tagRomanceBrownwood: I Dreamed Ch. 04

Brownwood: I Dreamed Ch. 04

byDFWBeast©

Chapter 4: Old Wounds, Fresh Blood

WARNING: This chapter contains a reluctance/nonconsensual sex scene. Although not overly graphic, some readers may be offended.

****

As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dreams to shame


– I Dreamed a Dream, Les Misérables

****

"Daddy!" Shannon screamed. The terror in her voice tore at Zach's soul. She was alone and scared as he tried to claw and fight his way to her.

"Daddy, please," she begged. "Save me! Daddy!"

His frustration and shame increased, he couldn't reach her. A vague outline of a woman began to form as his rage ripped at his heart and ransacked his mind. He couldn't recognize her face but her orange hair left no doubt who it was.

Out of his pain he lashed out. You fucking bitch! He screamed in his mind. Why did you have to come back? Why didn't you just kill us instead?

Mercifully, the pain washed over him as the nightmares that tormented him began to fade. Soon everything went dark.

****

The early morning sun left shadows that greeted Zach as he opened his eyes. Slowly he scanned the room and realized he was in a hospital. He started to raise his hand to rub his eyes but a sharp pain in his chest prevented it. He let out a groan and heard a soft rustling to his left. Turning his head, he found his mother's tear-streaked face smiling back at him.

"Welcome back, honey," she whispered.

His throat burned but he tried to speak.

"Shannon?" he croaked.

"She's safe at home. I'll bring her up here later."

Zach sighed and looked questioningly at his mother.

"Hospital?"

Allie smiled sadly and nodded. She got up and left the room for a few minutes. When she returned, she sat beside him and held his hand.

"The doctor will be here in a minute. He was just making his rounds. Zach, honey? How much of what happened do you remember?"

He closed his eyes and thought back.

"Everything," he whispered in a raspy voice, "up until the gunshots."

"Well, good morning," interrupted a cheerful voice with a distinctive Indian accent.

"Welcome to Sacred Heart Hospital, Mr. Morgan. My name is Dr. Kalidasa Parmar. You can call me Dr. Kali."

His smile was disarming. The short, trim, nice looking man appeared to be in his late forties with a touch of silver highlighting his dark hair and complexion.

"I'm pleased to see you doing better. You gave us a little scare. To bring you up to date, you were shot twice in the back. One bullet was a clean through and through that entered and exited through your collarbone area. The other bullet punctured your left lung and collapsed it. Unfortunately, it also struck and shattered part of a rib.

"The surgery wasn't as simple as most because we needed to account for all of the splintered rib. You've drifted in and out of consciousness for about 36 hours. During that time you became delusional and quite agitated. We ended up having to sedate you."

"Nightmares," Zach whispered.

"Yes, we know," Dr. Kali said, smiling. "You were very vocal, very... descriptive."

"Throat hurts."

"That's from that damn tube they stuck down your throat," Allie blurted out.

The doctor's smile grew even larger as he looked first at Allie and then back at Zach.

"Well, we know where you get your shyness don't we? Your mother is correct though. We inserted the tube when your lung collapsed. I know they're uncomfortable and make your throat raw but it should pass."

The doctor went through the post-surgery check quickly before letting both mother and son know he was doing very well. Although still groggy, Zach remembered watching the doctor leave the room.

"Shannon?" Zach asked again, trying to clear the cobwebs.

"She's fine, honey. I'll try to bring her up here tomorrow."

"Who's watching her?"

Zach wasn't aware enough to notice his mother's discomfort.

"Well, several people are right now. That way I can be up here."

He squeezed her hand as he drifted back off to sleep.

****

Zach sat up in his hospital bed. The last 24 hours, since he'd regained consciousness, had allowed him to fully regain his mental faculties. He knew something wasn't right. He'd gotten to see Shannon last night but the Morphine had made the visit very blurry. One thing he was sure of though, his mother wasn't telling him something. Before he could begin to analyze his thoughts he was drawn back to his visitors.

Surrounding his hospital bed were his bosses from BGES. Maria and Victor Grymm stood on one side and Roland and Renee Grymm on the other. Zach grinned as he watched them. Even with Roland wearing his high fashioned attire and Victor donning a polo shirt and khakis, it was obvious they were related.

Victor's wife, Maria, was Zach's immediate boss and looked like the stereotypical bookworm. Her thin wireframe glasses and small, petite frame matched her generally mousy appearance, but her logic driven, no nonsense personality was tempered by her warm smile and generous heart.

Renee was Roland's third bride and had no problem being a trophy wife. Over ten years his junior and only a couple years older than Zach, her ditzy personality, revealing wardrobe, and big hair were eclipsed only by her huge, fake breasts. Zach tended to avoid her since it was a monumental struggle not to stare, although he was sure she didn't mind if every man mentally undressed her and feasted upon her.

"You take your time, my boy," Roland's voice thundered. "You just rest and make sure you're doing better before you try to come back to work."

"Thank you, sir, but I'm already bored just laying here."

"We could rig him up right here," Victor said flatly. "He could be operational by this afternoon."

"Victor," Maria spoke gently, "we need to let him rest so he can get well faster."

"Okay, sweetheart. I was only providing possible options."

She watched him with a bemused smile, and Zach could see the love she had for her odd but brilliant husband.

"Well, it's certainly a viable option when he's released and at home," she added. "However, it would probably be wise to hold off until then. The faster Zach heals the more productive he'll be in the long run."

Victor nodded as he followed her reasoning.

A nurse entered the room and whispered something to Roland. He nodded and turned back to the group.

"All right everyone, we need to get back to the office. Besides, Zach here has other visitors waiting to speak to him and they've got guns!"

He smiled.

"The local law enforcement is here to speak with you, Zach. Remember, my boy, deny, deny, deny and if all else fails ... plead the Fifth!"

Roland smiled at his own joke. Maria and Victor said their goodbyes as Renee came over and gave Zach a huge goodbye hug. There was nothing motherly about the hug as she buried his face within her purchased breasts. His response was what one would expect from a healthy male, much to his embarrassment.

His obvious excitement was not missed by the group. Renee giggled while Maria blushed. Victor observed the situation like he was gathering data and Roland grinned from ear to ear.

"It seems, my boy, that you are well on the road to recovery," Roland said with a smile.

Zach covered himself with the thin excuse for a pillow. His bosses left only to be replaced with Sheriff Olsen and a Brownwood officer.

Sheriff Olsen looked at the pillow and then Zach. A faint smile appeared briefly on his usually stern face.

"Attractive woman, wouldn't you agree, Officer Jones?" the sheriff asked coolly, his eyes never leaving Zach.

"Yes," the young officer responded, obviously clueless to the situation. "Very."

"Well, Mr. Morgan," the sheriff said, "it's good to see you recovering. I can't tell you how worried the family was. They'll be relieved to hear you're doing better.

"We need to get your statement about that night, Zach. Afterwards, I can fill you in on what's happened since the shootings."

Zach spent the next hour going over what he knew with Officer Jones. When he was done he was exhausted. Sherriff Olsen noticed and asked him if they needed to come back another time.

"No, I can listen as long as I don't have to answer a lot of questions."

The sheriff nodded.

"All right, I'll try to make it brief. First off, Whitmore shot you twice before we shot him. He died at the scene. His family isn't handling it well but with the evidence we have there isn't much they can do. The shooting was clean but I'm sure the lawyers will get involved and stretch this out for some time.

"Zach, please accept my apologies. We didn't expect Whitmore to react violently so quickly."

Zach nodded.

"He was high on something," Zach interjected.

"That's what I suspect, but the blood work isn't back from the lab yet.

"On a personal note, what you did was very brave and I thank God you weren't killed. If there's anything I, or my family can do, please let us know. We're indebted to you and we Olsens always repay our debts."

The sheriff and the officer left and soon Zach was asleep. His thoughts and dreams continuously turned towards Shannon. She'd visited him briefly last night so she could see he was all right. However, the pain medication had made it hard to talk for very long and soon he'd fallen back asleep. When he woke, his mother was sitting beside him reading.

"Who's watching Shannon, Mom?" Zach asked sternly.

He noticed her stiffen before she inhaled deeply.

"What?" she replied, obviously stalling.

"I asked, who's watching Shannon?"

"Well, Ginny and Hector have been watching her mostly."

"Mom," Zach said flatly, his voice growing stronger. "Ginny is six months pregnant and already looks like she's about to pop. She couldn't chase after Shannon even if she wanted to. And with Ginny in that condition that means Hector is running the diner when you're gone. So Mother, I'll ask again. Who's watching Shannon?"

"Honey," Allie said with a grimace that made her forehead wrinkle. "We've had several people offer to sit with her but..." she sighed deeply and continued. "Bree has been watching her most of the time."

He felt his face flush as the anger started to build.

"Please, honey," his mother begged. "Please hear me out. I know you blame Bree for what happened but, Zach, she couldn't have known Ty would come after you. The girl is beside herself with guilt and doing everything she can to help. Honey, not only has she been a huge help so far, but we'll need her even more when you're released to go home."

He glared at her as he struggled with his feelings. His mother knew how he felt about Bree but still allowed her to become an even bigger part of their lives. As usual, Allie Morgan did want she thought was best.

Allie took a deep breath and continued.

"Zach, Dr. Kali said he'd release you several days sooner if we had a qualified health care professional to take care of you, so I agreed. Bree's a registered nurse. If you want me to find someone else I will but it'll mean you won't get released for a while. It'll take some time if we have to go through the insurance to find someone to look after you and that's more days of you being away from Shannon."

"Doesn't seem like I've got much of a choice, does it?" Zach said sarcastically. "At least not until I get healthier."

"Honey," Allie said in her most motherly voice. "Now don't think of it like that—"

"What?" Zach snapped at her. "Are you trying to tell me what to think too, Mother? What, it's not enough that you set this up behind my back but now I can't even think for myself?"

"That's not what I meant—"

"I know exactly what you meant, Mother," Zach snarled.

Allie's face paled. She'd rarely seen her son this angry and never had it been aimed at her like this before.

A tall, black nurse named Doris came in and looked at the pair with obvious concern.

"Mr. Morgan, are you all right?" she asked with an unusual British/African lilt. "Your vital signs rose dramatically."

He nodded as he continued to glare at his mother.

"Yeah, just got some upsetting news."

"Well, we need to keep that to a minimum if we're going to get you released," Doris said with a cautious smile.

Zach sighed and nodded.

"Yes ma'am, we'll try to avoid that."

"If you need, I can tell your other visitors to come back, Mr. Morgan," she said as she ran a hand through her short spiked hair.

"Visitors?" Zach said, finally taking his eyes off his mother and looking at the young nurse.

Doris grinned. Her bright white teeth contrasting with her pretty, ebony face.

"Seems there's a little girl with lots of curls who's waiting to see her daddy."

Zach's face visibly relaxed and a small grin began to appear.

"Please," he said softly.

She smiled warmly and nodded.

"I'll go get her."

Within a minute, Shannon announced her presence as she squealed. Zach briefly noticed Bree as she peeked around the door, but focused on his little girl as she ran over to his bed.

"Daddy!"

"Cupcake!"

Shannon lifted her arms for him to pick her up.

"Uh huh, sweetheart," his mother said to her. "Remember, Daddy's still sick and he can't lift you. Here let me help."

Allie picked the little girl up and carefully placed her on Zach's bed.

"Daddy, you gonna get better?"

"Yeah, Cupcake, Daddy's going to get better real soon."

"Good! You talked funny last night, Daddy! Gamma said it was the dugs."

"Yeah well, Daddy's feeling a lot better, honey," Zach said softly.

"When you comin' home?"

"Soon, Cupcake, maybe even tomorrow."

"Yea! We can play Candyland!"

Zach smiled.

"Well, maybe Gamma can play with you till I get home."

"That's okay, I gots to play with a new friend."

Shannon froze wide-eyed and put both hands over her mouth.

"I told a secret!" she said in a hushed voice.

"It's okay, sweetheart, your daddy already knows the secret," Allie interrupted.

Like flipping a switch, Shannon turned from concerned to happy again.

"Daddy, wanna meet my new friend? Bee! Bee, come meet Daddy!"

"Sweetheart, I've already met your daddy, we were friends a long time ago," said Bree softly as she leaned against the doorframe.

She stared at Zach with tears in her eyes before she cleared her throat.

"How are you doing today?" she said tentatively.

"I've been better."

"Zach, I want you to know how sorry I am—"

"Not now. Not in front of Shannon," he growled.

A few moments later Doris knocked and entered the room.

"Mr. Morgan, your vital signs are still extremely elevated. If we can't get them down, I'll have to ask everyone to leave."

Zach nodded. "I understand. Would it be all right if I took a short walk? I'm sure it'll help."

Doris looked puzzled for a moment and then nodded.

"All right, Mr. Morgan, although getting up and walking wouldn't usually help reduce your vital signs, I can understand how it might in this case. It'll need to be a short walk, very much like the one you took earlier today."

"Thank you," he said, frowning. It seems everyone knows my business now. Shaking that thought he looked at his daughter.

"Cupcake, would you like to help Daddy take a walk?"

Shannon beamed and nodded her head, throwing her curls up and down.

"Then let Gamma get you down and ask Doris to help me up."

Allie picked up Shannon.

"Here son, I can help you..."

"No," Zach said coldly. "Doris can do it and besides, I trust her."

Allie stepped back as if he'd slapped her.

The nurse strained to help Zach to his feet. Soon father and daughter began to slowly walk down the hospital hallway.

Even though it was only a short distance, it took several minutes before Zach and Shannon returned to the room. As they approached, Zach could hear Bree and his mother talking.

"I don't know, Mrs. Morgan. He's so angry. I know what he thinks of me, I heard him when he was delusional. I think my being here will hurt him more than help him.

"I know, honey. I don't envy you, considering what the next week probably holds. But you asked me for a way you could help him and this is the best way. Yes, Bree, he is angry. He's so angry that it's starting to affect both him and Shannon. I know he'll be mad at me but I can't just sit back and watch as I lose my son and granddaughter.

"I'll try, Mrs. Morgan. But I won't shove this down his throat any more than we already have."

"Come on, Daddy. Go faster!" Shannon chirped, announcing his presence. The women's conversation ended quickly.

Zach spent the rest of the day sulking as he tried to find a better solution to his current situation. Much to his chagrin, he wasn't able to come up with something that would bypass his need for someone to watch over him and Shannon. Bree was the most logical choice.

Frustrated, he finally conceded the battle, but not the war.

When he was released, he tried to push his anger and resentment to the back of his mind. The fact Victor already had him setup so he could work from home helped distract him. Bree also made it easier by giving him space, and he had to admit it was difficult to stay angry at someone who was trying her hardest to be helpful. Still, the memories of the past continued to haunt him.

The most awkward moments, those first few days, were when Zach needed help going to the bathroom. After two embarrassing episodes, he found he could wrap his chest with Saran Wrap and use the shower to clean himself. While that solved one problem it set the stage for an even more embarrassing one.

It began when Zach momentarily lost his balance while in the shower. He felt a deep stabbing pain as he tried to catch himself. A moment later he was sprawled out on the bathroom floor. Bree was beside him in an instant as he closed his eyes in embarrassment. He didn't know which was worse, the realization he couldn't fully take care of himself or the humiliation of lying there naked, exposed to the world, and worse, completely defenseless in front of Bree.

He'd demanded she leave him alone but she simply ignored him. She checked his wounds, covered him, and then helped him to his feet. Over his objections, she dried him off, dressed him, and helped him get back into bed. She even tried to make light of the situation in an effort to alleviate his embarrassment.

"You know, Zach," she said softly as she smiled, "it's not like I haven't seen it before."

"Back then it was yours, now it's not," he snapped. "You threw it away a long time ago."

Zach leaned back and propped himself up on his pillow before simply glaring at her until she left his room.

Over the next two days they avoided one another until fate stepped in again. It was Friday night and Allie had another date. His mother had dated frequently over the years since his dad had died, but never seriously. She'd never found anyone special enough to be called 'her man,' as she liked to say.

Although Zach was doing much better, he still couldn't take care of both himself and Shannon. Bree agreed to spend the night and sleep on the couch.

That night, after Shannon had been put to bed, Zach was in bed, working on his laptop. As he was finishing a report, he heard it, the sound of someone snoring. He quickly identified the source as Bree but it wasn't the light, gentle snore of a young woman. Instead it was the loud, furniture vibrating, wallpaper peeling snore of a walrus. Zach couldn't help but laugh quietly to himself.

A few minutes later he felt a presence in his room. Looking up, he saw the face of his little girl, grinning from ear to ear.

"Cupcake, what are you doing up?"

"Bee's loud isn't she, Daddy?" she whispered as she giggled.

"Yes she is, sweetheart," Zach whispered back.

"She's not as loud when she sleeps in my bed with me."

"Well that may be, Cupcake, but your bed is too small for the both of you."

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