The Song Remembers When 3


Farzana had been in to see him once, watching him sleep silently for fifteen minutes before she'd gotten antsy and had left him to sleep alone. She'd spent most of her time outside dodging the smoking nurses and whiny EMT drivers that were sharing horror stories over cans of coke and coffee. She didn't mean to disappear, but she had to. She had to try to stay away from everyone who was asking her how she was. She couldn't face them and tell them the truth so she'd avoided them hoping that they'd figure that she was upset about JC being in a coma instead of being upset about her problems that now faced their relationship.

When they'd brought his personal things out to them his mother had looked through the things. The leather strap of his Leo necklace had been shredded and his mother had handed her the tiny medalion for safe keeping.  Farzana knew that it had been a while since it'd been around his neck, but the cold piece of metal in her head had left her chilled to the bone.

By the time on the clock on the wall, it had been five hours without real word from anyone on the hospital staff when the doctor finally showed his face in the room. "Which one of you is Mrs. Chasez?"

Heads quickly turned towards the door and thirty or so pairs of eyes opened from where they'd been dozing to focus on the white-coat clad doctor in the doorway.

"I am," Farzana said in unison with her mother-in-law.

"Wife and mother I assume?" he asked moving across the room. He pulled a folder from under his arm and opened it a little reading. "You must be Farzana. Is this most of his immediate family?"

"His father is on business in California at the moment," JC's mom said, "I've been in contact with him and his sister is at home with her husband."

"Good," he said, "Good."

"Your husband..." he said looking at Farzana. She held her breath waiting for news as he looked at Diane for a moment, "and your son...Joshua...is awake."

"Thank God," They said softly.

"Is he ok?" Farzana asked looking for any sign of reaction about the situation on the doctor's face. She didn't find a single twinge of emotion in the man's eyes.

"He's suffered a very serious concussion." He paused and Farzana wanted to smack him. She always had hated on television how doctors liked to be dramatic, but this wasn't TV and there wasn't enough patience in the world for her to wait the length of a commercial break to hear the news about him. "Physically, he'll only need time and care to get back to normal, but his head might need a little more attention."

"What are you saying doctor?" His mother asked for everyone else in the room.

Farzana's stomach had given out when the man had entered the room and she knew that if the doctor didn't tell her something soon she was going to throw up on him.

"Your son is suffering from a condition called retrograde amnesia."

"Amnesia?" Farzana asked, "He doesn't know who he is?"

"No," the doctor said. He took a deep breath. "We did a CT scan of his head and found in that print out that there is a laceration to the lining in the brain in the head..."

"Speak English please," Farzana pleaded.

"Amnesia means you lost a memory that you once had. It's as if someone has erased part of your past. Retrograde amnesia means you have lost memories for events PRIOR to the accident. For some people, retrograde amnesia can cover just a minute or even a few seconds. In other words, they'll recall the car coming right at them but are unable to recall the moment of impact. For other people, retrograde amnesia may affect longer periods of time. Retrograde Amnesia effects the mid and long term levels of memory. Joshua remembers everything about his life except--"  The doctor took a deep breath.  "When he woke up the nurse with him asked him the date to check his memory and he spoke as if it were months ago. When she reported this to me I got on the phone with one of our neuro specialists and he gave me a set of tests to run on him and it seems, after talking to him for a while that in his mind it is as if the last few months of his life has now been erased."

Farzana wanted to say something, but her voice caught in her throat.

The doctor took a breath and through her tears Farzana could see that he didn't know what to say to her about it. "I'd advise that the group of you get some rest. We're having our specialist see him in the morning and for the time being I'm restricting his visitation to his mother only. If you say that this incident might have erased his memory of you, I think it be best to let him rest before we bombard him with the truth."

"You're not going to tell him?"

The doctor stuck his hands in his pockets and looked at them.  "For the moment he knows that his memory was damaged in the accident, but passed that I'm not sure that we should tell him more than the general things until the specialist sees him in the morning."

"What's this doctor's name?" Johnny asked coming up to the group, "I want whatever specialist you were on the phone with earlier to come in and see him."

"Excuse me?" the doctor said, "Who are you?"

"Johnny Wright," he said, "I'm JC's manager...I thought that the nurses and doctors had all been told about the unique situation that surrounds your patient."

"Mr. Wright," the doctor said sounding a bit offended by Johnny's words, "I'm aware that Mr. Chasez is a celebrity and everything will be taken care of to ensure privacy, but you all need to stay calm about this. Memory is a very complicated and yet a very simple thing. When he is seen tomorrow the doctor will run some more tests on him and find the extent of the damage, but right now what he needs and what you all need is rest."

"But he's ok, right?" Farzana asked.

"Other than his memory, he seems to be a very lucky man. He's fractured a rib and has some bruises and scrapes that will need some babying, but other than that he's come out of this fairly in tact."

^^^^^

JC was ready to go home. It was as simple as that.

His body ached and his head hurt, not only physically due to the seventeen stitches there, but mentally as he tried to absorb everything that had been done and said in the last few hours. He was treading water in a big ocean and hadn't felt this unsure of himself since he'd been back in high school taking final exams. It was as if he hadn't studied or even opened a book and now was being tested.

The emotional stress of everything was making him have a short temper with people. He'd been nasty to more than one of the nurses and when Johnny had come in earlier he'd sent him away not even wanting to start to discuss what would happen with him.

He wanted to be home in his own bed and away from the hospital and the tests. Touring had always been the hardest part of his life, but this made it look like a vacation. It seemed that just when he'd gotten comfortable or fully asleep someone was visiting or bothering him. They'd been poking and prodding him for what seemed to be an eternity and even though he loved the pain killers he'd been given since the moment the doctor had okayed them for him, he was ready to get out of there even if it meant physical pain.

When the sound of the door opening caught his attention he looked over carefully. His neck brace had been removed, but he put his hand up to the sore muscles there as he gauged the situation that he was about to get into. It seemed now that he had to prepare himself for every conversation, not just interviews like before. So much new information was being thrown his way and he knew that he needed to remember it all for later.

"What's wrong?" he asked when his mother came to his bedside. She'd never looked so physically and mentally spent. Her face seemed pale and her clothes more wrinkled than usual. He hadn't seen her shed even a tear in front of him which he knew meant that she'd been doing her crying somewhere else. The worst part was that it was his fault and he hated that. He'd stressed her out enough over the last few years, he didn't need to continue that, not now. He was an adult and should have been able to take care of himself. Her expression spoke of the volume of worry on her mind, leaving only the specific topic for him to guess at. He found himself becoming a broken record with those words lately, everything seemed to be wrong, but he continued to ask so that he'd know where he stood with everyone.

"Honey we need to talk."

He sat back and looked at her. "What now?" he asked with a tired sigh. "More tests? No. That's my answer. I wanna go home. I just want out of here. I know I can't be alone or whatever because of my head, but can't you just take me home?"

"It's not that simple," she said tipping her head to the side. It was her 'be patient" look and he hated it. He couldn't be patient. Everyone wanted him to start to get better, but every time he mentioned about leaving the hospital the subject always seemed to get changed or at least diverted to other things. "There are some more things that we need to talk about before you can go home."

"What?" he asked moving his IV a little when it began to bug his hand. They'd warned him to not mess with it, but it was uncomfortable. "I know about what to do about my stitches and that my ribs are going to--" The pain in his lower chest chose at that moment to kick through the pain killer that was coming through the IV attached to his right hand, causing his breathing to seize up.

His mother sucked in her breath when he held his and moved closer. "Breathe JC," she said placing a hand on him. Usually he would be comforted by her touch, but today he only felt uncomfortable with her trying to calm him. "Just relax and breathe."

"I am," he croaked out staring at her, "What's the news then that you need to talk to me about?"

"Just calm down for a moment and I'll tell you."

He waved his hand at her hoping that she would just get it over with. Hadn't he already been put through enough lately? They'd waited a few hours to tell him what was wrong with him and were keeping him there against his will really. Couldn't she just be up front with him? "Just tell me."

She nodded and took a breath. "There is someone important here to see you."

"Who?" he asked finally as the pain in his chest subsided enough for him to talk, "One of the guys again?"

Being stuck in bed had limited his amount of control he had about visitors and things. He wanted to heal and knew that the nurses wouldn't let too many people come through, but at the same time the silence of the private room was a killer when he got bored. Now though it seemed strange for her to be so formal about who was visiting. In the days before he'd gotten visitors all over the place coming and going casually as they tried to reassure themselves that he was ok.

"Farzana."

The image of her entered his mind.  Her standing there in a fuzzy long bathrobe, the one he'd gotten her from the Kids Choice Awards two years ago, bright orange with white logo on the chest pocket, with a pair baggy Montreal Maple Leaf logo pajama pants and a ROCK THE VOTE tank top.  A ballpoint pen tucked over one ear and her hair had been lazily pulled up in a sagging ponytail.  She carried an empty I <3 NYC coffee mug, letting it dangle to the side, showing that it was empty and she was only there to look for something more to keep herself going.

"Farzana." He took a breath, moving his eyes to the window then looked at the expression on his mother's face.  He didn't know why it took him a moment to realize who his mother was, but the moment her name was off his mother's lips he felt his chest contract.

"Farzana?"  He lifted his hands above his head and  despite the pain shooting through his chest from his bruised ribs he was trying to pull more air into his lungs.  How could he have forgotten about her.

"Calm down," she said looking very upset about seeing him in pain.

"Calm down?" he asked angrily. His whole body tensed with the news she delivered. "Farzana?"

"Stop saying that," she said.

"How am I supposed to be calm?" he asked cringing as his ribs hurt again. "I've been sitting here for hours and she hasn't come to visit AND I didn't even think to ask for her.  What the hell is going on?"

"Shhh," she scolded, "She's out in the hall. She'll hear you."

"She's out there?"

"Yeah." His mother sighed. "Farzana has been here since before you woke up. She's been worried about you."

He looked towards the door.  "She's been here and didn't come in to see me?"

"She came in when you were sleeping.  She didn't want to upset you."

His mother pulled his arms down from above his head and pushed him back against the bed.  "The doctors knew that this was going to be stressful on you and they restricted your visitors."

"THEY WHAT?"

"Joshua calm down," his mother said.

To keep from screaming at his mother he turned his head away from her. "Get out."

He hated to do it to her, but he needed time alone to think things over. She'd betrayed him by not telling him this news and he wasn't about to make her think that she could get away with something like that. It was like a repeat of the whole Pearlman thing. His whole life had been messed up for months because people weren't telling the truth and he wasn't about to go through that again. "I'm tired," he said when he didn't hear her move, "I wanna take a nap. I'll have a nurse come get you when I wake up."

"JC?" her voice quivered and he wanted to make that hurt go away, but he couldn't see through his own pain. She'd kept information from him, but this time it wasn't something that could be considered a good enough reason to.

Finally when the silence and tension there got to be too much for her he heard her feet on the floor leaving the room. He let out his breath and let the tears fall that he'd been holding back. If his mother wasn't going to cry with him then he wasn't going to show her his tears either. He wasn't going to let this get to him, or at least he wasn't going to show her how much she'd hurt him with her actions. He'd forgive, he knew he would, but for the moment it wasn't something he was going to be able to forget. She was supposed to be helping, but she had done more harm than good with her choice to keep things from him.

When feet squeaked their way back into the room he turned his head and without opening his eyes said, "Mom, just leave it alone. I'll talk to you in a few hours."

"She's gone home," an unfamiliar voice said.

His eyes flew open and he saw her standing there watching him. Her long hair was pulled back into a bun and the make up she wore was minimal to say the least. She was almost drowning in the white sweatshirt that hung to her knees, showing a pair of dark blue jeans and a pair of running shoes. He could tell the moment that he saw her that she was a performer.  She was thin and her feet naturally stood in a dance position. She held a cell phone and a pair of keys in her hands and looked as if she was clutching onto them for dear life.

"Farzana."

Hope filled her eyes.

"Farzana," he repeated when her eyes fell to the floor. "Come here."

She moved slowly. He felt bad for her. It was one thing to mess up his work schedule, letting down the fans was one thing, but not as hard to handle as what he had done to her. He could reschedule events with them, but he couldn't reschedule his marriage.

He reached and took her hand when she got close enough and made sure that he made eye contact with her. He knew that was important. It was the only way he knew to show her that he was just as broken up about this as she was. He might have been upset for a different reason, but he wanted her to know that he was going to try and make things better. He didn't know if he could fully repair the damage, but he knew that he was married and that he'd said until death do you part which meant that he was still hers and she was his.

"I love you," he said and again saw hope in her eyes. "I mean I wouldn't have married you if I didn't..." His eyes left hers for a moment as he thought of what to say next that wouldn't sound too cold. "I...we'll...just have too..." He mulled the words over in his mind.

She smiled and wiped a tear that had slipped from her eye.

"Tell me," he said and moved over a little. He still wasn't sure how to handle things with her, but her smile was infectious and he knew that he had to be aware of how this all was effecting her. They were in this together, whether he liked it or not.

"It's dumb."

"Farzana, your stubborn nature wasn't why I married you."

"No," she said with a laugh.

"Tell me about that later," he said.

When again she paused he reached and made her look at him.

Tears filled her eyes. "You should rest. I think the doctor said that you get to go home tomorrow if all goes well so I should--"

"Can you do me a favor?" he asked.

"Sure?"

"Tomorrow when I get out of here please be the one to pick me up, not mom and dad and everyone. I know my mom is going to want to baby me, but I think it'd be best if we just tried to get back to normal."

She nodded, "Loni and Eric will be here because of the press, but they won't follow us home."

"Home." He mumbled the word and smiled, "That sounds good. I haven't been home in weeks."

Worry washed over her face with his comment.

"I mean it seems like weeks," he said, "Because of all the--"

She smiled, "I'll know what you mean."

He nodded.

He watched her ease herself away from him and leave the room. It had been an emotional meeting, but it had ended a lot smoother than he'd thought it would so some of the worry disappeared.


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