A few days later, Justin was busy working on a painting in his studio at Britin that he planned to display at his upcoming show when his cell phone began playing "You're My Best Friend" by Queen, which was his ringtone for Daphne.
When he answered the phone, he heard Daphne crying. He knew that she was upset over something serious, as she was usually the rock between the two of them and rarely cried.
"What happened?" Justin demanded, worried that there was something wrong with the baby. "Is it-".
After hearing the sound of squealing tires, glass shattering, and metal being crushed, Justin screamed frantically into the phone.
"Daphne! Daphne, can you hear me? Daphne!"
All he heard in response was a scream and then Daphne groaning in pain.
"Holy shit," he said, tears now running down his cheeks. "Daphne, if you can hear me, I'm going to call 911 and come find you!"
Justin hung up his phone and called 911, but he quickly realized that he had no idea where Daphne could have been driving when she crashed. Luckily the police were able to ping her cell phone and found that she was on a country road that lead to Britin. Justin was speeding down the same road going towards Pittsburgh by that point, and he reached the crash site a couple of minutes later.
"Oh no... I found her. She's pregnant with my child. Please tell them to hurry," Justin whimpered into his phone before hanging up and pulling his car off of the road.
Daphne's BMW was facing the wrong direction and the passenger side was partially wrapped around a tree. As Justin ran over to the driver's side, he hoped that she was alright despite what the car looked like.
Justin found that Daphne was bleeding from several cuts on her face and hands from the broken windshield and windows. The airbags had been deployed but were now partially deflated.
"Daphne," he called out to her as he jerked open the driver's side door. He was relieved when she opened her eyes, although she looked completely spaced out.
He went back to his car to grab some clean rags from his trunk to try and see if he could stem the bleeding until the ambulance got there. Because of the rural location, Justin knew that it would take a while to get to them.
Daphne's eyes were again closed once he returned to her, but he was able to rouse her.
"Justin?" she whispered shakily, clearly in a great amount of pain.
"I'm here, Daph," Justin answered as he crouched beside the car and pressed a rag to a cut on her forehead. "You're going to be okay. It's just a few scratches. Help is on the way."
"The baby... I don't feel him moving," she said, prompting Justin to put his other hand on her belly.
He moved his hand around for a few moments before he felt the baby kick, as if the little one knew that Justin was summoning him.
"Did you feel that? He's okay."
Daphne nodded and tried to smile in spite of the pain she was feeling. Being a doctor, she knew that she was in very bad shape. The impact of the crash and the airbag slamming into her chest so suddenly had caused at least a few broken ribs.
"Justin," Daphne said as she struggled to breathe. "I don't want Curtis to raise our baby. You... and Brian... you take care of him."
"What are you talking about? Did something happen between you two? Is this why you were so upset? Is this why you crashed?" Justin asked, extremely confused and concerned.
"Keegan should be yours," she insisted. "If I don't make it... promise me that you'll take care of him."
"Daphne, you will raise the baby," Justin told his dearest friend, not wanting her to give up hope that she would pull through this. "Whatever happens between you and Curtis, Brian and I will be there for you. You know we will."
"Injuries... are bad... maybe... too bad."
Justin shook his head frantically. "Daph, don't talk like that. Keegan needs you. I need you."
He couldn't face the thought of losing Daphne, his lifelong friend and the mother of his future child. He wanted to scream, cry, pray, anything that would make her better.
Finally, Justin heard the sound of sirens approaching several minutes later. Telling Daphne he would be right back, he ran to his car to get a flare gun he remembered having in a roadside emergency kit in the trunk. It was a winding road and the flare would show the emergency services where they were.
When the ambulance stopped, two EMTs jumped out. One rushed to Daphne with a cervical collar as the other one rolled a gurney over to the car. Since Justin had managed to stop the worst of the bleeding, the EMTs concentrated on getting Daphne out of the car and into the ambulance as fast as possible. A firetruck soon joined them, and the men on the truck helped to pull her from the car.
"How far along is she?" one of the EMTs asked Justin.
He had to think about it for a moment. "Thirty-five weeks. I felt him moving. They're going to be okay, right?" he asked desperately, needing some reassurance.
Once they rolled the gurney into the ambulance, Justin climbed in after and insisted he ride to the hospital with Daphne. Seeing how bad of shape she was in, the EMTs didn't bother to argue with him.
Both EMTs were very experienced in responding to car crashes and could tell from the damage to the vehicle that Daphne probably had a lot of internal injuries. Once the ambulance was moving, they started an IV and put an oxygen mask over her face, hoping that they could at least keep Daphne alive long enough for the baby to be saved.
Justin held onto Daphne's free hand and continued to tell her that she and Keegan were going to be okay. She continued to tell Justin that she wanted him and Brian to raise the baby in between gasping breaths.
"Why isn't the siren on?" Justin asked the EMTs.
They informed him that they actually were using it and explained that when you are inside the ambulance, you could barely hear it.
The ambulance arrived at the closest hospital nearly half an hour later, just outside of Pittsburgh city limits. Everything moved very fast once they had gotten into the building. Justin was stopped by a nurse outside of the treatment area who told him he had to stay in the waiting room.
With nothing else to do, Justin took his cell phone out of his pocket and called Brian. He frantically explained what had happened, and Brian said he would leave the office immediately to meet him at the hospital.
Justin did not look forward to his second phone call but knew that he had to make it.
Curtis picked up after the fourth ring.
"Hi, Justin," Curtis said, his voice already sounding tense as if he was expecting Justin to be angry with him.
"Curtis... uh, I don't know how to tell you this, but Daphne got into an accident on the way to Britin."
"What?" he asked. "Is she okay?"
"I... I really don't know."
Justin told Curtis what hospital they were at and hung up. He paced around the waiting area until a doctor came out to inform him that their small hospital was not equipped to treat a pregnant patient with the amount of trauma that Daphne had. Justin was soon back on the phone with Brian and Curtis to let them know that Daphne was going to be airlifted to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which had both an excellent trauma center and children's hospital. Daphne and Curtis had both attended medical school there, and it was where Curtis worked as a surgeon and Daphne was planning on delivering the baby.
It was a quick flight to the hospital, but Daphne seemed to be getting weaker by the minute. She was fading in and out of consciousness but came to just as she was being rolled into the emergency area.
"Justin, promise me," Daphne repeated, her voice muffled by the oxygen mask over her mouth and nose. "Promise... that you'll take care of the baby... please."
He hoped it wouldn't come to that, but he could not turn her down in her fragile state. "I promise."
"Love you," she said before being rolled to the trauma area.
Justin soon found a clipboard with a stack of paperwork on it shoved into his hands, which he filled out the best he could. He was trying to remember the last piercing or tattoo that Daphne had received when Brian rushed over to him.
"How is she?" Brian asked.
"I don't know. They haven't told me anything since we got here," Justin answered, getting more scared as time went on.
Noticing that Curtis hadn't arrived yet, Brian gave him a call that rang several times before it went voicemail.
"Where the fuck is he?" Brian asked as he tried to call again.
Justin flipped to another page, which was filled with more invasive questions about Daphne's medical history. He never recalled Daphne mention to him that she had black or tarry stool...
"I don't know. He was supposed to be off today."
Curtis must have picked up that time because Brian asked "Where are you?" into his phone.
Brian's eyebrows went up. "Home? What the fuck are you still doing at home? Your pregnant wife is in the emergency room! You should be here with her."
Justin grabbed the phone away from his partner and said, "Curtis, get your ass to Pitt now."
"I... I can't," Curtis answered. "I've been drinking."
"You've been drinking?" Justin yelled.
Brian took the phone back and told Curtis to call himself a cab and get his ass to the hospital. He then tried to get Justin to calm down before a doctor, who identified himself as Dr. Roberts, finally came out to give them an update.
"Daphne is in very critical condition. Her right lung has collapsed, and we believe that it may have been punctured by one of her ribs. We don't know how many of her ribs are broken at this point or if any of her other internal organs were damaged. We need to get her into surgery quickly."
"What about the baby?" Justin asked.
"His heart rate is steady but a bit shallow. The best thing for him and for Daphne would be to perform a cesarian."
Justin put his hand over his chest. "But it's too early!"
"Actually, babies that are born at this point in gestation often do very well. We won't know until after he's out how he is. I'll send word when I know something. Did you call Curtis? He really should be here."
"Yes, we called him. He said that he's been drinking, but we told him to call a cab, that he needs to be here," Brian answered, clearly upset at Curtis and at the situation.
Dr. Roberts nodded, having heard rumors about Curtis and one of the interns on his team, but he certainly wasn't going to mention that to either of these men. Neither looked too happy about the state that Curtis seemed to be in at that point. The doctor hoped that those rumors didn't have anything to do with what had happened to Daphne, who he had known since she had performed her residency at the hospital several years before.
Dr. Roberts then headed off to scrub for surgery, saying a silent prayer that he would be able to deliver good news when it was over.
Daphne's obstetrician had been called to surgery to deliver the baby. She and the other surgeons met at the scrub sinks and discussed what would need to be done. They determined that the first thing to do would be to deliver the baby and have a neonatal team standing by to take him. Once the baby was out, the work to try and save Daphne could begin.
Brian and Justin decided that it was time to call in the cavalry. Brian volunteered to call the members of "his side of the family" while Justin called Daphne's parents, Jennifer, and Molly. Everyone started trickling into the waiting area within the next thirty or so minutes.
An hour after Brian had called him, Curtis showed up appearing slightly intoxicated and smelling of alcohol. Brian and Justin took Curtis into the doctor's lounge for some privacy.
Justin turned to Curtis and asked, "Alright, what the fuck is going on? Why was Daphne so upset that she crashed her car?"
"And why were you drinking so heavily in the middle of the day that you couldn't even fucking drive?" Brian added. "Fuck, even I don't do that."
"Well, all of this was just getting to me. You know, with the baby coming, Daphne not being ‘in the mood' enough, and I just... well, I sort of... Istartedseeingoneofmyinterns... and Daphne found out today, and she got mad and left the house."
Curtis tried to rush through what he was saying because both Justin and Brian were looking very angry at the moment.
Justin put up his hand and said, "Wait just one fucking second. Did you just say that you started seeing one of your interns, and are trying to blame it on a woman who is eight months pregnant? Your wife, who is in an operating room fighting for her life as we speak?"
"Well yes, kind of, I guess," came the quiet reply.
Brian had to grab onto his partner before he could attack the husband of his best friend. He wanted to throttle the man too, but he didn't want to risk getting either himself or Justin thrown out of the hospital. They both needed to be there for Daphne and the baby.
Brian was still holding Justin and trying to help him stay calm when a nurse came into the lounge and told them that the baby has been delivered.
Justin cautiously asked her if the boy was okay.
The nurse happily replied, "He's doing great. His APGAR scores were 7 and 8, which is amazing for a premie. He weighs a little over five pounds and is seventeen inches long. He's a fighter and probably won't be in the NICU and the incubator for very long. You guys can go see him in the NICU if you'd like."
Justin then asked the question he was dreading. "How's Daphne?"
"She's still in surgery. I'm sorry, that's all I know," the nurse told them.
All this time, Curtis had not said one word in concern about either Daphne or the baby, which was pissing Brian off. To him, it seemed like Curtis couldn't have cared less about what happened to either one of them, recalling the conversation that the two of them had just a few days prior about the "stress" Curtis was going through regarding his impending fatherhood.
While they had been waiting for Curtis to arrive, Justin told Brian that Daphne begged him to take the baby and raise him with Brian if she didn't live through her injuries. In spite of the fact that he was more than hesitant about taking on the responsibility of a baby at his ripe old age of forty-four and that he never wanted to be a full-time father, even to his own biological son, Brian couldn't imagine letting Justin and Daphne's child grow up without all the love that he deserved.
He knew what it was like to be raised by people who didn't want him, and he wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially the child of the man that he loved with his entire being. Looking at Curtis's sorry ass, Brian doubted that the man could be a decent single father to a baby that wasn't even biologically his. He also feared if Curtis got together with the person he was having an affair with, how she would treat a child who had no biological ties to either one of them.
Justin sat down hard on the lumpy couch. "I don't want to see the baby until Daphne... oh God, what if she doesn't make it?" he asked for at least the tenth time. "What if she doesn't even get to meet her son?"
Brian sat down next to his partner and pulled him in close. "Need I inform you again that for three long, torturous days after the bashing, you were on death's door? Each time the doctors came out to talk to us, we all feared that they were going to tell us you were gone. They had to drill a hole through your fucking skull to keep you alive, remember? Then, once they finally decided that you probably weren't going to die, you were in a fucking coma for two weeks. You still looked dead, though. Look at you now: you turned out fine."
Justin made a fist with his right hand, which still cramped up on him from time to time. "Yeah."
"Daphne was amazing that whole time," Brian continued. "We were all a mess - your mom, Grandma Ruth, Molly, Deb, me - but she never once doubted that you'd pull through. That whole debacle was what made her want to become a doctor, though I didn't think she'd want to drain boils and inject middle aged ladies with botox for a living, but she's a doctor nonetheless. It was because of seeing what you went through that made her decide that she wanted to take care of people for a living. It's your turn to be strong for her."
The three men returned to the family waiting area. Not known for her patience, Debbie found a nurse soon after she and Carl had arrived and demanded to get an update on Daphne's condition. The nurse tried to tell Debbie that she didn't know anything and was not allowed to call the operating room to check just before Dr. Roberts emerged.
The doctor walked over and said to Curtis, "I'm sorry, but we lost her."
There was a collective gasp among the group.
"When we opened her up for the cesarean, we found that she had a lot of blood in her abdomen. As we tried to find the source of the bleeding, she went into cardiac arrest and flat lined. We tried to revive her for almost an hour, but we were unable to bring her back. I'm so sorry."
"No, no, no, no! Daphne!" Justin screamed, sinking to the floor on his knees. Brian knelt down and wrapped his arms around the younger man, trying his best to comfort his partner.
Everyone else grabbed onto the person closest to them, no one wanting to believe that the tough, sweet, bubbly girl that they all loved was really gone. Emmett was especially devastated, as he and Daphne had had many "Girls Nights" over the years doing each other's hair, makeup, and nails while watching the latest chick flicks whenever Curtis did overnights at the hospital. Debbie loved the feisty, spunky girl who wouldn't take shit from anyone, even the great Brian Kinney. The Chanders family was heartbroken over the loss of their youngest daughter and little sister.
After hysterically crying in Brian's arms for several minutes, Justin looked around the room. "Where's Curtis?" he asked, noticing that the man was absent.
"He said he needed some air," Carl, who was comforting his crying wife, answered.
Justin stood back up and headed towards the exit, Brian following after him. They found Daphne's husband pacing on the sidewalk outside of the emergency room entrance.
"Curtis," Justin said tearfully, "please tell me that I misheard what you said before, and that you did not cheat on Daphne and cause all of what has happened today."
"Yes, Justin, I did sleep with someone, but it's not my fault that Daphne got so pissed off that she wrapped her car around a fucking tree," Curtis spat out. "She only found out because she was snooping on my phone, and I had no choice but to confess. And besides, you're one to talk. You and Brian screw around on each other all the time like it's no big deal. I've heard all about your little affair with the violin player."
Justin was understandably appalled. "There's a big difference, Curtis. We weren't monogamous back then and had never promised to be, so it wasn't cheating. It's been almost fifteen years since that happened for fuck's sake, so you have no right throwing that in my face! When you and Daphne got married, you promised each other monogamy."
"And for your information, you son of a bitch, we've been monogamous for several years now," Brian proudly added.
"I imagine that she felt like she had a good reason to ‘snoop' in your phone, and she obviously did if you've been fucking around on her," Justin said. "Now you actually have the balls to try and shift the blame onto your dead wife, and then bring up my and Brian's ancient history to make yourself feel better about what you did? Jesus, I always thought you were so nice... when did you become such an asshole? Did you even bother trying to stop her when she left the house in such a hysterical state or did you just get started on your little bender instead? Whether you want to admit it or not, you fucking killed her, Curtis!"
Curtis mumbled something about it not being his fault that Daphne was pregnant, so it wasn't his fault that she was overly emotional in the first place and crashed her car.
Before Justin could make a rebuttal, Curtis got into a waiting cab that took him away.