Calleigh was finally out of the fire. She had tried to get out as quick as she could to avoid breathing too much smoke, knowing very well how her lungs would react, but when she reached the outside and found Ryan, she suddenly felt that familiar feeling she had been dreading.
She barely could speak. She bragged his arm, trying to keep touch with something solid, something that would support her.
Calleigh ! Ryan noticed her face turning red.
Suddenly Calleigh's body collapsed loudly to the floor.
Calleigh ! Breathe ! Stay with me !
Paramedics rushed and laid Calleigh on the stretcher. Ryan was watching her, helpless. Paramedics loaded her in the ambulance before leaving rapidly. Ryan stood there, rattled. Horatio stood next to him, putting his hand on his shoulder.
How is she ? Asked Horatio.
Struggling. Replied Ryan, feeling sick at the idea that Calleigh could get much worse very quickly.
I will call Eric. You are in charge here while I take care of the rest.
Horatio walked away, his phone in his hand. He knew how it would go. He knew the panic that he was about to create in Eric. But there was no choice.
Eric. It's Horatio.
Heard there was a fire in that house. Is it extinguished ?
H ? Where is Calleigh ?
There was a kid inside the house when Ryan and Calleigh arrived…
Wait. What are you trying to tell me here ?
Eric started to panic. Exactly how Horatio predicted it.
Calleigh got transported to the hospital. She is in a bad condition. I think you should get there and stay with her. I haven't heard anything yet, I only saw her leaving the house. She was struggling.
I'm going there now.
Eric ended the call straightaway and left the lab.
Eric's head was full of scary and disturbing thoughts as he rushed to the hospital. He managed to arrive as the ambulance stopped and the doors opened. A team was waiting for her at the ambulance bay.
How is she ?
Eric jumped on the team who was already running with Calleigh's stretcher.
Sir, please stay back so we can help her.
The team ran through doors that blocked him entry. He stood there, with his terrifying emotions. He wanted to force entry on the unit she was taken in but his body was incapable of moving. After what seemed like forever, he finally let himself crash on a chair and thought about the last time they came here after the fire. She had been intubated but she did woke up. She did woke up. He thought.
Eric barely reacted when a hand touched his shoulder.
He finally turned around.
Any news ?
Eric was staring at the floor. It felt like an eternity since he had arrived. He only wanted to hear her voice. That is all he wanted. He got lost in his thoughts again when Horatio, who was now sitting on his right side, spoke again.
Eric. The doctor is coming.
Eric's eyes left the floor to find the doctor.
How is she ? He almost yelled as he jumped out of his seat.
Stable. She is getting help to breathe, she is not able to breathe on her own yet. The smoke aggravated the state of her lungs. We need to keep a close eye on her. You can visit her if you wish.
Thank you doctor.
Horatio turned to Eric.
You stay here with her. I will take care of the case with the others.
Thank you, Horatio.
Eric found Calleigh's room and sat next to her bed. He allowed his thumb to stroke her cheek. He hated seeing her like that. In pain, unconscious, fragile… Her skin was pale and all that Eric wanted now was to see her blushing cheeks again. Hours went by but Eric couldn't bring himself to leaving Calleigh alone. He sat there, holding her hand, thinking about her. Her smile when he would make a flirtatious comment, her face blushing when she would see him shirtless, the passionate way she would kiss him, the beautiful sound of her voice, the soft giggle that she would have when he would make a stupid joke, the sight of her in the lab as he would walk by, the warmth of her body when he would cuddle with her at night, the love he had for the sleepovers to her place after work, the delicious dishes they'd cook together… Nothing could ever be better than being there with her. Waking up next to her.
Eric was holding her hand not ready to let go, ever. Hours went by and he just stayed there, watching her. Trying to detect any movement, whispering to her in the hope that she would finally open her eyes.
He was desperate for a sign. Something to tell him that she'd be okay. That she would be back and that finally, things would get better.
Calleigh please wake up… I need you here.
But there was no response. No sign. No movement. Not a thing to tell him that she was there. Near him. Only the view of her small body laying in a hospital bed.
He was holding her hand, sitting next to her bed when everything went downhill. The beeping machines were suddenly making a flat sound. She was flatlining.
He could feel his whole body and soul sinking into the worse pain and darkness ever felt since Marisol's death.
Doctors rushed into the room, preparing the paddles. The nurse was doing chest compressions, the doctor was giving orders, Alexx was standing at the window. It was like everything was going so quick and so slow at the same time, Eric couldn't comprehend what was happening.
Charge to 200 !
Calleigh's body arched and fell back on the bed.
Charge again ! Clear !
Calleigh ! Screamed Eric. Come on Cal ! Come back !
Eric was at the end of the bed, the nurses and doctor were doing everything. Everything. The doctor injected adrenaline between two shocks of defibrillation paddles.
The doctor gave Eric a terrifying look.
Don't stop. You can't stop ! Eric was yelling.
Charge to 200. Clear !
Calleigh was shocked again.
Nothing. The nurse said with a hopeless tone.
The doctor stood there, looking at the flatline on the screen.
How long ?
30 minutes doctor.
Eric looked at Alexx. She slowly entered the room and stood next to him.
It's over. Declared the doctor. Time of death, 2:40pm.
What ? Eric said in a whisper.
I'm so sorry Eric. They did everything. Alexx told him.
The nurses removed the machines, leaving the endotracheal tube.
You can take your time. Say goodbye. We will be outside the room if you need anything Mr. Delko.
Eric wasn't sure who exactly was talking.
I want to lay with her Alexx.
Alexx made some space on the side of the bed for Eric to lay down. He laid by her side, holding her softly, his nose in her neck, getting the smell of her shampoo she used that same morning. He needed to remember it all. The softness of her hair, the feel of her skin on his, her odour…
I love her Alexx.
I know you do Eric. I am so sorry.
I love her so much… He whispered.
Alexx noticed Horatio standing at the window. She slowly shook her head to him. Calleigh was gone.
Horatio quickly looked at Eric before walking away. He needed to call the team. Without much explanation he asked them to meet him at the hospital. He sat in the waiting room when they walked in.
How is she ? Asked Natalia.
Did she wake up yet ? Continued Ryan.
Horatio stood up, facing them in silence.
No… Ryan sat down as Jesse hugged Natalia who was silently crying.
Can we see her ? Asked Jesse.
Eric is in there with Alexx. I think he needs a bit of time with her.
Alexx was sitting next to Calleigh, holding her hand. Eric was still holding her against him.
We should have been happy finally.
Alexx was looking at him, she could see the pain on his face.
We were trying to make it work. Eric sniffed. We should… We should have been getting married one day, after I would have proposed during a dinner at my parents' home, or maybe during a trip to Cuba… We would have gone on a honeymoon wherever she wanted. And then…
Alexx heard his voice break. He could not hold the tears anymore.
Then we would have had our first baby. We should have been happy Alexx.
And just like that, everything was over. Destroyed. All his plans and hopes. All that mattered was gone.
She loved you too Eric.
Natalia said. That is when Eric realised the team had walked in.
She loved you more than anything.
Natalia grabbed his shoulder.
You're all she cared about.