Short, yes, but its more a filler between the first and the third. Still important though.
It was peaceful, quietly so, when she awoke. At first it seemed like any other morning. Any moment she expected the scent of bacon to come wafting through the air from the kitchen, her father to call her to breakfast. Or, is he'd spent the night at the Fennel's again, than she'd have Backup licking her face and second.
She waited. Nothing happened. Her nose only picked up the sterile scents you'd find in a hospital. Her face only felt the cold, dry air circulating the room she was in. Slowly she noticed all the things wrong with where she was. The scents, the air, the sheets were too thin, the mattress wasn't right.
Veronica's eyes shot open, gazing frantically around the room for a sign of where she was. A hospital room, but she couldn't remember why she was in the hospital. Where was she last? School? Home? No, not either of those, but… the field trip, had the bus crashed?
Oh my- No! NO! Veronica struggled to sit up, searching around for any person or a remote to turn on the TV hanging on the wall. There was no one in the bed beside her but the nurse call button was available for frantic pushing. They can't be dead! They can't all be dead!
That was the last thing she remembered, waking up the last time in the hospital to see the news report playing. They thought she was dead! It had been two months!
Veronica froze, for a moment she felt sick. Nope, she was actually sick. Bending over the side of the bed she aimed for a trashcan, mostly making it. Just as she finished hurling a young nurse ran in. The woman took one look at the trash can and smiled sadly.
"We'll clean that up, dear." She moved to the bedside, handing Veronica a paper cup full of water. "Now that you're awake I'm going to call in the doctor. It's important you stay calm this time and whatever you do, don't speak. Okay?"
Veronica nodded, her throat felt weird and the water wasn't helping the dull pain. She attested that to the drugs probably in her system, otherwise the dull pain would probably be a lot worse.
"I'm Jill, I've been taking care of you. You've been in a coma for about ten weeks," At Veronica's panicked eyes she quickly added, "Please try to stay calm." Veronica nodded again, trying to control her breathing as the heart monitor picked up the pace a little. "You suffered some major injuries, a lot of broken bones, a lot of bruises and lacerations. The good thing is, you've been out so long that most of your injuries have healed. Ah, doctor, I'll let you continue."
Veronica watched the man approach, wary of the way she was being watched. "Hello Miss, I'm glad you're finally awake. Like Nurse Jill was saying you're injuries are mainly healed, but there is one important one that you may have reinjured. You took a heavy injury to the throat, a piece of glass impaled your trachea and damaged your vocal cords, an injury not helped by your screaming when you woke up yesterday." His voice turned solemn, "We don't know yet whether the damage is going to be permanent but for not we need to prevent any more wear and tear on that injury and keep you from speaking, okay?"
The words were barely sinking in for Veronica but she got the gist of it. Silently she wondered what all these injuries now looked like. For now, she nodded again, understanding this was probably the best communication she had till someone handed her a pen and paper.
As if reading her thoughts Nurse Jill passed over the tools, "We need you to answer a few questions, okay Miss?"
They don't know who I am. Veronica realized with a start. How screwed up did my face get that they can't connect it to the one on TV? Then again, she had… Wait, why am I here? What happened? Was I on the bus?
The heart monitor began to increase its beat. "Are you okay? Are you in pain?" Veronica shook her head. "Do you remember what happened?"
Veronica shook her head. No, I just remember being on the bus.
The doctor and Jill exchanged glances. "Are you sure about that?" She nodded. "You were in a car accident, not a bus crash."
The last thing I remember is being on the bus, heading home after a field trip.
"Jill, call the Sherriff's department back again, update them. Maybe that will get a deputy here sooner." The doctor turned back to Veronica, "So you know who you are? What's left of your ID was destroyed."
My name is Veronica Mars.
"One moment," He stood, following quickly after the nurse. Their voices drifted from the hallway. "Tell them we found Veronica Mars."
"THE Veronica Mars? But she…"
"Someone get a picture of Veronica Mars. I want to compare their faces now all the bruising and swelling is gone from the Jane Doe's face."
"They'll probably need a family member to ID her to be sure," Nurse Jill responded. "The deputy says they'll have someone find Mr. Mars immediately. They'll question her after Mr. Mars gets here. For now they say to keep a constant watch on her."
Did they expect her to run for the hills? It wasn't like she'd been hiding for (oh god…) the past ten weeks. She'd been asleep. As good as- Let's not think about that Mars. Veronica chastised herself silently in her head.
The next thought hit her like a speeding train. Did they have my funeral?
For some reason she couldn't stop from crying. How much pain had she caused her father? Why had she not called him? Why was I in a car instead of the bus? And more importantly, where did I even get the car from?
Her hand moved over the page, the scribbled letters smudging with her speed. Whose car was it?
Another exchanged glance. "The other girl is also unidentified. The car you were in was unregistered, no plates to even check… When the truck hit your car it turned you sideways and started to roll you. You weren't wearing a seatbelt and crashed out the driver's side window. It was a miracle you survived. The other girl was caught in the roll and crushed completely…" They glanced at her heart monitor that was surprisingly even.
What can I say; my heart is used to drama? What else?
"The car crushed, something triggered an explosion and everything inside was destroyed before the rain put out the fire. If it wasn't for the explosion no one would have found you in time. The trucker also survived, but we don't know anything about him."
She nodded. Okay, so I was with someone who probably gave me a ride. But I was driving and the other person was… outside the car? Veronica wrote down the question and they confirmed it, letting her get her questions out of the way before asking anymore. Their caution with her was grating on Veronica's nerves. Why would the car explode?
They didn't know. A deputy had done a short investigation as far as they knew and ruled it an accident at the hands of two careless teenagers.
That sounds like Neptune… She couldn't help but feel bitter at that, imagining how much more justice would have gone to them if they hadn't appeared to be from the wrong area code. Can I see a picture of the other girl?
"I'm afraid that wouldn't be beneficial at all. The only photographs we have are from the morgue given to the Sherriff's department. We don't need to stress you out that much. For now we need to move onto questions about your health. Are you in any pain?"
A little uncomfortable, and my throat aches a bit. Her hand ventured up to her throat, feeling the gauzy patch there. Am I going to have my voice back?
"We don't know yet. The glass shard almost hit your carotid artery. The left side of your vocal cords are paralyzed and combined with the nerve damage… With speech therapy you may be able to regain your voice but combined with the damage caused yesterday… You shouldn't even have been able to make a sound that loud with the previous damage."
That was going to take awhile to sink in. Her whole future depended on her voice. The FBI required a voice or Private Investigating. She couldn't have someone interpreting for her while she questioned suspects or broke down doors chasing bad guys.
"We need to run a few tests and then you need to rest before the deputy arrives."
On the doorstep to the Fennel household Sherriff Lamb fidgeted, trying to decide what to do with his hands. When the door swung open they dropped limply to his sides. For once the young Sherriff had nothing rude or sarcastic to say. "Is Keith Mars here?"
"Yes, is something the matter," Ms. Fennel questioned, keeping the door partially closed, both hands braced to shut it quickly if necessary.
"It's about Veronica."
Ms. Fennel paled, her hands falling from the door as one shot up to cover her mouth. "No… no, they found her-," Her voice cracked for a moment. "They found her body?"
Lamb shifted and nodded, "In a way, yes. May I come in?"