An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|Beckett and Maureen face their grief|
Beckett followed the nurse to the recovery room, hearing the words spilling from her mouth, but not registering a single one of them. It was as if his brain were stuck in a loop, the deputy's words repeating themselves over and over in his head. The break line cut. The accelerator stuck. Head on collision. No chance at all. He could picture it all like a movie running behind his eyes. The terror on her face while she pumped the useless brake. The sickening crunch of the impact, her body flopping around like a child's doll. Her life slipping away. And the baby. His baby. His son. Gone before he knew him.
The nurse stopped and looked up at him, waiting for a response to a question he hadn't even heard.
He focused on her face, and struggled to put a sentence together. "I'm sorry. Can you repeat that?"
"Your wife's going to be in recovery for the next several hours, Sheriff. Can we bring you something? Coffee? Water? A sandwich, perhaps?"
"No, thank you. I'm fine. Really."
She stopped at the doorway of the room and nodded, a picture of sympathetic efficiency. "Let's us know if you need anything."
He watched as she turned and headed toward the nurse's station, glad that no further communication was necessary. Hand on the door frame, he paused a second, and peered inside. The curtain was partially pulled around her bed, and he could only see one small white hand atop the tangle of hospital bedding. A woman in scrubs was checking the monitors, and when she looked up and saw him in the doorway, motioned to come in with a wave of her hand.
There seemed little chance of escape, so he forced himself to take one step, and then another, until he stood at the foot of the curtained space, still unwilling to view what lie behind. Ever helpful, the nurse patted the chair next to the bed, but he shook his head, preferring to remain in an upright position, his spine a steel rod holding it all together. She went about her business for a minute or two longer, and when he still hadn't moved a single step, gave the curtain a gentle tug.
For a second, he stood there in shock, trying to recognize her in the swollen face and bandaged head, a roadway of tubes running from parts all over. If it weren't for the spray of red curls on the pillow, he might have imagined that the figure in the bed was someone else. Not Maureen. Not his wife. But the hair was a visual slap to his face, the slash of color amongst the stark sheets like a fisted punch to his gut. Her eyes were closed, her body deathly still, and if it hadn't been for the blips and blips of the machines verifying her existence, he'd wonder if she had not slipped away too.
Beckett felt awkward, too large for the room, with the air around him sucking the oxygen from his lungs. Knowing not else what to do, he slid into the chair next to the bed, and grasped a few fingers of her right hand. Her eye lids fluttered at his touch, and she worked at opening her eyes, pushing past the twilight the drugs were keeping her in. Her eyes met his, opened wider, than quickly squeezed shut. He watched a tear slid from the corner, and role down her cheek, followed by another, and another. He knew he should say something. Anything. But he could think of nothing, even if the nurse had not been standing in the room with them.
It was she who broke the silence. Uttered the words and made them reality. Each syllable a boulder to push through her split lip, her voice not much above a whisper. "The baby. Gone. Dead. My fault. I'm sorry." The eyes closed tights again, and this time the tears came in earnest, causing her heart rate to elevate, and the monitors behind her to voice their displeasure.
In the course of his life time, he had been shot on several occasions. Been stabbed in at least twenty different places. Beaten to the point of unconsciousness. But none of them came close to being as painful as this moment. It was his fault. For letting himself feel anything at all. For being in her life in the first place. She deserved more than he could ever begin to give her. A picket fence life. A normal life. Not the sick bastard he was, incapable of the normal range of human emotions. He tried for sympathetic. For compassion. Anything to cover the blinding rage and absolute need for revenge.
"Shhh...darln'...I know...I know." He held her hand to his mouth, and kissed the fingertips. "It wasn't your fault, sweetheart. It was an accident."
She took back her hand so violently, it startled him, and the nurse looked at him in warning when the machines again signaled her distress. "It is so my fault. You told me. Warned me not drive the Mustang." Her nose had begun to run, and she attempted to wipe it through the tangle of wires and tubes. "I...I wanted to surprise you. With a special dinner. So I thought I'd just take it for a quick run. I...I don't know what went wrong. I couldn't stop. I tried. I tried." The sobs came in soft little huffs, and the room was quiet except for the rhythm of the machines, mixed with her weeping, a kind of bizarre soundtrack to their grief.
At some point, the nurse had left them alone in the room, and he knew it was his turn to say what needed to be said. Share the truth. Explain the whole Cassie story, and come clean about his role in all of this. And he would have. If he had been a normal person, capable of feeling what other people felt. Of having any shred of decency. But he had been out of that mind set for far too long to reel himself back in again, and so in the moment, he resorted to being what he was. "It's okay, baby. I know you didn't mean for this to happen. I forgive you."
From where she was, she could see the entrance to the emergency room. It was risky, but she couldn't began to explain why she needed to be here. It had all happened so fast, giving her little time to absorb the unfolding drama. After working on the car, she had returned to the mail truck, things going exactly as planned. The surveillance app on her phone showed him across town, still at his desk, buried in paperwork. So when the Mustang pulled around the corner, she was more than shocked, and knew instantly that things had turned to shit.
Never in a million years had she figured the silly bitch would drive the car before he did. Teddy never let anyone drive his car. Ever. That was why her plan was so damn ingenious. It was Teddy who was at fault. Had dismissed her like some kind of whore, and tossed her aside. And it should have been Teddy who paid the price, lest anyone think she was not fair and rational. The red head was inconsequential. It was hard to blame her for getting swept up in his charms. Admittedly, she herself had fallen to the man's canny ability to read her soul, so how could she have expected that naive little fluff to do anything less.
She had intended this whole thing for Teddy, revenge of sorts, and now her plans were ruined. She wondered what had become of the wife. Driving past the accident scene, it had looked very bad, the front of the two cars mangled into a twisted embrace. The driver of the Cadillac Escalade had walked away with minor injuries, but they had taken the red head away in an ambulance. She'd considered wandering into the emergency room and gathering information, but quickly filed that away as a dumb idea. A few minutes later, she had seen him drive up in his patrol car, flinging the car at the curb, and rushing inside. At the sight of him, her heart seemed to jump up in her throat, and for an instant, she was glad that he was safe.
While she sat in the car, she contemplated the situation, mulling over the possibilities. Maybe Fate had interceded on her behalf. Saved Teddy, and sacrificed the red head instead, so that the two of them could maybe start over. Karma had a way of working things out in a crazy manner. She wondered if the woman was dead. She and the baby that Teddy had married her for. It would certainly change the direction of her actions. She'd help him with any grief that might linger, and then they could go back to the way it was before. Before that whole Marzano thing. Before Lizzie's murder. Before the the red head had stolen Teddy's affection.
Yes. Maybe things had worked out just the way they were meant to. Maybe she still had one shot at being happy.
She was glad when he left the room for a bit. It was more than she could take, seeing his sad, stoic face hovering near her bed. It wasn't like she deserved any of his compassion. His sympathy. She would have liked to think it was his love for her that kept him near her side, but she wasn't that naive. Sure, he cared for her. No doubt was physically attracted to her. He might even be terribly fond of her. But love? No. Not love. And it wasn't as if he had said the words, and didn't mean them. He had simply never said them. Not before their wedding, not during, or anytime after.
In the ten months since she had first met him, he had done his very best to romance her. To sweep her off her feet, showering her with gifts, and whispering sweet endearments in her ear. He had taken the news of her surprise pregnancy with grace and maturity, and had done the responsible thing by marrying her. During all of that time, she waited to hear those three words come from his mouth. For him to state that he felt the same way about her, that she felt about him. And when they didn't come, she convinced herself that his actions spoke louder than his words, and in time, he would be comfortable enough to say them.
But that plan was over now. In one stupid, bad decision over lobsters, her life had changed forever. The baby he had committed to was no longer there. Dead...like any chance for them to ever be happy together. He had insisted on a pre-nup, probably knowing better than she that they didn't belong together. He had known even then. The difference in their ages...their backgrounds...their views on so many important things... insurmountable without the tie that was binding them.
She thought about her baby. The little boy who had no name. The one she never saw. Then, alone in her hospital bed, buried her face in the pillow, and let the pain seep out.
Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
All Rights Reserved