Part Five: H-U-R-T
"You proposed to my daughter in the ambulance?" John O'Malley could only stare the boy that sat slumped over in the hard backed emergency room chairs, his tie draped over his neck limply. His hair stuck out at odd angles, frizzy and messy from the countless times he had run his fingers through it, most probably as a way to rid himself of the nervous energy that surged through his veins. His pupils, set in pools of amber jittered back and forth as swarms of sterile nurses and doctors, rank with the smell of rubbing alcohol and other miscellaneous chemicals rushed by, their voices buzzed with medical terms and utmost unsureness.
"Yeah," Alex uttered softly, licking his dry lips, soft and pink. "I just gave her the ring, slipped it on. She said yes, but she wasn't thinkin' straight." He didn't need to say any more, it was redundant. John's gaze moved to the prom gown that laid folded in an RN's arms, its beautiful beaded pattern in different shades of pink, was splattered in red.
It was ruined, but not as badly as Tiff. A doctor had her in stirrups, her legs propped open as he studied her injuries. Everyone stayed quiet, placid, hands folded into paper swans in their laps. The chemicals became stronger to John, they burned his nose along with his stomach, which had begun to whir. Not a good sign. The doctor was oblivious to all except for his patient, which was considered a good thing, really. The situation was dire.
But he wasn't saying anything. The anxiety burdened John, for he hated unanswered questions, loose ties. He fingered the frayed, dusty bill of his ball cap, and even though he shouldn't have, let himself wander onto the diamond, the harsh chemicals were replaced with the tangy scent was replaced with black licorice, grinded into black mush between braced teeth and spat onto the emerald green grass in a spitty pulp. It may have seemed gross, but a good thirty years ago, he was a kid, and kids like gross things. The feeling of the ball in his sticky hands was unmistakable as he found the grooves that his fingers resided in. Drawback and step. Let it fly higher than Lindbergh ever did in that monster of a machine. His father's gruff voice burst through the barrier of peace.
He was older now, taller, chiseled body and face, jaw squared. He had a sense of style, the same as all the other guys, so he wasn't any different than them. On the outside.
You know that we can't keep on doing this, This was the mellow voice of Him. Not God. It was Adonis, Addy for short. Gorgeous as the Greek figure he was named for. Black locks curled and styled with the slick gel he had probably found in his brother's closet. Olive skin became even more tanned from weeks spent away in the Mediterranean sun. But..his eyes..like they had been sculpted from ice, a pale, striking blue. On this particular day, those ice eyes cracked and broke with worry. You don't have to worry. Once I get out of this town, I'm takin' you with me, John reassured, and their words muddied and riddled with the unknown, faded away as their lips met. It wouldn't be their last kiss, the most special and tender ones occurring on a plethora of days. The one that John held closest was the day he held the little pink bundle in his tattooed arms, peering at the pale face that belonged a doll, it seemed.
Isn't she so gorgeous? Addy stroked the wispy brunette hairs that just peeked out of her cap. Look at you, sweetie. Do you know how pretty you are? He cooed sweet honey words as they floated over her aura. The surrogate gave the pair a smile, it was clear that the pain she had gone through was worth going through.
His eyes snapped open. He saw her face, his daughter's face, wrinkled in pain. She gripped the thin, starchy sheets between manicured fingers. Especially done for that night, her night. Her makeup, she had spent hours on that, was melted.
“I’m here, sugar. Right here.” He reached out for her hand, squeezing tightly, but not too hard. She was already in enough pain as it was. Alex still sat, unable to move, he was frozen with his head in his hands.
She screamed again, a bloodcurdling one. A nurse had to hold her down.
All those moments that she was in pain, John was off on his own.