The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 42

Sunday, September 24th, 4:05 AM

Minneapolis, MN


Evan exited the Uber car, along with Greg, after Chella explained she had already paid for the ride.

She led the way into Hennepin Hospital and then to the nearest elevator.

Not a soul was in the elevator, completely empty. Chella pressed the button for the ICU on the third floor.

She removed a tissue from the pocket of the light-pink sweater she wore, a sweater covering the same small red top and denim shorts she wore at the party. She wiped her eyes and nose. She looked up at Evan, sniffling a few times as she did. “At least the hospital gave us a room. We can all go there.”

Evan draped his arm around her and drew her near him. “Hey. It will be all right.” He softly rubbed her upper arm. She leaned in closer to him and sniffled again, seeming ready to cry once more. “Tell me about this room.”

“A waiting room,” she said. “They gave us all a waiting room.”

“Chella,” Greg said, “I know you already told us once, but my mind was sort of out of it. Can you explain again what happened, before she went into a coma?”

Even though she had said it earlier, the word coma still pierced like an arrow through Evan’s heart. He hated hearing it again. Rage against himself flared up. He wanted to physically beat his own ass, repeatedly, for not staying at the party, powering through that tiredness. I thought you said you would never leave me. Dana’s words would not stop replaying, compounding things even worse.

Chella wiped her eyes, her nose again and nuzzled closer to Evan. “Sure. Me, Hal, Dana, Savannah and a few others went to Dana’s room. She was drinking lots of that heavy stuff, you know, brandy, rum, whiskey, and then she didn’t look so good, like pale. So, I asked if she was okay. She didn’t answer, and then a few minutes later, she collapsed to the floor.”

The elevator stopped. The doors slid open. Evan released his arm around Chella and she led the path out of the elevator.

“Did Dana hit her head?” Evan asked, once catching up to Chella’s fast pace. They were the only ones in the hospital hallway, save for a lone nurse farther up ahead. “From the fall, when she collapsed.”

“No. I don’t think so. Doctors didn’t say it was from the fall. She landed on the bed first, but then slipped down unconscious to the floor, on carpet. I don’t think she hurt her head, really. But then…then things got much worse. She started shaking and vomiting. We all worried she would choke on her vomit, so we laid her on her side.” Chella stopped walking. She pointed toward an open doorway. “That’s our waiting room.” Though trying to hide it, placing her hand over her mouth, she began crying again.

Evan encircled his arm around her and held her close. “Chella. It’s all right.”

“Yeah, Chella,” Greg said. “I’m sure she’s in good hands now.”

She sniffled a few times and wiped her nose. “Guys,” she said quietly, through her choked-up voice. “Listen.”

Evan leaned down closer to her. “What is it, what’s wrong?”

Greg drew nearer too.

“When we turned Dana on her side, we realized she wasn’t breathing right, if at all.” Chella drew in a deep breath and wiped her nose with the tissue. “About that time, Carter came in, since somebody told him. He right away checked her and realized he had to do CPR. He went at it for a while and she began breathing and vomiting again, but then on the way to the hospital, the EMTs had to perform CPR on her a second time.”

Listening to her words, Evan felt unattached to himself, to anything happening. He knew. Panic was seeping in throughout his mind and body. Master Ren would never approve. Calm, stay calm! Think clearly. And focus! Chella needs support. He wrapped her up even closer in his arms, his hope to comfort them both. “I’m so sorry, Chella.”

But she pushed away from him slightly until she could stare up into his eyes. “You asked if Dana hurt her head, when she fell. I’m more worried that her sternum, on her chest, got hurt, especially from what Carter did, with his CPR. He was pressing so hard.”

“Oh, damn, I don’t know,” Evan said. “But I’m sure doctors will check if anything is broken, and of course treat her for this. I wouldn’t worry.”

“Yeah, I believe so too,” Greg said quietly. “Doctors will be on it. Don’t you worry, Chella. But hey, you just mentioned Carter, and, gonna look suspicious, with us hanging out here and not entering yet.”

Evan looked in the room. Hal, Jackson, Vic, Enzo, and many of the dancers, backup singers and musicians were already there, besides Carter. “Yes. I agree. We need to get in there.”

Chella gave both Evan and Greg a quick, close hug. “Thank you, guys. Sure. Let’s go in there.”

She led the way into the room. Evan glanced around, finding Carter on his phone, and most everyone else either sitting or standing, and chatting quietly, with plenty of somber faces. After Chella spoke to Savannah, about any updates on Dana’s condition, and discovering nothing new, she led them over to the left end of the room from the entrance, having them sit on the corner sofa seat.

Chella sat down first. Evan sat next to her, and Greg sat to Evan’s right.

“I’m so scared for her,” she said. “Being in a coma.”

Evan wrapped her up in his arms once more, pressing her close. She melded against him too. “But we need to stay strong for her. And positive.” 

Greg leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees, his head sinking low.

Evan placed his free hand on Greg’s shoulder, patting him several times. “Greg, dude. People can come out of comas. I know it’s happened before.”

“I know, man,” Greg said, though he didn’t lift his head.

Chella sighed. “But her blood alcohol is zero point four-one-two percent. And they said she has acute respiratory failure and acute alcohol intoxication, and they said something about her pupils not reactive, she wasn’t responding to verbal or painful stimuli.”

“But the doctors are helping her.” Evan only half-believed his own words, though. He placed his hand on his forehead, his own head feeling ready to sink forward just like Greg’s.

“Are you okay, Evan?” Chella asked.

“Yeah. As best can be expected.” For a split second, he thought about contacting Art, but then realized the dude probably already knew and was working on this. “I think we should pray.”

“Hey, my man.” Greg placed his hand on Evan’s shoulder. “I think we should too.” 

“All right.” Evan bowed his head down slightly and closed his eyes. “Dear Lord.” He didn’t speak too loudly, but most of the others in the room were speaking quietly amongst themselves anyway. “I pray you will forgive us of our sins. And then, dear Savior, I pray that you will please touch, and heal, Dana, now.” Maybe he spoke a bit too loud. He heard soft footsteps, upon carpeted floor, of approaching people, and wondered of Carter’s opinion about this. “Please, Lord, she means so much to each of us. In the Savior’s name I pray, amen.”

Greg, and then Chella, said amen too. Greg released his hand from Evan, but Chella remained close to Evan’s side, his arm keeping a secure grip around her regardless.

“Thank you, Evan, for praying,” she said.

“You’re welcome. And I think Dana is going to be all right.”

“It’s just that…it’s just that,” she said, “see, Dana said that she wanted to drink herself into oblivion, like, you know, that famous jazz singer, who died of alcohol poisoning, Liz Ampersel.”

“I know who she is,” Evan said, and Greg spoke similar words in agreement.

From his eye’s corner, Evan noticed Savannah approaching.

She sat down next to Chella and grasped her hand. “Hey, dear. A few updates texted to a few of us. Not the best news, really. Dana’s blood alcohol level is so high. Like five or six times the legal limit.”

“Really?” Chella said. “But can’t they fix that?

“I’m sure they can,” Greg said. “Right?”

Savannah nodded, her eyes so weary. “I think so. Dana is receiving twenty-four-hour nursing staff monitoring, from what they told us, and she’s getting intravenous fluids, with vitamins and glucose, to help with the dangers of alcohol poisoning. And she had been intubated.”

Chella stared curiously. “Intubated?”

“A breathing tube, to help her breathe, but now she is only getting a nasal cannula, something less harsh. Doctors also said she is receiving hemodialysis that can remove alcohol and purify her blood. But hey, you guys, Carter said we are not to mention this to anyone outside of our group here. He doesn’t want the paps and press getting any of this, at least not yet.”

“I think that’s the least of our worries right now,” Evan said.

“I know, I know,” Savannah said. “But I had to tell you.”

“Didn’t they pump her stomach,” Evan asked, “to remove excess alcohol?”

“Carter questioned that too. They said it was well beyond that point. Most of the alcohol was already in her system.” Savannah sighed. “Her dad is a wreck. Carter said he’s been by her side continuously, as long as doctors permit it.”

Chella began trembling, crying again. Evan snuggled his arm around her closer. “She will be all right, Chella, don’t cry.”

Without warning, Carter appeared and grabbed a nearby single chair, pulling it over until placing it before Chella and Evan. “Savannah. Greg. I need to speak to these two, alone, please.”

Though they both had confused, surprised expressions, Savannah and Greg agreed to leave, quietly standing up and walking to the center of the room near the rest of Dana’s tour people.

Evan stared Carter dead-on as he looked at them, from his sitting position. “What’s wrong, Carter?”

“I was going to have you, Greg, and the rest of our security team work with hospital security, to keep the fans and paps at bay. But seeing how distraught you are, me as well, I’m letting Hennepin’s best handle it all.”

Chella drew in a deep breath, sat up straighter, and promptly ceased her trembling and crying.

“Yes, Carter, that would be best now,” Evan said, loosening his hold on Chella as he sensed her leaning away from him.

Carter, his face showing strain, irritation, glanced between Evan and Chella. “Ya know, you two, you help each other, you are good for each other. You should stick with this girl, Evan. She’s good for you.”

“Thank you, Carter,” Chella said, between a few sniffles. “He really is a good guy.”

“I suppose that is a matter of opinion. He’s not that good.” Carter had a slight, devious smile curling up on the side of his mouth, with his intense eyeballing at Evan maybe implying the same. “Dana has too many issues. And maybe you do too. Not sure, mostly conjecture, but Lloyd suspects Dana’s reckless drinking has something to do with you, Evan.”

He didn’t alter his stare with Carter one bit. “What exactly are you implying?”

“Terse, argumentative words with Dana. Hal was right there. You know, earlier, at the party?”

“I don’t know what Hal, or even Dana told you, but I was concerned about Dana. I wanted to find out how she was doing. But, she really didn’t seem interested in talking, or being around me.”

“Apparently, she was very hurt by your harsh behavior toward her.”

“What? Harsh? No! I only wanted to get along with her!”

“That’s the truth.” Chella stared back at Carter, her stare just as intense. “He was being nice to her. He always is. If there is anything I noticed, she seemed upset with me. Like she didn’t want me hanging with Evan. That’s what I definitely noticed.” 

Carter leaned a little closer and eyed them both, before concentrating only on Evan. “Well, then. Maybe it’s time for the two of you to find other employment. We can’t be having Dana falling apart like this.” He stood up, pushed the chair back a few inches with his legs, and crossed his arms. “That is, if she even survives the night.” He breathed in deeply and let it out in a gush. “You two better hope she survives the night, is all I can say.”