Edward sat on the side of Heather’s bed in the moonlight. His hand held her fingers, the only part of her hand that wasn’t covered by the casts for her fractured wrists. She was asleep, having been cleaned up, examined and treated. It had been quite an ordeal, people poking and prodding her when she wanted nothing more than to curl up and cry.
After it was all over, he’d held her as she cried herself to sleep. He’d wept with her, unable to stop himself even after she’d finally drifted off. He sat at her side, watching her sleep, her shaved head covered by his army cap.
He wasn’t sure when he’d nodded off; the first thing he heard was someone bursting in the door. He reacted on pure reflex, roughly throwing the intruder up against the glass window. It took a moment to recognize (a very terrified) Jake Green.
“Jesus, Jake, can’t you knock?”
“I thought I raised him to.” That was Gail, entering the room. “You really should listen to your mother.” She watched her son nod emphatically, backing away, hand on his head, still recovering from Beck’s utterly unexpected explosion. “Though, major, we’d appreciate it if you didn’t throw anyone else into the window. We’re a bit short on glass these days.” She pointed at where the impact of Jake’s body had cracked the window.
A whimper from the bed got their attention. Beck rushed over to Heather, who had been awakened by the sudden violence.
“Eddy…” Heather clung to him, grasping a fistful of shirt.
“Shhhh, it’s ok. It’s just Jake. It’s ok. He’s going to knock next time.” His glared at Jake. Jake looked properly abashed, although there was also curiosity at the scene before him. Clearly he hadn’t heard the whole story before he’d rushed over to see her.
“I’m sorry, Heather. I heard they’d found you, and I ran over to see you. I didn’t mean to startle you.” He paused. “Though I really don’t think anyone’s getting past the major.” He readjusted his shirt from where it had been yanked up short.
Heather nodded acknowledgment. Then she lifted her head to whisper in Edward’s ear. He nodded, moving to help her up.
“Why don’t you go get some ice for that?” Beck said. Gail took the hint and dragged Jake out as he helped Heather to the bathroom.
Jake shifted the ice on his head out by the nurses’ station.
“So is she going to be okay?”
“Well, physically, probably.”
“She’s a pretty girl, Jake. What do you think they did to her?”
“Oh.” Jake deflated as it registered, looking through the blinds at a sobbing Heather, buried in Beck’s arms. It still struck him as odd that she clung to him so. “But if that’s the case, how can she - ?”
“How can she what?”
“Let him touch her.”
“She loves him. And I think he’s the only person she truly trusts right now.”
“Wow. I knew she had a thing for him, but I didn’t think it was that…” he struggled to find the right word.
It finally dawned on Gail that her son didn’t have the whole picture.
“Jake, it wasn’t a ‘thing’. They were lovers. For months.”
“But – but – he said he liked her, but he said that he didn’t want to put her in any more danger.”
“Which is why they were covert lovers.”
Jake stared at the scene through the window. Beck caught him and glared back before closing the blinds.
“Sucks when it happens to someone he cares about, doesn’t it?” he said, his voice suddenly acid.
The ER went silent. The silence didn’t last however, broken by the sharp sound of Nurse Green slapping her son.
“Johnston Jacob Green Jr.!”
The entire ER cringed as Jake stood in shock.
“I know what Beck did to you. I may never fully forgive him myself for what he did to you – I’m your mother. But – you’ve been through worse. The time you boys spent in New Bern comes to mind. AND, if you make another comment like that, I will never speak to you again.” Jake swallowed audibly.
“Good. Now go home, get cleaned up, and rest a bit. You can visit later, when you’re not so crabby. And knock next time.”
“That’s better.” She said, turning away. “That boy, I swear…”