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Chapter 50

Jackie immediately looked up from the magazine article she was reading when she heard a soft whimper come from the now shaking figure in the bed. She threw down her magazine and rushed over to the side of the bed, gathering the sobbing, shaking body of her son’s best friend into her arms.

“What’s wrong Nicky honey? Are you ok?” she asked as she pushed his damp blond hair away from his forehead.

“Why don’t you hate me, like everyone else does?” Nick whimpered as he started to sob again.

“Who hates you Nick? I could never hate you, you have a kind soul, honey. No one in their right mind could hate you.”

“But I killed Harry, Jackie. He died and it is my entire fault. I was the reason he was out driving that night when he himself was on the brink of exhaustion. If I wouldn’t have left in the first place, none of this would have happened.”

“Nick it isn’t your fault! I don’t blame you and neither do Harry’s father and I know that Brian forgave you when you came back from LA. He was so happy you came back Nick, you can’t think that you coming back was a mistake. We are all glad you came back.”

“But that magazine said…” Nick started to say but was interrupted when Jackie put a finger to his lips to silence him.

“That magazine is full of rubbish, Nickolas Carter. They print anything to sell copies, even if what they print is mostly lies. They don’t care who they hurt so long they find a hot story and print it and sell it. We all here know the truth and the truth is nothing that happened is your fault. We all believe it, but you have to believe it yourself, Nick.”

Nick looked up into the eyes of his best friend’s mother and gave her a small smile as he wiped his eyes. “How do you forgive so easily?” he asked sheepishly.

Jackie just smiled and laid Nick’s head down on the pillows and straightened out the blankets as she put them over his body and tucked him in. She smiled as Nick reached for her hand and she took his hand in hers, squeezing it slightly. “Well let me tell you a story, Nick,” she said as she got comfortable. She gave him a small smile and started to tell her story.

“Mommy, Mommy!!! Look how fast I can run!” five-year-old Brian yelled with excitement as he ran as fast as his small legs would carry him.

“You can’t run as fast as me!” eight-year-old Harold boasted and he ducked behind a tree that was at the edge of the sidewalk at his grandparent’s home outside of Lexington, Kentucky.

Jackie smiled at her children as she turned and walked towards the porch where her husband and his parents were conversing. All of a sudden she stopped in her tracks when she heard the angry yell of her oldest son and the loud crying of her youngest. She spun around and was greeted by the sight of her youngest son lying on his back on the sidewalk crying loudly as his older brother looked down at him with fear and shock in his eyes, and maybe guilt?

Jackie ran over to the sobbing child lying on the sidewalk and scooped him gently into her arms, running towards her husband who now stood at the bottom of the porch steps. She placed her son into her husband’s open arms and began to look over her baby, checking for any visible signs of injury. “You ok, baby?” she asked as she gently pushed his blond hair back and gave him a kiss on his forehead. Her heart sank as she seen Brian shake his head. “What’s wrong?” she asked with worry in her voice.

“My head hurts, mommy,” he said quietly as he reached behind him and began to rub the back of his head. Jackie found herself looking up at her husband with worry.

“Let’s take him to the hospital to make sure nothing is wrong,” he said as he shifted Brian’s position in his arms to make him more comfortable.

“Ok,” Jackie whispered as she took her baby from her husband’s arms and walked towards the car, opening the door and sitting down inside. She waited patiently as her husband explained the situation to his parents and suddenly felt guilty when her husband walked over to his visibly upset son and gave him a hug as he picked him up and carried him to the car. Jackie gently placed Brian in the backseat with his brother and waited impatiently as they made their way to the hospital. The whole time she was hoping it was something as simple as a concussion, but deep inside she had a bad feeling that it was something more.

***

Hours later her and her husband and son waited in the waiting room, just moments after the doctor had determined her son had a concussion and something worse as she had feared, a staph infection that would most likely take his life.

“What happened Harry?” she asked as she looked at her soon who looked down at the floor guiltily.

He shifted in his seat uncomfortably and whispered, “He made me mad, Mommy, and I pushed him down.”

“Why did you do that Harry? Because you pushed him down, Brian is fighting for his life!” Jackie exclaimed before she could control her anger. Before she could apologize, she watched sadly as her son ran out of the waiting room with tears streaming down his face. “What did I just do, Harold? How could I have yelled at him like that?” she asked her husband. He shrugged and looked down the hall.

“You should go look for him, I have a good idea where he is at,” he said quietly. Jackie nodded and got up from her seat and walked down the hall of the children’s ward of the hospital. Moments later she approached the partly closed door of her son’s hospital bed and looked insider. Her eyes filled with tears at the sight before her. Harry was gripping his baby brother’s hand tightly, begging for forgiveness.

“I’m sorry, Brian. I didn’t mean to push you down like that. It is my fault you are sick, even Mommy thinks so. Now I don’t think Mommy loves me anymore.”

Jackie gasped as she watched Brian open his eyes and whisper the words in which she had to lean forward to hear “I forgive you Harry, and Mommy does love you.”

“Mrs. Littrell?,” a voice behind here asked softly. She jumped and turned, coming face to face with her son’s doctor, Dr. Hall.

“Yes?,” she whispered, fearing that the doctor would have more bad news for her.

“I just wanted to say that your son is very lucky,” the doctor began.

“Lucky? How can he be lucky, he is dying!” Jackie thought as she looked at the doctor in confusion.

“If your son hadn’t been brought in, he would have suffered a lot more than he is now. He still would have passed on, but now he won’t die suffering as much as he would have if he hadn’t been brought in.” the doctor finished explaining.

Jackie nodded as she looked into the room at her children, “Thank you doctor,” she whispered as she quietly entered the room, being as quiet as possible so she wouldn’t wake Brian who had just fallen asleep again. She bent down over her oldest son and took his small hand in hers and looked in his teary blue eyes.

“Thank you, baby,” she said. She smiled as her son looked at her in confusion.

She began to quietly explain what the doctor had told her moments before outside the room and apologized for her earlier actions. Harry nodded tearfully at the end of her explanation and threw his arms around his mother’s neck. “You’re welcome, Mommy. I love you and of course I forgive you,” he said. Jackie smiled at her son, thankful that he had found it in his heart to forgive, for this was the event that had changed her outlook on life; forever.

***

Nick smiled at Jackie and gave her a hug using his uninjured arm. “Thank you for forgiving,” he said. Jackie smiled back at the young man as she returned his hug and was about to reply when a hasty knock at the door was heard. She looked towards the door and was shocked to see Dr. Adele rush into the room. Before she could ask if anything was wrong, Dr. Adele approached Nick’s bedside and urgently said, “ Mrs. Littrell, you are needed in the ICU unit immediately.”


Chapter 51