Tie Break

by Bonnie


berlinpup@yahoo.de

2002

For disclaimers see Part 1.


Part 9

Chapter 10

Irene and the Hinkels entered the room to find Shana lying in the large bed with Anne kneeling at her side. The dark-haired woman was gently stroking Shana's face with her right hand while her left hand lay uselessly next to the blonde's thigh. Her head leaned forward and her forehead touched Shana's arm. She was still wearing her thick leather jacket and wet boots, but had removed her gloves.

When she heard her mother enter, Anne raised her head and turned to look at her.

Irene stopped at the door when she saw the picture before her, saw the strain in her daughter's face, so clearly visible in the lines that ran across her usually smooth forehead and the dried tears she could still see. Anne also had a look in her eyes that Irene could remember only seeing once before, at Peter's funeral eight years before.

She had never forgotten the haunted look in those blue eyes.

Right now, her daughter's eyes showed confusion as well, directed at a point behind her shoulder. Irene quickly stepped to the side to make room for Dr. Hinkel and his wife.

"Anne, these are Mr. Hinkel and his wife," she said.

"Hello," Anne said, still kneeling by her friend's side. Recognition dawned on her when she took a closer look at the elderly couple by her mother's side. "I do know you, don't I?"

"Mr. and Mrs. Hinkel have been guests here since the very first year, so you would have seen them around the house or the grounds, I guess," the older Patakis said.

Seeing that the younger woman was still slightly confused as to why they were there, Mrs. Hinkel stepped up. "Hello, Ms. Patakis." Anne nodded. "We're here because my husband is a doctor and I was a nurse."

"Yes," Irene took over again, finally recognizing the protective stance Anne took over her injured friend. "Dr. Simpson couldn't come, and Dr. Hinkel was nice enough to offer his help."

Dr. Hinkel moved to the bed now. "Would you mind if I took a look at the patient, Ms. Patakis?"

Anne looked up at the elderly man with his nice brown eyes and decided that Shana would probably be in good hands with him. She reluctantly relinquished her place at Shana's side so as not to be in the way, but she didn't go far.

"Can you tell me what happened, Ms. Patakis?" the doctor asked while he put his bag down on a chair next to the bed and removed a stethoscope.

Anne nodded and swallowed audibly, then spoke, trying to be as calm as possible. "It was a car accident, but I don't know how that happened."

"Just tell me everything, how you found her and what you've done since then," Dr. Hinkel prompted while he and his wife slowly and carefully got Shana out of her jacket.

Anne followed every movement of the elderly couple with hawk's eyes. Her mother touched her arm and quietly said, "Maybe we should give the doctor some room to examine Shana. Don't you think so?"

Anne didn't move and didn't take her eyes off her friend.

"Anne," her mother implored, "you have to get out of these clothes. You must be overheating in that thick jacket. And get your boots off as well."

When Anne still didn't move, her mother turned her around and looked her straight in the eyes, or at least as much as she could with her daughter trying to look at Shana. Anne finally looked down at her mother's face and Irene only added one more sentence.

"Please, let them do their job, Anne you want Shana to be all right, don't you?"

Anne relented and let herself be dragged over to a large comfortable chair in a corner with a clear view of the bed. Irene kneeled down before her daughter and began to undo her shoelaces, for a second remembering what it had been like when Anne was still too young to do that herself.

"Mom, please, I can do that," Anne said, her voice sounding strained.

"That's what you said when you were two as well," her mother replied. She smiled at Anne, but stopped working on the laces.

Anne leaned down and started to work on her left boot, trying one-handedly to undo the double knot she tied her boots with.

"What's wrong with your hand, Anne?" Irene asked, concerned.

"Nothing," came the murmured reply.

"Why don't you use it then?"

"Hurts." The murmur was even less audible.

God, just like when she was a kid, Irene groaned. "How did you hurt it?"

"I fell on it." Anne was irritated by now, wishing she were on the bed with Shana. Her eyes never left the blonde, but the doctor seemed to know his job and was carefully examining her friend's head. "Mom, it's nothing. I slipped and fell, that's it. Nothing to worry about "

"Nothing to worry about, huh?" Irene was unconvinced. To prove her point she touched her daughter's hand with her fingertips and moved it slightly.

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

The dark cocoon that surrounded her was lifting a bit, almost, almost triggering a moan of protest from her depths. She wanted the darkness, its protection and its simplicity.

The darkness seemed unimpressed and moved further away.

She felt hands on her body, hands she didn't know, and a voice was talking to her. Hands and voice were gentle. Unknown, but gentle. She gave into the feeling they gave her, deep down remembering that the nice, soothing voice had said that there would be help.

She was sure hoping this was it.

There were also other voices in the vicinity. They were slowly filtering through the receding darkness. If she concentrated hard enough she could hear that deep soothing voice among them. Ah, there it was, but it wasn't soothing right now. It didn't matter. The voice wasn't talking to her anyway.

The voice sounded strained and she wanted to help. She forgot about the comfort of the darkness and welcomed the approaching light and the pain it brought. She struggled to find her way towards consciousness and the ability to get to the voice that needed her.

She knew that the voice needed her and she was willing to fight to be able to help.

She realized that she was almost there when the hands that were moving over her head, gently stroking her hair, moving her head carefully this way and that, became much more real than before. They weren't whispers anymore, breezing along her skin. Now they were screams urging her to react in some way.

And then she heard the sound that made the darkness follow the way of the dodo.

"Ouch!" A pause. "What the --?" Another pause. "What did you do that for?" Pause again. "That fucking hurt!"

Uh oh. Time to say something. "Anne?" God, her voice was croaky. Again. "Anne? Are you all right?"

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

Anne was glaring at her mother while the Hinkels stared at her with unreadable expressions on their faces.

Great! Now I'm scaring mother's guests Shana's doctor. She growled at her mother, who simply raised an eyebrow as if she wanted to say "Nothing, huh?" Sometimes, just sometimes, hating one's own mother was a very good feeling, Anne mused.

She tried to cradle her injured hand in a way that would make it stop throbbing painfully with every breath. The adrenaline that had enabled her to carry Shana home through snow and over ice was rapidly leaving her body, leaving behind a screaming pain that was telling her at least one thing loud and clear.

The hand wouldn't be all right in the morning.

And she would have to get to the hospital to have it X-rayed. Probably broken. God knows what I did to my tendons there. Great, we can both go in together.

There was a sound. Anne's eyes instantly tracked to the body on the bed, hoping to see Shana wide awake and feeling better, but her friend's eyes were still closed. She noticed that both Hinkels were concentrating on the bed as well. They did hear it too. Then it came again.

"Anne? Are you alright?"

Anne barely managed to bite back the sob that threatened to escape her body at the relief she felt. She pushed down the pain in her wrist and jumped to her feet. In two strides she was by Shana's side, rushing past Mrs. Hinkel in a none-too-gentle manner in her haste to get close to her friend.

She sat down on the bed and took the blonde's hand into her right, feeling an almost unreal sense of happiness at the sight of the green eyes that struggled to stay open.

"It's all right, Shea," she soothed, stroking the back of the smaller hand with her thumb. "Everything's going to be all right."

"What happened?" Shana's speech was surprisingly clear, although she seemed to pronounce every syllable extra carefully.

"You were in an accident. I found your car against a tree," Anne explained in as few words as possible. She noticed that Doctor Hinkel seemed eager to get on with examining his patient. "Rest now, Shea, and let the doctor make everything all right." She let go of Shana's hand to make room for the doctor.

"Anne, the car," Shana said, her voice becoming more slurred now.

"I'll take care of your car."

"No," the blonde interrupted with a note of urgency, "other car. There was another " Shana's eyes closed again as she fell into sleep or unconsciousness again.

Anne walked away from the bed, a dark feeling nibbling at the edges of her memory. The sound of a car shortly before she had heard the crash. Yes, I'm sure I heard a car, and it wasn't Shana's. Now that she had time to think about it, there was something about the car wreck that hadn't seemed right as well. I've got to get back there. I need to check the site.

She walked towards the door with purposeful strides.

"Where do you think you're going?" came her mother's voice from the corner.

"Mom, I need to get back to the car wreck. There's something not right about it. There was another car, Shana's said so right now."

"Well, then let me call the sheriff. She'll be able to sort it all out," Irene interrupted her daughter. "It's her job."

"Mom " Anne looked for words to express her need to go out there again to see for herself. "I know that the sheriff knows her job and I'm sure we'll have to call her anyway, but I I mean, I "

Irene recognized the look on her daughter's face for what it was. A caged animal needing to get out to sniff and hunt for itself. She nodded, deciding that there wasn't a way to stop Anne from doing what she felt she needed to do.

"I know, Anne," she finally said. The sheer look of relief on Anne's face brought her almost to tears. You love her so much, my child. I hope everything works out okay for you two. "Be careful."

She barely finished her gentle reminder before Anne was practically running out of the room. Good thing I didn't get you out of your jacket and boots and you couldn't do it yourself with that hand. Your hand! Irene cursed silently. You stubborn

"Anne!" she yelled after her departing daughter. "What about your hand?"

There was no response.

She hadn't expected one.

TBC in Part 10.


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