TEN YEARS LATER
Mia Dunne walked into the hospital. She shivered. Even though it had happened what seemed like a lifetime ago hospitals still made her feel anxious. She closed her eyes and remembered that unforgettable night all those years ago.
She had been rushed into the hospital by an ambulance; she had been barley conscious and had kept thinking why Jack wasn’t with her. She had taken off her oxygen mask and asked the paramedic where was Jack but he had just shushed her and told her she was going to be fine now. She was confused, she wasn’t fine Jack wasn’t with her and she ached all over. She needed him to hold her hand. She drifted into unconsciousness and when she woke up she was in hospital, being wheeled down a long corridor. She had asked the nurse where Jack was but the nurse just smiled kindly at her. "It’s okay honey he won’t be bothering you again." Mia had started to cry. She drifted back into unconsciousness and when she woke up she was in a bright cosy hospital bed. Her father was asleep in a chair in the corner of her room. The monitor beside her had begun beeping softly. Doctors and nurses had burst into the room shouting. She stared at the blurry figure of a doctor’s face in front of hers. "Stay with us!" He had said urgently but his voice sounded distant. She drifted back into the sleep that was so comforting and warm. When she woke up again it was night and there were a stack of newspapers beside her. She picked up the first one and the headline screamed at her. ‘Mia Dunne admitted to hospital. Kidnapper Jack Murphy arrested, trial date has yet to be set.’ She stared at the headline her heart racing. What! This couldn’t be true! But the next newspaper headline was along the same lines and the next one and the next one… Her heartbeat was increasing as her face crumpled and she began to cry. The monitor screamed louder and louder, getting faster and faster. Suddenly the room was filled with people. A doctor was shouting at her father. "We told you not to give her those!" Nurses were fusing over her, checking her pulse and saying things she couldn’t hear. Blood rushed in her ears making it impossible for her to hear. "Jack," she sobbed "Jack." One of the nurses who was fixing her drip looked up at her. "Don’t worry love, they arrested him last week." "No! You don’t understand! I loved him, I loved him!" She sobbed. The room went quiet. Everyone turned to stare at her father who blushed and stared pointedly at his shoes. Suddenly everybody started shouting at him. Mia felt exhausted and flopped back down on her pillows and sunk back into a deep sleep. She felt someone shaking her arm. "Mia, Mia." It was a male voice and for a moment her heart leapt but she opened her eyes and saw that it was an old man. He wore glasses, a grey suit; he was also carrying a briefcase. "I’m a layer. I will be defending Jack’s case. I work for…" She zoned out. It wasn’t Jack. A wave of disappointment washed over her. She answered his questions about Jack after taking an oath that she would tell the truth. She nodded for yes and shook her head for no. When it was over she lay back on her pillows. She noticed a small man in the corner was recording their conversation. She smiled sleepily and fell back into the deep sleep that was so inviting.
She opened her eyes. Someone was tapping her gently on her shoulder. "Ms. Dunne I presume?" "What? Oh yes." The nurse beamed up at. "I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your donation to the hospital! Most of it was used for buying new supplies but a great deal of it went to the children’s unit. They’re so happy with their brightly painted walls and their new toys. They want to see you and thank you in person" Mia smiled, "All right, just lead the way." As the nurse lead her down the whitewashed corridors she found her mind wandering back to Jack. She hadn’t seen him in ten years. When she had been let out of hospital his trail had been over. He had been found not guilty because of her. She hated that term ‘not guilty’, why didn’t they just say innocent! As many people had told her she had been the evidence they had been looking for. They had showed her video and he had won the case. She had tried desperately to contact him but he had disappeared. There were a lot of rumours about where he had gone, she had looked into all of them but had searched in vain. She had gone into a deep depression until one day she had visited their hill. She had cried for hours and when it was beginning to get dark she had made a decision. She would stop moping around and get on with her life. She had just turned eighteen and had moved out of her father’s house. She hadn’t spoken to her father other than to tell him that she was disgusted by his behaviour and his lies. She had quit her career as a singer and had moved into a tiny apartment. She had gone to college and graduated with flying colours. She had made so much money from her singing career that it didn’t really make any sense to get a job but she had got one anyway. As she told her friends it was the principle of the thing. She had gotten a job as a teacher and taught part time at primary schools. She also donated money to charities, hospitals and schools. She thought about Jack a lot and missed him terribly.
Waking up from her daydream she followed the nurse into the children’s ward. The room was painted in bright colours of pink, green, yellow, orange and blue. There were children in their beds reading, children in their beds sleeping and children scattered all over the room playing with toys, dolls, and stuffed animals. To think that she had made this happen made her swell with joy. The nurse cleared her throat loudly. "Children this is Mia Dunne. She gave you all the nice toys." Mia smiled as the children’s flushed happy faces turned to her. "Thank you Mia!" They shouted in union. Mia smiled back at them. She turned to the nurse. "Can I stay here for a while?" The nurse smiled kindly at her. "Of course. Tell me when you’re ready to go." She turned and walked out of the room. Mia looked at the children who had resumed playing. She played with them for a while and then visited the children lying in the beds who were too sick to get up. She played with the little ones making them giggle and she talked quietly to the older ones. She was just about to leave when she saw a large group of children standing in a circle in the back of the room. She crept to the outside of the crowd to see what they were doing. A man sat in the middle of the circle, a book in his hands, and a little boy sitting on his laps. "And they all lived happily ever after." The man finished, closing the book and the children applauded lightly. They pressed around him thanking him, asking him questions and occasionally hugging him. Mia stared at the man, perplexed. He was laughing with the children and smiling at them. Mia stared at him. His hair was longer, he was taller, but no it couldn’t be… He was talking to one of the children and stopped in mid sentence to look at her. He was frowning slightly. He lifted the small boy gently off his lap and shooed the children away, promising them another story later. He stood up and bit his lip anxiously. He brushed his hair back with his hands. "Forgive me if I’m wrong but are you…" "Jack!" Mia breathed. "Mia?" The man asked joy spreading across his face. She nodded. They embraced tightly. A few of the older children whistled loudly. Mia blushed and Jack led her to a corner of the room so they could talk in private. "How are you?" Mia asked. "Me? I’m fine. I work as a writer and I volunteer in hospitals. But enough about me, how are you?" "I’m good. I work as a teacher and I donate money to charities and hospitals and schools." Jack laughed. "We both did fine then." "Yes…" Mia agreed. "What’s wrong?" Jack asked. "Well, I’m wondering why we haven’t seen each other in ten years." Jack stiffened. "Well you know that." Mia frowned at his sudden coldness. "No I don’t. I tried to contact you but you were gone, I looked for you but I couldn’t find you." Jack sighed. "Mia when I got out of jail, I tried to contact you at the hospital but you never answered. I assumed you didn’t want to know me anymore. I was hurt. So I left and began travelling the world and writing stories. I came back here a couple of months ago and started volunteering here." Mia groaned. "Jack I was unconscious when I was in hospital. I only got out a week or so after your trail ended!" Jack moaned and pushed his hair back from his face. "So you mean all this time…" Mia smiled sadly a tear falling down her face. "I never stopped loving you Jack." Jack laughed sadly. "I never stopped loving you." Mia reached up and kissed him. All the children turned to look and the room erupted in giggles and clapping and whistles. "Thank you for giving evidence at my trail." Jack muttered. Mia pulled back for a second. "Thank you for saving my life." Jack kissed her again. "No problem." They walked out of the room together holding hands after promising to visit again tomorrow. "Hey Mia…" Jack said in a sly voice. "Yes?" Mia asked warily. "Lets run away together. We could go to Spain, Paris, Rome!" Mia groaned and they walked out of the room laughing, hand in hand.