When Lightning Strikes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 25 (v.1)

Submitted: June 22, 2012

Reads: 655

Comments: 20

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 22, 2012

A A A

A A A

A/N: Hey guys! So I've just finished all my assignments so now I have more time to update WLS! Hehe. Although this chapter might be a little ... 'choppy' (I want to re-edit this sometime), I hope you'll still somehow enjoy :) xoxo

Even in death she still looked glorious. Her dark locks fanned out around her face and her skin was a translucent white. Unnaturally pale. Bright crimson blood seeped through her crisp white blouse, revealing how serious the injuries were. Tragically beautiful, yet lifeless. The sight chilled me to the bone.

Tears blurred my vision as I dropped to my knees and clung onto Aubrey, praying that she’d stay with me. She couldn’t leave me now. She just couldn’t. My mind rejected the possibility that she was dying.

Distantly, I could hear the urgent pleas of a person asking for the ambulance. Shocked screams of horrified people rang throughout the street and whispers of the gossiping onlookers echoed through the crowd.

“She’s dead … she’s dead ….”

I wanted to scream at them. She wasn’t dead! She had a whole life ahead of her! She was going to be married!

Shakily, my fingers found her neck. Her pulse was low, too low. A normal one was between sixty to one hundred per minute and Aubrey’s was about thirty. My heart was pounding hard.

“Gracie!” Through my muddled mind, I heard Ruby’s familiar shriek over the crowd. “Oh my god! Oh my god! Aubrey!

My breathing became heavier and my chest heaved to accommodate the sobs coming. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t move.

Ruby’s small fingers yanked at my wrist. “Gracie … we have to move away. The ambulance is here.”

I shook my head frantically. They couldn’t separate me from my own sister. “No, I’m staying by her side! Don’t make me leave her,” I pleaded helplessly.

“Please ma’am, we need to have this woman moved into the ambulance straight away.” My face turned up to see a paramedic in navy blue looming over me. His face was void of any emotion, but his eyes held a small amount of pity. “If you could please move …”

I looked back at Aubrey, who was motionless and bleeding to death on the cold concrete. He was right. She needed to go to hospital straight away. “I want to come as well,” I whispered hoarsely.

“Of course.”

Ruby helped pull me up from the ground so the paramedic could get to work. I watched, horrified as they lifted her frail body onto a stretcher and wheeled her over to the ambulance. Meanwhile, the man who had been driving was sitting on the ground holding his head, which held a nasty gash. A few other cuts due to the smashed glass glowed on his arm. Other than that, he seemed perfectly fine.

My eyes burned. Why was my sister the one who was near death? Why hadn’t it been him? He had been the one handling the car. He had been speeding. He was the careless one. He should be the one in the ambulance.

“Gracie, listen: you’re going to be ok,” Ruby said firmly. She had both of her hands on my shoulders, trying to get me to look her in the eyes. Usually she was so delicate. Right now, she was being the tough one. Inside, I was grateful for that. “You’re going to get in that ambulance, sit with Aubrey and help her through this. You’re strong, G.”

I gulped as the paramedic called me over.

Before leaving, I told Ruby, “Call my parents.” At the last second, I added, “And Jason too.”

With that, I stumbled my way over to the ambulance and clambered in. When the door closed shut, my anxiety amplified. I was stuck in this small cramped space, watching as someone tried to save my sister’s life. Although I wanted to be with Aubrey, everything was making me become restless.

On the other hand, the paramedic was taking control, using different equipment to try and bring Aubrey’s heart rate up and suppress the amount of blood she was losing. Goodness, I could never work in the medical field. I’d probably faint just by seeing the injuries. Mom had kindly passed that trait onto me.

Throughout the whole journey, I gripped Aubrey’s pale hand, praying that she would wake up. God couldn’t be this cruel to take her life away so soon, but He didn’t seem to be listening. Aubrey was still losing a lot of blood. Occasionally, I’d hear the paramedic cuss under his breath and murmur, “Come on …”

The heart rate monitor showed that Aubrey was barely holding onto life. Every time a ‘beep’ sounded, I’d jump. This was bad, very bad. I was clinging to the hope that she would be fine. I knew the paramedic didn’t want to worry me by saying it aloud, but it was obvious that it was the total opposite. She was heavily bleeding and her skin was terribly sallow. Also, I could barely bring myself to look at the strange angle her neck tilted to.

“We’re here.”

My head snapped up from Aubrey’s delicate face. The doors were being opened and I was led out by a nurse. She tried her hardest to soothe me as others helped the paramedic unload the gurney from the van. They hurried her over to a set of double-doors, where doctors were barking out orders and nurses were rushing about to collect various items. I was about to follow down the hallway when the nurse pulled me back. What on earth?

“We’re going to have to keep you in the waiting room dear.” The information made me upset. I wanted to be by my sister’s side. I couldn’t leave her alone, but middle-aged nurse was adamant. She smiled up kindly at me and continued on. “Are you a relative of the woman in the emergency room?”

Numbly, I nodded. “Her sister.”

“Ah, I see. Is it possible for you to do the registration for your sister?”

I turned to her, incredulous. Was business the only thing on her mind? I was in hell right now and she was asking if I could complete forms?! My fists clenched tightly before I told myself to take deep breaths. I wasn’t going to lose my temper or sanity.

“My parents are arriving soon. They know more about the insurance stuff than me,” I replied as I ground my teeth.

“Alright then.” She motioned over to one of the chairs in the waiting lounge. “Just stay there now.”

Dazed, I plopped myself down on the plastic white chairs. As I took in my surroundings, I shuddered. Hospitals were so bland and artificial. I had no problem with them before, but knowing that my sister might not make it … well, the thought was terrifying. What would I do without her? How would I go on with life?

I didn’t notice the time, but it felt terribly long as I sat in the plastic chair alone. When my parents rushed up to me, I stood up and flung myself into their arms. This was what I needed. I was crying again and so was mom. Her eyes were blotchy and she was having trouble with controlling her breathing.

“Where is she?” dad asked in a concerned tone.

I pointed to the doors which were restricted to the public. “They’ve been trying to stop the blood … I haven’t heard any news.”

The nurse spotted my parents and came over with a tender smile. “Are you Mr and Mrs Elwood? Miss Aubrey Elwood’s parents?”

Dad nodded. “How is she?”

The nurse’s lips tightened. “The doctors are working as hard as they can. I’m sure they’ll be out soon. In the meantime, I’ll need you to fill out the registration forms.”

“Of course.” Dad turned to us and kissed my forehead. “Take care of your mother for me.”

I pulled mom over to the chairs and helped her sit down. She sniffed into her dainty handkerchief and looked up. “Gracie … I heard you were there at the accident.”

My heart tightened just from thinking about the scene. The horrible images I had been repressing, overwhelmed me once again.

“Yeah I was.”

In a mere whisper, she asked, “What happened?”

“We spotted each other in town. She was across the road and she crossed it so we could talk.” I folded my hands in my lap and looked down. “I remember hearing a sports car turning around the corner but I didn’t register it fully … the next thing you know, the car’s speeding towards Aubrey.”

A high-pitched cry came from mom’s lips. Her dark brown eyes were wide with terror.

“It hit her, mom. It was so bad. I remember Aubrey’s scream …”

Her breathing had hitched up. “Oh Gracie, I can’t imagine what it felt like to see that … oh come here, sweetie.”

I leaned into the crook of her neck as mom’s arms wound around me. We slowly rocked side-to-side and I felt tears staining my hair. I didn’t mind.

Heavy footsteps suddenly sounded around the corner and in came Jason, who looked like he had just run a marathon. Cheeks flushed, he ran a hand through his windswept hair. It wasn’t right to be thinking about this, but why did he still look like a model?

Breathing heavily, he managed to ask, “Where is she?”

“She’s still in the ER.” My dad patted him on the shoulder. “Are you ok?”

Jason nodded. He seemed dazed as he sat himself down. This was when the mysterious double doors opened. A doctor walked out, rubbing the back of his neck.

“Are you Aubrey Elwood’s family?”

We nodded and all hopped up, ready for the news. I chewed on my nails. She couldn’t be dead, she just couldn’t. It was the wrong time to take her life away.

“We’ve managed to stabilise her breathing and stop most of the blood she was losing externally. However, we have some … bad news.”

Dad spoke up. “What is it, doctor?”

“Aubrey hasn’t awoken throughout the whole process. Her skull has been crushed hard and there’s too much internal bleeding.”

Hearing the gruesome descriptions of my sister’s injuries made me want to double over. Why couldn’t I have been the one in the emergency room? It would save us so much trouble. Aubrey could still marry Jason, even if it did make me heartbroken. I preferred Aubrey to be alive and well. My body was shaking.

“We can perform a surgery.”

Mom let out a sigh. “Oh thank god.”

The doctor’s face was grim. Uh-oh. This was not a good sign. “However, there is a chance that the surgery might not be successful.”

My face drained of colour. This couldn’t be happening. What were we going to do?

“What if she doesn’t have surgery?” Dad asked with pleading eyes.

The doctor shook his head. “Then she’ll die.”

Aubrey had to go into surgery, she just had to! We couldn’t let her rot away in pain. She needed to be saved. She deserved it! There was still a chance!

“Well then, of course we’ll go with the surgery,” dad declared fiercely. His arm around mom tightened determinedly. “Anything to save her.”

The doctor jotted something down on his clipboard before looking back up and scanning every one of our faces. “Are you all sure about this? There are no objections?”

Everyone shook their head.

“Good then. The surgery will start soon. Unfortunately, you’ll all have to wait out here. I will do my very best,” he promised, before striding back through the double doors.

I didn’t move until Jason carefully pulled me away. I couldn’t rid the image of the man I had put my complete faith in, walking away. My fingers crossed as I prayed all would go well.

“Come on, Gracie. Let’s sit.”

Jason led me back to the chairs and we sat next to each other. We weren’t touching, but the heat was undeniable. I hated it. My body shouldn’t be reacting like this, yearning for his comfort.

We both stayed rigid. Meanwhile, my parents were holding each other, staring at the bland white walls. Watching them going through this together made me want to have a husband. I wanted someone who would simply be able to love me and be there for me, with no major drama. Would I ever move on from Jason?

At this moment, I really hope so. With Jason, everything was complicated and messy. Although I knew it was a bad thing, I couldn’t help but think about what Stella said once – something about how greatest loves were the hardest. It made me smile briefly, but it didn’t feel right. Nothing felt right. It was all too surreal.

I wished this was all just a horrible nightmare.

We sat there for about an hour, before mom urged both me and Jason to head out and find something to eat. Reluctantly, the both of us pushed ourselves from our seats and headed for the elevator. When the heavy doors slid shut, I edged myself to the corner.

Although we were quiet for most of the time, I felt natural as we wandered around aimlessly, trying to find some food.

We had stopped at one of the vending machines once, but it nothing but coke and chips. I could have eaten it but right now, junk food didn’t really appeal to me.

Finally, we found a mini café on the ground floor. My eyes lit up at the prospect of drinking some warm, milky coffee and licking off the creamy foam from my lips. Yum.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Jason said with a hint of laughter. “You’re such a French girl.”

“Merci beaucoup monsieur,” I replied, smiling. “Tu es charmant.”

Jason made a face as we reached the counter. “I had no idea what you said, but I’ll take it as a compliment.”

Funnily enough, it was a compliment. My cheek flushed. Why had I just said that? Had I been flirting with him?

I shook my head to clear my muddled thoughts. The brief moment of content with Jason disappeared. It was as if I had just woken from a dizzy spell. I shouldn’t be acting like this. Somewhere in this building, my sister was being operated on for a serious injury.

I shouldn’t be thinking like this.

“Can I have one espresso please?” My head snapped up as I heard Jason give his order. “With three sugars.”

I was taken aback by his order, but it looked like he needed it. Jason liked to act perfectly fine but I knew he was far from it. His shoulders slumped and his eyes looked darker and swollen.

The girl looked towards me, smiling. “And you?”

I quickly looked away from Jason and scanned the menu board. “One macchiato and a chai latte please.”

Jason frowned at me. “You don’t need that much do you?”

“It’s for dad,” I explained. My eyes found a little snack bar beside the coffee machines. “Oh, and a chicken caesar salad please!”

Chicken caesar salad was mom’s favourite and I was hoping it would cheer her up. While the cashier began brewing the coffees, I felt Jason’s eyes on me. It made me cringe slightly. Was there something wrong?

“It’s nice how you’re getting all these extras for your parents,” he commented. I turned to him and my heart skipped a beat as I realised how close he was. The proximity was making me weak in the knees. “You’re still as amazing as ever.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. This wasn’t appropriate. “Jason, we shouldn’t …”

He stepped back, as if waking up from a dream, and blinked. “Right. I’m sorry, Gracie.”

I gave him a reassuring smile, though it felt forced. “Don’t worry about it.”

However, as we headed back, the atmosphere between us was tense. I wondered what he was thinking about, but then again, I always was.

By the time we reached the right floor, mom was no longer hiding her face. Her eyes softened when she saw us loaded with beverages.

“You didn’t have to, Gracie,” she murmured, taking in the salad.

I kissed her cheek. “You need something to eat and I knew you wouldn’t take coffee.”

Dad thanked us gratefully for his latte. He was desperate for something calming.

It was another hour before the doors opened again. Mom was asleep on dad’s shoulder, I was staring out the window, and Jason was slumped against the wall with his eyes closed. I doubted he was asleep though.

When the doctor appeared, all of us jumped up. Even mom jolted. It was as if she sensed the news was here.

“How did it go?” dad asked.

From the doctor’s expression, I feared the worst. She couldn’t be gone.

With his head bowed down, the two words I didn’t want to hear spilled out. “I’m sorry.”


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