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Author's Chapter Notes:
First, we do have to return to the past, and while I know it's not easy, trust me, the ending of this chapter is some nice payoff.

Music for me is the key to getting in the right headspace for this story, I thought I might share some of the music that I listen to while writing this story. Theres a wide variety but I'll share some that get me thinking about Jim and Pam.
In my daughters eyes- Martina McBride
Ordinary Miracle- Sarah McLaughlin
Out of my League- Stephen Speaks
Basket Case- Sara Bareillis
Humble and Kind- Tim McGraw
Father and Daughter- Paul Simon
Closer to Fine- Indigo Girls

Remember, as much as I wish I owned these characters, I own absolutely nothing.

Her wrist hurt and she felt the heaviness of her eyelids keeping her from looking around the brightly lit room. Her ears regained their ability to take in sound next, and she could hear an obnoxious beeping coming from somewhere behind her, and instantly, she remembered,
“Where is he?” she mumbled hoarse, her throat feeling incredibly sore.

“Pam,” she recognized that voice instantly, and willed her eyes to open seeing her mother standing over her, she began to shake, trembling from her feet to her fingers. She was suddenly freezing. She watched a nurse move past her bed silently and check her vitals.

“Are you in pain, Pamela?” the nurse asked,

“It’s Pam,” she corrected, and shook her head no. She couldn’t feel anything, “just, cold” she felt her teeth chattering.

“I’ll go get her some warm blankets,” Helene grabbed a seat near the bed, and pulled her mask down, putting a finger to her lips. “She’s gone, it’s okay, honey,” She moved her hand to Pams, and covered her wedding band.

“Mom, where is he?” She blurted out. Helene immediately went to work, propping her daughters head up on additional pillows, checking to see if her wrist bandages were still intact, and when she went to pull Pam’s hair out of her face, she was swatted away.

“Mom,” her eyes darted with urgency, filling with tears,

“Where. Is. Jim?”

Helene glanced down at the floor, “He’s in ICU sweetie, they did surgery but,” she stopped.

Pam stared at her mother, mouth slightly ajar waiting,
Helene paused, choosing her words carefully. “They’re not seeing,” she bit her bottom lip, “ brain wave activity honey,”

She felt the air slip out of her lungs, and just like that, she couldn’t breathe. This is what hyperventilating must feel like, she thought, as she clasped her hands around her chest. Or maybe this was a panic attack, maybe both.
Helene’s eyes widened and she stood up quickly moving to the door,

“I need a nurse in here now!” she hollered, demanding all eyes on her with her very tone.

“What’s going on?” A young female doctor rushed into the Post Anesthesia Recovery Unit, and pushed past Helene moving to the bed.

“Pam,” she gently took her arm,

“Hey, can you hear me?” she was heaving in loud breaths, erratic breaths, ones that felt as though she was dying. The room felt as though it was moving, and she couldn’t see straight, When she felt this woman’s touch was when she let the tears spill over.

“I need him,” she wailed, words coming out between breaths,

“I need Jim, please get me Jim,” Helene stared at her in shock, watching her daughter writhing, and shake, and was tortured by the sight of it.

“Give her something,” Helene demanded angrily, “Please, give her something right now,” Within seconds, Pam had relaxed, her breathing steadied, and the Ketamine quickly went to work. Helene moved out of the room, cursing under her breath that she’d said anything at all. How easy it would have been to lie? She moved quickly to find her granddaughter and cried silently as she paced through the halls making her way to the pediatric inpatient unit.


It had been two days since the accident, and two days since Cecelia had spoken a single word. She wasn’t eating, and wouldn’t drink, and even her mother’s promise of giving her soda hadn’t done the trick to get her to hydrate, even a tiny bit. She was being pumped with nutrients and fluids, but her refusal to speak had her doctors, and her family, the most worried.

Helene moved into Cece’s room, seeing the instant change of pops of color everywhere around her. This room was much different than Jim or Pam’s, and had large polka dots splattered everywhere on the wall. Cece had stuffed animals surrounding her beds, video games at her disposal, and every nurse and doctor it seemed were in such good moods all the time. She found the Child Life Specialist in the room when she walked in, and careful not to distract him or her granddaughter, she moved to the corner of the room where a pull out couch sat, and placed herself upon it.

“So,” the young man moved his chair closer to her bed, and Cecelia’s eyes didn’t move from his own. “I know you don’t want to eat, and I know that everything going on right now is a lot, you must be feeling very anxious,” He spoke softly and kindly. She gave him no recognition that she even heard him. “So your doctors spoke with me this morning because later this afternoon, they have to give you something called a nasogastric tube, or NG tube for short,” he reached into a bag and pulled out a long clear tube. “See this end?” he pointed, “that will go down into your belly, and this tiny end?” He touched the side of his nose, “will come right out here, and that’s how we’re going to give you food, until you’re ready to eat again,” He studied her carefully, wondering if she would signal any indication that she’d refuse treatment, and eat. She didn’t. She lay silently in bed, staring at him motionless as he stood up.

“I think your grandmother’s here, so I’m going to go, but Dr. Wagner will be in soon to put this in, do you have any questions for me?”

Her voice was so quiet, he wasn’t sure she’d even spoken, “Yes.” she stared at him, “I want to see my Dad,” Helene stood up, unsure of what to do with herself.

“Cece, Daddy’s in surgery,” she lied, “but do you maybe want to go see Mommy?” She didn’t move,

“You need to come talk to her on this side, she can’t hear out of that ear,” he motioned. She’d forgotten. How could she have forgotten this piece of vital information? She moved across the room,

“Honey,” she caught Cece’s eyes, “Let’s go see Mom, huh?”

“She really shouldn’t leave the floor,” the young man looked out the door, peering both ways, “but if you go now, and are back within the hour, you’ll be back just in time for Dr, Wagner making his rounds.” he smiled at them, and moved out of their way.

Cece said nothing, but stood up, the yellow hospital pants they’d given her far too big were rolled on her waist, and an old Dunder Mifflin t-shirt covered her top half. It was her mother’s shirt, and she’d stolen it many years ago when her parents had gone out on a date, leaving her behind with Philip and her grandparents. She cried hysterically when they left, but the sweet smell of lilac perfume on her mothers’ shirt brought a sense of stability to her then seven year old self, and she’d kept the shirt since. It had become a security blanket of sorts to her.

She hopped into a wheelchair near her bed that had been used to take her throughout the pediatric wing to give her breaks from being in bed. She mostly used it to visit the audiologist, which had become a regular occurrence for her over the last couple of days. The impact of the accident had left her entirely deaf in one ear, and with partial hearing loss in the other. She hadn’t even begun to process this information, the constant headaches distracting her most of the day.

Helene found Pam back in her inpatient room a floor above them, sleeping quietly in the bed. She was leaning against the bed railing, her arm draped over, and the other pulled close to her face. Cece crawled out of the chair, dragging an IV pole with her, and lifted the blanket on the other side of Pam, crawling into bed with her. She smelled strange. Cece couldn’t quite place it, but it was a mix of plastic, and sour, and not like lilacs at all. She moved her mother’s wrist carefully, and laid down, staring at her, and closed her eyes. This was the most calm she’d felt in days. Cece didn’t know what PTSD was, but she’d heard that term when the doctors thought they were being quiet outside of her room. She knew something was wrong with her, but she didn’t know how to say it, or what to say. She just wanted to go home. She wanted to be with Philip, but he wasn’t allowed in the hospital, and she didn’t even know if her little brother was okay.


when she wraps her hand around my finger, it puts a smile in my heart. It’s giving more when you feel like giving up

“How long has she been here?” Pam pulled Cece closer to her, listening to her soft snores, and pulling curls out of her sweaty face.

“A few hours,” Helene responded, sitting in the darkened room, “I was supposed to bring her back hours ago, but I wasn’t about to disturb her,” Pam shifted onto her elbow,

“She still won’t eat, honey,” Pam knew this all too well. She’d held out as a child, refusing to eat when she wouldn’t get her own way. She’d known what Cece was doing, but she’d never expected she’d last this long. She for sure had endured trauma, but she wanted her father. Pam couldn’t help but feel as though she had failed the most important thing in her entire world, her family.

“This is my fault,” she whispered, not moving her eyes from the bandages on Cece’s ear. They’d attempted a minor surgery to correct hearing that hadn’t been successful. “She’ll be at a disadvantage, you know?” She spoke rhetorically. “She’ll hate wearing hearing aids, kids are mean, they’ll make fun of her, she’ll have to learn ASL in case she loses it entirely, I did this to her, Mom,” she was crying now, silently, but heavily.

“You did not, Pammy, you did not do this to her, or Jim or yourself, it was an accident

Pam was quiet, pressing kisses to her daughter's head every few minutes.

“I’m going to get her to eat,” she sighed, and put her hand out, “I need your phone,” she asked her mother. Her’s had been broken in the crash, and she didn’t even know what remained of it.

“What are you-”

“Please give it to me, Mom,”

Helene handed it over apprehensively, and Pam dialed a few numbers, hesitantly. She tried to remember the number as she carefully typed them in,

The phone rang only one ring before an answer,

“It’s Pam,” she started, listening to the voices on the other line, “I need a favor...” she paused, “How quickly can you get to Austin?” She’d hung up within seconds, a small smile creeping on her face.

If there was anyone other than Jim that could convince Cecelia Marie Halpert to do anything, it was her Uncle Michael.
Chapter End Notes:
I couldn't write a story without Uncle Michael, right?

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