Kerrigan Brady just wanted to meet her favourite band. Not like this. Never like this.


4. -Three-


I stared at the curtain, waiting for it to move. I heard footsteps, and my hand automatically grabbed a fistful of blanket to have something to do. The curtain twitched… and Mum poked her head around, looking like a deer in headlights. When she saw that I was alone, she relaxed and tossed me a cheese and mayonnaise sandwich, glancing back out at the hall.

“What’s this?” I laughed, already dying to eat it.

“Hurry up, before they catch me,” she hissed, eyes shining with mischief. I could see the bottle of coke in her bag and the tiny drop of ketchup on her blouse; she’d been to Subway. “You’re never going to get better eating the hospital rubbish.”

I tore off the wrapper and wolfed it down, agreeing that it tasted better than ever before. Mum watched me proudly, sitting back on the chair she’d been living in for the last week. I’d told her she could go get a hotel room, get some proper sleep, but she refused to leave my side. I couldn’t blame her; it had been the two of us for years now, since Dad left, and if I was in her position I’d do the same thing. “Good walk around?” I asked, finishing off the few crumbs that had fallen off the bread. Mum nodded, opening her coke, and wriggling a bit to get comfortable.

“Have you had any visitors?” she asked knowingly, one eyebrow raised. I hadn’t had the opportunity to interrogate her on exactly what happened when she met Liam, but she had seemed very pleased that he was coming to visit, and almost anxious to call him when I woke up. It did make me wonder; how well did they get to know each other while I was sleeping?

Shaking my head, I tossed the sandwich wrapper at the bin across the room, throwing my arms up in delight when it hit. Instantly, pain shot up my side and I cried out, my hands finding the source of the pain and pressing down. That only hurt more; Mum sprang up from her chair, slamming the call button, before stroking my hair as I grit my teeth and tried to breathe through the pain. As much as I felt okay, I had just been violently reminded that I wasn’t.

Hannah appeared in the doorway, took one look at me, and hurried to press the morphine button.

I shook my head, trying to protest; “No, I-”

The drug took thirty seconds to take effect, and I let out a long, low groan as I fell back on the pillows, my stomach heaving. Hannah checked my stitches and drew in a hissing breath through her teeth. “You’ve torn the stitches, Kerri.”

“Oh, honey,” Mum murmured, holding my hand now. Hannah bit her lip and glanced at the door, then back at me.

“I’ll see if I can find the doctor. We’ll try to patch you up before Liam gets here, okay?” she said, as I nodded and leaned back against the pillows, trying not to cry. Hannah disappeared and I kept my eyes shut, not wanting Mum to try and talk to me. I knew I’d end up crying; the reality of my situation was still sinking in, but this little incident had driven it home, hard. I was hurt, and it wasn’t a band aid situation.

The morphine must have sent me off to sleep, because I don’t remember the doctor coming, but I woke to voices. One was Mum’s, I could recognise her anywhere, and the other was familiar and yet so strange, I couldn’t quite place it. He definitely wasn’t American though, sounding a bit like…

My eyes snapped open. The curtain was back around my bed again, but I could see the shadows moving behind them. “Mum?” I called, my voice croaky. The voices stopped and the curtain was drawn back as she appeared, smiling gently at me.

“Hey, honey. You feeling okay?” she asked, heading for the cup of water, pausing when I shook my head, eyes locked on the shadow still behind the curtain. I swore I could recognise exactly who he was; Mum chuckled a bit at my determined expression and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Do you want me to stay?” she asked in a whisper, and I finally looked at her as I shook my head, more nervous than I’d ever been but still determined that this was something I had to do alone.


He might have more information, might be able to tell me more about what happened; I didn’t exactly want Mum to hear the gory details. I’d edit the information and tell her the less grisly parts later.

“I’ll be back in a few hours, okay?” Mum kissed the side of my head and left, murmuring softly to Liam, beyond my line of sight. I was hugely grateful that I wasn’t back in my hospital gown, and used the three seconds of solitude to run my fingers through my head as best I could, more careful now of the aching wound on my hip. Nervously, I wrung my hands…

“Hey,” I said, as Liam looked cautiously around the edge of the curtain, his expression looking close to terrified. Of what? Me? Why would he be terrified of me?

His smile was fleeting, and shaky, as he approached the side of my bed and stood still, just staring at me. I raised an eyebrow, silently encouraging him, and he ran a hand over his face with a sobbing laugh. “I don’t even know what to say,” he mumbled, falling into Mum’s abandoned chair.

“Try starting with ‘hello,” I grinned when he looked at me, eyes full of tears. He hung his head for a minute or two and I could hear him breathing hard, trying to keep himself under control. “Liam. Are you okay?”

“Fucking hell,” he muttered, leaning back and just looking at me. I was worried about him, genuinely concerned now, especially as he’d just cursed. Did Liam usually curse? He didn’t seem like the type… “You’re asking me… I should be asking you. I should have brought flowers…”

“No,” I replied, internally panicking. This wasn’t how I expected this meeting to go; it was also exactly why I hadn’t wanted Mum to be around for it. “You came to visit, that’s enough. Did you really come all the way from Montana?”

Finally the smile stayed on his face for more than a second, and he met my gaze without flinching. “Yeah,” he said quietly, shrugging as if it were nothing.

I let out an impressed whistle. “That’s incredible. I can’t believe you did that.”

“I can’t believe you’re in here because of me.” I froze, and Liam wasn’t looking at me again as he held out his hand, seeking mine. “Can I?”

“Of course,” I said incredulously, and he held my hand gently in his own, as if I would break. “Look, I… I don’t remember what happened,” I mumbled softly, squeezing his hand lightly. He smiled again and I resolved to try and make him feel better about this whole situation; yes I got hurt, but that was my pain to deal with. He shouldn’t feel guilty. He made so many lives that much brighter… guilt had no place in Liam’s life.

He shuffled the chair closer, leaning his elbows on the side of my bed. His gaze dropped to the drip in my other hand, then to the bandages peeking out of the blankets where my top had ridden up. Visibly, he swallowed and forced himself to look at my face again, ignoring the wound. Good. “He… his daughter was fifteen,” Liam began softly, making sure I was listening. “She campaigned for weeks on Twitter, trying to get one of us… me… to notice her. There’s so many all the time, it’s impossible to answer them all. She- she was suicidal. She posted a video, saying she was going to… end it… if I didn’t follow her. I only saw the video the day after… I didn’t know…”

“Mum mentioned it was revenge,” I breathed, the dots connecting in my mind now. “How dare he blame you, though. If he spent half of the energy he focussed on trying to hurt you on his own daughter, this would never have happened.”

Liam’s smile was genuine this time. He stayed for the rest of the afternoon; and didn’t let go of my hand once. 

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