Roxy woke to the sound of rustling papers. Soon as she finished writing the nurse lifted her head.
“Good morning, how did you sleep?”
“Alright. What time is it.”
“Nine am” she clicked her pen and placed it in her pocket. “Almost home time.”
A shuffle came from the seat next to her, she turned her head.
“How long has he been here”
“Your dad?” the nurse questioned
“He’s not my dad”
“Well you must mean a lot to him; he’s been there all night”
“Yep. We did ask everyone to stay in the relatives’ room so you could have a proper rest. He didn’t listen”
“That would be right”
“Didn’t do any harm though. Do you want me to wake him?”
“No let him be” Roxy said looking at Paul and smiling “You could do something else for me though.”
Roxy told the Nurse what she wanted. The nurse looked at her confused but nodded her head as she left.
“Anything you need I guess, I’ll be back on shift later, is that ok?”
“Fine, I’ll still be here”
The Nurse had a little chuckle before walking out of the room. As she walked out Paul started stirring in the chair, as Roxy watched him, he opened his eyes.
“Good Morning Sleepy.”
“Boy the nurses aren’t happy with you. Sneaking in here last night, refusing to leave.”
“Oh, come on. I was just being…”
“Relax, I’m just messing” Roxy said with a smile
“Well I’m glad you’re feeling better”
“Yeah, well we all survived yesterday didn’t we.” She said looking at his arm.
“You were lucky Roxy; you know that right”
“Trust you to bring the mood down. My morning was going so well.”
Paul rolled his eyes
“Why did you stay with me last night anyway. I would’ve assumed you’d have wanted to be with Terese or Harlow.”
“The chair was more comfortable here.” Paul paused for a bit. He looked at Roxy who gave him a look of disbelief at his answer “Fine. No one deserves to wake up in hospital alone, I’ve been there I know the feeling. After yesterday, I didn’t want that for you.”
“Yeah yeah, now you’re awake I’ll go get the others.”
As he got up and walked towards the door. Roxy watched him and smiled. His limp was slightly more obvious as it always was when he’d been sitting somewhere for a long time or when he’d take a nap on the sofa at home, and when someone came in, he would jump to his feet and pretend he was doing anything but. Roxy shouted after him, stopping him in his tracks.
He turned around, shook his head and smiled at her.
“Thank You, for staying with me.”
He nodded his head, looked at the chair before turning around and kept on walking. Looking down the corridor, walking towards him was Ned, Harlow and Terese carrying what looked like 4 coffees.” He welcomed Terese with a morning kiss on her cheek before turning to Ned.
“One of those for me”
Ned passed the cup over to Paul and he took a sip.
“Is Roxy awake?” Terese asked
“Yeah, I was on my way to come and get you… Wait how did you know I was with Roxy.”
“I came to look for you last night.”
“Oh right. Listen I’m sorry, I didn’t want to wake you.”
“That’s fine darling” Terese said placing her hand on his arm
“Tell you what’s not fine, this coffee.” Paul looked at Ned “Did machine say dishwater or coffee.”
“Not sure, it’s been a long night” Ned said with a cheeky smile on his face.
“Ha de ha ha. Very funny” Paul replied taking another sip with a sour look on his face.
As they walked towards Roxy’s room Terese spotted someone standing in the room with her. Assuming it might be her doctor she thought nothing of it. As they approached the room, Harlow sneaked under the window to give Roxy a surprise. As she knocked on the window the woman jumped. Turned in a panic and left the room in a hurry. Harlow came round to the door where she was joined by Ned, Paul and Terese.
Who was that?” she asked
“I don’t know, she came in, said she wanted to say something and then you all came and she left” Roxy answered just as confused.
Thinking nothing more of it, Ned and Harlow continued towards the bed. Harlow gave Roxy a hug as Ned made himself comfortable in the chair. Paul was otherwise distracted. He was looking in the woman’s direction, who had just wondered past the nurse’s station. Wondering what she wanted in Roxy’s room. He looked at Terese, she could see that he was planning something.
“Just leave it Paul”
“Just leave it, she probably just got the wrong room”
“If that’s the case, you’d just leave. No, I want to know what she wanted.” He could see unimpressed written on her face “Don’t worry. I’ll just go and ask.”
Paul turned and walked after the woman. Terese thought better than to let him go alone so she joined him. As they approached Terese decided that she’d better take lead on this one.
“Excuse me” she said tapping the woman on her shoulder. The woman turned around “can we help you?”
“You wanted to talk to Roxy?”
“Oh no, I just got the wrong room, sorry”
“Paul leave it”
“I’m sorry, if it was the wrong room why did you leave in such a hurry?” Paul questioned, looking at the woman. She was looking around avoiding his gaze at every possibility. “what did you want with Roxy?”
“I don’t understand what you expect me to say?”
“The truth maybe, what is so important to tell her but not us eh?”
“Please don’t do this”
“Don’t do what? It’s a simple question”
“Paul just leave it, you’re upsetting her”
“I just want an honest answer then I’ll let it go.”
“Fine, you want the honest answer, you want to know why I went to see your daughter. It was because I felt guilty. Because I wanted to explain.”
“Guilty about what?” Paul answered with confusion in his voice. “Who are you?”
Terese realised what was going on but didn’t know how to explain it to Paul. She thought about taking him from there but he needed to know, she knew he deserved to know.
“I’m sorry, I am so sorry” the woman continued
It finally dawned on him where the conversation was going. He looked at Terese, he could see the hurt and sadness in her eyes. Surely, he wasn’t right, surely, she wouldn’t be this idiotic or was its cleaver thinking she’s gotten away with it if she apologized.
“Are you telling me you’re the reason we are here. You’re the idiot that crashed into them and then drove off. Well?” his voice raised as he looked at her with anger in his eyes. The woman looked at Terese “don’t look at her look at me. Did you crash into those kids yesterday?”
“Yes, and I can’t tell you how sorry I am”
“Staying with them would’ve been a start.”
“I took my eyes off the road for a second, Nick was ill I had to check on him”
Paul shook his head. Terese on the other hand was intrigued.
“Who’s Nick, your son?” she asked looking for some justification.
Paul looked at her astounded in the fact that she seemed to be giving this woman a chance.
“Yeah, he’s my boy. He was fine, and then he threw up. I just looked back for a split second and that’s when I saw the car. I hit my breaks and skidded sideways; with the back of my car slightly damaged I assumed the other car would’ve been fine too so I left. I did return afterwards but the police were turning everyone away. That’s when I knew it was serious”
“So where is Nick now? Is he here?”
“No, he’s outside."
“Hold on” Terese questioned with confusion in her voice “So you care about him enough to break the law but not enough to keep him with you at the hospital. How old is he?”
“You’ve left a four-year-old alone in the car”
“He’s not allowed....”
“Is he a dog” Paul asked with anger in his voice. The hesitation in her response spoke volumes. Paul laughed in disbelief. “You risked the lives of three people, three kids, for a mutt. Are you serious?”
“No Terese. Her dog threw up. Her dog. Not her child or relative, her dog.”
“Nick means the world to me; he’s my family.”
“And those three are mine.” He said pointing towards Roxy’s room.
“And I’m sorry” the woman said in a teary voice
“My family could’ve died all because your dog got car sick and you didn’t have the decency to check the damage you caused.”
“Please can I just explain to your daughter, tell her I’m sorry?”
“You are going nowhere near them”
“Paul that’s enough.” The anger in his voice was scaring Terese. He was protective at the best of times but this felt different, she looked at the woman.
“Maybe you should leave us be, go to the police tell them your story. Let us explain to Roxy.”
The woman looked towards Roxy’s room, and then back at Paul and Terese.
“I am sorry, I really am”
Paul just looked at her in disgust. As she turned and walked away, Paul got his final word in.
“Oh, you will be.”
Terese looked at him.
“What was that all about. Don’t you dare do anything stupid you hear me”
“Yeah because that all I’m capable of right. Thanks a lot, Terese. You know, I thought you’d at least be in my corner on this.”
“Of course, I’m in your corner. This is my family too you know; you don’t get to own this?”
Paul looked at her and said nothing. He just walked away. As he passed Roxy’s room he looked in and smiled before carrying on his walk and disappearing out of sight.
Terese had left it a while before following Paul. As she reached the door, she looked around but she couldn’t see him. He might’ve gone to the car she thought. Just when she started to walk towards the car park, she caught a glimpse of him sitting on the bench just over the road from the hospital. She crossed the road and joined him.
“This is where you disappeared to”
He lifted his head; took a deep breath before looking back down. Terese sat next to him. The sound of the cars passing filled the silence.
“I thought you’d be in the car?”
“I didn’t have the key”
“Could’ve jumped over the door”
He turned his head suddenly with a disgusted look on his face.
“Did you leave the roof open”
“I was just kidding”
She looked at him, he was drifting again. Lost in his own little world. The scene he pulled in there was still on her mind. She placed her hand on his knee and looked at him. As always, he placed his hand on hers.
“What was it all about”
“You, in there, just walking out”
“I needed some air”
“And a cool down by all accounts”
Paul moved his hand away from hers.
“That woman deserved everything she got”
“What? Of course, she did, she’s the cause of all of this Terese. But you don’t seem to share the same anger.”
“Don’t turn this on me, you know I’m just as angry as you are. But making an example of her like that was not fair. She was sorry, she felt bad enough as it was, she didn’t need us making it worse for her.”
Paul laughed in disbelief
“Are you serious, she almost killed Roxy and you think I was in the wrong”
“It’s not about right or wrong, it about time and place and here was neither.”
“Then she should’ve thought of that before coming here.”
Terese sighed and looked at him
“I know it’s difficult to understand how she feels Paul but she did what she thought was right for her family.”
“So, did I”
“Did you. Did you even consider me or the kids before going all Alpha male in there?”
“It was a dog Terese. Her dog. And don’t get me started on him”
“Oh, what you going to start blaming the dog now are you. He should’ve picked a safer spot to be ill. Wait till he reached a layby?”
He looked at her. Both fell silent as the sound of the birds sang in the trees behind them. He looked at the ground and started to play with the ring on his pinkie.
“Did you hear what his name was, the dog. That name Terese is ruining this weekend over and over again. Just the thought of it yesterday morning was enough, just thinking about seeing Nick again, it made me nervous. Everything just felt like I was fighting with myself. You know, last time I saw him I hated every second of it. The only good thing about it was the fact that he saved you, and there was no reason for it to be any different this time. But we seem to escape one only for another to create a whole new set of problems. Why that name, Terese, like it’s all part of some sort of a final revenge play. Him once again getting the last laugh.”
Terese looked at him with sadness in her eyes.
“You know what, there was a part of me that was glad when the girls called us today. Glad. I thought, this is it, my get out of jail free card. Whatever they had done, it didn’t matter because I was once again getting my own way. Just like it always is.”
“You know this isn’t your fault, right?”
He stood up, walked a couple of steps and turned to look at her.
“My stubborn ways lead us here today, how can you not see that. It was me that wanted to travel in separate cars, Roxy was trying this morning but I had to be difficult. I had to change the plans, make it all about me. And look where we are. It keeps happening Terese. I want something, I succeed only for it to hurt someone I care about. David, Ned, Harlow, you. You all have been casualties of either my work, my pride or my reputation.”
“Oh Paul” Terese stood up and walked towards him
“Seeing her in that car Terese, how could I have been glad of something like that.”
“Hey” she placed her hands in his and looked at him “we could never have known what had happened until we arrived. Ok. None of this is on you. None of it"
“We should’ve been there with them. It should’ve been me in that driver’s seat. Me in that hospital bed. My life in the hands of others”
“And what difference would that have made eh?”
Paul looked at Terese, his eyes filled with tears.
“I was so angry yesterday morning, took everything out on her when it wasn’t even her fault.”
“Yeah, but like you said, that’s just the way you two do things”
“What if yesterday had ended differently. What if we hadn’t been so lucky. I have lost too many good people without having a chance to say goodbye, what if Roxy had become another.”
“Listen” she squeezed his hands “We didn’t lose her, our family is still in one piece.” she said with a smile on her face to cover her tears “No one deserved to be in that car today, and it was purely chance that it happened. Nothing to do with anyone or any grand plan. And don’t ever think we would be better off without you; we need you just as much as you need us. Never forget that.” She dropped her hands and embraced him. He held her tightly back, a tear fell down his cheek as he closed his eyes and rested in her arms.
Paul and Terese walked into the hospital arm in arm. He looked at her and gave her a smile as they heard the sound of laughter coming from Roxy’s room.
“I win again” Harlow gloated
“We are literally playing like one person.” Ned said pointing to his and Roxy’s arms.
“Don’t be a bad loser, we Robinsons are good at winning. It’s in my genes”
“Robinsons like to cheat too, is that in your genes?” Roxy mocked
Ned laughed; Harlow only looked at her
“Just because you’re here don’t think you can get away with everything”
“What she pulling now” Paul asked as he stood in the door.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Roxy teased.
Harlow ignored her and turned back to Paul.
“Where did you disappear to, did you go get lunch?”
“Nah” Paul said looking towards Terese
“We are going to head home to grab some things for Roxy if you’d like to join us, we could pick something up on the way.” Terese said
“Oh, can I come too? I need to change from these clothes.” Ned joined in
Everyone stopped for a second and looked at each other.
“You know what, you three go I’ll stay here.” Paul said looking at Terese
“I don’t need a baby sitter” Roxy interrupted
Paul looked at her then turned his attention back to Terese.
“You can grab me a sandwich on the way back”
“Are you sure, darling?”
“Yeah, you go. Can’t have Ned scaring people with a stench like that on him”
“That’s called revenge, bad coffee doesn’t sit well with me” Paul joked
Ned gave him a sarcastic smile and nod before he and Harlow stood up. Harlow leaned over the bed to give Roxy a hug before she and Ned headed out the door. They went and stood in the window, pulled some faces and left. Terese walked towards Roxy to give her a goodbye hug before going back to Paul and gave him a kiss on his cheek. His hand lingered in hers as she walked away. Soon as she left Paul turned to Roxy.
“We need to talk.”