AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, time to wrap this story up. Sorry about the long wait. My USB port with the last chapter on it broke, and I had to start all over. A little bit of writers block for this story, also got in the way. So, unfortunately this isn't the original last chapter. But, for those of you who were patient enough to stick with this story. I hope this was worth the wait.
Audrey tried to look at her surroundings, and figure out where she was. But, it was difficult when someone was tapping her in the face. However, she could feel that she was lying down on something hard. And, the annoying beeping had stopped. Then, the voice and face came into focus. She was both surprised and disappointed at first. But, now shocked and confused could be added to that list.
"Let me help you stand up." The man bending over her said, removing his hand from her face. Standing up and offering his hand to her.
Audrey took his hand, and let go once she steadied herself. She stood there for a moment, looking at her surroundings. She was standing in the middle of Main Street. And, judging by the sun, it was the middle of the day. But, the street was completely deserted. No cars or people, other than to man standing next to her. What the Hell was going on?
The last thing she remembered, it was the middle of the night and she was with Nathan in her apartment. Was this really just all a dream like Nathan said? Was it possible to have a dream within a dream? Or, maybe she had finally reached her breaking point. And, the conversation with Nathan was just a major hallucination. No matter what the case may be, she had had enough of this 'is this the real life or is this just fantasy' crap. However, she would just go with it for now. Because, he was the last person she expected to see. Anson Shumway.
"What's going on?" She asked confused, curious and maybe a little scared.
"You were only half right when you said, failure was the reason you were stuck here." He explained. "The other part is something much stronger than failure."
"Something you must face on your own and accept. It's Fear. Fear that you will fail another 'Troubled' person or worse, the people who love you. You can't save everyone."
"But, that's why I'm here." Audrey interrupted him, holding back the tears forming in her eyes.
"I appreciate that you tried to save me," Anson continued. "But, I made my own decision. And, I wouldn't let you stop me."
"Even if you reached me in time, I would've pushed you out of the way. Please stop blaming yourself, for a decision that you couldn't control."
"You helped me, by solving the case. You were able to get through to me. If you hadn't found me, then Haven would still be in an endless time loop. And, you would have to watch someone new die every day."
"You helped me save my daughter, everyone who died in the repeats and this town. Now, it's time for me to help you."
"It's time you woke up from this nightmare. You have people who love you, waiting for you to come back to them." He finished. "It's time for you to go home, Audrey."
"But, I don't know how." Audrey admitted scared.
"Don't be scared. You haven't forgotten your way home." Anson said, standing in front of her with his hands on her shoulders. "Close your eyes, clear you mind of everything else. And, just concentrate on that day."
Audrey did as she was told, and suddenly everything became clear. She remembered what really happened that horrible day. The order all the 'deaths' happened. Seeing each person alive again, and her reaction to that. Not being able to save Anson from the decision he made to stop the repeats. Standing on the back porch of the Grey Gull with Nathan after, the whole horrible experience ended. And, him telling her that she could never fail him.
Suddenly, the annoying beeping sound was back. Audrey opened her eyes, turning her head to the left noticing a heart monitoring machine. And, Duke sitting in a white plastic chair a few inches away from the bed.
"Duke…." Her throat felt dry, causing her voice to crack a little.
"Audrey!" Duke said, pure relief showing on his face and in his voice. Knocking over the chair as he quickly stood up, and walked over to the bed. Leaning down, and giving her a small hug. Trying to avoid the wires attached to her.
"Just relax." He replied, releasing her. Quickly grabbing the bottle of water, that was on the floor, next to the chair. Untwisting the cap, and holding it up to her mouth.
"Take a sip, slowly." Audrey was annoyed, but let him help her. He wasn't answering her question.
"Duke, where is Nathan."
"Don't ever do that again, please." He said, closing the bottle. "You don't know how much we were worried, but…" He was interrupted by pain behind his left ear.
"Ow!" He said, rubbing his ear. "You just wake up, and the first thing you do is flick my ear."
"Duke, where is Nathan?" She demanded, stressing every word. And, He could see the fear showing in her eyes and voice.
"Not Dead." A voice from the corner of the room said a little gruff, as if the person had just woken up. Audrey watched with tears in her eyes, as Nathan stood up from the recliner in the corner of the room. She hadn't noticed him before, because Duke was blocking her view.
Nathan walked over to her, sitting as close as he could to her on the bed. Smiling, he cupped her face in his hands wiping her tears away. There was a comfortable moment of silence between them, as they just sat there staring at their favorite shades of blue. Oblivious to everything that was around them.
Audrey's hands were a little shaky, as she removed his hands from her face. He was a little confused and hurt at first. Until, he saw what she was doing. Audrey guided his hands, under the hem of the hospital shirt she was wearing.
She watched Nathan's eyes close, relishing the feel of her skin. She felt that familiar shiver run through his body, caused by their skin- to-skin contact. And, enjoyed the feeling of his hands slowly skimming pass her sides before, finally resting on her lower back. Realizing that, she needed his touch just as much as he needed hers.
"You're real." Audrey finally said relieved. Releasing the breath she was unaware she had been holding, and cupping his face in his hands.
"You're finally awake." Nathan replied, pulling her close to him as the wires connected to her would allow. As she wiped away his tears, then she kissed him.
Longer and deeper than, their previous kisses. As if they hadn't seen each other in four years, not four days. No, this kiss spoke volumes, Happiness, Relief, Hope, Longing, Passion, Desire and Love. A kiss that felt more like Forever. They never wanted that kiss to end, but the need for air made its presence known. Or, rather someone was stupid enough to interrupt them.
"This is a beautiful moment." Duke said smiling. "Really, it is." He had been taking a cell phone video, from the moment Nathan woke up.
"Crying will be tolerated this time, so no need to feel ashamed Tin Man."
"But, Audrey you just woke up from a coma." He finished, with a sly smile on his face. Showing he was purposely being a smartass. "Shouldn't you be cleared by a Doctor, before you engage in this kind of activity?"
Audrey and Nathan turned and looked at Duke, still holding each other as if their lives depended on it. Though, they both looked exhausted as Hell. And, it was obvious that they both had been crying. Audrey still managed to look annoyed, and Nathan glared at the unwelcomed interruption.
"Okay." Duke said. Holding up both his hands in an 'I surrender 'position. Slowly backing up towards the door while, still taking the video. "I'll just go find Julia, and let her know you're awake."
Nathan watched Duke walk out the door, until he felt pain in his left ear. Though, he refused to let go of Audrey. He relished any skin-to-skin connect with her. Even, if it was an annoying painful flick behind his ear.
"That's for not being where I could see you, when I woke up." Audrey said, answering his question before he could ask it. Sounding more relieved than angry.
"Sorry. I wanted to move the recliner right next to the bed. " Nathan said, giving her an apologetic smile. "But, the hospital staff refused to arrange the medical equipment so it could fit. Even, for the Chief-of-Police."
"I suppose all of this was needed to keep me alive." Audrey said, looking at all the equipment attached to her.
"That's not funny." Nathan said, and she noticed the haunted look in his eyes. Audrey could tell that it must've been one of the scenarios that, He thought about during the last four days. And, she instantly regretted what she said.
"I'm sorry." Audrey wanted to sit on his lap, to hold him close and reassure him that she was alive, safe and with him. But, all the wires connected to her prevented that. She would have to settle for cupping his face and, the feel of his hands of her lower back for now.
She caressed his cheeks, slowly moving her hands down his face. Nathan closed his eyes again at the simple, yet so powerful touch. Her hands reached his jaw line, and she traced along it with her thumbs.
Her hands left his face, and he immediately opened his eyes at the loss of her touch. Only to close them again, when he felt her arms tightened around him. And, her head rested in the crook of his neck. Her right hand drawing small patterns, with her fingers on the nape of his neck.
"Thank you for finding me." As she let the wonderful scent of Pancakes, his aftershave, and something uniquely Nathan completely consume her.
"Did you ever doubt I wouldn't?" He asked, kissing the top of her head.
"It was just so real. I got a glimpse of what life would be without you." She said, feeling his arms tighten around her. "It hurt so much. And, I was a complete mess. I don't know how many times I cried, in front of Duke in my dream or rather nightmare."
"I know," He explained. "That's why I kept trying to get through to you."
"You may have been unconscious, but whatever you were experiencing was showing on your face. And, sometimes you would talk in your sleep."
"Mostly it would be to Duke, which made sense. He was the person that watched over you most of the time."
"It still hurt that you were pushing me away," He continued. "Even though, you were unconsciously doing it."
"Then, we found out why. That you thought I was dead." Nathan paused for a moment, and Audrey understood why. It was something that, they both didn't want to think about.
"And, it was hurting you that you could sense me. So, Julia suggested that I stayed away. That, it might help bring you out of the coma."
"It hurt like Hell, and seemed like the longest two days of my life. But, I would do anything to help you. The only bright side is I got the finish a home improvement project. I had been working on while you were sleeping.
"The whole downstairs of the Chief's… I mean my house is now an open floor plan." He finished. "Apparently, sledgehammers and walls do not mix well together."
Audrey pulled away from him, just enough to see his face. She was shocked and 'I'm sorry' didn't really seem like the right thing to say. He had destroyed part of his house, because of her. But, Nathan could see it in her eyes.
"It's okay. Think of it as more like therapy. It helped me vent." He said, giving her a reassuring smile. "I'm sure the Rev's followers, were just waiting for me to have a breakdown. Easier to get me removed as Chief-of-Police."
"If it makes you feel better," He finished. "You can help with the plans for renovations. Just as long as you, don't pick out any 'Girly colors' to paint the walls." And, she flicked his left ear again.
"Doesn't feel good, does it Tin Man?" Duke said, walking back into the room just in time to see the ear flick.
"Someone has to keep you two boys in line, right?" A voice said from behind Duke. And, Audrey smiled when she saw Julia.
"You know when I came back in town on Wednesday afternoon. I was expecting maybe a little welcome home party or girl's night out." Julia said, smiling at her. "Sharing a few margaritas, and catching up on the gossip."
"But, instead I find out that you are in the Hospital in a coma. After Nathan explained to me what happened, the diagnosis changed. You weren't actually in a coma, but sleep deprived. It's not an uncommon side effect, after going through a traumatic experience."
"And, from what you were saying in your sleep. We could tell you were stuck in a 'Dream' or 'Nightmare' version of Haven." She continued. "Some of things you said proved that, you could hear us."
"You included some of what we said into your 'Dream world', but perceived it differently. Adding onto that horrible day, like a story. And, the more you were stuck there. The more the lines between what was real, and what was fantasy began to twist and collide."
"And, the reason why you thought Nathan was dead." Nathan suddenly felt Audrey's arms tighten around him, as Julia said that.
"At first I thought it would be best if Nathan stayed away for a few days. But, then you mentioned the urn. And, we had to bring you out of it."
The days in your 'Dream Haven', coincided with the days in the 'Real Haven'." She finished. "If you had to go through that Memorial Service, then there was a good chance you would slip into a real coma."
"But, you have to admit that there was a bright side to all this." Duke said smiling. "I got to taser Nathan, which I may have had a little too much fun doing. And, Chris Brody has a broken jaw."
"What?" Audrey asked surprised, looking at Duke and back at Nathan.
"Accidents happen." Nathan replied calmly.
"Nathan, you punched him." Audrey said stating the obvious, a little shocked but trying not to laugh.
"I've had some really bad breakups." Duke said. "But, breaking up with someone in your sleep is a little harsh."
"I walked into the room, and he was shaking you. Trying to wake you up because, you told him that you were in love me." Nathan explained, unable to hide his smile. "I was pissed off and defending the woman I love. He's just lucky that you told me to stop."
"Turns out you don't go all 'Man Crush' over him. If you're pissed off and hate him." Duke said laughing. "Too bad you weren't awake to see it. Good thing I recorded the whole thing on my cell phone." Reaching into his right sweater pocket, and taking out his cell phone.
"It will have to wait until later, Duke." Julia said, pushing the nurse call button on the hospital bed. Ordering a nurse to come and, help her detach the unnecessary medical equipment from Audrey.
Duke and a reluctant Nathan moved out of the way. Fifteen minutes later, any protocol needed for coma patients that just woke up was finished. Leaving Audrey attached to the necessary equipment that monitored her vital signs.
Now, Nathan was sitting behind Audrey on the bed, his arms wrapped around her. Audrey let out a small content sigh, as she leaned against him. Enjoying the feeling of being in his arms, and no longer stuck in that nightmare. But, the last thing either of them wanted to do was sleep.
"So, do I pass?" Audrey asked hopefully. "Can I go home now?"
"Sorry," Julia replied. "But, you're staying overnight for observation."
"Really, I'm fine. I'm sure someone else needs this bed or room," She insisted. "Not to mention, the delicious hospital food." The look on her face like, as if she smelt something disgusting. Adding a small shudder to emphasize her words.
"Keep acting like a Drama Queen," Julia said playfully. "And, I won't sneak you in your favorite cupcake and coffee later."
"Touché Doctor Carr," Audrey replied, acting like she was defeated. "Touché."
"Now that that's settled, you need to rest. So, everyone not named Nathan has to leave for now."
"What if I don't want to leave?" Duke asked playfully.
"That puppy dog eyes expression isn't going to work, Duke." Julia said. "Doctor's orders, you need to leave."
"Oh, you want to play Doctor?" Duke said teasingly, wrapping one arm around her shoulders. "Why didn't say so in the first place? Where's the nearest supply closet?" Julia responded by elbowing him hard in his right side, but smiling at the same time.
"I love it when women play hard to get." Duke said with a smirk, as Julia pushed him out the door.
Audrey and Nathan just sat there for a few minutes, enjoying the comfortable silence when Audrey tried to stifle a yawn.
"Lie down and try to get some real sleep." Nathan said. He reluctantly removed his arms from around her, and moved off the bed. But, Audrey immediately grabbed his left hand before his nerves could go numb.
"I'm just going to move the recliner next to the bed." He said, smiling and gently squeezing her hand. "I don't want another ear flick, for not being the first thing you see when you wake up."
"Don't you think I had enough sleep?" Audrey said, smiling back at him. "Besides, you look like you could use some sleep yourself."
"And, I'll feel better if you were lying right next to me when I woke up." Moving over to, make room for him on the bed.
Nathan smiled back, walking to the other side of the bed picking up the chair Duke had knocked over. Sat down, quickly taken off his boots. Then, carefully lay down next to her. It was a tight but not uncomfortable fit. Even if it were uncomfortable, neither of them was willing to move. There was a comfortable moment of silence between them, as they stared into each other's eyes.
"It wasn't just that horrible day that, kept me stuck in that nightmare." Audrey finally said, breaking the silence. "At first, I thought it was failure. But, I was only half right."
"Before, I woke up I spoke with Anson Shumway. He made me realize that, it was fear that was holding me there as well."
"Fear that I would fail another 'Troubled' person, or someone I love." She continued. "I was finally able to let go of all the guilt and blame I felt, for not being able to save him. Or, anyone else that 'died' during those repeats."
"I remember everything that happened that day clearly." She finished. "And, I finally found my way home."
"Audrey, I love you." Nathan said seriously, but Audrey noticed he sounded a little unsure as well. "But, I'm not going to force you into anything you're not ready for."
"You just broke up with Brody, and after everything that happened to you recently. Even though, we have been open with our feelings for each other. I'll understand if you need space."
"But," He finished. "I need to know if you still want 'us' to happen, when you're ready."
Audrey smiled at him then, slowly moved her left hand under his grey T-shirt. Just like he did when, he had entered her dream. She watched his face, enjoying his reaction to her touch. His eyes closed, and the familiar small shiver that ran through his body. Letting her know, that he could really feel her touch.
She placed her hand over his heart, his hand resting on top of hers. She smiled when she heard the small gasp escape his lips, letting her know that he could feel his heartbeat as well. Audrey was glad she was the only one that could give that to him. And, she was more than happy to oblige him. She wondered what she did to deserve, to have this amazing man in her life.
"I wonder the same thing about you." Nathan said looking at her, making Audrey actually blushed. A little embarrassed, that she had said her thought out loud.
"You know me well enough, to know I'm no good with relationships. My friendship with you is the longest relationship that, I've had in my life." It's too important to me. I can't lose you."
"Damn!" She said, noticing the expression on his face. "I'm no good at this. Nathan, what I'm trying to say…"
"It's okay. I understand." Nathan said. Trying not to show, just how much her rejection was hurting him. "Our friendship is too important to me, too. I don't want….I can't lose you either."
"I love you, too." She quickly blurted out, as she entwined their fingers together. "And, I definitely want to be an 'us'. " She smiled when she felt Nathan squeeze her hand, and the hurt on his face quickly fade into a smile.
"But, we should take this one day at a time. Do you want there to be boundaries, until then?" She finished. "I mean….can I still hold your hand, hug you and kiss you?"
"Anytime you want." Nathan replied, centimeters away from her lips.
"Good." Then, she kissed him.
"I'm sorry I made you worry." She said when, the kiss ended. Snuggling into him, and resting her head on his shoulder. "I told you I'm no good at that."
"I'm not exactly an expert at relationships, either." Nathan said. "But, there's no one else I'd rather try with. And, you do look very sexy wearing that flannel shirt."
"Go to sleep Tough Guy." Audrey said laughing, her eyes closed. There room was silent again, as sleep overtook them.
*Two Months Later*
"You have strange ideas for a first date." Nathan said, as they stood in the middle of the Keegan's barn. "Well, official first dates at least."
"Hey you promised in my dream, that we would do this." Audrey said, turning to face him. "Do you want to know, why I chose Chris over you that day?" She had caught him a little off guard, with her question. Sometimes, he did wonder about it. But, Nathan never was one to dwell in the past.
"No," He replied honestly, wrapping his arms around her waist. Pulling her closer, and staring into her eyes. "It's in the past." And, Audrey could tell he really meant what he was saying. Not just saying what he thought, she wanted to hear.
"You're right." She agreed, running her hands slowly up his arms. Even though, Nathan couldn't feel her skin. He could feel the pressure of her hands, through his dress shirt.
"All that really matters," She finished, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Is that we're finally where we are supposes to be." Nathan met her halfway for a kiss. That was too short but sweet for him. But, he knew Audrey was intentionally leaving him longing for more.
Without a word, Audrey held out her right hand towards him. Nathan accepted it, and they finally walked out of the barn together. Nathan didn't let go of her hand, until they reached his truck. Audrey smiled as He opened the Truck's passenger side door for her. It was an old fashioned gesture, and one of the main qualities that she loved about him.
"So, where are we going next?" Nathan asked, as he got in the truck and put his seatbelt on.
"If you take me back to my apartment right now, and make me pancakes." She replied, with a devilish smile. "I will not only wear that red flannel shirt for you. I'll let you help me take it off."
"Are we talking before, or after I make the pancakes?" He asked, smiling back at her.
"You'll just have to wait and see." She replied, as Nathan started the truck and they drove down the long driveway.
It had been a long road, and even a harder lesson for them to learn. But, they had finally found each. Both of them feeling complete, no longer broken.
AUTHOR'S NOTE #2: It's finally finished! I want to thank everyone who stuck with this story, regardless how long it took me to update. The idea for the story was inspired, by a video I made months ago and posted on Youtube (Audrey & Nathan – Broken) No, the video didn't take me months to make, in case you were wondering.