Jack returned early the next morning. He saw Bernard on his side, grabbing large amounts of tissues. He ran into the room and sat down at his side.
“Bernard? What’s wrong?”
“Just thinking of what a shitty life I have! I’m single, I’m lonely, hell I don’t even have a cat! My job is an absolute dead end. I was just trying to tally up the bills I’m racking up and the tears started flowing! My lousy insurance probably won’t even pay for a third of this stuff. I did it to myself! It’s all my fault!”
“Hey, calm down, shhh.” Jack leaned forward and put his hand on his shoulder. Poor guy! Such a handsome fellow just needs some work. I think he needs a strong dose of love and attention. There’s something about this guy; can’t quite pinpoint it.
Bernard covered his face with his hands and sobbed deeply.
Jack tried not to let his emotions run away from him. It was always toughest to deal with the suicide watch patients. He bit his lip and attempted to paint on his professional demeanor. “Shhh, hey. Can I call the nurse or get you anything?”
Bernard’s red face finally surfaced. “No. They can’t do anything for me.”
Jack started to stand up. “Want me to leave?”
Bernard panicked and pulled him back down. “No! Please don’t go. You’re a big help to me. I just… I dunno. I’m so sad and miserable and thinking about everything that’s happened. I’ll miss you and Nancy when I leave. You two saved my life!”
Jack smiled at him and wiped off his face with a couple of tissues. “That’s better, clear those blue eyes. Bernard, it’s what we do. Every life is worth saving.”
Bernard cleared his throat and touched Jack’s hand. “I-I was wondering, if I could write you sometimes? Let you know how I am?”
“I’ll do one better than that. Why don’t we exchange phone numbers and when our schedules are good, we can meet up sometime?” He offered cheerfully.
Bernard’s eyes lit up. “Y-You’d do that?”
“Of course! You’re a very special patient, Bernard. I’d like to keep in touch with you and know how you are doing. Four times is an awful lot for one person; you need someone to keep regular tabs on your progress.” He and Bernard shared a glance together. Jack looked into the ice blue eyes which were sparked with tears and were bloodshot red. He shut his own eyes for a moment and cleared his throat. “That reminds me, Dr. Rasmus is coming by today to talk with you. This is really in his realm now; I’m just the physician who happened to be on duty that night.”
Bernard wiped off his face and managed a smile. “Okay, sounds good. I could use the help. Doc, be honest, am I the only patient who’s ever made this request?”
Jack cast a studious look. “Hmm, to be honest, no. But usually they stop first. They forget all about us here at the hospital.”
Bernard sat forward and looked thoughtfully into Jack’s eyes. “I promise you, I won’t stop. I owe you my life!”
Jack picked up the large hand and held it for a moment. “You don’t owe me anything. You just get better, okay? You’re going home tomorrow.”
Bernard wet his lips. “To be honest, I’d look forward to it if I had more of a life to go home to.”
A new voice entered the room. It was deep and masculine, laced with a medium accent. “Bernard Covington?”
The short man extended his dark hand to shake his. “Hello. I’m Dr. Rasmus. Pleasure to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
Jack glanced at the clock. “I’ve got to get going. I’ll see you later, Bernard.”