A short time later, she reached her SUV and fought traffic across town to the nursing home/rehab facility where her fifteen year old brother was a patient. She parked, walked to the entrance and rang for admittance. While not modern, the care was excellent though not as intensive as Jon needed.
When the door clicked, she entered and headed down the hall to his room. In the doorway of the semi-private room. His slumped shoulders and turned down mouth screamed misery. She hoped the cake would bring a smile. Two months had passed since the accident. His shattered bones had healed and the scars from the surgery had begun to fade. At least his face hadn’t scarred.
Suzanne walked forward. “Hi, bro.” She smiled.
Eyes as green as hers met her gaze. “Hi,” he mumbled.
“I tried to stand this morning. I can’t. I’ll be chained to this chair forever.”
She noticed a gathering of tears in his eyes. She brushed dark brown hair the same shade as hers from his forehead. Of the three half-siblings, Jon alone had inherited their mother’s coloring. “You will escape the chair. Don’t doubt this for an instant.” She placed the slice of cake she’d brought from the party on the tray. “While you eat this, I’ll tell you about tomorrow.”
His eyes widened. “Am I really getting out of here?” He glanced at the bed next to him where the patient was connected to an IV and a feeding tube.
She nodded. “When I had my interview on line, my old friend told me about the
. Remember, I
showed you the pictures she sent. You’ll like it there. They’ll make you work hard.
Before long, you’ll be out of the chair.” She crossed her fingers and hoped his
progress would escalate. Rehab
He speared a piece of cake. “Sure hope so.”
“Believe. When you’re ready for outpatient therapy, you’ll come home. We’ll live in a house. One with three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor. Downstairs, there’s a room you’ll use temporarily. Has a bathroom with a shower. There’s even a dining room, a garage and a large basement.”
He finished the cake and flashed a smile. “You make the move seem wonderful.”
“It will be.” She made a silent wish that the move would be everything they expected.
He stared at the window. “What about school? I’ve missed so much. Even before the accident, there were times I had to stay home. At that school, they just passed me to the next grade.”
She clasped his hand. “I talked to the counselor at the new school. She recommended an online school. They’ll evaluate you and prepare you to enter high school in September as a sophomore.”
She looked away so he couldn’t see the anger she felt. He had missed too many school days because his parents binged on alcohol. Too many times they’d forgotten to take the younger two to day care or were behind in paying the fees. Though she’d tried to help, she’d had work and tuition bills to pay. Moving home hadn’t been an option, not since she’d left for college. Once she’d received a full scholarship to Grantley, she’d been on her own.
“You sound so sure I’ll be okay,” Jon said.
“I am and so should you be.”
His dinner tray arrived. She uncovered the plate. The stew over rice didn’t look appealing but he polished off the food.
“When we reach
I’ll bring you chili dogs from the Hot Doggery for your dinner.” Eastlake
“Sounds better than the food here.” He pushed the tray away. “You don’t have to hang out with me.”
“I’m in no hurry to go home.”
“Don’t you have someone to spend time with? Maybe a boyfriend?”
She shook her head. Been there. Done that. Got burned. “We need to talk about tomorrow. The ambulance will be here at nine. Don’t let them take you before I arrive. The trip will take about an hour. Once you’re settled in your room at the
, I’ll go to the
house and unpack and return to spend time with you.” Rehab
“You don’t have to. Wouldn’t you rather be with your friends?”
“They’re bringing dinner to the house and help with the unpacking. All but Megan are married.” She tapped his nose with a finger. “We’re family and I want to spend time with you. I’ll find a laptop for you and we’ll set it up for some games and explore the school program.”
His smile blossomed. “Thanks.”
She kissed his forehead. “See you in the morning. It’s a new life for both of us.”