Authors: Jackie Williams
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Teen & Young Adult, #Contemporary Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense
Adam dragged his way back into consciousness as they arrived at the dock. He was strapped to a trolley, his head and neck in a brace, his body clamped into place on the stretcher. Daniel was shouting, insisting that as Adam’s personal physician, he was allowed in the ambulance. Adam felt confused about why he was lying flat on his back.
He mumbled to the person standing nearest to him as Daniel argued with the paramedic. The man turned and Adam recognized him immediately. It was the mousey man he had seen Caroline hugging in the street the day he had come from Dubai. He was past caring who the man was, he needed to find out if Caroline was alive. He felt as though his own life depended on it.
The man answered his questions without him even asking.
“It’s okay. She’ll be okay. She’s being taken to hospital now. She’s cut and bruised but that’s all, they’re going to keep an eye on her because of the bump on her head. Honestly she’s going to be fine.” He answered Adam’s mistrusting look.
David didn’t look very pleased himself, as he stared at t
he huge man, his expression almost sickly. “Be quiet, let them go and fix you up and then I can thump you fairly.” He added as an afterthought.
“What?” Adam was even more confused at the
man’s words. “Where? Where is she? Can I see her at the hospital?” He tried to get up from the trolley, his chest straining at the straps, ignoring the intense pains shooting through the whole of his body, but was held down by Daniel who was now scowling at him.
d’s sake Adam, let’s get you to hospital. I promise you she won’t leave without seeing you. I won’t let her, okay? And yes, she’s far more likely to leave hospital before you do so will you stop arguing?”
He frowned at Adam’s disbelieving look. “You’ve been crushed man. Twice. Lay still and let us sort you out or I’m going to sedate you. And believe me I’ll make sure the needle hurts, just so you don’t forget who’s in charge here.” Daniel was closing the doors of the ambulance, shutting the other man outside. Adam heard sirens as they were rushed away.
Daniel leaned over him, listening to his chest and fiddling with monitors as they drove. The paramedic was reading off a chart into a telephone and using terms that meant nothing to Adam. He assumed the man was speaking directly to the hospital. He moved his eyes towards Daniel, wary suddenly.
“What’s going on? What are they going to do to me? Why can’t I move
?” He couldn’t seem to raise his voice above a whisper, it hurt his chest too much. He didn’t like the sound of the way the paramedic was speaking or the look on Daniel’s face. It wasn’t at all reassuring.
’s eyes were grave.
“Adam, this is se
rious. It looks like your back might be broken, but I’m not sure where. I’m not going to lie to you. You look bad. Until we’ve checked you over and you’ve had some x-rays of your spine, you have to be still. If you make any sudden movement you could be paralysed, and that’s not all. I think you’ve punctured a lung, there are definitely cracked ribs and your shoulders are a mess. We’re going to get you straight into surgery and take the x-rays there.” He put his hand over Adam’s bruised one. “This is going to slow you down a bit for a while, I just hope there’s not going to be anything permanently disabling.”
Adam continued looking at his friend
“Huh! Makes the broken hands pale into insignificance then.” He tried to laugh, but the bubbling noise coming from his chest
and the pains shooting through his shoulders stopped him. “Look, I don’t care about me Dan, I just need to know that she’s okay.” He gasped out the last part, pain taking over as he tasted his own blood in his mouth.
Daniel tried to wipe the blood away.
“Well she’s going to need some looking after, but I think she’ll be fine in a couple of days. The skipper says she would have died; she would have been crushed and drowned, if you hadn’t done what you did. He’s going to recommend you for a bravery award. Says he’s never seen anything like it.” Daniel was awed, but Adam just mumbled simply.
“She’s worth it.”
His voice rattled through his chest.
The journey took only a few minutes and the ambulance drove straight into an underground bay. A team was already on hand to pull Adam from the vehicle
and they wasted no time as he was wheeled into the casualty department of the local hospital.
Immediately there were about twenty people surrounding him. They all talked at once as they lifted him painfully
from the trolley onto a bed. They poked needles into the back of his hand beforehe was rushe
into a lift. Daniel was at his side constantly as they dashed along the corridor and into a theatre. A man in blue overalls and mask peered through round spectacles at him and grabbed notes from attending team. Great lights swung above his head as he was moved onto another table and he squinted as the glare shone full in his face.
Someone started cutting the
wet clothes from his body. He could hear the scissors shearing through sodden fabric and he gasped in pain as they pulled the material from beneath him. A nurse in green scrubs held his hand as she asked him to count to ten. He got to eleven before the glaring brightness of the lights began to fade and he was wiped out.
Caroline stared bleakly through the window of the hospital
room. Adam was barely recognizable beneath the swathes of bandages and machines attached to him. Tubes seemed to intrude into every part of him. His strong face was limp, unfamiliarly slack with dark stubble accentuating his hard jaw. Only his long hair flopping over his eye seemed normal.
ached miserably, she desperately wanted to go and sit beside him. He hadn’t yet come round after the surgery. The doctors were keeping him sedated, trying to give his body some time to heal itself before he woke to the world.
A tear slipped dow
n her cheek as she thought of what he’d done for her.
rror gripped her heart at the thought of what he’d done to himself.
The rescue was the talk of the town and had even made the local paper just in time for the weekend. He was being called a “Superhero” and a “Man of
steel”, but he didn’t look much like steel to Caroline as he lay broken and bruised, wired to machines with hanging bottles of who knew what surrounding him.
been discharged from the hospital two days previously, after having a scan. The baby was fine. She suffered nothing more life threatening than a bump to her head and a sore throat from swallowing the sea water, but she had only left to change her clothes and then she’d come back to wait.
A nurse had brought her a
coffee about an hour previously but it sat untouched by her side and the smell of it nauseated her. She had tried to question the nurse about Adam’s condition but the woman had refused to tell her anything, stating that she could only give next of kin or the family doctor any information. It was beyond frustrating. Caroline was carrying his child but that didn’t make her any more important than a member of public who had walked in off the street.
Daniel had gon
e home for the morning, yawning widely as he told her that he had to go and get some sleep before seeing a couple of private patients. He would be back as soon as possible.
He had introduced himself to her while she was still in a hospital bed and
had asked after her general health. She didn’t tell him about her pregnancy and he hadn’t looked at her notes. He wasn’t her doctor. She didn’t have to reveal a thing to him. She wanted Adam to be the first to know.
Daniel had given her a brief inventory of Adam’s injuries. The list had seemed very long and even Daniel couldn’t say if the surgery had been successful.
Guilt crushed her. This had been entirely her own fault. She should have been more careful, should have noted the times of the incoming tide.
She felt a warm hand on her shoulder and turned to meet David’s encouraging gaze.
“Caroline, try and be positive. The doctors will have done everything they can.” He walked round to face her, rubbing her arms to try and warm her. It didn’t work. There was a chill in her bones that she couldn’t shift. She knew it wouldn’t go until she’d seen Adam awake and had spoken to him.
“I just keep thinking that he shouldn’t have done this to himself because of me… because of us.” She placed her hand protectively on her stomach. There was the tiniest protrusion now and she rubbed her hand over it gently. “I was the one who wasn’t careful, not him. That’s the second time he’s saved me. If there’s anything, anything at all permanently wrong with him, I’ll never forgive myself.” She looked up tearfully at David.
He gave her a reassuring grin.
“I was talking to one of the medical team while I chose a sandwich. Apparently they needed to give him the highest amount of anaesthetic that they’ve ever used, enough to knock out a horse. He’s absolutely huge. I think you’re right. I’m definitely not going to thump him. Well, not until I’ve been to the gym a few times.” David smiled down at her and put his arms around her. He kissed her on the top of the head. “Stop looking so anxious, I’m sure that a bloke who can fend off a blooming great life boat will be fine Caroline.”
“I only hope that you’re right.” She whispered. They turned back to the window and gasped in shock as they saw that Adam
’s eyes were wide open. He was looking directly at Caroline, his expression unreadable.
David turned round quickly and glanced along the corridor. Typically, just when y
ou needed someone, there was nobody at the nurses’ station.
“I’ll go and find somebody
. You get in there and talk to him. Go give him something to live for.” He shoved her towards the door.
Caroline didn’t hesitate. She
pushed through the door and went immediately to Adam’s side. Without even thinking, she picked up his hand gently in hers and kissed the back of it. He was watching her every move, his dark grey eyes never leaving her for a second, and then he tried to speak. It came out as a dry mumble. He tried again.
“Have I been sleeping long?” His eyes swam a little and he frowned, drawing his eyebrows together, as he refocused on her. “What day is it?”
“Monday, you’ve been out for a few days. They kept you out so you wouldn’t move.” She could only whisper as her throat threatened to close up and choke her.
“Are you okay?” He was slightly clearer now and his eyes stayed
“Yes I’m fine, thanks to you
Adam. Just a bit of a sore throat. But you were nearly killed. I still can’t believe that you would do anything so reckless.” Tears spilt down her cheeks and he tried to lift his hand to her face. He winced at the movement and his hand dropped to the bed again.
“Sorry, I feel a bit stiff,
do you have a tissue?” He tried to turn his head to look around him but his neck was still in a brace and he could only move his eyes.
The door behind them flew open and four pe
ople came rushing in. Daniel came in first followed by another doctor who immediately started unclipping one of the monitors. The doctor spoke in an excessively calm tone as he moved to the end of the bed and lifted the sheets.
“Mr. Cavendish, can you understand me, can you hear me?” Adam nodded fractionally, the brace restricting his movements. “Okay, this is very important. I need you to wriggle your toes at me.” He looked down at Adam
’s huge bare feet where they poked out of the end of the sheets.
Adam raised his eyebrows
“Why on earth do you need to see my toes wriggle?” He asked,
his voice completely clear now. The deep frown was across his forehead again. “Is this some kind of National Health game I should know about?”
The doctor shook his head.
“No Mr. Cavendish,” The man smiled at him encouragingly. “I’m merely trying to ascertain whether we managed to save you from being paralysed. Come on now, give it a go, let’s see if we can waggle our toes eh?”
Adam’s jaw dropped slightly at the man
’s turn of phrase, then he shut it firmly and flapped his great feet up and down at the doctor. A grimace spread across his features, and he growled.
“See? No problem
apart from looking like a stranded sea lion. I could have told you that without having to go through party tricks.”
The doctor smiled at him a
gain. “Just checking thoroughly. Well that’s excellent news! Mr. Robinson will be delighted with the results! Got to confess that it was touch and go for a while.” He waggled his finger at Adam as though he had been a naughty child. “Nearly had a panic when we thought you were going to come round while we were fixing the steel rod in your spine. Still, no harm done and nothing that another double dose of anesthetic couldn’t’ cure. I daresay Mr. Robinson will be down later to look at his handy work.” The doctor bustled about and read a few more figures on a chart. “I think we can get some of these tubes out of you now. Make you a bit more comfortable. How are the shoulders?”
He was almost too shocked to answer from hearing about steel rods in his spine. He shrugged
and winced immediately. “Agony if I’m honest.”
“We can give you a little more
or that.” The doctor flicked a drip at the side of Adam and then turned a small dial. “You can press this button here and it releases the dose whenever you feel the pain is too much. There’s a controlled dosage so you can’t overdo it.” He showed Adam a dial at his side, then continued. “It’s probably the bruising more than anything else. We’ve had to pin you together a bit. Well a lot actually, but I’ll let Mr. Robinson give you all the gory details later. The pins sound horrible but it’s better than being stuck in a full body cast. At least you can move about fairly freely with these things. The downside is that it hurts to move.” He tapped the side of a monitor that had gone blank and a beeping line started bouncing across the screen.
Adam pressed the pain killer button with his thumb and Caroline noticed, for the first time, the scabbed knuckles. They looked fairly well healed and she wondered how he’d hurt them, and when. They were obviously older wounds than from when he’d rescued her.
Another man in a white coat entered and he and the first doctor held a discussion about removing the neck brace. They decided on some more x-rays first and they manoeuvred him onto a trolley before wheeling a protesting Adam away.
Daniel walked over to the side table and started reading Adam
’s notes. He laughed at something on one of the sheets.
“If this had been anyone else
the doses of morphine would have killed them. God! He’s something else isn’t he?” He was beyond relieved to see his friend awake at last.
roline glanced up at Daniel. She read over his shoulder and smiled with him.
“Oh yes. He’s definitely something else. Have you ever checked how he reacts to kryptonite? Just to make sure he’s not from outer space?” She heard a low laugh and looked towards the other two people in the room. She hadn’t even glanced towards them when they first entered. She had been focused on Adam entirely, but now she lifted her head and almost cried out in shock as she saw the elegant blond woman who had driven Adam’s car.
The woman came forwards and Caroline noticed the endless, slim legs once again. They were encased in tight denim. She swallowed hard as the woman went to the bed and ran her well manicure hand gently over the dented pillow. She picked it up and plumped it, then lay it back down and smoothed the surface. She lifted her head and looked at Caroline closely.
“It’s good to see him awake at last. But I pity the staff here. I don’t think he’s going to be a very patient patient. I shall have to make sure he has everything he wants or he’s going to be impossible. Maybe I can persuade them to let him come home. I can look after him far more easily there.” Her voice was dark and sultry, just as it had been over the telephone.
Caroline dropped her gaze to the floor, unable to speak or even think clearly at that moment. Nearly choking with the emotions that threatened to overtake her, she moved towards the door. She couldn’t take the pain that seared her heart. She certainly couldn’t stand there waiting to see Adam again while his lover smirked across at her.
She pushed her way out of the room and walked into the corridor, waving Daniel away from her when he looked as though he were going to follow.
There was nowhere for her to go except to find David. He was by the nurses’ station sitting on a chair and obviously trying to keep out of the way. He turned and stood as he heard Caroline’s strangled sob.
“What’s happened? What’s going on? Is he okay?” He asked, taking hold of her shoulders and giving her a gentle shake.
Caroline looked up at her brother.
“His girlfriend is in there.” She managed to gasp out. “I can’t go back in and tell him I’m pregnant while she’s there. I just can’t. Please take me home David, I can’t bear to be here a moment longer.” She slumped helplessly against him, her voice nearly choking her.
A door squealed open along the hallway and David looked up just in time to see Adam’s huge feet appearing as he was pushed through the door at the other end of the corridor.
He grabbed Caroline’
“Come on, let’s get out of here. You’ve seen him awake and you know he’s going to be okay, now he can get on with it by himself. You can do better than him.” He steered Caroline quickly towards the exit and she went with him, hardly knowing where he was taking her, her feet feeling like lead as she walked