Disclaimer-I own nothing.
Yes, this story's back again. I'm going to give it another shot.
"I know Dave, I'll have that report filed for you by Monday." I gushed into my phone as I drove along the dark, winding road that would eventually lead me back to my warm, rain free house. "Yeah, don't worry buddy, you can count on me." I lied, not knowing if I was coming or going these days with all the work that I had coming at me in all directions.
I hung up the phone and threw it onto the passenger seat, feeling as though another ten pounds had been added to each of my shoulders yet again, weighing me down further, making my feet drag more and more with each passing day.
The hypnotic twists and turns in the road finally came to an end, leaving me with a long stretch of straight road before the next set of twists. With each monotonous sweep of the windscreen wiper, I listed what I needed to do by Monday morning. Get the report filed for Dave, pick up my suit from the dry cleaners, put my car in with the mechanics for a service… the list went on as the wipers continued their rhythmic ticking as if it were mimicking a clock.
Not too far ahead, I spotted a set of lights steadily advancing. I wondered why I hadn't noticed it before. Maybe I hadn't noticed it because of the heavy rain, or because I had been distracted with my list. I rebuked myself for slacking in my concentration and willed myself to do better now that I had company.
As we drew ever closer, I noticed that the lights of the other car were the lights of a truck. I worked that much out from where they were positioned and the blurry outline that I could just about make through the darkness of the night.
My phone began to ring beside me, howling the familiar annoying tune that told me that Dave was on the line once again.
I reached for my phone, but in my haste, managed to knock it against my hand and drop it on the floor. I cut another quick glance at the road and once I was confident that I had the steering wheel held steady, heading the car down the road in a straight direction, I plunged my head down and searching for my phone.
My hand came into contact with nothing until I unexpectedly felt something gooey in my hands. "Ewww…" I whined as I assured myself that it was probably only a custard slice. I didn't want to know the truth if something was growing under there.
The sound of screeching tires suddenly turned my blood cold.
I instantly popped my head up and tried to turn the car away from the red truck that I was mere inches away from. My heart caught in my throat as I realised that there was no way out of this, I could see the face of the young girl that I was going to kill. Her panicked face and big crying doe eyes stared back at me. I could tell that she would have screamed if she hadn't been so scared, just as I would have done.
And then it happened. The inevitable impact.
The sound of the two vehicles smashing into each other was tremendous, ear shattering. The crunching of metal screeched and echoed around as I was thrown from the car, my seatbelt tugging at me brutally as if it were a death dealer, deciding that my time was up and wanted to pull me back into the wreckage of my car. I somehow managed to side step its plans and got free, flying out of my open door and crashing to the ground some distance away, becoming increasingly washed in the downpour.
My head felt as if someone had tried to split it open. A new pain seared across my shoulder, the combination causing black spots to form in front of my eyes. I realised that my shoulder was dislocated, and after a tentative touch to the back of my head, I knew that I'd hit it pretty badly against the road. There was a gash that was bleeding and would undoubtedly need stitches.
The unfamiliar sounds from the crash ceased by the time I lifted myself off the ground. The glare from the only remaining headlight shone at the ground, causing a glittering effect from the shattered glass that was sprinkled all over the road.
I limped over to the foreign red truck which was now upside down, its engine still running and one wheel still spinning. From the pungent smell that hit me as I reached the truck, I realised that it was leaking gas and that the slightest spark would send both vehicles and the woman up in flames, regardless of the downpour which would be no match to the fuel fed fire.
I got onto my knees, wincing as the shards of glass sliced painfully into my knees. I shuffled forward, crawling with the use of my one good arm until I reached the trucks blown out window where a young woman sat suspended, upside down and still.
"I'm so sorry…I'm so sorry…" I sobbed at the sight of her while I reached in through the window on her side and went to unbuckle her. The pressure from her weight on the buckle made it hard to open, but I persisted, jiggling it about with my shaky hand until I got her free.
She fell, oddly slithering lifelessly down to the roof of the car in this upside down vehicle. I clawed at her arm, trying to get a hold on her, but finding it hard with one arm dislocated and useless and my other hand slippery with blood and rain. Eventually, I managed to get a hold of her and pulled her halfway out of the window. I cursed as I realised that I had already dragged half of her unconscious body through a torn out window which had left its marks on her. The shards of glass beside the window dripped and ran with her blood from the gashes that they had created along her arms, back and sides.
I knew that there was no other way of getting her out without raking the last bottom half of her over the shards of glass. My dislocated shoulder was searing with pain, and yet my arm was useless. I didn't want to imagine the pain of it being put back in place, so I had to carry on dragging her out of the truck, using my one good arm.
"Ouch…" I made out a faint whisper over the sound of the thrashing rain as the limp body in my arm tensed up, legs shifting weakly. I knew that the glass cutting into her was probably unbearable at the moment, but with one final tug, I managed to get her body completely out of the wreckage.
Panic swelled inside of me as I realised that her midriff was covered in blood, thankfully, lower than where I had had my arm wrapped tightly around her. I decided to push the sight of her blooded shirt out of my mind as I realised a faint flicker of a flame beside my car. I needed to get her and myself as far away from here as possible or else make all my effort thus far futile.
"I know it hurts, but move with me please…" I knew I had no right to ask this young woman anything after all that I had done to her, but she would hopefully be grateful for me saving her from the imminent explosion that was soon to come.
"'Kay…" the young woman sobbed before she planted her hands on the ground, and pulled herself back. Her shrill scream ripped through the darkness as she slammed back to the floor, her hands at her side as she stared up at the sky, her tears merging with the rain.
"I can't move!" she told me, panic and horror in her voice which was void from her pale face but clear in her fiery eyes.
Clawing at determination and adrenaline I grabbed my limp arm with my working one and roughly shoved it up, toward the socket. I fell to my knees and emptied my stomach from the sheer pain. The nausea remained, doing its best to try and deter me from my mission, but I tried again and thankfully ended up successful. The ball and socket joint popped as it was put back together, leaving my shoulder screaming in pain from the stretched tendons which would never be the same again.
The weakness I felt from the pain of popping my arm back into its socket shamed me when I looked up and caught sight of the mess I had created. A few seconds of stupidity ended in this, and we weren't out of the woods yet.
I looked over to my car and shrank back in horror as I realised that the small flicker of a flame from earlier was toughening up from its quarrel with the rain. I knew that the fire would only strengthen and reach its goal of blasting up both vehicles.
"Bear with me, we…I have to move you…" I stuttered. The fear of the fire got to me, hit a nerve. The panic made me see clearly exactly what I had to do and so I set my mind to the single goal of not getting killed now that we had got this far.
Not hearing any response from the girl, I looked down at her and breathed a sigh of relief as I noticed that she had passed out again. I hoped. I quickly groped at her neck, my fingers slipping from the rain and blood once again. After willing myself to relax, I felt for her pulse once more and found it. It was thankfully stronger than I would have imagined.
With her now out cold, I picked her up in my arms, almost dropping her from the pain in my protesting shoulder, but I persevered from repeating the fact over and over in my mind, that I had done this too her. I owed her this much to put up with the pain for a few minutes.
I carried her down the road, feeling as if I was in a trance as each heavy step sounded with a slosh from the rain. The woman's arms swayed limply just like her legs, her head lolled back, silently accepting the attack of the pounding rain which was thankfully useful for one thing tonight. It washed away the blood that ran freely from gashes which were along her face, arms and torso which I hadn't really had the time to fully comprehend before now.
Once the vehicles and the flicker of the fire was a blip behind us, I set her down in the middle of the road, cursing as she remained lifeless and cold. Realising that I was still wearing a big suit jacket, I shrugged it off and gently placed it on her scarcely dressed upper half, wrapping her up as much as possible. I wondered why she wore only a short sleeved shirt on a night like this, but then laughed aloud as I realised that this woman didn't think about the possibility of ending up in a car crash, had she, she probably wouldn't have taken a step out of her house.
As the minutes ticked by, I realised that no one knew about the accident, the fire would surely explode the vehicles at any minute, but no one lived near enough to hear it. I had to find help and fast. Hating myself for having to leave the woman here, I leant down and whispered a heartfelt sorry before I hauled her over to the side of the road just in case the highly unlikely happened and a car would come. With my jacket tucked around her more securely, I got up and made my way down the dark road, thankful that my eyes had adjusted to the growing darkness.
Just as I reached the first of many bends in the road, the imminent explosion occurred, sending fire and smoke up high in the sky. I broke into a run as my mind told me that the fire at least would act as a pinpoint as to where the young woman was.
"Chief Swan…there's been a car accident…" my colleague told me over the phone. He explained that a man had arrived at the town station and incoherently demanded for help. Apparently, from the look on the man's face, neither of them doubted him.
"I'll be there as soon as I can!" I shouted down the phone as I shrugged on my big rain coat and snatched my gun holster from the bottom of the stairs. I worried about where Bella was, she should have been home by now, so I scribbled her a quick note, telling her that there had been a car accident and that I was needed on sight to help.
I left, locking the front door behind me and jumping into my cruiser, oddly excited at the drama of a car accident that we hardly ever saw in this town. Shame soon replaced the excitement as I recalled my colleague telling me that two vehicles were involved. If that was the case, then there would definitely be at least one other person at the accident site, if not more. I prayed that no one was seriously hurt…or worse.
The flames and smoke signalled the scene of the accident before I could even see it. I breathed a sigh of relief as I caught sight of an ambulance a good distance away from the wreckage, with paramedics bustling about and a few of my fellow officers observing the scene from beside the ambulance. Each of them stood dripping in the harsh rain.
I quickly got out of the cruiser once I'd parked beside the others and made my way over to see what the rest of my men were gawping at.
"Charlie…you need to listen to me, she's okay…she's in good hands…Bella's a fighter…" one of my men told me as he came up to me, holding my shoulders in his strong hands. I wondered why the hell he mentioned Bella, why would I need reminding that she was a fighter? I knew that anyway.
Comprehension dawned at me as I looked at each of the other officers who all looked back with me with pity and helplessness etched in their faces.
"No…" I croaked. Tears of panic, hurt and heartbreak fell from my eyes before I roughly shoved the man in front of me out of my way and ran around the corner of the ambulance to see the truth for myself.
Upon rounding the corner, I fell to my knees. I wouldn't have been surprised if my hair had turned completely white there and then from the shock of seeing my little baby, my angel spread across the cold hard ground, with a paramedic on either side of her as rain continued to fall down on the three of them.
My mind screamed questions and demands at the paramedics that I didn't have the strength to voice, like, why did they have to take her top off to show the bruises and gashes that now marred it, why didn't they take her out of the rain into the ambulance for some cover? I closed my mind off to that question there and then, knowing from my years of experience that the paramedics wouldn't be working on her in the rain, on the cold, hard, unhygienic ground for no other reason than that they needed to stabilise her first before moving her.
Hours seemed to pass, but they were most likely only minutes before she was placed gently into the ambulance, machines beeping all the while. "Sir? You're her father?" Once of the paramedics asked me softly, yet hurriedly as he popped his head out of the back door.
I jerked my head up and down before two officers who had been stood behind me grabbed my arms and hauled me to my feet and helped me clamber into the back of the ambulance. Once the door was slammed shut, I cut a tentative glance at the paramedic who sat on the other side, keeping a close eye on my angels every breath. Most fathers would be highly pissed off at a young man staring at his daughters chest which was only clad in a blood seeped bra, but this circumstance was completely different, from a different universe of circumstances. I was sure that I would shout the place down if he dared to take his eyes away from her for even a second.
Tentatively, not wanting to hurt her, I reached for her hand, but was halted by the sorrowful looking paramedic who had taken his eyes from Bella's breathing for long enough to turn her hand over delicately, showing me hundreds of small indents where glass had evidently been lodged before they had extracted them. I nodded my head in understanding and opted for simply resting my hand on her forearm which felt stone cold to my touch.
"She's so cold…" I whispered my thoughts, only realising that I had spoken when the paramedic replied gravely.
"She's lost a lot of blood…and has been out in the rain for some time…" he broke off, turning his attention back to the beeping monitor beside him.
As if by instinct, I began to softly rub her forearm, hoping to be of some help by warming her up as little as I could. I noticed the small pitying smile that the paramedic directed at me as he caught onto my intention.
Not long after, we pulled up at the hospital and Bella was wheeled into the hospital on the gurney. I followed numbly behind, half hearing the medical chatter but not wanting to really hear any of it just in case I picked up on something that I would understand and learn something that I didn't want to know.
I was left in the relative's room while Bella was seen to. I waited through the night and the morning before I was allowed to see her. They explained to me what had happened to her, but for the most part, I didn't listen. I was focusing on the persons first words. I would get to see her now.
About a month later.
My back ached in protest as I shifted around in the uncomfortable hospital bed-side chair that I had been dutifully sat in today for seven hours as I had done the day before, and the week before, and hell, the week before that too.
The steady 'Beep, Beep' of the monitors beside her had become growingly familiar and reassuring to me by now. I could tell when her heart rate picked up or if something was out of the ordinary just as well as any highly qualified doctor, surgeon or anaesthetist could.
"Hey Charlie, how are you?" Maria one of the usual nurses asked me as she stepped into the room, ready to do the usual daily observations. I gave the nurse, who by now was on first name terms with me, a weak smile and a heavy shrug to my shoulders before I turned my head back to look at my little girl who was still partly bandaged and wired up.
Maria was just one of the team of nurses who looked after Bella. Maria was my favourite. She was about 50 years old, jubilant when the most subdued, and almost unbearable when hyped up, but she was just what this hospital needed, and just what the patients needed if they were having an off day, as I had learnt.
As Maria ticked some boxes and read some charts, I noticed just how much Bella had improved since she was first wheeled in, battered and bruised. Purple, black, red, rain soaked, freezing cold, lifeless, pale and weak. By now, she looked perfectly fine, the long hours that she slept each day helped with her recovery even though she dreaded the time each day when she would be injected with the sedatives.
Just as Maria was finishing the obs, Bella began to stir as she usually did around this time in the early afternoon.
"Hey there Bells, how are you feeling?" I asked as I held her hand, making sure to not upset any wires or needles.
"Yesterday, like I was stoned and today like a pincushion, and yourself?" She asked me sarcastically before she turned to look at me, giving me a frustrated sigh. "Cant I leave now? Please?" She begged as if I had power to make that decision.
Thankfully, Maria, never one to keep in the idle gossip that she'd hear about the hospital, spoke up. "I might be wrong Bella, but I did hear Dr Mathews mention something about you being discharged sometime soon." she informed us in a whisper, but with hopeful eyes.
"Really?" Bella asked, her hope flying high at the piece of vital gossip.
Maria shrugged her shoulders, grinning all the while before she exited the room, taking her observation sheet with her.
"Bells, don't get your hopes up too much okay?" I asked her as I squeezed her hand, secretly hoping that the news was true.
Some time later, as we were playing a card game, Dr Mathews approached. The young, aspiring doctor had been in charge of Bella's recovery since she was wheeled into the hospital on the gurney a few weeks ago. I noticed him straightening his white coat and stethoscope through the window just before he entered. I had begun to notice that he liked to look good around my Bella.
The kid smiled like a teenager at my daughter, who seemed indifferent to him for the most part as he greeted her, "Good afternoon Bella." I noticed that his voice was steady, as was his composure, but his eyes gave him away. The windows to the soul Bella's mother used to call them. I had always laughed at that, but I guess she was right.
"Chief Swan." The kid, Dr Mathews then greeted me after Bella graced him with a responding smile. I answered a greeting before Dr Mathews sat at the side of Bella's bed, her file in his hands. I knew that no other doctor would have done this, sat on her bed, but he had become more familiar to both me and Bella in the weeks that we had been in here, plus, I knew that he wanted to be close to Bella because he had a crush on her. Poor kid.
"I'm sure that Maria's already found out the reason that I'm here so unexpectedly and told you?" he asked, his gray eyes shining with humour as he opened the file in his hands languidly.
"She did mention something…" Bella answered, sitting up a little straighter, a small frown forming at her brow as she waited patiently.
I sat back, letting my arm rest on the sides of the chair as Dr Mathews ran a hand through his sleek black hair "I'm sure that she hit the mark too. Well, you are free to go whenever you feel ready, but we will need to talk about some private matters first." He finished, letting the file fall open on a piece of crisp white paper packed with black text and highlighted areas.
From the revised look of the paper, I knew that there were some interesting things in there that he wanted to point out to Bella. Deciding that it may be best for her to hear whatever he had to tell her alone, I cleared my throat and asked, "Is there anything in there that concerns me? Or should I step out and let you talk to Bella?"
"No, there's nothing in here in regards to you…not that I can remember at the top of my head anyway…" the doctor replied, skimming quickly over his notes just to be sure. "Nope." he clarified a few moments later as he looked back up to me.
"I'll go stretch my legs and leave you to it then…" I answered as I got up, my bones creaking from the movement. I shut the door soundly behind me, glancing once quickly through the small window in the door to see that Dr Mathews had taken my seat and was now talking to Bella.
An hour later, I got back to Bella's ever familiar room. I gave the door a gentle knock, waiting silently until I heard Bella calling me in. She was sat up in bed, her computer thingy on her lap…laptop-that was it.
"Dad…you wont believe what Jamie just told me...I mean…Dr Mathews…" I noted her blush, but sat down beside her, ready to let that one slide for now until I found out what she seemed so excited about.
"What is it Bells?" I asked as I stretched my legs out in front of me and yawned.
"I'm going to have a baby!" she declared exuberantly, grinning at me madly while I choked on my yawn, breath fighting to get into my lungs and out at the same time.
Once my breathing was back in check, I turned to glare at her. "What?" I asked dumbfounded, but holding onto as much reason as I could, hoping that I had heard her wrong.
"Your going to be a grandfather!" she announced joyfully once again, apparently oblivious to the turmoil that I was going through at the moment. She was only 20, she had just been in a major car accident, and she didn't even have a boyfriend…wait…
"How the hell are you pregnant?" I asked, incredulity dripping in my voice as I frowned at her.
She had enough grace to shrink away from my glare. "Well…you see…that's where Dr Mathews comes in…" she muttered, wringing her hands in her lap, looking at me through her lashes as she hung her head.
Darkness fell over me gradually, as if someone was dragging a heavy, black blanket over my head. "Dad…are you alright!?" I made out Bella's frantic voice in the distance before I slipped out of consciousness.