A chill had set into her bones, even though she was wrapped in this thick blanket. Somehow the world was slowing down and getting louder at the same time. A few hours ago all she could hear was the blood rushing in her ears. She felt invincible and she rushed into action, tunnel vision in full effect as she was determined to save him. She didn't even fully remember thinking about what she had done just that she was going to do everything she could to save Gil.
She had never driven so hard in her life but she had no choice, he kept slumping down or falling forward, the red, wet spot on his sweater growing every moment. His breathing getting increasingly shallow, his eyes heavily drooping, only kept open by her voice begging him to stay with her. When they finally arrived in the hospital, she ran out of the car, yelling for help. When the nurses and doctors came running toward her she flung open the car door and let them take him out of the car and unto a stretcher. Watching them flop the man she had always seen as a pillar of strength limply onto the stretcher made her legs feel numb. But she didn't let that stop her from rushing after the doctors who were taking him away. She answered their basic background questions with ease, having known him for almost two decades and told them that he had been stabbed. They cut open his shirt to assess the wound and Jessica felt what little she had in her stomach rise momentarily, she had not time to be sick but she could not not help but stare at the hole that was till oozing thick, dark liquid from its depths. She took hold of his hand as the doctors kept pushing him to an unknown destination. She squeezed his hand with one hand and stroked his face with the other.
'Gil, please stay with me! You have to be okay... please', her voice breaking all the while. He just kept staring at her, clearly trying to say something but the pain robbing him of his breath. Through her blurring eyes, she saw his cloud as well. They rounded a corner and Jessica saw 'O R 3' written above large, heavy looking doors. She'd have to leave him soon. Clearly he sensed it too. He gave her as firm a squeeze as she assumed he could manage, his lips parting once more in an attempt at speech but she silenced him with a stroke of her thumb on his cheek,' Shhhhhh..... Anything you have to tell me you can tell me when you wake up. We'll have all the time in the world as long as you come back to me. I'll be right here waiting for you.' Not a moment later they reached the doors and the doctor told her she could go no further. She reluctantly released his hand and they continued pushing him away from her. Their fingers holding on until the very last moment. A nurse gently coaxed her away from the O R doors and threw a blanket around her shoulders, taking her, one marathon length step at a time, to the nearest waiting room. With what waning clarity she had left, she thought she should call her children or at least the Detectives on his team and tell them what had happened but soon came to realize she had left her purse and her phone in Endicott's mansion. She asked for a phone call at the nurses station and called Malcolm, Ainsley and Gil's team. But for some reason Ainsley was not answering her cell.
In less than ten minutes all parties converged on the hospital waiting room, bombarding her with questions demanding details. Jessica the blanket's weight for the first time as a veil of exhaustion covered her, recounting the night's events one more time as the detectives documented her story. The detectives got busy with phone calls while Malcolm tried to offer comfort, seeing her face and eyes grow increasingly blank as the moments went by. She jumped when he placed a soft hand on her arm. He pulled it away quickly. His voice sounded warped in her ear. So did everything else really. Her breath became increasingly labored, causing her chest to heave, and her head felt like it was floating. A light sheen of sweat coated her forehead. She shivered as the room suddenly froze over. Her limbs suddenly weighed a ton each, her mouth drying out completely. The only clear sound was the sound of a knife being unsheathed and that of Nicholas' sickening voice, 'Erin once told me told that a stab to the gut is the most painful way to die.' When she finally got her eyes to focus again she saw Malcolm stooped informant of her and a nurse, both looking equally concerned. The sound of her son's concerned voice penetrated the noise,' Mother, are you okay?' She heard herself respond but the look on their faces didn't ease. the nurse offered up a small cup of water and Jessica took it with shaking hands and took a few sips. She felt her throat open up again. She tried responding again and this time a little relief flitted across Malcolm's face. so clearly the sound reached them this time.
After a few minutes and several deep breaths Jessica could feel herself coming back down. Malcolm looked at her with his wide concerned eyes waiting. She knew he was worried about her but there was so much else for him to worry about, even more so that the man he looked to as a father was fighting for his life on an operating table. She felt like she was looking through a pinhole and suddenly her view was widening at an overwhelming pace but she needed to hold it together, if not for Gil then at the very least for Malcolm. She may not have a drink on hand but it was far from the first time she had had to suppress her inner turmoil without it. She could manage. She took Malcolm's hand and smiled as best she could at him,' I'm fine, Darling. Go, sit with your friend. She looks like she needs you more than I do right now' weakly gesturing in Detective Powell's direction. Malcolm could see right through the mask she was trying to put on for him. He indulged her farce and went over to stand near Dani. The time dragged along. Thankfully, Jessica felt the pressure in her chest subside and that cruel voice in her had quiet. When she checked the time she estimated that she had been there for over an hour. At one point, an O R nurse emerged and called for Gil's family, a call they all answered.
She handed Jessica a bag that contained his personal items. She handed it over to Jessica's, obviously assuming her to be his wife. When asked about when they could expect the surgery to be over she gave them a sympathetic look and said she did not know before returning to the operating room. Jessica clutched the bag tighter that necessary and she made her way back to her seat. She slowly opened it and gently looked through its contents. She handed over his holster and badge to the Detectives. There was his wallet, his house keys and his wedding ring. Jessica swallowed the sob she desperately wanted to release. she clutched the ring in her palm and closed the bag again, setting it beside her. Fiddled worth the ring between her fingers to pass the time. Forty five minutes later a doctor came out and called for them again. The surgery had gone well but the injuries were severe. They needed to keep him in the hospital for at least two weeks under constant supervision. They were afraid of the internal bleeding and him developing sepsis from an infection. He was alive but not out of the woods yet.
'You can go see him now. One person at a time please. Someone will be along soon to finalize the paperwork.' the doctor informed them before walking away.
The group of them quietly looked at each other before Detective Tarmel spoke up,' You should go in first, Mrs Whitly. You did save his life after all.' Malcolm and Dani agreed quietly. Jessica nodded and then turned to walk in the direction of Gil's room, trying to settle her stomach as it turned with guilt once more. She came to a halt at his door and took hold of the cold door handle. She took a moment, trying to prepare herself for what she could possibly see and then entered, her eyes falling to the floor in avoidance. She closed the door behind her and cast her eyes to the other end of the dimly lit room. Jessica steeled her spine just enough and willed her legs to carry her over to the bed , they gave out not a moment later, forcing her to sit on the bed beside him. Gil's usually olive tone skin was not pale in complexion and there was a small tube in his nose meant to assist his breathing. His broad chest made shallow dips and the monitor in the corner beeped rhythmically, letting her know he was very much alive. Jessica could not help the urge however to check for herself.
Slowly she leaned forward and placed a cautious hand on his chest. The feel of his chest rising and falling under her palm as the dull reverberations of his heartbeat thrummed against her fingertips broke her last barrier of resolve. The tears and pain she had swallowed for the sake of her son and herself, she was honest, came flooding forward. She let out a silent sob, thought she tried desperately for the sound to come out. The pain in her chest returned and she used her free hand to clutch the blanket over her chest, afraid that if she took her hand off Gil's chest that she'd lose him forever this time. She let her tears fall freely, something she hadn't done in years and the guilt that had been broiling in her gut finally boiled over.
'I'm so sorry, Gil. This is all my fault. I should have listened. I should have stayed in the house. I should have never gone to Nicholas'. All this would have never happened if I had stayed put like you asked me to. You wouldn't be here if it weren't for me. You came to save me. You have always saved me. I don't deserve that. You got hurt because I put myself in danger. I told you I could never be good enough for you. Please forgive me. Please. I never meant for this to happen. You are too good for me. You can't leave us. I have never deserved you protection but who's gonna protect Malcolm. Our boy needs you, Gil. Ainsley will be a mess. And your team, they love you just as much as we do. Please come back to them, for them. They need you.... I need you. And I know that's selfish to say because I'm the reason that you're hurt in the first place but I need you. So please, come back'
Jessica took another look at him through her tear blurred vision, 'I promise I'll be right here when you wake up. But I need you to wake up.’
Jessica knew she had spent too much time in here already and she needed to let the others have their moments as well. Still not ready to take her hand off his chest she used her other hand to wipe away any trace of her tears. She stood quietly. She ghosted the hand that was on his chest upward to his cheek. She leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his cold forehead before slowly returning upright and taking her hand away. His skin may not have been warm but she still missed its feel under her palm. Her body felt mirthless without the drumming of his heart under her fingers to guide hers. She missed him already but she needed to leave. The sound of her heels clicking meekly against the tile became the soundtrack to her reluctant exit.
She made her way out of the room, taking one last look before signalling that someone else could go in now. Detective Powell was up in seconds. Jessica took the opposite side of the waiting room, sitting by herself, rocking her heels back and forth. Now the only voice in her head was her own.
'This is all my fault.'