He hated the smell of hospitals. It never reminded him of anything good. The antiseptic smell made him think of his nana that passed when he was still too young to understand. He'd remembered that time when his father suffered a mild heart attack. The time Jean was in the hospital because of a horse accident. Kris… The day he almost lost the love of his life for good because of a temperamental horse on the track.
No. Nothing good ever happened at a hospital.
He turned toward the familiar voice of his younger sister and let out a breath of relief. "Dani…" Noticing his oldest friend standing next to her his smile brightened. "Matt… I'm glad you guys are here."
"Where else would we be, man?" Matt asked. "How's she doing?"
"They kicked me out of room…" he nodded feeling the lump he'd been trying to push down all night start to rise again. "Complications… They're thinking they might have to…"
He looked up and smiled seeing Jean and Pablo arriving together.
"Jean…" he let her wrap her arms around him and realized what he'd been missing all night was a comforting embrace, the kind only a mother could give. Like when you were eight and fell off your bike on Ritter Ranch and tried so hard to be a man and not cry because that's what your dad would have wanted. But when Jean's arms squeezed him, he broke down. "I can't lose her, Jean… I can't lose…"
"You won't." Jean stopped him. "Kris is the strongest person I know. She'll fight this. You just have to have faith."
He nodded in appreciation and wiped his cheeks.
"What have the doctor's told you?"
"Nothing yet…" he recounted the details. "I was in the room with her like planned and suddenly they were rushing me out… no explanations… they just told me to wait out here. They won't even talk to me. The incompetent nurse keeps telling me the doctor is going to come out here and talk to me….!"
He knew he was raising his voice for no reason. But he wanted her to hear him while she sat at her counter glaring at him. He didn't care if the entire ward heard him.
"Junior… you need to calm down… Kris wouldn't want to see you like this."
He nodded. "I know…"
"I'll go get you coffee." Pablo offered.
"Matt, Dani… why don't you go help Pablo… I'll stay with Junior."
"Sure, mom." Matt turned and followed Pablo down the hall.
Dani looked back toward her older brother and frowned. "Do you need me to stay?"
"It's okay, Dani… I can stay with him."
Dani turned toward him for what exactly? Approval? Permission? He didn't know. And he didn't care very much at the moment. He nodded for her benefit and watched her turn down the hall to follow Matt and Pablo.
"Here… come on…. Let's sit." He let her drag him to a nearby chair against the wall and sagged against it. He leaned forward and folded his hands under his chin. "Where's your father?"
"He's at an auction in Kentucky. He's getting on the jet tonight." Junior said. "He'll get here as soon as he can."
"That's good." Jean nodded. "He should be here."
"Do you remember…" Jean started with a soft reminiscent smile. "The first day Kris arrived at Raintree?"
Junior found himself laughing for the first time since they arrived at the hospital that night. "How can I forget? Hot working chick… living in the trailer."
"You had your eye on Kris from day one."
"And you know it was the same for her…" Jean turned toward him with a sad smile. "I saw it."
He let himself smile at the memory. "She told me once it was always me. From the beginning."
"That's because it was…" Jean confirmed it. "I think that's what scared me the most."
"What did?" he asked.
"I always had this fear that you were going to take her away from us…"
She shook her head to stop him. "You and Kris have fought to hell and back… you've overcome every single obstacle thrown at you… including me…"
"Remember we she came back? Right before you two got married?"
He nodded. "Best night of my life…"
"When she came to Matt and me… and told us you'd proposed… I gave her an ultimatum." She turned to him to make sure he was listening. "I told her it was either Raintree… or you. She knew Raintree meant me, Matt, Pablo… Wildfire… but she still didn't hesitate. She chose you."
"What I'm trying to say, Junior, is that if your love can survive all of that… your father… me… Matt… Pablo… Laura… then you have to believe your love will survive this. She will pull through. She always does. And when she does, you're the first person she's going to want to see…"
"For… this…" he shrugged. "I don't actually have a mom and I know I've spent most of my life saying I didn't need one… But tonight proves that we all need that person in our lives. And there's no other mom out there I can think of that is better than you. So thank you. You've been the best surrogate mom for Kris… and for me."
"You don't know what that means to me…"
He wrapped an arm around her and hugged her tightly with a smile. He felt rejuvenated. He felt like he had something he'd never really had before. Faith. He believed in Kris. He knew she'd fight her way back to him.
He turned toward the older man in teal scrubs.
He stood up abruptly. "How is she?"
"I'm Dr. Leon, Mr. Davis…" he continued. "The attending physician on this floor."
Junior nodded. "How's my wife?"
Dr. Leon smiled. "She's fine."
He let out a breath he'd been holding since he walked through the glass sliding doors.
"Oh thank God," Jean breathed out next to him.
"Mrs. Davis is definitely a fighter…." Dr. Leon continued. "There were some complications but she pulled through strong."
"Can I see her?"
"She's in recovery…" Dr. Leon nodded.
"And what about…" Junior started to ask fear constricting him in his stomach. Dr. Leon hadn't given him any inclination as to what happened in there.
Dr. Leon grinned. "Congratulations Mr. Davis…. You have a beautiful, healthy son… Do you want to meet him?"
He used to hate the smell of hospitals. Nothing good ever happened at a hospital. His grandmother died in a hospital, his father's heart attack put him in the hospital, Jean's accident almost killed her. No, nothing good ever happened when Junior Davis stepped into a hospital.