The hospital waiting room was dim and quiet. His hands went through his hair as the vision of Jojo being hit by the car kept running over and over in his head. He wanted to go into his wife’s room and see how she was doing, but the nurses told him that he couldn’t… the doctors were looking over the damage to see how bad everything was and to make sure there was no internal damage. It had been only forty-five minutes since everything happened, but it felt like hours, and he couldn’t help but wonder if Jagger told Frank what had happened.
He glanced up and saw Derrick come into the lounge with two small cups in his hands, and take a seat. “Did you hear anything yet?” He asked handing Owen one of the cups.
“No, I haven’t seen anyone even walk by, let alone a damn doctor.” He admitted slumping back into the uncomfortable chair taking a sip of the coffee. They both sat in silence, Derrick staring at the T.V. that wasn’t even on, and him staring at the hallway hoping to see someone coming his way. It felt like more hours had passed when he saw a man in green scrubs walking towards the waiting room. Derrick sat up, but Owen jumped from his seat.
The doctor glanced at Derrick and then back at him. “Mr. English?”
“Yeah, how is she?”
The doctor’s lips made a straight line and then gave a little nod. “First, I was told that she is a professional dancer. Is that true?”
“Yes, she’s a ballerina.” He said remembering the damage to her leg.
The doctor nodded, but Owen didn’t take that for a good sign. “Your wife had no internal damage from when she was hit, and that was a good thing. But when your wife’s head hit the pavement, the impact caused her brain to swell, think of it like bruising. We’ve induced a coma to help with that swelling in hopes that it will help it heal faster. Then there are the breaks in the left wrist and leg. There is a group of small bones in your wrist that are very difficult to heal, and she has three of them that we need to put back together. That will require pins to help to keep everything in place. Then there is her leg…” He said and then paused a minute before he continued. “I’m afraid the damage to the tabula will require reconstructive surgery.”
“What, what does that mean?”
The doctor pushed his lips together. “There’s a good chance that her dancing career could be over.”
“Why? Isn’t it just a broken bone?” Owen asked.
“The bone is crushed. We’re going to have to try to put it back together.” The doctor answered.
“Oh, God.” Was all he could say as he dropped to the chair his elbows digging into his thighs, his hands fisting a hand full of hair as he stared at the crappy carpeted floor.
Derrick put his hand on his shoulder. “Can he go see her?”
“I’m afraid he can’t. We are preparing her for surgery right now. We need to get in there and start working on the bone in her leg right way. Right now, there is no blood flow going to parts of the bone.” The doctor answered. “But I want to reassure you, Mr. English, we have the best reconstructive surgeon in the country here, and he will do everything within his power to have her dancing again.” The doctor said trying to assure him. Owen didn’t answer but did shake his head.
“Yeah, thanks,” Derrick said.
“We’ll let you know how everything went after the surgery.” The doctor said.
Owen nodded again but managed to speak. “Yeah, thank you.” Then saw the doctor’s goofy rubbered feet walk away when two more feet came into view, but these were black leather.
“Mr. English?” A voice asked.
He looked up and saw two police officers standing in front of him. “Yeah.”
“We just had a couple questions about what you saw.” The cop said.
“Ah, yeah, sure.”
The cop pulled out a pad of paper and pen then glanced back up. “Okay. First, did you get a look at the car?”
He shook his head. “I wasn’t even paying attention, and everything happened so damn fast.” He answered racking his brains for any clue. “But I think it might have been a compact, maybe a small sedan. It had to have been a dark color because I didn’t even see it out of the corner of my eye. It might have been a dark color like a black, that new dark gray that’s out, or blue. But I know it didn’t have its headlights on.”
“What about the person driving it. Did you happen to see them?”
He thought back, but the only thing he was looking at was the truck in front of him that wouldn’t get the fuck out of the way, and then his princess. “No, I’m sorry, I didn’t. It was dark, and they sped by not even stopping after they hit my wife.”
“You keep saying they, were there two?”
“I don’t know.” He shrugged.
The cop nodded and wrote something down. “Do you know about how fast they were going?”
“I would think at least thirty to forty miles per hour.”
The cop nodded. “Is there anything else?”
“No, I wish I could remember more, but I was focused on my wife.” He admitted with a shake of his head.
“It’s okay, we got all we need for now. But if you think of anything else, just give us a call.” The other cop said giving Owen a card.
“Sure, I’ll do that.” He mumbled.
When the cop left, Owen’s head fell into his hands. How could he not remember the damn car? He had never felt so damn helpless in his whole life and did something he hadn’t done since he was a child… he prayed. “Dear God, please, please let her be okay. I’ll give you anything you want. I’ll quit playing guitar, smoking, hell you can have my life if she makes it out of this okay. Just please, let her be okay.”
He wasn’t in the mood to talk. So, Derrick turned on the T.V. kicked his feet up, but never left his side. Little by little people started coming in. Vivi came in with Rocco, then came Axel, Ty, and then Kevin. They all sat in the waiting room quietly.
He was on his second cup of coffee when Frank and Jagger came in, both of their faces pale and eyes red. Owen got up and Frank came over and gave him a hug. “How is she?” Frank asked.
“In surgery right now. They put her in a coma… she hit her head really hard on the pavement. The doctor said her brain was swelling.” Owen explained, then asked the question he already knew the answer to, but asked it anyway. “Charlotte?”
“Gone, she’s gone,” Frank answered.
Jagger gave Owen a quick hug and then sat down next to Vivi who put an arm around him. “We told mom what happened so she knew why Jojo wouldn’t be there to say goodbye. I think she was waiting for Jojo, but after that, she was gone.”
“I’m sorry Frank, so damn sorry.” Owen frowned.
“Don’t worry about it son. It wasn’t your fault.” Frank said putting his hand on Owen’s shoulder. “Let’s just wait to see how Jojo is.”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
Jagger sat up. “How long has Jo been in there?”
“About three and a half hours,” Owen said taking his seat again.
“Three hours…” Frank muttered his hands going over his face.
Vivi sat up and took her uncle’s hand. “That’s not to long for a surgery Uncle Frank.”
“I suppose.” Was all that Frank said taking a seat. After that, they all sat in quiet. Frank sitting next to Jagger. Axle, Ty, and Kevin sitting close to the T.V. with it on low. Vivien and Rocco sitting at another end with her head on his shoulder, and with him sitting all by himself feeling like every minute was an eternity.
It was sometime later that Larry and his wife Rachelle walked into the waiting room. Frank jumped up giving his brother a hug and the three of them walked out of the room. Owen was about ready to jump out of his skin when the doctor walked in. “Mr. English.”
“How is she doc?” Owen asked, Jagger coming next to him and Frank running back into the room.
“She’s doing pretty good considering what she’s been through. The surgery on her wrist went very well. The swelling in her brain seems to be already subsiding. But her leg, there was a lot more damage then we expected. We managed to get it pieced back together, but are very happy with the outcome.” The doctor stated.
Owen’s shoulders relaxed and took a breath that he hadn’t realized he was holding. “Can we see her?”
“I don’t think a lot of people coming into the room is a good idea.” The doctor said.
“Well how about me and her dad? If it’s just the two of us, that isn’t too many.”
“Mr. English, your wife has just gone through six hours of a very difficult surgery… and she’s still in a coma.” The doctor stated again. “Why don’t you go home and get some rest and come back tomorrow. I think it would be best for everybody.”
Both hands ran over his face, then dropped to his side, his hands balling into fists. “Look, if you want me to go home… then I want to see my wife, damn it!”
The doctor frowned at him, glanced over at Frank, and all the people watching and sighed. “Alright, you and your father-in-law can go see her. But it can be for only a couple minutes.”
“Deal,” Owen said, then he and Frank started following the doctor down a maze of hallways until they came to a room. “She’s in there gentlemen.”
“Thanks,” Owen said before pushing the door open and walking in making his heart stop at what he saw. The room was dimly lit with the sounds of beeps from the machines that were all around her. There was a tube down her throat, with a pump keeping the rhythm of her breathing, an IV in her arm, and a bandage around her head. Her wrist was in a cast, but her leg, it was up in some kind of sling with metal pieces coming out of her skin connected to a long bar that was as long as her calf. “Oh, God.” He whispered taking a step, then another until he was at her side taking her small hand in his.
Frank walked around to the other side looking over all the damage, before leaning in and kissing Jojo on the forehead. He didn’t say anything, but then collapsed in the chair, his hands went over his face, and started to cry.
Owen was a mess just seeing Jojo laying there in bed with her body a complete mess. But to have your wife die and your daughter hurt… that was something he couldn’t even fathom. He walked over and put his hand on Frank’s shoulder. “Why don’t you head home. I’m going to head out in a minute myself and get a little shut-eye so I can be here in a couple hours. I’ll make sure to call you if I hear anything else.” He said to his father-in-law.
“Yeah, I guess maybe I should,” Frank answered staring at his daughter, but not moving.
“Come on Frank. I’ll call you when I get up and come over and pick you up and we can both deal with everything with a clear head.” He said. Then Frank gave a slow nod and got up, kissed Jojo’s forehead one more time before he walked out of the room.
Owen sat down from the seat that his father-in-law just left and then texted Jagger that it might be a good thing to stay with Frank tonight. When Jagger sat back after Jagger texted back Okay, and looked his wife over. “Damn it, princess, I wish there was something I could do. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life.” He murmured reaching over and taking her hand and kissed it. “The doctors say I can’t stay too long. But don’t you worry, I will be back here in a couple hours and I will make sure those assholes know that my ass won’t be going anywhere until you’re awake.” He promised bringing her thin fingers to his face before getting up. He walked to the door and glanced over his shoulder knowing he wasn’t going to be able to sleep, but a shower and some food would do him some good before he comes back to the hospital.
He was in a daze as he drove home, barely able to believe what was happening was real. He stepped into the house seeing the puppies bed with a ballet slipper that little Buddy found of Jojo’s and made his own. He had called his mom and told her what had happened and then asked if she could watch Buddy for them.
He shut the door and stood there looking at an empty quiet house. He hadn’t realized how much he had gotten used to having someone living with him. Having Jojo's bright smile when he walks in the door, or how walking the puppy had made him smile...but now he was alone. His hands went to his face as he slid down the wall and all the emotions that he kept inside for hours came undone.
He sat there on the floor until he had no more tears left in him. After that, he got into the shower and then collapsed into bed trying to get some sleep to be ready for getting up in a couple hours. As he laid there in bed, he knew that he wasn’t going to come back home until Jojo was with him.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep when his cell went off. His hand reached out feeling the nightstand for the phone when he put it to his ear. “Hello,”
“Mr. English, this is Doctor Moshard.”
Owen shot up in bed, his heart started beating. “Yeah, Hi, is everything okay?”
“I’m calling because your wife had some complications with the surgery on her leg.”
“I’m sorry, but we had to amputate the leg.” The doctor answered. “There was a blood clot, and that led to other complications. We’re going to wake her up from the coma and wanted to make sure you were here for that.”
Owen didn’t say anything wondering for a brief second if he was still dreaming. “Did you say you amputated her leg?”
“I’m sorry but, yes.” The doctor answered. “I was wondering if you could come in so I can give you all the information, and I would like to take her out of the coma within the next hour.”
“Yeah, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
“See you then.” The doctor answered then hung up.
Owen dropped the cell in his lap before running his hands over his face. “Fuck!” He growled, then jumped out of bed to get dressed. As he put his jeans on, he tried to run through his mind what he was going to say to Jojo when she wakes up. But what do you say to someone who just lost a part of themselves that is their career, their dreams, their passion? “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” He growled again throwing on a shirt and grabbing his keys before going out the door.