16; In the End

Long before her eyes opened she could hear the noises around her. For a while, El just listened to the doctors and nurses talking to her family about her condition.

She suffered an open injury to the back of her head where the glass shard from the explosion had penetrated her skull. She had a minor concussion and a contusion, also known as bruising of the brain.

Luckily, after a strenuous 8-hour surgery, they managed to remove the glass shard without causing further damage. The extent of her injuries couldn't be determined until she woke up.

One thing the doctors did say was for certain if she suffered any brain damage they were 80% sure it would worsen her 'mental state' and that was a guaranteed one-way ticket back to Eichen House.

"Mom, why don't you just go home and get some rest?" Joey asked softly to his mother who stood stiffly against the wall. She had been quiet most the morning after Scott had left, only opening her mouth to harass the helpless doctors as they came to check on her daughter.

"No," she responded stubbornly. "I'm going to be right here when she wakes up."

Paul rolled his eyes while he aimlessly scrolled through his social media accounts. "So you can yell at her as soon as she wakes up?"

His mother's eyes widened in surprise at her son's outburst. Joey was usually full of sarcastic comments towards her actions but Paul never spoke out against her. Until now. His brother looked at him questioningly, just as confused as his mother.

"Okay, okay," Joey said waving off the building tension. "Let's try not to kill each other at least until Dad gets back."

The room settled into a tense silence as the seconds ticked by. They all released a sigh as the door opened and Andrew Paxton entered from his five-minute coffee run. It felt like he had been gone for hours.

As Joey drank his coffee he was reminded of the other night with his sister. He sat back down on the chair beside her bed quietly and continued to wait.

"I'm going to need 5 more of these if we're just going to sit around and wait for sleeping beauty to wake up," Paul grumbled tossing his cup into the trash can successfully.

El's finger twitched. "You're welcome to leave at any time." Joey shot back, the irritation beginning to grow in him so early in the day.

Paul scowled. "You'd like that wouldn't you? Just give you another reason to be pissed at me."

"All I need is one." he said coming to stand on his feet.

The brothers stood head to head, the anger they had been holding in for so long coming to the forefront. This moment had been long coming and it would have to wait a while longer as their father pulled them apart. Their mother watched confusedly from the sidelines.

Andrew Paxton's hands pressed against each of his son's chest, distancing the two apart. "Now is not the time for a pissing contest. Your sister is in a coma and here you two are going at it like a pair of idiots. I know I haven't been around the last two years but I do know I raised you two better than this."

With a scoff, Paul backed away and sunk back into the chair. Reluctantly, Joey did the same and while the attention had been on them no one noticed as El's eyes opened and watched the entire scene unfold.

"Well," she began her voice scratchy and hoarse "that was really dramatic."

All eyes snapped to her as they stared in shock. El squirmed uncomfortably and cleared her dry throat. "I could use a glass of water."

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