Sara and Steve come out of the hall that connects Jack's room with the waiting area. They seem calm as they carefully smile.
"He is awake. He wants to see you." Sarah smiles at me.
I carefully stand up, unsure if I trust my own legs at this moment. They said they were not even sure if he was going to make it through surgery and now he was awake, talking even. I smile and really breathe for the first time since yesterday afternoon. He had woken up before but not long enough for me to actually talk to him.
I look around the corner of the room, Jack is lying in bed, waiting for me. I walk in and sit next to him. His face is bruised really badly, they had to operate on his jaw to set it again and they set one of his cheekbones. His left arm is in a cast but he reaches for me with his right one.
"How are you feeling?" I grab his hand, petting it lightly before setting it on my lap. He looks at me for a while before he reaches up and touches my cheek, making a trail as if his finger was a tear.
"Yeah, I've been crying. I was so scared to lose you. I didn't want that."
Jack grabs a block and a pen from the nightstand and scribbles on it. 'You won't lose me. I still need to kick your ass for last weekend.' He smiles, it's an awkward smile but it's visible nonetheless.
I can't help to smile back. "We'll work it out."
Jack nods and then scribbles something else. 'I'm tired, everything hurts.'
"You go to sleep then. I'll stay here until you're asleep." I carefully kiss a part of his head that doesn't look too bruised.
Suddenly we hear erratic beeping and nurses and doctors rush past the waiting area. Anne stands up to look where they go. She grabs the railing at the wall, her face distorted, tears streaming.
"No, no, no…" She backs off and slumps in a chair.
Steve and Sarah return to the area, their faces pale. Sarah crying and Steve simply shaking his head.
Jack! They are rushing to Jack's room!A sudden surge of energy makes me bolt towards the corridor but Steve grabs me as I try to pass by him.
"I need to see him. He cannot die! He smiled at me! He cannot die!" I wail. All energy focused on one thing, getting to my boyfriend, making sure he will get through. Behind me Marie stands up, slowly approaches me and then pulls me back. The chair hits the back of my knees and I sit down again, lost.
"The doctors are really good. Don't start panicking until they have news." She whispers in my ear as I feel her tears fall in my collar.
For the next couple of minutes we sit, stare and cry. Waiting for the doctors to arrive with news, waiting, waiting, waiting. A doctor comes up to us and from the sad look on his face we know that we have lost him.
"He passed away. His heart stopped, possibly from a bleed in his brain. I'm sorry." He turns the Steve and Sarah. "Could you follow me, please?"
Anne stands and hugs them before they follow the doctor. I can't move. I sit, staring, crying, being lost.
"How could this happen? He just smiled at me. He said we'd work it out." I ramble. "How can he be gone?" I shake, unable to deal.
Anne kneels in front of me, looking me in the eyes. "Keep it together. Keep it together, Vic." Her face distorts for a moment, more tears fall from her eyes.
The need to hurt, for pain, white hot below the surface. Growing stronger by the second as realisation sets that I will be alone. No more Jack. No more cuddling and hugs. I ball my hands into fists, driving my nails into my hand. To feel something, to keep the looming dark emptiness from overpowering me. But it starts creeping into my head, digging its heels and having no plans to move.
"It can't be. I saw him smile. He was smiling! How can he smile and then die?" I slide from my chair, now sitting on the ground, leaning against the chairs, trying to keep my head from spinning.
"I think it's better if you go get a bit of fresh air. Just a clear head for a bit." Anne helps me up. "Do you want me to go with you?"
I shake my head. It's better if I just have some time to myself. I walk down the corridor, away from Jack's room.
I grab my phone as soon as I'm out of the door. I see I have 20 missed messages, some from Adam but after that only from Tom. I sigh, guilt pulling at my heart. I first try to call Adam but no-one picks up. Maybe he is still mad at me. I then call Tom, after only a few rings he picks up.
"Hi Vic, I'm glad you called. I need to tell you something." Toms voice is rushed like he has just ran a hundred miles.
"Jack is dead." I whisper. The line falls quiet for a couple of seconds.
"Oh my god. I'm so sorry. What happened?" Toms voice is filled with the threat of tears.
"Some guys beat him up. He died of bleeding in his brain."
"I'm so sorry. I didn't know. So that is why we couldn't reach you for the past couple of days I guess."
"If you didn't know, about what did you try to reach me?"
"Adam is in the hospital. It's... it's really bad."
Blood rushes to my head. The world starts spinning and I can feel the phone slip from my hand before everything goes black.