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The proposition, p.25
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       The Proposition, p.25

           Jessica Schlafer
 
Chapter 24

  There was a knock at the door and Dr. Rhodes came in. “Hello, Abby. I’m sorry, I haven’t gotten your name?” She said to Nick.

  “Oh, I’m Nick.”

  “Hello, Nick, nice to meet you,” Dr. Rhodes said, shaking his hand. “Abby, what’s wrong? You look grey.”

  “We went for a walk and I think we overdid it.”

  “Okay. How do you feel?”

  “Exhausted and hungry.”

  “Are you in pain?”

  “Yes, about a six to a seven.”

  “Jesus, Abby. Why didn’t you say something?” Nick said.

  “I’m okay, Nick.”

  “Alright,” Dr. Rhodes said. “I’m going to have the nurse bring you some lunch and I’ll get you something for the pain, too.”

  “Thank you, Dr. Rhodes.”

  “Melissa, please. Take it easy this afternoon, Abby. I’ll be back in a couple of hours to check on you.”

  The doctor left and Nick turned to frown at me. “Abby, why didn’t you tell me you were in pain?”

  “It wasn’t that bad,” I lied. “I thought I could handle it.”

  “Next time, say something, please.”

  “I will, I promise.”

  The nurse came in with the meds and I turned the tv on. Soon, the same male orderly came with a tray of food that I immediately opened and ate. I could tell Nick was getting hungry.

  “Nick, please go get something to eat. I can tell you want something.”

  “Abby, I can’t….”

  “Nick, it’s broad daylight, go!” I pointed to the door.

  “Okay, Abby, I’ll be gone five minutes. Don’t let anyone in!”

  Nick bolted out the door. I’m almost positive that he ran to the cafeteria. I was absorbed in some tv show when Nick came back in.

  “See? Five minutes,” he said, panting.

  “My hero.”

  The early part of afternoon passed with us watching tv, playing card games, and me napping. Finally, around four o’clock, Dr. Rhodes came back in.

  “Abby, I have some good news.”

  “Am I going home?”

  “Yes, ma’am. I’ve got some forms for you to sign and some paperwork for you to have. You should be on your way out in about an hour.”

  “Hooray!” I said.

  Nick was smiling but looked serious.

  She handed me a stack of forms to sign, along with my release instructions. A nurse came in while I was signing and gave me a bag with five bottles of pills that I would need to take. She showed me, again, how to use the cane, how to care for my stitches, and how to keep my leg wrapped.

  “Okay, Abby. I’ll be back as soon as I file all these forms and you’ll be on your way,” Dr. Rhodes said as she walked out the door. “You’d probably better get everything packed up.”

  “I’ll take care of that,” Nick said.

  He managed to find a box somewhere to put the vases of flowers and other gifts in. He packed my clothes and personal items in the bag that Paul brought in.

  “Do you want to change before we leave?”

  “No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I showered and put these on clean. When I get back to Paul’s, I’ll shower and find something else to wear.”

  “You’re coming to my house, Abby.”

  “Oh, that’s right. I forgot, I’m sorry.”

  “Don’t be. It’ll make me feel better to have you close to me.”

  “I’ll feel safer,” I said softly.

  Nick rushed to the side of the bed while I swung my feet over the side. He stood in front of me, looking into my eyes for a moment while he ran his hand through my hair, pulling me close.

  “Abby,” he breathed.

  “Nick.”

  And then he kissed me. The long, deep, lingering kiss left me tingling and wanting more. Our limbs were wrapped around each other and I was breathless.

  “You’re so beautiful, Abby.”

  I couldn’t respond because he kissed me again. He pushed his hands into my hair and pulled gently while he kissed down my neck.

  He pulled away again, “I’ll die before anyone hurts you again, Abby. I promise you.”

  There was a knock on the door, the nurse came in and cleared her throat, “Ms. Moss, excuse me. I have your release forms and, as soon as you’re ready, you can go.”

  “I’m ready right now,” I said quickly. “I don’t want you to change your mind.”

  The nurse laughed and the orderly came in, pushing a wheel chair.

  “Hospital policy,” he said, I noticed his name tag said Donald.

  I put myself in the chair while Nick carried my belongings. We walked through the maze of hallways to the main entrance.

  “Shit,” Nick said. “Can she wait here while I go get the car?”

  “I have to wait with her,” the orderly said. “Go on.”

  Nick looked at me, “I’ll be back in just a minute.”

  Again he practically ran out the door, leaving me with the orderly. I stared out after him. The corridor was almost empty when the orderly looked at me and smiled.

  “You in any pain?”

  “Not really, they gave me some pills that help.”

  “I got a message for Nick,” he leaned down. “You tell him that him and Paul’d better back off of the west side.”

  “Excuse me?” I was suddenly very scared.

  “You tell Nick that they’d better back off the west side or else. You got that?”

  “Y-yes,” I stammered.

  “When he comes back, you smile and wait for me to push you to the car or I’ll cut your fucking throat right here and he can watch you bleed out on the sidewalk,” he whispered, showing me a scalpel in his pocket.

  I’m gonna throw up.

  “Say you understand, bitch or I’ll cut you right now.”

  “I understand,” I said.

  Nick pulled up, parked the car and got out to help me into my seat. As I was standing, waiting for Nick to load my gifts, the orderly poked my arm and gave me a look to remind me of what I was supposed to do.

  I sat in the new car and Nick pulled away from the hospital. We were about 10 blocks away when I finally broke.

  “Nick, I want to go away from here.”

  “Why? What’s wrong?”

  He glanced over at me, I felt the color drain away from my face and my hands start to shake.

  “Abby? What is it?”

  The tears started to flow.

  “Jesus, Abby. What happened?” Nick pulled the car into a gas station. “Tell me what happened?”

  “When you went to get the car,” I was sobbing, “The orderly. Oh, my God, Nick.”

  When I couldn’t catch my breath, Nick said slowly, “Abby, what did he do?” He was visibly angry.

  “He said that if you and Paul didn’t back off from the west side, that you were gonna get killed.”

  Nick put a deep breath and put his hand on mine, trying to calm me. “Abby, did he threaten you?”

  “Y-yes.”

  Nick tensed, his nostrils flared, and his jaw clenched, “What. Did. He. Say?” he asked through clenched teeth.

  “He said that if I didn’t smile and play nice when you came back with the car, he would cut my throat and you could watch me bleed out on the sidewalk. And he said if I didn’t understand him and do what he said, he’d cut me. And he poked my arm really hard.”

  “He touched you?”

  “He poked my arm.”

  Nick pulled out his phone and made a call. He turned away from me and spoke low so I couldn’t hear him. I was still trying to catch my breath, I had stopped crying.

  “Abby, shhh, you’re safe. You’re with me. I won’t let anyone touch you. I shouldn’t have left you alone with him, he used to work for me. I thought you’d be safe. I’m so sorry.”

  “Nick, how were you supposed to know?”

  “I should’ve known, Abby. I should
know these things.”

  He pulled me close and held me for a moment.

  “What is happening, Nick?”

  “I don’t know, Abby. I’m sorry.”

 
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