Co-written with sexyinscrubs
[Follows THIS, THIS, THIS and THIS]
Tara sat on the side of Pat’s hospital bed, one hand gently wrapped around his and her other resting on the handle of the baby buggy parked beside the bed. Her baby son was nestled inside, shooting her bright smiles and tiny giggles when she waved her fingers at him. He had still been a little off-colour when he woke that morning, so they decided to make an appointment with his doctor for a bit of a check over. He was happy enough but he definitely didn’t have the energy he usually did as a curious seven month old. They had an appointment in an hour, so Tara offered to sit with Pat while Lachlan joined Aiden and Cameron outside for a coffee and a bit of fresh air. Tara wasn’t surprised when both men had tried to protest, and she knew more than anyone how it felt to be in their shoes. But she did also know that some fresh air could help clear the head just a little and that was better than the oppressive weight of sitting at a hospital bedside crushing you more and more with each tick of the clock.
She also knew this whole this was a strain on her husband too. Besides the fact being in the ICU just a few doors down from the room he had occupied for so long himself, he always struggled when Pat was sick. They had been best friends for so long, it was like they were brothers. Inside, he was feeling close to what Cameron was but trying to stay strong outwardly so it didn’t spook Cameron or Aiden. The night before, though, when they had no choice but to head home from the hospital because of Riley running a temperature, Lachlan had broken down in bed, tearfully offloading to his wife well out of the way of anyone else just how much it was all getting to him. It wasn’t an unfamiliar scene for the young couple. Ever since that terrible night close to Christmas in 2007, sometimes they just needed to hide away from the world together and just hurt. Sometimes there just was no fix. But now it wasn’t just the two of them. They were two plus one, and the night before, they curled up in bed together with their baby son and somehow their plus one just made it that little bit easier to face.
Tara was letting her tired mind wander, enjoying the sight of her little boy smiling up at her with his big blue eyes and drooling enough for them to almost need shares in a bib company. She would have missed it when Pat moved his arm if her hand hadn’t been in his. Her head whipped around to look at his face, finding a small frown formed there. “Patto,” she said softly, holding his hand between hers and giving his fingers a small kiss. “It’s Tara, sweetheart. Can you hear me? Don’t panic, darling. You’re in hospital again,” she told him calmly and then reached up to stroke his hair to try and prevent him getting too spooked upon waking.
Pat started coughing and reflexively reached up to feel the ventilator in his nose. He turned his head on the pillow, opening his eyes a little. “Aiden,” he coughed out, his throat dry and sore. He managed a small squeeze of Tara’s hand. “Cam… where’s… I need…”
Tara kept stroking his hand, leaning close so he knew she was there. “They’re just outside for a wee bit, sweetheart. They’re both here, I promise. They just needed some fresh air. They were only going to be fifteen minutes or so. They’ll be back soon,” she promised.
Pat tried to shift on the bed, but he was in a lot of pain and a sob caught in his throat. He didn’t look at her as he bit down on his lip. “I need them here,” he said tearfully, turning his head up to ceiling and feeling along his arm for the inevitable IV there. “Now.”
“Pat,” Tara said helplessly, brushing her fingers through his hair to try and soothe him. “It’s okay, sweetheart. They’re not far away, they’ll be back soon. Pat, look at me,” she urged, giving his fingers a soft squeeze.
Pat swallowed heavily, shaking his head as he pulled his hand away from hers. “I can’t,” he said hoarsely, the words a struggle as his speech once again fell victim to the illness.
Tara moved off the bed so she could stand closer to her friend, but didn’t touch him. Something was wrong. She knew Pat well enough to know something was very wrong. She struggled not to hug him, knowing how much he had been there for her during all her painful times, without fail. “Why not?”
“Because I can’t see,” Pat whispered, his hand gripping around the bed sheets.
All muses referenced with permission
Word Count | 816