I was exhausted by the time I reached Grundy, Virginia. I had driven all night, since I hadn’t left Manchester until about six in the afternoon. I had stopping every once in a while to catch a short nap, and finally arrived at seven in the morning. It didn’t take me very long to find the hospital, but when I parked I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to catch another nap or go right in.
I finally decided that, while I was starving for sleep, I needed to know how they were doing. Grabbing my purse, I climbed out of the car and hurried towards the small hospital. Many thoughts raced through my mind as I asked the receptionist where they were staying, ranging through everything from excitement at seeing them again, to worry that I might find one of them dead, to anger that it had taken me this long to find them.
A short doctor with graying hair met me at the door I had been told led into their shared room, stopping me before I could go inside.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” he asked, and I recognized the voice from the phone.
“I’m Katey O’Donnell, Doctor Hanberg,” I said quickly, anxious to get inside and see how they were. The doctor nodded in recognition, and shook my hand.
“I’m glad to see you could make it,” he said. “You were the only one listed as an emergency contact.”
I nodded, trying not to tap my feet impatiently.
“Yes, their parents are both dead and our adopted family hasn’t been around in five years,” I told him. Of course they would have still listed me as their emergency contact, even though they had left me all by myself, in a hospital similar to the one I found them in. There wasn’t anyone else in the world they could trust. It had been just us three for a long time, after our adopted father and his daughter had been killed.
The doctor nodded, folding his arms carefully over his chest.
“I probably should have asked this on the phone,” he started, “but what is your relationship with them?”
I smiled, trying to keep the hurt from my face. I had come, hadn’t I? And wasn’t I the only one? Why would he have to ask something like that? Couldn’t he just let me see them?
“I’m their adopted sister, our parents died at the same time and we ended up in the same home,” I said. The doctor nodded, relaxing a little. He glanced at the door once, then sighed.
“I’m sorry to have to say this, but the boys are in really bad shape,” he said. I swallowed hard, but was relieved that he had said ‘boys.’ That meant they were both still alive. “They were in a very bad accident,” he continued, “and they’re luck to be alive.”
I nodded, moving forward to open the door. The doctor slid in my way, stopping me. I looked up at him, clenching my jaw. If he didn’t let me through that door in the next minute, I would drop-kick his behind out of the way.
“I’ve got to warn you, it’s not a pretty sight,” he said. I nodded, and he moved out of the way. Grateful I didn’t have to inflict bodily harm on him I pushed the door open and hurried inside.
I stopped short just inside the door way and gaped. Jared lay on the bed closest to the door, with Jensen next to the window, and just like the doctor had said, they were both hard to look at. Jared had scratches all over his face and one of his eyes was swollen. His left forearm had a thick bandage wrapped around it, and he had an IV trailing away from his right elbow. His eyes were closed and some of his thick brown hair trailed across his forehead, and eyelids. I swallowed, turning my gaze to Jensen.
He looked worse. There were stitches in his forehead and cheek, and tubes coming out of his mouth and nose. There was a nasty bruise ageing across the bottom of his jaw, one of his legs was thicker under the blankets than the other, making me think it was in a cast, and he, too, was asleep. The monitors for both boys beeped steadily, slightly off from each other.
I had to remember to breathe, and turned to the doctor, moving aside so that he could come in as well.
“What happened?” I asked, shocked. The doctor sighed, clutching his hands in front of him.
“I was told by the paramedics who brought them that they were driving and got t-boned by a runaway semi truck,” he said. I winced. Jensen was probably really angry that his car was wrecked, as it most likely was. Like mine, Jensen had gotten his car from our adopted father when he had turned eighteen. It was a 1967 Pontiac GTO, and if I remembered correctly, Jensen loved the car. I hoped, vaguely in the back of my mind, that no one had opened the trunk. There were a lot of things in his trunk that would take a lot of explaining.
“So how are they?” I asked quietly. The doctor looked down at me, a sad smile on his face. He then looked back up and pointed at Jared.
“He’s going to be okay, we think. He was driving, so he didn’t get hit, just whipped around at lot. Some glass sliced his arm, so he’ll have a scar, but he’ll be okay,” he said. I frowned.
“Jared was driving?” I asked, not really expecting an answer. Jensen never let anyone drive his car. Had something changed since I had seen them? The doctor looked at me, then pointed at Jensen, continuing.
“Jensen got the short end of the stick. He has three cracked ribs, severe internal bruising on his kidneys and liver, internal bleeding near his stomach, several bad slices all over his body and a broken femur. He, unfortunately, is in a coma,” he said. I looked up at him, startled, then back towards Jensen.
“A coma?” I asked, trying to keep the panic out of my voice. The doctor nodded.
“His head was knocked around pretty violently and he hasn’t been awake since the accident. We haven’t found any damage, but he hasn’t been responding to anything we’ve tried. He probably won’t ever wake up.”