"Dawn," he said, moving away from the door. She stood still, but didn't turn to face him. He rushed in with an explanation. "I have a few things to say about what happened earlier."
"I'm sure you do," she remarked in an even tone. "From the way you shoved me in here, I'd say that you had more than a few things to say! Okay, out with it. Call me more names. Attempt to put me in my place by reminding me that I'm only eighteen. Give it your best shot, Frank, and then leave me alone because whether you believe it or not, I have a job to do here and I do it well-"
"What just a minute!" Frank interrupted. He quickly moved behind her. He grabbed her upper arm and turned her around to face him. "I don't know what's worse! The high horse you're on or that abnormally large chip on your shoulder!"
"Let go!" Dawn bit out. She pulled her arm from his grasp and stormed away from him. Her arm stung from where he had grabbed her and she found herself subconsciously rubbing it. "For your information, Francis Scanlon, I'm not on a high horse nor do I have a chip on my shoulder! For some asinine reason-"
"You watch your language, young lady!"
"Oh, give it a rest!" Dawn threw back at him. "For some asinine reason, you don't want to see that I'm not the little girl who followed you around. Derek's baby sister grew up and she can take care of herself! The promise you made to him is null and void. Derek is dead and you can't try to take his place in my life forever! Move on, already!"
Dawn slammed out of the lounge before Frank had a chance to say another word. He wouldn't have said much anyway. He was in a state of shock. Dawn had never spoken to him so harshly before, and it hurt. He was surprised by how deeply it hurt.
Keesha and Stone sat in companionable silence. His eyes rarely drifted from hers. She wondered if he truly knew who she was, but as time wore on and his staring ceased to embarrass, she realized that she didn't care. When he was more in tune with his surroundings, she'd reintroduce herself to him.
After a few more moments in silence, Stone's eyes began to close. Keesha pulled the sheet and blanket closer around his shoulders. She gave him a brief pat as his breathing became even and slow. She then rose from the guest chair and quietly left the room.
"Goodnight, Sue," she said in passing to the night duty nurse. Sue smiled and waved at Keesha in response. Keesha barely noticed. Thoughts of the closeness she and Stone had just shared plagued her mind. She and he had always been friendly, but the jolt she felt at his touch was something she had never experienced before. The way his eyes held fast to hers was exhilarating. Teeny, tiny charges shot up and down her spine as she imagined his rich, brown eyes boring into hers. Her thoughts were so strongly on Stone that her eyes were blind to the trio who stepped out of the elevator and came towards her.
"Were you just in there with Stone?" Robin demanded as she blocked Keesha's path.
"Um...yeah," Keesha replied, taking a step backwards from the anger she saw in Robin's eyes. "Dawn said that he was asking for me, so I came to see him. What's wrong with that?"
"I haven't even been able to see him since he woke up," Robin explained.
"Well, I'm sorry to hear that," Keesha offered. She looked at Jagger and Karen. "Have either of you seen him?"
"Not, yet," Karen answered. "I was just taking them in to see him."
"I won't hold you up any longer then," Keesha responded. "He just fell asleep, but I'm sure it's okay if you peek at him."
"Did he talk to you?" Robin asked, her voice much softer now. "What did he say? Why did he call for you?"
Keesha slowly shook her head as she listened to Robin's questions. She wrapped her arm around her friend's shoulder and led her away from the Cates. "He didn't say much of anything. He said my name, but I'm not even sure if he knows that I'm the person he's calling for. I didn't examine him or anything. I just sat with him until he fell asleep. I wish I had more for you, but I don't. What did Dr. Jones have to say?"
"Him?" Robin muttered with contempt. "He says that Stone will be a walking and talking vegetable. He wouldn't even let Jagger or me see him. Karen's agreed to sneak us in so..."
"My lips are sealed," Keesha reassured her. "I won't say anything to him."
"Thanks," Robin murmured. She moved away from Keesha and beckoned to Jagger and Karen. "I'd like to go in alone."
"Of course," Jagger said with a nod. He placed his hand at the small of Karen's back. Together they moved closer to Stone's door. They were silent as Robin opened the door and went inside.
Keesha, not wanting to intrude any further, made a quiet exit.
Although his eyes had been closed, Stone hadn't been asleep when Keesha left him. He sensed her relief in his slumber and so he had pretended. As she stepped through the door, he had opened his eyes and watched her walk away from him. He couldn't explain or name the emotion that swept through him as the door shut behind her. He had felt alone and lonely. He then whispered her name and closed his eyes again. If she couldn't be in the room with him, he could still think of her and hope that she'd visit him again soon.
Visions over her lovely face and the sound of her gentle voice invaded his dreams. A faint smile conveyed the serenity that he now felt. In the background of his mind, he heard the door open and close again. Thinking that Keesha had returned to him, he stirred. His movement stopped when he realized that the new footsteps were different from hers. The scent was different, too. The new smell reminded him of the...flowers...he think they were called. Keesha's scent was different and not as strong. He kept his eyes closed, hoping the new person would go away.
Robin's breath caught in her throat as she looked down at Stone. He had been awake! She wanted to shout for joy. She wanted to hug him and kiss him. She walked quickly to reach his bedside. He was asleep, but just to hear him breathe was almost enough.
Robin grabbed the guest chair and lifted it from the floor. She set it down closer beside his bed. Easing herself down into the chair, she kept her eyes focused on him. She wanted to memorize everything about that moment as she silently prayed that he'd open his eyes for her. Without making a conscious decision, her hand reached for his. Warmth and strength was what she found when she closed her fingers around his.
Her lips caressed each fingertip in a whisper soft kiss. "Sleep well, my love," she softly spoke to him. "Everything will be just fine now."
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