Disclaimer: Listen Carefully cause I'm only going to say this once through this whole story. I do not own Twilight or any of its characters. This a work of fan fiction using characters from the Twilight Saga Books which is trademarked to Stephanie Meyer. It is written for entertainment purposes only.
AN:I have to Thank Kerry Delaney for the Lovely new Banner she made for me! Your are awesome! And Many many thanks to Rita01tx for endless hours of discussing this story, plots, ideas, twists and turns and many many edits and re-edits! Thank You Girlfriend! You's da best Beta evah!
A Rendezvous with Death
Chapter 1 "Pain"
All these, however, were mere terrors in the night, phantoms of the mind that walk in darkness.
Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
Sometimes, life sucks. Sometimes, life is the most beautiful thing you will ever know. You'll forget these lines in a few hours, a few days or weeks but, when this story is told, when the final word is written, you will remember them. The question is, what will you see…a sucky life or a beautiful life? Me? Hah! Don't ask me now…ask me when it's over.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Dammit! It was happening again!
I woke abruptly to find myself sitting upright in the middle of my bed shaking, burning up, sweat pouring off me, and choking…again. I couldn't breathe, couldn't speak; my heart was trying to pound its way out of my chest. I wanted to run, to escape, but it was impossible. My greatest fear was that, one of these nights, my throat wouldn't open and my lungs would burst, or collapse, or do whatever they do when oxygen is denied them. It was a terrifying feeling and I was damn near at that point now. Desperate for air, I clawed at my throat and prayed for help.
Oh, God, please! I silently begged. Don't take me from Mac, too. She needs her daddy!
I coughed and gasped in relief as air was finally sucked back into my lungs. My throat was raw from whatever had closed it off and, as it had all the times before, the experience left me drained and trembling. I pulled my knees up and propped my elbows on them as I raked both hands through my damp hair.
Guilt was a powerful thing; it ate at me constantly. I was being punished for being alive and, as far as I was concerned, I deserved that and more. Everywhere, in every room, wherever I turned, I saw my wife. That wasn't even the worst of it. That would be looking into my baby girl's eyes every day and faking a smile for her. Even though she still loved me and always smiled back, the words she never said still rang in my head.
You killed my mother! You killed your wife!
It was all in my mind, of course, but my beleaguered conscience was killing me.
I closed my eyes in an attempt to shut out the guilt and the phantom images of her I saw all around me, in the very bed I lay in, but it was no use. Flashes of her body still strapped in the car, her head lying in the pristine snow three feet behind the car, and the horror stricken expression forever frozen on her once lovely face would haunt me forever.
Ever since Kate had died, this nightmare, or whatever it was, had intensified and become a nightly thing for me. You didn't have to be a psychologist to figure out why. I was responsible for the death of my wife.
Wednesday, December 18, 2012
I was supposed to leave work early to pick up Mackenzie from kindergarten and take her over to the auditorium at the big school for a last rehearsal before Friday's performance. The annual Christmas pageant included a special show this year that had the kids practicing two afternoons a week. Kate usually took her, watched her practice and brought her home but, on this day, she was joining her friends for Christmas shopping.
Things began to unravel when news reached me that a witness had come forward on the case I was working on, a case I was about to lose without this witness and I couldn't let that happen. She said she would only talk to me and it had to be right then, before she lost her nerve, or not at all. I'd called Kate and explained my problem, promising to meet them at home as soon as I could and take us all out to dinner. Ever the loving, supportive wife and mother, she graciously agreed to curtail her shopping in order to pick up our daughter.
At 3:30 pm, my meeting with the witness was interrupted by an urgent phone call from the school. Kate had never shown up and Mackenzie was the only child still waiting for one of her parents to pick her up. Thank God my witness indicated she was comfortable enough to continue with one of the partners because I was on the verge of a major meltdown when I tried calling Kate on the way to my car and got no answer. En route, my frustration was compounded by a massive traffic jam. As a uniformed police officer inched the long line of cars forward, I could tell there'd been some kind of accident. I took the opportunity to call Kate again, cursing the idiot, rubbernecking drivers in front of me. With still no answer from my wife, I called the school to explain my predicament and let them know I would be there as soon as possible. If, in the meantime, my wife should show up, I asked them to have her call me right away. Inching yet a little further, the psychedelic flashing lights of ambulances and fire engines illuminated the scene. By now, the officer was allowing a little more traffic to pass but, as soon as my car edged forward, he threw up a hand to give cross traffic a turn. I rolled down my window, the blowing snow and bitter winds rushing into the car as if to steal all my warmth.
"What's going on, Officer?" I asked, handing him my business card.
"I'm afraid there's been a fatality, sir. It isn't official but it looks like this 18-wheeler clipped a car causing it to spin out of control. The truck tried to slow but ended up jackknifed and the woman's car slid underneath it. Terrible thing. She was a real beauty," he explained, yelling to be heard over the howling winter wind.
Knowing now that someone had died, I felt instant sympathy for the woman's family. Their whole world was about to be turned upside down.
"You can go on through now, counselor," the officer said, waving me on.
Gratefully putting my window back up, I resolved to warn Kate to be more careful on these treacherous winter roads when I got home. I pressed gently on the accelerator and began moving forward. We've all done it. We can't make ourselves not do it…look at what we're sure is going to be a horrible sight. As I crawled past the jackknifed 18-wheeler blocking the entire right-hand lane, I saw the caved in side where the car had apparently gone underneath. As I neared the front of the truck, police cars, ambulances, fire engines and the entire hood of what was once a newer model SUV came into view. My heart lunged into my chest. No! It's not possible! I wouldn't allow myself to think it. Still unable look away, I continued to progress slowly, taking in the caved in headlights, crushed engine, sheared off roof and completely missing windshield peeking over the lip of the embankment. An officer blocking the driver's side of the vehicle moved and my view was no longer obstructed.
I jerked the car off to the side of the road, scrambled out the door and hit the ground running, screaming her name.
"Kate! Oh, God, no! Kate!"
An officer made a grab to stop me from descending onto the scene but missed and it was too late…I'd seen her headless body, hands still gripping the steering wheel. Soon, three officers were trying to hold me back but I managed to tear free and run towards the car. One of them tackled me and, in the struggle, we stumbled. He finally pinned me to the ground, my face now mere inches away from the frozen blue eyes and tangled blonde hair of my beautiful wife's decapitated head lying on the ground.
I lunged from my bed as if I could run away from the horrific scene tearing through my mind yet again. The memory ripped at my heart and soul and I knew there was no escape as long as I remained here, in this house, among all her things.
I couldn't take it anymore, of that I was absolutely certain. I also had to think about what was best for Mackenzie. It had been three months since Kate died but she was still having a hard time getting a grip on the fact that Mommy wasn't here anymore. She seemed to understand the concept of death, and that her mother wasn't coming back, but remembering she wasn't here was difficult for her. Earlier today, she'd been coloring quietly in the living room. When she finished her picture, she ran into the kitchen saying "Mommy, Mommy, look what I..." and then she remembered. I saw her shoulders slump, her brilliant smile falling as she turned to go back to the living room. I did what I could, telling her I wanted to see her drawing and making a fuss over the beautiful colors she'd used. It seemed to help her but it wasn't enough for me.
I padded silently down the darkened hall to check on Mackenzie. Much like her father, Mac fought off sleep for as long as possible, clinging to consciousness until her little body gave up the fight. Very much unlike me, she remained motionless, almost corpselike, until she woke up. This scared the crap out of me in the beginning and I would check on her several times a night, placing my hand on her chest to assure myself she was still breathing. The rare exceptions were the nights I would find tears on her pillow and soft cheeks. Those nights broke my heart.
As I smoothed a stray curl of copper back in place, a plan began forming in my mind. I had to get away from this house…this city. I needed space to breathe and so did Mac. An extended vacation was certainly a viable option. Mac had been too traumatized to return to kindergarten after the accident and I was prepared to take a sabbatical from work for as long as it took for us to find peace again.
Of course, nothing would erase the unbearable memory of witnessing my wife's demise and knowing I was responsible but living here with all of her things as a constant reminder? I just couldn't do it anymore, yet I wasn't prepared to dispose of them as if she'd never existed. I would never…ever, forget Kate and I wouldn't let our daughter forget her either but, because her death had been so violent, sudden and traumatic for us both, and right before the holidays, as well, I felt it was imperative for us to get away for awhile.
Tomorrow was our weekly Sunday dinner with my parents. It would be the perfect opportunity to talk to them about taking a sabbatical. I would ask Carlisle if he could handle the workload in my absence and Mother would no doubt volunteer to help with any travel arrangements we might need.
Now, with something positive to look forward to, I kissed Mac's forehead and made my way back to my empty bed.