Chapter 12

I reach down and touch my legs. I can feel them beneath the sheets, but my legs cannot feel my fingers. I try to move them, but they remain motionless. My heart starts to beat faster and faster.

"They won't move…." I mumble under my breath. "Why can't I feel them?" I ask more loudly. They both look to me with a bit of worry, but more importantly, no answer. "I can't move them!" I shout; picking up my legs and throwing them over the side of the bed. They are heavier than I thought, the weight pulls the rest of me off the bed; I plunge to the floor.

Mom runs around the bed to my side, gathering me in her arms. I hear her sobs and feel her tears landing on my forehead. "It's okay, it'll be okay." She says, rocking me back and forth in her arms.

I can hear a slight squeaking sound, faint, but growing louder. Moms head turns to face the front of the room. I lift my head, the noise stops, there is an odd shape in the doorway. At first I think it's a chair, but I soon realize it's a wheelchair, which explains the squeaking sound. "Dad?" I ask, still unable to distinguish faces.

"You okay?" he asks, despite my present state.

"I can't feel my legs." I utter, looking down to the floor. "I can hardly see…" I say throwing my hands in the air. My eyes well up with tears, making it even harder than before to see anything.

"It's going to be okay." Mom says again.

"No it's not!" I shout. How many times are they going to say that? Just because you say it's going to be alright doesn't mean it will be. "How is this going to be okay?" I ask, motioning towards my limp legs. "I should be running to my dad's side right now! And instead I'm dragging myself across the floor to him!" I cry, pulling myself across the room on the cold floor.

Grandpa walks over and takes a knee beside me. I lower my head again, sobbing and sniveling. I wipe my nose with the sleeve of my hospital gown.

"I'm sorry…." I whisper, looking to mom.

"Let's get you back into bed." Grandpa says, lifting me up by my arms. He throws my right arm around his shoulder and carries me back to the bed.

Dad moves further into the room silently, with the exception of his noisy wheelchair.

"How are we all doing?" a strange voice asks from the doorway with a rather jolly tone. I look to the doorway only to see a large white blob.

"It's the doctor." Grandpa whispers in my ear.

"Well I can barely see anything and I can't feel my legs soo….things are going freakin fantastic!" I say with a smile and a tone dripping with sarcasm. There is a split second of awkward silence, but dad quickly breaks it with a giggle to himself. I smile and look over to him. I think for a moment how much he has rubbed off on me. I've always loved his sense of humor and now I find myself saying the same type of sarcastic comments.

"Let's take a look and see what's going on." The doctor says as he approaches the side of my bed after looking over my list of injuries. "Head back.." he says, pressing his finger against my forehead, pushing it back against the pillow. He opens my eyelids up wider and shines a light into them. He does this to both eyes several times.

"Something's wrong?" I ask; coming to this conclusion after he repeats the light test three times.

He doesn't answer right away, another indication of a problem. "Well……" he starts. "There's still time for you to regain your sight, it usually takes a couple days to fully heal……"

"But…?" I say, knowing full well that he wasn't finished.

"But usually the pupils dilate more at this point."

"and my legs?"

He moves down to the foot of the bed and takes something out from his pocket. I can see his blurry figure moving around, but I'm not positive as to what he's doing? I can see all of their figures turning to look at me.

"What?" I ask; feeling like there is something I should be saying or doing.

"I'm done here." The doctor says with a definite tone, as though we were all waiting for him to announce his completed mission. "Mr. and Mrs. McCoy, could I talk to you in the hall for a moment?" he asks walking out of the room. I hear them both walk outside and the door shut behind them.

"That guy's a prick." I say with disgust.

Grandpa lets out a small chuckle before replying. "He's just doing his job."

I look to him with a skeptical look and a raised eyebrow.

"Does he think I'm retarded?" I ask. "He does all these 'tests' and then asks to talk to my parents outside." I say with a slight laugh. "Yeah….that's very secretive Doctor. I have no idea something is wrong now!" I say sarcastically.

Grandpa laughs again. "Well I would say that 'everything will be okay' but I'm afraid you might punch me."
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"How is he?" Danny asks the doctor, looking up to Delinda from his wheelchair.

The doctor lets out a loud sigh before answering. "It's very common for the eyesight to be hazy at first. It's normal to have things be blurry and unclear, but…" he stops and furrows his eyebrows, shaking his head. "But the pupils will usually dilate when prompted. Your sons however are failing to do so, well at least not as much as we would hope."

"So they are dilating?" Delinda asks, looking for a sliver of hope.

"Yes, slightly, but I want to keep a close watch on it."

"What about his legs?" Danny asks impatiently. "Will he walk?"

The doctor hesitates, not a good sign Danny thinks to himself. Delinda grabs his hand for support, afraid of the news that is about to come.

"He didn't feel me scrape the bottom of his feet at all, which is a cause for concern. I would like to try a few more tests before I make any conclusions…."

"But there is a chance that he may be paralyzed?" Danny asks, a bead of sweat running down his temple.

"Yes. There is a chance." He says solemnly.

Danny stands up from his wheelchair and takes his wife in his arms. She sobs silently into his shoulder. "He'll be fine." He whispers, running his hand down the back of her head. "He will walk again."
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Grandpa laughs at his own joke, which makes me giggle. Grandpa has always been, at least since I was born, very intimidating. He can be frightening to some, but to the people he loves he is kind and generous; occasionally he can be intimidating when he wants you to do something he strongly believes in or thinks is right and you hesitate. He has a great sense of humor when he wants to show it, though sometimes he does have a lame joke that no one finds funny but himself.

"Isn't that funny?" he asks through bursts of laughter.

I laugh out loud and nod my head to humor him. "Yeah." I laugh.

For a moment my thoughts trail off. I can't see or walk as of right now. If I could only get one of them back, which would I pick? As much as I love to run and swim and jump; I wouldn't really be able to do any of that anyway if I couldn't see where I was going. So I think that I would have to pick my eyesight. I love to watch the expressions on people's faces. I can't wait to see the look on Ruby's face when we all get home. I want to see the look on grandpa's face as he watches from afar Ruby and dad reunite. I can picture it all now as though it were happening in front of me. I love the look on grandpa's face when he is proud; there is a relaxed look on his face with a slight, barely noticeable, smile.

"What's so funny?" mom asks walking back into the room. I look to the doorway and see her blurry figure with another taller figure leaning against her.

"I was just telling a joke." Grandpa says still laughing. I can see mom look from grandpa to me, at which point I shrug my shoulders quickly so only she can see. I hear her giggle to herself.

"Dad is that you?" I ask, trying to get my eyes to focus on the figure beside mom.

"Yeah." He replies simply.

"You're walking?" I ask again.

"Getting there." he says taking a few slow steps towards the chair beside my bed.
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"So they are okay?" Mike asks, obviously confused as to the health status of his friends.

"Danny's leg is a little sore, Delinda and Ed are fine." Jillian says, leaving Josh out on purpose.

"I think you are forgetting someone." Nessa says with a halfhearted laugh, hoping that her surrogate mother had just forgotten.

Jillian remains silent, trying to figure out the best way to break the news to them. "We don't know yet…" is all she can come up with.

"What do you mean 'we don't know'? We don't know if he's alive? We don't know if he's going to make it? We don't know what?" Mike asks, his voice getting louder and louder with panic.

"We don't know if he will walk again." Jillian finishes. She sits down on the couch and watches Charlie and Ruby play in the next room.

Mikes eyes seem to glaze over a bit, his mouth hangs open ever so slightly, he puts out his arm to brace himself as he lowers himself into the chair. "What happened?"

"He stepped on a landmine. A piece of shrapnel was lodged in his spine. They won't know anything until he wakes up."

"oh my god…." Nessa mutters.

"There's more." Jillian adds.

Nessa and Mike both look up, startled.

"He was grazed by a bullet. Before they put him under for surgery he couldn't see anything. He couldn't feel his legs either."

Nessa leans against the chair her husband is sitting in, grabbing his shoulder.

"When will we know something?" Mike asks, looking up again.

Jillian shrugs her shoulders. "Ed said he would call when Josh wakes up and they know something, but who knows when that is. We are just waiting on a phone call."

"We should call Sam. Sam should know." Nessa says, feeling her pockets for her cell phone with no success. She looks around the room, almost frantically.

Mike calmly takes his phone off his hip and hands it to his wife. "here." He says holding it up.

She dials the number she had memorized years ago. The phone rings only once before he friend picks up.

"Yeah Ness, what's up?" she asks as she signs an approval form for a raised credit line.

"Can you come over?" Nessa asks calmly.

"I'm babysitting a while right now; can it wait?" she says, handing the form back to the pit boss.

"No." Nessa answers quickly and definitely.

Sam frowns to herself and looks to her watch. "Oh….umm…okay. I'll be there in fifteen. Is everything okay?"

"We'll see you in fifteen minutes." Nessa says, not wanting to mention anything over the phone and hanging up.
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They all sit around my bed laughing at something mom had said. To be honest I'm not really listening. There is a short pause; this is when I decide to ask the question I have been pondering.

"So there's still an obvious question that hasn't been answered." I say seriously.

They stop laughing and look at me.

"Who shot down our plane and why?"

"Planes are shot down all the time here." Mom says, trying to make it sound so casual.

I hear grandpa let out a laugh and see his profile look over to dad.

"Okay, one: We shouldn't have been flying over Iraq anyway. And two: I heard what the pilot said. Someone made him take us on that route. Why? Were they after dad or grandpa?"

Mom sighs reluctantly. "Sorry Dee….he's our kid." Dad says laughing. Grandpa chuckles too and so does mom after a few seconds.

"The truth is, we don't know anything yet. We have been so consumed with you and making sure you are okay we haven't had time to check anything out."

"I'm fine. So now can we figure out who did this and why?" I ask, wanting to get down to business.