I Hope You Dance Ch. 02byvelvetpie©
Black. There were no other colors. Just black. A deep, dark black that spread from one edge of her brain to the other and back again. A black so dark that it took her weeks to wade through its depths, fighting against the waves of pain until they finally dulled enough that she could open her eyes and rejoin the world as she knew it.
Except that she couldn't see.
"Chantal? Chantal, can you hear me?" Her mother's voice sounded strained and that wasn't something Chantal was used to hearing from Helaine Warriner.
"I hear you, Mommy."
A chorus of ragged sobs broke out, quite close to her ear and she tried to reach out to her mother, upset to find that her arms had been buckled down. A warm, consoling hand touched her forearm and she relaxed a bit, tears of frustration stinging her eyes.
"Calm down, kit." The use of her nickname made her sob aloud. "We're here." Chantal felt him lift her into his arms and she sighed past the tears, welcoming the chance to be Daddy's Little Girl once again. Franklin carefully set her back down, smoothing her wet cheeks with his wide fingers. "Do you remember what happened?"
She sniffled a few times, her lip trembling as the image of Jean-Claude balls deep in another woman flooded her memory. Then the accident. "The man in the truck?"
"Did he make it?"
"No." Franklin looked over at his wife who was still unable to speak. "The Highway Patrol said that the accelerator stuck in his truck and he couldn't negotiate the turn."
"He was screaming, Daddy." She couldn't help the tears from coming again. "He was holding onto the steering wheel for dear life and screaming."
Silence hung in the air as both parents digested her words, each imagining the horror that their lovely daughter must have seen. "I'm sorry, kit. If it's any consolation, they say that he died instantly." He took a deep breath. "We were so worried ... "
"Well, I feel okay. Just woozy from the drugs, I guess. When can I see a doctor? I want to get these bandages off my eyes so I can see what I'm left to work with."
There was an awkward pause that not even the well-seasoned barrister could cover and Chantal began to realize that there was something that they weren't telling her. Something bad. She moved her feet and wriggled her toes, relieved that her limbs responded. Her arms were tied down but she knew that she could move them and she rolled her head from side-to-side, observing the fact that her neck worked perfectly. As she lay still, thinking, she realized that there was only one thing left.
"Daddy?" Franklin and Helaine turned toward their daughter, their eyes filled with tears. "I'm blind, aren't I?"
* * * * *
Martin stood quietly in the corridor, listening to the sounds of people crying. To him, it was a sad but beautiful sound. It was the sound of loved ones grieving and pouring their souls out and that touched him like nothing else. He heard the older woman coming towards him. He remembered that her name was Hannah and that the woman who had died had been her great-grandmother.
"Please accept my condolences, Hannah. I will miss Molly."
Hannah sighed, looking back in at the scene while wiping her eyes. "Yep. She was one tough old bird." She replaced her glasses. "Too bad she didn't let any of us get closer to her."
"You got close, Hannah." He pulled an envelope from his pocket and placed it in her hand. "Molly had some moments of lucidity before the Alzheimer's took her. She asked me to give this to you."
The older woman opened the envelope and tipped out a beautiful ruby and diamond brooch. "How did you ... "
"When she first got here, she was afraid that someone might steal it so I promised to keep it safe for her. Sometimes she would forget that I had it so we used to have tea every day and I let her visit with the brooch. It helped her, I think. It kept her tied to reality for longer than most patients."
"This belonged to her mother. When my mother married my father, she said that she wouldn't give it to her because she knew that he'd pawn it for a bottle of booze." Hannah sighed. "And she was right."
"So all this time, she kept it because she wanted you to have it. She said, 'My Hannah Mae was the only one to bring me lilacs in the winter'." The woman began to cry and Martin gave her a warm hug. "You were the only one who got close, Hannah. She loved you like no other."
"Thank you, Martin. Thank you for everything."
As she moved away, Martin heard voices raised in anger and walked as briskly as he could toward the front desk. Two women were arguing and a man kept trying to interject but was beaten at every turn by the younger female.
"I won't stay here!"
"It's for your own good, Chantal. You have to learn how to live again!"
"I don't want to fucking live! I want to fucking see!"
"Don't use that language, kit. Your mother is right. You have to do like the doctors said. You have to learn new tools to live!"
"Fuck ... "
Before she could get another word out, there was a mouth on hers, warm and soft and a set of hands rested lightly on her shoulders. The kiss ended before she could think and a deep voice softly said,
"My name is Martin. Welcome to Silverglen."