Chapter 29: Flipping the Switch

Sorry, it took so long. I was going a totally different way with this chapter, but didn't like it, and wrote the whole thing over again to create this. This was a tough chapter to write, being that I have never done an avalanche rescue before, and especially not one of this magnitude. I hope you like it, and if you have any ideas for the future, feel free to let me know. Thanks again for being so patient, my life has been a little crazy.

"Sid, I ..."I say quietly, looking down to the tile floor, "I can't"

"What do you mean?"

"You, me, we can't do this. It's..." I begin.

He lifts my chin gently so I will look at him.

"I didn't ask you if you could or couldn't. Do you love me?"he asks again, his voice husky and his breath tickling my lips.

He is so close to me, his thighs in line with mine, and his hips pressed into mine. His arm slides around my waist, bringing me as close to him as possible as his thumb traces my jaw line, like he did the last time he kissed me. I look into his Carmel eyes and a shiver goes up my spine. He leans into kiss me, but of course, somehow I still have the presence of mind to think. I gently put my fingers on his lips stopping him, biting my lip and hating myself as I do it.

"Sid, we can't," I whisper.

His eyes immediately open, and a million emotions seem to pass through them, so quickly that I'm unable to identify them. Was that hurt I just saw, anger?

"We can't do this, not now, not after you just broke up with Victoria," I continue, hating myself all the way.

"Why not?" he asks pain evident in his voice, although he tries to cover it. The sound of it breaking my scarred heart.

"The media would have a frenzy over it, and I just can't do it right now. Maybe sometime but not now, I need time to think." I say willing my voice not to waver.

"What is there to think about? I broke up with Victoria because I knew she wasn't the one, you are. And I know you love me, I don't see what the problem is," he says struggling to find the words.

"Sid, I know you may not want to hear it, but here it goes. You broke my heart, first when you left, and then when I found out you were engaged to Victoria. And right now, I am just... just so exhausted, both physically and mentally. I just need sometime to get back to work and get my life back on track, especially after this week," I say allowing myself to think back to the trip, which I usually try to block out from my mind when it goes badly.

The thoughts rush back to me. 'I need to be with my dogs,' I think, knowing that only they know how hard this week was, they're my rock. I turning away from him and quickly slipping the clothes on that he left on the sink.

"Caitlin, wait. If you would just talk to me," he says gently grabbing my arm to stop me.
I pause and take a deep breath.

"Sid, I do want to talk, but not yet, I need sometime. I need sometime to forget somethings."

"You can tell me, I know what it's like to push yourself. Physically I do it all the time, and the media can be a real test on my emotional fitness..." he begins, trying to relate to me.

The thought of him thinking he even come close to relating to what happened this week gets my blood boiling.

"You think you know what it's been like?! Sid, you have no idea!" I shout at him."Your work outs and hockey games are nothing like being out in the bitter cold for at least ten hours at a time. I worked in snow on average that was knee deep with out a snow board or snow shoes. I was literally on my feet all day, and by the time I got a sleep break, I was ready to collapse. And the media, the media doesn't even come close! You have no idea what I've gone through this week!" I say continuing to shout at him, as he just stands there looking at me.

"Well, I would if you weren't so damn stubborn and brave all the time. I can be here for you, you don't have to take this on alone," his voice slightly rising.

"Sidney, I have to be brave, if I don't tell you I won't break down, because I won't have to remember. I don't want to remember, I don't want to tell you because it will make me remember! " I scream. Then suddenly, as if someone has flipped a switch, I remember everything... everything I've tried so hard to forget.

"Do you have even the faintest idea what it's like, working outside in the cold, wet snow everyday, knowing that the only people you're going to find are dead!" I yell at him, swallowing the tears that are threatening to break. "Did you know that if you're buried alive in the snow, that you only have about 30 minutes before all your air runs out. I arrived at the sight, 39 hours after the avalanche took place, 39 hours! There was no chance of me finding someone alive. There was no chance for the town," I continue starting to quiet down and unable to stop the memories from popping into my head, tears forming in my eyes.

"In a weeks time, the dogs and I found 14 people, the most of any rescue team. Bran found 7, Hawkeye found 4, and Flash found 3. Not one of them was alive. Not one," I whisper, remembering the horror of finding a frozen body, "I was handling everything well, until we found the 11th victim. I remember following the dogs around, and Flash was checking something out when I heard Bran bark. I looked at him, and saw that he had found something and was trying to dig it out. I grabbed my shovel, digging with him, knowing that he had found something... someone. About 4 feet down, we found her." I say, continuing my story without really meaning to, my voice starting to crack, and tears breaking loose. "She was in a little pink snow suit, with a blue hat. She looked fairly peaceful compared to some of the others, with their eyes flung open in terror, looking into nothingness. Thank God hers were closed, she looked like she was just asleep in the snow. She was basically frozen solid, it had already been 5 days. So I called the paramedics, because they were collecting the bodies. They put her in the van with some others and hauled her off, and I had to push myself to keep working. Push her out of my mind for the next 6 hours. I got back and found out that she was the youngest victim, her mom was crying when she I.D.ed her, apparently she had lost her husband too. I went to my room unfeeling, pushing it to the back of my mind. I never want to think of that again," I go on, bawling now.

"Babe..." Sidney whispers, waiting patiently for me to finish.

"She was only 3," I sob, completely breaking down, the emotion that I didn't want him to see coming out. I stand helplessly, unable to control myself, the weight of all that happened coming on me like the avalanche, sudden and full force. I knew it was only a matter of time, although I didn't think it would be this bad, that's why I wanted to be alone.

Suddenly I realize that I'm wrapped in Sidney's arms. I think of resisting, not wanting him to see me like this, but he has a strong but gentle hold on me. I give up and cry into his broad chest, feeling safe in his strong arms. He plants kisses in my hair, and tries to soothe me. I do love him. I don't think I could ever love anyone as much as I love him, but I don't want to get hurt, not again.

Sid's POV

She stood there yelling at me, and at first I didn't know why. But then everything just seemed to spill out. She stood there in my t-shirt and boxers, sobbing uncontrollably, shaking her head from side to side, her wet hair whipping around her face. She was even beautiful when she looked her worst. I waited for her to finish, and she stood there helplessly.

I wanted to take on her pain for her, let her forget, but I know that those images will probably be burned into her memory. I want to help her, not knowing exactly how. I quietly walk over to her, afraid that she will lash out at me. I carefully take her in my arms, at first she stiffens and I think she is about to push me away. When suddenly she melts, she cries into my chest, unable to stop herself. I'm baffled, she always seems so strong and I know she needs to feel in control of herself.

She stands in my arms, completely helpless. She has cried in my arms before, but not like this. This event was truly traumatizing to her, and I could see why. I can't imagine going through what she went through. I know she wants to leave, that she was feeling weak and she hated it. But I held her tight, knowing that I couldn't leave her, not again. I gently kiss her hair, smelling my own shampoo in it's wetness. Over the week it seems that she has gotten thinner and packed on more muscle, and I now understand why. Even though she's lost weight, she still fits into me like a puzzle piece, as if she was meant to be in my arms all along.

"I should have never let you leave the beach," I murmur, unsure that she can hear me.

Slowly, she starts to calm down, and I can tell that she is now almost as exhausted as last night.

"Come on, you need to sleep some more," I say gently, picking her limp body up and carrying her to my bed. I lay her gently in the bed, and she looks up at me from puffy eyes, tears still present on her cheeks, and her breath still shaky.

"Thanks Sid," she smiles weakly at me, "I'm sorry, I just erupted like that."

"You don't need to apologize. You needed to get that stuff out, now go to sleep," I say before gently brushing my lips against hers. But as soon as I look at her again, she's asleep.

I lay beside her and pull her next to me, she fits right into me, meant to be there. I brush her tangled hair back from her face, and watch her sleep for a few minutes before giving into my want to sleep too.

"I love you," I whisper in her ear before drifting off to sleep.

September 10, 2008 at Wednesday, September 10, 2008

4 Comments to "Chapter 29: Flipping the Switch"

This was a very intense chapter, but I really think you captured her emotions very well...I love how you do her POV and Sidney's as's great to see what's going through his head too...more soon please! I love this story!

Hope school is going well!

omg that was an amazing chpter but it was so sad about the little girl

That was awesome. Thank you for making it a long one too! The thing about the little girl was so sad. I'm glad that she sort of let Sidney know her true emotions - that she can't always be brave - she has to break down some time. And I'm glad that Sidney was there for her! =] <3

Posted by Anonymous ( September 15, 2008 at 10:15 PM )

I don't think I have commented before here, but I have to say that I love this has totally grown on me...update soon, please...

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Discovering...Love? by AS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.