Unwished for Gift Ch. 07bybleuangele©
Chapter 7 -- Lost in the Dark
Gabriel was enjoying spending time with the kids outside. Their innocent joy and laughter brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart. He loved kids immensely. He hoped that one day to have a family of his own with at least three or four kids. He wanted to have a huge family so if anything were to happen to him, he knew they would never feel such loneliness as he had felt when he lost his mother. These were the thoughts that came to mind as he watched Kyle's family and especially Caitlyn.
Just thinking of her caused him to pause and look around and see where she was. Looking towards the woods that surrounded her parent's home, he saw a glimpse of her before she disappeared completely. He wanted to follow her and be alone with her, but he figured she needed alone time away from everyone, including himself. So he waited for her return. After awhile though, he started to worry. He extricated himself from the family and after nodding at Sam, who saw him move, he walked briskly in the direction Caitlyn had taken. He could see her footsteps in the snow covered ground and followed them as they meandered around. At a break in the trees, he saw her. Even though he didn't call out, she looked up at his approach. He watched as she rose to greet him. His joy turned to horror as he watched helplessly as she fell. Rushing towards her, he was too late to catch her.
He fell next to her and immediately felt for a pulse. Upon finding one, he took deep breaths to calm himself. Calling her name, and gently stroking her face, he tried to get a response from her. He started shaking when he saw blood seeping into the ground underneath her head. He reacted. He took off one of his gloves to use as a bandage. He pressed gently while maneuvering to move her. Cradling her head carefully, he picked her up in his arms and dashed as fast as he was able to back to the house.
Joseph saw Gabriel break free from the trees in a panic. He shouted for the others when he realized Caitlyn was hurt. As pandemonium broke out, their father's booming shout of authority had everyone freezing in their steps. "Everyone calm down. Kids, go with grandma and Auntie Sam inside," he said gently to them. He watched them herd the kids indoors and then turned to the others. Moving swiftly to Gabriel's side, he started issuing orders. "Kyle, you and Brandon go inside and clear off the kitchen table. Get blankets and towels. Angie, go get your EMT kit out of the car. Joseph, come help me get her inside," he finished.
As they swiftly moved in unison to get Caitlyn inside, Gabriel told her father and brother what had happened. Placing her gently on the table, they moved to get her wet boots and outer garments off. Angie quickly reappeared and took charge as she had medical training. Whatever she asked or said was quickly acted on. "She has a nasty scalp wound that needs to be stitched up. What is more serious is her being unconscious," she said quietly to everyone. Looking at their dad, she said seriously, "We need to get her to a hospital. I can't stitch her here and if she has head trauma..."
"Brandon go and get my car started," he stated throwing him the keys. "Joseph and Kyle will stay here with the rest. Angie and Gabriel will come with us." As much as they all wanted to go, they knew they couldn't. Gabriel, holding on to Caitlyn's hand the whole time, moved to pick her up again. With Angie keeping her from bleeding too bad, they got her in the car and took off for the hospital thirty minutes away.
* * * * * *
Caitlyn heard her name being called faintly in the dark. It's too early to get up, she thought to herself. She felt very tired and drained. The only thought that entered her mind was to sleep some more. But a voice kept calling her trying to wake her up. It sounded vaguely like Gabriel. She wondered why he was so far away. He sounded concerned, even worried which didn't seem like him. Before she could begin to remember what happened, her body demanded rest, so she succumbed to the darkness once more.
Pain filtered through Caitlyn's consciousness waking her up once more. She still felt tired and disoriented but more alert. Besides the pain, she felt warmth -- someone was holding her hand. The touch put a smile on her face. Then whispers filtered into her mind. She heard her name being called once more. Making an effort, she opened her eyes gingerly and saw Gabriel looking lovingly at her. He looked haggard and worried. She tried to smile but it was too big of an effort for her. Instead, she squeezed his hand as best she could and drifted back to sleep.
Gabriel knew Caitlyn recognized him when she opened her eyes. Her slight squeeze on his hand confirmed it. He was overjoyed but still worried when she fell back to sleep. Before he could buzz the nurse, Sam returned with coffee for him. He thanked her wearily. He had not left her side since they brought her to the hospital two days ago. He quickly told Sam what had happened. Sam left to go get the nurse. She looked hopeful so Gabriel prayed this was a good sign.
* * * * * * *
Caitlyn felt Gabriel calling to her. It was a tiny pull in the dark but enough to want her to respond. She was tired still and her head hurt, but she needed him. With great effort, she forced herself to wake up. Odd sounds filtered into her brain. She didn't hear her family which was even more puzzling. Focusing on her other senses, she felt warmth where Gabriel's hand still held her own. A gentle touch on her face had her turning her head to feel more. She knew it was Gabriel's other hand caressing her tenderly. She knew he was saying something but she couldn't quite make it out. Her heart ached to see him so she opened her eyes once more.
"Caitlyn, love, can you hear me?" he whispered to her.
"Gabriel..." she mumbled. "What happened?" she asked.
Tears threatened to overwhelm Gabriel the minute Caitlyn spoke his name. He saw concern flood her face at his response to her. He bent over to kiss her soothingly. Laying his forehead against hers, he closed his eyes in relief. When her other hand softly stroked his cheek, he pulled back and looked at her. Turning his head, he kissed the center of her palm. Surprise had him looking back at her when he heard her moan. Her eyes were closed and a blush infused her cheeks. When she opened her eyes, he knew then and there that he would never leave her side. She loved him and he loved her.
"I love you Caitlyn" he spoke softly. Joy lit up her face. Confusion followed which had him worried until he saw that she was looking at the hand cupping his face. He knew then she had seen the IV in her hand. He sat back down and started to talk to her.
"Caitlyn," he said grabbing her attention. "Do you remember falling in the woods?" he asked. He watched her brow tense up as she struggled to remember. A nod had him continuing. He told her how he found her and how she ended up in the hospital near her parent's home. He told her about her concussion. As gently as he could, he also told her how long she had been unconscious. He felt that any more information would have to come from the doctor. When he stopped talking, he watched the emotions play across her face as she digested the news.
"My head hurts ... and I'm so tired," she stated. He nodded and reached behind her to hit the nurse's button. He spoke into the speaker next to it informing them that Caitlyn was awake and in pain. The nurse on duty let him know she would send the doctor right away. He looked back at Caitlyn and saw her eyes were closed once more. He let her be so she could rest. He kissed her forehead in reassurance and sat down to wait for the doctor.