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Chapter 17 — ER
The rest of the week seemed to fly by. When Friday arrived I was still smiling from Emma’s triumphant return to the game. I was so happy it was almost unbearable. As I made my way into the office on Friday morning, everyone seemed to notice.
“Are we ever going to be able to pry that silly grin off your face,” Nikki called to me as I passed her desk on the way to my office.
“Why would we want do that,” Penny countered as she emerged from the coffee room, cup in hand. “I love seeing him smile, Nik.”
I gave her a very cliché wink as I continued walking without a word. I placed my bag on the floor next to my chair and fired up my computer as I took a seat at my desk. I loved this game. I loved this office. This felt like where I was meant to be.
The morning passed quickly and as we passed lunchtime, the office seemed a bit chaotic as I observed from my chair. Finally, around 3:30pm I made my way out into the main area to see Nikki and find out what had everybody buzzing around.
“What’s going on,” I asked Nikki as I reached the back of her circular workstation.
“Emma is worried about Leslie,” Nikki informed me. “She was due here for an 11am meeting that she missed without calling.”
As Emma emerged from her office, I noticed that Brooke was not in the office either. I wondered if we knew where she was as well. The phone rang at Nikki’s desk as Emma made her way towards me. As Nikki answered the phone, Emma and I listened as we were joined by Penny, who had a look of concern on her face. Nikki completed the call and then turned to the three of us as we hovered over her.
“That was Mindy,” Nikki informed us. “Leslie is on her way to the emergency room.”
“Is she alright,” Emma asked quickly.
“Mindy’s not sure,” Nikki revealed. “She said that she arrived at the house to find an ambulance in front and Leslie being loaded into it. She said the EMTs would not tell her what was going on, only that Leslie had called 911 for help.”
“Was Leslie conscious when Mindy saw her,” I asked.
“I didn’t ask,” Nikki admitted.
We all stared at each other for several moments.
“Go to the hospital and take care of Mindy,” Penny ordered me. “I will go get Brooke at the open house she is running and be there as soon as I can.”
I did not wait to see what else was said, I simply turned and headed for the front door of the office. I sped through the streets wildly on my way to the hospital; all the while hoping Leslie was all right. The lack of information had me unreasonably worried.
I parked in the main lot at the hospital and rushed into the emergency room. Mindy was standing there, crying. I ran to her and held her tightly in my arms. She shook and shivered as she let it all out. I gave her ample time to calm before I questioned her.
“Did they give you any information,” I asked.
“Only that she was with a doctor and they would update me when they had something to tell me,” Mindy admitted.
Before I could ask my next question, a handsome, young man in a white coat approached us.
“Are you the family of Ms. Adams,” the young man asked.
“Yes, I’m her niece,” Mindy responded. “Is she alright?”
“Your aunt’s appendix have burst,” the doctor responded. “We are preparing her for emergency surgery.”
Mindy lost it again, crying wildly. I held her tight and stared at the young man, amazed that someone at his age could be a doctor. Mindy clutched me as tightly as she could, more scared than anything.
“I can assure you that this is routine surgery,” the doctor added.
Mindy pulled away from me to face him. She was now longer crying.
“Routine,” she snapped at him. “You are like 19 and about to operate on my aunt. I would advise that you not use the word routine to try to calm me down.”
“I can assure that I am not 19,” the doctor replied. “I will update you when the surgery is finished.”
Mindy made a move towards him, but I grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her away from the young doctor. I walked her into the waiting area as the doctor disappeared around a corner. We stood there silent for a long time.
I am not sure how long it was before I heard another sound. We stood there, almost frozen, waiting. That all changed when Penny and Brooke came through the doors of the emergency room. Mindy ran to Brooke and hugged her tightly. Penny pulled me aside to get whatever information I had.
“What’s going on,” Penny asked in a whisper.
“Leslie’s appendix have burst,” I disclosed. “They are operating on her now.”
“That’s it,” she questioned. “That’s all you know?”
“As of right now, yes,” I confirmed.
Penny moved past me quickly and made her way to the nurse’s station. I watched as she spoke with the young woman seat behind the desk. The discussion quickly changed to Penny being visibly animated, shaking her head from side to side and raising her voice slightly. When Penny finished speaking to the woman, she turned and walked through the doors towards the parking lot. I watched through the Kocaeli Escort window as she pulled out her cell phone and began dialing.
As Penny was talking outside, I made my way over to where Brooke and Mindy where standing. Without any words, they both threw their arms around me and it became an interesting sort of group hug. When they let go, they both looked at me and though I had none, I wished very much at that moment that I had answers for them. We all sat down on the chairs in the waiting room and continued to wait.
Penny returned from outside and sat next to me, across from Brooke and Mindy. She looked at them with sadness on her face.
“The surgery is going to take about another hour,” Penny announced. “Emma made some calls and got some information. Apparently, Leslie was in a great deal of pain this morning and was about to call Emma when she collapsed. She had the foresight to dial 911 instead. When they arrived the found her on the floor in the front hall, curled up in a ball in a tremendous amount of pain.”
We all took in this information, though I found myself dissecting it all very slowly, one piece at a time. This was good; we had information and a time frame. So we waited, together. I can count the number of cups of coffee that I drank while we sat. We didn’t talk much. Penny spent a good deal of time on her cell phone and Mindy took a short nap on my shoulder when she moved to the seat next to me. Brooke just stared at me, with something behind her eyes that I could not interpret. She was gorgeous. Even in this stressful circumstance, I could not help but notice how stunning she actually was. She had me, there was no doubt.
Finally the waiting game was over. The doctor reappeared and stood before us. We all waited together for him to speak, nerves and fear almost overwhelming us.
“Good news, the surgery went as good as expected,” the young doctor informed us. “Ms. Adams is recovering and should be back to normal in a few days. She’s awake and you can see her if you like. Room E9 at the end of the hall on the right.”
Mindy did not wait for any other words to be spoken. She blew right past the doctor and was on her way down the hall in a hurry. I thanked the doctor and we all headed towards the end of the hall. When Brooke, Penny and I reached Leslie’s room, Mindy was standing over her crying. I felt very moved by the bonds of family at that moment.
Leslie was awake but she seemed extremely fragile as she was lying there. I waited as Brooke hugged her lightly and Penny gave her a soft kiss on the cheek. I made no movement towards her; on the contrary, I back away and tried to stay unnoticed. Leslie was evidently doing very well indeed, as she noticed immediately.
“Are you not happy to see me,” Leslie asked me in a cracked voice that indicated her body had been through something dramatic recently.
All eyes turned to me as I formulated my response.
“You have been through a lot today,” I reminded her. “I didn’t want to damage you any further by getting near you and doing something clumsy.”
“I am not going to break like a glass vase,” she laughed at me. “And even if I do, I am already in the place that they could repair me, silly.”
I moved across the room to her bed. I leaned in and gave her a very long, very soft kiss on the cheek.
“The thought of anything happening to you was terrifying,” I whispered my confession in her ear as I stood.
I stood up straight and stepped back again, noticing a single tear on Leslie’s cheek as I did so. I was not the only one who noticed.
“Sure, make the sick lady cry, good job,” Brooke teased me.
Everyone got nice laugh out that remark. It broke the tension that was hanging in the room. Leslie’s spirit seemed to be lifted until the doctor made his way into the room.
“Ms. Adams, I hate to break up the party,” the young doctor interrupted. “You really need your rest and I need a word alone with you.”
“If you are gonna to lay some serious shit on my sister, I am not about to go anywhere,” Brooke declared.
The young doctor did not seem like he was going to argue that point.
Penny and Mindy said goodbye and were making there way out of the room when Leslie threw a curveball at me.
“I would like you to stay as well,” Leslie said to me before I could say goodbye as well.
I was stunned and had no idea what to say. All eyes, including the doctor’s where now firmly upon me. I looked at Leslie lying in the hospital bed, oxygen tubes protruding from her nose. I could not do anything other than what she asked. I nodded and did not move. As Penny and Mindy made their way out of the room, Penny looked back at me and mouthed the words “comfort her.”
“Ms. Adams, your surgery went splendidly,” the young doctor announced when only the 4 of us remained in the room. “You seem to be in good spirits and you should be able to go home tomorrow if nothing changes overnight.”
“That’s so great,” Brooke stated gleefully as she held Leslie hand tightly.
“That is outstanding Kocaeli Escort Bayan news doc,” I echoed. “But why couldn’t you say that in front of all of us?”
“That wasn’t the issue,” the doctor informed me. “There is more. While we were removing the appendix, we found two small growths on the intestines.”
“Growths, what kind of growths,” Brooke questioned.
Leslie lay still, not saying a word. The doctor never took his eyes off of Leslie. I felt a lump form in my throat. We all waited for the doctor to continue speaking.
“While we were operating, we took samples of the two growths,” the doctor informed all of us. “We have sent them out for a biopsy. It’s probably nothing but it’s better to find out now.”
“If it was probably nothing, we would not be having this conversation,” I corrected him.
I moved passed him and grabbed Leslie’s other hand. I held it tightly and turned back towards to the doctor.
“What do WE do now,” I pushed the doctor.
“I’m sorry, are you her husband,” the doctor asked me in a rather condescending tone.
I was pissed off hearing his question. I wanted to punch him but I was not about to let go of Leslie’s hand. She had asked me to stay for this and I was going to be there for her no matter what we had to deal with, together.
“I am whatever she needs me to be,” I clarified for him sternly. “Now, tell us what’s next.”
I felt Leslie squeeze my hand very tightly as I set the doctor straight.
“We should have the results in a week,” the doctor disclosed.
“A week,” Brooke exclaimed. “She will go out of her mind for a week waiting. Can’t you do it any faster?”
“I’m sorry, that’s the way it is,” the doctor admitted. “You should get some rest.”
He excused himself, leaving the three of us alone. Leslie squeezed my hand tight as I looked down at her. I cared for her greatly and wanted to do anything I could at this moment to ease her mind. I took my free hand and gently moved her hair back over her ear. I then gently stroked her cheek with my thumb.
“I am going to stay here tonight,” Brooke stated.
I had forgotten she was there for a moment, until her voice cracked the silence.
“Alright, call me in the morning and I will come and take Leslie home,” I instructed her.
“Will do,” she agreed.
I bent over and kissed Leslie on the forehead. She let go of my hand as I stood up again and made my way out of the room. I found Penny and Mindy in the waiting area again.
“I’m going to go say goodnight to Leslie,” Mindy said as she passed by me.
When Mindy was out of range, Penny pulled me aside.
“I want you to take Mindy home tonight and stay with her,” Penny said. “Make sure she is alright.”
I nodded swiftly in complete agreement.
“Physically, you get a free pass tonight,” Penny went on. “If she needs or wants something, give it to her.”
It was just that simple. Penny recognized the situation, evaluated it and charted a course to make it as pain-free as possible. She was becoming a master of running this game and taking great care of her players. It was one of the many reasons that I was head-over-heels crazy for her. I reached for her and pulled her to me. I hugged her tightly, losing track of time and location.
Penny pulled away from and walked out of the ER. She did not speak another word. I stood there, still and breathless, wondering. I felt a great urge to follow her home at that moment, but that urge passed when Mindy reappeared. Her presence initially startled me, but after a short moment I realized that I was rather happy to see her.
“Ready to go,” I asked her.
“I have my own car, thanks,” Mindy reminded me.
“Yeah, let’s leave it here tonight,” I offered. “You can pick it up tomorrow when I come back to get Leslie.”
“I think I will be alright,” Mindy countered.
I walked over to her and grabbed her hand with my own. I stood extremely close to her and did not take my eyes off of hers.
“It’s not open for discussion,” I said to her softly.
Mindy did not speak, she simply nodded. I turned and led her out of the emergency room. I walked her to my car and opened the passenger door for her. When she was securely seated, I closed the door and made my way to the driver’s side. As I pulled out of the hospital lot, Mindy still had not spoken, though she had not looked away from me either.
“Is there something you want to say,” I pressed her.
She leaned across the seat and gently pressed her lips to my cheek.
“Thank you,” she whispered in my ear as she withdrew back to her seat.
We drove the rest of the way in silence aside from Mindy’s phone call to order a pizza. It was after 9pm and we both were hungry. We reached Leslie’s house and proceeded inside. Mindy pulled out some paper plates and two beers. The pizza arrived only moments behind us. I paid the delivery guy and brought the pie into the dining. Mindy sat down as I put the box on the table.
We ate and drank mostly in silence, though she continued Escort Kocaeli to smile at me. She really was becoming a woman, almost before my eyes. Her body was already there, but her eyes and her smile confirmed that her inner growth was catching up. After several minutes, Mindy broke the silence.
“Why,” she asked simply.
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “You have to be a tad more specific than that. Why what?”
“Why is this game so different from Sienna’s game,” she inquired.
“The players,” I confirmed. “The physicality is only a portion of the game, where as Sienna sees it as the entire game.”
“Ok, either you are a really good actor, or you care for each of the women in this game greatly,” Mindy observed. “You have to care for some of them more than others. Who?”
“You are right, I do care for all of them,” I agreed. “I care for each of them greatly, because of their choice to play and be part of something. I respect that. I don’t care for any of them more than any of the others, but I do feel VERY differently about each of them.”
“How are you so unaffected by these questions,” Mindy asked. “I thought you would be reserved and tough. How can you be so open?”
“I have nothing to hide and I know the answers,” I admitted. “By asking, you obviously want to know. I have no shame in telling you. So go ahead, ask me.”
“You have different feelings for each of the women,” Mindy repeated. “Tell me.”
“Who do you want to know about,” I pushed back.
“Let’s start with Leslie,” she stated.
“I am protective of Leslie,” I said. “I don’t want her to hurt herself and I won’t let anyone else hurt her. She has a good heart but some bad opinions of herself. I would like to change that by proving to her that heart goes a long way.”
“That is exceptionally sweet,” Mindy said softly. “How about Emma?
“She’s the queen bee,” I laughed. “She started this. I have great respect and a lot of gratitude towards her. I think she is a better person than she gives herself credit for.”
“Nikki is a firecracker,” I smiled. “She is the free spirit and I feel joy when I am around her.”
“I am in love with Brooke,” I confessed.
Mindy sat there for a long moment, processing what I had just said. She did not press the Brooke issue.
“What about Vivian,” she asked.
“Vivian is an enigma to me,” I stated. “She says she loves me, which confuses me and makes me handle her gently. I am proud of how strong she is and how passionately she feels, but I worry about her too.”
“You are the potential of this game,” I disclosed. “I predict that you will turn out to be better and smarter than most of the current players. You are an unread book, an adventure always waiting to happen.”
“I guess that just leaves Penny,” Mindy recounted.
“I am in love with Penny,” I said firmly.
Mindy raised her eyebrow at this immediately.
“You said you were in love with Brooke,” she challenged me.
“I am,” I reaffirmed.
“How can you be in love with both of them,” she asked.
“It’s actually a wonderful feeling,” I acknowledged. “I just choose to give them each all of me when I am with either of them.”
“What happens when you are with them both,” Mindy pursued. “Who wins?”
“That’s not a choice that I want to make,” I sidestepped. “There is no winner. If I have to choose, then I lose. There is no tug-of-war, no battle for my attention. I give them what I have to give when I am with them. I will continue to do that until something changes.”
Mindy looked at me crookedly.
“You are one well-grounded man,” she stated simply. “Aren’t you worried that you will lose in the end?”
“No, I am not worried,” I confessed. “I am counting on it.”
Mindy did not respond to my last statement. She stood from the table and moved past me into the kitchen. I heard her footsteps on the stairs as she continued walking. I cleaned the table and put the remaining food in the fridge before lying down on the couch. I flipped the television on and kicked my shoes off. I heard the water running upstairs and it was not long before I was asleep.
When I opened my eyes again, I was a little confused. The television was still on and Mindy was sitting on the floor next to the couch watching. She looked up at me as I woke. She was wearing a thin tank top and shorts.
“What time is it,” I asked her in my haze.
“About 1:30,” she confirmed.
“Why aren’t you in bed,” I asked.
“I really just wanted to be near you,” she admitted shyly as she lowered her head to look away from me.
I sat up on the couch and looked over at her. She raised her eyes slowly to meet mine. I stood up and continued to look at her, warmly. Mindy stood as well, now only inches from me. I looked down at her and smiled. She threw her arms around my neck and kissed me passionately. I held her at the waist and squeezed her body into mine as we kissed. I broke our liplock scooped her up into my arms.
Mindy pointed the remote at the television and turned it off. She then tossed the remote over her head and onto the couch. I carried her across the living room and up the stairs. I entered her bedroom and laid her on her bed. I kissed her softly as I put her down. I attempted to stand up but Mindy pulled me back down on top of her.
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