Saturday, 2 January 2016
Chapter four (segment six), 2016, October, Christina
Apart from her breathing her world was silence.
She'd once seen those eyes in her earlier life. The eyes of doctors who hadn't given up but were too worried to answer straight.
He might not make it. Ulf, stay with me!
Tomorrow was school, and after school a photo shoot. She'd skip both. Normally the penalty for bunking could be quite harsh, but she doubted anyone would dare doing anything to her now.
Coming down on the girlfriend at hospital when you don't know if the boyfriend will survive. No one would do that. Christina shook her head. I did that. Crap what a disgusting person I was!
Cause she had. When she was the Billion Dollar Empress, and he hadn't survived.
It didn't matter that the boyfriend in question had it coming with drug-dealing and burglaries on the territory of another gang. Not even Christina was out of the loop enough not to know that was suicidal in Paris.
It still didn't matter, because the teenage model was a wreck and could have used some help instead of being slammed by the hammer of God Almighty from Chag.
Shit, I really did an awful thing. Is this my punishment?
Five hours. Five hours since they rushed Ulf inside the ICU.
She hated being this helpless, being this scared, being this lonely.
Five hours and two minutes.
Unable to contain her fears Christina finally slid from her chair and collapsed on the floor. She was alone in the waiting room, so at least she had her dignity intact for whatever that was worth.
Outside the hospital her bodyguard stood waiting. Maybe he should have been inside with her, but he was just as human as she, and for once he gave her some time alone. Did she want it? Did she need it? Christina didn't know, couldn't know, with her mind a jumble of fear, self disgust and scattered memories.
Do I still deserve friends?
She threw a glance at the clock on the wall. Another minute.
Behind her glimmers from the Tokyo half night reflected in the windows like stars never seen here where real darkness was shunned more than anywhere else in the world. Man made constellations replaced those she knew from her childhood. Memories from another life and another world, memories somehow shared with the man she was slowly losing.
If he lived or not wouldn't change that. For ever day they grew closer together and for every day they grew closer to the moment when their bond would break. Waiting in the hospital only made that fear much more immediate.
With a shake of her head Christina forced that thought away. It wasn't entirely true. If Ulf died she'd lose it all, but if their love broke she still had a chance to repair their friendship enough to at least share memories of that love.
I don't want to live alone again. Was that too selfish as wish? Maybe, but she didn't care.
Christina put her hands to the floor and got up on her feet. A bit further down the corridor she saw a vending machine. Exchanging a few coins for something to drink should kill a few more minutes, and she was desperate to make time pass.
Funny that. These could be the last moments Ulf is with me, and I just want them to go away.
She put another copper coin into the machine and watched a range of buttons light up. Soda or tea? She made the adult choice and picked tea. Almost immediately she regretted it. Alone in the corridor she wanted to pretend to be child again. That way she wouldn't be as involved, wouldn't carry as much responsibility for what had happened.
Christina, you never ran away from your fears before, she admonished herself. And that was a lie she knew. During her modelling career she had done just that several times. After she created her Billion Dollar Empress persona, less so.
The cold tea tasted more bitter than she remembered. October in a hospital corridor wasn't really the place for a summer's drink. She grimaced and gulped down some more. She didn't need to quench her thirst, only to kill time. Every mouthful of tea left more seconds behind her, and seconds became minutes.
She blinked away tears of fear and brushed down her soiled clothes. Once or twice on her way here she must have tripped, but she couldn't remember when. Once or twice since she abandoned her promise to Ulf, that she'd make the impossible come true and deliver a festival they'd both be proud of.
Why is that important at all right now? It's just a stupid school event. And yet it was important, because it was a promise she had broken. Another promise she had broken.
A few more steps brought her back to the chair that had been her home since she came here. She sat down and buried her face in her hands.
Seconds passed, became minutes just as she wanted while she fought to control her fears and waited. From time to time a nurse came by, gave her a worried look and vanished again. Christina waited until the five hours became six and a mechanical hiss announced that an elevator had arrived at her floor.
She looked in the direction from where running steps came closer. Two dark shapes revealed their school uniforms and within seconds Ko-chan and Yukio stood by her side.
“How is he?” Ko-chan asked.
“I don't know,” Christina said. Her world blurred until Ko-chan and Yukio became dark shapes again. “I don't know!”
She felt Ko-chan sitting down beside her and when her best friend enveloped her in a panicked embrace Christina finally broke down in hulking sobs.
“I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.”