"Rose, this is the fifth message I've left. Please... just please call me back!" John ended the call with a weary and frustrated sigh. He had called at least ten times that morning, but each time, the call went straight to her voicemail. It tore at his heart each time he heard her message. Her tone was light, happy, and John could practically hear the smile in her voice. It was a stark contrast to the last impression he had of her. John couldn't rid his mind of the image of Rose, her face contorted in pain and anguish, sobbing as she ran away from him.
Watching her run off, John had been too stunned by all the emotional revelations and heated words exchanged to move into action. A large part of him had wanted to chase after her, but John couldn't will his feet to move. After staring at the empty horizon for what felt like hours, John had finally returned to the ballroom, completely soaked through. When Donna and Jack saw him, they were shocked by his appearance, immediately questioning him about what had happened and if he had seen Rose anywhere. Anger and confusion took over him and John snapped at them, storming off without an explanation or farewell. When he arrived back at his flat, John warred with himself about what course he should take, whether or not he should attempt to phone her. However, his fear and guilt convinced him to allow them both to sleep off the events of the night.
But now in the clear morning light, John was in active pursuit to rectify the situation, and come to an actual understanding with Rose. Since John's persistent calls and messages had gone unanswered, he decided to go to the coffee shop, knowing that it was almost a certainty that she would be there. However, when he arrived, the shop was closed up. For some reason, this unexplained closure troubled him greatly. This worry pressing on him, John decided to try her at home, even though it would more than likely be extremely uncomfortable. As he drove to her home, John continued to replay the events over and over, desperately thinking of how to rectify the situation. When he arrived at the home and stepped out of the car, he immediately noticed the house was dark, no signs of life at all present. The fear within him intensified.
Something is wrong.
Though the he was certain no one was home, John walked up the path and knocked several times. As expected, there was no answer. He was just about to get back into his vehicle when he heard a voice call to him.
"Can I help you, dear?"
John turned in the direction of the voice, and saw an elderly woman looking up at him from her flowerbed.
John crossed over to her and smiled warmly. "Yes, hello, I was looking for Rose. I've tried to reach her but I can't seem to get ahold of her."
At the mention of Rose's name, the woman's eyes became troubled, her lips becoming a thin line. She stood up, dusting herself off, and approached him. "Y awouldn't be able to reach her, dear. She… well, she's in hospital. S'not good, I'm afraid."
John felt his heart drop. "W-what?" he choked out.
Her eyes grew soft at seeing his affected manner, but still held their sadness as they glassed over. "I don't know the details. There was a lotta commotion going on over there early this morning. Charles, that's yy husband, well, he went out to see what the fuss was about, seeing as nothing like that ever happens over there. He came back and said that there had been an accident and Mickey and Martha were rushing to the hospital. They didn't say much else," she sniffed, "It's so awful. They're such a lovely family, and Rose is such a wonderful girl. All we can do now is pray for her," she said as a few tears fell.
It became difficult for John to breath, and the world around him stilled. He was desperately trying to process everything that had been said, but it was all a jumbled mess turning over in his mind. Suddenly, a thought struck him. "Tony? What about Tony? Where's he? Does someone have him?" John fired rapidly, anxious about the little boy.
She nodded. "That young man, Jake, took him. He's a good friend of Mickey's. I don't know if they've told the boy yet, but I imagine not. Best not to worry, 'im, I suppose."
"Do…," John took a ragged and much needed breath, "Do you know what hospital?" he asked, running a hand through his hair. He could feel himself becoming frantic.
The words had barely passed her lips before John took off, calling out his thanks to her as he hurried away.
Mickey blinked his eyes open and took a look around at the unfamiliar surroundings, forgetting where he was for a moment. In a matter of seconds, the events of last night rushed back over him. He had been awakened by the incessant ringing of the phone, but he hadn't paid any attention to it until he heard Martha's anguished cry. Her tears had instantly filled him with dread, and he felt his heart stop when the nurse informed him of Rose's accident. Once the call ended, the two of them wasted no time in getting ready to leave, throwing on whatever clothes were within easy reach. Mickey had rung Jake, hurriedly informing him about what had happened, and asking him to care for Tony. Jake readily agreed, and arrived there in record time. Thankfully, Tony had only woken up briefly before promptly falling back to sleep in the back of Jake's car. Once he was settled, they all departed.
When Mickey and Martha reached the hospital, they were directed to the Intensive Care Unit. Martha broke away from Mickey and rushed ahead of him to Rose's room. As she reached the door, Martha saw Rose, battered and connected to several machines; she dropped to her knees in shock and grief and began sobbing. Mickey hurried over, pulling her into his arms, and whispering to her soothingly. Her sobs grew quieter but her body continued to tremble. It was then that they were approached by a middle-aged gentleman with glasses and graying temples. Though his features were kind, they couldn't mask the gravity of the what he was about to tell them.
"I'm Dr. Bradley. I take it you're Miss Tyler's family?"
"Ye-," Mickey began but was immediately cut off by Martha.
"What happened?! Is she gonna be alright?" she cried, her tears gaining strength.
Mickey could see the man's features tense, and he took a breath to steady himself for what was to come.
"From what we were told by the medics, she was clipped by a car. The driver told them that she suddenly stepped out into the street, apparently not paying attention. He tried to swerve but still hit her," Dr. Bradley took a breath as he switched gears, "She's in critical condition right now. One of her ribs punctured her lung, causing it to collapse. We put in a chest tube to help the lung expand back to normal and have her on a respirator. So far, there's no sign of any internal bleeding. The CT scan does show some swelling, but thankfully no bleed is present. Currently, she's unresponsive to voice, but her pupils are reactive and she responds to pain, so that's a good sign. However, her vital signs are unstable. We've put a cardiac monitor on her to track her heart rhythm and are checking her vitals every half hour. We're going to do everything we can for her—I promise you," he finished and put a comforting hand on Martha's shoulder, offering her a tight but genuine smile before leaving. Martha shook her head and then buried her face into Mickey's chest.
Pulling back, he cradled her face in his hands and looked at her intensely. "We're gonna get through this. She's strong, y'know that. She's gonna make it. We're not givin' up, you understand me?"
Tears were stilling running down her face, and she worried her bottom lip. "But what... what if-..."
Mickey shook his head. "No. Don't do that! Don't go down there."
She nodded and grasped him tightly, almost as if she was fearful of losing him. Entering the room, Martha moved the recliner up against Rose's bed. She tearfully kissed her forehead, smoothing her matted hair back. Then she took Rose's hand in hers and curled up in the recliner. After a couple hours, she fell asleep with her hand still clutching Rose's. Mickey also placed a quick kiss to Rose's forehead before crashing on the small sofa and falling into a fitful sleep.
When he awoke a few hours later, one of the nurses was checking Rose's blood pressure and heart rate.
"Is she ok?" he asked groggily, scrubbing his face.
She turned and gave him a small smile. "Her vitals are on the low edge of normal. But they've been steady for the past few hours. She's hanging on. Would ya like me to get you a pillow or blanket?"
"I'm okay, but if you could get one for my wife, that'd be great."
She nodded and left, returning a few minutes later with the blanket and pillow. Martha was still sleeping, so Mickey simply draped the blanket over her, gently stroking her hair. She stirred and slowly blinked her eyes open, adjusting them to the harsh fluorescents. Mickey bent down and gave her a soft kiss and she tiredly smiled up at him.
"Any change?" she asked, looking over at Rose.
Mickey shook his head. "Nurse says she's stayed the same," he sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. "Least she's not gettin' worse."
Martha nodded her head in agreement. Several hours passed. Mickey tried repeated to convince Martha to leave for a bit, just to take a moment to herself. Martha steadfastly refused each time, glowering the last time he suggested.
"I am not leaving her!" she said in a tone that brooked no debate.
Mickey knew that tone, and knew that there was no way he'd be able to convince her otherwise. Realizing the time, he phoned to check on Tony. Jake assured him that everything was going fine, but that Tony was starting to ask more about what was happening. Mickey sighed, knowing that they wouldn't be able to delay telling him much longer. He told Jake he would talk it over with Martha and then let him know what they were going to do next.
As he hung up the phone, he turned to Martha. "We're gonna have to think of what to tell Tony. Jake says he's startin' to ask questions. Wants to know where we're at, why Jake has 'im."
Martha let out a weary sigh, and shrugged her shoulders. "How do we tell 'im 'bout this? How do we even try to explain? We don't even know what's gonna happen."
"I know, babe, but we have t-…"
Mickey stopped midsentence as John walked into the room. He instantly paled, and his eyes widened in alarm as he took in Rose's appearance. He looked completely guttded. Mickey and Martha could both see that John was overcome with emotion, but making a valiant effort to keep himself in check.
"John... What are y'doin' here? How did you even know 'bout this?" Mickey asked, his surprise and confusion evident.
John had to make a concentrated effort to tear his eyes away from Rose and look at Mickey.
His voice was hoarse, thick with restrained emotion. "I-I…uh…I was trying to get ahold of Rose. When I couldn't reach her by phone, I tried the shop. When I saw it closed, I went to your home and your neighbor told me that Ro-…," he closed his eyes and took a shaky breath, "…that Rose was in hospital. I left as soon as she told me."
Mickey remained in his seat, but sent John a warm smile of gratitude. "Thanks for comin'. We really 'preciate it."
Mickey pulled up a chair for him and they both sat down.
Martha turned to John, her eyes beginning to glisten. "They said she stepped in front of a car. He tried to swerve, but she still got clipped. They said… they…" Silent tears started to trail down her cheeks, and she grew silent.
"They said that she's critical. Her vitals have been low and her lung's collapsed. There's no bleedin' and she's responsive to certain things. But right now…it's not...not good," Mickey finished for her.
Mickey saw John's eyes glisten with tears, and he sniffed. Mickey knew John was in love with Rose; he and Martha had talked about it several times. And even if he hadn't known before, seeing John's reaction now was conformation of the fact.
John looked at him in earnest. "I'm here for anything you need. Anything at all. You all don't have to do this by yourselves."
"Thanks. That means a lot."
John moved his chair to the other side of Rose. He took her hand and softly kissed her knuckles as a few tears broke free. The three of them sat there for a while, the only sounds coming from the monitors attached to Rose. None of them really talked to one another, except for the occasional inquiry; what was there really to say at this time? All of them were too affected to really have any semblance of a conversation.
With each passing half hour, the expressions and manner of the nurses began to drastically change. They started to come in more often, if that was even possible—they seemed to never leave as it was. The increase in activity and change in manner was not lost on the three of them.
Finally having had enough of being in ignorance, John stopped one of the nurses before she exited the room and asked her point blank, "What's going on? Something's wrong that you're not telling us about, so out with it."
She hesitantly looked from him to Martha and Mickey. She looked troubled, and almost unsure of what to say. However, she sighed and said, "Her vital signs are getting lower. She's not responding to the meds we've been givin' her. Her heart rhythm is becoming abnormal. She's having what's called pauses. It's where the time between heartbeats is longer than usual. We're having to watch her more closely. We paged Dr. Bradley. He gave us some orders and said he'd be here shortly. That's all I can tell ya at this point."
The air became still and the silence hung heavy. They were all trying to absorb the news they had just received, and trying to avoid thinking about its implications. John squeezed Rose's hand, as if trying to impart some of his strength to her. Martha turned her head to the wall, her hand on her mouth, trying to hold back her emotions. Mickey leaned forward in his chair as he mulled over the turn in circumstances.
Another hour passed—the last hour before all hell broke loose.
The harsh silence was shattered as the heart monitor began to alarm. They all looked in terror to see a red blinking 45 BPM on the screen.
Mickey ran to the door, but the staff was already rushing towards the room. Two nurses came in and began assessing Rose, frantically checking her pulse in several places. The number on the screen continued to lower, now at 20 BPM.
"What's happenin'? What's wrong? Tell me what's happenin'!" came Martha's panicked voice.
They didn't answer her, but rather addressed each other.
"I can't find a pulse on her, can you?"
"No, I can't feel anything. Start compressions," she said, then slammed her hand against a blue button above the bed. At that, an alarm sounded through the hall followed by an overhead voice.
"Code Blue ICU Bed 4. Code Blue ICU Bed 4.
One of the nurses began compressing Rose's chest. Martha began shouting at the nurses to tell them what was going on, but no response was given as all attention was directed to Rose. In an instant, the room flooded with medical staff. They pushed Mickey and John out of the way but Martha refused to budge.
A young woman in pink scrubs turned to her and put her hands on her shoulder, looking at her squarely. "Ma'am, you need to leave now!"
"NO! I'm not leaving!" Martha screamed at her, jerking out of the woman's hold.
The woman turned to John and Mickey. "You need to take her out of here, NOW!"
John reached for Martha. "C'mon, we need to go!"
She jerked away from him, glaring at him venomously. "Get off me! I'm not goin' anywhere, so shove off!"
"Martha!" Mickey shouted.
"I'm not leavin' her, Mick!"
Mickey knew that there was no way she'd listen to reason, knew he had to get her out of the room, even if she would hate him for it. He grabbed her by her upper arms and began dragging her out while she screamed and fought against him. John saw Mickey struggle, and he began to help him.
"NOOO! LEMME GO! LEMME GO!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, jerking and scratching at the two men. When they finally got her out of the room, Martha fell to the ground and began weeping uncontrollably, anger and pain radiating from her. John fell back into a waiting chair as Mickey dropped down beside Martha and held her tightly as her cries echoed through the hallway.