Was it shock that he first felt? Or guilt?
Adrian didn’t even have the energy to differentiate between the emotions as he twisted around, slightly jostling his shoulder against the surface of one of the pillows as he lay on his side.
Imelda’s gaze was downcast. She fidgeted slightly, her fingers twisting and pulling at the fabric of her worn shirt. Adrian didn’t know what to say as he watched the little sister have, somewhat of a childish struggle. She blamed herself?
“It’s…” His voice was hoarse and dry. He wanted something to drink. Imelda looked up anxiously, fixing her gaze on level with Adrian’s as he forced the next words out. “It’s not your fault.”
Simultaneously, he was reaching towards the counter with his good hand, aiming for the glass of water that sat atop of it. Swiftly crossing the distance, Imelda helped him, giving him what he wanted before helping him to sit up.
His stomach seemed to flutter rapidly as he straightened up, causing a wave of nausea to wash over him but quickly, before he could change his mind, Adrian took a sip. The cool water was in contrast against his burning throat as he drank slowly. Relief overcame him for the shortest of seconds before he relapsed into pain when another spasm shook him.
But this time, it was more severe. His body wracked into a fit of coughs, causing slight movements of his shoulder that only pained him further. He shivered, his one good arm hugging himself as he lay back against the couch, trying to fight off this unexpected attack.
Imelda panicked. Running out of the hall, she called for a few helpers who immediately heeded her. Briskly walking into the room, Adrian’s doctor came by his side and muttered inaudibly under his breath before sighing regretfully.
“He’s not looking too good.”
Imelda’s eyes widened. “You don’t think he’ll…he’ll…’
“With some more time, he may improve but he has to take his rest.” Expression pulling into a frown, the doctor asked in a disapproving tone to Imelda, “Are you keeping him awake?”
Guilt slapped her on the face. Imelda stuttered, struggling to form the words and Adrian quickly said in a quiet whisper, “Not her. I don’t want to sleep.”
The doctor sighed once more, beckoning at one of his helpers. Within a few moments, he presented another glass of water to Adrian with some sort of a ground-up herb in his hand.
“Drink this. You’ll fall asleep and when you wake up, you’ll feel much better.”
“You mean if I wake up,”Adrian whispered, knowing he could never be certain.