As Ayasha prepares the surprise Gerard realizes something that's very important.
Her eyes grew huge and she started shaking her head. “No, please don’t say that.”
Gerard was hurt and confused by her reaction. “Why?”
She scooted off his lap. “Because, it’s wrong for you to think like that. You’ve got to go back to your life. Your loved ones are waiting.”
He nodded, “I know and that’s important to me.”
“Right, so letting anything keep you from doing that is wrong.” She nervously ran her hand through her hair. “I know in my heart you are here so I can help you realize what went wrong in your life..”
“Yeah, I believe that too. But Ayasha, think about it a minute. Why did I end up here? There has to be a reason. I’d like to believe that it’s not just for me. Yeah, I think I’m here in limbo to reflect on my past and hopefully get a second chance. I want to go back and make things right. I want to watch my daughter grow up, to be the dad she deserves. I need to tell my brother and parents how sorry I am I’ve fucked everything up. And my friends…I want to make things right.” He paused. “But at the same time I can’t help but think, no hope, that my being here is for you too.” He watched her face trying to judge her reaction.
“For me.” She repeated softly.
“Yeah, for you.” He reached out to touch her cheek with his fingertip. “Don’t really know how the hell I could help you.” He sighed. “But more than anything I want that. I want to believe that something good will come out of all this for you.”
“It already has.” She admitted. "You’ve made me admit things about myself I never believed I would share with anyone. You’ve made me take a good look at myself and I’m not happy with what I’ve seen.” She stood suddenly. “But the fact remains that we must get you back to your life. That is more important than anything.”
He knew she was keeping something from him and he had a pretty good idea what it was. “If I go back I’ll never forget this time we’ve spent together.”
“Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.” She said shaking her head. “Please don’t do that. Since this happened I’ve read a lot about people who come out of comas. Some remember hearing voices but…” Her voice grew shaky. “Lets face it, what has happened is so strange, you’re here but you’re not here. I still at times think I’ve gone crazy and am just imagining all of this. But the truth is, you’ll wake up from the coma but you’ll remember none of this.”
Before he could stop her she ran to the bathroom slamming the door in her wake.
Ten minutes later the bathroom door opened and Ayasha emerged smiling as if nothing was wrong. “Okay, sorry about that emotional outburst.” She said as she walked towards the sofa.
Immediately he was on his feet. “Honey, don’t be sorry.”
She held up her hand to silence him. “But I am sorry and that’s the truth. You see on the way home today I had decided that tonight and tomorrow we’re going to be special. I just feel like it’s what we need. I don’t want to contemplate your situation or mine. I don’t want to feel sad I just want to be happy.” She locked eyes with him. “Do you understand?”
Gerard smiled, “Yeah, I get it. Sometimes you just need to feel happy. Think you’re right, that’s what we need.” He’d give her anything she wanted just so she’d keep smiling.
“Good.” She nodded. “Okay, well I’ve got to get things ready. So you need to go into the bedroom.”
“Into the bedroom?”
“Yes.” She grabbed his arm and started down the hallway. “I don’t want you to see what I’m doing. So I’m putting you in the bedroom and closing the door. If you’re bored check out my bookshelf. I have some great books.”
Gerard grinned, “So I’m being banished to the bedroom?”
“You sure are.”
“How long is this gonna take?” He asked as she pushed open the door.
Ayasha giggled, “Just be a good boy and be patient.”
“Oh Honey, we already discussed me being a good boy.” He turned to face her. “Don’t think either one of us really wants that.”
His earlier words about making love to her body with his hands echoed in her brain. “Maybe that’s true.” She muttered. “But for now you’ve just got to be patient.”
Gerard walked over and lay down on her bed. Stretching out he gave her a lopsided grin. “I’ll try my best.”
She smiled as she closed the door.
Several minutes later he heard the sound of the hall closet door being opened. Gerard closed his eyes listening closely and could hear as she pulled down the steps. Whatever the surprise entailed it was obviously going to take place in the attic. He smiled as his ears picked out the sound of her singing. While he couldn’t make out the song he loved the sound of her voice.
As he lay there waiting his mind went back to their earlier discussion. He’s been right, she was afraid he’d forget all of this and in truth that thought worried him too. Right now his heart was sure he’d never forget this woman or this time. But sadly he realized maybe that wouldn’t be the case. He could very well wake up from the coma and have no memory of this at all. That thought caused him to frown. She may not realize it but she’d touched his heart, made it feel again. But then another thought forced its way into his brain, what if he never awakened from the coma? What if he never had the chance to tell his loved ones how sorry he was and how much he loved them? What if he simply stayed in this limbo until his body died? As much as he wanted to be with Ayasha that wouldn’t be fair to her. She couldn’t live her life normally if she was sharing her home with him.
He heard her coming back down the stairs still singing. For now he had to put these depressing thoughts from his head. She wanted this time to be happy for them and he’d make sure that’s what she got. Tonight and tomorrow they’d be together and he wanted more than anything for it to be good. He wanted to see her smile, hear her giggle.
“Shit.” He whispered as another thought edged into his brain. He wanted to do everything he could to make her happy because he’d fallen in love with her.
Ayasha carefully carried another bag up the attic steps. She hoped with all her heart Gerard wouldn’t think all of this she was doing was silly. Because honestly, it was silly. She’d never done anything like this before. But it felt oddly good to be this way. For the first time in her life she wasn’t being so serious, so guarded. While in the back of her mind she was afraid she’d end up being hurt she pushed that thought aside. For now she just wanted to see Gerard smile and hopefully this would do just that.
When he heard her come down the steps yet again he yelled out. “Need any help?”
Ayasha moved towards the bedroom door. “No, thank you. Growing impatient?”
Gerard laughed, “No, more curious than impatient. Hey, what’s that song you’ve been singing?”
She was shocked; she hadn’t realized she’d been singing. “Oh.” She thought a minute. “It’s a Cherokee song grandmother used to sing to me when I was young.”
Gerard smiled up at the ceiling. “What’s it about?”
Ayasha giggled, “A squirrel and a fox.” She leaned her forehead against the wooden door. “I can’t believe I was singing it. I haven’t thought about that song in years.”
Gerard wished he could see her face. “That’s because it’s a good memory and you’re happy, right?”
“I am happy.” She answered softly.
“Me too.” He answered. “But I’ll be happier when I get to see what this surprise is all about.”
Ayasha pushed away from the door. “Not ready yet. Got more to do.”
“Hey, I could make your dinner while you’re in the attic.” He offered.
“No, I’m still carrying things up and you’d see.”
“Woman what on earth are you doing up there?” He laughed.
“Something for you. I want Ha-li-he-li-ga.”
Aysha just laughed. “Too bad you don’t speak Cherokee, isn’t it?”
“You could teach me.” He answered.
“Too busy.” She started down the hall.
Gerard smiled wondering if she realized she was singing again.
When finally she pushed open the bedroom door he turned his head and saw her smiling.
“Done?” He asked.
She nodded, “For now. But I’m starving so I gotta eat something.”
He stood immediately. “What would you like me to make?”
“You know you really don’t have to cook for me. I was thinking I’d just throw a frozen dinner in the microwave.”
Gerard frowned, “That’s not a very good dinner.”
“No, but it’s quick. As soon as I eat we’ll head up to the attic.”
“Oh.” He liked that idea. “Okay.” He started to walk towards her but she held out a bag and he stopped in his tracks. “What’s that?”
Ayasha nervously looked down at the ground. “Uh, I bought something for you to wear. I know you can’t feel, so I’m sure you’re comfortable, at least I hope you are.”
Gerard could tell by the way she was speaking she was unsure. “Hey, I’m tired of wearing this.” He glanced down at his jeans and tee.
Ayasha still refused to look at him. “It was silly, I know.”
He took the bag from her. “Not silly at all. Besides what I’m wearing reminds me of the night….” His voice trailed off. “This was what I was wearing.” He added sadly.
“I’d wondered about that.” She admitted.
He opened the bag and pulled out two pairs of sweat pants and matching tops.
“I got us both a set.” She explained. “A store had donated a bunch of them, they’re new.” She wasn’t sure if he’d reject clothing from a thrift store.
Gerard smiled, “Cool, we’ll match. Should I put mine on now?”
Ayasha nodded, “Sure, I’ll just to toss my dinner in the microwave.”
“Uh, don’t you want to put yours on too?”
She saw he’d pulled his tee over his head. Her eyes grew wide as her gaze fell on his bare chest.
Gerard grinned, “So my chest looks okay?”
“What?” She squeaked.
He nodded towards the mirror. “Uh, remember? No reflection. I was just wondering if my body looks any different.”
“Looks fine to me.” The words left her mouth before she could stop them.
Gerard laughed, “Well, thank you. So we’ve established my upper body looks okay. Wanna check out the rest?” He started to unzip his jeans.
Ayasha watched a minute then turned and bolted down the hallway. She could hear Gerard laughing. Damn, man. Still she couldn’t get the vision of his bare chest out of her mind. She’d spoke the truth, he looked damn fine.
Gerard wandered into the kitchen to see her pouring herself a glass of water. Just then the microwave dinged.
“Be careful.” She said without thinking when she saw him reach in to retrieve the dinner for her.
He smiled, “Uh, doesn’t feel a bit hot to me.”
She walked over to the table knowing he would follow with her dinner. “I keep forgetting.” She said softly. “Besides I don’t want you burning your hands. We don’t know, it might affect your real body.”
Gerard set her dinner down in front of her then pulled himself out a chair. “Weird to think I’ve got another body out in LA.”
She nodded, “Yes, weird.” Slowly she began to eat her dinner.
He didn’t like that she suddenly seemed sad again. “So about this surprise..”
Ayasha smiled, “What about it?”
“Woman, you know I’m damn curious. It sounded like you were constructing something up there.”
“I was.” She grinned. “A special place for my U-na-li.”
He looked into her eyes. “A special place for me?”
“What does that last word mean?”
She smiled, “It means friend.”
While he liked that she thought of him as a friend he wanted her to think of him as more. “Uh, so if I ask you how to say a word in Cherokee you will tell me?”
She took a bite before answering. “If I can. I haven’t spoken the language in a very long time. “
He nodded, “Okay so what did you say before?”
She knew what he meant. “Oh, I said I wanted you to be happy.”
“You make me happy.” He said softly. For a moment it looked like she would say something but then she lowered her gaze to her dinner.
Gerard sat back in his chair. “How do you say how are you?”
“do hi tsu” She answered without looking up.
“Ayasha, do hi tsu?” Gerard asked.
“do hi quu” She answered.
Gerard laughed, “Honey, I hope that means good”
“It does.” She nodded.
“Well, I’m do hi quu, too” He reached across the table to lay his hand on her arm. “Especially when you’re near me.”
Ayasha quickly finished her meal. “Okay, then.” She stood nervously. “I’m going to change into my sweats.”
“Should I wait here?”
She nodded, “I’m going up first. I’ll call you when I have everything ready.” She turned but his voice stopped her.
“Ayasha how do you say thank you?”
She gave him a surprised look. “wa do. Why?”
He stood. “Because I got a feeling I’m gonna need to say it.”
She sighed, “Really, I’ve made this surprise into such a big thing and it’s really not.”
Before she could go on he reached to pull her to him. Holding her close he whispered. “I know you’ve gone to a lot of work setting this up. That means more to me than you’ll ever know. So wa do.”
She slowly pulled away. “It will just be a few minutes.”
He nodded and watched her walk away. “Don’t need any help changing, do you?” He kidded hoping to lighten the mood.
Ayasha giggled, “No, thank you.”
He picked up the remains of her dinner then dumped them into the garbage can. It was several minutes later when he heard her climbing the steps to the attic then another few minutes until he heard her calling out to him.
“Damn, it.” Mikey said falling into the waiting room chair. “I don’t like this.”
Donna sat down next to him. Like her son she was upset about what the doctors had just told them.
Don felt he needed to put this into prospective. “Look, I understand this is upsetting but I think it’s for the best.”
Donna all but glared at him. “How can you say that?”
He sat down across from here. “Look, you heard the doctor. Gerard seems to be doing better. His brain activity is much stronger today.”
“So why the hell do they want to move him to an extended care facility?” Mikey asked.
Don understood how his youngest son felt. When the doctor had explained where they wanted to move Gerard he’d been upset too. Knowing the facility was for extended care made it sound like they were giving up hope Gerard would awaken from the coma. “Because he’ll get better care.”
Donna shook her head, “I don’t believe that. I think it’s just a place to put him because they don’t expect him to recover.”
Mikey closed his eyes hating that his mother felt the same way he did.
“No one said that.” Don tried to reason with them.
“They didn’t have to.” Mikey said slowly. “You heard how many coma patients they have there. How many of them have been in comas for years.”
“There is nothing else they can do for him here.” Don said sadly. “We all understand that.”
“Don’t mean we want him stuck away to rot.” Mikey said blinking rapidly.
“Son, no one wants that to happen. It won’t happen. We’ll continue to visit with Gerard, continue to talk to him, letting him know we’re all waiting for him to come back. No matter where he is.”
Gerard slowly crawled up the steps. When he got to the top he was stunned by what greeted him.