Cal's movements were slow and calculated as he moved about the hospital room. Emily was sitting on the edge of the bed. "Where's Foster?"
"She's talking to your doctor about getting you out of here. You know they're not going to let you walk out like that."
He eyed her. "Since when did I get such a smarty pants for a daughter?" They shared a smirk and then he finished packing up the rest of his belongings.
"Are we almost ready to go, Mr. Lightman?" A nurse inquired, pushing the wheelchair into the room. In avoidance of noticing, he turned back to zip up his bag and almost missed the distinct pitter patter of feet coming down the hall. "Sounds like you have another visitor."
A few seconds later, Sophie ran into the room and hugged his leg. Gillian appeared a few minutes after that and watched the scene unfold.
"She yours? Or is she his?"
Gillian shook out of her thoughts. "She's mine. Emily is his daughter."
"Ah, well she's lucky to have all of you. I wish all of my patients had the same support system." They watched Emily snatch Sophie up in her arms so Cal could move around again. Often times she would hold Sophie close and he made faces and pretended like he was going to tickle her. "Before you all got here, he was talking about walking out of here just like that. He's refused all pain medication since earlier this morning."
There was a determined look on Gillian's expression, as if she were mentally preparing to face him. The only thing she didn't have to ask was why he wasn't taking the pain medicine, because in reality it was just Cal being Cal. Yet, she didn't know what excuse he was going to give her.
"I'm going to check up on a patient down the hall. I'll be back in a few minutes when you're all ready to leave."
"Thanks." The nurse turned and left the room, leaving them alone. Cal and Gillian kissed cheeks in greeting.
"How are you, Love? I take it they're not letting me leave yet, considering that my ride out of here just left the room."
"She went to check up on another patient. Not taking your pain medication, Cal?"
"Right. I know that was a bad question to start off with—considering that opened a lot of doors in my favor." Emily was still holding Sophie as they gazed out the window— which was a great distraction to block out the impending argument. "The medication makes me feel all fuzzy—"
He didn't have to finish that sentence for her to know what he was thinking. "It might help you so you don't end up on the floor, or back in the hospital." The point stood for itself; as he tried to pull his arm through his jacket and recoiled in pain.
The nurse walked back in several minutes later, handing Gillian a prescription note. "I'll give this to you. It's a prescription for painkillers—"She turned to Cal. "Just in case the pain seems overwhelming and you feel like you need to take something."
"You really don't take no for an answer, do you?" He sat down in the wheelchair; legs almost buckling out from underneath him on the way down.
"It's mandatory for all patients, Mr. Lightman." Placing his bag gently on his lap, the nurse began wheeling him out of the room.
Emily turned just as Gillian touched her shoulder. "How long do you think it's going to take my dad to recover from this?"
"At least four to eight weeks."
"But you know that's not going to last, right? I'm supposed to spend next week with mom, and I'm kind of worried about leaving him at the house by himself."
"For the next twenty-four hours, he doesn't have a choice. After that, I can't guarantee he'll ask for help." As they walked out into the hall, Cal was sitting by the nurse's desk waiting for them.
As they paused just outside of the room, Emily glanced over at her. "You see what everybody else sees, don't you? "
"We've been friends so long that it seems normal to be friends."
"But it's never been you just being friends. I overheard you telling dad that you needed him too, which means he's already told you how he felt, right?"
"In a choice amount of words." Gillian gestured down the hall. "Speaking of your father he's probably wondering where we went to." They forged down the hall, side by side. When they arrived, Gillian stood to the side and Emily kissed his forehead.
"What was that for?"
Emily shrugged nonchalantly. "No reason."
He eyed her suspiciously. "You two have been talking about me again, haven't you?" Neither one answered as the nurse rounded the corner of the desk.
"When don't we talk about you?" Emily teased.
"Okay, Mr. Lightman. You are officially released and free to go home. As long as you follow the doctor's orders, I don't plan on seeing you back here any time soon." The nurse gave him pleasant smile. "This must be the woman you keep talking about."
"Dr. Gillian Foster, Lillian. Her daughter Sophie and my daughter Emily."
"Nice to meet all of you." The nurse adjusted her stethoscope and wheeled him towards the elevators. "Well sounds like you're one lucky man. If you don't mind me asking—how long have you known each other?"
Cal looked stumped and his thoughts were clouded; courtesy of the pain he was in. Fortunately Gillian was privy to his thoughts and stepped in quickly. "Eight years."
"Sounds like you two have a good friendship."
"I like to think we do." The corner of his lips curved up mischievously. Clearly an underlining meaning was in there somewhere.
"I'm going to pull the car around." Gillian broke the silence as they elevators slid open. Sophie reached for her and Gillian made sure that she was positioned on the opposite side of her healing shoulder.
"Was it something I said?" Cal inquired as she walked away. It took him a moment but he turned to the nurse, dismissing her. "I think we can take it from here. Em, a hand?" It took him a few tries but with the help of her and leaning against the wheelchair, he stood ever so slowly. "Something changed while I was away."
"Things change all the time, dad."
"Did anyone ever tell you that you were a bad liar?"
"I'm pretty sure you tell me that all the time." Emily smiled at the comeback. All in good nature, he placed his palm against her forehead and tried to push her over as he momentarily leaned against the wall.
A few minutes later, they continued to walk out the door; away from the colorful scrubs and commotion of the hospital. "You still didn't answer my question from earlier." His accent was thicker, almost slurred now. "Are you keeping secrets from me?"
Gillian pulled up seconds after he posed the question. She unbuckled her seatbelt, prepared to step out, but he held up his hand. "I've got it." He sat down with a quizzical look on his face, as if he was second guessing not taking that medication.
"Cal? Your seatbelt." He quickly clicked it into place at her insistence.
His head lolled from side to side as they drove. "How is that you're driving four days after we got in a car crash? Emily could have driven."
"I'm only fifteen, dad." Emily spoke up from the back seat.
"That's right, I knew that." Cal claimed, even though it sounded like a lame excuse for his confusion. Other than the fact that his tiredness and pain were mixing together and throwing him through a hazy loop.