Jason’s Intervention – A Gift Fic for Merick
Written for Sookie’s Secret Santa fic exchange. Click on the link to see all the great stories written this year.
Summary: Jason finally learns a hard lesson one night after Sookie, Hoyt and Sam try an intervention. Backstory is based somewhat on canon. Takes place about two years after Crystal and the baby die. Main character: Jason, others are very minor roles.
DISCLAIMER: Based on the characters from the Southern Vampire Mysteries books. I do not own these characters.
“Hoyt! You’re out late man.” Jason moved to greet his friend as he entered Merlotte’s Bar and Grille. “Holly OK with you being out while the baby still ain’t sleeping through the night?”
“Yeah, she encouraged me to get out for a while, want to shoot some pool?”
“Well . . . I kinda found me a fine one tonight; new in town, I’m gonna give her the Jason Stackhouse welcome. She’s just using the ladies; I was kinda countin’ on headin out for th’night.”
“Well, I really need to talk to ya.” The door opened and when they turned, Sookie started walking in.
“What’s she doin’ here?” He raised his head towards Sookie while she approached them. “What’re you doin’ in Bon Temps? Everything OK at home? Is Sadie with Eric?”
“No problem. Eric’s home with her.” Her eyes flickered to Hoyt for a second, then Sam as he walked from his office. Sam nodded to Sookie so she knew it was time. “Jason, I need to talk to you. Can we go to Sam’s office for a minute?”
“I got . . . I’m waitin’ on someone.”
Sookie blurted out, “She’s gone. Sam got her a safe ride home so we could talk Jason.”
Jason’s eyes narrowed in anger first; then he grew concerned thinking there was something seriously wrong with Sookie or someone else. He nodded and followed her back, Hoyt trailing behind them. Sam came through last and shut the door. Once they were all seated Jason sat and waited. Sookie took a read on him and put him at ease immediately telling him that everyone was fine – except him. “Jason, this is an intervention.”
“Intervention – we’re all worried about you. We want you to get help. You’ve never gotten over Crystal and the baby’s death. I . . . we believe you’re coping with your women and this or other bars. Jason, please.”
“Sookie, not everyone is like you. Ya found your ‘true love’,” He spoke with sarcasm, “Even though he’s a vamper I supported ya and was happy when you got to adopt Sadie. But that white picket life ain’t for e’ryone Sook.”
“Jason, it’s not just your sister that’s concerned. We all are.”
“AGAIN Hoyt – you’re living that family life and y’all think it’s what I need to be happy. That just ain’t true. Sam help me out here – you’re a confirmed bachelor like me.”
Sookie smirked, she already knows. “Actually Jason, I nobody knows this, but I’m asking Trista to marry me on Christmas Eve. You’re a dying breed man.”
“Fuck you all and your fucking rainbows and hearts.”
“JASON! We’re trying to help you here.” She moved to grab him by the shoulders. “Tell me you weren’t excited about Crystal’s pregnancy. Tell me I didn’t hold you while you sobbed over the miscarriage. Tell me you don’t keep that ultrasound picture, even now and cry over it Jason.” There was silence after Sookie spoke. She saw the image of Jason and the ultrasound when she began challenging him and it broke her heart. Now she knew he really needed help.
Jason had looked down while Sookie exposed him and it took him a few minutes before he looked up. Even then, he wouldn’t make eye contact with Sam or Hoyt until Hoyt finally spoke. “Holly lost our first baby Jase. I have the ultrasound picture in my wallet. I knew I was having problems so I met with Reverend Collins. He really helped. Jason, I want that for you too. Please.”
“Y’all think it’s a crime to miss ma baby? I think I’m just fine for having the decency to grieve.”
“Nobody’s saying you shouldn’t grieve, it’s that you aren’t doing ANYTHING but grieving.”
“I’m allowed to date.”
“You don’t date Jason, you drink, you find a hookup, you have sex and you go on your merry way. When was the last time you didn’t do that for the night?” Before he could answer, she quickly added, “Not including the nights we already force ourselves on you.”
THAT caused him to stop and think. ‘When was the last time I didn’t find a bar and a woman for the night?’ He honestly couldn’t remember and that scared him. ‘Maybe they were a little bit right. A little bit.’ He sighed and answered Sookie’s question – well not exactly. “You’re right. I go out every night unless one of you forces me into some other activity. ‘Sthat why I go to see every one of Cody’s school things Hoyt?” Hoyt nodded. “And Sookie, you drag me to Sadie’s ‘mom and me’ swim class every Tuesday then bully me ‘til I say yes to following you home for dinner?”
“Well, we love having you there, but the reason I nag you is to keep you for a night.”
“Ok, but I live alone and it’s not like I’m gonna sit at home every night by ma’self.”
“And these are things we want you to talk through with a professional. A social life is fine Jason, but you live it in a beer mug.”
“Ya think Imma alchoholic?”
“No, at least I hope not, but it can’t be healthy for you to drink that much, let alone try to drive after.” Sam offered. He was there for support because Sookie asked, but he wasn’t quite sure what to say.
“Sam, you’re trying to talk me outta being a regular?”
“I guess I am since I think Sookie and Hoyt are justified to worry.”
They all left Jason to some silence for a few minutes as they could see he was thinking over their message. Sookie had some next steps already defined for him – if he agreed that is. The doctor she spoke to gave her some guidance on this meeting – and offered to attend but Sookie didn’t think that would go well at all. After almost 10 minutes, Jason looked at Sookie so she figured he was ready for more talk. “I found a doctor that’s ready to talk to you. Eric and I have taken care of any costs – you just need to go. Please tell me you’ll meet with her – even if it’s just a few times.”
“How long does something like this take?” His brows flew up to the top of his forehead in shock at the words a few times – with an S.
“I don’t know. Can you promise me you’ll see her at least three times? Please?”
This whole thing was foreign to him. Real men didn’t need therapy – at least that’s what he thought. Here he was promising his sister – who had begun to cry now goddammit – that he would meet this shrink. To have her shrink his head. That caused a moment of panic. “Sookie, do these doctors actually do something to ‘shrink’ my head? Does it hurt?”
The question would’ve been funny if Jason hadn’t already been through enough for the night so she just answered him simply. “No Jason, that’s just a disparaging nickname for psychiatrists.”
“Despa a what?”
“Mean Jason, it’s a mean name.”
They spoke for a while longer, the bar having long since closed and Jason agreed to go to a doctor that Sookie had already lined up. After checking one more time that he was OK to drive and reminding him to be careful on the bridge since it was raining, Sookie walked him to his car and gave him a goodbye hug saying she’d call him to go to the doctor the next day.
Jason was reeling from the intervention as he drove home. He was too much of a man to allow himself to cry while he was in front of Hoyt and Sam, but it came out now while he was alone. He cried so hard he was having trouble seeing. In front of him, a car started swerving from the rain sheeting across the road. For his own safety, he backed off on the gas so he could put more space between him and the other driver. After a few tenths of a mile, the car seemed to straighten out but they slowed, probably out of fear. To maintain his gap, Jason slowed in kind and gripped his wheel tightly. It was odd to even see another car on these back roads – especially since it was after 3AM. Actually, a single car on the road at this hour could almost be considered a traffic jam. Realization dawned on him. Maybe living so far away from anyone was part of his problem. It was likely why he was out just about every night and as a result, found himself a new woman every night. ‘Maybe they really are right. Maybe I’ve spiraled a bit outta control. I’ll give this doc of Sook’s a try – I guess. ‘Cides, I did promise Sook I’d go three times.’ So lost in his revelation he missed the return of the swerving by the car in front of him until it was too late. He’d clipped their bumper and started to spin himself.
He careened and landed in a tree – smashing the driver side door in the process. His vision was blurry so he closed his eyes to give himself a moment to clear it. When they opened again, he could see the damage he’d done to the car in front of him and he tried 911 right away – he wasn’t surprised the call failed given his remote location. He had bad service out here on a good day. With a bit of relief, he remembered he’d promised to call Sookie when he arrived at home – hopefully she would take action when the call didn’t come.
The accident occurred right at the edge of the bridge to his house – the same exact bridge that had flooded out, taking his parents into the river and killing them. Now the car that was driving in front of him had only half on the bridge – the front was teetering over the side. Aside from a headache, he assessed himself to be fine, so he started making his way across his smashed car to go help that driver. It took him a while just to get free of his truck as he needed to deflate his airbag and break through the window of his passenger door since the car had hit other objects before it stopped in the tree. Ignoring the pain from some scrapes on his arms from the escape, he moved to the back of this truck to grab some chain and a tow hook. His truck wouldn’t be useful for towing but he figured he could attach the chain to his truck and the car about to fall over the bridge and at least try to keep it from falling in. His plan in place, he hooked one end of the chain to the trailer hitch on the front of his truck and headed to the other car. It was a sedan, but banged up enough that he couldn’t make out a model. He also couldn’t see a driver, so he or she must have been slumped over in the front seat. Trying to make the connection between the vehicles as steady as possible, he practically tore at his fingers trying to get the tightest link attached to the hook he was planning to connect to the carriage. With wet slipper fingers, the job took a while but he eventually got the car as secure as he was going to get it.
Now was the ‘balls of steel’ part: He needed to try to get to the person in the car. Sure, he could wait for help, but if they were bleeding out they might not make it that long. He took a final breath and opened the back door of the car. As horrible as it was to hear, he sighed in relief at hearing the driver crying softly in the front seat: It meant he or she was still living. “Hi there, name’s Jason. Can you talk?”
“H . . . Hi.”
“What’s your name?”
“Well, Michelle I know you’re probably scared but I’m gonna stay with you ‘til help arrives. I secured your car to mine, and since mine is a heavy truck currently wrapped around a tree, it’s gonna keep us on this bridge, OK?”
“O . . . Okay.”
“You hurt; do you have anything I should check on?” By now, he’d made his way to the gap between the two front seats and finally saw Michelle. She was still belted in, but had shifted the top half of her body so it was on the passenger seat and over the center console. It looked really uncomfortable, but he was afraid to move her. From her position, all he could see was long brown hair since she was faced forward. Scanning down her body, he was relieved to find no spots that looked wet or bleeding but he also couldn’t see anything on her front to be sure. The absence of an airbag was surprising and he really hoped she didn’t have any internal injuries.
“I bumped my head a bit, but I don’t have any other pain.”
“Well that’s good, but I don’t want to risk moving you right now. I don’t want to shift the weight in the front half of the car and I don’t want to chance any internal injuries. Can you hang on in this position for a while?”
“Yeah, I can.”
“Michelle, this might seem odd, but I can’t turn you and I need to see if you have any other injuries. Can I ah . . . pat you down? I just want to be sure I don’t feel anything wet from bleeding – you know in case you’re in shock and you can’t feel that anyway?”
There was silence and he though he lost her for a moment, but she finally replied. “That’s probably the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard for being felt up. In this case though, I’ll excuse your lack of finesse on the pickup and give you permission. I . . . I appreciate you’re helping me.”
Jason patted her down from the back seat – needing to stretch and strain his muscles to reach as far as he could – and even then he couldn’t make it all the way down her legs. “I don’t feel anything. That’s a good thing I think.” Her arm had move slightly when he was feeling her torso and her hand was in a position where he could grab it, so he did. The touch comforted him.
“I agree. You doing OK yourself?”
“Yeah, couple of scrapes from getting outta ma truck, but nothing else.”
“Did you call anyone?”
“No signal.” That answer was met with an immediate groan. “Well hang on, the good news is, my baby sister was waitin’ on me to call her when I got home. Hopefully she’ll be serious about her worries and send someone to find me.”
“Well a’right then. We’ll just wait.”
After his initial checks, he didn’t have anything else to say. Jason flirted; he didn’t converse with women so he really had no clue how to start talking to a woman he wasn’t trying to bed. The silence grew uncomfortable until Michele finally ended it – she started crying and Jason moaned. He should have started a real conversation because he really hated crying. Yes, when he first got in and heard it he was relieved, but now that he knew she was alive, he really hated hearing it.
“Michele, we’re gonna be fine. Really.”
“I have a child Jason.”
“I’m sure your husband will keep him safe.”
“I . . . I’m divorced – she’s with a sitter waiting for me to drive home from work.”
‘Talkin’s good, it’s keepin’ her from cryin’.” Since he’d gotten her to stop for now, he decided to try conversation. “Where do you work?”
“St. Joseph’s hospital in Monroe.”
“You live round here?”
“Where is here? I was so tired since we had so many emergencies tonight – well that and the storm – I actually took a wrong turn. I don’t know where I am.”
“You’re outside Bon Temps.”
“Oh God, I really got mixed up. I live in Monroe. Do you live out this way?”
“Doesn’t it get lonely?”
“It sure does.” Since they were stuck here and he was looking for conversation, Jason elaborated. He went on to tell her about his night and the intervention from his sister. To Michelle’s credit, she only stopped him to ask questions – like she was really listening but she never judged his decision to see the doctor like his sister requested. Jason realized that the women he usually dated wouldn’t even let him go on about his troubles and if they did – they would only pretend to listen. Sookie had word for those girls – ‘Shallow, yeah this women seems the opposite of that.’
“So do the women make you feel better Jason?” She was blunt, but then he had told her everything.
“Well, for a short while they do.”
“And the beer.”
“Well, it’s a god given right for men to drink beer.”
“Do you ever think about the other people on the road Jason, the other folks who are out driving who haven’t been drinking, the ones that you risk every time you get behind the wheel having had too much?”
Not that she could see it, but he hung his head. ‘She’s right. I’ve never thought about that before. Sure, I know plenty of folks do it – but that don make it right.’ Given the directness of their conversation and that she asked, he simply answered. “No, I ain’t never thought of that Michelle. I’m sorry to admit it.”
“So maybe Sookie is onto something.”
“I’ll forgive you on behalf of the residence of Bon Temps and the surrounding areas.”
They were silent for a few minutes and Jason just changed from just holding her hand to playing with her fingers. It was an unconscious action, but one that gave him comfort. In many ways Michelle, and Sookie earlier, had been right. Just his drinking and driving was cause for concern. It was like he was playing with his own life each time he got behind the wheel in that condition. ‘Daum, I think I just had a pifany.’
“Michelle, do you think I mighta been doin’ you know, risking ma life on purpose?”
“Do you feel that way?”
“Right now I feel kinda like one of them cartoons when the character has a light bulb blinking over their head.”
“I think it’s something to discuss when you meet this doctor your sister found.”
More silence. This was quite an eventful night – well now it was probably the early morning. Still plenty of time for Eric to come flying over to find him before the sun rose though. Thank God it was winter and the sunlight was shorter these days.
“So Jason, when did you lose your baby?”
“Two years ago. Actually, my wife was murdered and the baby died with her.”
“OH THAT’S HORRIBLE! You lost your wife and your baby at the same time.”
“Well, Crystal and I were going to get a divorce anyway. She cheated on me – hell I didn’t know for sure if the baby was mine until the autopsy.”
“Yeah, but if hadn’t left her, she wouldn’t have been living with her sister and vulnerable. The killer wouldn’t have even seen her. It’s my fault, losing the baby was all my fault.” He broke down and cried for the loss of his child, something he’d only ever done in private and Michelle spoke softly to him while she rubbed her thumb on the back of his hand. Her own tears started to fall in empathy.
It took a few minutes, but he calmed enough to apologize for the breakdown. “I’m sorry; you must think I’m a wuss or something.” She shushed him from the front seat but he kept trying to explain his tears. “That time was a big mess and I guess I never got over it.”
“Jason, it takes a real man to acknowledge his pain like you have. The good news is it sounds like you have a good family – they care for you.”
“I’m lucky Sookie, that’s ma baby sister, I’m lucky she still talks to me after all that I put her through.”
“I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
“Well, let me tell you.” From there he launched into the whole story about his werepanther wedding and the commitments that Calvin and Sookie had to sign for their union. Michelle was horrified when Jason described coming home to his cheating wife, and then the penalty that needed to be paid. The tears started again as she thought of Crystal’s Uncle taking the punishment – and from Sookie personally. “She really had to break his hand?”
“Yeah and she hated me for it. She and Calvin were friends of sorts. Hell, I guess they were since he asked her to marry him and all.”
“So she’s married to your deceased wife’s uncle?”
“Nah, Sookie knew he respected her but he didn’t love her. He was only trying to add to their gene pool.”
“I know shifters came out a year ago – but I guess we have much to learn about their . . . ways.”
“You’re telling me. I got bitten – that’s another long story – but now I kinda shift into a panther. That was a little over two years ago and I’m still trying to figure shit out.”
“You kinda shift?” Her voice rose in surprise as she asked and the grip she had on his hand tightened until he actually protested. She eased her fingers and offered an apology.
“Yeah, pretty damn ugly too.”
“I wish I could see you, I don’t think you sound ugly at all.”
“I just can’t risk moving that much weight to the front Michelle.”
“I know.” Her voice sounded sad so he quickly started up the conversation.
“So you work at the hospital, and you’ve got a kid. Tell me more.”
This was a new experience for Jason – talking this long to a woman. He found it was nice. Michelle was a doctor – an ER doctor at the hospital so now he understood about staying late given the weather. Per Michelle, they had numerous car accidents coming in during the storm and only when extra relief arrived did she feel she could leave. Unfortunately, that was after she’d already worked 18 hours straight and she was obviously in no shape to drive. “I can’t even imagine what turn I missed or took that had me so far away from home.”
“Probably you got off the interstate at exit 14 instead of 16. Well, that’s ma best guess. Tell me about your daughter.” Since her voice had turned gloomy he wanted to quickly get her back to talking and not thinking about their predicament so much.
Her daughter’s name was Rosalie and Jason told her he thought it was pretty. Rosalie was 6 years old and a very curious child. Her voice perked up while speaking of Rosalie. Right now, Rosalie was getting ready for her part in the local production of the Nutcracker – she was going to be a mouse. Well this confused Jason ‘cause he didn’t know anything about the Nutcracker – only that it was some kind of dance. Still, he said congratulations in the right spot and all and he was quite proud of himself for keeping up a regular old conversation.
For Jason, it seemed like they’d been talking for hours, yet he hadn’t started to feel cold like he should given it was late December, just a few days from Christmas, and he’d gotten wet from the rain when he moved to Michelle’s car. “Michelle, are you cold?”
“Not really, but I’m dry. I guess you are since you got wet walking to my car.”
“Maybe there was some heat left from when the engine was running.” Jason didn’t think that was the explanation, but he agreed anyway and encouraged Michelle to go on about Rosie.
“Not Rosie, Rosalie.”
“I heard ya, but she sounds like a Rosie to me – little bit of a spitfire. Rosalie sounds too sweet.”
She laughed and didn’t correct him further. It’s not like they would meet. Michelle spoke of the costume she had sewn for the Nutcracker and Jason thought her voice cracked a bit as she spoke. He’d shut down the crying a few times before, but this seemed different – not like it was due to the accident. “Something about the costume upset you.”
“It’s not the costume per se. It’s that I made it last year when she was first cast to play a mouse. She didn’t make it to the performance.”
“I shouldn’t speak of it.”
“What’s that mean? We’ve only got each other right now – until ma sister gets her act together and sends her husband out to look for me.”
“How far are they?”
“Shreveport. She won’t worry right away, but within an hour or so she’ll be pacing and talking him into flying over.”
“Oh yeah, Sook’s married to a vamper and he can fly. Guess I didn’t tell you that part.”
“Yes, you’ll likely be rescued by Air Eric, but you used my comments to stop talking about the costume – or rather the missed appearance.”
“I was still with my husband last Christmas and we were expecting a second baby. As usual, I was working late in the ER and as I finished a 15 hour shift, I went to change and head home. The Nutcracker was the next day, but I never made it. I lost the baby that night. It was the beginning of the end of my marriage. My husband, Ed, blamed my career; my daughter was heartbroken over the Nutcracker – though she rebounded thankfully. Ed never forgave me and we were filing papers for the divorce and joint custody by the spring. So I know Jason, I know the pain of losing an unborn child. I also needed help – because like your situation, I also lost a spouse when it happened – though not in the exact same way. I’ve been meeting with a support group for miscarried, stillborn and SIDS babies. I still go a full year later. It’s not just for the Moms; there are plenty of Dads that attend too. Hey, how about you and I go together when this is all over?” She quickly backpedaled. “Not as a date, I mean, not that you wouldn’t be someone nice to date, I’m sure – I’m just not in that place in my life right now.”
“I think that would be good, and since I’ve been having problems with being with too many women, well according to ma sister that is, I think going as friends is best. Maybe I need to step back like she said.”
Since Michelle had noticed the melancholy in Jason’s voice, she decided to get him back to other conversation. “So how is having a vampire in the family?”
“It was a rough road for Sookie, but at this point she’d tell you it was all worth it.” He squeezed her hand having just detected the change in temperature; he continued by feeling around a bit more. “Michelle, you’re temperature is dropping. You doing OK?”
“Rosalie is in the Nutcracker.”
“The costume is done, she’ll be so mad to miss it again since it’s tomorrow. Oh, I guess that’s today.” After she babbled out more, she tried to shift in her seat. “Where is Ed, he should have picked me up by now.”
“Michelle, are you with me. Are you feeling OK?”
“I’m going to meet my baby.”
“OH hell no you aren’t. Tell me what you feel so I can try to fix it. You’ve got to hang on. I left my truck lights on so Eric should see them – I’m certain he’ll be here soon.” Shifting so he could check to be sure they were still lit, he froze. His movement caused the car to move as well for the first time since he’d gotten in. ‘That ain’t right.’ He stayed frozen as long minutes passed, unsure if he even wanted to take a deep breath for the screamin’ he wanted to do. He was too young to die dammit. Michelle was still babbling about meeting her baby and Rosalie missing the Nutcracker. Jason was scared. After several moments of panic, he realized he should try to ease his way out the back door and tighten the chain. Maybe his truck had shifted somehow; for some reason there was slack.
“Michelle, I need to go tighten the chains connecting your car to ma truck. I can feel us moving a bit.”
“Don’t leave me Jason. I’m scared.” Finally she was back with the conversation, only to put a knife in Jason over his leaving her in the car.
“Michelle, I’m scared too, but I’m more afraid about what could happen if I don’t tighten the chain.”
“OK Jason, I trust you.” To confirm her statement, she squeezed his hand and he squeezed back.
Jason slowly eased his way out of the car and back into the rain. Again, he was struck by how he didn’t feel that cold, but he hurried to the back where he’d attached the hook to the car’s frame. It seemed perfectly tight so he couldn’t explain the movement. He looked back towards his truck and panicked. The lights were out. Now he couldn’t be sure if Eric would see them from the sky and something was VERY wrong with Michelle, he just knew it. ‘Maybe I can at least grab ma flashlights or something.’ With purpose now, he moved back to his truck, noticing his legs felt like they were moving in molasses. It didn’t deter him though and he plowed forward. Moving to the back of the truck, he climbed into the bed and to rifle through his gear box. He quickly found a flashlight and SCORE two flares. Not even the rain could prevent them from working.
He struck the first flare near his car; then started making his way towards Michelle. Again he felt the molasses and he was slowing to a near stop. His arms continued to reach out like he was trying to get to her, but now his legs had stopped altogether. He was stunned for only a moment until he was even more shocked by the feeling of his body dropping to the ground, then what little light he could see from his flashlight and the quarter moon, went dark.
Beeping, all he could hear was beeping and it was very annoying. It was still dark so he figured he was still on the ground trying to get back to Michelle – but he didn’t know where the beeping coming from. It suddenly occurred to him why it was dark: His eyes were closed, but when he tried to open them, it felt like someone had placed fishing weights to hold them down. He tried again; then he heard it.
“Jason! I saw his eye twitch. JASON! Can you hear me?”
“He’s trying to say my name. I heard it.”
‘Well of course I tried to say your name,’ he thought, ‘you’re yelling at me and ma head hurts! I bet if I try my eyes again, she’ll scream louder. I’m keepin em shut.’
‘Still Beeping! What the hell. Can’t a man get some peace and quiet?’ Speaking or doing something seemed to be his only option so he tried the eyeballs first, knowing Sookie would probably start screaming at him again. He got a crack open and discovered how bright it was, wherever he was. That was all it took. “Get the doctor! I know I saw it open that time.” It was quiet for a moment and she yelled again. “Dammit Sam, get the doctor!”
“Shook. Stawp yellin’”
“JASON!” She immediately quieted, “Jason. You’re awake?”
It took a moment of moving around his mouth, and Sookie put a straw in his mouth for some water before he got out a solid, “I guess so.” She just laughed at him.
“OH Jason, you’ve been out for a while. Can you try your eyes again?”
“Can you turn down the lights?”
“Oh my, oh yes!” After fumbling with the remote thingy in his bed, the lights were off that were glaring brightly onto him, only a soft up light remained. “Ok, the bright lights are out.” This time his eyes made full appearance and he could see Sookie’s smiling face that was also covered with tears. “Jason. Oh my God! Jason.”
“Where am I?”
“Michelle? Who is Michelle? OH. MY. GOD! Did you stop after you left me to pick up a woman?” She might have been ecstatic to see him before, but now he was back to glaring at him with her hand on his hip and Jason couldn’t be more confused. “Eric only found you in your car when I sent him out to search.”
“No Sookie, there was another car, I clipped her and wound my truck around a tree while hers started going over the bridge.”
“Jason, when Eric got there, it was only your truck.”
“OH GOD! Did the chain break off, did she fall in?”
The doctor arrived just as he was speaking and Sookie told her that Jason was awake but very confused. “Let me take a look. You can keep talking while I check him out.”
“Jason, I promise you, Eric did not leave another car out there. The bridge was fixed, remember, you can’t just go over now – well I guess if she was doing over 100 MPH or something.”
“Call him Sookie, ask him about the chain. Was my chain spread across the road towards the bridge?”
“I’ll call Tray, you truck was towed there, he can tell me if the chains were out or not. The sun hasn’t set yet today so I can’t call Eric.”
She reached Tray quickly and he confirmed that actually, he used Jason’s chain to help release the truck from the tree and it was in fact, in place in the bed of this truck. Jason still denied the facts. He was convinced. “Sookie, that’s not possible. There was a woman, her name was Michelle. We talked. She was an ER doctor here – maybe we can check out her name. She had worked an 18 hour shift and took the wrong exit on the way home and got lost. I hooked my car to hers to prevent her from falling in the river.” He held up his hands but none of the redness or wounds from tightening the chains was there. “I think something bad was happening ‘cause she started going cold and talking gibberish. She was saying she was going to meet her baby – she’d told me she lost a baby the year before Sook. We talked a lot. She convinced me to join her at a group for parents that lost unborn children and infants; I was going to go with her. I promised. She said her miscarriage was the start of her divorce, that she’d lost a spouse and an unborn child at the same time, just like me.”
The doctor poked and prodded for a few minutes before Jason could continue on. “Sook, that cain’t have been fake. That woman, we’ve got to go search for her.”
Sookie was crying, she was listening in to Jason’s head – and his thoughts were real – she could see the accident with the second car, and the back of this Michelle in his head. To Jason, this had all really happened. With regret she told him, “Jason, you’ve been here for three days. Even if what you said was true, she wouldn’t have survived. The temperature dropped to 30 degrees (f) the past two nights. I’m sorry.”
“NO no no no! Shit, that means her daughter missed the Nutcracker again. I refuse to believe it wasn’t all real. She helped me Sook. She opened my eyes and made me realize that I was risking not only MY life but everyone ELSE’S life on the road when I got in the car drunk.” The doctor cut her eyes his way. “Sorry doc, I’m going to change ma ways. I promised Sook and I promised Michelle.”
The doctor only nodded, but inside she was reeling. The words he was saying cut her deeply. They cut too close to home. She’d been listening to every word as Jason spoke, riveted by his tale. “I’m glad you’re changing your ways, I lost my mother to a drunk driver when I was six. Her hit the back of her car and she went over a bridge. I guess I never quite got over it.”
“There, another reason I’m changing. See, Doctor ah, what’s your name?”
The doctor couldn’t believe it the whole situation – but then it was Christmas, so maybe some magic was at work. “Dr. Schuler. I’m Dr. Rosalie Schuler. I still miss my mother Jason, but I long got over missing the role as a mouse in the nutcracker. I think – if you’re willing – I’d like to hear more of your story.”