|Edge of Forever
Author: BBBKA PM
The Duncan family's lives are changed forever in split second. COMPLETERated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Family - Amy D. & Gabe D. - Chapters: 12 - Words: 15,776 - Reviews: 78 - Favs: 42 - Follows: 21 - Updated: 06-18-12 - Published: 05-20-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8133464
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"That's right, Baby, angels in Heaven know I love you," Amy's voice rang out in the sudden silence. "Gabe, Honey, I'm right here. We're all here—Oh, God, he squeezed my hand. Bob, he squeezed my hand."
Bob reached around to clasp both of his hands around his wife's and son's hands. "Gabe? Can you hear me, Son?"
He thought he might collapse when he felt the tiniest movement. "That—that was him?" He asked hoarsely. "Amy, are you sure?"
For the next few minutes, pandemonium reigned in the tiny room as everyone tried to touch him and talk to him. Then Amy held up a hand to shush them. "Someone needs to get Dr. Phillips," she said.
"The nurse already took off," PJ told her. "I think she went to get her."
"Good. Gabe, stay with us. Roses love sunshine, violets love dew. Angels in Heaven know I love you."
He didn't speak again, but there was something different about his face. Not a change of expression exactly, but a difference. Amy and Bob kept their hold on his hand, praying for another movement.
The door burst open, and Dr Phillips strode into the room. "So," she said; "What's this I hear about him speaking?"
Amy hastened to explain while Teddy lifted Charlie off the bed. The doctor quickly examined Gabe while peppering them with questions.
"Gabe," she said firmly, taking his hands. "Gabe, if you can hear me, I want you to squeeze with your right hand. Now with your left. Good job." She looked pleased.
"This a good sign," she told them. "He's responding directly to what we are saying. I've scheduled an EEG for him in the morning, and that will give us a better idea of where things stand. Until then, let's keep doing what we're doing – talking, touching. Singing, apparently."
"EEG?" Bob echoed.
"Electro Encephalogram. A picture of brain wave activity."
"Is he—does this mean –is he going to wake up?" Bob asked.
"It means I'm cautiously optimistic. He seems to have turned a corner, but it's still hard to say exactly just how much of a corner. Amy, you're supposed to be back in your room, aren't you? Let's not forget that you're a patient, too."
"I won't leave him."
"Yes, you will. You're on wheels, remember?" The doctor smiled. "Amy, I'm a mom, too. I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. But look around this room at all of the people who need you to be well; it's vital that you take care of your own injuries just as well as we take care of Gabe's. How about five more minutes with him, and then back to your room. Someone will bring you an update every hour. Sound good?"
The five minutes went by too fast. Amy spent them singing and talking to her child, kissing his hand and pressing it to her cheek. She touched his face and smoothed his hair, telling him over and over that she loved him. When the time was up, she was wheeled from the room and back to her own.
Bob tried to go with her, but she waved him off. "Gabe needs you more than I do," she said.
Three hopeful young faces turned toward him, waiting for some kind of instruction. Bob stared back at them.
"Um," he said. "Um, okay. Teddy, is Ivy coming back for Charlie? Good. I can stay here with Gabe, but you two have to get some sleep. So—"
"No way," PJ interrupted. "We're not leaving him. Or you."
They all froze.
"Where's . . . Mom?"
Later, Bob would never recall just exactly how he ended up perched on the edge of Gabe's bed, looking into a pair of sleepy brown eyes he had never thought to see open again. He only knew that at the moment, the only people in the world were his son and himself. "Mom's here," he said softly. "She's in her room, worried about you."
"Yeah, but she'll be okay. I promise."
"Cross my heart."
Gabe smiled faintly even as his eyes closed again. And for the first time since this nightmare began, Bob Duncan buried his face in his hands and wept.
Estelle Dabney didn't like many people. That wasn't an exaggeration; it was the simple truth. She tolerated people, some better than others. Her neighbors, the Duncans, really pushed her tolerance to its limits. They were loud and boisterous and always had some degree of mayhem and foolishness going on over there.
Well, she reflected as she peered out through her kitchen curtains, they weren't all bad. Bob was always willing to help with any heavy lifting or minor repairs she might need help with. And Amy was generous enough with her awful baking, even though there wasn't a neighbor left on the street who was ignorant enough to eat anything she made. Even the older two children, odd as they were, could be counted on to treat her with neighborly respect and politeness. It was that third child of theirs that caused all the trouble.
She harrumphed quietly as she watched their God-awful yellow truck pull up in the driveway. It had been nearly a week without the little terror and his mother. A week without waiting for one of his pranks, or hearing the shouts as he got himself grounded yet again. A week without questioning the child's every move, trying to figure out what he was plotting.
"Mom? Are you still there?"
Estelle glanced at the phone in her hand; as a matter of fact, she had forgotten she was in the middle of a conversation with her son, but she certainly wasn't about to admit to it.
"I'm here, Rodney," she snapped. "Just watching those idiot Duncans come home from the hospital. Looks like my vacation is over."
Rodney's chuckle came through the phone line, loud and clear. "Do you realize how boring your life would be without them?" he asked.
She harrumphed again. "He pulled right into the garage. How am I supposed to tell whether he brought both of them home or not? That daughter of theirs said they were both being released today, but you never know."
"You could always go over there and ask."
"Don't be silly. They don't need visitors right now. Besides, I'm sure that Gabe is still in the hospital. What kind of parent brings a child home this soon after he almost died? He needs better care than that."
"Of course he does."
"Don't you patronize me, young man!"
"Never, Mom," Rodney said, laughing again. "Listen, you and I both know how much you care about that kid. Now why don't you go take them that tuna casserole you know you made for them, because you know you need an excuse to go over there."
"I only care because the longer he's in the hospital, the longer my flower beds are safe."
"And it's lasagna, not tuna casserole."
"Tell the Duncans I said hi."
With an aggrieved sigh, she hung up and retrieved some covered dishes from her kitchen and headed out the back door to the Duncans' house. Just being neighborly, of course.
"Thought you might need some dinner," she told Bob when he opened the door. "Lasagna, garlic bread, and a chocolate cake."
"Well . . . thank you, Mrs. Dabney," he said. "I—I don't know what to say."
"You already said thank you. That'll do." She looked around him and spotted Amy sitting on the couch, her entire upper body encased in a plastic and metal brace. There was no sign of their little demon-child. "Looks like they kept Gabe?" she asked.
"No, he's home, too. He's in his room, resting."
"I'm sure he's not asleep yet, if you'd like to go up and say hello." Amy called out to her.
"Why would I want to do that? No, I'll just go back home now. I just wanted to bring you dinner." She turned to leave, but turned back at the last minute to mumble something.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" Bob asked.
She sighed. "I said, the red container is full of oatmeal cookies for Gabe. I know he likes them. Lord knows he's stolen enough of them from me over the years."
"Thank you, Mrs. Dabney."
With one more harrumph, she stomped back to her own quiet, lonely house, and cast one more glance back at the Duncan's house. At one of the upstairs windows, a curtain twitched and a pale, round face looked out at her. Slowly, cautiously, he waved at her.
She shook a warning finger at him and watched a slow, mischievous grin light up his face.
Yes, life would soon be back to normal at the Duncan house. They had come so close to losing their mother and that precious little boy, but life would soon return to the same patterns of Gabe harassing and irritating her at every turn.
And no one would ever hear her admit how thankful that made her.