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I hated hospitals. The overwhelming sterile and quiet sadness it held was too thick for me to handle. But I couldn't move from the uncomfortable seat I was in. Michael had fallen asleep on my shoulder and Daniel was fast asleep on my lap. Marley had gone to see if Freddy was awake now that Becca had gone back home. She'd been complaining non-stop about the emergency room being boring. The purpose of a hospital got completely lost in translation for that woman, and it managed to wear the boys out enough to fall back asleep.
The exhaustion their sleeping faces held made me feel slightly guilty I wasn't exactly the right person to comfort them. I've never been good at it. Being sorry never seemed good enough, and saying it was worse. So I turned to humor, or a drink to take away some of the pain they were in. It was all I had to give.
Feeling the prickling sensation of my shoulder going numb, I moved it slightly, trying not to wake Michael up. He'd clocked out of work earlier and he wanted to stay to make sure Freddy was being taken care of. Poor guy could barely keep his eyes open long enough, so I let him rest his head on me. Daniel had already taken it upon himself to claim my lap as his own personal bed and in trying to comfort him, I let him. Now my entire body was on pins and needles and all I could do was sit in it and hope it would fade away on its own.
Michael stirred in his sleep shortly after, moving his face slightly as he buried it into my neck and I held still as he slowly started to wake up.
"Hmm, you smell nice," he mumbled, rubbing his nose against my skin as he pulled away and his eyes widened when he realized it was me.
"I'm sorry. Don't kill me," Michael whispered as he rubbed his tired eyes and I waved it off.
"I get that all the time. No worries," I dismissed and sent him a small smile as I looked down at Daniel's lashes fluttering against his cheek while he slept. My hand had made it to his somehow and he was holding onto it against his chest, right above his heart.
"I've never seen him like this. So calm," Michael mentioned as he popped a mint into his mouth and relaxed in his chair.
"I'm not always in the mood to kill him. Contrary to what everyone thinks." I commented softly, careful not to wake the sleeping giant.
"That's not what I meant." Michael corrected and I turned to look at him, holding his gaze. "Whatever it is you're doing to tame him, you should keep doing it."
"I'm his sofa today. Tomorrow, I'll be his enemy again. That's the game we play. It's not good for either of us," I explained, referring to the court date we both had tomorrow and gently reached to touch the scruff growing on his cheek, wondering how someone so detrimental to me could be so good-looking. It wasn't fair.
"He's trying. And he's never done that for anyone but you. That's gotta count for something, right?" Michael asked, giving my arm a quick squeeze before he left me to my conflicted beating heart.
By nightfall, Freddy was still unconscious from all the pain medications they were giving him. The doctors had informed us they were able to save his arm, and it should be in full function within a couple of months. Which was good news. The bad news was, Freddy wasn't the type of man to sit around and wait to recover. It was going to take a lot of work to convince him to take it easy for a while. And the only person who could do that was Marley. He always had a soft spot for her, despite their occasional verbal scraps, but I was convinced they were both still on the love train, not willing to hop off just yet.
The nurses had encouraged us to go home and get some proper sleep and I was glad Marley had agreed to do so, since there wasn't much we could do for Freddy until his pain was managed. Marley had taken Michael home, while I waited around for Daniel to give me a ride to my condo. He had disappeared while I used the ladies room and I shot him a text, asking him where he was. He replied right away, letting me know he was on the fourth floor of the hospital. I got on the elevator and closed my eyes as the ambient sound of the elevator music calmed me down, reminding me I had a comfortable bed calling my name when I got home.
When it finally arrived on the fourth floor, I cleared my throat and straightened my shoulders when I saw it was the pediatric wing of the hospital. I tried to tread softly against the floors with my heels, careful not to wake any of the little guys up. Proceeding to walk towards the newborn room, I smiled when I saw some of them bundled up in their cribs for the night, the rest were waving their little hands in the air, giggling as I waved at them.
"We were supposed to have a couple of those, you know." Daniel's voice would've startled me if I weren't so preoccupied with the cuteness overload on the other side of the fiberglass.
"Shut up, you'll scare them." I replied, crinkling my nose with happiness when the cutest baby boy in the room sent me the biggest smile I'd ever seen. Kids liked me enough, just as long as I wasn't the one taking care of them. I hadn't been given the maternal gene, but I could surely appreciate how innocent and precious they were at this age.
"It's never too late to make babies," he suggested, sending a grin my way as I rolled my eyes at him while he entered the elevator.
"Why were you up here anyway?" I asked him as we settled into the elevator and the doors closed behind us.
"Something about babies calms me down," he answered and while it surprised me, I decided not to dwell on it. The time to have any type of family with the man standing just a few inches away had passed the moment he decided to walk out of my life. Any hopes I ever had at making mini-me's had died that day and I was thankful actually. I didn't really have the patience it took to raise kids. Not to mention all the diaper changing. I shuddered just thinking about it.
"Been around a lot of babies lately?" I asked, my grin widening as he rolled his eyes at my intentional verbal jab at his immaturity.
"If you want, I can cook you something for dinner. As a thank you for letting me use your lap as a pillow earlier," he proposed, using his cheesy smile to lure me into his food seduction. I was too tired to fall for it.
"Thanks, but I still have to unpack and get ready for court tomorrow," I reminded him and the glee in his eyes faded. We were still fighting each other in court. And even though we were getting along just fine at the moment, it never lasted long. We were restless kindred spirits, who only thrived within chaos. The tranquility rattled us, provoking the darkest parts of ourselves until we decided we had caused enough damage to halt.
"Still willing to lose in that court room huh?" Daniel commented with a sly grin as he led me towards his newly red painted truck and opened the door for me. I turned to respond with my best victorious smile and he chuckled as he helped me up and into his truck.
"May the best woman win."