|Submitted by G.S. Williams on Fri, 07/27/2012 - 10:41|
I returned to the hospital that evening and found my way to Frank's room. He had finally been moved there and was lying in his bed. His arm was up in restraints and he had bandages everywhere. Bruises and cuts lined his skin, making it look like he had survived a war.
I sank down onto a couch against one wall of the room and felt like someone had torn my stomach through my pelvis. I started to shake and covered my eyes to block out the sight of the man I loved in such a state. Unfortunately for me, I have a visual memory so strong that it's almost eidetic, and I couldn't block that out as easily. The image haunted me, and I began to cry.
Whatever Dahlia's plans, I had fallen in love with Diggory Franklin. There was no escaping that fact. I wept with worry, I wept with fear, and I wept with frustration that I couldn't rise above that emotional truth and walk away from this silly, brave man. I fell asleep on the couch out of exhaustion, both emotional and physical.
I awoke in the middle of the night and looked over at Frank immediately to see if there had been any changes in his condition. I knew he would be under sedation for a while, but still, I hoped to see him awake. I felt a shiver of terror as I found the bed empty.
“Frank?” I said quietly. I got to my feet and walked numbly, having put one leg to sleep by lying on it funny.
I went to the suite's bathroom, which seemed ridiculous, and of course he wasn't there. There was no way he could have moved from the bed without assistance. I had a terrifying suspicion that something had gone wrong while I slept, and they had taken him back to surgery.
I half-stumbled, half-hurried to leave the room. I smacked myself in the thigh with a balled fist to try to restore circulation faster as I got out into the hallway.
“Nurse!” I cried, heading towards the station down the hall where the night-nurse was on duty.
“Yes, ma'am?” she asked.
“Did you take Diggory Franklin back to surgery?” I asked her.
She shook her head. “Mr. Franklin is stable and sleeping in his room.”
“Well, he's not there!”
The nurse stood up from her desk, looking concerned. It wasn't full-blown panic concern, more a perplexed “that's not right” expression, but I would work with what I was given.
“Come on!” I insisted.
She followed me down the corridor back to Frank's room and I threw open the door. We both stepped inside.
Frank was sleeping just as I had seen him before I took my nap. The nurse looked at me with no small amount of pity.
“Miss, you seem very tired. Maybe you were having a bad dream. Let me get you a pillow and some blankets for that couch. We'll get through this.”
She gave me a pat on the arm that was meant to be comforting. I nodded and she left. I stared at Frank.
“You weren't there,” I whispered. “Were you?”