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Cursed ecstasy cursed se.., p.6
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       Cursed Ecstasy (Cursed Series), p.6

           t. h. snyder
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  I’m more than grateful to know that he’s alive and breathing, but I don’t know how the hell he’s going to handle this news. I could be the stronger of the two of us, but how the hell am I supposed to do that? His life is my life.

  Moving forward, I watch as the nurse turns into a room on the right side of the hallway.

  Steve goes in first and I follow into a very dark and uninviting room. A single bed sits in the center of the room with two small tables on either side and a TV is perched on the far wall.

  Linc is sleeping with cords and some sort of tubes falling from his bed while beeping noises sound in the background.

  “You are both welcome to stay up here as long as you like, just do me a favor. If Lincoln wakes up, let us know, and please don’t get him agitated. We’re all aware of his condition and the stress he’s gone through since last night, so we want him to remain calm. If you can’t do that for him then we’ll have to ask you to leave. Is that clear?”

  I can’t help but laugh. This petite woman is scolding us. It must be the persona we give off or something. I don’t know that there’s one person is this place that hasn’t passed judgment on us since we got here.

  Steve bumps my arm and gives me a look.

  “Yeah, we’ll behave. Scout’s honor,” I reply, holding up three fingers.

  She shakes her head and moves closer to Linc. I watch her as she reads the monitor and checks the IV that is stuck into his hand.

  “I’ll be back in a few minutes to check on him again. Remember to call one of us if he wakes up or if you need anything.”

  Steve and I both nod in her direction and pull the chairs over next to Linc’s bed.

  “He looks like shit,” Steve says.

  “We should have been there tonight. I should have been.”

  “Dude, what do you seriously think you could’ve done to change what happened? You’re not a super hero, bro. If you were there, too, I’d be bouncing back in forth between two rooms instead of one.”

  Leaning forward in my chair, I rest my elbows on my legs.

  “I don’t know, Steve, but I would’ve done anything to keep Linc and Jo safe.”

  “Yeah, I get that, man, I really do, but what’s done is done. Now, all we can do is wait.”

  “I’ll be happy to never come back to this place again. I just want them out and back where they belong.”

  “Sounds like a good plan to me, but for right now we’re here. I’m going to shut my eyes for a bit and try to get some sleep. I’d suggest you do the same.”

  Nodding my head, I scoot down in the chair and rest my head back onto the chair. A few minutes of shut-eye may be helpful. We’ve all been up for way too long, and if I just shut my eyes for a little bit, I’ll feel more rested.

  “Dault, baby, it’ll be fine,” Mama says while wiping the blood from her lip.

  “But, Mama, he hit you really hard this time. Your lip is cut and you’re covered in blood.”

  My eyes stare into the eyes of a strong woman. She’s taken the brunt of my pain for years. He’s attacked her rather than going after me. If not for her, he’d probably have strangled me with his two bare hands.

  “Sweetie, I’m fine. Why don’t you go and get your baseball stuff from the car and put it away. That way, when your father comes home, he’ll be happy that you cleaned up your things.”

  “It won’t matter, Mama. He’ll just find another reason to yell at us and hurt you.”

  “I’ll take care of your father, Dault, don’t you worry yourself over it.”

  She sets the washcloth down on the sink and places both her hands on either side of my face.

  “I love you, Daulton, don’t ever forget that. No matter how much your father yells and screams, we are both very proud of you.”

  I begin to shake my head back in forth.

  “No, Mama, all of this is my fault. If I wouldn’t have stopped at third base and rounded the plate for home, he wouldn’t have been so mad at me. You wouldn’t have gotten hit.”

  Tears start to fall from my eyes and my chest begins to ache.

  “Oh, my handsome boy, none of this is your fault. You did your best today. Now go do as Mama asked and get your things while I clean up in here.”

  She places a soft kiss to my forehead and leans back against the bathroom wall.

  I nod my head and turn to leave the room, heading for the front door.

  Seeing her like this hurts me and there’s nothing I can do to stop her pain. My father is a monster and I’m so scared that one day he’ll really hurt her.

  I love Mama so much and I can’t bear to see her like this. Tomorrow, I’ll be the best boy I can be so there’s no reason for him to touch her again.

  A tingling sensation pulls me from my sleep. Sitting up in the chair, I look around the room to gain my bearings and see that both Linc and Steve are still out.

  I’m covered in sweat with goose bumps surfacing all over my arms and legs.

  I haven’t had a dream like that in years. The memories of my life with both my parents are something I’ve pushed so far down in my thoughts that I never thought they’d resurface.

  The vibration in my back pocket goes off and I reach for my cell.

  Cliff’s name flashes across the screen as I swipe my finger along the green button on my phone. Moving to the other side of the room, I answer the call.

  “Yo man,” I say in a groggy voice.

  “Hey, what the fuck is going on?” he asks.

  “Well, I can tell you that I’d rather have been where you are than here.”

  “What the hell did I miss? I was at this chick’s house and my phone was in my pants in her living room. I had no clue you guys were trying to reach me ‘til I woke up this morning and got dressed.”

  “Nice, man, I don’t want the details. Steve and I are at the hospital. It’s a long fucking story and I’m not about to get into it now. Just get your ass here.”

  “I’m on my way, see you in fifteen minutes.”

  Ending the call, I slide my cell back into my pocket. Looking out the window, the light of the rising sun is coming over the tall buildings. I don’t know how long I was out, but shit, it’s already morning.

  Turning around, my eyes focus on Linc lying in bed. He begins to move and my heart sinks to the pit of my stomach.

  “Hey, man,” I whisper, moving alongside the bed.

  His eyes blink a few times and they set on mine.

  “Dault, what the fuck?”

  “If I was a pansy ass I’d fucking hug you right now. Do you have any idea how scared I was?”

  His brows scrunch and his eyes close. Opening them back up, he looks to me with pure confusion.

  “What the hell is going on? Where am I?”

  “You’re at the hospital. You were shot and had surgery on your right arm.”

  “Shot? Shit, where are Jo and Etty?” he asks, trying to sit up. “Fuck that hurt,” he says, resting his body back down on the bed.

  “I couldn’t care less where Etty is, but Jo was still in surgery when we came up to your room.”

  His head tilts to Steve, who’s still knocked out cold, then back to me.

  “Dault, what do you mean she’s in surgery? What happened?”

  Taking a seat back in the chair next to him, I lean forward on the bed.

  “I don’t know the whole story. All I’ve been able to get is that Etty’s ex, Rick, showed up with Michael. Etty was down in the ER, she hit her head or some shit like that, and they told us that you got shot in the arm. We haven’t heard any more on Jo yet.”

  “Oh my god, I tried. I really tried to keep them safe, Dault. I need to know that my girls are okay, man.”

  “Yeah, well we’ve been here waiting for answers all night. As soon as they know anything on Jo they’ll come find me.”

  “It’s my fault, Dault; I should’ve fought Rick harder. I tried to get the gun from him, but I couldn’t. My head was heavy, it hurt, and all I could do was struggle f
or the gun. Before I knew it, I heard a gunshot and my mind went blank.”

  “Relax, Linc, none of this is your fault, it’s all Etty’s fault. Everything will be just fine.”

  “Why would it be Etty’s fault? She didn’t do anything wrong.”

  I move to stand from the chair and head toward the end of the bed.

  “Where are you going?”

  “I gotta tell the nurse you’re awake, I’ll be right back.”

  My mind is swarming with emotions. Linc is awake and he’s blaming everything on himself. None of this is his fault, it’s hers.

  As much as I want to hate her, to blame her for everything that has happened in this fucked up situation, I know I shouldn't. She’s dug her heels into me somehow, and with my anger and my fucked up life, right now it just fits. I need to grasp at something and Etty seems like the perfect target since it is her past that’s created this mess.

  Making my way out of the room, I find a group of women sitting around the nurses’ station. The woman from earlier sees me coming and quickly stands.

  “He’s up,” I tell her and turn my back, walking toward Linc’s room.

  The pitter patter of her feet quickly comes up alongside of me.

  “So he’s awake?” she asks.


  “Has he said anything to you?”

  I let out a heavy breath and stop in my tracks, turning to face her.

  “Look, lady, I’m tired, pissed off, and this is the last place I want to be. Yes, he’s awake and yes, he’s talked to me. What relevance that has to you, I haven’t a clue. Just go in there and do what you need to do. We’ll stay out of your way if you’ll just stay out of ours.”

  The look on her face is priceless, but I’m being completely honest. I’m not in the mood to make small talk. All I want is to get in and out of here and go back home.

  She moves past me and into the room. Following close behind, I move the chair away from the bed and back to the far side of the room.

  “Hi, Lincoln, I’m Kathy and will be your nurse throughout the day. I just want to check on a few things before I ask you some questions.”

  “Go for it, I don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.”

  “Well, I’m glad you’re willing to cooperate so well,” she says, turning to face me and giving me a wicked smirk.

  Stupid bitch.

  I turn my gaze from her to another nurse walking into the room.

  “Hello, gentlemen, I was asked to come in here and let y’all know when we had any news on Miss JoAnne.”

  My ears perk up and my I turn my head to look at Linc. His eyes are wide and I can tell his heart is beginning to race because the beeping sound in the room speeds up.

  “How is she?” he asks.

  The other nursed steps in closer toward Linc.

  “She’s out of surgery but up in our ICU. She took a gunshot wound to the abdomen and all I know as of right now is that she’s currently stable.”

  “Stable? She’s going to be okay, right?”

  My soul aches for my best friend; I can’t imagine how he’s feeling right now.

  “She’s under the best care possible right now. I’ll let you know if I hear anything else. The nurses up there know to keep us all up to date with her care.”

  Linc rests his head back on his pillow and closes his eyes.

  Steve, now fully awake and alert, moves to stand next to Linc and places his hand on his left shoulder.

  “She’ll be okay, man; Jo is one hell of a fighter.”

  “If you guys want to get out of here for a bit, I’ll take your cell numbers and call if we hear anything more,” Kathy says.

  “Doesn’t sound like a bad idea, Dault. Why don’t we head back over to get your car and we’ll meet back up here later. Neither one of us are any use right now without sleep or food.”

  “Steve is right, Dault, just come back later. It’s not like Jo and I are going anywhere.”

  “You’ll call us if anything happens, right?”

  The nurse nods her head and takes down our numbers.

  With a small peace of mind, Steve and I walk our way out of the room and to the elevator. A nice hot shower and a nap could really do me good right about now.

  Chapter 10

  The pain meds are starting to kick in, and any moment now I’ll be taken up to my room.

  My eyes flutter open and close; I can barely keep them open. I’ve felt out of sorts on medication before, but that was when Rick had been giving me those pills. It’s almost like an out of body experience.

  Since I feel so numb, the orderly and nurse bring a wheelchair into the room and help me out of bed.

  There are long, clear tubes dangling from two large bags that are now hanging from the metal rod on the chair. Everything is connected to a single clear tube that is attached to the IV inserted in my left hand. The sensation of floating overcomes me as I’m wheeled out of the room, through the halls, and into an elevator.

  I try to focus on my surroundings, but everything seems to be passing by so quickly.

  Damn these drugs are making me loopy.

  After what seems like no time at all, I’m being pushed into a single room with a bed positioned right in the center.

  Now how the hell am I going to get up on that?

  “Can you get up from the chair, Miss Powers?”

  I shake my head back and forth until I make myself dizzier than I was before.

  A snickering noise sounds from behind me and I can only assume the craziness this man has seen in his time working here.

  He helps to guide me from the wheelchair and into my bed. Bringing the covers up around my shoulders, a slight tremble moves through my body as I move to get comfortable under the blankets.

  I watch as he leaves the room. Everyone has left; I’m once again all alone.

  There are no doctors, nurses, orderlies, and of course, no Christian.

  He hasn’t come back since he walked out of my room in the ER and I honestly can’t blame him. I may not have been the nicest to him, but he has to understand that I’m not in a good place.

  I’m not looking for pity or anyone to show me empathy; I just want to be left alone. There’s a lot of stuff I need to figure out before I get out of here. Once I’m free and clear of all doctors’ orders, I need to find a way out of this town.

  Birmingham hasn’t been my home for long and I didn’t intend to stay here long anyway. It was just supposed to be a short stop on my long tour of finding my place in this world.

  I’ll miss Linc—he’s the one friend that I’ve made that helped me realize the person I really am. I know that he’ll understand why I can’t make this town my home.

  I don’t know where I’ll go or what will happen. All I can think about right now is getting my shit together and moving on…once again.

  A clicking sound draws my attention to the door. As it opens, a short, red-haired man walks into the room.

  “Hello, Miss Powers, I’m Dr. Stanley. I’ve reviewed your tests and spoken with Dr. Schwehm who met with you in the ER. For now, we’d like to run a few more tests and then a nurse will be in to check your vitals. Once we feel you’re stable, you can rest and relax for a few hours.”

  “I can sleep?” I ask in a high pitched voice.

  “Not for a lengthy amount of time—we’ll have to keep you monitored throughout the day. But yes, you can rest for short intervals.”

  Another man comes into the room with a wheelchair and stands behind the doctor.

  “This is Dave and he’ll be taking you for your testing. If there’s anything else you need just alert your nurse.”

  “Thank you, doctor, I should be fine.”

  Dave helps me get out of bed and into the chair.

  Everything around me is spinning and I’m finding it difficult to focus on my hands right in front of me.

  A feeling of nausea hits me and just as I’m about to spill my guts, Dave pulls a plastic container out of nowhere
and sets it in front of me.

  “Do you have any known allergies to medication, Miss Powers?” the doctor asks.

  Shaking my head, I reply, “None that I’m aware of.”

  “If you continue to feel sick or nauseous, we may need to adjust your pain medication or give you something else to help your stomach. Just make sure your nurse knows, okay?”

  “Yes, thank you.”

  “Do you feel like you’re going to be sick again?” Dave asks.

  “No, I think I’m okay for now.”

  He hands me a tissue and takes the container from me.

  “Let me clean this out and we’ll take it with us, just in case.”

  Wiping my mouth with the tissues, I nod my head and close my eyes to help stop the room from spinning. I’ve never been one to take painkillers for recreation; I don’t know how anyone can feel like this and do it for enjoyment. It really sucks ass.

  Dave comes back out of the bathroom and hands me the container. Setting it on my lap, I close my eyes again as he begins to push me out of the room.

  For the next hour or so I’m taken to a few rooms for scans, blood work, and other testing. I feel like a guinea pig being prepped for scientific testing.

  I know this is all part of the process, but all I really want to do is close my eyes and get some sleep.

  By the time Dave brings me back to my room, I’m exhausted. I can barely keep my eyes open and I can barely feel the pain in my neck and back.

  He helps me back into bed and pushes the tray table up next to my bed.

  “I have the container, tissues, and a cup of water here if you need them. Anything else, just buzz the nurses' station and someone will be right in to help you.”

  Once he has me comfortable, he sets the remote next to me on the bed and leaves the room.

  Just as I’m about to shut my eyes, I hear the door open and close. To my surprise, the man walking toward me isn’t at all who I’d expect.

  “Steve?” I say more as a question than a statement.

  “Hey, Etty, sorry I haven’t been around here much today. It’s kinda been a shit show trying to find out what the hell happened to you guys last night.”

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