I woke up with the feeling that made me wish I hadn't woken up. That feeling went something like this:
You ever had that feeling before? I hope not. The doctors were bustling around, checking things, looking important, etc. One of them came up to me when he saw that I was awake.
"Well son you took quite a beating... it's um... do you have any parents here?"
I swallowed and tried to speak but all I could manage was a nod. The doctor looked at me very seriously and said,
"Well... I don't see them here but I imagine they're at the food court or something so... I... You're gonna need surgery kid. We may not even be able to completely fix your jaw. It's... not looking good."
I just stared at him, unable to make a sound, unable to cry, unable to do anything except look at him. Then he smiled.
"But hey look at the bright side... I've been known to exaggerate. You don't have anything except some ugly bruises and cuts and a broken nose, but that won't detract from your handsome face. So stop worrying, ok pretty boy?"
If I could have laughed, and sighed in relief, and punched this guy in the face, believe me I would have. The doctor left, and I began to doze. When I woke up a few hours later, I woke to the sound of talking. I kept my eyes closed, but my ears open as I listened to my three visitors. Two of them I recognized. The third was not someone I was familiar with... I'd remember if I'd had a friend who spoke with a British accent.
"I can't believe you! You left him there! That's ju-"
"Listen Claudia I'm telling you this in good faith ok? I didn't... I mean... nevermind."
"No. NO. Lionel you are not using the 'I can't talk because I've been a reclusive loner my whole freaking life!' We are talking about this now. Daniel, my boyfriend, who you just happened to carelessly blow off after he offered you his friendship, his apologies, and the love of his life, took a figurative bullet for you Lionel."
British guy stepped in, "Well I don't mean to interrupt, I mean I hardly know any of you, but do remember that Lionel and I taught the bloke a lesson. I don't presume to know what he did in the first place, but he did risk himself later."
"Yeah I got his call. Watching your friend get beaten for you from the sidelines is still a-"
"Claudia. I know what I did. I know it was wrong. Why do you think I'm here?"
There was a moment of silence.
"I was beginning to wonder that myself. He's my boyfriend Lionel. I can't keep secrets from him and expect him to... you know. Heroics aside, how do you think he's going to react when he hears that you watched him get beat up from behind the safety of your window? Hmm?"
A sigh. Some silence. Some thought.
"Claudia. I know that I can't expect you to not tell him. I'm kinda hoping that this'll make things even."
"Yeah. He hurt me, I hurt him back. We're... even." Lionel had started coughing. Things were about to go downhill... I could tell.
"Lionel are you KIDDING ME?!? Why are you really here? Are your new friends not good enough? Are you just crawling back to us because your new friends are realizing that they can't accept you for what you are? Lionel. What did Daniel ever really do to you? So he "stole" someone who wasn't yours. It's like winning the lottery Lionel. You can't win if you don't buy a ticket. How you can you accuse him for having the courage to do what you couldn't?"
There was the sound of a chair being pushed back and I opened my eyes a slit to see Claudia and Lionel standing right in each others faces. British guy, whose name hadn't been mentioned yet, was still sitting in his chair, not bothered at all by the fact that he was in the midst of an emotional confrontation.
"Guys" I croaked, and they spun towards me with anger, confusion, and guilt on their faces.
"Daniel!" Claudia rushed to the side of my bed and gave me a kiss. On the nose.
"Ouch" I said. Claudia looked at me questioningly.
"Nose. Broken." I gasped.
"Oh I'm so sorry! I didn't kn-... they didn't tell me that."
I tried to smile, "S'Okay... I could use one here though" I suggested, puckering my lips. Claudia smiled and kissed me again. British guy came up as she finished and introduced himself.
"I'm Charles. Found your friend here getting ready to go ninja on some hoodlums. I figured I'd give him a hand."
I gave him a nod, and shook his hand, then noticed Lionel trying to sneak out.
He froze, shooting a look back at me. Then he turned and slunk back inside. I took a deep breath, looked at both Claudia, Lionel, and Charles in turn, and then asked a question that would hopefully explain some of what was going on.
"Guys, what's going on?"