Author's Note: This is my first Hart of Dixie Fan-fiction, so please be nice. I expect this chapter will be a little confusing, so if you have any questions please send them my way. I am always open to reviews of the questioning or commenting variety. In fact, I thrive on them. I hope you enjoy.
Wade Kinsella was on his usual beer run. It had been a long night, and Wade was tired. He wanted nothing more than to curl up with a brew and a video game, but fate had other plans. Just as Wade was pulling out of the parking lot, his phone started to buzz. He looked down. "Shit." He swore, nearly avoiding the driver in front of him who screamed some obscenity out his window at him. Wade rolled his eyes, and pulled over.
He did not recognize the number, but the area code was New York. In spite of his better judgment, he picked up, "Hello?"
"Hello, is the Wade Kinsella?" the voice sounded very professional, sort of detached and impersonal. Maybe that was just how all New York people talked. Except one, he thought.
"Who wants to know?" Wade asked.
"This is Dr. Macintyre from New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell. A Wade Kinsella is listed as a main contact for a Dr. Zoe Hart."
Wade's throat caught in his chest, "Yeah, this is Wade Kinsella. What trouble has that girl gotten herself into?" he said, tried to keep the terror out of his voice. The woman was a doctor. This was probably just a professional thing. It had to be.
"I'm afraid I need to verify your identity before giving you any of the details, but if you could get down here, I'd be more than happy to speak with you. Oh, and don't forget to bring identification."
The man hung up. Wade's heart was hammering in his chest. What could have possibly happened that they would need to call him? Without even considering, he turned around and started driving for the airport.
When Zoe Hart woke up, she was surrounded by unfamiliar faces. She felt odd, slouched down, but when she tried to sit up, she felt like somebody had put a sledgehammer to her head. She collapsed back with a groan, and one of the people leaning over her started towards her, but was held back by another. She tried to focus. There were only three people in the room. A man who looked like he was maybe in his late forties, wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope, a girl wearing scrubs and looking back and forth between Zoe and a machine that was bleeping, and a man who was probably late twenties, early thirties, wearing a flannel shirt.
"Don't strain yourself. You've been through quite an ordeal." The man in the lab coat said.
"What happened?" was all she could think to say.
"You were in an accident Dr. Hart." The man said. Zoe turned to the woman in scrubs, assuming this was the doctor he was talking to. When the woman didn't respond, Zoe looked back at the man curiously, "Wait, what?"
"Dr. Hart, what happened to you would be a shock for anybody. You may be repressing the trauma of it. Tell me, what is the last thing you remember?"
Zoe pointed to herself, "you're asking me?" she asked, confused.
"Well, yes." The doctor said in an annoying patient voice. Doctors can be so annoying. She thought. Zoe started to search through her memory. Those words, "what is that last thing you remember" echoing in her ears. She closed her eyes, thinking, and then she clenched them tighter, racking her brain. How was this possible? What was happening? She started hyperventilating and felt a hand on her arm, giving it what she knew was intended to be a reassuring squeeze.
"What's wrong with her?" she heard somebody say in a cute southern accent. The voice sounded worried, frantic almost.
"Zoe, you need to breathe." She heard a woman's voice, she assumed the lady in the scrubs, say.
Finally, she opened her eyes, looking around frantically. "Where am I? What's going on? What happened to me? I demand to know-?" the words were coming out so fast they were almost impossible to understand, and then suddenly, she stopped. Her voice failed her as her eyes and throat filled up with tears.
"She looks terrified, Macintyre. What'd you do to her?" she heard a tone of protectiveness is his voice, and for some reason, it calmed her down a little.
Finally, she voiced the question that she had not even dared think, the question that terrified her to her very core, "Who am I?"
The hand pulled back from her arm, and she found she missed the reassuring warmth it had provided.
"What does she mean by that?"
"It appears the trauma of her accident has caused her to forget more than just the accident."
"Meaning, it appears she has amnesia."
"Amnesia! You tellin' me she ain't got a clue who she is?" Wade felt like his world was crashing down. How could she not know who she was? How could she have forgotten him? How could she have forgotten … well… everything?
"Well, not exactly. Very few cases are full blown. Her memory is more likely only missing temporarily. What she needs is to be surrounded by familiar people and places, put in situations that may help bring back her memory."
"Excuse me, people who are acting like I am no longer in the room. I realize all the little details of amnesia are fascinating and it would be great to go on and on until Farmer John here knows enough to write a thesis, but maybe the girl who has no memory of anything could have a few questions answered first."
Wade smiled in spite of himself. That was the Zoe he knew and loved, "Well, it doesn't look like you forgot how to be sassy."
"Miss Hart, I'd be happy to answer your questions. Would you like Mr. Kinsella here to wait outside?"
The doctor motioned to the flannel farmer. Zoe thought for a minute, "That depends, who is he?"
"Wade Kinsella," he said, reaching out his hand and gently shaking hers, "Pleased to re-meet ya doc."
Zoe looked at him puzzled.
"Mr. Kinsella here is on your list of emergency contacts, as well as Candice Hart, George Tucker, Lemon Breeland-Hayes, and Lavon Hayes."
"Well, where are they?"
"Mr. Tucker and Mr. and Mrs. Hayes have not called back, but Mrs. Hart said that she would be here as soon as she could."
"And who are all these people to me?"
"Well, I believe Mrs. Hart is your mother, and I believe the rest are friends in one way or another."
Zoe looked at Wade, "If we're friends, he knows more about me than I do right now. He might as well stay. As long as you two don't start up with the side conversations again." Dr. Macintyre nodded. "Now, what's my name?" Zoe asked, her mind spinning from the weirdness of the question.
"Your name is Zoe Hart."
"And am I a doctor?"
"Do you remember being a doctor?"
"No, you kept calling me Doctor Hart before. I thought you were referring to the nurse or something, but if my last names Hart…"
"Well, you seem to me to be a very sensible girl. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to keep you here for a few more nights, just to make sure you're okay physically, then, all the people on your contact list and I are going to talk about what place would be most comfortable for you to stay. I understand you have moved around quite a bit in the last few years, and you need to be somewhere that feels comfortable and familiar if you are going to get your memory back."
"There is always a margin of error Dr. Hart. You'll know that when you get your doctor memories back. Now, I'm going to go out into the hall, and discuss a few things with Mr. Kinsella here. When we're done, he'll come back in to say goodbye, unless you don't want him to, and then he'll probably go home, again, unless you don't want him to. While you're waiting, is there anything I can get you to make you feel a little more comfortable?"
"My memory wouldn't hurt." Zoe said, slumping father down on her pillow. Wade smirked.
"So, she's going to be okay?" Wade asked, feeling his heart beating uncontrollably in his chest.
"It appears so."
"And she'll get her memory back?"
"I hope so."
Wade felt like strangling the man, "God, can't you give me a real answer doc?"
"Her odds are good, but medicine is not always exact, especially when dealing with something as delicate as the brain. Now, before you see her again, we need to discuss what you can tell her."
"What I can-?"
"Zoe has no memory of anything, not even her own name. That is a terrifying feeling. Telling her anything too big or surprising may overwhelm her. Start with small things, but let her figure things out for herself. Don't tell her all about her life. She needs to remember it. There are some basics she needs to know, like where she lives and how old she is, but any big decisions she made, or things that happened to her may come as a great shock to her. She needs to adjust to the sound of her own name right now. Don't tell her more than she asks, and if you are unsure about a subject, call me," the doctor took a business card out of his jacket pocket. "Now, why don't you go say goodbye? Treat her as you normally would, but don't overdo it."
Wade nodded. This was so much to take in. He heard the doctor say in a slightly condescending voice, "Zoe, would you like to say goodbye to Mr. Kinsella?" He couldn't hear what Zoe said, but the doctor nodded in his direction.
Wade came in and sat down in the visitors' chair by Zoe's bed.
"I'll give you two some privacy." Dr. Macintyre said as he closed the door behind him.
"So," Wade started, spreading his arms out questioningly.
"So." Zoe said, unsure what to say.
They sat in silence for a minute, "Um, weird seeing you in a hospital as a patient." Wade tried.
Zoe nodded, "Yeah, 'cause I'm a doctor."
More silence, "Look. You're gonna need to help me out here; my brain is basically a blank void."
"That's not true. You're talking, got a good grasp of the English language, verbs, and when to use 'em and the like. And you know what a doctor is, and I assume you know how to feed yourself or use the bathroom. You know plenty of stuff."
And just like that, Zoe burst into tears.
Wade's first instinct was to comfort her, but he was not sure it that was what she needed, "Look, I'm sorry, I didn't mean ta … I'll go."
"No," Zoe said through tears, "Don't go. I'm sorry. I just, god, what is wrong with me, bawling in front of a complete stranger. I must be the weakest, weepiest girl in the world."
"Hey, now, that's not true. Don't go saying stuff like that about my friend Zoe Hart. Because you know what, you are not weak. In fact, you are the strongest person I know. You are brave, and resourceful, and you know how to take care of yourself. Now, does that sound like a weak girl to you, because to me it sounds pretty damn strong? And as for weepy, you rarely shed a tear, even when nobody would blame you for it. You're smart enough to know that tears don't help, and when you do cry, it's only because you've been snowballed by something meteor-sized in your life, and you need to let it out. And, you know what, there is nothing wrong with that. Because there is nothing Zoe Hart can't handle. And if there is one thing in this world I know for sure, it's that Zoe Hart is gonna be okay."
Zoe looked up at him, smiling a little through her tears, "Who are you exactly?"
Wade's heart stung for a minute, having Zoe not know who he was, but he answered her quickly, "Wade, remember."
"Okay, but, to me. Who are you to me?"
"Well, I'm, you know, Wade." He said, struggling with the question. Zoe gave him her patented, Are-you-kidding-me?-That's-what-you're-going-with look, and Wade grinned a little at the familiar facial expression, "I'm you're friend."
"Well, thank you, Wade. Really. I mean, I'm still terrified as hell, and for all I know you're pretending you're my friend Wade, when you're really some axe murderer trying to trick me, but what you said, it helped."
Wade smiled down at her. She was the same woman he had fallen in love with all those years ago, now lying here scared, and alone, and needing to be taken care of, and she was looking at him gratefully, because he had helped her, and he felt home.
Wade's phone started to buzz.
"I thought you're not supposed to have cellphones in hospital rooms."
"Yeah, you're not." Wade said, "Um, I should get going." Then, without thinking about it, he leaning down, and kissed her forehead. Her eyes fluttered in surprise, but she didn't protest. "Sleep tight, Zoe Hart."
"Goodnight Wade." He headed for the door when he heard her call to him quietly.
"Will you come visit me again?"
Wade nodded, "Wild horses couldn't stop me." he smiled at her, and she returned it with a weak one of her own.
Once Wade was back in the waiting room, he took out his cell, and checked who had called.
Wade put George's number in and waited for him to answer. It didn't take long, "Wade?" he heard a frantic voice ask.
"Hey, I just got the call about Zoe, but my flight is snowed in and I can't get there yet. I really hate these planes, and the snow right now. Have you seen her? Is she okay? What's going-?"
"Whoa. George, calm down there, okay. Yes, I've seen her, and yes, she's fine. There was an accident, but she is going to make a full physical recovery."
"What do you mean a full physical recovery?"
"Well, her brain got rattled a little-"
"Wade, you sure as hell better not be pulling my leg-"
"I'm not. Look, Zoe's just got some memory loss, but the doctor says it will probably go away-"
"Well did you talk to her? How's she feeling? Does she need anything? There's a drug store around here.
"Nah, there not sendin' her home for a couple days. Look, she's freaked, she doesn't remember who she is or what her life is. The doctor will fill you in on the details, but I honestly believe it will all be okay, and if it makes you feel any better, I can stay here until they kick me out."
"What? You're at the hospital now?"
""Good. Okay, we'll, I'll be there as soon as I can. In the mean time, Wade, take good care of my fiancé."