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After three days of sleeping in the chair by Alden's bed I awoke to find him sitting up staring at me. Most of the swelling was gone from his face and the bruises were fading. He smiled as my eyes focused on him and there was only a small hint of the pain that had been so obvious a few days earlier.
"Is everything okay?" I asked looking around the room to see if anyone else was there.
"I'm doing much better. The doctors say they'll be sending me home soon. How are you? Sleeping in that chair can't be too comfortable."
"Oh, I just nodded off. I wasn't really sleeping." I lied in an attempt to play off how worried I had been.
"Ginger, every time I've woken up in the past couple of days, you've been right there."
We stared at each other as I searched for something to say. Something to explain why I was there. It was Alden who broke the silence.
"You don't...you don't have to thank me. I didn't do anything."
"You came to see me. You stayed here. You didn't have to do either of those things."
"Well, I kind of owed you for taking care of me the last time I was in New York." I said as I looked down at my hands. The memories of that night with Kyle still made me feel sick.
"Hey, they want me to try walking around for a little while. Are you feeling up to keeping me company?"
"Sure." I stood and held my hands out to give Alden a lift off of the bed.
"I may need to hold your hand and lean on you as we round the corners." Alden joked.
"No problem. I run a first class, full service patient walking service. I'll even let you know when your backside is showing through that lovely hospital gown of yours." I laughed as I held onto Alden's arm and led him out into the hallway.
"Oh, so you're admitting that you're going to be checking out my backside?"
"It's a tough job, but someone has to do it." I laughed.
I love how this man can always make me laugh.
We walked to the far end of the hall and found an empty room with snack machines and cushioned chairs. I helped Alden lower himself into a chair close to the door and took the seat next to him. Alden never let go of my hand.
“I missed you when you left New York the first time. I was hoping to spend some more time with you.”
“Yea, I just kind of needed to get as much space between myself and Kyle’s messed up family as I could.”
“You didn’t say good-bye or anything. I thought you were upset with me.”
“No, I could never be upset with you. You’re my Prince Charming.” I bumped Alden’s shoulder with mine and laughed.
“And you’re my Cinderella, but I don’t think I’m going to feel like dancing anytime soon.” Alden leaned his forehead in and rested it on mine.
“Hey, that’s not a problem. I know a large, tattooed, bald headed guy named Mary Ann and I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to dance with me.”
We both laughed then sat there in a long comfortable silence.