“Daddy,” Adaline’s voice came from upstairs, making Miles smile at the sound. “Daddy, I need help with my shoes.”
“I’m coming princess,” Miles called up to her rising from sitting on the couch.
“Miles,” Kassie's voice came from the kitchen making his head turn as he walked to the bottom of the stairs. “Closed toe shoes today. We’re going hiking with Andrew after lunch.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Miles jokingly bowed to her a smile lighting his face as he raced up the stairs.
Opening the bedroom door he found Adaline sprawled out on the floor. Her blonde curly hair done up in two fountaining pigtails on top of her head. Wearing a sparkly pink princess costume that fanned out around her legs.
“Daddy,” Adaline sat up looking at him with wide green eyes. “I can’t find my princess heels.”
“Hmm,” Miles nodded his head with feigned concern. “Yes that is a problem. You can’t wear your princess dress without them.”
“No,” Adaline sighed laying back down and lifting her hands above her head. “I guess we will have to stay home today.”
Miles laughed softly walking over to her open closet and picking out a pair of jeans a shirt with sequins in the shape of a unicorn.
“How about instead, you try wearing this unicorn outfit, some jeans, and….” Rustling through the bottom of her closet moving around stuffed animals and soft blankets he pulled out a pair of purple shiny tennis shoes. “These outdoor princess shoes.”
Adaline glanced up at the offered outfit pursing her lips as she thought about it. Miles tried to hold in his laugh at her very serious contemplation.
“I guess I can,” she sighed standing up and stepping out of her dress.
Miles helped her step into her new jeans and she pulled the shirt down and smoothed out the sequins to make the unicorn all one color. Kneeling down in front of her he tied her shoes carefully one at a time and pulled her into her arms.
“Daddy,” Adaline’s voice was smothered by his shirt as he hugged her tight. “I can’t breath.”
“I’m sorry princess,” Miles smiled and stood up offering her a hand which she grabbed with her small one in turn.
Walking down the stairs went slowly with Adaline stepping carefully two feet on each step. Miles waited patiently as she made her way down next to him. He looked down the stairs at his wife smiling and watching them, he automatically returned the smile.
“My two favorite people,” Kassie grinned watching as they made their slow descent. “Are you guys ready to go? I have the bags all in the car we just need to climb in and go.”
“Let’s head on out,” Miles answered grabbing Adaline into his arms and throwing her up on his shoulders. “Princess your carriage awaits.”
Adaline laughed loudly as she swung her legs around his shoulders her small hands filling with his hair to keep her balance. Kassie rolled her eyes a smile lighting up her face as she motioned with her head for them to follow behind her.
Buckling Adaline in her seat Miles kissed her head nuzzling her face into her neck playfully making her erupt into another fit of giggles.
“Miles,” Kassie turned around from the passenger seat. “We’re going to be late come on.”
“Sorry love,” Miles rustled Adaline’s hair once more before closing the door and running around to the drivers side.
Sliding into his own seat he threw on his seat belt and started the car. With his hand behind his wife's head holding onto her head rest he turned his body to look behind him as he pulled out of the driveway.
“Daddy look at my face,” Adaline sucked her lips into her mouth crossing her eyes. “Daddy! Look!”
“Hang on princess,” Miles said putting the car in reverse and slowly pushing the gas to pull the car out onto the road.
“Daddy!” Aldaline shouted with a laugh. “Look at this one.”
Miles turned his eyes to look at Adaline’s new made up look. Turning the wheel as he did so to straighten out into the road.
“Miles! Look out!” Kassie screamed and she reached for the wheel.
Everything seemed to happen in a strange sped up version of a slow motion scene. It was as if somethings moved too fast while others moved at a slow pace before his eyes. The face his daughter made with her tongue sticking out and her ears pulled out with her hands was slow to change into a look of shock at hearing the loud scream from his wife. Turning his head he could see his wife desperately reaching for the wheel to turn them away or do anything to stop the inevitable.
The only thing that seemed to happen too fast for his eyes to see was the other vehicle. A large truck that sped through the neighborhood at an intense speed. It wasn’t until it was half way through his small commuter car that he even knew it was there. The sound was intense, the scraping of metal against metal, horns blaring, the airbag hitting the side of his face and shoulder as it went off in front of him, and the screaming that seemed to come from all around him.
The worst sound that Miles heard that morning wasn’t the horns blaring, the metal scraping, or even the screaming of witnesses as they came running up to the scene. It was the silence he heard when he called out for his wife and daughter.
“Kassie! Adaline!” Miles yelled out trying to raise his arms but they were pinned to his side. He couldn’t move, couldn’t turn his head to look and see if they were alright.
His ears were ringing. Even his own voice was soft in his ears. His eyes blurred and everything went black.
Bright lights were the first thing that Miles saw when he opened his eyes again.
“Mr. Mackley,” A female voice came softly. “Mr. Mackley can you hear me?”
“Yes,” Miles stuttered out. He tried to sit up as his brain raced to catch up with the events that transpired. “Kassie, where’s my wife and my daughter Adaline? We’re going to be late. Kassie hates to be late.”
“Mr. Mackley,” the voice came again gently. “I need you to lay back. You were in an accident. You’re in Mt. Olympic Hospital. Your brother Andrew is just outside let me grab him for you.”
“No,” Miles tried to swallow his throat was dry. “I want to see Kassie, where is she?”
“Let me grab the doctor,” the voice said soothingly resting her hand on his shoulder.
He tried to look in her direction but all he could see was a blurred shadow of a figure surrounded by a blinding white light that made him close his eyes against it.
“Miles,” Andrew’s voice was broken and Miles opened his eyes blinking as the colors of the room screamed at him they were so bright. Although he could see now the colors were too bright to handle and he closed his eyes again. “I’m so sorry. You were in an accident.”
“No we just left the house,” Miles shook his head. “We were pulling out of the driveway. I looked there weren't any cars.”
“Miles,” Andrew took a deep breath letting it out slowly. “The truck was speeding it wasn’t your fault.”
“No there wasn’t a truck,” Miles assured him. Trying to think back to the accident. His voice caught with emotion. “I would have seen it. I I...I only looked away for a second. I only looked at Addies face for a second. She was making a face. I only looked for a second, I swear. There wasn’t a truck. Where is Kassie she can tell you. Where is my wife? Where is my daughter?”
He began to breath faster. His mind racing trying to connect dots that seemed too far away to be put together. The flashes of memories in his head were like pieces belonging to different puzzles they didn’t match up. They couldn’t match up.
“Miles I’m sorry,” Andrew started again. “They didn’t make it.”
“No, you’re lying,” Miles cried out even as the truth of it all hit him square in the chest.
“Sir,” a nurse came beside Andrew. “I need you to leave now.”
The nurse led Andrew out as the world seemed to darken even as Miles strained to sit up further. Looking down he saw another nurse pushing a needle into his arm.
“What are you…” Miles started as he fell into blackness once again.
“Welcome back Miles,” Michael smiled softly at him. “How are you feeling?”
“Again,” Miles said, grasping Michael’s arm. “I need to go back I need to change it. Help me change it.”
“You know we can only go back and relive what has already been done Miles. We can’t change it.” Michael sighed pulling his arm out of Miles grasp.
“You’re wrong,” Miles took a deep breath letting it slowly out of his nose. Calming himself down. “I can do it. I have to do it. I am going back I’m going to do it right. I need to save my family.”
“You have an amazing gift,” Michael sighed heavily. “You’re wasting it reliving the same horrible memory over and over. If you want to see them again go to your wedding, a birthday, or some kind of wonderful vacation. Stop torturing yourself with this one morning over and over again. It’s been two years Miles. It’s time to move on whatever you need to do, do it, but not this. Not anymore.”
“I can do it this time,” Miles closed his eyes, tears streaming down his face. “I can do it this time. I can do it this time.”
““Daddy,” Adaline’s voice came from upstairs, making Miles smile at the sound. “Daddy, I need help with my shoes.”