Deep as the Road is Long (Part II, Chapter 16)

desperationandgin:

Rating: General Audiences

Also Read on: AO3

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A/NSurprise! A bonus chapter. I realize I haven’t gone through and replied to anyone’s comments for the last chapter that was posted. I need to and I will, but in the meantime, I wanted to offer a chapter early as my sincere and heartfelt gratitude. The feedback has been passionate all the way around regarding this story whether readers have been frustrated with Jamie, sad for him (sad for both of them) or firmly on Claire’s side. I know I’ve said this before, but I really didn’t think anyone would ever read a story with this specific subject matter; I was just writing it for me. So, I’m really touched and floored at the reception of it all. Here’s hoping I stick the landing, and here’s to goodbye to Part 2! 

Thank you all so, so much from the bottom of my heart. Part 3 begins on Thursday.

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December 2016

When the monitors began to pick up the rhythm in which they beeped, when Faith’s breathing changed, Claire knew. She’d yelled, that much she remembers, the screaming for Jamie, for someone to find him. Without thinking, she’d climbed right onto the bed with the little girl, reached out to touch her cheek, to beg her not to go, not yet. There were no life-saving measures performed; that hurdle and those signatures from Jamie to not resuscitate had been taken care of two weeks ago. And so, all Claire could do was hold Faith as she took her final breath, unable to process that it happened, that she was gone. The only sound was the single tone until Jamie thundered in, looking like a complete mad man, eyes wild as he took in the scene in front of him. Never in her life had she felt so much like nothing, trying to apologize while cradling his dead daughter.

Eventually, she’d moved so that he could take over, pulling Faith to his body and crying in a way that was so loud and so guttural Claire thought he might die, too. In the immediate days afterward, she tried telling herself she’d lost patients before, that she’d been the witness to more parents’ tears of agony than she could remember, but even with that thought, she knew this was different. Different because she’d started to fall in love with Jamie and she already loved Faith. The pain, at that time, was unmatched by anything she’d ever felt in her life. Even her husband’s death. When the police notified her of Frank’s accident she’d felt numb, felt nothing for such a long time. When it happened, she couldn’t imagine anything that would ever feel worse.

She learned after Faith’s funeral, there’s always a worse.

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