Posts tagged “hospital

Lighthouse, Chapter 12

Posted on 20/06/2016

When the door opened and J.R. stepped out of the car, Darah actually took a step back. She hadn’t expected him to respond to her usual goading. His face was unreadable though from the look of his taut jaw, he wasn’t too happy with her choice of words. She took another step back when he walked the length of his car to stop in front of her.

But instead of reaming her for calling him names or being disrespectful, J.R. just stared at her with those piercing dark eyes of his. She shifted the weight from one foot to the other, staring at him, waiting for him to say something.

Then he sighed and shook his head. “You have no idea what you’re doing, Darah.”

She scowled instantly. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Exactly what I said.” His dark gaze swept over her face, studying her and finding her inadequate.

She squeezed her fingers into fists. “What does that mean?”

J.R. blew out a breath, his gaze unwavering. “The minute I decide to treat you like an adult, you prove me wrong.”

Darah stiffened, his words echoing her brothers’ sentiments. Surprisingly, him saying it hurt more than she’d anticipated. It was obvious that her brothers would never see her as an adult, having raised her since she was twelve. But J.R.? She clenched her jaw. “I’d say the same for you since you’re the one running away. Like a coward.”

His eyes narrowed. “I am not running away.”

“Oh really? So you hiding in the pharmacy was what exactly?”

J.R. frowned. “You…”

“Yes, I saw you.” Darah put her hands on her hips and tilted her chin. “Someone might think I was forcing you to make the wisest choice here.”

He arched a brow. “I’m afraid to ask you what that choice might be.”

“Get married, duh.” Darah didn’t miss a beat. “You need to get married to please your dad, and my reason is obvious, of course.”

J.R. nodded without blinking. “Of course.”

Darah relaxed a little. Maybe she’d worn him down enough and he would actually consider—

“The problem is you thinking this is the wisest choice, or only choice for that matter.” J.R.’s gaze swept over her face. “Let’s ignore the fact that I have other sponsors who with the right persuasion could continue to fund the center. Let’s focus on you first.”

Darah frowned, not liking where this was going. J.R. was annoyingly analytical and had probably analyzed her situation even before knowing the full details. The most annoying part would be that he’d be close to the truth.

“Where’s the father?”

She huffed loudly to distract him from the stiffening of her shoulders. “Not this again.”

“Yes this again.” His brow furrowed. “Why you think I’d be a better candidate than the biological father is beyond me.”

“Maybe because you are.” Her cheeks warmed when he blinked at her. “I-I mean anyone besides that jerk would be a good candidate. Don’t get weird.”

“You proposing to get married in the first place is weird.”

Darah eyed him curiously. “Tell me the truth, J.R., what are you scared of?”

He arched a brow. “I’m not scared of anything, Darah.”

“Then why are you so bent on rejecting me?”

J.R. frowned. “I’m not rejecting you.”

Darah nodded, careful to look unfettered. “From day one when I told you how I felt—“

“You were young.”

She scowled. “I was eighteen! And before you start your rubbish talk about me being a minor, there are many eighteen-year-olds who got married right after high school.” Darah studied his indecipherable features, frustrated that even after ten years she couldn’t read what he was thinking. “Just be honest, you can’t handle me.”

Both brows shot up, eyes wide momentarily before J.R. slipped that mask back on. He let out an incredulous laugh. “I can’t handle you…?”

Darah tilted her chin. “You’re scared that I’ll be too much for you.”

J.R. smirked. “You have no idea.”

Her cheeks warmed as he stared with his hooded gaze. The heat traveled down her body and she bit her bottom lip. Her pulse quickened when his gaze dropped to her mouth.

“Does the kid know he’s gonna be a father?”

His words doused the heat from her body and she blew out a breath. “What’s this fascination about the father? I already told you he’s a nonfactor and should therefore not be mentioned.”

J.R. frowned. “That’s now how any of that works, Darah. Whether or not you want to accept it, the child’s biological father has an equal right to custody and could cause—”

Darah held a hand. “If I wanted legal advice, I’d have asked for it. Since I didn’t, keep it to yourself.”

His dark brows furrowed. “You’ve been ignoring me for years but the moment you’ve got the family on your case, I’m the first you thought to call?”

She then closed her mouth and folded her arms across her chest. “You’re insinuating that I need you to rescue me?”

He arched a brow. “Don’t you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I can handle my brothers just fine.”

“Still, raising a child on your own’s tougher. So tough you’re actually contemplating getting into a loveless marriage with just about anyone.”

She scowled. “You’re not just anyone! Stop acting like we’re strangers. I’ve known you for years.”

J.R. eyed her warily. “In any case, I won’t marry you.”

Darah stiffened visibly but recovered quickly with a smirk. “Alright.”

“Maybe one day I’ll explain—”

“Dude, it’s fine! I’ll be a fool to ask you again.” She spun on her heel and started for her car.

“Darah, wait—”

Her eyes stung with unshed tears and Darah slammed the car in frustration. After all these years she should’ve been immune to his snobbery towards her. No matter what she did, no matter how many years passed, he’d always look at her through the same lens as her brothers. She would never be anything more than immature, impulsive, quick-tempered and childish.

Sniffing back tears, Darah turned on the engine and reached for her seatbelt. Better to leave before he saw her crying and cement his jaded view of her. She would show him just how mature she was.

Her eyes drifted to his car, to him standing by the open door. He was on the phone, his back facing her.

Looking away, Darah snorted and dragged the seatbelt over her chest. “I’ll show him.” Her eyes drifted back to him. He didn’t enter his car to leave, instead leaning against the car. His back was bowed slightly as if he’d just received bad news.

She put the car in reverse, knowing he couldn’t leave until she did. The sooner she left, the sooner she could be away from such embarrassment. Her foot remained on the brake, eyes watching him.

His free hand moved to his head and remained there.

Darah quietly put the car in park and watched him. She hadn’t witnessed that frazzled pose from J.R. before. Something wasn’t right.

Then J.R. lowered the phone from his ear and rested his head against the car door.

She pressed the car horn. J.R. didn’t turn around. She huffed a breath and unbuckled her seatbelt. She pressed the horn again but J.R. refused to acknowledge her. Pushing the cardoor open, she stuck her head out. “What’s going on?”

He didn’t answer, didn’t lift his head.

Darah frowned, stepping out of the car. Her pulse quickened as she made her way to him. She stopped right behind him and put a hand to his bowed back. His body was taut and not just from his toned physique. She shook him slightly.

He jerked as though just realizing she was beside him, and shifted to face her.

Darah’s eyes widened at his glistening gaze. “A-are you crying?”

J.R. blinked to clear the haze and looked past her. “My father…”

Her pulse jumped and her hand clutched his shoulder. “What happened?”

“He collapsed.”

“My God. Where is he? Why are you still here?”

J.R. shook his head, dazed.

Darah dropped her hand from his shoulder. “What hospital is he? Who’s with him?”

He just stared past her.

Clearly the news was grave or he would’ve said something. She’d never seen J.R. look so lost and it scared her. But the longer they tarried in the parking lot, the less time they’d have to reach his father.

Darah grabbed his wrist and tugged him toward her car. “Come. I’ll drive.”

“I’ll call once we arrive,” Darah said over the speaker in the car.

“J.R., we’re praying for your dad. Don’t lose heart, dear.” Phoebe spoke out, aware that J.R. was seated in the passenger’s seat of Darah’s car.

“Stay strong, brother,” Abe piped in.

J.R. didn’t answer to either and just stared out the window.

Darah glanced once at him and then reached for the phone. “Okay, let’s talk later. Bye.” She disconnected the call and sighed. “Don’t worry. I hear St. Luke’s a good hospital.”

He still didn’t answer and Darah looked his way, noting his taut jaw. “Are you worried?”

“Can we just not talk?” his voice was gravelly as though his throat was tight with holding back tears.

Darah nodded. “We could—“

“Thanks.”

She sighed and faced the road once more. They were only a few miles from the hospital but to Darah, and maybe even J.R., it felt like they were too far. She pressed on the accelerator.

“Don’t speed.”

Her lips twitched and she raised her foot slightly. Even in his frazzled state, he still had a mind to worry about her. She squeezed the steering wheel and said a quiet prayer for J.R. and his father, not knowing what happened except that his father collapsed at home and was rushed to the nearest hospital.

Minutes later, Darah pulled up in front of the hospital’s front. “Go ahead. I’ll park and come find you.”

J.R. grunted his reply as he unbuckled his seatbelt and quickly exited the car.

Darah watched him race for the sliding doors into the hospital lobby. She sighed and drove toward the parking lot. Her phone rang just as she pulled into a parking spot and she groaned, reading Bart’s caller ID. “Yeah?” she answered on the third ring, stepping out of the car.

“What hospital?”

“St. Luke’s. But I don’t think he wants all of us there.”

“We’ll be there in an hour. Gotta put the kids in bed first.”

Darah slung the bag over her shoulder. “Abe and Phoebe coming too?”

“Is that even a question to ask? Stay with him until we get there, then we’ll switch off.”

“I’m not leaving him.” She stepped onto the sidewalk. “Stay with your family.”

Bart was quiet for just a moment. “I’m not going to read into that now. We’ll be there shortly.”

Darah rolled her eyes as she crossed the walkway to the hospital entrance. “Yeah okay. Gotta go.” She disconnected the call before her brother changed his mind and hurried through the sliding doors to find the emergency ward and J.R.

She found him standing beside a doctor dressed in scrubs, a nurse and another woman dressed in street clothes. Eyes on J.R. alone, she meandered over, catching the tail end of the doctor’s words.

“… to monitor his vitals.”

J.R. dragged a hand over his tousled hair and Darah fought reaching out for his hand. “How long?”

The doctor, a white-haired gentleman of Arab descent, raised his bushy brows. “…long?”

“He means how long has it been this way?” the willowy woman dressed in street clothes asked, and for the first time, Darah noticed how close she stood beside J.R. and the hand she placed on his back. “It doesn’t make sense that Uncle L.J. would be in such a poor state.”

Although the woman referred to J.R.’s dad as Uncle, Darah stiffened when J.R. heaved a sigh and the woman rubbed his back. Clearing her throat, she stepped forward, attracting everyone’s attention. She gave them a smile. “Is everything alright?”

The doctor and nurse exchanged curious glances.

J.R glanced once at Darah before nodding at the doctor. “She’s with me. When can I see my father?”

Darah noticed the willowy woman’s hand drop from J.R.’s back and fought back a smile. It wasn’t appropriate in this case. She watched J.R.’s profile and had to hold herself from reaching for his hand.

“Since he’s stable now, I’ll have Nurse Wells get you signed in.” The doctor glanced once at Darah. “Family for now though.”

J.R. nodded and blindly reached for Darah’s hand. “That’s fine. She’s my fiancée.”

Darah wasn’t sure who gasped, her or the woman standing by J.R.’s side or both. All that mattered in that moment was J.R.’s hand gripping hers. She swallowed the gasp and squeezed his hand back.

<<Chapter 11 || Chapter 13>>

Lighthouse, Chapter 6

Posted on 26/04/2016

Darah despised hospitals as much as she hated Jeremy and roaches. Okay definitely more than roaches but not Jeremy. She really hoped never to cross paths with that ingrate of a man ever again.

There was nothing comforting about the sterile place that smelled like Lysol and metal. It only brought terrible memories from her childhood, memories that only ever surfaced when she heard the siren of a fire truck or ambulance. Though the circumstance with which she became an orphan was a vague memory, she never failed to tremble at the sight of firetrucks and ambulances.

Not to mention the early years of her life in the Teka family were spent in the hospital when Eleazar first came home. He’d suffered mild fetal alcoholism and emergency rooms became the children’s second home. Till this day, she and her brothers shuddered at the thought of going to a hospital.

Phoebe had to practically drag Darah through the doors of the hospital, not minding the stares directed their way.

“Relax, Darah. There’s nothing to fear,” Phoebe muttered an hour later as they sat in the doctor’s office, waiting the results of Darah’s physical.

“I told you this wasn’t necessary,” Darah mumbled, her eyes moving to the large-faced clock hanging above the door. “What’s taking her so long?”

“Maybe you’ll have to take another blood sample.”

Darah shuddered. A twinge of pain in her right arm reminded her of the ordeal she’d just faced with another aversion; needles. She drew in a breath and released it. “Better not.”

Phoebe chuckled. “You’re as bad as the boys.”

The door swung open and heels clicked the floor as the doctor stepped into the room. Dr. Felicia Halliday gave the two women a wary smile before taking her seat. Her eyes bounced between the two women before settling on Darah. “Your results are in.”

Darah squirmed under the woman’s pointed stare. “Is everything okay…?”

Dr. Halliday sighed softly and leaned forward, her hands joined in front of her on the desk. “I don’t know how to say this…”

“A-Am I dying?” Darah’s stomach twisted with unease.

Phoebe’s hand moved to her shoulder and squeezed it gently. “Is something the matter, Dr. Felicia?”

Dr. Halliday met Darah’s gaze. “When was your last menses?”

The question tripped her mind. What did her period have to do with food poisoning?

Phoebe’s hand tightened on Darah’s shoulder. “She usually has irregular periods, ever since she started. Is it related to the  food poisoning?”

“It’s not food poisoning, I’m afraid.” Dr. Halliday’s gaze shifted to Phoebe’s, and her lips tightened. “Both the blood test and urine sample showed a significant presence of a hormone called hCG.”

Darah’s gaze darted to a silent Phoebe, and trepidation tripped her pule at the horror etched on her sister-in-law’s face. She returned to Dr. Halliday. “Hc what?”

The older woman eyed her suspiciously. “Are you sexually active, Darah?”

Blood drained from Darah’s face.

Phoebe choked out an incredulous laugh. “How can a virgin be sexually active?”

Her stomach turning and pulse racing violently in her throat, Darah could only stare at the physician.

“Are you sure you didn’t mix up the results?” Phoebe asked, her hand tightening on Darah’s shoulder.

“I’m sure.” Dr. Halliday’s brow furrowed at the insinuation but pinned Darah with an expectant look. “Well, are you?”

Phoebe nudged her. “Say something, Darah…”

Dr. Halliday sighed deeply. “You’re between six to seven weeks pregnant, Darah.”

Phoebe jerked her attention back to the doctor. “A-are you certain it’s hers?”

“Hers was the only lab test I requested this morning.”

Darah closed her eyes tight, willing this to be just a dream. There was no way she could be–

Phoebe gripped her shoulder. “Get up. We need to talk now.”

That tone spoke volumes and Darah shot the physician a pleading look as Phoebe tugged on her arm.

Dr. Halliday answered with a gentle smile. “Take all the time you need. If you have any questions, you know where to find me.”

Phoebe’s firm grip practically hauled her from her seat, and Darah winced as she was dragged out of the doctor’s office and into the hallway.

“What did you do?” Phoebe’s gaze was incredulous.

At that moment, her fate was in the hands of her sister-in-law who grew more agitated than Darah had ever seen her. She winced when Phoebe’s grip tightened on her arm. “It hurts…”

Pushing out a breath, Phoebe released her arm and reached into her purse.

“W-who are you calling?” Darah grabbed at Phoebe’s phone but unfortunately, Phoebe’s height had her at a disadvantage.

“Backup.” Phoebe turned her back to Darah and put the phone to her ear. A second later, she spoke again. “Geri, where are you?”

Darah’s heartbeat skipped and she circled to Phoebe’s front. “Why are you calling her?!” she mouthed, eyes wide.

Phoebe eyed her warily and turned away. “I need you to come to the emergency clinic within ten minutes… I don’t know, make some excuse. But come immediately.”

Geraldine arrived at the entrance of the clinic a minute later than Phoebe requested. She was gasping for air, her tailored shirt untucked over her fitted slacks. She carried her heels, wearing flip-flops in her haste to make time. Her eyes were wide with alarm as she approached her sisters-in-law, gaze darting from Phoebe to Darah and back to Phoebe.

“Where’s the fire?” she asked breathlessly.

Darah snuck a glance at Phoebe who hadn’t said a word after the emergency call to Geraldine. In fact, she’d wordlessly returned to Dr. Halliday’s office alone and returned a few moments later, her expression more unreadable than before.

“Uh, hello?” Geraldine’s voice pervaded her thoughts. “Is someone gonna tell me why I had to get dressed in the car just to be here in ten minutes?”

Phoebe breathed out a sigh. “Darah’s pregnant.”

Darah flinched at Phoebe’s direct response.

“Who’s pregnant?” Geraldine asked, staring past Darah at Phoebe. “Because y’all are too old to safely have another child… and we’re done with August.”

“Darah is seven weeks pregnant,” Phoebe said monotonously.

Her eyes then swung to Darah’s. “How is that even possible?”

Darah flinched and lowered her gaze.

“What, is this immaculate conception?”

“Geri, that’s not funny.”

“Of course it’s not funny. How do you explain a virgin getting pregnant?”

“She’s not a virgin…”

Phoebe’s firm statement felt like a hot brand searing her from the inside out. She lowered her gaze although she could feel the weight of her sisters-in-law’s judgmental stares. Oh how she wished for the ground to open up and swallow her, and for the second time since their breakup, Darah rued the day she fell for a man like Jeremy. He only brought trouble for her, and this was the worst kind.

Geraldine chuckled, drawing attention to herself. “Your brothers are gonna kill you.”

Phoebe sighed heavily. “We’re not going to let that happen. Right now, we have a baby to consider.”

Darah stiffened, as though realizing the bigger implication of her irresponsible action. Apart from crippling fear of her brothers’ impending wrath, regret and horror set in. Though getting married and raising a family with Jeremy was part of the plan, Darah couldn’t have predicted this hitch—just like she didn’t expect Jeremy to be a complete jerk either. Becoming a single mother was not something she even considered could happen, but unfortunately that was who she’d become.

J.R. nudged the mouse away and leaned forward with his elbows on the desk. He rested his face in his palms and sighed heavily. There were not enough hours in a day to do what he had to do. Between his father’s clients and preparing the center, J.R. was wearing himself out too fast. Not to mention he had to play tour guide and host after work.

Bart’s cautionary words echoed in his head now, and J.R. wondered if his load would lighten if he did confess his intentions to his father. Peeking through his hands at the list of clients yet to be settled, J.R. groaned. It was unlikely his father would easily give in and reassign the cases to another associate in the firm. If anything, his father would add on more cases so he wouldn’t have time to devote to the center.

Shaking his head, J.R. cleared sleep from his eyes. He couldn’t afford to slack off and give his father reason to blame his divided focus on the center. He could do both, even if he lost sleep.

His phone dinged, alerting him of a new message. J.R. gladly accepted the diversion and leaned back in his seat, pulling up the message folder. His brow furrowed at the unread messages; all ten of them. When they came in, he had no idea, totally immersed in his work to hear them come in.

He opened the first, his frown deepening.

Bhaiyaa, this is Hana. Please save my number so we can chat more freely.

J.R. shook his head but saved the number, just in case his father asked about it later on. He couldn’t afford any disagreements with his father. Saving the number as Sister, he moved onto the next message.

Mayday, mayday! Save me.

J.R. frowned, not recognizing the number. He opened the next, from the same number.

If you don’t save me, you’ll have to come to my funeral.

He arched a brow at the hysterics, getting an odd sense he knew the author. Curiosity growing, he opened the next message.

I’ll need representation. Can you do it?

J.R. reread the messages with a quizzical smile, wishing he knew this familiar stranger. He quietly opened the next.

So you’re ignoring me now? Shouldn’t I be the one mad at you for rejecting me?

He slowly sat up, his pulse quickening. There was only one person he remembered rejecting—and that was a misunderstanding he couldn’t fix, even if he tried. But there was no way she’d contact him first, not after what happened between them… J.R. frowned, opening the latest message.

If I end up dying, just represent my brothers since it’s my fault anyway. Don’t let them go to jail.

Brothers. Hysterics. Rejection.

“Darah,” J.R. breathed, silently rejoicing that her stream of messages had finally broken the silence between them. She’d reached out to him first, for whatever reason, and he planned on answering. Or saving her, something he’d missed doing.

He hit the dial button and held the phone to his ear. She picked up on the second ring and he smiled. “What did you do now?”

“Oh good,” another familiar voice answered. “We’ll need legal representation before my husband goes berserk on your girl. Come talk sense to these blockheads before someone gets indicted.”

J.R.’s smile waned at Geraldine’s grumpy tone and he stood from his desk.

Bart’s temper when provoked was a piece of work, and he was well aware Darah knew what buttons to push.

Without hesitation, he grabbed his keys and headed for the door. “What’s going on?”

<<Chapter 5 || Chapter 7>>

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