I held her close as she spilled her story; how she had hidden under a table, how she had watched her friends die and couldn't do a thing about it, how she had been so afraid she pissed herself. But the part that made me more furious than anything was how the bastards taunted her.
Bree didn't want to leave her, I tried to convince her to leave her wi me but she wasn't fer it. It wasn't until Jemmy practically tore her away from the bed. Mandy cooried into me.
"I love you daddy." she hadn't called me 'daddy' since she was a wee lassie, it makes my heart melt.
"I love you too, a leannan. You get some rest, my darling." I moved the stray hair out of her face so she could actually get a rest.
I'm cuddling her close when Bree returns. I put my finger up to my mouth. "It's okay, she's resting." Bree tries to smile but I've known her for too long. She's entirely relieved, so are we all, but our lives have changed. Even if Mandy has no problems with her leg in the future, there are the mental scars to deal with. I just hope that spending some time at the ridge would make a difference to her.
Jem finally starts crying. From the moment he was on the phone to me, after Bree broke down, I could hear the worry in his voice. I could see the tears in his eyes. Tears of relief, that's what those tears were. "Come lad. I know yer relieved." I put Mandy on the pillow and opened my arms to my son, which he almost fell into. "You let out yer fears, my boy."
"Will she be okay?" He sounded like a wee boy I kent when he was younger...him.
"She'll be fine...physically. We just don't know wi her mental condition to be honest." I rub my hand on his back, comforting him. "We have to hope visiting yer granny and granda will help her."
He nodded and wiped his eyes, he was tired. "Listen, they want to keep her overnight for observation. She's resting now so why don't we go home and get some rest of our own?" Bree shakes her head vehemently, "Sweetheart, there's nothing more we can do, I'll leave our number wi the nurse and she can call us if Mandy needs us. Deal?" I knew bargaining was no good but I had to try.
"No, you go home with Jem if you want but I want to be here." I open my mouth to argue. "Roger, I thought we had lost her today. I'm not letting her out of my sight." I sigh, deep down I knew she wasn't going to agree with me I had to try.
"Babe, yer no use to her if you're exhausted. We will go home, get some rest, get Mandy some fresh clothes, and we will come back later. When we're all refreshed."
"Roger Mackenzie Wakefield, stop trying to manage me. I'm your wife! I need to stay with our daughter, if only for my sanity, so will you bloody well let me?!" She was furious. Jem was staring at Mandy in the bed. I nod.
"I better get Jem home though. He's absolutely shattered. Both physically and emotionally." I look at Jem, he's asleep on his feet but won't take his eyes off of Mandy. They've always been close, even if they had moments where both of them coulda killed each other, this morning fer example, but there's no bullet in the world they wouldna take fer each other.
I take Jem by his shoulders and tell him to give Mandy a kiss on her forehead, I do the same for myself and then give Bree a proper kiss goodbye. "I'll see ye in a few hours."
Jem and I sit in the car ride home, "Dad, what are we gonna do when we get home?"
"The 3 S's, son." I answered without looking at him.
"Sleep, shite, shower." I smile at him.
"What about 'shave'?" he laughs. Good, he's laughing again. Now he knows Mandy is safe he's starting to relax.
"Ye can do that if ye want, son. Ye ken yer ma likes my whiskers though." I chuckle. It's been a running joke between Bree and myself that we keep my beard the same as it's been since I returned from the Mohawk village and met Jem for the first time as a baby. It's not such a joke that I actually do it.
"Dad?" Jem's voice brings me out of my thoughts, I grunt an answer, I'm listening. "If I'd not taken her to school, would she have been put in danger still?" He's looking to his old da fer reassurance...the truth?
"God alone knows, son." I answer honestly to his question, "And God alone knows they chose to dae it. They pulled families apart today and they didna care." Jem nods and we pull into the diveway. we both go into the house, there both he and I go up to our bedrooms where we both close the doors, and I start weeping softly...they almost pulled my family apart today...were we strong enough to go through this?
Eventually sleep overtakes me and I collapse on the bed.