Wednesday. He said recovery can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks depending on how the injury heals. You seem to be doing pretty well.”

  She frowns. “I don’t feel like I’m doing well.”

  “You’re doing great,” I say.

  She smiles and sets the washcloth back on the side of the tub and wraps her arms around her knees again. “I have to rest,” she says. “I’ll get to the other arm in a minute.”

  She closes her eyes. She looks so tired. I reach over and turn the water off, then stand up and take off my shoes and my shirt, but leave my pants on. “Scoot up,” I say to her.

  She scoots up and I step into the bathtub and slide down into the water behind her. I put my legs on either side of her and gently lay her back onto my chest. I grab the washcloth and run it up the arm she was too tired to get to.

  “You’re crazy,” she says quietly.

  I kiss her on top of the head. “So are you.”

  We’re both silent as I wash her. She rests against my chest until I tell her to lean forward so I can get her back. When she leans forward, I put more soap on the washcloth and gently touch it to her skin. It’s bruised up so bad I’m afraid I’ll hurt her.

  “You really got banged up. Does your back hurt?”

  “Everything hurts.”

  I wash her skin as softly as I can. I don’t want to make it worse. When I’ve covered every inch, I lean forward and kiss her on the back, right on top of her bruise. I kiss her other bruise, and her other bruise, and her other bruise. I kiss every spot of her back that’s hurt. When she leans back against my chest, I lift her arm and kiss the bruises on her arm, too. Then I do the same to the other arm. When I’ve kissed all the bruises I can find, I lay her arm back down in the water. “There. Good as new,” I say. I wrap my arms around her and kiss her cheek. She closes her eyes and we just sit there for a while.

  “This isn’t how I pictured our first bath together,” she says.

  I laugh. “Really? ‘Cause this is exactly how I pictured it. Pants and all.”

  She takes a deep breath and exhales, then leans her head back against my chest and looks me in the eyes. “I love you, Will.”

  I kiss her on the forehead. “Say it again.”

  “I love you, Will.”

  “One more time.”

  “I love you.”

  ***

  Lake is finally discharged today after five days in the hospital. Luckily since yesterday was a Monday I was able to finalize reports with the insurance companies. Lake’s Jeep was totaled. The damage to my car wasn’t as bad so I was given a rental until it’s repaired.

  Dr. Bradshaw is really pleased with Lake's progress. She has to go back to see him again in two weeks. In the meantime, he's put her on bed rest. She’s excited because she knows that means she gets to sleep in my comfortable bed every night. I’m excited because that means I get to spend two solid weeks with her at my house.

  I end up withdrawing her from all of her classes for the semester. She was upset, but she doesn’t need the added stress of school right now. I told her she just needs to focus on getting well. I’m taking the rest of the week off but plan on going back to school Monday depending on how she’s feeling. For now, though…we’ve got almost a whole week of nothing to do but watch movies and eat junk food.

  ***

  Kel and Caulder bring their plates to the coffee table in the living room and set them down next to mine. Lake’s lying down on the couch so we eat in the living room rather than at the table.

  “Suck and sweet time,” Caulder says. He crosses his legs and scoots around to the opposite side of the coffee table so we’re all sitting in a somewhat circle that includes Lake. “My suck is that I have to go back to school tomorrow,” he says. “My sweet is that Layken’s finally home.”

  She smiles. “Awe, thanks Caulder. That is a sweet,” she says.

  “My turn,” Kel says. “My suck is that I have to go back to school tomorrow. My sweet is that Layken’s finally home.”

  She scrunches her nose up at Kel. “Copycat.”

  I laugh. “Well, my suck today is that my girlfriend made me rent six different Johnny Depp movies. My sweet is right now.” I lean over and kiss her on the forehead. Kel and Caulder have no objection to my sweet tonight. I guess they’re getting used to it.

  “Well, my suck is obvious. I’ve got staples in my head,” Lake says. She looks at me and smiles, then her eyes drift to Kel and Caulder as she watches them eat.

  “What’s your sweet?” Caulder says with a mouthful of food.

  Lake stares at him for a moment. “You guys,” she says. “All three of you.”

  It’s quiet for a minute, then Kel picks up a french fry and throws it at her. “Quit being cheesy,” he says.

  Lake grabs the french fry and throws it back at him.

  “Hey,” Kiersten says as she walks through the door. “Sorry I’m late.” She heads to the kitchen and starts making herself a plate of food. She’s about to be pissed again because I didn’t know she was coming over. Looks like she’ll have to eat bread again.

  "You need some help?" I ask her. She's only got one good arm, but she seems to be adjusting pretty well.

  "Nope. I got it." She brings her plate into the living room and sits down in the floor. We all stare at her when she takes a huge bite of a chicken strip.

  “Oh my god it’s so gooood,” she says. She shoves the rest of it in her mouth.

  “Kiersten, that’s meat. You’re eating meat,” I say.

  She nods. “I know. It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve been dying to come over here since you guys got home so I could try some.” She takes another bite. “It’s heaven,” she says with a mouthful. She hops up and walks to the kitchen. “Is it good in ketchup?” She grabs the ketchup and brings it back to the living room and squirts some on her plate.

  “Why the sudden change of heart?” Lake asks her.

  She finishes chewing and swallows her food. “Right when we were about to be hit by that truck….all I could think about was how I was about to die and I’ve never tasted meat before. That was my only regret in life.”

  We all laugh. She grabs the chicken off of my plate and throws it on her own.

  “Will, are you still coming to dad day Thursday?” Caulder asks.

  Lake looks at me. “Dad day?”

  “I don’t know, Caulder. I don’t know if I feel comfortable leaving Lake alone yet,” I say.

  “Dad day? What’s dad day?” Lake asks again.

  “It’s father appreciation day at our school,” Kiersten says. “They’re having a luncheon. Kids get to eat lunch with their dad’s in the gymnasium. Mom day isn’t until next month."

  “But what about the kids who don’t have dads? What are they supposed to do? That’s not very fair.”

  “The kids that don’t have dads just go with Will,” Kel says.

  Lake looks at me again. She doesn’t like being out of the loop.

  “I asked Kel if I could eat with him, too,” I say.

  “Will you eat with me, too?” Kiersten asks. “My dad won’t be back until Saturday.”

  I nod. “If I go,” I say. “I don’t know if I need to go, though.”

  “Go,” Lake says. “I’ll be fine. You need to quit babying me so much.”

  I lean forward and kiss her. “But you are my baby,” I say.

  I’m not sure which direction it comes from, maybe all three, but I’m hit in the head with french fries.

  ***

  I help Lake into the bed and pull the covers over her. “You want something to drink?”

  “I’m fine,
she says.

  I turn off the light and walk around to the other side of the bed and crawl in. I scoot closer to her and put my head on her pillow and wrap my arm around her. Her bandages come off at her next doctor’s visit. She’s so worried about how much hair they had to cut. I keep telling her not to worry about it. I’m sure they didn’t cut much, and the incision is on the back of her head so it won’t be that noticeable.

  It hurts if she’s not lying on her side, so she’s facing me. Her lips are in close proximity to mine, so of course I have to kiss them. I lay my head back down on her pillow and brush her hair behind her ear with my fingers.

  This entire past week has been hell. Mentally and physically. But especially mentally. I came so close to losing her. So close. Sometimes when it’s quiet, my mind wanders to the possibility of having lost her, and what I would have done. I have to keep reeling myself back in. I keep having to remind myself that she’s okay. That everyone’s okay.

  I didn’t think it was possible, but everything Lake and I have been through this entire past month has somehow made me love her even more. I can’t even begin to imagine my life without her in it. I think back to the video Sherry showed me, and to what Jim said to her.

  “It’s like you came along and woke up my soul.”

  That’s exactly what Lake did to me. She woke up my soul.

  I lean in and kiss her again; longer this time. But not too long, I just feel like she’s so fragile.

  “This sucks,” she says. “Do you realize how hard it’ll be sleeping in the same bed with you? Are you sure he specified an entire month? We have to retreat for a whole month?”

  “Well, technically he said four weeks,” I say, stroking her arm with my hand. “I guess we could stick to four weeks since it’s a few days shy of a whole month.”

  “See? You should have taken me up on the offer when you had the chance. Now we have to wait four more weeks!" she says. "How many weeks is that total?”

  “It’ll be sixty-five,” I quickly respond. “Not that I’m counting. And four weeks from today is February 28. Not that I’m counting that, either.”

  She laughs. “February 28? But that’ll be a Tuesday. Who wants to lose their virginity on a Tuesday? Let’s make it the Friday before. February 24th. We’ll get Kel and Caulder to stay with your grandparent’s again.”

  “Nope. Four weeks. Doctors’ orders,” I say. “We’ll make a deal. I’ll get my grandparent’s to watch the boys again if we can make it to March 2nd. The Friday after it’s been four weeks.”

 
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