Colters woman, p.26
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       Colters Woman, p.26

         Part #1 of Colters Legacy series by Maya Banks
 
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Page 26

 

  He cracked one eye to stare at Adam. “How did you find her? What happened? You haven’t told me anything. ”

  “We can talk about it later,” Adam said. He was sure he didn’t need to rile Ryan up any more than he already was.

  “Don’t coddle me,” Ryan said fiercely. “Tell me what the fuck happened out there. ”

  “If you don’t calm down, you’re going to get us kicked out of here,” Ethan said.

  They were interrupted when the door eased open, and a nurse stuck her head in. “Mr. Colter? Mrs. Bardwell is out of surgery. I thought you’d want to know. She’s in recovery, but the doctor will be down in a few minutes to talk to you. ”

  “When can we see her?” Adam demanded.

  “You’ll have to ask the doctor. He knows you’re here. He won’t be long. ”

  Adam sighed in frustration. “Do you at least know how she’s doing?”

  The nurse smiled kindly. “She made it through surgery fine. ”

  His stomach dropped, and for a moment, he thought he might be sick. Relief poured over him so heavy, he had to find a place to sit down quick or he was going to fall.

  He sank into the chair situated by Ryan’s bed and dropped his head into his hands.

  “Thank God,” he heard Ethan whisper.

  Adam hadn’t realized just how frightened he was. Not until now. His breath came in sporadic fits as he struggled to calm his raging emotions. He clenched his fingers into fists then curled them outward again.

  Several minutes passed and the brothers sat in silence. Then the door opened and an older man wearing green scrubs walked in. He glanced between the brothers and adjusted his glasses.

  “You’re here for Mrs. Bardwell?”

  “Don’t call her that,” Ryan growled. “Her name is Holly. ”

  The doctor blinked in surprise. “I take that as a yes. ”

  Adam surged to his feet and stuck out his hand. “Adam Colter. And yes, we’re here for Holly. How is she?”

  The physician shook Adam’s hand. “Dr. Phillips. I performed surgery on Mrs…Holly,” he corrected.

  “Is she okay?” Ethan asked anxiously.

  “She’s doing well considering the condition she arrived in. She lost quite a large amount of blood. She suffered a compound fracture of her left radius. She also suffered a six-inch laceration to her left shoulder as well as a severe knife wound to her chest. I repaired some of the damaged tissue and stitched the cut. Luckily the blade missed all her major organs. Two centimeters more to the right and it would have sliced her lung. ”

  Adam sat back down heavily. “When can we see her?”

  “She’s in recovery. We’ll be moving her to a step down unit, kind of a level below ICU and a step above the floor. I want to monitor her progress for a few days. I don’t see any reason you can’t step in to see her when she’s moved from recovery. ”

  “You’ll let us know when she goes?” Ethan spoke up.

  “I’ll have the nurse come get you,” Dr. Phillips said.

  “Thank you,” Adam said. “We appreciate it. ”

  The doctor nodded and walked back out the door, shutting it behind him.

  Adam turned to Ryan. “When are they moving you to a room?”

  “Hell if I know,” Ryan grumbled. “They poked and prodded on me for damn ever. ”

  Adam saw the pain in Ryan’s eyes. He glanced over to Ethan to see if he noticed as well. Ethan’s lips set into a fine line.

  “Have you had anything for pain, buddy?” Adam asked.

  Ryan shot him a dirty look. “Fuck no. I wanted to be awake and aware until I knew Holly was safe. ”

  “Well you know she’s fine now, so I’m going to call the nurse so she can give you something. ”

  “I don’t need it,” Ryan said through his teeth.

  “Ryan, you were shot. It can’t feel that great,” Ethan spoke up. “Quit being so goddamn stubborn and take the medicine. ”

  “You can take it willingly or I swear to God I’ll hold you down while the nurse sticks a needle in your ass,” Adam said.

  “Fuck off,” Ryan snarled.

  But Ryan slumped down into his bed, his eyes weary and pain-filled. Adam reached for the call button and pressed. A few minutes later, a nurse bustled in, syringe in hand.

  “It’s about time you let me give you something, young man,” she said with a reprimanding stare in Ryan’s direction.

  She bent over and swabbed the IV port at Ryan’s wrist and swiftly injected the pain medication. She patted Ryan on the arm. “Try and get some rest now. ”

  Adam pulled the chair up so he faced Ryan and sat back down. Ethan snared the only remaining chair and positioned it at the foot of the bed.

  “Tell Holly…tell her I love her,” Ryan slurred out.

  “I will,” Adam said quietly. “Now get some rest so you can tell her yourself. ”

  Ryan’s head slumped and his eyes closed.

  Adam leaned back in his chair and laced his hands behind his head. He stared at the ceiling, the tiles swimming in his vision. He was so tired. He’d aged a decade overnight. Had it only been last night that he’d sat in the living room reflecting on how good life was?

  Things had changed in an instant.

  He and Ethan sat in silence as the minutes ticked by. Ethan looked every bit as tired as Adam felt. But neither would rest until they saw Holly.

  He must have dozed momentarily because the opening door startled him.

  “Are you Adam and Ethan?” a nurse asked.

  Adam scrambled up. “Yes, ma’am, that’s us. ”

  She motioned for them to follow her outside.

  Once in the hall, she turned concerned eyes on them. “We’ve moved Mrs. Bardwell from recovery, but she’s quite distraught. She’s asking for you. We don’t want to have to sedate her so soon after coming off the anesthesia. Maybe your presence will calm her. ”

  “Let’s go,” Adam demanded.

  They followed the nurse and Adam had to check his stride in order not to pass her. His impatience nearly boiled over as he allowed her to lead them down the twisting halls to the elevator.

  A lifetime later, the nurse entered a large room that housed several smaller cubicles. In the center stood the nurses station where two other nurses walked briskly to and from the cubicles.

  “Mrs. Bardwell is at the end,” the nurse said.

  She walked down and shoved aside the curtain and gestured Adam and Ethan in. Adam shoved past her. He sucked in his breath as he saw Holly lying in the bed, a multitude of tubes and wires coming from everywhere.

  Quiet sobs emanated from her, and tears spilled down her cheeks. She faced away from him, and he surged forward.

  “Holly. Holly, baby, I’m here,” he said as he approached the bed.

  Ethan followed closely, going to Holly’s other side.

  She closed her eyes and turned further away from Adam.

  Ethan slipped a hand to her hair and bent to kiss her.

  “You’re breaking my heart,” Ethan said in a hoarse voice.

  “Ryan,” she whispered. “Oh God, Ryan. ”

  Adam bit the inside of his cheek to keep from breaking down. He leaned forward, needing to touch her, reassure himself she was alive. “Baby, Ryan’s okay, I swear it. He’s down in the ER waiting for a room. ”

  She shook her head and moaned, the agony spilling from her throat.

  “Doll, listen to us,” Ethan pleaded. “It’s not good for you to be so upset. ”

  Adam watched her, panic rising fast within him. The nurse hovered in the doorway, concern etched in her face.

  Holly wasn’t cognizant of her surroundings. She was too caught up in her grief. She thought Ryan was dead.

  Adam turned to the nurse as Ethan continued to comfort Holly. “Our brother, Ryan Colter is down in ER waiting for a room. Have them bring his bed up here. ”

  The nurse’s brow crinkled. “Abso
lutely not. We aren’t set up for a double room here. This is a step down unit. We have to be able to closely monitor our patients. ”

  “And I’m telling you the only way you’re going to calm her down is to bring him up here,” Adam gritted out. “I don’t care what you have to do to make it happen. Just do it. ”

  “I don’t have that kind of authority,” the nurse protested. “I’ll have to call the doctor in and risk sedating her. ”

  “And I’ll turn this damned hospital upside down if I have to,” Adam snarled. “Don’t fuck with me. Not over this. He needs a room. He needs the care. He can come here. There’s room for another bed. Hell, you could put him next door and take down the curtain. I don’t care how you get it done, just do it!”

  “I can’t authorize something like that,” the nurse said. “Only the attending physician can. ”

  “Then call him up here,” Adam demanded. “I want to talk to him. Do it now. We’re wasting time. ”

  The nurse retreated, and a few seconds later, Dr. Phillips stuck his head in the door.

  “Mr. Colter, what’s going on in here?”

  Adam quickly explained his request. As he spoke, the doctor hustled to Holly’s bedside and took in her quiet sobs. He glanced around the room as if considering Adam’s request. Then he sighed.

  “I don’t take well to bullying, Mr. Colter. What you’re asking is highly irregular. However, I tend to agree that perhaps the best thing for this young lady is to see your brother. Maybe it will calm her. I’ll have to call the ER physician and arrange it with him, but I don’t see why we can’t make an exception this once. Much will depend on how stable your brother’s condition is. I understand he suffered a gunshot wound. ”

  Relief flood through Adam. “Thank you, Doctor. ”

  Adam resumed his position next to Holly’s bed, his hand curling around her uninjured one. Her left arm was surrounded by a cast and her entire chest and left shoulder were swathed in heavy bandages.

  He’d never seen her looking so vulnerable. Tears continued to seep from her closed eyes, and his chest tightened in response. He leaned forward and kissed her temple.

  “I love you, baby,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry I never told you. ”

  As he and Ethan kept watch over Holly, she finally drifted off to sleep. Her breathing became more even, and the flow of tears finally stopped. Her head lay limply against the pillow, her face pale with red blotches from the crying.

  A few minutes later, the same nurse Adam had gone up against came bustling in. She eyed him with a look of annoyance.

  “I’ve been instructed to open up the cubicle next to Mrs. Bardwell’s. Since I don’t imagine you’ll agree to go home, I’m having a chair and a small sofa brought in as well. ”

  Adam eased his scowl. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. “This means the world to us. ”

  The nurse’s expression softened. “I know you’re worried about her. But we’re doing our best to take excellent care of her. ” Then she grinned a little mischievously. “Besides, chances are your brother would have ended up here anyway. The hospital’s pretty full, and he needs care beyond the floor, but he’s not a candidate for ICU. And from what I hear, he’s not exactly cooperative. ”

  Adam’s lips quirked into a smile. “Yep, that’s Ryan. But he’ll straighten up when he’s able to see Holly. He’s been pretty worried about her. ”

  Within the hour, the curtain between the two rooms had been pulled, and two orderlies hauled in a chair and a sofa and set them between the two beds.

  Thirty minutes afterward, a nurse rounded the corner, pushing Ryan in a wheelchair. She looked less than happy with her charge, and Ryan didn’t look like he gave a fuck.

  She rolled him toward the other bed, but he put his free hand down to jam the wheels. The nurse’s lips pressed together, and she shook her head.

  “Into bed with you, Mr. Colter. You got your way. I took you up in a wheelchair when you shouldn’t be out of bed, but you’ll go now, or I’ll haul you back to the ER. ”

  Ryan ignored her, his haunted eyes stroking over Holly.

  “Help me up,” he said hoarsely, his gaze going to Adam.

  “Ryan, you should be in bed,” Adam began.

  “I have to see her,” Ryan said.

  Adam looked at the nurse who shrugged in defeat.

  “Do whatever it is that will get him into bed the fastest,” she said.

  “Give me a hand, Ethan,” Adam directed. “Let’s make this quick. ”

  Adam bent over Ryan, and Ryan curled his good arm around Adam’s neck and pulled himself upwards. Sweat broke out on Ryan’s forehead, and he trembled against Adam. Ryan’s face had gone pasty white, and Adam knew it had cost him dearly to expend so much energy.

  He and Ethan helped Ryan to the bed where Holly lay. Tears filled Ryan’s eyes as he gazed down at her. He reached his hand out to touch her cheek then pulled it back to scrub the moisture from his own face.

 
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