C H A P T E R     N I N T E E N
I WON’T GO AWAY*

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      The sterile room haunted him. The white walls, ceiling, floor and occasional pieces of furniture. The beeping from machines rang in his ears, screaming at him. He closed the door behind him and looked around the room before stopping at the motionless body laying in the hospital bed.

      Isaac’s head was spinning as he just stood by the door staring at Cassandra. He watched her chest rise and fall. “Cassandra.” He breathed as his voice cracked. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

      He slowly scooted his feet across the tile floor up to Cassandra’s electric bed. He took her hand in his being careful not to pull out an IV or any other cord attached to her. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles.

      “The doctor told me to talk to you, that you can hear me.” Isaac’s eyes scanned her body. He saw her head was wrapped in gauze. That was the main trama. He didn’t notice anything but lacerations on her checks, forehead and her lip was split. “What happened out there?” He asked knowing no answer would be given.

      “I love you. You have to come back, babe. You have to fight.” Isaac squeezed her hand as he heard the door to the room open. Isaac looked up at the nurse entering the room as she looked sympathetically at him.

      “I’m just doing my rounds.” She spoke as she checked all the machines and IV’s hooked up to Cassandra.

      Isaac nodded he head as he looked back down at Cassandra.

      “She’s very pretty.” The nurse hooked up a new IV bag.

      “She is.” Isaac agreed smiling.

      “Do you want me to get you a chair?” She asked.

      “If you tell me where they are I’ll go get one myself.” Isaac told her.

      “Nonsense. You stay with her and I’ll go get it.” The nurse left the room coming back only seconds later with a padded wooden chair. “I got you a special once since you look like you’ll be staying her for some time.”

      “Thank you.” Isaac let go of Cassandra’s hand momentarily while he grabbed the chair and made himself comfortable. He took her hand back in both of his.

      “Okay, I’m done here. I’ll be back in a half and hour or so.” The nurse left.

      “Did you hear that, Cassandra? She thinks your beautiful just like I do.” Isaac raised his hand to her face and brushed a couple of stray hairs away.

      “You better come back to me. I don’t know what I would do without you. I couldn’t live without you. I can barely even stand seeing you like this.” Isaac confessed. He bent down and kissed her hand.

      “You know I’m probably going to get fired now? When Tasha gave me your note I kinda ran out of the store. I don’t care what they do to me. I’m glad I left. If they don’t understand that’s their problem, they can find a new bag boy.” Isaac chuckled.

      “I miss your laugh and your voice already, Cassandra.” Isaac leaned his head on the side of the bed. “I know your going to pull through. Your strong. You have so much more to live for.”

      A few minutes past as he continued to rub his fingers against her hand. “You think you’ll be in the paper? Boy it must have been scary going down that cliff.” Isaac wasn’t quit sure what to say.

      “I bet your dreaming of your mother. Your beautiful mother. You know I’ve only seen one picture but you look just like her. I bet she’s telling you everything is going to be okay and to come back to me.” Isaac lifted his head. He ran his fingers down her jaw line. “I love you.” He put his head back down on top of his and her and and fell into a restless sleep.

      An hour or two later Isaac woke up to someone tapping his shoulder. He perked up fast hoping it was Cassandra. He searched her face and then her hands that lay still. It wasn’t her. He felt the tap again and turned around. There stood the nurse that came in before.

      “Hi.” Isaac whispered.

      “Sweetheart, why don’t you go home and go to bed. We’ll call you if anything happens.” The nurse looked down at him pleading with his eyes.

      “No, I want to stay here.”

      “You need to get some rest in your own bed. She’ll be fine, I promise.” The nurse touched his shoulder again.

      Isaac didn’t like to be touched much. If this was any other situation he would have pulled away, but it wasn’t. His only love was laying powerless and unconscious.

      “I can’t go home. I live like and hour or two away.” Isaac explained.

      “How about a hotel?”

      “I don’t have any money with me. Can’t I just stay here? I’ll stay in the chair. I won’t move, won’t get in the way.”

      The nurse looked from Isaac to Cassandra contemplating the issue. He did live so far away. What if she woke up and he couldn’t come until two hours later. It was definitely against hospital rules. “Fine, all right. But if someone see you and you get in trouble I didn’t say you could. Don’t bring me into it kay?”

      “Thank you. I promise.”

      The nurse nodded her head once and smiled. “Your welcome. Oh, and we’re moving her out of ICU. Why don’t you follow me?” The nurse looked to the door as two orderlies entered.

      “Where are they taking her?” Isaac asked.

      “Fourth floor east wing.”

      “Ahh.” Isaac brushed his hand over Cassandra’s arm and shoulder as he followed the nurse out of the room.

      “So what is your name?” The nurse asked.

      “Isaac.” He looked down at the nursed name tag. “And yours is Marge.”

      “Correcto. Do you guys have a wedding date planed?”

      The elevator jumped a little and the doors slid open. Isaac followed Marge as they both stepped out of the elevator and continued down the long hall.

      “Actually, if I tell you something you promise not to tell or kick me out?” Isaac whispered.

      “Don’t tell me, your not her fiancée?” Marge raised her eye brow.

      “Exactly.”

      “We get that a lot here but you, I would have though you were really married.” They entered an empty room with a small cot.

      Isaac smiled. “I do want to marry her.” He said. “I love her.” He whispered. “Its just not the right time yet.”

      “Well, she’ll be all set up here. There’s an extra cot there for you.” Marge smiled. “I’ll go get a chair for you too.”

      “Thank you.” Isaac said as Marge came back in the room with a chair.

      “All right, well I have other patients. Cassandra should be here soon. See you two later.”

      “Bye.”

      Marge left Isaac alone to wait for Cassandra. Isaac stared around the room, its four stark white walls and small window which overlooked the parking lot. It was so quiet he could hear the blood pumping in his head. To distract himself from this uncomfortable feeling Isaac began to hum.

      “Over there, Frank.” A tall blonde man dressed in a white hospital uniform directed his co-worker.

      Isaac jumped and was brought back to reality. He watched as Cassandra, still sleeping, was pushed against the wall and hooked to the life saving machines by the two orderlies.

      The two men left without a word and Isaac pulled up the chair next to Cassandra’s bed. “You have a nice nurse, you’re lucky.” Isaac spoke. “When I was nine my appendix burst and I had to go into emergency. They took it out and I had to stay in the hospital for about a week. I had the worst nurse you could possibly have. She was very cranky. That experience has made me dread hospitals. They give me the willies.”

      “There’s something I have to tell you.” Isaac paused as he brushed her hair with his hand. “I did something so stupid but I sorta wish it would have worked, then you wouldn’t be laying here in a coma.” He shuffled his feet under the chair. “You won’t even believe the thought went through my head, I can’t even believe it. Ahh!” He breathed loudly. “I can’t even say it.”

      Minutes passed and he still hadn’t said anything. “You’ll hate me but I have to tell you. The reason you didn’t see me yesterday was because I skipped sixth period and I went to “Electric T’s” where your dad goes. I ordered him the only Chinese platter they had. Its the only thing I knew that had MSG in it. My mother even served it to him, she didn’t know. He ate it but nothing happened.” Isaac took another deep breath as he looked into her face. “Now you’re going to hate me, I know it. But it didn’t work and I was doing it for you, for your protection. He was going to hurt you. And then today taking you off to Oklahoma City on some whim. I didn’t even know if I was going to see you again.” He wiped his hair from his face that was becoming sticky with warmth. “So please don’t hate me. I love you.” Isaac kissed her cheek.

      In a way he hoped Cassandra had heard him understood when she woke up. The other half wanted so bad to take it all back, hoping she would wake up with amnesia and not remember one bit of it.

      “Its late, babe. I think I’m going to take the bed over there.” He nodded over to the bed even though Cassandra couldn’t see him. “I’ll see you in the morning. You think you’ll wake tomorrow?” Isaac questioned. “Hopefully.” He stood up from the chair and kissed her one last time on the lips delicately. He then walked over to the spare bed and climbed up onto it. He didn’t take his shoes off or even unstuck the neatly made bed to make himself more comfortable. He wasn’t too thrilled about sleeping in a creepy hospital but he soon closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

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[Green Eggs And Hanson]


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© 1999 Alana Gustafson