Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 35

    Kevin paced back and forth in front of the row of chairs, his eyebrows creased in worry.  There hadn't been any word on Alexa in the last hour and his worry was increasing with every passing second.  He didn't want to look anywhere but at the floor, afraid of what he'd see.  He knew Nick, AJ, and Denise were all crying, Brian was staring straight ahead with a dumbfounded look on his face, and Howie was trying to stay calm and make everyone feel better.  Kevin just kept pacing, hoping that if he kept moving, he wouldn't
think too hard.
   "Mrs. McLean?"
    Kevin's head snapped up along with everyone else's as a short woman in a white lab coat walked over to them.
    "Mrs. McLean, my name is Doctor Holly Davenpraut, I just examined your daughter," the woman said, holding out her hand to Denise.
    Kevin watched as Denise numbly took the woman's hand and shook it.  "What happened to my daughter?"  She asked softly.
    'You'd think she was dreading the news,' Kevin thought.  'Hell, even I'm dreading the news.'
    "Well, would you like it if we went somewhere else to talk?"  Dr. Davenpraut asked, gesturing down the hall.
    "No, we all have a right to know what's wrong with Alexa," AJ said, his voice flat.  Kevin could see the tears behind AJ's new sunglasses, the tears threatening to fall but never making it.
    "Ok, well, let me start this way," Dr. Davenpraut started, pulling an empty chair in front of Denise.  Kevin walked slowly over, waiting for the doctor to start.
    "Alexa is stable, for now, but we aren't sure why she stopped breathing in the first place.  We suspect the fact that she hasn't had anything to eat in a long time a factor.  We tested her blood, only finding that she was malnutritioned.  She is still unconscience, but you may see her one at a time," Dr. Davenpraut said calmly.  She looked up from her chart and at Denise.  "Mrs. McLean, I wish to speak to you alone, please," she said.  Denise nodded and followed the doctor up the hall and into a small office, the door closing behind her.  Kevin turned back to look at the rest of the group and saw AJ stand up.
    "I'm going to see her, I'll come back out in a few minutes," he said sullenly.  Kevin watched him walk down the hall in the direction the doctor had come in the first place and disappear into a closed off section.
    "I knew I should've pressed her when I thought something was wrong, I should've stayed with her the other night, I should've stayed awake on the plane ride," Nick was mumbling to himself, his head in his hands.
    "No, Nick, you couldn't have done anything to help her," Howie said, immediately springing forward to help his friend.  Kevin took a deep breath as Nick started to speak again.
    "No, Howie, you don't understand.  For the last week and a half, Alexa has been so quiet, so withdrawn, and I didn't know why.  She wouldn't talk, wouldn't play video games, wouldn't eat any Butterfingers, and she wouldn't tell me why she was feeling what she was feeling.  She didn't even tell me what exactly she was feeling, she just told me to leave her alone, that she'd feel better over time.  I should've pressed her, I should've persisted when she refused to tell me anything," Nick cried, furiously wiping at his tears.
    "Nick, if she didn't want to talk, you couldn't have done anything about it.  You know she would only get mad at you, you couldn't have done anything to help her if she didn't want the help," Brian said with a monotone.  Kevin saw no expression in his cousin's face, it was almost as if his face was made of stone.  "Trust me, Nick, if she wanted help, she would've come to one of us."
    'She did come for help, but I didn't understand at the time,' Kevin thought, looking away from Nick's crying figure.  'Maybe Alexa was trying to tell me something when we were in the van, I just wasn't listening.'
    "Nick, you can go in now," AJ said as he walked slowly to his chair.  He sat down and put his head in his hands, taking off his sunglasses.  Kevin watched as tears ran down AJ's face and Nick stumbled down the hallway to Alexa's room.

    "Alexa?"  Nick asked as he walked in the room.  He approached the bed slowly, not sure whether or not she could hear him.  He decided she could and sat next to her bed, holding her hand.  He kissed her hand gently, intertwining her limp, cold fingers with his.
    "Alexa, baby, you gotta wake up," he said, letting his tears flow.  "We need you, Alexa, I need you.  If I'd known last week that something like this would've happened, I would've been more intent with trying to find out what was wrong.  I tried, honey, but you wouldn't tell me.  I guess now, you didn't know what was wrong, which was why you couldn't say anything.  I don't blame you, I understand, but I just wish you'd told me you couldn't eat or sleep.  The doctor said that you were malnutritioned.  And you know what?  I
understood her when she talked, even though she used a lot of complicated words," Nick said jokingly, trying to lighten his own mood.  It wasn't working, he could only feel his heart breaking.  "Alexa, baby, I love you, you gotta wake up," Nick begged, lowering his head to her hand.  He cried, hard, holding onto her limp hand, praying that she would wake up and tell him to stop crying, tell him to not worry, or just squeeze his hand to let him know she was ok.  He prayed hard, wanting her back.
    Nick looked up at the door behind him and saw Brian's sad face at the doorway.
    "Come on, let Denise come in here, ok?"  Brian asked, walking over to him.
    Nick nodded and looked back to Alexa.  "I'll be right back, ok Alexa?  I'm just going to go with Brian and let you have some time alone with your mother.  I'll be back, I promise, I won't leave you alone," Nick said, choking slightly on his words.  He let go of Alexa's hand and stood up, leaning forward and kissing her forehead.  He walked to the door with Brian, not taking his eyes off of Alexa until the last second.  He walked back to the waiting area and looked blankly at the wall ahead of him, not knowing what to think.
    Nick looked down next to him at AJ.  He was slightly surprised to see that he was crying.  'But then again, even AJ has feelings, and that's his sister in there, his own flesh and blood.  I'd be having the same reaction if I were him,' Nick thought.
    "She's going to be all right, Nick, she wouldn't let us down," AJ said, wiping away tears as they fell.
    Nick nodded and wiped away his own tears.  He sat down next to AJ and looked forward without emotion.  He felt drained, his body and heart torn and relieved of all the feeling he once had.  His love for Alexa was left at her bedside, in hopes that she would wake up.

    Denise wiped away her tears and walked in the doorway of the hospital room.  She tried to keep back her tears, but a fresh bout started as she looked at her daughter's pale, limp figure on the bed in front of her.  She sat in the chair next to the bed and took her daughter's hand in hers, folding the limp fingers over her own.
    "Lexy, baby, Mommy's here, I'm not leaving you for this," Denise started, her voice hoarse from crying.  "There's no way I would be able to leave you now, we've postponed all the dates until further notice, so we can all be here for you.  AJ is out in the waiting room with Kevin, Howie, Brian, and Nick, we're all waiting for you to wake up.  We need you to wake up, sweetie, and tell us what's been going on over the last week and a half.  The doctor has been telling me about how you were severely malnutritioned and about how
you were lacking sleep.  We need to know what has been going on, Lexy, we need to know so we can help you feel better."  Denise stopped rambling and held her daughter's hand, looking up at her small face.  For the first time, Denise noticed just how thin her daughter was, how high her cheekbones were and how bony her shoulders and fingers were.
'I can't believe I didn't notice it before, it's so obvious that's something wrong, why didn't I see it last week when I first noticed that she never left her room?  Why didn't I bother asking what was wrong, why did I just let her be?'  Denise shouted at herself.  She cried, praying to God that her daughter wouldn't let go of the life that was waiting for her when she woke up.
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