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I quietly pushed the door to Alden's hospital room open. If he was sleeping, I didn't want to wake him. I could have used a nap myself. I came straight to the hospital from the airport. My suitcase was sitting at the nurse’s station and I'm sure I looked horrible, but I just had to see Alden. I can't explain why, but I needed to know that he wasn't hurt too badly. I needed to know that his wounds would heal and that he would be okay.
I can't explain why I flew across country to see this man, but here I am about to walk into his hospital room. Hoping that he'll remember me. This man that I barely know. This man who wants to write a story about my dysfunctional love life. This man who took care of me when I got so drunk that I couldn't remember my own name. This man who held my hand and kissed my
forehead. This man that I wish I knew better
The hospital room looked just like every other dreary hospital room in the world. There was a window that looked out onto a wall and allowed very little natural light to enter the room. The fluorescent light overhead added to the dreariness of the place. There were machines with colored lights making low noises as they monitored the heart beats and breathing of the figure lying in the bed.
The figure in the bed wasn't moving, but the slow even breathing sound let me know that he was sleeping. I stepped closer and gasped in horror at what I saw. The figure in the bed was Alden. His beautiful face was swollen and bruised. There was a bandage over his left eye and his upper lip was cut. His arms were covered with scratches and there was a cast on his right hand. A
knee brace was wrapped around his left knee.
I slowly inched toward the bed and placed my hands on the bed railing. I stood there, for what felt like an eternity, watching Alden sleep. I reached out and touched his hair then before I knew what I was doing I leaned down and kissed him softly on the side of his mouth that wasn't cut and swollen.
I fell back into the only chair in the room feeling stupid. I shouldn't have come here. I shouldn't have kissed him like that. I leaned forward and covered my face with my hands as I cried silent tears. Tears for myself and tears for this nice, beautiful, beaten and bruised man.
Just as I had decided to leave. Decided to get out of his room and out of New York before he woke up and realized that I had been there, I heard him speak.
"Cinderella, is that you?"
I lifted my head, smiled through my tears and stood back up leaning over Alden so that I could see his face. "Oh my God, you're awake. Are you Okay? Do you need anything?"
Alden tried to smile, but the grimace he made let me know that the pain wasn't worth the smile. "I think I have everything I need, Cinderella. But isn't it supposed to be my kiss that wakes you?"
I smiled and touched his hair again. "Actually, I think you’re supposed to bring me a glass slipper. It sounds like you know your fairy tales about as well as I know my
I kept rubbing Alden’s hair with my hand as I asked, “Didn't anyone ever tell you that when someone wants your wallet this badly, you should just give it to them?"
"Normally, that's what I would have done, but I promised that crazy friend of yours that I would get you into a hospital and I always keep my promises."
I wanted to kiss him all over again. "Now, I just want you to promise me that you're going to be okay."
"I promise." Alden said as he drifted back off to sleep.