Chapter 28- Christmas Eve Part 2
"Are you alright in there?"
"You sure about that Jade?"
"I SAID I WAS FINE NOW CAN YOU LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE."
"Ok, I'm going to be waiting for you. We all will be waiting for you in the waiting room ok?"
"Fine Olivia. I'll be out in a minute."
"See you soon then sweety."
The door to the girls' bathroom closed and a mournful bawl played through, sounding like a cat cry as it bounced off the walls. Jade opened her stall door and slowly went to lock the main door. She turned around and wiped gently at her face to remove the evidence of any crying. When she moved to the mirror she immediately turned on the cold water. The coldness poured into her cupped hands, but didn't' stay there too long for she splashed it over her face. She wiped her face with the brown paper that was accompanied in the bathroom. The roughness of it caught her off guard, but she wiped all the water away.
"So much for hospital bathrooms being suitable for everyone's needs," Jade mumbled. She glared at her reflection in the dirty mirror and sighed out of frustration. Her mother was in the hospital and she didn't know the condition. She didn't even know the reason of why she was stuck in it. But, Olivia was to thank for getting her back to Texas in six hours after finding out about her mother. (More so, she had to thank the Parker's for buying another set of plane tickets.) What could she ever have done without Olivia was truly unbelievable.
The knock on the main door took her out of her daze and she checked herself in the mirror once more. After she took one more deep breath and made her way out of the bathroom. The stubby woman that had knocked on the door gave her a very irritating look and moved pass her into the bathroom. Jade hugged herself and made her way to the waiting room where her friends were. The people that accidentally bumped into her didn't matter at all. She made it way through the waiting room door and looked around. So, many people were sitting down that it was a shame. It was Christmas Eve…no one should have to spend it like this…no one.
"Hey Jade we were going to go and see if we can find where your mother is," Zach said while walking her way. "Are you ok?"
Jade shook her head sadly.
Zach placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I'm sure that she's ok Jade."
"Yeah I bet your right. I just need to think positively," Jade answered him when Olivia and Josh decided to join them. Olivia's arm reflexively wrapped around Jade's shoulder and gave her a hug.
"Let's go," Olivia said. The four people moved to the empty desk where a well dressed man stood. When he saw them he quickly placed a happy go lucky smile on his face.
"Yes, can I help you?" he softly asked.
Zach slid in front of the others and cleared his throat. "We would like to know if you are taking care of a Sarah Harris." The man behind the desk moved to a computer and tapped away on it. His eyebrows raised and he mildly shook his head.
"I'm sorry, but I don't see a Sarah Harris here sir," the man answered.
"What!? There has to be a Sarah Harris here," Zach told him.
The man shook his head again and typed away. "I am sorry sir, but there is no one by that name that's in our database."
"Sir," Olivia interjected. Her arm left from around Jade's shoulder and she banged on the desk. "She has to be here because she was brought here."
"Well you must be mistaken…"
"Who the hell do you think you are, little man?" Olivia's voice raised as anger swept her.
The man looked flabbergasted and stepped back. "Ma'am I am going to have to ask you to calm down…"
"How am I suppose to calm down when my friend's mother is in the hospital and you aren't doing your job properly," Olivia yelled. She had both hands on the counter and was steadily leaning forward on her arms. "Now get back on that fucking computer and look for a Sarah Harris!"
Jade flinched at the sheer anger that was in Olivia's voice. Quietly she stepped back when Josh moved forward and tried to calm the girl down. Why couldn't the man find her mother? She was brought in…she was sure of it. Suddenly, arms encircled her and she was pulled into an embrace.
"Don't worry we'll find her," Zach said in her ear. He nuzzled her neck with his nose and she sighed.
"I know," Jade whispered. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Jacob enter the waiting room. His dress was disheveled and he looked a bit out of breath. "Jacob!"
"Jade, Zach!" he said surprisingly and made his way over. He gave a heartfelt smile and gave both of them a hug. "I am so glad that you could make it in such a short time…"
"How is she?" Zach asked.
Jacob sighed. "She's ok it's just a couple of broken bones."
Jade's heart lept in her throat and smiled.
"That's a god send," Zach said and gave Jade a gentle squeeze.
"It surly is," Jade lightly chuckled out of happiness.
"What is she so happy for?" Josh asked as he came carrying Olivia in his arms.
Zach hugged Jade even closer. "Her mother's doing ok."
"That's wonderful," Olivia responded as Josh put her back on her feet. "Where is she?"
"She's currently in her room sleeping peacefully, but she's allowed visitors. And I really think she would enjoy some kind of company," Jacob said.
Zach noticed the confused look on both Josh and Olivia's face and decided to explain.
"Oh guys this is my dad, Mr. Harris or Jacob. Dad this is Olivia and Josh friends of ours," Zach said pointing between all of them.
Olivia shook his hand. "Mr. Harris I am indeed charmed to meet you. Your son is as smart as he is handsome and I think I know where he gets it."
"Liv," Josh whispered and gave her a slight nudge.
"Sorry, but Mr. Harris we were currently trying to find where your wife was…" Olivia began and turned around to look at the man at the counter. "YET SOMEONE said that she wasn't in the database," she said loudly. Jade noticed the man at the counter jump and roll his eyes in their direction.
"Did you try searching for Sarah Tillman?" Jacob responded and bowed his head.
Jade gasped, but only so Zach could hear her. So, they got a divorce after all?
"Well why don't you show us where my mom is," Jade asked. Jacob shook his head and they all followed him towards the elevator. She squeezed in between Zach and Jacob and looked between the two. Now that her mother and Jacob got a divorce did that mean that she was able to pursue her relationship with Zach? Did her mother even want to talk to her? Her eyes fell to the floor as the recollection of Thanksgiving Day played through her head. Would her mother forgive her or wouldn't she? More importantly could she forgive her mother?
"How did she end up here?" Zach asked once the doors opened to the elevator and they all stepped out. Jade's ear perked up and she carefully listened to Jacob's words.
"She was on her way back home after we got our divorce, but didn't make it home when she was hit by some damn drunk driver."
"That's a shame," Josh said. "You hear about that kind of things but you never ever think it would happen to someone you know."
"I agree," Olivia said sadly as the group came to a stop.
"This is her room," Jacob said pointing at number on a door. Jade saw the number and automatically memorized it…8231. When her eyes roamed around to look down the long empty corridor she caught everyone looking at her. Jacob rubbed the back of his neck and said, "I think it would be better if you go in and see her Jade."
"Yea you should," Zach said. Everyone else said the same, but she hesitated for a moment. It felt like déjà vu to her and she knew why. This felt exactly like the day she visited her dad on his last day in the hospital. He was dying from cancer and she remembered him lying in bed so helplessly. He could hardly hug her because all his strength was basically gone from his body. He told her a sweet story and said he loved her and would always be with her forever. At the time she didn't know what he meant or what was going on, but all she knew was the pain that soon followed hurt like hell.
"Girl will you go already," Olivia said giving Jade a shove into the doorway. She turned around quickly and Olivia, Josh and Jacob were gone from the doorframe. Zach just stood with his hands in his jeans with a you'll-be-ok smile. He leaned in and gave her a quick kiss and he too was gone. Could she handle being alone with her mother now? Well now wasn't the time to even think about that because she was halfway there. Walking more into the room she saw the tiny bed pushed to the back of the wall near the window. Her mother laid there with her eyes close and she looked so peaceful. Her feet stuck out at the end of the sheets showing several cuts and bruises, which drew Jade's eyes up to her arms that were in casts. Grabbing one of the two chairs, which sat on the opposite side of her mother's bed, Jade quietly, moved it to her bed side.
"Nice to see you can come and see your mother. Even though it took a simple car crash and broken bones in my arms to visit," Sarah stirred in her bed.
Jade gave a soft smile when her mother opened one eye. "What kind of daughter would I be if I didn't?"
"You ruined Thanksgiving and weren't going to visit me today of all days, so I don't know what kind of daughter would you be?"
Jade rolled her eyes and began to stand. "Fine if you're going to treat me like that I'm leaving."
"I'm sorry dear, come and sit back down," Sarah apologized and her eyes pointed down at the chair. With a huff Jade sat back down, making sure not to look directly into her mom's eyes. Instead she played with her fingers trying to distract herself. "You know your mother can be a real fool at times…don't you dear?"
"Oh please dear don't act stupid," Sarah groaned and moved her head around. "You always got good grades in school, so I know you better then that."
Jade shifted in her chair. "Ma, I have no idea…"
"Fine, I'm sorry that I over exaggerated at Thanksgiving's Day about you and Zach's relationship. Are you happy now dear? Are you happy that your old mother finally admitted that she was once in her life sorry?
Jade said nothing except gaze at the woman before her. Her mother was apologizing to her for the incident? Sarah was a proud woman, Jade knew, but for her to apologize was somewhat extraordinary.
"I am also sorry for not telling you about the divorce."
"Ma I don't know what to say." Jade was completely speechless. What was going on? "Ma, you aren't dying are you and no one told me?"
Sarah gave a displeased expression. "No I'm not dying."
"Then what's with the apologies?"
Sarah opened her mouth then closed it solemnly.
"I broke our promise dear," Sarah finally turning her head away from Jade's eyes.
Jade raised her eyebrow. "Promise?"
"Dear don't tell me you forgot the promise I made to you when you were thirteen?"
"I…" Jade stuttered. "I can't say that I remember."
Sarah let out a soft chuckle. "You wouldn't because I made this promise when you were asleep."
"What promise did you make with me?" Jade asked curiously. She placed her elbows on her mom's bed and put her hands in them. "While I was asleep."
"I promised…I promised…" Sarah began and sighed. "I promised you after your father died that I would never leave you, or hurt you in anyway as his death had done us both. But, I know I did you just as bad when I told you that I had no daughter anymore. I didn't listen to your side I was just trying to think of how bad it would look to everyone else."
Jade listened and moved a tendril that fell over her mother's face.
"But, when I saw the look on your face when you stood up for him…I saw the love in your eyes. Dear, I haven't seen you with that love in your eyes for a very long time. That look in your eyes died with your father and it scared me to know that Zach was possibly the one to fix that. Yet, I was overly happy for you."
"Is that the reason Jacob and you got the divorce? So, that I could stay happy?"
"Dear this went on long before I even knew about Zach and you," Sarah laughed. "Jacob and I only married for the sake of Zach and you."
"We were both divorcees and we both had kids. We were lonely of the ordinary relationships that lasted for a few days and then ended. We loved one another and still do, but we just married too early. His habits bugged the hell out of me. Not to mention his ass was lazy and way too suffocating."
Jade giggled and imagined Jacob sending flowers upon flowers to her mother everyday. "He does seem like a romantic at heart."
"Well sometimes a woman needs to breathe once in a while," Sarah laughed along with Jade.
"So, you still love him then?" Jade asked questioningly. Maybe, there was still hope for her mother and Jacob.
Sarah stared lovingly at Jade. "I don't know dear. We love each other, but just as friends. I think if we had waited a few more months to get married then that would have been a different story."
"Dear don't worry about your mother. You have your whole life ahead of you, so worry about yourself now."
Jade sniffed and gave her mother a hug. It wasn't just for her mother being so kind and brave, but for herself. She made her peace with her mother and everything was good between them both. Maybe, just maybe the accident was meant for a reason. She still thanked god that her mom didn't suffer anything fatal and would be ok.
Jade sat and talked with her mother for a very long time. They spoke about her college life, friends and Zach. Sarah admitted that they did look good together and it really made life less difficult now that they weren't considered sister and brother. She even told her mom about Josh and how he went lunatic on her in the dressing room. Of course, Sarah showed her concern and made it known that if the boy did something else like that she would indeed hunt him down and kill him. That got a good laugh out of them both. Soon, though, Jade noticed that the clock above her bed was showing that it was almost seven. (Visitor's can only stay till' seven at the latest.)
"Hmm, Ma I think we have others who want to see you, so I should get going," Jade said and stood up.
"Fine then dear," Sarah softly said. "But, before you go you have to let me see it."
Jade looked down at her mother in confusion. "See what?" she asked and then noticed the book that lay on a table on the other side of her mom's bed. Was that Zach's book? How come she never once recognized it there before?
Jade reached over and picked the book up with her right hand. It was definitely Zach's book no doubt about it, but why did her mother have it? And didn't he say that it wouldn't be out until after Christmas?
"How did you get this?" Jade asked curiously.
"Oh Zach sent Jacob and I each a copy two days ago for early Christmas gifts."
Jade frowned. "How dare that asshole send you and Jacob a copy and he won't even let me open the damn thing?" she mumbled. Looking down she saw the bewildered stare in her mom's eyes. "I'm sorry I cut you off. What did you want to see?"
"Nothing," Sarah smiled.
"Sure?" Jade asked. When Sarah shook her head up and down she bent over and kissed her forehead. "I love you ma."
"I love you too dear."
Jade began to make her way out of the room, but stopped when she noticed she had been carrying the book in her hands. She turned around quickly and held it out.
"Could I take this for a while? I'll bring it right back," she pleaded.
Sarah paused for a moment and then smiled. "Sure baby, but bring it back because I've just begun it."
"Of course ma," Jade replied and then she was out of the room. The corridor's lights were dimmed, but she saw everyone sitting on the benches further on her left hand side. Olivia looked as though she was sleeping peacefully on Josh, of who had his head on top of hers with his eyes closed. She smiled at the two and really felt as though they did fit one another. Zach caught her attention as he was hitting the soda machine that stayed beside the bench. She heard a swear leave his lips and frantically pushed a couple of buttons. That was her man wasn't it? But, where was Jacob?
"Zach what the hell are you doing to that soda machine?" Jade asked making her way toward him. She quickly hid the book behind her back when he turned around. The glare that was on his face subsided and he smirked.
"It needed a good beating or two since it wanted to take my money," he answered.
"You should have seen him at the candy machine," Josh joked and then stretched. "He maybe a wimp at times, but don't let anyone tell you he can't whoop a candy machines ass." Him and Olivia both gave a yawn and then stood up.
"So, how's your mother?" Olivia asked.
Jade smiled at her friend and shook her head. "She's doing very well."
"That's excellent," Olivia squealed and gave Jade a heartfelt hug.
"Yes, it is, but I didn't want to take all of the visiting time," Jade said. She looked around and saw Jacob come out of the bathroom. "I thought that Jacob could take Josh and Olivia in to meet her."
"Meet us!?" Olivia said leaping back and clutching to Josh. "I…I…don't…"
"You should meet her since you made it possible for me to be here," Jade cooed and stepped to Zach's side. "Jacob wouldn't mind doing so, right?" Jacob nodded and guided the two people down the hallway to the room door. Jade heard a delight squeal come from Olivia's mouth probably. It had to be Olivia no doubt because only she could be so happy to see someone she never once met.
"That girl is a trip," Zach told Jade. The blue turtleneck sweater made his smile appear more then the world to her. When he took a step toward her it took everything for her to take a step back. "What's wrong?"
Jade sucked her teeth and smiled. "I was just wondering how my mother ever got this," she said and pulled the book from behind her back. It took her off guard when he gasped out of pure shock. His eyes fell and he almost looked horrified.
"You aren't suppose to look through that until Christmas," Zach said and reached out for it.
Jade automatically stepped back yet again. "Why is that though?" she said slyly.
"Jade just give it here."
"It's your Christmas gift that's why," Zach answered. This time his expression got softer….maybe a bit playful. What was he trying to hide from her that had to wait till tomorrow? Maybe, she should just be patient and wait. She could be patient….not!
"Fine," Jade smiled and flipped the book open. When Zach jumped at her, she turned around and tried to find anything suspicious. It was just a couple of pages that wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Zach's arms wrapped around her torso and picked her up and carried her back to the bench area.
"Put the book down Jade," Zach chuckled. Was he laughing? Why was he laughing when he just seemed so furious a couple of minutes ago?
"No, I'm not putting this book down. My interest is too sparked to stop now," Jade laughed. She flipped another page and she found it to be full of dedications. "Do you not want me to read who you dedicated this to, hmmm? Is it some ex-girlfriend or something, hmmm?"
"Don't read that," Zach said in her ear. He sat down pulling Jade down on onto his lap.
"Fine I won't," Jade giggled. "'I dedicate this book to all of my loved ones. My mother of who will forever be in my heart…'" she began.
"Damn, you don't even listen to me," Zach teased and let go of Jade's waist. She immediately stood up and faced him with a smile and continued to read.
"'I also dedicate this to my family and friends who stuck by me through thick and thin.' Wow, that's very stirring," Jade said. "But, there's more. 'I can't stop with my dedications yet because I forgot to think the most important person to me in the whole world. Without her I don't know if this would even be possible for me to get through this book. She knows my love for her and so do I know the love from her. We've started out on a journey and I can't end it with you now, so I'm asking you to start something with me forever. I know this dedication page is suppose to be short and to the point, but I can't. So, I'm asking…'" Jade stopped. No he wasn't asking her to…he couldn't be…could he? She moved the book from in front of her face to find that Zach wasn't sitting on the bench, but he was kneeling on the floor.
"So, I'm asking her will she marry me," Zach finished off. His hands fumbled in his jean box and pulled out a velvet violet box. He flipped it open and smiled up at her. "Will you do me the honor in being my wife Jade?"
Jade dropped the book and covered her mouth. He wasn't asking her to marry him. There was no way, no way, no way! Why?
"I…," Jade mumbled. Her voice was gone and a lump replaced it. She was going to cry and she knew it. Zach Harris was now asking her to be his wife. Could she love him forever and be everything that he wanted? Could she live with the fact that he may not love her one day? Yet, he was everything in the world to her and it happened in such a short time.
"Jade?" Zach asked making her come out of her day dream state.
"What? Oh yea," she replied softly. She stared at the shiny gem that looked so beautiful in the velvet box and sighed. "I…umm.."
Zach stood and pulled the ring out of the box. "Jade?"
"I…" she started and lost her voice once again when Zach took her left hand in his hands. He started to slide the ring on her ring finger and that's when the tears began to flow out.
Zach encircled her in his arms giving her forehead a kiss and whispered, "Please marry me Jade because I don't know what I would do without you. I love you so much it hurts, so please…please marry me."
"I will," Jade answered in his chest. It was a bit muffled and she knew it, but she loved this man. She really loved this man!
Zach pulled her away. "What?"
"Yes, I will marry you Zach!" Jade said much louder then before. Before she knew it his lips came crashing down on her own and he spun her around happily. After he finally set her back down on her feet she heard clapping. Clapping? Looking sheepishly to her side she saw Olivia, Josh, Jacob and couple of other people clapping happily.
"It's about damn time," Olivia laughed.
"I know I couldn't wait till' you asked tomorrow man," Josh added.
"Will you guys shut-up I'm trying to have a romantic moment over here and your messing it up," Zach yelled comically and gave Jade another sweet kiss. Groans were heard, but everyone dispersed.
"This is the best Christmas ever," Jade told him after the kiss.
"The same for me."
Jade stared at him lovingly. "I love you Zach Harris."
Zach tilted his head to the side. "I love you Jade Tillman. Or is it Jade Harris?"
"Who knows and who cares. I love you and I'm going to be Mrs. Harris anyway," Jade answered matter-factly.
"Shall we go and surprise your mother?"
Jade smiled and kissed Zach again. "Yes let's do that, but I don't think she'll be too surprised." When she saw Zach give her a look she disregarded it and laced her fingers with his. Pulling him down the hallway she began to think that she was marrying a man that she never once knew existed. But, taking a look behind her to see his smiling face she knew that….this was only the beginning.