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For God’s sake Pat” Prisca said unevenly, trying to be brave. She definitely was not accepting that her daughter was at the point of death. It had been really hard for Prisca to believe that she was still sane with everything that she had been going through. Any average person would
Patricia knew what her mum was doing. She was trying to say things, hoping she herself would be able to believe them. Prisca had to be the strongest woman alive, always believing that there is a way out of every disaster. Patricia however did not feel she would be leaving the hospital in a few days, in fact, she doubted she would be leaving at all. And if she was, it was probably to the… No, she should have as much faith as her mum and believe that she would be out of the hospital, going to her house and not a mortuary, but the pain floating through Patricia was too intense. Her chest was practically on fire. It was a miracle that she even had her eyes open. At least she could say farewell to everyone.
“Don’t think too much sweetheart, it is not good for you” Prisca said, smiling. She wiped at her eyes again.
Patricia swallowed. “Mum?”
“Yes honey” her mum stood at alert, ready to grant her every wish.
“What of dad?” She asked and her mum winced.
“He uhm… He is fine. He has been asking after you but I… I told him nothing. Get well soon so he won’t have to worry.”
Pat smiled weakly, quenching the urge to cry, knowing she might die if she did. “I love you mum” she said, a tear drop floating down her cheeks.
“I know that baby, your dad might need to be reminded though, so you need to get better so you can tell him again.”
Pat smiled weakly, knowing that she may never be able to do that.
“Tina” Patricia rasped immediately her sister entered. She tried to move and almost passed out as pain slized through her like a thousand knives. Tina rushed to her. “What are you doing here? You have exams”
Tina’s eyes were swollen from excessive crying. It was obvious that she just got back from school from the way she looked.
“Sis P, you are not leaving me too are you?” She sobbed profusely.
“Tina, it is OK”
“No, it is not OK, no one told me about dad, he is very sick, what do you want me to do if you both leave mum and I?” Pat winced slightly and another fresh pain took over her. Tina flashed out of the baby act at once. “Did I hurt you sis? Oh God!”
Pat smiled softly, pacifying her. “I am fine Tina” please stop crying, you know how much i hate seeing you in pain.
“I also hate seeing you hurt sis,” she cried out, tears flowing endlessly. Her voice came in hiccups. “I want you to be fine, we have so much catching up to do”
Pat smiled as her heart bled. “You should be in school writing your final exams Tee, you wouldn’t want to miss that First Class you have been eyeing. This would make me so happy.”
“You would be there to watch me graduate right?” Tina asked intensely. “You have to be by my side, dancing with me”
Patricia smiled painfully. I would be there in spirit, she said internally.
“Do you remember those times we played together in the rain” Alexa asked as she sat on the bed, beside Pat. Patricia smiled up at her. “Then, you would carry me on your back and turn round” she laughed and Pat laughed softly, not allowing the pain she was feeling hinder her from remembering her good times.
“How could I forget how the rain splashed our faces and our mums would run in the rain, trying to catch us” Pat answered softly with a smile.
Alexa laughed harder, her laughter almost turning to a sob. “I remember us running so hard as they ran after us, our legs were quicker and they would pursue us till they got tired and drenched” Alexa said and Pat laughed. There were too many memories with the two families, all of them unforgettable. Belina and Richard had been there also and it hard been extremely hard seeing Mr Richard struggle for composure, probably because he was such an expert to know her fate, she had thought. Patricia snapped from her riverie to notice that Alexa had started crying. She hated people crying for her, it might actually kill her faster.
“We need to have more of those experiences Pat” she murmured in a broken voice. “You can’t leave me”
“You still want me around? Even after knowing that what I feel for Marc?”
Alexa swallowed, still crying. “It is not your fault that you love him Pat, anyone would. Why did you take this damn bullet Pat” Alexa said sternly.
“Would you rather have Marc on this bed?”
Alexa clenched her fists struggling for words. Pat smiled. “You really love him. I know you would have done the same if you were in my place” she whispered. “He is perfect for you sweetheart”
Alexa shook her head. “You deserve him much more than I do”
“Please Pat” Marcel begged, sitting beside Pat on the hospital bed, almost in tears. “Please tell me you would be fine”
Patricia tried hard to hide the pain she was feeling but it was not something she could hide. Pain flitted through her face unhindered. “I think it is best you say nothing” Marc said, seeing her struggle.
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She shook her head and gave a weak smile. “I am just glad that I got to meet you Marcel.” She breathed and Marcel had to bend to hear her. Her words chilled his blood.
“Don’t talk like that Pat, we would still have years to be together, and talk together. You are like the closest friend I have now”
Pat smiled and concentrated on breathing properly. “No. Pat is your closest friend” she said.
The three powerful words that Pat had spoken three days ago when the bullet had driven into her chest came back to Marcel all over again. Those words, said out of pain and love had kept him on his toes, almost driving him crazy. Patricia had done so many things for him, loving him all the way but hiding it because of the knowledge that he was in love with Alexa. How could he stomach that? How could he bare to think that he had been hurting Patricia unknowingly, all along. She had loved him unconditionally, knowing that she could not get anything in return and had gone to the extent of putting her life on the line for him. He did not deserve her love, Marcel thought. ‘She deserves a man that is better than me’.
All along, during the horrific three days wait at the hospital, without any news about Patricia, Marcel hadn’t been able to go to Alexa who sat just a few seats away from him. He could not make himself do it even though he was not involved with Patricia. He saw Alexa in tears because of the fear that her cousin might die anytime but he hadn’t been able to comfort her, besides, he was the reason for the whole scenario. Everyone was crying because Patricia had risked her neck for him. Why wasn’t he the one on the bed? Less people would mourn and he definitely would not feel the height of pain he was feeling now as he watched Patricia smile up at him, despite the pain that was flashing through her features. He shouldn’t keep her talking, he thought, it would only make things worse, but he just wanted her eyes to stay open. He wanted to make sure he did not give death an opportunity to enter. Because if anything happened to Pat, Marcel was sure that he would live with the guilt till the end of his days.
“I do love you Patricia” he said truthfully. Pat smiled and gasped as pain overtook her. “Please don’t talk” he said quickly. He was definitely making matters worse. The nurse would come soon to take him away, which would be better for Pat’s health, he thought. But why did he have this bad feeling that he might never see that soft smile again.
“I know you do Marc” she responded with a smile, though weakly. “And I want you to be happy, I know Alexa is your happiness. I also see the glow in your eyes when she talks about you.” She swallowed. “You both would make an excellent couple.” She smiled and closed her eyes briefly against pain. “Tell me you would be happy”
“I would never be happy if you leave Pat, I would die of guilt. It would have been better if the bullet hit me instead.”
“Don’t say that and don’t ask me why I saved you again, you have asked too many times.” Her voice became stern, much like the Pat Williams he knew. “You should not blame yourself for what I did. I am happy I did”
“Please promise me you would fight to stay alive” Marcel gripped Pat’s hand softly, yet fiercely.
“Promise me… Please” Marcel pleaded and again looked like he was about to cry. “There are too many people who love you, your mum is suffering too much. Your sister, Alexa, your aunt and Mr Richard, everyone including me. What do you think would happen if your dad heard of what happened to you? It would kill him. Please Pat, don’t give up” he leaned forward and kissed her forehead. He was oblivious to the tears that rolled down his cheeks.
Her eyes watered and she raised her hands, wiping the tears from his cheeks, stunning him. She offered a wet smile.
Marcel sat at the reception with his head on his palms. It was already two days since he spoke with Pat and his nerves were on the edge. His eye lids must weigh ten pounds from lack of sleep.
Remembering Michael, his arms fisted with the intense urge to strangle him. If the guy Pat had brought with her hadn’t come in the time he had, Marcel was sure he would have successfully squeezed life out of Michael. Michael had been stunned by Patricia’s move, or so it seemed. He seemed to have frozen in place, far too long because Marcel leapt at him, not caring if he got shot with the gun still in Michael’s hand but he had luckily knocked it out of his arms. Marcel had landed punch after punch on Michael’s face, passing the pain he was feeling about Pat through the strength passing through his fists. Michael’s face was a bloody mess when the guy came in and dragged Marcel off with great effort. Marcel had run back to Pat, his every nerve about to snap as he shook her. She seemed lifeless but he definitely could not accept it. He barely saw the guy lead Michael out with his arms handcuffed. He was sure that given five minutes alone with Michael, he would send him to a well deserved grave.
He looked up to see Alexa standing before him. He hadn’t spoken to her at all and he was weary when he saw that she had lost weight. All of this was his fault, his stupidity had led not only him but a host of others into a very uncontrollable mess.
“Alexa” he breathed.
“You know, she really deserves you.” Alexa started without preamble. “She loves you so much, I have never seen her feel that much for someone else before. When she gets well, please marry her, I beg you. You deserve someone who loves you deeply enough to sacrifice life for you and Pat is that woman” Alexa said, looking at Marcel’s face and not inside his eyes. She was sure if she did, she would not be able to say whatever it is she was saying. Breathing deeply, she turned and left. Marcel could not even call her back, he just watched her go. The sound of a small commotion caught Marcel’s attention and he almost jumped up. Some nurses were rushing behind Richard as Richard and another doctor walked speedily towards Pat’s ward. He caught the grim look on Richard’s face and feared the worst.