Chapter 17: Jacky

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He woke up briefly in the middle of the night. Disoriented, he blinked and looked around, but didn't move, because he could feel a weight leaning against his arm. Then he remembered: Hospital. Ryan. So Ryan had come out of the ICU. And he had sat down beside Jacky, and threaded his arm through Jacky's elbow, and his head was resting on Jacky's shoulder.

At first Jacky wondered how he could have slept through Ryan doing all that, nosing his big head under Jacky's. Then he heard a weird little sound. A whimper, almost, but quieter, and he realized Ryan was crying. He could see the tears rolling off Ryan's nose.

"Ryan?" he said, his voice groggy. "Ryan, what happened?"

But Ryan didn't have to answer. Jacky knew, especially when Ryan just cried harder and buried his face in Jacky's shoulder again. He tried to sit up with Ryan's weight on him and finally managed, so that Ryan could wrap his arms around his torso and hold tight.

It was loud, ugly crying, and Jacky could see the few others in the waiting room trying not to look. Screw them. He hugged Ryan as hard as he could.

When Ryan's crying had died down a bit, Jacky whispered, "My mom said you can stay at our house for a while. Do you want me to call her?"

Ryan just breathed into his shoulder for a while. Finally he nodded.

"I have to go down to the lobby to get reception. You can come with me if you want?"

Silence. So, Jacky waited.

He felt his eyes wanting to shut. When he finally located a clock he saw that it was almost four a.m. And Ryan was sleeping, too. That was okay, he thought. We can sleep here, and deal with everything else in the morning. Besides, Ryan's head made sleeping much more comfortable.

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