Most people just called me the American. They never really knew my name was Derek, and the ones that did, they assumed it was a fake name. But my name was really the only real thing about me.
I tried to fall asleep that night, but the sound of people partying it up at the sprawling hotel pools was too much for me. Sometimes, only sometimes, the normalcy of the world around me hurt. This was one of those times.
When dawn finally colored the sky tangerine pink, and the only sound was the crashing of the Pacific outside my balcony, I finally fell asleep. My last thought was of Alana, lying on the pavement, her body broken by intent or circumstance.
I wanted to find her.
“Alana.” I heard a voice cut through the darkness. A firm hand shook my shoulder as the screams and cries started to fade away and only the fear, that deep, desperate fear, was a film left behind.
I blinked slowly, the white light filtering in through my eyelashes. The nightmare was hanging around in the back of my pounding head, and the living nightmare was before me.
Fuck my fucking life. I couldn’t believe I got hit by a goddamn car.
“Alana,” the voice said again, and I knew it was the nurse, Salma. “Are you all right, dear? You were crying in your sleep.”
I brought my eyes over to her without moving my head. I’d gotten pretty good at that over the last few days. If I moved my head at all, I’d be hit with a wave of nausea. The doctors assured me that I probably wouldn’t have a concussion, but I didn’t believe them. I felt like my brain had been demolished.
The nurse had a kindly face, full-cheeked like a chipmunk. So far she was the only one in the hospital who had been doting on me. The doctors and surgeons were so brusque and professional. I was used to that being with the airlines and all, but it was nice to have someone that acted as if they really cared.
“Sometimes I do that,” I said carefully. “I … have nightmares.”
She gave me a sympathetic smile. “I can tell.” Luckily she didn’t press it any further. My childhood wasn’t something I liked to talk about.
“How are you feeling, otherwise?” she asked, trying to adjust my pillow. I winced at the movement but was relieved that it didn’t hurt as much as it usually did.
“I still get dizzy when I move my head,” I told her. “But it’s getting better now. Thank god. My arm is really itchy.” I looked down to the cast around my wrist, going from palm to mid-forearm.
“It will get better as your skin gets used to it,” Salma said. “You were incredibly lucky, Alana. Not many people walk away from a hit-and-run accident with only a fractured ankle and a broken wrist.”
“And the bruising and the pain and the head that feels like it is going to explode,” I filled in.
“That, too, will go away,” she said. “All you need to do is rest.”
I swallowed hard. It felt like I had a lump of coal in my throat. “Have they caught the guy yet, the guy who did this to me?”
A funny look passed over her eyes, and I knew she knew something.
“Tell me, please,” I told her. “I hate being kept in the dark.”
She sighed and cast a quick glance over to the open door leading out into the rest of the hospital. The bed next to me in the semi-private room was thankfully unoccupied the whole time I had been there.
“I haven’t talked to the police,” she said in a low voice. “It’s just what I’ve been hearing. But the guy who hit you, he’s dead.”