Ultimately he didn’t want her to wake alone. So he waited.
All this time to himself had him overthinking and over-analyzing everything. He should have gotten to her sooner. He shouldn’t have let her out of his sight. Woulda Coulda Shouldas ran through his brain, mentally torturing him. Just when he couldn’t take it anymore, he would look at sweet Ann, and the guilt would wrench his gut yet again.
People filtered in and out. Boss and Brad tried to cheer him up, but he wasn’t in the mood. His world revolved around this girl, and if she didn’t wake up he wasn’t sure he could live with the guilt. With the pain. With his other half gone.
She had completed him in a way he didn’t know he had been lacking. She had become the one he looked forward to seeing, the one who cheered him up with just a flash of her smile. She listened to his darkest secrets without judgment, and she brought sugar and spice to his otherwise predictable life. Her keen wit and humor kept him on his toes.
He pulled the chair next to her bed and held her hand. Maybe she didn’t want him to, maybe she did. He was hoping for the latter and he appreciated the pulse at her wrist. She could do this. She could pull through.
The next day she was still in a coma. The doctors assured him that when she was ready that she could come out of it. It just took some longer than others, and with her previous concussions, this one would more than likely take longer.
He became more panicked as the hours ticked off. Each minute seemed an eternity, each hour unbearable. His stomach was still twisted in knots.
News reporters from across the country had called her room, hoping to get the story first, but it was not his story to share. Ann could make that decision when she was ready. If she was ever ready. Dread coursed through his body. When they still persisted, he unhooked the phone.
He managed to wipe the blood out of her sweet blonde hair. Just the sight of it reminded him that he was too late. He messed up, again, and someone else was hurt on his watch. Her lip has become noticeably less swollen, and he took that as a good sign. Patience, they both needed patience.
The following day there was some progress. She had stirred in her sleep, but her eyes never quite opened. Her breathing would speed up and it rattled him, but the doctors assured him it was a good sign, that her brain was producing dreams and she would soon come back to us. He hoped to hell they were right.
He also hoped she wasn’t trapped in a never ending nightmare. He hoped she was having good dreams, dreams of him or the river or her family back home. He prayed it wasn’t horrid unending nightmares.
He stayed near her bed the entire day. Boss and Brad made a point to stop by again, but he waved them on. They had lives to return to. Boss kept the gym going in his absence, and Brad had a family that missed him. Taylor was gone as soon as his services were finished, and he made up for the missed birthday with his little girl.
Night fell and he was losing hope.