My daughter's awake! After a grueling four days of sitting at my daughter's bedside, holding her hand, watching her sleep, thoughts of anger over her seeing Caleb, and the fear of her not waking up, she is awake. She opens her eyes and she recognizes me. She immediately starts to cry. Ana and I are both crying with her. We climb onto the bed and hold her in our arms. Her doctor had just told Ana and me that she was not getting better, and that the odds were against her since she was still unconscious. He had told us that even if she did wake up, she would not be the same Phoebe. She would not remember her life or anyone in it. She would have had to learn how do to everything all over again. Simple tasks such as eating, walking and getting herself dressed would've had to be taught to her again. But he was wrong. She's awake, and she knows who I am. She calls me Daddy and she allows Ana and me to comfort her.
I start to reach for the call button, but Ana stops me. "No, not yet" she says, her face soaked with tears.
"Ana, I'd love for the two of us to hold our daughter like this forever, but we need a doctor to check her out."
She nods, and we both slowly start to let go of Phoebe. But she clings to me, her weak fingers gripping my shirt. "Daddy, please don't go."
I keep my place on the bed and slowly get her to release my shirt. I get her to rest her head back on the pillow as I take her hand in one of mine. I gently rub my hand over her stomach with the other to soothe her. I look at her eyes and can see that she's frightened. "It's okay Peanut. Everything's going to be okay. Mommy and Daddy are both here and you're safe."
I continue to look into her eyes and do my best to calm myself. She doesn't take her eyes off of me. I'm glad. I don't want her looking around and seeing all of the scary hospital equipment before I get to explain things to her. "You're in the hospital, because you got hurt, but the doctors are taking good care of you. I need you to trust me on that. Do you think you can do that?" She doesn't verbally answer me, but she slowly nods to let me know that she can. "The doctor is going to come in here and check things over, but Mom and I will be right here. We won't leave."
I look over at the door and see my mother walk in with Phoebe's doctor. I bring Phoebe's hand to my lips and plant two gentle kisses before I slowly climb off of the bed. Ana and I stand back while my mother and the other doctor check Phoebe and the machines. I am so grateful to my mother for being here. She can't be Phoebe's doctor but she's been overseeing her care and explaining everything to us, the good and the bad. I kiss the back of Ana's shoulder before my mother approaches us with a big smile on her face.
"It looks like Phoebe surprised us all. Her numbers look great."
Ana brings her hand to her mouth and suppresses a cry. I can't help but tear up at my daughter's sudden improvement. I keep my hands on Ana's shoulders as the doctor approaches us. "I'd like to run some more tests, but that can wait. Why don't you spend some time with her? But keep the conversations light, nothing too heavy."
Ana and I both agree and watch the doctor leave. We both give my mother a hug. She takes one last look at Phoebe and blows her a kiss before she leaves the room. Ana and I take are places by Phoebe's bedside and I take her hand. The doctor told us nothing too heavy, so the Caleb conversation will have to wait.
"What happened to me?" she asks, her voice is very hoarse.
"Would you like some water?" I ask her. I don't want to sidebar her question, but I do want to tend to her needs. She looks disappointed, but she nods her head. I stand and pour some water into a cup for her. I sit on her bed and help her drink so it doesn't spill. After a few sips she lets me know that that's enough. I place the cup on a nearby table and look down at her, taking her hand in mine again. "What do you remember?"
She looks confused. I start to worry that she may have some short term memory loss. She thinks it over for a few minutes before she answers. "I was at school. We had a pop quiz in biology. I guess I did okay."
"Do you remember anything after that?" I try to push her. I glance over at Ana because I can feel her eyes on me. For a moment I think she is going to scold me with her eyes, but instead I see the same desperation that I feel. I need her to remember.
Phoebe takes some time to think. She shakes her head. "What day was that?"
"That was Wednesday." I put it out there because that was the day of the accident. I don't know if that was the same day as the pop quiz.
"Wednesday" she says as though she is testing the word. "I had Sawyer take me to the library after school. I was working on a paper that's due Friday. Oh no, what day is it?"
"Shhh" Phoebe starts to panic, so I gently caress her face and try to calm her. Ana takes her other hand with both of hers and rubs her wrist. "Phoebe, I don't want you to worry about any school assignments, okay? I will talk to your teachers about making up any work that you are missing." I thought that would make her feel better, but it doesn't. She grows more distressed as tears start to roll down her face.
"Daddy, please tell me what happened? How did I get hurt?"
I look over at Ana and she too has tears rolling down her face. I decide to tell her about the accident. "Peanut, there was a car accident. You were hurt in the car accident. You had some bruises, most of them have cleared up, but you hurt your head. You were asleep for a few days."
"Okay, you were unconscious for a few days." I look over at Ana again. "And your Mom and I were upset because we weren't sure when you were going to wake up."
"And when you did, we were so happy to see you." Ana adds. She still has tears rolling down her face. I reach over and take one of Ana's hands in mine so that the three of us are holding hands. We stay like this in silence for a few minutes until Phoebe starts to panic again.
"Oh no, Sawyer! Was he in the accident too?"
I leave go of Ana's hand and hold one of Phoebe's hands with both of mine. "No, Baby, Sawyer was not in the car. He's fine."
"Then who was driving the car?" She is at the point of yelling right now so I shush her again.
"Shhhh, Baby calm down." I pull her hand up to my lips and plant gentle kisses again. "I'm going to tell you who was in the car, but I need you to calm down first. Okay?" Phoebe takes her eyes off of me and looks down as she nods. She takes some breaths to calm down. When I am satisfied that she's calm I start to explain things to her. "We don't know the whole story, but when you were in the car accident, Jay was driving."
She gives me a disgusted look, which tells me that she wasn't in the car with him willingly. "Jay? Why was I in the car with Jay?"
"We don't know, Sweetheart. We were hoping you could tell us." Ana says with a gentle voice.
Phoebe shakes her head and grows upset again. More tears start to escape her eyes and roll down her cheek. We need to stop talking about this. Now. "Phoebe, Baby, we're going to figure this out, okay? But for now I think you should get some rest." I reach over and caress her face again, drying some tears as I do it. She looks up at me again and I can see pain and fear in her eyes. This is killing me. I want to protect her from this, but I don't know how to. I continue to rub my thumb along her cheek to dry more tears. I do this until her eyes grow heavy and close, and in a matter of minutes she is asleep. Ana and I just sit and watch our daughter as her chest rises and falls with every breath.
The next day, Christian and Ana meet with Phoebe's doctor to discuss her progress. Grace is there too and she is listening in. They are happy to hear that Phoebe is improving and has become a lot stronger than he had anticipated.
"We'd like to get her out of bed and walking today" he tells them. Christian takes Ana's hand and squeezes it. They are both beaming. "A nurse will be in after she has lunch and she'll walk with her, just around the ninth floor."
"Thank you Doctor." Christian says. They all stand and shake hands before the doctor walks away. Christian then pulls Ana into a hug and kisses her hair. Grace beams at them. "Mom"
"I know" she cuts him off. She knows that he is grateful to her, but she doesn't need words to know that. "Go be with her, I'll go check on Teddy and Rebecca."
"Thanks Mom" Christian kisses his mother's cheek and leads Ana through the doors of the ICU to visit with Phoebe. When they walk in they see that she is finishing her lunch.
"Eat up Baby, you'll need your strength." He says it without a hint of reprimand. He has a smile on his face, allowing his elation to shine through at his daughter's progress. She watches him as she eats and she starts to feel uneasy. She slows her pace, which causes Christian to lose his smile. "What's wrong?" Phoebe shrugs her shoulders and breaks eye contact. She continues to slowly eat her lunch, which is minestrone soup from the cafeteria.
"Gail is preparing stir fry for dinner, she's going to pack it up and send it here with Taylor." Ana thought that would lighten Phoebe's mood, but she continues to eat her soup in silence. When she is finished she places the spoon in the bowl and sits back. Christian stands and moves the tray away from her bed so that he can sit. He studies her for a moment, as if he is deciding on something in his head. "We need to talk about Caleb."
The sound of her father saying his name sends a shiver up her spine. She takes a deep breath and lets it out. "You know about Caleb" she says softly.
"Yes, we do." He holds up Phoebe's phone for her to see. "We know you've been seeing him and texting him. Why did you keep it from us?" Christian's voice is very stern, very different than the gentle Christian that walked into her room not five minutes ago. "Tell me"
Phoebe lets out a sigh. "You didn't want me to see him."
"So you went behind my back, even though I made it very clear that you were to stay away from him."
Phoebe looks over at her mother and is at a loss when she sees that Ana is not going to step in and defend her. Ana is just as angry as Christian. Phoebe lets out another sigh. "Dad, I know you wanted me to stay away, but I was curious. I wanted to know more about him, without you running a background check on him. I wanted to know why he asked me to dance, when he could have asked any other girl in that tent."
Christian pinches the top of his nose and squeezes his eyes shut. "Phoebe, Sawyer and I had to pull him away from you when you tried to get away from him. Now, I know you went back and talked to him after that, but why this? Why did you keep seeing him when I specifically told you not to?" Christian has started to raise his voice, which causes Phoebe to flinch.
"Dad, please, I like him."
Ana stands and rushes over to Christian's side to calm him down. "Christian, Baby calm down."
Christian runs his hand through his hair and looks at his daughter again. "Phoebe, I don't understand how you can associate yourself with Caleb Braxton after what his father did to you."
"He's not his real father"
Christian gives her a confused look. "What?"
"He's not his real father" she repeats herself. "Mr Braxton thought Caleb was his son, but when Caleb was three he found out that he wasn't, so he left him and his mother."
Christian shakes his head and pinches the top of his nose again. "Caleb told you that?"
"Yeah" Phoebe responds, and this time she has a confused look.
Christian softens his voice. He knows that what he's about to say is going to hurt Phoebe. "He lied, Phoebe"
"What?" Phoebe gives her father a defiant look, although she doesn't mean to.
"He lied." Christian takes one of Phoebe's hands into his. "Honey, Caleb is Braxton's son."
"No" she says as she shakes her head. "He isn't, he even said that he's going to change his name when he's eighteen."
Christian sighs and continues to look at his daughter, his hand still holding hers. "While you were still unconscious I did run a background check on Caleb." This earns Christian another defiant look from his daughter, but he ignores it and continues. "Braxton still pays child support and alimony to Caleb's mother."
"Caleb told me that. He said Braxton felt obligated" she tries to argue.
Christian continues to explain the information he found. "Caleb is Teddy's age, but he's advanced in his schooling. He already graduated high school and he's taking college courses. Phoebe, Braxton is paying his tuition."
"Like I said, he probably feels obligated."
Christian starts to grow frustrated. "Phoebe, Caleb is interning at the law office that represented Braxton. Caleb worked with the attorneys that were on his case. Caleb knows what his father did to you."
This stops Phoebe in her tracks. She freezes. "He knows?" she asks softly. She starts to feel the shame and embarrassment that she felt when Braxton punished her. Those thoughts start to circle around in her head as a single tear leaves her eye and rolls down her cheek.
"Yes, he knows. He also visited Braxton in jail the other day. Why would he do that if he claims that Braxton isn't his father?" Phoebe sniffs and wipes her nose with the back of her hand. She doesn't make eye contact with her parents. She doesn't know what to say to them. They are interrupted when the nurse walks in and announces that it is time for Phoebe to take a walk with her.
"Can you give us about twenty minutes?" Ana asks her. The nurse nods and walks out of the room.
Christian and Ana turn their attention back to Phoebe. She's angry and hurt. Christian is also angry. "Phoebe, this is why I do things the way I do. I don't want you to get hurt."
"I know, I'm sorry" she whimpers.
"I know you're sorry, but sorry's not going to cut it. You went behind our backs and you saw Caleb, after I told you not to. You know how I feel about secrets, Phoebe. And you know how I feel about you defying us. You're grounded, starting when we get home. Your mother and I will need to discuss how long." Phoebe nods and keeps her eyes down. Christian turns around and looks at his wife before he turns his attention back to Phoebe. "I told you I wouldn't corporally punish you anymore, but if I catch you seeing or talking to Caleb again, I'm not going to be able to keep that promise. Understood?"
Phoebe nods again, and Christian starts to relax. He leans over and kisses her forehead before he stands and leaves the room. Ana stays with her and waits for the nurse to return to walk with her.
Christian walks into Rebecca's hospital room to spend time with Teddy. Rebecca's father is there too. He takes his opportunity to take a break and grab a shower and dinner. Christian pulls a chair over to sit next to Teddy. He watches as his son continues to sit by Rebecca's bed and hold her hand in both of his.
"Taylor brought some of Gail's stir fry. When Mr Lincoln comes back you should come and eat some" Christian says softly.
"Thanks Dad, but I don't think I can eat anything."
Christian frowns. "Teddy, I know this is really hard…."
"How would you know?" he cuts him off. "Phoebe's awake, Rebecca's not." He almost starts to cry, but he stops himself. His voice is filled with so much emotion.
Christian manages to keep his voice soft. "I know, son. I know because I was in this situation with your mother, eighteen years ago."
Teddy looks back at his father with tears in his eyes. He keeps both hands on Rebecca's. "What happened to Mom?"
Christian crosses his leg over the other and looks at Rebecca before he looks back at his son. "She was attacked by someone that was obsessed with her. He didn't want me to have your mother, and she didn't want him, so he lured her into a trap and physically assaulted her."
Teddy looks away as he allows this to sink in. He was never told this. Christian continues. "He slapped her around, he punched her, and he kicked at her ribs. Son, she was pregnant with you at the time."
Teddy looks back at his father again with a shocked look, and he can see that Christian is starting to tear up. "I was so afraid that I was going to lose you both. Your mother was in a hospital bed just like this one for days."
"What did you do?" Teddy finally speaks up.
"Everything that you are doing. I sat with her, I held her hand, I talked to my family members and her family members when they came to see her. I read to her…."
"I should read to her" Teddy says as he looks back at his girl.
"Probably a good idea. When you come back tomorrow you should bring one of your literature books."
Teddy nods and turns his focus back to Rebecca. He rubs her hand and talks to her about the literature he is going to bring back and read to her.
Christian frowns and looks around the room. "Teddy, I haven't seen Mrs Lincoln around. Has she been here?"
Teddy keeps his eyes on Rebecca as he answers. "She hasn't been coming by. Mr Lincoln just says that she's busy with work. I don't get it, Dad. How can work be more important than her daughter?"
Christian sighs and frowns again. "I don't know, Son. I know that nothing could ever keep me away from you kids when you need me."
When Mr Lincoln returns, Christian leads his son back to the waiting area where Sawyer is so that he can take him home. He walks back into ICU and into Phoebe's room to get Ana so she can ride home with them. He stops at the door and takes in the site of his wife and daughter together. Ana is lying in bed with Phoebe's head on her chest and she is singing to her, like she did when she was little. Phoebe's eyes are closed and she is asleep. Ana gently strokes Phoebe's hair and looks over to see her husband in the doorway.
"Time to go already?" she asks.
Christian nods and saunters over to stand next to the bed. He helps Ana shift out of the bed while getting their daughter settled onto her pillow. She stirs a little but doesn't wake up. Christian wraps his arms around his wife and kisses her goodbye.
"Take it easy with her, okay? I know you're upset with her, but she's got a broken heart."
Christian looks over at his daughter and then back at Ana. "What do you suggest I do?"
"Be nice to her. You've already grounded her. We can talk more about that tomorrow." Ana reaches up and kisses her husband's lips. He keeps his eyes on her.
"I'll be nice, Mrs Grey" he says as he squeezes her ass. Ana smiles at him and he returns the smile before he kisses her back. "Shall I walk you out?"
"That won't be necessary. Sawyer's just outside, and you need to stay with our baby."
Christian frowns at having to say goodbye to his wife again. He leans down and whispers into her ear. "I cannot wait until we are all under one roof again and I can have you in my bed. We have a lot to make up for, Mrs Grey."
"I'm counting on that" she teases. He smacks her bottom which causes her to giggle, but she covers her mouth when she realizes that it was a loud giggle. Christian wraps his arms around her again and kisses the top of her head.
"Go, before I take you right here" he says to her and gives her a gentle push toward the door. When she is at the door she turns and blows a kiss to her husband. He plays along and reaches his hand out to catch the kiss. Ana smiles and leaves the room.
Christian looks down at Phoebe and sees that her eyes are open. "Hey, Peanut, go back to sleep" he coos as he gently strokes her hair.
"Did Mom leave?" she asks in a soft tired voice.
"Yeah, she and Teddy went home to Natalie. They'll be back tomorrow. Do you need something?"
Christian continues to stroke her hair. He promised Ana he would be nice, but he honestly can't help being nice at the moment. When he sees Phoebe like this he just wants to take care of her. "I'm cold" she says softly.
Christian realizes that Ana was probably lying in the bed with Phoebe for a while and was probably keeping her warm. He kicks his shoes off and eases into the bed so he is lying next to her. He has her rest her head on his chest and he continues to stoke her hair. She is instantly asleep. "Sleep well Baby."
400 Reviews, Wow! Thank you so much. I am so glad you all are still enjoying this. I apologize for not posting more often. Each chapter is taking me longer, but I will keep going. Happy Reading!