Dull throbbing against her side.
When her eyes fluttered open, she found herself in a hospital bed, IVs and wires hooked into her arms and the back of her hand. The machines monitoring her vitals blipped and beeped high-pitched tones that made her head swim. The digital clock on the wall read 7:17. A.M., she presumed, as the sun was beaming through translucent curtains near the foot of her bed.
It took a few moments for her to sit up, her body demanding that she submit to its rapture of sharp pangs. She had no recollection of how she ended up here or why every muscle was threatening to give out. The door to her room was propped open and she could hear the bustle of brisk feet pacing across the tiled floor and the sound of one Dr. Mindlewood being paged to the ER.
The room was spinning.
She gripped onto the side rails of her bed, waiting for it to pass, and fought off the urge to vomit. Her mouth was so dry, her limbs feeling as though they weighed hundreds of pounds. She struggled to bring her legs over to the side of the bed, the pain causing her to lose her breath. If only she could reach the door…
“Oh thank God, you’re awake!”
In walked a sturdy looking man of 30 something. His hands looked rough, the kind you see on people who do heavy laboring, and his dark hair was cut short and sticking up as if his hands had been running through it all morning. He was carrying a food tray and sat it on the table as he made his way over to her.
“You should lay back down, sweetheart. You’re not well enough.”
He made a motion to scoop her back onto the mattress.
“Get off of me!” She wailed, partially from pain and partially because she didn’t want a strange man handling her in a robe that scarcely covered her naked body.
The man stumbled back in surprise like he had been physically struck. She wanted to say more, but the room was spinning again. She lost her grip on the rail and crumbled forward.
The man rushed forward, his voice echoing in her head as she slipped into darkness.
“... water… water…”
She felt a straw brought to her lips and struggled to sip. She praised the cool relief of water going down her throat and opened heavy eyelids. The man was hovering over her, a glass in his hands and worry etched in his otherwise handsome face. His mouth was moving, but she couldn’t make out any words. Everywhere she looked was slightly blurred and her head was pounding.
The straw was brought back to her mouth and she drank obediently, grateful she didn’t have to speak. The man grazed her cheek with the back of his hand and she drifted off once more.
“Well, look who decided to join the party.”
It was dark outside now, though she couldn’t quite make out the clock. A stout, older looking woman in navy scrubs was scribbling onto a clipboard she retrieved from the bed’s baseboard.
“How are you feeling?”
The young woman strained to sit up but was gently pressed back down by the nurse.
“Now, now. I know you’re anxious to go, but we can’t have you falling out again. That man has been a complete wreck.”
“Oh yes. The doctor sent him home for some rest. That poor soul hasn’t left your side for weeks.”
The woman laid there helpless as the nurse removed a penlight from her front pocket and shined it into her eyes briefly.
“Your vitals are good today. If you’re able to nibble on something and get a little more rest, we may be able to remove the catheter and get you assistance walking to the bathroom.”
“What happened? Where am I?”
The woman peered around the room, blinking hard in an attempt to improve her vision. The nurse put a hand over hers.
“You’re in the Mercy Care Facility Hospital and I’m Diane, your guardian for this shift. You were in an accident.”
“Yes, and you’re a very lucky woman.”
“Perhaps its best if we wait for the doctor to return with the details.”
“I want to go home.”
The woman groaned, sending Diane into action adjusting the drip of morphine being administered into one of her many IVs.
“I’m afraid that’s not possible deary.”
“What day is it?” She asked once the pain had subsided.
“Tuesday October the eighth.” Diane flipped a few pages on her clipboard and jotted something else down. “I want to ask you a few questions. If you don’t feel up to it, we can try again later.”
The woman nodded.
“Just answer the best you can. What is your full name?”
My name. What is my… oh, that’s right.
“Jocelynne. Jocelynne Nicole Martin.”
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-four. No, twenty-five.”
Was that concern in Diane’s eyes just now?
“What color is your hair?”
“Black.” Jocelynne wondered how this was a relevant question.
“You’re doing great.” Diane said. “Now tell me. Who is Elijah Kennedy?”
“I… I don’t know.”