A quick one-shot based on earlier events. We all hoped he would regain his memory; none of us prepared for him remembering the accident.
Amnesia wearing off.
My boyfriend screaming.
Another hallway, another corner. More lights that burned my eyes and were bright enough to not cast shadows. And somewhere, muffled by the thick walls of his hospital ward, that painfully familiar voice echoed through my ears.
One more turn. A door opening.
And then I saw hell.
"I-I-I-I- I REMEMBER IT!" he choked, almost lurching up from his bed as his body convulsed. If it hadn't been for the nurse's hand keeping a steady pressure on his chest, I bet he would have rolled onto the floor. I winced as another dry sob ripped through the air, bouncing off the sterile walls and echoing through the room until it faded into a weak rasp. Shoes squeaked and slid as the staff rushed around and hunted for something to calm him.
In the end, after his mother failed to get his attention, they all turned to me.
"He asked for you, first," Charlotte said softly, her green eyes glazed with shock and horror. She didn't cry, there simply weren't enough tears for that moment, but she shook and twisted her hands in front of her chest.
I blinked, my mouth still slightly open and my heart almost coming to a complete stop. Me? How could I do it? His own mother couldn't even slow the massive trembles that rocked through his body; how could I?
Ben screamed, throwing his head back and sinking into the pillow set against the back of his hospital bed. His lips continued to move as if possessed: "I remember! I remember! I remember!"
I remembered, too.
The shrieking of rubber tires against pavement, leaving long black marks that curved like dark talons against the road.
The muffled thump as his body collided with the hood and was sent rolling over the car in a blur of limbs and clothing, and the sickening crack of his skull against the windshield.
No. No. No! Stop thinking about it-
The first smear of blood over the car's front, like fresh paint against the battered metal. The horrifying crack his leg made as it snapped.
Another flash of red as his mangled glasses were sent spinning into the ditch, resting among the weeds as twisted metal and broken glass.
Running toward him, barely hearing the driver scream as she struggled to get out of the vehicle. That moment of utter blankness when I was close enough to hear the first weak mew coming from the boy on the ground.
I opened my eyes. The hospital had stayed were it had been for the past few decades. There was no dust-covered road, no car, no twisted body-
I slowly approached the writhing boy, still afraid of how he would react. I mean, this was Ben. God only knows what was going through his mind.
He didn't even notice me. His eyes just kept rolling behind his borrowed glasses, the pupils nearly swallowing the olive-green irises. His good hand was gripping the side of the bed hard enough to drain the blood from the knuckles and make them stand out sharply from his skin.
I wanted to run out of there and never go back. It was a horrible place filled with suffering and pain, and my head was spinning with the noxious fumes of chemicals. But when I saw that hand clutching onto the steel rail of the bed, gripping onto it as if letting go meant certain death, I knew that I had to stay. Swallowing down the vomit that tried to claw its way up my throat, I reached out a hand and rested it over his.
Ben's reaction was instantaneous, as if he'd been rehearsing that moment for months. His arm spasmed as if I'd shocked him, followed by a choked gasp and another shudder as he flinched away from my touch. "Don't touch me," he hissed, knotting his fingers through his dark brown locks and tugging. "Don't fucking TOUCH me!"
I heard Charlotte gasp behind me, but the rest of our audience was silent. I could feel their gaze pressing into my back, adding weight that actually made me slouch a little.
On the inside, I was dying. Ben was looking at me as if I was the one who hit him with a car; a raw, animal expression that tore me to shreds and made me want to gouge my eyes out. It was the kind of look that made grown men shudder in horror films, along with the same pained expression that I'd only ever seen in animal abuse commercials. It cut me apart. It cut me apart until there was nothing left but an empty space between Ben and the dark window of his hospital room.
I swallowed, shooting a glance back at Charlotte and the nurses. Charlotte had her hands cupped over her mouth, staring at me with eyes that were only just a bit more gray than Ben's. One of the nurses made a little motion with her hand, signaling for me to try again. After biting my lip hard enough for my tongue to pick out faint hints of blood, I very slowly put my thumb against the curve of Ben's cheek.
He flinched again, but since he was already at the far side of the bed, he couldn't move away. Instead, settled for turning his face in the opposite direction and screwing his eyes shut. "Just leave," he moaned. "Go!"
The words that fell out of my mouth were not the ones I'd been preparing to say. I'd been prepared to give up, to say I was sorry to Charlotte and just back away. My lips seemed to move of their own accord, however, forming that one sentence that would stick with me for the remainder of my life.
"I still love you, Ben."
He flinched again, and I could hear the faint thud of his head knocking against the rail of his bed. After a few minutes of shaking, his body went completely still.
Charlotte moved behind me, taking slow steps toward her son. "Ben?"
Ben was asleep.