“My god what a slow night” I said letting out a sigh. “Who would have thought that a trauma hospital could be so dead on a weekend” I wasn’t prepared for the pain that stung my shoulder minutes after I made that remark as Sofia hit me with one of the trauma manuals from the counter
“Ow, Sofia what the hell was that for”
“Oh you know what that was for. Don’t you dare say those words! You’ll end up jinxing us! I for one, don’t mind this pace.”
“That’s because you like being bored and lazy Sofia…”
“Watch it Artell…”
I had been a trauma nurse for over a year now at Springhill General. I loved every minute of it. Even the slow boring ones like this. Especially when working with Sofia. Most people that know me by now know I was always meant to be a Trauma nurse. I don’t take shit from anyone, I always speak my mind, and I have a niche for fast pace and critical thinking. I haven’t always been like this. This job has made me open up more than I would have ever thought possible. On nights like this one my adrenaline junky brain needed a fix and the complaints just spilled out of my mouth before I could catch them.
“I know, I know. But you know I hate being bored. We haven’t even gotten our normal ‘I have stomach pain and nausea’ group in. We work in an E.R for crying out loud. Where the hell are the patients tonight? Is it too much to ask for a single freakin’ patient? Just one is all I’m asking for.” Frustrated I walked out to the waiting room to glance out the window. Sofia followed right behind.
Sofia has been my closest friend since I started in the ER. We trained in our trauma group together. I was quiet and reserved when she first met me. I had gone through a few terrible experiences before I moved here. I needed a new start. I needed to find some place where I belonged; some place where I wasn’t scared all the time. I needed a place where I wasn’t afraid to walk down the street and see… him. I needed a new place where every corner I turned my past wasn’t right in front of my face taunting me. I needed a new life where I could help people, people that have gone through terrible things like I have.
Sofia, dear lord that girl. She made me open up. I am utterly convinced that she is the reason I am who I am now, riddled with attitude and strength to overcome just about anything. I still find myself getting uneasy in certain situations. But she knows what I’ve been through. She knows the road I’ve been on has been anything but easy. Sofia can see the fear drift into my eyes in those situations and she is the only one that has been able to snap me out of it time and time again. Sofia and I have been covered head to toe in blood together. We have dealt with things no one else should ever have to experience at our jobs. It made us have an unbreakable bond. Sofia is more like a sister to me than a best friend.
On the hard nights after work Sofia would come back to my apartment with me just to eat, drink and binge Netflix. But on the hardest of nights we would just sit there and cry trying to comfort one another. People always think that what we deal with at work doesn’t bother us. But it does. I have come home crying too many times to count. I have lost kids in my arms while holding pressure on a gaping wound telling them to just hold on a little longer. I have seen wives collapse over their dead husbands bodies sobbing asking God to bring them back. I have had to tell parents that the staff did everything they could to save their child but failed. My job has never been easy. At times I feel bad for complaining that we have no patients or that there have been no traumas for the night. I should be thanking God that no one was hurt bad enough to need to come to the hospital.
As I’m dazed in my thoughts staring out the window of the waiting room I can hear Sofia babbling away about lord only knows what. Damn that woman can talk, but I wouldn’t have her any other way.
“Addi! Did you hear me?”
“Huh, what? Sorry I was spacing out. What did you say Sof?”
“I saaaiiid” she started with her normal boat load of attitude, “We should order food tonight. If it’s going to be this slow we might as well take the next 8 hours to shove our faces with deliciousness.”
“Ya okay, what are you thinking”
“Did you really just ask that? Pizza, what else? I’ll go order. Are you going to stay out here for a while Ad?”
“Mhmm” I said slowly drifting back into my own thoughts staring back out the window.
It was truly a peaceful night. Sometimes I do forget to be thankful for nights like these, especially after the many nights I’ve spent being terrified for my life, bruised and battered being a patient myself in an Emergency Room. I quickly shook those memories out of my head.
I continued to look outside through the window. It was a little after midnight. The city was mostly quiet and most people were probably already tucked into their beds cozied up with their loved ones on a cold night like tonight. The hospital was right in the middle of town but on clear nights like these, you could occasionally see some stars in the black of the sky. It was a rare sight none-the-less but it was beautiful. I reminded myself again how thankful I should be with how far I’ve come in my life. I had overcome so much pain, so much torture. I got away from Him… at least for now.
I knew there was going to be a time that he would find me; that I would be forced to leave my new home once again. I knew the rest of my life was going to be spent running in fear and running for my life. No one besides Sofia knew about him. I planned to keep it that way. The look of pity you get when you tell people about your past, I know. I’ve given the same look to my patients without thinking. I wanted to avoid that at all costs. I had told other people before that I had tried to get close to before I met Sofia, before I moved here. But you get the same response from most people “Why didn’t you just leave”. There was no easy way to explain to people what a relationship like that was like. There was no way to leave. You end up being secluded away from the world, lost without any one to go to. You have no money, you have no dignity and he made me feel so… worthless. He made it impossible for me to leave. I was trapped. People don’t believe you when you try to tell them that. Or you get told you should have tried harder, you should have gone to the police. I did. I tried so hard to fight back, and each time I did I ended up in an ER seconds away from losing my life. And going to the police? He knew too many people; they always turned a blind eye. They knew what he was doing to me.
So, needless to say, I was damn proud of myself. I had made it this far on my own, even with him relentlessly searching for me. I knew he wouldn’t stop either. But now I had people to turn to. I was no longer on his turf. I would fight back or die trying.
A smile quickly rose onto my face thinking about my newfound courage but only wishing I could help more girls like me. But as quickly as it rose, it dropped as something caught my eye down the street speeding toward the ER under the streetlights driving well over the speed limit. I panicked. The only times we saw anything like this was emergency services. But this car… this car was not driving with stability. It was erratic, all over the place. So I did the only thing I could think of at the given moment. I screamed for help.
“SOF, SOFIAAA…. YOU NEED TO GET BACK HERE” I screamed as loud as I could as I turned around searching for her. From the looks of it she was just getting off the phone. Her eyes perked up through the window of the door seeing panic in my eyes. Without hesitation she quickly hung up the phone. If shit was about to hit the fan, Sofia was the only one I trusted to help clean up whatever mess was about to hit through our doors.
I turned my head back towards the front doors, re-tracking where the SUV went. All I could see screeching to a halt at the doors was a black Mercedes SUV with more than a dozen bullet holes showered across the side. Two men dressed in all black suits leaped out of the front seats leaving the doors hang wide open and rushed to the passenger side back door. As I squinted my eyes to look closer at the two men I could see their white button down shirts and ties smeared with blood. Both men had frantic faces as they attempted to get a rather large person out from the back seat.
Seeing as Sofia didn’t take to my panicked scream the first time, I screamed again frantically as the scene was emerging in front of my eyes.
“SOFIAAA I’M GOING TO NEED SOME HELP AND A GURNEY NOW”
The two men with blood stained shirts started towards the main door of the E.R. Except now they were accompanied with another man, unconscious. His head hung heavy, his arms draped around the two men’s shoulders and his feet dragged against the pavement making his expensive looking shoes scuff.
As the three men neared the entrance I finally felt Sofia’s presents next to me. I could feel the heat radiating off her body. Her breaths were coming in heavy pants from running up towards me.
“I’m here-“ she started half running up to me. “What the hell Addi... what is that?” She was pointing towards the men, her jaw practically on the ground in shock. Her voice was now frantic as she realized what I was screaming to her about. I shot her a glare as if I was saying ‘really?’ to her. “FUCK, uhhh ya, right, GURNEY…”
“WELL IF YOU WOULD HAVE LISTENED TO ME THE FIRST TIME” I screamed back to Sofia as the adrenaline started to kick in. It was a feeling I was used to, but in the moment you never really are used to it. Most people when they feel the adrenaline kick in want to run, preferably away. Me? The feeling of your pulse quickening, your blood pressure going up, your senses become keener, I loved it. I ran towards it.
I focused my attention back to the men.
“WE NEED HELP NOW” the men screamed rushing through the first set of glass sliding doors. Their faces showed exhaustion and were flushed. The guy hung over their shoulders was at least 200 pounds, and of pure muscle at that. It was no easy feet dragging that much dead weight as far as they had.
I ran up to the men that were just about to pass through the second set of sliding glass doors. “What happened, what’s his name?” I questioned with concern in my voice. It didn’t look good whatever had happened. I went to feel for a pulse, thready but there. Good that I could work with. Sofia managed to pull up with the gurney as the three men made it through the last set of doors. The men picked up the unconscious, blood soaked man and placed him abruptly yet effortlessly onto the gurney.
“What the hell happened” Sofia yelled at the men as I was already starting to get to work. I jumped on the edge of the gurney and began tearing off his clothes with my trauma sheers as Sofia pushed towards the trauma room.
His once white shirt was covered in blood. It trickled down onto his pants. Blood covered his hands, his arms and some of his neck. A hand print resided on his face from what I assumed was from someone grabbing him telling him to hold on. At least that’s what I imagined. A deep voice drew me out of my working thoughts.
“Gun shot wounds, three to be precise. One shot to the abdomen, two shots to the chest,” The voice was husky, deep and daring. It sent shivers up my spine.
I glanced down at the man’s face as I finished cutting his clothes off. I had a feeling that not all of the blood that was spread over his body was his. Blood had begun to pool around him onto the gurney from his chest wounds. Despite the blood the man lay in he was extremely handsome. He had dark black hair that looked like it was usually combed to the side; now laid in a mess over his face. A five o’clock shadow that made him look slightly older than what he probably was. He seemed to have kept himself fit. He had six pack abs, pecks that any women would daydream placing her hands on, and biceps so massive the sleeves on his shirt looked like there were going to rip. I grabbed my penlight to look at his pupils. As I pulled back his eyelids all I could see was green, the most emerald green I had ever seen. His eyes looked soft as he lay unconscious but my intuition told me that although his eyes were soft now, they usually weren’t that way. It was no secret the man was highly attractive but there was something off about him. The bullet hole in his chest and eyes that looked like they could pierce right through your soul didn’t help the matter. No, there was something else about him. There was almost a dark aura around him, something I couldn’t place my finger on.
As I pulled myself out of thought once again three bullet wounds came into my view. One to the slightly under his ribs on his left side, hopefully missing his stomach and spleen. One bullet hole just right of his sternum hitting a rib, at least I hoped, and the last one I knew wasn’t good. It was right near his heart and it was gushing blood. I placed my hand on it to hold pressure. The doctors began to swarm into the trauma room calling out orders after quickly assessing the scene. Sofia went to take the two men that came with the unconscious man out to the waiting room. All I can hear in the background over the hustle of the room was them screaming over Sofia, “you better make sure he lives or there will be hell to pay”. Yeah, because another crazy family is all I wanted to deal with tonight…