Over the last installments, a former shipmate orchestrated Rylan’s beating, and a detective informed Annabelle of the crime. From that moment on, she’s spent every waking moment with her unconscious husband. Over the next few months, the doctors try to get her to leave, but she uses her family’s influence to take up occupancy in Rylan’s hospital room. Her constant presence compels the doctors to redouble their efforts to rouse Rylan from his coma. When his eyes flicker, will Rylan wake? Or are his fluttering eyelids a false step to awareness?
Rylan’s eyes fluttered as he inched his head about. He caught sight of Annabelle sleeping in a chair beside him, and he struggled to reach out and touch her dangling leg, but his arm wouldn’t obey. When he flexed his fingers, Rylan started coughing. Reflexively, Annabelle’s hand stretched out and gripped Rylan’s. He grasped her fingertips, and Annabelle went rigid as her eyelids snapped open.
Annabelle bent down, jamming the call button as she kissed his forehead. Her hands caressed his cheeks as a tear tumbled from her eye. “You’re finally awake!”
Rylan inched his head and coughed, mouthing drink.
Annabelle leapt to her feet, grabbing the cup, and dashed for the sink. She shoved the mug under the faucet, and a stream of water flowed. When her fingers felt the liquid spilling over the rim, she scurried back to his bed and eased the straw into Rylan’s mouth. “Don’t gulp it down.” While Rylan sipped the drink, Annabelle brushed his hair from his face. “You gave all of us a scare.”
As more coughing filled the room, nurses rushed inside like a flock of birds. One pulled Annabelle away from her husband’s side and took the cup from her. “We’ll let you rejoin him after we check him out. Has he spoken?”
Annabelle covered her mouth with her hands while she shook her head.