I called the hospital on my way, explaining that he might need help getting in to the E.R. The cheerful nurse said they weren’t busy, so they’d be glad to send someone out. I wondered silently whether they would have if they were busy, but said nothing.
As I pulled up, a young man, maybe late 20’s, stood there. I assumed he was the one they’d sent, so I helped him support Wyatt up the short ramp to the almost empty waiting room. One person sat there: the receptionist woman.
“You go on in,” the blonde man said happily. “I’ll sign you both in.”
I didn’t even acknowledge that as I went in, but I was grateful later. Paperwork at hospitals took forever.
Immediately after I pushed through the doors, a strong smell of old people and antibiotics swept up my nose. Wyatt groaned at the scent. I smiled.
A fatter, older woman pointed to a bed, so I laid him down there. He sighed, smiled, and passed out. I wasn’t sure if he was allowed to go to sleep. I spun around to ask that woman, but she’d disappeared.
I looked around desperately. A few beds away stood the blonde guy who’d gotten us in. I called out uncertainly. He glanced up and grinned.
He looked at Wyatt and said, “You should wake him up until we know more.”
I touched Wyatt’s shoulder softly. “Wyatt,” I whispered. It felt weird to be waking up my best friend. I don’t know why, exactly, I just…
He stirred. His eyes squeezed tightly shut. He shifted so he faced me. In a quiet mumble, he said, “Lynn, dar…ling.” My heart stopped. He was dreaming about me?
Unconnected thoughts pounded me. Darling? Did he really think of me like that? Why did he pause? What was going on in the dream? Does he know any other Lynn’s? Would he remember if he woke up? Should I ask him about it? Am I sure I didn’t just imagine this?
I closed my eyes and forced my stomach to settle down. “Wake up, Wyatt,” I said again, louder. I shook his shoulder again, my heart racing from touching him now. “You’re talking in your sleep.” He didn’t wake.
I plugged his nose. Nothing. I let go in fear of suffocating him. Then an idea occurred to me.
Grinning wickedly, I reached out and tickled him. I tickled his sides first. His lips twitched and a noise gurgled out of his throat. I reached up and tickled his armpits. For a moment, nothing happened.
Then Wyatt shot up. As he slapped my hands away, he muttered, “You’re gonna get it.” I backed away, but I hit a wall. I was going to defend myself, but Wyatt stumbled. He began to fall forward.
I grabbed him as he fell. But he regained his balance, throwing mine off in the process. Suddenly, I was pinned against the wall again, and Wyatt was tickling the crap out of me.
A loud shriek of laughter burst out of my throat before I could stop it. I clapped my hand over my mouth and glanced around the room. Everyone had left. Phew.
“W-w-w-Wyatt,” I pleaded breathlessly. “S-st-s-stop!”
He shook his head and threatened, “I’ll keep going until you fall apart from laughing. Unless you get us out of here now.”
I shook my head fiercely. Though quiet giggles continued to slip through my lips, I wouldn’t give in. “You… Need… Stitches,” I gasped.
His hazel eyes glared for half a second, and then he stopped torturing me. “Fine,” he growled. “But only because this hurts like hell from tickling you.” He touched his arm. He winced.
“Oh, God!” I gasped. “Wyatt!” His arm was dripping blood all over him and on the floor. “Someone get in here!” I shouted.
Quickly, I searched around for a towel or something, but I couldn’t find anything. The blood was getting really bad. Wyatt groaned. My eyes flickered to his face. I gasped again. He was ghostly pale.
Without thinking, I tore off the plain white T-shirt I wore over my purple tank top. I pressed it harshly against his arm, applying as much pressure as I could.
A doctor walked in at that moment. He was whistling, but I yelled at him to help me, and that shut him up. He appeared at my side, a tall guy, mid-thirties, brown hair and brown eyes. “Keep applying pressure,” he instructed. “I’ll be right back.”
Wyatt’s eyelids kept fluttering crazily. Nervous as hell, I felt my palms begin to sweat. “You’re going to be fine,” I told Wyatt.
The doctor was back with a thick towel. He gently pushed my hand away, did something fancy with the towel to tie it around Wyatt’s arm, then began to examine the cut.
“We should get this sealed up right away,” he said seriously. “The wound looks fairly clean, but jagged. How did you say this happened?”
“Um, he fell out of a tree.”
“There’s no dirt in the cut.” His voice was stern and condescending. What, he didn’t believe me?
“I put some antiseptic and stuff on it. My mom’s kind of a freak about avoiding infections.” I really didn’t need to say the next sentence, but I was pretty sure this guy was accusing me of hurting Wyatt. Ugh. “My dad died because the hospital didn’t clean a wound well enough and it got infected.”
He gave me a “look”, but spun around and walked to the door. He pulled it open. I was about to shout, “Hey! Come back!” but the doctor called to a couple of nurses out in the hall.
They came in, two women and the man that helped me earlier. They hustled over to Wyatt, and began examining him. I turned away from them, my eyes filled with tears.
I’m such an idiot, I thought to myself. Why didn’t I do anything to cover his arm before?
I was embarrassed that I couldn’t watch, but it was my fault Wyatt was in this state. I didn’t want to watch a doctor sew him back up like an old sweater.
A few minutes later, one of the nurses came and put her arm around my shoulder. “It’s alright,” she said soothingly. “He’s just fine. Come and see.”
I turned around, looking at Wyatt. He looked okay, but he was asleep. That reminded me.
“Wait!” I yelled. The doctor, who definitely didn’t like me, looked back. “Please make sure he doesn’t have a concussion!”
The doctor walked back. He woke Wyatt up, but it took forever. Then he pulled something out of his pocket. “Watch the light,” he said, clicking on the light. He pointed it into Wyatt’s eyes.
The doctor frowned. “What?” I asked. “Is he okay?”
The doctor shrugged. “What’s his name?”
“Wyatt Browning,” I answered weakly.
“Wyatt,” the doctor began. “Wyatt! Hey!” Wyatt’s eyes kept fluttering, but finally, they focused on the doctor. “What day is it?”
“It’s… What day… It’s today.” Oh God, oh God, oh my God! Tears welled up in my eyes, but didn’t spill yet.
“Why are you here?” The doctor’s eyes flashed to me. This again? Really? And he’s asking the guy with a concussion. The tears poured down my face.
“Lynn… Got my arm.” The doctor grinned at me, triumphant. My tears dried in shock. Then Wyatt spoke again. “Fell out… tree…”
The doctor made an “oh” with his mouth. I glared. Like I would ever hurt Wyatt. “How do you know Lynn?”
“She… Romeo and Ju…” His voice trailed off. Romeo and Juliet? The school’s play a few years ago? I didn’t know him back then. I mean, I don’t think I did. No, I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
“Ice cream.” Ice cream? I guess there was ice cream at the play. But how does that connect Wyatt and me? I stared at Wyatt’s mostly unconscious form, trying to decipher his expression. Nothing.
“I think he might have a concussion,” the doctor said. “Get us set up with the CT scan. This is first priority. Got it?” The two women nodded before bustling off.
Wyatt opened his eyes again. His eyes roamed the room until they landed on me. I stood behind the two men tending to him. Meeting his fuzzy gaze, I stepped past them. I knelt next to him.
“Lynn,” he smiled. I smiled back. Suddenly, I felt something brushing my hand. Wyatt’s fingers were reaching for mine. I twined our hands while my heart pounded.
“It’s a good thing he’s got his girlfriend to support him,” the nurse said quietly. I looked up, startled. He just looked at me, his eyes twinkling.
I was about to correct him, but I decided to just go with it. I supposed we did look like a couple, the way I was acting. “Doctor Babbfish, we’ve got the CT ready.” I looked back at the older nurse’s head poking through the door. She had wispy gray hair pulled back with a thick black scrunchy.
Relief washed over me. The doctor would know soon if Wyatt was okay. Doctor Babbfish nodded and wheeled Wyatt’s stretcher out the door and to a giant elevator. “You’ll have to stay here,” the older woman told me, touching my arm.
No, I immediately thought. But I knew she was just doing her job. I sighed and nodded. I flopped down in a chair in the waiting room, trying not to feel guilty. Oh god, poor Wyatt. I’m just such a moron! How could I have let this happen? His mom’s going to kill me.
OH MY GOD! His mom! I fumbled for my phone, searching through pretty much every pocket before I finally found it. I hit the numbers for Wyatt’s mom with trembling fingers. It rang twice before a panicked voice answered.
“Lynn? Lynn! Oh goodness, where’s Wyatt? Please tell me he’s with you! I tried all of your cells, but you didn’t answer and nobody else knew where you two were! Are you alright? Is he okay?”
“Mrs. Browning… Mrs. Browning. Mrs. Browning! Hey! Yeah… No, that’s alright. I think he’s okay, but you should probably get to the hospital now. Don’t freak out, he’s okay. He just fell out of our tree… I know, but the doctor’s checking up on him right now. I’m sorry I didn’t call you, I just wasn’t thinking straight, I was so worried… He’s just got a couple of stitches, and he might have a concussion, but really, it’s not so bad. Please calm down. You can’t be hysterical; I might need you to drive me home. Okay… See you in a minute.”
I hung up, embarrassed by how much my hand was shaking. With a heavy sigh, I sat back and tried not to think while I waited for everything to be okay.