Chapter Thirty-Six

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The elevator doors open and I hear someone call my name. Before I can turn around, Oli has already wrapped his arms around me and is hugging me tightly. And that is when I start crying. I don't care that it's an understatement of how I'm feeling, I don't care if it seems like I'm giving up or showing weakness, it's just something about the comfort of Oli's arms that makes me start crying. I pull away and look up at him. "What if he dies?!" He shakes his head and pulls my head into his chest again. I sob and start shaking and try to keep myself together but it doesn't seem like I can.

After what feels like eternity, we draw away and sit down next to Helen by the door. Oli nods at her and gives her a sympathetic smile. She smiles back weakly and buries her face in her scarf. I take a deep breath and keep my eyes open so no more tears can spill. Oli puts his arm around me and I let my head drop down on his shoulder. He starts playing with my hair and takes my hand into his. "He's going to be fine." "What if he isn't?" "Don't say that." "But..." "No. Have you been in his room?" "They've put him in an artificial coma and they don't know when they want to wake him up. I'm just scared that if they wait for too long, he won't wake up at all." Oli squeezes my hand. "He will, trust me." Helen sobs next to us. "He will" Oli emphasizes. "Let's hope so."

"I cannot believe that I have not moved out of this dump and decided to live in the damn streets yet" I complain and drop my shopping bag under the table that already has the coffee Daley ordered for me on it. "And where did you get the money for that?" Daley smirks. "Well, the thing is that I thought I'd have some money left at the end of the month to treat myself until I got a call from the landlord just now, saying that he wants more rent." "More rent? And what are you getting for that?" "That's the mystery here because nothing in the damn dump has changed." He knows I'm serious but there's a light smile playing around his lips. "This is not funny." "It is a little bit amusing. But I have a pretty crazy idea that could help you if I may propose something." "I'm open for anything, I'm that desperate." He grins. "A buddy of mine knows this kid who is getting into the real estate business right now, taking after his father and they own some great apartment buildings downtown. And you know that I am not a huge fan of my landlord and the non-existant washing machine or very small bathroom either. What if we move in together and treat ourselves to a place that's a little bigger and affordable because there's two of us?"

I raise an eyebrow. "Daley, we've only known each other for like, what ... six weeks?" "And we work great together, whenever I'm at your place or you're at my place ... we know we can just co-exist alongside each other without awkward silences or feeling like we have to spend every minute talking. We've established that we're not secretely psychos and I don't like to live alone. And from what you've told me, you don't either. I think it'd be worth a shot." "I don't know..." "Well, I want you to be sure before you agree and if you're uncomfortable, I get that. I just think it'd be cool. I love spending time with you and you're the first real friend I've made since I moved out of my parents' place." "You know I love hanging out with you as well. I'm just afraid you'll change your mind." "Hey, we're not getting married. We work great as friends and there's no tension or anything and I think we'd be awesome room mates." "Are you sure?" "One hundred percent." I smile and take a deep breath. "You know what? Why the hell not?"

I look up at Oli and he smiles at me. "Thanks for coming here." "Hey, Daley is my friend too and even if he wasn't, I'm here for you." I sit up and move closer to him for a quick kiss. "It still means a lot to me. How was the photoshoot with the band though? I hope I didn't interrupt that." He shakes his head. "No, we were just done." "Tell me about it, I need some distraction." "Well, we took some shots inside and then we went out into the streets, took some in an alley with and without the instruments, some in front of their van that they've sprayed their logo in, it looks pretty cool, I gotta show you when we're back at my place." I nod. "That'd be cool. And did they say they'd recommend you to friends?" "Actually, they did." I smile weakly. "That's awesome."

Suddenly, a doctor and two nurses come jogging out of the elevator and storm into Daley's room. I jump and look through the glass in the wall over the chairs next to the door. Helen does the same and Oli gets up to look. The screen of the monitor inside is making really rapid movements and I hear a quiet but fast beeping. "What do you think is wrong?" Helen asks with panic in her eyes and I shrug, just as shocked as her though. One of the nurses gives Daley a shot as far as I can see and the other holds his head and checks the bandages he's got around his arms and legs and head.

After a few minutes, the three come back out. We all look at them expectantly. "What happened?" I question. The doctor and one of the nurses leave and one stays behind with us. "Well, his pulse was at an abnormal rate so we decided we had to wake him now. He's sleeping now and he should wake up during the next hour. If he doesn't, maybe we'll have to see if the doctor needs to operate again. If he wakes up and makes it through the night without anything abnormal showing, he should be getting better soon." "So you can say he's stable?" Helen asks. The nurse presses her lips together and smiles sympathetically at Helen. "We don't know more until he wakes up naturally now. He hit his head pretty badly on the asphalt and he's got some fractured ribs, we really need to wait for him to tell us how he feels and we need to see how his body acts once he's awake. I'll come back in an hour, feel free to stay here or maybe get something to eat or coffee down in the cafeteria, you've been here for a few hours."

Without Daley, I'm not hungry and I'm in no need of coffee. So I sit back down and wait, I don't say a word. Oli takes out his phone for a moment and talks to somebody but I don't listen and just block the conversation out. Helen doesn't say anything either. She's got her eyes closed and her head resting back against the wall.

The hour until the nurse comes back with the doctor seems like three hours. They enter the room and I stay where I am this time. I'll wait for what they say. Helen gets up though and suddenly, her face lightens up so I stand up too, to see that Daley is awake. I turn to Helen and hug her tightly. One of the nurses comes out and smiles. "He just woke up which is a good sign but the doctor doesn't want to make any false promises by pronouncing him stable already, we'll have to wait for what the night brings. If you want, you can go in to see him now." I let Helen go first and follow her in, Oli behind me. The doctor passes us with a sympathetic smile and I wonder if they learn that in medical school too.

"Daley!" Helen squeaks and jogs over to his bed, carefully hugging him. He's still a little dizzy but he smiles as he realises what's happening. "Baby, no need to cry" he says and pats Helen's back. She kisses his cheek and takes his hand, pulling a chair to the bed so she can sit down. I step forward and take his other hand. "How're you doing? We were worried sick for you." He smiles. "I'm going to be published." I can't help but laugh. "Are you even injured?" "They say I have to make it through the night. So in case I die, I think, Olivier, we should probably enlighten Beverly and tell her if we had sex or not." "You what?!" Helen asks and Oli laughs. Daley grins. "We've said some things that may lead to Bev believing that we had sex in college when we shared a room but we didn't." "I was about to say..." Helen says with a light smile too. "So you're going to be published? That is awesome" I say and carefully run my fingers through his hair, squeezing his hand. "Well done, I'm so proud of you." "Me too, man, that's sick" Oli says.

Helen kisses Daley for a moment. "I'll stay with you all night and make sure you have everything you need." "You really don't have to." "I want to, I'm here for you." Daley smiles. "Thank you, babe."


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