Moving On With Life
After four years
Annabelle hurried inside the mansion on hearing about gran's accidental fall from her bed. She had been so engrossed in giving dance lessons since morning at her studio in one of gran's spare garages that she did not have time to visit gran in her room in the morning. They always had their first-morning coffee together. Both of them always looked forward to those bonding sessions. But today, she had some fresh admissions to deal with and she was too occupied since morning. In fact, she missed her morning coffee too.
Guilt-stricken, she chided herself. Had she taken out time and visited her, gran would not have felt the need to get out of bed in a rush to meet her for coffee and she would not have fallen. She completely blamed herself for being so busy with the fresh admissions and completely forgetting about it.
"Is she in a lot of pain? How serious is she? Do we need to take her to the hospital?" She asked Martha apprehensively.
"Yes Anna, it seems we need to take her to the doctor. She has lost consciousness after the fall," Martha said, shaking her head. It was obvious from her expression that gran was pretty serious. Anna panicked, thinking the worst thing possible. She crossed her fingers and said a silent prayer in her head. Gran was all she had and she wouldn't be able to forgive herself if anything happened to her gran. Whatever she was today was because of gran. She was everything.
Annabelle ran down the corridor as fast as her legs could carry her. She opened the door to gran's room widely and went inside. Her heart constricted at the sight of gran's frail body lying on the floor, unconscious. Nurse Ellie knelt beside gran holding her head and shoulders in the crook of her arm, looking pale and scared.
"Ellie, how serious is she?" Asked Anna, as she knelt down beside her.
"Anna, she's lost consciousness after her fall. I have tried reviving her but failed," she informed Anna.
"How did she fall?" Asked Anna.
"I had just gone to the kitchen to fetch hot water for gran's water therapy. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have left gran alone," said nurse Ellie with tears in her eyes.
Annabelle checked gran's pulse and decided to call Dr Smith, gran's orthopaedic surgeon and ask for his advice. When after five calls she could not contact Dr Smith, she decided to call for an ambulance without further delay.
"It's okay, Ellie, it's not your fault," consoled Annabelle.
"Should we place her on the bed, Anna?" Asked Martha, looking at gran with a panic-stricken expression. She was at a loss too.
"No, she might have broken bones," advised Annabelle. Since there were no visible injuries on her body, Annabelle felt that she might have internal injuries due which she had lost consciousness.
"Martha hold gran as we get ready. Ellie, you can collect all her medical reports and prescriptions and be prepared. I'm calling an ambulance to take gran to Princeton Medical Centre, " Annabelle said searching for the number on her list of contacts. She had saved it on her phone when she had to take her Pops to the hospital.
Within ten minutes, the pre-meds arrived with the ambulance. After an initial check-up, they carried gran to the ambulance. Annabelle and Ellie accompanied gran to the hospital.
Annabelle spoke to the doctor in charge and they rushed gran to the emergency unit.
She stood pale with panic in the lobby of the emergency department while the doctors conducted necessary tests and attempted to revive gran. Nurse Ellie went inside to update the doctors about gran's previous medications and undergoing treatment for osteoarthritis.
Annabelle prayed for gran as a teardrop escaped her eyes and trickled down her cheek. Gran had helped her in her time of need. After losing her Pops, she didn't like hospitals but for gran, she had to instil courage in herself and stand up strong. She had to help gran now in her time of need.
Annabelle knew she had to contact the Hendersons. She didn't wish to contact Stefan Henderson, the only person in the world whom she wished to avoid the most. She had last seen him four years back. His harsh words rang in her ears every day. Heartbreak was something she experienced at a very tender age. It made her more mature, made her set her priorities too high so that she never allowed such feelings to ever harbour in her heart. She knew the feelings that she felt for him wasn't any teenage crush, to be forgotten at the drop of a hat. She loved him deeply. There was a void in her heart which pained her whenever she saw two people in love. Her rose-tinted views on true love and destiny did not fade away though. She knew Stefan was her true love, although one-sided and they were never destined to be together. Unrequited love sure sucked.
She knew that she only had herself to blame for the hurt she felt. She should not have fallen for Stefan's charm. Sure she was unaware that he was a family man, but she should not have carried her heart on her sleeve, ready to give it away to the first man she met. Stefan did not make any unwanted advances, he was just his charming self, so she could have controlled herself and saved her heart. But love doesn't give any warning, it just happens all of a sudden. It knows no reason and can happen with whoever your soul connects with.
It was her problem and she would have to deal with it herself. She had no complaints against Stefan. He never made any false promises to her or took advantage of her. As a married man, his true allegiance should be towards his family and it was. She didn't have any right to him actually and she wasn't the type to break up a relationship for her personal gain. So the best thing to do was to try and forget him.
She had avoided Stefan during his rare visits to the mansion. His sister Claire and his father Nathaniel Henderson along with his stepmother Audrey Henderson came to visit gran frequently. Annabelle had become close to Claire, but they never brought up Stefan in their discussions. Claire being Stefan's twin, looked like him, same hair colour, same electric blue eyes. Every time she saw Claire, she missed Stefan more. She believed he would be living happily with his wife and child. Nathaniel and Audrey were very caring and supportive of her. They treated her just as like their own child. She loved their family interactions every time they visited. They never let her feel different from their own children. Although they lived in New York, they tried to visit at least once in two months.
She graduated from college specialising in finance. She had been training in dance since the age of seven and had taught professionally at a few dance academies to keep herself busy. At gran's insistence, she gave dance lessons to children, converting the spare garage into a dance studio. It kept her busy, her mind remained occupied. She enjoyed her interactions with the little children. The studio gained popularity with each passing day and more and more children of the neighbourhood started pouring in. Although she had gained success professionally, her soul wasn't happy, it wanted a mate, a soulmate and there was only one person for her. Stefan Henderson.
Annabelle sighed heavily. She picked up the phone and scrolled down her contact list and dialled Nathaniel Henderson's number. His phone was switched off and the call didn't go through. She didn't have Audrey Henderson's number, so she dialled Stefan's number. Even after four long lonely years she retained his number and checked his latest profile pictures regularly. It was creepy but she couldn't help herself. Stefan only uploaded pictures of himself with his daughter. She never saw any pictures of his wife, which she found strange. There was a strange melancholy, a sadness in his eyes which Annabelle noticed in all the photographs that he uploaded.
Her hand shook as the phone kept ringing and went into voicemail. She tried two more times and at last got fed up, recorded a simple message on his voicemail.
"Annabelle here. Gran had an accidental fall. Have brought her to Princeton Medical Centre."
She disconnected the phone and heaved a heavy sigh, collapsing on the nearest chair. She was thankful that she didn't have to speak to Stefan. She wouldn't have been able to utter a single sentence. She wondered how long it would be before one of gran's family members arrived. The formalities and medical expenses had to be taken care of. She picked up her phone and called Martha.
"Martha, keep calling uncle Nathaniel and Mrs Henderson or Tristan, till you're able to speak to any one of them," she instructed Martha.
"Yes, Anna. I'll inform you when a call goes through, " she said. Annabelle updated her about the latest happenings in the hospital and disconnected the call.
Nurse Ellie came out of the emergency unit and sat down beside her. She picked up her hand and held it to give her support.
"Everything will be alright, Anna," she said as Anna nodded.
"It's my fault actually, " she said in a soft voice.
"Not at all. It's no one's fault. Don't blame yourself. Even I was busy with my work. It had to happen and so it did. Let us pray that gran recovers soon," said Ellie, squeezing her hand.
"Don't worry, the reports are out and the doctors are doing their best. Let's hope everything's alright and we can take gran home," said Ellie. She heard the doctors discussing the possibility of a fracture but she didn't have the heart to tell Annabelle. She wanted her to hear everything from the doctors.
Martha called to inform that she had informed Stefan's dad, Nathaniel Henderson. Annabelle was relieved that at least someone from the Henderson family was informed.
They sat and waited with bated breath for the doctors to summon them. They also waited for a family member to arrive and take over the situation. Annabelle didn't want to meet Stefan but under the circumstances, she had to. So she took a deep breath and waited for the family to arrive.
Do you think Stefan will come? How will the two react to each other's presence?
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