#YRfanfiction #Niktor #Newmans Now&Forever:Playtime Is Over Pt. 5

Published May 21, 2012 by tdaddetta16

Chapter Thirteen
Victor’s always been able to bring out the best in me, no matter how bad things were, no matter how bad they got. I just wish I could do that for him now, instead of feeling totally useless, being totally useless. I wish I could help him somehow. I’d do anything to help him, anything to take away the pain I see in his eyes every time he looks at me, the pain he tries so hard to hide. Why didn’t I go looking for him sooner? Why didn’t I go with him to work? Why didn’t I just go with him that night? If I had, maybe none of this would’ve happened. If I had, none of this would’ve happened! It’s my fault! Why didn’t I go with him?

Everyone keeps telling me to rest, that that’s the only way I’ll be able to help Victor, but every time I close my eyes, all I see, all I ever see is him lying there almost lifeless. For a moment, just for a moment I think it’s a dream, only a dream. Then I wake up and realize it’s not a dream but a waking, living nightmare; one that will only get worse if I lose him! How am I supposed to do this? How do I just go on with my life like nothing happened? How do I just pretend that it’s just another day when, with each passing moment, Victor’s slipping further and further away? God, what do I do? What do I do? How do I handle this? Why him? Why him? Why not me? If it had to be someone, why couldn’t it be me? Not him! It didn’t have to be him! I’d switch places with him if I could, I’d do anything to save him from this. But I can’t and it’s killing me. It’s killing me.

Looking back, Victor’s been my rock. Whether it was when Nicholas was in jail, Victoria was being held hostage by Gary Dawson or whether it was when I was drinking after the horseback riding accident and too afraid to have the surgery, he’s always been there, always been by my side when I needed him. So, now, when he needs me most, when he needs me more than ever, why can’t I do anything more than sit and wait? He’s always been able to count on me, no matter what, just like I’ve always been able to count on him. So why can’t I do anything for him? Why can’t I truly help him? Why am I at such a loss? Why can’t I do anything for him just when he needs me the most?

He was the first person I really trusted, the first one I let in, let get close enough to see who I really was, who I really am. Before Victor, I couldn’t do it. I could never let anybody get close enough to see who I really was, I could never do it; I was too scared to. I was too scared of getting hurt. Even though we’ve hurt each other a lot over the years, I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve spent with Victor for anything. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. He’s given me so much, more than I’ve ever dreamed of, more than I dared to hope for. I wasn’t looking for love that day at the Bayou, truth be told, I had given up hope that the man I was searching for would ever come, that he even existed. But, I was wrong, I was so wrong.

Victor somehow saw what nobody else did. Underneath all the hurt and pain, underneath the wall I’d built around my heart, behind all the barriers I’d built to keep everyone out, he saw the good in me. He’s the only man who saw me for who I was and loved me in spite of it. He loved me in spite of everything; the bad attitude, the stubborn streak-which, come to think of it, isn’t nearly as bad as his- in spite of being the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he took a chance on me. He took the biggest chance he could on me. He loved me. He loved me. Before Victor, I never allowed myself to think I’d ever have the life I do, I never allowed myself to dream of anything like this. It was almost as if I didn’t believe it was possible. It was almost as if I didn’t, couldn’t let myself believe I even deserved it, much less that it was possible; that all my dreams would someday come true. I’ll never be able to put into words just what that means to me.

If it weren’t for him, I’d probably still be at that club without any direction in my life, alone and still fooling myself into thinking I was happy, still settling for so much less than I want, so much less than I need and so much less than I deserve. With Victor and our children, I finally have all of that and more. I finally have everything I’ve ever wanted, everything I’ve ever needed and so, so much more.
But, sitting here, I can’t help but wonder; is this wonderful fairytale about to end?

Trying to keep the questions racing through her mind at bay, Nikki decided to go back to the research. “It may be safer at this point,” she muttered to herself trying to ignore the sudden chill that had enveloped her and the anger that had come and gone more frequently as the hours had passed. “Brainstem strokes are an uncommon form of stroke. …People who have brainstem strokes can have challenges with breathing and heart function, body temperature control, balance and coordination, weakness or paralysis of the arms and legs on both sides of the body, chewing, swallowing and speaking.-So, damage to the brain stem could account for both the paralysis and the speech problems.”

“Aphasia-is a challenge in speaking, reading, writing or understanding language. It is caused by damage to the portions of the brain that control an individual’s ability to communicate.
…There are two broad kinds of aphasia; Expressive—individuals know what they want to say but the words don’t come out right and receptive—individuals may not understand what others are saying to them. Some stroke survivors can have both types. Aphasia may also make it challenging to read, write or do math. Aphasia can be very frustrating—both for the stroke survivor and for his/her caregiver and family. The severity of (how serious or debilitating) the aphasia will vary from person to person. For some individuals, it can be temporary and improves quickly following a stroke. Other stroke survivors can be left with permanent language challenges. Speech therapy may help stroke survivors recover their use of language, or develop new methods of communication.-Like using cue cards or picture cards or writing things down instead of trying to talk, at least I think that’s what they mean.” Nikki thought to herself aloud as she stole a quick glance at Victor to make sure he was still asleep before going back to the reading.

“Wernicke’s apahsia—Individuals with this form of apahsia may speak without hesitation, however they may use the wrong words and be difficult to understand. They may also have problems understanding what’s being said to them, reading or writing.
Broca’s aphasia—In extreme cases, stroke survivors may only be able to say bursts of a few words. Their vocabulary may be limited and when they speak, they may be difficult to understand. However, they may understand what people are saying to them and may be able to read. More and more, I’m convinced this is the kind of aphasia Victor has. The question is, how can I help him through it? I don’t want him to feel like I’m babying him, but I don’t want him to get so frustrated that he gives up, or worse, does something that puts him right back here, needing another transplant.

Help for aphasia—It’s critical for stroke survivors, their caregivers and their families and friends to know that there are resources to help them. Stroke survivors therapists will work with them to help them improve their ability to speak, and teach them new ways of communicating. Speech-language therapists can also help the stroke survivor’s caregiver or family learn more about the survivor’s condition and how to help him/her. Some other resources survivors and their families may want to look into are: Special tools or devices-A broad variety of device, called augmentative and alternative communication devices are available. Some of these devices can be simple things like: gesturing, using a form of sign language, pictures or picture cards so survivors can point to what they want, spelling tablets (language boards) Scrabble® tiles so survivors can spell out words. Other devices can be more “high tech.” For example, some stroke survivors use portable computers to “speak” for them. Or survivors may use special computer software. A survivor’s speech language pathologist can help him/her and his/her caregiver and family decide if he/she would benefit from a special device. Some of the factors to consider include: the survivor’s needs, his/her ability to use the various types of devices, the needs, expectations and abilities of the survivor’s caregiver and family, the opinion of the survivor’s rehabilitation team or his/her doctor.”

Shaking her head in frustration, Nikki muttered, “Why can’t I concentrate? Better yet, why isn’t this getting me anywhere? Why haven’t I found something; anything, to help Victor?”Frustration blazing in her eyes, Nikki went back to writing. No matter what we’ve been through, and we’ve been through a lot- we’ve always gotten through it; always, and we’re stronger for it. I can remember, so clearly, almost as if it were yesterday, the first time I visited the ranch. I never dreamed, never even dared to dream that it would one day be my home, I certainly never dreamed that I’d be Mrs. Victor Newman, and yet here I am. Nikki smiled as she thought back to that time. “Mr. Victor” she murmured with a bittersweet smile and a shake of her head. I still can’t believe Victor posed as a butler. Mr. Victor, where did he come up with that name? Was it the best he could come up with? Nikki chuckled to herself as she kept writing. Having Douglas pose as Victor Newman while he tested me, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, was kind of clever. I just wish he would’ve kept the oyster dinners to a minimum. Yuck! She smiled and laughed at the memory.
“Do I have to eat the last one?”
“Nikki, the last one is always the best one of all.”
“Oh, I’d settle for a hamburger and fries right now.”
“Nikki, eat.”
“Oh my gosh, what’s that?”
“I believe you found a pearl.”
“And it’s in a ring.”
“Well, what a clever oyster. Let me put it on for you. Do you know how the pearls are formed?”
“Inside an oyster.”
“It’s a very difficult process you know. It’s a little grain of sand that slips into the oyster. And to protect itself from the irritation, the oyster grows layer upon layer of what we now see to be the pearl. So you in the beginning it was just an irritation that grew into something very beautiful. ”
“And then somebody found it and put made it into a ring.”
“So you see, what was once an insignificant grain of sand has turned into a beautiful ornament.”
“Yeah, but what if nobody had ever found it inside?”
“That would be a waste of beauty. That’s what I think you are. A new pearl emerging into what it could become. And I’m interested in watching you develop.”
“Well Cash has already helped me along.”
“Has he?”
“You don’t like him, do you?”
“Mr. Cashman and I have nothing in common really, except that we both know you.”
“Yeah, well I wish he could spend a little time with you and learn how to be a gentleman.”
“You’re very fond of him aren’t you?”
“He’s been really good to me.”
“I like your loyalty but I hope it is not misplaced.”
“Oh, you mean that business he runs on the side?”
“What business is that?”
“Oh, it’s…it’s…it’s just something to earn a little extra money.”
“Honest money, I hope.”
“Anyway, he’s uh, he’s a good friend.”
“Mmhm are we good friends too?”
“It seems that way. Although, why you’d want to be a friend with someone like me I don’t know.”
“Because you present a challenge.”
“What kind of challenge?”
“I’m not ready to answer that yet. Besides, that, tonight I thought you wanted to talk about horses.”
“Oh that’s right, I forgot.”
“Were you really interested in horses or were you just pretending because you knew that horses were my passion?”
“No, no, I’m crazy to learn how to ride; even though I’ll probably never have my own horse.”
“Who knows what you’ll have some day. And I think you’d look marvellous in a saddle. I mean, once you learn how to jump well-”
“Jump, I’m going to learn how to jump too?”
“Unless you’re afraid.”
“Oh, I don’t…I don’t think I’d be afraid of anything as long as you were there.”

Chapter Fourteen
I remember the first time I cooked breakfast for him, boy was that a disaster! The eggs were rubber, the toast was burnt; it was charcoal for heaven’s sake! And the coffee tasted like mud! Thank God he didn’t marry me for my cooking skills!

I don’t know how he did it, how he still does it, but every day with Victor is an adventure, it has been from the beginning. From learning how to horseback ride and playing the piano , to all the wonderful trips we’ve taken all over the world, every day is something new, every day is better than the one before. Not many people believe me when I tell them I knew Victor was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with from the start, the moment we met there was an instant spark; a connection I’ve never found, never come close to finding with anyone else. From the moment we met, I was drawn to him, I didn’t know how or why, and I didn’t really care. When he looked at me, I knew he was the one. That was enough; it was all needed to know, all I’d ever need to know. As much as he frustrates me sometimes, trying to act tough, like nothing bothers him, like nothing can hurt him and he’s indestructible, indomitable, I know different. Despite his best effort, and he always makes a good effort, I know different. I know different and I wouldn’t change, wouldn’t trade what we have for anything, nothing in this world.
He was always so stubborn, so incredibly stubborn! I had never, ever, had to work so hard to get a man to kiss me; not in my entire life! Victor wasn’t like any other man I’d ever known though. He was far too concerned about not hurting me to just forget about all that and show me how he really felt, although I already knew. But, really, he made me wait months! I had to work for months just to get him to kiss me; and that wasn’t until new years eve 1981! He calls me a tease, he’s the tease!
Nikki smiled mischievously as the memory flooded back to her as if it were yesterday.
“I want you to kiss me.”
“No don’t ask me that. You don’t really-”
“I want you to kiss me. Victor, the coat and the bracelet, they’re fabulous, but I want you to show me your real feelings.”
“I mean, isn’t that what I’ve been doing?”
“No, you’ve been giving me things and I want you.”
“And a kiss would be more assuring than just things.”
“Yes. Just one kiss. And if you don’t kiss me I’m not going to keep anything that you’ve given me.”
“You drive a hard bargain, don’t you?”
“Am I that unattractive?”
“You’re adorable and you test a man’s patience to the limit. Alright.”
“Put your arms around me first.”
“This is not going to prove anything you know.”
“Just put your arms around me!”
“Now remember this was your idea.” That kiss did prove something, he was just too damn stubborn to admit it, but I was willing to wait. Besides, it was the best idea I’ve ever had! Although, I shouldn’t have had to goad him into it; I shouldn’t have had to work so hard for it!
“You dirty little stinker.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You can kiss like that and you’ve been holding out on me?”
“Well, I’m basically just very shy.”
“Well, we’ll just have to work on that then.”
“Wait a minute, you said just one kiss would be enough.”
“Well yes, one for the coat and one for the bracelet.”
“I’m dealing with a calculatrice I see.”
“Victor all the presents in the word don’t mean anything unless they’re given with a little love.”
“Looking at you I have to wonder if a little love is enough.”
“Well, let’s not count anymore tonight. Happy New Year Victor. ”
“Happy New Year.”

Then, when he finally admitted he loved me, Nikki let out a quiet, almost sweet, sigh as she thought back to that time before she continued writing. It’s amazing how, when things are at their worst, out of all the ups and downs we’ve been through, the things that stand out, the ones I remember most are the good times with Victor, the times we’ve been the happiest. If I close my eyes, I can remember so clearly all the wonderful memories we made together. They come back to me as if we made them yesterday. Though, some stand out more than others. Just like I’ll never forget our first kiss, I’ll never, ever, forget the first time we made love.

As bittersweet tears began to fall, Nikki closed her eyes and let the memory wash over her. It was completely unexpected, especially considering how careful he’d been up until then. Then again, on some level, it wasn’t all that unexpected, I guess. God knows I’d been pushing him to let down his guard and give me a chance; to give us a chance. It took so much time, what seemed like forever, but I finally got him to relax and let me in a little. It wasn’t easy and I understand why. He’d already been hurt so deeply so many times, he was absolutely unwilling to make any mistakes, unwilling to hurt either of us. He was so stubborn, so stubborn that he refused to see how good we could be together. He just wouldn’t allow himself to open his eyes and take a good look at what we had, what we could have. I don’t know, maybe it was because he’d been hurt so much. But he had to know that I’d never hurt him, never set out to hurt him. He means the world to me. He always has, he always will. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. He’s determined; I’ll give him that. I’ve always had to work harder than I ever thought I would have to; to get him to really let down his guard and lean on me, even if it’s only for a split-second. It took some serious work for me to even get him to admit there might be something going on between us, that he might have feelings for me and that we could be good together. It took me so long to get him to realize that we could be what we’d been searching for all our lives, if we just gave each other the chance. But I wore him down. Nikki stopped and smiled to herself as a mischievous spark lit her eyes. It’s strange, sometimes that seems like a lifetime ago, other times, like now, it seems as if it were yesterday. If I close my eyes, it’s like I’m back there, back home at the ranch; just Victor and I. When I close my eyes, I can see it so clearly, it doesn’t matter how long ago it was, I can still see it. I can still see those dark, intense eyes of his locked on mine. It was like I was the only woman in the world, the only one for him. I should’ve been nervous, but I wasn’t. All I could think was that it was finally happening; the moment I’d waited so, so long for had finally arrived. I was excited, I was happy, I was so many things. So many emotions were rushing through me at that moment. Most of all, I was in love.

Closing my eyes, I can still feel his touch, taste his kiss, I can still feel his skin against mine and I’m left wanting more, craving more. For those few hours, from that first kiss, the first touch, I was caught up in, somehow transported to another world. I t was a world where nothing else mattered, nothing but us. Nikki took another moment to savour the memory of that first night before continuing. Even though we couldn’t get enough of each other, despite the hunger gnawing at us from deep inside, I don’t know quite how to explain it. I’m not even sure I can put it into words. Despite the passion between us, the passion inside us, he was so sweet, so gentle, so… She had to stop as bittersweet tears filled her eyes once more and she smiled tremulously. It was almost surreal. Nobody had ever treated me that way, nobody had ever touched me that way, and it wasn’t just physical. He touched more than my body that night. He reached into my soul and gave me everything, more than I ever wanted, so much more than I’d ever dreamed of. That night, he gave me more than I’d been searching for, more than I’d ever even dared to dream of or realized I could ever have. Without even trying, he did that.

He made me forget about everything, my past, my father and everything that he’d done to me and my family, he made me forget about everything that everyone else had thrown back in my face, everything they tried t o make me feel ashamed of. He made me forget about being the poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks with the chip on her shoulder and the attitude to match. He saw through that, he saw through the bad attitude and somehow managed to break down all the walls, all the barriers I’d built around myself, around my heart. Until Victor, nobody had ever come close to doing that, I could never let anybody in that way, I would never let anybody in that way. It was always purely physical with anyone else, I made sure of that. I could never, ever let anybody in, never let them that close. I couldn’t risk getting hurt that way. But, somehow with Victor, none of that mattered. Somehow, he got through to me, got me to let down my defences. I’m not even sure how, he just did. When I thought nobody ever could, that nobody would ever be able to break down the walls I’d built around myself, built around my heart, so carefully and meticulously, he did. He broke them down, almost effortlessly, until there was nothing left but dust and rubble. But, beyond that, as all of that was cleared away; I had this overwhelming sense that I’d finally found what I’d been searching for, what I’d spent so long searching for. I was finally where I was always meant to be; no matter what anyone said or did; I knew one thing for sure; I was where I was always meant to be and it was right. Somehow, it was right.

Before I met Victor, I was the girl with the bad attitude and a chip on her shoulder to match. I had so much fear, so much distrust and cynicism about love and relationships. Part of me believed in fairytales, but I never trusted anyone enough to let them in enough to make the fairytales I’d dreamed of a reality. That is, until Victor. In finding him, I finally found the man I was destined to spend the rest of my life with. With him, I knew I could build a life, the life I’d always dreamed of. Truthfully, the life we’ve built, worked so hard to build, is one that I never even dared to dream of, one that means more to me than I can ever, ever express in words. Before Victor, I made sure nobody could ever reach me on any other level. I always made sure I kept it purely physical with everyone else. The reason; I could never open myself up that way, never open my heart that way to anyone, for fear of getting hurt. Victor changed all that though. He, somehow made me feel safe, showed me I didn’t have to be afraid. For the first time, I wasn’t afraid to let anyone in. I wasn’t afraid to throw open all the locks I’d stubbornly kept around my heart and because of that, I found a passion, a love like no other I’d ever felt, no other I’ve ever felt since or will feel again as long as I live. As long as I live, it will always be Victor. Just like it’s always been, it will always be Victor.

Chapter Fifteen 
Slowly, almost painfully slowly, her pulse began to quicken and finally race as her mind took her down a road she hadn’t been down in years. A slow, private and seductive smile spread across her lips as she closed her eyes and let the images flood back to her. She saw herself and Victor there in bed, their bodies wrapped around each other so tight it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began. In the blissful silence that surrounded them, she could hear his quick, harsh breaths and her own passionate sighs in her ear as, blind to all else, passion consumed them both. She could feel the sweet, slow ache spread through her as her mind continued its sensual journey down memory lane. His cologne hung in the air, along with the scent of sweat and a scent that was altogether different, one that could only be described as pure arousal. All of these combined, twined together to drive her mad, to drive her senses to the edge of reason and beyond.
Her fingers pressed into his back and shoulders feeling hard flesh and sweat.
His moved over her like lightning, touching her in ways she’d never experienced, ways no other man had ever touched her. There was sweetness, a reverence, beneath the raging passion that soared between them, one that stole her breath and shattered reason, rendered reality, the outside world, totally insignificant. All that mattered at that moment; all that would ever matter was in her arms. She clung to that one thought as she lost herself in the beautiful maze of sensual delights he poured over her, ones she knew only he’d be able to make her feel for as long as she lived. When it was over, they fell asleep wrapped around each other, content and for the first time knowing they were where they were meant to be.

She smiled as her eyes gleamed unexpectedly as the passion the memories she was powerless and completely uninterested in stopping, in blocking out and forgetting about washed over her. The sense of urgency and unrestrained passion they evoked rushed through her blood and made her heart race.
“You’re every man’s fantasy of what a woman should be in bed and out.”
“Oh, well you’re not so bad yourself.”
“Now you have an occasion to laugh at my expense you know.”
“Now why would I ever want to laugh at you?”
“Well I remember telling you that I’d be strong enough for the both of us, I mean that no matter how inviting you would be that I’ll always resist the temptation of making love to you.”
“Well I’d have been miserable if you hadn’t.”
“Taken advantage of that moment. It would have been a great waste.”
“And it’s only the beginning. I mean we have the rest of our lives.”

She swallowed hard as she tried to calm her racing heart as her mind switched gears and took her back to the day of her first wedding. “Sh. It’s okay baby, everything’s okay” she murmured to her daughter with a small smile as she placed a gentle hand on her rounded stomach after feeling a small kick in response to her racing pulse and heartbeat.
Smiling and shaking her head, she picked up the pen and notebook and began to write once again. That morning, the morning I married Victor for the first time, I was so nervous, I couldn’t believe the day I’d waited so long for was finally here. I was so excited, I could barely stand it. By the time we got to the Colonnade Room and started getting ready, I was a bundle of nerves. Thank God Victoria didn’t put up a fuss when I got her ready. Getting the dress on wasn’t too bad, the makeup and tiara were another story. My hands were shaking so bad it was a wonder I didn’t look like a clown with that makeup. And that tiara! I never thought I’d get it on straight! I would’ve given up if Casey hadn’t been there to help me, I just couldn’t get it on straight! Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, I heard the wedding march start to play and thought ‘Oh God! I’m not ready, I’m not ready!’ I still don’t know how Casey managed to calm me down enough to help me finish getting ready, but she did.

I was so nervous walking down that isle, I felt like I was going to pass out. At the same time, I felt like a princess marrying my prince. Then when I got there, when I got to the altar, all of that vanished, it just vanished. The moment Victor looked at me, all the nervousness vanished to be replaced by something I can hardly put into words. At that moment, the contentment, the commitment and love I saw in his eyes, the acceptance and passion, the tender love I saw there took my breath away and reminded me how lucky I was. It was then that I promised both of us that I’d spend my life doing what I could to show him how much everything he’d given me, all he would give me meant to me. I tried to do that, but, somehow I have to wonder if I succeeded.

Shaking her head as if to shake away the questions, the doubts plaguing her, Nikki went back to the research, hoping to find something more to help Victor, something everyone else had missed. “Cost—In some cases, some or all of the cost of assistive communication devices may be covered by provincial health insurance, provincial social services or private health insurance.—I need to check if anything’s covered by state health insurance or we need to go through our private health insurance.—Organizations for disabled adults like the March of Dimes (www.marchofdimes.ca), may also provide funding. The survivor’s social worker or other members of his/her stroke rehabilitation team can help him/her and his/her caregiver to get devices.”
“Aphasia or stroke support groups in your area.—There are stroke support groups?” Nikki murmured surprised.
“Yeah, we realized that our patients got tired of talking to us and they really got tired of listening to us, so we thought setting up the support groups was a good idea.” Dr. Corwell stood in front of Nikki and smiled cheekily.
“Dr. Cornwell, what are you doing here?” Nikki asked with a smile.
“I came in to check on Victor, instead I found you pouring over research when you should be sleeping!”
“I got the lecture from my son last night and just woke up not too long ago.” Nikki told her, deciding to overlook the fact that yet another person was fussing over her.
“Good. At least he’s been able to get through to you. You’re so damn stubborn sometimes!”
From his spot in bed, Victor silently agreed with a smile as he kept his eyes closed, ‘Finally I’m not the only one telling her that!’
“Well, you know where it came from. This is Victor’s influence, not my fault. You know what I deal with. You know I have to fight fire with fire.”
‘Sure, blame it on me, Nikki, especially since I can’t argue!’
“Can’t argue that,” Dr. Cornwell agreed with a smile and a small chuckle.
‘Hey! You’re supposed to be on my side! Come on, you’re supposed to be on my side, not Nikki’s!’ Victor silently argued from bed.
“I was going to check on Victor, see how he’s doing, but since he’s sleeping, I guess I’ll come back later.”
“I’ve been here the whole time and there hasn’t been any change as far as I can see.” Nikki told her, trying to be helpful while keeping the note of fear and hopelessness creeping into her voice, as it had begun to creep into her soul, under control.
“Well, there’s been no change then. That’s something; at least he hasn’t gotten worse. I guess I’ll see you both later. Have one of the nurses page me if there’s any change, if you need anything.” Dr. Cornwell told her before leaving.
“I will; thank you.”

Feeling a little better, Nikki went back to reading. “The survivor, his/her caregiver and his or her family may find these groups very helpful. Meeting people who are struggling with the same challenges and sharing ideas and stories can be helpful.”

After seeing Dr. Cornwell walk out of Victor’s room, Victoria rushed in. “Mom, was that Dr. Cornwell I saw leaving, what’s going on? Mom, have they figured out what’s going on with Dad? Mom!” Victoria peppered her mother with questions.
“Victoria, they haven’t figured out exactly what’s going on yet. But they’re getting close. From what Dr. Cornwell told me, they’re getting close.”
“Close? What does that mean close? How close? Damn it, how much longer do we have to wait until we hear something, anything about what’s going on with Dad?”Victoria exclaimed, quickly getting fed up with the whole situation.
“Victoria, I know it’s hard, I want answers just as much as you do. But, I want the right answers, and I’m sure you do too. Whatever answers they give us, I want them to be absolutely sure they know what’s going on with your father and that the answers they’ve given us are the right ones. Otherwise, whatever answers they give us, whatever information they have for us won’t matter, it won’t matter at all.”Nikki tried her best to calm and reassure her daughter without giving her false hope or killing what little hope she still had left.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m acting like this. I’m sorry I’m so edgy.”
“Victoria, don’t apologize, there’s no reason to. You’re handling this the best way you know how. You’re normal.” Nikki did her best to reassure her.
“I know, I just wish I could do more; for both of you.” Victoria replied sadly.
“Angel, I told you, I’m fine.”
“I know what you told me, but this can’t be easy for you.” Vicki countered wisely.
“Victoria.”
“Mom, it’s me, you don’t always have to be so strong, you know that? You can lean on me for once; you can lean on your family. The world won’t end.” Victoria told her with a smile, although her tone held no joy or levity.
“I know. I know that.”Nikki conceded.
“Then why don’t you do it?” Vicki asked, trying to keep the frustration from her voice.

“I guess because I never got used to it. I’ve always been the one that everyone else leaned on. I’ve never really gotten used to leaning on anybody. I’m the parent; it’s my job to-”
“Mom, just stop for a minute will you? Stop and think about this for a minute. What good are you doing by being this strong if it leads to something happening to you?”

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