Kaitlin didn't know how long she waited before her mum's old green Volvo pulled into the car park. She had been scanning the faces of multiple patients being wheeled from assorted operating theatres. That was one theatre that she never wanted to be in. She watched for one stretcher with a boy with messy black hair and piercing green eyes but he never came. She heard a car horn toot and she rushed from the disinfectant smelling waiting room. Her mother didn't look angry to be woken up at midnight to collect her, she just looked worried and concerned. Kaitlin climbed into the Volvo and closed her eyes. She could see a pair of green eyes, unblinking, staring back at her behind her closed lids. She started and rapidly opened them again as they drove into the night away from Conor and the memories of that night.
As they pulled into the driveway her mum started pestering her for information about what had happened. Kaitlin just switched off and ignored her mum's questions. Every time she shut her eyes she could see those green eyes staring at her, void of any emotion. And as she tumbled into bed she could hear the same words echoing round her head that had been haunting her since the day she betrayed Conor. If you are wrong don't worry, I will find you. Those words, whispered menacingly behind her as she had made her way to the bus. She knew that it wasn't a threat any more as the man that had made it was unable to continue that threat considering he was dead. But it reminded her that what she had done was unavoidable. The thought that she would have to tell him some day that she was as bad as his father made her sick with worry.
Conor didn't know how long he had been asleep for but it felt like ages. His shoulder ached painfully as he tried to struggle into a sitting position. His attempt was only met by a pair of firm but gentle hands pressing him back into the pillows. He struggled against them but, being exhausted he sank back down into a dark and dreamless sleep. His last memory was that he felt something sharp pressed into his left wrist. When he next awoke it was in a new room, not that he had noticed much about the last one, but it was definitely different. His mum was sitting in a chair beside his bed and she looked relieved when he opened his eyes.
"You're awake!" she exclaimed,
"Yeah. I feel really weird." he muttered groggily.
"Oh, they haven't told you yet?"
"Don't worry it's OK."
"No, no. They told me not to tell you." she protested.
Conor was silent for a moment and then he closed his eyes. His mum stood up and left the room quietly as if she thought he was asleep. He wanted to cry out and call to his mum, begging her to come back but something was preventing him. His doctor, Kyle, who looked about twenty, and had cropped red hair and blue eyes, walked through the open doorway. Conor turned his head and faced the steadily approaching man.
"I thought you were still asleep. Your mum wasn't supposed to be in here." Kyle explained,
"She was going to say something but then said that she wasn't allowed to tell me. What was it?" Conor asked.
"We had to remove the bullet from your shoulder." Kyle was silent for a second. Conor paused.
"You don't remember?"
"No," Conor was puzzled. What bullet? All he remembered was a loud bang. Kyle looked confused but also a little awkward.
"You seriously don't remember that? Oops"
"What don't I remember?" Kyle cringed and shook his head.
"It's better if you don't know yet."
"Every thing's better if I don't know it isn't it?" Conor angrily responded. Kyle apologised and stumbled from the room. Conor didn't know how long he lay there but by the time someone came it was long enough. The head nurse walked through the doors and introduced herself as Ashleigh. She told him that his mum would be visiting him later, after she had told him something really important.
"Is it about a bullet?" Conor asked.
"What makes you think that?" Ashleigh asked, widening her eyes in mock surprise. She had brown eyes and dark hair and she was quite young, Conor thought, to be head nurse. "We all know that Kyle isn't very good at keeping his mouth shut but he'll learn. He's new here." she explained and seeing Conor's concerned expression, added "But he has lots of experience, don't worry you are in safe hands!"
"What were you going to tell me then?"
"Well, when you were in the forest, your father tried to shoot Ruthie, your dog, but you, somehow, got in the way of the bullet and it hit you instead!"
"Oh," was all that Conor could say.
"Yeah, that's what I said as well when I first heard." Ashleigh confessed. Conor turned away so that Ashleigh couldn't see the tears prickling in the corners of his eyes. Why did he have to be here?
A week later, Kaitlin climbed onto the bus. Her posse had saved her a seat and she slumped into it feeling thoroughly dejected. She had been acting like this ever since she had returned from the hospital last week. No one knew how Conor was and she missed him. She didn't even care that people guessed that she liked him now. Freya was also feeling miserable but she had been giving Kaitlin the cold shoulder ever since Kaitlin had admitted to liking Conor. Andy was also looking pretty miserable and Kaitlin knew how he felt. She felt awful and decided that she would visit Conor that evening so that she could say how sorry she was. As the day slowly progressed Kaitlin was almost on the edge of her seat and at one point a teacher asked what was wrong and whether she needed to go home. She longed to say that she did want to go home but if she did then her mum would be really cross with her and she didn't want another mouthful of questions.
When the bell finally rang to signal the end of school she sprang up and raced towards the classroom door and sprinted across the car park. She astonished everyone by jumping onto the local bus instead of her usual bus but she just waved at them as she ran past. She remembered what the paramedic had said to Conor's mum in the ambulance. This is a very serious situation and he might not pull through. But we will do the best we can to help him survive. Her stomach tied in a knot as she realised that he might not be there. He might not have survived. But she brushed those thoughts aside as the bus pulled up outside the hospital. She was being silly, of course he would be OK. He was talking to the doctor in the ambulance, wasn't he and he didn't seem scared at all.
She strode through the white, disinfectant smelling corridors towards the ward that the receptionist had pointed her in the direction of. The knot started to loosen in her stomach as she heard a voice coming from the room directly in front of her. She took a deep breath and walked through the doors. There he was, sitting up in bed looking absolutely normal. A voice piped up in her head, 'What did you expect him to look like then?' she smiled to herself and advanced in the direction of the bed. Conor lifted his head and looked at her. She gazed into those green eyes but suddenly recoiled when she saw in them not love but loathing. She cursed herself for ever believing that he could even like her after all she had done to him.
"Oh. It's you." he said contemptuously. She sighed and started to back away.
"What do you want?" he quietly asked. "Haven't you done enough?" Her lip quivered as silent tears spilled over her white cheeks. She turned to leave, vowing never to come here again. But, if she had looked back she would have seen a pair of pain filled eyes staring back at her, and a memory scarred with things that would never fade.