“Chris! Get up.” Kelly’s voice entered into Christiana’s deep sleeping state.
“Hmmmm.” Christiana responded, burying herself deeper into Connor’s arms.
Connor wrapped his arms tighter around Christiana making his own grunts in response.
“Chris, we need you. Please wake up.”
“Kel, if I wake up and this turns out to be Saturday, I’m going to be mega pissed at you.”
“It’s a Thursday. Not that that means anything.” Kelly replied.
“What time is it?” Connor asked.
“7am.” Kelly said. “And Daniela’s awake. We need Chris to come and see her.”
Suddenly a rush of memories flooded into Christiana’s mind and her temporary suspended belief that she was back at her flat disappeared with it. She groaned even more loudly and nuzzled closer to Connor, pushing the bad memories away. She really had to learn to wake up without this sodding amnesia. She was tired of learning the world had ended all over again every morning.
“Seriously Chris, Daniela spent the first twenty minutes screaming and since then has been silent. Duncan said that you had a good talk with her before. We’re worried about her and we need your help.”
Christiana reluctantly pushed herself away from the warmth of Connor’s chest and blinked into the light to find Kelly standing at the foot of her bed.
“Don’t you know how to knock?” She asked.
“I tried that. No one answered.”
“So your answer was just to barge in?” Christiana asked.
“We’re desperate Chris. Please, just forget that you hate me for a second. She seems really messed up.”
“I’m not surprised, given what you did to her.” Christiana muttered, but grabbed her dressing gown from the chair beside her bed and got up. “When did she wake up?”
“About ten hours ago.” Kelly answered. “I tried to leave you two alone for as long as I could. But we’re all beginning to worry about her now.”
“She’s probably in shock.” Christiana said. “It’s a lot for her to take in, being back in full use of her body again for the first time in so long and dealing with the fallout of everything that she’s been through as well.”
“Will you come and see her?”
“Give me ten minutes to get ready.” Christiana answered.
“Thank you Chris. She’s in the clinic, when you’re ready.”
Kelly left Connor and Christiana to it. Ten minutes later, they both made their way down to the clinic. When they arrived, there were a large amount of people, all crowding a bed in the far corner.
“Well, first things first.” Christiana said. “Everyone who isn’t a doctor and in charge of her health needs to get out.”
Everyone turned in response to Christiana’s words and seemed to stand there, speechless.
“You heard her,” Kelly said. “Everyone out.”
All of a sudden, people started to move, shuffling to the other side of the room, although no one seemed to want to leave altogether. Christiana rolled her eyes at this. It would have to do. All who were left was Daniela, Kelly, Duncan and Katie. Daniela was crouched in a ball on the bed, hugging her knees and staring into space, by her side in an armchair, lay Duncan, his front half sprawled over the bed protectively as he held onto one of Daniela’s hands. He was completely passed out however. Daniela appeared to shoot gazes at him every so often as if silently asking him what she should do next. She seemed terrified and helpless all at once. Katie was standing by the head of the bed, a look of stubborn resistance to Christiana’s order. Her gaze told Christiana that she was not going to leave any time soon.
“Katie.” Christiana said. “I know you want to be here for your friend, and I get that, but I need a few minutes alone with her. All these people around her really won’t be helping her nerves.”
Katie looked as if she was going to argue this, but Christiana threw her a look she reserved for her patient’s back on her ward, which stated that she was not going to take any crap from anyone. As such, Katie let out a frustrated groan and stormed off to the next bed over, sat down with her arms crossed and glared over in Christiana’s direction.
Daniela had gone back to a look of spaced out indifference, although Christiana noticed that she seemed to tighten her grip on Duncan’s hand. She decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to move him from where he was. She went and sat on Daniela’s other side.
“Kelly,” Christiana said, without looking over at her. “Move.”
Kelly knew better than to argue with her and walked to the other side of the room with Connor in tow. Christiana smiled gently at Daniela who was now looking at her, her face expressionless.
“Hey,” she said. “Remember me?”
Daniela didn’t respond but turned her head away from Christiana, choosing a spot on her bed to focus on.
“Not talking, huh?” Christiana said. “Yeah, I heard about that. I’m not surprised.”
Daniela continued to stare.
“So, here’s what I’m going to do right now.” Christiana continued. “I’m going to ask you some practical questions, all of which you can simply nod or shake your head to. I don’t expect you to talk if you don’t want to, I just want to make sure I know what’s going on in order to ensure that you’re treated the best way possible. Are you okay with that?”
Daniela turned her gaze back to Christiana again. She didn’t answer but she kept her gaze on her, which Christiana took to be a good sign.
“Okay,” Christiana said. “Physically, how are you feeling? Any increased breathing?”
Daniela shook her head.
“Any tremors or spasms?”
Again Daniela shook her head.
“Any pain in your chest at all?”
Daniela didn’t answer at first, and then tears were at her eyes. She nodded slowly and touched her free hand to her chest, her bottom lip trembling. A tear fell down her cheek and she immediately rubbed it away, looking off into the distance again.
“Is it a physical pain?” Christiana asked.
Daniela shook her head.
“An emotional one?”
“We’re going to do all we can to help with that Daniela, I promise.”
Daniela sniffed and seemed to disappear in her gaze once more. Further tears began to fall down her face but this time she did nothing to stop them.
“Can I ask you a few further questions?” Christiana asked.
Daniela turned back to face Christiana again and eventually nodded her response.
“Are you afraid to talk?” Christiana asked.
Daniela paused for a moment and then eventually nodded her head.
“Are you able to tell me what you’re scared of?”
Daniela appeared to look panicked at this question.
“Perhaps if you wrote it down?” Christiana offered.
Daniela looked to Duncan then and, following her gaze, Christiana noticed that he had woken up and was now looking at them both curiously.
“Hey Duncan,” Christiana said. “Any chance you can locate a pen and paper for us?”
Duncan looked to Daniela for confirmation that she wanted this and she nodded once again.
“I’ll be right back.” He said, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze.
Duncan got up and headed off towards the rest of the crowd on the other side of the room.
“You’ve really got him hooked, you know.” Christiana commented. “I never thought that was ever going to happen with him.”
Daniela didn’t respond to this but seemed to be thinking it over. She kept her eyes on him from the other side of the room.
“I guess the feelings mutual, hmmm?” Christiana added.
Daniela looked at her then and sighed, shaking her head as if to contest this.
“You don’t feel the same way?”
She shook her head again, throwing her attention down to her now free hands as she fidgeted with them.
She sighed again and tutted, appearing to get frustrated at the questions.
“It’s okay, we don’t need to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
She gazed back up at Christiana and once more placed her hand over her chest, tapping it gently as if to tell her something.
“Is it the pain?”
She shook her head and tutted again. Glancing back for a moment at Duncan who now appeared to be deep in conversation with Kelly, she returned her gaze back to Christiana and in the smallest whisper possible, she spoke.
“I don’t deserve him.”
Immediately after speaking she shut her mouth tightly and her bottom lip began to tremble once again. She squeezed her eyes shut and held onto her chest, keeling over slightly as she seemed to try and contain a pain that had hit her.
“It’s okay.” Christiana said. “You don’t need to talk. Just take it at your own pace.”
She nodded but kept her eyes shut, tears falling freely once more.
“Is it okay if I comment on what you said?” Christiana asked.
Daniela looked at her, waiting on her response.
“When bad things happen, especially when we feel responsible for these bad things, we tend to think that we don’t deserve any good things as a result. However, sometimes it’s the good things that happen to us that help us deal with the bad.”
Daniela continued to stare at her, the look on her face seemed to suggest that she didn’t agree with this.
“But you don’t want to feel better?” Christiana asked.
Once more, she received a nod to confirm she was on the right tracks.
“Again, that makes sense. Grief and guilt have to be the worst things possible for us to deal with. But they can also be the best things as well. It shows a mark of how good you are that you are able to feel guilt. If you didn’t then this would be a completely different conversation. Guilt, we can work with. It’s all about moderation and learning to use what you’re feeling to move forward and make up for the bad things that you feel you have done.”
Suddenly Duncan’s raised voice carried over to them.
“I don’t care what you say, Kelly. I’m not going!”
Christiana looked over to them in time to see Kelly’s face contort into one of pure rage. Crap. She thought. Kelly very rarely showed this face and it wasn’t pretty when she did. All of a sudden, Kelly grabbed the back of Duncan’s head and smashed it down on a nearby table. Duncan almost seemed to bounce back up again and staggered back from the blow. Kelly jabbed her finger hard against his chest.
“I don’t give a shit what you think, Jennings. You’re going.” Kelly said. “I’ve been more than tolerant over your little rants and complete lack of respect for me over the past couple of months, but let me be clear. I’m done giving you special treatment. I outrank you and I am telling you that you are going. Do you understand?”
Duncan didn’t respond. He stood, head bleeding, glaring at Kelly. She stepped even closer.
“Don’t make me wait for your response, Jennings.” She said. “You defy me once more and I will not make life pleasant for you at all.”
Duncan seemed to actually growl and Christiana was sure that he was going to argue back. However, after a moment he spoke through gritted teeth. “Fine.”
“Good.” Kelly said, apparently satisfied, she went to leave and then turned back round to address him once more. “Oh and if you ever lay a finger on me again, I will permanently damage that pretty little face of yours.”
Christiana was suddenly aware of Daniela’s increased breathing, she was beginning to look panicked. Immediately Christiana felt her protectiveness over her patient take over.
“That’s it!” She yelled, storming over to where everyone else stood. “Out! All of you! This is a hospital area and I will not have you upsetting my patient.”
Kelly looked as if she would argue with Christiana.
“Not another word.” Christiana said. “Everyone out of this room now!”
“But…” Duncan started.
“No! Sort out your shit outside and when you’re done beating each other up and learn how to show some form of control, you can come back.”
Everyone reluctantly started to move out through the doors to the main clinic, until all who were left were Daniela, Christiana and Gary. Christiana turned back to Daniela.
“I’m so sorry about that,” she said. “Now, where were we?”