Starting Over. Part 1
She couldn’t see the hand lashing out toward her anymore. Her glasses had been knocked off somewhere around the third punch. Now her entire world consisted of out of focus hands slamming into her from all directions. Pain blossomed all over her body in mini explosion coming from all sides as the group bounced her between them.
“Not so smart now are you bitch.” A laughing voice said followed by more pain. Daria felt someone push her from behind sending her tumbling to the pavement. Her face struck the rough ground, the sound of her own nose breaking was deafening.
“Kick her in the face.” Another voice said, it was female like the first. Daria felt the sudden impact on her face and was suddenly grateful for sneakers. One stuck her throat choking her forcing her to struggle for each breath.
Daria stopped trying to get up after someone kicked her directly in the kidneys; she curled up into a ball as the rain of blows continued. The barrage continued as feet some to come from every direction down on every inch of her body.
“Security!” Yet another voice said. Daria finally let the tears come as the sounds of running filled her ears.
She heard heavier footsteps come from the other direction. At least two continued past her while one stopped next to her. A hand gently started checking her neck for vital signs. She wanted to say something but she couldn’t focus against the blackness that kept overpowering her. A male voice cut through the darkness. “We need paramedics at the freshman cafeteria back entrance. I have a white female … damn you need to tell them to hurry. She’s covered in blood over here.” Daria blacked out and missed anything else he said.
Daria came awake as she felt a bump and watched as she was pushed into an ambulance. A woman was leaning over her looking intense. “I’ve got a good pulse.” The woman said to someone Daria couldn’t see. A bright light blinded her as a pen light was used to check her pupils. “Looks like she has a concussion. Can you hear me?” The woman said. Daria tried to speak but her throat seemed to be made of liquid pain. She settled for nodding her head slightly.
“Ok, we’re taking you to the campus hospital. You’re going to be ok.” The woman said gently as Daria blacked out again. Daria give in to the darkness and felt herself fade away.
The next thing she knew she was awaking in a hospital bed in a well lit room. A nurse walked in within seconds of her waking up. “Well hello there sleeping head.”
Daria tried to answer but the sharp pain in her throat prevented any sound. “Don’t try to talk sweetie. It’s going to be a while before your throat is going to be ok. I’ll have one of the other nurses call the doctor and let him know you are awake. Meanwhile can I get you something cold to drink?”
Daria nodded and felt frustration building inside at her inability to communicate. She blinked away tears that were threatening to come. The nurse looked understanding at her and spoke. “We already contacted your family. I think they’re on the way up right now.” Daria felt some of the stress take a step back.
“Campus security and the police are wanting to talk to you. If you want I can forget to call them till the morning.”
Daria nodded gratefully and leaned back against the raised bed. “I’ll bring you that drink. Let me know if the pain starts getting worse. You aren’t do for another shot for a few hours but we’ll see what we can do.” Daria just nodded in response.
Helen Morgendorffer drove nonstop through since getting the call. Jake slept fitfully on the passenger seat while Quinn stared out the window. She hadn’t spoken since they left Lawndale. :I can’t believe this is happening. I know Daria gets on people’s nerves but there isn’t any reason for someone to attack her.: Helen thought. It was after 3 AM and the road was almost empty which was a good thing.
“Mom pull over and let me drive. You’re all over the road.” Quinn’s voice came from the back seat.
“We aren’t stopping.” Helen said tiredly.
“Well I’m sure the police who tell Daria she lost her whole family in a car crash will be very gentle.” Quinn checkmated her mother smoothly.
“Fine but no games Quinn this isn’t the time for it.”
“You think I don’t know that.” Quinn almost yelled at her mother as the older woman pulled to the side of the road. Helen wisely decided to let her daughter’s outburst slide. She climbed into the back as Quinn exited and sat down in the driver’s seat. “Expect a few speeding tickets.”
Helen waved her hand dismissively as she moved a bag under her head.
:Alright lets see if FORD puts any speed in these things.: Quinn said as she pulled back on the road and pressed the peddle down.
Daria opened her eyes first realizing there were other people in the room with her and second she couldn’t open her right eye all the way. She felt the fire working on her throat and reached for the glass from the night before.
“Here.” A male voice said nicely. There was something in his tone that screamed experience and anger. She took the glass as she felt it pressed into her hand. The cool water eased the pain a little.
“Miss. Morgendorffer, I’m Frank Lion, I’m head of campus security and with me is Detective Volght with the Boston police department. I understand you can’t speak at the moment so we were thinking you could write down a statement. What?” He asked as Daria shook her head. Daria thought for a moment and tried to raise her right hand before realizing it had an IV in it so she switched to her left and covered her eyes.
“I don’t get it.” Lion said as Daria covered then uncovered her left eye with her hand shaped in a circle.
“She wears glasses. Frank I swear you couldn’t get any denser if you were made of lead.” Volght said with a sigh. “Alright I understand your parents are on the way up. I want to let you know that all four of your attackers were picked up and the video from the security tapes is going to make pretty good evidence.”
“They’ve also been expelled from school after confessing to the attack, to the campus security guards that caught them.” Lion said.
“Miss. Morgendorffer, can I call you Daria?” Volght said and waited for her to nod yes. “Daria do you have any information about why they attacked you?”
Daria shook her head negatively and pointed at him. “We’re finding it hard to believe they had a beef against you because of some test scores.” He stopped talking as Daria looked at him incredulously. “That’s the reason they gave last night.”
Daria laid rested her head on the pillow and looked up at the ceiling wanting to avoid eye contact at the moment. Her eyes filled with water as tears ran down the sides of her face. :It’s all the same, just more people who hate me because I’m a brain. At least Kevin never hit me.:
“Miss. Morgendorffer you have to understand that you didn’t do anything wrong. People like this are unpredictable. The mother who wanted to kill her daughter’s friends over cheerleader tryouts. Those fathers who attack their son’s coaches. All these kids luring other kids to their houses to video tape themselves beating them up. There are some sick people out there but I promise you they are the minority. I’ll be back in a few days to check on you. Try to get some rest.” Volght said and Daria saw him stand and indicate to Lion to leave.
The nurse came to check on her as soon as they left. Daria felt the warm numbness move through her body seconds after the shot was administered to her IV. “Rest now. I got a call from your mother. They’re on the way up right now. They should be here tonight.” The nurse said as Daria drifted to sleep.
Quinn slammed her fist onto the steering wheel impatiently as the police car pulled out of the parking lot. As soon as it was clear she raced to the nearest parking spot and threw the gearshift to park and turned off the engine. “Wake up, we’re here.” She said getting out and stretching.
“Remind me to take you on any long distance trips I ever have to do.” Helen said as she got out of the car. “I can’t believe you talked your way out of three speeding tickets. But if I ever see you unbuttoning your shirt that far again I’ll ground you until you’re forty.”
“What room is Daria in?” Jake asked.
“They said 213 when I called earlier.”
“Then lets go.” Quinn said walking ahead of them.
They made it to the second floor in less than two minutes and the nurse caught them before they found Daria’s room. “Are you the Morgendorffers?”
“Yes, where is my daughter?” Jake demanded.
“She’s right this way but I need to prepare you. Visually it looks a lot worse than it is. There is a lot of upper tissue damage that isn’t life threatening in any way but the swelling makes it look bad.”
“How injured is she?” Helen demanded.
“Eight broken ribs, three missing teeth and a broken tail bone. We set her knee, shoulder and jaw back into place. Her left ear canal is almost completely closed but the doctor thinks when the swelling goes down it’ll be ok. She has a minor facture over her right eye socket and everything else is just bruises and minor lacerations. I have to stress that as soon as the swelling starts to go down she’ll look a lot better than now but you need to be strong for her. Also her throat was injured and she can’t talk.” The nurse said calmly as Helen covered her mouth trying not to sob.
“Where’s her room?” Quinn said seemingly dismissing the nurses concerns.
“First door on the right.”
Quinn walked straight into the room without pausing. Daria was propped up on the bed watching TV. “Goood Daria is this what you meant by getting some new experiences.” Quinn’s loud voice sent all three adults into a run toward the room.
Helen was the first through the doorway and saw Quinn coming up from a hug. She held an arm out to stop Jake and the nurse. Daria saw her and waved weakly.
“Ok so first we need to do something with your hair; you’d be surprised how much the right hairstyle will hide other problems.” Quinn said and Daria’s chest shook slightly with silent laughter.
:Oh Quinn you just bought yourself so many get out jail free cards you might never use them all up.: Helen thought lovingly as Quinn took the closest chair to the bed.
“Hey kiddo, you doing ok? You want a root beer?” Jake asked as he tried not to look directly at Daria’s face. Daria nodded and he dashed off, following the nurse’s instructions on where the closest vending machine was.
“It’s going to be ok Daria. I know you must be scared right now but we’re here now and we aren’t going anywhere until you’re all better.” Helen said taking the chair on the opposite side of the bed from Quinn.
“I’m expecting a least one big sister party trip while we’re up here so no milking ok.” Quinn said firmly and Daria gave her a thumbs up. Daria pointed to the end table and Helen saw a stack of papers there. Quickly reading them, she saw it was reports from both campus security and the police concerning the attack and the arrest of four women who had already confessed. :I’ll have Eric send these over to the criminal division and see if there are any loop holes that might need to be shored up. It looks like they covered all the bases though.: Helen thought as the lawyer took over for a moment before she realized that was why Daria had pointed out the paperwork. :She wanted me to have something to distract myself with.:
“Hey kiddo they’ve got your favorite kind but I couldn’t find any mugs so you’ll have to drink it out of a paper cup.” Jake said with forced cheerfulness. Daria just nodded in response.
“I’m going to like this for a while. I can talk to you and you can’t give me any snide remarks.” Quinn said teasing her sister and once again, Helen saw how much Daria needed that normal interaction to keep herself brave.
Daria didn’t want to admit how much she was happy to see her family, the only thing that could make it better would be in Jane was there. She didn’t notice Quinn getting up after a few minutes until her sister held out her cell phone. “It’s for you.”
Daria held the phone to her good ear and heard her friend’s voice. “Hey Amiga, I hear you’re a little down. Now look I can’t get up there until this weekend so try not to strangle your parents. And don’t worry I’ll take a bus even I’m not crazy enough to try a trip that long in the tank. I’ll let you go but it’ll be ok and I’ll be up to help out in two days.” Jane said and ended the call.
“I told her you couldn’t talk. I figured you might want to hear her voice right now.” Quinn shrugged as Daria started to cry and held out her arm toward Quinn. “You’re going to get all emotional aren’t you? Fine but you can’t tell anyone and no pictures.” Quinn leaned into a gentle hug.
After the nurse came in and gave Daria her nighttime shot she drifted to sleep almost peacefully. Helen took the time to walk out into the hall and make a few calls.
“Eric I told you my daughter is hurt. I’m taking a leave of absence. … I’m not asking you for permission Eric. I’m informing you, there is a difference. Now I’ll have all my current cases ready to transfer to someone else by Monday. … Don’t even throw the partnership carrot in my face right now Eric. Daria is sitting in a hospital bed and I’ll be damned if you are going to pull this now. … Oh shut up and get over it. You listen to me. I know every little mistake and screw up you’ve made in the last three years and I’ll be more than happy to inform the senior partners. … That’s better. See how easy things go when you cooperate.”
The next call was considerably less stressful. “Amy I’m glad you’re home. I know you and Daria have been getting close over the last year or so, I thought you would want to know that she’s in the hospital. … No it’s not that bad but … oh god Amy they beat my little girl.” Helen broke into tears. “I’m sorry it’s just … The Raft Medical Center. … Thank you Amy.” Helen continued to cry. Jake heard her crying and came into the hall to hold her until the tears passed.