“Your vitals are good. You’re a strong young man. I think we can release you today.”
It was the next morning, and a doctor had come to do my morning vitals. Once realizing the world had changed again, I hadn’t spoken much more than replying when I was spoken to. My family hadn’t stayed around too long. Mom had work, and I wasn’t that close to my sisters. Once they confirmed I was fine, they left one by one. The person who had stayed the longest was Mackenzie, but she spent the entire time scowling at me. Occasionally, she would reach for her face, shake her head, and then glare harder.
I suppose she had a right to be angry. I just suddenly attacked her without warning. I had to start thinking normally again. I was a little surprised at how quickly it all came back to me. Well, I had watched a bit of television, and it wasn’t like the news would let me forget.
“The women’s march is currently going on…”
“Down with the patriarchy!”
You know, it was funny. For a society allegedly controlled by the male population, entertainment, news, and media just could not stop talking about women. Every channel was going on and on about how oppressed women were. In some ways, I had gotten to experience that so-called oppression myself, and while I agreed, there were plenty of things that sucked about being a woman, it wasn’t so great being a man either. This is why both roles were needed. That’s what my time in that world had taught me.
I shook my head. What was I talking about? What time? I had been in a coma for the last couple of months. I didn’t travel to some other world. I had an advanced hallucination. I even asked the doctor about it, although I didn’t expose the nature of what I experienced, and he confirmed that it just stuffed my mind was made up while I was unconscious. None of it was real. Losing my virginity? Didn’t happen. Getting close to my sisters and my mother? A joke. My girlfriends? Never even met me.
In my mind, I had brought my entire family together. I had multiple girlfriends, a group of loving sisters who adored me, a mom who lived for me, and unlimited sex, and that was just the start. It was all pure fantasy, some wish fulfillment my brain had created. Now, I was in the real world, and everything just felt ordinary. I was barely a man, and my house was just as broken as it always had been. Bethany still thought I was gross, and Mackenzie still hated me. The twins kept their distance. Dawn ignored me. London and I didn’t even have a relationship, and she was still dating that asshole. Everything sucked.
I looked over at the window. It was barred shut. I had already tried it. Perhaps, a sudden fall and a hit would put me back in a coma. It would bring me back to that world. Of course, I could just as quickly die. I knew I was being a hypocrite. Many times, I had even wanted to return to this world while I was there. However, that was with the assumption that everything I had experienced up until that point would still hold. The things I had done mattered… and now they didn’t.
It was a feeling that left me empty and drained. Although everyone had seen my behavior drop since waking up, not a single person commented on it. In my family’s minds, I was just going back to normal. They didn’t know what I knew. They hadn’t lost what I had lost. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be the awkward, depressed geek I had been before, the boy who jacked off into his sock while looking at pirated copies of porn DVDs while trying to be quiet so his sisters didn’t hear him.
This world did have one good thing that happened. There was that one nurse whom I had gotten to play with while I was still under the impression things were like they used to be, but I hadn’t seen her since we had done that. I had asked about her, and she called in sick today after leaving her shift. Rather than coming back for seconds, she was traumatized by what happened. She likely resented and hated me. I was lucky she hadn’t told someone and gotten me in trouble for sexual assault. The best I could hope for in this world was that I didn’t end up in prison. It was that kind of world now.
As I was tuning out the television and feeling sorry for myself, I suddenly felt like I was being watched. I turned to see a girl standing in the doorway. I recognized her immediately.
“You-you know my name?” She blinked, shaking her head. “Ah, you’re awake now.”
“Of course, I know you’re na-” I began, and then stopped myself. “Hi, I’m Noah.”
I shouldn’t know her name. I shouldn’t recognize her either. I had never met Anna. She had been in my coma world, but how did I know what she looked like and her name? As my heart started beating slightly faster, I quickly pushed away those thoughts. It wasn’t that unreasonable. I was hit by her car. I must have gotten a glance at her before she hit me. Maybe, my eyes opened and closed a few times and I got a look at her. Maybe, while in my coma state, I heard others use her name. It wasn’t abnormal for a coma patient to pick up things happening externally and incorporate them into his dream world. That’s all that happened.
“Y-yeah…” She let out an awkward laugh as she pushed back her hair. “I know your name too.”
Anna had changed like everyone else, but the more I looked for changes, the more I saw similarities. She was still a bit geeky, and still a bit timid. She didn’t meet me in the eyes and she seemed embarrassed to be there. Could my coma have guessed her personality? I sat up, my mind focusing on her with more attention than I had given anything since I had discovered the truth.
“You go to an all-girls school.”
She looked at me in surprise. “How did you know?”
“Ah… the badge…” I nodded.
She was wearing her school uniform. It was pretty obvious that she went to a private school, and familiarity with that particular badge could have told me what school. I only noticed when I pointed it out but had I subconsciously noticed it before?
“R-right…” She touched her badge and then looked down, her hands pulled tightly together in front of her.
“You hit me with the car, right?” I continued when I realized she wasn’t going to say anything else.
Her face turned red. “It was an accident! I didn’t expect you to… I mean… I didn’t realize…”
She didn’t seem to be able to get the words out. I knew what I wanted to say though.
“You want to know how you can make it up to me?” I asked.
She looked at me for a second and then nodded shyly. “Y-yes…”
She blinked, and then looked at me in confusion. “What?”
“You need to take me on a date.” I shrugged.
“You want… to take me out?”
“Huh?” I cocked my head. “I said you have to take me on a date. You hit me. Why would I take you out?”
“Ah! That…” She pushed her fingers together, and after a few seconds of thought. “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend.”
“Well, your boyfriend doesn’t need to take me on a date.” I shrugged. “So, what does some made-up person have to do with this.”
Her mouth fell open. “Ah… he-he’s not made up!”
“So, after hitting me with a car, after putting me in a two-month coma, destroying my school year, and possibly causing long-term damage, the only thing I ask is for a meal, and you can’t even provide that?” I asked, shaking my head in mock disgust. “Why did you even bother to come in? Did you think you could just bash your eyelashes, say sorry real sweat, and then not owe me anything?”
“That’s not true!” She protested, taking several steps toward me and grabbing my arm, her eyes filled with tears. “I was guilty. I was scared you’d never wake up.”
“Okay.” I looked her in the eyes. “Then, what’s the problem with asking me out? It’s not that hard. We go somewhere, you buy my dinner, and then you have no reason to be guilty anymore.”
She stared back, biting her lip, but after a moment, she nodded. “Okay. We can go.”
“Go what?” I asked innocently. “I’m not asking you out. You’re asking me out. You need to do it. You need to say the whole thing.”
“You!” She glared at me angrily.
“Yes?” I rest my chin in my hands, looking at her sweetly.
Her anger melted and she put her hand over her mouth and turned away. When she turned back, her expression was smooth.
“Will you… go on a date… with me?” Her face slowly grew redder as she spoke, enunciating each word.
“Yeah, maybe, if I have time.” I shrugged.
“Y-you!” She pinched my arm angrily.
“Hey! You’re assaulting me! First, you put me in a coma, and now you’re attacking me? Help! Help! Nurse! I’m being assaulted.”
“I’m not assaulting you!” Anna stomped her foot, looking quite cute in her frustration and embarrassment.
“Okay, then. My mistake.” I smiled, causing Anna to stumble at the sudden change in my behavior.
“O-okay… then.” Anna nodded, her cheeks still red.
“This is the part where you give me your phone number.” I coughed.
“Ah! Y-yeah! It’s…” She pulled out her phone.
“Here, give me your phone!” I swiped it from her as soon as she passed the unlock screen.
“I’m putting my number in and taking yours. Here’s a test…”
“You don’t need to be so thorough.” She spoke with a pout.
“Sure, I don’t, boyfriend girl.” I scoffed.
“That!” She looked away, blushing again. “Maybe… I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“Yet…” I responded, finishing and handing her back her phone.
“Don’t be so quick, you haven’t even taken me on one date yet.” I shrugged.
“That’s not what I… you…” She shot me another glare, but as she looked away, a small smile was on her lips. “You’ll call me?”
“I have to call you?”
“Be serious!” She bounced on her heels slightly, her eyes locked on me as she put her phone in front of her lips.
I reached out and touched her hand. “I’ll call you as soon as I get home, and we’ll set up that date.”
“It’s a date!” She responded, then realizing how silly her response was, she blushed, backing away. “I’ll see you then.”
I waved. “See you.”
She bit her lip, and then turned and ran out of the door, nearly tripping at the doorway. I used to think women were hard to read, but Anna was really easy. Playing with her emotions was simple, and even though she was initially closed off anyone who wanted to ask her out, I had gotten her to agree to it in only a brief conversation. Before I turned away from the door, another person entered. They stepped into the room in a way that made it clear they had been waiting just outside until Anna left.
“Mom?” I asked.
“You got a date?” Mom asked, her eyes wide in surprise.
“Ah… that?” I was going to refuse it, not wanting to make Mom jealous, but then I remembered this wasn’t that kind of world and changed what I was going to say. “Is that okay?”
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t that be okay?” She asked, genuinely confused.
“Um, she’s the one who hit me with a car.”
“Oh… that. She seems like a nice girl. You can’t hold a single mistake against her. You’re awake now, so what does it matter anyway?” Mom waved it off. “I’m just wondering when my son became such a smooth talker.”
She looked at me like she was waiting for an answer, and I could only give a vague laugh. “Who knows…”