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Snowmom

Joy's Legacy Chapters 9-10

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Ok, here is 9 - 10

 

*WARNING- this chapter contains some violence!*

 

CHAPTER 9

 

 

Joy and Victoria hit a few more stores before meeting up with Dave again. They were able to get some more stuff that they wanted, like a couple sets of FRS/GMRS radios that were supposed to be compatible with other radios like them and had at least a 14-mile range. They also found an ‘Old Fashioned’ hardware store, where they were able to buy supplies that they hadn’t even thought of. Dave was able to buy some glasses at a 2-for-1 sale, and then they headed home. They agreed that Dave would stay home and pack as much stuff into the U-haul as possible, and Joy would take Victoria to the airport to pick up Roger and Marie. This way Dave could be home in case her parents and the rest of the family arrived. Dave and Joy transferred what was in the minivan to the U-haul to make space for the luggage that Roger and Marie were going to bring.

 

They said their good byes and Joy and Victoria took off. Half way to the airport, Joy’s cell phone rang.

 

“Your phone is ringing, Mommy!” Victoria said. She had been very quiet all day. Joy wondered if she could sense how tense they were.

 

“I know, Sweetie, thank you!” Joy turned off the radio and answered her phone.

 

It was Dave. “Hi hon. I know you’re driving, so I’ll keep this short. Roger and Marie have arrived, and will wait for you at the pick up and drop off location. Just look for them in the American Airlines section. Ok?”

 

“Ok, hon. Thanks for letting me know!” Joy answered.

 

“I love you! Bye.”

 

“Love you too, bye.” Joy knew that Dave never hung up the phone until the other person did.

 

Joy finally told Victoria about whom they were going to see. Victoria got really excited often, and sometimes would ask Joy over and over again the same question. Joy wanted to make sure she could pay attention to her driving, as she knew that people were starting to get a little tense. She wasn’t sure if it was the time of day or if it was because of what was going on everywhere.

 

They pulled up to the meeting place and saw Marie right away. Joy was so excited to see her sister again, that she was having a tough time containing her excitement.

 

She parked and got out of the car, taking her keys with her.

 

“Marie!” Joy said as she gave her a hug, “It’s so good to see you!”

 

“Oh, man, it’s so good to see you!” Marie said. “You have no idea how happy we are to be here!” She reached out her hand to a tall, thin black man, wearing a thin pair of glasses. Joy recognized him right away from the pictures Marie had sent.

 

“Joy, this is Roger. Roger, my sister, Joy”. Marie said, with obvious pride.

 

Roger struck out his hand to shake Joy’s, but Joy gave him a hug instead. “C’mon! We’re family now,” she said. “I am so happy to finally meet you.”

 

Roger smiled. “And it is very good to meet you,” he said in a thick African accent. Joy knew not to be fooled by his accent. This man was a genius! Aside from being a doctor and he spoke more than a half a dozen languages.

 

“Where is my little-red-head?” Marie asked as she went to the other side of the van.

 

As Marie hugged Victoria in her car seat, Roger and Joy put the luggage in the back. Well, mostly Roger as it was all very heavy. Joy saw two big bags made out of African material that she had seen before.

 

“Are these what I think they are?” Joy asked Roger.

 

He smiled at her. “Yes,” he whispered, “but you are not supposed to know. They are a surprise.”

 

Joy nodded her head and laughed softly. Her sister had brought a real African drum for their nephew, Allen last year. Joy had loved playing it, and hopefully one of these was for her.

 

When Marie finally decided where she wanted to sit, they took off for home. Roger in front with Joy, and Marie in back, enjoying her niece. Roger and Joy talked small talk, knowing that the real heavy stuff would have to wait until little ears were out of hearing distance.

 

Joy’s cell phone rang, and she handed it to Roger. She knew by the ring tone that it was Dave, and wanted to surprise him.

 

“Hello?” Roger said, and then paused. “Ah, yes! Hello, David. How are you? Good, good…yes, our trip was, well, let us just say that we are glad to be here. Uh-huh. Okay, I will tell her that. That is good news. We are happy that they are here. Okay. We will see you soon, David. Good bye.”

 

He hung up the phone and returned it to Joy. He turned to look at Marie, and then Joy. “Your parents are here! David said that they had just arrived.”

 

“Who’s here, Mommy?” Victoria asked from the back seat.

 

“Gramps and Nana honey! Isn’t that exciting? They came all the way from Mexico!” Joy said, trying to focus on the road.

 

“Gramps and Nana? YEAH!” Squealed Victoria.

 

“And you know who else?” her Auntie asked.

 

Victoria shook her head no. “Who?” she asked excitedly.

 

“Auntie Ann, Tío Juan, Leslie and Allen!” Marie told her.

 

None of them could wait to get home. They talked excitedly about the reunion that was unprecedented, but there was a caution in the adults’ voices. They all knew that things weren’t going well, and that life might not be too exciting in the days, months, or maybe even years to come.

 

They finally got to Joy’s home and pulled into the front parking lot where Joy had seen the big U-haul truck. She parked and everyone got out excitedly.

 

Liz and Ed, Ann and her family were all there. Tired, but there. They all hugged each other tightly, glad to see everyone. Then Joy saw a man that seemed to be part of the group, but that Joy didn’t know.

 

Leslie saw that she had noticed him and motioned for him to go over to her. They walked towards Joy hand in hand.

 

“Joy, this is my boyfriend, Marco.” Leslie said shyly. Marco stretched out his hand to Joy. Ah, so this is Marco, Joy thought. This relationship had been controversial in the family, as Marco at 30 years old was older than Joy, and Leslie was barely 18.

 

“Nice to finally meet you, Joy! I’ve heard a lot about you!” He said with a smile.

 

Joy shook his hand and was surprised when he came towards her and kissed her cheek. She’d been gone from Mexico too long! She remembered that most of the time people kissed each other when they greeted. Well, girls with girls and guys with girls, that is. In some social circles it was common to see guys kissing each other, too. Not the circles that Joy hung out with though.

 

Dave got everyone’s attention. “Why don’t we all go inside, and we’ll show you where you will be staying.”

 

They all followed Dave as the chatter continued. Joy found Liz and pulled her aside.

 

“Mom! How come you didn’t tell me about Marco coming? It would have been nice to know!” Joy said.

 

“You didn’t know? Oh, I’m so sorry, honey, I thought I had told you. He’s been with us all along!” She laughed. “And he really is no problem. He is such a getleman, and has helped us tremendously.”

 

“So how did they let him across the border?” Joy asked.

 

“Marco? Oh, he’s an American citizen, didn’t you know?” Liz looked surprised.

 

They talked a bit more as they made their way to the apartments. Dave had put all the airbeds in there that they had bought, but hadn’t blown them up. Everyone put their stuff down and took turns using the bathrooms.

 

Dave approached Joy and told her he was going to go downstairs to get the pizzas that he had ordered for everyone. Joy nodded and gave him a quick hug.

 

After supper, they all filed in to Joy’s apartment. Joy served icecream for everyone, and then after some good laughter and catching up, Dave and Joy put Victoria to sleep. It was way past her bed time, but it was a special occasion. Victoria went around and gave kisses to evryone, and then made one more round to give hugs.

 

Once Dave and Joy had prayed for her, she fell asleep. Dave and Joy went back to their living-room and sat to talk with everyone else. The mood had sombered quite a bit, and you could feel the tension in the air. Joy knew at once that they had been talking about what might come.

 

Ed spoke up when they walked in. “Can we watch some news?” He wondered.

 

Dave nodded. “Sure,” He turned the TV on, as it was already close to the news time. But not close enough, as there was a sitcome playing. Dave muted it so they could talk while they waited for the news.

 

Joy turned to Marie and Roger. “So how was your trip?”

 

Roger and Marie looked at eachother. “Well,” Marie said, “not the best trip I’ve ever had! The flight itself was fine, but man, the airports were horrible! Have they said anything in the news about them not letting people from other countries come to the States?” She continued as everyone nodded. “Well, they almost didn’t let Roger come. We had problems in Senegal and in Portugal. One lady in Portugal insisted that he didn’t have the right papers and that he needed to go back home. Well we knew that his papers were in order, and that he should be able to come fine. We finally talked to the lady’s boss and he let him come. He said something like ‘Hey, if that’s what you want, then fine!’ Remember I called you from Portugal and told you that the airport seemed ok?” she asked, looking at Joy. Joy nodded.

 

“Well, everything was ok where we were. After talking to a few people, we found out that a lot of the them were American, and were being kicked out of the country. Either of Portugal or whatever country they were coming from. Then as we headed towards our gate to leave and we could hear a lot of people yelling and screeming. It was down right out scary. I didn’t understand everything, but then they started to chant ‘Let us go, let us go!’ in Portuguese.” Marie shook her head. “It really was scary!”

 

“Did you have any problems getting into the States, Roger?” Juan asked.

 

Roger shook his head. “No, man. I had no problems at all. Just trying to get here was the problem.”

 

Juan nodded his head. “It was the same for me. I also have all my papers in order, but the Mexican officials almost didn’t let me leave the country. The only reason they did was because my wife and kids are American,” he said as he nodded towards Ann and their kids. “And of course Marco here has dual citizenship!” He said as he pocked him jockingly.

 

They disscoused the riots that they had heard at the border and how they had gotten worse over the next few days.

 

“Well, the riots were probably happening because so many people living at the border have jobs in the States,” Juan continued. “I know that a lot of them cross the border everyday, and then go back home to Mexico. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that that’s the way it is. And those soldiers from N. Korea and China were sure kind of scary, weren’t they?”

 

All the ones that had come from Mexico nodded. Nobody knew what was going to happen next, but they sure wanted to be ready for it. They weren’t even sure if they would be able to go back to the countries that they had come from.

 

“Well, it’s 10:00 pm. Should we watch the news?” Joy asked.

 

Everyone nodded. Dave pushed the mute button to get the sound back on.

 

“and I’m Don Shelby. Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight.” The main anchor said. The screen changed and showed the face of the other anchor, Sandra Kilman.

 

“The White House was scrambling today to find out why thousands and thousands of Americans are being forced to leave other countries and being sent back to the States. At the same time, these countries are asking for extensive military help. They are having massive rioting in the large cities mostly near the international airports. The spokesman of the White House is now admitting that those riots are probably being caused by the fact that these said countries are not allowing their people to come to the States. Later on tonight we will take you live to a news conference at the White House.”

 

The face of the White House spokesman appeared on TV. It looked like it had been recorded earlier. He said just what the anchor had just reported, then it looked like it was cut short.

 

“We will be taking you back to this story in a few minutes, but first, we have a breaking story coming in. Jason Peterson takes us live to downtown St. Paul, where a protest is starting to take place. Jason?” Don said.

 

The screen showed Jason, one of the reporters, holding his hand to his hear, and shouting into the microphone. “Don, about a half hour ago a group of angry immigrants started meeting here in front of the capitol building holding up signs and banners. Most of the banners say “LET THEM IN!” as you can see behind me. It started very peacefully as people from many different countries started assembling. We were not aware that this was going to happen, and apperantly neither were the police. As you can see over there,” Joshua paused for the camara to show what he was talking about, “they are just now arriving.”

 

The crowd behind Jason was starting to get louder, and it seemed like, angrier. “LET THEM IN! LET THEM IN!” they chanted.

 

The screen split in two, showing Don and Jason at the same time.

 

“What are they trying to do, Jason? Are they not aware that it is their countries that are not allowing their friends and family members in?” Don asked.

 

There was a long pause as Jason liestened to the question. “No, Don, apperantly not. I talked with a woman from Vietnam earlier and she said that the US wasn’t allowing her mother to come for the delivery of her first baby. She was pretty upset, as was her husband. I asked them what her mother had told them was the reason for not being able to come. She said that even though they had gotten all of her papers in order, the US was refusing to let her to come.”

 

The screen showed Don Shelby again, as he shook his head. “Alright, Jason. We’ll come back to you later, and see how things are going. But now,” he said as he talked to the camara again, “we will be taking you live to the White House where a late night conference is taking place.”

 

“Good evening,” said the White House representative, standing in front of an American flag, “and thank you for being here tonight. As many of you know; a lot, if not most, of the countries in the world are for some reason not letting their people into the US. At this time there are protests in the larger cities around the States rising up, claiming that it is the US that is not allowing the immigrants or visitors in. Let me clarify this. Our foreign policies have not changed. Anyone that has the proper papers is welcome to come to the US. On the contrary, it is these same countries that are asking Americans to leave and come back to American soil.”

 

He paused for a second as he looked at the reporters before him and then continued. “Also, the President has personally asked me to request that all Americans prepare for the worst. We don’t know what the intentions are of these countries by boycotting the Unied States, but be assured that your government and local officials are doing their best to keep us all safe. After 9/11 we have not been able to locate some missles and warheads that were intended for American soil. Make sure that you have at least a week’s supply of food, water and medicine, and that your family has a plan to meet up again in case you get separated. This is all for tonight. Thank you.” The room errupted into chaos as reporters shouted out questions that would go unanswered.

 

Don Shelby came back on to the screen. “Well, that was certainly enlightning! We will now take you back to down town St. Paul, where Jason has new developments on this new story. Jason?”

 

Jason had moved form the last place he had been at. It seemed to Joy that it was safer where he was at now. Things had escalated quickly. Some fires had been started and a car had been turned over, as the police looked like they were having a tough time keeping everything in order. Jason still had a hand over his ear, and had to shout into the microphone while he spoke. Joy lost track of what Jason was saying. She was to busy watching what was going on behind him. She wondered if anyone else was catching this, as she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

 

There, behind Jason on his right side, was a mob that was not chanting, not even marching, but fighting. Joy strained to see what was happening. She looked at her family around her and hoped that she was wrong. Then, as she looked back at the screen she realized that she wasn’t making this up. A Middle-Eastern looking man approached Jason from behind and slit his throat. Jason collapsed, and the camara soon followed.

 

Not even a second later, Don Shelby’s face was filling the screen again. He looked horrified and confused, but tried to to put on his best profesional look. “Uh, we’ll be right back.” And then, commercials.

 

Dave muted the TV, and there was silence in the room. Nobody could believe what had just happened. Finally, Joy spoke up. “Can you rewind it, Dave?” she asked. One of the perks of working for the apartment complex was free Cable. The Cable company provided the workers of the apartment complex with free cable in exchange for names and addreses of the people moving in. It was a win-win situation. Dave and Joy had lucked out by getting a full package, including a DVR.

 

Dave nodded his head and rewound it until Jason came back on the screen. Everyone watched intensly as fighting occoured behind Jason’t back. You could bearly hear what Jason was saying, as the noise behind him grew. Then, the man came behind him and slit his throat. Don came on again, and then commercials. Dave muted it again.

 

“Well, I don’t need to see that again,” Liz said.

 

“I’m sorry Mom,” Joy said. “I just couldn’t believe that it was happening!”

 

“I know honey. What I meant is that I don’t want to see that happening ever again in my life.” Liz responded.

 

Everyone remained quiet for a little while as they processed what had just happened. Joy wondered what they would say next on the news. She didn’t have to wonder for long as Sandra, the other anchor, appeared on the screen.

 

“Thank you for staying with us. Paul Benson has now joined us to give us a weather update. Humid night out there isn’t it, Paul?”

 

Everyone in the living room groaned. “Aren’t they going to say anything about what just happened?” Allen asked, looking around at everyone.

 

Paul Benson showed up on the screen. “Yes, it is, Sandra, and it will continue this way all through tomorrow morning. After an early shower it should-”. He never got to finish the sentence as Dave muted him.

 

“I don’t know about you guys, but I think we need to do some serious talking here.” Dave said.

 

Ed nodded. “Yes, I agree. Things are starting to look as bad here as they were at the border. We didn’t see anyone get their throat slit at the border. Not that it didn’t happen, it’s just that we didn’t see it. I’m not normally a pessimist, but I sure hope you all brought enough clothes to stay for a while. If they aren’t letting Americans go back to the countries that they were living in, then we are going to have to do some serious talking and praying.”

 

“You mean we might not be able to go back?” Leslie asked incredulous.

 

“Oh, I’m sure maybe some day, but who knows how soon, honey.” Liz answered. “We need to think about what we want to do as a family. Should it be each individual family on their own? Or should we stick together as a group? I’d prefer that, but I’m not sure what we can do. We can’t stay here forever. For one thing, Dave doesn’t even work here anymore. For another, I’m not sure I want to be this close to the ‘action’.” She said with concern in her voice.

 

“I think we can take a vote,” Roger said, “but I agree with you, Liz. We should all stick together.” Several of the family members nodded their heads.

 

“Well, I don’t know about you all, but I can go back,” Juan said smuggly.

 

“What, are you planning on leaving us here?” Ann asked him, a little shocked.

 

“Well, no, not necessarily. I just thought I’d point that out.” He answered, trying to back paddle on what he had just said.

 

“Well, so can I,” Roger said. “But like you did with Ann, I promised Marie that I’d be with her in good times and in bad times and I don’t intend to go back on that promise.” Joy saw the angered look cross between Juan and Roger. It was no secret that Juan and Ann hadn’t always gotten along that well. They had been close to divorce several times, mostly due to Juan treating Ann as his personal boxing bag. They separated maybe two or three times each year, and Joy had wondered about her oldest sister’s mental capabilities. Why did she stay with him? Joy had asked her once, and Ann had looked at her sadly. “Because unfortunatly, I love him. I made a choice to marry him, and now, I want to do all I can to make our relationship work. And I will stay with him because I am being as faithful as I can be. Now please know that I will not ever tolorate him ever hitting me again. And he knows that.” Joy hoped Ann would always remember that.

 

Joy cleared her throat to ease the tension. “Well, how many of us say we should stick together?” She said as she raised her hand. Everyone followed. Juan was the last one, reluctantly raising his hand.

 

“Ok, now how ‘bout-” Joy never got to finish her question as the phone rang.

 

Dave rolled his eyes and went to answer it. He looked at the caller ID and then at Joy. “It’s my sister.” He said flatly. He hesitated before answering, as talking to her usually meant that she wanted something from him.

 

“I’ll take it in the room,” he said, and dissapeared down the hallway.

 

“Can you turn the volume back on?” Marie asked. “The news is back.”

 

Joy reached to get the remote and turned the volume back up.

 

Don Shelby’s face was on the screen, white as death. “Thank you for tuning back in. For all of the callers and viewers that are concerned for Jason, our camara man has reported that he’s ok,” he lied. “Thank you for your concern. Now to end tonight’s news, we want to take you live to Washigton DC, where our affiliate there is catching another impromptu gathering.”

 

The screen filled up with thousands of people gathering in one of the major streets of DC. Most of the people sounded angry, and it looked like this time there was a mix of Americans and other nationalities. The camara spun, showing the police dressed in black with helmets on and carring huge shield’s, trying to hold the crowd back. Suddenly, someone from the crowd threw something in the air and it landed among the policemen. A couple seconds later there was a loud explosion and several policemen were thrown into the air. You could here a loud gasp coming from Sandra Kilman.

 

The screen changed once more to show both Sandra and Don as their faces betrayed the confidence they were trying to show. “Thank you for joining us tonight,” Don said, his hands shaking. “The Late Show is next”.

 

--------------------

 

CHAPTER 10

 

Jack stood there dumbfounded. He didn’t realize that he was yelling Carol’s name. One of the firemen came to him and tried to get his attention.

 

“Jack. Jack!” Ben Tiller yelled, pulling on Jack’s arm. Ben and Jack had been friends since childhood. They didn’t see each other much, but they thought highly of one another.

 

Jack realized what was happening. He looked at Ben desperately. “Ben, where is Carol? Where is Carol?”

 

“She’s been taken to the hospital, Jack. Now Jack listen to me. Where is Luke? We haven’t been able to find Luke!” Ben responded.

 

“Luke? He’s, he’s in the truck. He was with me. We were in Duluth.” Jack’s voice trailed off. “Is she ok? Where is she at? I need to get there now!”. Jack said, heading back to his truck.

 

“Now just wait a minute, Jack. You are in no condition to drive,”Ben countered. “Look at you! You are about to loose your mind!”

 

“Well, wouldn’t you?” Jack retorted angrily. “Where is she? I need to get to her!” he shouted.

 

“I’m sorry, Jack. Come with me. I’ll take you there myself.” Ben started to head to his truck and Jack began to follow.

 

“Papa? What’s happening, Papa?” Luke called out to Jack.

 

“Luke!” Jack spun quickly to look at his son, feeling guilty for almost forgetting him and leaving him there. “Come here son,” Jack picked him up in his strong arms and carried him to Ben’s truck. There was no need to carry Luke, but Jack needed as much comfort as he could get.

 

They rode in silence to the only hospital in Grand Rapids. Ben turned on his siren to make sure that they would be able to get there as soon as possible. Once there, Ben went into the hospital with them and led the way to where Carol was at. It seemed to Jack that these hallways were longer than ever, and that everyone seemed to be staring at them. His mind was racing, not knowing what to think. Was Carol ok? Would the twins make it?

 

Just before reaching the ER, Ben grabbed Jack by the elbow. “Hey Jack,” he said as casually as he could, “can I show Luke a really cool fire-engine truck that they are selling in the gift shop?”

 

Jack looked confused, then relieved. “Wow, that would be fun!” he said with as much excitement as he could muster up. “Would you like that, Luke?”

 

Luke searched his father’s eyes and then finally nodded. “Yes, Papa.” He answered so quietly that the older men almost missed it.

 

Ben took Luke by the hand and led him away. Jack watched them dissapear around the corner, hearing Ben tell Luke how this truck was as close as they could get to the real thing.

 

Jack took a deep breath and approached a nurse. “Excuse me, Ma’am, I’m looking for Carol Daniels?”

 

“Carol Daniels?” The nurse repeated as she looked in her clipboard. “Ah, here she is.” She said, and then her face dropped. “She’s, um, she’s in the second door to your left,” she continued, pointing towards the right direction.

 

Jack managed to mumble a thank you and then approached the room cautiously. There were several doctor’s and nurses in the room, not allowing Jack to even get a glimps of Carol. He stood at the entrance of the door until a nurse noticed him standing there.

 

“I’m sorry, sir. I’m going to have to close this door.” She said, closing the door behind her. Jack sank into a chair next to the door and ran his fingers through his hair. What was happening in there? Why was this happening? Was Carol ok? He couldn’t stand it any longer, and just as he stood up to open the door again, the nurse opened the door and turned to face him.

 

“Sir, are you related to Carol Daniels?” She asked quickly.

 

Jack could only nod his head.

 

“Dr. Bellmont, we have a relative of the patient here” she called back into the room.

 

Dr. Bellmont came out of the room as Jack tried in vain to see his wife. The doctor led him away from the room a few paces and asked Jack to sit down again.

 

“So you are a relative of Ms. Daniels?” he asked after he took a seat next to Jack.

 

Jack nodded. “I’m her husband,” he was able to manage after he found his voice.

 

“Good, that’s good.” The doctor said with a somber face. “Mr. Daniels, I’m afraid I have some very bad news. I’m not sure yet what happened, but your wife is dying quickly of Carbon Monoxide poisining.”

 

“Carbon Monoxide?” Jack repeated, even though he knew what the doctor meant.

 

The doctor nodded. “Too much smoke inhalation. She must of passed out because of lack of oxygen. When we took the ultrasound it showed that her lungs were already taxed with the twins she is carrying, and the smoke must have knocked her out. Now I want you to listen to me very carefully. We probably won’t be able to save her, Mr. Daniels,” he paused as Jack groaned in pain, his heart breaking to a million pieces inside of him.

 

The doctor raised his voice to make himself heard. “But Mr. Daniels, we might be able to save the twins. Do you want us to save the twins?” he asked as clearly as he could, forcing Jack to look at him. “I’m afraid we have very little time, sir, and I need an answer now.”

 

It took all the strength that Jack had just to nod his head. “Yes,” he whispered as loudly as he could.

 

“Ok, that’s all I needed to know.” The doctor stood up quickly and left Jack to return to the room where Carol was. Jack could hear him shouting orders as he went in. “Ok, people, let’s move. We’ve got some babies to save!”

 

Jack put his face into his hands and sobbed. His body felt more pain than he had ever felt in his entire life as he felt it shaking out of control. The room seemed to be spinning a hundred miles around him as he tried to grasp what was happening. He tried to get up, but his legs refused to obey his mind’s command. He had to see Carol!

 

“Jack? Jack!” Jack looked up to see Seth and Rebecca rushing towards him.

 

Jack managed to get up, but just as he did, his legs gave out from under him. Seth caught him on one side, and Rebecca soon got to the other side of him.

 

“Easy does it, now partner,” Seth said, as they slowly eased him down back into the chair.

 

Jack complied and sat back down in the chair. He put his elbows on his legs and looked down as Rebecca and Seth took a seat, one on each side of him. Tears started to roll down his face again, dissapearing into his short beard.

 

“Are you ok, Jack? Mr. Bodaway called us and told us what happened. I’m so sorry Jack!” Rebecca put her hand on Jack’s arm.

 

Jack shook his head. “They don’t think they can save her. They don’t think they can save Carol!” Sobbs started to take his body again as he buried his face in his hands.

 

Seth and Rebecca looked puzzeled at eachother. “Carol?” Seth asked. “Carol was in the house?”

 

Jack slowly nodded his head. Later on he would find out that Rebecca had seen Carol last at the Larson’s farm saying goodbye. The Larson’s had left later that day, and Rebecca had assumed that Carol had gone to do the garage saleing that she had said she was going to do. Apperantly Carol hadn’t felt up for it and gone home instead. She had put water on to boil to make tea for herself, and sat down on the recliner. Soon she had fallen asleep and the unattended stove had caught on fire. The firemen were able to get to Carol before the flames did, as Mr. Bodaway saw the smoke from across the lake where they were starting to build the cabins. But it was too late. Carol had already inhaled too much smoke, and she was too far gone before she even got to the hospital. They were able to keep her alive long enough for Jack to arrive and make the decision to save the twins.

 

Jack couldn’t seem to stop from crying. Finally the tears ended as deep grief came over him. He couldn’t think. He sat there for a long time, his head pounding, his heart feeling like it couldn’t go on. Seth and Rebecca just sat there with him quietly.

 

Jack looked up suddenly as he heard the door to Carol’s room open. Two nurses went in with two small beds on wheels. After they went in, another nurse came out, looking up and down the hallway.

 

“Jack Daniels?” She called out.

 

Seth stood up and answered “He’s over here,” and then sat back down.

 

The nurse came and bent her knees to look at Jack. His eyes were blood shot, and he could bearly make out the features on her face, but the words she spoke next he knew he would never forget.

 

“I’m sorry, Mr. Daniels. We were not able to save your wife’s life. It was too late by the time they got her here, and there was not much that we could do for her.” She paused to let what she had said sink in.

 

“Fortunatelly, we were able to save the twins,” she said as Jack’s head shot straight up. “It was a boy and a girl, and they are fine,” she said with a smile. “You will be able to see them in a few minutes. They are both healthy, and surprisingly they didn’t suffer any harm. We will want to keep them here at least over night, just to make sure though. And Mr. Daniels,” she said, her voice filled with emotion, “your wife didn’t suffer either. She passed out long before from the smoke and just never woke up.” The nurse squeezed Jack’s hands. “I’m so sorry for your loss. If there is anything that we can do for you, please let us know.”

 

She got up slowly and turned to leave.

 

“Nurse?” Jack said hoarsly. The nurse turned to look at him. “Thank you.”

 

The nurse smiled and then walked away. Jack leaned back in his chair as he tried to sort things out in his head. Nothing made any sense. How could Carol be gone? They were supposed to grow old together. What was he going to do now?

 

Jack shook his head and put his head into his hands as the tears started to come again. “Oh, God!” He moaned, no other words coming to his prayer. How could anyone survive so much pain?

 

Dr. Bellmont came out of the room and aproached Jack. “I’m so sorry Mr. Daniels,” he said in a quiet voice. “We did everything we could.”

 

Jack looked up and nodded his head. “Thank you, Dr. Bellmont.”

 

“Would you like to see her? I mean, would you like to see Carol?” the doctor asked gently.

 

“Could I?” Jack asked.

 

The doctor nodded his head. “Just make sure you keep the sheet over her body, ok?”

 

Jack nodded and stood up. Surprisingly, the room had stopped circling around him.

 

“Do you…do you want us to go with you?” Rebecca asked.

 

“No,” Jack answered softly but firmly, “but thank you.”

 

He started walking to the room and then paused. He wasn’t very sure he was ready to say good bye to Carol yet.

 

The doctor came and stood next to him “This way,” he said as he pointed to the door.

 

Jack followed the doctor into the room. The curtain that had once surrounded the bed Carol was in, was now parted back and he could see her face. The nurses had removed everything that they had put into her, and she looked as peaceful as she had ever been.

 

Jack walked over and sat in a chair that the doctor provided.

 

“Excuse me,” the doctor said. “I’ll be right outside if you need me.”

 

Jack nodded his head and said “Thank you.”

 

The doctor left and Jack looked back at Carol. He held her hand in his and put it up to his lips.

 

“Oh, Carol, Carol,” he moaned again as he burried his face in her shoulder. He cried for a while, letting the tears flow freely. He knew that when he walked out of this room, he would have to be strong for his children. He talked to God in his heart, and questioned His ability to take life. He was angry at Him for allowing this to happen. As he wrestled with God, he finally lost the battle and gave it up. Immediate peace followed, as his tears subsided.

 

Jack took a kleenex from a box nearby him and blew his nose. He dried his tears and took Carol’s hand in his again.

 

“I love you, Carol.” He said quietly as he stroked her forhead with his free hand. “And I will always have you in my heart.”

 

He stood and leaned over to kiss her softly on the lips for the last time. He took the sheet that was covering her body and pulled it to cover her face.

 

Jack made his way to the hallway where his friends were waiting, not knowing how much time had gone by. Seth was gone, but Rebecca and Ben were there, with Luke sleeping on Rebecca’s lap.

 

Ben stood up and hugged his friend. “I’m sorry, Jack,” he said quietly.

 

Jack nodded. “Thank you both for being here. Ben,” he said as he sat down, all of the sudden very tired, “what’s the word on my house?”

 

Ben looked down and shook his head. “I’m sorry Jack. You may be able to retrieve some stuff, but it’s not livable. As the Fire-Marshall I’ll give you permission to go in it, but only if you promise to make it quick, and then tear the place down.”

 

Jack nodded. “There is only a few things I want from there.”

 

Rebecca cleared her throat. “Jack, you are welcome to come and stay with us until you get your feet back on the ground.”

 

“Thank you Rebecca, but I know that you already have a full house with your family coming to live with you.” Jack shook his head. “Luke and I will be fine. We’ll just make it a camping trip,” he continued as he reached over to stroke his son’s head.

 

Rebecca nodded. “I’m sure you and Luke will do just fine, Jack, but you can’t take newborns camping!” She exclaimed.

 

Jack looked at her in shock. “The twins!” Jack stood up and started heading to the nurses station. “I’ll be right back,” he called back as he walked away as fast as he could.

 

“Excuse me, sir?” Jack said to the man in uniform behind the counter.

 

“Can I help you?” The nurse replied.

 

“Yes, please. I’d like to see my babies?” Jack said, excitement at the edge of his voice.

 

“Ok, what are their names?” the nurse asked changing the screen on the computer in front of him.

 

Jack’s mind went blank. “Their names? I…I haven’t named them yet. I haven’t even seen them!”

 

“Oh. Ok, would they be under your name or their mother’s name?” he said, changing the screen once again.

 

“I don’t know. Try Daniels. Jonathan or,” Jack hesitated, “or Carol.”

 

“Okay…” the nurse said as he typed the names in. “Here they are. Boy Daniels and Girl Daniels. They are on second floor, in the nursery.”

 

“Thank you,” Jack said and headed back to his friends. “I’m going to see the twins. Would you mind staying with Luke?” He said as he looked fondly at his now oldest son.

 

Ben and Rebecca nodded. “Sure, no problem,” Rebecca said.

 

Jack made his way to the elevator and up to second floor. He saw the sign for ‘Nursery’ and made his way to the door. How could he get to his kids? He wondered. Where was everyone, anyway? He looked up and down the hallway, trying to find someone to ask about his newborn twins.

 

Jack made his way to a lobby area where it seemed to him, all the nurses had congregated. They were all watching TV. He cleared his throat to get someone’s attention, but only got shushed.

 

All of the sudden Jack was irritated. Very irritated. His wife had just died, he lost his house, and now he couldn’t see his babies? HAH! I don’t think so, Jack thought.

 

He walked over to the TV and turned it off. The nurses started to shout for him to turn it back on, but he yelled louder.

 

“Now, people, all I want is to see my babies. If one of you can show me where my babies are, I’ll gladly leave you alone, and you can get back to your soap opera.” Jack said angrily.

 

The head nurse of that floor rolled her eyes and walked over to the door. “Follow me, sir,” she said in a curt voice.

 

Jack tuned the TV back on and followed the nurse to the nursery. She opened the door slowly and quietly as Jack followed. There were several beds in the nursery, but they weren’t all filled.

 

After the nurse got his name, her attitude towards him changed. Jack figured that she must have known that his wife had just died. “Here they are,” she said in a quiet voice.

 

Jack approached the tiny beds cautiously and peered into them. His heart skipped a beat as he saw them for the first time. The love he felt for them instantly swelled in his heart. He had had this feeling with Luke, but this time it was mixed with grief. He should be sharing this moment with Carol! A single tear rolled down his cheek, and he quickly brushed it away. He knelt down and reached to touch each of their little hands. The only reason that he knew which one was which, is because the nurses had kindly put a blue blanket on the boy, and a pink one on the girl.

 

A girl, Jack thought, I have a baby girl! Jack turned to look at the nurse. “Can I hold them?”

 

The nurse smiled. “Of course! They are your babies! I would suggest one at a time, though. Enjoy each of them alone, as you will have to enjoy each of them together for the rest of your life!”

 

Jack smiled as he bent over to pick up his daughter. He gently sat down in a rocker and held her close. He couldn’t believe the miracle of her little life. How much she had been through, and she was not more than a couple hours old. He stroked her face softly.

 

“Do you know what you are going to name them yet?” The nurse asked quietly.

 

Jack nodded his head. “She will be Grace, as God’s grace is the only thing that I have that will help me through this time,” he smiled sadly. “And my son,” he continued looking towards his bed, “well, I will name him Victor, as the fact that either of them are alive and well is a victory.”

 

Jack put Grace back down, and gently picked up Victor. He sat back down on the rocking chair and gazed at him. After a few minutes, Jack looked up at the nurse.

 

“I’m sorry about my outburst in the lobby area.” He said apologetically.

 

The nurse waived her hand and shook her head. “No, I’m the one that should be sorry. And we weren’t watching a soap opera,” she pocked fun at him. Then her eyes clouded and her face grew somber. “Look,” she said as she approached him and sat in the chair next to him, “you look like a nice guy. I know you just lost your wife, and the last thing you need is more bad news, but I feel like I should tell you this.” She paused as she tried to figure out what to say.

 

“We weren’t watching a soap opera or even a movie. We were watching the news. I don’t know what all is happening, but I do know this. Something is wrong, very wrong. There are riots being reported in major cities across the US, including St. Paul, and possibly Minneapolis. And they are bad. The rioters aren’t respecting anyone, not even the media. The worse ones are in places like Dallas and New York, but I’m sure the ones in the Twin Cities are getting just as bad. No one knows what they want, and the destruction of property is so great, that no one even has a handle on how to cope with it.”

 

Just then the door to the nursery opened, as a young nurse peered into the room. “Mrs. Williamson? May I go home?” She whispered.

 

The head nurse stood up, and quietly walked to the door. “What’s wrong Samantha? Are you ill?” she asked with concern in her voice.

 

Jack followed them with his gaze, and was only able to catch part of the conversation. Not enough to make anything of it, though.

 

After a few minutes, the head nurse walked back in. “Mr. Daniels?” she said as she sat next to him again. “I have a strong sudgestion to you, but you are free to do as you please.”

 

She looked at Jack as he nodded, and noticed that he was holding both of his babies at once. “A lot of the nurses have taken off. There have been reports of several hospitals being blown up, but they haven’t been confirmed. I would sudgest you taking off. Take your babies, they’ll be fine. I’m not sure how they made it, quite frankly, under the circumstances. But they are here, and now I think they may be safer at your house than they are here.” The older nurse shook her head as she mumbled something about at least Samantha asking permission to leave. Jack figured that most nurses probably just left.

 

“Is there cause to believe that it may happen here in Grand Rapids?” Jack asked.

 

The nurse shook her head. “Who knows? The police are starting to arrive and are trying to put some order to things. If you want to leave, I will give you the proper papers to name your children, and I will personally sign the release of patients.” She paused, and then looked at him with compassion. “Have you been able to say goodbye to your wife?”

 

Jack nodded. “Then I would leave, Mr. Daniels. If you can come back later, we will hold the body here until you can bury her.”

 

Jack nodded his head again, understanding the urgency in her voice. “Thank you, Mrs. Williamson.” He stood carefully, hoping the twins wouldn’t wake up. He followed the head nurse to her station, and signed the papers that she handed to him, one at a time. He filled in the name for the kids, Grace Carol Daniels and Victor Benjamin Daniels. Benjamin was his father’s name, and also his good friend, the fireman. He knew they would both be honored.

 

“Wait here,” the nurse said as she left him filling out the paper work. Several minutes later she came back with a large box of diapers, and a couple of bags that looked like they were filled with baby clothes and blankets. Behind her Samantha came in with another box, this one filled with formula and bottles.

 

Jack looked at them in disbelief. “What’s all this?” He asked.

 

Samantha smiled coyly. “It’s for you,” she said, flirting a little.

 

The older nurse rolled her eyes. “That will be all, now, Samantha. Thank you. You can go home now.” Samantha sighed a sigh of relief, and took off.

 

“These,” Mrs. Williamson said, pointing at the supplies, “are for the babies. They should keep you going for at least a few months. After they are four months old, you can supplement their milk with solid foods. I’m not sure you will have enough milk, but it’s all we have. Try not to give them real milk until they are one year old. There is a booklet in there that will give you more information.”

 

Jack couldn’t believe it. He looked at the nurse. “Thank you,” he said, tears threatning to spill again. Fortunatly there was a knock on the door that saved him.

 

The nurse turned to see who it was. It was Rebecca and Ben, holding Luke, still sleeping. Rebecca smiled at him. “I see you got a boy and a girl! Congratulations!” she said, her own tears spilling over.

 

Ben nodded and smiled. “Congratulations, Buddy!” he said quietly. His smile soon turned into a frown. “I’m afraid we should get out of here.”

 

Jack nodded and turned to look at the nurse. “Is this all I have to fill out?” he asked as Rebecca helped him with the babies.

 

The nurse nodded. “I’ll help you get all of this to your car.”

 

They got to the fire truck after adding a blanket to each of the twins. Rebecca had moved her car to be close to the truck, and it was a good thing, as the front and main parking lot was pretty chaotic. They put the supplies into Rebecca’s car and decided that Jack and his kids would stay at the Larson’s farm until he could decide what he was going to do. Jack thanked the nurse and gave her a quick hug.

 

“Will you be heading home too?” he asked her.

 

Mrs. Williamson shook her head. “No, Mr. Daniels. This is my job. My responsibility. If things keep going the way they are going, I may be more needed than ever.”

 

Jack nodded. “I understand. And you can call me Jack. It’s been an pleasure to meet you. Thank you again so much.”

 

The nurse smiled. “You’re more than welcome. You take good care of these babies, ok?”

 

Jack nodded and the nurse took off. Since they didn’t have any carseats for the twins, they decided to go in Rebecca’s car. Ben said that he would catch up with Jack later, and took off, after giving Jack another hug.

 

Jack and Rebbeca left as well, with Rebecca driving, Jack holding the two babies in his arms and Luke sleeping in the back seat..

 

As they were leaving town, they both heard a loud explosion. Apperantly so did Luke and the twins, as they all woke up and started crying. Jack did his best to quiet them, but wasn’t very successful. Rebbeca tuned the radio to their local station, and pulled over to listen.

 

All they could hear above the crying was the newscaster saying “…I repeat. The Grand Rapids hospital building has been attacked!"

----------------------------------

 

 

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