Universal: Chapter 8
When I woke from the anesthesia for the first time, I couldn’t open my eyes. All I could manage to do was form the word “pain.” I felt like someone had opened my gut, stuck a hand mixer inside set on high and then sewn me back up again.
A woman’s voice asked, “On a scale of one to ten, how bad is the pain?”
It felt like a ten to me, but I didn’t want her to think I was a pussy, so I said, “Eight.”
Then I was out again.
The second time I woke up, the pain was closer to an actual eight and I was able to open my eyes. Sookie’s face was smiling down at me, and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Actually, she probably was, with or without the pain meds. Her slutty makeup was gone and she was back to the natural Sookie I had fallen so hard for.
But then, I remembered what had happened and what she was and I closed my eyes again and thought, “Why does it have to be you?” Of all the women I knew, she was the last one I wanted to see me like this.
“Why does what have to be me?” I heard her sweet Southern voice ask. Oops. I guess I’d said that out loud.
I tried hard not to think about her so I wouldn’t accidentally say I was in love with her or something else equally stupid.
“What did you say?” she asked.
Shit, had I said something else? “Nothing.”
“Pam’s getting your paperwork together and my instructions on what to do for you. It seems I’m going to stay here and take care of you for a few days while you get better.”
“What about work?” I didn’t want to be there when she went out and did whatever she did. I didn’t think I could take it.
“Well, I called Sam and told him what was going on and he agreed to give me some time off.”
“My boss and, well … my kind-of boyfriend.”
“Yes, Eric, Sam is my pimp.”
“Who has a pimp?” I heard Pam’s voice in the room and tried to open my eyes, but couldn’t.
“Eric’s feeling no pain, it seems,” Sookie said.
“No, it’s a six now,” I explained.
“What?” Sookie asked.
“Never mind.” It was really more like a five.
“Do you think you can dress yourself?” Sookie asked. “Should we get the nurse?”
“No, I can do it.” I opened my eyes and saw both women looking at me. “Can you help me sit up?”
They helped me and it hurt like hell, but once I was sitting up, I was able to focus better and woke up a little more. Pam handed me my clothes and she and Sookie pulled the little curtain that all hospitals seemed to have and left me some privacy.
We made a stop at a pharmacy on the way to the hotel and Pam took my wallet in to get my prescriptions filled. I lay across the back seat and listened to Sookie on the phone telling Felipe DeCastro we were on our way to the hotel.
“I don’t want him to see me like this,” I said when she hung up.
“Don’t worry, sweetie, he won’t.”
I loved that she called me sweetie.
When we pulled into the valet section of the hotel, Sookie got out and helped me into a waiting wheelchair. She put my jacket across my lap and pushed me through the lobby. Pam caught up with us pulling a rolling suitcase, and as we reached the elevators, I retrieved my key from my pocket to show security.
We rode the elevator in silence and once we were in my room, I climbed from the wheelchair to the bed and lay on my back. Pam took the wheelchair from the room and Sookie came over and sat beside me on the bed.
“Mr. DeCastro said you could stay as long as you need to and our room and incidentals would be taken care of,” she said.
“That was nice of him.”
“Did you bring anything comfortable to put on? Some shorts? A t-shirt?”
“I have some sweats and t-shirts in my suitcase by the sofa.”
She walked over to the sitting area and returned with my sweatpants and a t-shirt. She helped me sit up and then went into the bathroom while I changed.
When she came back out, she pulled the covers back and helped me get situated comfortably in the bed and hung my suit up in the closet. I was wiped out just from the exertion of changing clothes and closed my eyes.
I’d fallen asleep, apparently, and when I woke again, the pain was back to a higher number. I opened my eyes and Sookie was standing beside the bed with a glass of water and a pill in her hand.
“It’s time for your Vicodin,” she said. “Are you getting hungry yet?”
I nodded and took the pill from her. I could hear that the TV was on, but the sound was low. After I’d taken the pill, I looked over and saw Pam on the sofa watching TV.
“We’re going downstairs to get some lunch. What would you like us to bring you?” Sookie asked.
“Take some money from my wallet,” I said. The least I could do was to buy their food.
“I’ll try and put as much as I can on the room, but I’ll take some cash just in case. Do you think you could eat some soup?”
“Yeah, that sounds good. Whatever, really. I’m not picky.”
She took the glass back into the bathroom and I closed my eyes for a minute.
“Is the pain better?” I heard Sookie ask.
I opened my eyes and she was sitting beside me. She looked so beautiful and I wished I’d never seen her in all that makeup with her hair teased out the night before. I loved how she didn’t need any makeup to look good.
“You look so much prettier,” I told her.
“Yeah, I would imagine everything looks a little prettier right about now,” I heard Pam say from across the room.
“We’ll be downstairs, Eric,” Sookie said. “Your phone’s beside the bed. Call me if you think of anything you need or want, okay?”
“We’ll be back soon.”
I wished she’d call me sweetie again.
Now that the pain was better, I realized this wasn’t going to be so bad after all. I would get to spend some alone time with Sookie. Maybe for a few days, the rest of the world would go away and we could forget what reality was and just enjoy each other. Sure, I was flat on my back and pretty much a helpless wreck, but there was no reason I couldn’t enjoy the attentions of the most beautiful woman in the world. At least for a little while.