Her head. It felt like shattering to pieces.
Her eyes? They refused to open.
Her body? Sore all over from the multiple bruises that she had caused on herself, and last but not least, her arm, which was hurting like crazy. She tried to move her fingers, but when she was unable to do that, she realized that her hand was covered by a white cast.
Gia realized that she had never truly experienced a hangover. Well, now she really had one, if anything. She just wanted to crawl back under the covers of her soft, fluffy bed, and be woken up hours later by Jersey poking his cold nose on her hand, begging her to take him out for a walk.
But as time progressed and she lay there, she started to realize that the bed she was lying on was not her own.
Startled, Gia sat up quickly on the bed, looking frantically around the room. Immediately she regretted it, and covered her face with her hands, rocking her body to try and stop the pain. The headache was so bad that she was getting tears into her eyes.
Once the pain had subsided to a somewhat bearable level, Gia looked around much more slowly and carefully. Her eyes were starting to get used to the dim light coming through the closed curtains, but the headache was still hammering her skull with an axe.
The room she suddenly found herself in was a big one. It had pale yellow painted walls, and other beds by the walls. There were six beds, including the one she was on. As the realization that she was in a hospital room hit her, she started to wonder how exactly she got there.
As she started to think about the night before, the earliest memory she had was going to a party with Hazel. After that, it was all pretty much a blur. The fight with her father was all too clearly plastered into her mind, and she would’ve much rather not have remembered that one.
“Oh my god,” Gia sighed as she remembered her dad. “He’s so going to kill me.”
“Oh, you’re awake?” a person near her bed said with a cheerful voice. Gia was startled to see her, as she hadn’t noticed anyone else in the room (besides the two people on the other beds). “And how are you feeling?”
Gia opened her mouth to answer, but simply the thought of speaking made her nauseas. The pain shooting up from her arm only made the nauseating feeling worse.
“Are you hurting? Here, take this, it should ease the pain for a bit,” the nurse person said and handed her a small paper cup with a few pills in it, and another cup with water.
Gia was a bit wary of taking the pills from a stranger, but honestly, with the level of pain she was in, she was willing to try anything.
“It will take a while for them to take effect, so why don’t you just relax?”
Gia wondered how she was supposed to relax while she literally could chew off her own arm to stop the pain pulsing from it.
But soon the pain subsided, and she felt her eyelids get heavy. In the middle of the drowsiness she realized that it was evening, and that once she wakes up again, she’ll need to start figuring out what happened to put her into that room.
Damn nurse. Probably gave her a sleeping pill.
Gia felt herself slipping away, and for a while, she was glad of just not knowing.
“So when will she be able to go home?”
“Well, she should be okay to go as soon as she feels okay enough. The alcohol and drug has left her system for the most part, and as long as she comes over next week so we can take a look at her arm, there’s no problem.”
“How long will it take that she can take the cast off?”
“At least a month, if not more. The damage wasn’t that bad, but we have to make sure it doesn’t get worse.”
“What about the bruises? Will they leave scars?”
“They shouldn’t leave any marks, but luckily most of them were on places that can be covered.”
The voices got clearer and clearer as she gained consciousness. For a while everything was blurry, but she could see two figures on each side of her. But as her eyes got more and more accustomed to the bright light, she recognized her uncle.
She had never been more scared, and yet happy to see Mikey.
Mikey could at times be even more judgmental and frightening than his brother, but still, Gia was glad that it was Mikey there and not her dad. She didn’t want to see Gerard, but most of all she didn’t want him to see her.
“How are you feeling?” the other person, who Gia guessed was a doctor judging by the long white coat, asked.
“I’m okay. My throat hurts though,” Gia answered, but as she did, she started to wonder exactly how she really was feeling. A bit woozy, but she’s always like that after sleeping.
“Does it hurt anywhere else? Your arm?”
Gia shook her head, but then looked down at her arm. It was covered in white cast up to her elbow.
“It’s just a bone fracture,” the doctor explained. “You can take the cast off in a month or so. The nurse will give you instructions on how to live with it until then before you leave.”
Gia wasn’t really listening to him. Instead, she was staring up at her uncle. He seemed so worried.
“Do you have any questions?” she heard the doctor ask.
“Um, yeah. Just one,” she answered. “What happened?”
Gia became worried when she saw the look her uncle and the doctor exchanged. It definitely didn’t promise anything good.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to tell her in private,” Mikey said, and after giving him a nod, the doctor left the room.
Gia looked at her uncle nervously. She couldn’t remember anything about what happened, but obviously it wasn’t good. He sat down on the side of her bed and sighed.
“Last night… You were in a car, which had crashed against a wall. You were bruised and barely breathing. Someone found you, called 911, and you were brought here. You… You know what roofies are, right?”
Gia remembered hearing the word somewhere, but shook her head.
“It’s a date rape drug.”
Her eyes widened from panic. “What?!”
“Don’t worry, nothing… like that happened,” Mikey said, unable to say aloud the thing they both were thinking about. Date rape drug wasn’t the most promising name. “Besides the bruises and the bone fracture, there’s nothing… physical going on. Trust me, they did tests to make sure. The dose wasn’t that big, but you realize that any dose is never good.”
Gia sighed in relief, but just the shock that it could have happened was enough for her. And obviously for Mikey, too. This was clearly very hard on him.
“Also, because of the drug and the alcohol, they had to pump up everything from your stomach. That’s why your throat might hurt. Now, do you remember anything about last night? How you ended up like that?”
Gia thought about it for a moment. “I remember… Fighting with dad, and then going to Hazel’s, and going to a party with her, but… that’s it.”
Mikey nodded. “Okay. Well, I’m just glad you’re alive. You have no idea how worried we were.”
“We?” Gia asked, now taking note of the fact that the two of them were the only ones in the room. No sign of Alicia, Donna, Donald, Ray, Bob, Frank (she thought he’d be all over the place, he usually is), but most importantly, Gerard and Lindsey.
Mikey shook his head, knowing very well what she was thinking. The absence of her father was pretty clear. “You have to understand that this isn’t easy on your dad. He was here, but he just… Can’t.”
That thought planted the seed of not wanting to leave the hospital into her mind. Gia didn’t want to see her dad in fear of what he would say or do, or what he would not say or do. She knew he had every right to be upset. She was pretty angry at herself, too.
“You know that your dad loves you. And he wants you to be okay. He’s not angry at you, and he doesn’t hate you or anything… He just…”
Mikey stopped talking when Gia looked away. Her eyes were now gazing out of the window by her bed instead of him, and he took that as a sign to shut up.
They stayed quiet until Gia had collected her thoughts. She decided not to think about her dad until she absolutely has to. She’d have to face him eventually, but now was not the time.
“Are you angry at me?” she asked him, though she knew the answer.
“To tell you the truth, yes. I could kill you if I wasn’t so glad you didn’t manage to kill yourself. But mostly I’m worried. We all are.”
There was a knock at the door and a nurse came in to test the other patient in the room. They didn’t speak anymore.
Gia stayed at the hospital for a few more days until they released her. During those few days Mikey was by her side every day, only going home for the night to sleep. Frank brought her a ridiculously big pink stuffed bunny toy when he visited with Ray and Bob, who modestly settled for just being there for her.
Donna and Donald visited, too, swearing that if she pulls another stunt like that, they’d cut her out of their wills. Even Lindsey came by once to drop off some clothes and, as Gia suspected, to act as a spy for Gerard, the only person missing.
He didn’t come by once.
Gia didn’t know how to react to his absence. On the other hand, she wanted to be immature.
When he was lying in the hospital in the past years due to the heavy alcohol and drug abuse, Gia always visited him. She was there to bring him his clothes when he was being released, coffee or water when he was thirsty, and just be there for him when he needed it, whether he was unconscious or not.
But on the other hand… Gia knew he felt terrible. He most likely hated her and himself possibly even more. It was just like Gerard to blame himself. And while Gia desperately wanted to blame him for everything, she couldn’t.
On the day of her release, Lindsey and Mikey were there on schedule to pick her up. Mikey was stuck carrying the huge, pink bunny that Gia had named Frankito, and the three (plus the bunny) only spoke when they had to.
Gia had hoped that her dad would at least come pick her up, but when Mikey and Lindsey appeared at the door, she knew that all the hope was for nothing.
Gerard felt his heart pumping louder and harder than usually, and he kept glancing at the ticking clock at the wall.
Half an hour she’s been gone.
Fifteen minutes, tops, to drive there. Ten-twenty minutes there. Another fifteen back. Gerard was counting minutes, dreading the moment when that door opens and he has to face reality.
It wasn’t just about Gia drinking. It wasn’t even about the drug she’d been given or took on her own. It wasn’t about the fact that she sneaked out of her room and went to a party.
Gerard’s reasons for not wanting to see his daughter were much more selfish. He didn’t want to admit that he’d failed.
Two times he has been responsible for his daughter being hospitalized. Two times she has run away. And Gerard knew for a fact that she’d learned to escape by drinking from him. He had gotten over the addiction, but he hadn’t even realized how deeply it had affected Gia. He wasn’t even that sure if she knew how big of an impact it had on her.
Gerard wished he could be anywhere else at the moment. Sadly, he still had some of his pride left.
The house was deadly quiet when Gia and Lindsey stepped in. Lindsey hadn’t said one word during the ride there, but Gia didn’t mind. It wouldn’t have helped if she had spoken. Her thoughts would still have circled around what was waiting at home, anyway.
Her dad was waiting for them in the hall by the stairs, and he looked anything but happy. He didn’t look mad either. He just looked… sad. Like he’d given up.
Gia just stared at him for a moment, and he stared right back. Neither of them said a word. And just like that, without bothering to take off her shoes or jacket, Gia walked past Gerard, and up the stairs to her room.
Gia hadn’t realized that she had been holding her breath until she closed the door and leaned back against it. Jersey, who had been taking his beauty sleep in the spot between the radiator and Gia’s bed jumped up and came to greet her. However, she only scratched behind his ears absentmindedly and then dug out her cell phone from her pocket.
But before the phone could ring even the second time, she’d already hung up.
She couldn’t call Lucas. That doesn’t lead to anything good, ever. And besides, he was probably mad at her. No, she should stop relying on Lucas to listen to all her problems. He was in California. And he wasn’t coming back.
Feeling even worse than before, Gia threw her cell phone on one of the beanbag chairs and fell face-first on the bed. Jersey jumped on the bed and to comfort her, licked her hand and tried to get her to cheer up. His attempts were short-lived, and once he realized she didn’t want to play, he left her alone.
Gia was very depressed.