Bobby Flay grinned as he was pronounced the winner of the competition on his show, Beat Bobby Flay. His opponent was a thirty-one-year-old chef named Sarah Danner., a young chef born and raised in Pennsylvania before moving with her husband to NYC to open a Pennsylvania Dutch restaurant. Her signature dish had been Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup. He won by making his own noodles. Sarah had so many flavors in her dish and so much going on that she hadn't had time to execute the dish properly.
Bobby reached over and hugged her, seeing the tears in her eyes. She was still young, still had a lot to learn. Regardless, she was still an amazing chef. Wrapping his arms around her is when he heard it, the cursing and loud shouts coming from the loft above.
"You've got to be kidding me! She should've won! What the FUCK is wrong with you people?"
Bobby felt the girl in his arms tense, heard her shaky breath in, felt her press herself into his embrace tighter. He heard what sounded like a whimper come from the smaller girl. He glanced over to security and motioned with his eyes to deal with the guy above.
The cameras had already stopped filming at the outburst of the man. Bobby pulled back from the embrace, leaned forward, trying to look Sarah in the eye. Seeing the tears streaming down her face, Bobby brushed them away with his thumb.
Speaking softly, he said "You did great. You're a great chef. You just got a little carried away, went a little overboard. It happens to the best of us. Okay?"
Sarah nodded, but Bobby could tell that that did nothing to ease whatever was going on inside her head. Still, eventually she managed to pull herself together, Bobby went over with her what was expected of her during the rest of the shooting, and they managed to finish filming without incident.
Bobby went into the back area where he had seen Sarah go and found her talking to the same guy from earlier. It hit him that this guy was her husband, her very intense husband.
"What the hell were you doing out there? You acted like an amateur! You couldn't win one competition! You're a loser. Nothing but a losing piece of shit!"
Bobby couldn't believe what he was hearing from this jerk! She was great. He had tasted her dish, it was a bit much, but still very good! He knew with a few more years of experience, that she would do great things in the food industry.
"Hey, Sarah! You did great today. You should be proud of yourself!" Bobby walked over, acting like he just got there.
"Thank you, sir," Sarah said softly, looking down at her feet as her husband backed up a step.
Bobby looked over at the man, carefully inspecting him. The guy was tall, 6' 2", 6'4" maybe. He was very muscular, like he worked out a lot, or had a physically demanding job. His long hair and goatee are not what freaked Bobby out. No, it was his eyes. His eyes were wide open, a look of rage in them. Bobby forced himself to not back up at the look her husband was giving him. Instead, he planted a smile on his face, walked up to the guy, and held his hand out.
"Hi, I'm Bobby Flay. You must Sarah's husband?"
"Uh, yes, hi. I'm Marcus, Marcus Danner. Nice to meet you." Marcus shook Bobby's hand firmly. A little too firmly maybe.
"Very nice to meet you. You should be very proud of your wife." Bobby told him, glancing at Sarah who had yet to look up.
"Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Hey, I'm sorry about earlier. I get a little carried when it comes to her winning. I just know how talented she is."
"Oh, hey, don't worry about it. Your wife's got skill. A few more years of experience and she'll be able to beat me in a heartbeat." Bobby grinned and winked at Sarah, who had finally started to look up. However, she blushed a deep red and quickly looked back down.
"Listen, why don't I take the two of you out to eat? To celebrate a job well done tonight?" Bobby asked, turning his attention back to Marcus.
Obviously, the look he had given Sarah had not gone unnoticed by Marcus, cause the look he had already been aiming at Bobby magnified ten-fold.
Bobby forced himself to remain calm and keep the smile on his face, looking straight back at Marcus Danner.
"I think we'll pass. We have an early day at the restaurant tomorrow. Thanks though." Marcus told him before grabbing Sarah by the arm and practically dragging her out of the building before anything else could be said.
Bobby had a bad feeling about the whole situation. But what could he do? He'd just met the two of them that day. Forcing himself to shrug off the feelings, Bobby went in search of Ted Allen and Robert Irvine, the two hosts of today's episode. Maybe they would feel like going out.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Bobby Flay spent the next several days busy with his many restaurants and filming other episodes of Beat Bobby Flay, that he hadn't had time to put much thought into Sarah Danner. Although he had taken quite a loss on the last two episodes they had filmed. He had lost to both of his competitors, and that was something his producer wasn't happy about. He didn't really care though. It was a game for him, something fun to do.
Now though, Bobby found himself going right by Momma's Home, the restaurant that Sarah and Marcus both owned and operated. Before he could talk himself out of it, Bobby pulled into the parking lot and went inside the cozy little restaurant. The smells of food hit him as he walked in. It smelled great…it smelled like home.
The place was set up like a diner and the waitress told him to sit anywhere. He found an empty booth and sat down. It was only a moment before a young girl walked over with a menu.
"W-welcome to Momma's Home. My n-name is E-Elle, and I'll be your w-waitress today. C-Can I get you s-something to drink, Mr. Flay?" Elle stuttered her way through, obviously flustered at Bobby's presence.
Bobby smiled and ordered a Birch Beer, something he had not had in a long time. Elle left quickly, leaving him to look over the menu. The menu was classic Pennsylvania Dutch. Scrapple, Dippy Eggs, Hogs Maw, Chicken Corn Soup, Shoofly Pie, everything was there.
Elle came back with his Birch Beer and asked if he was ready to order. The time it took her to get his drink was apparently the time she needed to get herself under control. Bobby ordered a Lebanon Bologna Sandwich before asked to speak to Sarah.
"Sarah? Sir, didn't you hear?" Elle got quiet, her voice filled with fear and concern.
Bobby felt his heart-rate pick up. Hear what? Had something happened? Finally, he cleared his throat, hoping he could talk clearly. "Hear what?"
"Sarah was taken to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital the day after you beat her on your show. M-Marcus was mad. H-he was really, really mad. He beat her up g-good. S-she is still in a coma almost a w-week later. I mean, I-I always knew he had a temper with h-her, but I-I n-never knew it was that b-bad." At this point, Elle had tears streaming down her face.
Bobby sat there in shock. How could Marcus do that? It was just a game! A friendly competition! A chance for other chefs to get their names out there, to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Bobby snapped back to the present reality when he realized that Elle was still standing there crying.
"Elle, can I have my sandwich to go?"
"Oh, yes s-sir." She started to turn around when Bobby called her back.
"Sarah will be fine. Okay? She'll be just fine. She's a fighter."
"Where is Marcus now?" Bobby asked, feeling a sudden surge of anger greater than anything he had ever felt before.
"Jail. They're charging him with attempted murder…Mr. Flay, it's bad. I haven't gotten up the courage to go see her. I heard from the others about how she's doing…I c-can't see her….not like that." Elle broke down again, sobbing.
Bobby looked around the restaurant, checking to see how busy they were. Elle didn't need to get in trouble for talking to him when she should be working. Seeing that the place was nearly empty, Flay got up from his seat and pulled Elle into a hug. It was obvious that she was close to Sarah. Elle also looked very young, 19, maybe 20 years old. Too young to lose someone close to her.
"Elle, I promise you. It will all work out. Sarah will be fine. She has to be." Bobby choked on the last part. He hardly knew Sarah, but he felt a deep connection with her.
Finally, he pulled back from the embrace. "Elle, listen to me. Go get my sandwich ready to go. I'll go see Sarah and come back after you get off work and take you to see her if you think you can handle it. Okay?"
"Why are doing this?" Elle asked, wiping the tears from her face and trying to pull herself together.
"Because you're obviously very close to her. I think she needs every bit of support she can get right now, don't you agree?"
"Yes, sir. I'll go get that sandwich for you." With that, Elle turned away and headed for the kitchen.
Bobby nodded and watched her leave before sitting back down at the booth and letting his thoughts wander. What if he had gone after them? Called the police? Anything! Sarah wouldn't be lying in a hospital bed right now, fighting for her life. He knew something bad was going to happen. Had seen it written all over Marcus' face. Had seen it in her eyes. She knew what was going to happen. But how could he have stopped it? He'd just met her. He didn't know anything about her. There's no way she would've told him the truth.
Before he knew, Elle brought Bobby's food out to him in a brown paper bag. He quickly paid for his meal and headed for his car after promising to pick Elle up after work. He had to get to the hospital.
Bobby closed his phone as he arrived at the hospital. Opting to use the valet, he pulled up to the curb and took the piece of paper handed to him before rushing inside. He had called Ted Allen on the way in and told him what had happened. Ted was as shocked as he was, but was also adamant that there was nothing Bobby could've done differently to avoid this. Deep down he knew Ted was right, but that didn't make him feel any better.
Bobby walked up to the front desk inside the door and asked for Sarah's room number. The nurse looked it up and he was on his way.
Once Bobby got off the elevator on the third floor he walked down the hall, scanning room numbers until he found room 315, right across from the nurse's station. He stopped outside, staring at the curtain that hid Sarah Danner from view within that small room.
"Are you family?" came a deep voice from behind him.
Bobby turned to see a man standing behind hm. The guy was around his height, pale skin, blue eyes that showed he had seen far more than anyone should ever have to.
"No. I'm an acquaintance of Sarah's." Bobby replied.
"Oh yes, Bobby Flay. She was on your show." The doctor smiled, though it didn't reach his eyes.
"Yes, she was." Bobby looked down as memories of that day filtered through his brain. "How is she?"
“Well, I can’t tell you much since you’re not family. However, she is stable. I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t. Her landlady was listed as her emergency contact and someone we can talk to. She is in with Sarah now if you’d like to speak with her.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other patients.” The doctor turned and walked away.
Bobby turned back to the room and stood there staring at the curtain, before taking a deep breath and entering.
The room smelled sterile, and was cold, not just temperature-wise, but emotionally cold. Hospital equipment lined the wall behind the bed and needle bins were attached to the opposite wall. Everything was white. White bed, white sheets, white walls, white counters and cabinets….everything white. He couldn't tell if Sarah was white too or if the whiteness of the room made her look washed out.
An older lady was sitting beside the bed, just staring at Sarah. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days, with large bags under eyes and an overall weary look on her face. Bobby walked quietly over to the bed and cleared his throat. “Ma’am, I’m Bobby Flay, a friend of Sarah’s.” Was that true? He had only met her that one time, he could hardly call that a friendship. Regardless, he wanted to be a friend to Sarah, because he doubted she had many of those with a guy like that.
“Yes, Mr. Flay, Sarah talked about you all the time, even before she met you on the show.” The lady’s eyes lit up slightly, like she couldn’t quite believe he was there. “I’m Patty Montgomery, but everyone calls me Miss Patty.”
Bobby shook hands with her before turning his attention to Sarah. With his gaze solely focused on Sarah’s sleeping form, he asked “How is she?”
“She is in a coma, but the doctors don’t know why. Most of the damage was done to her stomach area and legs.” She trailed off, as if the thought of what he did to her made her feel sick. Who was he kidding? It made Bobby feel sick too.
“She has several broken ribs, but thankfully none of them punctured a lung; she has severe bruising to her stomach and back, so the doctors are keeping keeping an eye on her kidneys, but so far they appear to be mostly unharmed. It’s her leg they’re worried about…” She stopped, unable to continue as tears streamed down her face.
Bobby sniffed, his emotions trying to get the best of him too. He pinched the bridge of his nose before leaning down and taking Sarah’s hand in his own, squeezing it gently.
“He…he…took a baseball bat to her leg…” She stopped and covered her eyes as she sobbed.
“Oh my god…” Bobby sat down in a nearby chair, afraid that if he didn’t then he’d collapse on the floor. His stomach was protesting the lunch he ate on the way, threatening to empty it’s contents any second.
When Miss Patty regained some of her composure she continued. “The bone is shattered so badly that the doctors said it is going to take several surgeries to repair it all. But the muscle damage is done, as well as some nerve damage from the bone fragments. They said she’ll have constant pain for the rest of her life…and …they don’t know if she’ll ever walk again…”
Bobby sat there in shock. Hours. That is all it took for her life to change dramatically, with little doubt that she’d ever have a normal life again. He may not know her like her friends or Miss Patty did, but he knew this much. “She’ll walk again. I know she will.”
Miss Patty nodded, but didn’t say anything. Bobby watched as she simply held Sarah’s hand in her own, patting it ever so gently.
“Miss Patty, when is the last time you slept?”
“I don’t know. I just can’t leave her. You know, in case she wakes up. She can’t think she’s alone. She can never be alone.” Miss Patty dabbed her eyes with her tissue.
“Why don’t you go get some rest and I’ll stay with her for awhile? You can’t help her if you don’t help yourself.” Bobby grabbed Sarah’s hand for emphasis that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Much to Bobby’s surprise, he felt a slight squeeze of his hand. He whipped his gaze to Sarah’s face, her hand, then her face again. “Did she…?”
Miss Patty nodded. “Probably. The doctors say she is showing signs of waking up, but just…won’t. They don’t know why except that it’s psychological. She knows life will never be the same, so she doesn’t want to wake up.”
Bobby nodded and squeezed Sarah’s hand, hoping that she would respond, but she didn’t.
“Go get some rest. I’ll stay with her.”
“If you insist.” Miss Patty smiled as she stood, kissed Sarah on the forehead and whispered something in her ear that Bobby couldn’t make out. Then she patted Bobby on the shoulder and left.
Bobby stared at Sarah for a long before he spoke. “You know, you have a lot of friends wanting to help you. Wanting to be there for you, if you’ll let them. The first part of that is waking up.
“You have to wake up Sarah. You can’t let him win.” Bobby stopped and watched for signs that she understood him. There were none.
“I promise you, that if you wake up, and soon, I will help you through this. I will help you with your cooking.
“This is going to sound totally insane, but when we competed, I was amazed. I couldn’t believe someone so beautiful looked up to me-“ The heart monitor beeped, showing a rise in her heart rate.
Bobby smiled sadly before continuing. “Wake up, not for me or your friends, wake up for you. You deserve to be taken care of…let me help you, Sarah.” Bobby kissed her hand and leaned back in his chair again, watching her.
AN: I am so sorry this took so long to post. I've had a lot going on at home and this was actually a really hard chapter to write. I don't know why, but I struggled with this one! I feel like it's a little over the top and too cliche?? I don't know. I don't feel like I'm accurately depicting Bobby Flay. Like this is totally out of character for him. Let me know your thoughts either way.