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Chapter 39

“Mr. and Mrs. Littrell?” Harold and Jackie glanced up to see Dr. Adele standing before them.

“Yes?” Harold asked nervously. He could tell by the expression on the doctor’s face that something was not right. He could only pray that Brian had not suffered another heart attack, or worse, that he was dead.

“I need to talk to you. Would you mind coming to a more private area with me?” Dr. Adele asked gently.

Harold nodded and took his wife’s hand. They stood up together and followed Dr. Adele out of the waiting room and down the hall. Dr. Adele led them into his office and closed the door. “Have a seat,” he said, motioning to the two chairs in front of his desk. Jackie and Harold sat down there, and the doctor sat behind his desk. “I’m afraid I have some news, both good and bad,” he began.

“What is it?” Jackie asked, her face white.

“Well, the good news is that we have a heart for Brian,” Dr. Adele said. Jackie’s eyes lit up, and he saw her smile for the first time in days. Harold gave her hand a hopeful squeeze.

“Then what’s the bad news?” he asked tentatively.

Dr. Adele took a deep breath. “I’m afraid there’s been an accident,” he started slowly.

Jackie went another shade paler. “An accident?” she asked shrilly.

“A motor vehicle accident involving your son, Harold,” he continued gravely. Harold and Jackie stared at him, their eyes wide and filled with fear. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Harold was killed in the crash. The car ran into a tree, and it hit on his side. He suffered some massive internal injuries, and died on the scene, before the paramedics even got there.”

Jackie began to sob out loud, and Harold put his arm around her, but his gaze didn’t leave the doctor’s face. “He’s dead?” he asked numbly. He had understood Dr. Adele’s words, but they just wouldn’t process. He couldn’t believe after all their worrying over Brian, that Harry was the one who was now dead.

“There is some good news to come out of this though,” Dr. Adele continued. “Before he passed away, your son told Nick, who was also involved in the crash, that he wanted his heart to go to Brian. The ER doctors put Harold on life support when he was brought in, to keep a flow of oxygen going to his organs. I’m afraid most of the organs were damaged in the crash, but by some miracle, his heart was in perfect condition. He makes a wonderful match with Brian, so that’s who his donor will be.”

Harold nodded, a few tears escaping his eyes. “Well, at least something good came out of this,” he managed to say, trying to look on the bright side. But inside, his own heart was breaking. Then he remembered something else. “Dr. Adele?” he asked. “What about Nick? Is he okay?”

Dr. Adele nodded. “Nick only has minor injuries. I believe he’s in the ER right now, but I’m sure he’ll be released soon.”

It had all become too much for Jackie, and she began to sob uncontrollably. Harold pulled her close to him, but that didn’t stop her entire body from shaking. Suddenly, the room seemed to spin, and she couldn’t breathe. Her body shook with sobs as she gasped for air.

“Jackie? Jackie?!?!” She heard voices calling to her, but they all seemed far away and distorted. Suddenly, the room stopped spinning, and her world went black.

***

When Jackie awoke, she found her husband leaning over her, looking terrified. “Honey, are you okay?” he asked, his voice filled with concern.

“What happened?” she asked weakly, sitting up. She felt a little dizzy, but the dizziness passed momentarily.

“Dr. Adele said you had a panic attack,” he said. “You started hyperventilating in his office, and a nurse had to sedate you.”

Jackie looked around, confused, and realized she was lying on a couch. “Where am I?” she asked.

“You’re in the nurses’ lounge. You passed out, and they brought you here to rest,” he explained.

Jackie started to get up, but Harold pushed her back. “Wait here, honey,” he said. “Let me go find a nurse first to see if you can get up now.”

“Harold, I’m fine,” Jackie assured him. “Have they taken Brian into surgery yet?”

He shook his head. “Not yet,” he said. “They should be doing that soon though.”

“I have to see him before he goes in,” she said tearfully. “I’m fine really. It was just the shock, but I’ll be fine now.” She slowly stood up, and Harold put his hand on her back to support her, but soon realized that she really was fine. The sedatives had worked to calm her.

“I’ve already broken the news to Kevin, AJ, and Howie, and they went down to find Nick, but they haven’t come back yet,” he explained.

Jackie nodded. They walked out into the waiting room and sat down, just waiting for it to be time for Brian to go into surgery.

Chapter 40