âSheâs in an induced coma, so she wonât regain consciousness,â the nurse said to Shock, whoâd followed her in, âbut youâre both welcome to sit with her as long as you like.â
A moment later, she felt Shock at her side.
âLiv, sit.â He had pulled a chair close to the bed. Liv sank into it.
He pulled over another chair and sat beside her. He rested his hand on her arm as she sat staring at Julia, pain gnawing at her insides. She barely noticed Shock beside her, but on some level, his warmth and strength helped.
Time passed, she didnât know how much. Shock went to talk to the nurse for a little while, but other than that, heâd stayed by her side. Heâd offered to get her a coffee a couple of times, which she declined.
The hospital was quiet. Theyâd arrived after midnight and she knew it was the wee hours, but slowly light crept into the room with the rising sun.
She could sense the increased activity around them, which made her feel even more weary than she was. The nurse who had led them into Juliaâs room had stopped by several times during the night, but now a new nurse showed up to check Juliaâs chart.
Shock excused himself, then returned a few minutes later.
âI talked to the nurse and she said the doctor will want to talk to you, but he wonât be available until this afternoon. Why donât we go get a few hoursâ sleep?â
Liv was exhausted and knew what he suggested was wise. She nodded and squeezed Juliaâs hand, then let Shock lead her out the door.
* * *
âLiv. Itâs time to wake up.â
Liv opened her eyes and glanced around, disoriented. She was lying in a soft, cozy bed, sunlight streaming in the window.
She blinked as she glanced up at Shock, who stood leaning over her.
âWhere am I?â
âYouâre in the hotel.â
She sat up. âHowâs Julia? Can I go see her now?â
Fear jolted through her. What if sheâd slept too long? What if Julia was â¦ if she â¦
âYes, thatâs why I called you. The doctor wants to speak with you. Then you can see Julia.â
Liv stood up and hurried to the bathroom to wash her face, then she followed Shock from the room. After a short cab ride they stepped off the elevator and went to the nursesâ station near Juliaâs room.
Shock spoke with the woman behind the counter, then someone led them to an office. She and Shock sat in the two guest chairs facing a small desk and waited.
A tall, blond doctor stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. âHello, Iâm Dr. Greyson,â he said. âMiss Hughes?â
âYes.â Liv watched him sit in the chair behind the desk, her stomach clenching, afraid of what he might be about to tell them.
âAs you know, we thought your sister was in remission after the surgery, but then she took a downward turn. We put her into a medically induced coma until we could talk to you and decide what course of action to take.â
Liv nodded. âThey called yesterday and told me that â¦â She bit her lip, trying to stop it from quivering. âThat she was dying.â
âWell, we didnât have many options, and most of them were very expensive and with no guarantees.â His kind blue eyes locked on her. âNow, however, I have some promising news. It seems that there might be another course of action we can take. We did some tests earlier todayâthey were on the recommendation of a specialist from another hospital who has had great success in these casesâand it looks like there is a very new, very experimental drug we could try.â
âReally?â Hope rose in her.
âAnd donât worry about the cost and the insurance stuffâIâll handle all that,â Shock said, squeezing her shoulder.
Anxiety washed through her. âI canât let youââ