Episode 15: "The Power Of Love, Part I"
Part One

Ambulance On The Way To Perkins Memorial Hospital

Kendra sat by Jake's side in the back of the ambulance. The paramedics chattered among themselves, assessing Jake's condition as the ambulance raced closer to Perkins Memorial Hospital. Kendra finally found the strength to look into Jake's face. He was unconscious, but Kendra found comfort in convincing herself that he appeared to be asleep. Five o'clock shadow had settled in, the dark stubble more noticeable against Jake's unnaturally pale cheeks. Jake's eyes, usually wide and sparkling whenever Kendra saw them, were tucked under the blanket of his eyelids.

And he lay ever so still.

Kendra closed her eyes, trying to shut out the chilling image of Jake's current condition, only to find flashes of the accident in her mind. Her broken shoe, the oncoming van, Jake pushing her, his body soaring through the air, all flickering frame by frame in her head. Her eyes flew open, hoping to find herself awakened from a very bad dream.

To her despair, Jake still laid unconscious, the ambulance's sirens blared, and the paramedics were still tending to the lacerations on Jake's head and arms. Kendra couldn't bring herself to believe her eyes. Why, Jake? Kendra thought desperately. Why you? It should be me lying there unconscious, bleeding. I still can't believe you did this, Jake.

A new realization struck as Kendra perceived Jake as the only person who has ever done such a selfless deed for her. No one has ever put their life on the line for me, not even those I love. Upon the thought of love, Bryce's face came to Kendra's mind. She wondered if Bryce would have rescued her like Jake had done. She didn't know whether to feel terrible or not when she wished deep down that Bryce would have been her rescuer. After all, I am in love with him. Another thought crossed her mind. Would I have done the same thing for Bryce?

Kendra looked longingly back at Jake. His eyes still closed, face pale, the paramedics were recorded data from computers monitoring Jake's condition. So much blood, but Kendra's stare did not waver. Why did you do it, Jake? Kendra inquired silently. Why did you sacrifice your life for someone you barely know? Is there something you haven't told me, Jake? Kendra reached out and gently stroked Jake's cheek, his skin a little too cool to her touch. She quickly withdrew her hand and looked at the paramedics.

"His blood pressure's dropping," announced one of the paramedics, and the others hovered over him, shielding Jake from Kendra's view.

"Please, Jake, hold on, please," Kendra whispered, tears flowing readily from her eyes.

Part Two

Stacia's Car On The Way To Perkins Memorial Hospital

"Damn rush hour traffic!" Stacia swore, pounding her fist against the steering wheel. She glanced over at Lana.

Lana stared out the passenger side window, struggling to dam her tears. Overcome with heavy worry, Lana could not stop thinking about Jake. He's been through so much during the last few weeks, and now this? Her lips quivered uncontrollably. Oh please, God, Lana closed her eyes to silently pray. Please keep him safe. I can't lose him. I love him. Jake's smiling face faded into her head. His blue eyes, always shining with excitement and joy, bored through her thoughts. She immersed herself in the recollection of every detail she knew of him, from the wattage of his smile to the exact pressure he applied when he embraced her. Lana felt from the very depths of her soul that Jake was so undeserving of all the unfortunate events that had happened to him during the past weeks.

"Lana? Sweetheart, please, look at me." Stacia broke Lana's concentration. Lana looked at Stacia, her usually brilliant and cheerful midnight blue eyes now casting a glum, subdued gaze. "Are you all right?" Stacia asked.

"OF COURSE I'M NOT ALL RIGHT!" Lana snapped angrily, her hands clenching the vinyl covered arm of the seat. She swallowed and calmly apologized. "I'm sorry about that. It's just that, Jake as already been through so much with him losing his job at the Tribune and then learning about Kendra's crush on Bryce. I'm worried sick about him."

"I know you're worried about him, Lana," Stacia replied soothingly. "I'm also worried, and I know Adam's concerned as well. But you can't let your world cave in on you. Jake would have wanted to you to be strong."

"I'm trying, but it hurts me so much to witness him going through all this pain," Lana's eyes allowed for a few tears to escape and she quickly wiped them away. Stacia pulled into the parking lot of Perkins Memorial Hospital. She helped Lana out of the car and walked with her inside the hospital. They approached an information counter, where Lana stood aside sulking while Stacia asked for Jake's whereabouts.

"Jake Herrington," The lady scanned the list of patients on a computer screen. "Ahhh, yes, he was just admitted to the emergency room a few minutes ago. Down the hall, hang right, end of the corridor." Before the woman could finish her directions, Lana took off running, the tears gushing freely from her eyes. Her vision was blurred, but Lana could feel herself pulled in the direction of the corridor leading to the ER unit.

"Lana!" Out of nowhere, Lana heard the cry of Kendra Blake and she came to halt. She wiped her eyes with her fingers, confounded to see Kendra approaching her. Kendra's eyes were swollen from crying and she reached out to embrace Lana. Apprehensively, Lana stepped away from her.

"What are you doing here?" Lana's eyes burned with anger, trying to sear Kendra with her glare. "Where's Jake?"

"Are you Lana Whitmire?" A doctor approached from behind Kendra. "You're listed as Jake's primary emergency contact."

Lana was too eager to hear about Jake to listen to the doctor's comment. "Yes, I'm Lana. Is he okay?" The fire in her eyes faded to a look of hope.

The doctor pursed his lips. "I'm afraid that I have some bad news. He's suffered from several injuries. Three broken ribs, broken left arm, several lacerations on his arms and head, not to mention the possibility of a severe concussion. I'm afraid that the next 24 hours are going to be very critical for him."

Stacia, who had just joined Lana's side, gasped with fright. Kendra covered her mouth with her hand and wept. Lana did not want to believe the doctor. "Critical? Oh no, he's going to pull through this," Lana insisted firmly.

"Well," the doctor tried to consider Lana's feelings, "if he's going to have any good chance, he needs to be replenished with blood immediately. We've contacted the blood banks in the Bay Area, but it's a known fact that blood is in short supply."

Suddenly, Lana remembered the conversation she and Jake had regarding his feelings for Kendra. I can't wait to see what happens to someone who does something major, like donating pints of blood for a transfusion to keep you alive. "I will donate blood," Lana declared. "My blood type's O-Negative, it's universal, right?"

"That's right," the doctor nodded. He made notes on his clipboard.

But Stacia clutched Lana's shoulder. "Lana, you can't! You couldn't donate last month, they said you were underweight..." Stacia pointed out, looking at her best friend pleadingly.

Lana shrugged out of Stacia's grasp. "I'm going to do this, with or without the weight. I'm in good shape, I can handle this donation. Besides," She turned to face Stacia. "It's not every day you get the chance to give someone else the gift of life."

Stacia's eyes met Lana's, swelling with tears. Remembering their conversation in Lana's office from just moments before, she knew what Lana meant and that nothing she said would change Lana's mind. Lana loved Jake that much and Stacia knew that if given the opportunity, she would do the same for Adam. She hugged Lana then watched as the doctor led her best friend down the corridor.

Part Three

Perkins Memorial Hospital

Lana sipped the apple juice from a carton while watching the nurse rub alcohol on her arm. Even when she finished the box, she continued to suck air through the straw.

The nurse raised an eyebrow at her. "Nervous?" She asked.

Lana nodded, then realizing the carton was empty, she handed it to the nurse. The nurse laughed and disposed the box for her. "There is no need to worry," the nurse assured her. "You're doing a great thing." She brought out the needle, syringe, plastic tubing, and two empty plastic bags. "You're Jake Herrington's relative, sister, or girlfriend?"

Lana cringed at the word "girlfriend" but tried to stay relaxed. "Jake's my best friend. We met each other in college."

"Ohhhh," The nurse pulled Lana's arm closer to her. "This will sting a little, then you might start feeling weak." Lana nodded bravely and the nurse pressed the needle through Lana's skin. Lana winced at the slight pinch before watching the precious red liquid flow through the plastic tubing to the bags.

"This is a wonderful thing you're doing," The nurse remarked. "Such a selfless deed deserves another, that's what I say."

Before Lana could catch the nurse's praise, she felt so lightheaded and closed her eyes. Drifting off into darkness, she saw obscurity and heard silence. The emptiness consumed virtually all of her thoughts and emotions, as if erasing the present from its existence...like the blank screen before a movie began. With a clear mind, Lana remembered the day she met Jake.

To Be Continued...

* * * * *

>> Go To Episode 16
>> Back To The Episode List