Authors: Holli Spaulding
The ambulance arrives and rushes upstairs to help my mom. I try to climb off Adam and go upstairs to get to her, but he holds me in place. “Please, Peaches, please stay here and let me hold you. Please, don’t go back inside that bar.” He is pleading with me. “Will you tell me what happened? I am freaking out a little bit since you are covered in blood. Are you OK?” The fear in his eyes is evident. I look up at him for a long moment trying to decide what lie to tell him. But I just can’t bring myself to care right now what he will think of me. I realize tonight, that I want someone to lean on. I want to let someone else besides Jessie into my life. It’s a big leap of faith for me to admit this to myself, but I so badly want Adam to accept me and my fucked up life.
“It’s my mom. She’s been beaten and stabbed tonight. By one of her fucking one night stands, I assume. I bet he beat her up because he wanted drugs, and drugs are something my mom has plenty of,” I murmur quietly. He pulls me in tighter to his chest and kisses my forehead. I can feel the anger and tension radiating off of his body.
“God, Abigail. What if I would have dropped you off an hour earlier? What if you would have been home when this happened? What if that asshole had harmed you instead of your mother? I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to you, ” he growls.
I start to cry and shake because I fear something like this
happen to me. I fear it every single night of my life. My mom is never careful who she brings into our home, and tonight just proves that. I start to get angry with my mother, and I can help but be pissed off for her poor decisions. Why, why can’t we just have one normal night?
“Hey, it’s going to be OK. I’m here now. I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise, Abigail.”
I just nod my head, because right now I just have nothing to say. I am trembling, and my breathing is still coming out in shallow gasps. He wraps his arms tighter around me, and I press my face into the crook of his neck. I inhale his scent, he smells of body wash, cologne, and Adam. It’s perfect, yet calming at the same time.
“Look at me.” I turn my head towards him and stare into his blue eyes. “I said I’m here now, and you’re safe. Deep breaths, baby, remember to keep breathing. I’ve got you.”
The paramedics head downstairs in a rush and they have my mother on a stretcher. She’s hooked up to all kinds of machines. Wires and tubes are sticking to her chest. Her skin looks pale, and her blonde hair is sticky with blood. I blanch at the sight of her and I feel my panic attack creeping back up. I jump out of Adam’s arms and run towards my mother. Oh god, she doesn’t look good. Breathe, Abigail, you can do that, just breathe. I have to remember to keep telling myself that.
“Please tell me… you can… save her,” I sob out. Addiction and all, she’s all I have.
“Ma’am, we are doing everything we can to help her. I know you’re worried, but we are doing everything we can,” he sympathetically says to me. The paramedics are frantically working on her and loading her into the ambulance. It’s all happening so fast, that I’m having a hard time keeping up.
“Abigail, we will follow the ambulance and meet your mother at the hospital. Come on baby, let’s go.” Adam gently pulls me towards his car, opens the door for me and puts me in. He buckles my seatbelt, and kisses me on the forehead before closing the door. I feel like I’m in a trance, and my body just doesn’t seem to be working properly. He frantically peels out of the bar and follows behind the ambulance.
“After I dropped you off tonight and headed back home, I couldn’t shake this gut feeling that something bad was going to happen. I went home and grabbed my car and drove back as fast as I could. I wasn’t expecting to see you running out of the bar covered in blood.” He whispers softly. “Are you OK? I know it’s a dumb question, I’m sure you’re not OK, but I need to know what I can do to help you.”
“If I’m being honest, your presence alone is helping me more that you could ever know. You’re able to calm me in a way no one has in a very long time. Thank you for being here with me Adam.” I sound like a robot, but I hope he knows I’m being serious.
He takes my hand and kisses my knuckles tenderly. “There isn’t anywhere else I would rather be, Peaches.”
When we arrive at the hospital 15 minutes later, Adam drops me off up front and I dart to the nurses’ station and demand to know information about my mother. I learn that she is being rushed into surgery, and that her doctor will come out as soon as he can to let me know how everything went. I can’t believe that’s all the information I was given. Surely someone knows more than that. So all I am able to do now is to wait.
Adam arrives a few minutes later and joins me in the waiting room. He has a somber look and his face is ashen. I want to do anything I can to make that look go away. He knows pain, he’s felt it before. I can tell by that one look on his face. It’s a look I know all too well. He’s lost someone close to him. Being here at the hospital is bringing up memories.
I grab his hand, and give it a tight squeeze before asking him a question. “Who did you lose, Adam?” I whisper to him.
He snaps his head in my direction and grips my hand tighter. He stares at me for a long time before speaking. “How do you know I’ve lost someone?” he softly says.
“The look on your face is a look I know all too well. I know heartache and pain, Adam, and the look on your face right now is telling me you do too.”
He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before speaking. “My father was shot and killed when I was 7. He was taken to this very hospital, where he was kept in the ICU. Three days later he died. He was my hero, my whole world. I looked up to my father and admired the hell out of him. Being here reminds me that he’s gone and is never coming back.”
I am struggling to believe what I am hearing. Adam and I have a very big thing in common. Both of our fathers were shot and killed. A fearful thought of why he looks familiar pops uninvited into my mind, but I quickly push it away. No way, there is no way we are connected in the way I am thinking.
I just stare up at him, unable to think of a single thing to say to him. So I say the only thing I wish people would have said to me when my dad died. I hated the sympathy I got after he passed away. The ‘I’m so sorry’ speech and ‘please let me know what I can do for you' comments. There is nothing anyone can do when you feel grief like this, and I wish there was a manual people read about how to properly talk to someone who lost a loved one.
“Tell me about your dad, what was he like?”
He lifts up the side of his mouth, and his eyes soften. “He was the best dad anyone could ever ask for. He taught me everything I know about music. He patiently sat through teaching me how to play the guitar, and even thought I sucked ass at first, he never once got frustrated or impatient with me. I remember his singing the most though. I used to sneak down the hallway and listen to him singing to my mom outside their bedroom door. I would peek inside and see them dancing and I remember thinking that I wanted to be just like him when I got older. I used to always walk around humming the song he always sang to her,” he whispers softly.
He looks so lost right now, and I put my arms around him and hug him more fiercely than I have ever hugged anyone in my life. I pour every ounce of me into this hug. I want more than anything to take away his pain. I know what it feels like, and I don’t wish this on anyone. I cling to his body so tightly that I think I might hurt him, but I notice he’s holding on to me with just as much conviction.
He slowly starts to pull away from me and I immediately miss the tightness of his hug. He puts his index finger under my chin and gently tilts my head up.
“Abigail, thank you. Thank you for being this amazing girl, who knows all the right things to say to make me smile. It’s been so long since I have felt happiness. Ever since you tripped and stumbled your way into my life, I have felt…alive.” I am hanging on to every word he says like it’s my lifeline and the butterflies I’m growing used to are fluttering in my stomach. I treasure his words, and the way he says them.
He tentatively puts his fingers into my hair and pulls my mouth up to meet his. The moment his lips touch mine, the world around me ceases to exist. He parts my lips with his tongue, and I invite him into my mouth. I finally get to taste him, and his taste is wonderful, it’s everything I have hoped for. I let out a soft moan and when I do his hands tighten in my hair. One hand stays tangled in my hair and the other in trailing down my back and rests on my hip.
He pulls my bottom lip into his mouth and bites down softly, causing me to gasp. When I do that I hear a low growl come from his throat. It’s the sexiest sound I have ever heard. I will remember that sound for the rest of my life. My breathing has become heavy and I feel like I should be embarrassed, but right now I just can’t bring myself to care. I want to take away his pain of remembering his father’s death. I want to kiss away the pain and heartache I am feeling about my mother. I want him to know just how much he means to me, and how thankful I am that he was there for me tonight. Our kissing becomes aggressive and I can tell he’s trying to do the same thing for me. I don’t ever want it to stop. Adam said it perfectly, he makes me feel alive. I have been in the dark for so long and finally I can see light peeking through the clouds, and it’s Adam who is bringing me into it.
He abruptly stops kissing me and rest his forehead to mine. He still has a firm grip on my hip and a handful of my hair. Our breathing is heavy. It’s the way I breathe after one of my runs. Our foreheads stay touching for a few more moments before one of us finally speaks.
“Abigail, we need to stop. I’m five seconds away from ripping your clothes off and taking you on this hospital floor, and I won’t care who is watching. I need a minute.” His voice is deep and husky and it just makes me want him more. That one sentence alone is the hottest thing anyone has ever said to me. But it also reminds me of where we are, and I quickly separate myself from him. Thank god we are alone in the waiting room. Honestly, this boy makes me forget everything around me.
“So if I keep kissing you, I might get to see you go all Hulk-like and rip my clothes off?”
“Don’t tempt me, Peaches. My Hulk-like tendencies should never be taken lightly.” He winks at me and starts to stand up. He has to readjust his pants and I give him a small knowing smile. I like knowing that I have that effect on him. “I need to use the bathroom, I’ll be right back. I need a cold shower,” he mumbles to himself.
Once Adam takes off in search of the bathroom, my thoughts immediately drift back to my mother and my anxiety comes back full force. God, it’s pathetic how much I need Adam and his presence. I start to pace the waiting room floor and wondering why we have not heard back from the doctors yet. Oh shit, I forgot to call Jessie and let her know what happened. She’s going to be so pissed I didn’t let her know about my mom. It’s already 1:30 am, so she will just have to wait until tomorrow for that phone call. No need to worry her in the middle of the night.
As I’m pacing the floors, milling over the million thoughts going on inside my mind, two doctors make their way into the waiting room.
“Miss McCarthy, I presume?” One of the doctors comes over to approach me. He is so old, and I’m having a hard time believing he is still able to work on patients. He looks like he might keel over any second.
“Yes, that’s me. Please tell me she’s all right.” I am holding my breath, scared to hear the news the doctors might tell me. Adam comes over and puts his arms around my shoulders and whispers in my ear. “I’ve got you, Abigail.”
“Right now she is in an induced coma. She sustained a few serious injuries though. Her right lung was punctured, and there was severe damage to her abdomen. She also sustained an injury to her left kidney. There was a massive amount of bleeding in her lower abdomen and it took us a while to find the source of the blood loss. We were able to find it and fix the problem during surgery.”
“So she’s going to be OK?” Everything he was saying sounded like gibberish.
“If all goes as planned, she should make a full recovery. Can I ask you a question?” I nod my head yes. “Was your mother on any type of drugs?” My heart sinks and my shoulders slump. I look up at Adam, and he gives my shoulders a reassuring squeeze, then leans down and kisses the top of my head.
“Yes. Her drug of choice is heroin, but she mixes stuff a lot, so I really don’t know what all she was on when I found her tonight.”
“I see. She is going to have to go through a detox. Her body will be going through withdrawals soon. Thank you for letting us know. This information will help us treat her properly. You can go in and see her for a few minutes, but then I am going to have to ask you to leave and come back tomorrow during visiting hours. But please remember that she was badly beaten and just had major surgery, so don’t be scared when you see her. She probably doesn’t look anything like her normal self.” He gives me a tight smile and motions for me to follow him. He sounds robotic. Like he’s gives news like this every day. He is lacking emotion, and that is not making me feel any better about the situation.
“I will be right here when you get back, and then we will go get some rest, OK?” Adam gives me a hug and kisses my forehead. I nod my head and reluctantly let him go.
We walk in silence down a long narrow hallway. I feel like we walk past a thousand hospital rooms before we stop in front of the room I’m assuming is my mothers. The doctor opens the door and beckons me to walk inside. I am having a hard time making my feet move now, and I am stuck standing still in front of the door. I’m dreading what I might see when I walk inside.