A/N: The long awaited sequel to When Was the Day if finally here. This begins an eight part series chronicling the Sherwood family as they grow and change from 2014 until 2040! We'll see Frank and Denise continue to mourn the loss of their son while raising their daughter. We'll see the special bond between Frank and his little girl and the deep abiding love between Denise and Frank that does stand the test of time.
Please let us know what you think. This is a full collaboration with lildramaqueen10.
For other collaborations looks under SherwoodShippers on .
For those inquiring about my JAG piece, it is finished and is being typed as we speak. I've been ill and have only been completing works thanks to my coauthor on this piece. LBUA 38 coming soon!
"Mommy, when is Daddy getting home?" Four year old Jaylynne Anna Sherwood asked her mother for the tenth time in three hours.
Frank had been away for two weeks and she'd missed him so much. He'd call her every night and read a story with her but it wasn't the same as being carried to bed and tucked in safe and warm by her Daddy. But today, Mommy had promised Daddy would be home for supper. Mommy had spent all day getting ready. It was almost time for dinner now and Jaylynne was too excited to sit still.
"He will be here in a little bit sweetie," she said laughing at her daughter's excitement, she was a Daddy's girl no doubt about it.
"What's a little bit, Mommy?" Jay asked her. Frank had been teaching her how to tell time before he left.
"About half an hour," she responded.
"That's a long time, Mommy," Jay pouted but sat down and went back to her coloring to pass the time.
Denise was getting a little worried, he should have been home by now but with Army transport you never did know for sure.
"Jaylynne, come on and eat," she said after waiting nearly an hour for Frank. Military transport was never reliable, that was hard on a four year old though.
"I want to wait for daddy," she whined.
"Daddy's running late, baby, now be a good girl and eat," Denise said going to pick up the tiny four year old. She was very small and petite for her age and looked exactly like Frank.
Jaylynne gave in and ate a small portion of her food then just pushed the rest around her plate. "Where's daddy?" she asked looking up at her mother.
"I don't know, honey," Denise sighed. "Let me go call him, okay? Maybe he's stuck in traffic." Denise went to call Frank's cell phone but only got the prompt to leave him a message. "He's probably still flying, sweetie."
"Stupid army transport," she said making a face that made Denise laugh until she remembered herself.
"Jaylynne, what does Daddy say about words like that?" Denise asked her pouting four year old. Frank would be a puddle by now, he couldn't resist her when she got this particular look on her face.
"I know, I'm sorry," she said and smiled angelically.
Denise cleaned up their supper and gave Jaylynne her bath, "Come and lay down in Mommy's bed, I'll wake you when Daddy comes home, okay baby?"
"Okay," she said sleepily and yawned.
Denise was about sick to her stomach by now, something wasn't right and she knew it. She tried calling Frank again.
As she reached for the phone it rang, "Frank?" she said her heart pounding. "No, Denise, it's Michael. Claudia Joy and I are on our way."
"What's going on? Is Frank okay? Have you heard from him?" her mind was racing along with her heart.
"We'll be there in five minutes, Denise," Michael said and hung up.
She took a deep breath to keep from falling apart, now she knew something wasn't right.
Four and a half minutes later Michael and Claudia Joy were at the door. Denise opened it the moment she saw them, "Come on in and sit down," CJ urged.
"What's wrong? Where is Frank?" she asked getting panicked.
"He's in surgery at Mercer," Michael said slowly. "His transport was broadsided on the way out of the airfield. He hadn't fastened his belt yet, he's in serious condition," Michael said gently. "Claudia Joy is here to stay with Jay; I'll take you to him."
Denise couldn't hold back the tears anymore "I can't lose him," she said.
"He's tough as they come, Denise, he was conscious in the ambulance," Michael told her.
"He'll want to see you the minute he wakes up I'm sure, now you need to be strong for him," Michael told her. "Get your jacket; he'll be all over me if you went out after dark without a jacket."
She grabbed her jacket off the back of the couch and followed Michael out the door in a hurry.
Michael sat with Denise as they waited for news on Frank. She paced, fidgeted, and paced some more before finally two doctors that Denise remembered from her nursing days stepped into the waiting area, Dr. Ecklund, chief of neurology and Dr. Mason, a top orthopedic surgeon. "Denise, General Holden, he's in recovery."
"But?" she asked, she knew it wasn't good, not with a neurosurgeon and orthopedist together.
"His injuries are extensive," Dr. Mason replied. "I've done what I can, we removed several bones chips from the base of the spine and secured the right hip, it fractured on impact, and I assisted Dr. Ecklund in internally stabilizing the spinal column. "
"The visual and testing we've done at this point, shows a detachment of the spinal nerves between T- 5 and T-7," Dr. Ecklund replied. "We won't know the extent of the damage until we can talk to him, though I suspect he'll experience some degree of paralysis, how much, how long, too soon to tell."
"When can I see him?" She didn't care about the injuries; she just wanted to be with her husband.
"Denise, you're his wife, so we'll allow you to be with him, but no other visitors until at least tomorrow, I'm sorry, General. He'll probably be very confused when he wakes up, it's best to let him discover his sensation or lack thereof on his own then reassure him," Dr. Ecklund advised. "Come with me."
Denise followed the doctor to recovery and prepared herself for the worst.
He looked like he was asleep. Frank was a back sleeper so he'd probably be very upset to be stuck on his side for at least 24 hours but she'd be able to soothe that with love and soft touching. What she wouldn't be able to soothe was the fear he'd feel when we wasn't able to move or feel more than half of his body.
She went over and sat by his bed and took his hand in hers "Frank, can you hear me?" she said softly.
His hand flexed in hers and made a soft moan but didn't open his eyes. Still, he'd reacted to her voice and her touch.
"I'm right here, honey," she soothed.
He shifted and moaned in pain, but his eyes fluttered open and met her eyes, "Dee?"
"Hey handsome," she said smiling at him.
"Jaylynne?" he said immediately, fear in his voice.
"She's with Claudia Joy, she's fine," she said.
"Jeremy?" he asked, he appeared to be very confused and definitely frightened.
"Everybody's fine honey," she said trying to soothe him, he only woke from surgery; she couldn't remind him of a loss he still mourned.
"Why do I feel so...Is this a hospital?" he asked finally sensing his surroundings.
"Yeah honey, it's a hospital," she replied.
"Why am I here? What happened?" he was waking a little more and tried to roll off his side. Not only couldn't he do it...it hurt, badly.
"You were in an accident honey," she said.
He was breathing hard trying to hide the pain, "Get me off my side, Dee. This hurts," he said shifting as much as the various restraint devices permitted which was very little.
"You have to stay like that, Sweetheart. You had surgery on your back, you can't lay on it," she said, she didn't like for him to hurt but she couldn't risk moving him right now.
"Just help me move, Dee," he said again. "I don't like this. This hurts."
"I know honey but you can't, at least not yet," she replied.
"Why won't you help me?" he asked her, his voice was catching and his eyes were watering, he didn't understand, she knew that his brain was just too fogged with drugs to fully understand.
"I want to help you, but you had an operation on your back, you can't lie on it yet, as soon as the doctor says it's all right, I'll help you, I promise, just try and sleep," she replied.
"Tired," he sighed but stopped fighting.
"Get some rest," she said and kissed his forehead gently.
He was asleep immediately and for the moment looked to be relaxed and pain free. Denise laid his hand on the bed, his ring was missing, and he'd be upset if he woke without his wedding ring.
She quietly slipped out of the room and looked for Michael; he was waiting for her just on the other side of the door.
"How is he?" Michael asked her quickly.
"Confused, in pain, frightened but he won't admit it," Denise sighed. "He's on his side and he hates that, he hates sleeping on his side, he hates it..." It was building up inside her; she was an inch from the edge.
"Alright calm down it won't be for too long," he said.
"That won't be, but...I'm scared Michael. I'm scared at how he'll take it, he's just started moving on after losing Jeremy, and he didn't do anything to deserve this, nothing." The tears started then, she held them in for Frank, but she couldn't hide them anymore.
Michael pulled her into a hug. "Shh Denise, it's all right. Frank is strong, he is going to be fine," he said.
"No, he's not," she said against his chest. "No, he's not. He'll live but it's not going to like it was in the best case, you know how he is with change! What is this going to do to him?"
"i don't know Denise," he said, he wished he could give her more answers.
"I better call his folks," she said sniffling. "Dennis and Frank were supposed to take Jay up to Ohio next week."
Michael nodded and she went to call her in-laws, she knew this would crush them both.
Near Savannah, Georgia
It was after 2AM, so when the phone started ringing Dennis knew it wasn't good news. "Sherwood," he said sounding almost exactly like Frank did when he said it.
"Dennis it's Denise," she said trying to keep the fear and the tears out of her voice.
It didn't work. "Denise, what happened? What's wrong?"
She took a breath and it spilled out, "i have bad news," she said. "Frank was in an accident, he had to have surgery."
"Whoa, Denise, Denise," Dennis said waking up. "Slow down. What happened, an accident?" he was still trying to wake up and absorb this.
"Yeah his transport broadsided and he didn't have his seat belt fastened yet," she replied. "He's hurt pretty bad."
"And he's had surgery? Is he gonna make it?" Dennis asked nudging his wife. She slept like a rock, he, like his son, was always on alert.
"Yeah but you might want to come up here whenever you can," she replied, she knew he was scared.
"How serious is this? This wasn't a minor operation was it?" he asked. He'd known soldiers that had spinal surgery, 85% of them were in wheelchairs.
"No," she said, no use in lying to him.
"Okay, okay," he said, again sounding so much like is son, but Frank would deny on a stack of Bibles being even remotely like his dad. "We'll be there sometime tomorrow if nothing else we can help with Jaylynne. Does he know how badly he's hurt?"
"I don't think he realizes it yet," she said wiping the tears falling from her eyes. "I was only with him a few minutes when he just woke up."
"My son won't take this well," Dennis sighed. "I'll tell him, keep him calm until we arrive and I'll...I'll tell him. No fear," Dennis reminded her. Why did everything he said sound like it came from Frank?
"Okay, see you both tomorrow," she said and hung up.
Back at the house Jaylynne woke up alone in her parents' room, it was dark and she didn't see either of her parents. "Mommy?" she said loud enough for Claudia Joy to hear her.
Claudia Joy took a deep breath and went to see the tiny little girl. "Hi, Sweetie," she said sitting by Jaylynne on the bed.
"Where's my mommy and daddy?" she asked and it was obvious she was frightened.
"Well, honey, your daddy got hurt on his way home from the plane and Uncle Michael took your mommy to see him," Claudia Joy explained. "He needs to be with the doctors so they can make him feel better."
"i want my daddy," she said with tears in her eyes.
"I know, sweetie pie," Claudia Joy said beginning to rock the child. "And he wants to see you too but right now only Mommy is allowed to see him, even Uncle Michael isn't allowed to yet and he's a General. We have to wait until the doctors say it's okay. We want daddy to get better right?"
"Right," she said, her eyes beginning to close again.
"Want me to hold you while you sleep, baby?" Claudia Joy asked. Emmalin still liked to be held after waking up frightened.
She nodded and fell back to sleep against her godmother's chest hoping when she woke up she'd be able to go with her Mommy and see her Daddy.