Authors: Jayton Young
All I could do was nod. My heart has hammering in my chest, and I could barely breathe.
“Back up.” Garret told us. When we did, he opened the door slowly before swearing. “Stay back!” He yelled going into the apartment.
Clair grabbed me, pulling me to stand behind her. As she did, I heard a loud gunshot and felt a searing pain in my left shoulder before I blacked out.
I became aware slowly, first hearing a beeping sound, and then hearing voices talking softly. I moved my head toward the voices, but the movement sent shards of pain through my left shoulder. I must have made a sound at that, because I heard a familiar voice asking me if I was alright. When I opened my eyes, I had to blink rapidly before they finally adjusted to the light.
The first person I saw was Garret. He was on my right side holding my hand, and amazingly, my first thought was how nice and right it felt. I smiled at him before my mind flashed to what had happened. I remembered Garret telling us to stay back and being pulled out of the way, and then nothing.
“What happened?” I croaked out. My throat was dry and scratchy.
Garret poured me a cup of water to sip on as he spoke. I noticed Claire and Stefan in the background, but my focus was on Garret. “Someone broke into your apartment last night. When I opened the door, everything was thrown all over the place. The furniture was shredded. When I told y’all to stay back, Claire pulled you behind her, trying to protect you, but someone shot you.” I took several sips from the cup he was holding for me.
“Are you all alright?” I asked looking around. “Did anyone else get hurt?”
“No, honey. It was only you.” Claire answered. I could see her eyes all red and puffy from where she’d been crying. If there is one thing I knew about Claire, it was that she never cried. She said she would never show any weakness; it would only give someone else the upper hand, so for her to have been crying was humbling to me. I knew she liked me as a friend, but I really didn’t realize how much she cared.
“I’m okay, Claire.” I told her. She came over to me, sat on the edge of the bed, and bent over to hug me as much as she could with my injury and the bandages.
“We were worried for you, Di. You were shot in your left shoulder. The bullet missed anything vital, but you lost so much blood.” She said as she sat back up.
“How long have I been out?”
“Not even twenty four hours.” Stefan spoke up. “You’re a tough cookie, short stuff.” He said, with a smile, but I could see the worry in his eyes. I had some really good friends, and I hadn’t even realized it. I had almost left them.
Then I remembered that I was supposed to have called Doc last night. “Can I use your phone?” I asked Garret. “I need to call Doc. He’ll be so worried since I didn’t call when I said I would. I never miss a call.”
“Don’t worry, Dina.” He said. “He called my phone last night when he couldn’t get you at home, and I told him what happened. He said he’s on his way down here and will be here either tonight or in the morning. He made me promise that I would stay with you until he got here. He was almost panicked from the sound of it.”
“What, is he driving down?” I wondered.
“That’s what it sounded like.”
The doctor came in a few minutes later and checked me over. He said everything was looking good and I would be able to go home the following day. They had put me in a full arm cast that encased part of my shoulder. I was told that the bullet went through my shoulder blade, breaking it but not shattering it, which of course was a good thing, but I couldn’t move my arm at all for six weeks.
Stefan and Claire went to get us some food, but I was feeling queasy. I was in pain, but didn’t want anyone fussing over me, so I didn’t say anything. Garret and I spoke of random things for a while before a question came to mind.
“Did the police catch anyone, or find anything?” I already knew who did it, but I had a small hope that maybe he had been caught.
“No, unfortunately not. They dusted for prints in your apartment, but initial reports are saying only your prints were found. They found where the shooter was approximately standing by finding the bullet casing, but he was on foot, and neither Claire nor I saw anyone. It’s not looking good. They recovered the bullet from your wound, but that won’t help until we have a gun to go with it.”
“How do you know all of this?”
“The lead detective on the case is an old Marine buddy of mine, so he’s keeping me up to date. He’ll be by in a little while to get a statement from you.” Garret said, taking my hand back in his. “I would really like you to stay with me. Margie has already moved in with Rose. She said she’d had enough of me when I was growing up.” He laughed a little. “I don’t know what she’s talking about, though. I was an angel.”
“Yea, sure you were. I can totally see that, Mr. I have to know everything and have everything my way.” I smirked at him.
“I don’t know who you’re talking about.” He tried to look innocent, but it definitely wasn’t working. “It can’t be me.”
We laughed and talked a little more, but I didn’t answer his question of whether I’d stay with him or not. I really liked him, but there were several things to factor in.
First, if I moved in with him, it would bring Chuck to his doorstep. I knew he was an ex-Marine, but Chuck was a mad man, so I figured madness trumped training. I didn’t want him to get hurt. Two is that I really did like him. I had from the moment I met him, but I tried to keep my distance. Look how my tastes have run so far. What if I was wrong and he was just like or even worse, than Chuck? The only other person I liked got hurt and blamed me in the end. I couldn’t live through all of that again. I didn’t think Garret would ever hurt me, but I had thought that about Chuck at one point. Lastly, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I ever would be. I had so much baggage; I didn’t want to burden anyone like that.
Stefan and Claire came back with the food, and my stomach rolled. I couldn’t even try to eat.
“I’m so sorry that I made you waste money on me.” I told them. I was really hurting now, and I was getting tired. I guess Garret notice the grimace of pain I’d tried to cover because he hit the button for the nurse before saying, “Don’t worry, the food won’t go to waste.” And sure enough, when I looked over to Stefan, he’d grabbed my burger out of the bag and was stuffing it in his mouth.
“What?” He asked, noticing me and Garret looking at him. I giggled but the movement sent shards of pain through my arm.
Just then, the nurse came in with a needle and a little vial of medication. “Are you hurting, Ms. Evans?”
I nodded, so she loaded the needle and injected it into the IV port then checked my vitals, noting them in my chart, before leaving again. Within a couple of minutes my eyes were drooping and I fell into a peaceful sleep.
I woke to two familiar male voices in a low voiced, but heated discussion.
“I just think it’s awful quick. Even not stopping to sleep, you would have had to stop to get gas and to eat, not to mention the time it would have taken you to pack.”
“I was already packed. That’s what I had called Dina for yesterday. I had bought a house a couple of days ago over the internet and over the phone with the selling agent. It’s fully furnished and I was going to invite Dina to stay with me.”
“I just find this convenient timing and quick work.”
“Garret?” I called. I was very groggy and my vision was taking some time to clear.
He rushed over to me and grabbed my hand. “I’m here, Di.”
“Who are you talking to?”
Before he could answer, another man came up to the bed. “Hey there, Diana. You had me worried.” Looking up, I saw Doc. He was all disheveled and looked like he hadn’t slept in a while.
I let go of Garret’s hand and held it up to Doc. “I’m so happy to see you.” I said as I pulled him down for a one-armed hug. “Did I hear right? Do you already have a house?” He straightened back up and then sat down on the edge of my bed, being careful not to jostle me too much.
“Yes, you did. It was in the works when I talked to you the other day and told you I was transferring down, and I closed on it yesterday. That’s what I had wanted to tell you on the phone.” He said smiling down at me. “I had hoped you would stay with me. It’s a pretty big house for a bachelor to live in by himself. It has plenty of rooms and bathrooms. The house even has a storm shelter for hurricane season.”
I saw a perturbed look cross Garrets face, while Doc’s held a hopeful expression. “I’m sorry, Doc, I was thinking of staying with Claire. You know, girls sticking together and all that.” Doc’s face fell as he nodded, but I saw relief on Garret’s face.
This was going to get weird and awkward. Garret had made his feelings and wishes clear, but I had never thought Doc felt that way. Could he really be hoping for more than friendship? I mean, he’s ten years older than me. He couldn’t like me that way, could he? I know age doesn’t matter, but I had just never thought of Doc that way.
“Well,” Doc said, breaking the silence we’d lapsed into. “I start this coming Monday as head of the ER here. I’m praying I won’t be seeing in there all the time like I used to.”
“Come on, Doc. You know that this is the first time I’ve been in the hospital since I left.” I gave him a look. “You know what this means. Are you really sure you still want to be my friend?” Without really meaning to, I stressed the word friend. He lowered his eyes when I did, but he nodded. “I’ll always be your friend. I told you that I’m here for you now and we’ll make a stand together.” He said looking back into my eyes. “Your new friends included if they’d like to be. I think that between all of us, we’ll be able to keep you safe.”
“It’s not just me that I’m worried about.” I said softly.
Garret came up to stand beside Doc. “We’ll work together to keep everyone safe, and we
catch your ex.”
I was released a week later. The wound had gotten an infection in it, so they had to clear that up before they let me go. The police still had not come up with any more on my case. Nobody knew where Chuck was. It was like he had disappeared. There was no debit card or credit card activity. According to Garret, there had been no activity in his bank account at all since he took leave from the force. It made me increasingly more nervous; not knowing where he was, what he was doing, or what he was planning. Garret said the investigator still had some things to check into, but something was not right with the reports they’d been given.
I went to Claire’s house to stay. It was still awkward when Doc and Garret were in the same room together. They had hostility toward each other that I didn’t understand, but they tried to cover it up, so as not to upset me.
Doc and I still talked as we always had, but it was with the undertone of his elevated feelings for me, but he never said anything or tried to push me in anyway. He spent all of his off time with me, either at Claire’s, or at his house. He did ask me to stay with him once again after I left the hospital, but I declined telling him that even with my injuries, Claire was going to be working with me on some defensive moves, which was the truth. I found that I was actually pretty good at it. After four weeks of working with her and Stefan, I could counter almost any attack move they brought my way; and that was with the cast on. I couldn’t wait to get it off.
Garret was always there to cheer me on. He had asked me out a couple of times, and I really did want to go out with him, but I felt bad because Doc wanted the same thing, though he hadn’t asked. I didn’t want to rub it in his face.
I finally broke down one day and told Claire about it.
“You can’t let what Doc feels stop you.” She said. “As you said, he hasn’t said anything other than asking you to stay with him, and he always offers you your own room if you would decide to stay. I say go for it with Garret. I like Doc and all that, but I admit I’m biased toward Garret. I’ve watched him mooning over you for too long.”
“I guess you’re right. Maybe I’m reading more into what Doc’s doing and saying than there is.” I thought about it for a minute and nodded. “I’m going to say yes to Garret next time he asks.”
“Why wait, Di. Be a modern woman and call him; ask him out.”
“What if he turns me down?” I was nervous, of course for all of the obvious reasons, but also because the only person I ever dated was Chuck. “I mean, I’ve turned him down whenever he asked me.”
“Girl, he is
going to turn you down. He wants to be with you too bad.”
I finally said to hell with it and picked the phone up to call him.
“Hey, Garret.” I said softly.
“Hey!” He sounded excited to hear from me. Probably because this was the first time I actually called him. “Is everything alright?”
“Yes, everything is fine, but I had something to ask you.”
“Okay, I’m listening.”
“You know that Doc takes my cast off on Friday? I was wondering if you wanted to go out with me on Friday night to celebrate.” I asked hesitantly.
“YES!” He sounded as excited as a five year old who just got a huge lolly-pop.
I giggled. “Are you sure? You can take some time to think it over.” I said teasing him.
He laughed at me like I’d said something stupid. “Are you crazy, woman?! I’ve wanted to get you on a date with me for how long? Do we really have to wait for Friday?”
“It’s only two days away, and I would love to not look like a mummy when we go out.”
“Fine.” He sulked, but then perked right back up. “Will you go with me to a movie?”
“Sure, what movie?”
“Happy Feet Two. I’ve wanted to see it, but it wouldn’t seem manly if I went by myself, so now I can use you as an excuse.”