(sorry for the delay in posting. I've finished writing this now so should post more often)
The next few days passed in a blur of hospital visits, tests and insistences that she go home and rest for Audrey. Damian had made it his personal goal to ensure she was getting enough sleep despite the crisis, and the nurses were all on board. And yet they struggled to understand how hard it was to sleep at home. Since the day they had moved in together, Audrey and Brody had never spent more than one or two nights apart, and those days were never spent without calling each other, talking to each other. She was missing him, despite spending all day with him.
Friends and family had all stopped by to visit, and Brody’s room was now a wash of flowers and get well cards. Everyone was surprised to see the man who had been so vibrant and active in life being brought down in such a manner, and those that prayed were praying that he would wake up soon. It wasn’t hard to see the toll this was taking on Audrey, the shadows under her eyes getting deeper every day.
Katherine was being little help. Sure, she spent a lot of her time hugging Audrey and calling her a poor girl, claiming that they would get through this. But when she wasn’t doing that, she was bursting into tears every time the doctor’s entered the room, each time saying that the swelling was too intent to determine the nature of the brain damage they were now sure was present. While Katherine had always been dramatic, and it couldn’t be doubted that this time was hard on her, seeing her only child lying unmoving in a hospital bed, her dramatics were beginning to set everyone’s teeth on edge.
Henrietta particularly struggled with the dramatics of Katherine, often leaving the room when the woman started up. She had grown up having little contact with her father’s ex-wife, despite having plenty of contact with her older brother, a brother who would do anything for her. All she wanted to was to be there for him, and for Audrey who she looked up to, and yet it was difficult when any moment the room they would be sitting in while calmly talking to Brody in an attempt to get any reaction would be suddenly filled with the sound of near hysterical tears. It was always up to Audrey or Damian, her father, to calm the woman down when this happened, as if they both didn’t have enough to worry about.
And so four days passed. Four days that were hell for everyone involved. Four days where no one worked, and instead spent all their time at the hospital. Four days of cafeteria meals, or horrible machine coffee and of hoping for some response from Brody, but getting nothing. No noises, no movements, no hand squeezing, nothing. Audrey was beginning to feel the whole situation was fruitless. She knew that with every passing day there would be less chance of Brody waking, of coming out of this.
The doctor’s continually tried to reassure her. “There is every chance he might wake Mrs Newman. So much of the human brain is unknown to us, and his received significant damage. It could be that his body is taking the time it needs to heal.”
“I need you to be straight with me Doctor. We both know there is also a chance he could never awake,” Audrey pressed, wanting a straight answer.
“Yes, there is a chance. But at the moment we remain hopeful. Your husband could still come back to you. We won’t talk about not awaking yet, but there will be some things you will need to consider if that was the case.”
At that point Katherine broke into tears again, ending the conversation. Audrey sighed, and moved to her mother in law’s side, putting her arm around her shoulders. “It’ll be alright,” she murmured, wishing that for once she didn’t have to be the strong one. “Brode’s will pull through. He’s never let us down before, he’ll wake up any day now and everything will be just as it was. He’ll probably wonder why we’ve made such a big fuss.”
“But he looks so helpless,” Katherine said between sobs. “Even as a child he never looked as helpless as he looks now. What if he is always like this? What if we have to decide whether to let him live or turn off any machines keeping him alive? What then?”
Audrey sighed, wishing Katherine hadn’t asked the questions that had been plaguing her mind, despite trying not to think on it. Suddenly Damian stood up. “Come on Katherine, I think you need to get some air. Let’s leave the girls with Brody for a few minutes shall we,” he said, taking her hand. Audrey wondered at times how he could be so calm when it came to Katherine. She supposed their history had a lot to do with it; he was used to her moods and had experienced them before.
Henrietta glanced in relief at the door, then back to Audrey. “I don’t know how you and dad cope with her,” she said truthfully.
Audrey rubbed her eyes, thinking it was nearly time for another horrible vending machine coffee. “You learn to cope with just about anything Henri,” she replied, sighing. “Even if you’d rather be the one falling apart.”
“I don’t know how you’re still standing through all this. I’m pretty sure I’d be a hysterical mess if it was my husband,” Henrietta said, glancing at her brother on the bed.
“We already have one hysterical mess,” Audrey answered. “I don’t think having another would help things. Besides, I need to keep up my faith that he will wake up. Brody and I have our whole future ahead of us, this is just a minor downfall and we’ll get over it.”
Henrietta looked at Audrey, with admiration in her eyes. “You still believe that?” she asked.
“I have to,” Audrey said, moving to sit beside Brody and take his hand. She glanced over at his sister, taking in the shadows that matched her own. “And how are you coping with all this Henri?”
Glancing down at her brother, Henrietta paused for a moment before replying. “He was always the one who was there for me, the one who protected me. It hurts to see him so helpless. He’s my big brother, and I’ll always need him to look after me,” she finally said softly.
“I can relate,” Audrey said, her eyes on Brody’s. “He’s always been the strong one for me as well. I suppose with his mother, he had no choice to grow up strong.”
“It mustn’t have been easy, seeing his dad move onto a new family. But despite that, he was still always there for me,” Henrietta answered, closing her eyes for a moment. She was so tired. When she opened them, she saw Audrey staring at the hand she was holding in your own.
“Did you see that?” Audrey asked, her voice shocked.
“See what?” asked Henrietta.
“His hand moved, I’m sure of it,” Audrey answered, staring. Henrietta turned her own eyes to Brody. Suddenly the blanket twitched towards the end of the bed.
“And so did his foot,” she cried out, excitement ringing his voice. “You don’t think?” she began, not willing to voice the words.
Audrey’s eyes met her across the bed. There were tears silently forming in them. “Press the button and call the nurse,” she whispered, indicating the button on Henrietta’s side of the bed, before turning her eyes back to Brody. Another foot moved, and then his arm came up to near his head. His eyelids, which had been still for so long were fluttering, struggling to open. A groan escaped his lips, and his legs twitched again before his eyes finally opened, staring around the room.
The tears were now falling down Audrey’s face, as she gazed down at her husband. “Oh Brody, you’re awake,” she said, relief filling her voice.
Brody glanced at Audrey confused, before searching the room, as if looking for a familiar face. Finally his gaze fell on Henrietta, and his brows knit in confusion. “Henri is that you?” he asked, moving as if to sit up.
“Yes Brodes, It’s Henri, and I’m here too,” Audrey said, desperate for her husband to look at her, to acknowledge her. Brody glanced away from Henrietta to look at Audrey, before his eyes once again met his sister.
“Can you tell me just who the hell this woman is Henrietta and why she thinks she knows me? Where is Danielle?”