I'm so sorry for the delay in posting this chapter!My first 3 tries at this chapter were erased when my old computer finally lost her mother board!
Hopfully, this new computer won't cause me so many delays.
Thank you for all the wonderful reviews! They have really made me want to keep going with this story.
This Chapter is kind of a transition chapter...I hope after reading it you still want me to continue...
Please let me know if you like it or if you don't!
8:00 A.M. 3 1/2 hours after Audrey and Walter had entered the waiting room.
Walter looked up at the TV mounted on the wall above him. The 'Good Morning Today' Show was coming on. Walter smiled remembering how he had almost gotten the weather man position on the show, but Drake and Josh had thrown meatballs at the producer thinking she was having an affair with him.
Walter sighed, "Those two sure have gotten themselves into some messes!" he thought.
Audrey had rested her head on Walter's shoulder about an hour before. He wasn't sure if she was sleeping, but he didn't want to move and wake her up if she was dozing. So he sat there waiting for Megan and Audrey's sister, Barb, to arrive.
At 6:00 they had received word on Josh. The brain surgery was going well and they were about to begin the removal of the drill bit. Both had breathed a sigh of relief. The nurse had said there would be another update at 8:00. Walter expected word at any moment.
At 6:15 they received word on Drake. His news was not as good as Josh's had been. They had found more than one blood clot. In fact, they had already removed 5 small clots. The doctors began to doubt as to whether they were coming from his arm, and did some further testing. Sure enough, they discovered that Drake had injured his spleen in the fall. They were fairly certain that this was the cause of not only the blood clots, but the fever and nausea as well. With Audrey and Walter's permission, they began an emergency splenectomy. They were once again promised another update at 8:00.
After they had received the news, Walter and Audrey decided it was time to start making phone calls to friends and family. Audrey had to use the phone in the waiting room to call because both of their cell phones had no power left.
First they had called Audrey's parents. They had retired to Florida and were the only ones Audrey hadn't awoken with the phone call. They were very concerned and were ready to book a flight out as soon possible. Audrey talked them into staying in Florida until they received further notice. She knew their money was tight and she didn't want them to make an unnecessary trip.
Next they had called Audrey's sister, Barb, who still lived in San Diego. She agreed to go pick Megan up from Janie's house and bring her to the Hospital. Audrey had given her directions and then hung up the phone. Her next call was to Janie's mother to explain the situation and to ask her to get Megan ready to leave.
Walter had called Josh's Grammy. She was going to be at the hospital come Hell or high water! Her Joshie was hurt! She had also become pretty fond of Drake. The thought of her boys being hurt sent her heart to her knees. Walter didn't even try to talk her out of driving the 2 hour trip. He just asked her to take her time and be careful.
Walter had also called Josh's mother's parents. They lived in Seattle, but were still pretty close to Josh since he was the only link to their daughter. Like Audrey's parents, they too were going to stay put unless they heard otherwise.
Audrey had only briefly thought about calling Drake's dad. He hadn't made any effort to see or support Drake in over 10 years. She decided to wait to make that call, if it was even made at all.
So, Walter and Audrey sat waiting.
Audrey picked her head up from Walter's shoulder. "I'm going to walk around." She said as she stood up and began to pace the room. At 4:30 this morning they were the only two people in the room. Now, the large room was full to capacity as people with scheduled operations and their families were filing in.
She walked over to the information desk and pick up a brochure on ways to quit smoking. She flipped through it and sighed. She didn't smoke. Why was she looking at this? She placed the brochure back on the rack and continued her pacing.
Walter picked up the celebrity magazine sitting on the table next to him. He had already flipped through the book several times, but it gave him something to do.
Janie's mom quietly opened Janie's bedroom door. She carefully negotiated around sleeping girls in colorful sleeping bags until she found the girl she was looking for. She bent down and gently shook her shoulder while quietly whispering her name.
"Megan...Megan... Sweetie, wake up."
Megan's eyelids fluttered. Then she sat up confused as to where she was. "What's going on?" She asked.
Janie's mom continued whispering so as not to wake the other girls, "Megan your mom called and you need to get up and get dressed. Leave your sleeping bag and things here just grab some clothes and change in the rest room. Janie and I will get your stuff together and bring it to your house later."
Megan looked around and found her gym bag. She quickly grabbed it as she stood up and followed Janie's mom out of the room.
"What's going on?" Megan asked as soon as they were in the hall and the door was closed to Janie's room.
"Sweetie," Janie's mom began, "your brothers were involved in an accident last night. Your Aunt Barbara is on her way here to pick you up and take you to the hospital."
"An accident?" Megan questioned. "In a car?"
"No, your mom said something about a tree house falling over. She didn't say too much, just that both boys were in surgery at the moment."
Megan's face turned white.
Janie's mom noticed the look of shock on the young girls face and placed a reassuring arm around her shoulder. "It's gonna be alright." she whispered as she rubbed Megan's upper arm.
Megan didn't say anything as they made their way to the bathroom. Janie's mom said that Mr. Peterson, Janie's father, was making her breakfast and that she should come to the kitchen when she was finished in the bathroom. Megan said, "Okay" as she closed the door behind her.
Megan didn't know what to think as she set her gym bag down on the floor and began to take off her pajamas.
"What kind of accident could those boobs have had?" She said to herself. "Surely it couldn't be that bad." she thought trying to convince herself.
If that were true, then why was aunt Barb coming to get her instead of her parents? Why were her brothers both in surgery?
"Why didn't I just let them out!" She said to herself as the tears began to flow down her face. "If they are really hurt, then this is all my fault."
She sat on the floor and began to cry softly. Then she heard a voice in the back of her head saying "This is not for real! Those boobs are just trying to get me back for what I did!" A smile crept across her lips. "I'll bet they are in the kitchen waiting for me to come down all worried and panicky. I think I'll play along for a little while. This ought to be fun!"
She wiped her face and changed her clothes as quickly as possible. Then she hurried down stairs to the kitchen.
Mr. Peterson was indeed making up a plate of French Toast when Megan entered. He sat it down on the table and Megan sat down.
"Thank you." she said to Mr. Peterson. "This looks good."
"You're welcome kiddo." He responded. Then he asked "Do you want Orange juice or Milk to drink?"
"Milk, please." Megan said. She looked around the room expecting her brothers to pop out at any time. She cut off a big piece of the toast and was about to shove it in her mouth when the door bell rang.
"Here they come." she thought as she chewed her food, "Time for the show!"
Megan put her fork down, certain that her brothers were right behind her watching.
"Mr. Peterson, these are really good but I can't eat knowing that my-- poor--dear-- brothers are at this moment undergoing surgery. I just don't think anything will settle on my stomach."
She lowered her head trying to keep the smile on her lips from showing.
At that moment, Mrs. Peterson entered the kitchen along with Megan's aunt Barb.
Megan's jaw dropped. The boobs were really pulling out all the stops. How did they get Aunt Barb to go along with this?
"Aunt Barb?" She questioned. "What are you doing here?"
"Sweetheart, Didn't Mrs. Peterson tell you? I'm taking you to the hospital."
"No, really, where are we going? Are Drake and Josh waiting in the car?"
"Megan? What are you talking about?"
Megan looked into her Aunt's blue eyes and knew that this was no joke. Barb wasn't wearing any make-up. He long brown hair was pulled up into a ponytail. She looked genuinely concerned.
"This is for real?" Megan questioned.
"Yes, Sweetheart, it is."
"Oh." Megan quietly said as she lowered her head. "I guess we should get going then."
"I think you should try to finish your breakfast before we go. I don't know when you will get another chance to eat."
"I really can't eat. My stomach hurts."
Barb understood. She wasn't going to force Megan to eat.
"Alright then, lets get going."
Mrs. Peterson walked them to the door. Barb thanked her for getting Megan ready to go and promised to call her with updates.
Megan turned to her Aunt when they got settled in the car.
"What is really going on?" she asked. "All Mrs. Peterson said was the tree house fell over and Drake and Josh were in surgery."
"That's really all I know too. I'm hoping your mom will fill us both in when we get to the hospital."
"Me too." Megan softly replied.
She turned and pressed her nose to the window. She watched the palm trees and cars go flying by. No matter what her parents told her about what happened to her brothers, Megan knew this was all her fault. All she had to do was plug in the drill. How simple was that? Now Drake and Josh were hurt. She never wanted that to happen. How was she going to let them know how sorry she was? Would they even believe her?
Barb and Megan rode in silence the rest of the short drive to the hospital.
Walter and Audrey sat in stunned silence. One of Josh's doctors had just given them some horrible news. While the doctor was removing one of the larger pieces of bone that was in Josh's brain, it shifted without warning. This caused a small blood vessel to hemorrhage. It was as if Josh had had a small stroke. The doctors didn't know what effect, if any, this would have on Josh's ability to function normally. He had told the Parker's that the only sure way to know what damage was done was to run a series of tests after Josh woke up.
Audrey turned to Walter, "This can't be happening! He's only 16 years old!"
"I know sweetheart." Walter said kissing her forehead. "We just have to hope and pray for the best."
Megan and Barb entered the waiting room.
"Mommy!" Megan called out as she ran into her mother's arms.
"Oh baby! I'm so glad you are here."
"Are Drake and Josh okay?"
Audrey and Walter exchanged worried looks. How much should they tell a 12 year old?
Walter sighed. He took Megan's hand.
Barb moved in closer to her sister giving her a quick hug and hello.
Walter told Megan and Barb everything he knew. He had decided that Megan need to know what was going on. He didn't want to sugar coat this in any way.
When he had finished all four of them had tears streaming down their faces.
"Dad, I'm so sorry I did this to them!" Megan cried. "What if they don't get better? It's all my fault!"
"Megan," Audrey consoled, "Don't say that. This isn't anyone's fault. It was just a terrible accident."
"But, Mom it was my fault. I didn't get them out of the tree house once they were trapped. I knew they couldn't get out. I just left them there. I tried call and tell you they were in the tree house, but you didn't get the message in time. Now they are hurt...Its' all my fault!" Megan began sobbing.
"No, sweetheart, no, no, no...This was not your fault. Don't do this to yourself." Walter said as he caught his daughter in a hug. "Did you push the tree house over?"
"No." Megan sniffed.
"Did you cause the tool box or drill to go flying?"
"Megan, the only thing you are guilty of is trying to get even with your brothers for causing you to miss most of your friends party. You no more hurt your brothers than your mom or I did. It's like your mom said, this was a horrible accident."
Megan nodded her head. She wasn't quite sure she believed her dad. This still felt like it was her fault. But, she could see how worried her parents were about Drake and Josh. She was not going to put more on their plate by having them worry about her too. She would deal with her guilt later. Right now she felt like she needed to be strong for her parents. That is just what she intended to do.
"You're right dad. I didn't do this on purpose. It was just an accident."
"That's right sweetheart." Audrey said as she pulled her daughter into yet another hug.
Walter turned to Barb.
"Did you find the Peterson house okay?"
"Yes, Audrey gave me excellent directions. Megan was eating breakfast when I got there."
"Which I didn't finish by the way." Megan piped up.
She wasn't hungry at all, but she saw this as a way to help her parents. She had a feeling they hadn't eaten anything since they had arrived at the hospital. At least she could bring them breakfast. It wasn't much, but she wanted to help them anyway she could.
"Mommy, I'm hungry. Can we go get breakfast in the cafeteria?"
"Oh Megs, I really don't want to leave the waiting room."
"Okay, then Aunt Barb and I will go. We are going to bring you back something so you might as well tell us what you want."
"I'm not really hungry Megan," Audrey stated
"Me either." Walter agreed.
"But you have to eat something to keep your strength up for Drake and Josh. Please tell me what you want so that I don't bring back the wrong thing."
"Just bring me something that isn't sweet. Some toast or a bagel." Walter told his daughter.
"That sounds good to me too. Just bring me what you bring for Walter." Audrey stated.
"Okay, we'll be back in a little while."
Walter reached into his pocket to get his wallet. Barb stopped him.
"This one's on me." she said.
Megan gave both parents a kiss on the cheek. She was happy to be doing something for her parents. She then joined her aunt and headed toward the cafeteria.
A soft beep... a swoosh of air... another soft beep...another swooshof air... Beep... swoosh... beep...swoop. Darkness. Thick darkness and the sounds of beeps and swooshes.
"Where the hell am I?" Drake thought. "What kind of dream is this? Why am I so cold? Why can't I wake up from this nightmare? I feel like I've been drugged. Drugged and beaten up. What the hell is going on? Where is my mom? Where is Josh? What is that beeping? How come I only hear that "swoosh" noise when I breath? Someone help me I think I'm going crazy!"
Beep... Swoosh...Beep... swoosh. Then a new sound. A very faint distant sound, little more than a whisper really...
Beep... swoosh... Drake... Beep... swoosh...Drake...
"Drake...Mr. Parker...It's time for you to wake up."
Drake's memory came flooding back to him. He knew where he was and exactly what had brought him there. He let out a small pain filled groan as he tried to open his eyes.
"That's good Mr. Parker. If you open your eyes and start waking up I can go get your parents. They have really been worried about you!"
Drake tried with all of his might to open his eyes. He hurt all over, the worst pain he had ever felt in his life. He wanted his mom. He wanted her standing right next to him holding his hand telling him things were going to get better. Then to his surprise, he found he wanted Walter too. He wanted both of them there to reassure him that this horrendous pain wasn't permanent.
All he had to do was open his eyes and the lady who kept calling his name said she would go and get them. Why couldn't he do that one simple task? It was as though someone had tied fishing weights to his eyelids and they weren't budging!
"Drake, now come on..."
"Ohhhh...ooowww..." Drake moaned again. Tears of pain slipped through his tightly closed eyes.
"Are you in pain, sweetie?" the unseen nurse questioned. "I can ask the doctor to give you more pain medicine once you wake up."
Pain medicine... it sounded like a piece of heaven to Drake. All he had to do was open his eyes.
With a Herculean effort he opened his left eye a fraction of an inch. The light that poured in that tiny slit was white hot. It seemed to burn Drake right to the center of his brain. He closed his eye immediately. He tried to reach up with his uninjured hand to shield his eyes, but found that it was tethered to an IV pole. Defeated, he gave a great sigh and let his hand fall.
The nurse patted his hand. "It's okay Mr. Parker, you rest. I've been an OR nurse for many years. I saw that eye open. I'll send for your parents."
Drake gave her a small, half smile in response.
"Josh... Josh...Joshua Blake Nichols...Time to wake up sleepy head!
Josh quickly opened his eyes. He looked around startled and searching.
"Where am I?" he stated as best as he could considering his lip had fresh stitches and he was missing some teeth.
He raised his hand and felt his face. It seemed covered in bandages.
"What isss all thisss?" he lisped trying to talk around his injuries.
He was beginning to get himself riled up. Josh always got himself riled up when ever he didn't feel in control of a situation. This was actually normal behavior for him. Unfortunately, his nurse didn't know this.
"Calm down Josh." She began, "You're at St. Joseph's Hospital. You've been in an accident."
Josh laid his head back on his pillow and sighed.
"Tweehoussse?" He questioned.
"Yes," said the nurse, "You've just come out of surgery so you better take it easy. Ok?"
Josh didn't answer. He sat in silence for about 3 seconds before the adrenaline rush he felt when he was first awoken wore off and PAIN took over.
He felt like his head was going to explode. He had never felt this much pressure. If asked, he would have sworn that even his HAIR hurt.
"Daaad? Mom?" He moaned.
"I'll send for them." the nurse said as she picked up the phone next to Josh's bed to call the waiting room attendant.
"Drake...isss Drake okay?" Josh asked.
"Sweetheart, I don't know who Drake is. Ask your Mom when she get's here. You just rest."
Josh laid back again. That would indeed be the first thing he asked his parents when they arrived.
A young woman dressed in light blue scrubs stood near the double doors that separated the recovery room from the waiting room. She had a clipboard in her hand and she was calling out names.
" I need to see Kimberly Owen's family members and the family members of Joshua Nichols."
Her long blonde ponytail swayed from side to side as her blue eyes searched for the people whose name she had called.
Walter and Audrey, followed by Barb and Megan, hurried to the young woman. Audrey told her that they were the Nichol's family as they grew close to her. The Owens family also announced their presence as an elderly woman and a younger man made their way to the young blonde orderly.
First she turned to the Owens family, Kimberly is awake and alert you may go in and see her now. The orderly opened the doors and checked her clip board. She is in bed number 2. That's the first one on the right. The Owens' walked through the door.
Then she turned to Walter and Audrey. I'm sorry but only 2 people are allowed in recovery at a time.
"We know...His mother and I are going in first." Walter told her in a voice strained with worry. "How is he doing?"
The orderly once again check her clip board.
"He is awake." She stated. "It also said he was a bit agitated when he came out of the anesthetic."
Walter turned to Audrey and smiled, "That's our Josh!"
Young woman looked at her clipboard again and addressed Walter and Audrey.
"I need to prepare you for what you are about to see." She paused to look at Audrey and Walter.
"Joshua's head was shaved for his surgery. It has not been bandaged so you can see the staples where the surgery was performed. Is this going to bother you?"
"No," Audrey answered for the both of them, "We just want to see him."
"Okay," the orderly continued, "His lips are very puffy and have about 30 stitched in them. His nose is swollen. It has been repaired so it has a small metal brace and adhesive tape to hold it in place. To put it plainly, he doesn't look much like your son at all. He is also hooked up to several machines. These machines beep and buzz a lot. This is all normal. He has a nurse stationed at the foot of his bed who monitors him and the gentleman in the bed next to him. If the nurse hears a monitor that she needs to attended too she will be right there to get it. Otherwise, assume the noises that you hear are perfectly normal."
Walter put his arm around Audrey's shaking shoulders.
''Are you ready to go in?"
Walter and Audrey nodded.
The orderly again opened the door. "He is in bed 14. That is seventh bed on the right."
Walter and Audrey walked through the doors that closed behind them with a soft thump.
Barb turned to a visibly shaken Megan.
"Hey, honey," she said as up beat as possible, "Let's go check out the gift shop and get something for your brothers."
Megan took her Aunt's hand and together they headed to the gift shop.