Impaired Love

Sandra trudged down the crowded and noisy airport, wincing as she banged into passersby every five seconds. She thought about apologizing, but after hitting the fourth person she frowned and walked on, not giving them a second thought. Her eyes flicked back and forth, taking in all of the colors and information on the cleanly formatted computers. The red letters of the clock flashed 8:43PM and she moaned. She was an hour and a half late because of delays.

She turned and began walking again, stopping as she reached the center of the airport. The clear, large windows revealed the weather outside. It was pouring and overcast; the exact kind of weather that reflected her current mood.

She sighed as she looked at the directional signs up above the escalators and lugged her suitcase of nearly seventy-five pounds behind her. The strap on her purse was starting to cut into her shoulder, but she didn't have the energy to situate it comfortably. It was then that her cell phone rang and she grunted, realizing she would have to stop and set down her luggage.

"Hello?" Sandra asked her voice raspy from the long flight and monotonous phone calls from her boss.

"Sandra! Great to finally get a hold of you," a female voice replied very quickly. "Look, I know you're busy tonight on the job and everything, but if you get done with your appointment do you think you could stop in and check on Jason for me? He's in Chicago for the week and I want to make sure he made it in all right with this weather. Oh, but don't tell him I wanted to check on him, because that is so not playing hard to get, ya know? Not to mention that he'd think I was worrying too much, and I mean, no I don't worry at all. Do I?"
Sandra chuckled quietly. "No problem Bee. I'll check on him tonight once I'm done with work. Do you want me to pick you up some chocolates and those shoes from Macy's you'd ordered?"

"Oh would you? That'd be great. I really need to pick up some groceries tonight, now that you mention food…" Bee trailed off.

"Right. Well I've got to go, Bee. I'm already and hour and a half late and I have to check into the hotel a.s.a.p." Sandra responded, beginning to gather her belongings once again.

"Okay! I'm glad you had a safe trip, and call me when you get back home, okay?" Bee said, her voice obviously distracted by something else.

Sandra shook her head; Bee had her mind on so many things at once that she could never keep her brain on the right track.

"All right, Bee. I'll see you in seven days," Sandra replied, a bit of urgency and annoyance now starting to come into the conversation.

"Hey, and Sandra?"

"Ya?"

"Thanks."

"For what?"

"You know, everything and for just being you… well, I've got to go now, goodbye!"

Beep.

Sandra kept the phone up to her ear minutes after the call ended. She finally shook her head and smiled. Bee was always full of surprises and was the most sincere person she'd ever met, even if she was a bit loopy at times.

The clocks in the corners of the ceiling now flashed 8:51 and she finally reached the front lobby. She pushed her way through the people and once again winced as they banged into her shoulder. She was sure to have a black and blue bruise in the morning. The doors automatically opened for her and she felt the mist from the street meet her face. There was a car waiting for her and she rushed out the door, nearly running over the bell hopper as he opened the door for her. She really hated the rain.

Slamming the door, she breathed heavily, situated her hair and grabbed her purse. She really should call Andrew, he'd be wondering how her flight went as well. She picked up her grey metallic cell phone and flipped it open, dialing the first four numbers of his cell number. Her thumb stopped.

Maybe he was too busy working. She could always call him in the morning. He always worked at night in his study, and she promised herself she would call him. She would.

She looked out the dark windows of the black Saturn and bit her lip. Things hadn't been going well between them lately, with her work schedule and his late nights, they had both been less than agreeable towards each other, and she hated it.

She looked at the inside of her purse and shook her head at the large pile of paperwork sitting in the folder. And now, of all times, she had to do the most work she'd done in at least three months.

She hated the look on Andrew's face when she told him one week ago she'd be in Chicago for their anniversary. It was nearly heartbreaking to see his disappointment, but then again, she almost enjoyed it. At least his facial expression over the matter let her know he still did care.

"Well, I hope he still does…"

She shook her head. Of course he cared. He showed it every day with his warm greeting each morning. All he had to do was smile and she'd melt all over again. It had been four years, and she'd felt the same about him as she did on their wedding day. But did he feel the same about her? She honestly could not say yes or no. Ever since the accident he'd changed, become more distant even. It had taken a while to get things back to normal, and they'd never be the same and she knew that.

Everything in their lives now consisted of memory and routine. She really hadn't minded, but Andrew did. He was the sort of person to simply be unpredictable and want to go rollerblading down the boulevard with her. She'd loved that side of him, but since the accident, everything had changed.

Her thoughts reflected on their first meeting, and she smiled.

There she was, a pale blonde walking out of the airport with her luggage dragging behind her. Her cell phone rang and she'd looked down to pick it up when she felt like she'd hit a rather large brick wall. Luggage, purse contents and she became sprawled on the floor and she looked up into the pair of the most gorgeous grey eyes she'd ever seen.

Love at first sight? She still, after four years, she didn't even know. All she knew was that love really hit her when she wasn't even looking for it.

After their first meeting, things began to weave in and out when they went out to dinner together. Soon they were going on frequent dates and it seemed that a day later they were married, even though their courtship had lasted two and a half years.

Now at age twenty seven she'd achieved success in so many ways that the world measured it. She'd gained a respectable and well paid career, a great car, a lot of money and a big house. She'd also tagged a pretty good looking husband for that matter.

But everything seemed to fall away after that one day of the accident. It had taken at least a year for things to get back up to normal again, but somehow, they'd made it. That one year had taken at least ten years off of her life from all of the stress, therapy, and bills they'd had to pay. The bills were no problem; they had money in the millions. But their relationship was what had troubled her…

Her love for him had never wavered. Had his?

"Miss," a male voice cut into her thoughts. "We're here at The Westin."

She flushed, realizing they had reached the hotel and she gathered up the belongings of her purse. Dumping them into the bag, she stared at the phone in her hand for several seconds before shoving it in wit the other belongings.

A bell hopper in a green suit opened the door and held and umbrella up for her. He offered his hand and she gladly took it, stepping over the numerous puddles that dotted the ground.

The doors of the large and prestigious hotel were opened for her and she pulled the long black jacket closer around her body as the crisp night air bit at her cheeks. She smiled as the walked into the front lobby of the hotel.

Black tiles layered the floor in intricate designs and a marble fireplace was the center of the room on the left. The check in desk was directly to the right and a large fountain and grand piano were the center piece to the front.

A large table with many carnations and bouquets lined the large room and she smiled at the hostess who was there to check her in.

"Hello Mrs. Evansen," she greeted warmly, her rosy cheeks dimpling slightly. "Your employer informed us of your arrival time. Your room is 723, a balcony suite. Your boss requested this room and there is a computer with high speed internet for your use. Your luggage will arrive in five minutes. I believe you are all set and your room has a bath waiting." She winked at Sandra and handed her the card.

Sandra smiled sincerely. "Thank you. You have no idea how much I need a nice soak right about now."

The hostess smiled. "If you need anything, please call service and it will be rushed to you promptly. We hope your stay here at the Westin is as enjoyable as it can be, Mrs. Evansen."

Sandra smiled again and took the card. She headed right towards the large glass elevators and pushed the button for up. She would be on the seventh floor, and a balcony suite was sure to be nice.

She was glad that for once her boss, Monika, had given her a nice place to work for the week.

The elevator dinged and she stepped into the classy modern elevator. The golden lights glowed softly, giving off a welcoming and calming aura. Sandra smiled and resituated her purse on her shoulder.

Andrew came to mind again…

Her eyes misted as she remembered the day of the accident.

She had been in the office that day, filing even more paperwork than usual and was ready to leave. It was 4:32PM on April the 2nd, 2003. She could recite that exact date and time over and over again.

A secretary had rushed up to her, a flushed look on her face and worry creasing her brow.

"Mrs. Evansen," she called urgently. "You have a phone call, line 2. I think it's serious."

Sandra had looked at her and saw the worry in the woman's eyes. She rushed into her office and shaking, picked up the phone. Anything could be wrong. Her father could have had complications in surgery, or her little sister could have gotten in a car accident. Anything…

Please, she mentally pleaded. Please let my family be okay…

But everything was far from okay.

"Mrs. Evansen?" a male voice asked.

"Yes?"

"This is the local hospital, Mercy, and we have to inform you that your husband came in earlier with a gunshot to his head. He is in recovery right now, but we're not entirely sure about his current conditions"

All she could remember was dropping the phone and feeling numb. Her heart seemed to stop beating and she couldn't breathe. It seemed like hours she stood there, even if it was a few minutes.

"Mrs. Evansen? Mrs. Evansen?"

Andrew was in the hospital from a gunshot wound to the head. It didn't even register that it was her Andrew that was been shot. How could this happen? He shouldn't have been shot. This wasn't fair. Why couldn't she have been the one harmed? What if he could never talk to her again? What if he was dead? Or worse… what if he was in a coma and would never wake up? What if she couldn't sleep in the same bed with her husband again?

Their marriage had been going strong for a year, and then this had to happen. Everything had seemed to go down hill from there.

All she remembered was rushing too the hospital and running through the halls. The sad and forlorn looks of the doctor's faces were blurred through her tears and she didn't want to connect their own emotions to the accident of her husband.

She ran into the room and screamed as she saw her husband's head wrapped in gauze and dried blood soaked through the top layer of it. He was so pale…

She ran to his side and fell on her knees, grabbing his limp hand and hearing nothing but the monotonous beep of the machines next to her. His wedding ring was still on his finger and she stroked it, numb to the hurt that would soon be piled on her in one large burden.

"Andrew," she cried over and over again.

She had not moved from her spot for twenty-seven hours. The nurses had finally forced her to an extra bed and fed her. Sandra remembered the look of one of them. The nurse looked at her with the utmost pity in the world and shook her head. All Sandra could do was look at her husband and cry.

She had cried more in that week when Andrew was unconscious that she ever had cried in her entire life. Now, as she looked back on the memory, she didn't think she could ever cry again.

She'd lost nearly twenty pounds in one week. She couldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. She didn't want Andrew to wake up and not have her there. It was on the eighth day when Andrew finally came to.

"Sandra?" he rasped. The gauze was still rapped on his head and the doctors wouldn't tell her why. She could only see his mouth and nose, even though they were covered with breathing machines.

Sandra's eyes flashed open and she was as his side in a heartbeat.

"Andrew," her eyes blurred. "I'm here. It's okay Andrew, honey, I'm here now. Everything will be fine. I promise."

"Sandra." He said one final time and he fell back asleep.

And that was how it went for three days in a row. Andrew had fallen in and out of a coma. He was in the hospital for nearly 4 months recovering and Sandra had not left his side until her friends and family had literally dragged her out of there.

They were the ones who forced her to get back to work, the ones who forced her to have a life again.

Even three years later, Andrew was still undergoing surgeries. Sandra still wasn't the same. They had tried to spend time together, Andrew even taught her how to read his own new way...

Ding.

The elevator stopped at the seventh floor and she stepped out, heading left towards her room. She shook her head and wiped away the single tear the trickled down her cheek. She couldn't think about Andrew right now.

She glanced at the couple who was walking down the hall, arm entwined with the other. They were just married; she could tell. The glow on the girl's face and pride on his was the same exact look she and Andrew had sported for the first year of their marriage.

She looked away and turned to the door to her room. Sliding the card into the slot, she pressed down on the lever and pushed open the door.

Immediately the scent of lilies and tulips flooded her nose. She gasped at bouquets and garlands of flowers that were situated so artistically around the suite. They adorned the desks and chairs all around the room. Even on top of the window curtains were flowers gently laid.

Sandra couldn't breathe and she knew her mouth was hanging open like a dying fish. She didn't care. Her eyes immediately found a note lying on a large bunch in the center of the room.

"Sandra,

I know you are working in Chicago, but that doesn't mean I can't celebrate our anniversary. It's our fourth, and the traditional gift is flowers. I've known of your love of lilies for years and waited for it to come into play. I hope I did them justice. I'm sorry to say that I won't be at the house when you get back. There's a client who needs me to visit her and her family in New Jersey. I'm really sorry, honey. I promise I'll make it up to you."
Sandra gasped at the room as she looked around again. Andrew had done this. She hadn't even needed to finish the letter to know it was him.

She walked into the next room and gasped again. This room was covered in even more white lilies and white rose petals were scattered on the bed.

She let her coat slip off her and quietly sat on the edge of the bed, picking up a petal and putting it against her cheek. It felt like Andrew's fingers caressing her again…

She squeezed her eyes tight and blinked away the tears. She wanted him here so badly, and yet it was her fault she was working on their anniversary. For once she wished this was not her job.

After several minutes of quiet contemplation she walked into the large bathroom. There indeed was a large bubble bath waiting for her. She took off her clothes and moved her aching muscles. She'd never flown well and always became tense on flights, not to mention that her shoulder really hurt.

She gracefully slipped into the bath and sighed as her head rolled back onto the edge of the bath. The room became immersed with scents of apple and ginger, scents that tickled her nose. Her thoughts drifted back to Andrew, but she pushed them away. She was beginning to get a headache and knew that thinking of him would bring on a pounding migraine.

After an hour of soaking in the hot water, she got out and grabbed the pure silk robe that hung on the hook near the large mirror. If this wasn't relaxation, she didn't know what was.

She opened the door of the bathroom and wrapped the robe tighter around her wet curves. She smiled again as she gingerly picked up a white lily and smelled the scent.

It was surprisingly cold for May; around forty-five degrees that night, but still Sandra wished to look at the view on her balcony. She pushed open the window and stepped onto the cool pavement and smiled at the skyline of Chicago.

She glanced around and looked at the clock. 11:11PM.

"Make a wish," she whispered, closing her eyes and rubbing her arms. As a child she had always wished upon stars and time, hoping that her dreams would come true. The habit had never left her.

I wish Andrew was here…

She opened her eyes and sighed, feeling the night air begin to chill her.

"Sandra?" a deep masculine voice called.

Sandra's eyes widened and she whipped around to face the suite door. There stood Andrew, her Andrew. Tall and handsome with chestnut hair, she recognized the form of her husband even in the darkness of the room.

He laid his cane near the side of the door and limped slowly over to her.

"Andrew," she whimpered, slowly walking towards him. She then nearly sprinted to him and hugged him, almost in hysterics. He embraced her back, twirling her long blonde hair in his fingers.

"Andrew I'm so sorry that I had to work, I really didn't want to and I hated to miss our anniversary. I wanted you here so badly, I'm really sorry," she began, starting to cry. Hiccups began to come out of her mouth and she buried her face into his strong muscular chest. She then looked up at him and realized he was smiling.

"Why a-are you smiling?" she cried, becoming a bit annoyed that he was laughing at her apology and pain. Her brow creased.

"Why don't we sit down and I'll tell you a little story?" he mused, rubbing the bridge of his nose as he began to smile even more widely.

Man, she missed that pearly white smile.

Andrew sat down on the bed and patted the spot next to him. Sandra sat down and wiped her face.

"So how did you get here? Did you ask Monika for my suite number?" She asked, finally calmed down.

"No, I didn't need to." He replied, a grin on his face.

"What? But then"

"Sandra… I set this up. For us. You aren't here for a week to work. You're here with me. For our anniversary." He full out beamed now, his dimples shining through the darkness.

"You did this… for me?" she asked, wide eyed as she looked around the room again.

"For us." He replied. His hands fell onto her thighs and they sneaked their way up until he found her hands. He stroked her wedding ring and smiled again. "For us," he repeated. "I know I've been distant lately, and well, being a psychologist I should have been the last one to become emotionally disabled," he chuckled at his own statement. "But I finally realized what I'd been doing to you, to us. I needed to fix things."

"Andrew," Sandra whispered, feeling tears well up.

"Shh-," he interrupted. "I haven't seen how much you've needed me lately, until Bee actually mentioned something, so I've been planning this for 5 months."

"You did this all?" she asked again, now playing with his hands.

He grinned. "Yes, Sandra, for you."

"Andrew, I love you so much," she replied, her hand coming up to his cheek.

"And I," he grinned, "love you." A mischievous look then appeared on his face. "And if I am not mistaken, Mrs. Evansen, you are wearing a pure silk robe, with nothing on underneath, am I correct?"

Sandra smiled and giggled girlishly. "Well, Mr. Evansen, I have a robe on, but what's on underneath is for me to know, and you to find out," she replied as she pulled her husband into a kiss.

The lights dimmed down and Sandra again realized that the love they shared would never be questioned again. Sandra never called Jason back…She never noticed the letter from Andrew fall off the table next to the bed, the letter that was written in Braille.

a/n: okay, so i haven't updated in forever... yes i'm still alive, just busy. If you want to know why, go to my livejournal.
my aim is :maylea15

thanks! r and r please. tell me what you think,

ericka