Katie groaned and blinked up at the ceiling. Her throat was so raw that it even hurt to breathe. The light stung her eyes, forcing her to squeeze them closed again. “Hey, you’re awake.” A voice whispered, cheerfully from the corner of the room as footsteps shuffled towards her. She squinted her eyes open and stared at the two faces leaning over her.
“Bill? Where’s Gabe?” She croaked, looking around the room.
“You got here a couple days ago, and he hasn’t left your side. We finally got him to go home and take a shower, but he didn’t want you to be alone if you woke up, so me and Butcher said we’d stay.” He nodded over at the Butcher, who smiled and waved enthusiastically.
“Thanks. What day is it?”
“Tuesday.” Bill said.
“I’ve only been gone two days?” She glanced down, confused.
“Well…” The Butcher looked at the floor. “Three weeks, and two days. We were all really worried, ESPECIALLY Gabe. I don’t think he’s slept since you were taken.” He placed his hand on hers, to comfort her.
“I thought I was going to die.” She whispered.
“Do you remember anything about it?” Bill asked, scooting his chair closer to the bed. Katie shook her head.
“Only that it was dark. And I was scared.” A tear rolled down her cheek.
“Don’t cry. You’re ok now.” Bill wiped it away. “And look on the bright side…”
“They decided to make the Hawk twins E! True Hollywood Story, and they had a ridiculous picture of you dressed as Wonder Woman, eating an ice cream cone.”
“That was my eighth birthday.” Katie smiled slightly.
“Pete thought it was so funny, he’s going to put it on a tee shirt and sell it at the Clandestine store.” The Butcher grinned.
“Oh, god.” Katie groaned, blushing.
“Hey, so Gabe told us about your…situation.” Bill said.
“Yeah, congrats.” The Butcher nodded.
“I’m sorry.” Katie looked over at him.
“Um, I should go call Gabe and let him know you’re awake.” Bill ducked out of the room.
“Don’t worry about it.” The Butcher scoffed.
“Are you sure?”
“What we had was never serious. I knew that going into it. And you and him…it was only a matter of time.” He shook his head.
“I’m still sorry you had to hear it from him.” She yawned.
“Go back to sleep. The doctor said the medicine they gave you would make you groggy for a few days. And you have Vicodin or some kind of serious painkiller in your IV. When you start to hurt, just push this button and it’ll give you another dose.” He pointed at a red button on her IV pole. Her eyes drifted closed as he backed out of the room.
Gabe burst into the room, causing Bill and the Butcher to jump. “Is she ok? What happened? She’s not awake.”
“She woke up a couple hours ago, but then fell back asleep. The doctor said it’s fine, she’ll be going in and out for the next couple days until the medication wears off.” The Butcher stood up, letting Gabe take his seat next to the bed.
“What was she like? When she woke up.” Gabe looked up at them, nervously.
“She was scared, and kind of woozy. But she was Katie.” Bill smiled, getting up and moving towards the door.
“She seemed kind of drunk.” The Butcher laughed.
“We’ll leave you alone.” Bill pulled the Butcher out of the room. Gabe leaned forward and gently brushed his thumb across her cheek. He scanned her body, taking inventory of the injuries. Her face was swollen and purple. There was a little residue of dried blood around the edges of her nose and mouth. The areas of her arms that weren’t wrapped in bandages, were covered in bruises. Her right wrist was plastered in a big white cast.
“Please wake up.” He murmured, squeezing her hand.
“Ow.” She groaned, opening her eyes open a crack.
“Hey.” He grinned. She slowly turned her head to the side.
“Gabe.” Her face broke into a pained smile.
“I was so worried about you.”
“I’m sorry.” She whispered.
“It’s ok. You’re here now, and I’m never letting you out of my sight again. Even when you go to the bathroom, I’ll be lurking in the corner.” He chuckled.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that. That wasn’t funny.” He averted his eyes to the ground. She carefully lifted her arm and placed her hand on his cheek. “I don’t want to get divorced.” He jerked his head up.
“Really?” She nodded.
“I don’t either.” He grinned and leaned over, placing a gentle kiss on her chapped lips. She pulled back with tears in her eyes.
“What?” He looked at her confused.
“His name was Dave.”
“You remember that? Do you remember anything else? I have to get the doctor.” He jumped out of his chair. She shook her head, clinging on to his hand.
“I don’t remember, but that’s the name carved into my stomach.”
“Shit.” He sat down with a thud. “I never should have let this happen to you. But at least they caught him.”
“The psychiatrist says I’m handling it remarkably well.” She smiled, proudly. They sat in silence for a couple more hours as Katie dipped in and out of consciousness. Finally the nurse ducked her head in to let Gabe know that visiting hours were over. He shook her awake to let her know that he would be back in the morning, before kissing her goodnight. He went home alone, and slept peacefully for the first time in a month.
When Gabe stepped off the elevator the next morning, he heard loud voices and laughing bellowing through the hall. He nodded a friendly greeting to the nurse behind the desk. “What’s going on?” He asked, referring to the noise.
“We tried asking them to keep it down, but it doesn’t work anymore.” She chuckled. The voices got louder as he approached Katie’s room. He paused in the doorway, raising his eyebrows at the sight of Ryan, Brendan, Patrick, Sisky and Ryland crowded around the bed.
“Uh…hey guys.” Gabe stepped into room. They all cheered in response.
“Oo, can I have your pudding?” Brendan pointed at her abandoned hospital tray.
“Knock yourself out.” Katie giggled, tossing the snack cup to him.
“Looks like you’re feeling better.” Gabe smiled, kissing her cheek.
“Aww!” Sisky squealed, mocking them.
“We decided to stay together.” Gabe grinned.
“That’s great you guys.” Ryland smiled.
“You know what’s the best thing ever invented?” Katie giggled.
“Pudding?” Brendan asked through a mouthful of pudding.
“No. My pain pole.” She grabbed the IV pole and punched the button.
“How many times have you pushed that?” Ryan asked.
“It can’t be good for you.” Patrick laughed.
“I am so stoned right now!” Katie smirked. They all shut up when the nurse pushed the door open.
“We weren’t even being loud!” Brendan whined.
“I just have to check on a couple things.” She smiled. “You know you’re only supposed to be in here two people at a time.” She scolded, making a note on Katie’s chart.
“But they’re so skinny, they barely count as a whole person.” Katie shrugged.
“Ok, but if someone says something I’m blaming it on you.” The nurse chuckled.
“Fair enough. I’ll just blame it on him.” Katie pointed at Sisky.
“Hey!” He gasped.
“Everything looks good. Your doctor is just finishing up in surgery, and he’ll be in to check on you. You’ll probably be allowed to go home today.” The nurse grinned before exiting the room.
“That’s great.” Gabe nodded. The door inched open and Nate stuck his head in.
“Is the coast clear?” He whispered.
“Yeah, she just left.” Patrick said.
“I had to hide in a closet, but I managed to get it into the building.” He tiptoed into the room, handing Katie a paper bag.
“Awesome.” She gasped, pulling out a large container of McDonalds fries.
“You brought her fast food?” Gabe wrinkled his eyebrows.
“Why do you think I gave him my pudding?” Katie pointed a fry at Brendan.
“It’s good pudding.”
“These are better.” She nodded.
“Well, we should go. We have a radio interview in an hour.” Bill glanced at the clock.
“Yeah, I got stuff to do, too.” Patrick shrugged.
“Aw, you guys are no fun.” Katie whined.
“We’ll come see you at home tonight.” Ryan said.
“You’re leaving too?”
“He drove us.” Brendan pointed at Patrick.
“Well, we’ll leave you guys to your…being newlyweds.” Ryland grabbed Nate, pulling him away from where he was eating all of Katie’s fries. “That’s so weird.”
“You’re telling me!” Katie snorted.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Gabe faked being offended.
“Nothing, just I’m the one that has to live with you.”
“I have to live with you, too.”
“But I am clean, AND quiet.”
“That’s not what I remember from Vegas.” He smirked.
“I thought you said you blacked out, too.”
“Maybe, when I thought about it, I remembered little bits and pieces.” He shrugged with a sly grin.