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Chapter Twenty-One

Kevin could hear her voice again...the voice of someone he knew so well. Anna. His Anna. It sounded as if he were inside of a tunnel, and she was yelling in to him, her words echoing around him, however the voice was clearer than before, although he’d heard it all along. He felt as if he hadn’t seen her in years, but rather only heard her voice, sounding distraught and sad. He wondered why her voice was always in monotone lately and why she kept putting things in past tense. The thought of something hurting her in any way upset him, as his thoughts automatically assumed something had gone wrong for her. But if that were the case, then why was he the one who could not remember seeing her and being with her? What if it were him whom there was something wrong with? And what? So many questions were running through Kevin’s mind and it was becoming more logical that it was him and not Anna. The question was, what had happened to him?

Upon hearing Anna’s trembling voice, knowing that she was crying, Kevin knew he had to give her a sign that he was there. He couldn’t open his eyes, or speak. He’d tried that many times before. He’d tried to move too, but knew that nothing ever happened. All he knew was that he hated hearing Anna so upset and distraught. He wished again that he had some answers. There was a pain in his chest, and he figured that it was from his heart breaking upon hearing his girl’s sobs. He just wished that he could wake up to tell Anna that everything would be okay. He wanted to hold her in his arms and kiss her, assuring her that he was still there for her, and always would be. That was not happening though. He wondered if it ever would.

Kevin also heard the trembling voices of his friends. Brian, Nick, Howie, Jaime, Stephanie and even A.J, whom he’d assumed was still upset with him, all sounded equally concerned. On more than one occasion, he’d heard screaming. Although he’d known it was coming from right next to him, it sounded distant. Far away. The scream was followed by pounding footsteps, which he was pretty sure was running. Afterwards, not long after, he heard other muffled voices which he did not recognize, speaking in a language that was foreign to him as his body was being jolted, painfully, violently, unmercifully.

From the words that were spoken by his friends, he knew that he was truly loved and cared for, and greatly missed. Most of every word said was stating how much they wish he’d wake up and that they were there for him. The words of encouragement made him want to try harder to wake up, and he did try. He was getting nowhere though. That alone both discouraged him and made him want to fight all at the same time. Then there was the occasional telling of how their day had gone. There was everyone telling him about Jaime having her baby and all about her and the cute things she did. He’d felt regret, wishing he could have been there for her and A.J. to experience what would be one of the proudest days of their lives. If he knew what was wrong with him, he thought that maybe he could have been there, had he fought hard enough to be there. The one that had disturbed him the most though was when Brian had told him he’d kissed his precious Anna. He figured though that it had been in a dream, for his cousin would never do something like that. If he did, Kevin knew he’d deck him right in the gut for it, knocking his wind out from fury. Besides, Brian was one to keep things proper. Moving in on his cousin’s girlfriend, or anyone’s for that matter, was strictly something he did not believe in doing. Therefore, he did not trust what his mind had heard. Then again, if he felt that was false, who was to say that him hearing the words that A.J and Jaime’s baby had been born was false too? He didn’t know and was so confused.

Feeling something soft and moist on his forehead, Kevin knew that Anna was kissing him again. He knew he’d do anything to return that kiss. Anything at all. It seemed that she was giving up all hope in him though. Which was why he had to give her a sign that he was still there. That he wasn’t brain dead and could hear and understand every word she was saying. He just couldn’t communicate back with her and show her this. Putting his mind to it, Kevin put all of his mind and soul in to giving Anna a sign. He knew that speaking was out of the question which only left moving an option. He didn’t know how to though. He felt stiff, as if he had been for ages. He remembered that he was paralyzed from the waist down, which limited his options and complicated things even further. Using all of his concentration, Kevin tried to give Anna’s had a light squeeze. He knew he’d done nothing though by getting no reaction from her. Feeling as if his heart rate was increasing, Kevin tried to calm himself down. He knew that if he wasn’t calm, he’d surely get nowhere. When he felt he was ready, Kevin tried again to give Anna a sign that he was there in more ways than she may have thought. He knew that something had happened when he felt his hand being dropped suddenly, and heard a light, startled gasp followed by hurried footsteps against the hard, cold floor. All he could do now was wait and see what happened, which was something he had become very used to.
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Anna fled through the hospital full speed in search of Kevin’s doctor, not thinking that she could pull aside any doctor to help make her search easier and have the man she was looking for paged. She hadn’t thought that she could have gotten one of the ICU nurses attention. Finding her friends to inform them of the news had also slipped her mind. Her mind was a jumble, her adrenaline pumping through her full force. Kevin had moved for the first time in months. In her mind, that had to mean something positive. It had to mean that he was making progress towards recovery and waking up.

Running up and down the halls of the hospital, she was not finding the man who’d been taking care of Kevin anywhere. She needed to find him. She needed to tell him and hear the words that she was hoping he’d speak. That her boyfriend, the man who meant the world to her was close to waking up. That he was going to be okay and that soon, his life would be back on track again.

Continuing her determined, desperate search, Anna’s head whipped from side to side as she ran so she didn’t miss anything or anyone. Tears of happiness had started to run down her cheeks. The whole situation was so surreal to her. After months of watching her beloved Kevin motionless and unresponsive to anything, he’d squeezed her hand, showing her the first real signs of life. Anna felt as if she were on cloud nine as she rounded a corner to search down another hallway. What she as well as all of the others had hoped and prayed for had finally happened. She then remembered that she was the only one who knew and couldn’t wait to tell them the hopefully great news. But first...she had...to find...the doctor. She kept hearing shouts for her to “slow down” and “stop running before she hurt someone,” but Anna ignored the requests keeping up on her quick paced journey.

Her legs were beginning to grow tired from the running, her lungs screaming for oxygen and for her to slow down, but she wasn’t about to do that. Her breaths were coming out heavy and pant like. Anna refused to stop though. Her personal comfort was far less important than what was going on with Kevin.

And finally, as if an angel had been looking down upon her, she saw Kevin’s doctor at the end of the long hallway speaking to another doctor. This caused her to pick up her pace as adrenaline set in full force before he disappeared from her sight and she lost him. Anna pushed through masses of people and wove around individuals scattered around the hall as if she were going through a maze. As she neared the man, she could feel her legs close to giving out on her from exhaustion. She only had a few more steps to go and then she was there right before the man who was supposed to make Kevin well again just as the other man was walking away. She was so tired that when she stopped, her body swayed a little before falling forward. The only place she had to catch a grip on was the doctor. Anna’s hands grabbed on to his white overcoat as she slid further to the ground in a dizzy spell. She dug her nails further in to his arm before she went completely down in attempt to support her as she tried to scramble to her feet. She looked up and saw a look of panic in the doctors eyes, possible fear even as he tried to back away, but she wasn’t letting her grip loosen any until she felt a pair of strong hands from behind her grabbing on to her still panting self and picking her up, pulling her firmly away from the authority figure. The doctor brushed himself off keeping a professional stance as Anna was let go. She swayed a little more but regained her balance knowing that she’d be fine. Her breath was still heavy though and she didn’t know if she’d be able to get any words out.

“Did you need anything, Anna?” the doctor asked, knowing each of Kevin’s friends names at this point from their constant visiting.

Anna opened her mouth to speak but nothing but a heaved wheeze came out. She gulped as best she could beings she’d discovered her mouth was dry and cotton like then tried again making little accomplishment from the last time.

“Kevin...” she got out, “He....m....he...”

The doctor held a hand up telling Anna to stop speaking and she did. He just looked at her as if trying to figure out what she was trying to sputter but finally gave up not having a clue.

“Calm down,” he told her, “Take in a few deep breaths to get yourself under control and then tell me.”

Anna did as she was told sucking in some breaths slowly and exhaling the same. She could soon feel her breathing and heart rate returning back to normal slowly. She closed her eyes letting the effects set in before opening them and trying again.

“Kevin just moved,” she stated quickly, “I was in his room talking to him and holding his hand and his hand wrapped around mine.”

The doctor looked at her, his face expressionless. He did not show excitement yet he didn’t look as if she should be discouraged either. She couldn’t tell if this news surprised him or not. She could not tell a thing and it was quickly causing her excitement to die down. She looked at him meeting his eyes for another moment before speaking when he still didn’t.

“Does that mean he’s close to waking up?” Anna asked boldly, her eyes full of hope.

The doctor hesitated, his eyes adverting to the left, away from hers, for the slightest second before his eyes met hers again. Anna swore her heart stopped at that moment by the look he had etched on his face and by his hesitation to speak.

“It could mean that,” he began giving Anna a glimmer of something to look forward to again for not more than a second, “It could also be just a reflex. Comatose patients sometimes do twitch or have slight movement every now and then.” he could see Anna’s shoulders slump as the news came as a blow to her, “I’m sorry,” the doctor said, his tone gentle, “It would be wrong of me to give you false hope when this could very well be nothing.”

“I understand,” Anna stated, forcing a tight, weak smile, “But there is a chance he’s close to waking up?” she asked him, wanting to hold on to
some encouragement, even if it was minimal.

“It’s hard to say at this point,” the doctor told her, “But yes, there is a chance that it’s a sign.”

Anna breathed a sigh of relief. She still had something to hold on to. Not all hope was lost. She refused to give up on Kevin. In her mind, Kevin was going to wake up, and soon.

“Thank you,” Anna said to the man standing before her.

The doctor nodded, giving Anna a pat on the back and slipped around her walking away. Anna stood still comprehending everything. She was torn between going back to Kevin to utter words of encouragement to him some more or going to find the others to tell them what she’d just experienced. Taking a moment to decide, Anna felt finding or calling the others was the fair and right thing to do first. Anna smiled at the memory of feeling Kevin’s hand wrap around her’s as she walked towards the waiting room where they all were whenever someone was at the hospital to see if anyone was there at that moment. It was a dream come true. Anna could almost feel his arms wrapped around her again and his lips on hers. She couldn’t hardly wait to experience it for real again, and Anna had a feeling it would be sooner than everyone thought. For the first time in what seemed like forever, Anna felt confident that everything was going to turn out okay.
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Stephanie scowled as she stared across the long table for sixteen in the restaurant that she, as well as the Boys, Anna, Jaime and Bluewave, were sitting at. She was staring at Willa, whom Nick had invited out on the outing meant for her and her friends...not demons who lurked around her boyfriend trying to destroy a relationship. Stephanie hated to admit it, but it was working. Willa was ruining her relationship with her constant being around and Nick defending her. Nick was quicker to believe that the woman had changed for the better than he was to believe Stephanie when she said that she hadn’t.

Sensing some tension in the room, Brian spoke, trying to break the silence that had taken over the majority of them while waiting for their entree’s to arrive. He looked around trying to find a topic of conversation to start. He stopped, his gaze falling upon Jaime and A.J. and smiled.

“Lauren sure is getting big,” he commented causing all other conversation to stop. Their attention was now on Brian and the happy couple.

“Yeah,” Jaime gushed, “She’s just shy of three weeks old and she’s about doubled in size already. It seems like just yesterday I was in labor with her.”

Willa turned her head to the side to face Jaime who was breast feeding the infant. She smiled sweetly at her. Jaime looked over and noticed the woman staring at her. She forced a smile back although it was a tight one. She too disliked Willa as well as everyone at the table except for Nick. She pitied Stephanie that her boyfriend had taken her back as a friend and knew what a hard time she was having coping with the burden of a change.

“May I hold her?” Willa asked, “She’s so precious.”

Jaime hesitated as she stared in to the woman’s eyes. She held Lauren closer to her chest wanting to protect her from all evil, and she did mean ALL. Willa reached out and put her skinny hands on the baby in attempt to hold her. Jaime tried to pull away but before she had time to react, her child was in the arms of Satan, being corrupt by it as they sat there. Her body tensed as she sat rigid, watching like a hawk to make sure no harm was done.

“You’re so lucky to have such a sweet daughter,” Willa cooed, her voice sugar coated. Jaime was seeing right through the act and wondered how she’d been stuck sitting next to her for the evening. She just smiled and shrugged in response. If she opened her mouth, Jaime knew that she would spat some words that would only cause trouble that she didn’t want to be responsible for.

Silence took over once more. The only person who was smiling at the table was Willa. Bluewave had begun carrying on their own conversation. A.J. was the one who’d invited them. The gang had kept in touch with the sixsome band, and they’d been great about checking up on the status of Kevin, but as for really hanging out, that was another story.

“Yep,” A.J. muttered in monotone, as if he weren’t fully in to the conversation, “She’s one in a million.” he boredly lay his head on the tabletop staring in to and through his glass of clear sparkling water.

Willa sensed the tension at the table. She rocked Lauren a little as she looked down at the sleeping baby. She held her for a second more before handing her back to her mother. Jaime took her quicky and gently, eager to get her back to safety. She made a mental note to bathe her child when they got home to disinfect her of anything Nick’s so-called friend may have given her.

“So, Anna...” Howie stated, bringing Anna out of her deep train of thought. She stared at him blankly, “You’ve been quiet tonight. What’s going on with you lately? Anything new and exciting happen?”

Anna bit her lip. She still hadn’t told anybody about Kevin. She’d gone in search of them to tell them, but then decided against it. If it was just a false alarm, then there would be a large group of disappointed people rather than just her alone. It was days later and nobody still knew about it and Kevin hadn’t moved again, or if he had, it had been while nobody was there. Anna looked around. All eyes were on her. She could feel herself starting to blush and knew she had to think of something to say.

“Um, not much,” she answered as everyone looked at their friend expectantly to go on, “Um. Just visiting Kevin every day...pretty much.” she stopped, deciding she had nothing to lose by telling them what had happened, “He moved slightly about ten days ago.”

At that moment time stopped. Everybody froze, the information taken as a shock to everybody. It had been the one thing that they’d been expecting to hear the least of anything else. Slowly though, everybody started to smile until their grins were wide and to their ears. Anna immediately felt like she could kick herself in the ass for letting the words slip. And then everyone started talking at once, their words making her heart break even more because the information meant nothing, but she was the only one who knew that.

“That’s so great,” Stephanie gushed, her smile wide.

“It’s about damn time,” A.J. stated

“Why didn’t you tell us sooner?” Howie asked

“Does that mean he’s close to waking up?” Cody asked

“I can’t believe it. After all these months, he shows signs that he’s alive still.” Brian drawled, “I swear, when that boy wakes up...”

His voice trailed off as he saw Anna holding up a hand telling them all to stop talking. She took in a deep breath. This was the kind of thing that she’d wanted to avoid by telling them. Her and her big mouth.

“He only moved that once though,” she told them and saw the smiles slowly fading, “I asked the doctor about it. He said that it could mean something, then again it could just be basic, simple reflexes and not mean a thing.” she shrugged, her eyes sad, “I’m guessing it was number two since he hasn’t moved again.”

The mood was again glum and somber. She wished she hadn’t said anything for about the tenth time. Now the information would be nagging at their minds and driving them crazy, just as it was her. Anna hoped that she didn’t go insane with stress, worry and the wondering of what would be.

“I’m so sorry,” Willa stated, her lip sticking out in a tiny pout, “That’s just awful.”

“Oh shove it,” Stephanie muttered, seeing past her sickening sweet act. That’s all it was. An act, and she hated her for it.

Stephanie looked over at Nick. His face showed depression over the fact that Kevin’s movement probably meant nothing. Willa must have noticed too because she placed a hand on his leg and put an arm around his shoulders pulling him in close.

“It’s gonna be okay,” she cooed, “He’ll wake up eventually. It might be today. It might be in a year, but he’ll wake up.”

Fire boiled in Stephanie’s veins at this. She felt sick to her stomach. She felt sick a lot lately, figuring it was due in part to Willa’s constantly being around and Nick taking her in. She could feel her body starting to shake and knew she couldn’t stay in the same room as Willa for one more second.

“Excuse me,” Stephanie stated, getting up from the table quickly when she saw Willa pulling him in to a hug and him accepting, “I need some fresh air.”

She started to walk away when she felt Nick’s hand grab hers. She turned around, fire and ice in her eyes as she glared at him, or rather past him.

“Want me to go with you?” he asked.

Stephanie shook her head.

“Can I get a kiss?”

Stephanie bent down and gave him a cold, distant peck on the lips before pulling away and walking quickly out of the restaurant. She didn’t see the look of confusion on his face at her attitude towards him. Stephanie turned her head once and saw Willa snuggling in to his side. She noticed Nick try to pull away but Willa didn’t let go and he didn’t try again. Tears stung her eyes as she exited the building. Once outside, she leaned against the brick wall and sunk to the concrete. Everything was going so wrong. She hoped that things got better, but had a feeling that before they did, if they did, things would only get worse.
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