Pay It Forward Ch. 04byIread2relax©
Thank you all so much for following this tale. Here is chapter four. I hope you enjoy it. Please understand this is a fictional story. None of the people are real. They are complete figments of my own imagination. This story has a long build up, so if you are looking for a quick flash and burn, please read something else. Thank you once again and enjoy. IR2R
Hours passed. But for the occupants in the OR waiting room, it seemed like a millennia. After several hours a doctor emerged.
"Is the family of Ms. Kingston here?" he queried.
Darren leaped to his feet and rushed to him. "My sister Doc, don't tell me she's ....?" He pleaded as fear laced his voice. He couldn't finish that thought. Clemmie had to live. If she didn't, he couldn't go on.
All the others had gathered round to hear the news.
"Mr. Kingston, I'm Doctor Kumal. Ms. Kingston survived surgery. The next few hours are critical. She has suffered a severe trauma and we won't know the full effect for a while. For now, she's in recovery and being monitored. I can let you in to see her, but only for a few minutes." He explained.
Darren nodded and followed the doctor to where his sister, his heart lay. He couldn't believe how viciously she'd been beaten. Her entire face was a covered by a bandage.,. Her body wrapped in gauze to protect her wounds. Darren was afraid to even touch her for fear of hurting her even more.
Then a soft voice whispered, "You can touch her. Talk to her."
He looked around and saw that a nurse had entered the room. "She's hurt, She's hurt so badly." He cried softly, unashamed of the tears spilling down his cheeks.
"I know," the nurse replied, "But she's a fighter and she survived. Always remember that."
Darren nosed. Then he leaned over to Clemmie and told her he loved her and he'd be there for her no matter what. After another few minutes, the nurse escorted him back to the waiting room.
Darren couldn't speak. His job was to protect her and he'd failed. His sister, may not survive because he got the idea he could have a normal life. If he wasn't taking classes, he could have just moved in with her and that bastard would have never gotten to her. Clemmie being hurt was his fault. He forgot the rules, the rules of the streets.
People like him didn't go to school, get cushy jobs. They fought in the jungle, the jungle of the streets.
Shaun saw the look in Darren's eyes and knew he was about to lose his pseudo-son. He knew how angry and powerless he felt; he understood the guilt.
"Delia, take Michal and Kevin home. I want Kevin to stay at the house for a few days. I'm staying here with Darren." He told his wife. But like the others, she refused to leave until they were certain Clemmie was out of danger.
No one left; they all sat there quietly for a few hours. Soon, the nurse that talked to Darren earlier came and informed them that Clemmie had been moved to ICU and they could each sit with her during visiting hours, but the time would be limited.
Maria bid everyone good night, and although Gianni resisted, they went home. She promised he could come back and be with them the next day, but for now they had to go.
Gianni walked over to Darren and hugged him. Darren didn't respond. Gianni cried softly as he embraced his big brother. He knew how much this hit him. He was so angry, but there was nothing he could do. "Darren, I'll be back tomorrow. I'll sit with you. Please be strong." Gianni told him through his tears.
Realizing who was speaking, Darren returned his embrace, but did not speak. Gianni and his mother left.
They all stood to go home, knowing each of them would be back in the ICU waiting room the next morning.
Darren asked for directions to Ice and the nurse told him. He went there. Shaun followed. He wouldn't walk away from him. At least not right now. Darren was too close to going over the edge.
Delia stood and told Kevin and Michal to come home with her, but both young men refused. They couldn't leave. They had to make sure she survived the night. Delia realized, she too wanted to stay. So the entire group spent their first night sitting in the ICU waiting room at Mt. Vienna Medical Center.
No one really slept. A few hours later, a hospital worker came in and directed the group to the cafeteria to get some breakfast. They went, but only wanted coffee.
After they were gone, the doctors examined Clemmie once more and were pleased to see she was breathing on her own. Her vitals were strong; she was still critical, but these were good signs.
The next morning, Dr. Kumal and the other doctors wanted to speak with Darren about Clemmie's condition. He stood, but he wasn't standing alone this time. Four more people stood with him. They followed the doctors to a conference room to be informed of Clemmie's injuries and treatment.
They met with her entire surgical team. As well as accounts and billing, they requested her insurance information. Delia, told Darren not to worry, she'd get the information for Clemmie from her job. She immediately called her friend at the home. The administrator was horrified at the news and asked if they could do anything to help. She quickly relayed the information to Delia and told her what forms she needed to fill out. Delia gave the information to payable and billings. Darren realized that even with insurance, it wouldn't cover everything.
It didn't matter. He'd go to work. He could do unlicensed repair work, and get his other two jobs back. This was his sister and he'd take care of her. Kevin placed his hand on his shoulder, silently communicating that he had his back.
Darren didn't push him away. Kevin was a true G. He stood with him through everything. Unbeknownst to both young men, Shaun had already made the choice to cover the hospital cost. They weren't quitting school to work and pay this. He had to protect Darren, keep him from reverting back to the streets.
Delia wanted to stay longer, but she needed rest. Shaun told her to go on home and asked Michal to go with her and make sure she rested. Michal wanted to refuse. He wanted to be near Clemmie. He didn't want to go, but for now taking Mom home was for the best.
The ICU allowed two visitors for ten minutes every hour. Delia wanted to see Clemmie before she left. So even though Darren wanted to see her first, he agreed to let Delia go in first. Both Delia and Michal went in at eight, ten minutes later, they came out both crying and heartbroken. That sat for a while, neither speaking, wondering how someone could be so evil.
Then second hour came and Darren and Shaun sat with his sister. She was sleeping and he figured that was good. He talked with her and promised her that he wouldn't let anyone hurt her again. His time was up.
The next hour came and Darren wanted to go back, but Kevin hadn't seen her yet. Neither had Gianni, Gianni walked in the room and left immediately, he couldn't stand to see her so hurt, so broken. He rushed out and ran straight into Darren's embrace. Even though, Darren was distraught as well, he comforted his young friend as best he could. Maria pulled her son from his friend's arms and held him to her chest. She held him as he cried for a girl she really didn't know, but meant the world to her son. After sitting at the hospital for over twelve hours, never wavering, one of the social workers came in and encouraged everyone to go home. If anything happened, they'd call. Darren didn't want to leave his sister. His carelessness was what put her there.
He revisited, and then he heard her voice once again. "Mr. Kingston, you need rest. Please go home with your friends. I'll sit with her for you, just go home."
"Darren, my name is Darren." He croaked.
"Ok, Darren. You need rest. I'll stay with her for you and you can come back here first thing." The honeyed-voiced angel spoke to him.
"Thank you, Ms. ..."- she interrupted.
Sharon, my name is Sharon." She replied.
"Thank you, Sharon. Tell her I'll be back as soon as I can." Darren whispered as they left.
Shaun, Darren, Michal, and Kevin rode to the manor in silence. Finally, Shaun spoke. "She survived, She's strong and a fighter. We have to be strong for her. Darren, Kevin, ZI know you want to go after Robert. He's in jail. Let the law handle him.
"The law, dad, really," It was Michal that spoke. "They let him out. He never should have been let out. She should have been warned. I thought you had people watching this case?" he demanded emphatically.
"I did, and yes they failed." Shaun stated.
"Wait, what are you saying, Mr. MacGregor?" Darren asked. He had people watching Robert and Robert outsmarted them.
"I talked to the DA. He wasn't released. He paid a guard and they snuck him out." Shaun explained.
Darren was silent. He knew how it worked. Robert was a major player. If he wanted out, his people would get him out. He understood Clemmie's fear, and he made a decision to protect his new family.
Shaun knew the instant Darren pulled away completely. He felt it. "Darren, we are your family. We may not be related to you by blood, but please, don't pull away from us. Let us help." He pleaded.
Darren walked off. If he had just moved in with his sister, cut ties with these people, she wouldn't be hurt. He opened his mouth to say that when Shaun cut him off. "You'd be dead son. He would have killed you. Where would Clemmie be then?" Shaun asked before he could vocalize his thoughts.
"I failed her." He cried. Heart anguished, he tried to explain. "I know this man. I should have moved in with my sister. He wouldn't have gotten to her, but I got comfortable. I let my guard down and it might cause me her life. In the hood, Mr. MacGregor you don't rest. You have to stay alert. I forgot that. I forgot it's a war and it has caused me..." sobbing he couldn't go on. Kevin cried with him, because he understood better than anyone what Darren was trying to explain. "I failed Clemmie and he hurt her." He cried.
Shaun knew what Darren was trying to say, but he had to know this was not his fault. "No you didn't. That bastard did this. It's his fault, not yours, and not mine." Shaun exhaled. "He will never be free again, I promise you. He will never hurt either of you again." He vowed as he embraced the distraught young man. So cold was his voice that both Kevin and Michal froze.
All four men cried silently, with a few loud sobs from Darren. Shaun took them home. Delia had already assigned rooms for them and everything was ready when they arrived. Although Darren was worried about his sister, he knew he needed sleep, so he rested for a while as did Kevin. He kept his phone next to him in case Sharon called. She didn't.
Michal drove them all back to the hospital early the next morning. Dr. Kumal met them with great news. Clemmie was strong enough to breathe without a ventilator. An EKG was done and her heart rate was strong. As soon as she woke up, he wanted to order an MRI and a few other tests to see if she had any severe internal damage. But the fact that she was breathing on her own and had such a strong pulse was a great sign.
Eventually Clemmie regained consciousness. The group had decided to take turns sitting with her. Darren tried to stay every night, but Shaun wouldn't let him. Not that he could force him to do anything, but he reminded him that he had classes. He couldn't miss them. He was almost finished with his training and could get a good job. When he finished school he would be in a better position to care of her.
Michal stayed home for a few weeks, and then Shaun sent him back to school. He didn't want to leave. But he had obligations to honor. He made his dad promise to keep him updated on her progress.
Everyone promised to call often. Darren appreciated how dedicated his new friend was of his sister. He suspected, that Michal might have a crush, and didn't quite know how he felt about that. But Michal was good people like his dad. He would never treat his sister the way Robert had.
One sunny morning, Delia was reading to her when she looked up and saw Clemmie staring at her. She called a nurse. The nurse came to check her and notified Dr. Kumal. The doctor ordered a battery of test now that she was conscious and they got good news. According to the CAT scan, she suffered no brain damage and surgery had repaired her major organs. The bruises she suffered were more superficial than originally thought.
Darren called Michal to share the great news. Michal was overjoyed. He decided to come home. He had to see her this weekend. He would drive down after he got out of class the next day.
Two months later Clemmie was released from the hospital. Shaun and Delia had convinced Darren and Kevin to let her stay with them. Darren resisted. He let her live in that apartment and she was almost killed.
"Darren, you know she'll be safe here." Delia explained. "She wanted Clemmie with them. If she had insisted she move a year ago, he never would have hurt her. She failed. Now she could make up for it."
"Mrs. MacGregor, she can stay with us at the apartment. Kevin and I will share a room and Clemmie will get the second room." Darren explained. Over the last two months, Kevin was just as vigilant as he was about Clemmie moving with them.
"I know, but she'll need intensive help. She'll need a nurse and exercise equipment" Delia continued. "We have space here and she'll have her own suite of rooms."
After talking with her doctors, Darren decided to let her stay with the MacGregor's. Clemmie went home with Shaun and Delia. Darren, Kevin, Gianni, and Michal were waiting for them to arrive. Clemmie could walk, and stood and walked into the house. Her brother hugged her. She hugged him back. She knew Darren blamed himself, but she never blamed him.
A few weeks earlier, she smacked him on the back of the head to snap him out of his sour mood and told him so. "Darren, he broke out of jail and broke into my apartment. He did this, no one else. I need you to get any ideas out of your head about revenge. You're in school, doing well. In a month, you'll be a certified mechanic. We've had it hard, both of us. We deserve happiness for once. You have a chance Darren, a real chance. Mr. MacGregor, his wife, and so many others have given you a great opportunity. Take advantage of it." She explained. Then she yawned.
"OK, sis. I'll stick with it, but you have to move in with Kevin and me. You're not being on your own again." Darren insisted.
Clemmie smiled at the memory. "Darren, Kevin, Gianni, Michal, hey" she greeted as she walked in. Each guy hugged her and welcomed her home. Several of her coworkers were present as well. All in all it was a nice evening, and she felt really loved.
Michal moved to the side and watched her interact with everyone. Soon Kevin stood with him. Kevin accepted them, but he hated crowds. Ever since he was younger, he preferred being alone. He never really trusted anyone until his Dad became his mentor. He then accepted Darren and Gianni as a part of his life.
Soon it was apparent that Clemmie was tired and needed rest. All of the well-wishers left. Darren helped her to her suite. The suite of rooms was absolutely perfect. He helped her lay down and stood and watched her sleep. Clemmie awoke a couple of hours later. Delia came to check on her, as did Shaun. Michal didn't stop by her room. She was thinking maybe he'd gone back to school.
Late that night, Clemmie awoke to a strange noise outside of her door, she looked and saw Michal sleeping on the floor. "Michal, wake up. What are you doing?" she asked.
"I'm sorry, Clementine, I just had to check on you." He stammered.
"Come here, sit down." Clemmie ordered him.
Michal followed her into the sitting area of her rooms. "I'm glad you're ok, Clem. If something had..." he stopped unable to continue.
Clemmie reached over and held his hand. "Michal, love kept me alive. I had to live. I couldn't leave my brothers or my adopted parents." She joked.
Then she felt it, wetness on her hands. She realized Michal was crying. "Michal, please don't cry. I'm fine, look at me. Please, look at me."
Michal looked at her. She was beautiful. Her bruises had healed. But he'd never forget the sight of her broken and battered. "Clemmie, you are the most amazing woman I've ever met. To survive the things you've gone through, just amazes me. Yet, you still are so strong and loving."
"It's not about being strong, but surviving. Yes, I've been through a lot, so has my brother. But we are survivors. I believe that life is about learning lessons. You keep going through things until you learn the lesson that life is trying to teach you." Clemmie exhaled. "My time with Robert was a horrible time; that is true. He wasn't abusive when I first met him. Well, I didn't see it as abuse. I just felt like he took care of me. I didn't notice his constant need to control me at first.
He hid it well. He even pretended to look out for my brother. Darren never really trusted him, but when Darren got in trouble, Robert stood behind me. He even helped find a lawyer for him. With his help, my brother didn't go to prison, but after Darren left things changed." She shut down. She didn't want to recall such dark times.
Michal didn't need to hear more. He hated Robert, and knowing how he treated her fed his hatred. She was his, and no one would hurt her again. She was a queen, his queen. When she was ready, when she allowed him, he'd show her how much she was truly treasured.
Michal was enthralled. This woman fascinated him like no other. "Hey, it's late and you have to drive back to school tomorrow, right. I can't believe you drove all the way here just to welcome me home from the hospital. You are so kind, thank you." Clemmie said as she moved to hug him.
"Hey, I had to see my girl, right." Michal teased. Clemmie laughed. Michal held on tightly for a moment, luxuriating in the feel of her being in his arms.
"You can let go, now, Michal. I'm safe." she whispered.
"I know and I am so glad." Michal whispered. Hearing his tone and the deep affection within it, Clemmie looked up. Michal leaned forward and gently kissed her lips. "I hate the thought of my girl being hurt." He kissed her once more and then went back to his room.
Clemmie was stunned and a bit afraid. She liked Michal, and honestly she thought he was the most handsome man she'd ever seen. But the last man she was attracted to tried to kill her. She wasn't the type of woman he needed. He was young, handsome, and needed someone without her baggage.
Clemmie went back to bed, and decided that she'd do whatever it took to hurry and heal so she could go back to her life. Michal was a friend, a true friend. She wouldn't let her overactive imagination ruin things or her.
A few weeks after Clemmie was released, Darren decided to get ahead on the hospital bill.. He'd already gone to find a second job, because he had to start paying Clemmie's medical bill. The bill puzzled him, because each time he called for the balance, they'd have an excuse and he'd have to call back.
Well, today he'd take a bus to the hospital and speak with someone in accounts and billing. He needed to set up arrangements on her bill.
Darren arrived at the hospital and explained why he was there. The receptionist typed in his sister's name told him to have a seat.
"Mr. James, come here please. " the receptionist called.
"How much is the bill?" Darren asked.
"Your sister's bill is paid in full sir. She has no balance." She explained.
"Wait, paid. Who paid...?" He knew. Only one person would be able and willing to pay off this debt. "Thank you, Miss. You have a nice day." he bid her farewell as he left.
As he was leaving the accounts office, he heard someone call his name.
"Darren, hey." He smiled, over the past couple of months her voice was one he knew well.