CHAPTER TWENTY SIX – Trying Our Best
They sat at the end of her bed in silence as Mini flipped through a picture book and Dom stared blankly at the woman lying unconscious in front of him. She looked so helpless and she pretty much was. The doctor still proclaimed that she had a very minute chance of ever waking up.
Dom didn't have the heart to tell them to turn off the machines though, he wouldn't dare. He only needed to look down at his daughter to have a reason not to. She needed her mother and even though Mia had been helping out with her, he would accept no permanent substitute.
Tearing his eyes away from the petite form of the woman he'd betrayed, Dom looked up at the clock, sighing when he saw that visiting hours were just about over. They'd been here for the whole two hours they were allowed to see her in the afternoon. He bounced his knee to get Mini's attention and smiled down at her.
"It's time to get going kiddo." He kissed her head and helped her close the book, lifting her off his lap and into his arms as he stood. "Say goodbye to mommy." He held the little girl away, bending so she could reach her mother.
Mini kissed her mother's cheek loudly before snuggling back up to Dom. Dom reached out his free hand and brushed back a strand of dark hair from his sleeping beauty before turning and walking out of the room he'd become so used to being in.
By the time he'd driven back to the house, the smell of the barbecue filled the air and it drew a hungry growl from his stomach. He quickly unbuckled Mini and walked with her around the side of the house, chuckling at the dog pile of his friends on the grass.
"Guys! Will you cut it out!" Mia was screeching with a laugh, tongs in hand and snapping them at them. She rolled her eyes and shared a look with her brother. "You take over, I'll make the salads now that my little helper is here."
Mia swooped her niece out of his arms and headed inside, passing Dom the tongs as she went. He took up position at the grill and raised a thick brow as the other disentangled themselves from each other.
"That's what you get for calling me a pig." Vince brushed himself off and laughed, helping Jesse up before shoving Leon back down with a satisfied smirk.
Jesse shook his head with a wry smile and walked over to Dom, eyeing the juicy pieces of meat. "How was she?" he asked out of the blue, his hands burrowing in his pockets, rocking back and forth on his feet.
Dom didn't look at him, only proceeded to turn over the sizzling chicken and start slathering on the sauce, something he always did with her but since she wasn't here…"No change really." He sighed, glancing up at the sun lowering in the horizon, casting an orange glow upon them all.
"She'll get better, just you wait and see."
More months passed and the team noticed big changes in Dom. Unlike just after the accident he became more attentive to everyone and kept tight leashes on them most of the time. They guessed it was because he was afraid of losing them too because Letty wasn't better or worse, just the same as before and the reality of an impending death loomed over them all like a dark cloud.
Mini was slowly starting to forget her as things got tight again money wise because it was a rare occasion that anyone could take her to the hospital for a visit. They did their best, telling her stories of her mother instead and showing her pictures but there were days when they didn't have the emotional, physical or mental strength to keep up their hopes and spirits.
Life became routine; work, eat, race and sleep. It was wearing them all down and it showed. It wasn't the second birthday of the youngest Toretto came around that they were all in high spirits again.
Mia had gone about organising a party and it became an extravagant affair. She figured that the more elaborate the event, the less likely any of them were to think about the person missing from it.
Decorations were placed scrupulously around the house and back yard, endless amounts of food were prepared and cook and the growing stack of presents for the small girl was getting big to say the least. Yeah, Dom was happy with it, his sister had done well but there was something she just couldn't do for her niece.
As the morning turned into afternoon, people started arriving and showering the birthday girl with love, placing their kids down with her if they had any before joining the adults for some drinks. It was a hit and things were running smoothly, Mini was having the time of her life with all the attention.
Leon was walking back in from the garage with another crate of beer as the phone rang. He dumped the weight on the kitchen table and answered the call. His brows furrowed for a moment before a smile blossomed over his face and he hung up the phone and rushed back outside, getting in his car and leaving the party.
A while later and he still wasn't back and Mia was getting worried. She'd tried calling his cell but he'd left it in the house so she couldn't get a hold of him. She asked everyone if they'd seen him but no one had. Finally, an hour or so after his disappearance she saw him walk in the front door.
"Thank God! Where have you been?" She barely had time to get the question out as the answer appeared next to him. "Oh my God…" She whispered, her hand coming up to her mouth in shock.
"No welcome home?"
Mia stammered and blinked but seconds later she was pulling her best friend into a tight embrace. "How is this possible!" Her squeals of excitement drew the attention of the other party guests and they all went silent when they saw what Mia was so hyped up over.
"I'll explain later." Letty said weakly from having the air squeezed out of her. "Right now I just want to see my little girl." Her eyes scanned the room and found the person she was looking for. She moved as fast as her legs could go and lifted Mini up into her arms.
Everyone stared on in shock, no one more surprised than Dom, who had dropped and shattered his beer on the kitchen floor, not even noticing that it had soaked his legs.
"Mommy?" Came a small whisper from Mini, who was looking at Letty curiously. Her dark eyes went wide. "Mommy!" She flung her arms around her neck and cried. "I missed you."
Letty ran her hands up and down the little girl's back, her voice breaking with emotion, holding her daughter to her. "Missed you too."
Vince and Jesse came forward out of the crowd and grinned, wrapping them both in a hug with Mia and Leon. They all laughed at the interesting turn of events, unable to really get over their shock.
"Dis is da best pwesent ever!" Mini giggled, wriggling down to the ground. She ran for the frozen statue like Dom and grabbed onto his jeans, tugging at them.
"Look daddy! Mommy's home!"
He looked, but what he saw when he met what used to be loving ebony eyes with his own was hate.