RATING: PG-13 (revised from part one rating, I changed my mind)
The white room seemed so dark. There were plenty of lights, and there was a lot of color certainly, but there was an aura in the room that felt so grim. Danny stared at the frail form on the hospital bed. She looked so helpless on the bed, an IV in her arm bigger than any he'd ever seen and a half dozen machines hooked up to her body. A respirator was hooked up to her system, creating a rhythmic pattern to her breathing, breathing that wasn't even hers anymore. There was a tube under her nose, and a mask over her face. There was a heart monitor on her finger, and several wires stuck to her body by patches and other various medicinal fixtures. It was like a nightmare.
He stared at her, watched her closed eyes as they remained motionless under the light of the hospital room. He moved over to the chair closest to the head of the bed and sat down.
"KD, what's going on?" He whispered. "You're not one to give up. Damn it, this has been going on too long for comfort." He added softly. Behind him, Toby leaned in the door and tried not to cry as he looked on the frail image of a woman he once believed could stand up to anything.
"Maybe she's not one to give up," He said. "But right now it's a question of how long her body can hang on." He finished as Danny looked at him. The reporter bit his lip, knowing that the other man was right, and then looked back at KD. He didn't want to believe Toby was right.
"Her body is as stubborn as she is." He tried to convince himself.
"That's a stubborn body then." Toby retorted. "I've never met anyone as bull-headed as her before, except maybe myself."
"I believe that for a minute." Danny replied gently.
"Has anything changed?" Toby asked. Danny shook his head.
"It's been three days, Toby. Nothing's changed except her bandages." He said ironically. "But I don't think it means a thing, personally."
"It means a lot, Danny. How's CJ?" Toby asked, a slight jab evident in his voice. Danny looked at him abruptly.
"She's worried. She's been here as often as she can, but I'd say she's almost afraid to be here." He admitted.
"I'm sure you know Katy hates hospitals." Toby murmured. "And doctors, for that matter. Guess it's kind of ironic that way." Danny chuckled weakly and nodded, looking at KD.
"Guess it is. Did you know that she had a concussion awhile ago? Around the time we went to Olympia? I had no idea." Danny exclaimed suddenly. Toby nodded and stepped further into the room, moving until he was at roughly the same spot as Danny only on the opposite side of the bed.
"Yeah, I was the one they called when she woke up in the emergency room. God, I begged her not to go, thought it was too dangerous, but she insisted that she had to be there. Has she always put work ahead of health?" He asked as he gently stroked an index finger across the edge of her bed.
"Always. She actually used to refuse to eat; claimed she wasn't hungry." Danny said, smiling warmly upon remembering the times when he would tenderly force food down her throat.
"She did that before too? Thank God I know how to cook. She eats whatever I can force into her." Toby murmured with a chuckle.
"Aha, the legacy has been passed on." Danny retorted. Toby nodded and sniffled softly. Danny looked at his friend and then at his feet. "So where's David?" He asked softly.
"Kid went back to the office. Said he had some stuff he needed to take care of there." Toby replied.
David stared at the phone. He wanted to grab the receiver and dial, but he didn't know what to say. He glanced at the wall next to his desk and smiled. In the faint light of a dark office, he could see the glint of his stars. He could remember the day KD had brought in the board. She gave it to him with a grin and he'd taken it with a laugh. She'd outlined the goals and left marks for the stars to fill. After nearly eight months, he'd gotten nearly 190 stars, earning him her 'acceptance'. But the stars were only a joke by now. She accepted him, and loved him like a son, he sometimes thought. She was only about thirteen years older than him, but she was very maternal with him. He liked it.
With a sigh, he barged forward and grabbed the phone, bringing to his ear. His finger hovered over the number pad for a moment before he slammed the phone down again and leaned back in his chair. He couldn't do it, and he knew it. He had no reason too. Still the phone began to taunt him, screaming for him to grab the handle again and dial the damn number. With a deep sigh, he leaned forward and grabbed the phone again.
"Hello? Could I speak to Nathaniel Beckwith please?" He asked into the phone softly. The voice on the other end of the line spoke to him in a soft pleasant voice, one he didn't expect after dialing.
"Hello?" A stern gruff voice erupted through the end. David jumped a little and then recovered.
"Um, hi. It's me." He murmured.
"What do you want?" The voice snapped. David winced.
"I just wanted to call you. Tell you I got a job, and I'm making my own now, like you told me to." He replied softly. There was silence on the other end of the line.
"I'm glad." The voice said simply. David relaxed a little.
"I'm, uh, working at the White House, actually." He exclaimed. The voice sighed.
"There you go again. I've told you so many times that I'd rather hear the truth than your damn elaborate lies." He snapped.
"No, Dad, I'm not lying. I really do work at the White House. I've met the president. He calls me by my first name... when he remembers my first name." David said with a sigh.
"Listen, call me when you have something real to talk about, okay, son?" The voice ordered. "It was good to hear from you, but you know what I said last time. You've got to start taking care of yourself before I can take you seriously." The voice added before the line went dead. David gulped and hung up the phone. He stared at it silently, a tear drifting down his cheek.
"I just wanted to talk, ya know?" He said softly, as if they were still talking together. "Someone I care about could be dying. I thought it was..." He cut himself off and thunked his head on the table, giving up. It was no use. He never could do anything right. He looked up and began to gather his work. He grabbed a few papers, stuffed them into his backpack and then got up to walk out of the office. He stopped as he saw Ginger standing in front of him.
"He hung up on you, huh?" She asked softly. He nodded and averted his eyes to look at the floor. She sighed and stepped forward. "You don't have to pretend to be something you're not, David. You don't have to act like this isn't hurting you. And your father is wrong."
"You only know so much, Ginger." David replied softly as he looked up at her. Over the past few months, as their bosses had grown closer, he and Ginger had grown closer as well. They were good friends, and she'd come to be his confidant about the family he left behind.
"I know what you've told me." She replied with a smile. "Maybe you should get the President to write him a letter. That'll shut him up." She suggested as she placed a friendly hand on his shoulder. He laughed and nodded.
"Knowing him, he'd burn it without believing." David said softly. Ginger sighed and squeezed his shoulder.
"Oh, David. You're almost as bad as Toby what with trying to act like things don't hurt. If I felt it was my place, I'd storm over to your father's office and show him what the truth really is." She insisted. David laughed and nodded. He sniffled and then gazed into her eyes. She smiled at him and pulled him into a hug. He hugged her back and then just buried his face in her shoulder while he cried softly, letting it all go.
To Be Continued