Starting over from the Beginning

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A New Chance Part 3

And like the doctor foresaw, several days had passed since the accident and Cherry still hadn’t woken up. The world never stopped moving with the sun and moon dancing around the clock, but it seemed to have stopped only for Cherry, her body refusing to even twitch. The only time her body moved was when the nurses prodded her during bathing time.

Her face never showed discomfort and Brandon, who never left her side, had his tired gaze strained on her. Sitting on a chair next to her bed, not allowing anything to distract his attention away from catching any signs of her waking up as he held her hand in his. Brushing his thumb over the back of her hand in hope to gain some reaction out of her.

His only form of comfort was that her body temperature was back to normal compared to when it resembled the one of a dead corpse. He spends his time by simply watching her sleep, memorizing the lines on her face repeatedly.

BUZZ…

His phone that he had left on the nightstand went off again and one glance at the wretched caller ID was enough to smoke his insides with anger again, before shoving it in the drawer and have it continue reverberate in there.

He brought his focus back to Cherry, kissing her hand that he refused to let go. The only thing that he wanted was for her to wake up. To see her smile again. He held the hand to his face, pretending that she was cupping his cheek as he implored in his rasped voice,

“Ever since that day, you were the sole reason that I was breathing, that I held on to the notion that there was a happy ending even for me. I know what I did was wrong, but… I did it all for you so I don’t regret it. If you don’t want me to do it anymore, I won’t just- just please… come back to me Cher.”

Suddenly Brandon felt a tiny pressure against his skin. He whipped his head to hers. She still held the same position. The only difference was the heart monitor, that became louder and keen.

Cherry had been drifting through an empty void in her mind. Her surrounding cold, but the silence pleasant and welcoming. She didn’t mind staying wherever she was as something in the back of her mind told her that the outside world was dangerous.

But ever since she stayed, an uninvited voice had been calling out to her for days. She ignored it at first but as time passed and the voice showed no signs of leaving, she couldn’t help but become curious about the identity behind the voice that was thick with affection and- guilt?

And today the voice visited her again. She felt warmth seeping in her hand that came along with the anguish of the grave voice. For the first time, she wanted to respond to it, but when she tried, she found that her body had difficulty listening to the instructions given by her brain. She could only assert some pressure through her hand, which drained her energy swiftly. Somehow, just that small action felt like she had done a whole marathon without a sip of water.

“Cher? Baby, you can do it. Please wake up.”

Cherry wanted to rest, but if she did, she would have felt guilty for ignoring the hope and pleas of the voice she had grown fond of. Giving it another try, she exerted all of her strength and finally squints her eyes open, earning a sob of relief from someone next to her.

Brandon’s face broke into a wide smile. His initial reaction was to smother her face with kisses, but remembering that Cherry must hate him right now he suppressed himself and was instead quick to comply with the pain filled groans coming from Cherry, standing up to help her sit upright while adjusting the pillow for her so that she could comfortably lean against it.

She groggily opened her eyes. Those confused eyes meandering around the room, taking in the aseptic environment before her eyes landed on the ruffled man sitting next to her, wearing a smile that was about to split his face in half.

“You scared me there, baby. I really thought that I had lost you.” He squeezed her hand before pressing his lips against her palm and Cherry felt his scruffy beard scratching as staggering puffs of air released through his nose tickled her skin. His eyelids tightly shut as if willing himself to not cry.

There was a pause of silence, having only the calming beeping sounds of the monitors filling the room. Brandon looked up from Cherry’s hand, wondering what happened, and was only met with her blank stare. He felt nervous and worried that she may be ignoring him or gathering her strength to scream bloody murder and call for help. He opened his mouth, ready to beg for forgiveness, but Cherry beat him to it, rendering him completely into silence with her question.

“Who are you?”

“Hmm.” The same doctor who had operated on Cherry hummed as he placed his stethoscope on her chest, listening carefully to her heartbeat to find any irregularity.

Done inspecting, he removed the ear tips of the stethoscope from his ears before turning his head around to look up at Brandon from his chair. Brandon stood next to the doctor, waiting with his arms folded in front of his chest to hear the diagnosis. “Is she alright?”

“Her vitality seems to be okay.” The doctor’s gaze then shifted to look at the woman who had been watching his every movement with a glint of curiosity while holding the unchanging blankness on her face. “How are you feeling, miss?” He asked her.

“I don’t know. Is wanting to vomit out the hospital food a sign of unwellness?” She retorted, smacking her lips in distaste at the remembrance of the food that she was forced to gulp down after waking up. It was torturous for her enough to want to sue this hospital.

The wrinkles around the doctor’s eyes crinkled, mirth shining in them as the woman’s words humored him, causing the corners of his lips to lift a fraction. When she arrived here the first time, she was mangled, hidden behind the wounds and blood. Being too focused on saving her life, he never noticed her striking appearance until now.

Looking at her, he had to remind himself to breathe. Her eyes were the color of the earth kissed by spring rains stirring up his heart, and her honeyed skin only added more to her sweet aura. If he could, he would have wanted to soak in her presence continuously. He never knew that he could be this attracted to someone with whom he said not over ten words to. It was madness, intoxication, yet he knew he couldn’t delve longer in it as this adoring being was already married.

Hiding the pang of pain in his heart behind his polite smile, he said, “Glad to see that your wit has preserved.”

“I was dead serious, though.” Cherry commented, her eyes seemingly looking at the doctor but was actually perceiving his sandy blond hair, wondering to herself if his hair naturally curled at the end or if it was a perm.

Wanting to chuckle but couldn’t from the daggers that were being shot at the side of his face by the woman’s husband, the doctor changed the directory of his gaze to Brandon. “Is there anyone close to her you could contact? I want to see if she doesn’t remember them too.”

“... Yes.” Brandon grunted as he glowered at the doctor, noticing the shift of emotions in the man’s eyes towards his Cherry before pulling out his phone to make some phone calls while keeping his eyes locked on the doctor. To observe the man and making sure that whatever he was feeling towards Cherry was only temporary. He wasn’t in the mood to dig a new grave after all.

An hour had passed since Brandon had made some few calls. Cherry took the time to familiarize herself with the room, moving her head around and having her eyes wander around the room while she sat on the bed. A bunch of pillows stacked beneath it supported her right leg, that was enwrapped in a cast, her eyes were never still making sure to never land on the stranger who now sat beside her as the doctor had left the room to pick up an emergency call.

She didn’t know how to act around him. The man still looked disheveled as he refused to leave her side ever since she woke up. His brown hair tousled in different directions wisping his forehead and she had to withhold her desires to run her fingers through it by having them fumble around with the thin blue duvet that covered her from the waist down.

The bags under his almond eyes were an obvious sign of multiple sleepless night and her heart tugged, thinking that she caused that. She had the urge to apologize, but she knew that her apology would be meaningless, as she had no clue for what she would apologize for or to whom.

She drew her bottom lip between her teeth, guilt and anger welling in her gut for not being able to remember who he was no matter how hard she tried to recall the accident and when her eyes lingered longer on his face their eyes met making her flinch.

Brandon’s lips twitched in a calm and collected smile as his eyes turned kind. “Are you comfortable? Should I call the nurse?” He asked, wanting to make sure that all her needs were being met.

Cherry shook her head as she lowered her head to have her hair fall over like curtains, hiding her face that was blushing out of shyness. Even his voice was velvety smooth, she thought.

When she felt something grabbing her hand, she looked up to see deep worried lines marring the man’s forehead. “You sure you are okay?” He moved his face closer to hers and Cherry had to will her heart to not catapult through her chest from the proximity.

Seeing her face being overtaken by red, Brandon got worried that she may have caught a fever and used his free hand to reach for her face, but before his hand could cup her face, someone busted through the door.

“Cher!”

And that someone was the distressed-looking April who practically run in to the room with an aloof Mark following her suit, his gait calm. April’s hand flew to cover her mouth as tears welled up in her eyes at her best friend truly being awake and well, aside from some bruises and a fractured leg.

“You really woke up.” April whimpered. She was about to lunge herself at April and engulf her in a hug, but remembering something brought her motions to a stop mid-step. “Do you truly not remember anything, not even me?” she questioned April carefully keeping her misty eyes trained on her best friend who returned her stare with a blank one and when Cherry still didn’t answer after seconds had passed April was on the brink of tears.

But a slow, lopsided grin formed on Cherry’s face and she ushered, “Of course I remember you, April. I only have one best friend who is obsessed with vampire diaries. Do you still have that poster?” She asked.

Mark raised his brows at that. “What does she mean with that poster, kitten?” He shifted his eyes to look at the back of April’s head where the sweat was profusely coming down from. April had a collection of posters of her favorite man, Damon Salvatore, but they all got shredded or burned by Mark when they moved into the current house they were living in. She managed to save one poster of Damon and was successful in hiding it from her possessive husband, but it seems that the accident her friend suffered from turned her into a blabbermouth, as this was supposed to be a secret!

“Hehe… I do not know what she meant by that. She’s possibly still shaken from the accident.” April tittered, refusing to look back at her husband in fear that he will see through her lie.

“How can I be shaken from an accident that I don’t even remember happening?” Cherry wondered out loud, earning a sharp glare from April. Her mouth was quick to shut up, feeling the murderous intent from her friend.

“Is that so?” Mark hummed, but didn’t seem convinced at all. He moved closer to April and snaked his arm around her waist, pulling her closer to his side and staring down at her with a knowing smile. “I guess that was just all delirious talk.” He said, but his eyes told April that when they go back home that he will have her confess the truth. April could only offer a teary, wobbly smile, hoping inwardly that this poster of hers would not end being burned.

“Cherry!” Collective worried voices filled the awkward silence room as two older figure waltzed right in to the room and paying no heed to their surroundings enveloped Cherry in a tight embrace. Startled, Cherry was about to trash around and demand what was going on until a familiar voice sounded, “Oh my poor daughter. My heart almost concaved when I heard the news of your accident.”

The elderly woman had her arms wrapped around Cherry’s shoulder, placing all her strength in the hug, fearing she would lose her daughter once again if she didn’t. Wrinkles surrounding the concerned green eyes as compassion draped her tired voice that was hoarse from continuously crying.

“M-Mom?” Cherry asked surprised and looked up when she felt someone patting her head carefully. The old man’s eyes shone with unshed tears as he stared down at his daughter, thanking the heavens silently for keeping her safe. “D-Dad?” The pleasant surprise of seeing her parents, who lived in a different state, got Cherry close to tears, her smile bright but unsteady as she sniffled. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Making sure that my child doesn’t die before me! What kind of foolish question is that?” Loosening her hold on Cherry, her mom threw a berating glare at her.

Cherry giggled through her sniffles, rolling her eyes at her mom. “Yeah, I get that, but how did you guys even know that I was here?”

“Brandon called us and filled us in on what happened and we flew here as fast as we could. We visited as many times as we could when you were in a coma, but I prefer talking to you awake, receiving your attitude then to talk to myself and anxiously watch the heart monitor to see if your heart reacted to my words.” Though jokingly said by her mom, Cherry could see through the cracks of her parents’ smile that the news of the accident still rattled them. She felt how her mom’s hands moved from her shoulders to cup her cheeks- squeezing them to the point her lips were pouting involuntarily.

The smile that she was able to keep on until now became weak as her forest green eyes became wet the longer she gazed at her daughter, before releasing Cherry’s cheeks and looking away, sniffling as she wiped away a tear.

“Oh gosh, my tear ducks must have become weak.” Her mom tittered and guilt welled up in Cherry’s chest. Now it was her turn to wrap her mom in an embrace, burying her face in the crook of her neck. “I’m sorry, mom.”

“Stupid child. What are you doing trying to console me when you’re the one who needs consoling?” Her mom returned the hug, rubbing her hands on Cherry’s back, whispering solemnly,

“I’m so sorry about the baby, Cherry.”

“What...?”

“Okay, is everyone present in the room…?” The doctor walked into the room while flipping through some documents containing the results of Cherry’s examination, only to be welcomed by the eerie silence, causing his brows to rise as his eyes pingponged between everyone’s tensed expressions. Following their line of sight, they were all looking at Cherry, who blanched at the words spoken by her mom.

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