Hawk held out his hand. “I appreciate it.”
Giving him a firm shake, Sergeant Pierce nodded. “No problem. You’ve got a hard road ahead of you, but we’ve got your back.”
When he returned to the room, the lights were lowered, and Sunny was watching a Bob Ross painting video.
He couldn’t help but smile at the sight of her fuzzy socks propped up as she looked over at him.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yeah. He just wanted to go over the list of approved visitors with me.”
“Okay,” she said slowly, then patted the bed. “Come join me. We’re going to learn how to paint a winter mountain scene.”
“Sounds great. Let me throw on my pajamas first.”
By the time he made it back to her bed, she was visibly fighting sleep.
“Always wanted to make happy little clouds,” she murmured.
Moving the reclining chair next to her bed, he spread out the blankets and was glad Kira had brought them both a pillow from home. He lowered the railing on the side of her bed and laid back, then grabbed her hand in his own. Running his fingers over her smooth skin, he ignored how he could feel the delicate bones of her fingers and instead focused on her warmth. On the life filling her.
“I love you,” she whispered in a fading voice.
“Always and forever.”
The hospital waiting room must be another, undiscovered circle of hell.
The one devoted to the unique suffering a person feels when someone they love was hurt and in mortal danger.
A unique, terrible place full of helpless anger and crippling fear.
Rubbing his hands over his face, Hawk stood and stretched, glancing around the small private waiting room. Because of his public status, he’d been given his own small windowless room with six chairs lining the walls. A small rose colored sofa and a pine wood coffee table added some personality to the room, while a TV sat on the wall playing a constant stream of random news. The only thing he really paid attention to was the large old fashioned brass clock near the closed door, counting down the minutes until Sunny would be out of surgery.
His friends had cycled in and out throughout the day. Right then, Mrs. Florentine kept an eye on him while quietly teaching Kira how to knit. From what he could see, it wasn’t going well. Kira frowned down at her knitting needles like they’d personally offended her, and the twisted mass she had produced didn’t look anything like the scarf Mrs. Florentine had knitted so far. Isaac and Lucia had just left to get some lunch for everyone and should be back soon.
Time seemed to crawl as he stared at the second hand of the clock, slowly ticking its way across the dial. The surgery was supposed to take anywhere from four to six hours. They’d made it to hour three. A liaison had come back and given them periodic updates, but he wished he could be in the room with Sunny, watching over her instead of stuck in this windowless portal to hell.
His phone vibrated in his pocket, but he ignored it. People had been calling him all day, but he didn’t have the energy to speak to anyone. His every thought was consumed by his worry for his wife. When he wasn’t worrying, he prayed for God’s intervention, prayed that the surgery went well, prayed that the mass wasn’t cancerous.
Kira’s tense voice interrupted his brooding. “Oh shit. Hawk, you’d better see this.”
He looked over to find her staring with disgust at the screen of her phone. “What is it?”
She stood up and they met in the middle of the room with Mrs. Florentine hovering over her shoulder.
Holding the phone up, Kira turned up the volume then hit play.
On the small screen, he watched a clip from one of the disreputable gossip shows which teased an exclusive interview with Sunny’s mother, Lisa.
“That bitch,” Mrs. Florentine whispered as she clutched her knitting needles tight. “She has gone too far.”
Lisa, Sunny’s mother, bore little resemblance to the beautiful woman he’d seen pictures of in Sunny’s photo albums. Her once lustrous dark hair hung in a brittle, dry mess, and her face was scarred with pock marks and sores. One of her eyelids drooped permanently, and she had a hard time sitting still. The tv show had obviously tried to cover her scabby skin up with makeup, but they couldn’t do anything about the woman’s skeletal appearance, or her lack of teeth. Most were missing, but the few that remained were yellow and brown, signs that they would soon fall out as well.
Anyone with half a brain could tell she was on something as she talked about Sunny’s childhood. Lisa described Sunny as a troublemaker, a kid who gave her poor mother nothing but heartache. Never once did she mention her own drug problem as she lamented Sunny no longer speaking to her. Instead, she blamed her daughter for acting like she was better than everyone else now that she’d married a movie star. Then she began to cry big crocodile tears as she talked about how she was being kept from Sunny’s bedside by Hawk.