Continuation of the same time line as Twas Christmas Confusion, however, I am adding some characters that I created for a longer fic that I am currently working on that will be a prequel for these two stories (I am about 50% done but do not want to post until its 90% complete).

A little background:

Abigail = Grace's sister

Ellis Hawthorne = Abigail's husband

Willis = their one year old son

William Hawthorne = Grace's second father

Esther Hawthorne = Grace's second mother

In a nutshell the Hawthornes raised Grace and Abigail after their folks passed away. Ellis is not their son but William's cousin's son who had too many children to care for, therefore, they took Ellis in as well.

Cecile and Jack (gardner) Jennings adopted Molly and Kate soon after Annie's adoption. I thought Kate acted like an older sister to Molly during the girl's run, so it seemed fitting that they stayed together. In my perfect "Annie world" all the girls are adopted by different staff members after Annie's adoption party, but I only utilize Kate and Molly some in this fic.


New Years Blues

New Years Day 10:00 a.m. (Bellevue Hospital Center – Children's Wing)

Dear Lord, please don't take my baby! On Christmas, I was so worried that the other shoe would drop and now this … I can't stand the wait AND the not knowing! Grace and Oliver paced back and forth in the waiting room. They were both cleared by the medical staff, Oliver an hour after getting to Bellevue and Grace just a little over thirty minutes ago, under the doctor's specific orders to take it easy and rest due to the 'bun in the oven'.

"Grace honey, you need to stop pacing and rest dear," Esther coaxed after watching her pace for five minutes. Grace halted and turned toward Esther, immediately biting her tongue to stop her knee jerk retort, after gazing upon Esther's motherly expression of concern. Esther opened her arms inviting her 'oldest daughter' into the comfort of her arms as Grace's strong resolve dissolved again as she burst into tears. She went willingly as she sobbed uncontrollably into Esther's embrace not caring what the others thought, her baby was possibly fighting for her life, 1934 was starting off very bleak compared to the end of 1933.

Oliver and the rest of the small clan, in the wing's waiting room, had paused midstream in their actions or discussions during Esther's request, but became even more remorseful and forlorn as they watched 'mother comfort her daughter'. None of the onlookers would have guessed the new year would bring them here of all places as they awaited for Annie's prognosis. No 16 hours ago, the select few in the waiting room had all piled into the limo, the Duisenberg, and Jack's Chevy Sedan to head over to the Hawthornes' to ring in the new year.

The Hawthornes' boarding house was near Time Square, therefore, their home was the perfect location to watch the ball drop from their backyard instead of venturing out into the overzealous crowds. They listened to the hourly countdown on the radio in the warm comfort of the house, as they discussed with their friends and family the trials, tribulations, and elations of the current year and their hopes, resolutions, and upcoming events of the imminent year. All while they watched Annie, Molly, and Kate entertain Willis in order to keep him awake to partake in the count down (after all it was the perfect way to assist with his counting, reasoned the girls).

Unfortunately, the girls' efforts were for not, Willis crashed anyway around 9:30 with his posterior straight in the air using his new teddy bear as a pillow. 'Grandpa William' took this as a photographic opportunity and quickly snatched a picture to use for future teasing. The sandman found Molly around 10:45 but unlike Willis she was cuddled on her mother's lap, while Annie and Kate attempted to play several games of Jacks to ward him off until after midnight.

William and Ellis took turns taking photographs of the group to capture the festivities and the memories of the night. Yes, 1933, was definitely a special year with the adoption of the Warbucks and Jennings' girls, Grace and Oliver's nuptials, the Christmas spirit returning to the girls, and the wonderful news that another Warbucks would be arriving in 1934.

As the clock was ticking down close to midnight the small groups of families and friends gathered by the large bay windows in anticipation of the ball dropping. Jack held a drowsy Molly in his arms as he and Cecile sandwiched Kate in between them. Next to Cecile, Mrs. Pugh and her husband Alfred stood by the Asp and Punjab, while the rest of the boarding house's tenants stood on their right. While Annie flanked Jack on his left, to be near Molly and Kate, Grace drew her near while wrapped in Oliver's embrace. Ellis stood next to Oliver as he cuddled his wife and sleeping child; and, lastly William and Esther stood in a sideways embrace so Esther could slip her arm around Abigail and Ellis too. It was a picture perfect moment or so thought one of the tenants who slipped from the group too take the picture with William's new camera (after all William had just reloaded it with film).

Yes, the count down and the household festivities were eventful with merriment and cheer that only occurs when family and friends are near. After the ball dropped the children regained their second wind except little Willis, so the festivities continued way past two. When the girls were near dropping, as well as, a few adults from fatigue, the families and friends from the mansion bid the Hawthornes and their tenants goodbye in order to return home to their own beds; however, due to a drunk driver those in the limo found themselves in Bellevue instead.

"Oh ... 'Mama Esther' … it shhhhould be … me in there … not her!" exclaimed Grace through her sobs. Oliver crossed over to his wife in order to support her, but was at a loss of what to say. Instead he placed his hand on her shoulder for comfort, as she slowly entwined her fingers with his, reciprocating his gesture of support, because she knew he too felt it should be him, not Annie.

"Shhhh, Annie is a fighter …" trailed of Esther. Everyone in the room felt the same helplessness, what do you say to distraught parents to comfort them while their child suffers in another room, especially when all the adults in the vehicle appeared to have walked away almost unscathed? Oliver and the Asp endured only minor bumps, cuts and bruises, as well as, Grace; but, unlike the men due to her condition Dr. Kildare, in the emergency room, wanted to monitor her for a few more hours until all appeared clear with her and the baby. Dr. Kildare later told Oliver that Grace was very fortunate that she wasn't further along because his hand was able to shield her small baby bump during the forward movement caused by the other car's impact.

During Grace's stay in the ER, Mrs. Pugh, returned to the hospital with a change of clothes for the Asp and the Warbucks. Once, Dr. Kildare cleared Grace she went into the bathroom to clean up, and as she viewed her reflection in the the bathroom's mirror she slowly trailed her finger down the different blotches of blood. Knowing it was Annie's, her shock wore off suddenly with the onslaught of turmoil and sorrow that consumed her so quickly that she was unable to clean up due to the paralysis known as 'mother's distress.' Esther, hearing Grace's sobs, burst into the bathroom as her own 'mother hen gene' kicked into gear to care and comfort her 'own child.' She then assisted her 'little girl' because Grace was too consumed with her pain to effectively clean up, and Esther also knew she needed to have a good cry before joining the others in the waiting room. Intermittently, Grace would sob "Why … Annie? Why … why … her?"

Yes ... why just Annie? Well, the drunk driver T-boned the limo right in the middle of the front and back passenger side doors, this was the side Annie resided on during the ride home. The irony of the accident, the limo was at a complete stop, the drunk driver just plowed right into them going over 55 miles per hour. Those in the back were either asleep or dozing, unable to fully shield or defend themselves, as well as, their loved ones, properly.

Why, why, why Lord? One minute she was curled up on the seat beside me with her head on my lap as I nestled myself into Oliver's side as I too succumbed to the sandman, but then what felt like only a second later she was thrown from my loose grasp into the limo's crunching metal! I should have been more alert to shield her from the impact, like Oliver did for me. Dear Lord, I can't get that sound out of my mind nor the BLOOD! The other shoe has definitely dropped … one of my babies will definitely live but my other may not! It's not fair!

The wait is nerve wracking, at least in the emergency room 'Mama Esther' kept me company as Oliver and William took turns on updating us every 30 minutes on Annie's prognosis. Unfortunately, at the scene of the crash Annie was unresponsive immediately after the impact and bleeding from head to toe too!

Sadly, we were not the only one's affected by that drunk lunatic. He crashed into innocent bystanders on the street, as well as, a few other cars before his direct contact with us! I know rationally we are not the only family waiting to hear about their family member's prognosis, but THIS IS MY CHILD!

The earlier updates from Oliver and 'Papa William' weren't enough for any of us to rest assured that she was out of the woods. All the nurses were able to tell Oliver and the rest of our family, during my period in the ER, was she had several cuts and a few deeper lacerations that required stitches, a broken left humerus, a fractured right radius, and head trauma causing the unconsciousness.

A little bit later, after Oliver informed me of Annie's known injuries, I inquired information about the different bones from a young ER nurse who told me the humerus was the upper bone of the arm and the radius was one of the lower bones on the arm. She also informed me that these injuries would require casts, and then a fleeting but yet an amusing thought crossed my mind 'how in the world would my rambunctious Annie survive, at least, eight weeks with cast restrictions?' However, it was short lived when the thought of her never waking up paralyzed and numbed me to my core!

Now I wait with Oliver and the others, until the doctor is able to review the results of her head x-rays, then determine the severity of her injuries and report them back to us; and, until then I'll remain on pins and needles. What's troubling me the most is they took the x-rays soon after our arrival and that's been over eight hours ago, and we STILL don't know the severity of her head trauma and I STILL haven't seen MY BABY! Rationally, I know Oliver was able to see her after the x-rays (they were from head to toe), but only briefly because they were going to need to stitch the lacerations (they were only bandaged at the crash site) and also set the broken bones. Now it appears we will continue the wait game … when all I want to do is hold my Annie!

Dear God, please give me strength! St. Juliana, please look after our little girl and give her the will power she will require to heal and return to us, as her old self! I can't bear to think of life without her charism, joy, liveliness, and spunk! Please …

"Mr. and Mrs. Warbucks?" quietly called a doctor as he entered the waiting room, interrupting Grace's prayers and musings. Oliver and Grace both stumbled up from their places, but quickly regained their composure as they turned toward the doctor.

"Yes," they both responded with bated breath for the doctor's report on Annie's prognosis. Oliver enveloped Grace in a supportive embrace as Esther and William stood up beside them in a similar fashion. The rest of the clan stood as well in anticipation of the doctor's news.

"I'm Dr. Wheatley, I attended to your daughter's injuries. Her lacerations weren't severe and have been stitched. The one on her upper left arm, most likely occurred when the humerus was broken, it was the deepest but only required 12 stitches, no major arteries were involved. The rest were minor, more like scrapes, which can be found on her arms, legs, and torso. Only three required one to two stitches."

"But there was so much blood …" trailed off Oliver as the doctor politely signaled he wasn't done yet.

"I was just getting to that, Annie also received a nice gash on her head, fortunately it was also superficial and easily stopped with stitches. However, gashes to the head are some of the bloodiest wounds that occur to people. Now, the blow to head was the highest concern especially since she was unconscious at the scene of the crash. Well, I have reviewed her x-rays and Annie shows no signs of hematoma, bleeding, on the brain but there is mild bruising most likely causing her unconsciousness."

"So, what are you saying here? Does Annie have brain damage?" asked William as it appeared Oliver and Grace were rendered speechless after the doctor's report.

"No, Annie is responding to several of our sensory tests. Most likely she is just experiencing a severe concussion, but we will continue to monitor her for the next 48 hours. Due to the severity of the concussion, when she wakes up she may experience pouts of nausea, vertigo …" Dr. Wheatley had to stop his explanation, as Grace started wailing, with a mixture of relief and distress, into Oliver's shoulder. Oliver too had tears of relief, hope, and hours of pent up worry trailing down his face, at the news that Annie would most likely come out of this battered but not beaten or dead.

Once the parents and the rest of clan calmed down and regained their composure, the doctor continued, "She is still unconscious which has me worried that she may also demonstrate some amnesia and/or memory loss." This statement caused a sudden hush to seep into the room due to alarm of these possibilities. Everyone had the same fear that Annie may not remember the last few months. This caused all, but especially her parents, to have added anguish, to their already wound up emotions, that their beloved child may not remember them nor her new life with them.

Finally, Grace squared her shoulders and attempted to recompose herself, as best as a distraught mother could and asked, "Dr. Wheatley, when may I see Annie?"

"Mrs. Warbucks, they are moving Annie to a private room now per your husband's orders. They are also moving a chair and ottoman into her room, as well, per your husband's order. Dr. Kildare, also left my staff a message that you should still be monitored to ensure that your stress levels don't affect your pregnancy. He also said the best medicine for you at this time was to be near your daughter, but to remain as comfortable as possible." Initially Grace feared that Dr. Kildare would insist she go home but visible relaxed after hearing all of Dr. Wheatley's comments.

"Thank you Dr. Wheatley," replied Oliver as a young nurse entered the waiting room.

"Dr. Wheatley, Miss Warbucks, is now resting in her private room."

"Thank you Elsie. Mr. and Mrs. Warbucks, you will be able to remain with your daughter until midnight. We ask that anyone else wanting to visit her must only visit on the hour, for twenty minutes total, and only two at a time. I'm also afraid we will have to ask the children to not visit her until after she wakes up, as well as, after the 48 hours of monitoring due to childhood germs and infections," stated Dr. Wheatley.

"Since Annie just got into her room, I recommend only Mr. and Mrs. Warbucks join her at this time. Starting at 11 a.m. we will start the hourly visits for the rest of your family. Mr. and Mrs. Warbucks, if you'll follow me," continued Dr. Wheatley, however, before Grace and Oliver joined him they hugged the Hawthornes and the others. The Hawthornes and the rest of their friends and family stated they would figure out their visitation rotation so they needn't worry about them. They just wanted them to focus on Annie.

Oliver grabbed Grace's hand and followed Dr. Wheatley to Annie's room. Dr. Wheatley attempted to prepare them prior to entering Annie's room. He described Annie's bandages, casts, and battered appearance trying to lessen their initial shock. Even with his attempt at describing her appearance they instantly became speechless when they entered her room as they saw their spirited child rendered idle and almost lifeless.

After their initial shock Grace charged Annie's bed to evaluate her condition for herself, as Oliver thanked the doctor for Annie's care. When Oliver turned back toward the bed, he saw his wife trying to climb into bed with their daughter. "Grace, what are you doing? The chair and ottoman are on the other side of the bed for you to sit on during our vigil," softly stated a flabbergasted Oliver toward his wife's antics.

"Oliver, you sit on the chair, the only way I will be completely comfortable is holding my baby!" whispered an exasperated yet irritated Grace, as she maneuvered herself next Annie without jostling her too much. She then slowly melded herself into her daughter's right side sliding her left arm around Annie's middle being mindful of both her arms which laid across her stomach.

Oliver starred stunned at Grace's clipped tone toward him realizing he just encountered 'the lioness protecting her cub mode,' after all Grace's disposition was generally the opposite of his. The last time he truly encountered this side of her was when she fought him in the garden when she pitched the idea of keeping Annie (the lioness was born that day but had remained dormant until now, at least where he was concerned).

Both husband and wife had a star down and finally Oliver relented with a huff as he went to retrieve an extra pillow for his wife's head; however, he gently placed it under her head while giving her an earth shattering kiss of hope, support, and love. Then he grabbed the other extra pillow and placed it on the other side of Annie's head, because he too climbed into his daughter's bed instead of utilizing the chair. Grace's eyes initially bugged out with shock, as he started to join her, but soon she started to softly chortle with tears of sorrow and hope rolling down her cheeks.

As Oliver attempted to maneuver on Annie's bed, he too was mindful of Annie's injuries, he also knew melding into Annie would be more difficult due to her left arm being in a larger cast with a sling. Grace assisted him as best as she could and finally he too was able to relax knowing both his girls were secure in the same room. He then placed his arm around Annie's middle interlocking his fingers with his wife's. They both exhaled breaths of relief, worry, and hope as they slowly succumbed to their exhaustion.

This is how two of their visitors, William and Esther, found them 30 minutes later. Esther retrieved the afghans Mrs. Pugh had packed, as creature comforts, for Annie and placed them over the trio. She and William then placed butterfly kisses on each occupant and slowly crept out of the room. When they returned to the waiting room they informed the rest of the clan what they stumbled on, most of the group took this as a sign to return home as well to rest, especially those with tired little ones. This left the two body guards, Mr. and Mrs. Pugh, Esther, and William, promising to inform the rest of any changes to Annie's condition.

The little family of three stayed in the same position for nearly four hours, it wasn't until Grace's bladder informed her, she needed to relieve herself soon or she'd be in an embarrassing predicament. She slowly untangled herself from Annie and Oliver, however, her movements aroused Oliver from his slumber causing him to jerk awake then tumble right out of the bed. Luckily he landed in the chair, but it was quite a comical sight to see resulting with Grace bursting out into laughter (expelling the earlier anxiety and sorrow). After recovering from his own shock, Oliver joined Grace in her laughter.

Little did they know that their laughter awoke Annie from her state of unconsciousness. It wasn't until they heard her raspy voice asking, "What's goin' on? Where am I?" Her blue eyes were open but she wore the most perplexed look. Oliver and Grace scrambled to their respective bed sides, but instead of seeing recognition in their daughter's eyes they saw confusion and possibly fear. They both cast each other alarming looks that their worst fear was occurring, Annie didn't remember them. Oh, Annie, please baby, it's momma … please remember …

"Annie?" questioned Oliver but before he could inquiry more Annie interrupted him with her continued scrutiny of the situation.

"Why am I dizzy? Why do I have casts on, I don't remember how I got hurt? Could you tell me, please?" inquired Annie, with her continued look of confusion. Grace burst into tears, of anguish, when none of Annie's acquisitions involved the use of mom or dad. Oliver too was at a loss of how to fix this situation as silent tears slid down his cheeks, as well.

Annie attempted to look back and forth, between Oliver and Grace, as she waited for an explanation but the movement caused instant nausea. Oliver noticed the green tinge to Annie's face and reached for the waste basket quickly. Grace caught onto Oliver's movements and assisted Annie up into a sitting position to retch into the basket, forgetting her anguish for the moment and going into 'mom mode.' Then the most wonderful words were heard, "mommmmm, I hate bein' sick!"

Oliver and Grace were dumbstruck, for a moment, due to their earlier belief that Annie had amnesia or memory loss; however, they both recovered quickly taking turns peppering Annie with kisses. "Oh, that's the most wonderful thing I've heard all day!" exclaimed Grace through fresh tears of joy.

"Mommmmmmm, that's pretty sad since bein' sick isn't that much fun! I'm gonna need that waste basket 'gain, daddy!" Oliver quickly retrieved the basket as Grace relinquished her hold over to Oliver, so she could alert the doctor of Annie's changed condition, tell their family and friends the great news, and also to use the facility quickly.

When Grace returned to Annie's room she was met at the door by the rest of their family and Oliver. He quickly pulled her into his embrace. Initiially Grace went on high alert, but soon relaxed as she realized Oliver had only moved out of the way so Dr. Wheatley and his team could check Annie over without getting in the way. They listened as Dr. Wheatley answered all of Annie's earlier questions, as well as, answering other questions. Soon comic relief seeped into the entire room when Annie's shriek of disbelief echoed in the room.

"You mean I have'ta keep these yucky casts on for eight whole weeks and I can't go swimmin' or sleddin'! This is gonna a be a long eight weeks, Dr. Wheatley!" exclaimed Annie, wearing an incredulous yet serious look, which had all the adults in the room bursting out into elated laughter because the spunk and feistiness were returning to their precious little girl.

The End