brynn_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif

Scene Title Cacophony
Synopsis What else do you do in while sitting in the hospital? Read romance novels.
Date January 18, 2021


Sitting in the hospital bed, Brynn has been trying to sort out what she can feel and what she can't with her right side. She can move, but sensation is not what it should be. When she touches her fingertips together, sometimes she can feel it and sometimes it's like they're asleep. And right now, she's aching. She figures that's to be expected, now that she understands what's happened. It's the sounds that still startle her.

They've been merciful since they realized that her right ear somehow appears to be fully functional and that the beeping of the heart monitor was physically painful to her ear. So that's gone. Now she hears… movement in the hallway, a low rumble of indistinct conversation, people picking up and moving things. She's only just learning to identify certain sounds. Identifying what people are saying is completely beyond her. She's having trouble reading lips because the sound coming from their mouth while they talk is horrifically distracting. She knows that they're saying meaningful words, but she has no idea what words they're saying because she has no frame of reference for what letters and words sound like — only what they look like when someone says them. She figures it won't be too hard to learn…. Maybe.

It may or may not be a blessing.

The sound coming from the hallway turns to a cacophony of noise. The squeal of a patient (or caregiver), a deep voice arguing with one higher pitched and more shrill, a strange screech, the yelp and subsequent barking of a dog, and finally the clicking of nails on tile before Bug races into Brynn's room. It looks like a strange dance when he hops along the side of her bed, not actually getting on but trying to reach the young woman's hands for pets and giving them little doggie kisses once he's received them.

"Simmer down now, Doodle," the higher pitched arguer from the hall turns the corner and it's a very familiar face. Two of them, in fact. Hailey, carrying a giant basket of goodies, and Jim on her shoulder.

He looks pleased with himself for snagging a small bunch of grapes.

The argument? Animals are NOT allowed in the hospital. Not even for members of law enforcement.

Luckily enough for Hailey, service animals are allowed — not that Brynn knows that's what the argument was about. Or even that there was one. It was loud out there and seemed to be different people, certainly. But neither those nor the other sounds that she can't identify were assumed to be for her until the door opened and her beautiful Goldendoodle came racing in.

With awkward movements, Brynn scoots downward in the bed so she can reach him, tears springing to the surface. The feel of his soft fur in her hand is the biggest comfort she could have asked for.

She'd bury her face in the dog's side if she could, but just from the way she's sitting, Hailey can see how hard it is just to reach with her hand. Gray eyes come up to her sister and Brynn grins through her tears. Glad you're here. Both of you. It looks awkward because she's using slightly modified signs in Cant — her left hand is the one signing, but Cant tends toward ambidextrous signs anyway.

"You mean all three!" Hailey's verbal warning comes just in time for Jim to launch himself off her shoulder to land in Brynn's lap. She didn't sign this time partly because her hands were full, partly because of Brynn's lip reading ability, and partly because rumor has it… Brynn's ears need a little workout.

Once settled into Brynn's lap, Jim lifts the small bunch of grapes he pilfered from her basket as an offering.

Hailey places the basket she's carrying onto the little rolling table usually reserved for meals. Then she pulls a chair over, the feet dragging noisily across the tile. Eventually she is seated and aside from her usual fidgets and anxious knee bouncing, the empath is relatively calm. How're you feeling? When are they springing you?

Jim's leap sends Brynn's hands up instinctively to protect the monkey's landing — not like he needs it — but her right hand drops back into her lap as she grins at the little simian. She accepts a grape from his bunch to show she's happy to see him too, but her eyes go back to her sister.

The screech of the chair's feet makes the young woman flinch away from the sound, and Brynn stares at the feet of the thing balefully for a moment. Feel okay, she signs awkwardly. Her movements are not entirely fully formed, perhaps the ASL equivalent to slurring words. But she's managing to at least get most of her thoughts across — its way easier in Cant than ASL.

Hope they let me go home soon. She's always hated hospitals. Have a headache a lot. Sometimes can't open my eyes. Too bright. Way way too loud. Confusing.

You think it’ll be quieter at home? It is probably a consideration that has Hailey strictly signing now instead of talking along. The doubt is splayed plain as day across her face. She’s not the quietest, Lance is but she’s not as confident that he’d be able to silence the entire firehouse.

Jim shoves a grape into his mouth. Then, he seems to think better of the idea and spits it out in order to give it to Brynn.

Hailey can’t help but grimace at the thoughtful action and gently pluck the bit of fruit from his paws and pop it back into his mouth. Why are they keeping you? Are they waiting for a test or something?

Oh eew! But Brynn casts a half-smile when Hailey intercepts the wet grape. She strokes Jim on the cheek to say thank you. Then she slowly works out her signs for Hailey. Said I need to stay a few days. See if feeling comes back to right side. Plus, they don't like that she was unconscious for two days. That's never a good thing in the medical profession's view. Need a little physical therapy, I guess, to make sure I can walk.

Though her signs are slow, most of them are complete — Cant makes it easier for her to modify her movements a little. Probably they're doing a million tests too. There's a roll of her eyes but she adds, Have you seen Jac or anyone else? There are half a dozen of the crash survivors in the hospital right now.

Hailey just shakes her head. Hospitals aren’t her favorite place either but she made an effort for Brynn. Plus, Doodle’s constant whining was grating on the last nerve of everyone in the house. Something had to be done. Bullshit, they let people out of hospitals in wheelchairs all the time. I bet some intern or something has the hots for you and is keeping you here longer, just hoping that you’ll flutter your eyelashes at him.

She gives her sister a wicked grin, Pretty sure that’s the plot to Splintered Heart, I think it’s by the same woman that wrote Mean Heat… maybe a sequel or something. She pulls a well loved book from the inside of the basket and tosses it to her sister. Make sure you bring it back to the little common area out there when you’re done with it. I don’t think they know I took it.

Pretty sure if I went home right now, it'd be a mess, Brynn admits. She doesn't feel very good at all, and she's already figured out that she's going to spill things and fall. So the occupational therapist wants to spend some time with her.

Mention of that book makes Brynn blush visibly. The two of them have re-read that freaking thing several times over. (Hey, don't judge, books were hard to come by! And how else you gonna learn what makes a guy happy when you're a teen stuck in the wilderness with nothing but a bunch of siblings?!) The sequel drops into her lap and she looks intrigued, even though her left hand takes it and tucks it under the blankets where no one can see that she's got it! There was a sequel??? Eeek!

And then there's the objection, I don't bat my eyes at anyone! She's lying. She bats them sometimes at Paul, cuz… well. He's Paul! How can you not?? And maybe sometimes Joaquin, cuz he always tries so hard for her. But still! She managed not to get caught with that book, to not endure the teasing of their brothers over reading steamy romance novels, and she'd like to keep it that way! But at least the blush took away the pallor — when Hailey first came in, she looked rather pale.


Hailey grins and swats the air next to Brynn’s head playfully, I’ve seen you.

She gets up out of her chair and crosses the room to close the door. Then she skips back to the bed and nudges Brynn over to climb in beside her. Taking the book, she opens the cover and flips to the first page. “I don’t know if it’s really a sequel,” she whispers in a barely there volume, the same one she uses with her horse and reindeer when trying to communicate her wishes to them. “That lady wrote a lot of books. I bet more than Nancy Drew.”

Although she has no idea what Hailey is saying as she climbs into the bed, Brynn scoots over to let her sister curl up there with her. It brings so many memories of Hailey climbing in with her when they were little… she hasn't thought of those days in a long time. So many of those first nights after Beach St, when Brynn first came to the Lighthouse proper instead of staying with one foster mom, she was afraid to sleep. Hailey would curl up just like this, two little girls huddled under a blanket in the dark. And even though she couldn't even hear Hailey, it didn't stop the girl from telling stories to hold off the dark.

Her stress eases slowly as her sister settles in and lays her head sideways onto Hailey's shoulder. I really like your voice.

The first few pages read easily, generic enough that neither of the two feel awkward. Introduction to the heroine, to the love interest, and the problem at hand. "So this is nothing like Mean Heat so far," Hailey grins as she glances down at the Brynn on her shoulder. She shifts slightly and angles her head down to the monkey.

Jim is snoring lightly on the patient's lap. His mouth half full of chewed grape is agape.

"That is totally going to drop on you," she snickers, closing the book. Reaching down, she hooks one of her fingers into his mouth and scoops out the mush before it has a chance. Once it's been disposed of, she uses her hands instead of her voice I'll let you read the rest, do you have any other books you want me to bring? Or do you want me to maybe get you some audiobooks and some good headphones to block out the rest of the noise?

It's the cadence and the sound of Hailey's voice, low and a little husky as she reads, that is pulling the patient. Brynn actually has her eyes closed until Hailey moves to grab the grape, and then she is aware again that she's actually being talked to.

Shyly, she admits to her sister, You could read a menu and I wouldn't know. Maybe you could bring headphones? Or send them with Lance — he was going to bring music. Another special thing that the previously deaf young woman hasn't experienced the same way.

She lays her head back down on her sister's shoulder though. Stay a little longer? She knows Hailey's feelings about hospitals, but sitting curled up like this, like they used to, is the place that Brynn feels like things really are going to be okay.

She doesn’t answer with words, or sign. Instead, Hailey scootches down a little on the bed to lie down rather than remain sitting up. It’s not much for her sister to ask, and were the positions reversed, the blonde knows that Brynn would return the favor.

A wiggle of her foot is all the invitation Doodle needs to clamber up too. After a few rotations, he flops down at the foot of the bed and lets out a long huff. It’s been a lonely time without his girl and Hailey won’t be bringing him home, no matter who she needs to fight to have him stay.

Reaching over, she begins petting Brynn’s hair, much like she would a small kitten, and begins humming. It’s a melody that’s stuck with her as long as she can remember, she knows it was a lullaby that someone used to sing to her, but for the life of her, she can’t remember who.

Maybe Gillian.

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