Part Fifty-EightMature

Machines are humming and bleeping. Hospital.

I open my eyes and see that I'm in a hospital bed. The machines are my machines.

I'm attached to a drip. I wonder why...

"Lola? You're awake?" It's Judo.Only he can say a fact like it's a question.

"Why am I here?" I ask him. "There's nothing wrong with me."

"Actually, you're malnourished and you have stitches in your shoulder," he tells me with a very nervous smile and slight giggle. "Multiple lacerations, concussed..."

"Yeah yeah, all right," I smile and play along weakly, for his sake. I know he's trying.  

He sits on the chair beside the bed and takes my hand hesitantly..

"I've been really worried about you. I mean, we all have, but I..." He trails off and changes the subject. "How are you feeling?"

I shake my head, meaning to tell him that it doesn't matter, put it's painful so I end up wincing. "What happened?"

"Daniel took you outside so you wouldn't see what happened to Seb. But they brought him out on a stretcher and you had a full blown panic attack and then collapsed."

Something inside me laughs. Everything clicks inside my head. "What happened to Seb? Where did they take him? I need to see him, now."

Judo looks helpless. "They won't let anyone see him. They're still doing tests. I did tell them you'd ask as soon as you woke up, but they said they can't determine a time."

I look at him and burst into tears. He hugs me tightly. We stay like that for a good ten minutes before a doctor comes into check on me. She chats mindlessly about what's wrong with me, and she removes the drip from my hand, saying that I should be OK with that if I eat something from the canteen. Then she goes.

"Judo?" I sit up when it's quite a way into the tense silence that follows. "I didn't mean to offend you when I rushed off earlier."

He looks up. "I know you didn't. You had to get home to Seb, didn't you? I know."

"It did offend you though, didn't it?"

He just nods once. "I... I want to explain what I meant before. When I said that I'd protect you, I didn't mean that I thought you couldn't fend for yourself. I know you're a strong person. I just meant that... Well, you told me that you really need someone who understands and I thought that... I could be your someone."

I think for a second and then smile. "I think I'd like that."

"Really?" He's smiling too and I nod. He runs to me and gives me the warmest hug, which I return wholeheartedly.

The End

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