...Seven...?I heard a car’s tires skid across wet pavement as rain hit the roof above me and a small humming sounded for some type of electrical circulation for an electronic. I had the urge to look out at the rain but quickly froze as a door opened. Large footsteps filled my ears as someone came over towards me. “Has she shown any signs of consciousness since I left to get dinner?” A deep voice asked.
Someone grunted in disgust, “You ask that every time you leave the room. If something had changed
“Did the doctors come by?”
“They came together earlier, but they went to get coffee a few moments ago.”
“I saw Dwayne in the waiting room. Nicky finally went to sleep and he was nodding off as I went by.”
“Where’s Ash? He left with you earlier.”
“He’ll be here in a sec. He ended up getting a call on the way back to the room so he went outside.”
“Did you bring me a soda?”
A paper bag was rustled before it was still once more, “Yea, but you’ve been awake for three days straight. Why don’t you go to the waiting room and sleep a bit. We’ll come get you if something happens.”
The sheets on top of me pulled slightly as someone leaned on the side of the bed, “I ain’t sleeping again. When I went to sleep last time we lost teach’s heart beat for a moment. If I sleep again who knows what’ll happen. I ain’t gonna shut my eyes ‘til she is awake and conscious.”
“Your body will give out soon, boy,” Someone sat down in a chair that made a noise as it was moved, “She wouldn’t want you to hurt your health by staying awake waiting for her.”
“Until she wakes up and tells me to sleep I ain’t sleeping.”
“You sure are a stubborn brat,” The deeper voice sighed, “What if she doesn’t wake up, boy, then what will you do? Will you die of poor health as she lies here like a vegetable in a coma?”
“Don’t even talk like that!” The lighter voice hollered as a chair fell back and hit the floor, “She will wake up!”
The door opened as someone sighed, “This is why Ash shouldn’t have left you two in the room alone together,” A medium voice hissed, “You always end up bickering.”
“Chris, where is the other doctor?” The deeper voice asked as the chair was picked up and someone sat back down in it.
“There was an emergency so he had to go.”
“How is she?”
The door shut, “Her breathing and heartbeat are finally stable after the scare we had,” Someone touched my arm and I felt a chill go down my spine. The hand moved to my own and clasped it, “She will wake up soon. I am sure of it.” I felt regret and worry flow from the hand and quickly grasped it with my own. The man gasped and quickly put his other hand on my face as I felt its coldness.
“You’re freezing.” I whispered as I opened my eyes to see a tall, green eyed, brown haired, man in a white doctor’s coat, “Why am I in the hospital?”
“You were shot by your brother while trying to protect me,” The man whispered as tears fell down his face. He embraced me as I lay in shock, “I was so scared you would never wake up!”
“Eli shot me?” I asked and the man looked to me with confusion, “Why would Eli shoot me?” I looked to the man, “Eli left home so why would he come back to shoot me?” I clenched the sheets of the bed in my hands, “He left us and he will never come back other than to separate Evan and me,” I looked to the man as tears filled my eyes,“I don’t care what happens! He will not separate me and Evan!”
“Raven, do you know who I am?”
I nodded with a smile, “My doctor of course.”
“What year is it?”
I stared at him for a moment, “It’s 2007.”
The man turned to the youngest man of the room, “Go get the others.” He whispered and the young man ran out of the room. We waited in silence until the young man came back with two men and a woman in their early 30’s, “Tell me, Raven, do you recognize any of these people?”
I nodded and they all became silent as they waited for me to speak. I pointed to the only familiar face, “That is one of my best friends’ older brother, Frank.”
“That’s not Frank, that’s Ash!” The younger boy hollered as I felt a sudden flash of anger radiate from him, “It is not 2007, it’s 2014! How could you forget your friends’ faces?”
I stared at the young man, “Are you, by any chance related to my student, Kevin Rig? You look a lot like him.”
“That’s because I am Kevin!”
I watched him, “No you aren’t. Kevin is only 16.”
“Kevin, calm down,” The doctor whispered as he watched my face, “She is disoriented from the attack. She lost her memory of the past 7 years so she cannot recognize us.”
I looked to the doctor, “Could I be left alone for a while?” I asked and everyone stared at me, “I want to listen to the rain.”
“Let’s leave her alone for a while,” The doctor said with a sigh and I watched them all leave the room. When they were gone I looked outside and sighed, “This is for the best,” I whispered before clearing my throat, “Don’t let me go! Don’t let me go-oo. Keep me here forever, so we’ll always be together. Till the end of ti-ime stay at my side with your hand in mine.” I stopped singing immediately as the door of the room started to open. The girl from before walked in and shut the door before coming and sitting on the right edge of my bed while watching me.
“Do you think this is the right way to approach this, Raven?” She asked in a whisper and I smiled towards her.
“What do you mean?”
She frowned, “Don’t play dumb, Raven. I can see right through your act. You know who all of us are so why are you lying?”
I looked to Nicky and sighed, “This is for the best.”
“But you finally have the man you want, your brother out of the way, and the band you’ve always dreamed of! Why are you going to give it away?” She grabbed my arm, “I had to wait for days while you were in a coma while watching these men cry for you so this round, I can’t follow with your plan! I owe them this much!”
I looked to the rain, “I was supposed to die, Nicky. I was ready for the end of this! I was finally going to not stand in anyone’s way of happiness but you guys brought me back!” I felt tears linger and quickly put my hands over my eyes to hide my shameful tears, “I told him I love him! He knows the one thing I never planned to tell him until I was on my death bed!” I was shocked when my head was turned and the rush of pain filled my face. Nicky shook out her hand with slight pain.
“He loves you, Raven, and you dying after returning your feelings isn’t fair! He wants to spend the rest of his life with you! He even waited for you for 5 years regardless of your disappearance! He deserves to be happy too!”
I looked to her before looking away, “There is someone I need to see before I can do anything.”
I looked to her, “I need my phone. I have to see them.”
I ripped back my cover and tried to stand but fell to the cold tile of the room while making a loud noise. Chris, Kevin, Sly, Dwaine, and Ash all ran into the room and rushed to me. The first to reach me was Chris, “Dear god! What happened?”
I felt tears falling down my face, “I have to call them!”
I turned over so I was on my back, “Please, just let me call them!” I cried, “I need them.”
Chris handed me his cell phone and I quickly dialed Ben’s house number, “Hello?”
I cried harder, “Ben?”
“Ray, what’s wrong? Are you crying?”
I laughed slightly, “I need to see you guys.”
“Where are you?”
I looked up to Chris, “What hospital is this?”
“Presbyterian hospital in town.”
“On my way.” He hung up and I slowly sat up. I handed Chris his phone and he helped me stand.
“You’ve been in a coma for almost a week so your legs aren’t used to walking yet.”
I slowly sat down and lay on the bed as Kevin came over to me, “Do you recognize us, teach?”
Nicky stood and stared me down, “She was lying earlier, Kevin. She knows who we are.”
“But…” Kevin started to ask until he stopped when a young girl ran into the room.
“Rebecca!” I said with joy as she crawled into the bed I was on and hugged my neck. I pulled her away slightly and signed hello. Sandy ran into the room while pulling Ben behind her, “Hey there girl!” I called to Sandy as she stood at the edge of the bed so I could pet her.
“Sir, dogs are not allowed in the hospital.” Chris said as he came over to Ben.
Ben did not turn to Chris, “She is a guide dog,” He mumbled before leaning in front of me and looking at my face, “Why are you in the hospital, Ray? Did Elijah come after you again?”
I shook my head while squeezing Ben’s hand that took mine, “It’s nothing. I will be alright.”
Ben finally turned to Chris, “What happened, doctor?”
Chris watched the man, “Unless you are related to Raven I cannot say.”
Ben frowned and became angry, “Her older brother left me as Ray’s legal family so I demand to know what has happened!” He hissed but turned to me when I squeezed his hand more.
“Calm down, Ben. This is Chris, the man Evan always talked about.”
Ben stared down Chris, “Evan said you are the man he wants Ray to marry,” Ben looked to the men and girl around us, “And this is the band? Released Reality?”
I nodded as I took Ben’s hand in mine while I held Rebecca with my other arm, “Yeah, but that boy is my previous student.” I said as I looked over to Kevin. Ben looked to Kevin.
“He is just as I imagined from the way you described him,” Ben smiled towards me, “Each of these people is as you described,” Ben brushed hair out of my face, “But what in the world happened?”
I looked down to Sandy who was wagging her tail as Chris spoke up, “Raven took me to visit Evan’s grave and Eli tried to shoot me but Raven got in the way.”
Ben frowned towards Chris, “When did this happen?”
“About a week ago.”
“Why wasn’t I contacted?” Ben yelled as he stood quickly and grabbed onto Chris’s shirt.
I quickly put Rebecca on the other end of my bed and stood to pull Ben away from Chris, but fell onto the floor with a grunt, “Ray!” Ben gasped as he tried to get to me, but before he could Dwayne, Sly, Ash, and Kevin were all at my side.
“What are you doing?” Ash demanded but froze when a loud, unusual sounding cry filled the room. I quickly sat up and took Rebecca into my arms I signed to her that I was alright, but weak. She cried as she signed back that she was afraid I was going to die like big brother.
Ben sighed as he watched Rebecca, “Ray you got to remember that the last time Rebecca was in a hospital was the night Evan died.”
I pulled the girl into my body as I broke down, “Her fear is my entire fault,” I whispered as I started shaking and crying, “Everyone’s fear in this room is my fault.”
Ben hugged me from the side, “These men love you, Ray,” He whispered as I felt him look to the guys, “They came after you even after they knew about Elijah.”
Sly cleared his throat, “Ben,” He started, “I don’t fully understand what has happened to Raven since we were separated, but you must understand that we are not leaving this town without her.”
Ben stood and I looked to him as he faced Chris, “Where is Elijah?”
“He was arrested for attempted murder.”
Ben took Rebecca from my arms and into his before grabbing Sandy’s leash, “We will be back tomorrow afternoon, Ray,” He watched me, “That should be enough time for you to fill everyone in about what has happened in the past five years,” He leaned down and kissed my forehead, “Tell them everything, Ray, because if they truly love you they will stay at your side.”