by Anj
(a.k.a. Azurenon)


All disclaimers in Chapter One


        She was right the next day was busy. After breakfast came my bath: I was stronger, more relaxed and actually enjoyed it. I didn't feel nearly as tired when she pushed me back to the room, either.
        Closing the door, she flipped the sign to read, "Do Not Disturb". I wondered what was going on. I was under the impression massage therapy was relegated to nights. Leaving me by the bed, she went over to the closet. What's she up to? I wondered, watching her pull out two gift-wrapped boxes: one rather large and the other quite small.
“I… uh…. I got you something yesterday while I was out," she explained, as she walked over to me. "I knew you needed 'em. Men sometimes don't think of things like this. I hope you like'em."
        She handed me the boxes. I didn't know what to say. Yesterday I'd have been thrilled to know she thought enough of me to buy me something. But now, I was having bad thoughts: questioning her motives.
        "Thank you," I managed to say, as I hesitantly opened the small box first. Inside was a bottle of perfume. "Wind Song" the cologne my mother used. "How did you know my mother wore this?" I accused.
        "I... I didn't," she replied, her eyebrows darting up, as if she had no idea what I was talking about. "I… I just went to the counter and... and smelled the different ones and … I liked this one. But, I don't know why. And I'm sorry if… if I offended or… hurt you in anyway. That was not my intention, believe me," she apologized, her bogus blue eyes turning cloudy. "I'll take it back. I'll get whatever kind you like. I'm sorry, I should've asked. Here, I'll take it back and get the kind you like." She reached over and took the perfume from me. "But, please, open the other one. I think you will like it. Or at least… I hope so." The corners of her mouth turned up in a rueful smile.
        I relented. Inside were an off-white nightgown and matching robe.
        "I thought you'd need those. I know how uncomfortable those backless negligees are," she explained, her smile uncertain now.
        I had to admit, it was a beautiful nightgown. I hardly ever wore one, however, because I preferred cotton nightshirts or just a T-shirt, which I found much more comfortable. Yet, she had been quite kind to take into consideration my discomfort. Thinking back to the day before, I knew how thrilled I would have been to receive this and now I was just sitting, staring at it. Why? All because of something that could've been just a dream; could've been nothing more than an overactive imagination run amuck!
        "Is it the wrong color... or size? I can always exchange it if…" She paused, as I looked. Disappointment over my lack of enthusiasm was written all over her face.
"It's beautiful," I said, softly.
        "Well, what's...?"
        "You told Uncle Brandon my emotions were like a raw nerve, remember?” I interrupted. “I really do like it. Please... help me put it on."
        Her spirits seemed to lift, as she helped me out of the hospital garb and into the nightgown.
        "Lovely," she uttered, as she backed away. "You're… very pretty, Faith."
        I blushed, not knowing what to say. For, I knew this wasn't the truth. I hadn't been pretty even before the accident, much less now.
        "Oh... I almost forgot," she murmured, as she reached into the box again. "I saw this and I thought... well, I thought we might fancy up your... headdress." She pulled out an off-white silk scarf, displaying it across one arm. "Whaddaya think?" she asked, uncertainly.
        "You mean put that over my bandage?"
        "Uh, yeah... I've seen it done before. It'll look like a turban, sorta.” She paused. “Tell ya what, I'll fix it and if you don't like it... fine... we'll take it off, okay?"
        I sighed heavily at the thought of the bandage and the scars. Could she really make it look better? I wondered. It's worth a shot, right?
        I agreed and she wheeled me over to the full-length mirror on the inside of the closet door. "Take one quick look," she said excitedly. "Then, close your eyes and keep 'em closed 'til I tell ya to open 'em."
        I looked at myself once again. I didn't see the angry girl of yesterday, but I still looked ugly. I closed my eyes, as she instructed, and felt her moving about me, wrapping the scarf around my head. She fussed over adjusting it here and there, then finally told me to open my eyes. I looked up slowly and found my once ugly bandage completely covered by the lovely silk scarf. On the right hand side she had also attached a small broach: a butterfly with two very tiny light blue stones for its eyes. I felt like crying. She had taken something ugly and turned it into a more dignified and appealing sight.
        I looked older now. Gone was the naive child of yesteryear, her innocent eyes revealing how very little she knew about pain and loss; the floppy nightshirts with cute sayings across the first, her last hold upon childhood. Before me now was the reflection of a more mature young woman, whose eyes confirmed the severity of the pain and loss she had suffered. And whose breasts, I had to admit, filled out the cups of the shapely, low cut nightgown rather nicely.
        "You look lovely," she said, placing her hands upon my shoulders.
        I looked up at her reflection, tears welling up in my eyes. "Thank you," I said, putting my right hand on hers.
        "You're very welcome," she uttered softly. "Now… you're all ready for your excursion outside. When would you like to go?"
        I knew she was changing the subject so I wouldn't dwell on the tears.
        "How about right now?" asked Uncle Brandon's loud and cheerful voice.
        I quickly glanced up at his reflection. He had slipped in and neither one of us had noticed. And my how handsome he looked. Just like Father, I thought. Except for his clothes that screamed, I'm rich. And his demeanor, straight and proud, which pronounced in no uncertain terms: I'm in control, here. There's nothing I can't handle.
        "Princess, how beautiful you look," he said, as Sara moved off to one side. "I just can't take my eyes off you. So much like your mother... so beautiful." He approached the back of my chair, never taking his eyes off my reflection. "Did you do this for her, Miss Bennington?" he asked, his eyes seemingly glued to my image.
        "Yes," she responded, backing away.
        "Wonderful... I'll have to reimburse you. Princess, I'm so sorry I didn't think to buy you something like this. I guess with everything that has happened, I've just been so busy, I.... But, I'll make it up to you, I promise. You know men they appreciate beauty, but seldom know how to perfect it. You are... beautiful," he repeated, his eyes lighting up like he had just been given the grandest gift in the world. "You do feel up to taking a short stroll, don't you, Princess? I'd just love to show off my lovely... niece. It is alright, isn't it Miss B.?"
        Sara had backed away, as she always did when Uncle Brandon came around. I watched her reflection as she turned away. "That's up to Faith," she replied, as she walked over to her chair beside the bed.
        I detected a note of disappointment in her voice. I knew she had planned this for my first outing. Now he had walked in and taken over, as he always did. What was I to do? I needed to get to know my uncle better; for, I would be living in his home. And I already knew Sara, or at least, I thought I did. I reasoned there would be time for other outings. Perhaps even today, although I knew it wouldn't be the same.
        Sara helped me into my robe and flashed a rueful smile before we left. Uncle Brandon then wheeled me out into the hall and began to chatter like a 'Chatty Cathy' doll.
        "I can't get over how beautiful you are," he said, as he leaned over me, while pushing me down the hall. "And how much you look like your mother."
        Since he kept broaching the subject of my mother, I thought I'd take the opportunity to inquire about the time she spent at Shady Grove. "Thank you," I replied. "I always thought my mother was very pretty, but I'm sure my opinion was biased."
        "She was beautiful," he said wistfully.
        "What was she like when she was my age? When she lived at Shady Grove?"
        "She was like a breath of fresh air," he answered on a sigh. His pace slowed somewhat and I glanced over my shoulder. He was smiling and staring off into space, with a glassy look in his eyes, as if he were reliving a memory in his mind.
I wondered why the mention of my mother should invoke such memories? Was it a very happy time back then? My mother didn't seem to think so. "I assume you were close to my mother and father when they lived at Shady Grove?" I prodded, wanting to pry more information from him.
        "We... yes," he replied, clearing his throat. "Yes, the four of us were... close. We lived in the same house, you know. The house is big, but not that big."
        Four of us? I thought. Oh yes, Ashley and Jason's mother, Vivian.
        "I suppose my mother and Aunt Vivian were close?"
        "Umm, actually, no. They were never close friends, in that sense. They were worlds apart. Your mother was charming, graceful, sophisticated and beautiful. Vivian was too envious of her, to be good friends," he said, rather coldly. "But, enough of that, let's talk about you. What were you studying in college?"
        "I assume that was your mother's idea?"
        "No, it was mine," I replied, as he pushed me up to the electronic doors, leading outside.
        The doors slowly opened and we proceeded out onto the terrace of the third floor. A white wrought iron railing surrounded the wide patio, where neatly arranged white tables and chairs awaited patients and their visitors. We had it all to ourselves, however, and he pushed me over to one of the closest tables then took a seat in the chair beside me. A rather lengthy silence ensued, as I looked around.
        It was a beautiful spring day. The sun shone brightly on a tall glass building across the street. Traffic noises from the streets below wafted up on the warm breeze that tinkled the wind chimes hanging from the ledge above. Life was moving at a rapid pace in the bustling city of Atlanta. Secluded behind the walls of the hospital, I hadn't given much thought to the outside world. Perhaps I hadn't been ready. After all, life was still going on out there, when it seemed mine had stopped, March 3, 1993, the day of the plane crash.
        The roar of a jet engine filled the air. I suddenly felt panicky inside. I struggled to fight the rising fear.
        "I take it this is your first visit to Atlanta?" he asked, his voice sounding distant to my ears, for a moment or two.
        "Yes, except for the airport to make a... connecting flight," I answered, remembering how my mother had been concerned whether we'd make our flight to L.A.
        "Can't tell much about it from up there, can you?"
        "No... it's like... being in a secluded world."
        "Well, as soon as you're strong enough, I'll take you on a tour... show you the sights around here. We can even visit my office. Would you like that?"
        "I guess," I replied, watching the plane that had taken off disappear into the clouds.
        "You know you have a stake in Neilson, don't you?"
        I turned to face him. What kind of stake was he talking about? Father never had anything to do with the business to my knowledge.
        "You have inherited half the business. Your father never bothered with his inheritance, but then he never forfeited it, either. He merely ignored it," he said, matter-of-factly. "And now, it's yours."
        This prospect had never dawned on me. I'd always thought Uncle Brandon inherited everything and this was the reason why my father didn't stay at Shady Grove or have any part in the business.
        Uncle Brandon must have read my thoughts, for he went on, "He could have used his inheritance at any time. I mean, sharing the profits. He could not sell it away of course, not unless both of us agreed to the sale. I suppose that was my father's way of making sure the business stayed in the family. But, your father was heir to half of everything. When he came home with your mother, I arranged to have the whole east wing redecorated for them. But Jonathan never seemed to want to have anything to do with the business. And now... all that should have been his, belongs to you."
        I was quite overwhelmed by all this. I knew he was telling me I was a wealthy young woman. Yet, I would gladly have given it all up, to have my parents alive and well again. Or even just a few minutes with them in order to say goodbye.
        "I'll teach you about the business, if you'd like. Then you can assist me. There are always business parties to arrange and a hostess as beautiful as you, why you'd be the center of attention."
        Oh yeah, I'd be the center of attention, alright, I thought. But, it wouldn't be the kind of attention you're talking about. Everyone would be staring at my scars, and thinking how ugly, not how beautiful. I'd never even thought of myself as beautiful before the accident. Did he think I was blind? Or just a bubble brain who'd hang on his every word, no matter how ridiculous it sounded.
        "Every man needs a beautiful woman to help him," he continued, "We could be quite a team, especially with Jason there, when he's through with college. He's preparing himself to fill my shoes one day."
        "What about Ashley?" I asked, trying to change the subject. Finding out I had inherited a fortune was one thing, but he was making plans for my future. And I wasn't up to a confrontation of any kind right now.
        "Your mother didn't tell you?" he asked, a hint of sadness creeping into his voice. I shook my head. "We... we lost Ashley five years ago. She was... killed in an automobile accident. Crashed through the guardrail of a bridge... he car went into the river. They searched for days, dragging the river, but..." He raised his hand to his forehead and shielded his eyes, to avoid exposing me to his tears, I assumed.
        I felt so sorry for him. Mother had told me how he'd lost his wife, Vivian: she'd committed suicide in front of Ashley, when my cousin was thirteen. After that, Ashley spent time in a psychiatric hospital. Now, he had lost his daughter, as well. I now understood why he had not mentioned her and why he sang Jason's praises. His son was all he had left. Except for me, now. This made it a little easier to understand why he doted on me so. I knew, however, that I could never replace his daughter if that's what he wanted. I could never be anyone's daughter, but my father's. Yet, I would try for my poor uncle's sake to understand him better and perhaps one day, I'd even grow to love him.
        "I'm sorry Uncle Brandon, I didn't know."
        "It's alright," he responded, waving his hand, as if shooing away the thought. "You needed to know. I would have told you eventually." He looked down at his watch. "Hmph... look at the time. I should get you back. I wouldn't want to wear you out on your first outing. And I need to get back to my office."
        No words passed between us on the way back to my room. The only sounds that broke the silence were the clicking noises made by Uncle Brandon's shoes and the squeak of the chair's wheels on the tile floor, as he pushed me down the long hallway.
        When we entered the room, Sara was in evidence. Uncle Brandon was furious that she had left the room. "I pay her good money to be here. And now that you need her, where is she? Probably off flirting with some orderly or doctor, I suspect," he said, his voice growing hard and cold.
        "I'm sure she'll be back soon."
        He stormed over to the bed and was about to call for a nurse, when Sara walked in. "Where have you been?" he demanded.
        "I went out for a walk myself, while the two of you were out," she explained calmly.
        "You are paid to be here, when I... when Faith needs you."
        "Please, Uncle Brandon…" I started to intervene.
        "I'm paid to be a full time nurse and therapist, not a..." Sara paused, stopping short of losing her temper.
        "Uncle Brandon, I'm sure Sara needs to stretch her legs from time to time. And, I imagine she needs time away from the hospital and from me. I'm not the angel you believe me to be, ya know. Besides, I need to be independent, sometimes," I temperately stated, trying my best to ease the tension.
        "I pay her to be here, twenty four hours a day," he declared.
        "She is. She's here whenever I need her. I mean… she's here now. If you had left, I woulda been fine. I knew she'd be back soon. And if it was an emergency I could call another nurse, very easily. I do know how to do that, ya know. I'm not a child," I said, thinly disguised irritation in my voice. I was determined to stop his irrational attack on Sara.
        "Of course you're not, Princess. I can see that," he said, his tone becoming more tranquil, as he looked me up and down. "But, please, Princess, just call me Brandon. Uncle sounds so... formal."
        "Alright… Brandon. Thank you for taking me on our little outing. I enjoyed it."
        "I'm glad, Princess, I enjoyed it, too," he said, as he leaned over and kissed my cheek. "How would you like it if I brought Jason to see you?"
        "Yes, I'd like to meet him."
        "Alright, that's what I'll do. Dinner is at six, isn't it? Then we'll be here around seven. If that doesn't interfere with your schedule, Miss Bennington?"
        "That'll be fine," Sara responded.
        "Take care now, Princess and get some rest. We want you strong enough for the trip Thursday. I'll see you this evening."
        After he left, Sara helped me remove my robe and put me back into bed. I was totally exhausted, although I didn't want to let on.
        "How was your first trip outside?" she finally asked, pulling the sheet up on me.
        "Nice... I mean, I needed to get to know Uncle… I mean Brandon and... I found out a few things I didn't know. I don't understand why my mother never told me about my cousin Ashley."
        Sara quickly glanced over at me, at the mention of Ashley's name. "Perhaps she had her reasons," she offered, as she sat down in her chair.
        "Do you know about Ashley?" I inquired.
        "Only what I read in the papers," she said, solemnly.
        "And what was that?"
        "Something about a car accident… they dragged the river."
        "Did you know her?"
        The question seemed to catch her off guard. She quickly glanced over at me, then down at the floor, her eyes darting back and forth, as if she were searching for the right answer. "I... I don't know really. Things that happened before the accident are... quite fuzzy."
        "Do you remember the accident?” I asked, intrigued.
        "No, my father told me..." She paused and glanced over at me. "You need your rest,” she asserted, changing the subject. “You've had a very busy morning and I can see in your eyes that you're tired."
        "No fooling you, is there?" I uttered, watching her reach over and retrieve her book.
        She shook her head and smiled, as she opened the book to the second bookmark.
        "Sara, thank you for the presents. I'm… I'm sorry about the perfume."
        "I should've asked first," she responded. "By the way, what kind do you wear? I'll swap it."
        "The last one I wore… the only one I really like is Estee, but… you don't have to swap it. Brandon can have someone pick some up for me."
        She cut her eyes over at me. "I'll get it for you. I'm only sorry I didn't ask you first."
        "It was a good choice and... if it didn't remind me of my mother.... Well, it's the thought that counts, right?"
        She gave no response, but merely started reading. I dozed off shortly and spent the remainder of the afternoon, except for a brief time during lunch and dinner, napping. Obviously, I hadn't realized just how exhausted I was.
        Brandon and Jason came at seven, just as he'd said they would. Jason was a carbon copy of his father, except his hair was a darker brown, almost black, compared to his father's medium brown. He greeted me in a rather cool manner at first. He wouldn't look at me and seemed very nervous about the whole situation. I wondered if I was that repulsive to him.
Then the conversation turned to my recovering at Shady Grove and Sara spoke up.        "Yes, Faith'll need help from all of us," she said, agreeing with Brandon's comment about all the staff being at my beck and call. "And there'll be times when I'll need someone pretty strong to help me with certain things."
        "As I said, Miss Bennington, I have a staff of servants," Brandon reminded, sternly.
        "Well, I might need someone else with... a little more time. Someone with lots of energy."
        "Then I'll hire someone. What is it you foresee them doing?"
        "It wouldn't be a full time job. Just helping out here and there, most probably with her therapy in the pool and getting her out and about when I'm..."
        "I could help," Jason offered, glancing over at his father, obviously for his approval.
        "Why, yes. Yes, I believe you'd be perfect for the job," Sara said, as she looked over at him. "We should be ready for pool therapy during the time you're on summer vacation. How old are you?"
        "Fifteen," he said, proudly.
        "Only fifteen? Why I thought surely you were at least seventeen," she said matter-of-factly. He straightened up in his seat. "Think you could take Faith outside for me, sometimes?"
        "Yes," he replied. Then he turned to me. "I'll show you the stables and my horse, Shane."
        "I'd like that," I acknowledged, with a smile.
        From then on, he seemed more comfortable and even smiled at me a couple of times, as if the idea of spending time with me was not so repulsive. I knew what Sara had accomplished, but Brandon seemed unaware of her manipulation and quite put off by the whole situation. But how could he object when I knew he had wanted his son to make friends with me. And I also knew now it was not my looks that repulsed Jason; it was because I was a stranger. A stranger he saw as not normal. One who would be invading his home; something he'd had no say so about, until Sara opened the door for him. She'd offered him the choice of whether to participate and interact with us. I didn't doubt for one minute that he had been warned not to pester me in anyway, which most assuredly had put him on the defensive.
        Sara's very good at what she does, I thought, glancing over at her. I wondered how long she had been working at this job. And that, in turn, made me realize that I didn't even know her age. I had just assumed she was in her late twenties. I decided I would ask the first chance I got.
        Before they left, Brandon asked to speak to Sara outside. I was afraid he was going to chew her out about Jason, but when she came back in, her mood hadn't changed. She immediately began preparing everything for my therapy.

Pulling up the nightgown, she started on my legs. "How long have you been doing this?" I asked, casually.
        "Oh… 'bout two years."
        "How old are you?" I bluntly probed.
        She looked up and smiled. "How old do you think I am?"
        "Twenty... six," I replied, underestimating a bit, so I wouldn't embarrass both of us, if she were younger than I assumed.
        "I wish. Thirty-two," she replied, as she pushed my leg forward and then pulled it back. "Let's see.... you're eighteen, right?"
        "Twenty-two in another four months," I corrected. She gave me a rather odd look. "What's wrong?"
        "Nothing. I just thought... Well, I've thought of you as a child, I'll have to reevaluate my thinking, hmm?" she said, as she moved around to the other side of the bed. "Twenty-two and no steady boyfriends, hmm?"
        "No... it seems they all want only one thing."
        "Yeah, I know what'cha mean."
        "Is that why you're still Miss Bennington?"
        "Suppose so," she responded, rubbing my left leg with oil, working her hands back and forth over and over again.
        When finished, she turned me over, then stopped abruptly and looked at my nightgown. "What's the matter?" I inquired.
        "Well, either I'll have to roll your gown up to your neck, to keep from getting oil on it or..."
        "Or take it off completely," I finished for her.
        "Yes, I'd hate to ruin it. Will you feel too exposed?"
        "Why should I, after the baths and that backless negligee I've been wearing?"
        She smirked then raised me up and helped me remove the nightgown. She placed it over the back of her chair, being careful to hold it by the straps only. Gently she turned me over and began working on my back. This time, massaging all of it, without me asking. It was very relaxing. For a woman she seemed to have strong hands. Then again I'd never had a man massage my shoulders, except maybe for my father, so I had nothing to compare it to. When she leaned over me to get to my right shoulder, I felt the pressure of her body against mine and a chill ascend out of the abyss of paralysis and race up my spine.
        "Cold?" she queried.
        I assumed she had noticed the chill bumps on my back. "Uh, no, not really."
        A little while later, she started turning me back over and on the last leg of the turn, which put me flat on my back, her gaze fell to my breasts. Curious as to what was so interesting, I glanced down at myself. I was embarrassed to find my nipples erect.
        "Guess we better get you dressed, before you catch cold," she suggested, quickly turning to retrieve my nightgown.
        While she was putting the gown back on me, I felt myself falling backwards. Without my legs to use as ballast, I reached out for the first available purchase: her neck. Her arms went around me posthaste and stopped my descent before I hit the pillow. Her face was only inches from mine when she laid me back. We stared into each other's eyes. My stomach began to churn; feeling her warm breath against my face. I knew I should let go of her neck, but I couldn't think straight. Too many things were going on inside me. Things I didn't understand, at all. Yet, they were so new and exciting, I couldn't just ignore them, either.
        "I'm sorry. I shoulda supported your back," she apologized, softly, starting to back away, the expression on her face one of sheer guilt.
        All I could think about was how I had hurt her feelings today and all because of a silly dream. I remembered how she brought Jason around, so that neither of us had to be uncomfortable in each other's presence. If she was my mother or even a sister, I thought, I'd give her a kiss on the cheek. And even though she was neither of these things, I still felt the urge to do so.
        "Thank you," I said, as I touched her face with my right hand.
        "For what?" she asked, perplexed.
        "Oh for everything. The nightgown... fixing the scarf... Jason...." Her eyebrows arched skyward. "Yeah, I know what you did and I appreciate it."
        "You're welcome, but it wasn't anything."
        "It meant a lot to me."
        "Well... I..."
Without warning, I interrupted her by attempting to plant a kiss her on the cheek. She turned her head at the last moment, however, and I ended up kissing her full on the lips. Strange sensations shot down my body, disappearing into that abyss of paralysis below. I had never felt anything like this before! Neither of us seemed to know what to do. She turned quite red with embarrassment, as I'm sure I did. At least my face and ears were blazing hot for some reason.
        "I didn't mean... your cheek... you turned and..." The words sputtered out of my mouth and once again, I sounded like a stereo speaker with a loose connection.
        "You… should get some rest," she asserted, reaching up and removing my left hand from around her neck. "You have another big day ahead of you tomorrow and... an even bigger one the day after."

        I watched her as she put away the oil and set up her cot. I couldn't help thinking about what had happened and how I had felt when our lips touched. I wondered if it was just the shock of it all, or whether there was more to it? Unable to go to sleep, I watched her prepare for bed. After she dimmed the lights, leaving only the night light above the bed on, and went into the bathroom I heard the water running. I wondered how long it would be before I could bathe, alone. Perhaps when I get to Shady Grove? What would it be like living in a mansion? Was it as lovely as Brandon described? What about being waited on by servants? What would they be like?
        My own home then crossed my mind. What had been done about that? Surely everything was still as we left it. I'd need my clothes and my stereo. That's something I'd ask Brandon about tomorrow. I was sure he'd find a way to get them for me.
        A few moments later the bathroom door opened and Sara stole into the room; the aroma of her perfume preceding her. I inhaled deeply, unaware of why exactly, other than I liked the sweet smell. I watched as she eased around the bed and over to the cot. I kept my eyes cracked just a smidgen, to avoid detection, knowing she'd think something was wrong if she found out I was awake. I tried to mimic myself sleeping, though I had no idea what I sounded like. A few seconds later, she neared the bed and I figured she'd expose my ruse. Instead, however, she gently rearranged the cover, reached up over my head. Curious as to what she was doing, I opened my eyes wider to investigate. Her body was very close to my face; the thin material of her nightgown revealing her breasts to full view.
        All of a sudden I felt very strange inside. My heart seemed to skip a beat. I heard a click, the room was plunged into darkness and she withdrew. The image, however, remained. She had firm, nicely shaped breasts. What? Firm, nicely shaped breasts? I blushed from embarrassment. What in the world was I thinking about her breasts for? Well, they were right in front of your face after all! A little voice inside my head answered. How could you not notice them? That was true enough. I closed my eyes, hoping to rid myself of this image, but it lingered, as if it were imprinted upon the backs of my eyelids. What in the world is going on here? You're looking at another woman's breasts and… touching her lip… What the hell is wrong with you? You've been in an accident, remember? That little voice spoke up again. Your head was injured. You were in a coma. You're not yourself, yet. Your back was injured and now you're paralyzed from the waist down, so what kinda damage might've been done to your brain from the accident?
Now there was a comforting thought! What damage had been done inside my head that perhaps they couldn't see on an X-ray or through blood tests? I lay there thinking about all the odd feelings I'd been subjected to and bombarded with over the last few days. I remembered Sara telling me about patients who became too emotionally attached to their nurse, therapist or whoever. I latched onto this thought like a drowning person who'd been thrown a life preserver. I reasoned these strange feelings must be what she was referring to -had to be what she was referring to- because what other explanation was there?
        You just want to be comforted by someone you feel you can trust, that little voice inside added. That's all it is.

        The next day I was presented with the task of lifting my behind off the bed every hour or so and rolling my own self over on my sides every 2 to 3 hrs, in order to prevent bedsores -bruises caused by lying in one position too long. Although this didn't sound like it should be taxing, I soon found out it most certainly was. I now knew what she meant by “building up my upper body muscles”, because I was actually shocked at just how weak I was. My arms were so tired by the end of the day, Sara had to do it for me.

Part 6

original fiction | homepage | what's new | xena homepage