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Morning Swim

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Alex begins stir, slowly returning to conscious. As she does she realises her head is pounding and her eyelids feel heavy, so heavy in fact that she is struggling to open her eyes. Then it hits her, the smell, she would know that smell anywhere, she is at the hospital. Alex tries to remember what she was doing prior to falling asleep, she must have been called in for an emergency and decided it would be easier to take a nap at the hospital instead of going home. Alex is searching her brain, for that last memory but nothing is coming to her except the image of her beautiful girlfriend at the beach, standing there in her bikini trying to coax into going for a swim.

After what feels like hours, but has really only been a couple of minutes Alex opens her eyes to the harsh lighting of the hospital. It’s then that she notices that she isn’t in the doctors lounge she is in a patient room. She looks down and notes she is in a hospital bed. She goes to raise her right arm to rub her eyes but there is wait holding it down.

Alex looks to her right and releases a breath she didn’t realise she was holding, there fast asleep in an uncomfortable hospital chair with her head nestled next to Alex’s leg and her hand holding tightly to Alex’s is Willow. Her Willow. Alex can’t help the smile that spreads across her face at the sight. But she still confused, what happened? How did she end up in this bed?

The door to the room creaks open and Alex turns her head, Mason coming into her line of sight.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” Mason asks.

“My head is pounding, my whole body feels heavy and my throat is dry,” Alex rasps her reply.

Mason fills a glass of water and brings it over to Alex with a straw, a she rapidly consumes the water he asks her if she remembers what happened.

“No, I can’t remember anything. Last thing I do remember is being down at the beach with Will, just about to go for a swim.”

“That’s good, you haven’t lost too much time then. You were in the surf with Willow, and when you were out there you had an epileptic fit. We think from what Willow’s has told us you got dragged under the surf and thrown a couple of times because she lost sight of you for a while. You’ve hit your head on some coral, hence the stitches on your forehead and the nasty headache I’m guessing you have right now.” Mason tells her.

“I don’t understand, I haven’t had an episode in . . . ” Alex wracks her brain to even remember the last time something happened to do with her epilepsy, coming up with nothing. “I honestly can’t even remember the last time, it was before I moved here three years ago, that much I do know.”

“I have it under control, I take my medication, I have my strategies in place.” Alex is talking really fast, and her heart rate is starting to pick up.

“Hey, hey, Alex it’s ok, you are ok. I need you to try and take long, deep breaths ok?” Mason tells her, trying to get the rapid beeping from the monitor to slow down.

Willow reacts to the beeping even in her sleep, springing from her sleep and not noticing that Alex’s eyes are open.

“Mase, what’s happening? What’s going on? Is she ok?” Willow shoots off in rapid succession.

“It’s ok Will, Alex just needs to get her breathing under control.”

Willow whips her head around to look at Alex’s face at Mason’s response and notices Alex’s eyes are open. She quickly grabs Alex’s right hand in both of hers, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“It’s okay baby, you’re okay. Just breathe with me okay? In and out,” Willow says, taking big long breaths in and out. She continues doing this for a few minutes until Alex’s breathing is under control and the monitor next to her is beeping at a normal rate.

“That’s it, great work babe. You are going to be fine.” Willow says leaning her forehead against Alex’s.

“She’s right,” Mason pipes up from the end of the bed where he is scribbling a note into Alex’s chart. “You are going to be fine, we are going to keep you in overnight just to monitor you, and then you will be free to go home tomorrow. Even scored yourself a week off work to recuperate.” Mason tells her with a soft smile. “Rest up, a nurse will be in a bit later to check on you.”

Mason goes to leave, before turning around once more before he leaves the room, “Hey, Alex?”

Alex looks up at him.

“I’m really happy you are ok, you gave a bit of a scare there.”

“Thanks, Dr Morgan,” Alex replies, and at that Mason takes his cue to leave the two women alone.

Once the door closes, Willow turns her attention back to Alex.

“How are you feeling?”

“My head is pounding, my body feels like it has been run over by a truck but mostly, mostly I’m feeling embarrassed that everyone has seen me like this,” Alex replies with tears welling in her eyes.

Willow shifts her body, so she is sitting right next to Alex on her hospital bed. She holds one of Alex’s hands tightly in hers, the other comes up to softly caress her cheek.

“Hey, look at me,” Willow says in her softest voice.

But Alex can’t bring herself to look up from where her eyes are staring at her and Willows hands in her lap.

“Baby, please look at me,” Willow pleads, which gets Alex to slowly raise her eyes to meet Willows and when she does, all she sees staring back at her is the love of her life with the most earnest and loving look she has ever seen.

“You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, you have a medical condition, one that albeit took us all by surprise yesterday, but it happened and you are going to be ok. Everyone here just wants you to get better, no one is judging you, Okay?” Willow tells her.

Alex nods, tightening her grip on Willow’s hand, “Thank you, and thank you for being here when I woke up.”

“There isn’t anywhere else on this planet that I would have been except right here by your side,” Willow tells her, with so much conviction that Alex feels it in her body.

As Alex processes everything that has happened in the last couple of minutes, all the information she has been given by Willow and Mason, she realises something. “Hey Will?”


“You said yesterday.”


“Just before when you were talking about what happened, you said yesterday.”

“Oh, well yeah it happened yesterday. What exactly do you remember?”

“Not much, really. We were at the beach having breakfast before you went to work and then you got up to go and have a swim and were asking me to join you. That’s all I got.” Alex shrugs as she finishes telling Willow what she remembers.

Willow takes a deep breath, preparing to tell her girlfriend what happened yesterday and having to relive that experience herself all over again as she does so.

~ ~ ~

“Come on babe, just a really quick swim before I have to go to work,” Willow begs Alex tugging on her hand.

“I think I will pass Will, I didn’t get any sleep on night shift last night. I might just lay here and rest my eyes for a bit before I have to go to the hospital.”

“Oh come on Alex, please. Five minutes and then I will lay here with you while you get a bit of shut eye.” Willow replies, using her megawatt smile that she knows Alex is hard pressed to resist.

“Fine, fine.” Says Alex laughing as she gets up off her towel to follow Willow into the surf.

The girls head into the surf together hand in hand, letting go of each other to go under the waves. They do this for a few minutes, and when Willow next breaks the surface and turns around to grab Alex to go back to the beach she can’t see her

“Alex? Alex? Where are you?” Willow calls.

She starts to panic when she can’t see or hear her girlfriend anywhere. Then suddenly she sees a hand break the surface of the water a few feet from her just before she has to duck under another wave. When she surfaces again she heads over to where she saw the hand and dives under, spotting Alex immediately still being tossed by the under current. She quickly hooks her arms under Alex’s arm pits and brings her up to the surface, Alex is unconscious and has blood pouring from a cut on her forehead. It takes everything in Willow’s power to not panic further and swim to the shore while carrying Alex. When she gets to the shore, she thanks god that she spots Mason just coming down for a morning surf.

“Mase! Mase! Help, it’s Alex she’s not breathing!”

Mason drops his board immediately and comes running towards the two women.

“What happened?” He asks as he leans his head against her chest and places two fingers on Alex’s neck looking for a pulse.

“I don’t know she went under a wave and then didn’t come back up, then another wave came. By the time I got over to her she was bleeding and unconscious.” Willow is crying as she tells Mason what she knows, worrying that her girlfriend isn’t breathing and internally blaming herself for making Alex go for a swim in the first place.

Mason is now actively doing CPR on Alex, “Will! Hey Will.” Mason calls trying to get Willow’s attention.

Willow turns her gaze away from Alex’s face to look at Mason, “I know this is really difficult right now, but I need you to go get your phone and call for an ambulance ok? I’m going to be right here, looking after her and making sure she pulls through okay?”

Willow nods and runs up to their bags to grab her phone, she pulls her phone out of her bag to call 000, noticing that her hands are trembling as she does so.

“Not the time Willow,” she tells herself as she hears the operator and begins to make her way back down to Mason and Alex while explaining what is happening to the operator.

“Someone will be there in five minutes miss, help is on it’s way.”

But Willow doesn’t hear her because Alex is suddenly coughing up water and struggling to breathe and Willow breathes a small sigh of relief, that Alex might just be ok.

Before the ambulance arrives, Alex is unconscious again but Mason assures her it is ok because she is breathing on her own, it’s just her body’s way of conserving her energy. When the ambulance arrives Willow gets in with the paramedics and Alex. Mason tells her he will meet them at the hospital.

The entire ride to the hospital, Willow doesn’t let go of Alex’s hand. It’s a different story however when they get to the hospital because the doctors meet the ambulance at emergency and then suddenly there is a flurry of movement and Alex is being wheeled through some double doors and Willow is being told she can’t go any further. Willow is pacing in the waiting room when Mason comes running in.

“Where is she?” Mason asks.

“I don’t know Mase, they took her through those doors and told me I couldn’t go with her.” Mason wraps his arms around Willow trying to offer her some sort of comfort, but Willow pulls back. “Can you please go in there and make sure they are looking after?”

“Are you sure? She has the best people looking after her Will, and someone should be here with you.”

“I’m fine, please just go and make sure she is going to be ok,” Willow begs.

“Ok, I will come back with an update as soon as I can.” Mason says, all Willow can do is nod as she watches him walk through the doors.

When Willow can’t see Mason anymore she slumps into one of the waiting room chairs, she leans forward placing her head into hands and starts sobbing. She doesn’t know how long she has been crying when she feels arms wrap around her and draw her into a tight hug. Willow looks up and when she sees that it is Jas in her scrubs, she buries her head into Jas’s shoulder and continues to sob heavily.

“Shh. Shh. Will it’s going to be okay, she is going to be fine. She has the best people around looking after her in there. Tori and Mason are both in there and they are not going to let anything happen to your girl. Just try and breathe okay? In and out. In and out.” Jasmine tells her, while rubbing her hand up and down Willow’s back.

Willow’s breathing starts to slow down and when she gets her tears under control, she leans back from Jas’s embrace, “It’s all my fault Jas, I made her go for a swim. She said she was too tired, she just wanted to have a nap on the beach after her night shift but I made her go for a swim, and looked what happened. I’m never going to be able to forgive myself if something happens to her.”

Jasmine takes Willow by the shoulders and looks directly at her, “This is not your fault Willow Harris, do you hear me? Alex is a strong, determined and independent woman, if she really didn’t want to go for a swim, she wouldn’t have. You didn’t make her do anything ok? And Alex is going to be just fine, nothing is going to happen to her, everyone is going to do everything they came to make sure she pulls through this. Besides there is no way on earth she is going to leave you, I have seen the way she looks at you and I know she is going to fight like hell to come back to you.”

Willow cracks a small smile at that, “You think so?”

“I know so,” Jas replies just as Mason comes back into the waiting room.

“She is doing fine. She is stable, she won’t be awake for a while her body needs some time to recover but she is going to wake up Will.” He tells her, and Willow sighs in relief, her body slumping into Jas’s slightly.

“Do you know what happened? She is a strong swimmer and the surf wasn’t that big, I don’t understand how this could of happened,” Willow asks.

“Tori thinks maybe she had an epileptic seizure, when she went under and the waves have thrown her around, she likely hit some coral or a rock under water, which is how she got the cut on her head, which isn’t bad by the way just a couple of stitches.” Mason replies.

“A seizure? But she hasn’t had any in the entire three years we have been together. She takes her medication religiously and has all these other therapies and precautions she takes to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

“I’m not sure how it happened Will, we will have to ask Alex when she wakes up if she remembers anything from just before it happened, but maybe it was stress, a lack of sleep from her shift last night it could have been a combination of these or neither of these. I don’t know, but we will get to the bottom of it when she wakes up.” Mason says.

“You can go in and be with her now if you want?” He says.

“What? Why didn’t you lead with that you jerk,” Willow says standing up in a hurry and rushing through the hospital doors to find Alex.

“Yeah, you jerk.” Jasmine laughs as she gets up from the chair. “But seriously, I’m so glad Alex is ok. She has become such a good friend these last few years and I don’t think I have ever seen Willow so happy and in love as she has been with Alex. They really do belong together.”

“I agree, she really is a great friend and her and Willow really are perfect for each.” Mason replies as they walk towards the staff lounge together, to take a little breather.

Willow enters Alex’s room quietly, and sucks in a sharp breath when she sees her girlfriend. Alex is fast asleep, she has a bandage on her head covering her stitches, an IV in her arm and a hospital gown on, other than that you would think she is just having that nap she wanted.

Willow walks up to her bedside and leans down to give her a kiss on the lips. When she pulls back, she has tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Don’t you ever scare me like that again, do you hear? I am not going through the rest of my life without you. You are it for me, my soulmate, the love of my life and there is no way I am ever letting you go. Do you hear me?”

When Willow doesn’t get a response, she sighs heavily and pulls up chair next to Alex’s bed, she takes Alex’s hand in hers and settles into the chair prepared not to move until she see her girlfriends gorgeous eyes starring back at her and hears her voice again.

~ ~ ~

“Oh baby, I’m so sorry I scared you like that.” Alex tells Willow when she has finished recounting the events of the day before, tugging Willow forward to draw her in for a hug. The two stay like that for a while, just breathing each other in. Finally Willow pulls back a little.

“No I’m sorry, for making you go swimming when you didn’t want to. This is all my fault.”

“It really isn’t Will, I wanted to go swimming with you. I really did. You have nothing to apologise for I promise.”

Willow leans in and presses her lips against Alex’s, softly kissing her, cautious not to let it become anything more given Alex’s condition.

“I love you,” Willow whispers against her lips.

“I love you too,” Alex responds. “Now, I believe as a doctor the prescription for recovery from this kind of incident is cuddling with ones insanely gorgeous girlfriend.”

“Oh you do, do you?” Willow says through a watery laughs.

“Yes, doctors orders,” Alex grins pulling Willow down onto the hospital bed with her. Willow snuggles into Alex’s side, one arm draping over Alex stomach and placing her head on Alex’s chest, it’s not long before Willow falls asleep to the steady rhythm of Alex’s heartbeat.

When Jasmine walks in a little later on to find her two good friends curled into one another and fast asleep, she just grins to herself and turns to walk back out the door quietly, figuring she can come back later to check Alex’s obs.