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A couple of days later, Kyle took Izzy back to the lodge on Koh Tao and settled her in at her bungalow. He propped her pillows up behind her on the bed and pulled a light blanket over her lap. As she watched him tend to her every conceivable need, Izzy smiled happily.
“Babe, I love you so much. You’re just so lovely to me,” she said emotionally, tears gathering in her eyes. He came over and sat on the bed next to her, wrapping his arms around her.
“You don’t deserve any less my angel, and I love you so much too,” he said, kissing her bandaged head gently. “Lots, and lots, and lots!”
Kyle went to the restaurant to fetch them food and something to drink. He came back laden with a box that held macaroni cheese in Tupperware containers, and all the stuff they would need to make tea and coffee, including a kettle. Izzy started to laugh when she saw him, but it hurt her head and she had to stop.
“Baby, I have a kettle,” she told him, pointing towards her bathroom, “in the bathroom cupboard.”
“Oh well,” Kyle smiled. “You know what I say; one can never have too many kettles.”
“Indeed,” Izzy smiled. “Can we watch a movie now?”
“I’ll put one on just now, but first we should have some lunch. You’ve got to eat, we need to get you strong again,” he told her, his concern not hidden by the playful tone of his voice. “And besides, your folks are arriving tomorrow and I don’t want them to think I haven’t been looking after you.”
He took the Tupperware bowls of macaroni cheese out of the box and handed her one, along with a fork. Then he made them each a cup of coffee, placing Izzy’s on the bedside table next to her, along with two tablets – one a painkiller and the other an anti-depressant. “Here’s your pain pill, and the doc suggested you take these anti-depressants as well for a while.”
“To help you deal with the trauma of what’s happened to you.”
“But then when I stop taking them it’ll hit me anyway. I’d rather just deal with it now; I don’t want to be all happy and shit just ‘cause I’m on medication, and then get weaned off the stuff just to realise how crappy it all is anyway.”
“Okay,’ he conceded reluctantly, “but we’ll hang on to them for a bit in case you change your mind.”
“Fine,” she said in exaggerated compliance and Kyle laughed quietly; it was an expression they’d both heard Patsy use countless times when she wasn’t entirely happy with something but wasn’t prepared to argue either.
“Angel,” he said after a moment, sitting on the bed beside her and looking at her seriously. “I told your mom that we’re together now, as a couple. I hope you don’t mind?”
“I’m glad, baby.” She kissed him softly, dispelling his anxiety.
“I need to ask you something,” he said, feeling more confident. “I know things are all mixed up at the moment because of the accident, but I was wondering if you’d come home with me at the end of the month? Your folks want you to stay with them in Knysna for a bit while you get back on your feet, and I was thinking we could maybe live there, together?”
“With my folks?”
“Your mom says your cousin – Melanie? – is renting an apartment on the waterfront, but she’s not staying there anymore ‘cause she’s living with her boyfriend, so we can stay there when we arrive and maybe take over the lease at the end of the month.”
“Cool,” Izzy said, and then an element of concern clouded her expression. “But what am I going to do there, besides recover, and what about your underwater photography course?”
“I checked it out on the Internet last night and they have a course centre in Knysna. And as for what you’re going to do, my love, we’ll figure it out – something will come along.”
“And you’re happy to make such a big commitment? You don’t just feel obliged to me because of the accident?” she asked anxiously.
“Oh sweetie, no! I would have suggested this regardless,” he said pulling her gently into an embrace.
“Okay. I’ll go home with you then,” she smiled, feeling comforted. “And I’ll try to be patient and see what this second chance at life has in store for me.”
Hundreds of text messages poured in on Izzy’s cellphone. Her parents had told her friends whom they were in contact with, such as Alice, about the accident and word of mouth had done the rest. With each new message of concern and support, Izzy felt stronger and realised how lucky she was to be all right after her accident, and to have so many people who loved her and cared about her.
When her parents arrived on the island, Greg gave them a room at the lodge and refused to take any payment from them, a considerate gesture he’d extended to Kyle as well. Pete and Patsy then headed straight for the bungalow to spend every moment they could with their daughter. Seeing her so bruised and battered was difficult but they were relieved by how happy she seemed despite the circumstances.