Read Unexpected Reality Online

Authors: Kaylee Ryan

Unexpected Reality (7 page)

“Here.” He hands me a CD. “I recorded it for you. I also have these.” Reaching beneath the machine, he tears off a long, thin strip of paper.

Pictures.

Of my son.

“Thank you,” I rasp.

He leaves the room, taking the machine with him, just as my phone vibrates in my pocket. Pulling it out, I see ‘Dad’ flash across the screen. I don’t know if I can even have my phone on in here; will it mess with all these machines? I let the call go to voicemail and step out of the room.

“I need to make a call. Am I allowed to use this here?” I ask Alice once I reach the nurses’ station.

“Yeah, we just ask that you leave it on vibrate, and of course end any calls when the physician is in the room,” she tells me.

“Thank you. Can I stay?” I point over my shoulder.

“Yeah, she’s stable for now. But if anyone asks, I told you no.” She winks at me.

I nod since smiling back would take too much effort at this point. I walk back to her room and take the chair next to the bed, swiping the screen to call my dad back.

“Ridge, how was the gala?” He chuckles. Dad knows that’s not my thing.

“I didn’t make it. Tonight has been . . . one for the books,” I confess.

“What’s going on, son?”

My parents’ are awesome, always there for Reagan and me growing up, and even now as adults. I know I can go to them with anything. Looking at my watch, I see that it’s after ten at night. “It’s a long story. I’m not hurt, but I’m still at the hospital.”

“Hospital?”

I can hear the worry in his voice. “Yeah, would you be able to . . . ?”

“I’m on my way. Your mother?”

I love that he gets me. He wants to know if he should bring Mom or if this is a ‘guys’ conversation. At this point, I need all the support I can get. “Yeah, if she’s not already asleep. Just ask the nurse at the reception desk to get me. I’ll let them know I’m waiting for you.”

“We’re leaving now.”

Just like that, no questions asked. I should probably call Reagan and the guys, but I just can’t find the strength to do it. I will also have to deal with Stephanie at some point. She’s obviously pissed, hence the reason I haven’t heard from her since I told her I wasn’t going to make it to the gala.

There are more important things in life.

When Alice comes in to check Melissa’s vitals, I inform her that I’m waiting on my family.

“I’ll let the receptionist know where to find you.”

“Thank you.” I spend the next fifteen minutes studying the pictures of my son. I’m glad that I have them; it makes this more real. It will be easier to explain with proof.

A little while later, Alice peeks her head in the door. “Your family just arrived. I had Kate put them in the private room you were in before.”

“Thanks.” I stand and grab the letter and with one last parting look at Melissa, I leave the room to fill my family in on the events of the evening.

 

 

“Knock, knock.” Dr. Ellis peeks his head into the private waiting room.

I just finished giving my parents’ and Reagan the condensed version of my day. Telling them that I was going to be a father was the hardest part. By the time I was finished, there were lots of tears for Melissa, the baby, and just the entire situation.

“Ridge, this is Dr. Robbins. He’s treating Melissa,” he introduces us.

“So, how is she? How’s the baby? What’s next?” I rush through questions that have been bouncing around in my head since I first found out.

“Baby is good, vitals are strong,” Dr. Ellis states, looking at a tablet in his hands. “Her vitals are good, now we just wait for her body to decide to wake up. Medicine is not an exact science. We have to let her body heal and decide when she wakes up; it’s a waiting game.”

“Mom is stable for now. Her body is protecting her from her injuries. It’s now just a waiting game to see if and when she wakes up,” Dr. Robbins tells me.

“If?”

He nods slowly. “If. Medicine is not an exact science, and it’s hard to know how the body is going to react to trauma. We are hopeful, but she’s been out for a long time.”

“And the baby? What does all of this mean for him? What happens if Melissa doesn’t wake up?” I ask, even though I’m fearful for the answer.

“In situations such as this, we will continue to monitor the baby and do a cesarean delivery when the time comes,” Dr. Ellis answers.

“Is that safe for Melissa? How does that affect her?”

“As safe as it can be. We would provide her with the same anesthesia we would any mom in this situation.”

“So, we just wait?” I scoff, thinking there has to be something else.

“At this time, yes. That’s all we can do. Dr. Ellis will monitor the baby closely, and if there are any signs of distress, we will deliver without question,” Dr. Robbins states.

Resting my elbows on my knees, I bury my face in my hands. I hate that I can’t fix this. I can’t help Melissa, and I can’t do anything but wait and pray that the baby is okay.

More prayers. I’ve been calling in a lot of those in the last several hours.

“We’ll keep you posted should things change.”

They both turn and leave the room, leaving me with ‘all we can do is wait.’

“Ridge, is there a chance . . . ?” Reagan stops.

I know what she was going to ask me. “I don’t really know her, I explained that, but this letter, and just the few hours I spent with her . . . She’s not the deceiving type. At least, I don’t think she is.”

“I’m sure the hospital will do a test once the baby is here, just to make sure,” Mom assures me.

“Yeah, but I still can’t leave them. If the baby
is
mine—and I feel like it is—I can’t just leave them here. She has no family. What if something goes wrong?”

“You do what you need to do. I have the office covered,” Dad says, placing his hand on my shoulder. “Retirement is getting boring anyway.” He winks at me, trying to lessen the somber mood.

“You tell us what you need, and we’ll do it. We’re here for you,” Mom adds.

“Thank you. Reagan, can you call the guys and let them know what’s going on? That saves Dad the hassle of going out to the job sites tomorrow.”

“Consider it done, big brother. Do you need me to bring you anything?”

“It would be nice to have some dry clothes and maybe my cell charger.”

“Hey, why don’t you run home, take a hot shower, change, and grab what you need? I’ll stay here in case she wakes up. If anything happens, I’ll call you, promise,” Reagan suggests.

“Not tonight, maybe tomorrow. I just . . . want to be here.” I can’t explain it, but I feel like this is where I need to be.

“Okay, well, the offer stands for whatever you need. I’ll run to your place and pick up some clothes and your charger and be back in no time.”

I stand and pull my little sister into my arms, hugging her tight. “Thank you. Please be careful. Take your time,” I stress.

“Always,” she says with shimmering eyes. “I’ll see you in a little while.”

“We’ll sit with you for a bit,” Mom says.

“No, you guys go on home. I’m going to go sit with her. They’re moving her out of the ER and into the ICU. I’ll call you tomorrow. Dad, thanks for taking care of things at the shop.”

“You don’t worry about a thing. I got it. If there’s something I need, I’ll call you. You remember to do the same.” He pierces me with his ‘listen to me, I’m your father’ look that I used to get more often than not as a teenager.

I nod, hug them both, and head back to Melissa.

It’s after midnight by the time they get her moved to the ICU. The nurses pitched a fit when I said I was staying in her room—apparently guests aren’t allowed to stay overnight. I don’t know what she said to them, but Alice spoke to the nurses and then the doctors. I have strict rules to stay out of the way, but I’m allowed to stay.

I settle into the chair that flattens into a not-so-comfortable bed. The pillow that Alice gave me is so flat I can hardly call it one. Sleep evades me. My mind is racing and as soon as I do start to drift off, someone is in the room, checking on Melissa. I drift off again and they’re checking on the baby. I’m not going to complain, though; it’s reassuring to know they’re getting such good care.

I finally give up at around six in the morning, when Dr. Ellis brings in the ultrasound machine.

“Is something wrong?” I ask, trying to keep the panic out of my voice.

“No, but I want to make sure I get a good look at this little guy at least once a day.”

I sit up to watch him set the machine up and place the gel across Melissa’s abdomen. He’s quiet as he takes his measurements.

“She’s measuring at thirty-seven weeks.”

“I don’t know what that means,” I confess.

“Full term is forty weeks. If we had to deliver from this day moving forward, I feel confident on the outcome. She’s been getting IV steroids, which will help strengthen the little guy’s lungs.”

“Will that hurt her?”

“No, it’s safe for both of them.”

“Good.”

The morning nurse stops in for dressing changes and I step out, hitting up the vending machine for a stale coffee and a pack of donuts. I haven’t eaten since yesterday at lunch. I take a walk out to the garden in the center of the hospital. It’s a safe place for patients who are not in the ICU to walk outside and get some fresh air. The morning air is crisp and I relish it, sucking in a slow, deep breath, thinking maybe I can catch a quick cat nap.

My phone vibrates. No such luck.

 

Stephanie: Where are you?
Me: Hospital.
Stephanie: Call me.

 

Here we go.
I tap on her contact and wait for her to pick up.

“Hello.”

“Hey, it’s me.”

“Everything okay?”

“No.”

“Oookay. Are you hurt?”

“No.”

“Care to fill me in?”

“I don’t really want to do this over the phone,” I tell her.

“I have a busy day today, Ridge. Just tell me what’s going on.”

So, I do, giving her the condensed version. Only I leave out the fact that Melissa was just a one-night stand because, at this point, it’s no longer relevant. After I explain the flat-tire girl and the accident, I pause. I know she’s not going to take this well. “And . . . uh, Melissa . . . She’s pregnant.”

“Good for her. What does that have to do with you?”

How have I put up with her for this long? “It’s mine. We were together before I met you. About eight months ago was the last time.” I don’t know why I don’t want her to know, I just don’t.

“So, you’re having a baby?”

“Yes. He’s due in three weeks.”

“He? I guess you all are going to be a little happy family, huh?”

Bitch!
“What part of ‘she’s still in a coma’ did you not understand?” I seethe.

“Look, I have to go. Can we talk about this later?”

“Whatever.” I end the call. I don’t have the time or the energy to deal with petty drama. I have an unborn son and his mother, who is fighting for her life that I need to take care of.

 

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