Turmeric casually strolls into the room with a smile on his face. He is blissfully unaware of what is going on, and just in time to watch the fireworks that I think are about to start flying, judging by the angry expression on Granities face.
We all watch him sit down on one of the chairs, there is a very awkward silence now hanging in the room. Turmeric stares around and frowns at us all in confusion.
"What is up with your face Gran?" he laughs "Bro, you look like you are about to combust."
"I am!!" he snaps quite angrily as he turns to face Forrest. "You are a seriously nasty piece of work do you know that!!" Granite snaps really nastily at Forrest "I heard every single word of what you just said to Mace, I was awake when you walked in!!"
Forrest looks a little shocked. I think he is a little taken a back that Granite was awake and heard his performance. I should imagine he hoped Granite had woken up part way through it and heard hardly any of it.
"Who the hell do you think you are talking to Mace like that!! At least he has the decency to be civil and call you by your name .... you just dish out insult after insult!! Letch .. idiot .. convict .. what else do you call him when you think nobody is listening?!"
"Oh don't worry, he is no angel and usually gives as good as he gets!!" Forrest snaps
"I'm really not surprised if this is how you speak to him all the time!! Mace is not a nasty or spiteful person by nature, unlike you, so I can guarantee you are the one who starts the sniping!! I know you remember, you would push the patience of a saint with your forked razor sharp tongue and the shit you dish out!!" he snaps "Just back off and leave Mace alone!! Take it out on me if you need a punch bag, after all I am the one in the wrong here, relationship wise, not Mace!!"
Suddenly Granites face switches into something that I have never seen before and he starts yelling. We have had our arguments, but he has never been this angry with me, not even when we had our worst falling out because of what I did to Turmeric, which split up Granite and Turmerics relationship and really upset him.
"Don't think I can not see what you are doing, I'm just glad I was awake to hear that ... you are no better than Gravel, bullying Mace when you think nobody is listening, just like I hear you have been bully Jasmine!! For berry's sake she is just an innocent child and don't think for one minute she is going into care because she is NOT!! What you just threatened Mace with, that is downright low, even for you!! You have no rights to say what happens to Jasmine and if I could get off this bed I would smash your snidey green face in!! For your information, the minute I'm out of here, I'm seeing a solicitor because I am going to adopt her, and you may as well know, me and Mace are adopting Tarragons baby when it is born!!"
"This is a joke right!!" Forrest snaps
"No!! I am not yours and you don't own me!! I am with Mace now and should not have to keep reminding you we have been OVER for TWENTY YEARS!! My life and what I do with it now, is none of your god damn business any more!!"
Granite is now starting to really rare and I try to calm him down, I can see the beads of sweat running down his face and he is going a funny colour again, he says he is all right but I know he isn't!!
"Oh he's back ..." Forrest starts to look and sound angry
"Yes I am and you can shut your nasty mouth before you even think about starting on me!! I am not putting up with your evil mouth or control freak shit any more!!" Granite rares "I'm telling you this just once ... your shit stops RIGHT NOW ... I'm warning you Forrest, or you and me are totally finished for good!! Any more and I will have you banned from coming in here and I will get you moved into Bay's until we leave town, so we don't have to have anything to do with you. The ONLY reason I came back to this shit hole is to give Slate a kidney, I'm NOT back for you, I hoped I would not even have to see you while I was here!! We have enough going on here already without your shit added to it, you are very fast becoming a complication that we really don't need right now!!"
"Oh so that's what I am now ... a complication!!" he snipes sarcastically
"Yes you are!! GROW UP and get out of my face, before I really lose my temper and do something that you are really going to regret!!" he snaps "Everything you just said to Mace by the way, is total shit!! You keep on deluding yourself even though I have already told you quite clearly, there is no us!! I left you behind twenty years ago and that is exactly how it is staying, I am NEVER coming back to you, especially not crawling, even after they lock Mace up. I am very happy to be saddled with my permanent cripple as it goes, even if I have to wait twenty years for them to release him .... the minute that I get out of here I am divorcing your ass and marrying him, so you best had go and see your solicitor!! NOW SLING YOUR HOOK AND DON'T COME BACK!!"
"WHAT THE HELL is wrong with you? This isn't you ... okay I know I was out of order with Mace just, and I'm sorry but I'm just so upset, confused and frustrated with this whole situation, you would feel exactly the same about him if you was in my shoes!! All this anger that you are venting towards me, and have been since you came out of the coma ... You walked out on me and didn't bother to come back for twenty years remember, I'm not the one in the wrong here, so I don't understand where all this anger is coming from?"
"No you wouldn't would you!!" he laughs sarcastically "I'll tell you shall I where all my anger is coming from ... You!! You sat here for 20 years, doing absolutely NOTHING letting this situation get out of hand, KNOWING right from the beginning the truth about the stunt Gravel had pulled, Slate being my son and that I was away from home for no other reason than Gravels game!! There was no threat, no danger and I could have come home straight from prison, but no, you just left me out there, you didn't even try to find me, instead you sat back and left me to come back under my own steam, leaving me to find out the the truth the hard way!! If it was me, I would have been out there tracking you down and I never would have stopped until I found you, but you as usual, you are just too selfish to even bother!! While on one hand in the long run you actually did me a favour, because I have had a far better life without you!! On the other hand, however, I am NEVER EVER going to be able to forgive you for letting me miss 20 years of my sons life!!"
"That's not fair!! It wasn't easy ...."
"Don't talk shit, I don't want to hear your stupid feeble excuses!! You SHOULD and COULD have found me quite easily, right at the start before it started to get out of hand, to get the message across to me and tell me that Slate is my son, but you didn't even bother to try did you!!" he snaps sarcastically "Gravel and my Dad have known where I have been all along - so what's your excuse - there is none!! You could have hired a private detective, he would have found me in no time - after all it only took Mango FOUR DAYS to track me down using telephone directories!! YOU could have done that twenty years ago!!"
"I DID TRY!!!" Forrest yells "I wrote you hundreds of letters and phoned the prison every day, but you refused any contact ... if you had opened just one letter ... but no, as usual you was being a stubborn berry hole, then you left prison early and did one!!"
"You knew EXACTLY WHY I was refusing contact and did one ... I believed the lie, I thought I was keeping the three of you safe!!! You should have tried harder - you know I always crack eventually. All it would have taken was a few words on the back or front of the envelope that I was not able to avoid seeing. The April Fools prank was not a joke ... would have done it!!"
"I tried to find you after you left prison ..."
"Not very hard obviously!! How many times did you look ... ONCE!!" Granite is really yelling now. "If I know you, you sat back and left Gravel to do the searching, even though you knew he was playing his twisted games!!"
Forrest doesn't say anything, he just looks down at the floor.
"Less than a year after I left prison I settled down in Mint Valley where I stayed until I moved to Cherry Hill. I never hid my identity, I've always been open and in the phone directory, hoping one day you would find me. All YOU as a doctor had to do was watch my medical records - the minute they transferred to Mint you would have seen where I was!! You could have accessed my medical records at any time over the past twenty years, just like I've accessed yours!!" he laughs sarcastically "Someone's been living on antidepressants for the last twenty years, haven't they Forrest!!" he snaps sarcastically. "It's strange you use a doctor in Raspberry ... I wander if that is to hide your other ongoing medical problem ..."
"Just shut up Gran!!" Forrest snaps
"Sandy Shores was the one place I always thought would help us to reconect ... I left you messages, my address and telephone number on the inside cover of your favourite book EVERY single year, sometimes twice a year when I rented Sea View, up until Mace moved in five years ago. Because every single time we went out there you always read that damn book which I bet is still sat in that damn bookcase now with a letter that I wrote you ten years ago inside the pages!! I thought maybe you had moved on or didn't go out there any more, but no, I find out now you own the damn place!! You should have known I would try to get a message to you somehow!!" he snaps and I see Forrests eyes nearly pop out of his head as he chokes. "I was easily found if you had even bothered to try to look for me!! If I had known the truth and that boy was mine, I would have been here, nothing would have stopped me and none of this would have happened!! Now we have twenty years that were robbed from us, which we can never get back, he is broken beyond repair and both of our lives have been ruined!!" I can see that Granite is starting to get upset "I don't just blame Gravel for those robbed years and the state that Slate is in now ... I blame you too!! YOU let this happen, you sat back and let Gravel steal and mentally abuse my son, and I can NEVER forgive you for that!! You left me out there oblivious, to believe and live the lie, and because of that, there is no way back, we are DONE, OVER, FINISHED, there is no fixing this and you only have yourself to blame!!"
"Gran ... you can't blame Forrest, that isn't fair ..." T tries to interupt
"I Can and I DO!!" Granite snaps "T you should just but out of it, before I start on you!! You too have played your part in this brother, sitting on lies and secrets, that have helped create this mess, for the past fifteen years!!" he yells "Just GO and get HIM out of here before I lose it completely, with both of you!!"
Turmeric doesn't need to take Forrest out of the room, he storms off again, this time not in temper, but in tears. T smiles at me nervously as he follows Forrest out of the room. I wander if I am next in the firing line, because I am a part of it too.
Granite throws himself back on the bed, he looks drained, pale and now he is holding his side and he is visibly sweating more than I've ever seen him sweat. I run my hand down his face and he is not only soaking wet but burning up.
"You have been quietly stewing on this Slate thing haven't you!"
"Yes. He knew the truth from the very beginning, he found out when Slate was a toddler. He helped Gravel rob me of 20 years of Slates life!! The more I think about how he just left me out there and didn't try to find me to tell me, the angrier I am getting." he looks up at me miserably "He knew how badly I wanted children of my own - I would have done anything and that child would have been my life!! I half suspect he didn't bother to find me because he would rather be without me than having to put up with a child interfering with our life, which he never would have coped with or tolerated!! Either way, me being here or away like I have been ... I think Slate being my child was always going to finish us."
"I'm sorry!!" I mumble not knowing what else to say to him as I try to wipe the tears off his face that are now starting to flow. "Baby I'm getting worried ... you seriously are not well!!"
"I'm fine!!" he mumbles "It was never going to be an instant recovery, its going to take my body weeks, months even, to adjust to all the surgery and changes. I am going to be flaky for quite a while yet."
"How can you say you are fine when you are obviously in a lot of pain!! You are sweating like a pig - you are red hot and you've gone a funny colour again. You keep heaving and now you are shaking like you have got the shivers!!"
"I'm shaking because I'm angry and upset. He has really riled me up, not only the Slate thing, but the way he spoke to you and the things he was saying!! One thing I seriously have not missed about him is his spiteful viscious tongue!! I'll calm down in a bit." he opens one eye to look at me "Does he always speak to you like that when nobody is around?"
"Pretty much." I laugh at him "Stop trying to change the subject, I'm more worried about your health right now. I could fry an egg on your face, that's not normal!!"
"Its a little on the warm side in here, and I have a slight temperature because of the infection ... stop stressing!! I am not worried. A nurse will be along soon enough to do my obs and meds, hopefully that will put your mind at rest." he opens his eyes again momentarily "All I need right now is sleep. I really need to switch my head off."
"Get some sleep then ... I won't disturb you."
"Stay ... don't get leaving me!" he mumbles
I start to stroke his face and neck which always sends him off to sleep pretty quickly. I am surprised that it takes him only minutes to fall off to sleep.
I wake up startled, after receiving a painful thump to the side of my face from Granite, who has just head butted me pretty hard, and not for the first time tonight. We had had a comical performance an hour earlier, after he went to sleep I sat up to read my book. Granite had woken up, agitated and struggling to remove his gown which he said was full of bugs that were biting him which I found hysterical. Once his gown was taken off he crawled into my arms and fell straight back off to sleep.
I am very surprised that I even managed to dose off to sleep, sat in the uncomfortable position that I am in, which I instantly regret because my neck and back are stiff and now killing me, I am just glad I can not feel my backside right now. I am also feeling very uncomfortable, the heat coming off Granite is actually starting to make me feel sick and overheating me. I know I can not remain sitting here like this for much longer.
I watch Granite as he lies in my arms, the longer he sleeps the more restless he seems to be getting. He is now constantly pale, really shaking and thrashes about restlessly, mumbling rubbish while he sleeps, which is very unlike him. I run my hand down his bare chest which is ringing wet, because he is sweating very badly, it is literally pouring off him now. His discarded hospital gown is soaked, as well as me and the sheet on the bed. I feel his head and it is still burning hot even though he is shivering almost like he is cold and his breathing doesn't sound right ... he is really starting to worry me.
I really do not understand why none of the doctors or nurses have been in to check on him for hours, or me for that matter!!
I stare over at Slate who must have crept in quietly while we were sleeping. I didn't realise he was in here, but do now because he is snoring quite loudly. I heard him before I saw him. His snoring instantly starts to irritate and annoy me!!
Me and Granite are not snorers and I am not used to all this racket, so I have struggled to sleep most nights having to share a room with Dad and Slate, who both snore really loudly. It gets to the point when I can not take it any more and have to wake them up by shouting them, just so that they will shut up. It has ground me down so much, the moment the snoring starts it irritates me like hell.
"Mom." Granite mumbles, and I'm not sure if I just heard him right
"What did you say baby?" I ask him quietly
"Mom ... ." he mumbles again, this makes me laugh for a moment "... I want Mom."
I did hear right, he wants his Mom. His Mother has been faded for over thirty years ... now I know he is seriously not right!!
I shout in a half whisper, stupidly really because while I am trying to get Slates attention, I am trying not to disturb Granite. Slate does not react, he just carries on snoring, so I shout him a bit louder. I am really annoyed now because it is not like I can quickly jump out of bed to shake him awake, because my legs don't work any more. He is a heavy sleeper, I know he is going to be a nightmare to wake up.
After shouting him a few more times, very loudly, he starts to stir.
"Slate I need you to get up!!" I whisper to him when he sits up and stares at me in annoyance as he rubs his eyes.
"Man ... if you have woken me up just to complain about my snoring again ..."
"No, it is not your snoring, it is Granite. He is really worrying me, you are a doctor, I need you to check him."
He gets off the bed sleepily still rubbing his eyes.
"Why what's up with him?" he frowns as he slides off the bed
"He is pale, burning up and the sweat is pouring out of him, I've never seen him this bad, not even when he has flu. He is shivering quite badly and thrashing about and mumbling rubbish in his sleep ... he's just been asking for his Mom ... the bed is soaked through and his breathing sounds really weird. I think there is something seriously wrong with him."
Slate puts his hand on his head and pulls a face, mumbling that he is excessively hot.
I watch as Slate goes over to the cupboard area and takes out a few things after he has quickly washed his hands. I am quite amused as he switches into doctor mode. He comes back and checks his temperature, pulse and listens to the sound of his chest with a stethoscope. He grabs his notes off the end of the bed and flicks through them.
"What the hell, this can't be right!!" he mumbles as he frowns at me quickly before he starts to search around with his eyes, he even gets down on the floor and looks under the bed.
"What are you looking for?"
"Sheets of paper, some of his notes must be missing." he mumbles, so I ask him why he thinks that. "This is saying he has had no treatment or obs done since dinner time ...."
"No he hasn't. I have been with him all afternoon and nobody has been near him. The last person to touch him medically was Forrest, just after dinner."
Slate starts to look really concerned.
"Mace ..." Granite moans as he starts to get very aggitated and thrashes about.
"It's okay, calm down, Mace is here." Slate laughs "Dad are you feeling ill?"
"Mace!!" he mumbles again just before he starts heaving then promptly throws up all over himself and me. Great just great!! The smell of vomit starts to assault my nostrils which is making me heave while Slate doesn't bat an eyelid.
"He has been off colour and heaving all afternoon. I also think he has been in pain, he's been holding his side and wincing, but he kept trying to tell me he is okay when I know he is not." I mumble to Slate
"Mace ..." he moans as he throws up again.
It takes Granite, what feels like ages for me, to stop throwing up, while I am now heaving and trying not to add to the mess that he is making. Slate cleans him up quickly and settles him down, but not until Granite has a firm hold of my hand, for some reason he seems very agitated and keeps calling my name. I know he can be a bit of a baby and clingy when he is ill, but he has never been this bad before.
"How long has your incision scar been like this Dad?" Slate frowns as he is inspecting his stomach closely. Granite doesn't answer he just lies there moaning while he tries to move Slates hands away from his stomach. I am amused that he is calling Granite Dad.
"Forrest noticed it earlier, he said it was infected and gave him an injection, antibiotics I think." I tell Slate
"There is nothing about that in his notes." he frowns as he starts to look through them again.
"It was earlier when he gave him his meds and they had a fight over the living arrangements, he stormed out, I guess he forgot to write in his notes .... your Grandad was in here too, so he will confirm it. Granite actually gave himself the injection because he didn't trust Forrest not to stab him with the needle." I frown at him "Why have we not seen Mango today, he is always usually constantly buzzing around Granite?"
"Mango is on a day off. Forrest is running the department today." he mumbles "And not very well by the looks of it, or the nursing staff would have been in here constantly checking on him." he frowns at me
"One nurse came in here a while back, but Gran scared her off playing her up and she forgot to do his obs. Other than that Forrest has been in twice, but he didn't do anything other than argue with him and storm out!! The last time I actually asked him to check Granite because I was worried, he just accused me of being an over exaggerating drama queen, and didn't even bother to look at him." I stare at Slate who pulls a face at me "Slate ... he hasn't had any meds either since the ones Forrest gave him at dinner time ... I don't know if he was supposed to have more."
I watch a concerned expression flash across Slate's face as he quickly scans back through his notes. He pulls both of his eyelids back to checks his eyes. I notice his eyes roll to the back of his head.
"SHIT!!" Slate snaps "Forrest is a DAMN IDIOT!!"
He seems to go into a mental panic then. He hits a red button above the bed which sends out a high pitched beeping noise. He quickly helps me to move off the bed and into my chair, before he rushes across the room, straight to the cupboards, and he starts frantically pulling things out. He goes into the med's cabinet and pulls out a few small glass bottles of fluids that I have watched them regularly inject into Granite while he was away with the fairies.
A couple of nurses rush into the room, and Slate terrifies me with what he says.
"I need IV fluids, NOW!!" he starts to real off medical names that I can't even repeat, let alone understand. "Phone ICU and tell them we are on our way down with a post transplant patient showing possible signs of sepsis and I suspect organ failure could be on the cards, he has missed meds." the one nurse quickly runs out of the room. "Get hold of Dr Rock, we need to know what injection, possibly antibiotics, that he gave the patient earlier, and WHY he wrote nothing in his notes about it. I also want to know why this patient has been neglected since dinner time!!" he snaps angrily as he is putting a needle and shunt into the back of Granites hand, which makes me go all queezy. He starts to inject the fluids from the bottles into the shunt before he closes it. "Page Dr Muffin, tell him we need him down in ICU NOW, tell him its Granite Rock, and wake up Chief Constable Stone, I need him."
All the nurses have now ran out the room as a few more doctors and nurses run in and swarm the bed. I watch Slate putting an oxygen mask over Granites face before taking the oxygeon bottle off the wall and lies it on the bed next to him. The brakes are taken off the bed as a couple of the male doctors start moving the bed. One of them hands Slate a bag of fluid and he hooks it up to the shunt in the back of Granites hand and holds the bag in the air above him.
Everything is happening so quickly.
They move the bed quickly across the room and all I can do is sit there stunned. Slate tells me to come down and sit outside ICU with Dad, before they disappear out of the room in a hurry.
I hear Slate shout 'RUN' as the door swings shut.