The room was finally quiet, save for the steady click of the IV drip and the raspy wheeze coming from Wace’s father as he slept in the hospital bed. The nurses hadn’t allowed him to eat anything more than chicken broth and ice chips since he’d been admitted, which was going on thirty-six hours now. They still had tests to run on him to find out what was wrong.
A doctor had come in earlier that afternoon, mentioning something about doing some work on his liver, but had used so much confusing medical jargon that the older Allan had run him out of the room, calling him what seemed like every name in the book. Needless to say, the medical staff only visited room 403 whenever it was absolutely necessary.
Stretching his arms above his head with a yawn, Wace eyed the telephone warily, wondering, not for the first time, if he should call Jen. It was just after five in the morning - she wouldn’t be up, but it wasn’t too early to use time as an excuse for not ringing her. Then again, she’d be at the hospital as soon as she got word, even if it was only for the few minutes she could probably squeeze in before heading off to work.
As much as he wanted that, as much as he just needed to see her face right then, he still didn’t think it would be a good idea. In the almost four years they’d been together, she’d never met his father, and things had been going just fine that way. Besides, now wasn’t a good time to introduce the two of them - not when the old man was about as cantankerous and quick at the mouth as he’d ever been.
Sighing quietly, he brought his hands back down to his lap with a dull ‘thwack’ and shook his head. He’d been up the entire night, unable to sleep at all in the tiny, faded, yellow, plastic chair they’d given him, though comfort really had little to do with it. His father had been awake for the majority of their stay as well, cursing, threatening, shouting to anyone that would listen - and especially to those that wouldn’t - that he was perfectly fine and could go home.
In fact, Wace was positive that if his father’s co-workers hadn’t called an ambulance to pick him up after he’d passed out, then he would’ve just gone on with his welding as much as he could have as soon as he regained consciousness.
As much as he tried to deny it, in the pit of his stomach he had a fear of how real his father’s threats against him might end up being, if he’d made a mistake in not letting the doctors discharge him. The time he’d already spent in the hospital certainly hadn’t done anything to calm him, it was just more fuel on the fire at best, but there was nothing he could do about it now and the old man’s ailing health had gone untreated long enough.
With another glance at the clock, Wace thought guiltily that he should’ve been getting ready for work in an hour or so, but he’d called Nick the night before and let him know that he probably wouldn’t be coming in today. He wasn’t happy about it - Fridays were always busy with cars that needed to get their oil changed or a tune-up to get them ready for the weekend and he usually had everyone come in to the shop - but understood that Wace didn’t have a choice. Luckily, he was off from the shipping yard on Fridays and Saturdays because of his long shifts at the garage.
As he’d been making the call, the only thing Wace could think was, ‘If Barky were here…’</i>
He felt his hackles begin to rise once more at just the notion of how much easier things would’ve been had his brother chosen not to just skip town in the middle of the night coming on two years ago. Suppressing a yawn brought him back to the present, and how worn out he was, letting him know that he didn’t have the energy to get aggravated about it again.
A quick look at his father gave him the assurance that he could finally get up, maybe take a walk around the hospital floor and stretch some before he came to again and started up with his ranting.
The lights in the hallway were much brighter than those in the room and he squinted as he stepped out into the quiet corridor. The elevators were to his right and he could see the red glow of the soda machine peeking around a corner, so he headed that way, thinking some caffeine might do him a bit of good. On his way toward the lounge, he passed the nurses’ station, giving the bored-looking woman on call a tired nod good morning.
After a slight reprieve in the floor’s snack room, he headed back to his father, ignoring the stiffening in his muscles, his body’s way of protesting sitting in that chair once more, he was sure. As he trudged by the station again, he heard the nurse call out to him, nearly sending him jumping from his shoes.
With a slightly aggravated look on his face, he turned back to her to see what she’d wanted, mentally telling himself that it better have been good or -
“I’m sorry, Mr. Allan - didn’t mean ta scare you,” she apologized honestly, her voice sounding much younger than the wrinkles on her face would’ve suggested. “I was just wonderin’ if there was anythin’ I could do for ya? I know you’re prob’ly tired an’ – ”
“Thanks, but... no, I don’ think there’s anything you could do for me right now,” he said quietly, cutting her off before she could go too much further into her explanation. He was stuck in the situation and there wasn’t anything either of them could come up with, he was sure, and he had to get back to his father’s room in case he woke up.
“Are you sure?” she prodded, her brow furrowing in concern as she took in his slumped posture. She’d been on since around two that morning and knew from her frequent hall checks that he hadn’t gotten any sleep throughout the night. “Anyone I could call maybe ta give you a break?”
With a tired huff, he spun back around slowly, shaking his head as he called over his shoulder, “No. I’m all ‘e’s got - there ain’t anybody else.”
- Razor's Edge - 22b