Secrets Kept, Lies Told

Secrets Kept, Lies Told
By Sarah
Chapter 36

    AJ paced around the waiting room, nervously fidgeting with his sunglasses in his hands.  He stopped momentarily and glanced at the clock.  'Sheesh, its two-thirty in the friggin' morning and I'm still here and awake.  Of course I am, Alexa needs me here,' he said to himself, reminding himself his motive. He continued pacing, passing Howie, Kevin, and Brian, who were all asleep in the uncomfortable waiting room chairs.  He was surprised, however, to see that Nick was still awake.
    "Nick, my man, you have to get some rest," AJ said, stopping in front of his friend.  Nick's eyes were red from crying, they were trying to close, but Nick wouldn't let them.  He kept rubbing his eyes, wiping away the occasional tear, but AJ knew he was fighting sleep.
    "No, I need to stay awake 'cause if 'Lexa wakes up and I'm not here, she'll get upset," Nick mumbled, barely being heard.  His voice betrayed his tiredness, and his worry.
    "Nick, you won't be any good to Alexa if you're falling asleep on your feet.  Go to sleep, I'll wake you if she wakes up," AJ said reassuringly.  'Dammit, AJ, when, not if, she wakes up,' he mentally scolded himself.  Thankfully, Nick didn't notice the slip and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the wall.  Within a matter of minutes, he was asleep, and AJ proceeded with his pacing.
    'Who'd have thunk that I'd be here with my best friends, waiting for my sister to come out of a coma?  It's too bizarre.  This entire thing is too bizarre,' AJ said to himself.  'But I love Alexa, and I'm not gonna leave
until I know she's gonna be ok, I can't leave.'
    AJ looked down the hall at the nurse's station in front of the elevators. He sighed as a nurse picked up the chart on the counter and walked towards his sister's room.  His mother hadn't come out of the room since she was in there, he knew it was too hard on her.  He prayed that she was asleep, awake she would only worry.
    AJ walked down the hall and into his sister's room, silently watching the nurse as she bustled around the bed.
    "You shouldn't be in here," the nurse whispered, noticing AJ.
    "Please, she's my sister, and I didn't even know she was my sister until a few months ago," AJ pleaded, his voice scratchy.  He swallowed hard, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to come.
    The nurse nodded and quietly walked out of the room, leaving AJ alone.  Well, not quite.
    "Mom?"  AJ asked quietly, walking towards his mother's chair.  His mother was asleep, her head resting on the back of the armchair, still facing Alexa. AJ smiled lightly, his mother always did do anything for her boys.  Like the time Brian was having his surgery, she stayed with him when his own mother couldn't, claiming that she was his second mother, not wanting to leave him alone.  Or the time when AJ sprained his leg, she stayed at the hospital with him, overnight, just to let him know that he was going to be ok.
    'And now this,' AJ said silently.  He looked at his sister, his own flesh and blood, lying on the bed in front of him.  She was as pale as the sheets, her bony body barely making any impression on the mattress.  'God, why couldn't I see it before?  I was too damn wrapped up in my own life, I didn't even think twice about how Alexa was feeling about everything.  Shit, even Sherry warned me about this, she told me that Alexa could get hurt from this lifestyle, why didn't I believe her?'  He asked himself, carefully taking hold of Alexa's hand.  'If only I could turn back time and pay more attention to her.  I would've been able to notice it when it started, helped her with her problems, instead of ignoring them.'  AJ started to cry quietly.
'Dammit, AJ, how could you've been so stupid?!'  He yelled at himself.  'You're so damn selfish, you didn't even bother to think about the second most important person in your life!  You used to put your own mother on a pedestal, then placed Alexa right up there with her.  Now, the most important person to you is yourself, not even giving any regard to the other people around you!  What has happened to you?  Who are you?'  He demanded of himself.  The tears were flowing faster, he squeezed his sister's hand and watching the line on the heart monitor go up and down.
    "Alexa, I'm sorry, I should've paid more attention to you, I should've kept you up on that pedestal.  I'm so sorry, Aly, please forgive me, please wake up," he begged, falling to his knees.  He cried, holding his sister's limp hand, praying for some sign that she would wake up, that she would live, that she was listening.

    'I'm so sorry, Aly, please forgive me, please wake up'.
    Alexa could hear the words, but they were so faint.
    'Aly, please, I love you, I only found you six months ago, please wake up.  'Lexa, you're my little sis, I need you, we have to have our long talks again, we need to pig out on Butterfingers.  Please, Aly, wake up.'
    Alexa fought to open her eyes, but it wouldn't happen.  She felt something tug on her hand, something squeezing it.  She tried to squeeze back, but something wouldn't let her.  She felt like a prisoner in her own body, so immobile, so trapped.
    'Aly, I love you, you can't leave me.  We all need you, Mom, me, the guys, and especially Nick.  Honey, he loves you so much, I'm wondering why I never really saw it before.  I accept you two, now, you two deserve each other.  He needs someone who won't hurt him and you deserve nothing but the best.  He is the best, though I hate to admit it.  He's the best for you, but right now he's in pain, we all are.  Aly, you have to wake up, we need you here.'
    Alexa knew whose voice it was.  She tried to talk, but she couldn't. 'AJ, don't cry, please, I can hear you, but I just can't wake up, I don't know why,' she thought.  She wanted to cry.  'AJ, please don't leave me, help me please.  I feel so weak, I feel so trapped.  I need some help, AJ, help me please,' Alexa begged.  She fought to open her eyes, not succeeding again.
    "AJ," she whispered.

    AJ's head snapped up and he looked at his sister.  "Alexa?  Did you just say my name?"  He asked her.  "Alexa, if you just said my name, squeeze my hand," he said.  He waited, but felt nothing.  Then, a flinch.  "Alexa, can you hear me?"  He asked.  "If you can hear me, squeeze my hand twice," he said.
    AJ nearly jumped up and down for joy as he felt two flinches of Alexa's fingertips in his hand.  He smiled brightly and edged closer to her bed, raising his hand to her forehead and smoothing down her hair.  "That's good, Alexa, can you do me one more thing?  Can you open your eyes, sweetie?"  He asked.
    He saw her face twitch, he could tell she was trying, but something seemed to be preventing her.  "Ok, sis, you can stop.  I know you're awake, you just can't open your eyes.  Its ok, you just rest and get your strength back, then you'll be able to open those eyes to the world, showing them all your beautiful brown eyes," he whispered.  He kissed her on her forehead and stood up.  He saw her features relax and noticed that the beeping from the heart monitor slow down.  'She's asleep,' he said to himself.  He let go of her hand, leaving it next to her body.  He took off his silver ring and carefully put it on Alexa's skinny fingers.  He walked out of the room and down the hall, sitting in a chair.  He fell asleep, happy to know that Alexa
was going to be ok.

    'Help her, please,' Nick cried out.  He leaned over Alexa's limp body, trying to shake her awake.  'Alexa, honey, please wake up!  Come on, Alexa, I need you to wake up!  Alexa!  Alexa!'  He yelled.  He was suddenly pushed away and someone blocked his view.
    'No, Alexa, I need you!  Alexa, please don't leave me!  Alexa!'  He hollered.  He watched as Alexa's body was carried away in a large black bag.
    "Alexa!"  Nick said as he sat up.  He looked wide-eyed around the waiting room and sighed, relaxing, remembering where he was.
    'It was just a dream, Nick, just a dream,' he said to himself.  He pushed his hair out of his face and looked up at the clock across the hall.  'Ten o'clock?  Why didn't anyone wake me?'  He asked, standing up.  He stretched, feeling the kinks in his body disappear, the kinks from the horribly uncomfortable waiting room chairs.  He walked slowly, almost painfully, down the hall to Alexa's room, wanting to see if she was ok.
    "Hey, Nick," Brian said as Nick walked in the room.  Brian looked back at Alexa and squeezed her hand again.  "Alexa, I'm gonna let Nick visit you for a little while, ok?  I'll be back soon," he said, letting go of her hand.  He gave her a kiss on the forehead and walked towards Nick.
    "Though you may not think so, she can hear us.  Talking to her can help, it can help a lot," he whispered.  He patted Nick's shoulder and walked out of the room, leaving him alone.
    "Alexa?"  Nick said as he walked to the edge of the bed.  He took his
girlfriend's hand in his and carefully kissed it.  "Alexa, baby, I'm here," he said.  He felt fresh tears coming into his eyes, just when he thought he was out of them.  "Alexa, I know you can hear me, I need you to wake up, please.  I need you, I love you," he said.  The tears coursed down his face, falling silently on the white sheets of the hospital bed.  "Alexa, please wake up," he begged.
    Nick bowed his head and cried on Alexa's hand, holding on to it for dear life.  He felt it twitch, then wipe his tears away.
    "Nicky, don't cry," she whispered.  Her eyes were still closed mostly, but they were opened a tiny bit.
    "Shh, Nicky, don't cry," she whispered, her voice soft and low.  It was scratchy, dry.
    "I'll go get the doctor, ok?  I'll be right back," Nick said.  He bolted out of the room and ran to the nurse's station where Dr. Davenpraut was talking to a nurse.
    "Alexa's awake!"  He exclaimed, out of breath.
    Dr. Davenpraut looked at him, surprised, and then rushed past him, her white lab coat flying behind her.  Nick ran back towards Alexa's room and tried to walk in excitedly.
    "Stay out here, please, let me check her over," the doctor demanded briskly.  She pushed Nick out of the room and he looked around anxiously as AJ and Brian came in off the elevator.
    "Frack, man, what's wrong?"  Brian asked worriedly, putting down the bag he was carrying.
    "Alexa's awake!"  Nick exclaimed, rushing over to his two friends.
    "She's awake?!  She's awake!"  AJ exclaimed.  He ran to the elevator as the doors opened and his mother stepped out.  "She's awake!"  He said to her.
    Denise started to cry and hugged AJ, then hugged Nick and Brian.  "Oh, my baby's awake," she said.
    "Yeah, she was talking and everything," Nick said excitedly.  He looked down the hall and saw the doctor come out of the room.
    "Mrs. McLean, your daughter is awake, but extremely weak.  You can go see her, but still one at a time, please, and try to not excite her too much, she can't get too excited about anything, it'll tire her out," Dr. Davenpraut said, closing over Alexa's chart.  "After you see her, however, I would like to speak to you in my office, please," she said.
    Denise nodded and hurried down the hall, leaving Nick behind with AJ and Brian.
    "Isn't this great, guys, she's awake!"  Nick said, smiling for the first time in what seemed like a long time.
    "Yeah, it is," AJ said, somewhat occupied.  He sat in a chair and pulled a package out of the bag Brian had sat down and started eating his breakfast, ignoring everyone.
    "Brian, she's awake, she's finally awake!"  Nick said to his best friend.
    "I know, man, it's excellent," Brian said, smiling.  He sat down and handed Nick a small package with a bagel inside.  Nick started eating, happy and anxious to see Alexa again.

    Denise walked happily into her daughter's room and looked at the small figure on the bed.
    Denise felt tears come into her eyes and hurried to Alexa's side.  "I'm right here, Lexy, I'm not going anywhere," she said, smiling through her tears.
    "Momma, why are you crying?"  Alexa asked.  Her voice was quiet, almost inaudible.  It was slightly dry, papery sounding.
    "Because I'm so happy to see that you're awake, Lexy, that's why.  Honey, you have to tell me, what has been going on the last week?  What happened to cause this?"  Denise asked, holding her daughter's cold hand.
    "I don't know, Momma, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't do anything except try to keep myself occupied.  I don't know what happened, Momma, but I feel so tired, so hungry, so worn out," Alexa said in a sleepy voice.  She yawned as best she could and her already low eyelids started to droop.
    "Its going to be ok, baby, you just get some rest, ok?  I'll be right here, I won't leave your side," Denise said, pulling a chair over to the bedside.  She sat down, still holding Alexa's hand.
    "Thank you, Momma," Alexa mumbled.  In moments, she was asleep and Denise couldn't stop her crying.
    'I won't leave you, Alexa, and I won't give up until we find out what's wrong, I promise,' Denise said silently.  She sat back in the chair after placing her daughter's limp hand on the sheets, and watched her sleep.
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