Chapter Fifty Six
Death was a funny thing. He’d thought that it was what he wanted. He’d tried to bend it to his will and failed. And now that death was coming for him, the fear Adam felt was all-consuming,
He didn’t want to die.
He wanted to live. His life was far from what he wanted it to be.
He wanted to live.
Too bad that realization had only come now, when he could feel himself losing the battle.
When he’d been living, he’d tried everything to find death. Now that he was dying, he’d give anything to make it stop.
Adam choked on a laugh, coughing hard. Blood leaked from the side of his mouth and he gasped for breath.
Iman paced the starkly lit corridor, the tip of a finger stuck in her mouth. She’d bitten her nails down to the quick and was now forced to be content with gnawing at the skin on her fingertips.
She’d told him she never wanted to see him again. The last thing she’d ever said to him had been an instruction to leave.
Would those be the last words he ever heard from her?
The smell of antiseptic filled her nose and she choked. For as long as she lived, she’d hate hospitals.
Iman had lost count of the hours long ago. He was in surgery. That was all anyone would tell her. He was in surgery.
He’d been in surgery for lifetimes now.
Blood, salty and unpleasant, filled Iman’s mouth and she pulled her hand from her mouth, looking down at her fingers in surprise. She’d torn the skin open.
Sharp, stinging pain abruptly brought her back to life.
She’d been sitting there too long.
She’d go find a nurse and make them tell her something. She’d make them.
His granddaughter was falling apart before his eyes. Iman was sat in a chair with her legs tucked underneath her, her right index finger shoved in her mouth.
Ibrahim winced and reached to tug it away. “You’ll hurt yourself,” he admonished.
She didn’t seem to hear him. Her lips were stained from the blood she’d already shed but still, she bit and tore at her own skin.
Had she been like this when it had been him in a hospital bed? Ibrahim didn’t know. He hadn’t seen his granddaughter until well after he’d been declared well and his employees seemed convinced that withholding information from him was a good idea no matter how much he threatened and ordered otherwise.
They really needed to be disciplined more.
Or maybe not, considering what ‘proper discipline’ seemed to have caused.
Ali Cassim needed a swift kick in the pants in his opinion. If not for that man’s craziness, his granddaughter would still have a good husband, Ibrahim himself would not be scrambling trying to patch up his ranks after losing six very skilled employees and Adam would not have been foolish enough to run himself ragged and kill himself over a kill that was not remotely time sensitive.
If the boy woke up, there would be several people waiting in line to yell his ears off for being so careless – most notably, his own granddaughter.
Whatever else it had done, this recklessness had at least gotten Iman to see the light.
Now if only that large team of doctors could make sure it wasn’t too late.
The effort it took to open his eyes made a wave of exhaustion sweep over him and Adam nearly gave up before he was done.
He tried to swallow and began to panic as he realized there was something stuck in his throat. He was choking!
There was a voice above him saying something but Adam couldn’t make out the words. He tuned them out and struggled to lift his arms, trying to clear the blockage in his throat. He was choking!
The world swam and he slept.
The next time he woke, there was a weight on his chest. Where was he? The last thing he remembered was pain – so much pain that he thought it would never leave him.
He tried to push himself up. Had he been left for dead?
Whatever he was laying on was too soft to be ground.
He barely managed to get his head off the pillow before he collapsed back down, his arms too weak to hold his weight.
His struggling had disturbed the weight on his chest and it began to move. What was it?
A flash of blonde caught his eye, familiar and beloved and his heartbeat quickened. Iman?
Adam struggled to lift himself again. Where were they? Why was Iman here? Was she in danger?
“Adam? Adam, it’s okay.” She scrambled off of him and leaned over him. “You’re okay,” she told him. “You’re okay.” She laughed and squeezed his hand, sounding giddy. “You’re okay.”
She’d worn the nurses down until they let her see him.
He was so hurt. There was hardly an inch of him that wasn’t bruised or scraped. She was almost afraid to touch him at first, scared that she’d somehow hurt him even worse.
She’d pulled the chair in his room right up to the bed so she could hold his hand. Her legs were numb underneath her but she refused to move. She’d sit right here until he woke up.
Just in case.
Her pillow shifted, waking her. For a moment, Iman didn’t remember where she was. She breathed in and the scent of antiseptic brought everything rushing back.
Her pillow had moved.
Joy flooded through her when she saw his eyes open. He began to move and she hurried over to him, worried that he’d hurt himself somehow.
He was okay. He’d woken up and he was going to be okay.
She told him as much, grinning so hard her cheeks were aching.
Looking down at his face, bruised and swollen and lovely, an urge hit her.
Iman didn’t even try to fight it.
She leaned down and planted a kiss solidly on his chapped lips. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
Adam shifted and let out a groan.
She needed to get a nurse, Iman realized.
“Wait,” Adam called softly. His voice was strained.
Iman was back at his side in an instant. “I’ll be back in a minute,” she promised.