Cold Blast

Part 28

By Cathy

 

 

The days started to meld in to each other. There had been no change in Sam's condition and Mara started to realize that no change and deterioration were almost the same thing.

She sat by his bedside, wondering what the difference would be between, Sam never waking up versus him dying. They both seemed like a life sentence to her.

Her worry for the man she loved grew by the minute. New Year's Eve had arrived and New Year's Day would mark Sam's week-long comatose state. She knew in her heart that he should have woken up by now. Her emotions had reached a critical level, her anger and concern mixed in with her fatigue and sadness, she couldn't help but swat Sam on the arm, scowl at him and storm out of the room.

She slammed the waiting room door so violently it shook its hinges. She wanted to throw something against the wall, anything, but there was nothing heavy enough, nothing that would shatter or make a loud enough crashing sound as it hit the wall. She needed to release the pressure that was building. It finally found its way in to the open, in the form of the shrieking scream that escaped from her lips.

Margaret heard the scream at the other end of the hall and her heart fell until she realized it was a scream of anger, not loss and she finally breathed. She knew it had to be Mara from a few comments Sam had made after the Disneyland incident. She gently swung the door open as Mara started in to a tirade.

"God damn you Sam Seaborn! You promised me a quite romantic New Year's Eve! This is not my idea of romantic, you jackass! You stupid, selfish, goody two shoes! You just had to make Dani happy, never mind the woman whom you just asked to marry you! Damn you Sam, you should know that I don't care what's right or easier as long as I'm happy! You better wake up soon or I'll kill you myself! I hate this bloody place! I hate the walls! I hate the nurses who give me that pity look and I swear to God if one more person asks me if I want anything to eat or drink, I'll put them in traction. I want out of this God forsaken place. I......."

"Mara!" Margaret screamed and waited for her to turn around.

"Margaret, I was..."

"Come with me and no one will get hurt," Margaret said as she pulled Mara out of the room. She stopped her outside of Sam's room and told her to wait. Margaret went inside, left a soft kiss on Sam's forehead and whispered to him.

"Sam, nap time is over. Mara's this close to snapping so you better wake up. We'll be back soon."

Margaret grabbed Mara's purse and coat from the chair by Sam's bed, and rejoined Mara in the hall. "Move it, Mara."

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see in about ten minutes. Keep that blood boiling."

Once in the car, Margaret turned the radio up just loud enough to drown out Mara's questions. Ten minutes later, they pulled up to a sports center and parked. Mara took one look around and glared at Margaret.

"Margaret, call me a snob, but I simply can not stand bowling. The mere idea of wearing shoes that thousand of other sweaty feet have been in alone gives me hives."

"Mara, you are a snob, and we are not going bowling. This is a sports complex, which generally infers that there is more than one sport available. Now follow me."

Margaret had to smile. She'd taken Mara so completely and utterly by surprise that her usual sarcasm and stubbornness didn't have time to rear their ugly heads. She was sure Josh would pay big money to watch Mara silently play 'Follow the Leader'. She swung the door open and lead Mara over to the far right side of the complex.

"Bating cages? Margaret, the closest I've come to a baseball field is the luxury sky boxes in the Sky Dome."

Margaret flashed a laminated card at the booth, picked up a bat and baseball helmet that she pushed down on Mara's head.

"Mara, go stand at the plate and picture the ball that will be hurling at you every ten seconds as all the rage, pain, despair and anything else you're feeling. Bash the hell out of the ball!"

Mara thought it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard, but she figured since Margaret dragged her all this way she had to humour her for five minutes at least, before she gave up. The first two balls went whizzing by her head and the third one almost hit her. Mara got mad, concentrated and sent the next ball flying. Thirty minutes later Mara was still hitting balls and was getting very good at it. Margaret had counted six home runs in a row.

"So feel better?" Margaret asked above the sound of a resounding crack.

"Yeah! The last few balls were Dani's head. This way, I don't have to wear prison orange."

"This is the safest way to work out your frustrations."

"Do you come here often?"

"I have a yearly pass."

"Really?"

"Mara, I work with Leo all day long, sixty feet from the Oval. I can't go around smacking people in the back of the head like CJ. This place closes at two am, which sometimes is the only time I can make it here."

"I'm enjoying this. Do they sell lifetime passes?"

Margaret laughed. She took the helmet and bat from Mara and returned them to the counter.

"Thanks, Margaret. It's still not how I planned on spending my New Year's Eve, but it was exactly what I needed. Can we stop off at my house?"

"Sure, want to change?"

"No, I want to get a bottle of Dom, I'm getting drunk tonight. Wanna join me?"

"As tempting as that sounds, Mara, I've got plans."

"Really? With who?"

"My two favourite guys, Ben and Jerry. Bonnie and Ginger are coming over to watch movies and eat way too much ice cream."

"Sort of sounds like what Sam and I had planned. Candle light dinner, champagne, a roaring fire and cuddling up on the couch, reading each other love sonnets."

"Mara, there will be time for sonnets and candle light dinners once Sam wakes up. You know, the moment I saw you and Sam dancing at the State Dinner, I knew I was watching the birth of a grand romance. And grand romances don't end just after they started or they wouldn't be grand."

"Thanks, Margaret, for that and for knowing I needed to blow off steam. I actually whacked Sam before I left the room."

"You did?"

"Yeah, I slugged him in the arm. Not one of my finer moments. My heart will break when I see the bruise. But I'm just so..." She covered her face and rubbed her eyes. "I just miss him so much," she muttered, still hiding behind her hands.

Margaret didn't really know what to say, and was saved from having to come up with something when Mara dropped her hands and sighed heavily.

"Come in, Margaret. I have brownies to contribute to your party. You want a bottle of Dom for midnight?"

"Sure, why not."

Mara smiled at the guard who looked bored out of his mind and made a mental note to bring him some brownies and a big glass of milk before she left. She wondered briefly, if Abbey had the guards doing her time check before it dawned on her that Abbey, was smart enough to know that the threat alone would be enough for her to obey. Damn you're good, she thought smirking at the fact that she'd been had and would continue to obey even now that she was on to her 'Mom' She opened the door, took a step and froze.

Margaret wondered why Mara stopped and realized what caused it as she saw the happy little scene over Mara's shoulder. Josh and Donna were sitting, holding each other, on the sofa.

Margaret turned Mara around and into a tight embrace.

"We can go back, Mara. The girls will understand," she said gently.

Mara took a few deep breaths and wiped away the few tears that were falling from her eyes. She looked up at Margaret, and smiled wistfully.

"No, I'll be fine. I just wasn't expecting to see flashes of my evening tonight. Look at them, they look so happy and I won't begrudge them of that because of what's happening."

"Yeah, they do look happy. How can they not see they are madly in love with each other? I know love is blind, but this is ridiculous." Margaret laughed.

"Hopefully Josh didn't eat all the brownies," she remarked as Josh popped another piece of the dessert in his mouth.

Josh was reclining on the couch with Donna wrapped in his arms. A plate of brownies sat in her lap that they were both mindlessly eating from as the watched something on TV.

The fire was close to burning out and cast a fading glow on the darkened room.

"You better not be eating my brownies!" Margaret warned as she finally entered the living room, the tears that were steaming down her cheeks just moments ago all but disappeared.

Donna's immediate reaction was to jump away from Josh, but she knew it was too late, they'd been caught. She slowly worked her way off the couch and stood up.

"No, there is still a ton of them left. I thought you were going out with Bonnie and Ginger?" Donna asked Margaret.

"I am, but Mara said she had some brownies for us, so we stopped to get them on the way back to the hospital."

"Joshua, you left your mother home alone on New Year's Eve!" Mara admonished.

"Relax, Bu. She went home around four today. She didn't want to miss Mrs. Watson's annual party. I didn't want to be alone, so I figured I'd keep Donna company. By the way, that cat of yours loves brownies. The little imp stole one and ran away with it."

"Oh great, he's probably eating it on my white fainting couch. I've got a cat to kill. Excuse me."

Mara stopped at the top of the stairs. "Josh?"

"Yeah?"

"Could you go down to the wine cellar and get two bottles of Dom for me. Well, actually three if you and Donna want to share one. They're on the left side, second row from the top."

"Kay."

Josh loved the wine cellar. He always volunteered to go down when ever he dined at the mansion.

Sam constantly teased him about hiding an alcohol problem. Josh didn't know exactly why he liked it, but it was just neat to be surrounded by bottle after bottle of rare vintages of wines. Josh teased Mara about her fascination with Strawberry Zinfandel, and wasn't surprised to find several Canadian wines.

Josh decided that if he ever held a job that actually paid him real money, he'd buy a house with a wine cellar. He didn't care if there was a yard or a pool, but he wanted a cellar.

Mara found Killer sitting on her carpet licking and nibbling away at the brownie. She was surprised at how big the square Killer had was and bent down to take most of it away from him. If he ate the whole thing, he'd be sick all over the house.

"You silly cat! What happened to begging for bites? Decided to take matters into your own paws, didn't you? I'll be home for a bit in the morning, Fuz."

Mara scratched behind his ears for a few minutes before she sat on the edge of her bed. She looked at Ted Z. Bear, who was dropping forward on the pillows and picked him up.

"You miss him too, don't you Tedzy?." she said softly, cuddling the tawny bear.

Mara was struck with inspiration and kept Tedzy in her arms. She wondered why the hell she didn't ask Donna to bring him to her on Christmas Day. She hugged him again and suddenly gasped at the sheer power of the love she felt for Sam. Sam had managed to do the impossible, he actually unseated Tedzy from the number one place in her heart. The stuffed bear her Grandma gave her, the day she was born, that Mara loved and treasured so because Ted could never die, never leave her, absorbed millions of tears with out a word of complaint, listened to her every rant and never told her she was wrong didn't so much as flop when Sam ever so gently picked him up from her bed and replaced him. Mara felt incredibly guilty about not giving her oldest and dearest friend so much as a thought for an entire week.

"Tedzy, I'm sorry but I know you understand and forgive me because you don't get a say. Don't worry you'll still be keeping my secrets, having to step in when I toss Sam's sorry ass out of our bed and banish him to the couch. If Josh could hear me right now, I'd freak him out so much that he'd call the little men in the white coats in true fear I'd lost it. He'd think I was nuts for wanting to tell Sam he's the ultimate Teddy Bear even though he talks back and has a mind of his own. Then again, he does have Webster, a gray donkey that doesn't like drool, nah Webster still looks nearly new, Josh wouldn't get it. Let's go tell Sam I'm sorry for whacking him."

Mara smiled her first, genuine happy smile. She just knew Sam would wake up, some time soon. She called for her driver and bounded down the stairs.

"Margaret, I called my driver. I've kept you long enough. Thanks and Happy New Year."

"It was my pleasure and right back at you."

"Here are your parting gifts," Donna said as she handed Margaret a bottle of Dom and a tin of brownies.

Margaret rolled her eyes, hugged both Donna and Josh and whispered to Mara. 'Remember grand romances' before seeing herself out.

"You know, we'll go back to the hospital with you if you want, Mara," Donna said.

"Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather be alone tonight. Killer's been cut off, no more brownies for him. I'll see ya later." Mara picked up her bottle of champagne and purse, and headed out the door.

***********

Panic began to rise in Mara when she noticed the absence of the Secret Service agent posted outside Sam's. She slowly opened the door to Sam's room and breathed a sigh of relief when she noticed Tom sitting on the other side of Sam's bed, watching the door.

"Gesh, you scared me for a minute there, Tom. I thought something was wrong."

"Sorry. I just knew you didn't like leaving Sam alone and when Margaret dragged you out of here, I thought I'd wait inside."

"Oh, Tom. That's so sweet, thank you. I just don't want Sam waking up in an empty hospital room. I... Hey! The ventilator's gone!"

"Yeah. They took it out just after you left. The doctor said his breathing has improved significantly."

"If he's breathing on his own, that means he's getting stronger, which means he should be waking up really soon."( I didn't think I'd get my wish this fast God, way to go!!)

"I wouldn't know about that, but I sure hope that's what it means. I'm going to resume my post."(I don't think she wants to hear that I think. She's getting her hopes up too quickly.)

"Thanks again, Tom. Happy New Year."

"You too, Ma'am."

Mara picked up the phone and dialed her own number. It took a few rings before the phone was picked up and Mara wondered what was going on.

"Talk to me."

"Josh, I'm the Ambassador, please don't answer my phone like that."

"Sorry. What's up, Doc?"

"They took Sam off the ventilator!"

Josh heard the excitement in her voice and his heart sank. He knew Mara was reading more into it than there was. He relayed the information to Donna to buy himself a little time. Donna seemed as happy as Mara, which didn't make him feel any better.

"That's good, Mara. I'm glad."

"Good? Josh, it's great! It means Sam should be waking up really soon. I bet you he'll wake up tomorrow."

"Well, let's just hope you're right, but I don't want you to get your hopes up too high. Remember what the doctor said...

"Josh," she said, interrupting him, surprised at his words.

"I'm sorry Sweetie, you know what I mean. Hey, getting him off that damned ventilator is a giant step in the right direction, but it doesn't mean that he's home yet. I don't want you to be disappointed if your predictions don't pan out, that's all. You've been hurt enough as it is." Josh was met with silence on the other end of the receiver. "Mara? Look, we're coming over, okay. We'll talk."

"Umm... No... No Josh, stay there. I'll see you later. Bye." Josh sighed heavily as she disconnected the line before he could add anything.

"Josh, did you have to tell her that?" Donna asked as her face froze in a pout.

"Donna, if I didn't, she'd be heart broken when Sam didn't wake up in the morning. Sam doesn't lie to Mara. He's the one who keeps her grounded and he'd expect nothing less from me. Believe it or not, I don't relish being the bad guy."

"Not unless it's to Republicans," Donna replied with a grin, trying to bring down the tension level.

"Well that's a given, they deserve it," Josh said with a smirk.

"Should we go?"

"No. I really think that she needs to be alone with him tonight. I really do."

"Well, if that's the case, go get me some chips and I'm going to put Sound of Music on."

"Donna, that movie is like ten hours long."

"Stop exaggerating, you goof, and go get me food."

*************

Mara stared at the phone for a few minutes, wishing she could clobber Josh for dashing her hopes so quickly. She expertly opened her bottle of Dom, not spilling a drop and started drinking straight out of the bottle.

When the bottle was finished, she waited a few minutes until midnight, kissed Sam gently on the lips and wished him a happy New Year. She tucked Tedzy under his arm, cushioning his ribs and leaned her head against the bear. It didn't take long for the alcohol to work and Mara was fast asleep.

The nurse woke Mara up at six the next morning, when she was doing her morning rounds, and handed her a large bottle of water. Mara managed a weak smile and thanked Nurse Mitchell.

"Mara, don't eat until the technician has come in to take your blood."

"Take my blood? You mean Sam's."

"No, Dr. Bartlet has ordered a full blood work on you. Sorry, but they're doctor's orders and you try saying no to the First Lady."

"Oh joy! Oh bliss! You can't say no to her in doctor mode. "

"Oh Mara, how you can still crack jokes and make us chuckle? You amaze us everyday. Is the bear Sam's?"

"On loan to him until he wakes up, yeah."

"Yours?"

" Ted. Z Bear this is Nurse Marie Mitchell, if she goes near Sam with one more needle your mission is to kill."

Marie couldn't' help it, she broke out in laughter. The tears trickled down her cheeks and continued to flow as Mara almost did a perfect job at looking like she was about to commit the nurse herself. Marie noticed the lower lip twitching and a soft smile break through. She'd seen that smile before and followed Mara's gaze over to Sam. She gently squeezed both Sam's and the bears hand. The smile was one Marie had seen dozen's of time's on the young Deputy's face as he visited his best friend and patiently listened to his pleas and bribes to spring him from Nurse Ratchet's evil care. She didn't blame Josh for not recognizing her, she wouldn't' want to remember her own nurses after almost being murdered. Only two people other than Josh knew she was one of his nurses too. One lay in a coma, the other, called her personally, two hours after she'd finally gone home to see her family. It was just as difficult to say no to a personal request from Abbey Bartlet. Worse actually, because she heard the desperation in The First Lady's voice, and the gentle sobs and Marie promised she was on her way back that moment. Even a First Lady needed to have someone she could break down in front of. It left Marie heart broken at the end of each morning shift but she proudly and willingly served at the pleasure of these fine people.

"I'll see you later Sweetie, Mara this isn't Love Story, your magic is real. You won't need a miracle for Sam to wake up, your love for each other is enough. If we could bottle the love that flows in this room we'd be able persuade even God, that other patient's time really isn't up. Oh, I'm going to bring in my best friend to entertain Ted Z cause face it Sam's conversational skills suck!"

It was Mara's turn to laugh heartily as Marie disappeared. "Hear that Pretty Boy? She's dissing you! You're not going to take that lying down are you?"

Ten minutes later, the technician showed up and took four vials of her blood, ignoring the 'vampire' and 'leave me some, would you' comments. She applied a Band-Aid and told Mara to leave it on for a few hours and left.

************

He saw her thin frame hunched over the chair, her elbows resting on the bed with her hands clasped and he knew she was praying for the man lying motionless in the bed. He'd spent quite a long time conversing with God himself since the accident, trying to get his 'son's' life back.

He wondered why the young men he'd adopted as his boys had to paid such a price for his greatness. He decided to join Mara in prayer and quietly opened the door. He was struck by the irony of Mara's words and knew he had to say something.

".... our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses..."

"As we... what Mara?"

"Hey, Jed. Happy New Year."

He smiled at his most precocious 'daughter', he didn't even have to tell her not to stand up as Mara rarely did. She never cared much for formality or protocol, only when she was making a point, being a brat or dealing with someone she detested. She barely gave people time to finish saying Madam Ambassador before she'd chirp in "Please call me Mara." Leo insisted on calling him 'Mr. President' and he'd gotten use to it, but he started to worry when Mara addressed him formally, because he knew a tirade was coming.

"Hey, kiddo. Happy New Year. I guess it would be a much happier New Year for us both if Sleeping Beauty woke up."

"From your lips, to God's ears. I was just praying."

"I heard and you didn't answer my question. As we what?"

It took her a second, but she got back on track. "As we forgive those who trespass against us. "

"Precisely. I know you don't want to hear this, young Lady, but I'm your adopted father, so you don't' have a choice. Mara, you're praying to our Lord to bring Samuel back to you. You are using the prayer Jesus taught us, asking God to answer your request when you can't do your own part. As we forgive those who trespass against us, Mara."

"Jed...."

"Don't Jed me. Have you said so much as two words to your sister? How can you expect God to answer your prayers when you can't forgive your own sister? I know you have to be mad at someone, Mara, but this wasn't Dani's fault."

"Oh, Bite Me!" Mara said angrily. "Who the hell asked you? I don't think you, of all people, should be lecturing me about the finer points of our faith. Last time I checked, blaming my sister wasn't one of the Ten Commandments!"

"Mara! I can hear you half way down the hall." Abbey chastised, as she rushed into the room.

"He started it."

"Well, I'm finishing it. Thank goodness Sam can't hear you! We came to bring you to church."

"I'm not leaving Sam alone."

"You won't have to," Josh said as he walked in to the room with Donna.

The fact that Josh was still wearing last night's clothes wasn't lost on Mara, who grinned wickedly at Josh, despite the fact she still wanted to kick Jed.

"Fine, I'll go if you can promise me there will be no more lectures. What's between me and my sister is exactly that!" Mara stated, giving Jed an icy stare.

"The car is in the back. We'll wait for you."

"Jed, what on earth did you say to Mara? If looks could kill." Abbey asked as they made their way back to their waiting car.

Jed repeated the conversation to her.

Mara quickly said good bye to Sam, and joined them in the limo, sitting on the other side of Abby and totally ignoring Jed. The most madding part was she knew he was right.

As they made their way into the church, Mara saw Dani sitting in the pew.

"I'll come to another mass," Dani said quietly and rose to leave.

"You're here now, you may as well stay," Mara replied plainly, sliding in next to her sister and knelling in prayer.

**************

As the mass ended, Dani slid out the far side of the pew, but Abbey stood in her way.

"So Dani, when do you have to go back?"

"On Sunday. I'm on a Peds rotation starting Monday morning."

"You'll have dinner with us on Saturday then. I'm not taking no for an answer."

"Yes, Ma'am."

"Good bye. Mara ?."

Mara glared at Jed and called her sister back.

"Dani wait!"

"Yes?"

"I forgive you, but I'm not ready to forget yet. That's the best I can do. I will try though."

"That's more than I deserve. Mara, I really didn't mean this to..."

"Dani, I know. I know. Listen, I'm going back to the house for awhile. Why don't you go see Sam?"

Dani wasn't about to mention that she'd seen Sam almost everyday when Toby and CJ were sure she wouldn't be back for a few hours.

"I'd like that."

"Abbey, can you drop me off at the house?"

"Sure Mara. Dani?"

"Thanks, but I have CJ's car."

"Mara?" Abbey asked knowing Mara was teetering on the edge.

"No... Abbey, but I will be. I have so much work to deal with at home."

"Kay." she let the subject drop knowing that Mara needed to go on her old auto pilot for a few hours.


Dani left before Mara could change her mind and headed straight for the hospital. She was happy to see Sam off the ventilator, but wondered why he still hadn't woken up. She examined his charts and asked to see the MRI, but she couldn't see anything drastically out of the ordinary.

She'd once given thought to neurology, but there were too many unknowns for her liking. She pleaded with Sam to wake up and apologized for the umpteenth time. She spent about two hours with him, then left, figuring she wouldn't press her luck with Mara.

***********

Mara had finally figured out her passwords and had fifty pages of briefs left to read, so she packed up her computer and headed over to the hospital. She had no idea where Josh was, but Donna was sitting by Sam's bedside reading him "A Tale of Two Cities". She noticed a bottle of hand cream on the table and suddenly something made sense.

"Donna, have you been moisturizing Sam?"

"Well... Yeah... The doctor encouraged us to touch him, try to let him know we're here, so I kinda thought, why not. And besides, it's so dry in here."

"I was wondering why Sam's hands were smoother than normal. You don't have to work today, do you?"

"No, but Josh and I are going to go through Sam's office a bit and see what needs to be done. I'm sure Josh would let me stay if you want."

"Nah. I'll save that for when I really need you or when you really need a day away from him."

"I'm due for a Deputy Downer day. He'll explode soon enough. Can we do anything?"

"No, we've already established that neither one of you, nor I for that matter, can wake up comatose patients."

"Kay, call me when you get sick of the silence. See ya later."

"Thanks. Hey, where's Deputy Downer?"

"I sent him to get me a feast for dragging me to the office on a Sunday. Can you spell Mimosa?"

"Yum. Two of my favorites together. See ya later."

Mara rested her feet on the bed rail and got back to reviewing her briefs. Once again, she wished she could send out a memo that there should be no international incidents and no troop movements around the holidays.

She looked at Sam and remembered a time when there was nothing on earth she loved more than pouring over security briefs, deciding which course the Canadian Government should follow. Cheryl used to tease her that her epitaph would read: 'She changed the world'. Now, the only thing Mara wanted it to say was: 'She loved him'.

"Oh, come on, God. I forgave Dani. I haven't killed any of the medical staff and I'm being nice to Josh. What more do I have to do so you'll let Sam wake up?"

Mara finished with the briefs, sent her recommendations to Jean-Luc and let him know herself why she wasn't really paying much attention to her job. She knew she owed it to her favourite boss along with a thank you for the flowers that he sent to the house She leaned her head against Sam's bed and ended up falling asleep. The dream was horrible, with Sam just out of her reach and every time she thought she had him, he was pulled a little farther away.

She thought that she was still dreaming when she felt something gently stroking her head. It was a slow and weak gesture, but for some reason, it felt so right.

"Come back to me, Sam," she uttered, still half asleep, her voice heavy with sadness. As she slowly awoke, she noticed that the stroking didn't end with the dream. She quickly lifted her head.

"Sam? Sam?" she said, her voice filled with hope. She took the hand that had been stroking her hair in her hand as she carefully examined Sam's face, noticing the strained look that wasn't there before she fell asleep.

"Don't cry, Mara," Sam slowly uttered, his voice barely audible. His eyes fluttered for a moment before they slowly opened.

"Sam? Oh Thank God." Mara was in shock. Her emotions were beyond here, there and everywhere. Tears of happiness found their way down her cheeks.

"Mara?" Sam asked again, his eyes blinking, not yet able to keep them open completely.

"Yes, Sam. It's me, honey. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. I've missed you so much." Mara was now crying, unable to control herself.

"Mara... Don't... Cry," Sam repeated.

"I'm sorry, I can't seem to stop."

"You... Okay?" Hearing that question, she took his hand that she had been holding and brought it to her lips, kissing it tenderly and lovingly.

"I am now, sweetheart. I am now."

"Where... am I? Why... so... dark?" he asked, his voice struggling with every word. Mara was about to answer him, and then realized that the room was well lit and frowned. She looked down at him, not really sure what to say.

"Sam, you're in the hospital. There was an accident. You were hit by a car and smashed your head on the curb. You've been in a coma for a few days, but everything is going to be okay now. Why don't you rest while I go and get the doctor, okay?" she asked him, trying to keep the fear out of her voice.

"Mara... Don't... go," Sam begged her, refusing to her go of her hand.

"Sam, I told you I wasn't going anywhere. I'm just going in the hallway and I'll be right back." Sam didn't have much of a choice, as the minute amount of energy he had vanished and he fell back asleep.

***********

As luck would have it, she ran into Sam's doctor at the nurses desk and told him that Sam had finally woken up, but was having trouble with his vision. He told Mara to give him half an hour to examine Sam and she headed straight for the phone in the lounge.

"Abbey, it's me. Sam's awake, but there's something wrong. Can you come over now?"

"I'm on my way, Sweetie."

"Hey Donna. He's awake. He finally woke up! But there's no use in coming over now, because the doctor has to do a bunch of tests first. I'll call you when he can have company."

"Oh, thank God! Josh and I will have our own celebration here and wait for your call. I'll go tell Leo. I'll spread the word here!"

"Kay. I'll call you as soon as I know anything."

"There you are!" CJ exclaimed as she entered the room at the same time that Mara replaced the receiver in its cradle.

"What are you doing here?"

"I was pulling up to the hospital when Abbey called me and said I should come over. What's going on?"

"Sam woke up."

"That's wonderful!" CJ looked relieved beyond words and a big grin spread across her face, but it changed into a frown as she realized the Mara didn't seem to share her enthusiasm. "Mara, why aren't you beaming like the Mad Hatter? Something's wrong. What's wrong with Sam?"

"I think he's blind, CJ" (Dear God, when will this nightmare ever end?)

Chapter 29

 

 

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