“Pa?” You called again, a little more urgently this time as you slowly pushed his bedroom door open.
The telltale lump in his bed alerted you to his presence there, and you hesitated as to whether or not you should call out again as you approached him.
You inched slowly into his dimly lit room and listened as you came up behind him; praying you would be able to hear breathing noises.
“Pa?” You whispered as you placed a hand on where you assumed his shoulder would be.
You heard a strange groan come from him and so you pulled his covers back a bit, leaning over his face to look at him.
His eyes and mouth were open and he made the strange noise again as he stared out towards his window.
“Pa?” You asked worriedly, “pa, what’s wrong?”
You let go of his shoulder and walked around the other side, kneeling down and looking into his face.
He just stared, unable to blink as his tongue tried to move in his mouth.
“Say something, pa.” You urged, your heart rate starting to increase, “please say something? What’s happened?”
You reached out and touched his face gently, it was still warm to touch but he appeared that he couldn’t move and his face had ‘frozen’.
“Hang in there, pa, let me call emergency services.”
You pulled your phone from your pocket and dialed the number, putting the receiver to your ear and asking for the ambulance once the person on the other end had answered your call.
After talking to the lady on dispatch she sent for an ambulance, fearing a possibility of a stroke.
“Is he going to be ok?” You asked, tears finally starting to form in the corners of your eyes.
“Well, it’s hard to say.” The lady replied, “just wait until the paramedics get there, they’ll be able to tell you more.” She added frankly.
“Does she have to be so heartless about it?” You thought, nodding even though you knew she couldn’t see your nod.
“Stay on the line, love, until they arrive, ok?” The lady said kindly.
“Thanks.” You said numbly, still looking into pa’s dull staring eyes.
Finally the paramedics arrived and you got up to let them in, quickly showing them pa’s room and stepping back.
“We’ll be taking him to hospital.” One of the paramedics said to you, “he’ll need to have scans.”
“Umm, ok.” You said, gripping onto one arm with your other as you stood there not knowing what to do while they put your pa on a stretcher and wheeled him out to the waiting ambulance. “Uh, umm, which hospital are you taking him to?” You asked in a quivering voice.
“The general hospital for this district.” The paramedic replied as he pushed the stretcher up into the back of the ambulance and shut the door.
“C-Can I come?”
“Sorry, we don’t take passengers.” He replied shortly, “public transport can get you there.”
You stood helplessly and watched as they took your pa away, not knowing what to do now as you stood there forlornly on the side of the road.
Just then your phone dinged and you looked down. Kuroo had sent you a cheeky messsge about the list again but you weren’t in the mood so rang him instead.
“Oh ho ho? A call. Lucky me.” He said from the other end of the line.
“Pa had a stroke.” You blurted out.
“Woah? What? Where are you? Are you at home?” He asked in shock.
“Yeah. They took him. They took him away. Kuroo, I-.”
“I’m on my way.” He said in a serious voice before hanging up.
You pulled your phone down from your ear and stared at the screen, not really paying attention to it as one teardrop fell onto it, then another.
Slowly you turned and walked back to the house suddenly feeling very alone there all by yourself.
Mechanically you walked back to pa’s room and pushed the door open, looking around for something to connect with and spotted the picture that pa had been holding the other night; the picture of him and your grandma and you broke down, sobbing as you walked over and picked it up then clutched it to your chest.
“Don’t go.” You wailed in a broken voice.
You turned with your back up against the wall and slumped down on the ground, pulling your knees up to your chest and hugging the frame close as anguished sobs wracked your body.
Who knows how long you had been there when there was a knock at the door.
You went to pull yourself up but you heard the door open and before you could move any further Kuroo entered the room and walked quickly over to you, scooping you up easily in his strong arms and holding you to his chest.
“Kuroo.” You wailed, clutching his shirt and sobbing into him.
“Where did they take him?” Kuroo asked.
“To the general hospital.” You sobbed.
Without another word Kuroo turned and walked out the front door to the waiting taxi and slid in with you still in his arms before sitting you down beside him and clipping you in.
“General hospital, please.” He said.
“Principesse, please, don’t cry.” A familiar Italian voice said softly from the drivers seat and you looked up to see Antonio; the cabbie from the other night, driving you.
“Antonio!” You squeaked with surprise, “what are you doing here?”
“I drive the taxi’s, I will always be here.” He said brightly, “now, please, no tears, your pa is a good man, he will be fine, I have said many prayers for him.” He said confidently, touching the rosary beads hanging from the rear view mirror again.
“Did you plan this, you schemer?!” You accused Kuroo lightly.
“Cross my heart, this was random, I promise.” He replied with a laugh, “Tony just happened to be in the area.”
“It is true, amore, he called me and I came!” Tony said happily, making you smile. “il sorriso più bello.” He added, happy that he had made you smile.
A short ride later and you had reached the hospital.
“Tony, I’m so sorry, I only have—.”
“Bello, please, this is for your pa, you go and give him my well wishes.” Antonio said with a small bow of his head. “He is my friend.”
You teared up again as Kuroo took your arm and pulled you back.
“Thank you, Tony.” He said gratefully, “your kindness will not be forgotten.”
Tony smiled and waved then pulled away from the curb.
“Since when were you so nice?” You teased Kuroo.
“I’ve told you before, I’ve always been nice.” He replied, holding his right hand to his heart as he smiled innocently at you.