2007-09-08: A Change of Scenery


Jack_icon.gif Trina_icon.gif

Summary: Jack agrees to a monumental task. He's taking Trina home.

Date It Happened: September 8, 2007

A Change of Scenery

Private Room — Beth Israel Hospital

The middle of the afternoon on a Monday. In a hospital, that is much the same as the middle og the afternoon on a Sunday or a Tuesday. The only thing that really differentiates time for those unable to leave its sterile white walls is a clock, a few rays of shifting sunlight, and a white board where Monday, September 8 scrawled upon it above a bunch of nurse and physican names with a half-dead blue Dry Erase marker.

Currently, there's an short, slight, youngish Asian man with a sharply pointed jaw and square gold-rimmed glasses in a white coat flipping pages back into place on his clipboard before finally looking up. He's just finished a long litany of why muscles aren't reacting the way they should, why thinking is still difficult, and how the woman currently lying in the bed is very lucky to be awake at all and able to blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah Trina blah blah blah fortunate blah blah blah.

"So. Is there anything else you would like to discuss, Miss Mah?"

Trina, in her ugly pale blue hospital gown, just kinda stares at him vacantly with pale blue eyes that seem to just harmonize with that ugly blue shade. She stopped listening to the jargon about fifteen minutes ago and is now imagining what the man's face would look like if it got carved into Mount Rushmore. …Let's just say it's a really good thing he wasn't an early president, and she wasn't the artist to carve him.

Unlike Trina, Jack is still doing his best to follow the doctor's words. He doesn't understand them, true, but his protective nature and love for his lady are strong motivators to try. He looks different today. Better. The prideful squaring of his shoulders, erect posture, and ghost of a boyish smile are all present. He's shaved twice today, which means that the cheek he leans companionably against Trina's is a smooth one. His fingernails have been properly trimmed instead of bitten, there's a soapy, freshly-scrubbed scent about him. Not the antiseptic smell of hospital soap, but the clean, fresh smell of Whatever Brand Was On Sale. He's even managed fresh clothes, a plain, dark red t-shirt and lightweight black slacks.

Curled up beside his lady, partly on a chair and partly draped on the bed, he holds one of her hands in both of his as he desperate tries to focus his eyes on the doctor's face. Politely, he asks, "Um. Does that mean that we'll be staying longer? I know she and I are eager to get home."

There's another glance at the charts. "Honestly, Mister Derex," Dr. Le finally replies with a small lift of his thick, square eyebrows and a tiny sigh, "Provided that someone can be there to make sure that she has the assistance she'll need and to ensure that my instructions are followed, then there isn't really any reason to keep her here. Stitches are out. Infection-free for two weeks. All that's left is the rehab and follow-up. I suppose we could do that on an outpatient basis. Release tomorrow." He looks more at the man who's talking back to him than the woman who is still just staring. "That's a fair bit of work on your part."

"OutSTANDing!" Jack lets go of Trina, stands, and raises a fist victoriously, crinkling the bandages around his right arm. "Ow. But hell, Doc. That's great news. Just tell me what I need to do." He bustles over to the doctor, grabs his hand, and shakes ferociously. There's much squeezing and pumping, probably more than is absolutely comfortable. "Did you hear that, baby? We're goin' home!"

As Jack jumps up, Trina's gaze shifts over to him, but she doesn't even bother moving her hand from where its set down. "I heard." She doesn't sound nearly as happy as Jack, but she does at least manage a small smile. "That's great." The man with his marks of war with a needle is exuberant enough for them both. "How long am I gonna need that thing?" The smile fades so she glower in the direction of the horrifically ugly wheelchair that is currently tucked into the corner, her lips twitching up as they threaten to reveal a tiny sneer.

The doctor is about to address Jack when the patient again speaks up. He lets her ask her question, and then sighs the Sigh of Put Upon. He did, after all, just finish explaining this. "It's just until you've gotten enough of your energy and coordination back to be able to manage a walker or cane. Could be tomorrow. Could be next week. Could be never. The only way to find out is time." Turning back to Jack, he carefully pries his hand away after indulging the shake for a couple of pumps. With a quick shake of his hand, he dispels the tingles that dance under his skin. "There will be a packet I'll have prepared for you. The nurses can go over the things you'll need to be aware of, such as her medication schedule and signs to look for. Now, Mister Derex, are you absolutely certain that this is what you want to do?"

"She'll walk again," Jack replies proudly, as if there were never any question in his mind. "My girl's tougher than some stinkin' truck. As for home care, I can handle it, Doc. And she'll be more comfortable there, I think." Now that he's released the smaller man, he moves back to Trina's bedside and touches her face gently with the backs of his fingers. His grey eyes are twinkling merrily as he leans down to smooch her cheek. "What do you think? Ready to blow this crapheap and go home? I'll take good care of you, baby. Promise."

"I'll have the nurses pull together the paperwork. Just let them know whatever you decide, and if there are any other questions, so that we can have everything ready if you decide to leave." Speaking of leaving? That's precisely what Dr. Le is doing, already turned and headed towards the door — opening it only to slip through and quietly shut it behind him.

Even after the door is shut, Trina's voice is very soft. He looks so good. He looks so good, and she looks like crap. He's smiling and happy, and she's a little cesspool of frustration and misery. It's not fair. It's not fair to ask him to take her on. "…You don't gotta do this, honey." Except that the past 48 hours has given a thrilling revelation: her landlord sublet her apartment when his tenant went comatose and missed a payment, leaving Trina rather short anywhere else to go. The news just keeps getting better and better, but she's sure she could find somewhere given the need. Her brow furrows as she looks up at her boyfriend. His fingers cause her to close her eyes for a moment, drinking in the feel of those delicate digits on her skin before she dares glance back up. "Honest, you don't."

"I don't have to do anything," Jack replies. His forehead wrinkles into a miniscule frown. Now, instead of a caress, he cups her cheek fondly. "Baby," he whispers. "I…" Nervously, he trails off. Though he should be looking at Trina's face, right now he's looking everywhere but at her. It takes him a moment to steel himself, but when he does, he glances back down at her closed eyelids and forges on ahead. "I was hoping you'd come stay with me. I'd really like having you around, and I'd feel better if I could keep an eye on you."

Trina swallows. When she finally lifts her hand, to rest on top of his, she smiles weakly. Part of her still feels horrible for even thinking of weighing Jack down anymore than she already has over the past two months. Part of her is so grateful she could burst. The words that come next are the bastard child of those two halves: a compromise. "Just until I get straight. When I find somewhere. I don't want this to make things any harder on you." And that's exactly what the doctor made it sound like. Her smile wavers in the wake of such a thought. "I did a good enough job of that, already, and things are such a mess."

Jack lifts Trina's hand to his lips and kisses her fingertips gently. "You aren't a problem. Not now, not ever." It's something he's said to her before. Something he means. "And you didn't do anything wrong. You saved my life and made it possible for me to help save Elena's. You did good, baby. You did real good."

Really no way to be sure of that. She still can't remember what happened. This also, therefore, means that neither is there a reason to reason to argue. Unfortunately, there's nothing really that she can think of that's worth the saying in the wake of that. Trina smiles again, softly before taking his hand back towards her and mirroring his gesture. Fingers are kissed, but then she pulls him closer yet. That closer proximity is what will allow her to wrap her arms about Jack's noticeably thinner frame and cling there for a bit in silence, sopping up the love and encouragement like a sponge. She's got Jack. Today, that's still all she needs.

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