isobel and clarkson

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One More Morning Chapter 5, a downton abbey fanfic | FanFiction
Isobel gets her groove back

Excerpt:

I love you, she had scrawled. And I know you’re in there. Can you write down what you want to tell me?

She’d watched him read it, had seen the light return to his eyes. He gestured with his left hand for the pen. She had placed it in his hand, holding the pad steady for him.

You are beautiful, she’d watched him write. Both of you.

Tears flowed unbidden from the corners of her eyes. Holding his gaze, she had pressed her lips to his. It seemed he’d understood the gesture loudly and clearly, as he returned the kiss with fervour.

Isobel, he had continued, I’m sorry. Never been out of control before. Not my favourite.

It was her turn.

Understandable, she had assured him. You’re going to get better, you know. Already so much improvement. And I know you’re still there. Still brilliant. My love.

She’d seen the way his brow furrowed in response. That’s a good sign, she’d thought, clinging to a fragment of hope.

If I don’t … came his next words.

“No,” she had whispered as she read. Catching herself, she’d pressed a hand against her mouth and watched as the rest of his message had formed:

… You have so much love inside of you. Don’t spend your life alone, Izzy. Find love again. Promise me.

10

“All right. It’s to stop Mrs. Crawley bossing Her Ladyship about.”
(Because of this post)

But first

It isn’t often I’m proud of my raw output. Tonight’s has been especially good, I think. This’ll be for One More Morning.

It’s early morning and Isobel has a lot to mull over.


Images flash before her closed eyes as she leans against the tile wall. The day their world came crashing down at her feet. Eddie on the phone to her, asking did Reg leave for work yet because he’d not arrived at the hospital. Her blood running cold as she’d leapt into her car, driving the route he would have taken. Finding his car in the car park, the motor still running, and him slumped over the steering wheel. Yanking him out of the seat with superhuman strength, his head in her lap on the cold asphalt. Finding his pulse, Thank God! Thank God! Now open your eyes, dammit! Talk to me, Reggie!

The heads of neurology and cardiology appearing at his bedside as she sat vigil. “Your husband has suffered an acute ischemic stroke, Dr. Crawley.” She remembers little else that was said after that. Some mention of suspected a-fib, and the need for further testing once he was stable. Crawling into bed beside him once they’d taken their leave, settling herself into the crook of his left arm, as his right side had been left paralysed, and weeping as she laid her head on his chest. He is forty-five years old! We walk every morning before work. We’ve a baby on the way and a practice to run and none of this makes any sense!

The ensuing days had been a haze of tests, prognoses and recovery plans. None of it matters now; what she remembers are their private moments spent trying to work through what had happened and find a way forward. He had sustained damage to the temporal lobe, so that while tests proved his hearing was unaffected, his ability to comprehend and process speech had suffered mightily. He was also stricken with aphasia to the extent that his ability to speak coherently was diminished. The result of all this had been that he was highly agitated and irritable. He’d been accustomed to making his way in the world with his intellect, producing the right answers at the right time. To be rendered suddenly unable to express his thoughts was to be rendered ineffectual and utterly at the mercy of others. Didn’t anyone understand that he was still the same man?

On his first night home from hospital, she’d given him a wide berth. He had seemed content enough sat up in bed with the last few days’ worth of The Guardian. While he had always been an avid reader, she’d noticed him positively devouring books and newspapers since the stroke.She couldn’t talk to him, nor could he respond, but his ability to read and to comprehend what he took in must not have been damaged. She had tried once - and only once - to remind him of the need to take a dose of medication and he had thrown the bottle at the wall. After that she’d left the dosing schedule where he could read it and simply made sure to watch him. He never missed a dose.

So he could read. And he’d insisted upon signing the discharge papers himself, which indicated he was capable of writing, at least a bit. She was hurt by the wedge that had formed between them due to his inability to articulate himself and to understand her. But she’d an idea that might bridge the gap in communication.

She had got herself changed for bed, slipping into a nightgown that revealed the tiny baby bump that had just begun to emerge. That had got his attention - she’d watched as his eyes tracked her movement all the way from the lavatory doorway to the bedside. She’d picked up a pen and a legal pad off the bedside table and crawled in beside him.

I love you, she had scrawled. And I know you’re in there. Can you write down what you want to tell me?

She’d watched him read it, had seen the light return to his eyes. He gestured with his left hand for the pen. She had placed it in his hand, holding the pad steady for him.

You are beautiful, she’d watched him write. Both of you.

Tears had sprung unbidden from the corners of her eyes. Holding his gaze, she had pressed her lips to his. It seemed he’d understood the gesture loudly and clearly, as he returned the kiss with fervour.

Isobel, he had continued, I’m sorry. Never been out of control before. Not my favourite.

It was her turn.

Understandable, she had assured him. You’re going to get better, you know. Already so much improvement. And I know you’re still there. Still brilliant. My love.

She’d seen the way his brow furrowed in response. That’s new, she’d thought, clinging to a fragment of hope.

If I don’t … came his next words.

“No,” she had whispered as she read. Catching herself, she’d pressed a hand against her mouth and watched as the rest of his message had formed:

… You have so much love inside of you. Don’t spend your life alone, Izzy. Find love again. Promise me.