Cynthia sat by Rufus’s bedside. She was scared. She’d only just met him and now he was lying there in that hospital bed, tubes coming from him and his breathing assisted by a machine. It was just precaution, they said, but Cynthia and Mrs Hatfield still couldn’t help feeling scared by the sheer amount of equipment attached to him. Cynthia couldn’t bear the thought of losing her Rufus.
The doctors had knocked him out in an attempt to stop him moving and help his wounds heal. His pelvis was fractured and he’d broken a few ribs. There may have been a head injury, too, which is why they were being cautious.
Mrs Hatfield held his left hand, Cynthia his right. Though not exactly religious, they prayed for his safety.
“I should go to Rufus’s and get him some clothes and stuff,” Cynthia said, breaking the silence.
“Yes, you go and do that, I’ll wait here. Thank you, you’re such a sweet girl.” Mrs Hatfield was still in shock.
What Cynthia didn’t tell Mrs Hatfield was that she was going to see Amy, as well. She had to tell Amy what had happened and let her know that everything was under control, even if she felt it wasn’t really. She just wanted to reassure her that their man would be okay.
“Amy? It’s me, Cynthia. Remember me?” Cynthia called when she got to the flat.
Amy just stood by the fridge. She knew there was something wrong.
“Rufus has been in an accident. He’s in a bad way, he’s broken his pelvis and a few ribs. The doctor’s had to knock him out, but they think he’ll be fine. He just needs to rest.”
Cynthia walked to the bedroom and gathered some of Rufus’ clothes, his favourite pyjamas, his toothbrush and some other essentials, guided by Amy in her mute way.
“I think that’s everything. I’ll keep you updated, Amy. See you later,” Cynthia said, a tear in her eye.
“I hope he’s okay,” Amy whispered, as Cynthia walked out.
“Did you?” Cynthia was gobsmacked.
“Yes, I speak. I’ve been too shy to talk to you before, but I can’t sit here in silence now,” Amy said in her ghostly whisper.
“Amy, so you’ve talked to Rufus?”
“Yes and he thinks very highly of you. Go, get to his bedside, I’ll be here.” Amy smiled, hiding her worry.
Cynthia got going and arrived at the hospital. When she got to the ward, she noticed doctors all around Rufus. One had their hand on the tube in his throat and another was injecting him with something. Cynthia ran up to Gloria and asked what was going on.
“They’re reviving him. They thought two days was long enough to leave him unconscious.”
Cynthia stood by Mrs Hatfield, took her hand and watched as Rufus struggled for breath. They held each other and waited until the doctor said it was okay to come close.
'What is this feeling?' Mrs Hatfield thought. 'It feels as if there’s someone here, but I can only see myself and Cynthia.'
Cynthia knew what Mrs Hatfield was feeling because she felt it too. She knew Amy said she’d be there, but hadn’t realised that she meant right there, next to herself and Mrs Hatfield. She almost spoke out loud to Amy, but then realised she’d better not. She had no idea if Rufus’s mum knew about Amy, so she decided to keep quiet.
Rufus moaned and started breathing unassisted, but didn’t wake.
“It might take a few hours for him to regain full consciousness, but he should be okay,” the doctor reassured Cynthia and Mrs Hatfield. “Let one of the nurses know when he wakes up.”
“Shall I get us some tea, Mrs Hatfield?” Cynthia offered.
“Yes, please and call me Gloria.”
The doctor showed Cynthia to the kitchen, squeezed her hand in sympathy and then went about his duties. Cynthia glowered at Amy, as if to tell her to watch her presence.
“Here you go, Gloria,” Cynthia said with a smile, sitting in the chair next to her.
“Thanks. I hope Rufus wakes up soon.” Gloria sniffled into her tea, cupping the mug close to her.
“I’m sure he will. He’s strong.”
“That he is.”
The women sat in silence, watching over Rufus and drinking their tea. They need not say anything: Their thoughts were loud enough that each could tell what the other was thinking, and they reassured each other with just a few looks.
'Amy, you’re too close,' Cynthia thought.
'What is that?' Gloria pondered at the feeling of Amy behind her.
Amy, Gloria and Cynthia sat there, looking on Rufus for hours. He suddenly gave a jolt and sat upright, moaning with a sharp intake of breath. His eyes scanned the room and he noticed the three women by his bedside. He tried to speak, but his throat was too dry. Gloria told him to lie down and Rufus groaned with a rasp in his voice, lying back down.
Cynthia called for a nurse and Rufus looked around in a haze. He croaked one word, looking dead ahead: