After working with Kelly on what questions she could ask, they were ready.
Kelly lifted her chin, straightened her back, and turned on her polished professional smile as she looked into the camera. She gave her little intro speech while Hawk slipped into his public persona like a comfortable old jacket. His fears, his personal bullshit—it all fell away, his training as an actor giving him the ability to rise beyond his personal worries. To deliver his lines without messing up.
“Thank you, Kelly, for your kind words.” He turned to look at the camera, instinctively tilting his head for the best angle. “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank my friends, family, and fans for all their prayers and support for Sunny. My wife is currently undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from her brain, so I appreciate your well wishes more than you could ever know. I believe in the power of prayer, and your voices help lift my words to God.”
Kelly gave him a gentle smile. “What do you want people to know about your wife?”
He almost lost his composure for a moment, but years of training kept him from crumbling. “She’s the greatest person I’ve ever met. Truly. Compassionate, strong and funny—she was my best friend before we became a couple, and she’s still my best friend now. And she’s strong, so strong. Her life has been far from easy, but she’s still managed to keep her keep her sweet spirit and her integrity. That’s true strength, to live in a world that’s beat the hell out of you, but still have a heart.”
“Sounds like she hasn’t had an easy life.”
“No, she hasn’t. Her father died when she was in her teens, and her mother developed a drug habit after that, but Sunny didn’t let those tough times define her. Instead, she worked hard, got into a good college, and made the best of every day.” He looked down at his clasped hands for a moment, sliding his thumb over his wedding band. “There are a lot of negative things being said about my wife right now. Stories being spread by those who should love and protect her, not make a profit off her suffering. Those that would try and make a buck off a story about a sick young woman who has never hurt anyone. I could let myself be consumed by those lies, but it isn’t worth it, and it isn’t what Sunny would want.”
“Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, Hawk. I know you want to return to your wife’s side as quickly as possible. We’re all praying for you.”
Sergeant Price gave Hawk’s shoulder a firm clasp as he walked him out of the room and back to the elevators. “You got my prayers.”
“Thanks,” he said as he checked his messages for any updates on Sunny.
On impulse, he sent his mom a quick text, letting her know that he forgave her and that he loved her. Trying to do some kindness instead of harm. Her instant reply thanking him for his forgiveness and telling him that she loved him soothed him, and his heart was lighter as he got off the elevator.
He’d barely made it across the small reception area to the double doors leading back to the rest of the unit when the hospital liaison met him.
“Mr. DelRay, Dr. Vanti and Dr. Muller would like to talk to you.”
His heart raced as he followed the woman to his private waiting room.
Everyone but the doctors were gone, and he was barely through the door when he said, “How is she?”
Dr. Muller gave a tired smile as she said, “She’s doing great. The surgery went well, and we were able to remove all of the mass.”
Dr. Vanti rubbed his eyes. “As we discussed, she’ll be kept in a medically induced coma for two days to help her brain heal.”
“And when will we find out if the mass is cancerous?” Hawk asked as relief rushed through him.
“Soon,” Dr. Muller said. “We should know before she wakes up.”
“Is she…is she going to be paralyzed?”
“We don’t think so,” Dr. Vanti said. “The surgery went exactly as planned, there were no unexpected bleeds or anything of that nature. While we won’t know for certain until she wakes, I am cautiously optimistic that she will still have full function of her body. But, I must emphasize, we won’t know for sure until she wakes.”
Her throat was so damn dry it hurt.
She swallowed, and it felt like that time she’d eaten a chip and it had gone down the wrong way, scraping her throat.
Smacking her lips, she tried to produce some saliva in her dry as the desert mouth, her thoughts muzzy.
Sounds filled her mind, but it was hard to focus on anything but how much she needed a drink.