“Mina?” Doctor Everett waved his hand in front of my face, pulling me out of the thundercloud of thoughts that had invaded my mind. “Do you want me to let them in to see you? I can make them go away if you want.”
I’d never really had a problem with being rude to my family, but my mother was here in the hospital. Surely a flat out ‘no’ was too rude for even me; it would be better if I pretended to entertain the possibility of seeing my mother for a moment, even though I already knew what my answer was going to be. He had called the visitor ‘them’, though, so it was quite likely that at least one other unwilling member of my family was dragged along as well.
There was no reason for me to let them in. It just wasn’t going to happen. I’d been in a coma for three weeks, but I wasn’t brain dead. I opened my mouth to tell Doctor Everett as clearly as I could that there was no way in hell that I wanted to see that woman and whatever family member she’d brought along, but the two voices that joined into the conversation stopped me.
“Mrs. V, it’s cool if we have to wait. Nova and I have been here every day and we got here really early this morning. Let’s all just go grab a croissant or something from the cafeteria and take a breather.”
“Yeah, I’m with Simon on this one. What are the chances that she’s even awake yet? They said that her coma could last for a few months after this last surgery. If we head out for a few minutes, I’m sure nothing’s going to change.”
I sighed as I waved my hand for Doctor White to get my family. I knew I wouldn’t be able to only bring my closest confidantes into the room without my mother noticing, so I begrudgingly accepted them all. Doctor White cracked a smile at me and I heard her faintly say, “Actually, Mina’s awake right now and she wants to see…” The door burst open and my mother flew in, flinging her arms wide. Molly, my stepsister, followed her with Nova and Simon tagging along behind my family.
The first one by my side was my mother and it was strange for it to be her. She swept her arms around me, dragging the folds of her purple coat sleeves across the sheets and my bare limbs. The coat was itchy and it scratched against my legs uncomfortably; I squirmed in her grasp, but she didn’t let go. “My darling Wilhelmina,” she cooed lovingly, pinching one of my cheeks tightly between her thumb and index finger. “Whatever have they been doing to you?” She pressed her face right up next to mine, so that our cheeks were squished together and our identical brown eyes were flush with each other. “My adorable baby girl, how I’ve missed you so!”
“Quit it, Mom,” I said, straining my neck to get away from her, but her desire to touch me did not fail in her pursuit. I struggled to get my arms up into the tight hug and finally managed to push them outwards, propelling her sharply away from me. She stumbled back a few steps and I winced, remembering that I had to be gentler in my actions now. Still, I had to stay firm. “I said stop touching me and I meant it!”
“My poor baby, stuck in the hospital,” she said, not at all discouraged by my new ability to push her away. Her pinching fingers crept closer and closer to my face and I shoved a pillow in between us so that she couldn’t touch me. I knew what would happen if I let her. She’d pinch me tightly, so tight that I might have a small mark or even a faint bruise in the morning, and whisper, “You embarrassed me. Don’t you dare let it happen again,” before giving my cheek one last shake and pushing herself away from me. I didn’t want to let that happen, even with all these people around.
Now that her attack plan was blocked, she pouted her painted lips outward in sadness. Damn drama queen. “I’m so sorry, Wilhelmina,” she said, running a hand through her black hair swiftly. Her brown eyes were wide and apologetic. “I didn’t mean to make you upset with me. Please, accept my apologies.”
I groaned and smashed my face into my hands, sliding them upwards so I pushed my fallen brown hair out of view. “It’s fine,” I said curtly, my lips taut with restrained anger. “Really. No need to worry about it.”