From the second of kc_obrien‘s 3 prompts: “A Changing of the Guard,” 326 words
“How is he?” Ronni set down her bag outside the hospital room long enough to pull out a wrapped sandwich. “Here, I got two.”
“Thanks.” Ana took the proffered food and, with a glance at the closed door, sighed. “Getting better, I guess. I mean, he’s healing, he’s stable. Physically.”
Ronni winced, and nibbled at her own sandwich without appetite. “So, still pretty bad?”
“Still pretty bad,” the other girl confirmed. “He’ll talk to me a bit, if no-one’s around, but a lot of it is incoherent. I mean, he knows I’m me, and sometimes he calls me by name… but that’s it.”
“Well, at least he’s talking to you.” The sandwich tasted like ashes in her mouth, but she made herself eat. “Christ, Ana…”
“Yeah, I know.” She shook her head. “I don’t fault you. No-one but Tom does, and, well, we both know he’s crazy.”
“And himself.” She tilted her head at the door. “He’s always blamed me.”
“That’s just the beer talking, and the pills, Ronni. Everyone sane – which includes him when he’s thinking straight, knows you only did what you had to. I would have done the same in your shoes. Nearly did,” she added, more softly.
“It wouldn’t have changed anything.” Now it was her turn to reassure, a dance they did twice every day at their changing of the guard. “He still would have … well, it had already happened. You didn’t know, going in, but he did, and I still would have done what I did.” She glanced at the door again. “He started this ball rolling, Ana.”
“I guess you’re right.” She finished her sandwich and balled the wrapper up violently. “Some days I don’t know why you don’t hate me, you know?”
Ronni shook her head. “Don’t be silly.” She tossed her own wrapped and braced herself for her turn on bedside duty. “He chose to cheat on me with you. He got himself into this mess.”
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