Frank had never thought he would be asleep when the doctors came for them. He thought he would be tense, pacing, swearing at the nurses for more information. But exhaustion had gotten the better of...
Frank had never thought he would be asleep when the doctors came for them. He thought he would be tense, pacing, swearing at the nurses for more information. But exhaustion had gotten the better of him. He woke up at Sarah’s gentle but insistent shaking and blinked at the brightness of the hospital corridor.
“The doctors are here” Sarah said heavily.
She was dead, he was sure of it, not unconscious, not sleeping, just dead. Her porcelain face was pale but had that scrubbed look of someone just out of surgery. He couldn’t see any movement of her chest at all, although the heart monitor beside the bed gave out the signs of her life in morse code only the doctors understood.
She would be fine, they had assured he, Sarah and Laz. It had been hours that they had spent in surgery stemming up the blood loss. The second bullet had nicked her stomach but the first, the one in her chest, had missed her organs and passed straight through her body. She was lucky, fucking lucky.
But Frank didn’t believe them now he saw her, she didn’t look lucky, just dead. Sarah had taken a seat beside her bed and Laz was leaning against the wall.
“How long do you think it will take?” Frank asked the nurse, “for her to wake up”
“You can just fucking leave if you can’t be bothered waiting” Laz snapped.
Frank’s eyes widened, what did they think of him?
“It was just a question Laz,” Sarah said slowly, softly, “a normal question” She repeated.
“We don’t know” The nurse replied, “She’s undergone very invasive surgery”
JB arrived on the red eye from LA where he had been to see the finished production of his film. He rushed into the room in a flap, his normally perfect blonde hair blown into disarray in the bitter wind. He stopped dead when he caught sight of Escher.
“Oh my God” He whispered.
Frank looked up at him, surprised to see some pain in his eyes.
Frank didn’t like him, it was as simple as that. He was too smooth, too adult, too mundane and pedestrian for somebody like Escher. Okay, so he was a writer, he was supposed to be creative, artistic, but he just came across as a pompous twat. He had come out for dinner with people from Reprise a couple of weeks before but had sat silent next to Escher like a shag on a rock, staring into his glass of cognac all night. Frank would never have guessed that Escher would wind up with someone so calm, so level, so boring.
But there was some spark in him now as he winced at the sight of the girl they both cared for, albeit in very different ways, lying silent on the bed. Finally his eyes fell on Frank and his face turned into a sneer which he masked quickly.
“What are you doing here?” He asked, trying to keep the accusatory tone out of his voice.
“I’ve been here since it happened, I’m waiting for her to wake up”
“Well I appreciate your…concern, but I’m sure that Sarah, Lazslow and I have it covered between us”
Frank felt anger bubbling up inside him. Fucking prick.
“I’m sure you do Jonathon," Frank replied, drawing out the name obnoxiously, "but I’m not going anywhere”
JB sneered again.
“You’re not needed here Frank”
“JB, leave it” Sarah said as she came in through the door, yet another coffee clasped between her fingers.
“Yeah JB,” Frank mimicked, ignoring his own immaturity, “leave it…” He trailed off as he noticed the faintest of movements from Escher’s bed.
He moved to her side in a flash and grasped the fingers that had been twitching. His eyes fell on her face, noticing for the first time the twitching around her eyes as her eyelashes began to flutter. It had been nearly a day now, since she had been brought in. Finally she blinked, and those beautiful grey eyes opened up to the world. She frowned slightly and then her gaze fell on Frank and the frown cleared and a beatific smile spread across her chapped lips.
He squeezed her fingers tightly as the nurses rearranged her bed so she could sit up a bit more.
“How are you feeling?” Frank whispered gently, she hadn’t spoken yet.
She seemed to take a breath and shrug her shoulders, her eyes narrowing.
“I…I have two fucking bullet wounds” She finally croaked, “How the fuck do you think I’m feeling?” She reached her free hand up to rub her dry throat as Sarah and Laz laughed,
unutterably relieved to see their old Escher back.
“Oh come on,” Frank said playfully, “two visits to the same hospital in three months? Be honest, you just love the attention”
She grimaced but he could see the laughter in her eyes, everyone could, JB could.
“Get the fuck out of my hospital room” She said, her voice teasing and he squeezed her hand again.
She was going to be fine, they said. They explained to her what had happened to her body, her stomach was going to be tender and they had had to remove a portion of it, so she would have to remain in hospital for a few days to be fed intravenously, but then she should be able to go home on a liquid diet. She wouldn’t be back on solids for a while.
The police came as well, they had the gunman in custody, his pre-trial hearing had already been done, the case was open and shut and with Franka’s statement, they wouldn’t need hers. He would be sentenced soon enough. And the takings from the night had been recovered of course, by Lazslow, who had returned her till key to her with great ceremony.
It seemed as though there was a constant parade through her hospital room. Franka had been first, her eyes hollow as she stared down at her boss.
“Thank you so much” She had whispered, “You saved my life”
“And you saved mine from what I’ve heard” Escher had croaked, the doctors had been generous in their praise of Franka’s early ministrations to stem the bloodflow.
Of course the boys had arrived, weighed down with flowers and a giant “Black Parade” banner which Escher told Gee was in bad taste considering how close she had come to meeting the fucking parade. He had just smirked and explained that he was being ironic.
Reprise had sent exotic baskets of fruit, pretty fucking stupid for someone who had had half their stomach removed, but Sarah seemed to enjoy it. She was thrilled to eat mangoes in the late weeks of fall.
And of course JB had been there. Every day, all day. Just there, holding her hand or reading or talking about the film. The premiere was coming up and he wanted to take Escher. He had it all planned out. After the premiere he wanted her to take time off, it was when he was suggesting this that Frank arrived and it all began.
Frank had been there every day too. His big hazel eyes sad, even though she was doing better every day. Eventually she got out of him what was wrong.
- Flashback –
He was staring at her again, she had been in that damn hospital for four days since she woke up and every day he sat beside her and stared sadly at her.
He started and smiled at her apologetically.
“Staring again?” He asked.
Escher rolled her eyes and nodded, reaching out to touch his hand.
He closed his eyes for a moment and then looked into hers.
“I thought I was going to lose you” He whispered, “I thought the last memory I’d have of you would be that fight, of those horrible things I said”
“I said horrible things too Frank”
He shook his head.
“I’m so sorry Escher”
He was sorry, fine, but he didn’t say he was wrong, Escher thought. Well of course not, he wasn’t, was he?
“You can get time off and we’ll go to my place in the Hamptons” JB suggested.
Escher wanted to laugh out loud that after the crazy guys she had been involved with, now she was with someone who had a holiday house in the fucking Hamptons.
“I can’t do that JB”
“What?” He asked, surprised.
“I can’t take more time off work, I need to go back”
“Honey,” He said soothingly, brushing a stray strand of hair back from her face, “they’ll understand, they’ll give you time”
Escher sighed, frustrated that he didn't understand.
“I don’t give a fuck about what anyone understands JB! I need to be at work! It keeps me sane”
“Ok, ok, just calm down and we’ll discuss it later”
“No we won’t we’ll fucking…” Her voice was rising to hysterical proportions.
“What’s wrong?” Frank asked from the doorway where he stood in tight black jeans and oversized hoodie with the hood up, a stark contrast to JB’s suit.
“Nothing Frank,” JB replied, “my girlfriend and I are having a conversation”
Escher rolled her eyes.
“We’ll be having a fucking argument soon…he wants me to take time off work and go to the fucking Hamptons” She complained to Frank, even though she knew she shouldn’t bring him into it.
He nodded calmly and crossed the room to sit in the chair on the other side of her bed.
“And that’s not a good idea?”
“No,” She snapped sulkily.
“Well then don’t do it” Frank replied simply.
“Mind your fucking business Frank” JB snapped.
Frank raised his arms in self defense.
“It is my ‘fucking business’ if Escher takes time off, my band loses out that way” He said with a smirk.
JB rolled his eyes.
“Yeah, that’s why you don’t want her to go. You are fucking pathetic…”
“Don’t speak to him like that” Escher cried, her voice strong and defiant.
JB stared at her in horror, as though some realization had just washed over him. Finally his handsome face settled into a scowl and he stood up, tugging on his jacket.
“You’re both fucking pathetic!” He spat.
Frank shrugged and inspected his nails.
“Says the guy that owns a house in the Hamptons” He muttered and Escher giggled.
JB stared down at her and shook his head.
“I thought you’d changed Escher, grown up…but you’re still going after the bad boys. You’ll learn” He hissed and Escher blushed as he stormed out of the hospital room.
“Was that supposed to be about me?” Frank asked, raising his eyebrow.
“Er…” Escher didn’t know what to say.
“Cause I’m offended, I may have all these tattoos and the skills of a street fighter, but I call my mom at least once a day, and I think that puts me in the good boy column” He said with a straight face as Escher burst into giggles before stopping suddenly,
“Did I just get dumped?” She asked seriously.
“Only if he’s a complete moron…Don't worry, he’ll be back”
Escher frowned momentarily but then she smiled, she didn't really care if JB came back or not, not while she had Frank sitting beside her, his fingers brushing against hers and his oot tapping in time to a song only he could hear. She didn't care on little bit.
AN: And you all thought I'd kill her off! LOL. I couldn't do that, I like Escher too much to do it to her! A big hug to everybody reading and reviewing this story, please keep it up!