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Thread: Terminal Stage (fanfic of Annie & Julian)

  1. #21
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Default Chapter 17

    After prepared Annie, the team of doctors and nurses urgently pushed Annie out of the emergency unit and heading toward the elevator. Picked Jacky up, Julian quickly ran after them. Jacky face looked stoned when he looked down at his mommy, who had an oxygen mask on and several IV lines in her arm for blood transfusion and replacement therapy. She also had several wires attached to her to monitor her heart rhythm, the fetal heart rate, and to monitor her oxygen saturation level. Running along the side of the bed, Julian reached down to hold onto Annie hand giving it a warm squeeze as he called, “Annie... Honey, can you hear me?” It frightens him to feel how warm to the touch his wife’s hand is.

    Fluttered her eyes open and close Annie weakly murmured, “Julian…”

    Nodding to her with tears drowning his eyes from seeing her like this, Julian assured as he stepped into the elevator along with the rest that was there to help his wife. He lovingly comforted his wife, “Don’t worry Dr. Cho promised that you’ll be fine after the surgery…”

    “I’m not afraid…I just want Angel to be fine,” Annie weakly stated as her weary eyes opened and looked into her husband’s eyes. It heavy her husband’s heart and made him felt guilty to hear her say those words, since all he wanted was for her to be fine. Julian knows that he is too selfish to not willing to let go.

    The elevator’s doors slides open when it reached the surgery floor. Walking out of the elevator along with the bed-cart, Julian nodded to his wife and assured, “She’ll be fine too. You stay strong and don’t give up on us. Jacky and I will support you and wait for you outside.”

    Stopped in front of the operating room, Dr. Cho exclaimed, “Julian, we have to go in now. Don’t worry all of us will work hard for your wife and daughter. Wait here.”

    Nodding, Julian gazed down at his wife unwilling to let her hand go. “I love you,” he mouthed longingly as his grip tightens on his wife’s hand. Nodding to him, Annie mouthed the same three words back, she tried hard to hold his hand, but she was too weak to make any effort. The nurses begin to push Annie into the operating room forcing their hands to slip apart.

    “Jacky, be a good boy and listen to daddy,” Annie murmured weakly fearing that it’ll be her last chance to say so. Meanwhile Jacky nodded repeatedly and begin to cry. Seeing the door closed behind his mommy, Jacky turned around and hugged his daddy tightly around the neck as he cried on his shoulder.

    Changed out of their vomit and blood stained clothes into clean green hospital patient’s scrub that the unit nurse had offered, both Julian and Jacky waited in front of the operating room watching for the operating light to turn off. During the wait, Annie’s phone ringed, which startled them. Julian answered and found out that it was Jessica, whom went over to their flat wanting to visit them. Julian told Jessica everything and Jessica had told him that she’s coming right over with Louis to spiritually support Annie. Julian didn’t stop her, since he kind of want someone here to help him out with taking care of Jacky, especially since it’s dinner time and he don’t want to step away to take Jacky down to the cafeteria.

    Meanwhile on the operating table, Annie drowsily drifted in and out of sleep. The anesthesiologist didn’t dare to put Annie into unconscious state, fearing that too high dose of anesthesia may suppresses her respiratory and could lead to respiratory failure, especially since she have lungs cancer. He only allows Annie to have enough that she won’t feel the pain from her chest down, but she’ll be conscious during the cesarean.

    Annie weren’t able to see what they are doing to her, since they had drapes sheltering her vision from her body, so she won’t get anxious during the surgery. Her entire body is covered with blue sterile drapes leaving only her bare belly. Her arms were restrained, so she won’t accidentally pull on anything during the surgery. Feeling like floating in air and half asleep, Annie kept turning her head back and forth confusedly looked around her surrounding. Forgotten where she is at, she murmured, “Where am I? Where’s my husband?”

    The nurse that sat by her side assured, “You’re in the operating room having a cesarean section. Your husband is waiting for you outside in the waiting area. Don’t worry it’s normal that you don’t recall things. It’s one of the side affect of your anesthesia. Just relax. I’ll sit here to accompany and support you.”

    Just listening to the long reply make Annie felt dizzy and nauseated. “Can I please see him?” she weakly requested with an expression of discomfort.

    “Her oxygen saturation is dropping to 82! Heart rate is way too high. Blood pressure dropping,” informed a nurse that was responsible with monitoring Annie’s vital sign throughout the cesarean.

    Anxiously glanced over to see Annie face looked really pale and sweaty, Dr. Cho quickly ordered, “Increase her oxygen to 8 liters.” She quickly injected a higher dose of medication, trying to bring Annie’s blood pressure back up.

    “I want to see my husband,” Annie kept murmuring softly as she grunted to the pressure she felt when they cut into her.

    “Suction,” exclaimed Dr. Cho. Seeing a lot of blood lost she instructed, “Start the blood transfusion now.” Noticing that Annie is sensing it a bit, Dr. Cho ordered the anesthesiologist, “Increase the level by a tad.” Glanced toward the supporting nurse sitting beside Annie, Dr. Cho instructed, “Get her husband in here to support her. Make sure you help him scrub up well. She is having a fever already I don’t want to increase her chance of an infection.” Nodding to the order, the nurse quickly went out to get Julian.

    The nurse rushed out and notices everyone paused to stare at her. Glanced at the new couple and a little girl for a short second, the nurse instantly looked at Julian and exclaimed, “Mr. Cheung, your wife is asking for you. If you would please come with me…”

    “What’s going on? Did something go wrong with the surgery? Is my wife okay?” urgently asked Julian as he gotten off the chair heading toward the nurse. Jacky quickly followed along.

    “No, no, the surgery is proceeding well. Your wife did have a little trouble, but it’s under control now. She had been asking to see you. Dr. Cho thinks it’ll be a great support for her if you could accompany her. Come with me, we’ll need to scrub up first before we can enter,” explained the nurse.

    Nodding, Julian quickly followed. He stopped his pace when he notice Jacky is trailing after him. Quickly turned to face his son, Julian squatted down and seriously instructed, “Jacky, I’m sorry, you can’t go in there…”

    “Why? I wanted to see mommy too,” stated Jacky disappointedly.

    “I know, but not yet. Later, okay?” promised Julian, while Jacky frowned on the verge of tear. Wiped his son’s tears away, Julian promised, “Daddy will make sure mommy is okay. You be a good boy and stay here to wait with Uncle Louis and Aunt Jessica, alright?”

    Louis quickly stepped up to lift Jacky up into his arms. He assured Julian, “Don’t worry we’ll watch over him. Go in, Annie is waiting for you.” Nodded, Julian hurried away with the nurse. Seeing his daddy walked off, Jacky disappointedly flatted his lips. A bit exhausted and tired by the wait and worry, Jacky turned around to sadly lean on his Uncle Louis shoulder. He didn’t whine anymore, all he wishes is for his parents to come out soon with his baby sister, so they can return home for bed. He hopes that if he is good and listens, that his wish will come true. Not wanting Jacky to mole over the long wait, Jessica and Louis decided to take Jacky down the cafeteria for dinner. Nancy tried many of her usual tricks to cheer her best friend up and have him eating, but it was not much use. She frowned with worry to see him like this.

    Meanwhile, Julian had scrubbed his hands and arms clean and changed into OR scrub. Like other nurses and doctors in the operating room, he too had to wear a hair cover, mask, and shoe cover before he is allow to step in. His eyes were instantly drawn to the opened abdomen of his wife and the massive amount of blood on the drapes and instruments. He felt a bit pale and queasy just seeing Annie beings operated on. The doctors and nurses didn’t give him any attention, since they are deeply focusing on cutting into the womb to get the baby out.

    “You could sit here,” instructed the nurse that brought him in.

    Snapped out of his fright, Julian nodded to her with thankful eyes. Took the seat beside his wife’s operating table, Julian looked down at her with his soften eyes that quickly filled with love and a touch of guilt. He felt he should be responsible for her being lying here today, since if he didn’t get her pregnant in the first place, she wouldn’t have to go through all of these. Seeing that Annie eyes are closed, Julian softly called, “Annie, honey, I’m here. Can you hear me?” He gently stroked his wife on the cheek and gave her hand a squeeze. It breaks his heart to see that they had restrained her arm by tying a strap on her wrist to the operating table.

    Opening her heavy eyelids, Annie looked into her husband’s glassy eyes with her weary one. She let out a faint smile to see him here. Her eyes tiredly closed but she once again forced them open as she murmured, “They’re taking Angel out…”

    Nodding, Julian gently and lovingly strokes her forehead tugging a few loose strands of her hair back into her hair cover. A drop of his tear hit her cheek, he quickly wipe it away. “Be strong. I know both you and Angel will make through this. I’ll be here for you,” promised Julian.

    Trying to ignore what the doctors are saying to each other in medical term, Annie just focused her attention on her husband. Julian too tried to do the same in order to comfort his wife. Nodding, with her eyes tiredly closed again, Annie mumbled back with a soft chuckle, “Don’t cry, you’re not as handsome when you cry. I’ll be fine, I promise.” She opened her eyes and saw her husband nodding to her. Smiled warmly with her weary eyes closed again, Annie chuckled softly and shared, “I just dreamt that we’re having twins, a girl and a boy. You wanted to name our son cupid. I was arguing with you about that decision, than you woke me up.” Opened her eyes again to gaze at her husband dreamily, Annie whispered, “I didn’t get to see who won that argument.”

    Chuckling weakly, Julian replied with tears in his eyes, “You always do. But honey, one is more than enough.” Agreeing, Annie weakly nodded with a deep breath. Gently Julian stroked her cheek with his hand. “Hang in there, they are almost done,” he encouraged even though he had no idea how much longer Dr. Cho will need.

    The two carried their soft conversation until they heard a soft sound of an infant coughing and a weak muffled short cry. Julian felt his heart dropped when he first heard that sound. He quickly stood up and glanced over seeing Dr. Cho just pulled their daughter out and held her in her hands, while another surgeon cut the umbilical cord. “She is not breathing,” he heard Dr. Cho softly said to another doctor.

    Not able to see anything, Annie anxiously asked, “Is she out? Is she okay?” Not getting a reply from her husband, Annie called, “Julian.”

    At the moment Julian lost all of his senses as he anxiously watched the small blue baby in Dr. Cho’s hands. It frightened him to see how small his daughter is, almost only half size of an average baby and she is so blue that she almost looked black. When he realize that their daughter is not moving or making anymore sound, he felt doom. With chills down his spine he placidly watched Dr. Cho and Dr. Kwan trying to rub and manipulate his tiny daughter to get her to give out a cry and start breathing again. Hearing his wife called for him more loudly, Julian snapped out and quickly stood back down. His face was drained white and his lips are pale as he gazed down at his wife not knowing what to tell her. From what he saw, he just knows that their daughter won’t survive.

    Wetted her lips, Annie unnervingly asked, “Is Angel okay?” All she saw was her husband’s enlarged eyes and stone looking expression. The sight of her husband daunted expression along with his tremor made Annie heart sank hopelessly. Wanting a solid answer, Annie demanded harshly in her weak voice, “I ask if she is okay!”

    Not wanting to break his wife’s heart, Julian nodded and lied as tears pool into his eyes, “Yes… She is really small, but she is okay. She is beau…she is beautiful…”

    Looked deep into her husband’s eyes, Annie knows that he is lying, which made her eyes drowned with tears. “You’re lying to me,” she murmured tearfully.

    “No, no,” stated Julian, trying hard to make his wife believe.

    Annie’s sobbing echoed in the room making the doctors and nurses felt groom as they continued working hard trying to start the baby breathing again. Seeing that Annie is bleeding too much, Dr. Cho quickly handed the baby over to Dr. Kwan, so she can return to stop the bleeding area for Annie and sew her back up.

    “She is not crying… Our Angel is not crying… I’m sorry,” tearfully stated Annie as she heartbrokenly looked at her husband, feeling worthless that she can’t even give him a daughter.

    Shaking his head as he gulped the hard lump in his throat, Julian replied, “Don’t say that… You did nothing wrong.” In tears and with a broken heart Julian bended over to lean his forehead on Annie’s forehead. He pleaded, “Don’t cry. It’s alright… It’s okay… Don’t worry about me, I’m okay without Angel. You have Jacky, right? We still have Jacky. Don’t distress yourself like this. You have to be strong, you have to get better. Jacky is waiting for you outside. I had promised Jacky that you’ll be okay. Please don’t make me break my promise to him.”

    “Why did this happen? She was fine throughout the pregnancy!” stated Annie in frustration.

    Her husband just nodded as he cried. Julian didn’t want to tell her the reason of her bleeding was from the push she gets from the art gallery. He knows if he told her, she will feel even guiltier for taking Jacky to see his father. He don’t want his wife to feel regret and can’t forgive herself. “She is just not meant to be,” weakly murmured Julian to his wife.

    Suddenly they heard a hacking cough and a loud sound of crying following after it. The entire room quickly quieted down including the parents crying like everything has paused to listen to the infant’s crying. With enlarged surprised eyes, Julian exclaimed, “Annie, did you heard that? She’s crying…” Immediately, Julian stood up to look over at the far end. A big relieved smile hung on him as a rush of emotion made him cried in happiness to see that it is his daughter that is crying again. He quickly looked back at his wife and excitedly announced with great relief, “The cry is coming from Angel! She is crying and kicking!” Overwhelmed, Julian felt himself weaken by the thrust of emotion. Julian quickly sat back down, with his elbows on the edge of his wife’s bed and his palms holding his face as he cried into his palms and thanked heaven, “Thank you, thank you…”

    Meanwhile, overwhelm by the news too, Annie smiled brightly with tears as she repeatedly asked for confirmation, “She is okay? Our baby is not dead?” Lifted his head away from his palms, her husband looked at her with thankful tears as he shake his head to her last question. Annie had never felt such great rush of emotion flooding into her. “Can I see her?” she requested with great need to see how her daughter look like.

    Over hearing her request, Dr. Cho chuckled, “Congratulation. Of course you can. But let them warm her up first.”

    Lovingly and longingly gazed at his laughing and crying wife, Julian removed his mask and sincerely said, “Thanks so much.” With tears drowning his vision again, he leaned in to peck Annie on the lips. “I love you so much,” he whispered with tears. Never in his life had he cried as much as he is now.

    “I love you too,” replied Annie with a chuckle. She is in tears too, but happy tears.

    Cleaned the baby and warmly and tightly wrapped her with a baby blanket, Dr. Kwan walked over to show the newborn to the parents. “Congratulation, daddy,” he said to Julian as he handed the small infant over to the new father.

    “I could hold her?” asked Julian shakily.

    Laughed, Dr. Cho exclaim as she begin to stitch Annie up, “What’s the point of having a baby if you can’t hold her?”

    Julian quickly stood up to receive his daughter. It was such a breathtaking sensation to him to feel his daughter rested in his arm. His jaw dropped as he gazed down on his daughter, having a very clear view of her for the first time. Smiling widely with tears in his eyes as he glazed down on his quiet daughter with shuts eyes, he felt like their bond just clicked magically without the needs for words or anything else. “How come she is not crying? And she is still pretty blue, is she not getting enough oxygen?” he asked the doctor with concern.

    “Don’t worry she is breathing, but it is pretty weak. After she has a short visit with her parents we’ll put her in an incubator so she can breathe more easily. She will be sent to the neonate intensive care unit, so we could monitor her more closely for the first week. Both her heart and lungs are really weak, which quite concern us. We’ll probably have to keep her here in the hospital for a longer period of time. Today had been a very harsh day on her too. She’ll need lots of rest with little disturbance. For now, we advice that only your wife, you, and your son get privilege to visit her in the nursery, while relatives and friends will have to just look in from outside of the NICU nursery,” explained Dr. Kwan.

    Nodding with understanding, Julian quickly sat back down and gently held Angel at an angle so Annie could have a good look at their daughter too. “Isn’t she lovely,” exclaimed Julian with excitement. “She looked just like you,” he claimed.

    Meanwhile Annie couldn’t move her eyes away from her daughter. Her daughter looked so tiny and fragile, but her husband is right, Angel looked beautiful and the most precious thing to her eyes. Chuckling in tears, Annie commented, “She had perfectly shaped head, no funny lopsidedness...”

    Laughed, Dr. Cho replied, “That’s the magic of not having to go through the birth canal.”

    Joyfully excited, Julian joked, “No, it’s because of my good genes.” Everyone in the operating room chuckled.

    Seeing her daughter for the first time gave Annie the same old touched and overwhelmed feeling she had when she first held her son. But this time there is more joy, since she has her husband to share the experience with. A warm grateful smile hung on Annie as she continues to gaze with tears blurring her vision. Deep down, she thanks heaven for giving her daughter back. Now, she felt at peace and completed, knowing that her daughter will love her husband for her in the future.

    Smiled at the new parents, Dr. Kwan said, “Congratulation, mommy. You had pulled it through.”

    “Thank you doctor, thank you everyone for everything,” sincerely said Annie as she turned to look at each and every single doctors and nurses in the operating room. They nodded to her with cheerful grin as they continued their position.

    “You’re very welcome. By the way, I bet you two would love to know her time of birth and weight. She is born at 7:23 pm of December 15th, 2005. She weighted four pound and six ounce and her length is sixteen inches. Not too bad for a premature baby, especially when the womb was a harsh environment for growth, since mommy have cancer,” honestly said Dr. Kwan. He looked at Annie and grinned proudly, “You and your baby did a fantastic job. I know that she will grow up to be a very strong young lady. She is still very weak and having trouble getting adequate amount of oxygen and having problem circulating her blood system. Like I mention earlier, we’ll need to put her in an incubator with oxygen and she’ll have to stay in the neonate intensive care unit until she get stronger.”

    “Could I breastfeed her? I’m not on any treatment or med,” informed Annie. She really wanted this bond with her daughter.

    Seeing Dr. Kwan hesitated with the answer, Annie already know the result, which made her softly sighed. Dr. Kwan caringly explained, “Being this weak, I don’t think she is ready for feeding on her own yet. We’ll probably have to put a tube down her nose to give her formula. It’ll give her more time to recover and get stronger. But this is just temporary. Once she gets stronger you certainly can try to breastfeed her. Newborn infant tend to have trouble keeping their body temperature, so they can’t visit for too long. We’ll need to take her back now and put her in an incubator to warm her up. Like I say earlier, both you and your husband are welcome to go over to the NICU nursery at anytime to visit and support her. Her brother could go in too, but I would strongly suggest limiting visitation privilege to you three, so it’ll be quiet and peaceful enough for the baby to rest. By the way, had you two decided on a name for her?”

    Both parents answered in unison, “Angel.”

    “What a lovely name. I think it fit her perfectly,” said Dr. Kwan as he gestured Julian to give Angel back to him. Julian took one last look at his daughter before he handed her over to pediatric specialist.

    After Dr. Kwan and a few nurses had walked out with Angel, Julian returned to his wife. He looked at her with his goofy joyful grin. Chuckled at him, Annie teased, “What a day, huh? I like your goofy grin more than the crying one. Man, really shouldn’t cry.”

    Chuckled, Julian became more serious as he gazed at his wife with his sincerity, “You’re beautiful.”

    Smiled warmly, Annie felt so loved by her husband. She felt it worth everything to witness how happy he is now. With a soft sigh, she teased as she closed her eyes, “But I have a big scar now…” Tiredly she dozed off to sleep.

    Seeing her dozed off, Julian anxiously asked the doctors, “She is okay, right?”

    Dr. Cho assured, “Yeah, she is just too exhausted. Both mother and daughter had worked hard. It’s better for her to sleep more. Alright, I’m done with her. Her bleeding had been under control. Blood pressure within normal limit.” Grinned at Julian, Dr. Cho explained, “So far Annie’s condition is pretty stable. But because her fever is still climbing, we’ll be transferring her to the intensive care unit, just so there will be closer monitoring until she truly stabilized. Once she settles into that room, I’ll get a nurse to get you and bring you there. Being this exhausted, she’ll probably be sleeping until tomorrow morning. It’s a good time for you to rest and freshen up. Maybe announce your great news to the world. I bet Jacky will be excited to meet his baby sister.” Julian nodded to Dr. Cho, who his wife had seen every single week during the pregnancy, by now she had known his family well. Turned to a nurse, Dr. Cho instructed, “Nurse Chan, could you please show Julian the way out and also to the neonate ICU nursery?”

    Nodding, the nurse said to Julian, “This way, Mr. Cheung.” Leaned down to peck his sleeping wife on the forehead, Julian followed the nurse out to change back into the set of patient’s scrub that he wore earlier.

    The first thing Julian did when he stepped out to the waiting area is picking Jacky up and spinning him in the air. Jacky was thrill to know that both his mommy and baby sister are fine now. Both Louis and Jessica are greatly relieved that their childhood best friend are doing fine and just had a daughter. They couldn’t stop laughing at Julian over thrill excitement and happiness. Meanwhile Jacky excitedly begged his daddy to take him to see his baby sister. The nurse told them to wait for an hour before going, since Dr. Kwan and other nurses will need to do a thorough assessment on Angel and place tubes in to help support her life. Since no nurse had come for him to tell him which room his wife in yet, Julian used the time to call his parents and announce the great news.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Default Chapter 18

    A nurse went to get Julian and informed him that Annie had settled into her room and that he is allows to go visit her now. She leaded Julian, who is holding Jacky’s hand, the way to Annie’s room. Louis, Jessica, and Nancy followed after them to go visit Annie. At the door way of Annie’s room, the nurse instructed them, “Tries to keep the noise down so she can continue her rest. Beside family members, the rest don’t stay too long.”

    “We got the cue nurse, we’ll know when to get lost,” replied Louis with a grin, his wife rolled her eyes at him for his smart mouth. Softly chuckling, the nurse opened the door to let them in and she closed the door behind them and returned to the nursing station.

    Releasing his daddy’s hand, Jacky quickly dash up to his mommy with a great big smile. He nudged on Annie’s arm as he called, “Mommy…mommy, Jacky is here!” He is so happy and relieved to see his mommy again. He is even thrill that his baby sister had arrived and he gets to see her later. Things finally seem like a happy dream, where everything is bright and colorful. Now he just can’t wait for the day, where he and his daddy will be taking his mommy and his baby sister home.

    “I’m here too Aunty Annie!” hollered Nancy as she charged up to join Jacky. She is over joy to see her best friend happy again.

    “Shh…” hushed Jessica at the two kids.

    Chuckling, Julian quickly stepped up and squatted between the two children. Turned to Jacky, Julian softly explained, “Jacky, let mommy sleep okay? She had been really tried from having Angel. Dr. Cho said that mommy will probably sleep until tomorrow morning, so we’ll talk to mommy then, okay?”

    Nodding as he slipped his hand to hold onto his mommy’s hand, Jacky turned to his daddy and asked, “Is mommy really going to be okay?”

    Grinned cheerfully, Julian replied in a snap, “Of course, daddy promised, didn’t I?”

    Happily giggled, Jacky turned to look at his mommy’s closed eyes and whispered, “Sweet dream mommy.” Turned to his daddy again, Jacky curiously asked, “Daddy, did Angel come out of mommy’s belly button?”

    Laughing, Louis commented, “Who give you that silly idea?”

    Pouted at his Uncle Louis, Jacky stated, “Then why did we all have belly button?”

    “Jacky, we guys have belly button too, but we don’t give birth,” teased Louis, while he felt a hard elbow on his chest. Rubbing his chest, Louis complained to his wife, “Ow…what’s that for?”

    “For you to shut up,” frankly stated Jessica. “Jacky, just ignore your Uncle Louis,” said Jessica. Glanced at Julian, Jessica suggested, “Should we go out, before we wake Annie up with our chit chat. It had been almost an hour now; I’m really interested and excited to see that baby girl of yours.”

    “Me too! Me too!” excitedly jumped Jacky up and down as he nudged his daddy. Nancy excitedly copied him.

    “Shhh…” hushed the three adults.

    “Let go out before you woke mommy up,” instructed Julian, as he shooed Jacky and Nancy toward the door. Glanced back at his sleeping wife, Julian smiled warmly before he turn the light off and stepped out of the room with the door gently closed behind him.

    Hyperactively, Jacky shook his daddy’s arm as he begged, “I want to see Angel! Let go daddy, let go!”

    Nodding, Julian ordered, “Okay, okay, no more screaming. It’s nine already, lot of patients in this wing are trying to sleep. I’ll take you to visit Angel now, only if you promise to use yours inside voice when you get there, Angel and other critically ill babies there needed the quietness.”

    “Shh…” hushed Jacky with an index finger against his lips. Nodding, Jacky whispered, “Is this soft enough, daddy?” Chuckling, Julian lifted him up to carry him and leaded the rest to the neonate ICU nursery.

    It took the father and son fifteen minutes to scrub and clean their hands and arms and put on lavender gown, hair cover, and shoe cover before they can finally step foot into the NICU nursery. Widened his round soft eyes as he scanned his surrounding, Jacky gulped to see half a dozen or so of clear plastic boxes with small babies that have many tubes and wired attached to them like experimental baby Frankenstein. Nervously, he stepped closer to his daddy when he heard a beeping sound to his right. The intimidating equipments and monitors in the room made Jacky felt really uncomfortable, he didn’t expect a nursery like this at all. Tugged on his daddy, Jacky reached his arms up, signaling that he wanted to be held.

    Seeing him being afraid, Julian lifted him up and assured, “Its’ okay. There is nothing to be afraid of here.”

    “Daddy, aren’t we going to visit Angel? Why we came in here?” questioned Jacky, since in his mind, the picture of his baby sister is a chubby giggling and active baby, not any of these tiny experimental baby in a box.

    “Angel is in here. Remember, daddy told you that Angel’s heart and lungs have some problem and she needed to be here, so doctors can take better care of her?” reminded Julian, while Jacky nodded with a frown as he continue to anxiously looked around.

    Looked up toward the window of the far wall, Julian grinned at Jessica and Louis, who are waiting at the window from outside with Nancy wondering which baby is Angel. Couldn’t tell which one is Angel, since the nametag are too tiny to read, Jessica started to cradle her arm like she is holding a baby, while with Nancy on his shoulders, both father and daughter flapped their arms on their side like wings meaning they are looking for Angel. Chuckled at the silly family, Julian pointed toward the incubator that is just right under their nose. Surprised, the three of them quickly gazed down and a big smile appeared on Jessica, while Nancy awed. Smiled too, Louis warmly reached to wrap one of his arms across his wife’s shoulder as he too gazed down at the new tiny life.

    Nudged on Jacky to get his attention, Julian pointed toward the incubator near the far window as he informed, “See the box with the pink name tag by the window? That’s Angel. Let’s go see her, okay?” Silently and a bit nervous, Jacky nodded.

    Julian walked over to his daughter’s incubator and a smile automatically spread on him to see her face again. A knock on the window caught his attention. He chuckled to see Jessica waving to him and cuing him to move the baby so she can have a better look. In her hand she held a digital camera. Beside her stood Louis holding Nancy at an angle, so she can take a better peek. Dropped Jacky to stand on the floor, Julian asked a nurse permission to move his daughter’s incubator a little. With the help of the nurse, Julian moved the incubator to face the window at a better angle, displaying his daughter for public viewing. Overjoyed, Jessica quickly took a couple snapshots of the baby girl.

    Laughed at his wife excitement, Louis hinted, “You know, I had always wanted more children.”

    “Even when it’ll turn out to be a girl?” smirked Jessica, knowing that her husband wanted a boy.

    “Well, actually I don’t mind, as long as you’re willing to give me, I’ll accept them in any form…”

    “Even if I continued to have girl each time and you end up with five girls and no boy?” teased Jessica.

    Chuckling, Nancy cheered, “That would be so cool!” She imagines having four younger sisters playing tea party with her rather than her stuff animals.

    Shrugged, Louis replied, “I don’t see any problem. Eventually it’ll mean I’ll have five son-in-laws, which is not bad at all, since they will all have to respect me no matter if they wanted to or not.” He laughed along with his wife.

    Meanwhile, inside the NICU nursery, Julian pulled a chair over to sit down in front of the incubator and lifted Jacky up to sit on his lap. He smiled and introduced, “Jacky, this is your sister Angel. Angel, this is your brother Jacky. He’s a lot of fun, you’ll like him.”

    Gazed at the tiny baby, Jacky became sadden and a bit disappointed that she is nothing like what he has imagined. Curiously, Jacky leaned closer to have a better look, but the sight of his sister’s looking bluish with small curled fingers and toes and winkled transparent skin, made Jacky backed off. “Why is Angel so small?” asked Jacky as he looked up at his daddy for an answer. Angel looked nothing like those babies poster hanged up in her nursery.

    “She is born early. Also because mommy is sick and unable to give her enough nutrient, kind of like food to grow big,” honestly explained Julian. Knowing that Jacky is not use to seeing a baby like this, Julian encouraged, “You wanted to touch her? She’ll probably wake up and say hi.”

    A bit interested, Jacky slightly lean forward to peek at his baby sister again. He felt uncertain when he saw IV lines on her right hand and a blood transfusion line on the other, while there is a tube going into her nose and a wire bandaged to her foot. The sight of her having more colorful wires attached to several spots on her chest and a clear tube running across and right below her nose made Jacky don’t dare to touch her. With all of those wires and tubes she looked like a fragile puppet. He shook his head to his daddy’s offer.

    Being patient not to force Jacky to accept the baby, Julian reached his hand through the circular opening of the incubator to gently stroke his daughter’s cheek. Chuckled, Julian said, “Look, she has a pink bow stick onto her hair, isn’t that cute?” Curiously, Jacky leaned forward to watch with great interest. His small frown turned upside down when he saw his baby sister rooted toward his daddy’s touch and making soft sound. Jacky let out a short chuckle when he heard a grunting sound of Angel. “Shhh…it’s just daddy,” said Julian lovingly. Moving along to each tube, Julian explained, “This tube goes down from her nose to her stomach. They put baby formula into this tube to feed her…”

    “How come she can’t drink out of a bottle? If she doesn’t use them, what are we going to do with all of the bottles at home?”

    “She is too small for them now, but once she grows up a bit more, she will use them,” explained Julian, who is glad that Jacky is interested. He continued, “This clear tube under her nose is to give her oxygen like air to help her breath easier. She has weak lungs, so she’ll need this until her lungs grow stronger.” While listening, Jacky nodded when he understand a bit. “These colorful wires on her body are attached to a computer to read how her heart is beating, because the doctor is afraid that her heart doesn’t work well. She won’t need them once she gets better. The tube and the needles going into her right hand is to give her medicine so she can get well and the other one is for blood, because she don’t have enough…”

    “Just like those on mommy’s hands,” Jacky pointed out.

    “Yes, exactly,” replied Julian with great patient. He went down to the last wire on the foot and explained, “The doctor say this one is to let them know how much oxygen or air that is in her and to monitor her pulse. See, nothing to be afraid of. All of these are to help Angel get better and grow faster.” Grinning with interest, Jacky nodded. Pulled his hand back out, Julian offered again, “You want to touch her?”

    Nodding, but then shaking his head, Jacky stated, “I don’t want to hurt her.”

    “As long as you do it slowly and gently, it won’t hurt her,” encouraged Julian. Nodding, Jacky slowly advanced his hand through the circular opening into the incubator and barely touched his sister’s hair. Chuckling at how Jacky is too overly careful, Julian encouraged, “You’re doing just fine.”

    “She has really soft hair,” stated Jacky with aw and more enthusiasm. A soft tap on the window made him looked up and a flash instantly blinded him a little. Shaking his head and blinking his eyes, Jacky chuckled at his best friend Nancy, who was the one that had just taken a picture of him with her mommy’s digital camera. Proudly, Jacky grinned for a second picture, before he returned his full attention back to his baby sister. He continues to gently stroke and brush his sister’s hair back. Gently, he moved down to feel her cheeks and rubbed it with the back of his hand. Chuckling, he excitedly exclaimed when Angel turned to his hand with her sucking reflexes, “She thinks I’m a bottle!”

    Laughed, Julian replied, “You must be very sweet to her.”

    Amused by his new sister, Jacky experimentally touched her here and there to see what reaction she’ll give him. He giggled to Angel every little wiggle and soft sounds. When he slipped his finger into Angel’s palm and saw how she instantly clasped her hand to hold his finger tightly, Jacky sighed with aw. “Daddy, I think she like me,” proudly smiled Jacky with glee.

    “Of course, you’re her brother,” grinned Julian happily to see Jacky no longer afraid. A warm grateful smile glow on Julian as he watches Jacky continued to bond with their new family member. Suddenly, seeing his daughter slowly fluttering her eyes open, Julian gasped, “She opened her eyes! Jacky, look, you made her open her eyes for the first time!”

    Seeing his baby sister startled, Jacky swiftly turned to his daddy and harshly hushed, “Daddy, shh… You’re scaring her…” Turned back to gaze at Angel again, Jacky tugged on her fingers that are cozily wrapped around his pinky as he assured in such soft gentle voice, “Awww…its’ okay… I’m here…” Chuckling, Julian quieted down, but his excitement is all over his face. Meanwhile the three out in the hallways were excited to witness the eyes opening too. Seeing how Jacky get to feel the baby, Nancy pouted, wishing that she could have a baby sister too.

    Seeing a speck of bright red in his daughter’s round precious eyes, Julian looked closer. Daunted that what he saw was more then just a speck of red, since it’s growing in size, Julian quickly pulled Jacky aside to have a closer look. He reached his hand in trying to open his daughter’s eyes wider, but his touch made Angel quickly closed her eyes and turned away.

    Curiously looking from the side, Jacky confusedly asked, “Daddy what are you doing to Angel?”

    Turned Angel to face him again, Julian forced her eyes open making her fussed and cried. Julian gasped when he could clearly see that her eyes are flooding with blood. Frightened, his heart dropped as he stumbled out of the chair and hollered for help, “Nurse, please come take a look at her! She is bleeding into her eyes!”

    The nurse that was giving another baby a routine checkup, quickly headed up to Julian. But at that moment the heart rhythm monitor begin to alarm with odd pattern showing up on the screen. While Julian lifted Jacky up into his arm and stepped aside to give room, the nurse quickly pulled out her penlight to shine into Angel’s eyes. “Oh my god,” she murmured in disbelieve to what she saw, since she had never seen such case before.

    “What’s happening to her? What is that beeping sound mean?” asked Julian nervously.

    “Her heart is having trouble pumping… I’m sorry you’ll have to step out of the nursery for now,” instructed the nurse as she rushed her way to call the emergency code.

    Staring at his daughter with terrified eyes, Julian heart rate pounded along with the sound of Angel’s broken cry. The sight of his daughter suffering and turning cyanosis as she drawn all four of her extremities in and tremors, just shattered Julian’s heart. Julian heart beat and breathing seem to deadly make a stop when he heard one last grunting sound of his precious baby before the room suddenly felt so hollow without a sound of life. He became as still as stone, while all he could hear is the echoing of the loud monitor. Shaking his head to this nightmare, his eyes stain with burning tears to see Angel tiny body became so limp and lifeless. Looked down directly onto his daughter’s closed eyelids, Julian were able to see the dark blood pool under the closed lid. He found himself begin to feel really weak and had forgotten how to breath normally. Panted a little, he begged, “Don’t do this sweetheart, pleases don’t do this to daddy…”

    With still frightened eyes kept closely on his sister’s lifeless still body, where foamy vomit spilled out of her mouth, Jacky was shocked out of his life. “Daddy, Angel is throwing up… Daddy, fix her now…” Jacky begged for help, sensing that this can’t be right. Fearfully gazed at his sister with tears begin to warm his eyes again, Jacky murmured, “She is throwing up like mommy…”

    Within a split second another monitor sounded alarmingly that her oxygen level is steeply dropping. The sound alarmed Julian greatly, making him frustratingly glanced around the monitors and equipments in search of a solution. He had the greatest urge to crank up any of those knobs to fix the problem. After a short phone call for more help, the nurse quickly returned to attend to Angel. She was too busy to shoo the father and son out of the nursery. Swiftly, she reached in to turn Angel to lie on her side, so her vomit don’t aspirate into her lungs. Rushed with urgency, she begins to turn on a suction tube and inserted down Angel throat, trying to help her clear her airway.

    Within a short minute several doctors and nurses rushed in. Seeing that the father and son standing there in shock to witness how the newborn is struggling with her life, one of the nurses quickly guided, “I’m sorry, you’ll have to step out so the doctors can work on your daughter. Please step out.”

    “Why…why is everything beeping? What’s going on with her? Dr. Kwan said she is okay…”

    “I know. We will do everything to fix the problem. Please calm down. You must step out now or you’ll distract the doctors from saving your daughter. Please follow me,” the nurse insisted and walked them out. After walked them out, the nurse quickly return to her position to help out with the emergency rescue.

    Meanwhile, Julian quickly ran to join Jessica and Louis by the window looking in. “What happen to her?” Jessica immediately asked as she continued to watch the doctors trying to save Angel’s young life. The doctor, that seem to be in charge begin to do cardiac massage by rubbing Angel’s chest and giving compression.

    “I don’t know,” cried Julian, as he dropped Jacky to the floor, since he is feeling really weak and about to loose balance. His heart stirred worrisomely as his pulse wildly bounded. Feeling really sick to the stomach and uncomfortable, Julian lowers himself down to a squatting position. Noticing that Julian is going to have a nervous breakdown, Jessica squatted beside him and caringly patted his back. “Nothing can happen to her,” said Julian to Jessica, while she nodded with encouragement.

    Meanwhile worried about his baby sister, Jacky quickly ran up to the glass window. In order to look in, he had to be on his tiptoe and stretched himself to cling onto the window frame. With barely enough height to look in, Jacky frowned with a pair of sad eyes to see so many doctors and nurses in scrubs surrounding his baby sister. One of them had removed the incubator and placed a small oxygen mask over Angel’s nose and mouth, while another just gave Angel a shot. “Angel…” tearfully mumbled Jacky as he tries to hangs on.

    Shakily, Julian exclaimed in his quivering voice, “Her eyes were filling up with blood… It was really bright red. Then her heart monitor screamed. She was shaking and throws up. Before I notice, everything else seems to scream too. She was making all of this painful sound, than she stopped…no more crying or moving… Before that she was grunting and clenched her arms and legs toward her body like she is in great pain. I just know she is suffering from something… What had I done so badly, to have all of these happen to my wife and even my newborn baby?! She didn’t do anything wrong, why does she have to suffer like this?”

    Sighed with sympathy, Jessica leaned over to give Julian a reassuring hug. Patting his back, Jessica encouraged, “Don’t you worry too much. She’ll be just fine. Those doctors really know what they are doing.”

    Nodding, hoping that what Jessica said will come true, Julian bravely lifted his head up to look toward the nursery window. Squatted there he saw Jacky struggling with his strength to keep his position on tiptoes and stretching up high. With one great breath, Julian sprung off and head straight for the window. Standing right next to Jacky, he unnervingly looked in. His eyes once again landed on his daughter, whom is flipped to rest her small chest on a doctor’s palm with her neck securely anchored between the doctor’s thumb and index. Anxiously, Julian watches the doctor vigorously rubbed Angel’s back.

    A doomed feeling drowned his soul as Julian witness how limp his daughter arms and legs dangled from the side of her body. The feeling just make him felt that she is either already dead or on her way to it. Having a horrible emotional rollercoaster day, Julian really felt the pressures on him, but he wouldn’t allow himself to fall, knowing that his wife still depends on him. Forcing himself to be tough, Julian warned heartbrokenly, “Nothing can happen to you, you heard me? Mommy had been through way too much because of you. You can’t just leave her like this. You can’t be so cruel and do this to us. You won’t, right? Daddy knows you are a good and strong girl. You’ll pull through this. Angel, you know that your mommy still hadn’t gotten a chance to hold you yet. She didn’t even have a chance to spend much time with you to have a better look at you… “

    Paused with his lips tightly pressed together as he swallowed the hard lump in his throat, Julian begged, “Please hangs in there… I know you wouldn’t have the heart to make daddy brings any bad news to mommy, right? You won’t be this unfair to me because you’ll know that I won’t forgive you for it, if you do. You’re right, I won’t forgive you…”

    Hearing Jacky in tears, Julian glanced down at his son and placed his large firm hand on Jacky’s shoulder. Feeling his daddy’s hand, Jacky tilted his head up to look at his daddy. He notices that his daddy’s eyes are red with a layer of tears. “I’m sorry, I did this to Angel,” cried Jacky, since he recalled that he once wished for his baby sister to not exist.

    Lift Jacky up, Julian comforted, “You did nothing wrong. Jacky don’t cry. Nothing will happen, so don’t waste your tears. Angel, will not have the heart to leave us. She will be strong and overcome this obstacle. Angel knows that mommy didn’t give up on her, so she will know to not give up on herself. She just won’t…” Julian voice faded when he just saw a flat line on his daughter’s heart monitor.

    Noticed too, Jessica gasped and covered her mouth not to cry out loud and make Julian more tense than he is. She turned to lean her shuts eyes on her husband’s shoulder. With his emotion thicken with dread, Louis comforted his wife by giving her shoulder a squeeze. Nancy frowned and reached her arms out for her mommy’s comfort. Jessica pulled back from her husband and received her daughter. She cuddled her tightly, realizing how fragile life can be.

    Soft whimper came out of Jacky when he saw doctors beginning pull wires away from Angel. Can’t stand to see how the doctors are probing his baby sister with other equipment as they getting ready to give her heart a shock, Jacky turned away to lean on his daddy’s shoulder and looked the opposite direction. Not daring to make a sound to sadden his daddy’s more Jacky silently soaked his daddy’s shoulder. How much he wish that they are home now, all four of them. Hearing the chattering voices of his grandparents a distance down the hallway, Jacky glanced up. With tears escaping the realms of his eyes, Jacky tearfully called, “Grandpa…”

    Excitedly from the end of the hallway, the grandma asked with great delight, “Is Angel close to the window?” She hurried her pace with her husband trying to keep up with her. When her son and the rest turned around to look toward them, her excitement diminished a bit. Confused to why tears are in her son’s eyes, the grandma questioned, “What’s going on?” Nobody is willing to answer her question.

    Wiggling in his daddy’s arms, Jacky gestured that he wanted to be down. Julian released him to the ground. Hurried, Jacky ran up to his grandpa as he cried. The sight of Jacky made both grandparents dreaded with fear. Seeing Jacky running toward him, Julian’s father squatted down right in time for Jacky to charge into him and tightly embraced him. Crying, Jacky exclaimed, “Grandpa, they’re hurting Angel… Grandpa, go order them to stop now…”

    While his wife quickly ran up to the window to have a look, the grandpa nodded to Jacky’s request. Lifted Jacky up as he stand back up, the grandpa headed toward the group to have a look at his granddaughter. Hearing his wife cried with distress, he peeked in and just saw them giving his small granddaughter a shock with an infant defibrillator. Turned to his placid son, he questioned, “What happen? Didn’t you say both mother and child are stable?”

    Shaking his head to his father’s question, Julian replied, “I don’t know what’s going on. She was just fine…” Sighed deeply, the grandpa placed his warm firm hand on his son’s shoulder and gave it three small pats. Jacky is tightly embracing the grandpa and wouldn’t dare to look toward his baby sister anymore.

    Meanwhile in her ICU room, Annie is struggling with her dream. Being weak from loosing too much blood, Annie drifted in and out of her dream. Slept with unsettle heart, she was able to hear her surrounding, even the soft sound of air blowing into her nose. Suddenly, she heard voices of a nurse from a distance away. When she realized that the nurse is talking about a newborn baby being in critical condition, Annie fluttered her heavy eyes open, while her heart pounded with unease, fearing that it was about her daughter.

    Glanced around the empty dark room, Annie can’t find her husband. She could only see the fine dim green line of a monitor that is tracing her pulse. Glanced toward the closed doorway, she saw someone is blocking some light from the slit under the door. “Julian,” she weakly murmured as she took in a deep breath and felt great pain to her chest. She felt so frail and lack of strength, that even a breath was a great effort to make.

    From the doorway the soft whispering voice of a nurse continued, “What did you see when you were over there? What happen to the baby girl?”

    “I’m not too sure, but she is not in a good condition. They had sounded an emergency code. I overheard that the baby is bleeding internally and her heart is not beating,” said the other nurse.

    Worried that they are talking about Angel, Annie anxiously listened with a sicken feeling glooming her. The shadow from the slit under the door slowly drifted away as the voices of the two nurses also slowly fainted. Wanting to know more, Annie pushed herself upright, but she felt great pain on her surgical wound. Clenching her teeth trying to tolerate her pain, she forced herself upright and pulled her oxygen nasal canal off. Without it she quickly felt shortness of breath. Feeling the tug of her IV lines and a wire on her index finger, she pulled those off too. Dangling her legs from the edge of the bed trying to reach the floor, she felt so dizzy. Her face drained and her vision became a bit blurred and spinning. “I have to see Angel,” she told herself with her barely audible voice. Taking in one deep breath, she pushed herself to stand up, but because of her incision pain and nauseated feeling, she quickly held onto the bed table to stabilize herself.

    Glanced toward the faint light at her doorway with the very faint voices of the two nurses, Annie once again gathered her strength to make her way toward the door. Knowing that she will trip and fall, she didn’t dare to walk independently, instead she walked along her bed and against the wall for support. She felt great accomplishment when she finally reached the door and pulled it open. Looking out into the hallway that is well lit, Annie blinked to adjust her eyes to the brightness of the florescent lights. She saw the two chattering nurses in their nursing station with their back facing her.

    “I hope the baby girl is okay,” said one nurse.

    Nodding, the other nurse replied, “Me too. You should see how sad the father and son were. I heard it was the father that notices the bleeding. Isn’t that horrible?”

    Shaking her head with a sigh, the other nurse commented, “Everyone throughout the hospital was talking about her this evening. Saying how lucky she was that Dr. Kwan and Dr. Cho was able to save her little life. I heard that her mother’s placenta torn since yesterday afternoon and had been bleeding inside all along. They mention that the baby was having trouble breathing when they took her out of her mother. Well, that was kind of expected, since she lacks oxygen from inside her mother womb anyway. During break, an hour ago, I did go over to the nursery to check out this miracle everyone was talking about, she was just fine then. She is cute, but so small and weak though. I really hope she can pull another miracle too.”

    Annie heart just deadly dropped after feeling confirmed that they are talking about her daughter. She quivered with concern as her tears once again run down her dry cheek. Her heart pounded with great pain and pressure that she felt she is having a hard times breathing. Without her husband to guide her, Annie felt so lost, not knowing what she should do now. She knows she got to find them somehow. Glanced around, she doesn’t even know which direction to walk to get to the nursery. Panicking as she looked in all direction, Annie felt so suffocated and fatigue. Glanced up toward the sign, she tries hard to read and find her direction, but her blurry eyes begin to play tricks on her. She begins to see double vision. Trying hard to focus her eyes to read, Annie stepped away from the wall and walked closer to the sign above. Looked up again trying to get the direction, Annie felt her body no longer belong to her. Her body felt so heavy and there is a great pressure against her right chest bringing her great deal of pain, while her vision begins to black out. Instantly her eyes rolled back and she fainted with her body crashed to the title floor.

    Finally realizing that Annie was behind them, the two nurses instantly rushed up to her. “Mrs. Cheung?” hollered one of the nurses as she repeatedly patted Annie’s cheek. “She is unconscious and only breathing very faintly. One side of her lung look like it’s collapsed. Call the code! And get me the respiratory cart,” instructed the nurse urgently as she tilted Annie’s head back to do rescue breathing, while the other nurse nodded and rushed for the phone.

    Meanwhile in the NICU nursery, Julian remains glued to the window. He saw a doctor stopped working on his daughter and is walking out the nursery, while the rest slowed their pace and returned his daughter back to the incubator. Frightened that this is it and that they had given up, Julian didn’t dare to find out the answer. His eyes gazed at the doctor that had just stepped out of the nursery and walking toward him.

    “Mr. Cheung?” asked the doctor with a dreadful long look.

    Right at the moment, the hospital operator sounded over the intercom, “Code blue in room 607, code blue in room 607, all related doctors and rescue team members please report to the intensive care unit STAT.”

    Widened his eyes, Julian panicked as his shaky voice exclaimed, “That’s…that’s Annie’s room.” Feeling too overwhelm, Julian felt like he is about the black out. Louis quickly steadied him. Shaking his head not wanting to believe that everything is crumpling like this, he pushed Louis away. “Annie…I got to return to her! I got to see her…” Julian exclaimed and with one last glance toward his daughter, he turned to run toward his wife’s unit.

    “Mr. Cheung, hold on, I need to have word with you!” informed the doctor that was trying to save Angel, but Julian had dashed off so quickly.

    “Is something happening to mommy too?” cried Jacky heartbrokenly. He glanced through the glass widow at his baby sister and cried louder. “Daddy, promised that we can all go home,” he cried with great sorrow. Still carrying him, his grandpa sighed and patted his back.

    Concernedly turned to his wife, Louis suggested, “I better go after Julian. I’m afraid he will break down any minutes, if anything happen to Annie. You stay here to comfort his parents and Jacky. With her daughter in her arms, Jessica nodded to her husband’s suggestion.

    Confusedly, the doctor that was saving Angel looked at the group of people and asked, “Is there other family member of baby Angel here?”

    “I’m her grandpa, I could represent my son,” said Julian’s father with his calm deep voice that hides his nervousness. While his wife cried her heart out, just knowing that it’ll be bad news.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Default Chapter 19

    Louis trailed right behind Julian, who is dashing like a speed of lighting. Panting labouredly in front of the elevator, Julian pounded on the button to go up. Every second felt like hour to him as his heart overworked. Being impatient for the elevator, Julian headed for the stair. He ran from second floor to sixth floor without a stop to catch his breath. Julian speedy footsteps sounded the entire hall.

    Once he got to the hallway where a crowds are there surrounding his wife, Julian clasped down to his knees, breathing labouredly trying to catch his breath. “Annie…” he repeatedly called as he hyperventilate with dry lips and a hoarsen voice. While the doctors are working hard on his wife, a nurse quickly ran up to help him up. “How’s my wife? You got to save her! Please save her…do anything you need, just save her. I can’t lose both of them in the same day!” emotionally yelled Julian in distress anger. Meanwhile, Louis finally caught up and dropped to the floor breathing harshly to catch his breath.

    “Your wife is unconscious and her breathing is really weak. We’re trying everything we can to save her now. Please calm down and give us room to work on her, alright? Don’t worry, we’ll do our best,” comforted the nurse.

    Meanwhile a loud flat continuous beeping sound alarmed all attention. “She is going into cardiac arrest!” informed a doctor, who immediately started chest compression. He urgently ordered, “Prepare her for defibrillation, everybody step back!”

    With his heart shattering as hope seem to diminish, Julian dropped back to the tile with eyes kept on his wife limp body. He anxiously watched them preparing his wife, exactly like how the other rescue team prepared his daughter. Their movement seems to be in slow motion, which made Julian felt more agony. Nerve reckon to the thought of never hearing his wife’s voice ever again, Julian tightened his fists so hard that his knuckles turned white and his fingernails forcefully embedded into his flesh creating deep crescent cradles in his palms. “Please don’t. Annie, you know I needed you,” he said in a faint whisper, with hard darting eyes on his wife unmoved.

    “Three hundred, everybody clear!” the doctor with the defibrillator demanded as he gave Annie’s heart a shock, but the heart did not wake. “Three-fifty, everybody clear!” demanded the doctor again, there was a small tug on the heart rate, but it diminishes quickly. With every shock, Julian felt his heart jumped and dropped along with his wife. Cranked the machine up, the doctor tried again, “Three-seventy-five, everybody clear!” Annie body jerked but quickly relaxed back. The monitor begins to beep twice then died again. The doctor once more cranked the power to it fullest and ordered, “Everybody clear!” Once, twice… neither time helped. All it did was adding on more tension and heightened the husband’s suffering. Shaking his head, the doctor putted the defibrillator away. For the first time, he turned to look at Julian.

    Daunted, Julian quickly ran up to the doctor and demanded for an explanation, “WHY DID YOU STOP?! She is not dead! My wife is not DEAD! You have to keep going! I know she won’t leave like this!”

    Trying to control Julian’s flame, Louis encouraged, “Calm down! Julian!”

    “I’m sorry, Mr. Cheung. There is nothing more we can do,” said the doctor sadly.

    “What you mean nothing?” murmured Julian. Dropped to his knees on the floor right beside his wife, Julian caringly cuddled his wife. Slightly shaking his head, not willing to accept the truth, Julian gently begged, “Annie, you can’t leave. You can’t leave without saying a goodbye… You can’t do this to me!” Holding his wife closer, Julian glanced at the crowd of doctors and nurses. He begged, “She is not dead! Save her! Please save her!” They all just stepped back to let him grieve. Angrily charged up to yank on the doctor’s collar, Julian scolded, “How could you give up so soon?! You’re a doctor!”

    Quickly pulled Julian away, Louis pressed him against the wall and loudly yelled, “JULIAN, LET IT GO! She had left, just let her go in peace…”

    Shaking his head, Julian shoved Louis aside and charged up to begin to do chest compression on his wife. He won’t give up. He can’t give up. Fiercely, he compressed Annie’s heart hard trying to get it moving again. “You can’t give up! You just can’t give up! I haven’t takes you to the movie, like I promised!” cried Julian with tears dripping off his chins and landing on his wife’s face. “I know that I had promised to let you go, but how could you go without saying goodbye first? You just can’t walk off like this. Wake up now!” ordered Julian as he begin to compress harder and faster.

    Watching him, everyone sadden to witness such depressed scene. Admitting defeated, Julian heartbrokenly murmured with more of his tears tumbled down stinging his redden cheeks, “I was lying when I once told you not to worry about me…that I could take care of myself…that I had learned to let you go…The truth is I really don’t know how. I never wanted to learn how… How am I going to live each day without you? How could you be so cruel to force me to wake up today? Don’t you love me?”

    Suddenly a beep sounded from the monitor. Hearing it, Julian held his breath to listen more closely, but continued to compress his wife’s heart like an automatic machine that doesn’t know how to turn off. Everyone anxiously looked at the monitor. A second beep followed the first and within a few second a heart rhythm pattern painted beautifully on the screen. Panting with his disbelieve eyes at the monitor, he felt emotionally overloaded with mixture of joy and fear of letting himself believe that a miracle had happened.

    Surprised with great excitement, Louis loudly questioned the doctor, “Does that meant she alive?!”

    The doctors and nurses quickly gathered around Annie again to listen to her heart and lungs. Pulled on Julian, the doctor ordered, “Stop! If you continue it could back fire and stop it for good.” Nodding shakily, Julian slowly scooted aside for the doctors and nurses to help his wife. He had used so many forces to compress on his wife’s heart that both his arms are shaking. Cautiously listened to Annie’s heart and lung, the doctor sighed, “It’s beating, but very irregular and it’s too weak and slow. I’m afraid she doesn’t have much time left.”

    Julian was about to return to compress his wife’s chest again, but the doctor held him back. “Don’t, if you continue, all you’ll be doing is fracturing her ribs and hurt her badly. I’m sorry, but it won’t do her weak heart any good even if you could continue. Her heart is injured because it’s overworking to compensate for the lack of oxygen due to one of her lung collapsed, it won’t gain it strength back. Her cancer had hardens her right lung and made it collapsed, which is one of the reason why she fainted in the first place. The second reason is also the answer behind her climbing fever. Her blood work shows that she had severe right kidney infection, causing kidney failures, which mean she can’t produce urine to filter out the toxin accumulated in her blood…”

    “It was just a low grade fever…”

    Nodding understandingly to Julian’s anger, the doctor apologized, “I’m sorry to said that no matter how hard you try, it won’t reverse these problems, you’ll only be hurting her more and making her suffer a great deal of pain.” Paused to look at Julian, who look like he is about to collapse anytime soon, the doctor sighed and placed his hand on Julian’s shoulder, “It could be a day or any minutes now that her other lungs will collapse and immediately following after her heart will stop too. Even if her lung can last longer, her good kidney will shut down, which will also stop her heart and lung. There is just nothing we can do. Everything is too late,” honestly said the doctor. With his hand caringly on Julian’s shoulder, he sincerely suggested, “You had earned this short moment with her. Be with her, cherish this moment peacefully before she goes. This is the only thing left you could do for her.”

    Gulped, deep down Julian know that what the doctor say is correct. Emotionally, he asked, “Will she get a chance to wake up before she leaves or will she just drift off?”

    “I can’t answer that, both are possible. I’ll inject some medication that can temporary strengthen her heart to pump better, so her brain can receive more blood. Maybe that will help bring her out of unconsciousness, but the effect won’t last long. This is a very potent drug. I can’t promise that she will for sure wake up, because this drug may cause immediate brain dead, sending her straight to death. Do you still want me to give it to her?” questioned the doctor.

    Not willing to let her go faster than she is, Julian felt lost, especially since he really wanted to hear her voice one last time. Gazed down at Annie, he questioned himself what his wife would prefer. Finally, he nodded with his heart tearing apart, knowing that either way he had ordered them to speed up his wife’s process of death. With Julian’s signed consent, the doctor injected the potent cardiac drug and also loaded Annie with painkiller to provide maximum comfort. Now Julian just had to wait and beg that the drug will wake her any moment soon.

    Half hour later, Jessica had returned to the unit alone, while the rest are still with baby Angel. At the hallway, she shared a short conversation with her husband telling him the bad news, while Louis also told her Annie’s bad news. They shared a brief embrace to pray for their childhood best friend, who had always held an important position in their hearts.

    Afterward, Jessica gathered her courage to silently step into Annie’s room, her husband followed behind her and closed the door. It breaks her heart to see Annie frailly lying on the hospital bed unconscious. Even Jessica is able to tell that Annie’s skin tone reflecting a dusky blue shade with her lips a darker bluish-purple. Annie suddenly looked so much skinnier than she remembered. Jessica eyes landed on Julian, who is kneeling beside his wife bed with both his hands holding onto Annie’s right hand. His head are held down looking toward the bed as he rested his forehead on the back of his wife’s hands. It was the first time ever that Louis and Jessica witness Julian believe in a superior one and begging for blessing.

    Stepped up to her best friend’s husband, Jessica gently placed her hand on Julian’s shoulder. “If you wanted Annie to be happy, then don’t be so hard on yourself,” comforted Jessica. She paused not knowing how to approach Julian with her bad news. With a sigh, knowing that there is no easy way, Jessica informed in her emotionally thicken voice, “Julian, the good news is that Angel still get a chance to survive, but it’ll be less than twenty-five percent.” She saw Julian head lowered more onto his wife’s hand and a drop of his tear soaked the blanket to a darker shade of green. “The doctor said that her heart is deformed with weak valves and unclosed opening between chambers of her heart, a condition that called tetra…tetra…something…fallot? I don’t knows, some huge word. Basically is her heart unable to oxygenate adequately to sustain life.”

    Emotionally and physically exhausted, and not willing to turn his head to face them, Julian softly asked as he continues to tighten his hands on his wife’s hand, “When is the surgery?”

    “That’s the bad news,” said Jessica with a sigh. Julian slightly gave her a short glance for the meaning before he hid his head on his wife’s hand again. “Your father had signs the consent form for the surgery, but the problem is no doctor here had ever done such a major cardiac surgery in a newborn infant before, especially since Angel had many other problems too. Arrived to see Angel, Dr. Kwan suggested asking his mentor for help with this surgery. He said his mentor specializes in this type of surgery and he is also a well known pediatric cardiologist. He had called him to fly in immediately…”

    “Angel is able to wait?” asked Julian with such calm thicken voice that it worried Jessica.

    Frowned sadly, Jessica honestly replied, “She don’t have much time… We could only pray that it’ll be enough for him to arrive in time.”

    Those same few words he heard about his wife, made Julian heart pained. He had never felt his heart hurt this much ever before. It felt like a dagger had deeply cuts into his heart making him slowly bleed to death with sorrow of losing two of his loves. His daughter is so tiny, that he can’t bear to imagine how they will cut her open. Worst, is to make her suffer through it all in return for nothing but a meaningless apology and a death certificate. He wanted to cry hard to release this heavy pressure cooped in him, but he could not. Not in a time where his wife may wake up any minutes and witness his pain.

    “Dr. Kwan said if his mentor is able to catch the flight before midnight, he should be here by dawn. Don’t lose your hope, I know he will make it here and Angel will not give up on this chance…”

    “Twenty-five percent,” dreaded Julian.

    Louis encouraged, “No matter how small it sounds, it’s a chance. All she needed is a chance.”

    Nodding to her husband, Jessica reinforced, “Louis is right.” Paused, Jessica softly informed, “The doctor at the nursery had allowed your parents and Jacky to go in to accompany Angel. Would you want to go see her for one last time, before she heads into surgery later?” asked Jessica caringly. Lifted his eyes up to gaze toward his wife, Julian silently shook his head, declining the offer. He knows that if he lays eyes on his daughter again, he won’t be able to control his emotion. Nodding with understanding, Jessica gave Julian shoulder a squeeze and assured him, “It’s alright Louis and I will take care of Angel’s matter. We’ll take care of your parents and Jacky too. We’re planning to go buy something for them to eat, since they’ll probably be here for a long while…”

    Julian shook his head. He can’t bear to let Jacky see his baby sister and mommy die in front of him. Also since he had once promised his wife to not let Jacky stay and watch her leave when that day arrived. He didn’t want his parents here to wait for their granddaughter to die either. Julian just wishes for a peaceful calm night. Finally turned to face Jessica, Julian requested, “I don’t want anyone to stay here, other than Annie and me. Could you help me drive them home?”

    “Your parents and Jacky? But…”

    Shaking his head, Julian calmly explained, “I don’t want them here for hours waiting with anticipation. My folks are old, they shouldn’t suffer through these stuff. It’ll be too hard for them to watch Angel die…”

    “Julian, think more positively…”

    “I can’t,” sadly exclaimed Julian. “How could I when I know for certain that my wife is leaving me within these few hours, while my daughter only have one-fourth of a chance to survive that is if her surgeon get here on time,” questioned Julian with little to no hope. He turned to gently stroke Annie’s cheek as he continued, “No matter if Angel is able to have or able to survive the surgery, I needed this calm quiet environment. If my mom or Jacky stay here and found out that Angel didn’t make it, they will cry their heart out, soon I will too. Jessica, I can’t let my heart break because of Angel. I can’t let myself cry or else Annie will see through my lies.”

    A bit shocked, Jessica questioned, “You’re not planning to tell her?”

    Dropped his head, Julian flatly replied, “What she don’t know, will hurt her less. I rather Annie hates me forever than for me to see her suffer more before she die. Please, just drive them home, for me.”

    Nodding to Julian, Jessica suggested, “Maybe have Jacky stays with us tonight, so your parents can rest and cope without having to worry about Jacky.” Julian nodded to her suggestion. “Okay, we’re leaving, so you can have your time alone with Annie. Remember not to be too hard on yourself. If you needed anything at all just call us at anytime, no matter what time of the night it is,” said Jessica with another squeeze on Julian’s tense shoulder.

    Both Louis and Jessica tried so many ways to talk Julian’s parents and Jacky into leaving the hospital, but all their attempts had failed badly, especially in convincing Jacky to leave. Wanting to stay with his family, Jacky was fussing hard refusing to leave his parents like how each time his mommy have to be admitted into the hospital. In the end, Julian had to personally go down to beg his parents to go home and sleep. He promised that once he had any news on Angel, he’ll call them, in the meantime all he wishes if for them to leave him and his family alone. Julian’s father agreed and walked his wife out of the hospital. Meanwhile, Jacky was tougher to reason with, since he was extra aware that this time if he leaves he may never see his mommy or Angel again. Without other choice, Julian ignored Jacky’s screaming and kicking, he just told Louis to take him away.

    When they finally all left the nursery, Julian was trying hard to avoid glimpse of his daughter, fearing that he can’t control his emotion if he have a second look at her again. He quickly ran back to his wife’s room and stay with her, anticipating for her to stir.

    Two hours later, in Nancy’s room, Jacky silently whimpered as he lies in Nancy’s bed next to her in the middle of the dark room. All he saw was distance moonlight from the small window of the room casting shadow over Nancy’s dolls. Not wanting to wake everyone up with his crying, he turned to cry into his pillow.

    Earlier that night, once they had returned from the hospital, his Uncle Louis and Aunt Jessica had tried to cheer him up and calm him down to sleep using every old methods that used to work when they were taken care of him few years back, but it no longer had the same effect as it used to. Seeing Jacky this unhappy, Jessica had suggested that Jacky and Nancy shares bed for the night, so he won’t feel too lonely sleeping by himself. In the end to let them go to sleep, Jacky just faked his sleep. Jacky kept his eyes shut and his cry muted until he was positive that Louis and Jessica had went to bed and the sound of Nancy’s fallen asleep beside him, before Jacky is willing to reopen his eyes and cried silently as he missed his parents and Angel.

    Stirred by the sound of Jacky’s muffled cries, Nancy rubbed her eyes and turned to lie on her right staring at her best friend, who trembling back is facing her. Cried so much, Jacky was unable to stop his small hiccups every few seconds. It made Nancy really sad to hear Jacky cry this much. Pouting with sadness, she begins to gently pat his back. “Jacky, don’t cry, mommy say everything will get better once we wake up,” said Nancy innocently.

    “She lied!” cried Jacky with sniffle, choked in his tears, he begin to cough. Nancy patted him harder. When Jacky couldn’t stop his coughing, she quickly got up to grab her Hello Kitty water jug and flipped the straw up. Holding it toward Jacky’s lip, Nancy caringly instructed, “Get up and drink some water.”

    Shaking his head toward her because he had controlled his cough, Jacky cried tearfully, “Nancy, I missed my mommy really much. My mommy is probably dying, that’s why daddy made me leave…I will never get to see her again…”

    “No, that’s not true. Aunt Annie is just sick, she will get better,” replied Nancy in tears, fearing that what Jacky said is true. Her parents had never talked to her about death before. She didn’t even know that Annie is sick in the first place. Her parents had always pampers her and protected her from all bad, including what death meant.

    Heartbrokenly shaking his head, Jacky murmured, “Daddy had many talks with me about how mommy will die because of the cancer germ one day. Daddy told me to be tough when the day come, so mommy won’t have to worry about us. Nancy, I’m having a very bad feeling that that day is tonight. I’m scared…I don’t want to never see mommy again… I don’t want to never get hugs from mommy again… I won’t be able to hug her either… I will never be able to talk to her or kiss her goodnight again. I don’t want that… What should I do?”

    Crying along with Jacky, Nancy shook her head and honestly exclaimed, “I don’t know!”

    With his hiccups becoming stronger, Jacky sat upright to breath better as he cried sorrowfully, “What if Angel die too? It’s all my faults. I didn’t want her before, I wished that she disappear! What if my wish comes true? Daddy will be really mad at me…he will hate me, then he won’t want me anymore… Without mommy and daddy no one will want me…”

    Crying as heartbrokenly as Jacky, Nancy quickly climbed back into her bed and leaned over to hug her friend tightly to cry together. In between her cry, she promised, “It’ll be okay, my mommy and daddy will want you. You could live here again like how you used to. Don’t cry!”

    “Shhh…don’t cry so loud, you’ll wake Uncle Louis and Aunt Jessica up,” exclaimed Jacky as he continued to pour tears, while tightly hugging the six-years-old back.

    Pouting at him, Nancy mumbled tearfully, “You’re the one who made me cry first… I can’t stop myself when I cry!” She tried hard to control herself, but instead she begins to hiccups too. Tearfully she whispered, “We can make wishes now for Angel and your mommy to not die, then your old wish won’t come true.” Nodding with hiccups, they repeatedly made the wishes as they sobbed on each others quietly not daring to wake up the adults.

    Meanwhile in the hospital, Annie slowly stirs. Seeing her eyes fluttered slightly open and close, Julian anxiously inched closer and warmly called, “Honey? Annie… Honey, I’m here…” Feeling too weak and numbed, Annie is having a hard time staying focus. She was able to hear her husband faint distance voice calling for her. Fighting against her drowsiness, she forced her eyes to open, but it was so slightly that she was only able to steal a short glimpse at her husband before she shuts her eyes and seems to fall back asleep. Dishearten, Julian alerted, “Don’t close your eyes! Honey, please don’t close your eyes… Stay with me, please…” He begins to rub her cheeks trying to arouse her again, but it was no help, she couldn’t gather her strength to wake up. Leaned his head back down on his wife hand again, Julian silently cried in pain. The soft sound of his painful heart echoed throughout the room and hallway making each nurse felt his sorrow.

    Two hours later back in Nancy’s room, Jacky placidly sit on the bed leaning against the wall with his painful puffy eyes glanced out toward the dark cloudy night sky that had hid most of the moon’s light. His eyes felt so dry and burning with heat from his tears being all drained out. Unlike Nancy, who were able to cry herself to sleep, Jacky felt so weary with darken realms around his eyes, but he can’t fall asleep. Feeling Nancy nudged her head closer, Jacky turned to glance at his right shoulder, where Nancy had fallen asleep on for the past hour.

    Gazed out into the dark night, Jacky bravely made his decision to go see his mommy and daddy. He glanced at the Hello Kitty’s digital clock sitting on the desk, stating that it’s three midnight. Slowly scooted away from his friend as he gently held her head and moved it away from his shoulder, Jacky slowly lowered Nancy to lie back down in her bed. Gotten off the bed, Jacky pulled the blanket over her and placed her dolly back into her arms. Glanced toward Nancy’s ceramic piggy bank, Jacky gulped and gazed down at Nancy guiltily as he whispered, “I’m just borrowing Ms Piggy, I’ll pay you back later. Or do anything you want, to make up for it, I promise.”

    With that he quickly snatched the heavy piggy bank and tiptoed his way out of her room. With one last glance at his best friend, feeling a little bit guilty, Jacky quietly shuts her door and tiptoed to the living room. He carefully put on his jacket without making a noise and opened the main door as soundlessly as he can control it. Quietly shutting the heavy door behind him, Jacky rushed to the elevator.

    Once he got out of the building into the dark outside, Jacky gulped in fear. He had never went anywhere by himself before, especially this late in the night. It made him felt even more nervous when he realized the streets are empty without a soul. Not exactly sure if he had made the right decision, fear slowly creep into him, causing a thin layer of tears to blur his sight. Bravely taking in a deep inhale, Jacky tightly hugged Nancy’s piggy bank and forced himself to walk into the dark night. He don’t exactly know where the hospital is at, therefore he planned to walk toward the bigger street in search of a taxi to take him there.

    Meanwhile back in the hospital, Julian had developed a strong migraine from shredding too much tears, but he couldn’t stop crying with his heart crushed. Once again, Annie weakly opened her eyes. This time she felt more strength, since the potent drug had finally taken full effect. Physically she felt little to no pain, since they had heavily medicated her, but emotionally she felt a sharp pain to hear her husband’s cries. Gazed toward her husband, who is kneeling beside her bed tightly holding and soaking her hand with his tears, Annie made a squeeze on his hand as tightly as she could manage, but it was a pretty weak grip.

    Surprised, Julian instantly turned to face her with his redden eyes. With thicken emotional voice, he tearfully called, “Annie…”

    “Shh…don’t cry for me,” whispered Annie with a swallow of her tears. She took a deep breath through her oxygen mask and let out a weak smile toward her husband. She just knows that she doesn’t have much time left. Wetted her dry lips, Annie murmured, “I’m sorry to break your heart…”

    Shaking his head, Julian denied, “You didn’t…” Squeezed her hand, Julian lovingly asked, “Are you in pain? Are you comfortable?”

    Nodded, Annie weakly moved her hand up, she was having a hard time, so Julian held her hand and helped her, knowing that she wanted to feel his cheek. With her husband’s help, she gently wipes her husband tears away and weakly smiled at him again. “There is that handsome man, I married,” said Annie with her muffled voice under the oxygen mask, after dried both of her husband’s cheeks.

    Deepened with pain, Julian longingly nudged his cheek on her palm. Annie begins to pull on her oxygen mask with her free hand trying to remove it. Julian quickly reached out to hold her hand still and informed, “You need it.”

    Shaking her head, Annie assured, “I’ll be okay without it. Please help me remove it. I wanted to talk to you.” Nodding, Julian removed them for her. She took in one deep labored breath and relaxed to grin at him faintly. Gazed into her husband’s painful pair of eyes, Annie finally asked the question she had always wanted to ask, “Where is Angel?”

    Her eyes are kept on her husband so stilly that it made him took a short glance away as he replied calmly, “In the nursery.”

    “I wanted to see her,” requested Annie, thinking that her husband is lying to her. Her husband didn’t reply to her request. Frowned with dread, Annie eyes watered up as she stated, “She is dead, isn’t she?”

    Shaking his head, Julian quickly corrected, “No, who told you that?”

    “Those nurses were talking about her being in a critical condition…”

    “Critical condition does not mean dead,” exclaimed Julian.

    “Then why wouldn’t you let me see her?” asked Annie with soft eyes on her husband, seeing his eyes watered. “What’s wrong?” she unnervingly asked.

    Shaking his head, Julian replied, “Nothing. You’re too weak to get out of bed. You know she had to be in the neonatal ICU, so how can I bring her over to see you?” The only reason that he didn’t want his wife to see Angel is because he don’t want Annie to see their daughter’s eyes being drowned in blood and having to breath with a ventilator.

    Trying hard to push herself up, Annie stated, “I can go to her…”

    “Stop it, you’re hurting yourself!” scolded her husband harshly as he made her lie back down. In tears, Annie begin to cry thinking that her daughter must had die or else her husband wouldn’t try to stop her from seeing Angel. “Don’t cry, I don’t mean to yell at you. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” apologized Julian in distress.

    “You don’t have to lie to me anymore. Where is Angel’s body? I want to hold her, even if she is dead…”

    “I told you she is not dead!” angrily declared Julian.

    “Then why won’t you let me see her?” questioned Annie heartbrokenly and gasped for air. Her husband quickly placed the oxygen mask over her, she pushed his hand away. “I don’t want it!” she frustratingly protested. Weaken her tone, she assured, “I’m fine.”

    Gulped the hard lump in his throat, Julian thought himself as being cruel to not grant his wife’s wish. Dropped his head, he whispered, “I’ll take you to the nursery.”

    Surprised, Annie confusedly looked at him and questioned, “She is really not dead?” Her husband shook his head and gotten the nurse in to help Annie out of bed. The nurse disconnected all the IV lines and wires, since those are no longer helpful for Annie. Julian carried her into a wheelchair and pushed her toward NICU.

    The wheelchair stopped in front of the NICU nursery’s window. Glanced in Annie had a hard time locating her daughter. Gathered her strength, she pushed herself off the wheelchair and with her husband holding her they stepped closer to the window. “Where is she?” Annie asked anxiously.

    Pointed toward the incubator that had moved closer to the nurse’s desk, Julian informed, “That one with the ventilator.”


    “Just to help her breath,” calmly replied the husband.

    Annie eyes soften at her daughter. She knows that it’s not as simple as her husband put it. Holding onto the wall, she slowly made her way toward to a closer spot. She stopped her pace and looked down at her daughter. It drowns her heart to see Angel’s eyelids deep red. She recalls the two nurses were talking about Angel bleeding through the eyes. Silently, she stood with her hand against the glass window to the position where her daughter is at. “How much more time, do she have?” she asked.

    “She’ll be fine. Dr. Kwan say there is a small problem with her heart. They had scheduled her for surgery in few more hours to fix the problem,” falsely reassured Julian, since the surgeon still hasn’t arrived yet.

    “Surgery? But she is so small,” fearfully stated Annie.

    “Don’t worry they say it’s a very common surgery. He said many babies had this same problem and they all survived the surgery with no problem. Dr. Kwan had saved Angel once, he could do it again,” lied Julian, while his heart raced.

    “What about the blood in her eyes?” questioned Annie as she turn to look straight into her husband’s eyes for an answer.

    Surprised that Annie knew about Angel bleeding into her eyes, Julian was lost for words. After a pause, he quickly assured, “Dr. Kwan say it’s only temporary. Those bloods will slowly clear up once they fix the problem. I told you nothing to worry about.”

    “You’re not lying to me?” asked Annie seriously.

    “No,” replied Julian firmly, knowing that he must not let his wife see through him. “If you don’t believe me, you can ask the nurse or Dr. Kwan himself,” he said in such great convincing calmness that it worked.

    Nodding, Annie turned to look at her daughter. She weakly requested, knowing that this is her last chance, “Can I hold her?”

    Nodding, Julian agreed, “Yes.” He walked his wife into the nursery. The nurse was surprise to see Annie entered. With great sympathy to her condition, the nurse was a great help to Annie trying to grant every wish she requested, even letting her hold Angel, which is not allow if it’s a different situation, since it require great monitoring to make sure the baby is stable. Helped Annie settle down on a comfortable recliner, the nurse carefully moved Angel out of the incubator and placed her into Annie’s arm. The nurse checked all wires, lines, and especially the ventilator to make sure everything is intact, before she took a few steps back so the family bond.

    Gazed down at her daughter’s closed eyes, Annie gently leaned down to peck her on the check. She carefully cuddled her close and felt satisfied to be able to hold her before she has to leave her behind forever. Stroking her cheeks, she softly promised, “You’ll always stay in mommy’s heart. You be strong for the surgery, now. Mommy will look over you from up above.”

    “Don’t worry it’s a very small surgery,” promised her husband.

    Nodding, Annie returns and warned her daughter, “You better be a good obedient daughter to daddy, or he will punish you and mommy won’t be around to help you out.” Letting out a chuckle as she glanced over to her placid dreadful looking husband, Annie turned back to her daughter and assured in her weak breathless voice, “Don’t worry your daddy is not that mean. Be side he won’t have the heart to stay mad at you for long.” Her husband reached out to hold their daughter’s hand. Smiled, Annie offered, “You want to hold her?”

    Shaking his head, Julian replied with a lies, “No, I did earlier. You hold her for longer, I think she like you more.”

    Grinned, Annie placed her hand to cover her husband and her daughter’s hand. She sighed and said to Angel, “It would be nice if your brother is here too, huh? How you like your brother?”

    Julian assured, “They bond really well. Jacky was the one that made her open her eyes for the first time.”


    Nodding, Julian confirmed, “Yes.” He softly stated, “I sent him home with Jessica and Louis. I thought you…”

    “You did the right thing,” assured Annie knowingly. She gave her husband’s hand a pat and requested, “Please love them both equally.”

    “Of course,” promised her husband.

    Nodded, with a drop of her tear hitting Angel’s cheek, Annie sniffed and forced a bright smile again. “If they missed me, tell them that I missed them too. Tell them that I’ll be in heaven looking down at them and that I’ll be smiling,” said Annie weakly with her voice clotted with tears.

    Nodding, her husband promised, “I’ll make sure they will know you love them forever.” He leaned over to pull his wife in and embraced her. She silently cried on his shoulder.

    The nurse sighed at the touching scene with a shake of her head feeling sorry for the family. Hearing someone stepped in the nurse turned around and smiled to see the surgeon arrived with Dr. Kwan. “Dr. Kwan, Dr. Chung,” she greeted with respect.

    Both Julian and Annie instantly glanced toward the two doctors, who are in surgical scrub. Surprised to see Annie here, Dr. Kwan walked up to them and greeted, “Mrs. Cheung.”

    “Dr. Kwan is it time for her surgery?” she asked unnervingly.

    Her husband cut in before the doctors made it sound dangerous. “Yes, it must be time. Don’t worry Dr. Kwan had told me many times that this is a very easy and common surgery. Angel, will be fine. Right, Dr. Kwan?” slyly said Julian with eyes firmly on the doctor to play along.

    Dr. Kwan nodded and promised, “Don’t worry Mrs. Cheung we’ll take great care of Angel. This is my mentor, Dr. Chung he is a specialist in this type of surgery.” They shook hand and share a few nod with each other. Dr. Kwan looked down at Annie and the infant and finally requested, “I’m sorry Mrs. Cheung, we’ll have to take Angel in to get her prepare for the surgery. It’ll take at least several hours. Maybe go back to your room to rest? We’ll come tell you two the news once we’re done.”

    “Thanks,” said Julian as he squatted down to place his hand on his wife’s hand and patted on it reassuringly.

    With one deep breath to calm her nerve down, Annie weakly replied, “Okay.” She gazed at her daughter again and lifted her up slightly to peck her on her forehead. “Love you sweetheart,” she whispered with a drop of tears landed on her daughter’s cheek. Knowing her time limit, Annie knew this would be the last time she’ll see her daughter. Bravely she sniffed her tears away and handed her baby over to her husband, who too deeply gazed down on Angel and gave her a peck on the forehead exactly where his wife had kissed. He then bravely stood up and handed Angel over to Dr. Kwan. Nodded to them, Dr. Kwan walked away with Angel, while several nurses help with the equipment attached to Angel.

    Squatted down beside his wife, Julian interlocked their hands together. “Let go back to your room, so you could rest?” said Julian caringly.

    Shaking her head not wanting the spent the rest of her time in a hospital room, Annie requested, “It’s near five already, the sun will be up soon. Can you push me to the hospital garden in the front to watch the sunrise?” With his lips sealed tightly, her husband nodded to her last request.

    Meanwhile, Jacky had not given up with his wish to see his mommy. He had been walking for almost two hours to finally reach a bigger more trafficked street. He had waved many times for a taxi, but since he is a child no one would stop for him. Hugging onto Nancy’s cold ceramic piggybank tightly, Jacky continued to walk down the sidewalk, while his eyes anxiously watched the big street for another taxi to pass by. He shivered a bit to the cold and felt awfully tired, especially his legs, but he wouldn’t stop walking, knowing that he can’t give up.

    Finally seeing another taxi heading up, but in the far lane, Jacky waved madly with one hand while the other arm is trying hard not to drop the piggybank. He hollered loudly, “Over here! Mister, I’m over here!” Noticing that the driver is probably too far away to see him, Jacky quickly ran into the street trying to run to it before this one passed him too.

    A loud horn sounded along with the loud squeaking of break, shocked Jacky to turn around and face with an in coming car. Gasped with fright unable to scream, Jacky eyes widened staring at the bright headlight of the car, unable to move. The piggybank that he was tightly holding onto slipped out of his shaky grips and dropped onto the pavement of the street at the middle lane, where Jacky stood. Once it hit the hard pavement it shattered and coins rolled and bounced everywhere. Within second Jacky blacked out and fallen unconscious lying on the middle of the street.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Default Chapter 20

    Jerked forcefully ahead from inside the car when she made a sharp brake, the female driver screamed in shock, “What the freaking…” Panting with loud beating heart, she quickly glanced out toward the front of her car, but she no longer able to see the young little boy that had dashed out of nowhere.

    “What’s going on? Are you alright, Charmaine? A cop pulling you over again?” teased her friend, who she was talking to on the hand-free phone.

    Panicking, Charmaine scooted forward from her driver seat trying to peek toward the front of the car for Jacky. Her shaky voice nervously told her best friend, “I think I just ran over a little boy!”

    “Stop joking! Why would a little boy be out in the middle of the night? You probably just have too much to drink and hallucinating things. Either that or you just ran over a ghost,” laughed her friend, whom too was driving home from the party.

    “Stop it, I’m serious here!” declared Charmaine, who is starting to feel a little creepy after her friend mention that it might be a ghost. “I’ll talk to you later,” she urgently said and hangs up before her friend can react.

    Anxiously, Charmaine looked around the surrounding hoping to see no police car patrolling. The street she is on is still pretty empty, since it’s not even five in the morning yet. With the indigo sky only slightly lightened up the darkness, it reminded her of a recent horror movie she had just watched, where the ghost return to seek revenge at this hour of time. Nervously, Charmaine gulped and tightly grip on her steering wheel. She is too frightened to step out of her car to check the front of it. The thought of it being a real little boy that she might have just hit gave her the chill. In that case she knows he will probably need to go to hospital right away. Knowing that she must go out and check, Charmaine bravely took in a deep breath and quickly stepped out of her car.

    Charmaine slowly inched toward the front of her car, while her heart pounded, since she believes in ghost. She saw Jacky on the pavement unconscious with fragments of ceramic and coins around him. Greatly relieved to see no blood on the young boy or her car, Charmaine inched closer to have a look. She was glad that the young boy does not look injured, which meant she probably didn’t hit him at all. Quickly stepped up to squat down beside Jacky, Charmaine forcefully nudged on his body as she alerted, “Hey kid, are you okay? Wake up...can you hear me?”

    Startled awake, Jacky propped upright with his frightened pale expression darted at Charmaine. In fright, his pupils dilated and his nostrils flared up. Jacky turned to stare at the bright head light with a shocked frozen expression. Before he fainted from being overly scared earlier, Jacky had seriously thought that was the end of his short life.

    Seeing how frightened Jacky is, Charmaine felt a bit guilty, thinking that it could be partially her fault for drinking too much that her reaction had slowed. Curious to why this young boy that’s probably around five or six being out by himself in the middle of a night, Charmaine gently poked his upper arm with her index finger as she asked, “Kid, why on earth are you even out here alone? Do you know you almost got yourself kill and me in jail?!”

    Charmaine’s voice made Jacky snapped out of his shock with lips that begin to quiver and he begins crying loudly. He is very frightened from the event that his heart couldn’t stop racing, while he is nervously shaking, making him feel really uncomfortable. “I want to see my mommy!” cried Jacky as he looked around seeing Nancy’s piggybank being shattered with money fallen out everywhere. Crying in fright, he glanced around the empty street feeling lost and not knowing how to get to the hospital now.

    Jacky screaming cries made Charmaine shuddered. She had always dislike kids, especially when they cries and scream. She quickly covered her ears waiting for Jacky to finish screaming his cry. When Jacky wouldn’t stop, Charmaine hushed, “Shh…enough already!” Startled Jacky paused and turned to look at her, seeing a stranger, he cried again in frustration, feeling fearful. Rolled her eyes, Charmaine sighed and gave up on trying to filters his cries out. She slumps her shoulders and sighed loudly as she dully asked, “Are you in pain?” Jacky ignored her and just continued to cry his heart out to get rid of the discomfort he felt inside. He is frightened out of his life and felt scared that he couldn’t make it to the hospital in time.

    “Stop crying! For heaven sake you are not even hurt!” ordered Charmaine. Hearing her threatening tone, Jacky cried in distress and it echoed throughout the street. A bit embarrassed by Jacky, Charmaine glanced around, she was relief that this street is pretty empty with only a few car drive by every once in a while. Surrendered to Jacky, Charmaine can’t believe that she is defeated by a kid when even her parents are unable to control her. Trying to cheer Jacky up again, Charmaine offered, “Don’t cry kid. If you listen to me, I’ll give you candy? Toys?” Jacky shook his head to her and turned away to continue to cry. Suddenly remember that she had something left over from the party, she quickly went to her car to grab it. Returned to squat beside Jacky, she offered, “Bubbles? Confetti? You play with them before right? Its’ fun… Come on stop screaming your lungs out, you’re turning bright red. Here you could keep the entire bottle of bubble, just shut up for crying out loud!”

    Glanced at the bottle in his hand, Jacky throw it back at her and demanded, “I want my mommy!” Not liking the mean girl, Jacky pushed himself off the road as he wiped his tears on his sleeves and continued to cry some more. He squatted down and begins to pick up coins as he cried knowing that he’ll need money to get on a taxi.

    Seeing that Jacky is getting his fingers cuts by the sharp fragments of the broken ceramic when he tries to pick his coins back, Charmaine demanded, “Stop that, you’re cutting yourself!” Jacky wouldn’t listen to her, so she forcefully grabbed his shoulders and pulled him upright to face her. Darted into his eyes, Charmaine firmly said, “I say stop picking off the street! I’ll give you back the money. How much do you need?”

    Shrugged her off, Jacky glared at her with a pout, “I don’t need your help! You’re mean!” He returned to pick on the pavement for his coins again.

    Growled with her temper boiling up, Charmaine scoffed, “Fine.” She quickly ran back into her car and about to take off, but seeing Jacky cried as he continue to hunt down his coins, Charmaine didn’t had the heart to leave him here alone. Parked her BMW aside, Charmaine reached over to grab a hundred out of her purse. Running up to Jacky again, Charmaine harshly warned, “Kid, I’m serious, you’re going to get yourself terribly killed if you continue to stay here. Here is a hundred, it should be more than what you had lost.”

    “Mommy say I’m not supposed to get money from stranger, so stop yelling at me, I don’t want your money!” stated Jacky stubbornly with pockets of tears in his eyes.

    “What do you wanted then?” asked Charmaine frustratingly.

    “I wanted to go see my mommy,” said Jacky sadly.

    “Where’s your mommy? Did she ran away and left you in an orphanage or something?” joked Charmaine.

    Offended, Jacky glared at her and growled, “Don’t say bad things about my mommy. My mommy is in the hospital. My mommy had to leave me because she is dying, not because she wanted to…”

    Felt dumb folded, Charmaine sheepishly apologized, “Sorry lor, I didn’t know…”

    “It’s okay, just leave me alone,” said Jacky, who begin to sob as he returned to collect his coins.

    Sighed at him, Charmaine offered, “Come on don’t waste your time here. I’ll drive you to the hospital to see her.” Surprised, Jacky turned to gaze at her with doubt. Rolled her eyes, Charmaine teased, “Don’t tell me your mommy say you’re not suppose to sit in a stranger’s car too. Well, if you dare, then come with me.” Charmaine started to walk back to her car.

    Glanced at the coins on the street and up around not able to see another taxi coming, Jacky decided that it’s better for him to take her offer. He quickly followed after her, but when he saw the bottle of bubble, he stopped to pick it up before he ran after Charmaine to get into her car. During the ride to the hospital, Charmaine was curious and asked Jacky many question about his family. After feeling that she is trustworthy after all, Jacky was willing to tell her everything she wanted to know. It saddened Charmaine to hear his story about his mommy and his newborn baby sister Angel.

    In front of the hospital almost six in the morning, Julian is pushing his wife’s wheelchair toward a small garden with a pond in the center. His grips on her wheelchair handles are tight with nervousness. No matter how much he had forced himself to believe he is ready to let her go, deep down Julian knows that he is not ready to say goodbye. He felt really ironic to push his wife here to watch the sunrise, while it may be the path that leads to their final separation, their end. Needing to be assured that she is still close to him; Julian softly placed his left hand on her left shoulder. He gave her shoulder a longing gentle squeeze.

    With eyes gazed at the dark indigo sky, Annie saw a faint light blue horizon to her left side. Smiled faintly, knowing that it’ll be the direction where the sun will rise, Annie lifted her right arm up to gently pat on her husband’s hand that is on her left shoulder. “Honey look, it’s the first light of the day,” informed Annie. She tilted her chin up to look back toward her husband. With a pleasant faint smile, she requested, “Could we please sit here, that’ll be where the sun come up…” Feeling a bit breathless, she took in a deep breath of fresh morning air. She is starting to feel really drowsy and tired.

    Nodded, Julian replied with great warmth, “Okay. I’ll help you to the bench.” Carefully, Julian helped his wife to stand upright to walk. It breaks his heart to witness how even one step could drain so much of his wife’s energy and make her breathless. She looked so fragile with her weary sunken eyes and sluggish stroll. Stopped her from walking, he quickly swooped her up into his arms. Startled a bit, his wife tightly wrapped her arms around his neck. “Let me do the work. All I wanted you to do is relaxes and enjoy the fresh air,” sincerely stated the loving husband in a thick deep voice, that was obvious for anyone to tell that he is trapping his emotion inside. His wife let out a short chuckle with her weak tired eyes gazed into his. Her smile was faint and pale, but very gentle and sweet to his eyes; it’s a sight that he knows for certain that he will greatly miss, but will never forget.

    Gazed toward the grass field where there is a small slope facing the horizon, Annie wishfully requested, “Could we sit on the grass on top of that hill instead?” Glanced toward where his wife is looking at, Julian nodded. He just sees no reason for him to refuse any of her requests, even if she requested for him to die for her. As her husband carried her, Annie snuggled close to his chest and couldn’t help herself from gazing up at him. He felt warm and had never fails in giving her a sense of security. She relaxed one of her arm and absentminded draws on her husband’s chest with her index finger as their past kept bringing her longing tears. He is gentle, loving, and had always bends to her every need from the first day they met to this very last. His love has warmed and fulfilled her soul, but it had also brings her more heartache in learning how to let go.

    “Don’t sleep, alright?” softly reminded her husband as he carried her toward their destination.

    Annie knows that her husband purposely suppressed his voice to a barely audible tone because he didn’t dare to let her hear the tears behind his voice. She silently nodded to him and lowered her head with a small frown. On his chest she wrote ‘I love you’. She felt her husband grip tighten on her. She smiled to his coincident gesture and glanced up to meet with his eyes. They were captivating and dark, a handsome trait of her husband that she’ll always remember and kept engraved in her heart.

    When they arrived to the top of the small sloped hill, Julian carefully lowered to his knees and placed Annie on the lightly moist grass. While her husband settles down beside her, Annie looked down on the field of luxuriant grass that is covered with a thin layer of dew. Everything seem so precious to her and made her long for a chance to stay longer. She felt so ironic and foolish how she had never appreciated this world as much several years back, where she actually wishes for years to go by faster. Now, it’s too late for regret, since time will never stand still or reverse itself. Once her husband had settled down beside her and reached his gentle loving hand for her shoulder, Annie turned to him and gave him a beautiful smile.

    “The sun is about up,” she gently whispered, while her husband nodded to her. She could tells, that her husband had so much to talk to her about, but too afraid to open his mouth, fearing that he will end up crying to her. She understands and appreciated her husband’s love. Removed her husband arm from behind her, Annie leaned over against her husband’s right shoulder and sneaked her arms to coil her husband right arm. While her lips curved pleasantly to be close to him, her tears filled the realms of her eyes as she gazed ahead at the horizon. “It’ll be a beautiful day,” she gently said with her voice thicken with emotion.

    Her husband shook his head and whispered back ever so softly, “Not without you…” His genuine words cause her tears to escape. He saw it and sadly apologized, “I’m sorry…”

    “It’s okay,” she assured and snuggled closer. She took in a deep breath to get rid of her dizzy spell and the discomfort pressure in her chest. “Had you notice this is our first time watching the sunrise together?” she weakly pointed out with a sad frown. Her husband regretfully nodded. With a sigh, they sat in silent to gaze at the shade of the sky slowly lighten up.

    Really tired, Annie let out a deep sigh as she gazed at the distance sky with eyelids that slowly closed. “Just remember that I’ll love you wherever I am,” her soft weak voice broken the long silence as she closed her eyes. It felt so cozy and at peace to rest on her husband. She felt her husband anxiously shrugged his right shoulder trying to arouse her. “I’m okay, I just closed my eyes to listen to your heart,” assured Annie, who reopened her eyes and glanced up at her husband. “You know what it told me?” she asked with a playful weak smile as she looked into her husband redden eyes.

    “That I love you?” mouthed Julian so faintly with traces of tears in his voice. It hurt to be with her in this silent, where he had lots to say, but afraid he will break down into tears and let her know that he really had no idea how to live without her.

    Shaking her head at him, Annie calmly replied, “I heard it say, it’ll take care of you for me and wouldn’t let you cry for more than three days.” She saw her husband expression deepen as his glassy eyes gazed into her. His welled tears begin to overflow and slide down his cheek. She caught it and wipes it away as she whispered, “Please remember to never give up on yourself, or I’ll be very mad at you.”

    “Why can’t I just be in your place?” tearfully mouthed her husband.

    Swallowed her tears, Annie answered, “Because you love me more and know I’m not as strong as you are. I had always knows that between us, I’m the luckier one.”

    Gulped down the hard pressure in his throat, Julian gave her a kiss as he tearfully said, “You’ll be forever my only love. I’m grateful that you had married me. My only regret is not meeting you sooner.”

    “Mine too,” muttered Annie. Wetted and pressed her lips tight trying to control her emotion, Annie finally cried, “I’ll miss you, Julian Cheung.” Not able to contain her tears, she quickly looked down and leaned in to wrap her arms around her husband’s chest and soaked his shoulder. She could felt her husband tight embrace as his fists clenched onto her hospital scrub. They cried on each other for until the sudden sound of Julian’s mobile phone ring break into their cry. Backed away, Annie gestured him to answer the phone.

    Julian was a bit surprise that it was from Jessica. “Jessica?” he answered, thought that she is probably wondering about Annie and Angel’s condition.

    “Julian, Jacky disappear!” tearfully exclaimed Jessica in her shaky urgent voice.

    “What you mean?” anxiously asked Julian in fright. He saw his wife nervously watching him, therefore he reminded himself to not over react.

    “I woke up and went into Nancy’s room to check on them, but Jacky was not there. He is nowhere in the flat or the park downstairs. Nancy told me that Jacky was crying really hard last night wanting to see Annie. I think he is probably heading to the hospital. I guess, this mean you haven’t seen him?” asked Jessica, since Julian sounded shock.

    “What’s going on?” Annie asked seeing how anxious her husband looked.

    Not wanting Annie to worry Julian quickly made up an excuse, “Nothing, it’s about my parents…”

    “Are they okay?”

    “Yeah, they’re okay. She just telling me that my mom almost fainted last night, but she is fine now,” lied Julian, as his heart pounded with worry to his son’s where about.

    Wanting to hear her son’s voice, Annie asked, “Is Jacky up yet, I wanted to talk to him.”

    “She said Jacky is asleep. I can’t hear her that well. The reception here isn’t that good, probably because of these tall trees. I’ll be right back, okay?” said Julian in a rushing worry sick tone. Annie nodded to him, but she is a bit suspicious seeing how her husband looked distracted. Walked away far enough from his wife earshot, Julian asked, “Jessica, when did you found him missing?”

    “I just woke up about twenty minutes ago, so he left before six. Nancy said that she was up with him around two before she falls asleep, so between two and six. I’m so sorry…”

    “It’s okay, it’s not your fault. You’re right, he is probably trying to get here, but I’m afraid he’ll get lost; your place is not that close to here. I shouldn’t had force him to leave last night.”

    “Louis is driving around to look for him. He just called back before I called you, saying that he couldn’t find Jacky anywhere. I’m staying home just in case he came back or anyone calls back with his news,” informed Jessica.

    Nodding as he scanned the surrounding for Jacky, Julian replied, “That sound good, please call me when you get anything about him…”

    “I will. I hear Annie’s voice, is she okay? How about Angel? Had the surgeon came?”

    “Yes, Angel is in surgery right now. Annie is conscious… I need to return to her, I don’t want her to worry or get suspicious,” stated Julian.

    “DADDY!” loudly hollered Jacky’s voice, which spiked Julian’s heart rate.

    Julian quickly turned around and saw a female and Jacky from a distance away. He smiled with great relieved heart and tears just wells his eyes when he saw Jacky running toward him. “Jessica, don’t worry Jacky is here. I’ll talk to you later,” exclaimed Julian before he hung up. He quickly ran up to meet Jacky and kneeled down to tightly hug him, squeezing the life out of his son. Julian gazed up toward the early morning sky and exclaimed with great relief, “Thank god you’re safe!”

    He thankfully nodded to Charmaine, who remain by the sidewalk watching them and smiled back at him. Charmaine was surprise that Jacky had great bond with his stepfather, especially since she doesn’t even have such a bond with her own father. After getting to know Jacky and listened to his story, Charmaine became curious about this sad family. Not wanting to disturb them, she walked off a bit, but remain close by to watch them. A touched smile glow on her face to see the father and son hugged so tight. It was something she wishes she had with her parents.

    Meanwhile tightly embracing his daddy as he cried frightfully, Jacky informed, “Daddy, I almost got hit by a car! I was so scared!”

    Pulled away from Jacky, Julian hard eyes sternly stared at him and scolded, “You scared the heck out of me! Don’t you ever do this again, you hear me!”

    Crying, Jacky nodded and tearfully apologized, “I’m sorry…” His daddy pulled him back in to tightly hold his precious life in his arms. From afar, Annie was surprise and confused to why her son had arrived. She anxiously watched the father and son tightly clinging to each other as she wondered what’s had happened. Seeing how worried his daddy is, Jacky tearfully cried, “I’m really sorry daddy. I don’t mean to make you angry… I just wanted to see mommy…”

    Slightly pulled back, Julian held onto Jacky’s head and pecked him on both side of his cheeks, showing how much Jacky meant to him. Wiped Jacky’s tears away, he nodded and replied, “It’s okay, just promise not to do it again, okay?” Jacky nodded and sniffed his tears away. “You wanted to see mommy?” asked Julian.

    “Yes,” tearfully replied Jacky as he glanced around for his mommy. Finally saw the hill from afar, Jacky happily hollered, “Mommy!” He is so relief to see his mommy being out here rather than in the hospital. He thought that it meant his mommy had gotten all better now and ready to return home, like how his daddy once promised. Excited, Jacky was about to run toward his mommy, but his daddy stopped him. Confusedly, Jacky looked up at his daddy. “Daddy, lets go over there and sit with mommy,” urged Jacky.

    Nodded to him, Julian requested, “Jacky, you listen to daddy closely alright?” Jacky nodded with a puzzled expression, since his daddy looked really serious. “I’m sorry, but mommy will be leaving us today. I wanted you to know, so you won’t get frightened when it happens.”

    Shocked, Jacky quickly looked over to his mommy, who is looking toward his way. Unable to understand, Jacky returned to look at his daddy and asked, “What you mean daddy? Mommy is over there. She is okay…”

    “No, she is not. She may look okay outside, but she is really sick inside. The doctor had given her medication so she can be with us for a while, then she’ll have to go…”

    “You mean mommy will die today?” unnervingly asked Jacky, while his daddy gloomily nodded with soft eyes on him unmoved. “Why?” tearfully asked Jacky with his eyes quickly drowned. He shook his head and exclaimed, “I don’t want mommy to die. She is okay; she is sitting over there waiting for us. Why would mommy die? What about Angel? Is she going to die too?”

    Not knowing the answer, Julian honestly replied, “Angel is in surgery. She may be okay, or she may not. We had to wait to see how the surgery goes…”

    “But mommy will die for sure?” heartbrokenly asked Jacky. His daddy nodded, making him begin to cry with his hope crushed. Jacky angrily reminded, “Daddy, you promised that we can all go home! Not leaving mommy behind!”

    “Shh…don’t cry… I know, I’m sorry that I can’t keep my promise. Jacky, listen to daddy, you must not cry. Remember daddy taught you to be strong, because it’s very important for mommy to know that we’ll be fine and still could be happy after she leaves. She is going to a happy place up above. We don’t want her to be unhappy there, right? Daddy knows that it’s a hard thing to ask from you, that’s why daddy wanted you to stay with Uncle Louis and Aunt Jessica during this time…”

    “No, I wanted to be with mommy,” screamed Jacky in distress. Crying as he thinks of his daddy’s words and understanding a little, Jacky bravely nodded and promised as he begged, “I understand. I really do. Daddy say mommy is dying because she is sick with cancer. Daddy don’t want mommy to be sad or worry about us, so we have to be happy and not cry in front of mommy. I’ll listen, I’ll be a big boy, I’ll be brave, and not cry in front of mommy. I won’t make mommy sad, I’ll make mommy happy. Please don’t make me leave. I really do understand now. I won’t cry…” Jacky tried hard to control himself from crying.

    Nodding, Julian dried Jacky tears and assured, “Daddy, won’t make you go home. I know you could do it; you’re daddy brave little boy. Let dries those tears and go see mommy.”

    Nodding Jacky bravely sniffed all his tears in and put on a very forceful smile. Holding onto his daddy’s hand, they walked over to his mommy. Once he was in several feet away, Jacky let go of his daddy’s hand and charged up to hug his mommy. “Mommy!” he called longingly as he gave his mommy the biggest hug ever.

    Hugged him back, Annie curiously asked, “Why are you here by yourself?” She looked up at her husband with question to why he lied to her earlier.

    “We wanted to surprise you,” lied Julian, not wanting his wife to worry.

    Patted Jacky’s back, Annie motherly asked, “Aren’t you sleepy waking up this early?” Jacky silently shook his head as he tried hard to not make a whimper. It was really much harder than he think, since he felt like bawling his eyes out already. Burying his tears deep down inside, Jacky just tightened his hug with all of his strength to release his emotion. “You’re hugging me so tight that I couldn’t breath,” teased Annie to ease the mood. She reached a hand up to hold her husband’s hand and tugged him down to sit beside them. Seated back down beside her, her husband held her hand and smiled warmly with a reassurance nod, to let her know that everything is alright.

    Taking it literally, Jacky quickly released his mommy and backed off to look at her. He concernedly apologized with his thicken voice that had lost a bit of his innocent, “I’m sorry.”

    Chuckled, Annie replied, “Mommy’s just kidding.” Looking into her son’s redden and puffy eyes with darken circle around it, she could easily tell that Jacky didn’t had much sleep at all and had been crying too much. Lovingly, she cuddled him and kissed his fine hair. She whispered, “I love you.”

    Nodding, Jacky sadly replied, “I love you too, mommy.” Dropped his head, Jacky frowned to the uncomfortable sad feeling he is experiencing inside. Leaned back in on his mommy again, Jacky wrapped his arms around his mommy. Softly, Jacky bravely promised, “Mommy, Jacky will miss you…but I’ll be good. I’ll listen to daddy… I’ll take good care of Angel and won’t let anyone pick on her. You don’t have to worry about us. You don’t have to feel sad. I wanted you to be happy up there. Promise me, mommy?”

    Smiling in tears, Annie nodded to her son, she is touched by his words and suddenly realized how fast he had grown. Julian nodded too and was quite surprise to hear how brave Jacky is, he felt proud for his young stepson for maturing this fast and being this understanding. Hugged her son tightly, Annie happily nodded with touched tears cascading down her cheeks. “You’re such a wonderful sweet little boy. You’re mommy’s favorite son,” winked Annie as she pulled back from him a little to peck his forehead multiple times. How much her heart is hurting now to know that she’ll miss him tremendously, but in a way, she is also relieved that he understands now.

    Jacky finally couldn’t control his tears and begin to softly cry. Annie was able to hear soft little sniffling from Jacky and heard how he tried hard to stop himself. She lovingly brushed his back and whispered softly into his ears, “It’s okay, you can cry now.” Stubbornly shook his head refusing to give in, Jacky sniffed hard to hold all his tears back as his grips became tighter squeezing the life out of her again.

    It made Julian heartbreak to see how hard Jacky is trying to hold everything in. He let out a soft sigh and reached his arm across his wife’s back and warmly held her shoulder. His other hand reached over to brush Jacky’s back along with his wife’s hand. “Jacky, go ahead and cry, it’ll make you feel better,” encouraged Julian, feeling a bit guilty that he wouldn’t allow it earlier. Jacky’s whimpering cry begins to intensify as he tried to hide it by muffling into his mommy’s shoulder. Smiled at her husband with thankful eyes, Annie leaned her head onto her husband’s left shoulder. She is very much relieved that at least she had found her son a great father and male role model.

    With Jacky continued to sob on her shoulder, Annie returned her gaze back toward the horizon and was just in time to see the sun starting to climb. Excited, she nudged on her son, “Jacky, look at that beautiful sun that is rising.”

    Curious to his mommy enthusiasm, Jacky had stopped his sobbing and turned to look at the huge orange sun partially coming out. There are also many clouds that had blocked its’ warm rays. Seeing how both his parents kept their eyes on the sun, Jacky fully turned to face the sun too. He leaned back comfortably in his mommy arms as he watched it slowly rise. His mommy slightly rocked him as she gently whispered, “You just remember whenever you missed mommy, you could always talk to me; I’ll be able to hear you. If you wanted to see me, just look up into the sky, I’ll be there somewhere hiding behind those clouds. Okay?” Jacky nodded with his sad little pout and soft round eyes missing her already. Seeing something in his pocket, Annie curiously asked, “What’s that you have in your pocket?”

    Remembered, Jacky quickly pulled the bottle of bubbles out and informed, “Charmaine gave this to me.” Assuming that she’s his classmate, his parents didn’t question about Charmaine. “Mommy, do you remember how much fun it was when we used to blow bubbles in the park when I was really little? I thought you would like to play with them again, so I kept it for you,” exclaimed Jacky.

    Smiled to those memories, Annie encouraged, “Why don’t you blow mommy some bubbles now. Could you fill this beautiful morning sky with bubbles, please?” Nodding with great willingness, Jacky opened the bottle and started to blow as much bubbles as he could to make his mommy’s wishes come true. Meanwhile, feeling a hard pressure on her chest and starting to feel really out of breath, Annie softly suggested, “Jacky, you need to stand up and walk around so the bubbles will fly higher and more spread out…” Nodding to her wish, Jacky obediently stood up and blew more bubbles as he turned and walked few feet away. He continued and tried hard to fill the sky with as much bubbles as possible.

    Seeing how much his wife face drained and her hand feeling a bit cold, Julian scooted closer and pulled her in to cuddle her and warm her up. Lovingly, Julian wrapped one of his arms across her back and pulled her shoulder in toward him, while his other hand held onto both of his wife’s hands that are rested on his lap. They gazed toward Jacky watching him fill the brighten sky with bubbles as the sun slowly climbed higher. The sight was warm and peaceful.

    With her heart slowing down and her breathing becoming more shallows, Annie felt so sleepy. She drowsily opened and closed her eyes as she rested on her husband and tried hard to keep looking toward her son for as long as possible. Gently wiggling her fingers in to interlock with her husband’s hand, Annie held it tight and a small smile painted on her face. “Angel will be just fine, I’ll take care of her and not let anything happen to her,” she whispered so softly that it was becoming hard for Julian to understand.

    Knowing that his wife is slipping away from him, a drop of his tears tumbled down his cheek. He nodded to her and whispered back, “I’ll love you forever and will always miss you, but I’ll never forget you.” He tightened their interlocked hands.

    “You can miss me and remember me, but not in an unhappy way,” warned Annie feeling her body becoming heavier and each breath becoming harder. Gazed to look up at her husband and back toward her son for one last time, she smiled to see so many bubbles and the sight of Jacky trying hard to make more. Feeling really exhausted, Annie peacefully rested her heavy eyelids and with her last breath, she murmured, “I love you...”

    Feeling her grip weakened and her fingers slowly slipped away, Julian heart ached deeply as those three words repeatedly echoed deep into his heart, there it’ll be buried for the rest of his life. He gazed up at the bubbles and watched each one popped slowly as they drifted away. One, two…suddenly they all burst faster when tiny raindrops begin to fall like mist fallen from the sky. As he gazed up into the sky seeing how the clouds had hidden the sun and the rain has chased the bubbles away, Julian couldn’t help but felt like all happiness end once his wife left. Tears just constantly washed his face as he tightly continue to hug his wife with one arm while his right hand tightly held onto his wife’s cold lifeless hands.

    Bravely turned to his left shoulder to see his wife peacefully rested on it, he pressed his lips tight and leaned in to give her one last kiss on the forehead. His tears dropped off his cheeks and onto his wife’s forehead, but tiny droplets of rain help blended with his tears and washed them away. “You’ll always live in my heart,” he lovingly whispered to her ear. Seating back up right and stilly letting his wife continue to rest on his shoulder, Julian gazed up into the misty rain.

    Meanwhile, Jacky was disappointed and having a hard time keeping up with the rain, that had popped each and every single one of his bubble. He pouted and finally turned back toward his parents. His eyes landed on his mommy and saw her closed her eyes. Her lips and face were white. Knowing that it had happened, Jacky dropped the bottle of bubbles and tears just spilled out of his eyes blurring his vision. Blindly, he dashed up to knee down in front of his mommy and nudged on her body. “Mommy…” he called heartbrokenly, but there was no reply. Crying he called louder and nudged harder. He reached his hand to hold onto his mommy’s and daddy’s hand as he nudged it, but there was no response from his mommy. Turned to look at his daddy, Jacky tearfully cried, “Mommy left…”

    Nodding to him, Julian finally welling to release his wife’s hands, and with his one arm, he pulled his son in to tightly hold him close. “You did good, you made mommy very happy. You had made me very proud. You are our bravest son,” stated Julian with a pained deep voice. Jacky hugged his daddy tightly and cried his heart out. His cries echoed sorrowfully with the rain as his background.

    Running pass Charmaine, who is in tears as she witnessed the death, the nurse that had good news about Angel for the father, have stopped her running and stood several feet behind them. It broke her heart to hear the father and son’s cry, while the mother is lifeless beside them. It seems to rain harder as the father and son cried harder.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Yak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Default Chapter 21

    Casts for the older version of the younger characters:

    Jack Wu as Jacky Cheung
    Nancy Wu as Nancy Chan
    Annie Man as Angel Cheung
    Benny Chan
    * If you can’t imagine Julian being old, you can use Paul Chung for the older version of Julian.

    --One year later--

    Holding onto Jacky’s hand, Julian walked along the pebbles path toward his wife’s grave. In Jacky’s hand he held a bundle of home pick daisy, that his daddy has planted after his mommy passed away. Stopped in front of the tidy and clean marble tombstone with a small cross on top, the father and son stopped and took a bow at the tombstone together. The eight-years-old boy stepped forward to place the bunch of white daisy in front of his mommy’s grave. Smiled brightly, Jacky proudly exclaimed, “Mommy, I picked them myself. I know you’ll like these, they are the biggest one. I had also picked a bunch for Angel, will take them to her after we visit you first.”

    Squatted down to face his wife’s tombstone, Julian pulled a handkerchief out. Smiled nervously, he wiped his wife’s photo as he spoke, “Remember you promised me to keep an eye on our daughter? You didn’t break your promise the first time, so I trusted you to protect her this time too. She is getting a new heart as we spoke, if it’s successful it’ll last her for a long while, at least until she grew up strong and ready for an adult size one. Like you, she had been really brave; she didn’t fuss or refuse the surgery. Though it might be harder to convince her in the future when she gets older and could actually talk back, huh?” He chuckled to his wife and let out a sigh before he continued, “Well, you remember to keep your words and I’ll remember to keep mine.”

    After their visit with Annie, the father and son walked along the pebbles trails heading back toward their car. Curiously, Jacky glanced up at his daddy and couldn’t help but ask, “Daddy, are you going to have a wedding soon?”

    “What make you think that?” Julian puzzlingly asked Jacky.

    Shrugging, Jacky weakly replied with a hint of disappointment, “I over heard grandma talking to you in the kitchen, you know the day we went over to grandpa for dinner during last week. I heard grandma wanting you to get marry again, so there will be a new mommy to take care of Angel. I know grandma had always liked Charmaine ever since she met her. Charmaine had been coming over to our flat for dinner a lot lately too. She had been awfully too nice and kept buying me toys lately; I know what she is trying to do. Charmaine always holds Angel all the time too and was able to make Angel laugh. I know she really like daddy too…”

    Paused to look up into his father’s eyes, Jacky nervously asked with some disappointment, “Do you like her daddy? Is she the one you choose to marry now? If you do marry her, won’t Angel forget mommy? Angel didn’t get to be with mommy for long when she was born and she can’t even see photos of mommy. How will she remember mommy at all, especially when she is going to have a new mommy soon…”

    Chuckling, Julian replied, “First of all, Charmaine is just daddy’s friend. You’re the one that introduce us, remember?” Jacky nodded with a pout, now he regret it, since he kind of afraid that no one will remember his mommy anymore, especially seeing how Charmaine tried to befriend his daddy. With a warm pat on his son’s shoulder, Julian assured, “Daddy only treat Charmaine as a sister, since she don’t have any family to care for her. You just think of her as your aunt, alright? I kept inviting her over for dinner because I thought you wanted to see her and play game with her…”

    “Noooo,” honestly protested Jacky, making Julian laughed. Sheepishly, Jacky slumps his shoulder and admitted, “Well, I guess she is not that bad, but she could only be our friend, right daddy? Well, I guess she could be like an aunt, but never mommy, right?” Jacky selfishly asked for confirmation. This worry had been bothering him for quite awhile, since he really doesn’t want to forget about his mommy and really hope that his daddy wouldn’t too.

    Reached to hold Jacky’s hand, Julian sincerely promised as they picked up their walking again, “Jacky, daddy will only have one wife, one son, and one daughter forever, which are your mommy, you, and Angel, understand? No one could ever replace your mommy’s place in my heart. She had always been there and she will always be there. As for Angel, it doesn’t matter even though it’s true that she didn’t have much time with mommy before. She’ll always be mommy’s daughter, like how you’ll always be daddy’s and mommy’s son. What Angel doesn’t know about mommy, we will be there to answer her question, right?” Grinned brightly with relief, Jacky nodded.

    --Five years later--

    A six-years-old girl in school uniform and a pair of ponytails turned back to wave goodbye toward the voices of her missy. She stopped in the middle of the hallway to remove her backpack and slowly feeling for the zipper to open it. “Hey Angel, do you need a ride home today?” asked one of her classmate as she walked by.

    Turned to the voice of her best friend, Angel shook her head and smiled beautifully with large beautiful eyes. “No, my daddy’s coming to pick me up. It’s my mommy’s birthday today, so we’re going to visit her,” explained Angel as she continued to fish for her blue shaded sunglasses. She finally felt it and taken it out to put it on.

    “Okay, bye then,” said the girl, that Angel had always imagine being much taller than she really is.

    As usual, Angel likes to put on her baby blue shade sunglasses and her white baseball cap on backward, since that is how her brother always taught her to dress to be cool. Finally, she grabs her walking stick and straightened it to help guide her path. Ever since her first sight at her father and brother on the day she was born, she had lost her eyesight from the internal bleeding. At least she was lucky enough that the blood cleared away returning the clear, large, and beautiful eyes that she was born with, it just only that they had lost their ability to capture image. Being blind she has disability, but at least Angel knows that she is very lucky to survive two major surgeries, or even to be born at all. She had always love to listen to her father’s stories about how brave and loving her mother was to give her life, therefore she cherished each day of her life as a miracle.

    Slowly making her way down the crowded hallway with her walking stick, Angel said many byes to her fellow classmates, who are mostly nice enough to step away from her path. Most of them are kind and helpful, but there are always one or two troublemakers that like to tease and play prank on her, but she always accepted their challenge with a laugh.

    Speeding down the hallway, a mischievous bully snatched her walking stick so fast that it made her fall. Slowed down his running, the bully watched to make sure she gotten back up alright before he speeded up his running again and hollered as he ran off, “Catch me if you wanted it back, blindy Angel.”

    “Benny gives me back or you’ll be sorry!” Angel screamed with a huff as she tries to run toward his voice using the wall to guide her.

    With eyes kept on Angel in amuse rather than looking at where he is running, Benny collided into a thirteen years old boy. Grinned at Benny with a not amused glare, the protective teenager grabbed both side of his sister’s bully by the shoulders and lifted him up. “Jacky gor…” sheepishly greet Benny, knowing that he is in trouble now.

    Jacky face was darkened with furious eyes glared at him, while his nostrils seem to flare up about to breath out fire. Growled softly at the puny six-years-old, Jacky threateningly asked, “Did you not hear what I told you last time?” He is irritated to find this same puny little boy kept picking on his sister every single opportunities he finds.

    Gulped the young prankster quickly explained as he handed the stick back to the teenage boy, “Jacky gor, I was just playing with her.”

    Shoving the short boy against the wall, Jacky coldly warned again, “Don’t mess with her. Don’t even call her name. If I caught you bullying her again, you’ll be sorry…” Jacky threaten as he wipes his hand on the shaking boy’s cheeks.

    Followed her brother’s voice, Angel made her way to them. “Gor,” greeted Angel to her brother.

    Grinned brightly toward his classmate, Benny sheepishly begged for help, “Hi Angel, you look so cute today with those ponytails. You know I was just playing with you, right? Tell your brother that.”

    Angel brightly smirked with a ‘haha’ expression toward the sound of Benny’s frightful voice. “Oh were you?” asked Angel playfully.

    “Yes. Oh did I tell you, you look so sweet with those sunglasses?” asked Benny, trying hard to get Angel’s help.

    Shrugged, Angel shook her head and simply replied, “No.” As usual routine with any bully that he have captured for his sister, Jacky grab his kid sister’s hand and guided her hand toward Benny’s left’s ear. Knowing what will happen, Benny squirmed around, Jacky huffed at him to hold still, so Benny did, since he know he can’t beat a kid twice his age and size. Felt Benny’s ear in her hand, Angel evilly smiled and gave her bully a pull on the ear. Once his sister had got a hold of it, Jacky would let go of the bully and let Angel bully the kid back. “Don’t ever make me fall again, Benny Chan. It’s not a fun game,” Angel stated as she gave Benny’s ear a twist as she stuck out to tip of her tongue toward her bully direction and make a face.

    “Ouch! You’re pulling it off, blindy!” yapped Benny in pain.

    Growling, Jacky grabbed Benny by his school uniform and shoved him against the wall again. He firmly asked, “What did you just call her?”

    “Sweet little Angel?” sheepishly replied Benny.

    Laughing with amuse, Angel decided to stop, “Gor, you could let him go now.”

    “Remember, I was just playing with you too,” bullied Jacky before he let Benny go. The puny boy quickly took off. Chuckling at his little sister, Jacky grabbed her backpack for her.

    Pouting, Angel whined, “I can’t see, I don’t want to walk myself or I’ll trip and fall.” She squatted down with extended arms signaling to be piggybacked. Hearing her brother hump and walking pass her, she quickly reached out to grab onto him and whined, “My heart is hurting…it’ll be too much work on my heart to walk.” Touched the tiny sore on her elbow, Angel childishly whined, “See, Benny gave me a scrape from making me fall. It’s hurting too much to walk.”

    Rolled his eyes, Jacky laughed as he replied, “Angel there is nothing there…”

    “Look closer,” exclaimed Angel with flatted lips.

    Chuckling, as always Jacky gave in, since he knows she’ll go on and on until she gets what she asked for. “Just get on,” Jacky instructed as he grabs her arms and swung it around his shoulders to piggyback her.

    Happy that she got what she asked, Angel gave her brother a tight squeeze around his neck as she sweet said, “Thank you. When I get older, I’ll piggy you back.” Her brother chuckled to her comment doubtfully. Angel knows that when it come to her father and brother, they would always bend to her request and tend to spoil her, but she would never over abuse her privilege. When Jacky piggybacked Angel pass the music room, Angel excitedly patted on both side of his shoulders hinting she wanted him to pause. “Wait, it’s my favorite song. Let finish it first,” she requested as she deeply listened to the piano music.

    Tired, Jacky reminded, “Ms Angel, though I’m twice your age, you’re still not that light weighted.” Curiously, Jacky asked, “I thought you say you’re making something for mommy, did you remember to make it?”

    “Not make, sing. I’m going to sing mommy’s favorite song,” proudly said Angel.

    “You sing? I say you better off stick to your talent and play her the song instead,” laughed her brother. After the melody ended, he piggybacked her out of the school and there Julian was waiting for them in the car to take them to the cemetery.

    --Twenty years later--

    In the same hospital that Annie had passed away, doctors and nurses rushed their way into the ER to save an old man that had been hit. “Dr. Cheung from oncology, please report to the ER. Dr. Cheung from oncology please report to the ER,” the hospital operator announced through the intercom.

    Hearing his calling, Jacky rushed down and reported to the new admitted trauma patient, who obviously had some sort of cancer. “Which bed am I needed in?” he asked the charge nurse in the front counter.

    “Bed one, Dr. Cheung,” replied the nurse with respect to the thirty-three years old doctor, whom are quiet knowledgeable for his field at quite young age.

    Jacky hurried in and once he draws the curtain open, his eyes frozen on the mid-sixty-years-old. To this day, Jacky can’t believe that he still remember him. Once he turned eighteen, Julian had given him the diary his mother wrote to him explaining who his father was. Even though he had known for more than a decade, Jacky had no intention to look for his father, he thought that he will never see him again, but this world is smaller than he thought.

    “Dr. Cheung? Jacky? Jack,” called one of his fellow doctors as she handed him the patient’s medical history. In between consciousness the trauma patient opened his eyes to look when he heard that name.

    Snapped out of his thought, Jacky reminded himself to be professional and just treat him as other patient. “Thanks,” Jacky said to his ER friend. He scanned the history and confirmed the old man being Alex Fong, his biological father, who he wishes to never encounter. Curiously he scanned down to see what cancer his father has. When he saw it being lungs cancer and realizing that this heartless man is lying in the same bed unit his mother was back then, Jacky couldn’t help himself from making a soft scoffing laugh, thinking that there is a God up above after all. Brushed his sinister thought away, Jacky reminded himself that he is a doctor and should not in any time wish death upon his patient. Therefore he cooperated with the rescue team, he helped stabilize his father condition and left, just treating him as another one of his patient.

    A week later when Alex had gotten better, he begin to search around the hospital looking for his son. He was positive that he heard someone called his son’s name during the mid of saving him. He had asked around and found out where Jacky’s office is located at in the hospital. Curious to see how his son has turns out; he sneaked up to the floor and snooped around the office.

    Meanwhile, Jacky had just returned from having lunch with his wife. Seeing that shivery jet hair of his father, who stood in front of him with his back facing him, Jacky had a waving flame inside him. He hated his father for treating his mother this way and abandoning them when they needed him most. The thing that angers him most is that this man in front of him had lied to his mother and made her suffered for a period of time by not being honest about having his own family. Not wanting to give his father any special attention, Jacky walked pass him and headed into his office.

    Surprise and happy to see him, Alex inched closer to his son’s office and peeked in. His smile grew to see the name plate on the desk saying ‘Jacky Cheung M.D.’, but it saddened him a bit that his son now carries a different last name. Nervously inched closer and stepped into Jacky’s office, Alex weakly asked, “Jacky, do you remember me?”

    Without glancing up, Jacky pretended to be busy with his paper work as he plainly replied, “Of course. You’re that trauma patient from few days ago.”

    “Well, yes,” replied Alex a bit disappointed. He explained, “You don’t remember me? I saw you before when you were little, about seven. You came into my art gallery with your mother…”

    “Really? It’s too long ago, I don’t recall,” dully replied Jacky. Looked up at him with his still eyes, Jacky hinted, “I’m sorry, I’m very busy. If you needed someone to talk to, maybe go down to one of the nurses’ station?”

    Dishearten, Alex sighed and claim, “Jacky, I’m your father.”

    That was the last straw for Jacky, he can’t believe that this man had the gut to bring it up. Glared at him, Jacky firmly declared, “I think you had mistaken Mr. Fong. I only have one father and his name is Julian Cheung, a father that my mother loved really much to the day that she died. I only have one sister and her name is Angel Cheung, a sister that did not push my mother and cause her to have an early delivery.”

    Hearing his reply, Alex was surprise that his son knows his identity and just chose not to accept him as a father. But even more greatly shocked by the news about Annie, Alex anxiously asked for clarification, “What you mean to the day that she died? Your mother…your mother passed away? When? How?”

    “Not long after your only child gave her a shove,” coldly replied Jacky. He stood up and gestured the unfaithful man out the door. Jacky calmly stated, “It’s doesn’t matter. Everything is too late. I’m sorry I’m in a hurry to pick up my father to an important event. Could you please step out of my office, so I can finish up my work?”

    “I’m sorry,” apologized his father. Jacky didn’t show any emotion to his apology. He just closed his door on him and wishes that he don’t reenter into his life ever again.

    Later that evening, outside of a grand symphony hall three kids age seven, five, and three with height that are evenly spaced like a climbing steps when they stand together. They impatiently stood by the main entrance waiting for their father and grandpa. The eldest is a son, who is as bright as his father. The second is a daughter, who resembles her mother being sweet and innocent. While the third is the middle son, who is curious about every little thing and loves to drives people insane with his ‘why’ question.

    “Anna, pull Toby back before he get stampeded by Aunty Angel’s fans,” ordered the eldest one.

    The five-years-old quickly ran up to lift her heavy younger brother from behind and tries to move him back. Whining, Toby screamed, “Let me go! I saw daddy!”

    “Daddy? You did?” excitedly asked the sister. Toby nodded and pointed toward their formally dressed daddy and their grandpa. Released her brother, Anna quickly charged up to her grandpa and greeted with a big hug, “Grandpa!”

    “Anna!” laughingly teased Julian, a mid-fifty years old grandpa. Julian lifted her up into his arms and gave her a kiss on the cheek while she kissed him back. “You sure look like a princess in your formal dress,” complimented her grandpa, while Anna shyly blushed with giggle.

    Meanwhile the two boys charged up to their father. The youngest one tugged for their father to pick him up. Picked the three-years-old up, Jacky questioned his eldest son, “Cody, where are mommy and your baby brother?”

    “Inside with Aunty Angel!” the two older one raced to answer.

    “Daddy asked me,” irritatingly yelled Cody to his sister. His sister stuck her tongue out at him for being so mean.

    Rolled his eyes at them, Jacky warned, “Don’t yell at your sister now.” Seeing his wife walked out of the back stage door with their new born son heading toward him, Jacky walked up to meet her. He swung his free arm to wrap around her shoulder and shared a brief kiss on the lips. “Nancy, did you remember to grab the camera? I realize I had forgotten it when I stepped out the door to go pick up dad…”

    “Don’t worry I saw it on my way out to pick up the kids, so I did grabbed it for you. Don’t I always know how to read your mind, Jack?” smirked Nancy with the bridge of her nose winkled. Being married to her husband for eight years already, she believe she know him inside out, especially since they grew up together. “Oh my gosh, Toby look at your shirt, what had you been eating?” Nancy freaked out as she quickly handed her two months old baby over to her husband and switched for their three-years-old son.

    Pouting, Toby pointed toward his brother and tattletales, “Cody spill drink on me.”

    “No! Mommy, he ran into me! Toby, don’t make it sound like I did it on purpose!” protested the seven-years-old.

    Sighed loudly at them and exhaustedly rolled her eyes, Nancy exclaimed, “Cody, you have coke stain on yours too. You two just trying to drive me insane, I’m telling you. Those dress shirts and your suit are expensive…”

    “Nancy, we were able to hear your fussing all the way out in the parking lot,” teased her father Louis, who had just arrived with her mother Jessica.

    “Grandpa, grandma!” greeted the two boys.

    “Come on kiddos, let go in the bathroom and see if we could fix those stains,” suggested Louis.

    “Thanks dad,” said Nancy as her father walked away with two of her sons. She turned to pout at her mother and childishly coiled her arm as she exclaimed, “Mom, no wonder you don’t want any more children after me.” Along with her mother, her husband and father-in-law laughed to her comment.

    “Where is Angel?” asked Jessica.

    “She is in the backstage getting ready. Don’t worry her sweeties boyfriend Benny is with her,” assured Nancy as she walked over to fix her daughter’s ponytails.

    Julian suggested, “Let go in, I think she is getting nervous by now. Jessica, do I look okay? To tell you the truth, I’m kind of nervous to be up on stage.”

    Jessica laughed at her old friend, “You look charming! Annie would agree to me on this.” Julian winked to his granddaughter Anna and made her giggled. They started to head toward the backstage to go see Angel. Jessica stepped up to Jacky, who had became her son-in-law and requested as she looked at her youngest grandchild, “Come on my cuties pie, Robby. Come to granny.” Laughed with joy, Jacky handed his son over to his mother-in-law. With their children each being taken care of by their grandparents, Jacky and Nancy finally had some time for themselves. They sweetly held hand and walked together to the backstage. Quickly run out of the rest room, the two boys and Louis trialed after the group.

    Walked into the back stage, Julian proudly smiled at his twenty-six-years-old daughter, who had become a famous classical pianist. Being blind and this successful, she was an inspiration for many people. Lots of her fans admired her music, including her boyfriend who used to be her bully, but now mostly bullied by her. “Sweetheart, you looked like an Angel,” said Julian as he gave his daughter a peck on her cheek. She looked beautiful and resembled her mother in so many ways. Looking at his daughter, Julian could always see his wife’s beautiful sweet smile.

    “Daddy, you finally made it. I was so worry about you and gor,” stated Angel with a bright happy grin toward her father’s voice. She is sitting on a chair with other helping her apply makeup.

    “Uncle,” greeted Benny, while Julian nodded with a friendly smile. Julian is still a little bit not use to see his baby girl growing up and started dating now, but deep down he know Benny is a good kid and had fate that they will go far.

    The sight of Angel and Benny dating always make Jacky laugh, since he still recall how he used to threaten Benny. “My gosh Benny, what happen to you? Angel had tamed you into a kitten. She probably pulled your ears so many times that now you only know how to listen to her words,” teased Jacky.

    A bit embarrassed Benny chuckled. Pouting at her brother, Angel warned, “Don’t make fun of him, now. What took you so long to pick daddy up?”

    Jacky teased, “Your fans are blocking all the traffic. There are so many of them out there. Most of them are holding onto your ‘Angel’s Wings’ album, I bet it’ll be early morning before we can make it home, if you’re going to brail signs each one of them.”

    “Stop joking,” laughed Angel.

    Chuckling along with her husband, Nancy teased too, “And you were worrying about them forgotten about you during your half year rest after heart transplant. I think Jack is right, the numbers seem to double.”

    “Of course, she is the best,” sweetly stated Benny as he reached his hand down to held onto Angel’s hand and stood by her side. It made Angel’s happily smiled with glee to know that she is gaining more fans. She had always love music and it’s even more satisfying to her to know so many more enjoy it with her. Lovingly, she gave her boyfriend hand a tight interlock. She does have to thanks him for his encouragement. If not for him, she know she wouldn’t make it this far.

    Laughed at Benny, Jacky teased, “Stop your shoe shining. She won’t change her mind and choose you to go up the stage with her tonight.”

    Chuckled nervously, Benny gave Jacky a hard elbow and whispered, “Give me some face in front of your father man. Don’t make him think that I’m not trustworthy…” Both Jacky and Nancy laughed at Benny’s request. They could tell that Benny is a bit nervous when Julian is around, so very unlike his usual confident self.

    Thirty minutes later, at the front row in the center, all formally dressed Jacky and his wife Nancy, settled down with their children seated beside Louis and Jessica, while Benny took the seat next to Jacky. When the light turn off and a spot light shine toward the stage to introduce the star of the evening, they clapped loudly and proudly. Walking out the stage, with her father guiding her out to the center, Angel smiled beautifully. Her hands nervously hooked her father, since it had been half a year since her last musical concert. Julian gently patted her hand to give her reassurance.

    Once her father had stopped walking, Angel made a bow toward her audience and she was able to hear the loud clapping welcoming her back. Softly cleared her voice, Angel spoke with great elegancy, but her voice is sweet and soft, “Thank you, thank you all for coming. It had been a full half year since I had last performed a personal musical concert. It’s really a great feeling to be back. Thanks for all the supports, the flowers and cards sent to me during the period I was in the hospital. Good news is, now with my bigger heart, I could store more different sound of clapping from each of you…” She chuckled when she heard the wave of clapping stirred by her fans. “Okay, okay, enough, I don’t want another surgery for a bigger heart,” it made her smiled brightly to hear laughter from her audience.

    Cleared her throat and gotten more serious, Angel exclaimed, “If you remember, it’s usually my partner Benny that walk me out into the stage, but today it’s different. This is my father, his name is Julian Cheung. I’m very honor to have my hero here with me tonight.” Paused to allow the clapping to go down again, Angel continued “He had given my brother and me a wonderful childhood and had taught us many things about life. Without him, I wouldn’t be here today. My father was my biggest support through all three of my open heart surgeries. He is the one that taught me to cherish my life and not to give up hope no matter how dark this world may seem.”

    Grinning happily, Angel proudly announced, “I asked my father here, because today is a very special day to him. Twenty-seven years ago today, he married my mother and to this day, I swear he is still deeply in love with her. Unfortunately, my mother passed away not long after I’m born. It’s through my father’s love for my mother, that I learn every little piece about her. After hearing many stories about my mother, she had been my hero ever since I was three and found out that she gave up her life for mine. I would like to take this opportunity to thanks both of my heroes on this very special day of theirs with this new musical pieced written just for them called ‘In the Mist of Love.’” Turned toward her father with her bright smile, Angel whispered, “I hope you and mommy will like this musical piece, daddy.”

    “Thanks, sweetheart,” her father whispered back.

    Turned back toward her audience, Angel takes a deep bow and said, “Thank you.” Her audience clapped. Proudly, Julian walked his daughter to the piano before he returns to his seat in the center to enjoy his daughter’s music.

    Paused long enough for her father to return to his seat, Angel begins to work her magic into her music. The music is a slow deep melody that carries a deeper meaning to Julian then anyone else. From the musical piece, Julian was able to recall many memories of his wife. How they first met, how she tries to avoid him when he first tried to court her, how they dance in the park, how they gotten married and fight for her life. It ended softly with a hinge of sorrow, which remained Julian of the bubbles and the misty rain. The music was a reflection of their precious time together. It brought tears to Julian eyes as he listened and it all seems to be like just yesterday now. He smiled as a drop of his tears soaked his cheek once again after so many years. The music refreshed the deep love he had for his wife and made him felt warm and close to his wife once again, like she is just sitting beside him at the moment listening to their daughter’s gifted musical talent.

    A month later during Memorial Day, Julian, Angel, and Benny are at Annie’s grave paying her a visit. As always Julian pulled a handkerchief out to wipe his wife’s photo, while Angel and her boyfriend bowed to her mother. After a bow, Benny took the bundle of daisy in his girlfriend’s hand and stepped forward to help her place them in front of her mother’s grave, he then stepped back to stand beside her again. “Mommy, he is Benny, the guy that I had been telling you about. I hope you like him. I know, gor did warn me that he looked as pale as a ghost, good thing I can’t see, right?”

    Laughed, Benny restored, “Aunty, nice to meet you. I had heard a lot about you, including how understanding you are. Angel does resemble you a lot from the outside, but from inside I don’t think she is as understanding or kind if compare to you.” He felt Angel kicked his shin. Slightly jumped, Benny teased, “See what I mean?”

    Sighed at them, Julian speaks up, “Kids these days. Abusing each other is a way to show their affection. I know who had the right mind to figure them out. So unlike how we used to date, huh?” While listening to her father deep voice talking to her mother, deep down, Angel had wished so badly she could see, just to look at her mother’s picture, since her father and brother, and now even her boyfriend had say she resembled her mother so much.

    After a while, loud cheerful chattering voices of the three monsters and the crying littlest one sounded the cemetery making birds fled for their lives. Anna charged up to her most favorite person in her heart and gave him a tight hug as he loudly greeted, “Grandpa!”

    Laughing at her burst of energy, Julian reminded, “Don’t forget to bow to grandma, you two too.” Nodded the three children along with their parents bowed to Annie’s grave. With their grandpa leading them, the children all gathered around to pull weeds and clean their grandma’s grave.

    “Grandpa, I need to use the bathroom,” Anna suddenly stated sheepishly.

    Chuckled at her, Julian took her to the restroom. When they were walking back, he asked, “Anna, do you know why you’re named that way?” Giving it a thought, Anna shook her head, since she had forgotten. Her grandpa informed, “You’re named after your grandma, since you’re the first granddaughter. I guess so far you’re the only granddaughter too.”

    “Oh…” replied Anna with aw, now she felt a bit special and closer to her grandma.

    Visiting his wife’s grave from afar, Alex recognized Julian. He watches him and Anna interacts and wondered if she was his granddaughter. Soundlessly, he followed them and hides behind a tree to watch two more boys ran up to Julian showing him a bug they had captured. Alex then saw his son with a woman that is cradling a baby in her arms. It brightens his face up to hear the children called his son as their father, which meant they are all his grandchildren. What made his heart sour is they all called Julian as their grandpa and seem so excited to be around him. When his eyes then landed on Angel, his heart skipped a beat to realize how much she looked exactly like Annie, but obviously much younger and smiling much brighter. He knows that she must be the baby that Annie was pregnant with when he last saw her.

    Silently, Alex continued to spy on them and felt really lonely. His daughter Ella had left him after she had turned eighteen. He has no news of her where about ever since. He knows that like Jacky, she will never forgive him. Alex had been living alone for many years running his small art gallery by himself. Being in his mid sixty already and having cancer, Alex does fear that he will die with no family beside him. Silently standing behind the large tree, Alex gazed toward Julian with envy. How much he wished he could be in his place. He is supposed to be in his place. Being old and lonely now, Alex truly regret that he had no gut to divorce his wife back then, but instead he had chosen to give up this perfect warm family by abandoning his unborn son and Annie back then. Dishearten by the sight of the happy big family, Alex turned to walk away. He no longer dare to faces his son again or any of his grandchildren. He knows his life will end in loneness and probably no one will visit his grave.

    The end…


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