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 Post subject: To Breathe Again (Chapter 12)
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Location: On a good day, planet Earth in NE Alabama.
(Chapter Twelve)

Rick stepped up and inside the back of the ambulance. “I knew that was your car on the side of the road from the rental tag. What are you doing here? Are you hurt?” He put his arm around her and looked down at Jaeden.

“No, I’m fine.” Dee Dee looked at Rick. It was a relief to see a familiar face amid the confusion. “After our picnic lunch, I was out for a ride. I came across the accident and found him inside that wrecked car. The driver got out and walked…well, pretty much ran away. I don’t think he had a scratch on him.

“I heard the call over the radio, but of course I had no idea that you’d called it in.” Rick sighed and pulled Dee Dee a little closer. “I’m glad he didn’t hurt either of you. He had a gun.”

“Really?” Dee Dee pulled away, looking up in surprise. “So, then…” She looked down at the child and whispered to Rick “Jaeden is the kidnapped child that you got the call about?”

“Right. When the trooper called it in after talking to you, we knew for sure it was him.”

“I’m so glad that lunatic left Jaeden and that I found him.”

“Me, too.” Rick sighed gratefully.

“Jaeden, this is my friend, the policeman I told you that would help us. His name is Rick.”

Jaeden turned slightly toward Rick and barely raised his hand to wave. “Hi”. He said softly.

“Hi.” Rick smiled and gently placed his hand on Jaeden’s head. “You’re a brave little boy, aren’t you?”

Jaeden shrugged his shoulders and relaxed against Dee Dee.

“Yeah, you are.” Rick smiled at Jaeden again and then looked at Dee Dee. “We’d better get this little guy back to his parents. They’re waiting at the hospital.”

“Okay.” Dee Dee nodded. “I’ll ride with him to the hospital. We’ll finish talking later.”

Rick agreed and exited the ambulance to check on any leads.

To Dee Dee’s surprise, Jaeden lay down on the gurney without any argument as she held his hand during the entire ride.

Mr. and Mrs. Jaeden Davis Sr. met their son at the entrance. With a quick ‘thank you’ to Dee Dee, they hurried to follow along as their little boy was wheeled into the ER examination area. Just as she was about to take a seat, Dee Dee noticed one of the officers from the scene of the accident.

“Excuse me…” She said as she walked up to him. “I just came in with the little boy from the accident on Beachwood Road.”

“Right. I remember you.” He smiled. “Mrs. Turnan, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.”

“I’m Dodson, by the way. What can I do for you?”

“Nice to meet you.” Dee Dee exchanged greetings by shaking hands with the officer. “Can you tell me what happened to Mr. Davis? I saw the bandage on his head and the blood all over his shirt.”

“Oh, he was assaulted by the man who took his little boy. It happened right in their driveway.”

“Oh, no.” Dee Dee cringed at the thought.

“Mr. Davis sat a bag of groceries down on the ground and had just unlocked the child’s car seat when he was jumped.”

Dee Dee now realized how Jaeden had gotten out of his seat and fallen onto the floor. “That’s terrible.”

“The attacker pushed Mr. Davis out of the way in order to take his car, and they began to fight. The guy hit Davis across the head with the gun, knocking him to the ground and threatened to shoot him if he made a move.”

“How horrible.”

“Yeah, it is. And the guy didn’t care at all that the child was put in danger because of him. He just wanted that car. Most likely on drugs.”

“It’s quite possible.” Dee Dee sighed. “I appreciate you filling me in. I also appreciate you for the job that you do.”

“Thanks. It’s not often that we hear words like that.”

“I know…I’ve been there.”

“You’re a cop?”

“I used to be a cop…LAPD…Homicide.” Dee Dee felt a little twinge of excitement at hearing herself speak of her former occupation. “It was tough, but full-filling.”

“Well, then, I have to thank you, too.” The officer said. “It’s nice to meet a fellow…former officer who knows what it's like not to feel appreciated, but still pushes on for the safety of others.”

“Thanks.” Dee Dee smiled. “Well, I guess I should check on Jaeden.”

“Nice talking with you. Best of luck to you with your baby.”

“Thanks.” Dee Dee smiled again. “Take care.”

“You too.”

Dee Dee was lead by a nurse to where Jaeden and his parent’s were. She greeted Mr. and Mrs. Davis and she was happy to see her new little friend in a much happier state.

“Mrs. Turnan.” Jaeden Sr. stood and shook her hand. “We can’t thank you enough for what you did.”

Talia Davis stood and pulled Dee Dee into a hug. “Thank you for taking care of our baby.”

“I’m glad I was there.” Dee Dee replied. Once they separated, they took their seats and she asked about Jaeden’s condition.

“He’s doing very well, thank you.” Talia answered. “They don’t think there’s any serious injury, but they’ve taken X-rays and will do a CT scan just to be sure.”

“That’s good.” Dee Dee answered while looking at her little friend. “Jaeden, I have to tell you…I’m very proud of you.” She moved close to the bed and took his little hand in hers. “You’re such a sweet, brave and smart little boy.” She smiled. “If I have a little boy, I’d like him to be like you.”

Unsure of just how to answer, Jaeden simply replied ‘Okay’ in a soft and innocent voice.

Dee Dee sat back down and talked a little more about the incident with Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Within a few minutes, two orderlies and a nurse came to take the little boy for his CT scan. Dee Dee gave the Davis’ her number and asked them to call with an update of the test results and then walked toward the exit.

Remembering that her car was still parked several miles away on the side of the road, she decided to call her mother to come and pick her up. Before she dialed the number, she heard a familiar voice and turned toward it. She saw Rick coming into the emergency entrance with an EMT at his side. When she saw the bloody bandage on Rick’s forearm, she gasped and quickly put down the phone. “Oh, my God. Rick! What happened?!”

“I’m okay.” Rick stated calmly.

“No, you’re not okay.” Dee Dee took a closer look at his arm. “You’re bleeding and you’ve been brought to the hospital.”

“It’s nothing to worry about. I’ll be fine.” Rick took a seat on the nearest gurney that the nurse pointed out.

“How did it happen?” Dee Dee stood beside him.

“I stopped off at a convenience store for a soda and interrupted what was most likely to be a robbery. I didn’t even have a chance to pull my weapon. I stepped up behind the guy in line, he turned toward me and the next thing I knew, my arm felt like it was on fire. He knifed me.”

Dee Dee furrowed her brow as she visualized the scene.

“Before he sliced me for a second time, the cashier scrambled across the counter with a baseball bat and hit a homer with the guy’s kneecap. We called for backup and here I am.” Rick tried to sound lighthearted about the situation, but Dee Dee didn’t seem to notice the attempt. “It’s really not that bad.” He added.

Dee Dee looked at the bandage which now had blood seeping through it even more. “It looks pretty serious to me. We need a doctor right away.” She looked toward the nurse. “Can you find one for us?”

The nurse moved closer. “Let’s have a look,” she said. After careful inspection, she told Rick he’d need a few stitches. After cleansing the wound, she applied a topical antibiotic, placed a fresh bandage over the wound and told Rick the doctor would be in soon, and then she left.

Fifteen minutes had passed and Dee Dee was getting restless. “What’s taking so long? Maybe they forgot about you. I’ll go check.” She started to walk into the hall when Rick raised his uninjured arm to block her path.

“Dee Dee, calm down. I’ve had worse and you know it. Stop making a big deal of it.” Rick didn’t intend to sound harsh, but it was obvious that he had.

“Okay. I'm sorry.” Dee Dee sighed and stepped back. “I just can’t help but be concerned about someone I care for.”

Rick reached out and took her hand in his. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. It’s been a rough day. I’m just tired and I’m angry at myself for not being more careful.” He tugged gently on her hand and craned his neck in order to look into her eyes as her gaze was cast downward. “I do have some really good news for you. The guy that did this is the same guy that took Jaeden. We got him, Dee Dee. We got him.”

Dee Dee slowly looked up at Rick; her eyes widened with surprise. “Are you serious?

“Yes. I’m very serious.” Rick smiled. “So, you see, this little injury was worth getting.”

“I’m so glad you got him, but I still wish you hadn’t gotten hurt.” Dee Dee sighed and leaned over and put her arms around Rick’s neck. He placed his good arm around her waist.

Rick; knowing his emotions would only grow stronger and possibly cause he and Dee Dee to be in a precarious situation, made the first move and slid his arm slowly from around her. Without a word, and feeling her own emotions stirring, followed Rick’s action and removed her arms from around his neck.

“Hey.” Rick looked at her with concern. “Why don’t you sit down…get off your feet? It’ll be a little while before they stitch me up. I’ll drive you home when I’m done.”

Dee Dee sat in the chair next to the gurney. “Maybe I’ll drive you home.” She replied with a nod toward his arm. “You’re hurt, remember?”

Rick gave her a crooked smile. “I remember.”

“I should call mom and let her know I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth.”

“Go ahead. I’ll still be here when you get back.”

Dee Dee left to make her call. When she returned the doctor was tending to Rick’s arm. When he was ready to begin stitching, she was asked to leave the room until he was finished. While sitting in the hall, she thought of how many times the both of them had suffered injury which brought them to the hospital, and how they stood by one another in such situations. Today was just another reminder of how dangerous a life she led and how Rick still leads one. She loved him so, but she was once again battling the very fear that pulled her away from him and pushed her toward Alex. “Can I really manage not worrying about him all the time? We’ve worked apart before and I wasn’t there to watch his back, but what if I get a call that says he’s seriously injured, or worse…that he isn’t coming home ever again?”
Her heart skipped at the thought and she wrapped her arms around herself in comfort. She remembered how Rick came to tell her that Steve was dead. Who would tell her that Rick was dead? Who would be there to console her when she broke down? She shuddered and tried to clear her mind of such things. After a second, her thoughts registered and she was surprised at herself. “What am I saying? I’m married to Alex, now. He’s my husband…the man I should worry if he’ll come home safely or not. What’s wrong with me?”

“Mrs. Turnan.” The nurse stood beside Dee Dee’s chair. “You can come back inside, now.”

Dee Dee, now shaken from her thoughts, stood and followed the nurse inside. She was surprised to see that it took less than a dozen stitches for Rick’s arm.

“I’m almost ready.” Rick said with a light tone. He noticed a look of dismay on Dee Dee’s face. “Is something wrong? You look upset.”

Dee Dee wanted to scream…to tell him, “Of course I’m upset! You could have been killed! I’m worried about losing you and I don’t even have you as my own! I’m torn between you and my husband and I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do!” Instead, she replied – “I’m okay…a little tired I guess.”

Rick knew that she was holding back, but didn’t pressure her. He figured they‘d both had enough excitement for the day and decided to let it go….for now. “Yeah, it’s been one hell of a day, hasn’t it?”

Dee Dee was quiet and only nodded in agreement. She still hadn’t completely lost focus of the thoughts she had while sitting in the hall. She sat down and waited until Rick was fitted with a lightweight sling for his arm and given prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics. When he was all set, they both stood and Rick placed his hand at the small of Dee Dee’s back as they exited the room and took the elevator to the pharmacy. When they finished, Rick returned his gentle and guiding hand to the spot on Dee Dee’s back and escorted her from the hospital.

“Hand me the keys.” Dee Dee said with her hand out.

“I can drive. I’m okay.” Rick replied. “I’ll have to drive myself home once we pick up your car, anyway.”

“We don’t have to pick it up tonight.”

“I think we should. Though it’s insured, you don’t want anyone to steal or damage it. Come on.” Rick returned his hand to Dee Dee’s back, but she didn’t move. “Don’t make me pick you up and carry you to the car.” He smiled.

“Yeah, right.” Dee Dee replied. “I’d like to see you lift me, now. I’m not alone in this body anymore and you only have one good arm.” She titled her head with a smile.

“I know. You’re still no heavier than a feisty little banty rooster. A pregnant banty rooster.”

“Huh?” Dee Dee looked at Rick, looked away and then back to him; shaking her head in disbelief. “I know you didn’t just say that.” She giggled. “A pregnant rooster?” She burst out laughing.

Rick began to laugh, too, but more so at seeing Dee Dee so happy. “Well, I don’t guess I can blame it on the pain meds. I haven’t taken any yet.”

“I don't think you can.” Dee Dee replied.

Though he felt he could drive with no problem, Rick thought of how he could actually be putting them and Dee Dee’s baby in danger by trying to prove that he’s capable of handling a car with one arm. He’d never forgive himself if hurt either of them.

“Here”. He said while handing her they keys. “You can be my chauffeur for the evening.”

“I’m so honored.” Dee Dee replied sarcastically and with a smile while taking the keys. “Now, let’s get you home before you say anything else that’s stupid.”

Home. Rick remembered the last time they’d been in his home together. It started off as an unplanned romantic event, but quickly turned into a moment of distress for the both of them when they realized what they were about to move ahead with wasn’t in the best interest of Dee Dee’s marriage. Rick hated the idea of pulling Dee Dee from her wedding vows, but considering what he knows about her marriage, he didn’t think he’d have to pull very hard. He may not have to pull at all. He told himself - “Just wait and let her come to you. Patience….patience.”

== === ==


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