Only Dwight and Liat stayed after talking to the doctor. Austin was released and wheeled out to Dwight’s car by an orderly. Liat climbed in back and Dwight scooted the front seat all the way back. Austin got in, leaning against the seat gingerly. The nurse handed him his pain pills and the orderly closed the door as Dwight went to the driver’s side. He drove slowly and carefully home, heading to the underground garage. As they passed the front of the building, they were surprised to see cameras and reporters outside.
“The vultures descend,” Dwight said through gritted teeth. “Can’t they leave him alone?”
“It’s the price of fame,” Liat said.
“Then I wish I weren’t bloody famous,” Austin said. “But I like my job and I can do great things for people, so I guess I’ll learn to put up with it.”
Two of their neighbors met them at the elevator. Dwight had sent a text to Jerry and his wife, Ellen. She worked as a registered nurse and he had experience as an orderly. They had a wheelchair they’d borrowed from their elderly neighbors, and they wouldn’t let Austin walk the length of the hall to his apartment. They got him settled in bed and Dwight went over the instructions with Ellen. Jerry chatted with Liat.
“So, you’re the woman who’s been making him smile, huh? Austin’s a good guy.”
“He’s the best,” Liat agreed. Her voice cracked and she started to cry.
Jerry took her in his arms, rocking her back and forth. “Let it out, sugar. He’s fine. Minor bumps and cuts. Nothing serious.”
“I know. I know.”
Ellen came over, smiling. “He’s asking for you. Don’t let him misbehave,” she tried to scold, but failed.
“Babe, he’s got so much bug juice in him, he’s barely gonna rock a piss by himself,” Jerry said.
“Dwight will go over the schedule with you. Here’s my number. Call any time if you need me,” Ellen said.
She and Jerry left, taking the wheelchair with them. Liat went to the bedroom. Dwight sat on a chair near the bed, talking quietly. He stood when Liat entered, giving her the chair.
“I’ve got a schedule. I assume you want to stay?”
“Of course. I don’t suppose you’ve got a toothbrush?”
“Austin’s got one. He always keeps a spare. He’s got some pajama shirts he never wears. You can use one to sleep in. Ellen will be by at nine to check on him. I’ll take you to get your car and pack a bag if you want to stay a few days.”
“May I hire you to run my life too?” She giggled, giving him a hug.
“Pain pills are on the night stand and he can have one in four hours, if he wants. If you need me, call.”
“We’ll be fine. Thank you, Dwight.” She kissed his cheeks, holding his face in her hands. “He’s all right. No worrying allowed.”
“Hey,” Austin groaned from the bed. “Stop kissing my girlfriend.” He chuckled hoarsely, groaning when it pulled on his throat.
“Go to sleep, gimp. I’ll see you in the morning. I gave Ellen a key, she can let herself in. I’ll bring coffee. Our grocery order came in and was delivered to my place.”
Dwight finally, reluctantly, went out.
Liat got ready for bed and slid in next to Austin. He lay on his stomach, his head facing the door, but he turned his head when she lay beside him.
“Damn, I’ve just made love to the most beautiful woman in the world, and now, I can’t do anything more. You could put 1.21 gigawatts through me and I still couldn’t get it up.”
Liat kissed him. “Give it a day or two, you’ll feel better. And as soon as you’re off the injured list, we’ll make up for lost time.”
“Goody. Because it was yummy and I like yummy.”
She giggled, brushing his hair out of his face. “I like yummy too. And yes, it was.”
“Only thing that would make it better—pineapple and chocolate sauce.”
“That’s because pineapple and chocolate sauce make everything better.”
“Kiss me before I fall unconscious.”
She did as he asked. His eyes drooped shut and she knew he was asleep.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes