CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: “ALL THAT MATTERED”
He woke up to the sound of turning pages. Turning his head in the direction where the sound came from, he noticed the night nurse going through his file. He tried to speak but his throat was dry. He cleared his throat to get her attention. She looked up from the file and he pointed to the pitcher of water on the stand next to his bed.
“Thank you” he said after taking a few sips of water from the glass the nurse held for him. His voice sounded unfamiliar to his ears.
“Your welcome…Mr. Morgan” she said when she found his name on the front of the file. “You have been out for quite a while.”
“How long have I been here?” he inquired.
“Four days. You gave us quiet a scare on your first day. The doctor had to give you an injection so you could sleep and allow your body to heal. You have been asleep ever since and that was three days ago.”
His thoughts drifted back to Azania. “Nurse how did I get here?”
“Your friend brought you and your girlfriend in, he said you were attacked by some lunatic.”
He swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. “Is-is she okay?”
“She is okay but he really did a number on her.”
“I know it’s late…but could I please go and see her” he begged. He did not know the exact time but it was dark outside.
For a moment the nurse hesitated but eventually agreed. “Okay.”
“Thank you” DeAndre said grabbing a hold of her hand and lightly squeezing it. She was an elderly woman, who reminded him a lot of his momma.
“Let me get you a wheelchair and take you to her room” she said patting his hand.
A few moments later he was heading to Azania’s room. He could have walked but Nurse Denise, he found out was her name, did not want to risk his stitches coming loose. So he had to sit in the chair and allow her to do what she felt like she had to do.
She opened the door to a room and pushed him inside until he was at arms-length from the bed.
“I will be back in a few minutes to take you back to your room” he heard her say before she walked out of the door.
She was breathing evenly. He got up from the wheelchair and walked the last two steps towards the bed and leaned on the bed’s railing. The sight before him broke his heart into uncountable pieces. Her once flawless skin was covered with purple and yellow bruises. Her bottom lip was marred by a deep cut. And yet it did absolutely nothing to hide her beauty. He lifted his hand and slowly traced his thumb over her face wishing he could take every single bruise away. He delicately held her face in his hand, he did not want to hurt her further.
Tears filled his eyes as he whispered “I’m sorry Azania, I am so sorry…”
He felt like such a failure. All he had to do was protect her and he failed dismally. There is no telling what that man did to her. A tear dropped from his eyes, landed on her cheek, rolled down her face and disappeared into her hair that was spread out like a hallo on her pillow.
He couldn’t stay here. He had to get away. It was too much to see her like this. Just as he was about to walk away, he felt her grabbing his hand.
“DeAndre” she whispered.
He did not expect her to wake up. He was not ready to face her yet and see the resentment in her eyes. He wanted to run and hide from her judgement. Yes he was a coward.
“DeAndre” she said in a stronger voice.
He had no choice but to turn around and face her.
She pulled him into a hug and started sobbing in his chest. He just held on to her. He had no words to say.
“I was so afraid that-that” she could not continue. She released him from her embrace and wiped the tears from her eyes. After taking a deep breath and calming down a bit, she started talking again. “Sorry. I-I was so afraid that I had lost you. You were lying on the ground and not moving. There was blood everywhere. I was so scared.”
“I’m sorry…I’m sorry I couldn’t defend you” he said with a pained expression. His hand returned to her face and he stroked her bruised cheek. “I’m sorry I allowed this to happen to you. I-I”
“Don’t you get it?” she interrupted him. Her hand covered his and she looked up into his eyes. You saved me from a situation that could have been so much worse. I was irresponsible. I had put myself in a compromising situation and I only have myself to blame for that. Putting your life like that on the line for me…I will eternally be grateful.”
He didn’t really want to ask but he needed to know.
“Did he…did he…” The question could not leave his lips. But understanding dawned on her face.
“No he did not force himself on me” she said shaking her head. “I just got my behind whipped.”
He could finally exhale. It was bad what happened to her but at least she did not have rape to add to the ordeal. He bowed his head and sent up a prayer to thank God. The guilt would have been suffocating the life out of him.
The door opened to reveal Nurse Denise. “Oh you’re awake sweety” she said entering the room. She turned to DeAndre. “I need to take you back to your room before I get into trouble.”
“Okay” he said before grabbing onto Azania’s hand and kissing it. “Sleep well.”
“Sweet dreams” she smiled at him and he let her hand go.
He sat back into the wheelchair and allowed Nurse Denise to take him back to his room. Sleep would come a lot easier tonight. She was safe and that’s all that mattered.
A week had passed since the incident. Thanks to Anthwan, the perpetrator had been arrested and would be spending some time in jail. It was better that way because she did not want DeAndre to have a second go at the guy. Seeing him fight like that, scared her. In that moment he had transformed into someone was a far cry from the person she had been acquainted with. They had pressed charges, so it was up to the law to deal with it.
Just one more day and they would both be discharged. Azania had to beg Amber not to tell her parents about what had occurred. Their health could be better, so she did not want them to see her in such a state. The last thing that she needed was to have them run the risk of having a heart attack. She had seen her face, she looked terrible. The swelling had gone down and hopefully in the next week or so, the bruises will disappear as well.
She sustained no major injuries, she actually looked worse than she felt. DeAndre on the other hand got a raw deal. She felt terrible. It was her fault that he was laid up in hospital. Fortunately none of his organs were injured but because he was stabbed with a rusty object, there had been some complications when he first got here. If anything had happened to him, she would not be able to have lived with herself. But he was on his way to a speedy recovery and that is all that mattered.
“Hey” DeAndre said as he entered her room. He was no longer being pushed around by Nurse Denise.
She reached for her hair and tried to smooth it down as much as she possibly could, there was nothing she could do about her face.
“Hey” she answered smiling shyly at him. They have been spending a lot of time together. It was most likely the guilt but he had nothing to feel guilty about. In her eyes, he was her Superman, her hero. He saved the day.
“I just wanted to check up on you…”
“Nothing changed since the last time you saw me. I’m still wearing this custom made purple makeup.”
He didn’t even crack a smile at her attempt to make a joke.
“It’s too early Azania, too early” he said as he pulled the chair closer to her bedside.
“My bad.” She sat up in the bed. “How are you doing?”
“I’m homesick. I can’t wait to leave this place and sleep in my own bed, eat what I want to eat instead of this rabbit food that they keep feeding us.”
“Ok but how are you recuperating? Is everything well? What did the doctor say?” she rambled. He had moved closer and was sitting on the edge of her bed. She would never get used to how handsome DeAndre was. He was wearing those hospital gowns and he still looked good. Having him so close made her nervous.
“I’m good, there’s nothing to stress your pretty self about” he responded. “How about you?”
“I’m as strong as an ox” she said lifting her arms to flex her muscles but only there were no muscles to flex. All she saw was the flab on her arms juggling and she quickly dropped them. She should not have done that. At all.
“Ok Xena, I see you warrior princess!” he said with a smile.
Before she could reply, Amber walked into the room with what some a big vase of flowers. Her room was starting to look like a garden, thanks to Amber, Brian and the people at work. She had been visiting her faithfully during her lunch breaks and stopped by in the evening as well with her other half.
“Hey bestie!” she said putting the vase down with a bag of what smelled like a home cooked meal. “I didn’t realize that you had company. Hi” she waved to DeAndre.
“Hi ” DeAndre smiled in return and got up from the bed. He turned back to Azania. “I will see you later” he said and disappeared out of the door.
“Naughty, naughty Azania” Amber said as soon as she was sure that DeAndre was out of earshot. “Here I am worried sick about you while you are getting your groove on. Mama is so proud of you baby!” she said pulling her into a hug.
Amber always liked being dramatic. “Please stop. That’s DeAndre.”
“DeAndre sure is fine” Amber said. “And why are you saying it like I’m supposed to know who he is?”
“Duh, you’re the one who set me up on a blind date with him after all.”
“No no no child. I do not know that man from a bar of soap.
“Amber don’t play like that. For real."
“I am for real Zaza, I do not know that man. I was supposed to set you up with Curtis, but that never happened because the brother was trifling and you being my bestie and all, I could not do you like that.”
“What?” Azania asked in disbelief.
“Honest to God” Amber replied. “I don’t tell no tales.”
She thought Amber was pulling her leg but after a few moments she realized that she was dead serious. Amber did not know DeAndre at all.
“But…” she said at a loss for words.
“Girl just be thankful to whoever set you up with that man, you better go down on your knees and thank The Lord! Didn’t He say that He would do it, didn’t He say that He would do it?!”
While Amber was having her Baptist church moment, Azania was confused. If Amber did not set her up with DeAndre Morgan, then who did?
And just like that, Azania found out that Amber did not set her up with DeAndre in Chapter Seventeen.
It’s not edited, so the grammar won’t be on fleek but thank you for reading it anyway.
Once again, thank you day one to hundred for rocking with me and welcome to the new readers.
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For the past few years Azania Parker found herself in the same situation. A flirtationship: more than a friendship but less than a relationship. Tired of being led on only to be disappointed in the end, she completely gives up on love. DeAndre Morga...