Chapter 23. Realization
She sat in the window seat while Tom slept. It was a strange emotion. She felt empowered, Kaylee looked out the window while Tom slept. He was unaware of the conflict that had just happened between her and the publisher, she needed to tell him that his agent came in and she chased the woman and her broom out of the hospital.
Kaylee ’s heart raced with the adrenalin rush of the collision between her and the business woman who drove Tom to write while in bed and at all waking hours.
Between the machines that beeped and sterile smells, she realized that Tom would not come home from the hospital in time to sign the annulment, she would be married when she went home in the next two weeks.
*Maybe.* She shook her head. *Drat!*
*Why is it, it seems that the world wants me with Tom?* She bit her nails for a moment. Falling back on a bad habit. *In my dreams, I’ve always painted a life with Glenn, I imagined it with all the glitter and hues of happiness. A life of birds, forests, even nights were adventures. Now it is going to pieces faster than I can think, this past three weeks has been fun, but it has been a blur. I don’t know what else to do.*
She ran the memories through her head like a movie, looking for something that she had done right for a change.
All of the memories ended in a rough landing in a river, then Tom’s injury while he carried a large piece of glass out of the plane, alone like a foolish human male when service crews surrounded him after she left and went back to Ocean Bay. It became apparent that he was fortunate that people were there. If he had been alone?
*I could be his widow.* She blocked that out. *I don’t want to think about that.*
As soon as she found about his accident, she felt compelled to come be by his side, to answer questions and sign papers and protect him, this man who lived his life as a bachelor-hermit and would-be-hero.
She laughed even though she felt tears in hear heart. He was a hero.
All from that Friday. That one day that was the domino that caused other pieces to fall in a pattern that now made her focus on how she walked through her life.
Cut tires on her car, those could not be avoided and if it were not for Tom, her tires would still be flat. Then the attack on the beach later that same day.
*Then! OMG! That professor!* If ever she wanted to have a list of people she wanted to break, he was number one.
Kaylee longed for some peace and quiet.
*I just want to paint and have time to sculpt. This is a summer that tops all summers, even when I hitchhiked across Europe and lived in those hostels when I could afford it.*
That was a summer of adventure and excitement that she had sought out, this summer, all the adventure and craziness came at her.
Now, she sat in a hospital room with someone who was her husband with a serious injury, a man she did not know just a few weeks before.
And she was protective of him.
*Like a wife.*
That word again. Wife.
It haunted her, maybe even make her re-think her use of pharmaceuticals and mixing them all to party with people. Sometimes she did not know who she partied with.
She needed to finish college, that much was certain, two years left to go, plus grad school if dad would pay… At least part… of it.
Melanie , her sister and confidant would to go to school at the same time and their parents were always on the verge of not paying the bills. Tuition for school was expensive with the costs of two apartments, they groaned under the costs while running their businesses.
But as a wife, this would have consequences that she could not even dream of. Tom might help, he was that kind of person. But even if his hair was not gray, he was still older than she would normally date.
Covering her eyes in a flash of almost-laughing.
*Date? I’m was married to the man.*
He could even be a wife-beater like the tabloids said.
*No.* She shook her head. *If anything he is the most kind, gentle and generous person that ever tapped a keyboard. Tom is a man who someone could care about.*
He was someone who walked alone after the death of his family, some would say the his experiences broke him, but Tom healed with the writing children books and the novels of passion for the adults.
If anything Tom had, it was heart.
And a good one at that. Kaylee smiled softly to herself.
Slowly stroking his hand, Randy the Nurse came in and checked the pump next to Tom’s bed.
“Tom’s temperature has gone up a little, the Doctor has ordered an antibiotic in his IV pump.” Randy said it as if he it tickled him to do his job. “We got the pizza by the way, everyone did! It was amazing to see so many deliveries at the same time. Tom, thank you.”
Tom, heavily dosed a half-hour earlier mumbled then drifted away again into his narcotic dream world.
Randy leaned over to Kaylee .
“Would you like a slice of pizza? Mister Harte is sleeping, I’ll slip you some before he wakes up.”
“Pissa?” A mumbled voice from the bed. “I sshmeell peet- sa.”
“Shhh, Tom.” Kaylee whispered to his ear. “You need to rest.”
“Oh bull! Someone has pizza!” he was more awake now. “You are sneaky, I thought you were nice.”
“I have a permanent spot on Santa’s naughty list.”
Tom laughed, then moaned.
“Please, no jokes, it hurts when I laugh.”
Kaylee took her turn to laugh and left to get a slice of pizza.
“How long did it take to get here?” Tom asked Randy as the nurse tinkered around the room, setting up the IV pump on a strange-looking pole with wheels. Resembling a metal spider at the bottom with the eight-wheeled suspension that held up the chrome-plated T-topped pole.
“It took a little while, the pizza store called to verify that it was really you. A couple of hours after that, it took five delivery guys nearly an hour to bring it all in. They had to make ten trips!”
“More than 30 minutes, it’s free.” Tom tried to laugh, and groaned in pain again as he moved his wounded arm.
“I don’t think this counts.” Randy laughed as he went about his job.
“Can Tom have a slice of pizza?” Kaylee asked as she came back into the room.
“Yes, no problem about that, he has technically been eating since yesterday.” Randy nodded, a bit of marinara sauce on his upper lip, while he chewed. “Technically, I’m not supposed to eat outside of the back-room, but the Doctor insisted that we get this piggyback set up.”
“I’d buy him a pizza, too. Say, what is his office’s address?” Tom asked.
“They are closed by now, try it tomorrow if you like.” Randy said. “I”ll be back, I have to go to attend to another room.”
“Hey, naughty girl, would you give me a bite or three of that pizza slice?” Tom smiled, he was getting stronger, despite the drugs.
Not for the first time, as Kaylee chewed her pizza slice, Tom made her smile.
When the doctor released him, she would show him a new definition of naughty.