What is wrong with Alice? She came out of nowhere and just started asking me questions and yelling at Eddie.
Of all the people I thought would come to visit me right now, she was on the bottom of my list. Not that I don't love my older sister, but I thought she was still recovering in the hospital across town. It turns out I've been here two days and she was just released. What with the weird sleep schedules and the drugs they've been giving me I've lost all track of time.
Stephen wheeled her in and she looked so pale and drawn, I couldn't help but immediately start to worry. If she was just discharged, she should be home resting, not here sitting in an uncomfortable hospital-issue wheelchair. She looks like I feel, exhausted and achy.
I wanted to tell her I was ok, to go home and rest, but my voice is still weak, and I only got out her name before she reassured me, saying she was going to be fine.
She asked me how I got hurt, but I don't really know the specifics. Eddie'd been telling me about it when she came in, but he was pretty vague. I know there was some sort of robbery and now I'm here.
Before I could form the words, Eddie asked her if Liz already told her what happened, and she answered, "She said Jane was almost killed in a burglary, that she needed surgery."
"I almost died?" I asked in amazement. Sure, I've felt pretty bad lately, but not dying-bad. Am I still going to die? What else is wrong with me? Why didn't Eddie tell me?
I shake myself out of my reverie and look up at him, wanting to ask my questions, but the expressions... pain, sadness, anger, frustration, and dozens more playing over his face one after another, stop me. It's only when I see his reaction that I realize Alice is still talking. She's blaming him for what happened to me.
That can't be right. Eddie would never do anything to hurt me. They both said it was a burglary or something. How could he be responsible for that?
"It's your fault she's like this. You should've stopped it sooner. It should be you in this bed, not her," Alice says, her voice getting louder every second.
No. Stop, Alice.
"Get out!" she yells.
Eddie gently lowers my hand to the bed and gets up.
"Come back, Eddie," I whisper, but what with my weak voice and the oxygen mask, he must not hear me. He doesn't turn around, just walks right out the door, leaving me with a furious Alice and a calming Stephen.
"Alice, honey, relax. It's the hormones and the medicine, remember? The doctors said your body chemistry's still balancing itself out."
"Don't belittle my feelings, Stephen. My baby sister almost dies, I can't see her for two days, almost 50 hours, and you tell me the only reason I'm upset is that my hormones are out of wack?"
"The hormones and the medication."
"Eddie," I whisper, but they're ignoring me.
"Shut up, Stephen, or so help me..."
"I'm sorry, sweetheart. Just... you need to calm down."
"I will not calm down. I want that Eddie character banned from this room. How do we know he's so innocent? He could've faked the burglary and tried to kill Jane himself."
"How dare you?!"
Liz. She's standing in the doorway, and even from where I'm lying, I can see her eyes are practically burning with anger.
"Eddie saved Jane's life. He's been with her every second he could since he found her. How dare you come here days after the fact and fling wild accusations at him?"
"Jane is my sister, and I care what happens to her. You weren't there either. How do you know he hasn't been lying?"
"Because I talked to the police. He's been totally cleared. They don't do that unless they're absolutely sure."
"Huh," Alice huffs. "Don't you watch the news? The police are idiots."
"I know Eddie, and I believe him. From what the doctors told me, if he hadn't acted as quickly as he did, if he hadn't gotten Jane help in time, we wouldn't be here today. We'd be at her funeral."
Whoa. Do they even realize I'm here? All this talk about me dying is really freaking me out, and the drugs I'm flying high on aren't helping. My imagination has started producing all sorts of interesting images of what I'd look like dead, and it's really hard to stop when they keep talking. I don't want them here. All this arguing is giving me a headache. I just want Eddie. Quiet, comforting Eddie.
"Eddie," I say again, but still, no one hears me.
"You should be kissing his feet and singing his praises, not chasing him away," Liz says.
"Shut up, Stephen. I don't want to hear one more word about my condition affecting my mood." Alice says, then turns to Liz. "As for Eddie, I don't care what you think, Jane's my sister and I don't trust him. She needs her family around her, and now that I'm here, he can crawl back into whatever hole he came from for all I care."
"From where I'm standing, Eddie's been better to Jane these past months than you've ever been."
"What do you mean?" Alice asks, her eyes squinted in muted rage.
"Who gave her a place to stay when she lost her apartment? Who listened to her when she couldn't sleep? Who, more than anyone else, helped her get over Ray?"
"We only have a one-room apartment. Jane couldn't stay with us."
"And if you haven't moved, she still can't stay with you."
Alice's eyes widened at that. "She can't back to that apartment. Not after what happened."
"What do you suggest she do? Even if she and Eddie find a new apartment..."
"No!" Alice yells. "There is no way she's living with him again."
"What is going on in here?" A nurse asks as she walks in.
I recognize her... Christine, Kristen, Kris, something like that.
"I can hear you all the way to the nurse's desk. If I have to, I will make you leave." The nurse (Kris?) looks around the room and her face draws up in confusion, "Where's Eddie?"
"She kicked him out," Liz answers, pointing at my sister.
"What was he doing in here alone with Jane in the first place?" Alice counters. "He's not family."
"Ok, settle down," Kris, yeah Kris, says. She turns to me and asks, "Jane, how are you doing?"
Finally! Someone's noticed there's a patient here with a steadily growing headache.
"Eddie," I whisper.
"Eddie. What about Eddie, Jane?"
"I want... Eddie," I force out through my aching throat.
"He'll come back. Don't worry. What about Liz and your other visitors?"
"Tired. Just Eddie."
"What?!" Alice yells, and I cringe at the volume. She's never this harsh or insensitive to my feelings. In fact, she's always been the best of sisters all my life. What's wrong with her?
"Ok, you heard her. Clear out. You can visit tomorrow."
Stephen gives me a tight smile of apology and quickly pushes Alice out the door despite her commands to the contrary. Liz walks over to the bed and pats me gently on the arm, saying, "Get better, girl, and don't worry. I'll find Eddie for you." Then she leaves, too.