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Mackenzie Mueller doesn’t take me seriously.
She says I’m an alcoholic. I say I’m living in the moment. She says I’m immature. I say she’s stuck up. She says I need to be more serious. I say I tried that, and it broke my heart. She says I’m the best she ever had. …I tend to agree. She says we’re not good together. She’s lying.
After losing the love of my life before my twentieth birthday, I was sure I’d never love again. I’ve spent the past five years living like it’s my last day on earth, every day. Girls, booze, and as much family time as possible filled my weeks.
But mostly the booze…
Then, Mackenzie walked into my life and suddenly I have purpose again. She’s made me care. She’s made me feel.
She’s made me love.
The only problem is that she doesn’t understand me, and her heart’s been crushed too hard and too recently to take a chance on the city’s ‘wild child’. She’s convinced I’m not in it for the long haul.
I’m about to prove her wrong.
As long as I can make it past December 4…
Five years ago
“Can they tell us anything yet?” It literally hurts to keep my eyes open, but I have to. For her, I’d do anything.
“No, son.” Her father’s hand clasps on my shoulder and I take a deep breath, holding back the emotions rolling through my system.
How the fuck could this have happened? One minute, we were laughing and singing along to old nineties music and the next…well…here we are. Currently residing in the ICU of St. Johns Hospital in Springfield, Illinois, waiting on her brain scan results from an accident that knocked her out two weeks ago.
“I’m so fucking sorry,” I whisper, my head starting to pound. I can’t begin to process this. Caroline and I have our entire lives planned. I’ve loved her since fourth grade. We graduated last month and are going to college locally to save money. She’s going to be a doctor… I just want a degree. Now we’re in limbo, praying that she wakes up. I’m only nineteen, this shouldn’t be happening right now.
“I know. Everyone knows it was an accident, Ford. You can’t beat yourself up over it.” Her father sighs heavily and walks across the room. “I’m going to go make sure her mother’s on her way up here. I couldn’t get her out of bed this morning.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” I whisper, taking her hand in mine and praying to feel it move. Move, dammit.
“You should. You need to take a break, too.” He looks at me with so much pity in his eyes.
I glare at him. “It’s my fault she’s in here. I’m not leaving her side until she wakes up.” I set my jaw and sit up a little straighter, never letting her hand go. He silently nods before walking out of the room.
Caroline’s my girl. She and I are meant for each other. If I lose her…
I huff as my thoughts take a negative turn. Stay positive, Ford.
I need to stay positive for my girl.
The nurse walks in with a tray of food for me and smiles sweetly, setting it on the small table across the room.
“Why haven’t we heard anything yet?” I ask, standing and grabbing the water from the tray, gulping it down in two drinks.
“We just got the results. The doctor is waiting until all the family is here to discuss the findings.” Her eyebrows pull together and I notice a slight shake in her head as her eyes travel to Caroline. “Soon.” She pastes back on that smile she walked in with. “Soon, you’ll be read the results.”
I watch as she checks all Caroline’s vitals and tries tickling her toes, praying that maybe she can get a reaction from her. When nothing happens, I drop my head.
“I’ll be back with the doctor in a little bit.” She smiles and walks out of the room.
I stand there and watch my girl. I watch as the breathing machine helps her chest rise and fall, filling her lifeless body with air. I watch the machines keeping her heart rate beeping in perfect rhythm, probably strictly because of the machines that her heart keeps beating. I stare at the bandage on her head and since no one is in the room with me, I let a tear slip down my cheek.
“Please come back to me, baby,” I whisper, taking my seat next to her and grabbing a hold of her hand again.
I know she’s in there. She has to be. She wouldn’t leave me.