Familiar Surroundings (Part 3)
Location: Wizard Island/Bethany's room
Timeline: Saturday, August 28, 2010/Afternoon
“When Jon first rescued me from the hospital in Reno, we hid out at a brothel that a friend of his owns,” Bethany said with a bit of an embarrassed laugh as she scrutinized the pattern of bright colors on her hands and arms, still not wanting to make eye contact. She took a steadying breath and let it out slowly, then continued, “It wasn’t a great cover for me, to be honest. Jade figured it out pretty quickly. You want to talk about being embarrassed a lot? I didn’t leave the room often, but if this had been going on then, I couldn’t have done it at all.”
"Try dating Kestrel," Abby said conspiratorially. "And his boyfriend."
“Kestrel, Kestrel... Why does that name sound familiar?” Bethany muttered, the girl searching back through her foggy brain and coming up with a vague memory from months earlier. Something on one of the news programs that she hated so much, and her eyes widened slightly, the orange streaks brightening and creeping like orange veins throughout the blinding pink. “I.. um... there’s a lot I really don’t understand about the outside world. We were in hiding most of the time. In the desert, so I’m still not exactly up to speed on... much of anything, really...” the girl admitted with a bit of an embarrassed glance, and a sheepish, apologetic grin at the friendly nurse.
"He's a singer," Abby said with a merry laugh. "I can't wait for him to meet you. Everyone around here knows exactly who he is! Before I confuse you any more, Kestrel, also known as Bryan, is gay, openly and proudly gay. Jax, his boyfriend, is bi. That's where I come in. But the only way for something like that to work long term is if Bryan and I have a relationship as well, that relationship just has very little to do with sex and a great deal to do with love, respect, and a lot of laughter." Then the nurse changed the subject to something safer. "You ready to get some rest? Jon should be back from his shower soon and so long as you aren't alone you can stay down here. You're stable, just don't go trying to get up for another day or so. Timo will check in on you in a few hours and see how your lung is healing."
“I... see... sort of...” Bethany said a bit lamely, not really knowing how to respond to the weird conversation. When Abby followed that up with a mention of Jon in the shower, her cheeks started turning red and she looked back at her hands. “I feel like I’ve been asleep for a month and I already feel like my backside is numb, so I’d really like to get out of this bed. But I’ll be good and wait for... umm... Timo...? To say it’s okay.” The young woman still didn’t remember meeting the doctor and she shifted in the bed, groaning with the effort. Again, she avoided the little morphine button, then said with a small chuckle, through clenched teeth, “Besides, I think Jon would tie me down if I tried right now.”
"Speak of the devil," Abby said, and something on her face changed, her easy smile deepened and love shown in her eyes as she turned the foot of the bed towards the double doors. Jax had escorted Jon for his trip to the showers and now held the door to let the ex-soldier into his new rooms.
His voice was one of those that seemed to always hold laughter and carried into the room ahead of him. "One of our students is in charge of doing things to make our newcomers more comfortable. Abby got scans of your friend's cave and Maggie has been working on this ever since. Security is in place so you two have free rein of this room while she heals. Though the doc says she's not cleared to get out of the bed yet. From what I understand they are going to put in a temporary bathroom tomorrow some time. Until then just ring one of us to take you up if you need it."
"That's Jax," Abby whispered to Bethany then went to her lover with a smile. "Timo send the new meds?"
Jax nodded and tossed her an IV bag. "All plant derivatives from Donya."
"Good!" Abby said as she stood on tip toe and still he had to bend down to let her place a quick kiss on his mouth before she returned to Bethany. "New painkillers, should take the edge off without knocking you out. You might be a little dizzy if you tried to get up, but we'll call that incentive to stay where you're supposed to."
As the tall, talkative man led Jon through the doors, and Abby turned Bethany’s neon-pink-with-orange streaked face towards them, the brawler tensed as she eyed the stranger. She watched their interactions curiously, warily, only offering the friendly nurse a small, distracted smile when she told her who he was. The only real saving grace for her was the fact that the one person that she truly trusted had walked in with Jax, and she offered a small, tired smile, a quick wiggle of blindingly pink fingers, then said quietly, “Hi. I’m Beth.”
When Abby returned with the IV bag, all of Bethany’s attention turned to that and she asked, her tone once again curious, “What is that? I mean, I know he said plant based and all, I’m just curious which ones. Apparently poppies hit me kind of hard.” The brightly colored girl gave a self-conscious laugh and shot the hated morphine button a short, dubious glare.
"I'm not sure, the doc worked with Gaia to come up with these based on your blood work, I know they were working with various cannabinoids and other similar plants but also balancing the need to not suppress your respiratory system. It's going to replace the morphine in here so it's still all under your control," Abby said reassuringly as she used a funny little tool to open the box and remove the morphine bag, "it's set to the smallest dose so try just one press and see how it makes you feel." When she finished she went to stand by Jax who still waited just inside the door.
Jax slid an arm around her shoulders and pulled her in against his side, sliding her arms around his waist.
Jon nodded to the other man. It was awkward being baby sat to go to the bathroom or take a shower. He remained his normal, taciturn self, though his tight face softened a bit as he saw Bethany.
“You’re awake, luv,” Jon said, going over to her and kissing her forehead. He wore fresh jeans and a tight black t-shirt stretched over his lean, muscled frame, his dark hair still a bit damp from the shower, though combed down. “How you feeling, luv?” He looked over at the cave entrance and frowned slightly. “Not exactly the best accommodations,” he told her. “You sure you don’t want a real room where you’ll be more comfortable?”
“Since when have I been comfortable in a regular room?” Bethany asked softly, teasing the man that knew her better than anyone else. They’d had to utilize some pretty ratty motel rooms once in a while over the last few months, and the desert dwelling teen couldn’t stand the smell of them, or the fact that they felt like little dirty little prison cells most of the time. It had driven her to suggest that they hide out in the desert, rather than have to deal with the smell of stale cigarette smoke, old urine, and the possibility of someone trying to collect on the reward on their heads in Reno. She smiled up at Jon, admiring his strong frame and, of course, his beautiful blue eyes. “Not quite bright-eyed or bushy-tailed. I’m in pain, but, apparently, I’ll live. Are you okay?”
“Fine. More or less. Leg’s acting up,” Jon said, flexing his bum leg. He was leaning a bit, favoring it. “Need a new cane,” he said wryly. “Sleeping in chairs will do that, I guess.”
Bethany winced as Jon mentioned his leg, that guilty, apologetic look settling on her features, and she said, “I really hate it when you have to sleep in chairs because of me. I’ll tell you what, right now I’d be glad to let you have this bed.” Again she tried shifting into a more comfortable position and instantly regretted it, hissing as aches and pains from all over her battered body decided to redouble their protests. The girl reached down and hit the little button and squeezed her eyes shut, clenching her jaw as she felt the painkillers enter her arm.
After a moment, that agonizing edge began to taper off and she gave a sigh of relief, both at the dulling of the pain as well as the fact that it didn’t seem to make her head swim too much, or her stomach turn over suddenly. While she was still in pain, the blinding agony had rapidly decreased and the natural cocktail made the physical burden far more bearable.
“Oh, thank you. That’s much better,” Bethany sighed gratefully, with another weak, but genuine, smile given to the gold-and-green-haired nurse that had been looking after her. She didn’t know what was in that mix, but she figured that she would pry later. For that moment, the young brawler was simply glad for the relief.
“Don’t you trouble yourself, luv,” Jon scolded. “It’s an old injury and it acts up once in a while. You’re far worse off than me.” He smoothed back Bethany’s hair. “Besides, they gave me a nice room. Seems you don’t need me anymore,” he said with a smile.
NPC Xander Carlisle
NPC Maggie Somerset