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Second Chance

Elephant in the Waiting Room

Saddened circles of pure sapphire poured over the stuffed animal she held in her hands, taking in every detail. Every stitch was perfect, every curve as soft as could be. It was made to be held, to be cried into, to be loved on and nuzzled. The elephant was a light gray color, and it came with a matching blanket made of that same plush material. She brought it close to hug for a brief moment. It was indeed comforting. It was the right one. Pulling herself from her thoughts, she made her way to the front of the store to make her purchase. Little Mateo would love it, she was sure. Now she just had to figure out what to bring Nicolletta and James that would lift their spirits.

*

"What does that mean?" James questioned with furrowed brows at the doctor who stood before them.

"He has fluid that has built up around his heart. The upper respiratory infection he has is mild, but in conjunction with that fluid, it makes it almost impossible to breathe. However, if it wasn't for the infection, we probably wouldn't have caught the build up this early so it really is a good thing."

"What do we do? Can we see him?" Mrs. Martinez said with a hand lifted to wipe tears of anxiety from her face.

"We're going to have to go in and drain the fluid. We can give him some antibiotics for the U.R.I once we get him settled from the procedure. I'll take the two of you back to give him a kiss before we prepare him, but then I can only let one of you stay to comfort him through it."

"His mother will stay with him." James responded without hesitation. "Brian, I will be back shortly."

*

Emily rejoined her husband and gave James the gifts she had for the family. The three of them did not speak much while they waited for news on how the procedure was going and it unnerved each of them for different reasons. The guitarist felt like he was experiencing dejavu. The last time he had been in this situation he had lost his son and nearly lost his wife. It took every ounce of strength he had not to break down and leave. It was too much and far too soon.

The clock truly couldn't have ticked any slower. Between the three of them, they must have checked the time two dozen times in a span of just thirty minutes. Every hospital worker of any kind that walked by recieved a double take to be sure they were not looking for their group.

"I've got to go take a walk," Brian finally said. He just couldn't handle the tension or the silence anymore. "I'll be back."

"Thank you again for the presents, really Emily. You did not have to get us anything." the stressed father told her once they were alone.

"I wanted to do something for you. I'm so sorry I can't just wave a wand and make it all better."

"Many times we have wished that. But we are making it through. I don't know what tomorrow holds, I'm just concerned with getting through today."

"I really don't know how you handle all this and not go crazy. It's admirable, for sure. Brian and I weren't so sane when we went through what we did."

"Faith." he shrugged.

"But how you stay so positive and so collected is just.... " she realized she didn't know how to finish her sentence and just shook her head instead.

"We just have to hope and believe one hundred percent that it can't go any other way but good. If we don't, we will drive ourselves crazy. We deal with things as they come. I don't know of any other way to do it."

"If it helps any, I do believe he is going to pull through."

"So do we."

"I mean all of it, not just today," she clarified.

"So do we. It's just getting through it in the moment that is rough."

It was another forty five minutes before they saw another person, and thankfully it was Nicolletta. Tears streamed down her cheeks on the same path they had been all through the night and into the afternoon. Her voice was shaky as she reached out to take her husband's hands.

"He's okay," was all she could bring herself to whisper. Huge sighs and words of relief left the other two, and she was pulled into her husband's arms.

Emily immediately tugged her phone from her pocket to text Brian the news. It wasn't surprising that he was still gone. They were a lot alike in that respect. He was probably pacing around the fountain in the garden or taking a drive around town; just something to occupy his mind. Sitting still and waiting wasn't either of their strong suits.

"They want to keep him overnight."

"Probably for observation, my dear. It is going to be okay." James comforted, and reached a hand up to stroke her long dark hair.

"He was so good," she cried softly. "The needle was so huge, but he was so good. My poor little boy, James. I couldn't even watch."

"It's over now, my love. He will rest tonight and we will have him home tomorrow."

The lead's wife move to pat the other woman's back, but upon getting closer, the shorter woman turned and hugged her tightly. Her tears fell rapidly and began dripping into the soft blue fabric of Emily's shirt. She couldn't help but shed some stress filled droplets herself. What this woman had been through, and the strength she had just touched her to the core.

"You have a little fighter, Nic. Everything is going to work out somehow."

*

After hours of tossing and turning, a sigh of concession left the chocolate eyed man. Sleep was obviously a foreign concept that just wasn't going to happen tonight. He sat up on the edge of the bed and began thinking about what he could do to busy himself until morning. Nothing interested him, really. He wasn't in the mood for t.v., there wasn't anything in particular he wanted to talk about, so there was no use trying to call anyone, and there wasn't a movie in the house he hadn't seen ten times over. Sitting in the dark wasn't appealing, but he had no motivation to get up at the moment.

"You can't sleep either?" his wife's voice cut through the silence and relief washed over him.

"Not for the life of me. How long have you been awake?"

"Haven't been to sleep. Anything particular on your mind?"

"Not that I care to discuss right now. You?" he asked with a roll of his shoulders in an attempt to ease the stiffness in them.

"Same. Except I haven't been able to stop thinking about coffee for the last hour."

"Well let's go make some." he blurted in a thankful tone, more than happy to leave the room.

"I was thinking about running out to get some."

"Even better. I'll be ready in three minutes."
♠ ♠ ♠
Small update, I know. I apologize for that. This chapter was difficult for me to write, and I don't know why. Nothing seemed to flow right and I just couldn't decide who to stay with, which is why it jumps here and there. I feel that I captured what was needed to be shown, even though I'm not happy with it. On a chapter like this though, it is better for me to just move on or I will procrastinate quite a bit before I even try to work on it. Don't want to lose inspiration on the story in the mean time.

We are almost to the memorial/celebration of life for Grey. Something pretty important is going to happen then, and I am both excited and nervous for it. This was the chapter I worked on the hardest and longest before. I had it all written out in my notebook and it got misplaced when we moved. I always fall into, 'is this how I wrote it before?' and 'this definitely isn't as good as the first draft.' Even though I know it is usually better the second time around, it is frustrating that I had to rewrite it and I second guess myself. Vicious cycle.

Anyway, hope you can forgive me for this chapter being sub-par. Next will be much better. Promise!