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She could have sworn she was at her mother's house. White sheets, white walls, white drapes—just like the monochrome guest bedroom Emmie and Ian had stayed in while their condo was being repainted last summer.

"Mom?" Her voice grated like an old pickup truck driving on a gravel road. She licked her lips. They were as dry as that gravel too.

"Honey, no it's not your mom, it's Iola. Oh, my gosh, you're awake!" Emmie's vision cleared and blurred several times over as the older woman approached. She smiled, patted Emmie's shoulder, and then looked around where Emmie lay. "Where's the nurse call button? Oh, that might take too long. I'm going to go get one and bring her here. I'll be right back, dear."

"Iola? But...where am I? What happened?" Before her brain had caught enough of what Iola was saying to her so that she could ask these questions, Iola was already out of the room. Emmie tried to sit forward only to find herself too dizzy to remain even a few inches upright. The only reason her neck seemed attached to her head was that it was being held in place by some kind of padded plastic thing that itched the moment she thought about it. Leaning back, she wiggled her fingers and toes. One set of toes didn't respond. They seemed to be wrapped in something tight and stiff. Her arm was connected to a long tube, a bandage securing it to a needle in her arm... an IV.

Definitely not her mom's house.

A hospital then...

Even with her head against the pillow, it still spun, especially when she tried to recall what had happened to her. She'd been in a car. Sam had been bringing her someplace. No... he'd taken her, she hadn't wanted to go. And then he... he...

"Oh no!" Frantically, she wrapped her hands around her belly. A machine monitoring her heartbeat began to speed.

Entering the room with a quick knock, a nurse rushed over to her. "Glad to see you awake, Ms. Marsden." She checked Emmie's vitals.

"My baby?" She couldn't remember the particulars of what had happened, but it must have been bad. The car. It had swerved, hit something... How could the little one have survived such trauma? She wasn't even sure how she had survived.

The nurse placed her hand on Emmie's shoulder. "See that monitor?"

A screen opposite to the one tracking her heartrate blipped steadily. Emmie nodded. She followed several cords away from the machine. They led to the belly she was now clutching. She'd been too panicked to notice this before.

"The doctor will fill you in on more details, but the important thing right now is that your baby is stable. You're both okay."

Emmie burst into tears again. The nurse finished up what she was doing and promised the doctor would be in to speak with her soon. Until then, she needed to rest. She looked uncertain about leaving while Emmie was still crying, but Emmie motioned for her to go.

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