Questions Without Answers
Author's Note: It's short, but hopefully it's sweet!
A nurse came in to Carter’s room in the ICU. Abby was staring at Carter, her eyes again brimming with tears as they had so often in the past few days. She found it incredibly hard to believe that only four days had passed since the accident. It had seemed like an eternity to Abby. Looking back, all she could remember were long hours of staring at clocks and staring at Carter. She had spent all of the time locked up in her own world.
That world was where Abby Lockhart was when the nurse entered the room. She didn’t notice the woman, clad in pink scrubs as Abby typically was, until the nurse began to attend to Carter. Then Abby spoke up suddenly.
“Umm, Nurse...,” Abby searched for the short woman’s nametag, as she couldn’t recall her name at all, “Nurse Chang?”
“Yes? And please, call me Lucy.”
Something in Abby awoke as she heard the saddening name. “Yeah, well, could you get Carter some pain medicine?”
“I thought you said he wouldn’t want it.”
“He wouldn’t, but I want it for him.”
Carter awoke to an excruciating burning sensation in his abdomen. He couldn’t lift his head and neck very far, but he wanted to see what damage had caused his body to feel this way. When he finally managed to prop himself up enough so that he could see over his chest, he was shocked. Not only was he in an ugly hospital gown, but the gown’s colors horribly clashed with crusty, brownish-red gashes of dried blood. Also brownish-red were the horrible burn marks, which closely resembled burnt paper, that scarred areas of all the body parts he could see. Though he couldn’t see his stomach, which was carefully covered with the disgusting gown, he knew it would look equally bad. It felt that way. God, EVERYTHING hurt so badly.
His right wrist was braced, the fingers ghastly white and stiff. Then he looked over at his left hand, and was rather surprised to see another hand clutching it as tightly as was possible to do without hurting him. Carter followed the tiny hand up its arm and all the way into the face of Abby. She was sleeping with her head on the cold metal bed rail.
Three things instantly became obvious to Carter. One was that she’d been crying... a lot. Her long, dark eyelashes were damp with tears even at this moment, and her cheeks were red and splotchy from the constant flow. Her small nose was bright red and raw from constant wiping with tissues. The second thing was that she had gotten little, if any, sleep. Her closed eyes were underlined by deep brown and black toned stripes, and her whole face seemed just... different, in a way only caused by sleep deprivation and stress. And the third thing was that Abby had probably been with him constantly since the accident.
The accident... he couldn’t believe it. Carter expected a rush of recollections of the incident to come to mind, like in movies, but few did. He remembered little from that time and shortly before it... just a few things. Being in a helicopter, sudden panic, then being on the ground, surrounded and partially covered by sheet metal. It was then that Carter realized just how lucky he was. He could have had body parts severed, more severe lacerations and/or burns... and an infinite number of other complications that he’d been relieved from. The other thing he could have to do was go through this alone.
As he looked down at his and Abby’s entangled hands, he hoped he wouldn’t have to.
Abby awoke to find Carter’s eyes staring into hers. Her heart jumped, and somehow, he could sense his excitement.
Carter opened his mouth to speak, but instead began to have a coughing fit. Abby instantly switched into nurse mode, and jumped up and leaned over him, one arm around his shoulders, the other holding his ribcage. Coughing without support of his ribs when some were broken could possibly be fatal to him. He coughed for as long as he needed to, with Abby holding him tenderly.
As his body began to relax, she pushed down the bed rail and sat on the bed, then helped Carter lean back so his head rested on her chest. One arm was still wrapped around his shoulders. The other had rediscovered Carter’s hand, and now their fingers were intertwined.
This time it was Abby who tried to speak. But Carter, gathering all the strength he had, lifted his braced arm and hand to her lips to silence her, then dropped that hand and brought their entangled hands to his heart.