✚Chapter Forty-Seven✚

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.Gabriel's POV.

Things were different in the ICU than in other parts of the hospital. For starters, visiting hours changed from 8AM to 9PM and instead lasted 24 hours, as long as you had a hospital band that verified you could stay. The Riccis agreed to provide all of us with the bracelets, and they even saved one for Dylan if he ever decided to show up.

Currently, I was the only one in the room who was awake. Mihael was fast asleep on the floor beneath the window on my side of the room. Evan's father and Mihael's mother had left to go get coffee a while ago, and Evan's mother was on the right side of Evan's bed, dozing next to him with her forehead pressed against his arm.

It was around three in the morning when Evan finally came to. My mom had agreed to let me stay at the hospital for as long as I wanted to, but I was still supposed to go to school that Tuesday morning. I knew I'd be exhausted the entire day, but I'd rather be falling asleep in class than risk the chance of not being there when Evan eventually woke up. Which, right then, he did.

I felt him shift his arm beneath my hand; I immediately looked up from the IVs in his veins. The light from all the hospital equipment above and around his bed illuminated his face to his chest in a pale green light. His eyelids were fluttering and he was trying to move his head a little, but when he realized he couldn't his eyes flew open and the heart rate monitor began beeping faster. I could tell he was in a state of panic, and I wanted him to become more self-aware before something too chaotic happened.

"Evan," I whispered, standing up from my seat and leaning close to him. I touched the side of his face, and he turned his head towards me, his wide, dark orbs focusing on me.

His lips trembled and attempted to form words, maybe my name, maybe a question, maybe an apology. I didn't know because of the ventilator in his mouth, hindering his speech yet enabling his breath.

"You're okay," I told him, brushing his cheek with the back of my hand. The heart rate monitor faltered before returning to its normal pace. "I'm right here. I'm not going to leave you, so you can't leave me. Okay? You're safe. You're okay."

He looked tired and defeated yet somehow still so strong and handsome. His arms had swelled from the ridiculous amount of IVs in them, and his eyes had bags under them from the lack of sleep he was experiencing. I gripped his left hand tightly and leaned down to kiss his temple. The heart monitor beeped and quickened its pace, causing me to jump back in alarm. His mom shifted a little, and I heard rustling in the area where Mihael was beginning to stir. When I saw how pink his face was and the look of annoyance in his eyes, I couldn't help but start to giggle.

"I didn't think it'd actually do that," I told him. He gave me a droll look, as if I had thought exactly that, as if I'd planned to make his heart race just so I could tease him about the heart monitor. "Honest."

He stared up at me for a moment, half-lidded brown eyes briefly focussing my own before fogging up with sleepiness. His hand twitched by his side and squeezed mine. I smiled sadly and leaned down to kiss the area beneath his left eye and above the strap securing the ventilator to his flushed cheeks.

"You're tired," I stated for no reason in particular. He gave a small shake of his head, no. "You are. I see it in your eyes." He widened his eyes to rid of their previously droopy-lidded gaze. He was so annoying, but I smiled at him anyways. "Go back to sleep, Evan," I told him, even though I wanted him to stay awake with me. He'd been scaring me with all his near-death experiences during the past couple of days, and now that he was awake and next to me, I never wanted him to fall into the blackness again.

He gripped my hand even tighter than before and mumbled something, a somewhat garbled sound that came from the back of his throat. The noise didn't register to my ears, so I didn't respond. I didn't want to tell him that I couldn't understand him because then I'd have to admit to myself that Evan really was so ill that he couldn't even speak, and then I would've started sobbing right then.

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