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Chapter no 78

The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)

The first thing I was aware of was pressure on my chest. It felt like a cinder block was holding me down. I struggled against the weight of it, and like a switch had been flipped, every nerve in my body began to scream. My eyes flew open.

The first thing I saw was the machine, then the tubes. So many tubes, connected to my body.

I’m in the hospital, I thought, but then the rest of the world came into focus around me, and I realized that this wasn’t a hospital room. It was my room. At Hawthorne House.

Seconds passed like molasses. It took everything I had not to claw the tubes out of my body. Memory settled in around me. Jameson’s voice—and Grayson’s. Lightning and fire and—

There was a bomb.

A nearby monitor began sounding some kind of alarm, and the next thing I knew, a woman in a white doctor’s coat rushed into the room. When I recognized her, I thought I was dreaming again.

“Dr. Liu?”

“Welcome back, Avery.” Max’s mother fixed me with a no-nonsense look. “I need you to lie back and breathe.”

 

 

I was poked and prodded and dosed with pain medication. By the time Dr. Liu let Libby and Max into my room, I was feeling downright loopy.

“I gave her some morphine,” I heard Dr. Liu tell Libby. “If she wants to sleep, let her.”

Max approached my bed, as tentative as I’d ever seen her.

“Your mom is here,” I said.

“Correct,” Max replied, taking a seat next to the bed. “At Hawthorne House.”

“Very good,” Max said. “Now, tell me what year it is, who’s president, and which Hawthorne brother you’re going to let fax your brains out first.”

“Maxine!” Dr. Liu sounded like she was the one with a splitting headache.

“Sorry, Mama,” Max said. She turned back to me. “I called her when Alisa brought you back here. Lawyer Lady more or less stole your fine comatose self from the hospital in Oregon, and everyone was pretty faxing mad. We weren’t about to let her staff you up with doctors of her choosing. We needed someone we could trust. I might have been disowned, but I’m not stupid. I called. The great Dr. Liu came.”

“You were not disowned,” Max’s mom said sternly.

“I distinctly remember disowning,” Max countered. “Agree to disagree.”

If you’d told me a few hours ago that Max and her mom would be in the same room, and it wouldn’t be painful or awkward or painfully awkward, I wouldn’t have believed you.

A few hours ago. My brain latched on to that thought, and I realized the obvious: If there had been time for Alisa to steal me from a hospital, and time for Max to call her mom…

“How long was I out?” I asked.

Max didn’t answer, not right away. She looked back at her mom, who nodded. Max opened her mouth, but Libby beat her to speaking. “Seven days.”

“A full week?”

Libby’s hair was dyed again—not one color, but dozens. I thought about what she’d said about her ninth birthday. About the cupcakes my mom had baked for her, and the rainbow colors she’d clipped into her hair, and I wondered how much of her life Libby had spent trying to get that one perfect moment back.

“They told me you might not wake up.” Libby’s voice was shaking now. “I’m okay,” I said, but then I realized that I had no idea if that was true. I

stole a look at Dr. Liu.

“Your body’s been healing nicely,” she told me. “The coma was medically induced. We tried to wake you up two days ago, but there was

some unexpected swelling in your brain. That’s all under control now.”

I looked past her toward the doorway. “Do the others know?” I asked. “That I’m awake?” Do the boys?

Dr. Liu walked over to my bedside. “Let’s take this one step at a time.”

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