As Long As You Love Me

Bad boy Justin needs to be taught a lesson. So his teachers come up with a plan and pairs him off with the best behaved girl in school for a school assignment! What happens when sparks fly between them? Will Justin and Selena admit their feelings to each other?


27. Crushed


Justin's POV


When I woke, my head was fuzzy and I was disoriented. My mouth felt like someone had spent the time I was asleep filling it with sand. I blinked my dry, scratchy eyes, and realized that there was a person sitting in the chair in the room, which was different than the ER cubicle I had been in before. It wasn't Officer Davis. 


"Mum?" I rasped, still blinking, and she rose to come to my bedside. She handed me a plastic cup with a straw and I sat up, scooting carefully to prop myself against the pillows. I sipped gratefully at the cold liquid. I looked up at her tired, blank face and felt my heart stop in my chest. "Selena?"


The corners of her mouth lifted in what I did not mistake as a smile. "She's out of surgery. Doctors are with her. She's stable." My body collapsed in relief, and I drew my first full breath in what felt like hours. 


"How is she? How long was I…asleep?"


Mum looked at me sympathetically, "You've been out for a few hours. Selena's…doing as well as can be expected." She said nothing more, just took the cup from me and set in on a tray at my bedside.


"I just – I couldn't forgive myself for not being there with her at the night of the accident." I gritted my teeth and clenched my hands in the sheets. I could feel the irrational anger swelling through me again at the thought of Jaden hitting my girl. I needed some answers. She squeezed my uninjured hand and turned to the chair in the corner, moving it closer to my bedside and sitting wearily.


I watched her, and when she said nothing more I asked, "Where am I?"


"We had you moved to a private room. As there were no visitors allowed during Selena's surgery."


"Oh." I thought about this briefly, looking at the twining fingers in my lap. I could always tell when someone was lying, it was just a natural gift. "Mum, please," I said quietly. "Won't you tell me about Selena? What happened? How is she really?"


Mum took a deep breath and I met her gaze. She searched my face carefully for a few seconds and then sighed again. "Justin." She leaned forward in the chair and took my hand, holding it tightly. "I'll tell you, but you have to promise you won't get…upset, or I'll have to leave."


"Okay," I whispered shakily, fear snaking through me. The sensation was cold and chilling. I put my other hand over our already connected ones.


Her eyes followed the movement. Her thumb stroked the back of mine absently as she spoke. "She was unconscious when they brought her in to the ER. She was in surgery for over…well, for a few hours. She lost a lot of blood. She had to have multiple transfusions." My eyes squeezed shut and I gripped her hand like a lifeline as dread spread through me. Mum continued in her soothing, gentle voice. "She broke a few ribs, bruised a bunch more, and has a collapsed lung. Her spleen was damaged, and that's what accounted for most of the blood loss. The doctors able to repair it, so that's some good news."


Mum's eyes were brown and steady on mine. "Justin, she also has a concussion, a very bad one. She has a linear fracture of her skull. There was some brain swelling." A small sound escaped me but my gaze stayed locked on hers. "We're keeping her unconscious for now, under an IV anesthesia, in order to give her a chance to heal. The swelling should go down on its own, with the help of medication. They didn't put a catheter – a drain – in. Hopefully they won't need to."


My lips trembled. "Is she – will she…" I pulled my hand loose to touch my own forehead with a questioning lift of my brows. I couldn't make myself say the words. I couldn't even think them.


"The swelling isn't too bad, Justin. They've done both a CT scan and MRI of her head. There's no reason to believe she won't make a full recovery."


"When will she wake up?"


"They'll discontinue the anesthesia in a day or two – tomorrow night or the next morning if all continues to go well. After that it will be up to her."


"But she'll be – she'll be…okay?" I asked in a small voice. Despite what she was telling me, I recognized the swelling in her brain was bad enough they were keeping her unconscious. I needed the reassurance badly.


"Brain injuries are a funny thing. No one can say for sure." She leaned back in the chair, keeping my hand in hers. "But everything looks as good as we can hope for."


I nodded and bit my lip. Please, let her be okay. I swallowed thickly, before asking another question. "Mum, can I ask you one more thing?"


She angled her head. "What is it?"


"I need to be with Selena when she wakes up. I need to know, with my eyes, in my head, that she's okay or I don't think I can get through it. It would help. Can I do that?" I couldn't relive those terrible moments, recall them on purpose and in detail, without being able to put my hands on her and see her breathing – without having tangible proof I hadn't lost her on that dark roadside.


Mum sat looking at me thoughtfully. "I'm not entirely sure. I'll have to talk to the doctor first." She continued quickly when she saw I was going to protest. "We'll have to see how she does in recovery. But if she's stable overnight, I can try to make it work."


"I need to see her," I said. "I don't want to make her worse, or be in the way of her recovery, but I just need her feel her beside me. I'm sorry. I can't help it."


"I can't make any promises," she said, "but I'll see what I can do. That I do promise." She stood, stretching wearily. She must be exhausted. "You rest, as best you can. I'll be down later to give you an update."


"Can I see her tonight?"


"Tomorrow, Justin. You both need to rest to start recovering. They won't let anyone but doctors in the ICU right now, anyway."


"Oh." The disappointment was crushing, but not unexpected. "Thank you, Mum. For everything."


"You're welcome." Se bent down and touched my cheek. The gesture was so reminiscent of Selena that it brought stinging tears to my eyes. "I'm very, very thankful you're okay," she murmured.


She smiled at me, and turned to leave. I heard voices murmuring in the hall and the sound was surprisingly soothing. I lay in the hospital bed, but my thoughts were with Selena. She was here somewhere in the building. I had no idea where, but the urge to see her, to touch her, to make sure she was okay was nearly overwhelming. I thought about what Mum had said, the long list of her injuries. Tears slipped down my cheeks. I shuddered at the thought that I had come so close to losing her tonight, all because of my former best friend.



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