Tie Break

by Bonnie


berlinpup@yahoo.de

2002

For disclaimers see Part 1.


Part 8

Chapter 9

Anne carried her injured friend into the kitchen and stopped dead in her tracks. Irene, who had been following her daughter as fast as she could in her socks in the snow, could barely stop her forward motion before she hit the taller woman's back.

"What is it, Anne?" she asked, concern and worry coloring her voice.

Anne turned around to face her mother. "I don't know what to do?" More question than statement, asked by a child rather than an adult.

That's all Irene needed to hear to take charge of the situation. "Take Shea to the spare bedroom--"

Anne was out of the room before her mother could finish the sentence.

Irene shook her head, realizing that right now her tall daughter needed things to do, needed to act to help Shana, to be able to cope with the stress she felt. Irene, on the other hand, felt the need to take care of both of them.

She assessed the information she had: one, Shana was hurt; two, Anne was in shock or emotional overload; three, it was probably a car accident, which meant the injuries could be severe and they had to get a doctor as soon as possible. The problem was that the nearest hospital was a half-hour drive away in good weather. Now it could take forever. She hoped her GP in town was available. Otherwise

Irene looked up the number and dialed. After several rings she heard the ever-cheerful voice of Mrs. Nussbaum, the doctor's assistant. "Hello, Doctor Simpson's practice. How may I help you?"

"Hello, Mrs. Nussbaum. This is Irene Patakis from Patakis's Country Inn. There's been an accident and I need the doctor here at the hotel as soon as possible."

"Oh, Mrs. Patakis. I haven't seen you in quite a while. Is everything all right with you?"

Irene groaned inwardly. "No, it isn't." And I've already told you that. "Could you get me the doctor on the phone, please?" I better talk to him; maybe he's got his brains together today. The problem with the only GP in town was that Doctor Simpson was older than most of his patients, and his assistant, Mrs. Nussbaum, wasn't that much younger.

"Well, Mrs. Patakis, I'd really love to, but you see, the doctor is not here right now," came the unconcerned voice of Mrs. Nussbaum through the receiver.

"Where is he, then, and when will he be back?" Irene forced herself to speak slowly and enunciated every single syllable carefully. If I could get my hands on you right now

"You see, he's making a house call."

Ookaaay. Take deep breaths, Irene. "When. Will. He. Be. Back?"

"I don't know, dearie. Mrs. Miller's having another one of those little ones again and I think the birth just started. You know how that goes. Have you heard--"

Irene hung up, effectively cutting off Mrs. Nussbaum's ramblings. There was no chance that the doctor would be available today, or tomorrow. Mrs. Miller was notorious for her stamina where childbirth was concerned. She definitely held the town record for the longest birth. This was her fourth child, and every single birth had taken longer than the one before instead being quicker, which was usually the case. The last one had lasted 46 hours, and Irene knew there were bets going in town whether this one would last more or less than 50 hours.

In Irene's opinion, Mrs. Miller did it on purpose because it was the only time she could read her favorite books relatively undisturbed. "Relatively" being the operative word here. Irene grinned evilly at her own thoughts. She must really love it.

Then she returned to the problem at hand. Great. What now?

Plan B.

*******************

Anne was frustrated. She felt angry and stupid that she had lost it in the kitchen in front of her mother. She had felt like a little kid who had brought home a hurt kitten. She had felt helpless, and she hated it.

As soon as her mother sent her to the spare bedroom, which was situated right next to the library, Anne had felt the need to move, to take action, to regain control over her feelings if not the situation as such. That she knew, would take a while.

She knew that her mother loved Shana like a second daughter and that she could count on Irene to get help for Shana as soon as possible. Part of her mind chastised her for shaking off this responsibility, but another, much larger part was glad that she could concentrate fully on her friend and her well-being.

She opened the door to the bedroom with her foot, glad it was an old-fashioned brass door handle and not a knob. She had run off without thinking that the door to the room would be closed. She sent a little prayer of thanks for her mother's love for antiques and walked through the door, which thankfully was wide enough for her and the body in her arms.

Anne loved this large room with its French doors to the garden, its fireplace and its connecting door to the library. The room usually went unused, but sometimes Anne sneaked in at night after a long evening spent in the library, feeling like a kid as she lay in the enormous old four-poster bed that dominated the room.

She had always thought that her mother hadn't known about her nighttime visits to the room, but after one such visit she had seen her mother changing the sheets. Anne had given her mother an innocent look, but Irene had just smiled back at her with a lot of understanding showing in her eyes.

"I do it too, sometimes," she had said to Anne before leaving the room.

The tall woman knew why Irene had chosen this room for her friend now. Apart from the fact that it was the only bedroom on the ground floor, this room had a magic for her and her mother that was hard to explain. Anne didn't think that Shana had ever been inside this room, but she just knew that the blonde would love it here just as much as she did.

She lay her friend down, noticing that her body seemed even smaller than usual. Shana was only four or five inches shorter than Anne, but she looked absolutely lost in the big bed. Anne didn't want to move the blonde any more than necessary, but she couldn't resist trying to remove the thick jacket Shea was wearing. The searing pain in her right wrist reminded her of her inability to do so. Stubbornly, the dark-haired woman tugged at the uncooperative zipper with her left hand, cursing the clumsiness of her movements in several languages.

"Come on, Shea, help me here," Anne repeated over and over. "I can't get this off of you alone. Wake up!"

Shana moaned, but remained unconscious. The zipper suddenly gave in to the constant tugging and Anne opened the jacket.

"Good girl! I knew if you helped it would be so much easier." Anne continued to talk, willing her friend to react.

Anne realized that actually removing the jacket would be impossible without the use of both her hands, and the signals her right wrist constantly sent her now told her that was out of the question. She concentrated on Shana's shoes instead, glad beyond measure that her friend shared her preference for hiking boots. She untied the laces with her left hand and pulled off the boots, discarding them next to the bed.

"Well, they seem to be all right," she commented, running her fingertips over her friend's socked feet. She didn't know much about medicine, but as a tennis player she definitely knew feet. And as a person, she felt she could write a doctoral dissertation about Shana's feet - and her legs.

She checked Shana's body as much as she could and dared to. She ran her fingers up and down Shana's legs, delighting in the feel despite the situation. She took Shana's hand into her own much larger one and gently started stroking the back of the hand with her thumb.

"Oh, baby," she said quietly to the still form, "please wake up. Tell me what's wrong, tell me what happened." She felt the tears waiting at the back of her eyes. She let them come, not wanting or needing to hold back her emotions.

"I need you." Her voice broke a little as the tears started rolling down her face. "I love you."

The small hand gripped hers harder as if in answer.

"Shana?" Anne looked into her friend's face, which was tightening in what Anne knew to be pain, having seen the expression on Shana's face before when she had been injured on the tennis court.

"Shana, can you do that again?"

No reaction.

"Please, baby, wake up. Tell me where you're hurt please." Anne got down on her knees beside of the bed, unconsciously adopting a begging position. "Come on, Shea, do it for me, please." She paused, then quietly said "I love you" again.

The hand tightened again. Reflexively, Anne pressed the hand in hers, then raised it up to her face and kissed it lightly.

"Love you," came an almost inaudible whisper from the bed.

Anne looked up at Shana's face again, but the blonde had already gone back to the darkness, leaving the older woman to wonder if it was her imagination and her dreams she had heard. She raised a trembling hand to Shana's face and gently smoothed the blonde hair from her forehead. The head wound had stopped bleeding, and Anne knew at that moment that everything would be all right.

She sat back on her feet and continued to talk to her friend in quiet tones, describing the room they were in, still holding her friend's small hand, caressing it with her thumb.

*******************

Irene went upstairs to the Hinkels' room, hoping they had decided to stay in for the day. She knocked quietly, then a little louder.

Mrs. Hinkel opened the door. "Yes?"

"I'm really sorry I'm disturbing your afternoon, but I need your help. Is your husband here as well?" She asked her guests for favors only reluctantly, not wanting to interrupt their vacation.

"Yes, he is. Has something happened?" Mrs. Hinkel asked while gesturing to the person in the room behind her. Her voice carried a light German accent.

"There's been an accident," Irene replied, greeting Mr. Hinkel with a nod of her head. "I think it was a car accident."

Mr. Hinkel went back into the room while Irene continued to explain the situation. "You know we were expecting Anne's friend today and well, Anne brought her in a minute ago, and she's hurt. She brought her to a bedroom downstairs. Please, could you have a look at her, the doctor in town is unavailable." Mrs. Hinkel laid a hand on Irene's arm in sympathy.

Her husband returned to the door, a black bag in hand. He smiled. "Good thing I never go anywhere without my bag, isn't it?" His accent was a little more pronounced, but could still not be called heavy. It was obvious that both Hinkels spent a lot of their time in an English-speaking environment.

He motioned for Irene to lead. "Show me where the patient is and tell me what you know on the way." He turned back to his wife to look if she was following him.

Irene led them down the stairs, glad that the elderly German couple always stayed at the hotel at this time of the year. She was also extremely happy that Mr. Hinkel had been a doctor before he retired. A doctor who had married a nurse.

*******************

Shana had the feeling of being wrapped in thick black wool. Everything was fuzzy. The darkness around her beckoned her to just fall back into it, to just sleep, to experience no pain. No pain... that sounded good.

She struggled and pleaded, and the darkness granted her a look at the brighter side, with all the pain that it had to offer. Shana could feel her head explode in thousands of little shards of pain, each coming to haunt her in other places as well.

She let herself fall back into the darkness, feeling welcomed there, cherished and free from pain.

But

But there was this incredibly warm voice again, pulling her up, talking to her in gentle tones, wanting her to do something. What, she had no idea.

Something about clothes, and feet, and a room.

And love. Need and love. The words tugged at her heartstrings, made her want to do something. What, she still had no idea. She had no concept of clothes, feet, rooms, and love. Need, she understood. She needed the darkness, needed to be free from pain.

But the voice needed something else, and her heart recognized the voice and answered.

Then she fell back into the darkness, helpless to do anything else, but feeling infinitely better now.

Everything would be all right.

The voice had said so, and deep down she knew the voice couldn't lie.

TBC in Part 9.


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