BREATHE: A Billionaire Romance, Part Four

BREATHE

Part Four

 

Jenn Marlow

Copyright © 2015

All Rights Reserved
. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

Chapter 1

 

 

I didn’t know what to do. All I knew was that my nerves were running haywire as I frantically paced for what seemed like hours, as the medics continued to work on him. I could hardly stay back as far as they wanted me to—fearful of missing his final moments. I needed to be with him; to see him; to hold him. But I knew that they had to do their job. I knew that I would just be in the way.

It all happened so quickly before they arrived. I remember fumbling for my phone, putting them on speaker and talking to them as I did chest compressions over and over again. I had no idea what I was doing; I wasn’t certified or anything. All I had was a general idea, and a heart full of love for the man.

It had worked.

He had breathed, but only slightly and only for short amounts of time.

A small wailing sound roared from my throat and past my lips as I held him closely, trying to shake him awake and make him breathe again. I kept trying to hold my sobs in and keep my calm, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop crying, but I pushed through the tears and kept on compressing. Until they arrived…and shoved me away.

And I wasn’t sure if it was being feet away, and unable to lay my eyes upon him, or what, but it seemed like time stood still.

“Clear!” the medic called, just before using what I believed to be the chest paddles on him.

I gasped in a wailing cry and nervously buried my hands in my hair. I tugged and yanked the strands into a ball, and pulled, hoping that the pain might take me away from the moment.

I stumbled, as I took a step back, and looked down in the puddle of vomit. I couldn’t imagine ever being as sick as he clearly was; I couldn’t imagine how I hadn’t known how sick he was that night; and I couldn’t believe that I had left him.

All that vomit…

And he was still unconscious….

Was that really going to be the way the great Derek Sholts was going to be defeated?

Derek…

Suddenly, as if I had blacked out, we were outside, and Derek was on a stretcher. I was in a daze, following him. In fact, he was all that I could focus on.

His clothes were cut down the middle so that his bare chest shined out, and I could see red marks on them, likely from the paddles and chest compressions.

I continued to look at his weak and frail body, as tears rolled down my cheek, soon followed by a multitude of others until I was a sobbing fit of a mess. I felt myself hyperventilate as I stumbled towards the ambulance. I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t think; and I could hardly even walk.

“C-coming!” was all that I could manage to release from my mouth and through some miracle I was able to understand what one of the medics said. He was telling me to get in the front seat, and that I couldn’t ride in the back.

I hated it, but I listened. I made my way towards the front, hardly able to take my eyes off of them.

Over the last couple of months, he had been everything; he had all my entire focus. Being with him gave me brightness, despite the gloomy coldness of his illness. And looking at him, un-moving, unconscious, and covered in his own vomit, I felt as if he was being ripped out of my life—even sooner than I thought.

I’d fallen for him utterly and completely. And I had somehow managed to grow forgetful that a day like this was ever going to come… and I hated myself for it.

I listened in horror, as he struggled to breathe. I didn’t want to turn around and get into the large red and white vehicle; I didn’t want to take my eyes off of him. But I knew I needed to. I knew I needed to get ready to go so that we could leave as soon as they loaded him into the back.

But it was hard. All I wanted to do was look at him, go towards him, hold him, and whisper that everything was going to be alright—whether I believed it or not.

I sighed, knowing that I couldn’t.

Just as I turned on my heel to grab the front doorknob of the ambulance, I heard him breathe loudly. The crackling liquid-sound his lungs made as he tried to breathe and then speak made me wince. I wished more than anything that I could have just stopped it all.

But I couldn’t.

I felt a pain in the pit of my stomach, and it was so strong—so incredibly strong, and terrible—that I felt like I had been shot. I was paying the price of being so stupid and falling for someone so limited on life. I was usually so good about being logical, but then came Derek Sholts, with all his cocky smirks and staggering charm. Ever since he came into my life, I was left crippled by my feelings for him. It didn’t matter if they were negative or positive; they had always consumed me.

And now they consumed me so deeply, so completely, that I didn’t know what I’d do without him anymore. I took a deep, shuddering breath, the world around me crumbling, as I fought for the control that I was always so good at possessing before.

I had to fight back the memories of all the nights—although not nearly enough—we spent together, our legs intertwined, wrapped up in love and passion. I had to fight them back because just remembering it all made it all the more worse for the wear. It made me remember just how much I loved him…as if I needed reminding.

I thought about all the kisses, the affection…all of it. I loved everything—even the times he drove me crazy, and the times I didn’t understand his ridiculous decisions.

I thought about it all. I thought about everything.

And I loved it; I loved it all; and I loved him.

Yeah, I tried to fight the memories; I tried to condense them for even just a moment, but I couldn’t. He was in my head. As I stood there, looking back at him with one hand on the door to the ambulance and one over my mouth as I tried to stifle my crying wails, I knew that he always would be.

Chapter 2

 

It was all a blur. I couldn’t even process it all. Hell, I had enough trouble just walking towards the ambulance and grabbing the door. And even when I held onto it, I couldn’t hardly make myself get in. I just kept looking back at him, lying on the stretcher, two medics above him.

I took a deep breath of air, as I heard a slight, wet, gurgling sound through the night. I could only attribute the noise to Derek fighting for air. They loaded him up in the back, and I heaved with desperation, as I finally lifted myself up into the front seat, trying to catch my own breath—not really knowing that I had stopped breathing.

My body felt numb, and my hands were freezing cold, dead, like my soul felt when I saw Derek lying on the floor in such a desperate state. I held my hands out towards the vent for heat, tears flowing freely. I was almost in complete hysteria

I tried to take another breath in, but the weight of my lungs seemed too heavy to continue. It was like a harsh burden to inhale or exhale. I gurgled a strange sound, and panic rose in me.

I felt like I was drowning.

I couldn’t breathe.

“You’re having a panic attack!” a voice called out from above me. And I realized, as I focused on the voice that I must have fallen backwards, because all I could see was the ambulance cab ceiling through blurred vision.

I couldn’t quite make out much of the face, but I could also tell someone was hovering above me. And then I realized—through what I hoped could be nothing more than logic (what little of it I had left)—that it had to be the driver of the ambulance.

“I’m going to need you to count to thirty-five for me!” he said, and I almost narrowed my eyes at him in frustration. “Try to do it out loud!”

I blinked and continued to look at him. I couldn’t really process what he was saying, nor did I care to. It hurt too much.

“Count!!” he bellowed, grabbing me just before readying what looked like some sort of syringe.

“One…” I choked, and he lowered the syringe and pulled his face closer to me. “Two…” I coughed, my lungs soaked in mucus. “Three…”

“That’s it… keep going,” he smoothed, calmly and suddenly it felt like the difficulty in breathing had peaked and the burden began to ease.

“Give her the sedative!” the medic from the back with Derek yelled out. “We have to go!”

“She’s fine!” the driver barked.

And I was…

“Fourteen,” I said, feeling my breath return fully.

“Atta girl!” And with that, he pulled away and started the ignition.

It was a race to the hospital. I knew it had to be, but I wouldn’t have known, because I sure as hell didn’t register anything going on.

All that I could do was wrap myself in my own little world of thoughts until we were there, and they rushed Derek through the emergency room doors.

And when all that happened, I still didn’t register much. I felt my body move animatedly, as if I was being possessed, and I lunged as quickly as I could through the large glass and metal doors.

I heard cries and wails throughout the halls, but I tried to ignore them. I had to. Their vague calls for help were breaking my concentration. I had to focus on Derek.

I had to think positively, and hearing other terrorized cries wasn’t the way to do it.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

When his eyes opened for a brief moment, I could do nothing but focus on the panic and confusion that seemed to be in them. And I could tell that he didn’t know why he was there. He didn’t remember anything—at least not from the time he fell to the time he arrived at the hospital.

I only wondered if he remembered that I left.

“I will never leave you again!” I sobbed, clutching onto his hand, but as soon as I did, he fell back into unconsciousness. The attending emergency room doctor looked at me with sad eyes, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was sympathy because he knew that Derek was dying.

“Is he going to be okay?” I cried out to the older gentleman. He was tall, with white hair, but a youngish looking face. It was strange, and normally I would have harped on his hair and face not matching up in age, but I didn’t care to do that now. I was too concerned for Derek.

“He’s stable right now,” he said in a kind tone.

But it didn’t reassure me. In all truthfulness, “right now” did nothing for me. I wanted to know more than just “right now”.

My head dropped to the side as I looked for familiar faces—family, friends, anything or anyone who would flooding in to see Derek and check on him. However, I soon realized that no one was coming. I hadn’t called anyone; no one else knew. Just me.

Not only that, but the only people able to come would have likely been his family… and I wasn’t even sure if he had told them yet.

 

“Have you called his family?” the doctor asked.

“I don’t have any of their numbers.” I lied. Both of his parents had contacted me with their information after I met them the first time. Derek didn’t even know that I had their information, so I wasn’t going to tell a doctor. Especially without knowing if Derek had even told them about his illness in the first place. If he was fine, I didn’t want to worry them.

I wanted him to tell them though. On his terms.

Although I knew that they deserved to know—and I felt like absolute shit for not just telling them myself.

“He only had his primary physician as his emergency contact, and I felt that was strange, but I gave him a call.”

“They’re stepbrothers,” I said and sighed.

“Excuse me?” the man asked, and immediately I could tell that his mind went to the exact same place mine had the first time I found out.

“Stepbrothers,” I reassured, not giving a damn if I got Dr. Freeman in trouble with my “slippage”.

“Right…” he sighed. “Well, I gave him a call, and he should be here soon.”

“Great.” I rolled my eyes.

Like I was looking forward to his presence…

I looked at him once again and pain immediately thudded against my heart with every memory that flashed of him lying on the floor.

And I could do nothing but blink and praise whatever in the world was out there for the fact that he was still alive, and that—at least for now—he was fine.

I sighed, a world of thoughts whirling in my head; nothing more prominent, though, than how glad I was that he was alright for the time being.

My eyes met his, and as soon as I did, I realized what I had learned that night…

I didn’t know quite just how much I was going to lose before. And what I learned was that I was going to lose everything. I was going to die along with him; at least a part of me was going to. I was going to die of a broken heart.

I pulled my hand away from his, knowing he had completely faded once again, and as soon as I looked down, I was horrified. My hands were covered in blood, dried blood, his dried blood. I didn't really know where it came from though. Truth was, I couldn’t recall anything really; at least not specifics. I remembered the basics of everything that happened, and I sure as hell remembered the frantic fear that I felt. The rest, though, I couldn’t even begin to remember.

All that I knew was that it was his, and the blood probably wasn’t from an external wound…

I shuddered at the thought and closed my eyes.

I looked up to the ceiling once again and cursed—probably aloud. I was cursing everything that could possibly be cursed for not suddenly curing him, and letting him fall to the depths of such a terrible illness while I was gone.

However, I knew I could curse all I wanted, but nothing was going to change. Derek was dying. He was going to die. And there was nothing I could do about it.

No matter how much I plead. It wouldn’t matter.

He was going to die.

And then I felt a sob roll through my body, croaking in my throat as a wave of rage crashed down upon me. I screamed out, punching the wall with frustration.

“Fuck!” I screamed, crying out in pain and grief—pain from him being unconscious in a hospital bed, from the damaged fist, from the heartbreak… pain from everything. And grief… God, the grief.

I felt myself fall to my knees, the pain of them hitting the floor not even registering. And I struggled to grab ahold of his hand, leaning into his bed.

Waves of pained rocked me to the core. I should have fought harder not to fall for him. I should have…but at the same time, that reality seemed even worse. Just thinking about it caused even more pain to bubble up. Thinking about him doing it all on his own was too much.

Dying on his own….

Emotions were whirling within me like a tornado, and I knew that I would carry the burden of this night for the rest of my life, the burden of fully realizing Derek’s mortality.

And I would also carry the burden of knowing that he had been in such a detrimental state while I was gone. I had left him…Me. I did that. I left him. I left a man who was sick. I left the man whom I loved.

The burden was heavy, and it was sharp, so sharp that it cut me to the core and left scars that would surely last a lifetime. I knew I’d have to carry the scars of leaving him and having it turn out for the absolute worst with me for a lifetime.

Thinking about it all was bringing me to a dark place, a place I had never been to before.

I was a million pieces strewn across the hospital floor; and I knew that I was going to be forever damaged because of it all. But I also knew that because of that night, I would never take a moment for granted. My scars from the night—something I might refer to as my rugged battle scars—would teach me a lesson, and I would carry that lesson with me for a lifetime.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and then a figure—right in front of me—came into view. The doctor was there, and he was talking to me.

I didn’t hear what he said, but I nodded along just before drifting off. I felt his hand brush over my shoulder once again, and then I felt my mind wander into nothingness.

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