“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Richie said softly.
Tessa looked up from her notebook. Her To Do list was more than half a page long. She had to get her life back, and Jon’s life back. “I’m just getting back to normal, Richie.” She looked down at her notebook and checked off the first on her list.
Talk to Jon.
Now he knew she was doing all right. He could stop feeling so responsible for her. Things would get better now that she was up and moving. It was going to take some time to get back to 100% but she was well on her way. “I wanted to thank you for being there for Jon. I know he was worried about me.”
Richie frowned down at her. “He was devastated. He almost lost you, darlin’.”
She smiled at him. “I know, but everything’s okay now. We can get back to our life and that life is a busy one that’s for sure. I know Jon’s given up so much to be here with—“
“Are you even listening to yourself?” Richie pressed a hand into her bed and leaned down. “Jon needs to be here with you, needs to see for himself that you’re all right. Sending him off to work and do Soul stuff is not the way to reassure him, you know.”
She sighed. “You’re right. I’ll talk to him when he picks me up tomorrow, I promise.”
“Why don’t I go get him—“
“No, Richie. He should get some stuff out of the way so that I won’t be cutting into his life too much tomorrow. I mean it’s going to take a few hours to get out of here and the paperwork done.” Right, paperwork. She replaced the first thing on her list with hospital paperwork. “I know what a busy man he is and I’m sure he’s put a lot of things on hold while I was…sick.”
“Sick? Tessa you lost a baby and almost died! That’s not sick. That’s life changing.”
She looked up at him, his dark eyes were heated and his normally serene face set in a frown. “But I’m okay.” She patted his hand, curling around his large fist. “I’m okay, Richie.”
He stared her dead in the eye, quiet for a long time. “You keep telling yourself that while I go make sure my friend really is.” He stood up and walked to the door. “He lost a baby too you know. Maybe he’s not fine.”
Her heart throbbed for a moment before she cleared her throat. There was no way she could make him see that normalcy was just what they needed now. “Richie!” She called out as he walked through the door. He turned back to her, but those sympathetic dark eyes had gone flat. “I promise we’ll be okay. It’s just going to take some time.”
Without another word he left the room. She rubbed the ach low in her gut. She couldn’t wait to get rid of the stitches. The pain would go away with the stitches, she was sure of it.
She pushed the make-shift desk away from herself and stood up. Restless energy ate at her and the pull of her body did nothing to ease her anxiety. She needed to get away from the hospital and back to her life.
“Oh my God, you’re up!”
Tessa turned around and smiled. “Hey, Nic.”
“Don’t hey, Nic me!” She rushed into the room. “Oh, I missed you so much!” Nic wrapped her arms around her neck and held on. “Are you sure you should be up?”
Tessa patted her back. “I’m fine. I’ve been horizontal for way too long anyway.” She slid away from her. “I talked to the doctor and she seems to think I should be able to go home tomorrow.”
Nic frowned at her, spinning away to come around to face her again. “Are you sure you’re ready to go home?”
She snorted. “Darlin’ I’m so ready I’d walk out today if they didn’t sick Janet on me every three hours like clockwork.”
“Tessa, you were flat on your back two days ago with no signs of recovery and now you’re running around here like nothing happened.”
“Of course something happened, I had surgery.” She reached for her notebook and the reach was too long, she hissed and curled into herself as her body reminded her just how soon it had been.
“Christ, woman.” Nic rushed around to help her back into bed. “You don’t have to be strong.” She smoothed her hand over her hair. “It’s okay to lean on us.”
She slid back on the bed. “I’m okay, just moved too fast.”
“You are not even listening to me.”
She looked up at Nic’s sharp tone. “I am listening.” She sighed. “C’mon, Nic, you know I suck at asking for help. I do things on my own, that’s what I do.” She folded her blankets over her legs and eased back on the pillow. “I’m not going to be happy until I can get around on my own.”
“Well, you don’t have to do it on your own. That’s what I’m trying to get at. Too bad whatever anesthetic they used made you stupid.” Nic folded her arms and kicked the rolling tray.
“I doubt it was the anesthesia.”
“No, you’re right. You’re always stupid when it comes to help.” Nic sighed, dropping arms to her sides. “Honey, you need time to heal from the surgery and the loss of the—“
“What I need is everyone to stop treating me like I’m broken!” Tessa swiped her hand through the air and hissed as her fragile, useless body reminded her that she was broken and she hated it. “I need to get back to normal. That’s all.” She closed her eyes and dragged a shaky hand through her hair. “That’s all.”
“Hey, I’m sorry.” Nic wrapped her fingers around her hand. “Shh. Don’t get upset.”
She gripped her fingers back and forced her breathing to even. “I just want my life back.”
“I know, baby.” Nic tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. “I know.”