Chapter 46: Unzipping the Dress

Sorry it took so long. But here's the next chapter

I heard some people sniff as the woman continued her story. I couldn't imagine going through all this, how could she bear so much? Then I heard her say that her daughter was three.

'Oh my God, Caitlin!' I realize. Thinking back to her breakdown at my house (it's all in chp 29).

Sure enough I look over to Caitlin, tears spilling down her face. Her eyes looking in a far away place, before focusing on me. She nods her head, and that's all I need to confirm it. I sigh and take her shaking hand in mine. I look up to see that nobody has noticed she is about to fall apart.

"Do you want to leave?" I ask her quietly.

She shakes her head, no.

"Well, then, how bout we go stand over there," I say pointing to a secluded corner.

She nods her head and I pull her out of her chair gently. Colby opens his mouth to say something, but I shake my head and continue to lead her over, Bran right by her side. She stands limply as I pull her into me, her head was resting on my chest as she continues to look and listen to the speaker, tears slipping down her cheeks. How could she do it? How could she be so strong?

The speaker talks about finding her frozen daughter and I swear, there was not one dry eye in the place. Tears even threaten to break from my eyes, but I have to be strong for Caitlin, I need to be strong when she couldn't. I need to prove to her that I was there for her, would always be there for her. So I bite my lip, willing the tears not to fall.

I feel Caitlin stiffen in my arms and I look down at her. I could see all of those memories, coming back to her. She inhales sharply as her eyes widen. She lets out a shaky breath and a quiet sob.

"Shhhhh... it's ok. It's going to be okay, I'm not going to leave you,"I say quietly as she buries her head in my chest. I tighten my hold on her, never wanting to let her go. Her body shakes in my arms as I place kisses in her sweet smelling hair. I feel her press into me more, telling me that Bran was doing his job as well. She managed to compose herself a bit more just as the speaker went on.

"I looked outside the tent, the tears puring down my face. I spotted a young woman, in a red parka and a green hat with 3 dogs next to her. I don't remember much about two of her dogs, but i remember the one. He looked like a wolf, all black with eery blue eyes," she says as if struggling to remember.

The whole Penguins organization looks over at us in shock. I had never told them what Caitlin had really done when she went to Newfoundland, only that she was there on search and rescue. I knew she wouldn't have wanted any sympathy from the others.

Tears were rolling down Alexis Malone's cheeks as her eyes widen in shock, like the others. Ryan sat next to her and I see him mouth, "Did she?"

I nod my head solemnly. He shakes his head in disbelief, as Alexis's hands flew to her mouth in shock.

After the announcer thanks the woman for her story, I feel Caitlin take a deep breath and look up at me. Her make up was in black streaks down her cheeks and her nose was red from crying. I bite my lip, how could she handle this? And how could she still manage to be sexy after crying?

"Are you ok?" I ask, wiping some of the wet tears still falling down her cheeks.

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just going to go to the restroom to wipe the make up off my face, will you keep an eye on Bran?” she says.

Her voice still shaky from her upset, and making me question if she's really ok, but I don't want to push. Had we been at home, I would have immediately scooped her up in my arms, taken her to bed, and laid with her in my arms until she was ok again.

"Of course," I smile, looking at her in wonder. I pull her into me and I feel her tense at first but instantly relax. "I love you," I whisper in her ear, before brushing my lips against her cheek sticky from tears.

"Love you too," she replies with a pathetic attempt at a smile.

I watch her walk away to the bathroom, the green silk moving around would make any man go crazy. A few wisps of hair had started rebelling and coming out of the loose bun, licking the nape of her neck. I take a deep breath as I watch her disappear behind the corner, before I walk back to the table.

"Where is she?" Jordan asks with a concerned look on his face.

"She went to fix her make up in the bathroom. She should be out in a minute," I respond, pulling my chair in.

"Sid, did you know that happened?" Anya asks, tears present on her cheeks.

I take a deep breath, remembering her brake down in my bathroom, "Yeah, she broke down the day after came to my house. I've never seen her so vulnerable, it was almost unreal, because she is always so strong."

"I can't even imagine going through that," I hear Marc whisper.

Caitlin walks back out in a matter of minutes, the streaks of black on her cheeks were gone, and she looked like she normally did. Beautiful. Although I loved seeing her all glamed up, the girl with the minimum makeup and rebellious hair standing in front of me, was the girl I fell in love with.

I move to get up and pull her chair out for her, but she puts a hand up stopping me. Although she looks like she normally does, there is still something different about her. The air is thick with the silence of the others, and I know she is beginning to feel uncomfortable under their stares.

“Caitlin, we had no idea that’s what happened,” Colby whispers, finally breaking the silence.

She just nods in reply, I know that she doesn't trust her voice quite yet.

“Not to pry, but…” Sara hesitates, “Did you really find that girl?”

She takes in a deep shaky breath, and lets it out slowly, before lifting her eyes. That's when I realize what's different. Her eyes have no shine in them like they usually do, the dark brown is almost dull in appearance, at least from what it usually is.

“Yeah, Bran found her," she whispers looking down as Bran puts his head on her lap. I take her hand and squeeze it gently. Not knowing what else I could do, or what else she would even let me do.

“Alright ladies and gentlemen if I could have your attention please. We would like to recognize some people for their efforts and work in SAR,” the announcer says from his podium.

Many awards are given out to various members of the SAR, dogs and humans, living and dead. I now feel anxious for this event to be over. Caitlin is silent by my side, her face showing hardly any emotion.

"Finally," the fat announcer sums up, "we have decided to present an award to the rescue team who found the most people in the Newfoundland Avalanche. Miss Donaldson will present the award.”

The little girl's mother walks on stage with a smile and reads off a small card.

“The person I’m about to name found the most victims of any rescue team, at a staggering 14. She and her 3-dog team have also demonstrated what the definition of a true rescuer is in the SAR’s eyes at only 24. If Caitlin Shaw, could please come up,” she smiles into the audience.

I smile, knowing that she deserves this, even if she thinks she doesn't. She sighs heavily, before putting on a smile. However, the smile just isn't real, it doesn't reach her eyes like it normally would. I get up when she does, and gently pull her into a hug.

“I’m proud of you, my little warrior," I whisper in her ear, quickly kissing her cheek. She smiles and walks up to the stage to accept her award. Bran fallowing her, as always.

I watch as she walks on stage. The woman sees Bran, and immediately pales, tears forming in her eyes as she hands the small crystal statue over to Caitlin in shock. Her hand flies to her mouth as a sob quietly escapes.

“Wow. Umm… thank you for this; it’s really quite an honor. If you haven’t figured out already by Ms. Donaldson’s reaction, I was the one who found Hannah; actually it was Bran who found Hannah. Umm… I won’t waste your time with a big long speak so, I guess I would like to just thank everyone who has been there to support me, especially after the avalanche, just because it took such a toll on me both emotionally and physically. But most importantly I want to thank my pack of dogs, for being there for me always. And Bran, Hawkeye, and Flash because without them, you wouldn’t see me standing up here today. Thank you,” she finishes her quick speech.

Ms. Donaldson, immediately wraps her in a hug, and she says something to Caitlin. From her weak smile, I can tell that Caitlin is about to break down again, but she is holding it in. The woman smiles and bends down to hug Bran before they all walk off the stage.

"And with that note, we won't hold you wonderful people any longer with our speeches. So please enjoy yourself and on behalf of SAR, I thank you all for supporting us," the announcer finishes.

Caitlin walks over to the table, Bran beside her and tears present on her cheeks. I open my arms for her and she walks into my embrace without hesitation.

"How bout we get you back? I think we've had enough for tonight, eh?" I ask softly. The tables around us are silently watching us, the rest are getting up to either end or begin their evening.

She nods in response, not trusting her voice, if she even had one at this point in time.
The guys wave as we leave the table and head back out into the crisp Montreal air.

The ride back to the hotel is silent, and I can tell that this night has totally exhausted her. As we get into the hotel, I direct her to the elevator, knowing that it will take forever to get up those stairs. She doesn't even protest to the idea, even though she hates elevators and always ops for the stairs.

I open the hotel room door and fallow her and Bran inside. She walks to the suitcases, taking out a tank top and a pair of boxers.

"Sid, can you..." she asks quietly pointing to the back of her dress.

"Sure babe," I whisper back, going over to her to pull the zipper on her dress down. I slip the thin straps over her shoulders and let the green silk fall to the floor, before I need to walk away.
When I first saw her walking down those steps, I pictured me unzipping her dress having a different consequence, but that wasn't going to happen. I wasn't going to take advantage of her. I wanted to do this right, and that story just killed the night.

I watch as she pulls the tank top over her head, and slip on a pair of my boxers. She sits on the edge of the bed as I loosen my tie and unbutton my shirt. She carefully takes out the pins in her hair and lets it fall in a wavy tumble down her back, with a small sigh. Bran lays on the couch, with his head down, watching over her, until he is sure she is in bed. She slips gently under the covers with a heavy sigh, her back turned away from me. I finish stripping down to only my boxers, before walking over to the other side of the bed. I slip into the cool sheets next to her, turning to look at her face.

She is staring blankly off into space as tears slip down her cheeks.

"Sid, thanks for being there for me. I'm sorry that this evening..." she begins to say.

"Shhhh... no, babe. There is nothing to be sorry for," I murmur scooting closer to her and wrapping her in my arms. Her body is limp as I pull her against me. She finally presses herself into me, burying her head in my chest as quiet sobs rack through her body.

"I just... I can't get that face out of my head," she whimpers softly into my chest.

"I know, I know. It's gonna be ok," I say smoothing her hair as she continues to cry.

A little later, she quiets down and I listen to her breath go back to an even pace, signaling that she has finally allowed herself to fall asleep.

"I love you," I whisper, kissing her forehead before I also give into sleep.

January 30, 2009 at Friday, January 30, 2009

3 Comments to "Chapter 46: Unzipping the Dress"

oh wow, I cried through most of that...

I loved seeing Sid's point of view, and I loved how supportive he was of her

More soon, please!

Sidney is such a sweetheart! God, any and every woman would be lucky to have him support them like that!

I loved reading Sidney's point of view. You, again, captured the deep emotions perfectly.

Please post more soon! :]

Post a Comment

So... what did you think?

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