As Jessica lay in the hospital bed after the baby had been delivered, she looked towards her side, wanting Holden to be there, but knowing he wouldn't. She began to cry, and a nurse came to her and said, "What's the matter? Are you still feeling pain from the birth?" Jessica rubbed the tears off her face and tried to say, "No, that's not it, I don't feel pain from the birth anymore." "What is it then? Can you tell me?" the nurse asked, pulling up a chair and sitting next to the bed.
Jessica began to quietly say, "The father and I..." The nurse nodded. "We were in a car accident on the way here, he's not going to make it," she said, then crying again. "Is he in the emergency room?" the nurse asked. "Yeah, he is," Jessica said. "Do you want me to check on him?" the nurse asked. "No, there's no point. I wouldn't want you to see him like he is, it's horrible," Jessica said. The nurse sighed, knowing that there was nothing she could do to try and ease her pain. "What was his name?" the nurse asked a few seconds after silence had passed. "Holden Conway," Jessica said. The nurse heard talking in the room next door, then saying, "Wait here a second, okay?" Jessica nodded, and the nurse got up quickly and left the room.
Jessica turned her head and laid it on the pillow, trying to keep herself from sobbing. She put her hand over her mouth and cried, trying to steady her breathing. She heard the nurse walk back into the room, but she didn't look up.
"Look who I've got, dear," the nurse said, trying to have Jessica look up. Out of false hope, Jessica looked up, wanting to see Holden there. But, instead, she saw the nurse there, holding the baby. Jessica smiled, and she tried to stop crying. "It's a beautiful baby boy," the nurse said, looking down at the boy. Jessica's eyes watered. "Do you want to hold him?" the nurse asked. Jessica sat up, then nodding and putting her arms out. The nurse gently put the baby into her arms, and Jessica looked down at it.
She saw that the baby had a little bit of hair already growing on it's head, which looked to be black. She looked at the eyes, and she saw that they were a brown. Jessica saw that the baby had inherited Holden's features.
"Do you know what you want to name him?" the nurse asked quietly. "Sean," Jessica said without raising her head. "Sean Conway?" the nurse asked. Jessica nodded her head, then saying "Sean Conway." The nurse left the room after writing things on a piece of paper, leaving Jessica there with the baby.
A few minutes after the nurse had left, she heard someone else walking into the room. She looked up, and she saw Holden's mother. She slowly walked towards Jessica as she saw the baby in her arms. She sat down at the chair the nurse had sit in, and she looked at Jessica.
"Holden..." his mother began to say, trying to break the news easily. "I know, I saw it," Jessica said quietly, looking down at the baby. "It's a boy," Jessica said. Holden's mother smiled, saying "He looks like Holden so much." "I know," Jessica said. "What's his name?" Holden's mother asked. "Sean," Jessica said. Holden's mother began to cry, then asking, "Can I hold him?" Jessica nodded and gently handed the baby to her as she heard another person walk into the room.
Jessica looked at the doorway, and she saw Nate standing there. Nate looked at her, then at the baby. Nate walked towards the bed, then went to sit at the opposite side of the bed that Holden's mother was at.
"What are you doing here?" Jessica asked Nate. Nate looked down, saying "Holden's mom called me just before she left, saying you were about to give birth." "Do you know what happened on the way?" Jessica asked. "Yeah," Nate said, looking back up at her with hope in his eyes. "Is he okay? They wouldn't let me go in to see him, but they gave me something," Nate asked. Jessica slowly shook her head and said, "No." The hope in Nate's eyes faded away, and he quietly asked, "Is he gone?" Jessica nodded her head.
Nate put his head in his hands and looked at the floor, trying to keep himself from screaming. "I'm sorry," he finally muttered out, trying to keep his voice steady. Jessica leaned towards him and put her hand on his shoulder, and the three of them in the room stayed quiet for a great deal of time. The noise that broke the silence eventually was the sound of the baby crying.
Holden's mother stood up from her chair and tried to calm the baby, but the baby continued to cry. "Shh, shh, it's okay," Holden's mother said. "Maybe this will help calm them down," Nate said, pulling something from his pocket and handing it to Jessica. Jessica saw in his hand the music box that Holden had bought. "When I went to the emergency room to see him, they didn't let me in, but they gave me that," he said. "Mrs. Conway, come here, I've got something," Jessica said as the baby still cried.
Holden's mother handed the baby to Jessica, and she began to play the music box. The music calmed the baby down, and soon, the baby began to fall asleep. Holden's mother eventually fell asleep in the room as well, while Nate and Jessica stayed wide awake.
"Can you support the baby?" Nate asked. "I don't think so, not without Holden being there, but I'll find a way," Jessica said, looking down at the sleeping baby in her arms. "Look, I've got a really good paying job now, I can help you support it," Nate said. "You would?" Jessica asked. "Yeah. But the thing is, the only way I could be able to help is if we were married, the work office has a thing about that. I know that we're not like, eh, it's not like I can take Holden's place, but I do want to try and help you. I know how much that baby meant to him, and I won't see you or the baby suffer," Nate said.
Jessica looked down, then saying, "There wouldn't be any other way?" "No. I don't want to force you into this, it's only if you want to," Nate said. Jessica looked at the baby, trying to figure out if there would be any other way, before eventually giving up. "Okay. I'll marry you," Jessica said as she felt enormous guilt. "It'll be okay, we can say that the baby was mine to try and kept things relatively normal," Nate said.
"But the baby doesn't look like you, or me, he looks just like Holden," Jessica said. "We'll tell the baby when they're old enough to understand," Nate said. "But, I don't want the baby to grow up and know that his real father is dead," Jessica said. "Like I said. When they're old enough to understand, we'll tell them. It'll be okay," Nate said.
As Nate stopped speaking, the baby began to wake up again, and he started to cry. Jessica picked up the music box, and she began to play it. As the music went on, the baby fell asleep once again.
While Holden lay on the other side of the hospital, he still lay in the darkness. But, he could slightly hear. As he began to listen harder, he recognized it was the music box. He thought suddenly, "I'm still alive." He opened his eyes, and he looked around the room. He saw there was dim light in the room, and that doctors were looking down at him.
"He's totally gone now," a doctor said. "What's the time?" "One AM, December 18th." "Mark time of death as midnight," another doctor said, then leaving the room. As Holden looked up, he realized what had happened, and what was going on now. He leaned forward, trying to see if any doctors would notice. But, as he suspected, they did not.
(Edit on August 30th 2008 – so! You've just come to the end of this story, and you have no idea what the hell's up with Holden. If you didn't catch the note I put in at the beginning of the first chapter, I'll explain. In 2004 I had a story called "Mirror" on FictionPress that was picked up and published under A Mirror Image - the name changed so it wouldn't be a generic book title. " When "Mirror" was on here I had so many requests to write a story about the past of two characters that I did, which is the story you've just finished – A Distorted Image. Back in 2004 I had these two stories up back to back, but when "Mirror" was picked up for publishing I removed it from the website, just terms of the contract to not have this specific work available in it's entirety anywhere else. If "Mirror" were on FictionPress still, you would have NO QUESTIONS about what the hell happened as it's the companion story, but since it's not, we're left with this abrupt, vague ending. I don't want to sound like some ass trying to sell something, but the remainder of this story is in the book A Mirror Image, and if for whatever reason you can't live without knowing what's going on, it's available for 12 online, or probably cheaper if you order it through your local bookstore. I can't necessarily distribute the old manuscript but honestly, if you have a genuine interest in what the hell this all is, I won't be lame and not tell you, just shoot me an email at patspringer(at)kidsloveguns(dot)com and I'll give you the rundown.
I just noticed that this story was added into a C2 community, which is AWESOME, thank you so much whomever did this, honestly I can't say enough how grateful I am people read anything I write and I again thank the people who've read this story, reviewed, added it to favorites, been like "the hell" at the ending, haha really just everything. I started writing when I was a lonely kid in sixth grade and I never intended to show anyone, and to hear from people that this story made them feel something – whether it was sad or just straight up confused – seriously means the world to me.)