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Chapter 2: Cant I Stay, A Little Longer?

" Deep in my heart I'm concealing things that I'm longing to say. Scared to confess what I'm feeling-frightened you'll slip away." -From the movie Evita.


I don't know where I am, floating somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness, coming to the surface only long enough to curl away from the pain that's there.

"Dani, oh God Dani, wake up," someone pleads with me and I open my eyes slowly Michael's face swimming in and out of darkness. I reach up my arm feeling like it weighs a thousand pounds.

" Michael," I gurgle out, tears streaming down my face as my body starts going numb from a wave of unforgiving coldness that I can't escape, " Michael, I'm scared."

" It's okay, its going to be okay, the doctors are working on you right now, your going to be all right," he murmurs tears falling from his gorgeous brown eyes, sliding down his face wetting his lips.

" I, I'm scared, it doesn't hurt anymore Michael, it doesn't hurt," I choke out losing my slippery grasp on consciousness fading into the blackness, letting it soothe me.


Michael's POV

I easily keep up with the stretcher carrying Carly-Ann into the hospital, my hand on hers. My hands are pried away from her as I'm pushed back into a corner.

" Can you tell us what happened?" A doctor asks, and I shake my head numbly trying to remember every detail.

" A car, a car ran a stop sign, plowed right into them," I stammer, my body going numb by the memories flashing in front of my eyes, the way the glass shattered and rained through the air.

" Michael, Michael what happened?" a voice calls to me, and I turn seeing a small family standing together, their resemblance to Daniella undeniable. " Where's Carly-Ann, oh my God," the woman murmurs, pressing a hand to her mouth as she rushes past me to get a better look at the little girl. Strong hands pull me from the room, and I stand face to face with Dani's older twin brothers.

" What happened?" they ask in unison, and before I can open my mouth to answer them a voice echoes over the intercom.

" Code blue in trauma room eleven," my heart sinks as I turn on my heels running down the hall. I stop suddenly watching with my heart in my throat as I recognize the body that a throng of doctors and nurses are working over. Dani's right arm hangs off of the stretcher as they cut through her shirt. I push through the room taking Dani's hands in mine.

" Dani, oh God Dani, wake up!" I call out watching as he green eyes flutter open slowly.

" Michael," Dani forces out, her voice thick from the blood seeping out of her mouth, " Michael, I'm scared." Her admission of fear tears at my heart as I grasp her hand tighter, her fingers limp in mine. I try to muster a smile even as the tears course down my face.

" It's okay, it's going to be okay, the doctors are working on you right now, your going to be all right," I say, not knowing if what I say to her is true. I look down, trying to stifle a gasp, bruises and cuts marring her perfect skin, breaking my heart.

" I, I'm scared, it doesn't hurt anymore Michael, it doesn't hurt," she slurs out her eyes rolling in the back of her head.

" Dani! Dani! Wake up Dani, please you have to wake up," I plead, squeezing her hand tightly in mine trying to get some sort of sign of life from her.

" We're losing her," one of the nurses announces and I realize that the heart monitored attached to her has stopped beeping, instead a long monotounous beep fills the room. Hands grab my shoulders as they pull me away from her side.

" I need to intubate now," the doctors says, and I watch as doctors and nurses start working in a flurry of motion, the doctor taking something from the nurses hand that resembles a dull blade, tilting Dani's head back opening her mouth. " Damn it, there's too much blood." I listen, the sound of blood being suctioned from her mouth swimming in my head. The room spins slowly around me as I grasp onto a counter top. "I'm in," the doctor announces and I open my eyes my heart plummeting when I see the tube protruding from Dani's mouth a nurse squeezing a bag of air. " Are you her family?" I look around realizing the doctor is talking to me and her brothers who stand behind me both of their faces completely empty of all color. They shake their heads slowly and in unison.

" All right, we have to get her up to CT and find out where it is that she is bleeding from, she will most likely be heading into surgery, one of the nurses will take you to a waiting room," the doctor says stripping off his blood soaked lab coat. I follow them numbly into the hall as DanI is rushed past us, running a shaky hand through my hair as I sink into a chair. She has to pull through if she doesn't, I don't know what I will do.


Dani's POV

I open my eyes slowly, surprised by the sunlight that streams over me. I lift my head recognizing quickly that I'm not in the car, the last place I remember being, instead I am in an open field, the same field my Dad and I used to come to, to walk and talk. I get to my feet, dusting my hands over my pants as I turn in a slow circle looking for any sign of life.

" Hello," I call out, my voice echoing back to me, " Hello, anybody."

" There's my pretty girl," a familiar deep voice rolls over me as I turn with a quick gasp.

" Dad," I say staring in disbelief when my Dad stands a few feet from me, his sandy blonde hair exactly the way I remember it, his eyes twinkling when his lips spread into a slow smile, " Daddy!" I run to him, throwing myself into his strong arms, burying my face into his shoulder tears incessantly falling, seeping into his shirt.

" What's all this?" he asks, holding me at arms length wiping wide palms across my face drying my tears.

" How, why are you here? Am I dead?" I ask, my voice suddenly growing panicked by the idea.

" No Daniella, you aren't dead, your stuck in the in-between. Neither living," he says, pulling me down to sit in the cool grass next to him, " Or dead." I stare at him, the sun glinting across his skin.

" I don't understand," I murmur, pulling at the grass, my emotions overwhelming me.

" You don't understand what?" he asks, and I look up to him, still feeling breathless that he sits before me, exactly the same as he was when I was fourteen years old.

" Any of it. Why you had to die. What I'm doing here. Why life is so hard," I say my throat tightening on me instinctively.

" I died because it was my time Dani, it doesn't mean that I don't miss you, Brandon and Kyle, or your Mother, every single day that I'm gone. I have watched over you since I have been gone Daniella, I have seen everything. Heard the way you cried for me, still cry for me. I was aching for you when you walked away from dancing to do what was right for Carly-Ann. She's beautiful by the way, the very picture of you when you were her age. Nobody understands life Dani, not until its over, and even then there are unanswered questions. I have learned that you have to live life to the fullest Dani, as cliché as it sounds. I told you, your destined for greatness kid so why do you hold yourself back so much?" he asks and I shake my head.

" Daddy, things have just been so, hard," I whisper shaking my head, " I never lived up to everything you wanted me to be, or what Momma wanted." My chest heaves from my tears as he lifts my face to look me in the eyes.

" Daniella, all I want is for you to be happy and healthy. To watch you open up, fall in love, and do what makes you happy, what makes you come alive from the very core of our soul," he says smiling at me, " You love him. Michael. Yes I all ready know exactly what you feel, that's why you ran away from him. Sweet heart, you cant spend your whole life running, you'll miss out on all the beauty of the world if you do." I nod my head, my heart breaking at the thought of having to leave him again.

" Cant I just stay, for a little while longer?" I ask, sighing contently when he gathers me in his arms. I lay in the grass, my dad's strong arms around me as I stare at the wide open blue sky above me, nothing else matters, at least not for now.


Michael's POV

I sit in the darkened hospital room, holding Carly-Ann's hand as she sleeps. My heart all but leapt out of my chest when her grandmother informed me that she was awake and asking for me. I brush my hand over her blonde hair, careful not to bump the large bandage that covers her forehead. Aside from a broken arm and mild concussion, bruises are the only evidence of the accident that covers her small body.

" Hey," a soft voice calls from the doorway and I look up seeing Dani's brother Brandon standing, his hands in his pockets as he watches me. " Dani's out of surgery. The doctor said we can see her." I nod my head as I stand up my heart rolling sickly in my chest as I kiss Carly-Ann's hair. I walk from the room, my footsteps echoing hollowly behind me.

" How is she?" I manage to ask Brandon when the doors of the elevator are closed behind us.

" Honestly I don't know. The doctor said, he said that the accident lacerated her liver, there was a lot of blood loss. They had to transfuse her twice during surgery. They don't know when she is going to wake up," he says, stepping out of the elevator ahead of me.

" Were there any other injuries?" I ask, knowing that the answer is yes. There had to be.

" A few broken ribs, separated shoulder. It's a good thing she was wearing her seatbelt, they said if she wasn't she wouldn't have lived," he says, and I cringe at the idea. I pause outside of the I.C.U doors, trying to gain control of my warring emotions. I walk slowly into her room, noting the sound of the heart monitor beeping sluggishly. I close my eyes on a muttered oath when I see her. Her blonde hair smoothed back from a bruised and cut face. My heart breaks slowly and painfully when I sit in the chair next to her bed, taking her hand in mine. her chest moves with each breath, but I know that it's the machine breathing for her, it isn't Dani. Something feels different about the energy she gives off, like it isn't here anymore, nothing more than a shell of who she was. I press my face into the palm of her hand, my tears unleashing like an angry hurricane tearing through me.

" You have to come back Dani, you have to," I murmur rocking myself slowly with her hand pressed to my face.
Hikaru ( This is for my friend Who I Love With All my Heart

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