“Hey” Kelly said weakly as Monica and Gerard parted the curtain surrounding her bed in the Emergency Room. She looked so pale against the crisp white sheets. Her neck, shoulder and arms were bandaged.
Monica held back her tears, “I’m sorry I let you walk to school today.”
Gerard had been afraid she was thinking along these lines. He stroked Kelly’s hand while putting his arm around Monica. “WE let you walk to school.” He said.
Kelly winced in pain. “Cause I wanted to.” She looked at Gerard, “How is Luke?’
“Want me to go check?”
“Please.” She whispered.
He spoke to Monica, “I’ll be right back.” He passed a nurse who was coming in to sedate Kelly. “Where is the boy who was brought in at the same time as my daughter?”
“He’s right across the way.” She nodded with her head.
Gerard thanked her.
“Now, Kelly I’m gonna give you something that’s gonna make you sleepy. It will make getting your stitches much easier.” She rounded the bed preparing to give Kelly a shot.
“How many stitches?” Monica asked her voice shaky.
The nurse smiled at Monica, “Dr. Levi is on duty right now and he’s an excellent seamstress.” She said trying to lessen their nervousness. “He’ll get you stitched up nicely.”
“Did I hear someone say my name?” A tall young man asked parting the curtain.
“I was just telling Kelly and her mom what a great seamstress you are.” The nurse laughed.
“Ah, that I am. How ya doing Kelly? Lots of pain?’
Kelly nodded, “It really hurts.”
Dr Levi watched as the shot was administered. “It won’t in just a few minutes. Now I’ll be back soon and we’ll get started, okay?”
Kelly nodded. The doctor looked over at Monica, “Mom, can I talk to you a minute?”
“I’ll be right back.” Monica said to Kelly then followed the doctor.
“Man, I’m so sorry I couldn’t get that fucking dog off her quicker. It just came out of nowhere.” Luke told Gerard.
“Hey, you did your best. The neighbor told us how you fought the dog. Don’t blame yourself.”
Luke shook his head, “She still got hurt bad.”
Gerard looked down at Luke’s bandaged hand, “How bad is it?”
“I don’t know. They said they’re still trying to get a hold of my dad.” He was trying to ignore the pain. “How bad is Sunshine? She’s all right isn’t she?”
Gerard really liked this kid, “She across from you. She’s gonna need a lot of stitches but she’s alive. If you hadn’t been there…” he couldn’t make himself say what could have happened.
“This is just so fucked up.” The pain was really starting to set in, “I should never have asked her to walk to school with me. If she’d just rode the bus this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Man, you can’t think that way. That’s not how life works.” He saw the pain in Luke’s eyes, “You’re hurting bad.”
Luke nodded, “Yeah.”
“I’ll be back in a few minutes.” He started to turn but stopped, “Want me to tell Kell anything?”
Luke who had closed his eyes, “Tell Sunshine I love her.”
Gerard nodded. “I will.”
“Mom, how’s Kelly?” Kara and Bob spotted Monica and Gerard in the waiting room and rushed to them.
Monica stood and hugged her oldest daughter, “They are working on her now.” She motioned for them to take seats then repeated what the doctor told her, “Kelly is lucky. The dog went for her throat but Luke acted quickly and pulled the dog off her. The doctor said she’s gonna require a lot of stitches. Maybe later plastic surgery on her neck and shoulder. It depends on how much scaring she has.”
“Shit” Kara said shaking her head. “How’s Luke?”
Gerard answered, “His dad just got here and they are talking to him now. He was in a lot of pain when I talked to him. His right hand is pretty messed up.”
“That’s bad for an artist.” Kara said softly.
Gerard hadn’t even thought about that, “Shit, that’s true.”
“Is there anything we can do?” Bob asked.
“Just sit here with us and wait if you have time.” Monica said softly.
Kara gave her a surprised look, “Of course we have time. My sister is in the hospital for fucks sake.”
Monica blinked at her tone and words, “Kara?”
Bob put his arm around his wife, “She’s just upset Monica.”
Kara saw the hurt in her mom’s eyes, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
Gerard spotted Luke’s dad walk out of the ER. “I’ll be right back.”
They watched as Gerard spoke to him. The man was obviously very upset. After several minutes they parted and Gerard came back to his seat.
“What did he say? Where’s he going?” Monica asked watching Luke’s father get into one of the elevators.
“He’s pretty upset. They told him Luke might have nerve damage. They are calling in a specialist. He told me they don’t have health insurance and he doesn’t know what they’re gonna do.”
“Shit” Bob said, “Poor kid.”
“Can’t we help them?” Monica asked Gerard.
Gerard frowned, “I already offered. He told me they don’t take charity.”
“That’s stupid.” Monica fumed, “Luke got hurt helping Kelly. If he hadn’t been there that dog could have killed her.”
“Well so what will happen?” Kara put her hand on Monica’s arm tying to calm her.
“I’m not sure. I’m gonna talk to the doctor first chance I get.” Gerard sat back in his chair. He was going to find some way to make sure Luke got the best care available.
Five hours later Kelly was allowed to leave the hospital. She had over seventy stitches in her neck, shoulder and arm. Luke was not as lucky. He would be staying in the hospital and undergoing surgery on his hand in the morning. Nerve damage was a distinct possibly. The dog’s savage bites had almost severed several of his fingers. Kelly had been allowed to see him for a few minutes before she left the hospital.
Arriving home Kelly was tired and in pain. Gerard helped her up to her room while Monica heated up some soup. “I’m not hungry.” Kelly said weakly.
“Kell, you need to eat something. The pain medication will make you sick to your stomach if you don’t.” Gerard told her.
Kara had followed them upstairs. She and Bob had stayed the whole time at the hospital. “Gerard let me help her get her pajama’s on.” Kara said once Kelly was seated on the bed.
He nodded, “I’ll go help your mom.” He kissed Kelly on top of her head then left the room.
“Bet it hurts like a bitch.” Kara said while helping Kelly remove her shirt.
“Yeah” Kelly winced in pain. “You think Luke’s gonna be okay? I mean I don’t know what he’ll do if he can’t draw.”
“I hope he will be. Guess we just gotta keep thinking positive thoughts.” She slipped on Kelly’s pajama top then helped her with the bottoms.
“He’s just gotta be okay.” Kelly said as if saying it would make it so.
Once she was dressed Kara helped her into bed. “Stupid freakin’ tall bed. Bet you wish you had a regular height bed now.” Kara grumbled.
“I love this bed.” Kelly told her. “Dad and I picked it out.”
Kara tried not to cringe but Kelly saw, “Why do you dislike him so much?’
“What?” Kara had heard her but pretended she hadn’t.
“You know what.” Kelly snapped. “Just tell me.”
“Hey.” Bob said walking into the room. “Ready to go Hun?”
“Yeah” Kara straightened Kelly’s comforter then walked towards him. “I’ll come see you tomorrow after school.” She grinned, “I’ll bring your homework.”
Kelly glared at her, “Thanks so much.”
Bob walked over to the bed. He awkwardly bent down and kissed the top of Kelly’s head, “Take care of yourself, sister-in-law.”
Kelly smiled, “thanks Bob. You take care of yourself.”
After they were gone Kelly leaned back on her pillows and closed her eyes.
Gerard walked Kara and Bob to the door while Monica poured Kelly’s soup into a bowl then placed it on a tray. She was about to add crackers when the events of the day hit her. Leaning against the kitchen cabinet she let the tears flow.
“Honey, it’s gonna be okay.” Gerard whispered walking up behind her and whispering in her ear.
Monica turned in his arms and hugged him tightly. ‘Oh, Gee. I really thought this day was going to be prefect and it turned to shit.”
He rubbed her back, “No, it turned out just fine. Our girl is upstairs in her room. The day could have turned out so much worse.”
His words only made her cry harder. “I know. I’m being stupid.”
“No, not stupid. I know what you mean. By now if things had gone the way we planned we’d be married. But it’s okay. Well get married maybe we’ll just go to Vegas in July when I get back.”
Monica nodded, “Yeah, maybe.”
He tilted her face up towards his, “We will get married, Monica. I’m not ever gonna lose you.” They kissed forgetting that Kelly’s soup was getting cold.
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