Carol always knew when Daryl was her. The house always seemed empty when he went to work, even if he didn't add much to it the day he moved in. Two simple boxes held all his possessions. He took up one drawer in her dresser and one spot in the medicine cabinet with his toothbrush. There was nothing there in the house that said anybody other than her and Sophia lived there, but Carol knew. His presence lingered in the air of the house.
Carol sat back in her chair, sipping on her coffee slowly as she examined her dining room. It was much brighter. She had won the house in the battle for her Divorce, along with full custody of Sophia. Carol had made changes to the house after Ed left, starting with getting rid of every picture of him in the house, ending with getting new sheets.
New sheets that she wasn't raped on. New sheets she wasn't brutally abused on. New sheets she slept in every night with Daryl at her side. Carol toyed with her spoon, smiling as she remembered the night before. The way Daryl's hands felt against her skin, his voice murmuring softly in her ear, the way his eyes shone with concern as he handled her delicately.
Having Daryl in the house even for a minute was the best thing in the world and when he left, it seemed like the world had gone silent. It seemed as if the house was awaiting his return. They all were. Carol could see it in Sophia's eyes, when she wasn't arguing with Daryl that is. Carol knew they were going to fight; of course they were going to fight.
She remembered when her father remarried. All she did was fight with her new step-mother until she moved out. Sophia was going to be a teenager and they were headed for some rough years...If Daryl were still with them. It would be rough all the same, even if he wasn't, but Carol didn't like to think about that.
Checking her watch, Carol got up. There was little time before she had to pick Sophia up from school, and with Daryl at work, Carol thought to kill some time. Pulling her sweater on, keys in hand as she walked out the door, locking it swiftly behind her.
Carol pulled the car to a stop at the red light, humming softly to the music on the radio. Groceries sat in the backseat of the car along with some other things she had picked up for Daryl out of thought. Some small things for him, deodorant, and body wash for the shower and some of his own shampoo, yet Carol had a feeling he liked that his hair smelled like Strawberries. Small things like that. He got off at six, just in time for them to cook dinner and eat at a reasonable time and get Sophia to bed.
3:28. Sophia was going to be released from school any minute now.
Carol eyes were drawn to her ring finger, which remained vacant, a reminder of her freedom. A time for change. The light changed and Carol pushed the gas pedal, crossing the intersection slowly, and gaining speed.
She hadn't seen the car that was barreling towards her before it was too late. Letting out a cry of shock, she gripped the steering wheel hard, attempting to swerve out of the way.
All she remembered was the sound of screeching tires and multiple horns sounding as people watched in horror as metal met metal
Daryl's breath seemed to be magnified as he ran down the hallways of the E.R, Sophia in his arms, clutching him close as tears streamed down her face. Ambulance lights flickered in the E.R, the shouts of nurses and doctors punctured the air as they rolled a man off a gurney, blood oozing down his face from a large cut on his forehead, his body twisted at a horrible angle, blood staining his shirt. Doctors bustled pass him, tools and other various objects in their bloody hands. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as Daryl looked for her.
Sophia was sobbing into his neck now, seeming to forget that some part of her didn't like this man. His eyes were drawn to something on the ground. Carol's sweater lay on the ground where the Ambulance's unloaded, torn off and bloody.
"Sir?" Daryl didn't hear the nurse as his he stood transfixed, eyes on the torn sweater. "Sir?" a hand appeared in front of his face. His eyes snapped to the nurse's.
"Sir, who are you here for?" her face was blood smeared, her brown hair pulled back in a hasty bun on the top of her head.
"Carol - Carol Peletier." Daryl's voice cracked. She hadn't changed her last name yet. The nurse's expression wavered from pity, to grief and sorrow. Daryl felt his heart sink as he watched the woman, sliding Sophia down his side slowly. No.
"She's...In surgery. But..." The woman trailed off. "She may not make it.."
It was hours before Carol came out of surgery, and even after that she was scheduled for another. They allowed him to visit her room after her first surgery. Sophia clutched her mothers hand, tears running down her face silently as she watched her mother's chest rise and fall with her breathing.
Daryl's breath caught in his throat as he looked at her. "God...No." he murmured as he moved to her side, panic overwhelming him. She was cleaned up, and he hadn't seen her before, but she was still a mess. Her arm was in a cast now, her ankle raised in a set splint. He could see Gauze wrapped around her chest, insuring there were broken ribs there.
He was told she had Torn Radiator Cuff. Whatever the fuck that meant.
Her face. Her sweet face was marred by one long, deep scratch running down the right side of her face. His sweet Carol.
The Doctor's face swam in front of his eyes as their voices overwhelmed him with the events of the accident.
"The car hit a pole."
"Not much of a door left on the driver side."
"The car that hit hers must have been doing at leave seventy."
He remembered the phone call he received. His boss called him, handing him the phone with a Grimm expression.
"Is this Carol Peletier's husband?" The woman sounded panicked and jumpy. He had replied with a no, calling him her boyfriend, yet the word didn't feel right falling from his lips.
"There was an accident on Thunder Road at the intersection just twenty minutes away from the town of Senoia." The woman explained quickly. It felt as if all the air had left his lungs as he stood there. Carol. He pictured her, broken and bloody lying inside the car.
He didn't give the woman time to talk, slamming the phone down and leaving quickly, brushing everybody else off as they tried to talk to him. He had to get Sophia. It was 4:15 now and Daryl realized nobody had picked her up yet.
The car had hit Carol dead on, T-Boned her. Tried to run that red light. The driver thought he had time to make it and he didn't see Carol's car until she had pulled all the way into the intersection. There were three passengers in the car with the man that hit Carol. Two died, the driver one of them. Carol wasn't far off.
The car that had hit Carol was going seventy-five miles an hour. Dozens of onlookers watched in horror as the man smashed into her, tires screeching against the asphalt, ending in an ear splitting crack and pop as her car crashed into the light pole, knocking it to the ground.
Daryl brought his hands to his face, rubbing them over his eyes as he watched her. She had woken earlier, but in pain. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't talk without letting out gasps of pain. Internal bleeding, broken ribs, herniated discs. Sophia lay snug against Daryl, her blonde head resting in his lap as she slept soundly. He should take her home soon, but there was no way in hell he'd take her to school tomorrow. He couldn't do that to her with her mamma in the Hospital. All the kid would do was worry all damn day.
Getting up slowly as not to disturb Sophia, Daryl stood over Carol, cupping her face gently with his hand. "Stay safe." He murmured as he pressed a light kiss to her lips.