Silence greeted Aaron's statement, a silence broken only
by Nancy's frightened tears. Justin brushed his fingers to Jetta's cheek,
biting his own lip. It just wasn't real somehow. How could she be lost to
him? And yet...
"Justin..." Mary laid a hand on his shoulder, and he glanced up, meeting
her soft blue eyes with uncomprehending brown ones.
"I can't lose her." He murmured. "She's everything to me."
"I'm not giving up either. Jetta's worth more than that." Mary responded
softly. "If...if you and Aaron will help me, I...I'm going to try and do
CPR. It's a very long time since I did the first aid course but I'll try and
remember, she needs us."
"I'll do anything you ask." Justin told her, a tiny glint of hope entering
his gaze. "Do anything, Stormer, I mean it. Anything you have to...just try."
"All right." Mary swallowed hard, inwardly terrified. She knew her friend
might already be past her help, but Nancy's heart-wrenching sobs, inconsolable
despite Copper's best efforts had reminded her of the day she had lost her
own mother, and the tears she had cried then.
"I have to try." She murmured to herself, carefully getting down beside
the still form. "I don't know if I can do this, but if I don't try Nancy
and Aaron and Justin and all of us lose someone very important...and I'm
not going to let that happen if I can possibly change it."
Inwardly she said a little prayer, then she set her teeth, beginning to
carry out the procedures she had been taught so long ago.
"The fire engines!" In the crowd, Sadie was the first to notice the big
red vehicles, as they pulled onto the forecourt, sirens blaring and lights
flashing. Not far behind were the paramedics, and inwardly Sadie was glad
to see them. Jetta's stillness frightened her, still so convinced was she
that she could be to blame, and she drew little comfort in Mary's efforts
to revive her. Nancy was long since past her usual controlled attitude,
for her mother was the dearest thing in her life, and she buried her head
in Copper's shoulder, unable to even watch.
Seeing Sadie's pallor, Sylva put an arm round her friend's shoulders,
and leading her to the edge of the melee.
"It's not your fault. It's something else." She murmured. "And if anyone
can help Jetta, Mom will. You know that, right?"
"Your Mum is an angel." Sadie whispered. "But...Syl, it might have
been me. And if it was...how can I ever face Nancy again, knowing I did
this to her mother? Jetta...is she dead? Did Aaron say...?"
"She has no pulse, or had." Sylva admitted slowly. "But Mom's doing everything
she can to get her breathing and everything again."
"I see." Sadie shivered. "I feel cold, Syl..."
Bare seconds before it happened, Sylva realised that her friend was going
to pass out, and just in time she caught her, carefully lowering her to the
floor and crouching at her side. Topaz, noticing the movement came to join
her, Hollie clutched protectively in her arms.
"Sadie?" She murmured. "Syl, what happened?"
"She just went. Shock, I think - she still reckons this is her fault."
Sylva responded, as Sadie's eyes fluttered open. "No, don't get up, silly.
You can sit up, but no standing, else I'm sending you to hospital with the
"I'm sorry." Sadie murmured. "I didn't mean to go...just when you said
She shivered again. "It brought back Mum's death. It was like this...people
gathered round, people trying to help her and not knowing what to do...only
Mum was shot and far beyond anyone's help before they began to try..." She
bit her lip. "Poor Nancy."
"Something's happening." Topaz caught sight of movement, turning to see.
"I think they're moving her...Syl, take Hollie, would you? I want to see
what's going on."
"Sure." Sylva obediently took the infant gently in her arms, and Topaz
pushed back through the crowd, observing the scene with some amount of hope.
Jetta, she noticed, was being put into the ambulance with some speed, and
the medics were flurrying around her.
"Not the usual style of dealing with someone who's passed on." She mused,
making her way to join Copper. That girl had now relinquished her hold on
Nancy to Aaron, and was standing with a pensive, troubled expression on her
"Copper? What's happening?" She murmured.
"Well, Syl's Mom managed to raise a pulse. Faint, mind you, but there."
Copper replied. "Her breathing kept going down though, she'd take a breath
or two, then give up, and Mary had to do it all over again just to keep
her going. But the medics have taken her now...she's alive, Topaz, but it
looks really really bad. They're not even sure she'll make it to the hospital,
that's how fragile she is."
"But its better than we thought before, right?" Topaz murmured. Copper
nodded, casting Aaron and Nancy a troubled look.
"If the worst happens, I hope I can be enough support for both of them."
She replied quietly. "Where did you guys go?"
"Sadie was feeling faint. I think it reminded her some of her own Mom,
and she still thinks it's her to blame." Topaz replied. "She, Syl and Hollie
are out of the way of the crowd while she gets some air."
"Should she go with the medics?"
"No, I think she's okay. Just a bit shook up, like we all are." Topaz
replied. "Aren't Aaron and Nance going to the hospital?"
"Not room in the ambulance. Others were hurt in the fire too, the medics
need to take everyone they can, and Jetta needs a lot of attention." Copper
shook her head. "Justin's going, but Aaron opted to stay with Nancy, and
Nancy's too much of a mess to go anywhere."
"Poor kid." Topaz frowned. Copper nodded.
"I know how she feels." She responded. "I've been there too." She sighed.
"I'm gonna pray for Jetta tonight." She admitted. "And hope things
work out. I don't know as they will though, Topaz. She's really ill...I know
she's tough, but how tough can one woman be?"