My back ached. My eyes were blurry and stinging. And I’m pretty sure I smelled. And not like a field of poppies either.
I may have agreed to give Sookie time, but I never said I’d leave. So now, here I sit-in an impersonal and blank hospital waiting room, cramped in an uncomfortable mini sized chair.
Merry fucking Christmas.
Considering the ungodly hour (4.32 am according to the watch Sookie had given me last Christmas), there weren’t too many people milling about. Which is why the cacophony of noise that swept into the room like a tornado jerked me out of my half unconscious sleep deprived state.
“Oh baby boy!”
“Mom?!?” I rubbed my eyes. “Am I hallucinating?”
I glanced at the abandoned coffee cups on the table in front of me and counted silently. Six. Over the course of the last few hours…yeah, I may be hallucinating. Well, at least that’s what I thought until I was grabbed roughly and squeezed to within an inch of my life.
“Mom! Need…to….breath!” I gasped as she released me.
“Sophie! Let go of him. Geez, we just walked in,” my fathers soft voice penetrated the bubble my mother had created with her fussing.
“Oh shush Godric! Let me hug my son!”
“Dad? What are you guys doing here? I thought you were somewhere in India.”
“We were. Until your sister called.”
I gulped. I swear my dad loves Sookie almost as much I do. The look he was giving me would have terrified me if I hadn’t known for a fact that he wouldn’t kill his only son.
“Explain. We got the bare minimum from Pam. She’ll be here later, by the way. Apparently Sookie isn’t allowed to wallow and everyone will be bringing Christmas to her,” he settled his lanky frame into another chair and trained his eyes on me.
I gulped. Again. He may be kind, gentle and generally soft spoken, but he could be a scary motherfucker when he wanted to be.
“Massive amounts of miscommunication. I didn’t know she moved out. I called her to find out where she was so we could do our winter solstice celebration. She told me then. I asked her to come talk to me since I had no clue what was going on. I left to get pizza…” I paused and took a shaky breath. My mom reached over to stroke my back. “When I came back, she was unconscious on the living room floor.”
My mom pulled me into another bone crushing hug and I just sat there like a toddler, sniffling into her sweatshirt. When I was finally able to extricate myself from her vice like grip, I looked to my dad who had tears shimmering in his eyes.
“Alright. Here is what were going to do. You-” he thrust his finger violently in my direction before wiping away a stray tear that managed to escape, “-are going to beg, plead, grovel…whatever you have to do to get her to listen to what you have to say. Then you will listen to everything she has to say. And then you can both mutually decide where to go from here. This your mess to clean up.The health issues, which I noticed you neglected to include in your narrative, are the issues that all of us will need to band together for. Now-I’m going to go see my girl and get some answers.”
I watched in astonishment as he walked away before I slouched down once again with my eyes closed, trying yet again to banish the gruesome images that lurked there.
2 Days Ago
“Sir?” A voice interrupted my pacing.
I looked up blearily. The woman before me was way too short. I could have sworn she came up to my hip, although my eyes could have been playing tricks on me.
“Sorry, who are you?”
“Are you…” She consulted the chart in her hand, “Eric Northman?”
“I’m Dr. Ludwig, Miss Stackhouse’s doctor. This-,” she motioned behind her to the previously unnoticed man in a mousy brown sport coat, “is Dr. Kaplan, Sookie’s psychologist. Mr. Stackhouse indicated that we are authorized to speak with you and we were wondering if you had a few minutes.”
I sat heavily in the first chair available. “I have all the time in the world. I not leaving. Is she okay? Is she going to be okay?”
“Perhaps we could find a more private place to discuss matters,” Dr. Kaplan cast a glance around the waiting room and the people scattered around it.
“Yes, of course. Come along,” Dr. Ludwig marched out of the room while I brought up the rear. She stopped at the desk at the end of Sookie’s hallway and motioned to a nurse seated there. “We’ll be in the conference room. Alert me immediately if anything happens on Miss Stackhouse’s leads.”
After getting a firm nod from the nurse, the little woman led us down the hall. I glanced longingly at the closed door to Sookie’s room as we passed. I noticed we only had two doorways in between us when they led me into what looked like a plush hotel suite, but without the bed.
They sat down with no hesitancy and gestured for me to do the same.
“Now, Mr. Northman. I’d like to tell you my part of things first and then leave you with Dr. Kaplan to go over the more in depth issues. Is that alright?” Dr. Ludwig’s gruff voice broke into my mind’s wanderings and I nodded my consent. “Alright. Miss Stackhouse is dangerously underweight, I’m sure you can probably tell. Her body is beginning to shut down, which is why she collapsed. When she fell, she hit her head fairly hard and the resulting concussion caused her brain to swell, which is what were dealing with now. Besides her weight and the obvious head injury, there are a few other issues that we need to watch. Her liver has been severely taxed due to the alcohol and drugs she’d been abusing. As I understand it, she quit these behaviors a few months ago,” Dr. Kaplan nodded when she looked to him, “which is a good thing. The damage isn’t too extensive and it should reverse itself if she maintains a healthy lifestyle from this point forward. She’ll have some scarring from the cuts, but there are products like Mederma that can help with those. Her menstrual cycle has stopped and there’s been some damage there. She’s developed some hormonal issues.”
My blank look must have clued her in that I had no fucking clue what she’d just said.
“Her hormones are all wacky, for lack of a better way to explain. These hormonal changes can cause disruptions in her menstrual cycle, infertility, depression, thyroid problems…any number of issues. The only way we’ll know for sure is to wait and see. It could have significant impact on her life, or next to none. Because her behaviors have been pretty short lived and seem to be a result of an obsessive compulsion, there is hope that the effects won’t be as serious as they could be.”
I felt like I’d been hit in the gut. My thoughts swirled of Sookie and our future. Would she even want a future with me? I felt unshed tears sting my eyes and my breathing was rapidly getting hysterical. Dr. Kaplan’s hand landed on my shoulder lightly.
“Breathe, Mr. Northman. Breathe…”
He mimed taking deep breaths with me as Dr. Ludwig excused herself silently.
“I know this is a lot to take in and I’m sorry to have to add more to your shoulders. I can see how affected you are by this news. Can I assume that your feelings for Sookie haven’t changed, despite the unfortunate circumstances?”
“I love her. I’d do anything for her. I hate that I let things get this bad and had absolutely no idea,” my breathing sped up again. “I just can’t…please just-tell me…God I love her!”
The tears finally slid down my cheeks and I sobbed unabashedly. The doctor waited patiently for my sobbing to subside and my breathing to regulate slightly. It seemed like hours before I finally was able to pull myself together enough to talk rationally.
“I can see you needed that. Do you feel better?” I nodded my affirmative and Dr. Kaplan continued. “I’d like to see you with Sookie after she’s released. Maybe do some couple’s sessions to try to avoid these problems recurring. I think thats the best way to get some of these issues out in the open and begin communicating. Does that sound do-able?” His soft spoken demeanor helped calm me immensely. I could see why Sookie would feel comfortable going to him to talk through her issues.
“Anything. YES! Absolutely anything is do-able if she’s alright,” more tears threatened to fall, but I squeezed them back. “I’m sorry. I just-I need to see her.” I stood to leave. “I’ll agree to absolutely anything that will help her heal, no questions asked. Always.”
“Even give her up?”
My heart clenched in agony, but I looked at him over my shoulder. “Yes. Even that.”
He sighed and then shot me a small smile. “And that’s why I’m not asking you to.”
He rose as I began speed walking to the door and he followed silently.
As I nearly sprinted out the door, he grabbed my shoulder. “I can see how much you love her. Make sure you show her. Don’t just tell her…you need to show her.”
I stopped suddenly and stared at him for a moment. It hit me then that she really didn’t know how much I love her and what she means to me. FUCK! I nodded solemnly before darting down the hallways to stand in front of her door. I cracked the door open and slipped inside. The beep of the heart monitor was a steady drone in the background of my thoughts as I clasped her hand and settled on the edge of the chair next to her bed. I rested my head on our clasped hands and stifled a shaky sob.
“Please baby, please wake up. I love you so much. Let me show you, please…”
As I sat there, pleading with any deity I could think of, all I could hope for was a chance to make things right.