Friday, August 19, 2011

Chapter 30: Ends

The boat stopped at the dock and Tristan immediately stood up. “Can you stand up, Nora?” he asked, looking down at the girl. She nodded, her eyes half closed. She began standing up and tipped backwards, threatening to fall off of the boat. Tristan quickly caught her, helping her to balance. He and Ron helped Nora out of the boat and onto the dock.

“Should we take her to the hospital?” Tristan asked Ron as they walked slowly back to his little shop. Ron sighed.

“Probably. Let’s let her get this diving gear off first, though.” Ron replied softly. Nora’s oxygen tank was already off of her back, and her flippers and mask had been removed as well. She had slipped her wetsuit on over a t-shirt and shorts, so it didn’t take long for her to take it off. However, it would have taken an even shorter amount of time if Tristan didn’t have to steady her every two minutes.

Finally, Nora and Tristan were walking out of the shop, Ron following closely behind in case they needed any assistance. The two men helped Nora into Tristan’s car before Tristan walked around to the driver’s seat.

“Are you sure you’ll be all right? You don’t want me to come with you?” Ron asked, sounding concerned. Tristan shook his head.

“We’ll be fine. I’ll take her to the hospital and have them look her over and…” Tristan paused, thinking about what would come next. “Well, I guess we’ll go from there.” he said with a small smile. Ron nodded.

“If you need anything, help or information, just give me a call. You’ve got the number, right?” Ron said. Tristan nodded as he got into his car. Ron bent down so that he could see Nora. Her window was rolled down. “Nora?” Ron began gently. Nora’s sleepy eyes turned to him. “Don’t fall asleep, okay? Stay awake for as long as you can. At least until you get to the hospital.” he finished. Nora nodded weakly. Ron sighed heavily then glanced up at Tristan.

“I’ll call you with an update.” Tristan said as he turned the car on.

“Thanks. I’ve never had anything like this happen… The first lesson is always the easiest… I just can’t explain this one… I feel awful though, I really do.” Ron said sincerely.

“It wasn’t your fault, Ron. It was a freak accident or…well, I don’t know what else it could be, but none of it was your fault.” Tristan reassured him. Ron sighed again.

“Thanks, Tristan.” he said softly. “I’ll try to figure out whatever it was that grabbed her. I’ll call up a few of my friends and get their help, too. Maybe I’ll check with the police or something… See if they’ve got any information that would be helpful…” Ron said, mostly to himself, as he stood up. Tristan slowly backed the car out of the parking space while Ron watched them. Tristan knew that the man was concerned; it was evident in his expression. Ron waved a sorry goodbye as Tristan pulled out of the parking lot.

The drive to the hospital was only a few minutes long. Tristan helped Nora walk into the hospital and the two of them went straight to the emergency room. Tristan told the nurse behind the counter what had happened and she told him to have a seat and wait. He walked back over to Nora and sat down, twidling his thumbs nervously.

“Tristan?” Nora mumbled.

“Yes, Nora?” Tristan said, glancing over at her. Nora slowly reached out her hand and placed it over Tristan’s hands.

“Don’t act so nervous. You’re making me antsy.” she said softly. Tristan smiled a little then nodded. He and Nora sat there for a few minutes, not speaking to one another. Tristan was silent because he was too busy trying not to look worried, even though he was, and Nora kept quiet because speaking seemed to be incredibly hard to her for some reason.

Finally, a nurse called out Nora’s name. Tristan helped Nora stand up and slowly led her over to the nurse. The nurse led them through a door and down a hallway, into small room. “The doctor will be right with you,” the nurse said before she turned and walked out, closing the door behind her. Tristan sighed heavily, rubbing the top of Nora’s hand with his thumb. Nora rested her head on Tristan’s shoulder. Tristan closed his eyes then rotated his shoulder, pushing Nora away from him. He looked over at her sadly and shook his head.

“You can’t go to sleep.” he said softly.

“But I’m so tired…” Nora mumbled, her eyes drooping. Tristan shook his head again.

“You’ve got to stay awake, Nora.” he said, sounding a bit more firm this time. Nora didn’t respond. “Nora, stay awake.” Tristan said sternly, his eyebrows coming together to form a scowl. Nora still did not reply. “Nora,” Tristan said, panic mounting in his voice. He reached up and poked her cheek. Nora’s face contorted into a grimace. Tristan frowned. “Nora, open your eyes.” he said, sounding stern again. Nora sighed then opened her eyes halfway. She stared at Tristan for a moment, looking directly into his stern expression. Slowly, though, his stern expression melted away and was replaced by a worried one.

“You scared me.” Tristan said softly. Nora looked down, a little embarrassed.

“I didn’t mean to… It’s just so hard… I’m so tired…” she mumbled.

“I know, but you can’t go to sleep. You have to see a doctor.” Tristan continued earnestly. Nora sighed then nodded slowly.

“Okay…I’ll stay awake…” she muttered. Tristan smiled a little.

“Thank you.” he said softly.

“For what?” Nora asked.

“For not dying.” Tristan replied. Nora was silent for a moment.

“You’re welcome.” she said finally. Tristan chuckled, not having expected that response. However, he was truly thankful that she was in a hospital room with him instead of on the bottom of the ocean floor with whatever it was that had tried to kill her…

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