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Authors: C. C. Brown

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary

Shattered (4 page)

BOOK: Shattered
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A young, upbeat reggae band opened the show. They were definitely not Mom's preferred genre of music, but their upbeat tempo and funky runs had her swaying in her seat. Colby and I danced together, stealing light kisses here and there and just enjoying a night out, finally able to have a good time. I watched as Mr. Shaw took my mom's hand and lightly swayed her around, giving her the carefree moment she had been craving since falling ill. It warmed my heart to see a smile on her face. While I watched them, Mrs. Shaw swooped in and stole Colby away for a quick dance.

During intermission we grabbed food and sat around eating and laughing, commenting on the lack of dancing skills that the Shaw men possessed and while I knew I was no pro, I relished the fact that everyone commented on how great my moves were. I took the compliments as I would a trophy and bowed with a show of appreciation.

An older jazz band took the stage next. Since this was more in line with Mom's preferred music, she stood on her own and took my hand, leading me around our blanket and twirling every so often. I couldn't erase the smile that crept across my face; she was so happy and that was all I'd wanted to see.

A few more bands played, but while the night was still young, Mom had grown tired. We packed up and headed for the exits to take her home.

As I pushed her chair up the hill, I was curious as to her feelings on the night. "How was it, Mom? Did you have a good time?"

"Yes I did. Thank you all for the night out," she replied, reaching her hand over her shoulder to caress mine. "Hopefully we can do this--"

She slumped over in her seat and began shaking violently.

Panic surged throughout my body.  "She's having a seizure! Someone call 9-1-1!" Mr. Shaw stepped in front of the wheelchair, preventing Mom from falling out and hitting the hard concrete below. Mrs. Shaw pulled out her cell phone to call 9-1-1, but Colby noticed the EMT van in the distance and ran in their direction to get help. I watched helplessly as Mom convulsed, saliva building around her mouth. I hadn't seen her have a seizure before.

I had never been so afraid in my life.

It felt like a lifetime had gone by before Colby came back with help. The EMTs took Mom on a stretcher and loaded her into the back of the van. Unable to breathe, I was helped in to sit with her. As the lights and sirens were turned on, I looked at my mom, and then out the window to the Shaws who were standing there looking grief stricken and helpless.

 

Chapter 3

I watched in horror as the medical technicians worked tirelessly on my mom for the duration of the ride to the hospital. The sheer chaos in the van--the tubes, needles and other paraphernalia--made me sick to my stomach with intense and merciless nausea. I felt like I was living in my worst nightmare and as hard as I shook to wake myself up, I just couldn't seem to get away from it. I watched as Mom lay on the stretcher unconscious, and prayed that she wouldn't be taken away from me so soon. One of the EMTs moved me aside and asked that I stay back while they worked on her, to which I sadly obliged. I wanted to see her, even though I knew there was nothing I could do. I felt like watching her would somehow help her through this ordeal.

We arrived in the emergency lane of Bellingham Regional hospital. As the doors to the van opened, I jumped out and my eyes swept to what looked like an army of doctors awaiting Mom's arrival. The lead EMT spoke to the doctor in medical terms that might as well have been a foreign language to me. They ran her through the doors and a nurse took me into the hospital and led me to the waiting room of the ward that my mom had been taken to. She promised to keep me abreast of her condition and asked if there was anyone who I wanted to call. Just as she finished her question, Colby and his parents came bursting through the door and I immediately ran over to him. He took me in his arms and held me close, kissing the top of my head and whispering soothing words of encouragement into my ears. I wasn't focused enough to make out what he was saying, but his tone was soft and his embrace was all I really wanted.

I sat with Colby and his parents in the waiting room, rocking in my seat and occasionally getting up to pace the floor. Mrs. Shaw repeatedly told me everything would be okay, and while I wanted desperately to believe her, I couldn't fathom it at the moment. Mr. Shaw went to the cafeteria to grab coffee for everyone and, as I waited for any news from the nurses, my nerves began to rattle.

"Why haven't we heard anything?" I asked in a doleful voice, trying to hold back tears.

"No news might be good news, babe. Be patient," Colby said, rubbing his hand over my shoulder.

Mr. Shaw returned with our coffees. After taking a few sips, I sat back further in my chair and semi-relaxed.

I lay my head on Colby's shoulder and started to drift when the doctor and a nurse came into the waiting room.

"Ms. O'Brien?" the doctor asked and I jolted awake, eyes bulging and trying to catch my breath.

"Yes, I'm Ms. O'Brien," I cautiously replied.

"Your mother's brain tumor has been growing rapidly, and her seizure today caused her to lose consciousness. We had her on the table, but after doing everything we could, we lost her. I'm sorry, but your mother is gone."

The doctor continued to speak, but I heard none of it. I felt my muscles turn to mush as I slumped to the floor. Colby helped me up while the doctor proceeded to speak to the Shaw's.

When the doctor and nurse left the room, Mr. and Mrs. Shaw came over to the chair that Colby had sat me down in. With tears in their eyes, they both leaned down and hugged me. I heard the words
I'm sorry
over and over again, but couldn't find my voice to give any words in response. I stared blankly ahead, not sure if I should cry, scream, or sit quietly. Mrs. Shaw's tears turned to sobs, and looking at her made me feel ill. I knew that our emotions should have been reversed, but for some strange reason I couldn't bring myself to cry.

I wanted so badly to lose control and cry a raging river all over the floors of the hospital waiting room, but the tears just wouldn't come.
Was there something wrong with me?
As I sat in my chair, I thought about my mom and her carefree moments out at the park…a smile touched my lips. I got up and walked aimlessly out of the waiting room.

Colby came running after me.

"Dallis, are you okay? he asked, with sincerity in his voice. I turned to look at him, but still couldn't formulate any words.  "Dallis!" he repeated, this time more sternly.

"I just need to get out of here," I finally responded.

"Where are you going?"

I looked at the waiting room, then back to Colby before walking out of the hospital, feeling lost and dejected.

The day of my mom's funeral came with an overwhelming amount of sadness. I still hadn't cried, which made me feel as if something was truly wrong with me. Every time I felt the urge to cry, distracting thoughts would fill my head and move me away from my sorrows.

Mr. and Mrs. Shaw had offered for me to stay at their house until I was ready to go back to Seattle, but I really wanted to stay in my parent's home, so Miranda put business on hold and came to stay with me.

I looked myself over in the mirror. After running lip gloss over my lips, I ran my fingers through my hair, effectively messing it up, but not caring in the least. Colby and Miranda stepped into the room and asked if I was ready to go. I stared blankly at my reflection, then turned and smiled as I walked out of the house.

The services were beautifully astounding. The love and support emanating throughout the room filled my heart and touched me in ways that I couldn't have imagined. I had to take breaks when giving my speech, fighting back the tears that threatened to spill out in front of the crowd, but I held them at bay and made my way through without so much as a drop leaking. I sat back down into Colby's loving arms and listened as guest after guest made remarks that reminded of the goodness of my mother--a few of them even getting me to laugh.

As we waited to leave, I stood outside with my sunglasses on, receiving hugs, kisses, and words of encouragement. My navy blue dress was wrinkled on top from all of the tight squeezes that I'd received throughout the day. Miranda came walking up, looking like she had cried for the entire two hours of the service. Trying to crack a smile I said, "Hey, it'll be okay." She looked at me in amazement, then hugged me tight.

"I should be telling you that, Dallis," she said, pulling back and smiling at me. I knew, once again, that the emotions should have been the other way around, but I didn't want to wallow in sadness, so I simply pursed my lips and nodded.

I spent the next two days in Bellingham, storing some of my mom's valuable belongings and tidying up the house. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw felt it would be best to stay in town and truly mourn my loss, but I had no plans of sitting around and pitying myself. I politely declined, and handed over the keys to the house since they would be watching over it while I was in Seattle.

Miranda and I packed up the last of my belongings and after taking one long, last look around the place, I walked out feeling like a hollow shell.

The drive back to Seattle was filled with awkward silence.  Rather than continue to have Miranda skate around on egg shells around me, I spoke up about her business and anything else I could find to get her talking. "So what new projects do you have lined up?" I asked, coming out of the blue with my question. Miranda looked over at me with her mouth gaping open as if I had shocked her.

"Um…"

"I'm working on the Queen Anne gallery. You should check it out, I'm sure you could get some of your pictures displayed in there. You're amazing."

I smiled, but didn't comment further.

"How are you and Sean?" I asked, wondering how Miranda and her fledgling relationship were going.

"Sean is Sean," she laughed. "We've been seeing more of each other and I think this might actually be going somewhere."

I laughed lightly at her statement. Miranda had successfully sabotaged every relationship I had ever known her to be in. I had hoped to see her finally find herself happy, but with the track record she currently held I couldn't be sure she wouldn't end up sabotaging her newfound happiness.

"What about you? Colby has been your rock twice now." She stopped and looked over with pain in her eyes, probably mentally kicking herself for alluding to the fact that I had no living parents.

"It's okay. Yes, he
has
been there for me both times. Things are okay with us," I replied dryly, leaving no room for any further questions.

The rest of the drive was spent singing along to Brandon Boyd's sexy voice. He was the remedy to all stressful situations.

Pulling up in front of the townhouse that I shared with Colby, I found him waiting outside in the driveway, leaned up against his white Mercedes and talking on his cell phone.  He ended the call when he saw Miranda pull up and walked over to open my door as she parked. Looking at me affectionately, he pulled me in for a long, sweet kiss. I returned his affections and Miranda came around with my bags, standing next to us and clearing her throat.

"Ahem," she began, "are you two going to let me into the house?"

"It's open, go ahead and let yourself in," Colby replied, laughing a little. He grasped my shoulders and pinned me with his gaze. "How are you doing?"

I pulled back and tucked my hair behind my ears. "I'm fine. What ya got to eat? I'm hungry." I walked around, but stopped when I heard his voice.

"Dallis!" he mumbled. "It's okay to mourn, ya know."

"I know. I'm really hungry though, so let's just get something to eat."

He stood and stared at me for a moment longer, then reluctantly pulled himself out of his thoughts and took my hand, pulling me into the house.

Miranda took the liberty of ordering in Thai food. Colby ran back to the office and I took a nice, long shower. I stood under the stream, the water drumming down on me, and replayed the last month or so over in my head. I kept thinking about my mom breaking the news, my subsequent reaction to it, and the time I had spent with her up until the day she died. My chest ached and I tried to wash the memories away with thoughts of things I wanted to do from here on out. Dwelling on the fact that my parents were gone was the least attractive option lurking around in my head. Unlike what happened with my dad, I had been given time with my mom before she passed away. My thought was to cherish the fact that I'd had those moments, instead of her being viciously ripped away from me like my dad.

BOOK: Shattered
13.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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