A/N - Thanks again for reading along. It really does mean a lot to me! Special thanks to my new beta for the help and suggestions.
.oOo. Chapter Four .oOo.
Chloe felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up on end as a small figure came shuffling down the corridor towards her hospital room in the Flintstone Medical Centre. It was a small hospital, one that usually took in minor cases rather than an emergency trauma unit. That hadn't been enough time to move the patients to the Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods.
She watched as the petite brunette paused at the nurse's station, reading the patient names on the room board before she glanced towards Chloe's room. She watched her look left and right as if she were deciding whether to approach Chloe's room.
She looked familiar but Chloe couldn't place where she knew her from. For a fleeting moment, Chloe hoped she wasn't some crazed fan that had heard about the accident and had come for a gawp at her when she was in her most vulnerable state. She cleared that thought from her mind when she saw the same hospital gown and IV stand attached to the brunette and told herself to stop being big headed.
A few minutes passed before the brunette moved forward again. She walked up to Chloe's door and leaned against the frame. By the dim light in the corridor, Chloe could see she was young, certainly younger than she was and rail thin. Chloe couldn't see any obvious signs of trauma on her, only that she was walking slightly awkwardly.
Sensing a need to connect with the stranger in her doorway, Chloe lifted her head from the pillow and gave a small, tight smile to the girl.
"Hi." She said softly.
"Are you lost?" Chloe whispered and the girl took one tentative step inside the room.
"No. Not lost."
There was an awkward silence for a second or two.
"I came to see if you were okay. Well, I mean, I know you're in here and all, but I guess I just wanted to make sure you were still alive, and your family are all okay."
"Do I know you?" Chloe asked, confused. They hadn't said anything to her about memory loss or concussion when she was examined, and while she knew she'd blacked out during the accident, the doctors had reassured her as best they could that it was from shock rather than a head injury, she wasn't sure how the girl in front of her knew about her family.
"No, not really. My name's Beca. I'm the one… I mean, I was there. Today. At the accident."
"The accident? My accident?" Chloe asked.
"Are you one of the other drivers?" Chloe's voice rose a little.
"No, no, no. I… God, no. I was working when we heard the accident. The McDonalds. I work there. In the McDonalds. On Thursdays and Tuesday." Beca rambled, swaying a little.
"Oh, okay. Um, do you need to sit down?" Chloe said, nodding towards the chair where her clothes were piled up in a plastic bag. Her dress was ripped and torn but they'd given it back to her anyway.
"Sure, if you don't mind?"
"It's okay. My name is Chloe, by the way. I'm not sure if you knew that."
"Yeah, I did but hi Chloe." Beca said as she tiptoed into the room, pulling her IV stand with her.
"Can I move your stuff?" Beca said, indicating the clothes.
"Yeah, you can put it on the bed at the end if you like, by my feet. I'm not getting out of bed anytime soon." Chloe said, tiredness creeping around her eyes.
"Oh God, are your legs-"
"-No, they are okay. I've had an epidural this evening and it's not wearing off anytime soon."
"Did you have a boy or a girl?"
"Your baby. Was it pink or blue?"
"How did you know I was preg… oh, sorry, yeah, I mentioned the epidural." Chloe said, smiling softly. "Sorry, it's been a crazy day."
"No, I knew, from before. I was the one to um… at the accident. Um, well, I pulled you out of the car earlier."
"Wait, what? That was you?" Chloe said, suddenly wide awake again.
"That was me." Beca said, quietly, raising her hand to indicate. "With my friend Amy."
"How on earth… you are smaller than I am… that was really you?"
"Yeah. I just wanted to see how you were doing." Beca looked down at her hands, suddenly embarrassed at the look on Chloe's face. It was a mix of surprise and pride, something Beca wasn't used to seeing on anyone's face when it was directed toward her.
"You saved my life and my babies lives." Chloe said, reaching out with her unbandaged hand to grab Beca's. Beca shrank back from the contact. "I honestly don't know how to thank you."
"You don't need to thank me. I'm just glad you are okay." Beca said. "Do you remember what happened?"
"Most of it. I remember driving with my husband and my brother in law. We were going to see his new workshop. A car hit us. I think it was speeding or jumped a light or something. I wasn't looking as I wasn't driving at the time. Then someone pulled me out of the car. Which I now know was you. How on earth did you manage to do that?"
"I'm pretty strong."
"Learnt to take care of myself as a kid. Saw a problem. Became the solution."
"Wow." Chloe said, leaning back on the pillow. "I've never been a damsel in distress before."
"You did help yourself as well." Beca smiled. "But your husband, the guy in the front seat-"
"He was shouting that you were pregnant, and my Mama Bear instinct kicked in. I climbed in through the smashed sunroof, undid your seatbelt and it was then your water broke so I half pushed you out of the car. You had no strength and the car was smoking pretty heavily at this point. I hopped back out, climbed up on the side of the car, half dragged you out of the car through the driver window and my friend laid you down on the grass. I then held you until the paramedics came."
"I'm sorry that I barely remember. It's such a blur."
"We rode in the ambulance together. It was pretty obvious that your baby was coming quickly."
"You rode with me?"
"Yeah, they think the exertion and adrenaline caused me to go into an early labour too."
"Oh goodness, you are pregnant too. Did they manage to stop it?"
"No, I had her this evening. I've got a little girl, but she's been moved to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospital as she was early, and they aren't equipped here."
"You got me out of the car while you were pregnant? I was thankful before but now I'm in awe."
"It's okay." Beca blushed, briefly remembering the admonishment she'd received from the doctors and them telling her that she was lucky that her daughter hadn't died before she was born. It was almost as bad as the rage Amy had gotten herself into while she was being loaded into the ambulance after Chloe. "So, what did you have, pink or blue?"
"I had two girls." Chloe smiled. "Like yours, they were early, four weeks early but the doctors said it would only have been a matter of days before they came anyway. My smaller baby's heartbeat dropped rapidly so I had an emergency C-section just before eight this evening. Like your little girl, they have been sent to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospital. I'm transferring over there at mid-day tomorrow after we know more about David and Peter. I barely had time to see them before they left."
"There were some complications during delivery so they had to operate on me. God, it was so scary. I had just come around when the doctor told me they were in the ambulance and ready to go. I don't even have a picture."
"Me neither. I delivered her, gave her a kiss but she was gone before I was on the ward." Beca explained. "I'm hoping my friend will give me a ride when the hospital let me go. That might be a couple of days, although I'm going to push for sooner, but they have promised me regular updates."
"Why isn't the hospital transferring you?"
"I'm not a private patient so…" Beca said, not feeling sorry for herself in the slightest. "… and because I don't have insurance, I'm going to need to get out of here as soon as possible. I've been paying my way with medical bills before, but I can't afford to stay here another night."
"Wait a second, if you had a baby, why aren't you in here with me?"
"I guess they felt you needed a private room. It's okay, my roommates are quiet, nursing broken bones and one had an appendectomy. It's like being in Hospital Gen Pop!" Beca mused and Chloe liked her new friend immediately.
"What is your little girl's name?"
"I haven't decided yet. I barely got to see her before they took her off. She needed oxygen and then they shipped her off all within about an hour."
"I'm so sorry about that."
"I was waiting for David to wake up before we named them. He's having surgery at the moment. Broken leg, shoulder and possibly a damaged spleen. They are doing what they can before transferring him to the Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods. His parents will be here first thing and they'll go with him or stay with my brother in law. He was also in the car. His back is broken, possibly his spine too. They don't have all the facilities here to test so he's being transferred at some point tonight."
"Yeah, I remember he looked a bit mangled. I hope he'll be okay."
"Can I get you anything?" Beca asked.
"No and you shouldn't be looking after me!"
"I can't sleep. It's been a crazy day. Didn't think I'd be having my baby today when I woke up this morning."
"We were all at my in laws, having a barbecue. We were supposed to be having fireworks this evening." Chloe said, her eyes brimming with tears. "A few of them came down when they heard about the accident, but hospital policy wouldn't allow them to stay. What about your family?"
"I don't have… it's just me."
"My friend Amy should be coming in the morning with my clothes. I'm hoping she'll give me a ride to collect my daughter."
"How big was she?"
"Oh God, sorry!" Beca laughed quietly. "I thought you meant Amy for a minute and I was going to have to explain that her nickname is Fat Amy."
"Oh my stars!"
"My little girl weighed four pounds six. She was only sixteen inches long so quite tiny. She cried though so that's a good sign."
"That's amazing. Congratulations Beca."
"How about yours?"
"Baby A was four pounds four and, like your little girl, was sixteen inches long. Baby B was four pounds seven and again, sixteen inches long."
"How sweet. Crazy that we were both early."
"I know." Chloe smiled.
"My friend Amy texted me with suggested names as she was born on fourth of July. I'm ignoring most of them."
"Is she your… no, wait. Sorry, I never asked after your husband? But you said you had no family? Gosh, my mind is so jumbled. I'm usually good at remembering things."
"There's no daddy anymore." Beca said, not wanting to explain what happened with Jesse. Chloe nodded softly. "And Amy is just my mad friend."
"You said she was thinking of names?" Chloe asked.
"She thinks Liberty, Independence, America or Freedom would be acceptable."
"She's patriotic then?"
"She's actually Australian. Mad as a box of frogs but her heart is in the right place." Beca smiled. "Listen, I'm gonna head back to Gen Pop before someone notices I'm gone."
"Yes, of course. It was super sweet of you to come and check on me." Chloe said, holding out a hand.
"It was nice to meet you Chloe." Beca said, taking Chloe's fingers. She looked down at their joined hands in surprise as she felt a warmth spread over her. "Good luck with everything and best wishes to your whole family."
"Thank you Beca. The same to you."
Beca placed Chloe's hand back on her bed and stood up from the chair. She gripped the IV stand and started to walk out of the room, pausing in the doorway. She turned back to Chloe.
Chloe watched as Beca carefully walked down the corridor towards the double doors at the end. As her new friend disappeared from view, Chloe realised she'd never asked for her number to thank her properly for all she'd done for them that day. Confident that she would find Beca in the morning and feeling much more content than she was just half an hour before, Chloe snuggled down into the uncomfortable bed, smiled the smallest of smiles as she realised her life had changed forever and she was asleep within two minutes.
The next morning, she woke up later than she thought she would when a nurse was changing her IV bag.
"Good morning, how are you feeling?" She asked Chloe, upon seeing her eyes open.
"Much better than yesterday, thank you." Chloe replied. "Any news on my daughters? My husband? My brother in law?"
"I'll get the doctor to come along and talk with you." The nurse spoke softly. "I've only just come on shift, so I don't know the details."
"Okay, thank you." Chloe said, shifting around to get comfortable. She realised, with a sliver of joy, that she was able to move around a lot easier than the day before.
"Let me help you up." The nurse offered, holding out an arm to Chloe as she swept the blankets down to the end of the bed. "Mind how you go. You won't rip your stitches out, but you still need to take great care. And remember that you've still got a catheter in."
It took a couple of minutes for her to sit on the edge of the bed and she rested, feeling a little lightheaded. She looked over to the chair where her bag of clothes and purse were and noticed something neatly folded on the top. Reaching over, she pulled the unfamiliar items towards her and looked at the folded note across the top.
"Hi Chloe, I know your clothes were ruined in the accident. Please accept these maternity pants and shirt from me. They were too long for me anyway and I hope you can make use of them until your family are able to bring you your own clothes. I'm leaving in an hour but maybe our paths will cross one day. Best wishes, Beca."
Chloe hugged the note to her chest for a moment, silently thanking Beca for her kindness.