Dean paced the hospital waiting room for the umpteenth time. He alternated between fidgeting in a chair and pacing the room. Theresa and Jerry sat beside each other, both wearing matching expressions of worry and exhaustion. Justin, Max, and Harper sat across from the eldest Russos. They had taken Alex into surgery hours ago, after giving them very little information on what was wrong. The clock was approaching the early hours of morning and all six of them had barely slept in over forty-eight hours.
A woman in scrubs entered the waiting room. She pointed at Jerry and Theresa. "Russo? You're Alexandra Russo's parents?"
Theresa and Jerry scrambled to their feet. Jerry's heart hammered in his chest in anticipation of news on his daughter. "Yes, that's us. Is she okay?"
"I'm Dr. Rosario, the attending on your daughter's case." The brunette introduced. She hesitated, intensifying the panic overwhelming the distraught parents. "She is in stable condition right now. She just woke up from surgery. She had serious internal bleeding from a broken rib that punctured her lungs as well as a minor torn spleen. She has four broken ribs, one of which was a complete break and required screws to be put in place."
Theresa latched onto Jerry's arms to stop her knees from buckling.
"Maybe we should sit down. This isn't easy to hear." Dr. Rosario suggested, gesturing her hand towards the nearby chairs.
Theresa inhaled deeply as she took a seat beside her husband. Dean, Harper, Justin, and Max remained in their seats nearby, listening to the doctor speak to the Russo parents.
Dr. Rosario pulled over a chair, so she was sitting opposite Jerry and Theresa. "Your daughter also needed surgery to repair the vaginal hemorrhaging due to multiple severe lacerations."
Jerry's stomach flipped continuously.
"She lost a large amount of blood, which led to shock, so she also needed a blood transfusion. She also has a minor concussion as well as a fractured wrist, a hairline fracture in her cheekbone, a fractured nose, a dislocated shoulder, a sprained ankle, a few herniated discs, and a torn tendon in her knee. She also needed stitches for lacerations to her lip, forehead, chest, and arm."
"Oh my god." Theresa breathed shakily.
"As you requested, a rape kit was performed. DNA was found. There were also traces of Ketamine found in her system." Dr. Rosario said. She frowned as she watched her patient's parents' face drop with every word she said. "Her Anorexia has also been impacted by this. I'm going to assume she hadn't eaten in the two days she was missing. Her vitals were dangerously low."
Theresa suddenly flew from her chair and to the garbage can in the corner of the room. She pulled back her hair as she emptied the contents of her stomach. This was all too much. Her daughter was suffering tremendously and there was no way to help her. She couldn't wrap her mind around how they had gotten here.
Jerry jumped up and made his way towards his wife. He gently rubbed her back as she straightened up.
"Mrs. Russo, are you alright?" Doctor Rosario asked as she stood and faced them.
"I'm sorry, this is…this is just a lot." Theresa's voice cracked as unshed tears glistened her eyes.
"No need to apologize. I understand." Doctor Rosario frowned. "I wanted to just give you an overview of everything. We can talk in more detail later and go over treatment and recovery."
"Can we see her?" Jerry asked. His own eyes were glazed with tears threatening to explode.
"Yes, but I want to warn you that besides the injuries I told you about, she has a ton of bruises and marks." Dr. Rosario warned. "She's also very traumatized so I think it's best for just you two to come right now. I know the rest of your friends and family are anxious to see her, but I don't want to overwhelm her at once."
Theresa nodded before she turned to the four teenagers who seemed to be struggling to process everything. Her heart broke for Dean, who was barely holding it together to see his girlfriend. "I know you all want to see her, but we'll go first and get you if she's up to it."
Theresa and Jerry followed Dr. Rosario through the double doors and down a long hallway. Doctor Rosario stopped outside a room and turned the knob. "I'll give you guys some time. Me or one of the nurses will be in to do routine checks."
"Thank you." Jerry whispered before he followed his wife into the room. He swallowed the gasp that rose in his throat as his eyes landed on his daughter. Her right eye was a multitude of colors; hues of purple, black, and blue. The left side of her jaw was tainted with a blend of red and purple in the shape of a fist. A red gash was etched on her forehead. Her bottom lip was split and stitched. Handprint bruises were imprinted around her neck. A path of bite marks began at her neck and vanished into the hospital gown that she wore. Her arms were littered with bruises and scrapes. It appeared as though she was used as a human punching bag and the very thought made bile rise in Jerry's throat.
Alex's muscles tensed, and she held her breath when she heard the door knob rattle. Panic rose in her stomach. Images of Mason entering the basement flashed through her mind. She released her breath when her eyes found her parents. When she was stuck in that basement, she never thought she would see them again.
"Oh Mija." Theresa cried as she walked towards her daughter's bed side. She wanted to throw her arms around her and hold her close, but she knew she had to be cautious not to scare her. "Can I hug you?"
Alex nodded as her lower lip trembled. She winced as she leaned forwards into her mother's embrace. She wanted to wrap her own arms around her mother, but her injuries prohibited her. A sob erupted from her cracked lips. "I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
Theresa rubbed soothing circles on her back. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she held her daughter. "I know. I didn't think I'd see you either."
Jerry felt his own tears escape his eyes.
Theresa reluctantly released her daughter. She cringed as she examined the bruises and scratches to Alex's face. "My god, what did he do to you?"
Alex looked away shamefully. Unwanted memories of Mason beating her invaded her mind. She tried to blink them away. She met her mother's concerned eyes again. "Did…did he die when they shot him?"
Theresa glanced at Jerry hesitantly.
Jerry frowned as he shook his head. "No. The bullet hit his shoulder, so he just needed surgery to remove it."
Alex's stomach plunged. The numbers on the heart rate monitor soared. "I-is he here? In the hospital?"
Theresa placed a hand over Alex's in an attempt to calm her. "No, no. We made sure he went to a different hospital than you. He's already being held at the prison."
Jerry watched her heart rate decline slowly. It was taking everything in him to not go to that prison and kill Mason with his own two hands. "He's not going to hurt you again."
Alex blinked back the next batch of tears. "Is Dean here?"
Theresa nodded with a smile. "Yes, he's been dying to see you. There's not a doubt that that boy loves you."
"Can I see him?"
"Of course." Theresa nodded.
"I'll go get him." Jerry said before quietly leaving the room. As much as he didn't want to leave his daughter's side, he needed a moment to gather himself.
Theresa fumbled with Alex's blanket, tucking her in neatly. She gently stroked Alex's silky hair and leaned forward to plant a ginger kiss to her forehead. "What can I do for you?"
Alex shrugged ever so slightly. The movement sent shocks of pain throughout her shoulder. "I just want it to all go away."
Theresa frowned. There was nothing worse than watching her child suffer. the helplessness she was feeling was unbearable. "I know, Mija."
Theresa didn't fail to notice the way Alex flinched at the click of the door opening. Jerry and Dean stood in the doorway. Dean's face contorted with shock as his eyes fell on the battered brunette in the hospital bed.
"We'll leave you guys alone." Theresa said before she and Jerry quietly departed from the room.
Dean practically ran to Alex's bedside. He sat on the edge of her bed and wrapped his arms around her. The 60 hours he had gone without seeing the brunette seemed like a lifetime and although he refused to give up in finding her, part of him wondered if he would ever have her in his arms again. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head before his hands reached up to gently cup her face. "I love you so much."
Alex closed her eyes as his soft lips landed on hers. "I love you too. I'm so sorry."
Dean pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "Hey, what are you sorry for?"
"For putting you through this and that you…had to listen to…what happened." Alex peeled her eyes away from her boyfriend shamefully.
Dean shook his head as he reached over to take her uninjured hand in his own. He noted how cold her hand felt. "Don't apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for. You didn't do anything, he did."
"I feel like I cheated on you." She whispered, her eyes glistening with tears.
"Alex, no." Dean looked at her incredulously. He couldn't believe the words that just slipped from her lips, and it broke is heart that those thoughts were brewing in her mind. "This wasn't a choice or decision you made. He…he forced you into this."
"I…I wanted my first time to be with you." Her lower lip trembled. She failed to meet his eyes. "And now my first few times…"
Dean felt tears sting his eyelids as he watched his girlfriend fall apart. Tears streamed down her bruised cheeks rapidly. He felt physically sick at the pain and suffering she had endured in the past 60 hours. He had no doubt that he could kill Mason with his own two hands right now. "That wasn't your first time, Alex. Rape and sex aren't the same thing.
"It doesn't feel that way." Her voice cracked mid sentence as a single tear trickled down her bruised face.
Dean closed his eyes. A million different emotions were running through his body. The girl he loved more than anything was suffering from unimaginable physical and emotional pain and he felt utterly helpless.
"I'm sorry." Alex whispered before a sob ripped through her throat.
Dean's heart shattered for the umpteenth time in the last ten minutes. He moved so he was sitting beside her and gently pulled her into his embrace. She buried her head in his chest, soaking his shirt with her tears. "I told you not to apologize. I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at him and…I just can't stand to see you in so much pain. I would do anything to take it away from you."
"Just please don't leave me right now." She choked out into his chest.
"I'm not going anywhere. Ever." He said as his fingers danced in her soft locks. He pressed a ginger kiss to her forehead. "Do you want to talk about what happened?"
"Okay, that's completely fine. Just know that I'm here to listen when you're ready to talk." Dean blinked back his own tears. Watching the girl he loved more than anything suffer was heart wrenching. He continued to hold her while she cried until she eventually succumbed to the exhaustion.
Wow. I can't believe I haven't updated this in over a year. I apologize. I had a lot going on with my health, my sister's wedding, and student teaching. I lost touch with this story. However, I do plan on continuing if anyone is still reading. I hope to get the next chapter out in a couple of weeks.
Hope you are all staying safe and healthy!