When somebody needs you
It’s no good unless he needs you all the way
Through the good or lean years
And for all the in-between years come what may
Who knows where the road will lead us
Only a fool would say
But if you’ll let me love you
It’s for sure I’m gonna love you all the way, all the way
Frank Sinatra – All the Way
I’ve been married for almost a month and I have yet to consummate that marriage. Instead, every day has been a battle of wills to push through pain and keep my husband’s body moving. There are days where it all seems to be too much for both of us. The swelling that was putting such enormous pressure on Elliot’s spinal cord began responding to medication after that first week. The downside of releasing the pressure is that with more sensation there came an increase in pain. The type of pain that brings us both to tears. The type of pain that makes us want to give up. The type of pain that feels like a chasm too wide to cross.
It began the day of the wedding.
Even though I am busy preparing for his entrapment – I can’t think of it in any other way – my whole body is tuned into what might be happening behind the closed door. When Carrick strides out of the room with his face in his hands my heart starts lurching and I brace myself for the end of our little ruse. My mother keeps stoically fluffing away at my dress while Ana pretends to place my hair in careful tendrils over my shoulder. Christian is pacing, waiting to take up his best man role of bashing Elliot metaphorically around the head until he agrees to the wedding but Carrick simply stops, stares from face to face and then shakes his head before collapsing into a seat. To watch a father sobbing uncontrollably over his son is heart wrenching and Grace is immediately at his side.
The rest of us are ready to move to another space to give them some privacy when the call light goes on over his door. My feet are moving before my brain has even registered the emergency but I am forced to step back as the nurse races past me. When I get to his side I am just in time for him to lean over and throw up over my dress. The nurse is making adjustments to his drip and that seems to be bringing the pain under control but his nausea continues unabated for another few minutes. When we reach the swallowing gulps of air stage I push him back down on the bed, positioning him as carefully as I can. The pain on his face is enough to make me want to cry but I hold on, trying to be as strong as I can for him.
“Shit, I’m sorry Kate.” Father Kelly hands us both damp towels. The nurse is at my feet with another towel, wiping the floor. Elliot looks horrified at the mess on the skirt of my designer wedding dress but I’m smiling through my barely controlled tears. Elliot looks mortified and confused by my reaction but then he realizes what I have seen. He has moved. On his own. He has moved.
He slumps back on the bed with a groan clutching his stomach like he is going for the repeat hurl. I grab a container and sit on the bed holding him while he throws up again. Once more loving the fact that I can stroke his back because he has moved to lean over to aim into the small plastic pot in my hands.
“It’s okay, baby, I’ve got you.” My hand circles his back trying to give him some comfort and he leans into me. His breathing is labored for a moment and the water I hand him seems to help bring things under control. He takes a long drink before lying back on the bed.
“The doctor is on his way.” A second nurse puts her head in the door. The other nurse returns to her monitors and charts while Father Kelly slips out of the room, I hope to let the others know that things are okay.
“I ruined your dress.” His hand reaches down and strokes the wet, yellow stain that is setting on the satin fabric. He looks worried but I could care less. However, it’s not my nature to let him get off so easily.
“That’s gonna be a bitch to get out. Mom’s gonna kill you even if you are laid up in a hospital bed.”
“Nah, Julie loves me.” He grunts a little as he uses his arms to reposition himself. The fact that he can even do that right now makes my heart sing. “Father of her grandchildren and all that. I’ve got the inside track.” I smile to cover my double take. Hoping that he means it but not wanting to push it. Dancing on a knife edge, here, Grey.
The doctor enters the room with Grace hot on his heels. They’ve obviously had a quick and thorough discussion outside the door that stops as they enter. I can see the faces of the others hovering outside, wanting to know what’s happening. Chances are they know more than I do right now.
“I hear you’re not doing too good with the pain.” The stupid grins that the word pain puts on everyone’s faces would be out of place in any other situation. Pain means hope. Pain means second chances. Pain means feeling and feeling is good.
“Yep, hurts like fuck, Doc.” Elliot grimaces through his smile doing his little bed shuffle thing again. I know he is uncomfortable with the pain and he’s trying to get to a position where it won’t hurt so much.
“Elliot! Language.” Grace reprimands him softly as she takes his hand. Can’t help thinking now is not the time for a lesson in manners and etiquette.
“Sorry, Mom.” He turns to the doctor with a serious face. “Hurts like fuck, Doctor.” Grace slaps him as the doctor chuckles and I breathe again.
“Let’s take a look, shall we?” He moves to the foot of the bed, raises the covers and strokes his pen along the underside of Elliot’s foot. This gains a hiss from Elliot and I notice his toes curl slightly. “Hurt?”
Elliot shakes his head. “Tickles.” I have to cover my mouth with my hand. Grace gives his fingers a gentle squeeze but I can see the tears forming in her eyes. The doctor moves to the other foot.
“And now?” A frown forms on Elliot’s face as he concentrates for a moment. The doctor repeats the movement. He shakes his head.
“Nothing.” The doctor moves up the bed and lifts the offending limb, bending his leg at the knee.
“Anything?” As the doctor begins to let go it is obvious there is no one controlling that leg. My heart sinks and Elliot grimaces as he puts all of his concentration into feeling something. We are all focused on his knee but in the end he has to give up the fight.
“Damn it! No!” Elliot sinks back and the doctor replaces his leg down flat on the bed.
“Okay. Well, it’s not all bad. Just might take a little time. The fact that you’re able to mobilize your back right now is promising and the feeling in obviously there in the other leg. Can you wiggle your toes for me?”
Elliot moves his right foot with reasonable success but I can see he is disappointed in his left leg for not joining the party. The doctor places the pen under his toes and asks him to try to grip it. This sends Elliot’s back into spasms again so the show stops for now while we get the pain back under control.
“We’ll need to get some more x-rays done just to confirm but it would seem that the swelling is going down and taking the pressure off the nerves. This is great news because the longer you’re disconnected the harder it is to come back to normal. However, the drugs combined with the pain are making you nauseous. We’ll have to adjust the levels a little to see if we can get that right.”
“No, if it’s working then I’ll deal. I can take a little pain.”
“Elliot, you don’t have to. The medical team can get this right.” Grace only wants to reassure him but I know Elliot would rather not go through this whole recovery completely numb.
“Mom, I want to feel it all. I need to. Besides, I’ll have you and Kate to get me through this, won’t I?” He looks from her to me as he gives our hands a squeeze. Grace and my eyes meet over his head. The unspoken message, “he’s back.”
“Of course, you will.” At that moment Christian sticks his head in the door. Obviously his patience string just got cut but I can’t bring myself to reprimand him. He is a picture of concern, about to stomp his authority all over the sitch until he sees my smiling face and his whole demeanor alters. A broad grin spreads across his face.
“How’re you feeling, bro?”
“Well, that sounds promising?” He looks at Grace for confirmation and through teary eyes she gives a nod. “So, can we get on with this damn wedding? Some of us have work to do.” He mock growls at Elliot as he crosses over to the bed.
“Geez you’re a fuckwit, Chris. Your next billion is more important than my future happiness?”
“Just because you’re a lazy tosser, Lelliot, doesn’t mean the rest of the world stops turning.” Christian grins. “Now, I’ve organized your freakin’ life for you. Got the ring, the license and your other groomsman is waiting outside so are we doing this thing or what?”
My heart is in my mouth. James is here so I presume the boys are out there too. This would be perfect if Elliot would just give the okay. Well, except for the dress but honestly I would get married in scrubs right now if he would say, yes. Elliot looks up at me with only a hint of a smile on his face. Please say yes. He’s frowning. Why is he frowning? Oh, crap.
“Can I have a moment alone with Kate, please?” A few glances between us and then the room empties leaving me, Elliot and my aching heart lying on the bed between us. He takes my hand and softly massages my ring finger examining the exquisite gem that he placed there not so long ago.
“You know, I felt like it took me a lifetime to get that damn thing on your finger.” His voice is sad and soft. It doesn’t give me much hope. When the ring moves, I am sure he is going to slide it off.
“Sorry ’bout that, chief.” Pulling my hand away as I blink back a tear but it catches in my throat anyway. He doesn’t let go.
“You’re all I ever could have wanted in a partner for life, Kate. You know that.” His fingers wind through mine. My heart starts screaming silently. Oh, shit. He hasn’t changed his mind. This is where he tells me to leave him behind. Oh, God, please, no.
“I didn’t want to tie you down. Not to my recovery or lack thereof.” But you’re already better. You’re already getting better. Don’t do this, please! The tear escapes and his thumb reaches out to catch it before it falls. I can’t look at him as he sucks the saltiness off but he reaches out again and pulls my chin gently around until I am looking into his eyes. So much love. Even when he leaves me he does it with love. “This isn’t over. The recovery. You saw what we’re dealing with. Parts of me might take more time and you heard the doctor. The longer it doesn’t work, the harder it will be to get things right.”
I nod, willing myself not to cry and not succeeding. I close my eyes for a moment and squeeze out another round of tears. The air is thick with goodbyes as my heart grinds to an aching halt. Neither of us say anything to break that silence. It all seems too hard. Instead I lean my forehead against his and we hold each other’s face.
“Are you up for that?” It’s a low rumbled whisper that I almost miss and my heart stutters back to life for a second in the confusion. I pull back to look at him, his beautiful blue eyes looking for an answer. I must have misheard him but I nod hopefully just in case. “You sure? I’m gonna be a grumpy, ornery old man. I’ll make your life hell.”
Now I’m laughing through my tears as I plant kisses all over his face trying to cover every square inch of his skin. I love him. I love this man so much and he wants to stay with me. Finally I stop and look at him again.
“Are you sure?” I whisper, willing it all to be true. He nods. “What changed your mind?”
“I’m not a coward and I don’t want you or Mattie or any of the family to think otherwise. And something that Father Kelly said made me see that leaving you would have been the most cowardly act I could have committed. I was trying to convince myself it was all about you, about what you could achieve without me. But I never gave you a choice. Then you arranged all of this and stood up to me and I guess it took a while for my stupid brain to catch up with my heart again. But the good priest made me admit that I would never leave you if the tables were turned. I wouldn’t let you go. Not for a second. Even if you wanted me gone. That would be my choice. So this is your choice, Kate. I’m kind of stuck with this shit which might get better, it might not. You still have a choice to stay or go.” He pauses and looks at me for the longest time. “I’m hoping that you’ll stay. I’m hoping that you will still be my wife.”
“And the rest we can work out later?” I ask hopefully my eyes flicking rapidly between his eyes searching for confirmation again. He smiles and pulls my forehead back to his.
“The rest we will work out, laters baby.” His lips meet mine and it is the sweetest, most chaste touching of our hearts.
“I love you, Elliot. I will always love you. I want this with all of my heart, to never leave you. To always be by your side.”
“So does that mean you’ll marry me? Today? Just like you planned.” I throw my arms around him making him grit his teeth.
“I’m sorry. Oh, shit. Did I hurt you?” Running my hands over his arms, checking the drip, feeling for his sides. He stops me.
“I’m sorry for hurting you, Kate. I’m sorry I put you through that.”
“Just promise me that next time we have a big decision to make we do it together?”
“Together, always, sweetheart.” This time our kiss has more pressure, more depth, more passion. I lean into it as our tongues play over each other, his hands running down my naked back and stopping at the low back line of my dress. My hands play over his firm chest, enjoying the sensation of him under me once more even if we are restricted. When I finally pull away he has a massive grin on his face like he has just won the lottery. At first I return his smile until I realize just what he is smiling about. When I look down I see the tent forming albeit a low one around about where the top of his thighs would be. “I guess some things are healing faster than others.”
The wedding part has to wait for another three hours. Elliot has the cathetar removed, stating that he won’t get married with ‘a tube jammed into his old fella’. I guess he wants full control of his plumbing throughout the ceremony. Then he is taken down to x-ray again which gives Mom time to do some damage control on the dress. When I enter the room the next time my gorgeous groom is sitting up in the bed dressed in a tux, looking for all the world like he could be in a church apart from a few slow healing scratches. Even the drip has been removed for the duration of the ceremony.
Later afternoon and Christian has managed to get all the gang in from around the world including Leana and this rather large group is now crowded into the small hospital room while Father Kelly joins us forever. I know there is singing, I know there is happiness and congratulations but my awareness of this is completely obscured by the intensity of the way Elliot looks at me. He is my forever. My constant. My bliss. My love. Somewhere in all of this we slip rings on each others fingers and make promises in our vows. None of this is how I planned but I wouldn’t change it for the world except perhaps to have Mia and Ethan there. They are the only shadow over this whole event as our families try not to worry about their safety.
It takes another week for the swelling to ease enough for any sensation to return to his left side. This slows down his recovery and the work that he is put through on a daily basis in the hospital, while intense, is nothing to what he faces when he is discharged a few days later.
James, TJ and Will have incorporated access to the treehouse before we leave hospital. Since we already have very open layouts, wide doorways and the elevator running through all four levels, Elliot has been able to navigate easily inside the house in his wheelchair. The work that Karen has done with the boys to create carefully ramped pathways has made it easier to get around outside as well.
Grace is a regular guest to the treehouse, checking in almost every afternoon and staying on days when Jen has university and I have work. Leana would have stayed on but I am anxious for her to get back to Mattie and keep him safe until we can get back to Haiti to complete the adoption process. Both Elliot and I want him as well as he can be before our son comes home to live. So I work from home whenever I can and travel as little as possible to ensure that Elliot has everything he needs.
We have a new resident in our house. Mike is the therapist/nurse, hired at great expense by Christian, who comes for a few hours three times a week to do rehab with Elliot in our gym and pool. The other days one of the boys comes by to pick Elliot up and drive him to the rehab center at the hospital. Elliot has all but banned me from those sessions because they are so painful for him and he knows how much it upsets me. I keep wanting to tell him I am stronger than that but I know he has his pride.
Two weeks into this routine it feels like we are no further ahead and his anger, which I know results from being tired and in pain 24/7 has turned him into the grumpy ornery old man that he promised. He refuses to sleep in our bed because he has so much trouble getting comfortable. I acquiesce to his request because of a deeply held belief that a good night’s sleep will help him to heal faster but it isn’t helping me. So instead of sleeping I sit up most nights, writing and over-thinking and wishing that he would put his hands on my body. I’m trying hard not to make this about me. He has so much to deal with. But as time goes on the distance widens in small, almost imperceptible amounts and I wonder, even though he married and came home with me, if he hasn’t left me anyway.
|koocher 9/7/13 . chapter 25
So is Elliot already checked out with all the pain. Pain makes a person really go crazy. You have to go to a place where you really don’t want to go and if people push you it makes it that much harder for the person in pain. It is hard to know that you have to take meds for the rest of your life. Only way to cope.
What is the next story to go to?
| Girl of Steel 9/6/13 . chapter 25
Another amazing chapter.
I feel sorry for Kate, I bet she is frustrated because she wants to do more, but also wants to give Elliot some space, cause it’s hard for him too, or even harder than for her, bit the important thing is that she’s there for him.
You’re great doing this. For me Kate and Elliot are yours and only yours.
PS: Also I have a question for you. PM.
| kelmal 9/6/13 . chapter 25
Another amazing chapter.
| Frisky75 9/5/13 . chapter 25
Nice chapter Sasha 🙂
| Spooky Mehta 9/5/13 . chapter 25
I don’t know whether the fiction is imitating life, or life is imitating fiction. The current happenings within this story has a lot of parallels with my life. In the end, you are right, the choice was never his to make It was Kate’s. I can feel every emotion that Kate has felt and I have been in those shoes. I know what it is to see a loved one suffer, in pain, unable to reach out and comfort them. Them pushing you away, mistakenly thinking its for the good of the other. The loneliness and the emptiness you feel inside. Waking up at the hour of the wolf and finding your bed empty just make hole seem a mile wide.
Conversely I can feel for Elliot. I know what is like on the other end, trying to close all the doors and cutting ties and setting people you love free so they can move on with their lives… thinking they are better off without you in their life. Seeing the pain in their eyes they are feeling for you. Hearing your love ones silent cries in the night when they think no one else is awake or listening.
Reading this made me really think long about certain cold and hard facts and helped me out in reaching my own conclusions about the way forward and for the first time in months I feel better. This story is so beautifully written and so full of emotion I can’t but help fall in love with these two over and over again.
You have a real gift for writing and portraying stories, feelings, and emotions. The road ahead is going to be though for both of them, but in the end I do believe that love will triumph over all adversities. Thank you for making me believe in the strength of love again.
| Shellypg 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Bloody hell, this pair just can’t seem to hold it together in times of crisis. A beautifully written chapter which made me laugh and cry. Still loving the banter between CG and El, though it sounds like he needs a good talking to right now. I think Kate needs to step up and not let him retreat any further. Great update, thank you x
| Skgcsandra 9/4/13 . chapter 25
So so sad! It’s so hard going through such injuries and tragedies. And wanting so much to heal. But end up pulling away from the ones you love.
| glory2bee 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Congrats to the bride, groom, and you on another amazing chapter. This is only the beginning for Kate and Elliot.
| Stacykae 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Incredible chapter to bring Elliot’s hospital stay to an end. I’m so happy you gave us a little hope with his progress, but showed us it won’t be easy. I don’t see Kate’s last feelings as selfish (yet), being the positive, supporting “rock” in this situation can be just as hard as the one recovering. Elliot job is to get better, return to his old self. Kate has to be there for him (physically and mentally), keep their relationship growing and steady to bring Mattie into the fold, AND not to forget about herself. I’m already getting nervous for the emotionally draining chapters I’m sure you have planned 😉
Side note – just wanted to tell you that your series has been one of my favorites on FF. If James ever writes about the supporting FSOG characters, I will no doubt be comparing what she writes to your stories …and it would be an up hill battle for her 😉
| 1klkelly 9/4/13 . chapter 25
I like the back and forth. Good writing, Sasha. I’m frustrated for both of them. 3
| SapphireBella 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Hmmm…I don’t know if I want to empathize with Kate or smack her. Oh for goodness sake she is thinking about her needs. If she wants to play then she has to seduce him ! 🙂
Very glad that he was feeling and while he has a long road to go .. Perhaps the outcome will be HEA.
Thanks for the update Sasha! Good stuff as always,
| TNC2005 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Bittersweet recovery for Elliot & Kate. Great story, keep it coming!
| 1962 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Yeah their married, looks like they still have a long road ahead of them. But I think it’s gonna be a interesting road!
| Guest 9/4/13 . chapter 25
AMAZING as always Sasha 🙂
| Karen. Kaz 9/4/13 . chapter 25
He may have left her emotionally, but only for a short while.. He has one focus, one goal and when he gets there she will get him back 😉
| xXxAllegraxXx 9/4/13 . chapter 25
So glad he is recovering and can move as much as he can after a week of being paralysed! Their happiness was so touching it brought tears to my eyes…It’s an amazing thing to see heavily injured or sick people start to get better, I’m an ICU nurse and I always love those moments ’cause they are so rare…much too often the only thing that can be done is damage control, working to stop the situation from getting even worse…
And the wedding was so cute! Despite all the drawbacks like being in a hospital and having Mia and Ethan gone it seems almost perfect for them.
I hope Kate’s fear is unfounded but I don’t think it is…seems like he is withdrawing…but knowing Kate she won’t let him pull back too far for them to work it out even if it will take time and a lot of effort…
| Guest 9/4/13 . chapter 25
I loved it!
This last line says it all, huh?
Could it be that she is losing him even though they’re living under the same roof as husband and wife?
I feel really bad for both of them because this is hard from every angle.
I really hope they can turn this around and have Mattie come to live with them permanently, as their beloved son.
I can’t wait for the next chapter!
| TheGrey’sFan01 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Great work, I love Elliot’s emotions they are so real and Kate’s strength and love will pull them through this!
Favourite quote from this chapter “Hurts like fuck Doctor” cheeky bugger 😉
Long live Katliot!
| Guest 9/4/13 . chapter 25
Oh man please don’t let Elliot and Kate break up. Please say the next update won’t take that long
| AmberBhave 9/3/13 . chapter 25
So worth the wait! Absolutely loved it!
| wattle 9/3/13 . chapter 25
Hang in there Kate, hang in there.
Brilliant chapter loved it.
Sorry, words are failing me at the moment.
| Rushmr 9/3/13 . chapter 25
Poor Kate and Elliott 😦 I’m glad Elliott came to his senses and married Kate, but they still have a long road to travel before Elliott is completely recovered.
Looking forward to the next chapter!