“Simplicity will stand out, while complexity will get lost in the crowd.” - Kevin Barnett
| n i c k |
“What the hell happened?!” Harriet demands.
“They’re in hospital?!”
“Lucy? Is she okay?”
“What about Layne?”
“Medically induced coma?!”
“I know what it means, Zeke!”
“Is Clara alright?”
“Just tell me!”
Harriet yells angrily and throws her phone at the wall, denting the wall, smashing the phone screen and rendering it useless. Harriet kicks the phone and collapses into a sobbing mess. I run over to her and pull her into a hug.
“How are they?” I ask, dreading the answer.
“Zeke is a bit bruised, Lucy has a concussion, Layne is in a medically induced coma and Clara is-” Harriet breaks off into sobs.
“What’s wrong with Clara?”
“They don’t know if she’ll make it.”
“Just because of the knife wound?”
“Something much worse.”
“Brain tumour actually.”
I let Harriet go and punch the wall, this time making a hole in it. A slight pain erupts in my hand and I ignore it, knowing that this barely hurts compared to losing someone. I am about to throw the lamp when Harriet takes it and pulls me into a hug.
“Why Clara?!” I yell.
“Try to calm down, love,” Harriet whispers.
“I know this is random but-”
“You want a tattoo to represent Clara.”
“Let’s go. I’ll get one too.”
I nod and we head out to Harriet’s bike, the rain falling softly. We get on the bike, not bothering with our helmets this time, and Haz starts up the bike. We drive to the tattoo parlour and Harriet turns off the bike. We go inside and see Aiden and Ed talking, stopping when they see us.
“Hey, you two!” Aiden says, his face sadder than I have ever seen it. “Just got a call from Zeke.”
“So did I,” Harriet mutters.
“Let me guess what you want.”
“You want representations of Clara.”
“What do you want, Hari?”
“An infinity symbol.”
“I want ‘Clara’ written in the symbol.”
“Got it,” Josh says. “Nicky?”
“I want ‘Clara Rhode’ with a heart either side, underlined with an infinity symbol,” I say.
“Wow. Got it. Let’s start.”
Aiden does Harriet’s tattoo in a few minutes and mine in ten minutes. Aiden and Ed refuse to take our money, so I just leave it on the table for them. Harriet and I put our helmets and she drives us back to Southend just within two and a half hours, not the three it should have taken. We eventually reach the hospital and Harriet parks between Lucy’s car and Jeremy’s car. We take off our helmets and run inside, straight to the reception.
“Clara Rhode,” Harriet says, her voice barely coming out as a gasp.
| z e k e |
“Clara Rhode,” a Cheshire accent says.
“Harriet?!” I exclaim.
Harriet and Nick run over to me and stare at me in shock for a minute. They pull me into a hug and I hug them both back. The shock starts to wear off and I pull back to study them. Harriet has gotten a tattoo recently and Nick has gotten one recently and one a while ago.
“You got a tattoo, Nick?” I ask.
“Two,” Nick replies, showing me his cat tattoo.
“Nice. Why a cat though?”
“It’s how I met you all. Mainly Harriet.”
“What’s the new one?”
“Enough!” Harriet snaps. “Where’s Clara?”
“Follow me,” I say.
I lead them to the elevator, get in and press the ‘Floor 2’ button. I watch their faces pale in shock and realisation. Clara is on Floor 2 - the ICU. The elevator dings and we get out. I lead them to room 177 and open the door. They walk in and stop almost instantly.
“Holy shit,” Nick breathes.
I walk in and close the door, walking over to Lucy, who is in a wheelchair. Nick and Harriet walk over to us slowly and Lucy looks up at them. She smiles sadly at them and they start to tear up. To ruin the moment, a doctor runs in and we all look at him.
“Mr Thompson is awake,” he says.
Harriet, Nick, Lucy and I all share a look before following the doctor to room 77. Only a hundred rooms away from his girlfriend. I wheel Lucy in and Layne grins at us. His grin soon vanishes when he doesn’t see Clara. He sees the looks on our faces and pales.
“Where’s Clara?” Layne asks, his voice breaking.
“Layne...” Lucy trails off.
“Where is she, Lucy?”
“She’s in a coma.”
Lucy shakes her head. “No, Layne.”
“Unless you want to get hurt, Layne, I’d stop asking questions,” I whisper.
“What do you mean, Maybrick?” Layne demands.
I look up at Layne and he finally sees me break down. He gets off the hospital bed and pulls me into a hug. I wrap my arms around him and start crying, sobbing into his shirt. Layne still hasn’t broken down but, he will break soon.
“Where is Clara?” Layne whispers.
“Room 177,” I whimper.
Layne grabs my hand and squeezes it. I smile down at him and he lets go of my hand. He walks out of the room and heads to Clara’s room; Room 177. We all share a worried look and quickly follow him. Lucy and I reach the room just in time to hear Layne sob once and curse under his breath.
“Clara,” Layne breathes.