I stayed in Grundy for months. After the bashing his head had taken, Jared wouldn’t wake up and Doctor Hanberg told me that he’d followed his brother into a coma. For the first few weeks afterwards I sat between the brothers’ beds, almost in a coma myself.
I finally had to return to some semblance of life when I ran out of money and couldn’t afford the motel anymore. I quickly found a cheap basement apartment near the hospital and a part time job working at a local bar that would cover rent.
After a while, the doctor took the tubes out of Jensen’s mouth and throat, since his insides had healed enough to breath on his own, but nothing else changed. He was still unresponsive, and the doctor still thought he wouldn’t wake up.
With so much empty time on my hands I began going crazy, so I began fixing Jensen’s car. If he had been awake he probably would have been the one doing it. I was in tears almost all the time, but the car slowly came back to life.
The doctor never bothered me about having to pay for their hospital stay, so I just assumed they had really good insurance. The cuts on Jared’s face disappeared and the slices on Jensen’s became scars, but they still didn’t wake up.
I ate poorly, when I could afford food, and after six months the doctor commented on my heath. I was always either in the hospital watching over Jensen and Jared, out in the sun working on the car, or spending late nights as a waitress. I rarely got a full night’s sleep, and everything started to take a heavy toll on me.
After a year I finished fixing the GTO and sobbed when I drove it out of the tow yard. It had been expensive, getting the car repaired, but if Jensen ever woke up then it would be worth it.
I still talked to him every day, when I wasn’t falling asleep in my chair, but over time the cold brushes and emotions faded. I felt more alone than I had ever been in my life, and I didn’t see an end. I began to have thoughts of driving away and never looking back, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave them.
Then, after about fourteen months, a miracle happened.
I had fallen asleep sitting in my chair with my head resting on Jensen’s bed, as usual, and when I had woken up bleary-eyed, I heard a voice I hadn’t heard in, now, more than three years.
“Hey, redhead,” Jensen croaked. I sat bolt upright, startled, and stared. He had woken up and was watching me with sad-looking brown eyes. Shocked, I didn’t respond. This was just a dream, like the many dreams I’d had over the months. It wasn’t real, it couldn’t be real. I wanted it to be real so very much, but I couldn’t believe that it was.
He clenched his jaw when I didn’t answer him. I took a deep, halting breath, then shook my head.
“You’re just a dream, aren’t you?” I asked tiredly. “I’m dreaming; you haven’t really woken up.”
His eyes widened and he shook his head.
“Why would you think that?” he asked, his voice sounding like they hadn’t been used in ages. Which was true, they hadn’t. I blinked away the tears that were building in the corners of my eyes.
“Because I’ve had this dream so many times before, and I always wake up and you’re still unconscious,” I answered. My voice quavered, even though I tried to keep it steady.
Jensen took my hand in his and brought it up to his face. He closed his eyes, leaning against my palm, and I struggled against more tears.
“You’re not dreaming,” Jensen said, opening his eyes again. I was surprised to find his eyes were swimming.
After a moment, I burst into tears and leaned forward in my chair to hug him tightly. He grunted, but wrapped his strong arms around me, and I knew I wasn’t dreaming. I cried into his shoulder for the longest time before I crawled onto the bed to lie next to him.
“Thank you for fixing my car,” Jensen said when it was quiet again. I nodded, then hesitated.
“How did you know that?” I asked, turning my head to glance at him. He smiled, his smirky half grin.
“You told me, remember?” he said. I had told him, I did remember that, but he had been in a coma and I hadn’t thought he could hear me. When he saw my confused expression he chuckled.
“Those cold touches and emotions you felt in the room, those were me,” he said. I frowned, then nodded. It made perfect sense now that I thought about it. I mentally berated myself for not coming to that conclusion earlier.
“And I’m sorry for leaving,” he continued, his voice serious. I ground my teeth against the new flood of tears, and nodded. I didn’t say anything; if I did then I would start crying again, and I’d had more than enough crying over the last year. I was done crying.
Jared didn’t wake up for another three months, but when he did there was an all around happy reunion, and it was a beautiful day when they checked out of the hospital.
End of Story One