The version of this that’s in my journal is super sloppy. I tried to clean it up, but there are still moments… »;
“What’s up?” Her voice was cool and cheery and there was some faint classical music playing in the background. Adam knew that that meant she was writing - or that she had been, until he interrupted her.
He forced his voice to even out the tremolo brought on by emotion and adrenaline. “Hey. Sorry to bother you.”
Having been friends with Adam for the past five years, Alison had gotten good at finding everything he tried to hide. For the most part he could fool anyone, even the girls he dated, but Alison could read him as easily as she did the books she wrote. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
Adam took a deep breath, holding the phone away from him for a moment. “I just had to send Elizabeth to the hospital,” he replied.
Before he could continue with what had happened, Alison’s music was turned off and he could hear the rustle of her jacket. “I’ll be right over - Tony didn’t take his car.”
It took her about twenty minutes to get across town to Adam’s apartment building - a feat that seemed to bend time and space. Adam was pacing his living room waiting for her to ring his bell. He was terrible at sitting still, even - or perhaps especially - when there was nothing that he could do. Instead of hearing the buzzer though, he heard a knock at his door. He opened it to Alison standing in the hall, car keys in her hand. “How did you get in?” he asked, peering down the hall in either direction to see if one of his neighbors may have been the one to open the door for her in their way in.
“By now your doorman knows me,” she said simply. “Come on. Tell me what happened on the way there.”
In the forty minute ride to the hospital, Adam told her the story of what had happened leading up to his phone call. They then tried to figure out what would have caused her to do it at all, let alone in this fashion. They were quiet by the time they arrived at the hospital, the fact that Elizabeth’s life was in danger finally sinking in as the adrenaline rush wore off.
When Adam asked if he could see her, he was met with considerable resistance. Since they were no longer dating he had less pull than he would have just a few months before. He was growing frustrated and his already-frayed nerves were wearing very thin. It was made worse by the fact that the nurse to whom he was speaking was more sarcastic that he could deal with. Alison stepped in when she arrived from parking the car in the garage across the street.
“What’s the problem?” she asked, resting her arms on top of the counter.
“He has no relation to her. She is in critical condition; he can’t go in to see her.” The nurse’s voice was firm and precise, but it was obvious that she was growing tired of repeating herself.
Generally, Alison was a very placid person. Adam had only seen her temper boil once, and it was an astonishingly terrifying this for him to witness. She rarely yelled - even when mildly frustrated - but instead became very snappy and eloquent in her insults. Her feelings were generally expressed in journals and short pieces of writing alongside her novels. When she got angry, the writer in her showed.
“I’m not certain where you draw the line for your term of ‘relationship’,” Alison responded, her lips pulled tight as she enunciated every word sharply. “but I believe that the fact that she was found on his bed would be a permissible place to ignore the line. He was the one to call the ambulance, and given that they had a fairly deep relationship and a less-than-tidy break-up - which is likely what led her to this in some way or another, I’d like to add - I think that you can probably make an exception for him.”
The nurse stared at them for a moment, then directed her full attention back to Alison. “And who are you?”
“I’m his current girlfriend,” she replied flatly, glancing over at Adam to see a flash of confusion across his face amidst his worry and doubt.
The nurse hesitated, then filled out their visitor’s forms. She gave them their passes. “She’s in the ICU, room 212.”
“Thank you,” Alison said curtly, took the passes, and led Adam away.
“My current girlfriend?” he asked, looking down at her with a puzzled look still on his face. “And did you need to put so much fault on me while giving her my life story?” Adam was fidgeting with the pass while they waited for the elevator. He suddenly felt like he was a small child being led in by one of his parents to see the other on their deathbed, uncertain what to think or feel, but very glad that he had someone with him who did know.
Alison shrugged. “It got us in, didn’t it?”
Adam didn’t respond, and they boarded the elevator in silence. While effective, Alison’s speech had made him feel even worse about the whole situation. Somewhere, deep inside him, he had known that if Elizabeth did die, it would be his fault - rather directly, most likely. But he hadn’t really thought about it until now. Going in to her hospital room and confronting her about it terrified him, but he needed an explanation.