Visiting Hours takes place between chapters 24 and 25 of Persuasion.

Brian and Honey

Honey yawned, and glanced out the window of the generic hospital room. It was the pre-dawn grey that she loathed. Just be morning, already! This night needs to be over. But would the day bring any relief? She slumped back in her chair, still watching Trixie’s unmoving form. Other than slumber parties, she couldn’t remember Trixie ever being so still. Beside her, Brian jerked awake.

“Sorry,” he apologized. “I didn't mean to fall asleep. How long was I out?”

Honey shrugged. “It doesn't matter. Nothing has changed.”

Brian studied Trixie's shadowy figure. “Chances are good she'll wake up today,” he told Honey.

Honey turned away. “You said that yesterday.”

“Well, chances were good then, too,” he retorted, then ran a hand through his messy hair. “I'm sorry, Honey. I didn't mean to snap at you.”

Honey angled herself so that she could see both Trixie and Brian. “It's okay, Brian. It's okay to be frustrated.” And mad. And helpless. “It's only natural.”

“But it's not natural to take it out on you.” He drew a hand over his eyes and slumped in the chair. “I'm sorry.”

Honey's eyes flashed dangerously, but she reined in her temper. “I'm not a little girl, Brian. I know you're having a hard time. We all are. If you're angry, if you're upset, if you're worried, well, I can take it.” She took his hand and looked at him with wide hazel eyes. “In fact, you need to let me take it.” She took a deep breath. “I need you to let me take it.”

Brian looked away. “It's not that simple, Honey.”

Honey felt tears prick at her eyes. “Yes, Brian, it is.” She said, turning away in disappointment. She stared at the still figure on the bed. Two weeks ago, she wouldn’t have believed that the connection between her and her best friend could ever have been repaired so quickly. The instant camaraderie and trust was restored, and there was no way she was willing to give that up. Being emotionally separated from the people she loved most was more than she could handle. Come on, Trixie, she willed. We’ve had one miracle already. You have to wake up!

Jim and Dan

Dan eased his hospital-issued wheelchair to the side of Trixie's bed. This broken leg was a damn nuisance. And the wheelchair wasn't helping his state of mind, either. With any luck, he’d be able to convince the doctor to issue crutches, even with the broken arm. But that would have to wait until he was released.


Never had Dan actually wished to be held a little longer at a hospital. Just long enough for Trixie to wake up. Because she had to wake up. Nothing else was an option.

When he had relieved Honey and Brian, they had told him that Trixie hadn’t moved, hadn’t spoken. Dan inched even closer to the bed, watching the rise and fall of Trixie's chest. Talk, Trixie. Say something. Anything. His hand clutching the bed clothes, Dan stared at the pale face framed by a cascade of curls.

She was Sleeping Beauty, with a drawn and pinched expression. The sudden, stabbing desire to play Prince Charming caught him off-guard. What he wouldn't give to place his lips on hers, and see her wake, gazing at him with eyes filled with love.

But he wasn't Prince Charming. At least, he wasn't the Prince Charming that Trixie was waiting for.

He eased the wheelchair back a few inches. It was better to keep his distance.

He closed his eyes, thought of other hospital rooms he had visited, and prayed.

A whimper awaked him from an uneasy doze. Trixie was struggling, twisting the bed clothes.

“Shh...” he whispered. “You're okay.” He reached out and took her hand in his. “You're okay, Trixie. Go to sleep.”

He watched as the lines of worry on her forehead slowly smoothed, and her breathing evened out.

At the change of the hour, he heard Jim's heavy tread in the hall. The red-head entered the room, his green eyes worried.

“How is she?” he whispered.

“Still unconscious,” Dan reported, though it seemed to take all his energy to speak the two words.

Dan took one last look at Trixie, and then wheeled himself to the door. “I leave in the morning,” he told Jim.

But Jim was already at Trixie's side, pressing her hand. Without looking back, Dan placed an envelope on the dresser, and left the room.

Jim sat at the bedside, his heart aching. It was wrong. Trixie shouldn't be lying in a hospital bed. She should be solving a mystery, or organizing something for a charity, or... or spending time with you, a tiny voice in his head suggested.

Jim swallowed hard. The little voice had been getting stronger since the day Trixie had shown up at Crabapple Farm. A dangerous little voice, telling him that the time was right, that now was the time for a relationship with Trixie. And he was having a harder and harder time figuring out reasons to argue with the voice.

Wake up, Trixie. This is our chance!

Mart and Di

Mart shifted in the uncomfortable chair. Wake up, Trixie, he silently pleaded. Wake up. When she didn't open her eyes, Mart decided that whoever said almost-twins were telepathic was selling a truckload of crap. It didn't matter that they had the same colouring, same eyes, same facial expressions. It didn't matter that they always understood each other, even when they disagreed. It didn't matter that he would give anything to see her open her eyes. None of it mattered. He couldn't make it happen.

Mart swallowed hard, and reminded himself that the doctors fully expected her to regain consciousness soon. Reminded himself that Brian was keeping a close eye on her. Reminded himself that she had been through worse. Again, it didn't matter.

He passed a weary hand over his eyes.

Wake up, Trixie.

Mart leaned back in the chair, his eyes still on his sister. A fear he refused to name clutched at his heart, squeezing him until he felt like he couldn't breathe. Desperate to distract himself, he fished a small spiral-bound notebook out of his jacket pocket, and flipped it open. Maybe writing would help.

Twenty minutes later he heard the door to Trixie's hospital room open. He looked up sharply, and saw the silhouette of a slender, dark-haired figure highlighted by the fluorescent lights in the hallway.

“Di!” he said softly. “I wasn't expecting you for another...” he checked his watch, “half-hour.”

Di closed the door behind her. “I couldn't sleep, and I thought you might want some company.” She set down her elegant leather bag and drew a chair next to Mart's. “How are you holding up?”

Mart hastily tucked his notebook to the side. With a shrug, he said, “Okay, I guess.”

Diana raised an eyebrow. Mart grimaced, knowing that Di had always been able to see right through him. “Okay, I may be a little tense.” What was the word for the opposite of hyperbole, he wondered. This was a fine example.

Di tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, and Mart noticed how exhausted she looked. “Look, Di, if you want to catch a few winks before it's your turn to sit with Trixie...”

She shook her head. “I tried. Being here is better,” she said simply. She gestured to the notebook that Mart had tried to conceal. “Besides, how else am I going to find out what the deal with your notebook is?”

Mart flushed, and fingered the book nervously. “Oh, this? It's nothing,” he said, trying to laugh. He squirmed as Diana watched him. “I just keep it for jotting down thoughts. You know, to remind myself to buy eggs.”

Diana remained silent, but Mart felt as if he were in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition. How does she do that, he wondered.

“And sometimes, maybe I write down ideas for stories.” Mart cringed inwardly, waiting for Di to tease him.

“You write?” Diana asked. Her voice held no scorn or amusement. Only interest.

Mart nodded, a sheepish smile on his face. “Fan-fiction. Remarkably bad fan-fiction.”

Diana smiled. “I bet it's good.” Her eyes cut to the notebook, but Mart kept both hands on it.

“No way,” he said, the ghost of a smile on his lips.

She shrugged. “You know I'll find a way to read it.”

Mart's face flamed, and he looked remarkably like his sister. With a laugh, Di patted his shoulder.

“Relax. If you really don't want me to look at it, I won't,” she told him.

“It's just kind of embarrassing. I mean, I have a degree in English. I teach undergraduate classes. And I write stories about Cosmo McNaught.”

Diana's eyes lit up. “I love Cosmo McNaught! I picked up some of those books a few years ago, and I couldn't put them down!”

“Really?” Mart's jaw dropped.

“Really.” Diana's nod was emphatic. “So, do you have Cosmo with Shannon or Belinda? Or do you concentrate on the science-fiction side?”

“You really have read Cosmo!” Mart said, his voice filled with wonder.

“Both the series and the magazine,” Di quipped.

“And you don't think it's completely lame that I write about it?”

Di shook her head. “Why would it be lame? You're expressing yourself creatively. It makes you a better teacher, and a more rounded person.”

Mart's round blue eyes bulged.

“What?” Diana asked. “Did you really think I would make fun of you?”

“No,” Mart said slowly. “I didn't think you'd make fun of me...”

“You just didn't think I'd understand.”

Mart nodded. “I'm sorry, Di.”

“It's okay. Most people don't expect me to understand a lot of things.” Her tone was sad, with just a trace of bitterness.

“I've had people tell me that writing is just an escape for people who can't deal with real life.”

Diana shook her head. “Literature is about going to a new place, growing, learning, and coming back a better person. It's ‘just an escape’ only if you come back unchanged.”

Mart stared at her. “I like that! I like that a lot.” He scrambled to pull out his notebook and flipped to a clean page. “Do you mind if I write it down?”

Diana shrugged, and reached for his notebook. “I'll write it down for you. That way you might be able to decipher it later on.”

Mart handed the book over without a second thought. He watched as she wrote a few lines in her flowing hand-writing, using a pen with lavender ink. She flipped the book closed without looking at it and handed it back to him.

“Thanks, Di,” he said, a hint of wonder still in his voice.

Just then, Trixie began to murmur. Mart and Diana leaned forward, and Mart clasped his sister's hand. Almost immediately, though, the room fell silent again.

“That was a good sign, right?” Di asked, her violet eyes worried.

Mart nodded, a happy grin spreading across his face. “She's going to be okay,” he said. He stared into a face that was almost a mirror of his own, and felt the familiar bond return. “She's going to be just fine.”


Author’s Notes

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I became a Jix Author! Thank you to the wonderful owners, admins, mods, authors, and members. You make Jix my favourite home away from home. *hugs*

Thank you to MaryN, who has edited and provided graphics for me at every step. You’re a true friend. *hugs*

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. Story copyright by Ryl, February 22, 2011. Graphics copyright 2011 by Mary N.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional