Layne opened his eyes and saw dim light in an unfamiliar room.
Groggy, he sensed movement and turned his head to the left.
Rocky was sitting there. Her head bowed, dark hair with fashionable (but fake) streaks of blonde pulled back in a ponytail but that heavy fall at the front that wouldn’t fasten back, as usual, covered one eye.
What the fuck?
His eyes moved beyond her to the walls then they kept scanning and he saw the monitors, the drips and cords.
He was in a hospital bed.
Shit, I’ve been shot.
He closed his eyes, feeling heavy fatigue and not much else. It wasn’t like he just woke up. It was like he hadn’t slept for a year.
When he heard rustling, he forced his eyes open again and saw Rocky move, adjusting in her chair, putting an elbow to the arm, her jaw in her palm, her fingers curling around her cheek. Her head was up now and her face was flawlessly made up, also as usual. Perfection. He hated it. When they were living together years ago she would put on makeup to go to class, to go out dancing, to go get a meal but it was light. If she wasn’t going anywhere, or nowhere special, she didn’t bother. He preferred it that way.
Her eyes skimmed over him and shot back, fastening on his.
“Layne?” she asked, her voice quiet.
“The boys,” Layne said, his voice scratchy and hoarse.
She stood, the movement liquid, the way she always moved, full body or just lifting a finger to point at something.
Her chair was so close, standing brought her right next to the bed.
“They were here with Gabrielle. Dad took them home,” she whispered, looked to his chest, her eyes lifting again to his, “How are you feeling?”
“They okay?” He was still talking about his sons.
“You’re okay,” she told him. “It’ll take awhile but the doctors say you’ll be fine so… they’re okay.”
The exhaustion was nearly overwhelming and the last person on earth, outside of Gabby, who he’d want in his hospital room or anywhere near him, was Raquel Merrick Astley. He’d rather go to sleep and wake up when she was gone but he struggled against the sleep that wanted to take him because he had to know.
“What do the docs say?”
“You’ll be fine. They hit you in the thigh, gut, shoulder,” she answered. “The gut was the bad one but they stitched you up.”
He took three. Now he remembered, he took three. He felt each one.
He wanted to ask if it was her husband that worked on him.
He didn’t ask that, instead he asked, “How long am I gonna be in here?”
“Awhile,” she evaded.
“What’s awhile?” he pressed.
“Not too long. At most, two weeks.”
Fuck, he didn’t have any insurance. Fuck.
Instead he asked, “Where’s Merry?”
“At the Station, he’s coming later,” Rocky answered.
His eyes closed because he couldn’t keep them open anymore but he forced them back open.
“He safe?” Layne knew he could ask her that. Rocky and Merry were close, Merry told Rocky everything, she did the same with her brother. They looked out for each other; they kept each other’s secrets. She’d know.
“Yes, far as he can tell, you kept him clean.”
Thank God, Layne thought and his eyes closed again.