That day seemed to just crawl by for all of them. Lisa sobbed almost nonstop. David just sat staring into space. Beryl went on and on about how Matthew should have been more careful. Joanie, Chachi, Jack, and Abigail tried unsuccessfullly to make small talk. Meal times came and went, but none of them felt much like eating.

David and Lisa both decided to sleep in the waiting room rather than going home that night. Jack and Abigail left as soon as visiting hours were over. The ride home was mostly silent. As Abigail walked through the door, she felt as if she were so tired she could hardly move.

"Are you all right?" asked Jack.

"No, not really." Abigail's shoulders began to shake, and her breath became uneasy. "He's only eighteen, Jack. Only eighteen...and he might die."

Jack went to his wife and put his arms around her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. "Easy, easy," he said softly. She clung tightly to him, and he rubbed her back in an attempt to soothe her.

"I can't even imagine the pain David's going through right now, all alone." Abigail's voice was almost a whisper.

"I know," Jack said glumly. His arm tightened around Abigail, and he held her for a long time. Abigail realized that he needed comfort just as much as she did but had a more difficult time asking for it.

"Jack?" Abigail asked later, when they were in bed.

"Yes?"

"Was it like that right after I first lapsed into my coma, when no one knew whether or not I would ever wake up?"

"It was much like that, yes."

"I...I don't think I can bear the thought of Matthew being like that for twenty years. I...I just don't think that I can bear it."

"I know, Abby. I don't think that I could go through that again either."

Suddenly Abigail could hold the tears back no more. Jack held her as she cried.


After several days in intensive care, Matthew opened his eyes and began making some movements with his arms and legs. Jack had had to go back to work, so Abigail was alone with David on the day Matthew began to awaken.

"He has a chance to make a complete recovery," the physician said. "But he does have a long, hard road ahead of him. He'll have to undergo intense physical therapy to regain the skills and abilities he's lost. He's going to need all the support from his family and friends that you can give him."

David began to sob. "He was the top player on his school's football team," he lamented.

"I'm so very sorry," the physician told him.

David turned to Abigail as soon as the physician had left the room. "You've been with me almost from the moment they first brought Matthew in. You'll never know how much that means to me," he told her.

"Matthew's my nephew. I love him too," Abigail said.

"I never should have married her," David mumbled.

"What?"

"Ellen. I never should have married her. I was so deeply upset over what had happened to you, and she came to me when I was at my most vulnerable. It was as if she cast a spell on me or something, but now I finally realize that you're the one I've loved all along. We were meant to be together, Abby. Won't you please tell me you still love me?"

"But David, I'm married to Jack now. I don't think you really mean what you're saying. I think you're just upset over Matthew, which is perfectly understandable."

"But I do mean it, Abby, with all my heart." David tried to embrace Abigail, but she moved away from him. "Please, Abigail...what we had back in high school was so special, and we can have it again..."

Undetered, David continued to advance on Abigail. Frightened, Abigail fled the hospital and drove back home as fast as she could, feeling as if something dangerous were following her.