A sigh of relief filled my lungs as I smiled back at Jaden, my editor, handing me back a copy of my work. I felt his hand on mine a little longer then expected, his face, nearly an inch from mine, as he bent forward. I closed my eyes, felt my heart bang, and took a deep breath.
1:30 a.m. Central North Hospital
"What are you guys trying to do, ruin every chance I have at sex?" Luke cried, as he and Will entered room 212. He was referring to the night Will O'Neil dropped in suddenly, back from California and crashed his attempt at a hook-up, and now I myself was laid up in the hospital's emergency wing.
"Here," Luke grunted, tossing a Snickers bar and a day-old newspaper in my lap. Will pulled over a chair, tucking the drab blue blanket around my shoulders.
"The concession was closed," Will added, with a little frown. "What happened?" he asked.
Just as I was about to divulge my sordid tale to two of my two best friends, the door flew back open and Grady fell to his knees at my side.
"You poor guy, I'm so sorry!" he gasped. "I'm so sorry for thinking what a slut you were for sleeping with your editor, but now that you're dying, please," he pleaded, "forgive me!"
"Oh Grady, put it together," Luke barked
"I'm not dying!" I yelled, above all the hysteria, as my three best friends crowded around.
Grady was still holding my hand as the tears welled in his eyes. "But you're in the Intensive Care Unit," he said, looking at me frantically, confused and grabbing for a clump of tissues.
"I'm only here, 'cause there are no available beds elsewhere." The confusion added to my already splitting headache and aching back. I saw stars for the first time-no, really. As I had leaned forward, feeling Jayden's cupid lips touch mine, my back locked up, and I slid forward, and wound up on the floor. There I had been, sprawled out, writhing in pain, on the floor in my editor's office.
"Would you all just shut up? I'm not going to die, but after I tell you what happened, I'll wish I had," I stammered. "Now here's what happened-and no interruptions"
We all looked at Grady, who made a spot for himself at the edge of my bed.
On the table beside my bed, there was a black cell phone. It started to ring. I've seen that Blackberry before: it was Jayden's.
"He must have forgotten it when he took me to the Emergency Room."
"Well, someone answer it," Luke blurted out.
Grady reached forward fumbling with the keys. "Hello?" Will asked, pulling the phone from Grady's hands and flipping it upright. The conversation lasted only a few seconds and Will returned the phone back to its spot on the bedside table. "Joey, that was Garret." I looked up at him as his face, now flushed, looked grim. "Jayden's boyfriend."
Boyfriend? I sank further into the bed, as a thousand more stars hit my skull, and it was lights out.
"Nurse!" Grady called, as I passed out cold from the shock, pain, and total embarrassment-oh, and a good dose of morphine.