It was just a few minutes later when my mother came in the room. I could see she was exhausted, but she looked relieved when she walked in.
“Hi, Mom.” I said smiling at her hating that I sounded a little pitiful.
She came over and gently hugged me careful not to move me that much. “I can only say, this was the hardest thing I’ve been through.” She admitted allowing a little sniffle, but she smiled at me.
I frowned. “I’m sorry.”
She shook her head. “You didn’t do this. That man did. He did this to you…and Sasha. You were both victims. It wasn’t your fault. I’m just glad you’re alive.” She said as tears came down and she sat beside my bed taking my hand. “A parent worries about their children even when they become adults. No parent should lose a child. That’s not the way it is supposed to go. A parent is prepared to go first.”
I nodded as Tony came back to check on us and then was about to leave seeing a moment between mother and son.
“No.” Mom said to Tony quickly. “Don’t go. Your place is here, with my son.” She smiled at me. “He was always here. We had to make him shower and change. He wouldn’t leave for many moments and only when we insisted.” She took Tony’s hand as he came back. “He is your husband.”
I smiled. “He is.”
Mom wiped her face of the tears. “Your father took my mother back to the condo. He’ll be in later with her.”
“What about Alik?” I asked. “How badly was Sasha hurt?”
Tony smiled. “It was pretty bad. We lost him once, but they got him back. His injuries were more internal, broken ribs, a punctured lung and other injuries that he had surgery for. He now has a pin in his knee and a broken arm. He’s sore, but he should make a recovery.” He chuckled. “We never made David Sasha’s Power of Attorney. I gave permission for the surgery. David’s been here as much as I have, never leaving Sasha.” He sat on the other side of the bed. “Alik’s fine. He was scared and still is, but he’s seen Sasha and even spoken with Sasha. He even saw you, but only for a minute. It seems he’d developed a strong attachment to you. Don’t worry, he has that woman from the Russian Church sitting as needed. Your Dad and Grandmother are with him, too. Thank god for the translator.”
I chuckled. “Whatever endorsements the investor needs or the developer needs, I’ll give whole heartily. It’s saved a lot of problems from developing.”
Tony smiled. “I will endorse it, too.”
Later they brought in lunch. Hah! Lunch!? It was broth! I told them not to do the clear liquids. Broth wouldn’t fill a gnat. I tolerated it well. If anything, it reminded my stomach I was used to eating and my stomach was demanding real food! But I’d be good. They insisted I try to get up, which I did being careful and had a therapist with me when I did. I did have some cuts and bruises that we healing and there was soreness, but I think it may have been to not moving for a week as well as the accident.
“Can I get a wheelchair?” I asked the physical therapist who was working with me. And of course, Tony was right there with me, too.
The therapist looked surprised. “Is there somewhere you want to go?” He hadn’t anticipated me wanting to go far.
“To see Sasha.” I said. “Sasha Ledebev, the man in the accident with me?”
The therapist looked at Tony. “He must be on the surgical floor, that’s on another wing.”
Tony smiled unsurprised at me. “Sasha is family. I can take Mitch, if needed.”
The therapist shook his head. “I just don’t want Mitch overdoing it, but we encourage doing as much as possible. Still, it may be more than he should do.”
Tony grinned. “He will do it anyway, so you might help him get there.”
I was helped into a wheelchair and taken down a couple of floors to another wing of the hospital. Once wheeled into where Sasha was, I was horrified. Sasha’s leg was in one of those things that keep your leg elevated, his left arm was in a cast. He had cuts and bruises all over his face, shoulder and I knew there were more under his gown. He saw me and a smile lit up his face. It made him almost look normal. He hadn’t shaved either. His light brown, bronze hair spread across his face gave him a rugged look that wasn’t too bad.
“Mitch!” Sasha said happily trying to sit up better. David came out of the bathroom in Sasha’s room and instantly at Sasha’s side helping Sasha sit up.
“Mitch!” David said equally happy. Once he got Sasha in place, he hurried over, but stopped short as he was going to hug me seeing I was cut and bruised as well. “Can I hug you?”
I grabbed my cousin and hugged him. “I’d be offended if you didn’t.” Then I was wheeled closer to Sasha. “It would be a little harder to hug you, but I’ll try.” I rose unsteadily, instantly grabbed by Tony and the therapist, hugging my Russian brother carefully. He was my brother now. Make no mistake. “You’ve had a tough few moments, I hear.”
Sasha nodded. “So have you.” He smiled at me. “But we’re both here. It’s so good to see you up! I wish I could do the same.”
“But you will. I won’t stay long this time.” I said. “I’ll be back, but I had to see you for myself to see you’re alright.”
“I’ll be fine.” Sasha said smiling. “I guess you know what happened. The accident, I mean.”
I shook my head. “Not really, I just barely remember being hit.”
David frowned and I could sense he was getting angry, but kept some control. “Well, this rich man. He has several car dealerships here and elsewhere and very wealthy, was at a party where he got very, very drunk. He was returning to his mansion in Mount Pleasant doing about 80 miles an hour going East in the West bound lane.” David’s anger was clear and he was getting louder and forced himself to calm down by taking a deep breath. “He saw you and swerved to miss you, which he shouldn’t have had to!” His anger flared. He calmed himself again, but barely did the trick. “He shouldn’t have been in that lane at all! He hit you and the front passenger side of your truck with the front of the passenger side of his luxury car. He totaled both his car and your truck. Being the raised portion of highway, his impact sent you over the rail and to the ground several feet down. That’s a good ways down!”
I felt a chill hearing that. “Is he alive?”
“Barely.” David nodded. “His wife was killed instantly being on the passenger side.” Then he smiled bitterly. “But he’s still alive.”
“It was an accident.” Sasha said simply.
“An accident that didn’t have to happen! It never should have happened!” David shouted angrily. “He almost killed you and Mitch.” Then he turned to Sasha. “He did kill you, Sasha!”
Sasha nodded as he reached for David’s hand. “But I’m not dead.” Which David took Sasha’s hand as he was drawn to Sasha who hugged him with his good arm. “I’m alive, Tigryenok.” I recognized the Russian term of endearment. He kissed David. “I’m alive.” He stroked David’s face and sides.
I suddenly was very tired. “This is not how I hoped to start a new year, but it is what it is.” I sighed, shrugged and raised my hand for Tony. “I need to rest now. Can you take me back to my room?”
“Sure.” Tony helped me back in the chair. “I’ll take you back.”
I’d been out for over a week, but I was tired and went to sleep almost before Tony and the therapist got me in bed. The doctor came back a little later and said I was doing well and would be transferred to a step down unit. I asked if Sasha and I could be put in a room together. She had no problem with that. Hospitals are great to recover in, but not to rest. They’re noisy! People coming and going to do…whatever around the clock! I hoped I’d be discharged soon, but was still under observation to see if there were complications. Then I might get some rest.
What was almost funny was Tony and David. Sasha’s and my care was allowed only medically, but any sponge bath or anything too personal, neither Tony or David allowed anyone do that. Grandmother and Dad came to see us. I realized how elderly my Grandmother had become. The trauma of this accident hadn’t helped her. I found out Dad and Mom had moved in with Grandmother for now. Then I told Tony to go home!
“What!? I can’t leave!” Tony said a little irritated.
“You, too, David.” Sasha nodded, agreeing with me.
“Why!?” David demanded. “You’re not out of here! How can I leave?”
I nodded. “Okay, both of you. If you want to help us, go home and rest all night tonight. And I mean rest. I’m not going to go anywhere and Sasha won’t either until he’s wheeled out or hobbles out. Don’t worry about Sasha or me. Get up, dress…” and then I smiled at Tony. “…and then shower and change. And use that expensive shampoo you insist on using, Tony. Your hair is a mess. Then bring the shampoo here, I need more than soap. Hospitals don’t really provide shampoo.”
Sasha nodded. “And we don’t want you here until lunch time.” Then he brightened. “In fact, because we’re both on normal solids now….you can bring us lunch!”
I nodded smiling. “Great idea! Bessinger’s would be great! Bring some of those large onion rings! That barbeque!” My mouth almost watering anticipating the taste.
“I’ve had that! That sounds good! Do that for me, too!” Sasha said nodding.
“And a descent razor and shaving cream.” I added watching Tony’s face grin.
“Is there anything else?” David groused as the list was getting longer.
“As much as I enjoy hospital chic.” I chuckled. “Maybe some shorts and t-shirt?”
“And underwear!” Sasha nodded lifting his gown showing he had on nothing under the hospital gown.
I grinned at Sasha’s lack of concern with us about any nudity on his part. Now I knew for a fact Sasha was uncircumcised. God had not short changed him. Lucky David! “And don’t forget the extra sauce for the onion rings.”
Tony sighed and nodded with a smile. “Fine.” He walked over and kissed me, but not as chaste as he may have wanted. His tongue entered which I pulled in and my arms went around him. I felt the surge of wanting more, but we were in a hospital and not alone. Tony bumped his head against mine gently. “You know I’ll do anything you want, baby. I love you.”
“I know.” I whispered back. “I love you.” I loved having him next to me and felt his warmth.
“Now go home.” I grinned to him shoving him away lightly. “Come back as the gorgeous man I married.”
“We’ve been thrown out.” David growled.
Tony chuckled. “Well, you do look a little rough around the edges, Cuz.” He said with a bad Southern accent.
“You’re no Prince Charming now either, you know?” David shot back as they went in the corridor and disappeared.
It was almost noon when they did come back and there again was my Tony. He was back in his designer threads and looked like the man I’d fallen in love with. Handsome. Hair in place and well-groomed and he smelled good, but he had the decency not to wear the cologne that made me crazy. David looked good, too. He and David had bags in their hands I didn’t need to see what was in them, but could smell the barbecue. Again my mouth was watering for the taste I knew was there. Tony stopped and did a fashion runway turn.
“Well?” Tony asked with a grin.
I smiled. “Much, much better.” I held my arms out for him. When he was near me, my hand brushed through his hair. “Oh, yeah, much better. Soft.” Then kissing him, I then grabbed the bag and opened it greedily and inhaled. “That smells so good!”
“I see what’s really important.” Tony chuckled as he sat beside me.
“You’ve seen what they’ve given us to eat.” I growled. “Can you blame me!?” We ate and just enjoyed being together. Damned it tasted good and there was sauce dripping down my face with Tony was more than willing to kiss and lick away.
It was about mid-afternoon when a man knocked on our door. Dressed in an expensive suit…I knew he was a lawyer. There are some looks I knew. I can spot a preacher at a near mile’s pace, and lawyers have a look as well.
“Excuse me.” The man said entered. “I’m here to speak to Mitchell McKenzie and Sasha Ledebev.”
David frowned knowing who he was like I did. “They are the two in the hospital beds.” He said again crossly. “You’re here for Mr. Belle?”
The man nodded. “I’m his attorney. Maxwell Kincaid.” He extended his hand smiling, but the smile faded as lowered his hand when David didn’t take the hand given. Then he saw Sasha’s injuries and mine and his smile faltered a little. “I’m authorized to offer a settlement.” He said opening his briefcase and pulling some papers out. He was about to give them to me when David stood to take them. “This is for Mitchell McKenzie and Sasha Ledebev.” The man brought the papers back to himself.
Sasha shook his head. “This is David McKenzie. I authorize him to look at those papers. English is better, but he be able to understand better. I Sasha Ledebev.” He said in a more exaggerated Russian accent that he used normally now.
I grinned at Sasha’s poor English. “And I’m Mitch McKenzie.” I said and pointed at David. “David is family. Give those papers to him, please.” I instructed. “He can understand them better.”
“He’s a lawyer.” Mr. Kincaid handed David the papers, but didn’t get a response from us.
David took the papers and read it carefully. He read the whole thing! Took his time and it took almost half an hour and then I saw his eyebrows knit together just before he handed them back. “He must be joking.”
“It’s a generous sum.” Mr. Kincaid said softly. For a lawyer, he knew his client had little bargaining power here.
“Really? I don’t think it is generous at all!” David said taking the papers back and handed them to Sasha. “Only half a million? This is a slap in the face!!” He turned back to Mr. Kincaid. “Maximillian Belle is worth a hell of a lot more. Much, much more. He has over a half a billion in his dealerships and in his real estate, stocks and other investments. This is shit. This won’t do at all!”
“Mr. Belle is guilty, but he lost his wife in the accident.” Mr. Kincaid justified slowly. “You prefer it to be punitive?”
“YES!” David said as if anything else was unthinkable! “And?” David asked. “There’s a problem with what you just said. What happened was a terrible occurrence that didn’t have to happen. There was no…” David used air quotes. “…accident. An accident is a tragic occurrence which we have no control over. Your client had control of the whole situation! He chose go to a party, he chose to drink a lot and was way over the legal intoxication limit, by the way. I’ve seen the medical reports, he chose to get in a car with his wife, he chose to drive, he drunkenly chose to go down a highway in the wrong lane and he hit my cousin and my future husband! That was no accident Mr. Kincaid. He made choices! The settlement is denied. There will be punishment.”
“Are you speaking for both parties?” Mr. Kincaid asked looking at me and Sasha.
“Are you saying there should be no punishment for what he chose to do? That amount is NOTHING! No amount of money can undo his wife’s death or the horrible incident, but he shouldn’t get off so easy!” David nearly shouted and folded his arms to show he was unmoving on this point. “For his lack of judgement and poor choices, HE WILL PAY THE PRICE!”
Sasha nodded. “He speaks for me. What about you, Mitch?” Sasha looked at me.
I nodded liking this David. “Absolutely he does.”
David looked back at Mr. Kincaid. “Either he comes back with a more fitting settlement, or we’ll see you in court.”
“How much do you expect?” Mr. Kincaid asked. “He’s lost his wife, he lost his license…”
“And he’ll lose a whole lot more.” David growled. “He killed Sasha! He nearly killed my cousin. He can lose his reputation when this gets out, and believe me it will! What is that worth to make it as easy as it can be? There has to be more than money. I’m angry and I want him to pay.”
Mr. Kincaid nodded. “I’ll let Mr. Belle know.” He walked out of the room.
“That was a lot of money.” Sasha said softly to David.
“You were gushing blood, Sasha and he wants to put a band aide on it? I don’t think so. What he did was a crime. Crimes are punishable. He will be punished! End of story.” David declared flatly. Sasha’s eyebrows rose, but he was smiling.
“I see you don’t aggravate a McKenzie.” Sasha smiled taking David’s hand.
“Damned right you don’t.” David growled again.
I chuckled. “He’s going to be great lawyer. Just…” I said to David. “…always be on our side, okay?”
Then Sasha held up his hand. “Wait!” Then he looked at David. “…my English may not be as bad as I claim, but you told this Mr. Kincaid I was your future husband.”
Now David was smiling, but turning pink. “I was trying to give a reason….you’re more than just my boyfriend. You mean a lot more to me than that. I wanted that overpaid puppet of Belle’s to know that.”
“Did you just say you want to marry me?” Sasha was grinning.
David was now very pink. “I was thinking about it.” He looked at Sasha. “I nearly lost you. I did lose you, but…yes. I don’t want to have a life without you.” He shrugged. “I would have preferred not to ask in a hospital room, but…just think about it. I’d love to marry you if you’ll have me.”
Sasha was shaking his head, but smiling enough to split his face. “In Russia, we could not even tell many people we were married and certainly not as much as Mitch and Tony, but yes I’d love to marry you.”
I smiled when David pulled the curtain to separate our half of the room and I saw David kiss Sasha. There was a silhouette on the thin curtain as light from outside came in and we heard them kiss. “Semi-private room, guys. We can hear you.” I reminded, but inside I was thrilled! Another McKenzie wedding! There were those uncles who were going to really freak out now!!!