“I told you,” said Rosie’s Aunty Pat. “I told you she would turn out like this. “You could tell as soon as she was born. I warned you at her christening.”
“You weren’t even invited,” mumbled Mrs Red, Rosie’s mum. “And you almost ruined it. “ She cleared her throat. “I’m just glad we found her in time.”
“She’ll die, I tell you.”
“Please don’t say that.” Mrs Red began dabbing at her eyes.
“Ladies,” said the young doctor. “I’ll have to ask you to wait outside. My patient needs her rest.”
Jude went to ask if he could stay but the words stuck like thorns in his throat. The doctor seemed to understand. He put a hand on Jude’s shoulder. “You stay with her, Mr Prince. Talk to her. It might help her. It will certainly help you. We’ll know more once we’ve completed the tox screen.”
Jude took her hand. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered. “I just wish you’d wake up.”
He talked to her, telling her all sorts of nonsense, stroked her arm, held her hand and kissed her fingers. She didn’t wake up though.
Nurse Good came into the room. “Mr Prince, I have news,” she said. “It’s not an overdose. She’s an insulin-dependent diabetic. Didn’t you know?”
Jude shook his head.
“You know that might be why she left home in the first place. People sometimes like to keep this to themselves.” She placed her hand on Jude’s arm. “Don’t be too hard on her, but now that you know you can help her. She’s not going to die. We can soon get her sugar level up. Keep talking and let her know you’ll be there when she wakes up.”
It was chaotic for a few minutes as the doctor gave commands and Nurse Good and another nurse added things to her drip.
“She’s not quite out of the woods yet,” said the doctor. “But she stands more chance if you stay with her.”
Then it was just him and her. He would get her out of those woods. He felt as if he was chopping down undergrowth to get through to her. He carried on talking, cajoling, explaining, telling jokes and just staring at her when he ran out of things to say.
A shaft of sunlight came through the window suddenly and lit up her face.
“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered. He couldn’t help it. He just leant forward and kissed her on the lips.
Her eyelids fluttered a little and then she opened her eyes fully. “Oh, my Mr Prince, it’s you.”
A little colour returned to her cheeks. She giggled.
She was going to be all right. Jude leant forward and kissed her again.