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Chapter Twenty Four

"I'm looking for my wife, Adelaide Richardson. She's--"

Kevin's voice was loud and frantic. It was also music to my ears. I stood up, grateful to have a reason to get out of the horrible plastic seat I had been sitting in for the last twenty minutes. Joe continued to look down at the linoleum flooring. "Kevin?"

At the sound of his name, he turned quickly. His shoulders slumped when he saw me; his eyes were red. Dan stood behind him; ghostly pale. "Ally, how is she?"

"I don't know. They won't let me or Joe go back there," I said.

"She's in triage," the nurse interrupted. "Right this way, sir..."

"Okay. Okay," he repeated. He turned. "Stay here," Kevin instructed Dan. He moved quickly towards the triage doors. I sighed.

The whole thing was still a blur in my mind. The ambulance had arrived and loaded Addy into the back. People began to ask questions that I couldn't even begin to answer. Joe was a wreck, but miraculously I had the hindsight to run back into the house and grab Addy's keys.

I had to practically dragged Joe to the car. He kept asking me if she was going to be okay. I kept my head on auto-nod as I prepared myself to take control of the wheel.

I wasn't the best driver, especially in emergencies, but I managed to follow the ambulance to the hospital without a problem. They hadn't gone to Lexington, it was too far. Instead we took roads that I knew I would never be able to retrace to a small county hospital. The ER only had four chairs, if that tells you anything.

"What the hell did you do to my mom?" Dan said angrily, sending me back to the present. I looked at him in confusion; he was staring at the back of Joe's head. Joe turned around slowly.

"I didn't do shit," he said quietly. I had never heard him speak so softly.

Dan's eyes narrowed. "You're a liar and I hate you. I wish you'd just go back to the hellhole where you came from."

I gasped as he walked past me, sending his foot into the back of Joe's chair. It tipped, sending my brother sprawling onto the ground. He flipped over fast, the pain in his face turning to rage.

"Don't!" I commanded. I grabbed the back of Dan's shirt, but he was too tall. My feet slid worthlessly as he charged forward. I lost my grip and went falling to the ground. My head connected with the hard floor and I groaned.

It seemed like a perfect time for a nap.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was quiet. In my quiet world Addy wasn't losing her baby. My brother wasn't being attacked by an angry Richardson. It was a peaceful place.

Unfortunately, it was a place invaded by a little redheaded girl rubbing a very glittery tutu across my face.

My eyes opened and I was disoriented. I looked up into Shelby's worried face.

Where was I?

As if reading my mind, she held up one of my ocular devices and put it on me.

"Did I do it right?" she asked. I lifted my hand, adjusting it slightly.

"Where's the other one?" I asked. It felt like the whole world was lopsided.

"ALLY YOU GOT A GOOSE EGG!" Brenna shouted. The shout sounded like it was coming through layers of bubble wrap. Shel yanked her off me, tipping her upside down, much to Brenna's delight.

"It broke," she said.

I paled. "What?"

"It broke," Shel said a little louder. "Aw, hell." She put Brenna down and began to sign. My eyes followed her fingers, my heart sinking as she told me the story. My head had connected with the hard floor and the devices had scattered. Dan and Joe had started pummeling each other and, in the scuffle, someone's shoe had crunched the left one. Shel had a call into mom, but I was going to be at a disadvantage until I could get a new one.

"I'm going to kill them," I said. My voice sounded more hesitant than usual. Shel shook her head. That's when she told me the second piece of bad news.

I had a concussion. A slight one, but still a concussion. There would be no killing done today. I was going home and going to bed.

"Mommy, stop making flighty fingers!" Brenna demanded. She stared up at me. "I wanna go home," she whined, pressing her cheek into my hand. "Where is everyone?" I asked.

Even though Brenna tried to bend Shelby's fingers, she continued to sign. Joe was with Mason, Dan was with Kevin and Addy. Shel had already anticipated my next question.

"Addy's okay," she said.


"Stress. She's going to be on bed rest a few days."

I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. Shel wiped a tear from her eye. I looked up in confusion.

"What's wrong?"

She laughed softly. "This was actually the best thing that could have happened to Addy," she explained.

I intended to shake my head, but it hurt to much. "How can you say that?" I asked.

"Mommy, c'mon you're all poooookeyy!" Brenna wailed.

"Bren, if you don't stop whining and carrying on, your daddy and I are going to put you in time out when you get home. Now, SHUSH!"

Bren's face turned practically purple. She flung herself on the floor and began a bout of alligator tears. Shelby ignored them; the dramatics didn't phase her. She sat down on my bed and leaned in close. This obviously was something too important to sign.

"There was a mistake with the test results," she said. I could hear the emotion in her voice. "Two women with the last name of Richardson had the test done on the exact same day. The receptionist mixed up the calls."

My eyes widened. "Are you saying...?"

Shel broke into a big smile. "Science is perfect; technology isn't. The doctor said the baby's fine. In fact, the test shows perfect genes. Perfect girly genes. They don't even have to wait to find that out." Shel glanced over at Brenna. "My little torpedo's not going to be the only little girl in the Richardson clan anymore."

Feeling our eyes on her, Bren folded her arms and tucked her chin down.

"This is an event worser day than my worsest one!" she declared. I couldn't help but laugh.

My half-and-half hearing aside, the day had suddenly gotten a whole lot better.