“Wait!” she shouted making him stop and turn to look at her. She pointed at me accusingly but her eyes never left the doctors, she had a fierce determination on her face. “She can’t legally sign the forms. She’s underage, their marriage isn’t legal, she’s seventeen and they used a fake id to get married. I’ll take it to a lawyer if I have to,” she took a deep breath and looked at me, her eyes hard and calculating. “She can’t sign that form, she’s not next his of kin. I am,” she stated triumphantly.
I stood there looking at her in shock, my mouth hanging open like a complete and utter moron. What on earth is she talking about my marriage wasn’t legal? Of course it was legal; I was his wife in body and spirit, so what if we used a fake id to actually go through with the ceremony. She accepted it and so did Richard, for the last couple of weeks she’d been telling me how proud she was that we were married and happy, and now she was taking it all back?
I looked at the doctor, waiting for him to tell her that she was talking trash, that if Clay and I chose to give ourselves to each other then that was good enough for him. He looked between the two of us, his gaze flicking down to my ring on my finger again before looking back at me.
“Is that true? You used a fake id to get married?” he asked eyeing me cautiously.
I gulped and nodded, I didn’t like the way he was looking at me, he didn’t look like he was going to be jumping to my defense anytime soon. “Yeah but that doesn’t mean that I’m not his wife. Clay and I said those words to each other and we both meant them. He’s my husband and that’s final.”
Linda stepped forward towards the doctor, swiping at her teary face I noticed that she didn’t even glance in my direction. “I’ll take it to a lawyer if I have to,” she repeated.
I looked at her unable to believe what I was hearing. She was seriously going to stop Clay going in for surgery and risk him never being able to walk again? She knew what type of person he was; she knew he’d hate his life if he had to spend it like that. I couldn’t let that happen, she was thinking about herself not Clay. She wasn’t thinking about how his life would change and how he would never be able to walk or run or do the things that he loved to do the most.
The initial shock was disappearing to be replaced by anger, no it wasn’t anger, it was blind rage. “What the hell are you doing?” I screamed, grabbing her arm and yanking her around to face me. I wanted to look into her face when I told her she was being a selfish bitch and that Clay was going to hate her when he woke up and found out what she’d sentenced him to.
She glared at me with watery eyes, her face was desperate and sad but I just didn’t care, this wasn’t about her and she needed to woman up and grow a pair. “I’m not signing that form, and neither are you,” she stated, her voice breaking slightly.
“You’re being selfish Linda! You think Clay’s going to thank you for this? You think he’s going to turn around and say ‘gee thanks mom, I know I’m never going to be able to achieve my dreams but you did the right thing in committing me to a wheelchair for life.’ You really think your son is going to be grateful to you for this?” I cried, throwing my hands up in exasperation.
“At least he’ll be alive!” she shouted, her face going slightly red as she started to get angry too.
“He’ll wish he wasn’t, I would bet my life on it. You think you know him but you don’t, if you think this is the decision that Clay would make then you don’t know him at all,” I growled. My hands were itching to grab her and shake the life out of her, to slap her face until she saw sense. She was going to ruin my baby’s life and there was nothing I could do about it.
“If he goes in there then there’s a thirty percent chance he won’t come back out!” she shouted sneering at me.
I felt my heart start to break as I thought about it but I quickly dismissed it, he wouldn’t let that happen, he wouldn’t, because if he left me then I would have to kick his ass and that wouldn’t be pretty. I shook my head, “That won’t happen. It won’t,” I stated confidently.
“You’re the one being selfish here, not me. You just want to send him in there so you won’t have to be stuck with a guy in a wheelchair for the rest of your life,” she growled, her face hard and hurtful.
My whole body went cold before white hot anger coursed through my veins. Before I knew what I was doing I stepped forward and slapped her hard across the face. “Don’t you ever doubt my love for your son! I will always love Clay and I don’t care if he can’t walk, but he would and that’s the point here! You think I want to risk his life? Is that the type of person that you think I am Linda? You think I want to purposely put him in danger, I don’t. I don’t want him to go in there at all because I could lose him, but I need him happy and this life you’re sentencing him to is going to make him miserable. I hope you can live with that.”
I turned to look at Richard; he was just standing there with his mouth open staring between the two of us. He seemed to be stuck to the spot, I’m not even sure he was breathing. “Richard, you can sign the form too,” I said looking at him pleadingly. He was my last hope here, if I could just convince him to sign it instead….
Linda turned and glared at him, “If you dare sign that form I will never forgive you,” she stated, lifting her chin and looking at him warningly.
When did she become such a bitch? “If you don’t sign that form your son will never forgive you,” I stated just as confidently.
Richard just looked confused; he was pale, his eyes flicking between the two of us so fast that I would have laughed if the situation weren’t utterly heartbreaking. He sucked in a deep breath through his teeth and gripped his hands in his hair before turning to look at the doctor. “How long will be it before he wakes up so he can decide for himself?” he asked weakly.
I looked back to the doctor, he had just remained silent through this whole exchange, standing there watching us scream at each other in the hallway. “It could be a couple of hours, or it could be a couple of days. There’s no way to tell for sure.”
I gulped and looked back at Richard, “If you wait for him to wake up then there might not be a decision to make. Please think about Clay, please?” I begged, willing myself not to cry. I was slowly losing the control that I had over myself as I imagined the heartbreak I would see on Clay’s face when they told him he would never walk again.
“Richard, if you sign that form and kill my son I will never forgive you, never,” Linda hissed.
He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times but didn’t say anything. I stood there watching him struggle to decide and I prayed with every bone in my body for him to make the right choice.
“I won’t sign the form either. Clay should make the decision himself,” he whispered as a tear fell down his face.
I closed my eyes as emotions washed over my body so fast that I could barely even register what they were. Most of it was sheer and utter desperation and I could barely cope with the crushing weight of them all. I felt like I was dying inside, dying for Clay who was going to have to live through the rest of his life being unhappy and missing out on the things he valued the most. How could two people not know their son like this? How could they think they would want this for himself? I knew why Linda was doing it, the thought of losing him was all she as thinking about. She wasn’t thinking about long term, and how this would change him, how it would affect his life.
I blew out the breath I didn’t even realize I was holding and turned to the doctor. “Are you sure I can’t sign the form? To Clay I’m his wife, in spirit I’m his wife and I know he’d want this.”
He shook his head, “I’m sorry but if you used a fake id to get married then in the eyes of the law then your marriage isn’t legal. We had something like this happen before, not the same circumstances but the same underage marriage thing and they actually brought in lawyers to sort it out. I’m sorry but the law isn’t on your side and I have to go with the next of kin, and that’s a parent.” He looked at me apologetically, maybe he could see my point, maybe he would make the same decision as me if he was in my place, he never said but that was the look at that was on his face.
“Can you wake him up early so that there’s still a chance he could have the surgery?” I asked hopefully.
“It doesn’t work like that; his body has gone into shutdown mode so that it can repair itself. He’ll wake up when he’s able to,” he said softly.
“How long can the surgery wait?” I asked praying he would say he had plenty of time to wake up and sign the form so that he could still have a good chance of walking.
He shrugged, looking at me apologetically. “It’s hard to say but Dr. Kirk said the sooner the better. The chances of success diminish with each passing hour, after a couple of days then there will probably be no chance of success at all.”
I nodded and swallowed my sadness. If there was nothing I could do then I needed to go and see Clay so I could beg him to wake up early. “Can I see him?” I asked. He nodded and waved his arm up the hallways slightly. I turned back to Linda and Richard who were now hugging and crying together, and again I was struck by a wave of loneliness. “I hope you can live with yourselves after this. When you see how unhappy Clay is, I hope that this day sticks out in your mind as the day you could have done something about it,” I said emotionlessly as I turned and stepped closer to the doctor. I heard Richard groan and Linda started to sob hysterically again but I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for them, not even one tiny bit.
The doctor turned and headed up the hallway with me following behind him feeling my heart sink with every step. He pushed open the door to a room on the right hand side of the hall and I stepped in tentatively behind him. My eyes settled on the bed and as soon as I saw Clay laying there I suddenly doubted that I was strong enough for this. Was I strong enough to keep up this cool calm exterior when all I wanted to do was sink to my knees and sob until I couldn’t breathe? My legs were threatening to give out on me, my hands were shaking, and my stomach twisted in knots as my whole body went cold.