Another two days had passed and she was even more exhausted. She had gone to class and worked both days, then come straight the the hospital to spend time with Steven. He slept most of the time, and she just sat and watched him. She could not sleep any longer. His situation was really bad and she had yet to share her secret because he was still on a lot of pain medication and she was not sure he would even be able to grasp it. Sandra had been civil to her, almost even nice, but they had not talked about the confession Sandra had made the day Steven woke up. She looked worn, also, but most of the time they had different times at the hospital because Sandra typically worked evenings and Cherry was always going to class in the early morning.
Talk had started to come up about payments. Steven did not have medical coverage and Sandra was not sleeping because of it. Cherry wondered what was going on with the money issue. It scared her to think that Steven would be in debt after he came out of the hospital. How would that effect their future? They had been so excited to get a place together when she had a place with an upscale nail salon and he had finished school and gone full time at the warehouse. It was all fading away, her hopes and dreams with him. There had to be another way. Lost in her thoughts, she was startled when Steven squeezed her hand. He looked worried, probably because he could see the stress marked across her face, contorting it. He loved it when she smiled.
Looking at him, she did smile, but her eyes still showed the tax she was feeling. He began to speak, very slowly and quietly, having learned that he could become out of breath very quickly with the effort.
"Hey, Boo. Why do you look so worried? I like to see your beautiful smile" He gave her a very large grin, taking deep breaths to help him get through the discomfort of talking.
"Oh, Steven, I am just thinking about us. It is all okay. Why do not you rest?" She continued her sad smile, rubbing his arm to try to comfort him. But he squeezed her hand again.
"I. Am. Not. Tired." He had to stop earlier this time because of the struggle. "How long?" Cherry furrowed her eyes, trying to figure out what that meant.
"Uh, I do not know how long you will be here. You are hurt pretty bad." He closed his eyes and wagged his finger to show that it was not what he was asking. She tried to guess again "Ok... how long? Well, I will be here until about eleven before going back home. That is in two hours." Again he closed his eyes and wagged his finger, then pointed at the bandages wrapped around his torso to keep his still. She thought for a few more minutes, not getting it. Guessing she asked "Are you asking how long you have been here?" He smiled and gave her a thumbs up.
"Oh! Well, it happened on Monday night, on your way to my house. You woke up on Wednesday and today is Friday." He thought about this and then tried to speak again.
"What. Hit. Me?"
She raised her eyebrows. "You do not remember? A car flipped off the interstate and part of it hit you. There was a girl in the car. I do not know what happened to her." As Cherry said this, she started to become curious. She knew that Sandra had talked to a police officer. Perhaps someone was responsible for what happened to Steven. Maybe there was something that could be done about it.
Cherry picked up Steven's English book again and began to read to him. It was becoming a comforting thing to do. Relzxing, even. When he fell asleep again, she left the room to see if Sandra had arrived yet.