AN: This is my first Family Law fanfic, so be nice, okay? It takes place right after Randi's daughter dies at the end of the second season.
Disclaimer: I don't own Family Law. I don't actually know who does, but I adore them. I also don't own Reba McEntire's Greatest Hits Volume II. Well, I own my own personal copy of it, but I don't own the rights to it, you know? Reba does, along with other people, whom I don't actually know of either. But at any rate, don't sue, because I own nothing (except that tape).
Summary: Andres helps Randi deal with the death of her daughter. Randi/Andres (obviously). Don't flame me for that, please. If it offends you then don't read it.
Rating: PG because it's a little sad. Well, duh, it's right after Mary Beth died.
Randi sat on a hard plastic emergency room chair. She had stopped sobbing, thanks largely in part to the sedative the doctor had administered shortly before. Now tears just rolled down her cheeks as she stared unseeing at the floor, drawing in great shaking breaths.
Tim watched her from where he was standing by the front desk. He had just finished making all the calls he'd deemed urgent: his parents, Annie's preschool, Sarah to go pick Annie up. Tim was hesitant to go sit next to Randi; he didn't want to disturb her, now that she'd finally calmed down. She'd sobbed in his arms earlier until he'd convinced her to try the proffered sedative. Then, as they waited for the sedative to kick in, he'd asked if there was anyone he could call for her. She'd only managed to weep out one word: "Andres." Randi had handed Tim her cell phone when he'd asked for the number, and Tim had found two listings under that name. He'd tried the work listing first.
"Hello, Holt and Associates, may I help you?" a heavily accented male voice answered.
"Ah… Is this Andres?" Tim asked hesitantly, as calmly as his emotions would allow.
There was a pause at the other end of the line. "Yes. May I help you?"
"You're a friend of Randi's?"
Another pause. "Yes. Who is this?"
"My name is Tim Whitman. I'm Randi's son-in-law." He paused here, trying to find the words to explain.
"Oh." The response was too brief and Tim's brain too overloaded for Tim to decipher any meaning from it.
"Look, Randi is…in a bad way here," Tim said haltingly. "She could use someone to come pick her up."
"Where is she?" Andres said, his worried tone of voice not escaping Tim.
"We're at the emergency room. But Randi's not hurt," Tim added quickly, before his words could cause any panic.
"I'll be right there." And the line cut off. Andres was apparently in a hurry to get there.
After Tim had called Andres, Randi had calmed down enough to return to the lobby. Tim had made his phone calls while she sat waiting. Now he stood watching her. When he'd first met Randi, he'd been amazed at how much Mary Beth had resembled her. They both shared a certain beauty that Tim didn't think he'd ever be able to describe. Now, with the harsh lights bouncing off the white walls, floor, and furniture, illuminating Randi's teary face, Tim noticed for the first time how old she looked.
Tim walked over and sat down next to Randi. She turned her head slowly to look at him. "Thank you," she said, her words slightly muddled with a combination of grief, sedatives, and the beautiful accent Mary Beth had always worked so hard to conceal.
"For what?" Tim asked, his grief renewed with the look in her eyes.
"For taking care of me."
"Thank you, Randi," Tim said. Noting the confused look on her face he clarified. "If I hadn't had someone to help, I would have lost it myself." Tears rolled down both of their faces and they embraced, taking steadying breaths.
Randi had her back to the door, so Tim saw the man come in before she did. He was a young Latino man, who looked strong and probably a few years younger than Tim himself. He came in, walked quickly to the front desk, and asked for Randi.
Tim released Randi and called to the man. Andres turned, saw Randi, and crossed the room in a few strides. He paused slightly, looking into her watery eyes, before sinking to his knees and wrapping his arms around her. She buried her face in the crook of his neck, a familiar, comforting movement. Tim silently stood and moved away, towards the front desk.
Randi had started sobbing again, though much more quietly than before. Andres pulled back letting his hands rest on her cheeks, his thumbs brushing away tears that were replaced immediately by fresh ones.
"What is it? What happened?" he asked quietly, his eyes, filled with concern, gazing up into hers.
Randi managed to choke out a quiet response. "Mary Beth…my baby…she's gone."
"Your daughter?" he asked. "She died?" Randi nodded, as a new wave of tears hit. Andres wrapped his arms around her again, even more tightly than before, his own eyes stinging with tears, for the woman he held and the child lost.
They stayed locked that way for some time, until Randi had calmed slightly again. A nurse came to speak with Andres about the sedative they had given Randi, and brought a small bottle of pills for her to take home. As the two made to leave, Andres supporting Randi, she stopped and embraced Tim one last time, and he promised to call soon. Andres recognized Tim's voice and offered condolences, his eyes sincere and sorrowful.
Andres helped Randi out to his car, planning to come back for hers later. He started the car and left the parking lot, headed towards her apartment.
Randi had stopped crying for the moment, but her cheeks were still wet with tears. "What now?" She asked after a few minutes of silence. She spoke slowly and without turning her head, her accent thick.
Andres stole a glance at her before answering. "Well, now there are arrangements to be made, Tim's going to call you about them, yes?"
Randi shook her head. "No. I-I mean, yes, he is, but that's not what I meant. What do I do now?"
"Well, you go home. Eat. Watch TV. Sleep."
"That sounds awful."
"I know. I didn't like they way it sounded when I said it. I just meant. you try to go on with your life."
Randi was silent for a moment. "Oh," she said. "The hard part."
Andres reached over and took her hand in his.
Once they reached Randi's apartment, Andres brought her inside, then stood, drawing on the memories of their years together to think of something that might ease her pain.
Randi saw him racking his brain and laid her hand on his arm gently. "Could you draw me a bath?" she asked.
Andres sighed inwardly with relief. "Of course," he said, and then paused, remembering her extensive collection of bath products. "What kind?"
She gave him a weak but genuine smile. "Chamomile and lavender. Bubbles and salts. Light some candles?" He nodded and, giving her hand one last squeeze, headed towards her bathroom.
Randi stood in her living room, taking in the fact that she was alone in the room. Tim had been afraid, she thought, to leave her alone. He hadn't been more than ten feet away from her since she'd arrived at the hospital. But Andres had left. Randi thanked him for that. Andres always knew what she needed. Anyone else would have hesitated to leave her alone in her state, but a few moments' silence in the familiar setting was restoring a tiny glimmer of chance at peace. Randi wondered if he had done it consciously, or if it was just a reaction, ingrained in him due to their close relationship.
Randi shook her head slightly. It was too draining to wonder about anything, much less her relationship with Andres. She walked slowly to her bedroom and undressed, folding her clothes neatly and placing them on the bed. She vaguely noted that such careful, meticulous movements were foreign to her, as her pajamas were still slung haphazardly over her vanity chair. Her eyes lit on them for a moment as she considered folding them as well, but she decided it required more effort than she was willing to put forth just then, and she instead wrapped herself in a robe and went to meet Andres in the bathroom.
The room smelled of chamomile and lavender and faintly of the smoke from the match Andres had just blown out. The water was noisily filling the tub and Andres had turned on the CD player that was sitting on a shelf. It was playing Reba McEntire's second volume of greatest hits.
"Is this ok?" he asked her. "I wasn't sure what you wanted to listen to. I-I could put something else on? Or I could turn it off, or—"
"This is fine," Randi interrupted in the loudest voice she could muster, which was barely above a whisper. "Thank you."
Andres met her eyes when she lifted them to his. Taking her hand, he gave it a squeeze. "Call if you need anything," he said. "I'll be out there."
Alone again, Randi took off her robe and let it pool on the floor before sinking into the bath. The last chords of "Fancy" faded and were replaced by the softer notes of "For My Broken Heart." Randi let the music float on the water around her, not wanting to try to think of anything, just listening to the song.
*Last night I prayed the Lord my soul to keep,
Then I cried myself to sleep,
So sure life wouldn't go on without you. *
Randi breathed a shaky sigh and turned her eyes toward the ceiling. "Lord," she said quietly, but the realized she didn't know what to say. "Lord, just keep her safe. Keep her happy." The tears were falling freely again, rolling down her cheeks to drip gently into the bath water. "Tell her that I love her. God, if there were anything I could do to fix this…" She broke off as a quiet sob racked her body.
Randi cried for a while, soaking in the bath. Finally she ducked her head under water, and then sat back up so the cool air revived her face. Taking a deep breath she leaned back against the tub.
Andres knocked on the door, and called through it. "Randi? Are you okay? Do you need anything?"
It was rather hard to hear him over the music. Randi called out, finding her voice much stronger than before. "Andres, you can come in. I can't hear you."
Andres did open the door but kept his eyes averted. "Do you need anything?"
Randi smiled weakly. "Andres, you're allowed to look. It's not anything you haven't seen before. Besides—" she checked to make sure the bubbles hadn't melted away, "I'm pretty much covered up."
Andres turned his eyes to her, blushing, and returned the small smile she gave him. She looked as beautiful as she had ever, except that her eyes were slightly red and puffy. Her dark hair was wet and just starting to re-curl itself and her nose and cheeks were slightly pink tinged. His eyes followed her graceful neck to the soft skin of her chest where it swelled and curved beneath the bubbles. He blushed again and brought his eyes back up to hers.
"Do you want anything?" he asked again. "I can make some dinner. You should eat."
Randi considered this. "I suppose I ought to. But I… I don't know if I'm hungry." Her brow furrowed. "I should know that, don't you think?"
Her brown eyes looked so hurt and lost that Andres couldn't help walking to the tub and kneeling down beside her. Her cupped her face in his hands and pressed his lips to her forehead. He pulled back and looked straight into her eyes. "We'll worry about that later, okay? I'll make diner, and we'll eat, and not worry about it, okay?"
Randi nodded, her eyes filling with more tears. "Thank you," she said, not just meaning for dinner. Andres nodded and held her gaze for a moment longer before getting up and leaving the bathroom. Randi sank underwater again before getting up as well. She toweled off and wrapped herself in her robe again. She dried her hair as much as she could with a towel as she walked to her bedroom. She pulled on her pajamas, even though it was still early evening. Now clad in soft black pants and a long-sleeve white t-shirt, she ran her fingers through her damp hair, loosely arranging it let it curl on its own. Then she headed out to the kitchen to meet Andres.
Randi stopped in the doorway of the kitchen, watching him. He was mixing a bowl of pancake batter and heating a griddle on the counter next to him. He ladled the batter onto the griddle, then turned and reached for something Randi couldn't see until he turned back to the pan. Chocolate chips. Her eyes filled with new tears. Only Andres would remember something like her liking chocolate chips in her pancakes. She closed her eyes before the tears could fall.
Drying her eyes on her sleeve, she walked to the fridge and pulled out a carton of strawberries. After she washed them she diced a few of them and slid them towards Andres to put in his pancakes. He turned and caught her eye, smiling his thanks. She smiled softly back until her eyes filled with tears again and she turned back to the strawberries, slicing them and putting them into a large white bowl.
Andres watched her work out of the corner of his eye. Her hands shook slightly, but worked the knife steadily. He had a vague notion of telling her not to do anything, to just sit down and relax, but he quickly dismissed that idea. Randi handled hard situations by staying busy, he knew. He was half-surprised she'd stayed in the bath for so long.
They sat down to eat after the pancakes were done—chocolate chip for her, strawberry for him, and one for each with both. It was such a familiar meal, Randi forgot whether she was hungry or not and just tried to eat. As good as the food tasted, her throat felt swollen from grief, so she had difficulty swallowing. After forcing down a few bites, she settled on just sipping her milk.
After dinner, Randi brought out her old photo albums and leafed through them in her bedroom, smiling and crying at old memories of her daughter. Andres came in after he'd cleaned up from supper and sat on the bed with her. Randi talked quietly, telling him stories, some he'd heard, and some she'd never shared before. They stayed that way for quite a long time, until Randi's voice was hoarse and her sentences were punctuated by yawns.
Finally, Andres said gently, "Maybe it's time to go to bed?" Randi looked up at him, her eyes showing fear. Andres caught it. "Do you want me to stay here tonight? I could sleep on the couch, and you can get me if you need anything?" Randi opened her mouth, but no sound came out. She gave up and nodded instead. Andres smiled. "Okay."
He started clearing away the photo albums as Randi went into the bathroom to get ready for bed. As she was walking back out into the bedroom she stopped and pulled the Reba McEntire CD out of the player to listen to as she—hopefully—fell asleep.
Andres was sitting on the bed, having pulled off most of the pillows and turned down the covers. He was looking at a picture on her bedside table of the two of them at an office party. Randi turned before Andres could see her watching him and put the CD in the player on top of her dresser. Then bending, she opened the bottom drawer and pulled out a pair of black sweatpants.
"These are yours," she said walking towards the bed. "I expect you'd like them back. At least for tonight." Then she walked out of the room to let him change and to make up the couch for him.
He came out into the living room as she was finishing. She straightened up, and for a moment they just looked across the room at each other, taking in each other's presence. Then Andres crossed over to her and wrapped his arms around her. She responded in kind, her arms sliding around his waist. She willed herself not to cry again, squeezing her eyes closed in the effort.
Andres pulled back and kissed her forehead. "I'm right here, okay?" Randi nodded.
She headed back to her bedroom and climbed into bed. She was exhausted, but she couldn't close her eyes. She was utterly aware of how alone she was, but this time it didn't bring any inner peace. Her husband, her child, gone, she was the only one left.
Randi's head filled with noise: Mary Beth refusing to take Randi's blood; Mary Beth as a child, crying when she skinned her knee; Randi's own cries at the hospital; Tim's and the doctors' voices blending and echoing; and, as Randi tried to shut it all out, the sorrowful sound of Reba singing "You Lie."
Suddenly, the noise cleared, as Randi realized she wasn't alone. Not completely. *Andres. * She clung to the thought. Kicking the blankets away from her, she stumbled out into the living room, tears wetting her cheeks.
Andres heard her come in, and, looking up at her, saw her distress. "Randi, what is it? What do you need?"
Randi tried to talk but no words came out. Andres jumped up and quickly went to her, gathering her in his arms. She buried her head in his chest as he rocked her gently. She stammered words into his chest. "I can't—there's just—I—it—"
Andres pulled back and cupped her face in his hands. "Randi. Stop." She did. "Breathe." She took a deep breath. Andres wiped away her tears. "Now tell me. What can I do?"
Randi didn't know what to tell him. All she knew was that she couldn't be alone right then. "Could you… Could you stay with me? Right with me? In there?"
Andres hesitated only briefly before pulling out of the circle of her arms and taking her hand to lead her back into her bedroom. They climbed into bed, as they'd done countless times before, neither one saying aloud how familiar their actions were. Andres leaned back against the pillows and Randi curled herself against his side, one of her arms going across her bare chest, one of his curling around her shoulders. She rested her head on his chest, just below his shoulder.
Randi sighed shakily. She was not alone. She had Andres. She tightened her arm around him and he did the same. She closed her eyes, and this time the rush of noise didn't come. All she could hear was Andres's steady heart beating under her ear. And Reba, who was singing "For My Broken Heart" again. Randi felt herself relax and drift off to sleep as the song played on.
*Lord the sun is blinding me
As it wakes me from the dark.
I guess the world didn't stop
For my broken heart. *
Thanks for reading, now please review!!! And be nice… please?