Disclaimer: The characters in this story don't belong to me, they are owned by Erle Stanley Gardner's pen. I don't receive any economic good for them. I only write for the pleasure of doing it.
Many thanks to the incredible to tengland2 for helping correct this story and for always being by my side helping and supporting me.
All the errors are only mine.
Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 1990.
As soon as Della, Paloma and Perry landed at LAX, they grabbed a limo and sped off towards the Medical Center. Paul had remained in Denver, to take the next available flight, as Perry could only get three seats due to the urgency.
Upon arriving at the Medical Center, finding their way to Rosemary's room, they saw Eduardo was standing there waiting them. As soon as Paloma saw him, she ran quickly into his arms.
Young woman's feelings and emotions were to the surface, to think her mother had woken up from a coma after five long years. Although her happiness faded quickly as her father informed that she wouldn't be able to see Maria immediately. Feeling even more confused and angry to hear her grandparents would be able to go in.
"NO Dad! Not Fair! I don't understand why I can't go in! Yet you're allowing it to Tata and Nana. She is my mother; I want to see her! Besides, I'm sure, she wants to see me too."
"BUTTERFLY, CALM DOWN!" Eduardo's hoarse voice comes out louder than he wanted. Taking a deep breath, he looks into his daughter's eyes. "Paloma, I can understand that you want and need to see her. But please understand, the best thing for your Mom is that she doesn't see you for now."
"Eduardo, please how could it not be good for my little dove not to see her daughter? I'm sure the first thing she did was ask for her. Since that would be my first request, if I were in her place." Della hugs her granddaughter, trying to reassure her. "Eduardo, please let her see her mother. I can assure you, this will do both my girls a lot of good."
"Seeing her, is the main reason for saying no!" Pausing, Eduardo takes a deep breath and exhaling slowly trying to calm down. "Della, please! You must understand it would be very damaging to Maria's recovery, if she see Paloma right now." He can hear the frustration and pain in his own voice knowing how much he hurts his daughter with his words.
"EDUARDO VALDEZ! How dare you even hint that my granddaughter might harm her mother's recovery?" Perry interrupts with his courtroom voice, after keeping quiet since their arriving at the hospital.
"Mr. Mason, please! Remember this isn't a court room, but a hospital, and let alone I'm one of your witnesses." Eduardo replies in a professional voice. "At this moment, just want you and Mrs. Mason to understand that I am not Paloma's father, nor Maria's ex-husband, but just the doctor in charge of her recovery. The best thing is for the four of us to talk in my office, instead of the corridors of ICU. Butterfly…" He pauses, "Come on?" He ask her, while he reaches to take a hold of Paloma's shoulder, but the young woman quickly moves away from his side, to start walking alone towards his office.
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Once they were inside the office, Della was first to break the cold silence filled in the room. "Well... Eduardo, would kindly inform our daughter's current status? But above all explain us the main reason, why my granddaughter cannot see her mother?"
Eduardo sighs, as he thinks how difficult this conversation would be for everyone. Especially because, convincing her daughter that she couldn't see her mother would turn into an uphill battle to win.
"Della... I know you think that not allowing Paloma to see her mother is absurd. But far from reasons you are thinking, my only concern is Maria's emotional health."
"Eduardo, could you explain how the fact that Paloma visits her mother could damage Rosemary's emotional health?" Perry asks intrigued.
Eduardo took a deep breath gathering his thoughts before proceeding to explain. "The first thing to take into account is the fact Maria has remained in a coma for the past five years. Consequently, her life stopped at that point while our lives continued their course. Although, we are aware the passing of time has leaving its mark on all of us. Our change were not as radical as it was with Paloma, she was a sweet young girl of 12 and is now a young woman of sixteen. Thus the main reason for her not being able to see her mother right now."
"Dad, just how could my growing up harm my mother's mental health?"
"Butterfly, I know you think this is absurd. Believe me, I would not like anything else in this world that you and her were together again. But at the moment it cannot be. As I said, she still thinks that you are young girl and seeing you now could cause her severe trauma."
Then, she doesn't know yet, that she has been in a coma for the last five years?" Perry asks.
"No! she doesn't know. Because she is still groggy from medications what are we administering. Plus, her motor skills are not optimal. Maria will have a hard rehab on her long way to recovery." Then Eduardo looks at his daughter, with a slight smile on his lips. "The first request she made, when she was able, was to ask for her girl."
"You mean her coma left Rosemary with sequels?" Della asks concerned.
"Although we still have to wait the latest round of Maria's test results. I can assure you, she will be fine. But as I said before, this will be a long and painful process. She recognized me and remembered their accident, she was very nervous and worried about Paloma. I had to assure and promise that she was fine. I even showed her a picture of the two of us together. It's the one I carry in my wallet, that Junior took shortly after coming to Los Angeles. There Paloma still had her leg in a cast and on crutches. I had to tell her it wasn't convenient for our Butterfly to see her Mom in this condition that it would be best to wait a few more days. Despite not liking the answer very much, Maria accepted the fact this would be better for her daughter." Paloma snorted loudly as she stormed out of the office, slamming the door behind her.
"My treasure!" Della calls to her granddaughter, while she started to get up to follow her.
"Della, let her go!" Eduardo stopping her, "you know how she gets when things don't turn out the way she wants them to. She just needs some time alone to think and calm down. But you know this, better than me." He smiles slightly.
"Of course, I know, as I worked for almost forty years with a famous lawyer, who acted in the same way, when things didn't always go his way." She smiles.
Clearing his throat, Perry glances at Della, pretending to be offended. "Well... Eduardo... Then, could you please tell us what does Rosemary remember and what have been you said to her?"
"As I already told you, she remembers almost everything prior to the accident, but there are still some blank areas. She doesn't remember trying to contact Della, or that she and Paloma were heading to LA for her surgery."
"So, my Dove doesn't remember that she has forgiven me, much less remembering that she asked me to take care of her daughter?" Della asks, her voice full of sadness and anguish, thinking her daughter may not want to see her.
"She was very surprised when I told her, that you both were coming to see her very soon. Also, that you both were out here in LA with Paloma, I didn't want to tell her that Paloma, had really gone to Denver to celebrate your wedding anniversary. Please don't worry, she will remember everything little by little, with help and as the confusion in her head disappears. She also wondered why I was here. I told her that it was just a coincidence, because I was the only neurosurgeon available to go to Boston to treat her."
Perry sighs with a sadness, "I guess she won't want to see either her mother or me. But especially me."
"No! It's not like that, but rather the opposite. She asked me if both of you could come to see her. Now, they should be moving her to her new room. As soon as they finish, will let me know. Then, you two can go see her."
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After storming out of Eduardo's office, Paloma drifted through the corridor, to finally approach the nurse's station. There she saw Carolanne Harris, head nurse and good friend of her father's, who was immersed in paperwork, glancing up, she smiled at the young woman. The two had become very close, during her mother's time at the hospital. The nurse had become Paloma's confidante, who even saw her as a motherly image.
"Paloma, why such that angry little face?" Carolanne asks.
"It's all my Dad's fault! He just told I can't see my mom."
Carolanne rolled her eyes while smiling. "Well... my moody young lady. I suppose your father already explained you the reasons the reason for his decision."
"Yes, he did actually. Then I quickly left and came here because I need your help."
Carolanne sighs, "I'm afraid to ask, but I'll do it anyway. Now, would you tell me how you want me to help you?"
A dimpled smile appears on Paloma's face, "I want to see Mom, but I don't want her to know I'm there. I just need to see her."
"And just what is going on in that crazy head of yours that makes you think you can manage to do this?"
"Carolanne, you could help me with a nursing assistant uniform, surgical scrubs, with a hat and mask to cover my face so she won't recognize me. I will go in pretending to check the machines, making sure she is fine, I will quietly slip out. I promise it will be quick and she won't have time to even realize it's me."
"OH, no! No missy! I think you've got a few screws loose. If you do this and your father finds out, he'll be mad at both of us and even I could lose my job."
"Please... Carolanne... You know I need to see her. I want to see for myself she is okay. You know how much I've missed her. I promise I will get in and out quickly and if for any reason, my Dad finds out, I will take the blame completely. Please…." Paloma looks at her with pleading eyes and a huge pout, on her face.
Carolanne sighs, "Its okay, its okay! I'll help you, although I don't know why I'm doing it."
"It's simple, you love me, plus I'm the daughter of the boy you like."
"Paloma Valdez! Don't be saying such foolishness."
"It's not foolishness, nor is it nonsense. I know that you like Dad a lot. Plus..." A hint of a smile appears on her face. "I know you two have been dating for the last two years."
"Paloma, you are completely wrong. Your father and I are just good friends, I'm just support for him. Besides the fact he is still in love with your mother. Now that she has awakened, I'm sure he will try to get her back in his life."
"Granted, that would make me happy, because they are my parents. But I would be sad as well at the thought you wouldn't be around for me, because my parents are back together."
"That you won't have to worry about, I'm not sure what I would do without my favorite troublemaker around. You know I love you like a daughter, plus Leander would miss you too."
"I love you too. You have always been there when I needed a mother's understanding. Even though I've had Nana, there have been something's I just couldn't tell her. You were there when Porter left me for my best friend and Leander is like a brother, always looking out for me. You two are very important to me."
"Maybe that's the main reason Mrs. Mason doesn't like me."
"Carolanne, please don't think that, my Nana does like you. Sometimes she feels a bit jealous that I trust you more than her with some things in my life."
"Perhaps you are right, I know it has been a difficult time for her having her daughter in a coma for these last five years. Maybe she thinks I'm going to steal your love. Well... Miss Valdez... enough of that! Let's find you, the items you need. Now I just have to cross my fingers so we don't get into trouble."
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After Carolanne got Paloma the things she needed and helped her change, she hurried return to her position at the nurse's station. Paloma made her way to her mother's room. Stopping abruptly in front of the door and standing there while wondering, whether to enter or not. The door suddenly opened and a nurse left there nodding at her. As the nurse walked away, Paloma realized she had left the door ajar. Peering through the opening, she could see that Rosemary's eyes were closed. Assuming she was asleep, Paloma steeled herself and entered carefully, so not to make any noise and awake her up. Approaching the side of the bed nearest to her mother, Paloma saw her sleep peacefully. It was a great relief to young woman not to see her mom connected to all those tubes and machines that she had been using for the last years. She was about to lean over, to kiss her forehead before leaving, when suddenly Rosemary opened her eyes.
"Miss, who are you?"