Chapter 9 : The Waiting Game
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The Healer came to cart Oliver to a different private room about thirty minutes after his parents and Ellie arrived at the hospital. We were given permission to wait in his normal room, instead of the general waiting room because Eric thought we would be more comfortable and it would keep up away from the prying eyes of the press who had gotten wind of Oliver’s newest accident and were eagerly trying to attain information any way they could.
We were told that the potion should activate, and if it was successful, leave Oliver’s shoulder surgery ready within two hours. He would not be brought back in to this room until after the surgery however. He would be in so much pain that it would be best if he was kept confined in order to allow him to deal with it any way he could without having to put on a brave face. Even the Healers and their assistants would be stationed away from the room, though they were leaving sensor in the room that would be able to read if Oliver’s pain levels reached critical condition.
If his body managed to avoid going in to shock, and accepted the experimental potion that regenerated his bones that quickly, he would be sedated so the surgery could be preformed. His mother asked that he be sedated during the experimental potion, but if his body relaxed to the degree induced by the sedative, his body may not have the power to see the potion through to its potential. The four of us would just have to wait it out, knowing Oliver was in pain, and knowing there was nothing we could do to help him. These would be the longest two hours of our lives to this point. I was sure of it.
Eric left and I saw Richard Wood go over to his wife and try to hold her as she shakily gripped a cup of stale coffee. Her eyes were puffy, but at the moment it seemed as if she had cried as many tears as she could. I was sure more were not far off, but I thought it best to let Richard comfort her. He would have better luck keeping her calm than I would.
Ellie was pulling at the strands of thread at the end of her sleeves, slowing unraveling them, plucking them off and then playing with them absently. Each time she would drop a thread, she would pluck another off and begin the process all over again.
I just looked out of the small window down to the street below where at least twenty journalists had crowded around the lower entrance. Some looked up and spotted me, instructing others to look up and snap pictures. The flashbulbs going off spawned an instant headache and I immediately pulled the curtains on the window tight.
“You should go down and speak with them. Maybe that would help the buzz die down a bit.” Leigh Wood said to me from across the room, fighting to stabilize her voice.
I looked back at her, and I could see her hopeful eyes looking back up at me. If the press was bothering her even half as much as they were bothering me, I figured I needed to try to do something. I nodded, and smiled, but didn’t say anything. She smiled back and then tucked her head back in to her husband’s chest.
Ellie followed me out of the door and in to the community bathrooms. She handed me tissues and mascara, instructing me to clean myself up while she got out my clothes.
“Clothes?” I said, trying to snap out of my daze.
“Yes, clothes. You know, things other than a Puddlemere t-shirt and shorts.” She spoke quietly, realizing that I wasn’t all there.
I nodded absently, vaguely remembering that I was still wearing my clothes from the night before. She handed me another Puddlemere jumper that she said she rescued from Oliver’s clean laundry because it looked cozy, and a pair of jeans.
“No one is expecting you to look professional. You’ve been in the hospital all night. Just focus on being comfortable and answering the questions they have. Try to get them to give you and Oliver’s family some space.”
I was thankful for Ellie at this moment more than ever. She walked to the back entrance with me and went out to inform the press that I would hold a short conference, but that afterwards, they needed to respect the privacy of the family and keep their distance until more news was available.
I stepped out to fifty flashbulbs going off all at once. I knew what my first order of business would be.
“Please, no pictures. I’ve had a long night and the flashing lights are giving me a bit of a headache.”
Immediately I was asked what had happened and I did my best to explain. I told the press about Oliver falling off of his broom while practicing, his shoulder, and the risky experimental potion that he was trying at this very moment.
“What would make Oliver go out and practice? Wasn’t he given specific instructions to stay away from the pitch?”
“Oliver got rather angry about something this morning, and the best way he knows to blow off steam is to play quidditch. It has been killing him since he was given those instructions, and I for one, am incredibly proud that he managed as long as he did.”
“Does his anger have anything to do with your offer from the Bulgarian National Team?”
“Word travels fast in this community doesn’t it?” I said, forcing a smile that I wasn’t sure was convincing. “It is true that I have received an offer, and once I make my decision, I will let you know. For now, it is my job to stay by Oliver’s side, both as his representation and as his friend. I will not be selfish and worry about my career when my friend is undergoing the most trying time in his life. Now, last question.”
“So you are standing by the story that you and Oliver are just friends? Several guests saw you leave the masquerade together just before midnight. Neither of you were seen again that night, and now you haven’t left his side since he was brought in.”
It was Gwen’s assistant again. He must have been sent with a list of questions, because there was no way those words hadn’t come from Gwen’s brain.
“Oliver and I maintain a friendship, nothing more, and even if there was more going on, now seems like a very inappropriate time to talk about my personal life, don’t you think?”
The reporter’s face flushed in the lamp light and he sunk back in to the crowd. I turned my attention back to the group as a whole.
“As I explained earlier, we will not know the outcome for several more hours, and then it will take a bit of physical therapy before we are able to judge anything definitively. I will release information as I learn it, so please give the Wood family some space over the next few weeks. If they are hassled, I will see to it that the publication responsible receives absolutely no information from Puddlemere ever again.”
The crowd muttered their discontent, but after several stern looks and some physical herding, they dispersed. Ellie and I made out way back in to the hospital. I slumped against the wall, surprisingly drained from that short interaction.
“You need to get some sleep.” Ellie insisted as we walked back through the door.
I tried to protest, but she was determined that even an hour and a half would be better than nothing at this point. To my dismay, Oliver’s parents took it upon themselves to see to it that I took my nap as per Ellie’s instructions while she went to collect a few things from the flat. There is no winning when you become the sole distraction for a mother and a father who can either make sure you sleep, or worry about their son.
Within two minutes, I was tucked in to the couch with a blanket and a pillow pulled from Oliver’s bed. As I drifted to sleep, I noticed that the pillow smelled like him faintly, and I snuggled deeper in to it.
I woke up groggy and confused with Leigh shaking my arm frantically.
“The potion was receptive! He went in for surgery an hour and a half ago! They expect him to wake up any minute now!”
“That’s great Mrs. Wood.” I said through half of a yawn.
As I rubbed my eyes I saw Eric come in the room, and after quickly squeezing Ellie’s hand, he turned to face Oliver’s parents and myself.
“Oliver is about to wake up from his surgery, but we only want him awake for a few minutes before we sedate him again to give his body some time to recuperate. He asked before his surgery that Adylenn be the first to come in and speak with him. He wants to her help to figure out how to talk to the two of you without upsetting you.”
“I can understand that. The boy never did have a way with any words that didn’t have to do with quidditch.” Richard said gruffly when his wife began to protest.
Leigh looked from her husbands face to mine. I was totally lost. I couldn’t believe Oliver had asked to see me first. His mother was going to have my head.
“Hmm, well, alright, but if there’s anything going on between you two, I expect a conversation when we are done with Oliver.” Leigh said with a slight grin and a twinkle in her eyes.
I stood in an awkwardly, stunned silence. I hadn’t expected her to be so forward with me. Not that there was anything going on. At least not to the best of my knowledge.
“Don’t mind her. She’s been waiting for grandbabies since the day our boy left Hogwarts. I think she’s secretly happy he’s got something to talk about other than quidditch.” Richard said, and the two laughed, hugging each other.
I nodded, but as I walked through the doors and down the corridor, the words he had just said settled in. Wait, Oliver was talking about me when he went home to visit his parents? He hadn’t said we were a couple or anything more than friends for that matter, had he? Oh that boy was going to get a nice piece of my mind when I wasn’t afraid of setting back his progress. I’ll give him two weeks. Max.
When I finally reached the door number that was scrawled on the piece of paper in my hand, I checked to make sure the door was closed. After I was able to inhale deeply a few times, I turned the handle and made my way in to the dimly lit room.
Oliver was laying on the bed, distantly staring at the door until I came in. A small smile spread across his lips and I could tell that he still had painkillers coursing through him because he wasn’t wincing as he moved. His shoulder was covered in blue and purple bruises, but the bandages and cast were gone. He looked much weaker than I had ever seen him, but his eyes had a strange kind of strength. It was like he knew he was going to make it through all of this. I’m glad he could be so confident.
He patted the bed next to him and then gingerly scooted over. I took a few steps toward him and then faltered.
“Oh, come off it, you know I’m not going to bite you.” He said, grinning tiredly. “I would like you to lay with me for a few minutes though.”
“Hey, just because you went through something traumatic doesn’t mean I have to cuddle with you.”
He rolled his lower lip out in to a faux pout, and with knowing how much he had just gone through, I couldn’t resist. I carefully sat on the bed, and slid as close as I could to him on the side that didn’t have a recovering shoulder. He sighed and yanked my arm so that I was laying next to him with my head perch on his chest. He had a surprising amount of strength for someone who had just undergone extreme surgery.
“Don’t get used to this.” I muttered, putting my arm around his torso lightly.
“That might be hard, but thank you for doing this. I just really needed someone to hold close, and my mom isn’t exactly the woman I want to do that with.”
I laughed, but closed my eyes and relaxed a bit. It felt so nice being held, without having anything expected of me. As we know from previous experience, I’m not great with the emotional side of things in relationships, but that doesn’t mean that the physical comforts aren’t something I enjoy. I like snuggling just as much as the next girl.
There was a light knock, followed by barely a second before the door began to open and Eric slid inside the room. He looked at the bed and stopped short, rubbing his hand over his mouth as if he was trying to erase the grin that was all over his face. I pulled my head up quickly, but Oliver gripped me as best as he could, preventing me from bolting from the bed.
“Sorry to interrupt, but your parents really need to come in now so that we can get you back to sleep.” He said to Oliver. “You can wait out in the hall, it should be less than ten minutes, and I’d like to speak to the three of you afterwards. Ellie is waiting out there.”
I felt Oliver loosen his grip grudgingly, and I looked down at him smiling kindly.
“I’ll see you when you wake up, okay?” He nodded, smiling back.
I opened the door and took his parents place in the hallway while they visited with their son. I didn’t see any real reason to share what had just happened with Ellie, it would only make her pester me that much more. She just sat in one of the chairs that ws stationed outside of the room and held out a cup of tea and a cookie in my direction. I accepted the tea, but let her keep the cookie.
It wasn’t too long before Leigh and Richard came back out of the room followed closely by Eric. He told me quickly that Oliver would be asleep within a few seconds, and would wake back up in around 12 hours or so and be ready to be discharged.
“He is going to be going through some intense at-home physical therapy and he is going to need someone monitoring and helping him through it all. Now, Oliver has requested that he be allowed to stay in his current flat, rather than go home, as he’d like to be closer to his team and the pitch as motivation to stick with the physical therapy.”
“Richard and I, unfortunately can’t miss any more work. Between both accidents we have exhausted our leave.” Leigh sighed sadly. “I don’t want to put this on you, Adelynn, but if this is something your willing to undertake, we would be so grateful.”
“And more than willing to pop up on the weekends to help out!” Richard added enthusiastically.
“I don’t think Adelynn would have a problem spending more time with Oliver.” Eric cut in, winking slyly so that only I could see it.
I sneered at him quickly when Oliver’s parents had their heads turned and then quickly added, “Not only is it my job to take care of Oliver, but he is my friend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Author's Note: Enjoy the update! I'm doing my best to have one a week during NaNoWriMo, because I enjoy writing this too much to put it on hiatus. I'm thinking I may either extend it, or write a sequel once I finish up my planned chapters...what do you guys think?
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