Chapter 30

Jason reached the ER in record speed. His arrival coincided with that of the Wards and the Quartermaines. He overheard Justus tell Ned that Emily was taking care of Maya. No one had told the little girl anything. They wanted to know the prognosis first. Which meant that Keesha and AJ were in serious condition.

Damn.

Jason hitched in a quick breath. His hands clenched into fists. There was nothing anyone could do but wait. He didn't like waiting.

"Jason?" Alan appeared in front of him. He looked older than the last time Jason saw him. "Are you here because of the accident?"

He nodded. "I heard it on the radio. How are they?"

"It's pretty bad," Alan said, the color draining from his face, "but it could have been worse. AJ managed to avoid a head-on collision, but just barely. He's in critical condition."

"Keesha?" Jason's muscles strained with the weight of fear. It didn't even feel odd to him that he cared this much. "How is she?"

"She's in critical, but stable condition. AJ took the brunt of the force. He lost a good deal of blood."

"Does he need anything?"

Alan frowned. "Are you offering?"

"Yes."

"AJ needs everything he can get right now." Alan stared at him for a split second. Then, he jutted his head toward a curtained off area. "Follow me."

!*!

The strong scent of her sterile environment hit her full force. Keesha put a hand to her mouth. Nausea turned her stomach. She opened her eyes and searched for something to help.

"She's awake." Footsteps clicked along the floor. Then, a figure loomed over her, blocking the lights from her eyes. "Keesha, it's me. Mama. Your father is in the hallway with Justus."

Recognition happened slowly. Keesha stared at the woman until the lines and planes of her face made sense. "Mama? Where am I? What happened?"

"There was an accident, baby," the woman gently stated. "Let me tell them you're awake."

"Where am I?"

"You're in the hospital."

"Where's AJ?"

Mrs. Ward's milk chocolate complexion paled under the scrutiny of Keesha's stare. The change in the woman unnerved Keesha. She tried to sit up. "Mama, what is it? Where's Maya?"

"Lie down." Her mother pressed her back onto the bed. "Maya's safe. She's with Emily."

"What about AJ? Please, tell me. I can't stand not knowing."

"He's in ICU."

Keesha opened her mouth to say more. Her mother shook her head.

"No more questions. Dr. Jones wanted to see you as soon as you woke up. I'm getting him now."

Her mother rushed from the room, but not before tears filled her eyes. A sudden chill overtook Keesha. She pulled the bed covers tight around her, deathly afraid of the unknown.

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