Not What I expected

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Chapter 25

Nicole ran down the hallway of the hospital until she saw Beth sitting in a chair in the emergency waiting room, her eyes red. She barely waited until Ryan’s truck came to a complete stop before she jumped out, fuelled by worry, stress and terror. She sat down beside Beth and grabbed her hand. Beth looked over at Nicole for a moment before she broke down into a fit of sobs and fell into Nicole’s arms.

“Nicole, I can’t believe this is happening,” Beth cried, holding on to her best friend like her life depended on it, “I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. I had no idea that Anna was in so much trouble…no idea.”

“It was definitely scary Beth, but I was glad I got there when I did,” Nicole replied as she ran a hand through her friend’s hair, “Is she here yet? Do you know what’s going on?”

“I saw her quickly as they rushed her in,” Beth mumbled, “She was unconscious and they said they would come out and update me shortly. I haven’t heard anything yet.”

“Mrs. Sanders,” someone said behind them, getting their attention, “Can I have a moment of your time?”

Nicole’s blood went cold and she was sure that her face went a ghostly shade of white as she turned around and noticed it was a cop that had said her name. She never thought they would act as quickly as they had and now the panic was at the forefront of her mind and she was sure that it was written all over her face.

“Yes, of course,” Nicole replied as professionally as she could.

“I am Officer Simons,” the police officer stated with a small smile, in an attempt to make her comfortable and put her at ease, “I just wanted to get a statement from you about the events of tonight and get information on how you know the victim.”

The victim? That’s it, Nicole was going to jail. Nicole looked over at Beth and she nodded and gave Nicole a reassuring smile.

“Well, it was about 6:45 when I pulled into my driveway and noticed Anna hunched over in the corner by my front door,” Nicole began, “When I got to her, I called out her name, but she was unresponsive. I called 911 and they instructed me check her pockets and bag for any indicators of what might have happened. I checked her pulse, which, at the time, seemed very strong. I also noticed blood on her jeans and on the ground beside her and that’s when I noticed that her sleeves were dark and wet. Her wrists were cut and the razor blade was on the ground beside her…”

It felt like someone was squeezing Nicole’s lungs in between two very heavy books as hard as they could. She rattled off the information much faster than she had planned and she was having a difficult time catching her breath. She always talked fast whenever she felt nervous or overwhelmed and this moment was a perfect example of that. Beth squeezed her hand and Nicole glanced over at her before she looked back at Officer Simons.

“I made sure not to touch anything when I was looking through her bag,” Nicole continued, trying to explain things slowly, “I touched the bag, but I just shook it to get a look inside. I spotted two packets of white powder and one empty packet, which I could only assume had the same substance in it. I hope I didn’t ruin any evidence…”

“Oh no, not at all Mrs. Sanders,” Officer Simons stated, “We can’t confirm who the finger prints belong to at this point, but it looks very much like a suicide attempt. But I just want to clarify something with you.”

“What’s that, Officer?” Nicole asked.

“You mentioned to one of the paramedics that Anna was your deceased husband’s girlfriend,” Officer Simons said, “Now, if it turns out that this incident isn’t a suicide attempt, you would have motive to cause Anna serious harm…”

“Beth,” the emergency doctor said as he walked down the hallway towards them, interrupting the Officer, “Anna is awake and she is asking for you. She is sedated and groggy, but she is going to be ok.”

“Oh thank god,” Beth breathed as she glared at Officer Simons.

Nicole knew that Beth was livid just by the way she looked at the officer and Nicole couldn’t believe that the officer was so quick to pass the blame to someone else. It was very clear that no one could have made the marks on Anna’s wrists except for Anna herself, but she wasn’t a professional in that department so what did she know.

“Don’t you dare place blame!” Beth shot at the officer, “My sister is awake. I’ll go talk to her and then you can ask your questions, but I can’t believe you would just jump to false conclusions before even talking to the victim first. I can guarantee you that my best friend would never do what you are attempting to accuse her of.”

Before Officer Simons even had a chance to say anything in response, Beth gave Nicole a sad look and a squeeze on the shoulder before she made her way down the hall, following the doctor to Anna’s room. Nicole was stressed to the max and as if the baby was trying to tell her to calm down, a wave of nausea passed through her. She put her hand to her mouth and sat down, taking deep breaths and trying to keep anything from coming up.

“Mrs. Sanders, I’m very sorry, I was only following…” Officer Simons began before Nicole cut him off.

“Don’t worry about it, I get it,” Nicole said in a whisper as the nausea only got worse, “You were only doing your job.”

Then, without any warning to Officer Simons, Nicole emptied her stomach all over the emergency room floor before she fell to her knees. Out of breath and exhausted, Nicole cried out in frustration as she silently replayed all the events of that night in her head.

“Jesus, are you ok?” Officer Simons asked as he rushed over and kneeled down beside her.

“What the hell is going on?” Ryan asked, the concern written all over his face as he made his way towards them, “Officer, please go find a doctor.”

Officer Simons nodded and then took off in the direction of the nurse’s station. Ryan picked Nicole up and helped her into a chair and she smiled thankfully at him. She wasn’t sure if she was done yet, but for the time being the police officer was gone and she could take a moment to calm herself. Ryan didn’t expect an explanation from her and she loved that about him. He wouldn’t force her to talk until she was ready.

She leaned her head against his shoulder for a second before the nausea hit her again and it happened again. Ryan rubbed her back as she took deep breaths, but the smell of antiseptic and illness did nothing to help take away the feeling. She silently hoped and prayed that she could hold it in until the doctor came.

“Mrs. Sanders,” Dr. Burrows called as she made her way towards them, “This has been a horrible run for you hasn’t it?”

Nicole looked up and smiled when she realized that it was the same doctor that helped them when Chad was in the hospital.

“It hasn’t been great, no,” Nicole replied quietly.

“I’ll get one of the orderly’s to clean this up,” Dr. Burrows said as she reached out her hand, “I’ve got a room for you. Follow me, you two.”

Nicole reached for Dr. Burrows’ hand and stood up and she and Ryan followed her down the hall to an empty room. She sat down on the bed and without a word being spoken, Dr. Burrows took her temperature and her blood pressure. The doctor wrote some stuff down on a chart and then sat down and looked at Nicole.

“So Nicole,” Dr. Burrows said, “What seems to be the issue?”

“Well, for starters, I’m twelve and a half weeks pregnant,” Nicole answered, “I’ve been experiencing horrible morning sickness and since Chad died, I really haven’t been taking good care of myself. I’m barely eating and I’ve been living in a bubble. Anna was just brought in here because I found her unconscious in front of my house, an attempted suicide, and the police felt that it was necessary to wrongly accuse me of having the motive to do this to her. So I am extremely stressed out, I’m hungry and I’m terrified that I’m causing my baby serious harm.”

“I can see why you are so stressed out and you’re right, it’s not healthy for the baby,” Dr. Burrows replied, “But we will get you back in good shape in no time. You are very dehydrated so we are going to keep here overnight and make sure you get the fluids that you need. Unfortunately, I am not going to feed you just yet as I’m not sure if you will be able to keep anything down. I’ll check on you throughout the night and then we will give you some food in the morning. Now I’ll leave you two for now, but I’ll be back shortly.”

After Dr. Burrows left the room Nicole looked over at Ryan who looked just as exhausted as she felt. She patted the bed beside her and smiled. His eyes gleamed as he returned her smiled and then sat down beside her. He took her small hand in his and squeezed it gently before lifting it up to his lips and kissing it softly. She hoped that the feelings she felt from that little gesture were not obvious to him as the hair on her neck stood up and a shudder traveled through her body.

“Are we ever going to catch a break?” Nicole mumbled more to herself than to Ryan, “Because I have had more than enough.”

“I hope so,” Ryan responded with a small chuckle, “I’m not sure how much more of this you can handle. The only people I’m concerned about right now are you, Hudson and that little guy.”

Nicole looked up at Ryan when he placed his hand gently on her stomach and she smiled. Her heart melted when he smiled back at her and she saw nothing but love in his beautiful brown eyes.

“Thank you for being here with me,” Nicole whispered.

“There is nowhere I would rather be,” he whispered back.


Beth walked out of Anna’s room and let the door slam behind her. She was angry and heartbroken. Anna had told her everything and Beth couldn’t believe that all of these unforgiveable things were done by her little sister. She had no idea that Anna was capable of the things that she admitted to. Beth did not recognize the horrible person Anna had become and she didn’t know how to fix it. Right now she wished her parents were there and not living across the world as missionaries, or she would have gone straight to them for advice.

Officer Simons was standing at the nurse’s station when she walked out.

“Anna is all yours,” Beth said, “Her version of the events will make you see how wrong you were about Nicole.”

She turned her back on the officer and walked down the hall towards where Nicole had been earlier, but she didn’t find her there. She did however, see an orderly cleaning up a fair amount of vomit off the floor. She looked around and a doctor was making her way towards her with a little smile on her face.

“Are you Beth?” the doctor asked.

Beth nodded in response.

“I’m Dr. Burrows,” she said, “Nicole has been admitted into the hospital. She is extremely dehydrated and she is unable to keep anything down. I can show you to her room if you would like.”

“I just need a couple minutes,” Beth replied, “Is it the room that you I saw you come out of?”

“Yes,” Dr. Burrows replied, “Take all the time you need, Nicole is expecting you.”

Beth walked out of Anna’s room and let the door slam behind her. She was angry and heartbroken. Anna had told her everything and Beth couldn’t believe that all of these unforgiveable things were done by her little sister. She had no idea that Anna was capable of the things that she admitted to. Beth did not recognize the horrible person Anna had become and she didn’t know how to fix it. Right now she wished her parents were there and not living across the world as missionaries, or she would have gone straight to them for advice.

Officer Simons was standing at the nurse’s station when she walked out.

“Anna is all yours,” Beth said, “Her version of the events will make you see how wrong you were about Nicole.”

She turned her back on the officer and walked down the hall towards where Nicole had been earlier, but she didn’t find her there. She did however, see an orderly cleaning up a fair amount of vomit off the floor. She looked around and a doctor was making her way towards her with a little smile on her face.

“Are you Beth?” the doctor asked.

Beth nodded in response.

“I’m Dr. Burrows,” she said, “Nicole has been admitted into the hospital. She is extremely dehydrated and she is unable to keep anything down. I can show you to her room if you would like.”

“I just need a couple minutes,” Beth replied, “Is it the room that you I saw you come out of?”

“Yes,” Dr. Burrows replied, “Take all the time you need, Nicole is expecting you.”

Beth smiled at the doctor before sitting down and leaning her head against the wall behind her. She rubbed her fingers against her temples, feeling a migraine coming on.


Flashback

Beth quietly let herself into Anna’s room and slowly made her way to her sister’s bed. In that moment she was filled with a gamut of emotions. She was relieved that Anna was ok, she was angry that Anna had taken such drastic measures, she was sad that Anna felt that suicide was her only way out. She wasn’t sure what to feel, so she made a promise to herself that she would hear Anna out before she made any judgment.

“Beth…” Anna said in a quiet croak, “I’m so sorry…”

Beth reached for her little sister’s hand and squeezed it gently while using her other hand to brush the blond hair out of her eyes. Anna looked so tired, so weak and so small in the hospital bed and Beth just wanted to take her in her arms and hold her. Beth was so thankful that Anna was still alive.

“What happened Anna?” Beth questioned, unsure of whether or not she wanted to hear the answer.

“I made so many mistakes Beth,” Anna replied, looking up at Beth with sad, sunken in eyes, “So many, in fact, that even I didn’t recognize the person I had become. I felt like I had no way out, so I contacted an acquaintance who hooked me up with enough cocaine to take care of the problem.”

“Why did you feel like you had no one to go to?” Beth asked, feeling hurt that Anna couldn’t confide in her anymore, “Why did you pick Nicole’s house as ground zero?”

“That’s just it,” Anna answered, “I went to Nicole’s because I had decided to tell her everything. I couldn’t deal with the guilt any longer. I had promised myself that I would take everything I had done to hurt her to the grave with me, but then the guilt took over in the three weeks since Chad died and I knew I had to tell her. I had done some cocaine earlier in the day before I went over there to calm my nerves and then I did a whole little packet in the car in front of her house. The pain was too much and I felt that the only way to take the pain away was to take a razor blade to my wrists and call it a day.”

Beth looked sadly into her sister’s eyes and then leaned down and kissed her forehead softly. Whatever Anna had done, Beth was sure that it didn’t warrant a suicide attempt, but clearly Anna could no longer deal with the giant skeleton in her closet.

“What did you do Anna?” Beth asked, “Besides the obvious…”

“I don’t know how many times in the 14 months that Chad and I were together he threatened to go back to Nicole,” Anna explained, “Which made sense, she was his wife after all. Every time that he threatened to leave I had to come up with a way to keep him. It was little things that kept him by my side at first, but the last time, I pushed the limits to see how far I could go to keep him. I told him I was pregnant and he changed his whole world and vowed he would stay with me and take care of me and the baby…”

Beth stared at her sister for a moment and tried to put together the pieces of the story, trying to figure out what Anna was getting at, but she couldn’t.

“And then you miscarried,” Beth stated, “That’s understandable considering how much stress Chad’s death had on you.”

“No…that was a lie,” Anna said so quietly that Beth had to lean in to hear her, “I thought I was pregnant…I took a test and it said I wasn’t. So one day Jenny came over to tell me that she was pregnant, she showed me the positive test. When I had an opportunity, I stole Jenny’s test and made everyone believe that I was pregnant with Chad’s baby. When Chad died, I had no choice but to tell everyone that I miscarried…”

Beth stared at Anna in disbelief. The girl in the hospital bed was not her sister, or at least not the sister that she had once been close with. What could possess a person to be so cruel to someone else? Beth just couldn’t figure it out.

“And if Chad had lived, Anna…” Beth sputtered, “What were you planning on telling him?”

“I would’ve still gone with the miscarriage story,” Anna replied, “Look, that’s beside the point Beth. I screwed up, made the biggest mistake of my life and I can’t go back and change it. But that’s why I need to tell Nicole the truth.”

“No!” Beth exclaimed, “She doesn’t need this right now. Unlike you, she is actually pregnant. Nicole doesn’t need to deal with this stress right now, it could be harmful to the baby. She needs to focus on taking care of herself and her baby and Hudson right now…under no circumstances will you tell her the truth. This is something that you will have to live with…like you said, take it to the grave. I don’t even know what to say to you right now. I never thought you, of all people, could stoop to this level.”

“Beth…everyone makes mistakes,” Anna pleaded with tears in her eyes, “Even horrible, unforgiveable ones like the one I made. Please forgive me…”

“I’m sorry Anna, this can’t be undone,” Beth stated, “I can’t forgive you for this and I know Nicole won’t either…I have to go.”

Anna didn’t even try to stop Beth as she walked towards the door and yanked it open. However, Beth will forever be haunted by the sobs that escaped from Anna’s throat right before the door slammed shut behind her.


Beth rubbed her eyes and stood up and made her way down the hall towards Nicole’s room. She stopped at the door and looked through the window. What she saw took all the pain and hurt that she was feeling away. Nicole was curled up on the bed, her head resting in Ryan’s lap and she was smiling at something that Ryan was saying to her. He smiled down at her as he ran his hand through her hair. Beth knew that when they were finally ready to move on and take the next step, their love would be like no other.

Beth took a deep breath and knocked quietly before she opened the door. Nicole smiled when she saw Beth standing in the room and sat up and so did Ryan.

“Hey, come on in,” Nicole said happily, “How’s Anna?”

Beth closed the door behind her and walked over to her friend and hugged her tightly and kissed her temple. She wanted to tell Nicole everything, but she just couldn’t bring herself to break Anna’s betrayal to her. Maybe one day she would gather up the courage to tell her, but right now, all she wanted was for Nicole to experience some happiness.

“She’s fine,” was all Beth could say.

Beth sat down in the chair across from the bed and tried to ignore her sister's sobs in her mind.

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