Cherry wondered when he would be ready. It seemed like Steven had gone backwards more than forwards. Sure, it had only been a week and he had been seriously injured, but she wondered how long any of them could keep it together much longer.
Sandra's outburst at the diner had them all worried. She had shown up late on Sunday night, still in her uniform, and told them what had happened. How she had been at work and this couple came in for coffee and they started talking about how the girl, chrisitne had gone to visit Steven. She told them how she had "slapped the shit out of her" and how that bitch was going to pay. Sandra had been really worked up, and Cherry ended up leaving Steven to take her home. Sandra complained the whole way, and Cherry used all of her effort and strength to get her home and in bed against her will.
When Cherry went home that night, she lay awake tossing and turning, regretting that she had not been able ot return to Steven, and worried about what would happen next. She needed to sleep , there was an exam in the morning and then she had to work, too.
But now it was Tuesday. Monday had come and gone- she went to school and work, then when she saw Steven, he had been sleeping fitfully- the nurses said he was in a lot of pain Monday. After class, she had come in and had not seen Sandra since Sunday night. She saw Steven trying to eat when she came in, but it wore him out so much he was sleeping again. It saddened her that she could not talk to him. She had spent more time with him here in the hospital than when they were together before the accident. Yet, there had been little meaningful conversation. There was so much to tell him.. to ask him. For now she would have to continue to keep the news to herself.
So when would he be ready to hear it? If he took the news badly, he needed to know now so that she could take care of things. If he was excited, he would only worry about being in the hospital and not being able to help take care of everything. Cherry did not know whether to be excited or scared. This situation had never come up in anything she had ever thought about, and definityl not talked about with Steven. She wondered if they even knew each other engouh. After an hour by his side, Steven awoke and smiled at her, as he did every time he saw her. He even used the same line, "It is nice to wake up and see you so close to me. I could get used to this."
Even though there was so much on her mind, she could not help but smile at him. He was one of the first people to make her truly happy, and it really did make her smile every time she heard him say something sweet or romatic or even cheesy to her. Cherry really hoped that this is what love felt like. "Hey, Steven. I was hoping to see you today." She leaned in and kissed his mouth gently, knowing how weak he was.
"Cherry, baby, we got to get through this. You got to get me out of here so I can take care of you, Baby." She smiled at him, thinking how wonderful he was.
"Steven, you are hopeless. You have your own healing to take care of. Do not worry about me. I can take care of what I need to do. You know? I want you to worry about getting better. You got to take it easy. No more screaming at Psycho college girls coming to visit you." She winked at him and his initial look of disturbed anger turned into a slight grin.
"Okay, Baby, if you say so. How is my Ma? I have not seen her in a few days." He said it innocently, and she wondered if he even remembered her outburst a few days earlier. Maybe the pain medicine effected his memory. There was another reason not to have that conversation with him yet. Let him get off the dopamine first.
"I am sure she is fine. Maybe she is pulling some extra shifts after she left early the other night..." She waited to see if he would remember that she came in early Sunday night. He jsut nodded, accepting the explanation. But it made her wonder more than she intended him to think about it. Where had Sandra been?
"Look, Steven, I was wondering if you know anyone who is a lawyre?"
He suddenly looked very seriouse, and suspicious too. "Why would I know any lawyers, Candy?"
"Look, I know you and your mom can not pay for those. And that girl... that girl, Christine, she is respobsible. She put you in this hospital, and I think we need to try to sue her to cover your hosptial bills." Steven stared at her, tryint to digest what she had said. Much of the past week was a blur to him, and he had trouble remembering days and events every time he woke up.
"Cherry, Baby, I think you are right. We do need to do something to pay my bills. But why are you so worried about this? This is not your fight, baby, I will take care of that. It is my thing not yours." He seemed a little agitated as he came to grips with what she was talking about.
"Look, Steven. You are wrong. I am part of your life. I- I love you. I think we have a good thing going, and while you are here in the hosptial, I want to help fight for you. I want to make sure that when you leave here, you can graduate and we can be together. Is that not what we want?"
He frowned but did not deny what she saud. "Yeah, Baby, I want to come out of here and take care of you. i think that we all want me out of here, but just let me take care of it, okay? You do not need to worry about me. It will be okeay."
"No, I am sorry but you need help right now. Steven, yuou can not even move. I do not know how long you will be on this bed. In this hospital. How long you will need like, therapy, or whatever. So I want to be by your side now. I can help you go and get things done or filed or whatever. I know that one day you will take care of me." She paused and blushed a little, thinkign of all the love that their futrue held. "But right now, I want to make sure that our life together happens. The night you got hurt... last week, actually... I had some things to talk to you about. And for now, I want to help you get to the day that we can try that again."
He looked at her, his pride ceceding to his love. She was the most beautiful and loving person he had met, and all he wanted was to please her every minute so that he could have her to himself for the rest of his life. Finally he agreed.
"All right. I will let you help me. But when I get out of this, I am gonna treat you SOO good. I am gonna make you my queen and make all your dreams come true. You got that? If I could walk right now, I would take care of it all. Right now. Just for you." He spoke big, but inside he felt like he was failign because he could not be the one to take charge and get this all taken care of. Swept udner the rug.