After my mom had checked us in at the front desk in the hospital, I told her that I wanted to go see Adrian by myself. He was in room 301. I walked through the halls, the sterile smell of the hospital eating at any sanity that I still had left. I passed by many old men and women with walkers, children with broken limbs, and pregnant women, when finally, I found it. Room 301. I knocked gently on the door three times, then waited for a reply. A young nurse opened the door, and smiled. "Are you Victoria?"
"Yes." I answered, anxious to get inside and see Adrian. The beautiful blonde woman opened the door even wider, so that I could get inside. "Adrian was telling me about you. Come in." She turned around and walked over to his bedside, and I followed. "He just woke up, so he might be a little groggy. Anyways, I'll leave you two alone for a while, but I'll be back in forty-five minutes or so to check on him again, 'kay?" She looked into my green eyes with her pools of blue. I nodded, and she added, "Visiting hours end at eight." She entered the hall and shut the door.
I looked down at Adrian. He had a breathing mask on, and tubes ran through his throat, nose, arms, and legs. He turned his head to face me. "Hi." His voice was quiet and weak. "Hey." I said, sitting down on a nearby chair. It was silent for a moment, but then Adrian said, "She's hot, right?" I laughed. "What?" He smiled. "The nurse, Brandi. Even her name's sexy. Brandi.." I chuckled. "Yeah, she's hot, if you admit that Stephen is, too."
He scowled. "I hate Stephen."
"So do I. But he is so hot!" I exaggerated, just to tick Adrian off. Whether he was sick or not, I was still gonna give him crap. "Sure, whatever. But Brandi's hotter." We sat there and talked for hours on end about.. well, pretty much everything, when suddenly, I had the urge to ask him, "How did you get lung cancer?" So, I did.
He sighed. "Hand me the whiteboard. And a marker." He pointed to the white board and container of multiple colored markers on the nightstand next to him. I handed him the whiteboard, and an orange marker, because orange was his favorite color. I watched him scribble something down, then he handed me the whiteboard again. I read it aloud.
"There's a few reasons. One of them is my dad's smoking, obviously, because I've been breathing in the smoke for almost 15 years. The other reasons are because of our house. It has asbestos in it, which pollutes the air, and radon gas, that got into the air, and the pipes." I set the whiteboard back on the nightstand. "Damn." I mumbled, then I looked into his eyes. "Damn." I repeated, louder this time. "Now how are we gonna have that food fight?" He chuckled, and closed his eyes. "It's almost eight, Tori." I glanced at the clock. Seven fifty-six. "Yeah, I should probably get going. I promise I'll visit tomorrow. Do you have your phone?" Adrian held his Blackberry up in the air, then flopped his arm back down on the bed. "You can text me when I'm not here. I'll have my phone on full volume, so if I'm sleeping when you text me, it'll wake me up so I can answer you. 'Kay?" I said. He nodded. "Goodnight, Tori." I swallowed. "Good night."
I exited his room and went back to the waiting room. When I couldn't find my mom anywhere, I pulled out my phone to call her.
"9 new text messages, four missed calls, and two voice messages." My phone's screen read. They were all from my mom. Apparently, she had gotten tired of waiting, so she went home and I was supposed to call her when I was ready to leave. I called the home phone, and my father answered.
"Hi, Dad. It's Tori. Is Mom there?"
I heard a brief conversation in the background, then my dad said,
"Tori, I'll just come and pick you up from the hospital, since your last car ride with Mom didn't go so smoothly. Bye."
He hung up before I had gotten the chance to reply. I waited out in front of the hospital entrance, shivering in the night cold with just a t-shirt on. I waited for about 10 minutes, when my dad's white truck pulled up. I jumped in the front seat, and slammed the door behind me. The ride home was completely silent. But I couldn't blame either of my parents. What were you supposed to say to a girl who's best friend was dying?
I sat at the dinner table with my parents, and my two younger siblings- Cassie and Connor. Thank God that they were there, because if they hadn't been, I would've had to endure over an hour's silence. And, my mom would notice that I hadn't even touched her green bean casserole. Ick.
"So, Cassie, Connor- what have you two been doing in school lately?" My mom asked, forking some casserole into her mouth.
"Well, I've been learning about dividing, multiplying, subtracting, and adding fractions. Same with decimals, too. Ooh, and percents!" Cassie smiled. "What about you, Connor?"
Connor wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Well, I found a frog in the boy's bathroom today. They think that someone musta snuck it in from outside." Cassie scoffed. "Oh please, Connor! With our school's standards and priorities, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the nasty little creature came through the drain!"
I snickered. "Cassie, do you even know what the words 'standards' and 'priorities' mean?"
"Yes. I wouldn't make a fool of myself by using them in a sentence if I didn't." She stuck her nose in the air. "Then give me a definition."
"All right, that's enough!" My father's voice boomed. Everyone went completely silent. He gave us all the evil eye, then went back to picking at his dinner.
"Standards- A level of quality or attainment. Priorities- The fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important." Cassie sneered. I glared at her. "Know it all."
"Oh my God, shut up." Connor said, rubbing his temples like he had a headache.
"Hey, now!" My mother slammed her glass onto the table, and it shattered, causing it's contents to spill all over. She wiped it up frantically with napkins, but the effort was useless- they didn't absorb the liquid, they just dripped it all over again. My father pushed out his chair and got a towel. She moved the towel over the smooth surface in a few sweeping motions, then set all the wet napkins in the towel. She rolled it up and handed it back to my father, who dumped the napkins in the garbage and sent the towel down the laundry chute.
"Girls, stop bickering, and Connor, don't talk that way."