"Dan Wilde." I say, breathless as I reach the front desk of the hospital.
The nurse taps away on her computer, looking for his information and I wonder how she's so calm. How can she just sit here and answer the questions of people whose lives are crashing down around them? I cannot imagine being used to seeing the way I'm feeling right now. She directs me to a ward and I start rushing off in that direction and I can sense Alex following me.
"Can you just wait here?" I plead.
He nods, stepping back. "Okay."
I carry on to the ward the nurse at the desk told me about and my dad has his own room. I walk in, my hands shaking. There's a nurse in there. She smiles at me. I cannot handle all of them smiling at me, their lives just carrying on as usual while they take care of people whose lives are going wrong.
"Hi, Kaya is it?" she says in a calm, neutral voice. "I'm Jennifer. We spoke on the phone."
"Yes." I say, my voice shaking. I glance at my dad in the bed. He's unconscious, covered in wires that are attached to machines.
She sighs. "Take a seat."
"No thank you." taking a seat always means there's going to be bad news.
"Your father was in a bad car accident." she says, frowning.
"Whose fault was it?" I ask. I can feel a vacant look on my face. It's all still a daze but at the same time, a really harsh reality.
"It wasn't anybody's fault, it was just an accident." she says in that same soothing tone.
"Just because it was an accident, doesn't mean it was nobody's-"
"It was just an accident." she persists. "Now, your dad's condition. He has a collapsed lung because his ribs broke and punctured one of his lungs. He also in a coma because of the loss of oxygen. I know that sounds scary-"
"Yes, that sounds scary."
She sighs sympathetically. "I know. But he is in very good hands. He could easily wake up from this coma over time. It's looking very positive, he could be out of this coma in days. If he is, there may not be any complications while he recovers."
I just nod and she leaves me to it, telling me I can talk to her whenever I like. She's being very nice but I just don't want to talk to anybody. I want to sit by my dad's bed until he wakes up. I know the nurse gave me good news but my dad is in a coma and there's nothing okay about that. I just hope what she said is true. I hope he wakes up within days with no complications and everything goes back to normal.
I look at the clock for the first time in hours and it's midnight. Suddenly, I remember Alex and Jem and everybody who must be so confused about what's happening. I wait another five minutes and then Jennifer comes in again and says I should go and get something to eat or drink.
To my surprise, Alex is still there in the waiting room. He's just staring into space, his knee jogging up and down like it always does when he's nervous.
"Alex." I say and there's barely anybody left in this waiting room in the hospital so my voice sounds strangely loud after hours of silence.
He stands up, running a hand through his hair. "Is everything okay?"
My face crumples. "I don't know."
He sighs and steps towards me, pulling me in. "Tell me."
"He's in a coma." I say, taking in a shaky breath. "But apparently he's going to be okay. But you know, it's still not okay, it's still scary."
"Oh, Kaya." he sighs, pulling me closer. "My girl."
I keep taking shaky breaths in and out, trying to stop crying. Nothing about any of that stupid high school drama matters to me anymore. I couldn't care less what Alex had done, he's here now and he cares and that's what I care about. I'm not angry with anyone. I'm definitely not angry with him. I'm just thankful for him.
I pull away, sighing and wiping my eyes. "I should call Jem."
He frowns but nods, placing a hand on my cheek for a moment and then taking a seat. I hesitate. His hair's a mess, his knee is jogging up and down, his eyes are red.
"Alex, you don't have to stay." I tell him.
"I want to." he promises.
I nod and step around the corner to call Jem. He picks up straight away.
"Kaya." he says, sounding stressed and relieved at the same time. "Where are you? What happened?"
I explain everything. It already feels normal to explain everything, my father being seriously hurt and being in a coma already seems normal and its shouldn't.
"Kaya." Jem sighs. "I'm on my way there now."
"No, no." I say gently. "I just want to be alone if that's okay."
"Of course that's okay." he says softly. "I'll check up on you tomorrow."
"Okay." I whisper and then I hang up. I check on my Dad once more and tell Jennifer that I'm going home and she promises to call if anything happens. Then I go and find Alex. He looks up at me.
"Could you take me home please?" I ask wearily.
He nods, taking my hand and squeezing it. "Of course."
It feels so wrong driving away from my dad at the hospital. It takes everything I have to remind myself that he wouldn't want me to wait there all night. I know he'd want me to just go home and rest properly but it feels wrong. Surely I should be there with him. What if he can hear when people talk? What if he's still thinking? What if he's scared? I should be there. But I keep reminding myself of what he would tell me.
When Alex parks outside of my house, I thank him and get out of the car but he gets out as well. I frown at him. He raises his eyebrows in a soft manner.
"Kay, you're not going to be alone, not tonight or any night in the near future." he says.
"I want to be by myself." I tell him.
"Not an option." he shakes his head. "You need someone there, it's what's good for you."
I go to object but he lets himself in and switches the lights on. I've enjoyed having this house to myself for the past couple of days, but not anymore. Dad should be here now but he's not.
"I'll sleep on the couch." Alex says, going to the living room and getting the blankets and cushions out. I always forget how well he knows this house and how well he knows me.
"Okay." I say as he takes the keys from my hand and locks up the doors. "Thank you."
He raises an eyebrow, hanging the keys on the hook. "What for?"
I shrug. "Taking care of me. Being responsible."
"It's okay, Kay. You should go and get some rest." he smiles.
So I go upstairs and get ready for bed, just like usual and I'm exhausted but I can't sleep. I am so tired but every time I come close to falling asleep, I remember just how horrible everything is and I wake up again. I get sick and tired of it and pick up my phone and text Alex:
I think he must be asleep but I don't want to go downstairs and wake him so I think texting him is the best bet. He actually replies though:
Kay, you okay?
Were you asleep?
Yeah but it's okay
I don't want to keep you up, but could you come and sleep up here?
He wanders into my room a moment later and hovers at the end of my bed.
"Why do you want me to sleep up here?" he asks.
"I'm lonely." I shrug.
"What about Jem?" he asks.
"Alex, you're just sleeping in my bed." I remind him. "Please?"
He nods, getting into bed beside me and lying down. I feel terrible all of a sudden. I care about Jem a lot and maybe I love him, I'm not sure yet. But I definitely love Alex and it just feels right to lay here with him. It feels right to be with him but it feels a different kind of right to be with Jem. I decide that it doesn't matter now, that I don't have to think about anything like that. I don't want to think about anything like that. I just need to concentrate on my dad and be thankful for whoever helps me.