"Assumpta, can you hear me?" Peter whispered, gently caressing his wife's face. No answer came from the sleeping form on the hospital bed beside him, just the sound of various beeps and swooshes from the machines that surrounded him.
A few hours earlier, in Fitzgerald's, Assumpta's ex-husband Leo, furious with the finalizing of the annulment between himself and Assumpta, had made quite a scene- punching Assumpta into a wall, and Peter twice in the mouth. As a result, Assumpta had lost their first child. She had been rushed to the nearest hospital, still unconscious.
Michael Ryan, the doctor at Ballykissangel, had said that Assumpta was
put under so much stress, what with their being back in town, and the incident
in the pub, that she just couldn't really do anything to save the baby.
This scared Peter; his wife, always ready with a sarcastic remark for everyone, was lying here, so helpless. Peter wanted to cry, but he knew he had to be strong.
Peter was devastated about losing their child, but he knew that Assumpta was even more traumatized by what had happened. Her sarcastic remarks had always been Peter's favorite thing about her, and now she lay silent. He wanted to take her pain all away from her, so that she could be the woman Peter knew and loved. Full of wit and a smile, no matter how sarcastic it was, for everyone. Somehow, he knew in his heart that things could never go back to normal, no matter how much time passed.
He thought back to when Assumpta had come around the couch that night and told him they were going to have a baby. He had never felt so elated in all his life. He spent hours with her, picking out names and dreaming of what their child would be like; it was all so surreal to Peter. Now all of that was gone because of Leo. Or so Peter would like to have thought.
He did not quite know how to react to the tragedy they had just endured. First he was stunned, then he turned angry with Leo, and then he felt guilty for not watching over Assumpta close enough. He did not know what to do, or what to say to his wife when she finally woke up. Peter continued caressing her face gently as he buried his face in her dark red hair and inhaled her scent he loved so much.
Just then, the door to Assumpta's room opened with a creak, and Peter looked up to see Niamh, Assumpta's best friend, standing in the doorway. Peter could tell right away she had been crying; her face was red, and she sniffled.
"I'm so sorry, Peter," she whispered, coming over to him, "I knew how much this meant to you. I just want you to know I'm here for you, okay?"
"It meant a ton more to her." Peter wiped his own tears on the back of his sleeve and felt Niamh embrace him in a hug.
"I'm going to go get some coffee, Peter. Want some?" Niamh asked.
"Sure, I'd like some, thanks."
Peter continued to look at his wife as Niamh went out the door, her eyes full of worry and concern. He grasped Assumpta's hand.
"Assumpta," he said, "You're my best friend in the entire world. I just wanted you to know that I can help you through this. There will be a next time. Remember that."
Suddenly Assumpta's eyes flickered just a bit. "Peter?"
Peter felt his heart skip a beat as he heard his wife's voice. "Oh, thank God, Assumpta, you're alive…"
"Of course I'm alive.." she said softly, touching his arm.
"I don't ever want to go through that again, Assumpta….you scared me half to death."
"Ah, don't you know I must have been a cat in a former life…two down, seven more lives to lose."
"Don't talk like that. Twice is enough for me."
Assumpta smiled ruefully, and tried her best to sit up on the pillows. She looked around the room. The machines were buzzing, humming, and clicking. This was almost too much. Reminded her of the last time she was stuck in a hospital. That was not a very happy time to say the least. She allowed herself to be transported back to the nightmare of seven months ago- the night that she nearly died….
'Ah, damn.." Assumpta said under her breath.
'Assumpta, for God's sake, will you not get those bloody electrics seen to?" Padraig called.
'Ah, shuddup, Padraig, I'll handle it." Assumpta snapped, heading down to the basement.
"Don't go, 'Sumpta, I'll go." Peter stopped her, holding out his hand to barricade her.
"You will not."
"I don't want you getting hurt."
"Whose name is it up there on this pub?" Assumpta asked him rhetorically.
Peter sighed. She had made up her mind, and there was nothing he could do about it.
Assumpta made her way down to the cellar of the pub, muttering curses all the way. Those stupid lights. They would be the death of her one of these days. Assumpta looked at the fuse box in distaste. "Now," she said to no one in particular, "how to go about fixing these bloody things…"
She found a pair of pliers and went to work. The next thing she knew, there was a loud bang, followed by sparks. Then everything went black.
Down in the cellar there was a dull thump, and the unmistakable sound of Assumpta screaming. Peter immediately leapt from his chair and ran down to the cellar to see what had happened.
"Assumpta!" he yelled in panic, "Can you hear me?!" He rushed down to find her huddled on the cold cement floor, her face gone ghastly pale. "Oh dear God," he whispered as he knelt down to attend to her. "MICHAEL! Get down here!" he called. "Oh, God, Assumpta, don't leave me. Please, honey, don't leave me now!" Peter was near tears, and he couldn't control his emotions any longer. He began kissing her face.. He tried to sustain if she was breathing, but he was too phased to tell.
The doctor, Michael Ryan, came pounding down the steps. He had seen the whole episode, but he didn't say anything about it. Instead, he ran to Assumpta, kneeling beside her next to Peter. "Peter, is she breathing?"
"I don't know…wait…no…oh God, Michael, do something!"
"Peter," he said, "Start the chest compressions, we need to start her heart or she'll die."
Peter nodded as he started pressing Assumpta's chest. Michael breathed into her mouth at the appropriate intervals. This went on for ten more agonizing minutes. Finally, Michael rose, and choked down a sob. "Peter, it's too late…we've done all we can, she's gone…come off her Peter, come off, it's too late…"
"NO, Michael, we can't let her die…not like this…not now. We can't…I won't let her…"
"Peter…. we need to let her go…come off her.."
"No, Michael, NO! I'm not leaving her!"
Right at that moment, the rest of the regulars had come down, undoubtedly informed of the horrifying news. Niamh was sobbing, and Brendan was wiping tears from his eyes.
Peter began pressing Assumpta's chest and blowing into her mouth. "Come on, 'Sumpta….remember all our plans…you can't leave me like this…I love you, Assumpta…you know that, you can't leave me…"
Michael's voice became firm. "Peter, get a hold of yourself! Let her go, Peter..let her go…" he pulled Peter up, supporting him. Peter let out a chilling scream. "No….no….Assumpta!…You can't...."