18 - Out Of Time
It has been over a week since James left the Malden mansion. He went straight home and was met by his Dad's warm welcome and encouragement.
"Two weeks will go by before you know it. I'll call your Aunt Tess now so she can prepare her most special white cheese for Sunshine." Rick told his son.
"Thanks, Dad. I just wish she will always be happy and healthy while we're apart." James sighed.
"I'm sure her parents will take care of her very well. All we could do now is to pray for her."
"And on that, we can join you, big brother." Rina added.
"That's right." Angel said. "We will all pray for her. We do that everyday even back when you were there with her."
James smiled as he hugged his sisters. "Thank you. Thanks to all of you."
"So what do you plan to do these two weeks?" Rina asked.
"I'll teach you how to drive and fix the beach house so Shine and I can move in right away." He answered.
And that's exactly where he was when his youngest sister came running towards him from inside their house on the beach with his phone in hand. James has been mending the wooden fences at the back, while Rina and his Dad were painting the walls with yellow paint. Yellow was Sunshine’s favorite color.
"Big brother!!! There's a call for you!" The little girl yelled as she held out James’s phone, all red and almost out of breath.
"Thanks, Angel." He said as he got his phone.
James smiled when he saw the name, Miss Sunshine, that flashed on his phone screen. They were allowed one phone call a day. She would usually ring him in the evening when they're both done with the day and all they had left to do was lie in bed and talk to each other until they fell asleep.
"Missed me already? Okay." He grinned. "Hello, my love?"
"James? It's Nicole." Shine’s sister answered from the other line.
His smile faded as an inexplicably cold paralyzing fear slowly crept through his body. His lips started to tremble uncontrollably and his knees were beginning to give way so he sat on the white sand before he answered.
"Mi-miss Nicole? Where's Shine?" He asked although his heart and mind argued if he really wanted to hear her answer.
He heard Nicole take a deep breath from the other line before speaking. "That's what I was calling about, James. Come back. She needs you. She's been rushed to the hospital."
Nicole started sobbing as his own tears flowed incessantly. "I was with her when she went for a swim in the pool. Suddenly, she complained about her legs. She couldn't feel them and she started struggling to swim. I ran. I ran so fast and swam so hard. But... But when I got her out of the water, she was already unconscious."
His whole body felt numb as heavy sobs rocked his shoulders.
"She… She hasn't woken up yet. James, maybe she's... What if she's out of time?"
"No! No. Don't say that! Shine will wake up. My Sunshine will wake up." His fingers lost their grip and dropped his phone as his hands shook uncontrollably. He buried his face in them and cried.
Rick rushed to his son while Rina picked up his phone to get the other details from Nicole.
He shakily got up and walked straight to the car as his Dad and sisters followed.
"Son, let me drive. Remember that you're not alone. We're here. We're here for you and Shine," Rick said.
James nodded his head and quietly took a seat in the passenger side as he waited for his sisters and his Dad to grab their things and lock up.
He closed his eyes tight and prayed from the bottom of his heart and soul to see his Sunshine smile and hear her laughter again.