To Have and to Hold (The Hold Series Book 3)(15)

By: Arell Rivers

Depositing the iPad on a utilitarian table next to my bed, Mom says, “Sorry, Rosie, honey.”

Needing to change the topic, I ask, “What day is it again?”

“It’s Friday. Black Friday, in fact. Do you remember what that is?”

Black Friday. Think, Rose. I got it. “Yes. It’s the day after Thanksgiving. When everyone goes shopping for Christmas.”

Mom nods. “That’s right. And if you’re lucky, Marco might stop by with some gifts he picked up.”

I smile. Marco’s been visiting me a lot. My fingers pluck the calming blue blanket. The accident remains a blur, with the exception of my memory of a tree. And Mom refuses to show me any pictures to help jog my memory, even though she’s mentioned seeing them.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten some of my memories back, although I’m still confused as heck about Cole. Marco told me Cole was driving the car when it crashed. He repeats, every chance he gets, that Cole’s reckless behavior was responsible for putting me in here, and he’s gone on with his life without a care. However, a part of me remembers Cole as my boyfriend—I’ve had flashes of intimate dinners with just the two of us—although he hasn’t visited me since I woke up. Then again, according to what Mom’s been reading to me, he’s been gallivanting around Europe with Emilie. Nothing makes sense.

My physical therapist comes into the room. “Time to get some exercise, Rose.”

The appearance of the tall woman resembling a Russian gymnastics coach offers a very welcome diversion. “Great.”

I like working out because I feel my strength returning. The first exercise is training my arms, which I do from the comfort of my bed. Turning on my side, the capable, thorough therapist manipulates my arm and good leg. My eyes wander to the blue sky beyond the windows while the therapist exercises my muscles.

Crutches are placed in front of me. This is the hardest part, but I’m determined. I lift myself out of the bed, and then the therapist and I start walking down the stark white hallway, leaving Mom in my room.

“You’re doing a great job, Rose.” I take another step. “Keep your cast up.”

Panting, I stop. I gather my strength, lift my leg as instructed and continue the long walk. About fifty more feet.

My therapist touches my arm. “Okay, let’s get you back to your room. You did an amazing job today, but we don’t want to overdo.”

I look down the corridor. “I’m tired of being in bed. Can we go a little farther?”

My therapist nods, her eyes full of approval. “If you feel up to it, let’s go.”

It’s like she’s coaching me on to win the all-around gold medal. Continuing my slow walk all the way to the Exit sign, I pass two other patients’ rooms, both still decorated with turkeys on the doors for the holiday, then turn back. I’m much stronger than I was at the beginning of the month. I know it. Smiling from ear-to-ear, I re-enter my now empty room and begin the arduous process of getting back into the bed with my cast. Finally, I’m hooked back up to the monitors that keep track of my heartrate, oxygen levels and that sort of stuff. At this point, it’s more of a habit than a necessity.

By the time my therapist leaves, exhaustion makes moving even my pinky a chore. Mom re-enters the room, carrying a huge bouquet of multi-colored roses that looks exotic and vibrant against the muted colors of my surroundings. She places the vase on the serviceable dresser across from my bed. I can barely keep my eyes open, but I manage to ask, “Who are they from?”

“Cole. Do you remember? He has a florist send them weekly.” She waves her hand in the vase’s direction. “I’m sure he set up automatic delivery.”

My eyebrows bunch together. Why does that sound like it’s not a good thing? I’m too tired to keep up my end of the conversation, however. Closing my eyes, I repeat the same drill I always do before falling asleep to see what memory may be sparked. I search my mind for my most recent remembrance . . .

I was fired! Oh, God. I don’t have a job. My breathing accelerates, causing the machines in my room to beep. I struggle to sit back up, but Mom guides me back down to my pillow.