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The proposition, p.23
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       The Proposition, p.23

           Jessica Schlafer

  Chapter 22

  “Excuse me," Merritt said. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything." He was holding a massive arrangement of flowers.

  "No," I was suddenly very scared.

  "Oh, poor Abigail. Are you okay?"

  "She's pretty banged up and her arm is broken, but you can see that," Nick said defensively.

  "Oh yes, I can see that. How are you feeling, my dear?"

  "Sore. Tired. Dizzy sometimes," I answered truthfully.

  "Are you going to be released soon?"

  "I don't know, I hope so," I felt like lying was safest.

  "I see. Hasn't the doctor given you a release date?"

  "She said that we'll have to wait and see how she feels later today," Nick said. "Abby just woke up yesterday."

  "I saw you get hit when we were on our way to dinner that night. I couldn't believe it."

  It suddenly dawned on me that this must have been the reason for the three separate cars on the way to dinner that night. I could hardly believe it.

  “Did you stay to help?” I asked.

  “I’m afraid not. I did call 911 for help. I’d also like to offer to pay your hospital bills.”

  “They’re taken care of,” Nick said.

  “Why didn’t you stay?” I asked.

  “Abigail, I can see that you’re still very tired and heavily medicated. I wanted to stop and see you. I’ll come back another time.”

  Nick stood by the head of the bed, as close as he could without getting into the bed. Merritt came around the bed and tried to bend to kiss my cheek. Nick blocked him and he had to settle for kissing my hand.

  “Until tomorrow, Abigail. I do hope you sleep well.”

  Once the door had closed, I looked at Nick, he was stiff as a board. “Nick,” I whispered. “Was that a threat?”

  Nick looked at me, his eyes softened, “Abby, I promise you that I won’t let him hurt you again.”

  I just looked at him. I wasn’t supposed to have any feelings for him. I was here simply to do a job. But, I found myself thinking about him every moment of the day. When he was with me, I watched him and enjoyed his smell, his touch, and just being near him. When we were apart, I unconsciously counted the moments until we were back together, this after just a short time knowing one another. And now that I knew that he'd lost his fiancée, I wasn't sure how to proceed or even if I should proceed. I knew that I wanted to be with him and I was pretty sure he wanted to be with me.

  Nick pulled the chair next to the bed and sat down. "How is your arm and your leg?"

  I held up my cast and looked at it for a moment. "It doesn't hurt much, but I've had lots of pain killers. Maybe it'll hurt more later. My leg is constantly throbbing. Just when I think I've gotten used to it, I move or something and it hurts more. Who knew a broken bone would hurt less than a bruise?"

  Nick reached for my arm and held my hand. We sat in silence for a long time, just looking at each other. Finally, there was a knock on the door and Dr. Rhodes walked in.

  "Hello again, Abby," she said, cheerfully. "Are you still feeling as good as you were this earlier?"

  "Not bad, although I'm starving. I ate two chocolates," I admitted.

  "That's okay," she smiled. "I'd really like you to get up and walk around as much as possible today, Abby."

  I nodded as she took my vitals, made some notes, and was soon gone. Nick was still sitting in his chair beside the bed, although he was no longer holding my hand.

  "Paul should be along to see you soon," Nick said. "When he comes, I'm gonna run out and get some food for myself."

  "Go ahead and get something,” I said.

  "Abby, I'm not leaving you in here alone."

  "Then let's walk down to the cafeteria so you can get some food."

  "Do you think you can do that?"

  "Why not?" I said, throwing my legs over the side of the bed. "Can you give me that robe over there?" I asked, pointing to the hook on the bathroom door.

  Nick grabbed the robe and handed it to me. As I stood, my legs felt like jelly and I started to fall to the floor.

  "Jesus, Abby!" Nick said, running to my side and putting me back onto the bed. "I think maybe you should wait until you have something to eat."

  "I guess you're right, I do feel pretty weak and my leg hurts a lot," I pouted. "I just want to get up and move around."

  There was another knock and Paul walked in.

  "Good morning, Abby! How are you feeling today?"

  "I'm starving! But otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good."

  "Are you going home today?"

  "I think so. I hope so," I said.

  "Oh," Paul said, smacking himself in the forehead. "I almost forgot. I grabbed some clothes from the house for you. I didn't think you'd like being in that hospital gown any longer than you needed to.”

  "Oh, Paul, thank you!" I said. "I really hate these gowns."


  "Yeah, I thought you'd like that," Paul was proud of himself.

  Another knock and the male orderly carried in a covered tray of food. "Ma'am," he said as she placed it on my table and walked out of the room.

  "Yes! Food!" I sat up and rubbed my hands together. "I'm so freakin' hungry."

  I pulled the table toward me and opened the tray. The food looked good, even if I was from a hospital.

  “Hey, Nick, why don’t you go get something to eat and go get cleaned up?”

  “Yeah, man, I was gonna ask you to stay here with Abby while I stepped out for a few minutes.”

  “Go ahead, I’ll stay,” Paul said.

  I waved, mouth full of food, as Nick stepped out of the room.

  “Abby,” Paul said, getting serious, “What do you remember about that day?”

  “We were at your house, Merritt was there, and we left to go to some restaurant…”


  “Right. Everyone got into a different car and I remember thinking it was such a waste. Nick was saying something to me and I heard a crash….It’s funny, you know? I remember thinking that my dress was going to be ruined.”

  Paul sat and sighed, “I’m so sorry, Abby. If I could send you back to Boston, I would.”

  “I know, Paul.”

  “What did your Mother say?”

  “Didn’t she call you?”

  “Yes,” Paul laughed. “And so did your Dad.”

  I laughed, “I was able to talk them out of flying out here, but they want me to call every day now.”

  “Me, too.”

  I finished my food and we turned the tv to fill the silence. I found some old, mindless re-run that we watched for about an hour before Nick returned.

  “Sorry I took so long,” he said, sounding out of breath.

  “It’s ok, Abby got to eat and we watched some tv together.”

  “Did you run the whole way?” I asked.

  “No, I hurried, though.”

  Two men in suits came into the room.

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