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As I was singing, I couldn’t help thinking that this might be the last time I
saw him. As soon as the thought hit me, I felt tears brewing.
“Come on, mate, you’re doing well.” Rick whispered. I finished the song as well
as I could. (I still couldn’t get to grips with the fact that I’d just sang
again, in a hospital I.C.U room, at half past midnight.)
“What happened, in the middle of the song?” Rick’s tired voice snapped me back
to my senses. I just took one look at him and, I swear, he knew exactly what I’d
“Don’t even think about it.” Rick said firmly. “I’m not going anywhere.” I sunk
into the chair beside his bed, just in time for his brother trying to come back
“We can sleep in their relatives’ room.” He told us. A glimmer of a smile passed
across Rick’s face.
“You’re serious about…staying, then?” Rick asked, only half joking. His brother
and I raised our eyebrows.
“You honestly think either of us would leave?” I asked quietly. Rick looked at
“I knew you wouldn’t. I had to make sure.” He replied.
“Night, Rick.” His brother muttered. He crossed over to Rick’s bed, they hugged
for a fraction of a second and his brother left. As soon as the door had closed
behind him, I looked directly at Rick. His eyes had closed and his breath
“Rick.” I said quietly, my eyes filling with tears again. His eyes opened and he
slowly turned his head to look at me.
“Kay, don’t cry.” His voice was soft and oddly comforting. He reached over and
got hold of my hand. I gulped and tried to calm down properly.
“Katie, don’t worry about me, I’m gonna get through this.” Rick said quietly. I
smiled slightly. (He’s doing that thing again, I thought, the one where he
ignores what’s happening to him and tries to help everyone else.)
“I’ll tell you something though, that bloody noise is gettin’ on me nerves.”
Rick continued. I glanced at the machine making the noise and saw that it was
the one that monitored a patient’s heartbeat.
“The noise can stay.” I said, more abruptly than I’d meant to.
“I know. I’ll get used to it.” He told me. The next second, we were both hugging
each other as if we’d never let go. Neither of us could think of a single thing
to say, so we just kept hugging.
“Y’ know what? Ignore what the doctors said, ignore what I said before, and
listen to what I’m saying now.” Rick said, after a while. I sat up straight and
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m not ready.” Rick paused, and looked right into my
eyes, ferocity replacing what had been resignation. “Besides, I don’t think He
wants me yet.” Rick looked out of the window to the sky. I shook my head, but
didn’t trust myself to speak. We sat there, not saying anything, just looking at
each other for what seemed like eternity. After a while, Rick hugged me. I
hugged him back, and I was seriously considering saying “I love you”, but I
doubted I could get the words out. Suddenly, as I was thinking about things that
had happened over the last few months, a feeling of total exhaustion washed over
me. I sat back in the hospital chair, thinking, don’t fall asleep on him.
“What’s wrong?” Rick asked.
“Nothing. ‘M tired.” I mumbled. He got hold of one of my hands.
“Sleep, then.” He whispered. I fell asleep pretty much straight after that, too
exhausted to even walk to the Relative’s Room.
My dreams were happy that night, if not mildly confusing. They were a strange
mix of me, Rick, rivers and motorbikes.
As soon as I woke up, I could tell that something was different. The first thing
I noticed was that there was almost no noise in the room I was in now. The
second thing was, the only thing I could hear, apart from my own breathing, was
someone else’s breathing, too deep and regular to belong to Rick. My first
terrible thought was, Oh God, what if…
I leapt to my feet.
“What the… where am I?” I asked.
“It’s okay.” Rick’s brother’s voice came from behind me, so I span around.
“Why am I here? Why couldn’t I stay where I was? What’s happ-”
“Katie. Nothing’s changed, you don’t need to worry.” He told me. I relaxed
“Why’d you move me?” I asked. Rick’s brother smiled slightly.
“Rick asked me to. I came back to… to see where you were,” he paused, “And he
said ‘When you go back, take Kay. She’s absolutely knackered.’” He finished.
“I never meant to fall asleep.” I mumbled.
“I know.” Rick’s brother nodded. “So does Ricky.” He added, seeing the look on
my face. I’d intended to spend every moment that I possibly could with Rick, but
I’d let my control slip for a minute and I’d fallen asleep.
“Let’s go back.” I muttered, more to myself than to him.
“You’ve got to have some breakfast first. He said I had to make sure you had
something to eat before you went back.” Rick’s brother chuckled quietly. I
rolled my eyes.
“Does a Mars Bar count?” I asked.
“Ha ha. I suppose it’ll have to do, seeing as I really don’t think I’ll get you
to have anything else.” He replied. So I walked to the nearest vending machine,
got a Mars Bar and a bottle of water, and sat in one of the hospital chairs. I
unwrapped the Mars Bar and, making sure that no-one apart from Rick’s brother
saw me, shoved it all into my mouth at once. Once I’d eventually managed to
swallow it, I glugged half of the bottle of water.
“There you go. I’m done. Now can we go?” I asked. Rick’s brother grinned.
“Yeah, we can.” He answered. He muttered something along the lines of;
“And I’ll tell Rick EXACTLY how big your mouth is…”
“You’ll do no such thing.” I told him, and I punched him lightly across the top
of the arm. He shrugged, and the next second, we were both laughing for no
particular reason. After we’d calmed down, we walked to Rick’s room.
Part 1 --
Part 2 --
Part 3 --
-- Part 5
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