Something Wonderful Page 3

I knew he was right, but I hoped he would change his mind. “No,” I said quietly as I watched the doctor do his thing in horror. “No…no, no, NOOOOO!” I didn’t realize how loud I was, until Max dragged me out of the room. He knew I would’ve attacked the doctor if he hadn’t restrained me. I could see through the window that her family was sobbing, and I was doing the same in Max’s arms, feeling helpless, like someone had ripped out my heart.

“It’s my fault, Max. It’s my fault. I…let…her…go,” I sobbed. My body trembled in Max’s hold as I let out a gut-wrenching cry that poured out of my soul, until there was nothing left of me. My body and mind had disjointed and I was lost to the darkness…to the emptiness.

Air…no air.

I needed air.

I couldn’t breathe.

My air, my purpose, my will to live had been sucked out of me. My world was shattered that day. It broke me in ways that would change me. I cursed at life and I cursed at God. I had been damned to hell, but I didn’t care. I was dead anyway.


“BECKY!” I EXCLAIMED, RUNNING toward the open front door. “Let me help you with that.” Grabbing the tail end of the Christmas tree, I lifted it up to my waist and helped her carry it to the living room next to the television. Thank God we had wooden floors; the pine needles left a trail and my head spun at the thought of having to sweep them up.

“You okay, Jenna?” Becky asked worriedly, placing her hand on my shoulder.

I must have looked flustered. “Yeah…just…nothing,” I smiled, inhaling the fresh scent that spiraled into my nostrils, imagining myself in an enchanted forest.

“Doesn’t that smell heavenly?” Becky proudly looked at the tree with her arms crossed as I mimicked her stance.

“Yeah, it does.” Looking at her, I scowled. “Why didn’t you ask me to go with you?”

“You had company. Speaking of which, is Max still here?” Taking off her red scarf and black coat, she flung them on the sofa.

“No, he left a little while ago. He’s going to stop by the office, then come back around noon.”

Becky headed to the kitchen, coming back with a broom and started to sweep the pine needles into a pile. I wanted to help her, but we only had one broom; so I became creative and tore off some paper towels, got down on my hands and knees, and swept up some needles.

“Jenna? What are you doing?” From her tone, she didn’t like my ingenuity.

I stopped and peered up to her. “Helping, silly. We only have one broom.”

“Get up,” she demanded, sounding a little irate, but her intonation was soft. “Stop. I can do this. It’s no big deal.”

Standing up, I glanced at her, feeling baffled by her expression. Without a word, I headed to the kitchen and threw the paper towel in the trashcan. As grateful as I was, I guess a part of me was also feeling helpless. Max had been here day and night taking care of me, though I was feeling much better since the car accident. What I really needed to do was get out of this apartment. I wasn’t the type to mope around and have everyone treat me as if I couldn’t lift a finger.

“Jenna.” Becky stuck her head into the kitchen, looking guilty for slightly blowing up at me. “I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you. I just didn’t want you to overdo it.”

“I’m fine. I wish everyone would stop treating me like I just got out of the hospital.” I rolled my eyes.

Becky’s eyes popped open, unbelieving what I had just said. “But…you…did.” Then she went back to sweeping.

Leaning back against the kitchen cabinet, I crossed my arms in annoyance. “Is that the reason why you didn’t ask me to go pick out a tree with you?” I asked loud enough so she could hear me. I was trying to brush this hurt aside, but I couldn’t help the way I felt. We had always gone tree shopping together. It was a tradition. How could she go alone?

Becky came inside the kitchen and stood in front of me. “I’m just thinking of you, dummy.” Draping her arms around me, she squeezed me tightly and spoke with sincerity and tenderness. “Don’t ever end up in the hospital again. I thought I’d lost you.”

A sudden pang pierced my heart from her words. I could imagine how she felt. If she had been the one in the hospital, I would have felt the same. Tears pooled in my eyes and one drop managed to escape at the corner. When she released me, I quickly wiped it away and she did the same when she turned from me. “Anyway,” she continued. “Who’s going to pay the other half of the apartment cost?” she snorted, trying to hide the fear and sadness as she walked out of the kitchen.

I was deeply touched and though I was the one who had physically suffered, I could understand—Becky, Kate, Nicole, Max, and especially Matthew—what they had been through because of me. I felt guilty for being so stupid, driving while clearly incapacitated by gut-wrenching sobbing, hurt, and anger; all because I thought Max had cheated on me with his ex, Crystal. I still hadn’t even told my parents what had happened, since they were on a cruise.

“Is that all you care about?” I followed behind her, stealing the broom away so fast she had no idea what was coming, and started to sweep.

“Good. My cleaner is back.” She didn’t try to stop me this time. Maybe she just needed a hug or a confirmation that I was fine. “I need to run some errands and head to Starbucks since I ran out of coffee. I’m going to bring my laptop and read some query letters while I’m there. Do you or Max want anything?”

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