✖ Chapter Forty-Six ✖

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Healing Gabriel: Chapter Forty-Six

xGabriel's POVx

Considering my life's current circumstances, I was in a pretty good mood the following day. There'd only been a half day of school, and I was excited to spend a few extra hours with Evan on a Monday afternoon. I nearly flew from the elevator when its doors opened and hurried around the corner to one of the hallways that led to Evan. I was walking briskly past a waiting room when a ray of sunlight getting reflected off something caught the corner of my eye.

"Mihael?" I asked.

"Gabriel, hey," responded the teenaged boy with multiple facial piercings and choppy hair. He looked tired, his usually bright eyes dimmer around the edges. His wide smile was missing, and his fingers were linked tightly together between his knees.

"What're you doing out here?" I asked. He didn't answer right away, just kind of stared up at me through the locks of his bangs. "Um, are you-are you okay?"

"Not really," he admitted, slumping back in his seat. I furrowed my brows.

"Where's Evan?"

He fell silent again before letting out a large sigh, shaking his head a little. "Surgery," he finally said. My heart contracted painfully within the depths of my chest.

"Surgery?" I repeated, my voice faltering on the last syllable.

He pursed his lips to the side and nodded his head once. "His lungs filled up again overnight, and I guess he stopped breathing at some point. The doctors had to redrain them for the third time. They said the edema's moving at a dangerous rate, and they can't keep tearing up his throat by draining his lungs, especially if it's stopping him from breathing."

My knees were quivering, and I had to lean against the wall to keep from falling. "So what is he doing in surgery?" I asked, and he leaned forward again and stared down at his dirty Converse.

"They're putting a ventilator on," he said, "because he can't breathe on his own anymore."

At that moment, my heart shattered. I couldn't do anything but stand there, shaking, trying to will my brain to process Mihael's words and fight through its panic attack. What did he mean, Evan couldn't breathe on his own? That was impossible. Just yesterday Evan had been breathing perfectly fine, if not a little slower than usual, on his own. What did he mean they were putting a ventilator on? Evan didn't need one of those; he wasn't old, a seventeen year old kid shouldn't be placed on a ventilator. What did he mean the doctors were too lazy to drain his lungs? Why couldn't they just keep doing that? What did he mean Evan had stopped breathing in his sleep? Had he almost died? Again?

I fisted one of my hands tightly in my hair and bit down harshly on the skin of my thumb. My anxiety was non-stop buzzing throughout my head, and I could hardly breathe. I didn't want to breathe. If Evan couldn't breathe, then why should I? What point did I have on this planet if Evan wasn't on it with me?

"Gabriel, are you okay?" Mihael asked, and I shivered. "Gabriel, it's okay, he'll be fine. This is gonna give him and the doctors more time to figure everything out."

Mihael had gotten up from his seat and was slowly making his way across the waiting room to reach me. I shook my head violently, wishing I had twisted it a little sharper to the left so my neck would've snapped.

"Ventilators don't give people more time," I told him, chewing on the inside of my cheek to focus on a different pain other than the one in my chest. "They're a last resort. If someone is put on a ventilator, chances are they won't ever come off. Not alive, at least. Not alive." I bit down on my tongue hard, drawing blood somewhere in the center. I focused on the bitter taste of iron gathering in my saliva while scratching frantically at my wrists to distract myself from the breathless feeling in my chest. My anxiety was definitely getting the best of me, and at my words, Mihael looked just as defeated and broken as I felt.

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