|Dawn Falls Upon Us
Author: Tina Susanne Johansson PM
The Biohazard team lead by Doctor Danial Cassian, comes in clsoe contact with one of the deadliest diseases in the world when Edward Marcase falls in love.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 6 - Words: 20,395 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-17-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2664378
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Doctor Edward Marcase was sitting in his comfortable couch in his cozy apartment staring out into the air. Cassian had somehow managed to get to the Caddy before Edward and he had forced him to take the tape of Danielle home. Edward had agreed with some reluctance.
On the drive home he had convinced himself that he didn't actually have to watch the videotape. When he entered the apartment he had no intention of watching the tape and he threw it in a box containing the tapes of all the great movies he never had time to watch. Then he walked to the kitchen and started making dinner.
When he had washed the dishes he brought his coffee with him to the other end of the living room where he dropped down in the couch and turned on the TV. He switched channels for a while, there were 54 of them and he went through them twice without finding anything worth watching.
He leaned back and enjoyed the coffee while he wondered why in the world he had so many channels when he was never home to watch them anyway – and when he finally was – nothing good was on.
He was about halfway through his coffee when the box with videotapes caught his attention. The tape with Danielle was on top of the pile. He recognized it because all the surveillance tapes from the team facilities were white as opposed to the more usual black. The bright white tape almost drew his eyes to it, in a way he couldn't really ignore. Part of him still didn't want to watch it when he inserted the tape in the VCR. He took a very deep breath, then he pushed the play button. The picture on the screen flickered for a second then it became clear. He could see Danielle. She was siting in a wheelchair being pushed by an employee of Cassians. The picture changed to the segment he had watched at Cassians office with Danielle training her legs. Then the picture disappeared and the screen turned black. Edward reached out for the remote control. He was just about to push the stop button when a picture appeared on the screen. It was clear that it was from the surveillance camera in Danielle's bedroom. She was lying in bed with her back turned to the camera. The room was lit only by the small lamp on her bedside table. He watched as Danielle suddenly sat up in bed. She pulled her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up, holding on to the bed with one hand and the table with the other. She stood there for a while. Because she had her back turned to the camera, Edward couldn't see what she was doing, but he had a pretty good idea. She was trying to walk, trying to make her legs work again. And they wouldn't. She fell back in the bed and Edward saw her face. It showed an expression of pain, sorrow and utter desperation. The camera zoomed in on Danielle's face and Edward could see the tears railing down her cheeks. She was crying all her pain out. At that very moment, Edward regretted ever having left her. All he wanted in the world was to be by her side and comfort her, support her. But he couldn't. Not now. He shook his head as to get his thoughts straight. No, he said to himself. Don't regret having left her. Regret ever having met her. If I had never met her, none of this would have happened and she wouldn't be lying there in pain. He turned off the VCR and the TV and walked to the bedroom. Maybe some sleep would help him clear his head. When he turned the light on, he realized that it had been some time since he had had time to do his laundry. There was quite a big stack of clothes piling up in the armchair in the corner of the room. His eyes caught a glimpse of something shiny and he walked to the chair and pulled the fabric out from the bottom of the stack. It was Danielle's satin nightgown. She must have forgotten to pack it with the rest of her things. They did leave in a hurry, he remembered. He sat down on the floor by the foot of the bed and hid his face in the nightgown. He could smell her. The nightgown had the distinct scent of Danielle that he had already come to miss. He put his head on his arms and stayed like that, all curled up against the bed. Why did his decisions always have to hurt so much?
It was Christmas morning and Danielle had been awake most of the night. It wasn't because she was in pain or was uncomfortable. It wasn't even because she was bored – even though she was.
She was tired of being in bed, tired of being locked away from everything. The place felt surprisingly like a prison when you were bedridden. But that wasn't what had kept her up all night.
She had been thinking about Edward.
She hadn't seen him since she first started to recover. The fact that Edward had been there every time she had opened her eyes had made her stronger. It had increased her will to live, to survive.
And now that Edward wasn't there that will had diminished and all she could do was wonder why he had turned his back on her. Was it something she had done, something she had said? Or was it simply something out of her control, something that could not be changed? She had cried that night. Not so much for herself but for the love that now seemed lost forever.
Suddenly someone knocked on the door and when she turned her head, she saw Michael standing in the doorway. He smiled at her.
"Are you up to having visitors today?" he asked concerned about the look of hopelessness on her face.
guess so," she said in a weak voice:
"I mean – I've had a long time to prepare – for having visitors."
Michael walked in and sat in the chair next to the bed. He put a small box on her stomach. It was wrapped in red silk paper and had a huge white bow on top.
from Edward," Michael said:
"He was sorry he couldn't come himself."
When Danielle tried to catch Michaels look she couldn't. Why? Was he lying?
on," he said:
"Open it. I'm dying to see what Edward bought you on a virologist's salary."
Danielle carefully removed the bow and opened the box. She picked up a smaller white cardboard box like the ones that used to contain jewelry in the old days before the velvet plastic boxes came into fashion. She opened the lid and removed the cotton. Then she froze. In the box, on top of the remaining cotton, lay a gold bracelet. It was clearly African inspired, maybe it was even made in Africa. When she took it out, she saw that there was something inscribed on the inside. She held the bracelet closer to her eyes to read the fine letters:
For RM. Our love will live forever. TM.
"Oh my God," she whispered.
"What?" Michael said.
Danielle looked at him with tears in her eyes.
"This bracelet belonged to Edwards's mother. His father gave it to her."
She took a deep breath.
"He gave me his mother's bracelet.
"There's a card," Michael said and handed it to her. Wen she opened it, she saw that only two words were written on it:
Now she couldn't stop the tears. She had a distinct feeling that Edward hadn't meant sorry he couldn't be there himself. No, he meant something else, and although she wasn't a 100 sure of what, it scared her. Scared her and hurt her.
Michael didn't understand but he offered her his open arms and let her cry with her head on his shoulder. And when there were no more tears left to cry, she dozed of to sleep as Michael carefully tucked her in. Then he left discretely without making a sound.
Danielle was resting comfortably in her wheelchair overlooking the garden. One of the nurses overseeing her progress had wheeled her out into the Winter garden, so she could enjoy the beautiful day. It was midwinter and the trees stood naked baring their innermost secrets.
She had been sitting there for an hour or so when she heard a noise behind her. Carefully and skilled she turned the chair around and saw Doctor Cassian.
she uttered and smiled:
"It's been a while."
"I know – and I'm sorry. But it's been business as usual. No rest for the wicked you know."
"Is that why Edward hasn't been to see me?"
Daniel Cassian had been prepared for the question for quite a while, and still it hit him like a rock.
He was at a loss for words and Danielle read his silence like an open book.
"It isn't is it? There's another reason?"
Cassian pulled up a chair and sat down opposite her.
"Do you want the truth?" he asked.
"Of course I do," Danielle answered.
Cassian leaned back in the chair for a second, then he leaned forward again, took her hands and held them tight.
"Edwards scared. He blames himself for what happened to you."
Danielle was griefstruck.
"He thinks the Dawn followed you and consequently infected you because of your involvement with him."
a minute," Danielle cut in:
"Back up for a second. The Dawn?"
She looked questioning at Daniel. He stared back at her.
"The Dawn is a covert organization that we have had the pleasure of encountering more than once. They shy away from nothing to achieve their goals."
Cassian looked at Danielle with confusion written all over his face.
"What do you mean you know?"
Danielle looked back at him.
"When I met Edward, I had just quit my last job. I managed an archive – for the Dawn."
Daniel Cassian leaned back in his chair, absorbing the news.
"You worked for the Dawn?"
"I never knew what they did, everything was so classified, I couldn't even get at it in the archives. Come to think of it I should have known sooner that there was something strange about them."
Daniel looked at her.
"Why?" he asked interested.
"Their logo. It's the biohazard symbol with a woman's face in front of it. But I never thought about it until now."
They sat there for a while without talking, looking at the garden instead.
"How much longer are you going to keep me here?"
"Actually we're not."
"You're 98 restituted. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to resume your normal life."
"I don't know if I would call it normal. I lost my job and I have no place to live, all of my things are in storage."
Cassian smiled back.
"I can set you up in one of our houses for a while. That's the least we can do after what you've been through."
Danielle shook her head.
"Don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed your hospitality very much. But I think it is time I stand on my own two feet again."
of feet," Cassian said:
"You'll have to stay in the wheelchair for a little while longer. Your legs are still weak from all the time you've spent in bed."
"You don't say."
Cassian got up from his chair.
"Well, I guess I'll be leaving now. I'll come see you off in a couple of days."
He started walking.
Danielle's outcry stopped him.
"What about Edward? I want to see him, to explain everything."
Cassian looked at the garden when he answered, not at Danielle.
"That could prove a tad difficult. He's in Zimbabwe."
Danielle was stunned.
"What's he doing in Zimbabwe? Couldn't he get any further away from me?"
"It's got nothing to do with you."
Cassian walked back to her.
"We have a project in Zimbabwe and the President wanted it to go public. He chose Marcase and Shiroma to do the footwork. There was nothing I could do and it had absolutely nothing to do with you. Okay?"
He looked at Danielle.
"Okay," she whispered.
Cassian started walking again.
"I have to go now, but I'll be back to say goodbye. Now you just focus on getting well and you'll see everything will be just fine."
Danielle nodded one last time and then Cassian was gone. She turned the wheelchair around again and looked down at the snow-covered garden.
She could feel tears of anger in her eyes.
Two weeks later, there was a knock on the office door of Doctor Daniel Cassian in Washington D.C.
"Enter," he said, preoccupied by reading two files at once.
When he raised his head to see who had entered, he blinked an extra time.
"Danielle, what an unexpected pleasure."
Danielle Campbell was standing just inside the door. She was wearing a dark green shirt and black army-style pants. Her hair was put up and except for the crutches in her hands she looked like she had never been ill.
"You're walking," Cassian said.
"Of course I'm walking. You gave me something to fight for."
Cassian looked at her with an air of surprise in his eyes.
"I thought my visit would leave you devastated."
you don't know me that well," Danielle answered:
"I fight for the things I want. I always have."
There was a brief pause then Daniel Cassian snapped back into his official role as a professional, executive physician.
"Please sit down," he said and pointed to the leather chair on the other side of his desk.
Danielle sat down in the chair and placed her crutches against the desk.
"I'm sorry I didn't come to say goodbye," he said.
Danielle shook her head.
"That's alright. I know how busy you are."
Cassian smiled at her.
"What?" Danielle said.
"You look wonderful. It's impossible to see that you almost died of the most lethal disease in the world three months ago."
Danielle returned his smile.
"I take that as a compliment. Thank you."
Cassian picked up a pen realized that he had no use for it and put it down again.
"I am very happy to see you but this isn't the best time. I have a job interview scheduled now."
Danielle reached into her backpack and pulled out some pieces of paper.
know," she said and handed him the papers:
"I'm the one you're supposed to interview."
Cassian looked confused.
"How? How did you know about the job?"
"You have a very nice secretary. I tried to reach you when you didn't show up as you promised, and instead I talked to your secretary. We had a long talk."
Cassian still looked confused.
"I can imagine."
He looked down at the papers.
"I suppose you want me to treat you like all the other applicants?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
Cassian leaned back and studied the papers closer. He read her application form first and then her curriculum. He took his time and Danielle leaned back meanwhile and looked around the office, observing every book title, every picture, every award.
Finally Cassian put the papers down at the desk and looked at her again. He took of his glasses and put them on the desk next to the papers.
"You do realize what kind of job you're applying for, don't you?"
"If I didn't I wouldn't be here."
Cassian still looked at her.
"If you get the job, it means you could be exposed to infectious diseases, some of them lethal." Danielle nodded again.
"I used to be terrified of diseases and hospitals and doctors. That's changed now. I'm not just a survivor. I'm an Ebola survivor and to me that means that I have the courage to face everything."
"Alone?" Cassian asked.
"If I have to."
"But not preferably, right?"
He leaned forward and folded his hands on the desk.
"You do have another reason for wanting this job."
didn't flinch as she answered:
"Do you really have to ask?"
Cassian leaned back again.
"To tell you the truth I think you're overqualified for the position, and as a bonus you seem to have all the necessary vaccinations covered. Unfortunately it's not my decision alone. I have a meeting at the White House tonight. All the applicants will be notified of the outcome sometime tomorrow."
Danielle reached for the crutches and got up. She smiled at Daniel Cassian.
"Thank you," she said.
Cassian smiled back.
"You haven't got the job yet."
Danielle straightened her clothes.
"I know. The thank you was for not turning me away."
With those words she left the office and Cassian to his own thoughts.
Danielle was awakened by a knock on the door. She turned to look at the clock. It was four in the morning. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and shivered from the cold. It had been colder inside the motel room than outside the entire two weeks she had been there. She put on a robe in a hurry and reached for her crutches. Someone knocked again.
"Hold your horses," she shouted and hurried to the door.
The winter cold crept in when she opened but she didn't feel it when she recognized the man outside as an employee for the US Mail.
"Sign here," he said and handed her a form.
She signed her name and the postal worker handed her a large brown envelope. Then he nodded goodbye and hurried back to his warm, comfortable car.
Danielle closed the door and returned to the bed. She looked at the envelope. It had the White House logo in the corner. She had forgotten all about the cold when she carefully opened the envelope and took out the contents.
first paper she looked at was a formal letter. She didn't read more
than the first two lines. She didn't have to.
Congratulations. You are our new office administrator in Zimbabwe effective immediately.
At the bottom of the paper there were two signatures, Doctor Cassians and the Presidents.
Danielle was ecstatic with happiness; her eyes were filled with tears of joy as she looked through the contract. Then she noticed a smaller envelope with the words Good Luck written on it. It contained a plane ticket to Zimbabwe. She looked at it an extra time before she realized that she was actually booked on a flight four hours later. She'd better start packing.
Danielle walked down the transit hall at Harare Airport. Her eyes landed on a tall African man, dressed in a safari outfit. He was holding a sign with her name on it. She smiled when she reached him.
"Hi, I'm Danielle Campbell."
He smiled back.
"I'm Jonesy. I'm here to take you to the camp."
Her lead her to the luggage conveyor belts and while they waited, she realized that he was staring at her.
"What is it?" she asked.
use crutches," he said:
"That won't be comfortable at the camp."
"That won't be a problem. I've decided never to use them again after today."
Jonesy looked confused, then he lit up in a huge smile.
"It is true what Doctor Cassian told me about you."
Now it was Danielle's turn to look confused.
"You've talked to Doctor Cassian?"
"Yes, he called me and asked me to pick you up. And he gave me strict orders not to tell Doctor Edward. Why didn't he want Doctor Edward to know?"
Danielle looked at him.
"Probably because he wants Edwards anger directed at me and not at you. And trust me, he won't be happy to see me. Not at first, anyway."
"You love Doctor Edward don't you?"
"Yes I do," Danielle answered.
Jonesy laughed out loud as he got her luggage of the conveyor belt.
"I wish the camp was not so far away. I can't wait to see what happens."
The drive out to the camp was long, but Danielle was almost sad when it was over.
From the road, she had seen giraffes, zebras and even a pack of lions resting under a tree. It was just like the programs she used to watch on the Discovery Channel, only better.
She could smell the savanna; feel the sun on her face. It was better than she could ever have imagined.
But the trip had to come to an end and the end came when they approached the camp.
When they drove through the gate Danielle got a closer look at the structure. There was a large white building in the center of the camp, probably containing offices and hospital. Smaller wooden houses surrounded the building, the living quarters, and finally a high fence surrounded the entire compound.
"Why the fence?" she asked Jonesy.
"Lions – they get curious at night."
He parked the car outside the hospital and got out. When Danielle followed his example she heard him laugh.
"Here we go," he grinned.
She didn't understand what he was talking about; instead she concentrated on getting her crutches out from behind the front seat.
When she slammed the door, she realized why Jonesy had been laughing. Edward was staring at her from the door to the hospital. She didn't know what to say, so instead of saying anything she walked up to him and handed him a piece of paper. He read it, then he looked up at her, disbelief painted all over his face.
"You're the office administrator?"
He still looked confused.
"I applied and I got the job. 'Guess I had the right qualifications."
Edward shook his head.
"You have to leave."
handed her the paper again:
"You can't stay."
He started walking away from her.
can't leave Edward," she yelled after him:
"My contract says I have to stay with the project until you and Kimberly have finished your work."
"Then you'll just have to break your contract," he yelled with his back to her.
she shouted, now with anger in her voice:
"Would you just wait a minute?"
Her angry tone made him stop but not turn around. Danielle looked at him for a second, then she handed Jonesy the crutches.
"Here you go Jonesy, I won't be needing these anymore."
He looked at her with admiration when she started to walk toward Edward. She staggered a little but then she straightened her back and walked determined again.
Jonesy's outcry finally made Edward turn around and he looked at Danielle.
"What are you doing?"
"You've underestimated me. I don't need the crutches. Not anymore. I am fine."
She stopped in front of him.
have to go home," he whispered:
"It's not safe for you here."
She looked him straight in the eyes.
"It's not safe for me anywhere. It's a cruel world we live in. But I feel safe when you're near."
Edward shook his head.
"It was my fault you got sick. It'll happen again."
wasn't your fault," she cut in:
"The job I quit – it was for the Dawn. They had me targeted before we even met, you had nothing to do with it."
She followed Edwards' eyes and realized that he was staring at the bracelet on her arm, the bracelet that had belonged to his mother. She put her hands in his and caught his eyes. She smiled reassuringly.
not going to die Edward," she whispered:
He blinked a couple of times and she could see that his eyes were shinier than usual. Then he put his arms around her and held her tight. The move was so sudden; it took her by surprise. She couldn't breathe; the happiness filled her body completely. She put her arms around his neck and returned his embrace.
"I'm sorry," Edward whispered in her ear.
be," Danielle answered:
When he kissed her, it felt right. It was a confirmation for Danielle that all her trouble had paid off.
They let go of each other's lips when they realized that they were being applauded. The entire camp staff, including Kimberly and Jonesy was standing on the hospital front porch, clapping their hands and smiling. Edward put an arm around Danielle's shoulder and walked toward the hospital with her.
"You do realize that I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy when it comes to relationships? I want marriage, a house and children."
"Oh, you mean, basically the whole package?"
"Yeah, I guess you could say that."
"Then maybe it's a good thing that I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl."
Edward smiled and kissed her on the forehead.
"That's definitely a good thing."