Dancefloor Dust

Chapter 15

Once we arrive at the hospital they hurry her to the emergency room and I finally have to let go of her hand which she clung to all the way here in the ambulance.

A nurse shows me to a waiting room where I sit down, burying my face in my hands, exhaling deeply. I just can't shake the image of her pale features and her fear filled eyes.

"Excuse me, sir." a voice startles me and I look up. A nurse stands next to me, smiling.


"You came in with Mrs. Gardner and we were wondering if you could give us some details on her, like who her attending ob-gyn is and if we need to contact someone else." she shows me a patient-sheet on a clipboard.

"No, I'm sorry. I'm just a friend. I could call her brother but I don't have her husband's number. But you could contact him at his law firm, Gardner & Associates." I reply, shaking my head at her.

"Why don't you call her brother and we'll try to reach her husband?" she suggests, still smiling, writing down some notes. I nod at her and she turns to leave.

"How is she?" I call after her.

"They're still doing tests. We don't know for certain yet what's wrong with her. That's all I can tell you."

"Thanks." I try to smile at her as she slightly nods and leaves. I reach for my phone in my jacket pocket to search for Owen's number.

"Owen Cavanaugh" he answers after a few rings.

"Hi, Owen. It's Peter."

"Hey, Peter. What's up?" he greets me and I take a deep breath trying to figure out how to tell him what happened.

"I'm at the hospital with your sister. She collapsed at the courthouse." I tell him straight forward, seeing no sense in sugar-coating the truth.

"What...? Why? How is she? What's wrong?" he stammers, clearly shocked by my words.

"I don't know. They are not telling me anything as I'm not family. You should come."

"Sure. Where are you? Which hospital?" he quickly asks me.

I tell him the details and hang up a few moments later. I put the phone away and look around the room. The thought of leaving, now that I know Owen is on his way and the nurses surely reached Will, crosses my mind. But the look on her face when she asked me to come with her to the hospital keeps me from getting up and walking away. The rational part of me tells me to get the hell out of here as I have no business being here as soon as her family arrives. I did what she asked for but now there is nothing left that warrants my presence. But the part of me that still loves her won't allow me to leave until I know she'll be ok. That she and her baby will be ok.

I have no idea how much time has passed as the door to the waiting room opens and Owen walks in. I get up and hurry towards him.

I walk into the waiting room and as soon as Peter realizes its me he gets up and rushes towards me.

"How is she, Owen? Did they tell you anything?"

"They're still running tests. They sent me in here to wait. A doctor will come once they know what's wrong. I also called my mother. She'll be here soon. Do you know if Will was notified?" I walk past him and sit down.

"I think one of the nurses called Will. I told them to reach him through his firm." he sits down next to me.

"I should go, Owen." he gets up again.

"No. Stay, Peter." he turns, looking at me puzzled.

"I have no business being here. I did as she asked. I came with her to the hospital. You're here now. Her husband and mother are on their way. There is no need for me to stay, Owen." he tells me but his eyes express something else. He's worried sick about Alicia and all that's driving him away is the prospect of meeting Will. He never told me but I know this made him leave me at the police station the night I got arrested, too. I understood his reasons then and I get them now but something tells me he shouldn't leave.

"There you said it. Alicia asked you to come with her. That should count for more than trying to run from my brother-in-law." he exhales deeply at my words, lowering his gaze to the floor and I know I was right about the reason why he wants to leave.

"Okay." he gives in and sits down again, resting his elbows on his knees and burying his head in his hands. I can literally feel his pain and worry for my sister and wish I could do something to comfort him. But I have no idea how to overcome my own worries for Alicia. So we just sit there in silence, waiting.

"I don't want to wait. I want to see my daughter, you understand?!" I look up as I hear shouting from outside the door. I don't need to open the door to know that my mother has arrived.

"Keep your hands off me! I want to talk to a doctor. Now! I need to know what's wrong with her!" I sigh deeply and walk over to the door. This really sounds like trouble and I should see if I can calm her down. Peter looks up as well, his eyes following me as I approach the door.

"Prepare yourself. My mother has entered the building." I tell him before I open the door.

"Mom? Why don't you let the nurses do their job and come in here to wait. I'm sure a doctor will be with us as soon as they know what's wrong with Alicia." I step behind her and put my hand on her shoulder. She turns and flings her arms around my neck.

"Oh, Owen. There you are. They weren't able to tell me anything. Where is she?" I return the hug, smiling apologetically to the nurses over her shoulder. They smile back and leave us.

"C'mon, mom. Let's wait in there." I slowly push her inside the waiting room where she falls into a chair.

"Now, tell me what happened. Why is she here?" she looks up at me.

"You better ask Peter here." I point toward Peter who sits a few chairs over. "He was with her when it happened." I watch her turn her head to look at him.

"You were there? Tell me, tell me everything." she rushes to sit down next to Peter who looks like he's trapped in a nightmare and I don't blame him for thinking so. If there is one reason he should be happy that my sister dumped him it's definitely my mother. But I doubt that this is any comfort to him and he'd bear her gladly if he was still with my sister. I walk over to the window while Peter fills my mother in on the details what happened at the courthouse. She accompanies his account with the occasional gasp that makes my eyes roll. I love my mother dearly but I hate it when she's such a drama queen. She is quiet for a while after he's finished.

"Was she responsive when they brought her here?" she kills the silence after a few moments and starts pestering Peter with more questions.

"Mom, I am sure Peter told you everything he knows and he said that he talked to her. She asked him to come with her." I come to Peter's aid so he won't get the third degree from my mother.

"Sure." she just nods and we resume to wait in silence until the door is opened once more.

"Hi, my name is Dr. Shore. You are Alicia's family, I presume. I'm the attending physician and just checked on her." an older man with grey hair and a mustache enters the room.

"Doctor, I'm Alicia's mother. Please tell me what is wrong with her. Is she ok?" my mother barges from her seat while I walk slowly over to them and Peter stays in his chair, tensely watching the doctor.

"Your daughter suffered a moderate placental abruption. She is resting now and we will keep her here for observation to..."

"What happened? I'm the husband." Will comes rushing inside the room, interrupting the doctor's words.

"I was just telling your mother-in-law that Alicia suffered a placental abruption. She is ok for now but we need to watch her further." the doctor tells him calmly.

"Can we see her?" my mother asks.

"Sure. In a while. She is sleeping now. The nurse will tell you when she's awake again." he smiles at my mother.

"Any other questions for now?" he looks at Will and my mother.

"When can I take her home?" Will asks him bluntly and I sigh silently.

"Didn't you hear what I said, Mr. Gardner? Your wife won't go anywhere in the next few days. And if we release her she'll be on bed rest till the due day." I can see Will's face fall at the doctor's severe words. He just nods and steps back.

"Ok, if there are no more questions I'll leave you." he walks to the door.

"Will the baby be okay, doctor?" Peter's voice startles me and I can see how all eyes are suddenly on him. I look on the floor, ashamed that none of us thought about the baby but him.

"The baby is in distress. We're monitoring its heart rate. We will know more tomorrow."

"Thank you, doctor. How can we reach you if we have more questions?" my mother approaches him and follows him out the door.

"What is he doing here?" Will rushes towards Peter the moment the doctor has left the room.

"I was with Alicia when she collapsed. She asked me to come with her." Peter stands and though he's a bit taller than Will he looks small against my brother-in-law.

"Well, thank you for that. But no need for you to stay any longer now that her family is here." Will states coldly.

"I asked him to stay! Until we knew what was wrong with her. He was worried, too." I start to defend Peter's presence.

"It's okay, Owen. I'm leaving. Will is right. I shouldn't be here." Peter walks past me patting my shoulder lightly before turning towards the exit.

"Yes, you really shouldn't." Will murmurs but we both hear it.

"He has more reason to be here than you have, Will." I cover my mouth with my hand as soon as I realize what I just said but it's too late. Both men are looking at me. I slowly close my eyes, my mind racing how I can get myself out of this one.

"What do you mean, Owen?" Will walks up to me, a serious look on his face, anger lacing his voice. Suddenly I'm no longer sure if I really should say no more. It needs to be said anyhow and now is as good as ever.

"Yes, Owen, what do you mean?" I look up to see my mother standing at the door, behind Peter who watches me insecurely.

"I'm sure Will knows exactly what I'm talking about. Don't you, Will?"

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