Beth couldn’t help but laugh, wiping away fresh tears.
“Oh, Mum, he treats me just fine,” she mumbled.
She looked down at her mother, actually seeing her for the first time since she’d come through the door.
She was hooked up to a drip that fed into her arm, and had sticky pads all over her chest, showing her heartbeat on one of the monitors. She also had a clip on her index finger, measuring the amount of oxygen in her blood. Her left arm and leg were in casts, and her chest, underneath her hospital gown, was wrapped in white tape.
“What happened?” Beth asked quietly.
“Well, we were in the car, having an argument, about something trivial probably,” Mum scoffed. “Your dad didn’t look as he pulled out of the junction and a car ploughed into my side. Dad’s okay, he just had a concussion and whiplash, really.”
“And you? Are you okay?”
“I will be. It’ll take a while, but I’ll be fine.”
Jack’s phone began to ring and he answered it.
“Oh, hey,” he said into it. Then he glanced up at Beth. “Yeah she’s here.” He held the phone out to her. “It’s for you.”
She frowned but took it anyway. “Hello?”
“Beth! Oh, my God, are you okay? How’s your mum? Why haven’t you been answering my calls?” demanded the voice on the other end. It was Catalin.
“I’m fine, Cat. Sorry, I haven’t looked at my phone since last night. It’s probably dead or something. Mum’s fine, she’s just here if you want to talk to her.”
Catalin sighed. “No, it’s okay. I just got worried when you didn’t pick up.”
“Don’t worry, I’m fine.”
“‘Fine’ is a very debatable term.”
Catalin seemed satisfied with that. “If you want to stay somewhere while Robert’s on rotation, you’re more that welcome to come and stay with me.”
“How did you know about that? And I’m sure Alex would be thrilled with that plan,” Beth said dryly.
“Lucas told me. Alex has gone to stay with a friend for a few days. He’s not back until Wednesday.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll think about it.”
“Good. I’ll let you go now. I hope your mum recovers quickly.”
“Bye,” Catalin said before hanging up.
Beth handed the phone back to Jack. “Catalin says hello,” she said to her mother.
“How is she?”
“Well, I think. She asked after you.”
The sun was starting to set through the window when Robert returned. The look on his face was grim and worried.
“Everything okay?” Beth asked, looking up at him as he stood in the doorway.
“Not really, no,” he sighed.
A nurse appeared just behind him. “Visiting hours are nearly over,” she said before moving on to spread the message.
“We’d better go then,” Beth said.
She stood up and kissed her mum’s cheek. She gave Jack a hug and went to Robert. She took his hand, squeezing, not liking the look on his face.