Par Jolie Adam
Larry was playing around with Anabelle’s hair as Jen paced in the kitchen making Sunday’s cupcakes. They had dessert every Sundays. Last week was tiramisu cake and Jen had outdone herself. The baby girl was just as beautiful as her mother, taking traits from both her parents. Jen’s button nose, Larry’s full lips, her ancestors’ hazel eyes and a combination of both of their complexion, a beautiful shade of golden brown. Anabelle was running circles around Larry, yelling “Papa, Papa” as she laughed. Her laugh was so contagious and unaffected. The little girl was so happy; she never stopped giggling as she played around with her father, pulling his twists in front of his face. Larry admired her in awe, looking at his finest creation. He looked back at his wife, glowing in the heat of the warm kitchen that smelled of uncooked dough and sweet frostings. His life was perfect. He danced for a living, he was married to the love of his life and they had a beautiful baby girl to complete a life full of blessing. Larry picked up Anabelle and brought her to the kitchen. The little girl opened her arms and Jen didn’t hesitate to fill her child’s warm embrace to receive a kiss. Anabelle planted a kiss on her mother’s cheek, making a loud kissing noise as she did so. Then Larry did the same thing, and then kissed Jen on the lips, using his other hand to push her firmly against him. Jen smiled shyly, blushing that their child had to witness her parents’ display of affection. After two years of marriage, Jen recognized that look in Larry’s eyes, which guaranteed her that once he put Anabelle to bed tonight, he would come and put her to bed. And he recognized the look of acceptance and anticipation in hers. In the two years together as man and wife, there hadn’t been one night when Jen had turned him away or been too tired. Their passion for each other was enviable, relentless and infinite. With every passing day, whether he be by her side or not, his love for her had grown at a steady rate, so much so he feared to think of a moment not spent together. He looked at her again and smiled. The timer on the oven went off. His expression changed to worry and concern as the timer sounded a lot like the beep of a heart monitor machine. It was getting louder and louder and visions of Jen and Anabelle blurred to the extent where he couldn’t see, feel or touch them anymore. He began to panic and wanted to scream but the scream was silent, muted and no one could hear him. No one could hear him screaming for his family.
Larry jerked awake and took a few seconds to remember where he was. The sound of the heart monitor was so loud, he wondered if the volume was on high before realizing that it was a good thing. Jen’s heart monitor had been frighteningly quiet which was probably how he’d managed to fall asleep anyways. He looked up and saw that a nurse had just walked in to check in on her. She smiled at him reassuringly once she realized he was up and looking at her.
“Café?” (Coffee?) She offered.
“The, s’il vous plait.” (Tea, please.) He answered politely. Larry hadn’t eaten anything since last night at the party. He’d had too much to drink and eat, having a good time catching up with family members and siblings he seldom saw. That was before he bumped into Jen who mentioned she’d spoken to Lau and then disappeared with his mother. Larry rubbed his eyes, hoping to subdue the large headache looming. He was tired, hung-over, mad and depressed. He wanted to run away to an island far, far away with Jen and never come back. Just the two of them…
“Monsieur?” (Sir) The nurse’s low voice called after him.
Larry opened his eyes once more and smelled the mint from the tea before actually seeing it. The nice lady was holding a medium cup full of hot, peppermint tea. It smelled like fresh, mint leaves brewing in a field of sugarcanes. How much sugar had she put in if he could actually smell the sucrose wafting to his nostrils? He eased the hot cup out of her hands, thanking her. He let the steam cascade over his features, warming his face and using the smell of the mint to help wake him. He looked across the room and saw Jen’s lifeless body laying there, in a deep coma. Yet over a period of just a few hours, her heart rate had stabled which led the doctor to believe it was safe to have hope. Larry’s last few hours at the exception of that wishful dream, had been a nightmare. He looked back to the cup to avoid the tears he felt building up. He had to stay strong, for Jen, for the baby.
It had been supposed to be a solid five to ten minutes’ worth of work. The three vagabonds had been hired to throw down a good beating and leave, just enough to get a point across. Yet when Lola kept hitting the bleeding girl, they all started to panic. What exactly were they getting a hundred Euros for? That was not worth going to prison for killing someone and the way this Barbie bitch was going at it, she was definitely about to kill her victim. One of them had been keeping watch as advised and the other two threw kicks, punches, a few stomps for emphasis. Definitely broke a bone or two – and they were satisfied with that. A busted lip was something that could easily recover with some ointment over a week or two. But the girl was bleeding everywhere, so much that a small pool of blood began forming around her body. She was no longer responsive and her face had been thoroughly beaten up. It would take a lot more than a week and some over the counter ointment to recover from this. One of the girls shoved Lola to get her to stop or else, they’d all be facing serious charges for murder. Lola had shoved back, her blood boiling and in a trance. She was so scary that the girls decided to leave, not willing to be accomplices if anything else were to happen. They’d done their part and that’s all they were okay doing. Through all their beatings combined, they’d never seen so much blood from just one person. Maybe that girl had a bleeding disorder.
When Lola found herself all alone, it dawned on her that she could be busted at any minute by anyone and looking down at an unresponsive body; it began to dawn on her, the severity of what she’d done. She began to freak out and checking Jen for a pulse. Maybe it was because her hands were shaking so much or maybe there had been no pulse. Either way, her breathing became ragged, her chest heaving heavily with furious pants. She looked around and luckily it was still pouring down steadily so the streets were empty. But once more, the sight beneath her shocked and scared her all the same. She pulled out Jen’s cell phone, too scared to use her own and dialled the cops. She spoke hurriedly, giving the approximate location and stating obscurely that there was a dead body on the corner. She hung up and threw the phone down harshly, hoping it’d break. Not wasting an additional second to check, she ran away into the nearest, deserted subway station, getting rid of her bandana on the way in. She was soaked from head to toe but that didn’t stop men from looking at her. For once she realized it wasn’t because she was beautiful, it was because she had diluted blood all over her hands and at the tip of her shoes. She exited at the next stop and walked two hours, just to get home.
Larry had gone out to see if Jen was in the driveway. When he saw that she wasn’t, he tried calling her phone numerous times. She wasn’t taking his call which worried him. But she didn’t even have the decency to ignore them either which told him she wasn’t mad at him. Worried, he rushed back in and questioned his mother about what happened and where Jen was. Genevieve broke down and told him the truth, hoping that it she was honest with him, he wouldn’t hold a grudge against her. Without even saying another word once she explained what happened, Larry grabbed his jacket and left the house. He had to take the train since there were no cabs anywhere in sight and he didn’t feel like wasting an hour looking for one. He’d be there in an hour if he took the subway. He knew she was safe but felt guilty for the way his mother had reacted. He had a lot of making up to do, on behalf of his family. He knew Lau. Lau hadn’t approached or confronted him yet. He knew his twin would go after the weakest link first and tell her something unsavoury. Maybe stories from the past. Anything to break her down and make her feel vulnerable. Test the waters between Jen and Larry. If their relationship was feeble and meaningless, it would break. Lau was smart so when he wanted to be manipulative, it was merely a matter of proper motivation. Larry felt like a coward for not approaching his brother first but when Jen told him Lau knew, he figured it was only a matter of time before his brother made his move. And he was preparing himself for it. But he never saw his mother’s act of selfishness and plain callousness coming. That would be harder to apologize for. Jen was probably beating herself up for everything that had happened tonight. Lau, the baby, maybe being with him. He sighed in frustration, wanting to get there already. Time went by so slowly when you had somewhere to be.
When Larry arrived in front of her building, there was a huge commotion outside. Two ambulance cars and a heavy load of paramedics working in a dark corner next to her building. He figured it was a homeless guy and perhaps one of the old people in the building who fainted in the cold, downpour. Larry took the stairs, three at a time and arrived in front of Jen’s door in record time. Knocking loudly, he waited in the dark hallway without response. There was no light, no sign of life behind the door so he knocked once more, hoping to wake her if she was sleeping. Nothing stirring behind the door. Was she stuck at the supermarket? Did she even come home? After a few minutes of anxious waiting, he rushed back downstairs. What was waiting for him was the worst sight he’d ever seen in his life.
Jen’s lifeless, bloody body was being wheeled into one of the ambulance cars. Larry screamed at no one in particular to stop. The paramedic held him back as he yelled and tried to bypass the team of professionals. One older, tenured practitioner approached him once Jen was hooked to two IVs and asked him if he knew the victim. Larry had nodded silently, watching moments freeze before him as he got a clearer look of her laying there and felt body go soulless. The guy shook him back well aware of the symptoms of someone about to faint. Larry whispered that she was his girlfriend and they offered him a ride to the hospital in the additional ambulance. He didn’t need the medics to tell him that the injuries were severe. That was visible. He wanted to know if she was alive. She wasn’t breathing at all. Her chest wasn’t rising or falling – she looked dead. Before they’d reached the hospital, Larry broke down and sobbed. Unabashedly, in front of the medics sitting next to him, he sobbed heavy, long tears dripping of sorrow and agony. There was nothing in the world comparable to the sound of a grown man crying and the other men sat silently as a way of offering sympathy. Larry had cried so much that by the time they’d reached the hospital, he was calm and ready to be strong.
Everything had moved quickly after that. They moved her into a private suite after restorative surgery. Too many stitches to count, the doctor had said sadly and professionally. Ribs were broken, along with a dislocated jaw and a cracked nose. Everything was being fixed but would naturally take time to heal. When Larry asked about the baby, the doctor said they needed to save the victim first and they’d check on that once her signs were vital. He nodded in agreement and sat down in the room, next to her bed. He had been sitting and waiting since. The police had come and left when the doctor refused to let them interview Larry. He had gone through something traumatic, his girlfriend the victim of a vicious, personal attack. They could interview him the next day but not the same night. That being said, the doctor offered to release Jen’s medical information including all of the gory details of her state in exchange for the police officer’s cooperation to let the victim’s only companion and family rest for the night. Pictures of her had been taken the minute she entered the hospital and they looked horrible compared to her current state, just hours later, fixed and stitched up. Patients who came up in the condition Jen did either came in dead or resulted in death. At her age, it was very, very rare unless they were gang members, and that was even rarer. This attack was plotted. You don’t just beat a beautiful young woman into oblivion for no reason.
Larry slept through the majority of the morning, waking up numerous times just to realize he was still in a hospital room and it wasn’t just a nightmare. Each time, his heart would break all over again seeing Jen laying there with enough lacerations to qualify her as walking corpse. He wanted to do something about it but didn’t know who was to blame and didn’t want to leave her. He briefly thought about calling her mother to tell her and figured he would wait until he had more news about her stats. She would undoubtedly freak out and probably book the next ticket to France. No need to add another person to the large number of peoplewaiting to exhale, congested with concern. He finally got up to stretch, sighing loudly. Larry didn’t like hospitals and considering it was rare for him to get ill, he never had to frequent them yet now he couldn’t fathom leaving Jen alone for five seconds. He held on to the hope that she was strong, that she would wake – albeit this hope might have been premature seeing as she’d been admitted just hours ago. His precious baby and their baby. He checked his phone absentmindedly since there wasn’t anything that even came close to being more important than where he was right now. A message opened up advising that the battery life was very low and to connect the phone to the charger. He ignored the pop-up, and deleted all his call logs. 27 calls from his mom and 15 from Lau, 62 text messages from various family members trying their luck to see if perhaps they’d have better luck getting a response from him. A simple message from Lola apologizing, a few updates from friends about street battles happening in the upcoming week and a text from Antoine reminding him of their appointment tomorrow to see houses. He wasn’t interested in any of those messages, not his family’s attempt to fix something they were responsible for breaking, not for Lola’s feeble apology for threatening Jen yesterday, not dancing, not the house. Nothing mattered more right now than Jen’s wellbeing. Before he could select all the messages to delete, he heard a soft knock at the door. Looking up and expecting to see someone from his family through the blinds, he was surprised when it turned out to be a police officer. Larry opened the door and walked out.
“Larry Bourgees?” The officer asked in an English accent.
“Bourgeois!” Larry replied.
“Right. I don’t speak French so.. I’m Officer Dawes from the 52nd division, I’ll be handling the case of Jennifer Allen’s attempted murder. I was transferred especially for this case as it is stated the victim is American and speaks English. I’m conducting interviews with close friends, family, acquaintances and basically anyone who may have seen Ms. Allan on the day of the attempted murder.” There it was again, shaking Larry, attempted murder. He hadn’t thought someone was trying to kill her.
“Why do you keep saying attempted murder? No one wanted to kill her. She’s been in the country for three months. She doesn’t have enemies.”
“Sir, everyone has enemies. Whether they know it or not. And we’re treating this as an attempt of murder because you don’t beat someone that badly just to prove a point. The severity of the beating makes us almost certain that it was personal. Do you know anyone that may have held a grudge against Ms. Allan? Or disliked her? I know the French aren’t very fond of Americans.”
“How would you know that? You’re not American.” Larry spat before catching himself. No point blowing off the one person who could help. He took a calming breath just as he’d been doing cooped up in a hospital room watching the love of his life wither away. “No, I don’t know anyone who didn’t like her.”
“Are you sure about that sir? We have a police report from less than a week ago that shows there was a rather physical altercation at Ms. Allan’s home. From an ex-boyfriend. Now, we know he is a likely suspect except he’s on house arrest back in the states and unless he has the uncanny ability to multiply, he’s very much still in the states facing his errors. Did he have any friends here that may have carried on his work?”
“No, he was visiting. Jen was his only friend here.”
“How about you, sir? Any exes that may wish harm on Ms Allan?
Larry exhaled once more. He just got up yet felt so tired. He didn’t want to incriminate Lola because he was almost sure she was full of empty threats but at the same time, he’d been the one cautioning Jen about her. Any option was a lead.
“Yes, I have this ex-girlfriend. Lola Marlese. She hates Jen and threatened her a few times. They have gotten in a fight once and Lola got Jen fired from a job on Monday.” Larry exclaimed.
“When did she last threaten Ms Allan?”
“Friday. Over the phone. She called me and said that Jen should be careful. I told her to not threaten my girlfriend. To leave her alone.”
“Any particular reason why she is so angry at Ms Allan?”
“She thinks I cheated on her with Jen. But we were never together. She thinks she’s so much better, so much prettier and a lot of other bullshit. I don’t know. Lola is in her own world.” Larry rolled his eyes at the last part, saying her name out loud was getting him riled up.
“Thank you. From the sound of it, that might be enough motive for Ms Marlese. We’ll be paying her a visit right after this. It might be too early to tell but we have suspicions the attack may have been led by a female gang. The severity of the assault would have killed Ms Allan had the blows been delivered by a group of men. Unless they’re very weak men. We’re not ruling that out either. However the attack was vicious, messy, uncalculated and could have done a lot more damage. So we’re looking at files of recent female offenders from rough areas, going through our criminal database, we’re doing everything we can.”
Larry nodded his head in agreement.
“Thank you for your time, sir. I’ll be back if I have any other questions.” Officer Dawes hands Larry his card, “My office and cell number are listed. If you come up with anything else or remember anyone at all, just give me a call. I’ll be staying in touch if we have a lead but you can always call to check. I’m sure this is tough time you’re going through.” The officer nodded sympathetically before turning on his heels.
The same nurse who had brought Larry tea the previous night convinced him to go the cafeteria for some lunch. He hadn’t eaten for at least twelve hours and felt weak but wouldn’t admit it to himself. She had finished her shift, gone home and come back for her next shift – that’s how long it had been. When he refused to budge, she left the room and came back with a foot long sub, a bottle of orange juice and a chocolate cookie. Larry was hungry but didn’t even know how hungry until he took the first bite of the sandwich. His taste buds were dead but his stomach thanked him after. When he finished eating, he felt some of his senses slightly awaken, enough for him to see that the nurse was wearing a tag of her name. Nurse Noral. He was grateful for her kindness and because his emotions were high, it touched him even more. He rested the platter on the table and brought his chair right next to Jen’s bedside. She no longer looked in pain, just peaceful and he hoped that she didn’t feel any pain. That she was just resting and would wake up energized and refreshed. But looking at the redness that covered the surface of her face, along with her cuts and bruises, he ached to think that she had gone through any pain at all.
“Jen, baby. I love you. All I’ve ever wanted in my life was to be the best dancer in the world. But right now, all I want is for you to open your eyes. Or move. Just so I know you’ll come back. Come back to me. I love you so much Jen. And I will love you forever because no one deserves to be loved more than you. You are in my heart….and as long as my heart is in my chest, you are in it. I can’t go on without you. Everything good in me … is you. Without you, I will perish. I never believed in love until you came into my heart and now I can’t…I won’t ever stop loving you. So let me love you. Come back to me. I want you to be mine forever. I will be yours forever. Marry me and I promise to love you more each day than I did the last. My heart is in your hands Jen, so if you die, I die…and I know you love me too much to let me die. So come back to me and marry me.”
Larry cried softly against the back of her hands, alternating between kissing and caressing it. His lips belonged on her skin. He thought of all the ways he could’ve foreseen or prevented this from happening. Her index finger flinched against his full lips and he looked up, thankful for the small yet miraculous sign. Larry looked at her, examining the visible damage and felt his anger brewing. Determined to maintain the beauty of the moment, the small possibility that she may have heard him, he took deep, calming breaths. His anger wouldn’t do him any good here. But if he ever found the person responsible for this, the hospital would be welcoming another comatose patient.
Jen was in a deep, deep sleep. So deep that she couldn’t feel any part of her body, couldn’t even read her own thoughts. Her mind was blank as a sterile white sheet, clouded with nothing but white space. For hours, she had thought she was in heaven. A place of such tranquility, she couldn’t even fathom why she was so far away in her own body that nothing was responding. Her mouth wouldn’t move and she didn’t feel any type of ache. But if she was in heaven, that simply meant she was dead. And if she was dead, wouldn’t she be able to see outside of her own body? To see Larry? She was deaf to sounds, even her own breathing she couldn’t make out. Yet a few minutes ago, she heard a voice she’d recognize even in heaven. Larry’s voice, laced with sadness, so much sadness that she too wanted to cry. But she couldn’t, she didn’t know how. She heard his words, his solace, his pleas, his testament, his love. She heard it all, every single syllable. Especially the part where he asked her to marry him. She wanted to shout YES at the top of her lungs but nothing would move, nothing would transmit her answer to Larry. She wanted him so badly to know that she loved him and that she would do everything she could not to let him die, not to let herself die. She couldn’t even read her own damn thoughts so how could she feel the warmth of his kiss on the back of her hand? How could she sense his aura near her when all of her senses were dormant? But she felt him, all of him around her. And once again, she wanted to break down and cry but she couldn’t. And then something magical happened, her finger moved. She wasn’t sure if she’d willed it to move or if it just did so on its own but it did. And she wanted to do it again, but it wouldn’t. She couldn’t. Drifting back into an abyss, she saw herself desperately clinging on to the brief moment of alertness, trying to hang on to the place where she could hear Larry’s voice, hear him say those beautiful things. But a power greater than her, pulled and tugged until she let go of consciousness.
When Larry opened his eyes again, it was still daytime and the sun rays seeped in softly through the dark hospital curtains. He realized it was probably late afternoon based on the softer myriad of amber colors painting the sky. There were hushed voices outside the door and through the slits; he could see his family outside arguing with the nurse to let them in. He walked out still holding the cup of now cold tea, throwing it in the garbage outside of the door. The private rooms were in a secluded part of the hospital where it was obviously less noisy allowing patients to recuperate in peace. His family was disturbing the peace. As if that was news. Larry glared at them coolly, watching his mother and brother with venomous anger. His father and some of his siblings sat in the lobby but Lau and Genevieve stood right outside of Jen’s door as if they were her family. And that fact alone tipped Larry over the edge. Jen was here because of them. If she didn’t make it, it would be because of them. Because Lau’s pride was shot down. Because his mother couldn’t keep her opinion to herself. Simply because his family couldn’t bear the thought of him having something of his own. That didn’t involve them. That didn’t involve his twin.
Since Larry stood firmly, chest out looking like the massive accumulation of aggressive hormones he currently felt like, Lau made the first move.
“How is she?”
Larry looked back to the room to show that obviously she was not well.
“Look, I’m sorry about what happened to her. I never wanted that. I just wanted to get back at you. You stole my girl. You’re my brother –you don’t betray your own brother. I was angry at you but being here, in this situation, shows me that I was wrong. I should’ve taken it up with you. Not her. I loved her but she loves you. And from what I see, you love her too.”
Larry stood looking at his brother feeling contradicting feelings. Even though Lau’s speech hadn’t made much sense, he understood everything he was trying to say. He wanted to stay mad, to push him away, and to cause a scene but he was so tired. He needed his twin. He needed to forgive Lau as he had forgiven him.
“I’m sorry too. I wanted to tell you but…there’s just no right way to say something like that. I love her Lau. I love her so much and now..” Lau approached him for a hug and Larry let him. The brothers embraced and exchanged energy as Lau stayed balanced for support and Larry, in return, drew from his brother’s peace and strength. He heard his mother approaching them.
“Larry, je n’aurai pas du. Je me sens si coupable. Je m’en voudrai pour toujours si tu ne me pardonnes pas. Toi et Jennifer. Je suis infiniment desole.” (Larry, I shouldn’t have. I feel so guilty. I will never forgive myself if you don’t forgive me. Both you and Jennifer. I am infinitely sorry.) Genevieve had tears in her already reddened eyes and despite how angry Larry was, he never wished to see his mother cry. He grabbed her into a bear hug and silently forgave her.
Once the two biggest offenders had managed to do what they’d come for, Larry rejoined the rest of his family waiting in the lobby to grant him support. Lau had brought him a duffel bag with the essentials. A few clothes, a towel, water bottles, Lau’s favourite chocolate snack, his phone charger, his lucky bead bracelet, his iPod, a few hats and Jen’s necklace. Police had found it at the scene and Lau insisted on getting it back when Officer Dawes came around to interview them. Larry froze when he saw it. It reminded him of the ring. He was going to propose that night. It was sitting in the first drawer of his bedside table. At the end of the night, he thought. As he looked at the necklace, he wished he’d asked first thing, the minute he saw her come in the house, right next to Chloey. Everyone would’ve spent the night marvelling at the ring and congratulating the couple that no one would care if there was ice in the punch. Then his mother would’ve been so mad at his impulse move that she probably wouldn’t have cared about the ice either. And they would’ve both stayed home. None of this would’ve happened.
After an hour of everyone trying to cheer him up, the doctor found Larry sitting in the lobby in the middle of about a dozen people who were most likely relatives. He asked to have a word in private and Larry didn’t stop Lau when he stood up to follow him. The doctor looked at the chart as he walked in front of the brothers, reviewing the notes from his recent check-up on Jen. Once they were in a secluded area, a short distance from the lobby, he faced them both as they gauged his reaction in anticipation of what he was about to say.
“How are you holding up?”
Larry shrugged, unsure of how to answer that. He looked a mess, hadn’t had more than six consecutive hours of sleep, his stomach was in knots waiting for news. He wasn’t exactly holding up.
“He’s okay.” Laurent answered on behalf of his twin.
“I got good news and bad news. Good news is she lost a lot of blood but she’s recovered a third of that within less than day which is incredible. Everything is healing up nicely and from the report, there isn’t been anything at all to be concerned about. As you’ve probably noticed, the bruising and swelling has gone down significantly in a matter of hours. Honestly, it’s a miracle the speed at which she is recovering. Some very strong genes. I don’t doubt she’ll be out of coma shortly and up and about every sooner. She’s a fighter. She’s gone through a great ordeal but luckily she’s young and in good shape, everything is working fine. Everything will heal and work perfectly once she’s fully healed. So you can relax. All we’re waiting on is for her to wake up and I’m sure she will tomorrow or after tomorrow at the latest.”
Larry never wanted to dance more than he did at that moment. He was incredibly grateful, hearing the doctor speak so enthusiastically about her recovery. That was one less thing to worry about. He was ready to shout and kick the air for joy when Lau asked,
“What’s the bad news?”
“Well, like I said, she lost a lot of blood. Received quite a numerous quantity of trauma to the stomach. It would be almost impossible to survive something like that. She lost the baby. I’m sorry but it was very early in the pregnancy. No more than 7 weeks so it didn’t severe the uterus or its functions however the body, especially one of an expectant mother’s can not go through something like this unscathed.”
Both of their stomachs dropped. Larry kicked and punched the white wall, bruising his wrists as he repeatedly lunged at the brick wall, his anger overriding his common sense and his pain sensors. He let out a bloodcurdling scream that gathered the attention of everyone. He’d never been so angry in his life. And the worst part was he had no one to direct his anger towards. He was angry at life. He started shaking as the tears unwillingly spilled down his cheeks. Larry had cried more in the last 24 hours than he did in his entire life. The doctor turned around and motioned to the nurses to head back to their tasks. The Bourgeois family came out of the lobby and watched as the lone twin broke down into heavy, heartbreaking sobs.
Lau stood defeated in awe. More bad news. It was one thing to hear that Jen was somehow in intensive care after being beaten. But now, he just didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t even sure how he felt. His brother was lashing out at everything in his sight but he couldn’t move. His functioning skills had shut down like an old motor. If Jen was pregnant, whose child had it been? He was frozen on the spot, feeling the tiles beneath his feet, and wetness drowning his eyes as phantom pain clutched his heart.