How am I in this hospital again in a matter of 6 months? My leg bounces in place as I sit in the hospital waiting room. I’ve never seen Grace so ill before; she’s definitely been a lot more sick this last month, but it’s never gotten to this before. I’m exhausted, still slightly tipsy from the drinks earlier, and numb. I can’t even think straight at this point.
I place my hands on my face as I lean forward; I just want to know if Grace is going to be okay. No one has come out to give me information on her. It has to be at least 2 in the morning at this point. I was so intently in thought, I just realize my phone was vibrating in my coat pocket.
I looked at the phone screen to see the call is coming from Kevin. I picked it up, trying not to appear as exhausted as i truly am.
“yeoboseyo?” I answered. I could hear Shawn in the background, talking loudly before Kevin could say anything.
“Happy New Year, hyung!” Kevin greeted. I could faintly hear Shawn say the same thing in the background.
“Did you guys seriously wait for it to be the new year in America for this?” I teased.
“We thought it was midnight there not realizing we’re a little late…”
“About two hours late, but it’s the thought that counts.” I reassured.
“So, you and the lady celebrating? Are we interrupting?” Shawn says in the back.
“No, no…” I didn’t know what else to say. I could tell they felt some tension since they didn’t say anything else afterwards. It wasn’t until Kevin spoke softly in the phone.
“Hyung, is everything alright?” Kevin finally said. I couldn’t not tell Kevin what was going on. I trusted him even if I was his senior. I took a deep breath and held the bridge of my nose before I spoke.
“My visa is expiring in three weeks,” I admitted.
“But you knew that already,” Kevin responded.
“I was trying to extend it,” I continued. “I got the call when I was at Grace’s friends place.”
“They didn’t extend it? But you work there?”
“I’m not active on a case and I have a feeling they didn’t put me on a case for that reason,” I explained. I can hear Kevin explaining the situation to Shawn. I shut my eyes closed. I need to tell someone.
“Also,” I continued. The line went silent. I sighed before I said anything else. “I’m at the hospital with Grace.”
“What?!” Both guys said through the phone. “Hyung, what the hell is going on?”
“Ya,” I sternly reminded Kevin for respect. “Grace has been really sick the past couple of weeks. She was vomiting at the party we were at earlier tonight.”
“Maybe she just had too much to drink?” Kevin stated.
“She didn’t touch any of the drinks that were handed to her,” I corrected. I could hear the guys whispering something in Korean, something along the lines of having a suspicious thought about why Grace could’ve been that sick. I said it before they did.
“What if Grace is pregnant?” I shut my eyes as I said it out loud. I was scared to even think of the possibility. Here I am, leaving America in three weeks with the potential of my girlfriend being pregnant. I can’t leave her here alone if she’s pregnant.
I don’t hear Kevin or Shawn say anything until Shawn says something in the back.
“Are you going to marry her if she is, hyung?” he asked. I didn’t say anything back right away; in fact, I was taken back by the question. Marrying Grace? We just became a couple… would it be too soon? Would she want us to get married in order for me to stay? Will I just marry her for the wrong reasons? Will it be out of love?
Before I can say anything back, I see a nurse come out of the door calling my name.
“I got to go.” I said and quickly hung up the phone. I stood up from my seat as the nurse walked towards me.
“Mr. Kim?” the nurse asked. I nodded my head and she continued. “So Grace is resting and given some fluids, she should be okay to go home in the morning,” I took a deep breath in and quickly let it out. The nurse in front of me is flipping through some papers in her hands and begins to read what’s on the page. “She came in pretty dehydrated, which isn’t a surprise now knowing Grace’s condition.”
“Condition?” I asked. Aigoo, she’s pregnant.
“Grace’s vitals were beginning to shut down and her body temperature was below average. After a few tests, we concluded that she’s dehydrated and malnourished.” The nurse explained. I didn’t know what to say. Why didn’t I notice? Why wasn’t Grace eating? Why didn’t I see the damn signs earlier? I wanted nothing more than to see Grace.
“Is she awake? Can I see her?”
The nurse nodded at me and walked me through the hallway. I was nervous. I was confused. All I wanted to do was ask her why was she doing this to herself? Why didn’t she talk to me? I didn’t realize that we were already at her room. The nurse opens the door.
“Grace, you have a visitor.” The nurse said softly. I look into the room and see Grace laying on the bed. I entered the room slowly; I didn’t know how to approach Grace with the news. Did she even know what happened? I didn’t want to be the person that had to tell Grace what had happened, because if she knew that I knew, she would feel guilty. I know Grace Ashmore. She’s able to hide things from people until she can’t control it anymore; until something like tonight happens.
“I’ll leave you two alone and come back in a few to check on you, Ms. Ashmore.” The nurse walked out and closed the door behind her. Silence. I slowly walked over towards Grace’s bed and grabbed a chair. I got close to her and she didn’t move.
“Jagiya,” I began. She still hasn’t looked in my direction. I took a deep breath before I would continue, but Grace finally spoke up.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered. She must know. I brushed my hair back away from my face and leaned forward towards the bed.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, not realizing my tone was lower than intended.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I just didn’t want you to know.”
“Grace–” I interrupted, now annoyed. “This is something serious. This isn’t something you can keep to yourself. You scared the shit out of me tonight and all because you were starving yourself?”
“It’s not like that,” Grace spat back.
“What in the world made you think it was okay to just starve yourself, Grace?!” I couldn’t sugarcoat things anymore. I needed to understand.
“Why do you even care so much?!” Grace finally looked at me. She looked pale, skinny; not herself. I should’ve noticed sooner.
“Grace,” I said calmly. I tried to reach out for her hand, but she pulled it back.
“Just… go.” Grace demanded.
“What?” I scrunched my eyebrows, now more annoyed that Grace is doing this at a time like this.
“Just go, Jamie! I don’t need you caring about me! For what? For you to be here as I get better and for you to leave back to Korea soon?” Grace began to yell. I looked at the door, nervous someone would hear her. But she continued.
“I know you’re leaving, Jamie!” She spat at me. I didn’t know what to say.
“Grace, please calm down,” I said, defeated. “I’m not leaving anytime soon…”
“But you’re still leaving!” She yelled at me.
“You knew this though!” I yelled back. I was frustrated that Grace was destroying her body and didn’t want to tell me why she was doing so. She had never been this way in the year that I known her. What changed? What happened?
“You’re no different than everyone else who came and went.” Grace turned her body away from me. Before I can say anything, the nurse came back into the room. She first saw Grace upset and crying, then she looked at me in the chair.
“Grace needs some rest, Mr. Kim,” The nurse stated. I gathered my things and got up from the chair. I looked down at Grace before turning away towards the door. I walked passed the nurse, out to the hospital hallway.
“Mr. Kim,” The nurse called out for me. I turned around, surprised she called out for me in the first place.
“Grace is going to be okay. She’s just having a hard time processing things. She’s had a history of anorexia nervosa in the past; something triggering or stressful must’ve activated it.” The nurse explained. I took a deep breath; I had to let this out to someone; anyone.
“I was afraid she could’ve been pregnant. She’s been ill for almost a month, so–“
“That’s understandable. Are you two trying to have children?” The question took me back. I didn’t know if I ever wanted to have kids, but Grace and Little Bean made me see things differently.
“I wouldn’t have been upset if she was,” I said. I feel like that was the honest truth. All I wanted was for Grace and I to be your everyday couple; I wanted nothing more than to come home from work and see Grace and her pregnant belly greet me at the front door. I wanted nothing more to stay here and be with her and–
“Grace would have to gain some weight and take certain vitamins to be able to carry a child,” The nurse explained. “If children is what you both want, then you both have to make sure you work out any obstacles in your path.” The nurse walked away and down the hallway. She wasn’t wrong. Grace and I are far from ready to have a child; we’re barely on speaking terms as we speak.
And I also go back to Korea in three weeks.