Chapter thirty three – Firm grip not on reality

Patrick is better today. He's been out of his bed for a few hours, just rolling around in a hospital wheelchair. He keeps asking to have a go in mine and I keep refusing - just to annoy him.

"So what time is ye kid coming?" By kid he means Elvin. They've finally deemed him safe enough to allow him a supervised visit.

"In about an hour" I reply.

Patrick nods and draws his arms back to give him enough power so that he can roll from one end of the room to the other. He glides along the shiny, clean floor, whilst shouting 'Yeeee' with a big smile on his face.

"Are you planning on doing that all day?" I enquire bitterly. He's starting to really piss me off.

"Don't know," He pulls up beside my bed. "Depends on what other offers I get"

I roll my eyes and he smiles with those massive teeth of his.

"What did I tell ye about being so moody, Karlos?" He coos at me. I half expect him to start pinching my cheeks like an obsessed aunt.

"My name's not Karlos" I state. It's the only thing I can think of to say.

"And yet it suits you so well" Shakes his head sadly. "Shame really"

I feel myself boiling with anger. That's the only thing to do in here, be angry. And Patrick is serving as the perfect cause.

"Karl, you have a visitor" A nurse interrupts. Patrick smiles because it got him off the hook and I send him a glare that says 'we'll finish this later'.

I look towards the glass windows that separate our bay area from the rest of the ward. I see a youngish man, a bit on the weedy side, with glasses and short, shaved brown hair leading Elvin by his forearm through the corridor and to my room. I can't see his face, it's blocked by the other man but I can tell he's different by the way that he's walking. It's slower, less excited.

"Mr Runnings?" The weedy man asks as he gets to my bed. He's left Elvin outside the room. Why's he done that? He knows I want to see him.

"Yeah, that's me" I'm not in the mood to be friendly.

"I'm Michael Fernley, Patient's Safety Organiser for Honeywood Mental Health Services" He flashes me his badge as if it's supposed to mean something to me.

"I want to see Elvin, bring him in" I demand impatiently. I just want to see him.

"I just need to go over some procedures for the visit with you first" He smiles and takes a seat in the chair beside my bed. I didn't say he could do that.

"Procedures?" I look at him in contempt.

"Yes" He nods as he pulls a piece of paper out of his briefcase. What the hell has he got one of them?

I feel like we're in court or something.

"Look, just let Elvin in"

"I will in a moment Mr Runnings, I just need to make you aware of the procedures" He points to the document in his hand but I'm way past listening.

"I don't fucking care about those 'procedures'!" I breathe irately. I can't shout, it hurts too much, but I can do a mean low talking, 'I'll get what I want now bitch' voice.

"Please don't get aggressive Mr Runnings, these procedures are for everyone's safety"

I sigh. I might as well just let him ramble through the long list of don'ts. Plus I don't want them to think Elvin is unsafe with me.

"You are to stay at least a metre away from Elvin, for your own safety" He reads off the sheet.

This is just fucking ridiculous. He's my boyfriend. I need physical contact. It's been so long.

He continues reading. The list includes things like no talking about my medical condition because it may trigger him to get aggressive, no physical contact and someone must be in the room with us at all times so that they can monitor the situation.

"Do you understand these procedures?"

"Fine" I agree to it because I want to see Elvin. And because I want him to stop saying 'procedures'.

He goes to the door and opens it. "Come on Elvin" He says softly. Elvin doesn't look up. He limps into the room as guided by the other man.

"Vin" I breathe. I can't believe it's him. He looks skinnier. "How, how are you?"

He continues to stare at the ground. His clothes are crumpled; they look like he's slept in them for a few days. His hair is untamed whereas usually it's gelled.

"Vin, can you hear me?" I ask gently. I want to see his eyes. I want him to respond.

When he does look up it's painful to see. His once crystal blue eyes are now murky and dead.

"Jesus," I whisper at the sight. "What the hell have they done to you?" I survey him at little more. His stubble is unshaven and he's wearing a depressing grey hoody with jeans instead of his usual colourful cardigans and t-shirts combo.

"You can sit down if you like Elvin" Michael informs him. Elvin nods and shakily takes a seat beside me.

"How's Mooresville?" I ask, hoping he'll answer to that.

But he doesn't. Instead he looks towards Michael for what looks like approval, which he appears to be giving, but Elvin decides against answering the question.

I realise that with Michael in the room, communication is going to be impossible. I need to get him out of here.

"Look," I address the man. "I know that you want to make sure that we are safe but I would really like some time alone with my boyfriend" I try to use my 'listen to reason' voice. Fucks sake man, I am dying.

"It's against procedures, sorry Mr Runnings" He doesn't look sorry. "I can't leave you unsupervised"

"I could supervise them" Patrick's voice comes for the other side of the room.

"And you are?"

"Oh, Patrick O'Malley" He shakes the man's hand with a confident smile.

"I'm sorry, Mr O'Malley. But only trained staff can supervise visits"

Patrick makes an 'Mm' sound as if he is trying to think of a solution. However, before he can think of anything Mr Fernley's phone begins to chime. He looks embarrassed as he slips the phone out of his pocket.

"Phones should be switched off on the wards" Patrick scolds him, trying to supress his laughter.

Mr Fernley looks at the screen of his phone and he face turns deadly serious. "I need to take this"

We have no objections.

"I am holding you personally responsible for any problems" He warns Patrick who just nods in understanding.

"And you," He glares at me. "You two have fifteen minutes"

He walks out of the room, clearly angry at having his authority challenged. Patrick gives him a small wave and I laugh.

"Wow, I'd thought he'd never go" I say to Elvin who hasn't moved at all.

I sigh. "You've gotta give me something to work with Vin" I say, hoping that it'll make him see that all he has to do is give me one word, a sound, a look, anything.

"I need to know that you are still in there"

He fidgets a bit and makes a moaning sound, like he's in pain.

"What is it Vin?" I'm concerned. I want to reach out and lift his chin up so that I can see into his eyes.

He looks like he wants to talk but it's trapped inside him.

"What do you wanna say Vin?" I prompt him. "I'm right here, it's ok. Just go ahead and tell me"

"Can't" He forces out. It's quiet but I hear it because I'm listening.

"Yeah, yeah you can" I breathe. I feel like I'm getting a little hysterical. I'm so close.

"Michael" He whispers. He suddenly looks up in a panic.

"Shush, it's ok, Michael's not here, he's not here"

"Can't," He repeats. "Can't, can't, CAN'T!" He shouts. He begins to rock himself.

"Hey, it's ok" I attempt to soothe him because I don't like seeing him like this and I definitely don't want Mr Fernley to come back because Elvin's getting distressed.

"I understand"

I look to Patrick who is looking at me in concern. I mouth a 'what am I going to do?' at him to which he sighs and rubs his hand over his face.

"Hey Elvin" Patrick says in a cheerful tone. "I'm Patrick" He offers his hand to Elvin, who to my surprise, takes it.

"How are ye?"

"I'm sick" Elvin replies sadly.

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, what's the matter with ye?"

"I'm mental"

Shit. Why the hell would he say that? Unless someone told him that, Elvin's very suggestible.

"I don't think ye are mental" Patrick says confidently.

Elvin nods firmly. "I am"

Mr Fernley comes back into the room and Elvin's head drops back down to the floor. I know he has something to do with his currently fragile mental state.

"Come on Elvin, time's up" Mr Fernley grips Elvin's arm firmly, a little too firmly for my liking.

"Bye Patrick" Elvin looks back as he is led out of the door.

Patrick gives him a soft smile. "Bye Elvin"

He didn't even speak to me. My own boyfriend didn't even speak to me.

Ok, so where do you think Karl should go from here? What do you think of Patrick's attempt at getting Elvin to talk? What do you think of Elvin's lack of communication, is it because of the emotional strain of Karl being in hospital or is it something more sinister with that Michael man?

I really liked writing this chapter. I'm sorry if it's getting a bit weird, do you think it's getting a bit weird? Because if you do then let me know.

Marnie-May