Part 5

Bored, that would be the best definition for Sam’s state of mind. After being stuck in on a hospital bed for three days, Dr Krause’s visits could be considered the highlight of her day.

“I must say I’m impressed, Samantha. I’ve never seen anyone recovering so fast during my twenty years as a surgeon.”

“Does that  mean I can get the hell outta here?” She sent him the best puppy dog’s face she could muster. “Please doctor, I need to get back to work.”

“Not so fast. A bullet to the heart is not something to be treated lightly, even for someone with such fantastic healing abilities.”

“I’m telling you, I’m fine. Besides, I can’t stand this hospital food any longer.”

“And neither can I but that doesn’t mean I get to leave early.”  He eyed her sternly.  “We all have our jobs to do and right now, young lady, your job is allowing your body to heal...”

“But I am healing,” Sam protested.  “You said so yourself.”

“But you’re not healed all the way. Please, let me keep you under observation and if you continue showing signs of improvement, I’ll discharge you by the end of the week.” The physician held her gaze for a long moment before turning his attention to her chart. “How does that sound?”

“Do I have a choice?” Sam’s question was followed by one sharply raised eyebrow.

“You’re the detective.  You tell me.”  Seeing the gleam in her eyes, he countered it with a solemn shake of his head.  “No!”

“Drats!”  Sam mood turned dour. 

“For now you just relax and enjoy your stay. I’ll come by tomorrow to check on you.  If you’d like I’ll write for you to have more donuts at your disposal since the menu isn’t to your liking.” He teased, putting her chart back in place and headed out of the room.

“Gee, thanks.”

With one foot into the hall, he stopped and looked back at his pouting patient. “Oh, and if I were you, I’d quit nagging the nurses.  You’re making a name for yourself and it’s not a very good one.”

“Asshole!” Sam cursed the retreating doctor but truthfully, she was more annoyed at her pseudo imprisonment than anything. “Shit!  If I continue lying here for another minute I’ll lose my mind.”

Feeling the need to move, Sam got out of bed and stood gazing out of the window at the ambulance bay below.

“I wonder if Doctor Angel is out there.” Her voice was little more than a whisper that emulated the smile taking shape on her lips. “My Angel, are you real?” Sam closed her eyes trying to remember her angel’s face, but no image appeared with the memory of the sweet voice echoing in her dreams.

“She’s probably a hallucination induced by my altered state.” Sam snorted, her gaze drifting to the horizon.

But what if she’s real? The self-doubt registering in her inner voice echoed meekly until it grew into a full body crescendo.

The counter rhythm of a knock at the door finally stirred Sam out of her reverie. She turned to see a pair of blue eyes leading a male figure into her room.

Tall, dark and with a captivating smile, Leo Mathews was as near a spitting image of his sister as a sibling could be.

“Hey sis,” Leo flashed an irresistible lopsided grin. “What are you doing up and out of bed?”

One look at his teasing sneer and Sam knew her brother was up to something.  “Save it for someone who will fall for it, Leo. I’m not one of your bimbos.”

“Don’t you wish,” he paused for a second.  “Not!”  He wiggled his eyebrows.

Sam met his challenge with one of her own signature glares then quickly gave in.  “You got that right.  So, why are you smiling like that?”

“I asked my question first.”

“I was sore and wanted to stretch my legs.” She said walking back to bed. “Your turn, what’s with the smirk?”

“I have good news and bad news for you.  What do you want first?”

“I’m not in a mood to play games, Leo.” She warned.

“Okay, it’s your funeral.” he shrugged not the least bit intimated by her grumpiness.

“Fine. Give me the good news first then.” Sam rested her head on the pillow. “I could use some good news.”

“I spoke to your doctor. He said he’s going to discharge you by… ”

“The end of the week,” Sam finished it for him.  “Christ, Leo, if that’s the good news, you better try again.”

Leo’s good natured smile melted and was quickly replaced by a look of confusion when he met Sam’s deadly stare. Suddenly his outlook turned slightly paranoid.  “What? Aren’t you glad?”

“I’m bored but then again, what choice do I have? I’m stuck in here for at least two more days.” Sam closed her eyes in an attempt to ward off the nagging headache that grew stronger every time she thought about her restrictive circumstance.

“Then maybe I shouldn’t give you the bad news.” He pursed his lips and tapped his nose with a finger pretending to be pondering something.

“Leo,” Sam cautioned.  “It’s not nice to tease, especially when I’m not in the mood for it.  You, of all people, should know that.”

“Okay, Sam…” He moved behind the armchair in preparation for sister’s forthcoming explosion. “Try to remember that you’re injured and have to stay calm, really, really calm.”

Sam’s eyes popped open as she propped herself up on her elbows. “Spill it,” she hissed back at him narrowing her gaze in his direction.

“It’s mother…” Leo watched as the whites around his sister’s eyes grew as big as saucers.  “She’s at your apartment collecting a few things that you’ll need during your recovering time…” He paused long enough to see the terror register on Sam’s face, “In Jersey.”

“What?” Sam reclined back felling lightheaded. “You have got to be kidding me”

“Nope,” He sat down and crossed his legs nonchalantly.  “She told me that your surgeon suggested you’d go to a quiet place for a complete recovery. I’m no detective but even I can fill in those blanks.”

“Shit, shit, shit! There’s no way out of this one, is there?”

“Afraid not, sis,” he sneered, pursing his lips into the fakest pout of the century. “Sorry!” 

“Great!  Just fucking great.”

“See Sammy, I told you needed a girlfriend.” Leo’s mocking reply was met with his sister’s penetrating glare. “Ahem, I’m going to grab a soda.” He got up from his chair and made a hasty exit.

***

The sound of a large blast brought the sheen of instant perspiration to Mark’s forehead. The lieutenant stood frozen at the ER entrance. After hearing the second bang his hand swiftly sought out his holstered weapon. Mark turned and scanned the street anxiously looking for an assailant of any kind. Relief washed over him as he saw nothing but an old jalopy with a cloud of black smoke coming out of its exhaust pipe.

“Jesus Christ,” Mark took several short breaths to calm his racing heart. “It’s just a damn backfire.”

Mark rubbed his hands on his blue jeans in an attempt to dry his sweating palms.

“It’s okay, man. It’s been three days already. She’s fine now.” Mark squared his shoulders trying to shrug off the disturbing memories, but all the same, a shiver still traveled down his spine as images of the paramedics rolling in Sam’s almost lifeless body assaulted his mind.

“Get a grip Stevens, for Christ sake. Sam is too stubborn to die.” He took a deep breath as if ordering his hands to stop shaking. “Do what you came to do and leave this ghost behind.”

Mark took a step inside the ER and scanned the area. 

“I can’t believe I let her convince me to do this.”  Not finding the doctor who had played such a vital role in saving Sam’s life, Mark rearranged the package he was carrying and headed toward the front desk where he intercepted a tough looking, blonde, curly haired nurse.

“Excuse me I’m looking for a doctor.”

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to be a little more specific.” Danni crossed her arms impatiently.

“I beg your pardon?”

“What kind of doctor do you need?”

“I’m…not sure,” Mark groused.

“Where does it hurt?” She gestured in a theatrical manner to different parts of her own body as she stated the specialties.  “Do you need an internist? A gastroenterologist? A Cardiologist maybe? Who knows…a Gynecologist, perhaps?” Danni smiled somewhat seductively.

“What? Oh no, no! You got me wrong.” Mark chuckled. “I don’t actually need a doctor, I’m fine.  Never felt better in my life.”

“That’s a new one,” Danni chuckled knowingly.  “But if you need a second opinion, I might be…”

“Okay, let me try again.” Mark shook his head and pursed his lips producing an embarrassing smirk “I’m looking for a certain doctor in particular. I don’t know her name but she’s medium height, green eyes, with shoulder-length blonde hair…”

“Say no more,” Danni interrupted him. “There’s only one female, blonde doctor around here.”

“Really?” Mark’s ears perked up.

“Really.”

“I’ll be damned!”

***

Although Sam loosely held onto her cards, Leo couldn’t help but notice the far off look in his sister’s eyes.

“Are you going to hold onto those cards forever?” When she didn’t answer, he cleared his throat and tried again.  “Sam?”  He watched patiently as blue eyes slowly shifted to meet his own.

“Huh?” 

Her half-hearted inquiry startled him even more since he was used to his sibling always being one step ahead of him.  His concern for her took precedence.  “Are you okay, Sam?  You look a little…off.”

“You mean apart from being shot and having to spend time with mom in Jersey?”

Leo rolled his eyes not buying her attempt to cover her down mood.

“I know you, Sam. That’s not the problem.”

“Game over!”  Sam tossed her cards onto the table. 

“Does that mean I get to keep your money?”

“Damn it” Sam slammed her head back against the pillow covering her eyes with her hands.

“What?” Leo shot her a bemused look.

“It’s just not right” she continued shaking her head frustrated.

“Of course it is. You quit.  The money in the pot is mine fair and square.”

“I’m not talking about the damn game.”

Leo’s confusion reigned supreme.  “Then what the hell are you talking about, Sam?”

“Life, Leo. I’m talking about life.”

“Call me thick headed and stupid, but I don’t understand.”

“I’ve been stuck in this bed for three days. I’ve had nothing but time to think about my life”

Leo smirked.  “And this is where you tell me that you’ve had some kind of epiphany or something?”

“No.”  Sam blurted out then quickly changed her mind.  “Yes.”  Seeing the puzzled look on her brother’s face, she meekly rescinded, “Maybe.”

“Huh?”

“I don’t know, sometimes I feel like my life is…empty.”

“Empty?” His brows furrowed when she nodded sheepishly.  “I don’t know it seems like you have a pretty good life to me”

“Do I?” Sam sounded unconvinced.

“Hell yeah!” He jumped up and used his fingers to count the examples. “You have an exciting job, a good salary, a nice place, and your sex life, I don’t even want to go there ‘cause it just saddens me that my baby sister gets more women than I do.”

“No, I don’t,” she blushed before rhetorically chuckling at his antics.

“You’re right, you don’t.” He sat on the bed next to her. “But you sure get laid more often than I do.”

“That’s it.” She stated as if he’d just hit a sore point. “I get laid.”

“What’s wrong with getting laid?” Leo tried to make sense of the conversation.

“Nothing, it’s just that…” she sighed running both hands through her hair, “I can’t remember the last time I had more than a one night stand.”

“I thought that was your system. One night stand, no strings attached, low maintaining dating.”

“Yeah, but…”

“But what?” He eyed her cautiously.  “Sam, you’re scaring me.  Did you fall for someone?”

“No. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fall for someone again.” She declared looking away from his stare. “I’m not meant to love.”

“Bullshit.  You just had a bad experience, got your heart broken.”

“You call what happened to me a ‘bad experience’?” Her tone was overdramatic.

Leo stood up shaking his head.  “Sam, you’ve been through a lot and it’s not easy to heal, but you can’t simply hide from love. How long do you think this wall you’ve built around yourself will hold up? Call me a romantic but, it’s unavoidable, when you meet the right person, you’ll fall madly in love. Like it or not.”

“You have high hopes, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. I believe love is the most powerful force in the universe, and I know that a wonderful person like you deserves to find it, the real deal.” he smiled sweetly before bending forward to place a brotherly kiss on her head. “I love you, sis”

“Oh, come on.  Don’t go sissy on me.” Sam stared into his eyes for the longest moment.  Feeling touched by his words she voiced her own sentiments in return.  “I love you too, bro.”

***

Mark walked into the doctor’s lounge and scanned the room. Finally spying what he’d been looking for, he ventured closer.

“Excuse me, Dr. Thomas?”

“Yes?” Ann turned to acknowledge the man addressing her.

“I don’t know if you remember me…”

“You look familiar, but I’m getting a lot of that lately.” She offered honestly.

“Mark Stevens,” he said, edging a little closer.  “Lieutenant Mark Stevens. I came here with my friend three days ago. The detective who got shot in the back”

“Oh, of course, I remember you now.” Ann nodded. “What can I do for you lieutenant?”

“Nothing really, I actually came by to say thank you for saving my friend.”

“You don’t have to thank me.  I was doing my job,” Ann replied humbly.

“Yeah, I know, but I have a hidden agenda,” he said cryptically noting the suspicious look on Ann’s face. “I uh…I was assigned to give you this.” He handed her a basket filled to overflowing.

“What’s this?”  Ann curiously surveyed the basket full of muffins and enough other delectable treats to keep her ER staff energized for another shift.

“It’s from Sam’s mom. She asked me to see that you received it and to say…”

Mark fumbled in his pocket for a few seconds before producing a scrap of paper.  “I wanted to get her words right,” he chuckled nervously then began to read from the paper in his hand.  “Thank you for saving my little devil.”

“This is very kind but I’m afraid I can’t take it…hospital policy.”

“Oh no, please don’t make me take it back. It can be very…unhealthy.” Mark faked a panic expression eliciting giggles from the doctor.

“Okay, I’ll accept it on behalf of my hard working ER staff.” She said taking the basket and placing it on the table.  “How is the detective doing?” Ann tried to sound casual.

“Sam? Fine.  She’s great actually.” 

“Already?”

”Sam’s always been a fast healer.”

“That’s nice to hear.”

Left with nothing more to say Mark studied the doctor’s blonde hair and beautiful smile. The woman standing before him definitely fit the profile of Sam’s Angel, but he wouldn’t dare to hope. That would be too easy.  He snapped out of his musing to see an awkward grin on Ann’s face and matched it with one of his own.  “Anyway, I should let you get back to work, doc.”

“Right.”

Mark turned to leave but spun back quickly if only to relive his nagging need to fish for confirmation.

“You know what, I’m pretty sure Sam would like to thank you in person. So if you have some time, please come by she’ll appreciate that.”

“As a matter of fact I’ve already stopped by to see her,” Ann confessed feeling unexplainably shy.

“You did?” Mark tried to keep his emotions in check knowing that a part of him wanted Ann to be Doctor Angel, while the other part wanted it to be just a dream.

“Yeah, but I don’t think she remembers. She was still under the effects of the anesthesia.”

Mark looked up with renewed interest.

“She kept talking about angels and stuff.”

“Angels? Really?” Mark felt a burning sensation in the pit of his stomach. As he roiled with his inner thoughts of what to do, the sound of Ann’s pager sliced through the air bringing them both into new territory. 

“Sorry, I have to go.  Thanks again for the gift.”  Ann held up the basket, before briskly walking down the hall toward the trauma bay doors.

Mark waved mutely as he tried to figure what to do with this new found information.  Long after Dr. Thomas was gone from his view he uttered a single phrase.  “Un-fucking-believable.”

To be continued.

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