Two Threads, by Taylor Renee Hughes
Jamie smiled sadly as she watched her two children run around the flower garden below her. She was thinking about Edward. She hoped he was all better now. He certainly seemed it. They were playing before dinner, as usual, and getting covered, head to toe, in dirt and mud. Again, as usual. Yet, somehow, they looked beautiful even now, while not paying any attention to their appearances. Who knew two six year old kids covered in mud could look so beautiful? Only mine, she thought.
"Edward! Emma! Come on in, my dears! Time to wash up for dinner!" Jamie called after another minute. It was already half after five, dinner would be at six.
She watched the laughing children run toward her once she walked downstairs off the upstairs deck and to the glass door. They stopped before the door and grinned up at her. She opened her arms, smiling, and let them hug her, getting her, too, covered in dirt and mud. Then she picked them up, one in each arm, and carried them into the bathroom, saving the rooms in between from a trip from the carpet cleaners.
Once she got to the downstairs bathroom she set them on the tiled floor. They were still giggling when they stripped off their dirty attire and jumped into the tub, waiting for their mother to turn on the faucet. She quickly did so, making sure it wasn't too hot or too cold. Then she scooped up their muddy clothes.
"Careful, you two. I'll be gone only a minute, to put these in the wash. If you need me, just yell. Be right back," Jamie called as she walked quickly to the laundry room and put their and her clothes in the washer, along with a few other things from the laundry hamper, threw on a sweater and jeans, then headed back toward the twins.
She found them as she always did, Emma with her plastic frog and Edward with his plastic duck. She walked in and they paid no attention, not even looking her way. She smiled to herself; how she loved these children. She and Aiden couldn't have made better babies.
She wasn't surprised to see they'd already thrown in the bubble bath, and were covered in soapy bubbles. They were talking in their secret language, one only they knew. How much they loved each other. It warmed her heart.
Suddenly their chattering stopped and she heard both bath toys drop instantaneously. She immediately looked up and let out a gasp when Emma and Edward started crying at the same time.
"What is it, babies?" She dreaded the answer with her whole heart.
"Mooooooooommy!" They cried simultaneously.
"What? Oh, honey, don't cry. It's okay. Mommy's here," she tried to soothe them as she pulled them out of the tub and wrapped them in towels.
"Eddie's tummy hurts again! Bad, Mommy! Up way to his neck. Make it better!" Emma cried.
Jamie was already in the living room and had them on the couch. Quickly, she picked up the phone, still trying to make them stop crying.
"Hello?" the voice on the other end sounded.
"This is Mrs. Love; I need to talk to my husband." Jamie tried to sound as if she wasn't panicking. She couldn't even fool herself. She was already up the stairs and grabbing clothes for the twins.
"He's not available, Mrs. Love, he's been busy and is not taking calls-"
"I need to talk to him! Put him on!" she practically yelled at Aiden's stupid assistant secretary. She needed to talk to Aiden and get him to the hospital to meet her there. She couldn't go through this alone, not again.
She heard the click and knew that the secretary woman had put her on hold to patch her to her husband. She silently blessed the woman for doing it, even if it took her a minute.
"Darling? What happened? Are you okay?" Aiden's worried voice on the other side of the phone came as she handed the twins their clothes.
"It's Edward.....Aiden, it's happening again. We're leaving right now. I'm going to Doctor Paterson's. Right now. Please, come."
She heard the hesitation on the other end, but almost instantly he agreed. He told her he'd be there soon after she, and not to worry. It would all be okay. He said he loved her, and they said goodbye. She already had the kids in the car.
"There you go guys. You were very good, just like always. You're pretty brave!" Dr. Paterson winked at the twins while handing them lollipops. Cherry, both their favorites. "Now, can I talk to Mommy and Daddy for a second? Just go right out to the toys, you know where those are. And Mrs. Fuita is out there, if you need her. But we'll only need a minute. Grown up talk," he said, smiling at them while leading them out the door. They went easily, holding hands and running for the play area. Jamie loved to watch them together like that, holding each other's hands. But even that couldn't help her from crying.
Aiden wasn't crying, he never cried, but his face was grim, as was the doctor's when he turned back to face them.
"I'm so sorry, Jamie. Aides."
That told them everything. Jamie started crying harder, and Aiden went closer to them and embraced her. They waited for the doctor to continue.
"Edward needs the surgery. I know I said you had a fifty-fifty chance of everything just mending naturally, but apparently his body isn't strong enough to take it. He's so small. He's going to need to have a transplant, like I explained before. He needs a completely new heart."
Jamie let out the breath she'd been holding. She could feel herself shaking her head, denying everything. This couldn't be happening.
Aiden set his chin on her head and she thought she felt just one drop of water hit the crown of her hair. She was too shocked to think about that. Anyway, Aiden didn't cry. Right?
"I really am sorry, but we have to do this. There is no other way. He'll be put on the list for transplants. Aiden, your test results have come back. You're not the same blood type as the twins. So don't say you're going to give him yours, like I know you're thinking right now. It couldn't happen. If you were the same blood type, yes, we could do the transplant right away, and he'd be all better. But you're not. And, I'm sorry, Aides, but I'm glad. He needs you, and you guys can get through this. The wait shouldn't be too long...there's more than a fifty-fifty chance he'll make it till then." Peter Paterson was trying to make it sound hopeful, but all three of them could tell even he wasn't very convinced. They all remembered the last fifty-fifty chance.
Thoughts came rushing through Jamie's head; Edward....he can't die...that can't happen. That would destroy her. And Aiden. ....And what would it do to Emma? It would kill her, too. How much they were like one...
"Jamie? Jamie?" she heard a voice in her head. She shook it to try to get it to disappear, to let her think. Then she realized she recognized that voice. And it wasn't in her head.
She looked up; her eyes glazed, and barely saw Aiden's worried, handsome face.
"Yes, Peter. I think a sedative would help her now. I can get her to the car."
Jamie walked forward with dread filling her all of her limbs. Her every thought was to turn around, but she couldn't. Her body would only move forward.
Then she saw it. A casket. And inside it was her baby, it was Edward. His beautiful blonde hair was styled perfectly and his face seemed peaceful. He looked like he was sleeping. But she could see past that.
His face was white. Dead white. And he wasn't moving. She realized, horrified, that his lips were sewn shut. Her Edward was dead.
Then she looked up as she heard sobbing. She looked up and was terrified to see Emma, staring down into the casket at her twin brother. She looked completely shattered, her blue eyes dripping salt water all over her brother. She reached into the coffin and took his hand....
Jamie woke up horrified. She felt the tears in her eyes and immediately ran to her babies' room.
She turned to the left and saw that Edward's bed was empty. Her heart couldn't beat any faster without bursting.
She suddenly threw her head to the right, she didn't know why. Then she saw him.
Ed was in Emma's bed, sleeping soundly and curled up with her. Their hands were locked and they were both breathing deeply.
Jamie started to cry.
She ran over to her little girl's bed and gently laid in it with her children, careful not to wake them up. She hugged them, her heart still racing.
She had to do something to help her little boy. But what?
Suddenly she got the feeling she was forgetting something. Something about Edward's heart. What was it the doctor had said?
Aiden couldn't donate his heart to save Ed, so Ed would have to wait for one to come.
That was it!
She knew what she'd forgotten. When the twins were born she'd had a test done; they had the same type of blood as she did! That was it! Aiden couldn't donate his heart, but she could! She could save her baby! It was then that she made up her mind. She was going to do it. Tomorrow he would be all better.
She fell asleep peacefully, her children in her arms.
"No. Jamie, there is no way."
Aiden was looking at her, scared but determined not to let her do this. The twins were in the play room again, she had just told Peter what she wanted to do. She hadn't told Aiden her plan yet.
"Jamie, Aides is right. You don't want to do this. You're just worried. You know you need to live, you have to keep your heart and....and live....for the twins....for Edward....he can make it...."
"Peter, no," Jamie had though about it all morning. She had made up her mind. She would do this. Anyway, it was better for everyone this way. If he died, her heart would die, too. She was saving Edward and herself.
And that's just what she told the two men.
One year later
Emma and Edward walked silently, hand in hand and next to their father. They were all dressed in black.
When they reached the grave they wanted they all stopped, none saying anything. Each of them had a rose in their hand.
Emma went first. She let go of her brother's hand and walked forward. She set the pink rose on her mother's gravestone.
"I love you, Mommy. We miss you," she said, voice seeping of emotion. One tear hit the flower she'd just set there, she looked once more, and she stepped back.
Next Aiden stepped forward. He was crying freely.
"Jamie, my love. You're a hero. We all love you, and we miss you. You did a wonderful thing, though, and we're thankful for that. I look forward to the day I see you once more. I love you, so much. And I always will. Thank you, my angel."
He set his white rose next to the pink one and stepped back. He looked at Emma and took her hand. Silently they walked back to the car, leaving Edward alone.
"Mommy," he said, walking forward once his sister and father were gone. "I love you. Daddy said you are my guardian angel. I learned what that means, too. And I think he's right. I love you. With all our heart. Thank you, Mommy. I know what you did. You made me all better. I love you. I feel all better now. But I miss you. I want to see you again. Can that be soon? I hope so. I hope you don't forget me. ...Goodbye for now, Mommy."
He placed his red rose on top of the pink and white one and looked at the stone.
He knew the words on it by heart.
"Jamie Rose Love. Wife, mother, hero. Tied to the earth now by two threads: her family and her heart." He read the words aloud and smiled at the grave. He was the only one not in tears when they left the cemetery. He knew he'd see his mom again, because she was angel. He waved goodbye and left her. For now.