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Live, Love, Lose - 22. Chapter 22

It's still Karl's POV for this chapter

“I’m really worried about him, you know. Already when Nathan was at war, he skipped meals, but now that he died, I’m afraid he is going to let himself starve and die…”

Three days later, apparently, things hadn’t got any better…

“Besides, he hasn’t been drinking either, and he cannot stay any longer without drinking…Paul! You have to do something! Even your father couldn’t do anything…”

Mrs. Hopkins looked completely panicked and terrified. It was really painful to see. The same feeling was back in his stomach.

“If Dad couldn’t do anything, I don’t think I can help…”

“But you are like a big brother to him, you two are really close. I am sure you are the only one who can do this.”

Paul looked dubious.

“Even if we are this close, I don’t think there’s anything I can do…”

“Don’t start talking like your father! Just take this and do what it will take to get him out of his room!”

Paul was left speechless by her words and the tone she used. He took what she gave to him without protesting or anything. A tray with small homemade sandwiches and a carafe full of water.

“Please, be quick!”

She sounded angry, but the way she begged him showed she was worried to death more than anything else. She started pushing him away, and Karl just watched as Paul made his way towards the stairs. But as he was about to get out of the kitchen, he stopped in his tracks and turned around only to look at Karl.

“Are you coming?”

Of course, Karl was surprised he should be asking this.

Why should he come with him? This was none of his business. He wasn’t a part of the Hopkins’s family, and he had hardly been staying with them for more than a month…

Du behøver ikke min hjælp, Karl could only think. You don’t need my help.

But the words in English wouldn’t come to him.

Besides he wasn’t particularly close with George…

He could suddenly feel a hand touch his back.

“Please, go with him.”

The way she said it, so sad and broken…and so pleading at the same time…this made a shiver run through his body. He didn’t know what was worse between this and the awful feeling in his stomach…

He couldn’t let Paul go alone now.

He quickly went by his side and even faster they found themselves before George’s door.

“Can you take these, please?” He handed Karl the tray and carafe.

Karl nodded as he took them.

“Thanks.”

Paul tried to open it, but it was blocked, no, locked. So instead he knocked on the door.

“George! George! please, open the door!”

He waited for a bit. But nothing happened.

He banged much more loudly with the back of his fist.

“George! Come on, you can’t stay locked in here crying forever!” He banged again. “George!”

Karl pressed his ear against the hardwood. He couldn’t hear any crying, let alone shouting or screaming. For some reason, he found it weird.

He looked back at Paul whose eyes were solely focused on the door. He brought his fist near his lips, but it only lasted a few seconds. He banged again, so loud and aggressively that it seemed he could have hurt his hand had he done it for too long.

“George! For fuck’s sake!”

“Paul! Please don’t swear!” His mother could be heard shouting from downstairs.

He let out some kind of growl.

“GEORGE!”

All this noise was most likely the cause of this disturbing silence.

“GEORGE!!!”

It was clear that he wasn’t ready to open the door anytime soon…

Paul let out a frustrated sigh.

“George…I know it’s hard. But we only want to help you. So don’t shut us out…”

Karl would have rather not witnessed this…

“We really care for you. We wished we could have shielded you from the pain, but we couldn’t lie to you and pretend everything was okay…”

Still nothing.

“George…Please…let us in.” He begged and Karl chewed on his lower lip. He had never seen him so…desperate.
It seemed that he had absolutely no idea what else he could do so George would open the door, and Karl chewed on his lip harder. He really wished he could do something to help, anything.

“George…”

His voice was hardly above a whisper.

Karl’s chest ached. It was even worse than the feeling in his stomach.

Paul just stared at the door helplessly, probably trying to come up with something that could work, anything. And Karl just kept observing him silently.

A few minutes passed, and it seemed that he couldn’t find anything. He just looked a bit more desperate with each second that passed. He licked his lips as he looked away from the door.

Karl was overwhelmed by this feeling that wouldn’t leave him alone. He was feeling totally useless, and he hated that.

They waited again and again, until Paul’s face became pale, making Karl alarmed. He looked terrified now, similar to his mother.

“Holy shit…” he said in a low voice. “If he hasn’t eaten anything or drunk water for three days…”

Karl suddenly had a very bad feeling. His stomach hurt, and this time it wasn’t brief. There were successive waves of pain overwhelming him and he really couldn’t do anything about it.

“Damn it,” Paul whispered. And he finally looked at Karl. “We need to have that door open, and quick.”

Karl remained still and silent. How could they possibly open the door if it was locked from inside?

Before he could even react, Paul was trying to knock the door down.

Karl suddenly flinched.

“Paul…” the words left his mouth without warning, and he himself was surprised but the sound of his own voice.

If he kept going on like this, he feared he might have hurt himself.

But it seemed that Paul didn’t even hear him. He kept trying to knock it down, again, again, again, and again.

“Stop!”

The door wouldn’t yield. They needed something heavy that would be able to break it.

Paul stood still as he looked at him.

“Don’t worry about me. I can stand this.”

But Karl wasn’t convinced. He put both the tray and carafe down. He could find an idea, he wasn’t stupid. Not for this kind of thing.

He had to.

Think, think… he told himself.

Without warning, he ran downstairs and made his way towards the kitchen.

“Karl! Where ‘re you going?” He could hear Paul shout as he finished hurtling down the stairs.

Once he was there, he opened one of the drawers and grabbed the first knife he saw before rushing back upstairs.

“Let me do it,” was all he said before he leaned against the door.

He placed the knife between the door and the door jamb, one hand on the knob. He slid it down swiftly.

The bolt must be here…

He worked it until it would unlock.

“Hurtigt, hurtigt…” he said in a low voice. Fast.

He tried several times in a row before the door finally opened. He let out a sigh of relief.

Paul hurried into the room as soon as it was opened, not even leaving Karl the time to step aside, but the young Danish boy simply brushed it off and followed after him.

“George!”

Karl’s eyes went wide open, and he felt a shiver run through his body.

“George!”

Said male was lying unconscious on the floor, near the bed.

Paul tried to shake him awake, but it only seemed to be a vain attempt. When he saw he wouldn’t wake up, he turned around to meet Karl’s gaze.

“Bring the water, please!”

Karl didn’t even take the time to think, he went to fetch the carafe in a flash, and put the knife down as he did. Now was definitely not the right time to let himself be overwhelmed by his own feelings. He crouched down next to Paul and handed him the water.

“Thanks,” he said hurriedly. “Just help me sit him up.”

Yes, trying to have him swallow water while he was lying down would definitely be a very bad idea…

Karl took him by the ribs carefully and tried to make him sit up. Paul helped him, but with one arm only. He held him in place as Paul tried to open his mouth with his fingers, and of course it wasn’t easy…

“Come on, you have to drink a little…what a moron; but what a moron…!”

Once again, Karl just observed him in silence before he glanced at George. He swore he could make out the faint traces of dried tears on his face.

“I know losing someone that close to you is a terrible ordeal, but it’s not a reason to forget to hydrate yourself, even if you don’t eat, that’s acceptable. But not drinking is not!”

He tried to make some water go through his mouth, but there was actually more water on the bottom of his face and his clothes than in his throat.

“Damn, damn it…”

He put the carafe down hastily and checked his pulse on his neck before he brought his face close to his own.

“He’s breathing, but his pulse is pretty low…”

What were they supposed to do now?

Karl just stared at Paul, waiting for him to make a decision, the best decision.

It was silent for a little while.

“We have to take him to the hospital…we can’t risk having him die simply because he’s too busy mourning to think about his own health…they’ll take much better care of him than what we can do.”

Karl just blinked because he realised he hadn’t for one minute or so.

“We just need to carry him to the car. It should be okay because he’s not that heavy as you must have already noticed.”

Karl recognised the word "car". Another one Mrs. Hopkins had taught him of course. But he had never got into one. Even when he had been in Copenhagen. Neither did his brother or sister own one.

“Here’s what we're gonna do: I’m gonna hold him by the ribs and you’re gonna hold him by the legs, okay?”

Karl nodded as he immediately understood. He let go of George’s upper body and placed himself in the right position.

“One, two, three,” they lifted him up simultaneously and started heading out of the room carefully.

As soon as they were downstairs, Mrs. Hopkins was there, still looking panicked, all the more saw when her eyes fell upon George.

“Dear Lord…”

“Mum, please, calm down. He’s just unconscious. He’s not dead. But we’re still taking him to the hospital out of precaution.”

“I’m coming with you,” she said hurriedly.

“No, Mum, don’t. Can you please just open the door and then go and open the car’s door? It’ll be already quite enough.”

She was about to say something, but Paul cut her off.

“Please, Mum. We can’t afford to waste even one second!”

She looked dubious, but it took her only a few seconds to open the door.

“Let me get the key first, I’m coming.”

Paul led the way outside, which wasn’t that easy since he wasn’t turned in the right way to walk properly. They soon arrived near the car, which he was actually seeing for the very first time. It was a really nice car. Mrs. Hopkins soon joined them and unlocked the car doors.

“Let’s put him in the back seat, just, here, go first, put his legs down, and then go to the other side of the car.”

Karl did as carefully as possible before he went to the other side. He grabbed his legs and pulled him, still as carefully as possible, because he was a human being and not just some inanimate object; and even if he was unconscious it didn’t mean he could be careless.

“Yes, perfect, like this.”

But there was just a slight problem…

“Oh, I forgot that he’s a bit too tall compared to the car’s seats…”

Now that Karl was thinking about it, he was practically as tall as he was.

“Just bend his legs. We’re gonna lie him down on his side,” he made the appropriate gestures as he spoke.

Karl nodded and did as told.

“When I think he’s the one supposed to become a future doctor…I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know doctors are people like you and me; they are human beings, but still…it looks a little bit weird…”

Right after he finished speaking, they turned him so he would be in the right position.

“Perfect.”

Paul closed the car’s door swiftly, and Karl did the same. Then he went to stand by his side.

“Let me get your father.”

“Mum, no, please. You need to stay here,” Paul insisted.

“What are you saying?”

“Mum,” he said before he grabbed her wrists, “It’s okay, Carl and I can handle this on our own. You need to stay at home to look after Dad. He needs you, more than anyone else.”

He moved his hands to her own and gave them a light squeeze. Her eyes instantly softened. But there was still pain in them.

“You know you can trust us.” His voice was much softer too. “He’ll be alright. We’ll get through this. All together.” He brought one of her hands to his face and kissed it, a chaste and loving kiss. It was so pure. Such a simple gesture, yet so much love conveyed through it.

He couldn’t help the soft smile that came on his face. It was so beautiful.

“Go now. Don’t wait too much,” her voice sounded broken, and it caused his chest to ache. “You said it yourself: we can’t afford to waste even one second,” her voice was more solemn then.

He gave her a tiny smile before he kissed her hand again and then let go.

“We’ll see you later. Come, let’s go.”

He and Karl rushed into the car, and Karl couldn’t help getting more and more anxious as they neared the hospital. He wasn’t really sure why though…
Yet, he was fascinated by how Paul managed to drive the car so easily.

Such contradictory feelings for such an unusual situation.

*

The hospital was tremendous. And white. He had never been in one before. His brother had just shown him the one they had in Copenhagen.

Paul was pacing up and down what was supposed to be the waiting room while Karl was sitting down still and watching him silently. He wished he could do something to reassure him, but he guessed it’d be pointless. Even if he could speak English fluently he wouldn’t do it.

He had a feeling that the waiting was far from being over. They had already spent all night long waiting since they had arrived a bit late there. But it’s not as if he really had something better to do. Unlike Paul. He would have to miss work today since he was still there. But despite spending the whole night here, he didn’t seem to be that tired. He still had enough energy to pace back and forth the room. There was only the sound of his steps that resonated through the dead silence of it. It was like some kind of reminding of the clock that ticked and ticked and ticked.

………..
………..………..
………..
………..………..………..………..………..
………..

“Damn it!” Paul was growing impatient at some point. “How long do they intend to keep us waiting like this?!”

Karl remained stoic. There was nothing he could say or do to make the waiting end.

Paul sighed out of exasperation. He had finally stopped pacing up and down the room. After a while, he let out another sigh, but not one of exasperation this time.

“I’m sorry… I guess you’d rather be elsewhere than staying here to put up with me.”

Karl just remained silent and gave him a small sad smile. He hoped body language would be enough for this. He actually didn’t feel very much like speaking…

“Thank you. Thank you so much. The knife was a very good idea,” he sighed again. “I know simple words can never be enough. You’ve been spending a sleepless night because of us, and all I can find to say is ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘thank you’…”

Karl didn’t like to see him so distressed, especially if he was the cause of it. He had done what he thought was right. He didn’t need to be thanked. He didn’t want Paul to feel guilty. He didn’t mind being there with him. If anything, he would just fear he would not be needed. That his place wasn’t there, waiting with him.

But then after a few moments, a thought suddenly crossed his mind.

Maybe Paul just needed to be someone to go through this. He didn’t want to be alone to face this. But if he sought some comfort and reassurance, Karl wasn’t really the right person to be with…

“Once I see a doctor, I promise I’ll bring you back home.”
Right after he said that the door finally opened. A man with a white coat entered the room. Just with a single look at him, he could say that he looked older than Paul. He was probably in his thirties. In his late thirties. Maybe in his mid-thirties.

“Has he woken up yet?”

The doctor didn’t look really reassuring.

“No, not yet. He is still in a coma. But don’t panic. He will be alright. He only needs some good rest and to be looked after."

Paul didn’t respond immediately. He looked thoughtful, but a bit less distressed.

“Will I be able to see him?”

“Yes, naturally. Sorry for the long wait by the way. The hospital has been bustling quite a lot lately."

“It’s okay, as long as I know he’s alright now, the rest doesn’t matter.”

The man nodded at him.

“Can I come back to see him later in the morning?”

“Of course. You can come and see him whenever you want.”

“Great.”

Paul turned his head to look at Karl. “I’ll bring you back home first as I’ve just promised. You’ve done quite enough. And you definitely need some rest.”

Karl said nothing. He wouldn’t object to what Paul thought was best.

“Just ask for Doctor Spencer when you come back.”

“I will. Thank you, Doctor.”

“Anytime.”

“Let’s go back home, Karl.”

The young Dane nodded before he stood up and went to stand beside him.

The man nodded at them before leaving the room.

Karl glanced down as his body couldn't behave normally any more. He felt like he was ill, but he was sure he wasn't. He had a bad feeling.

He felt this was only the beginning of troubles.

Hello :)

As I keep in mind that this is only the beginning of the downward spiral for George, it makes me depressed...😢

Sill, I hope you liked the chapter

Take care and stay safe 💕

Copyright © 2021 LittleCherryBlossom26; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

A downward spiral--that sounds very ominous. Dunkirk was a disaster and England was potentially subject to an invasion. To lose a great friend at the beginning of the war must be really tragic.  We don't know yet how close George was to his dead friend.  Time and more deaths will harden the impact of many more deaths. Stalin said one death is a tragedy--a thousand deaths is a statistic.

Poor Karl needs to learn and be taught lots more English to be able to be a positive force at home--especially with Paul and George.

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Poor George; whether survivors guilt, the lost of a friend, or the loss of an undeclared/declared love, it is obviously more than George can accept at this point. With his shattered mind rational thought processes are not possible, but at least the depression didn’t lead him to a more aggressive self harm. His mental health will be difficult enough to recover, without adding self inflicted bodily harm; especially in an age with less understanding of mental depression, and many families are losing young men to war, the knowledge of a young man harming himself would seem unforgivable.

Karl is somewhat confused; by his lack of full communication skills, by the growing bonds he has yet to recognize, and by new psychophysical symptoms he is now experiencing for the first time. This is a very new world and age for young Karl.

Great job for these young men keeping their cools under pressure, in an emergency; especially when Karl recognized that the brute force attempt to open the door was not working, and that Paul may be injured if he continued to overpower that locked door. 
 

@LittleCherryBlossom26, please don’t keep us sidelined with this supporting character in a coma! 👿 

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