It's been a week? *slapping forehead* Duh! I guess that's why there's always been huge gaps in my diarys when I was younger.
Sorry, life has been busy last the end of last week and then I've been sick with a severe sinus/ear infection since Saturday *sigh* It's bearable as long as I don't run the 101-102 degree temperature. I have a field trip to Sea World tomorrow with my children. Guess we'll see how I feel after that...
We at the Slash & Burn blog are doing another Round Robin. It looks to be a paranormal theme (vampire) and some hunky men *drool* Most members are participating so drop by as there should be several new installments a week :D
Anyway, here's another chapter :)
Zack sat in the surgical waiting room staring at nothing. He saw nothing. Felt nothing. Thought nothing. Numb.
How long had he been here? Time seemed to have stopped since they wheeled Maria away. Tubes already jutting from her body, a mask giving her oxygen. And the black on her skin and clothing. Charred. Zack couldn’t even remember how much later Charlie arrived. And George. He was here now too. Had he spoken to either of them? Zack couldn’t remember.
“It should have been me,” he said in a whisper.
“What?” Charlie gazed over at him.
Zack closed his eyes and took a deep shuddering breath before he opened them and met Charlie’s eyes.
“That should be me in the operating room. Not Maria. She wasn’t supposed to be there.” Filled suddenly with nervous energy, Zack rose from the chair and started pacing.
George’s phone rang. Both Zack and Charlie turned their attention to the older man and listened to his side of the conversation.
“That was the Fire Chief. They’re still trying to extinguish the fire. But one of his men found some possible clues. It looks like pieces to a bomb. And they’ve already confirmed that it started on the third floor. He’ll keep me updated as he finds out more.”
“Jesus.” Charlie drug his hands over his head. He too stood and started moving around the small room. “This is my fault. I should have let her stay at the showing.”
“Well, if you all didn’t think I was so damn fragile, none of you would even have to feel I had to be watched over like an infant.” His fingers balled into fists at his side. Anger was creeping through the numbness, the urge to hit something, break anything was making his hands itch.
Charlie shook his head. “We don’t think that, man.”
“Bullshit! When all this happened, you and Maria hovered over me like mother hens. Ryan was less obvious and things were easier.” Where the hell he was, Zack hadn’t a clue. “Then Rob gets released and you are back on my ass like flies on shit. There’s no one to blame but me. I’m the one who got us all into this fucked up place in life.”
Zack felt himself being propelled backwards until his back slammed into a wall. Charlie had his shirt bunched in his fists, two inches separating their noses.
“Listen to me, Zack.” He spoke through clenched teeth, hissing many of the words. His tone low and almost frightening. “We are protective over you not out of pity or because we don’t think you can take care of yourself. We do it out of love. We care what happens to you. We want to be there for your stubborn ass when you need help because we know you won’t ask for it.”
Charlie’s word cut sharply into the block that had been coating his emotions. Tears filled his eyes. His body trembled. His pulsed raced and gut tightened. Whatever withheld all those feelings splintered, nearly shattering.
Charlie’s head fell forward, cursing under his breath. His fingers loosened from Zack’s shirt.
“Maria Mulligan’s family?”
Three heads turned toward the young doctor in a set of scrubs. “Yes,” three male voices said simultaneously.
“How is she?” Charlie released Zack and was the first to approach the man inside the door.
“She has mostly first degree burns on twenty percent of her body despite how bad she looked coming in. We had to remove her spleen and we stopped the internal bleeding. Her pelvis was fractured but it shouldn’t create complications. However, we had to also reset her right leg. She’ll be in quite a bit of pain when she wakes up, but the good news is that the baby is stable and appears to be unharmed by the incident. But we'll keep a close eye on her.”
Zack stared at the doctor. A lot of what he’d said had gone over his head. All he cared about was that Maria was going to be all right. His last sentence shocked. Him.
Straw of Gold by Nina Merrill is posted over at Worlds of Mayhem