Ouch. That's the one word that invades her body and soul as she collapses down on the floor. Ouch. There's a searing pain stemming and sprouting and rearing through her veins. Ouch. Her breathing becomes small little gasps, desperate intakes of brutal breath that she vitally needs to keep on going. The slash across her pale cheek does not pain her anymore; her hands are diverted to her stomach. Blood is streaming from a huge bloody wound, pouring like water from a tap. She tries to clot the bleeding, forcing both hands upon it, causing even more brutality upon her body, and she presses down on it, begging and pleasing for the pain to stop. Her breaths become even more infrequent and franctic and tears prick at her eyes. She slowly stares down, removing her hands for only a second, and almost faints at the sight. A huge gash had been marked in her flesh. It had been dug down and is extraordinarily deep and blood is strolling out at such a rate that she is surprised she has any left. Her eyes tear themselves away from the wound and glance up towards the ceiling, trying to get that image from her mind. But the pain does not leave or decrease in temperament, no, it gets worse. Fuck, she wants to scream and shriek and yell and roar out in agony. She wants to roll around on the floor, to smash her fist down on something to try and release the pain. But she stays sitting, concentrating on breathing. In and out, slowly, in and out. But breathing only increases the pain. Each breath is like another stab, digging deeper and deeper and deeper through layers of skin protecting her organs. Everything is starting to become the slightest bit blurry. She feels tired; it washes over her like a wave crashing against a clifface. But she had to stay awake and it hurts so damn much.
She suddenly hears a police siren, squealing loudly, and tyres screeching to a halt. The siren is wailing out but as annoying and piercing as it is, it reverberates and keeps her awake. The pain is worse than ever before, and she can remember the thin slice of metal ripping through her flesh, tearing it apart. She is aware of two people thundering into her house, yelling and muttering in shock: Rachel and Andy. Rachel runs to her, and presses a clean wad of tissues on the wound which hurts so much she wants to cry. Andy is storming through the house, shouting about Is he still here? She's pretty sure that Andy is going to hurt Jeff when he sees him next. She shakes her head, and with the insignificant amount of energy left within her, she murmurs,
'No, no, he's gone.'
And within a second, Rachel is pushed away from her and she feels two warm hands clutching her body and steadily lifting her from the ground. A face is only centimetres away from hers and it's the one she wants to see the most: Andy. His face is a battlefield of emotion; anger and danger are roaming wildly (she can tell by the way his eyebrows are placed), but there is an expression of the most sincere worry and anxiety she has ever seen patched across his face. Tears are forming insanely in his eyes, and she wants so dearly to wipe them away. Instead she replicated them in her own eyes and lets them roll down her face. Her blood is smearing over his shirt, crimson red mixing wildly with the bright white. She is beginning to feel light-headed: very light-headed. Everything blurs again but before she has the chance to pass out, she is hit with a wave of crisp fresh air. She feels wobbly as he almost runs, holding her trembling form as close as possible to him, towards the car. He looks her in the eye at the first opportunity and all he can see is pain. He promised to look after and care for her, what happened to that? But all professionalism has been thrown out the metaphorical window and he cries out to her,
'I love you. Don't let go Janet.'
She can feel his lips, those lips that used to brush against her own, on her forehead and for the shortest amount of time possible the pain disapates and disappears. But the moment his lips are cruelly wrenched away from her skin, it appears once more with a venegance.
'Andy,' she gasps, clutching at his arms, 'Andy.'
But she can't continue. Her voice has run out, and she can't help but wonder how long it will be before her heart does the same. Blood, she used to faint at the sight of it, but here she is, still conscious when she should be dead. But she always was a fighter. He is silently begging her to hold on, the way his eyes look up to the sky, like hers did with her ceiling, praying to a God he didn't believe in that she would be okay. Her breaths, well, she can no longer hear them anymore. Pain flashes mercilessly through her, ripping and wrenching and tugging at her insides, clawing inside of her, horrifying voices wailing Give in Janet, give in. She never departs her gaze from his face. She needs to concentrate and the words streaming from his lips that she cannot even hear help her in a way she never believed possible. But it feels like an eternity, why are they not getting to the car sooner? She looks around and everything is going in super slow motion. She can see one tear, glistening in the light, slowly sliding down Rachel's unblemished cheek, every slight tussle and quiver of Andy's hair, every syllable bursting from Gill's mouth. It feels like everyone is going ten times slower than usual. But soon enough she is gently packed into the back of the car, and Andy's hands depart from her waist and she misses them. She wants his hands wrapped around her again, she wants to cherish every second that she is laced within his grip.
She is lying down, her head in Rachel's lap. She anxiously mutters something about not wanting a post mortem and she hears Rachel, trying to joke, trying to wish away all that has happened,
'I'll fucking kill you if you die.'
Laughing hurts way too much, so she lets a grimace escape from within onto her lips. But she feels cold, like someone is putting her into a freezer. It starts at her toes, like frostbite, eating and nipping away at her flesh, and working its way up her legs, inch by cruel inch. When it reaches her fingers, her heart is beginning to become erratic and manic, beating wildly, trying to sustain her. It's like a little person, doing all they can to keep her alive. It's like Andy, all his prayers helping her, and she suddenly feels his fingers brush against her undamaged cheek. She doesn't ever want him to stop, so she pierces him with a look, peeling her eyes open for a second, which so blatantly says I need you Andy. Save me.
The car jolts to a stop and she is confused, bewildered when Rachel's form slips from under her head and someone else clambers into the back seat, switching places with her. The siren is on again, and the car is whirling forward at a million miles an hour, but all she can see is him, all she can feel is him, all she wants and all she had is him. He props her up on his knee and hugs her weakly, his tears dripping onto her bloodstained jumper. His eyes are on her face, and he again kisses her forehead. But the pain does not subside for that moment, it only gets worse. She clenches her nails into his shirt, and he holds her close to him, holding onto her like if he lets go he'll lose her forever: which he actually might if they don't hurry up. Her eyes flutter and flap, trying to close. She wants to go to sleep. But he squeezes her hand, her eyes find his, he whispers for her not to leave him, they both ignore the constable and Rachel sitting nervously in the front seats, he kisses her lips, he strokes her cheek, and gives her breath. She feels new oxygen rush through her body and she doesn't feel so tired anymore. Her eyes stop fluttering and when he realizes that he helped an insane amount by kissing her, he does it again, like CPR but romantic. He kisses her twice more after that, each time for furiously and each time more passionately. However he feels like he is kissing a corpse; her lips are frail and cold and weak. But his kisses keep her vaguely alive until they reach the hospital. He kicks the car door open in urgency, but it is with great care and gentility that he lifts her from the car and once more into his arms. She wraps her hands around his neck and rests her head weakly on his chest, the wide cut on her face rubbing against his chest. He kisses her hair and runs even faster, muttering apologies of how much of a rough ride he must be giving her. But he holds her firmly, tightly, like he used to do on Friday nights all those years ago, and she loves him more than anything else in the world right now. But her world is slipping away as she enters the musty, brightened corridors. There is a sense of darkness in the back of her mind, creeping forwards and wrapping itself around her sight. And the last thing she sees is his face, his tears dripping unashamedly from his face onto hers, and the last thing she utters before everything just evaporates into nothing is,
'I love you too. I love you.'
X – X – X
She often wondered why they painted hospital rooms white. When she used to speak to some of the victims of malicious crime, they always spoke of how awful it was to wake up and be almost blinded by sheer shafts of bright white light. She flickers her eyes open, unwanting of the agony to come and sure enough, when she finally finds both the courage and energy to fling them open, there is the white, harsh and unforgiving. She closes them instantaneously, out of instinct, but then slowly unfurls her eyelids once more when an unfamiliar voice softly says, 'She's waking up.'
A doctor enters her room and she is smiling. She strolls over to her bedside and checks her pulse quickly before clearly saying, 'We almost lost you Mrs Scott, but the surgery was quick enough to save you. You've had to have a blood transfusion and some stiching on her cheek wound, but you're going to be fine.'
She can't help but smile as well, not out of a surge of joyus emotion, but just from the fact that it doesn't hurt so much anymore. Less like knives plunging into her skin, more like scissors; which still hurts, if she's honest, but not as vehemently as before. The brightness of the white is beginning to subside and a real smile crosses her lips when Rachel walks in, Gill following closely behind,
'You silly cow,' is the first thing she hears Gill say. Encouraging, but, hey, typical Gill right? 'What the fuck were you doing thinking you could fight that bloke off? We almost lost you there!' Gill said intently, although her reprimand was not as serious as it would've been had she not been lying in a hospital bed with severe stab injuries. Rachel rubbed her arm softly and soothingly, before she finally mustered up the energy to callously ask, 'Where's Andy?'
She was trying to be casual in her question, but seeing as it was the first she asked after major surgery, she was lacking slightly in subtelty.
'He's not here Jan, he left,' Rachel said guiltily, exchanging looks with Gill. She was confused again, 'Where is he?'
'Sweetie,' Rachel murmured, 'you've been here for five days now. Andy left a few hours ago to go and change because he's been with you every second since you came out of theatre.'
'And he's going to be so pissed off that he wasn't here when you woke up, the silly bugger. Just don't do anything stupid with him,' Gill added warningly, cynical and sarcastic as ever. Heaving slightly, her breathing feeling muggy and compressed, she asked desperately, 'Can you get him here?'
'Are you sure you don't want to see Aide first? Oh, and the girls are with your mother,' Rachel said seriously. She shook her head in response to his question, mistake, that hurt, and replied quickly, dropping all pretences, 'No, get me Andy. I have to talk to him about something.' Her voice was slurred and before she could hear their reply, Janet blacked out again, feeling too exhausted to try and stay awake.
X – X – X
Her ponytail which was still tied up was digging into the back of her head. It was frankly very annoying as she was really trying to sleep. She went to take it out, but her arms were like blocks of lead attached loosely to her shoulders. Damn. She was surprised though when the hairband was slwoly tugged out with extreme care and caution, and her hair was left to spill out all over the pillow. Eyes now open wide to see her saviour (small issue, huge irritation), she glanced to the right and saw none other than the man she had asked to see however long ago. She tried to casually sit up but found herself unable to do it unassissted and he reached her bedside, allowed her to place her hands on his shoulders, and lifted her up so she was sitting up against her pillows. She was still so pale, white as snow, thin as a sheet of paper, lifeless as a plastic angel on top of a Christmas tree. But she was still alive, and she was still as beautiful as ever. The first smile she could remember sketched its way onto her lips, and she looked at him again when he had sat down again and asked,
'Why the hell weren't you in here sooner?' He chuckles at her, smiling too, and he leans forwards and clutches her hand, 'They said family only, apart from Rachel and Gill,' he says, grinning madly at the fact she had woken up.
'Why didn't you pretend to be my husband or something?' she asks, faking anger.
'Your real one beat me to it.'
'Well, it would've looked weird if I had said that and then done this,' he uttered quietly. Before she could question what this was, he stands from his chair, kneels close to her bedside and kisses her again. And this time it wasn't to try and save her, this time it was to show her how much he loves her. He sighs out when they break apart and returns to his seat, but does not break away from her touch. It is so reassuring to both of them, flesh on flesh, although it feels more like heart on hear, soul on soul.
'I – we almost lost you Janet,' he stutters out passively, his voice cracking and quivering with fear and sadness, 'please don't ever do that again. I haven't been able to sleep or eat or anything. I was so worried.'
She unknowingly begins to cry when he says this. He cares so much about her, how could she be so selfish to inflict this kind of pain upon him? Her heart swells and bursts brightly within her chest and she slowly whispers out, 'Sorry Andy, didn't mean to hurt you.'
She giggles at his reaction, the revamp of colour into his face. She breaks away eye contact for a moment and glances at the vase of brightly coloured flowers next to her bed. There is a little card hanging from one of the stems and she can just make out the text, through albeit slightly blurred vision. It says, Please reconsider. I love you. There is no name, but it is signed with a kiss and she recognizes the writing straight away. He sees her look at it, but does not say anymore, she can't make that kind of decision right now. Instead he reaches out, strokes a stray bit of hair from her face and kisses her again. And she answers his question with her response. She kisses him back with all the energy that she had and she feels like her soul is soaring. She feels so full of life when his tongue crashes against hers that she could get up and leave there and then. But it is over all too soon, and she is sad when he states that he has to leave. He quickly kisses her forehead before he goes, and whispers of how much he loves her and how he will be back soon. She believes him, and he doesn't disappoint. Andy never does.
X – X – X
He returns four hours later, sleeping bag and pillow in two. The time is half past nine at night, visiting hours are strictly over, but Andy, being the intuitive person he is, used his police badge to gain some sort of entrance. He gently pushes open the door of her room in the ICU and is delighted to see that she is still awake. He places a finger to his lips and makes a small shushing sound, begging her not to make any sudden noises or movements that would alert anyone else to his presence. He carefully unrolls his sleeping bag on the floor, kisses her, and goes to lie down next to her when she whispers,
'Don't sleep on the floor Andy, it's too uncomfortable.' He begins to ask her where he is supposed to sleep now, but she budges up in her almost double bed and patts the mattress next to her. He smiles, kicks off his shoes and clambers into the bed with her. She sits on his lap and curls into his chest, falling asleep in his arms. He wraps his arms around her and pulls the duvet over the both of them, holding her tightly. He kisses her repeatedly on the forehead before he is sure she is certainly asleep, and then just lies there, thinking about what he would do if she wasn't here anymore. Resign probably. Drink himself into oblivion probably. Kill himself probably. He shudders when he thinks of life without her and hugs her even closer, kisses her even more softly and cherishes every second that they are together like this. She is healing well, although she currently had fifteen stitches meshed into her face, so they only have these seven days to be together, and so he holds onto her like she is made of gold and caresses her so lovingly whilst he can. The last thing he can remember whispering before joining her in her delightful sleep is,
'I love you, don't know what I'd do without you Janet.'