“Look at what you did!” I cried, running over to her.
“What I did?” Justin screamed back at me. He was on the other side of her. I placed my hand behind her neck to sit her up.
“Do not move her!” He yelled.
“You want me to leave her here!” I yelled back.
“Go get help!”
“Why don’t you? This only proves even more that she should be with me!”
“You are an imbecile. I can obtain help faster than you,” he muttered, before he disappeared.
I can’t believe he had the nerve to ask her to join him. If he had just stayed away, she wouldn’t be like this. I couldn’t help but cry. Her body just laid there. She didn’t move, and I don’t even think she was breathing. I examined her to see if there was any injury. When I removed my hand from her neck, I felt something wet. She was bleeding! But from where? It was too dark to actually see anything.
“She is over here,” I heard him tell someone.
“Lexi?” That sounded like her dad. I saw Justin emerge into the clearing with him. I could only think of what was going through her dad’s head. Being alone in a secluded area with two guys. At least whatever story we told, they would be sure to believe my side “What happened?” her dad demanded.
“She tripped and fell,” I said. Justin glared at me.
Her father tried to lift her. “Do not try to move her; her neck might be broken,” Justin warned.
He just glared at him, and when he removed his hand from her neck, he felt the blood. “Oh God!” he cried, and grabbed his cell phone from his pocket. “Yes, hi, this is Andrew, my daughter has had an accident…” Her dad was talking to the 911 operator, explaining the position his daughter was lying in, the blood, and the fact that she wasn’t breathing.
“We’re dispatching someone now,” I heard the operator announce. I could hear sirens coming closer. The fire station was only a couple of miles away, so I knew they would be here soon.
“I’ll go to the street and wait for them,” Justin said, as he ran out of the clearing. He must have done his disappearing act again, because as soon as he exited the clearing his footsteps stopped.
“You two will tell me what happened after the paramedics take her,” her dad snapped.
“Yes, sir,” was all I was able to say. I could hear the sirens right on the street, doors opening and closing. They would be coming through the clearing at any moment.
“She is right through there,” I heard Justin say.
The paramedics made their way through the trees and started working on Lexi. “What happened?” asked one of the paramedics.
“She was standing there, and when we turned around, she was on the ground,” I didn’t want to let on that we had been fighting over her. The paramedic didn’t seem to buy the story and shot me a nasty look.
“He speaks the truth,” Justin defended. He was sticking up for me? Why? This was not going to end nicely, even I knew that.
“What’s her name?”
“We call her Lexi,” her dad told the paramedic.
The paramedic asked him some more questions, and then tried to get Lexi to respond. “Lexi?” he asked. “Can you hear me?”
“She’s not breathing!” he called to another paramedic that was standing by.
“Here’s the stretcher,” the other one said, pulling it over.
I could see the fear in Justin’s eyes. The paramedics were contemplating how to move her lifeless body out of the clearing. I was wondering whether he could make Lexi disappear like he did himself. We would have one hell of a time explaining that to the paramedics. They got her body onto the stretcher; it was already covered with blood. Her blood.
I don’t exactly remember how, but they got her through the clearing and onto the back of the ambulance. The last thing I saw before I took off was a couple standing there, with a dog and that damn black cat sitting next them.
“I’ll meet you at the hospital,” I said, taking off towards home.
“Will you be there?” I heard him ask Justin. “Good.”
I knew that Justin would beat me there; there was no way I could compete with him on that. I made it home and stormed in the house. “Mom? Dad?” I called at the top of my lungs.
“What’s wrong? What is it?” Dad asked as he came out of the room.
“Oh my God! Are you okay?” Mom asked when she saw Lexi’s blood.
“I’m fine. It’s Lexi, she’s hurt bad.”
“What hospital is she at? Get changed and head over there,” Dad ordered. I ran to my room, tore my clothes off and changed into clean ones. I ran out of the room and grabbed my car keys.
“Drive carefully!” I heard Mom call out as I raced out the door.
I threw myself into the car and started it up. “Argh!” I screamed, surprised. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, it’s not like I could just appear there,” Justin glowered.
“Fine,” I gritted between my teeth.
I took off for the hospital. I had no clue whether her dad would believe us if we told him that nothing had happened and she just fell. She was known to be accident prone. When she was young, she had tripped over thin air and busted her nose on the banister.
The hospital was two towns over – I hoped that she was breathing by now. Justin looked just as worried as I felt. I was speeding, and I didn’t care. I needed to get there as soon as I could. I just glared at him from the corner of my eye. If he had stayed away from the beginning, none of this would have happened.
“If you could have just given her time,” he said, as if reading my mind.
“What, you can read minds, too?”
“No, I just knew what you had to be thinking,” he replied, still looking out the window.
“Well, you’re wrong,” I snapped.
“You cannot honestly expect me to think that now, could you?”
“How does she put up with you? I mean how did she put up with you?”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“I mean, you talk in riddles,” I answered in disgust.
“I only speak the truth. What you make of the truth is how your mind comprehends it.”
“You know, I could kick you out of the car right now,” I growled.
“You very well know that her father expects us both to be present,” he said calmly.
“I know,” I groaned. Why does he always have to act so high and mighty?
“Why do you love her?” he asked.
“What do you mean, why do I love her?” I protested.
“It is a simple question.”
“I love her because she is my best friend. I would do anything for her. Why do you love her?” Turning the tables on him.
“I am in love with her because she is my soul mate. She completes me,” he took a deep breath in. “All I want is her happiness.”
“Don’t you think that’s what I want?” I snapped back.
“Of course it is. How can you even ask such a question?” I could feel my blood burning through my veins.
“If you love her as much as you say you do, are you willing to let her go?”
“I’m not going to let her die so that you can win,” I sneered through my teeth.
“That is not what I was referring to,” he rolled his eyes, which pissed me off even more. “This is neither a contest nor a game.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” I scolded him.
“Not given the way you speak, no.”
How did she put up with his riddles? I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying. I was trying to get to the hospital as fast as I could. I was the better choice for Lexi anyway; how could he even compare himself to me? He’s not even human.
I could not believe that he had asked her to join him. If he loves her as much as he says he does, then why would he ever ask her to make that choice?
“If you love her as much as you say you do,” I glanced at him to make sure he was hearing me, “then how could you ask her to join you?”
“It was merely a question.”
“And if she said no?”
“Then she says no.”
“You wouldn’t have gotten angry and left?”
“Why?” he chuckled. “Why would have I gotten angry over a decision that was hers to make?”
“If she said yes?”
“Then we would be together,” he smirked at me.
“How would you make that happen? Like tonight?”
“No,” he calmly shook his head. “There is a process for something like this.”
“Process? What do you mean, process?”
“It is very difficult to explain,” He looked away.
“Well, try,” I demanded.
“I tried to explain it to Alexandra once, and she had a hard time grasping the concept.”
“So are you saying I’m stupid?”
“Are you calling Alexandra stupid?” he retorted. Lexi was very bright; she could figure out anything she put her mind to. We pulled into the hospital parking lot.
“We’re here,” I muttered under my breath.
I found a parking spot and killed the engine. I jumped out of the car, looking back to make sure he had gotten out before locking the doors. I didn’t see him. When I glanced around, he was there waiting for me. Damn him. I locked the car, and we both ran inside.
“Lexi Smith,” I told the receptionist in the waiting room. She scanned the names with her finger.
“I’m sorry, there is no Lexi here,” she said gently.
“Alexandra Smith,” Justin said in his usual calm tone.
She scanned the names again with her finger. She found the name and looked up. “Are you relatives?” she asked.
We just looked at each other. “I’m her boyfriend,” I blurted, without thinking.
The receptionist looked at Justin. “I’m her best friend,” he said, glaring at me.
“I’m sorry, only family is allowed back there. You two may have a seat and wait.”
Great, not only we don’t know what condition she’s in, but her dad is going to think that we didn’t come. At least I knew we were in the right emergency room.
“Could you, by any chance,” I heard Justin talking to the receptionist, “tell us what condition Alexandra is in?”
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t have that information,” she answered apologetically.
He in a chair across from me; we just glanced up and glared at one another every now and then. I was grateful not to have to speak to him and listen to his riddles, but it was killing me inside, not knowing how she was doing.
“Where the hell are those two at?” I heard her dad say as he came out the emergency room doors.
Her mom was right on his heels. We both stood up at the same time. “How is she doing?” I asked. Her dad turned and saw us standing there and started toward us.
“Now explain to me what the hell happened!” he ordered. Justin and I just looked at each other. Her mom looked like she was in shock. “Did one of you hit her?” he demanded.
“NO! WE WOULD NEVER!” we cried, at the same time.
“Well, what the hell happened? Because she’s in a coma right now from a blow to the head.”
“A what?!” I gasped at the same time as Justin.
“You heard me. She’s on life support right now,” he said, putting his hands on top of his head. “They really don’t think she’s going to make it.”
“She will make it,” Justin said softly.
“How can you know, when the doctors don’t know?” Her dad demanded.
Justin just looked at me, wondering if he should tell him the truth. I really didn’t want to, but if it meant saving her life, anything was worth a try. “Mr. Smith,” I took a deep breath in. “There is something we need to explain to you.”
“I’m listening,” he said, folding his arms across his chest.
“It would be best if it were done in private,” Justin chimed in. Justin then proceeded to head outside. I followed him, with her mom and dad behind me. When we were out of earshot of anyone else, Justin began the conversation. “Please, sir,” he hesitated.
“I’m not amused.”
“I am going to show you something. This could possibly save your daughter’s life.”
“What is it?” he demanded.
“Andrew, I’m just as upset as you. Anything that will help save Lexi’s life is worth it,” her mom said through tears.
“Dave here will confirm, once I have shown you.”
He looked at me, and I just nodded. “Fine, show me.” Justin disappeared in front of her dad. His eyes grew wide, and I thought for a moment that he was going to pass out. Justin reappeared. “What are you?” Her dad could barely get the words out.
“I am a spirit. I do not know how I got here, or why I am here. All I know is that I am here.”
“How could that help her?” he asked examining Justin.
“I will leave and see where her soul is,” he explained. “I will explain to them that it is not her time.”
“This really doesn’t make any sense,” her dad shook his head in disbelief.
“I am in love with your daughter. I promise I will do everything in my power to bring her back to you. But there is something that you must do for me.”
It looked like her dad was going to kill him. This was great! But only if he could get her back first. “What?” He gritted between his teeth.
“Andrew, if he can help, let him,” she said putting her hand on his arm.
“If,” he took a deep breath in. “If I come back and tell you to turn off her life support unit, you must.” I looked at him fiercely. “The life support unit attached to her at the moment is not helping her,” he looked at me, making it clear that this was important to save her life.
“What if we shut it off now?” her mom asked.
“Right now, no, for it is keeping her body alive. If I can contact the appropriate entity, they will send her soul back. If she is connected to the machine, her soul may not return.”
“What do we do, Andrew?” her mom was crying a fresh set of tears.
“I don’t know. What if we keep her on the machine? What would happen?” Her dad asked Justin.
“The longer her soul is out there, the harder it will be to reunite her with her body.”
“What other option do we have?” Mr. Smith asked his wife.
“Please hurry?” she begged Justin.
“Keep her room cleared. I will return once I receive any information.”
“How will we know you’re there?” Her dad asked.
“Trust me, you’ll know,” and then he disappeared.
“I hope he finds something out soon,” her mom whispered.
“Is he telling the truth?” her dad turned to me.
“Yes,” I nodded.
“And you knew about this all along?” He was irate.
“I knew some, but not all,” I admitted. I was still learning, as well.
“You knew he was a spirit?” he repeated
“Yes,” I nodded again.
“Lexi’s in love with him, as well?” Great, how could I answer that question? I couldn’t lie, But I didn’t want to tell the truth, either. “She was,” I said.
“She is, or she was?” he demanded.
“I don’t know.”
“Is there anything you do know?” he bellowed.
“Calm down,” her mother said. “What exactly happened in the clearing?”
“Justin and I were beginning to fight over Lexi,” I really didn’t know what more to say because I really didn’t know what happened to her.
“So did one of you accidently knock her to the ground?” her dad questioned.
“That’s the thing, we really didn’t get any punches in,” I tried to explain the best that I could.
“Did she try to stop the fight?” Her dad was still throwing questions. “What was the fight about?”
“He asked her to join him,” I blurted out without even thinking.
They both gasped.
“Now we’ll never get her back,” her mom started weeping again.
“What did she say?” he demanded.
“She didn’t. That’s when we noticed her on the ground.”
“And he’s off there trying to take her soul,” she said through tears.
“I believe him,” I defended. “I do believe him when he says he’ll bring her back.”
“How? When you just heard that he asked her to join him?” her father cursed.
“He tried explaining it to me in the car, and I didn’t understand a word he was saying.”
“Tried explaining what?” She asked.
“The process,” I held up my hands. “Look, as much as I hate the guy right now for loving your daughter as much as I do, I trust that he will bring her back. Don’t ask me how, I just do.”
“It’s the best we’ve got for right now,” he gave in. “Let’s go up to her room and wait.”
We walked back into the emergency room and through a different set of doors to which of the ones her parents came out from. Only one person tried to stop me, but her father said that I was her brother. When I looked at him funny, he reiterated what the receptionist had said before. Only family is allowed.
We made it to her room, and it was not a pretty sight. She was hooked up to over a dozen monitors, and tubes were coming out every which way. We each took a seat and waited.
“Do you know when he comes in and out?” Her mother whispered.
“It’s different each time,” I explained. “Depending on, I don’t know what you would call it, his state, I guess. There will be a drop in temperature, or you might hear him without him showing himself.”
I was doing my best to try to explain this to her parents, who were having a hard time accepting the fact that their almost-deceased daughter was in love with a spirit. I was not about to give up on her; I still loved her and would do anything for her.
Time seemed to stand still while we waited for Justin’s return. I just hoped to the keeper that he could bring her soul back. I was mad at myself for not really knowing what had happened. All I remembered was starting to see red and wanting to kill him when he asked her to join him. It was not fair to her to ask her to give up her life. I would never have asked her to give up her life to be with me. She wouldn’t have to give up anything.
Our eyes went from the clock to her bed, watching for any improvement. There was none. I didn’t even want to know what her parents were thinking. Since we were family, and with the danger Lexi was in, the doctors and nurses didn’t impose visiting hours on us.
We needed to be there for any sign that Justin would give, whether it was good or bad. I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I didn’t want to fall asleep; her parents were both sleeping, and anyway, I knew more about what to look for than they did. We knew that she was a fighter. Nothing stood in her way if she wanted something.
That in itself scared me, though. Deep down, I knew she wanted to be with him. There was one question that I kept coming back to. How had she fallen? I know Justin would not have pushed her. I know I didn’t push her. So how did she fall? And with enough force to cause such a severe injury; it just didn’t make sense. What killed me the most was not knowing what was going on over on the other side. The longer the time ticked on, the more worried I became.
Part of me feared that he would not return, and her soul would be his to keep. Then it struck me. What if he was telling the truth? That he was fighting the evil witch? He had never said whether he won or not. What if this was the witch’s doing, and she’s not letting him get to her soul?
I had to stay positive, for her parent’s sake if nothing else. If they saw me worrying, they would know something was wrong. I just didn’t know what more I could do to help her. She lay there lifelessly as the machines breathed for her.
“Any news yet, doctor?” I heard her dad’s voice. I hadn’t even realized I had fallen asleep.
“I’m sorry,” the doctor said regretfully. “You should go home and get some sleep. We’ll notify you at once if there is any change.”
I was fully awake now. We couldn’t tell the doctor what we knew; there was no way. But someone had to stay here to watch for the sign. I noticed the look that her parents gave one another. “I’ll stay,” I volunteered.
“That’s awfully nice of you, son,” the doctor started.
“We’ll back soon.” Her dad looked at me. “You know the house phone, here is my cell phone number.”
“We have your numbers on record,” the doctor confirmed.
“The two share a special bond; he’ll know before you will,” her father said to the doctor.
The doctor just looked at me, then at Lexi, and then back at her dad. “I hope you’re right,” the doctor said uncertainly. As soon as he left the room, her dad turned to me.
“What if he sends you a sign while we’re gone?”
“I’ll call you right away,” I reassured him.
“What if he says that the life support must be pulled right away?” her mom asked.
She was right. What would happen? I knew I couldn’t make that decision or order the doctor to do it. The hospital thought that I was her brother. “Go ahead. I’ll take care of it, if it comes to that.”
“How?” he asked.
“It would be better if you didn’t know.”
“Just let us know as soon as you know,” her mom said, giving me a hug goodbye.
I went back to sit next to Lexi. She looked so peaceful. I loved her so much. I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it; I am really starting to hate him more and more. Why did he have to say what he said in the car on the way here?
I remembered how happy she was when she was first with him, and her happiness had lasted all through their relationship. Gah! I really hate him. Out of everything I didn’t know, there was one thing I did know. I wasn’t going to let her die.
I just couldn’t imagine her with anyone else. I started to softly cry. If I were to let her go, it wouldn’t be because of him. It would because I love her so much that I would risk whatever happiness I had to make sure she was happy. I would let her make her own decision, no matter which way she chose. She deserved to be happy, not to have two idiots fight over her. Look at what happened! She’s here because of us.
“Dave,” I looked around.
“Justin?” I whispered.
“Yes, it is I, and no they cannot hear me.”
“Did you find her?”
“Yes,” I jumped to a standing position.
“Hold on, though, there is a situation.”
“What is it?” I eagerly demanded.
“She is a stubborn one. Her spirit will not listen to me.”
“Great,” I muttered. “Even on the other side, she’s stubborn.”
“Well, that is not all,” he explained. “Her spirit does not know who she is.”
“What does that mean?”
“Her spirit does not know that it does not belong on this side.”
“Her spirit has amnesia?” I asked, doubting that was even possible.
“Yes. I have convinced her to stay by my side, but until she remembers, she will not go to her body.”
“How much time does she have?” I asked.
“I am not sure, she is fine right now,” he reassured me.
“What can we do?” I asked.
“I do not know,” he replied sadly. “Ask the doctor what they would do with a patient suffering from amnesia.”
“Will you be able to hear their response?”
“Yes. I will offer help if they need anything from me,” he said. I hoped he knew what he was talking about.
“Okay,” I ran out of the room in a panic.
“What’s wrong?” asked a nurse.
“I need to see a doctor immediately!” I cried.
“What is it?” she repeated, concerned.
“Le…Alexandra, it’s about her!” Before I could say anything else, she dragged me to the nearest doctor.
“There is still no progress,” the doctor assured me.
“I may know of a way!” I was so excited, I was nearly jumping up and down.
“Calm down,” he put his hand on my shoulder. “What would this way be?”
“Okay, for argument’s sake, let’s say she has amnesia,” I began. “What would one do to restore her memory?”
He took his hand off my shoulder and placed his fingers along his chin. “Amnesia is very difficult. Some patients regain their memory with the sound of a familiar voice, or with pictures or videos…”
“Can I use the phone?” I asked abruptly.
“Sure,” he handed me a phone to dial.
I hoped her parents were home.
“Ring…(pick up)…Ring…(pick up)…”
“Hello?” Yes! Her mother answered.
“It’s me, Dave!” I was in such in a rush, I did not even know what I wanted to say.
“Dave! How is she? Any improvement? Her questions flowed.
“No, and yes. I’m calling to let you know I’m on my way there. So don’t leave.”
“Okay, I’ll let Andrew know,” she hung up the phone.
“Thanks!” I said placing the phone back on the receiver. I headed out of the hospital faster than the speed of light. All I remember was that in one fluid motion, I was in my car, starting it and driving toward her house.
“Justin?” I called out.
“Yes, I heard,” he was sounding hopeful as well.
“What should I get?”
“Her photo album, the one you gave to her for her birthday last year.”
“She’s using that?” I asked, a little surprised.
“Yes, and phone Val and Jami. Alexandra explained the whole situation to them, as well.”
“You disappeared in front of them?”
“No, this was when I was under the curse, and you decided to throw your first fit.” His voice was resentful – not that I blamed him.
“Oh,” yeah, that. “Is Lexi alright up there, or whereever there is?”
“Yes, I managed to pull her out of the line of souls waiting to cross over.”
“She was where?” I gasped.
“It is where every spirit goes. For the determination on where they will be placed; it is a step before reaching heaven.”
“Thank you,” I breathed out.
“We are not out of the woods yet. I have only been able to buy some time. If they come to her name and she does not answer they will go onto the next, but her name will keep coming up.”
“But she doesn’t even know her name!” I cried out loud.
“Does not matter with them. They know everyone.”
“Great! So we really have to hurry,” I breathed.
“The process could take hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes even years.”
“What is the process?” I asked.
“I do not really recall the process, but you do have something of a choice when you appear before the Angel. With Alexandra being as stubborn as she is, I did not want to take that chance. You are not allowed to have anyone with you when you go.”
I was speeding; I finally made it to her house and threw myself out of the car. I knew her parents wouldn’t be angry if I charged through the door. “I’m sorry,” I said, rushing in.
“What did you find out?” Her dad looked like he had just changed.
“She’s okay where she is at right now,” I slurred.
“Where is she?” her mother asked.
“Justin has her.”
“Why doesn’t he bring her back to her body?” Her dad demanded.
“Justin?” I called out.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith?” Her parents gasped and looked around.
“I do apologize, I cannot appear before you. I have your daughter safe with me. Your daughter’s spirit has amnesia.”
“What do we do?” her father asked.
“We need to act like she is still with her body. Bring something that she remembers. Something that holds some weight in her life,” I said, jumping up and down like an idiot.
“Her room!” Her dad jumped to his feet and raced into her bedroom.
“What would be most important to her?” her dad asked, looking around.
“Her photo album. Dave knows what it looks like,” Justin commented.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“It lies in the top left drawer of her dresser.” As mad as I wanted to be at him for knowing where it was, right now Lexi was my main concern. I ran over and threw the drawer open. Sure enough, it was there. I grabbed it.
“Anything else?” I asked.
“That was the only item I know of. Call her friends and tell them to meet you at the hospital.”
Her parents were looking around to see what they could bring. “I’ll be downstairs calling everyone,” I said, leaving the room.
“Grab a bag,” her dad ordered her mom.
There was something weighing down my breast pocket. My cell phone mom had given me for emergencies. This was an emergency.
“This is he.”
“It’s Dave. I need you to do me a huge favor,” I said talking as fast as I could.
“Anything bro, what’s up?”
call Steve and have everyone meet me at the
“What’s wrong man? Everything okay?”
“I’m fine, Lexi’s not. She has amnesia. Tell everyone to bring something that would be important to Lexi to help her remember who she is.”
“Alright, I’ll start the phone tree now. You gonna call Mike?”
“Yeah, I’m gonna call as soon as I hang up with you.”
“Alright, see you there, bro.”
I hung up the phone and started dialing Mike’s number.
“Hello?” Oh, thank God everyone was answering their phones today.
“What’s up, Dave?”
have much time to explain, but get a hold of
“What?” It sounded like he wanted me to explain, but I didn’t have time.
“Just do it now, please?” I was screaming at this point.
“Alright, see you there.”
“Thanks, bye,” I hung up the phone and ran back upstairs.
“The phone tree has been started, and everyone is bringing something to help Lexi remember.”
“Thanks, Dave,” her mom said, as she searched her room. “Her martial arts uniform.”
Lexi was going to be pissed if she got through this. Her parents were literally destroying her room to find something, anything, that would help her remember.
“Oh, no,” Justin gasped.
“What? What is it, Justin?” I asked.
“This is not normal.”
“What’s not normal?” Her dad demanded.
“They just called her name for the second time.”
“What does that mean?” I asked, before her dad could.
“Meaning if there are not a lot of other spirits to pass through, they will be coming to look for her.”
“Dave, go to the hospital and start with the album. Hon, let’s just take what we have and pray for the best,” her dad said, throwing whatever he could find into the bag.
I headed down the stairs and out the door. I called my mom from the phone to let her know what was going on and to apologize for not calling sooner. Luckily, she understood and said that she and Dad would be there shortly to check up on us. I made it back to the hospital in no time. I ran inside and to the doors where we had entered the night before.
“Any news?” I asked the doctor I had talked to earlier.
“No,” he shook his head.
“Anything is worth a shot. Right?” I said, holding up the photo album.
“It’s worth a shot, but honestly, I don’t think there is anything that can be done right now. She’s not even conscious.” He sounded like there was no hope.
“Her parents are coming, and her best friends are on their way. We need to try,” I said, still trying to hopeful for the best. The doctor looked at me like I was nuts, but he was willing to give anything a try. He led me into her room. Nothing had changed.
“Lexi, it’s me, Dave,” I know I must have sounded stupid, talking to what appeared to be a sleeping Lexi, but I didn’t care. I went through each page and started reading the scripts. I started showing her the book, and then held the pictures in the air. Fortunately, the doctor had been called to another room. “What’s the best way for her to see the book?” I whispered.
“Do exactly what you are doing. She is looking at the pictures in wonder,” I heard excitement in his voice.
So he was as determined to have her live as I was. I read each page aloud and continued with what I was doing.
“How’s she doing?” Val asked, coming in with Terry beside her.
“Come in!” I motioned. “Lexi, Val and Terry are here.”
“She looks horrible,” Terry replied.
“Look at her, and then look at the ceiling,” I whispered.
“Justin’s back?” Val whispered back.
“Yes,” I mouthed.
They did as they were instructed and took a step aside as I continued with the photo album, repeating the same process as before. My heart sank when I came to a page full of pictures of the two of them and slowly read what was written below the photos. First Love.
Lynn and Mike were the next to arrive, followed by Jami and Steve. Val explained what was happening. Everyone went to the waiting room except for Val, Jami and Lexi’s parents. Her mom handed me the bag and explained each item as I took it out, showing it to Lexi and then holding it up toward the ceiling.
“Is any of this helping?” I asked out loud.
“It seems to be. She is complaining of a migraine,” Justin commented. “That is a good sign, because when you are here, you are not supposed to have any pain.”
“How is everything going?” asked the doctor, putting his head in.
“It’s working, we think,” I replied. The doctor walked over to the machine and his eyes opened wider. “Whatever you are doing, keep it up. I have never seen this before. Her brain had a spike, which means that for a moment, she had some type of brain activity,” the doctor sounded hopeful. Skeptical, but hopeful.
“Hmmm,” I said, looking around.
“Can we have a moment alone?” Val asked.
Her parents looked at me. “It couldn’t hurt,” I said, getting up to leave. Her parents followed behind me, and Val and Jami stayed with her. Everyone was in the waiting room, making small talk and relating stories about Lexi. Everyone was on edge, waiting to hear any news.
“Hello, Dave,” sang a beautiful woman’s voice.
I turned around to see the woman who had spoken to us when Lexi and I were walking past the old Victorian house she loves so much.
“How..?” I managed to ask. How had they heard about Lexi, and what were they doing here?
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith?” The man reached his hand out. “We heard about your daughter, and thought we could be of some assistance.”
“How did you hear? And what do you think you can do to help her?” he asked suspiciously.
“We’ve met your daughter on her nightly runs,” the woman said with a sweet smile.
“My name is John, and this is my wife, Heather.” Lexi’s father finally shook his hand.
“It’s, umm, nice to meet you,” he was perplexed. “Explain to me again how you think you can help our daughter?”
“She dropped something on one of her runs, but we haven’t seen her since then to be able to return it,” John held a clear, dirt-covered, sealed bag that contained a small, black box.
“I know what that is,” I gasped.
“The doctor said nothing happened while we were in there,” Val came back in hesitantly.
“May I?” I asked, holding out my hand for the dirt covered bag.
“Sure,” John said, handing me the bag.
I looked at it, and I knew what had to be done. “I have to talk to Lexi alone,” I said to her parents. They nodded. I headed off to her room and closed the door behind me. “Justin?”
“We are still here.”
“Lexi, I want to apologize for being an ass about everything. I love you more than anything in this world,” I started as I carefully tore the plastic. “But I know that you love Justin in a way than you will ever love me. I am willing to accept that. I was selfish for wanting you, and I didn’t listen to what you were trying to tell me before.”
“It is working,” he cried.
“Justin, I am sorry for how I acted towards you, as well. I saw how you treated her and how you made her feel,” I was now holding the black box in my hands. “If it is your choice to be with him, the best that I can offer is to be your friend whenever you need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to talk to. I now understand what Justin was talking about in the car. I wish you and Justin the best of happiness that could be offered. Please accept my apologies.”
I started to cry as I opened the black box and took out the key, the amethyst stones glinting in the light. As much as it broke my heart to do this, I could not keep something that was not mine to begin with. I carefully opened her hand and placed the key into her palm, closing her fingers around it. For a moment, I thought I could feel her tightening her grip around the key.
“You will always hold the key to his heart, just as he holds yours.” I wiped the tears away and slowly opened the door, going back to the others in the waiting room.
“So?” Her dad asked eagerly.
“Justin said that it was working,” I answered, with tears rolling down my face.
“Man, I know how much you care about her,” Mike said, placing his arm around my shoulder. “That was the best thing you could do for her.”
“Dave, we’re sorry,” Val apologized. “We didn’t mean to cause any problems.”
“You didn’t,” I exhaled. “This was bound to happen sooner or later.”
Everyone just started breaking down in tears. We just stood there in silence, waiting for any news to come through.
“It is time,” Justin declared.
I looked at her father, who seemed not to have heard. “It’s time,” I said, tapping him on the shoulder.
“Hon,” he called to his wife, and all three of us ran back to her room.
The doctor was already there, monitoring her progress. “It’s amazing,” he muttered, analyzing the charts that spewed out from the machine.
“You have to unplug the machine now!” Justin screamed.
“Unplug the machines now!” I cried.
“Do as he says,” her father ordered.
“She is making progress, but that doesn’t mean that she will be able to breathe on her own!” the doctor objected.
“We’re losing her!” Justin screamed frantically.
“You have to do it now, or we’re going to lose her!” I ordered.
“Do it now!” Her father bellowed. “We’re ordering you to pull the plug now!”
The doctor gave us a look, then reluctantly turned off the machines and began unhooked the connections.
We just stood, there waiting for Lexi to come back to life. “What’s going on?” I whispered.
“It takes time,” Justin replied. “Be patient.”
“Did you hear him?” I asked her father. He shook his head. I wondered why he couldn’t hear Justin. “Why can’t he hear you?” I whispered.
“Another complication,” he said. “Tell them to be patient.”
“He said to be patient,” I whispered to her parents.
They both nodded in agreement. We sat there, watching the doctor remove the last of the life support equipment. Nothing was happening. The machine that monitored her heart was still going; her heart rate had started to slow.
“Tell them not to touch her,” Justin ordered.
“No matter what happens, don’t do anything,” I said, loud enough for them all to hear. The doctor looked even more skeptical; I hoped there wasn’t going to be a problem. Her mother had her hands clasped to her face, and her father just stared at her. Her heart rate continued to slow.
“She’s going into cardiac arrest,” the doctor announced. He knew his hands were tied, and there was nothing he could do.
“She is reunited with her body; there is nothing more I can do. The rest is up to her,” Justin said. “Warn her parents that I will be appearing behind the doctor.”
“Justin’s going to appear behind the doctor,” I whispered in her dad’s ear.
Sure enough, Justin appeared and walked over to stand beside me and her parents. No one took much notice. He looked as worried as I felt. The doctor looked up at us, back at Lexi and then did a double take when he noticed Justin standing there. I just shook my head.
There was no change in her. She didn’t start breathing, she didn’t move, her eyes didn’t even flinch. Justin walked over and knelt next to Lexi’s dying body. Her dying body. I was going to personally kill him if this was nothing but a ploy.
“Alexandra, my love,” he closed his eyes. “I know you can hear me speak. I love you. Your parents love you and want you to come home.”
He kissed her hand that held the key, pulled himself up, and took his place next to me again. For a moment, there seemed to be a spike in her heart rhythm. I closed my eyes for a second and prayed that she would be okay, but at the same time, I heard the sound of the machine flat line, and her mom screamed.
Several technicians came rushing in with life-saving equipment, but the doctor informed them that there was a Do Not Resuscitate order in place. They looked at us, then took their equipment and quietly left the room.
Lexi’s body lay there, lifeless.
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