I wake up to a very annoying beeping sound in my ear. Everything seems too bright, too sharply focused. It all smells like disinfectant and all I hear is that accursed beeping noise. I shift my head to the right. It’s only now I notice I’m in a bed, a pretty comfy one, too. I look up and I see a large machine. I look through barely open eyes at it, trying to figure out what it is. All I can hear is the beeping, and my own heart beat through my ear, which is pressed against my pillow. I notice that the beeping and my heart beat are pretty similar. In fact, they’re the exact same. I try to lift my arm to brush the hair off my face, but I feel a little twinge in it. I look down and see that there is an IV needle in it, like the kind we give Eli his fluids in. Speaking of Eli, where is he? And where am I? I turn my head to the left, and one of my questions is answered. Al is slumped over in a chair, half asleep, Canada is talking quietly to Lyllianne, and Eli is pacing back and forth, running his hands through his hair. I don’t think any of them have noticed I’m awake. I decide to change that.
“You guys, this is so ironic it’s sad. I’m the one on the hospital bed, yet I’m the one that seems most alive.” I joke. Al wakes up almost immediately, Canada and Ly stop talking, and Eli’s head snaps towards me. The next second, I have an Al hugging, more like strangling, me, Canada saying over and over again what a relief it is that I’m okay, Ly looking like she’s going to start crying, and Eli is meowing on my lap. I hug Alfred back, and turn to Eli. I lift my arm.
“Is this payback for your fluids?” I ask. He nods at me. I stick my tongue out at him.
“Guys, what happened? All I remember was talking to Zar, and then just now waking up.”
They fill me in. “Well,” Ly starts, “after you and Zar talked, like right after, you passed out. Al carried you from the church to the hospital. We came with. The doctors said they were going to need to sew up the wound.”
“A punctured stomach, multiple ripped muscles, internal and external bleeding, the doctors said it was a miracle you were conscious as long as you were.” Canada said, looking at me in wonder.
I shrug. “Miracle Mich. It’s weird, that’s my biker name at the motor track.” I say.
“Yeah. And when you got out of surgery, Eli refused to leave your side. He stayed here over night. We got here about an hour ago.” Al said. I look down at the purring cat in my lap. I smile, and pet beneath his collar. He starts purring twice as hard. Then something hits me.
“Wait a second.” I say, looking back up. “Over night? You mean I’ve been here for two days?!” I ask. They all look at each other.
“Er- technically?” Canada says.
I stand up, and remove the IV from my arm and miscellaneous wires. The heart monitor stops beeping automatically.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Ly says, trying to get me back down. I pick up my pile of clothes, which are just outside the bathroom door that is in my hospital room.
“What does it look like?” I ask, heading in and getting changed. “I’m heading to my best friend’s re-wedding. It must be starting soon!”
“Well, er yeah, but we weren’t going to go!” Al says. I scoff.
“That’s ridiculous, of course we’re going. I’m the maid of honor!”
“Mich! You were stabbed in the stomach! You don’t need to go!”
I step out of the bathroom. “What’re you talking about? Yes I do. Maid of honor!” I say, heading out the door. I’m accompanied by all four of them.
“They found another person to be the maid of honor!” Eli says, back in human form again.
“What do you mean?”
“Well love, it’s Julie. Zara knew you would be out for the day, and she replaced you with her.”
I stop dead in my tracks. I turn around and all I say is, “Aw, HELL, no.” I go to the front desk and check out. At this point, I’m really starting to feel the anesthesia wear off. I think my stitches may have come undone. Ah well.
“Mich! This is ridiculous! Come back, you just had stomach surgery!”
“Yeah? Well, my best friend is trying to replace me as her maid of honor, and I’m not going to take that laying down.”
We make it to the church. Judging by the parking lot, all the important parts are here and inside. I fling open the double doors. Everyone turns to look at me. Looks like we interrupted the rehearsal. I walk up to the front where Zara and Ivan and everyone is standing, speechless. I take my bouquet from Julie. She readily hands it over once I break her out of her initial shock. I turn to face the front. Even Germany is standing there slack jaw. I clear my throat.
“You may resume.” I say to him. Almost automatically everyone starts yelling. That, mixed with the pain in my stomach is making this day turn out just peachy. I only answer one question, Zara’s.
“Mich, what are you doing here?”
I turn to her. “Because Zar, there’s this thing called friendship. And just because you aren’t committed to it, doesn’t mean I’m not.” She looks at me, tears up and bring me in for a hug.
“Bad move, mon ame. I’m pretty sure my stitches are out, and I’d hate to ruin your wedding dress.” I say, hugging her back and wincing a little. I hear her laugh. “Also, I have had it up to here with everyone crying over me. Besides, it’s not like it’s the worst of my injuries.
“It’s not?!” Half the church yells. I just turn to them, and smile.
I say the old Hoffman proverb that has been passed down through generations. “It takes a lot to kill a man, it takes even more to kill a strong man, but it takes God’s power above to kill a Hoffman.”