Disclaimers: All characters referenced in this story are mine and mine alone. Any similarities between them and anyone else living, dead, or fictional, is purely accidental/coincidental. Basically, hands off without my permission-pretty please.
If you like them, feel free to let me know about it at Jeaninehemailfirstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t, please don’t be mean.
Warnings: This story will depict relationships between women. If that bothers you, I’m sorry for your narrow-minded approach but please leave now and come back when you come out. If it is illegal for you to view this type of story due to age or location then please come back when you age or move. There will at times be somewhat graphic descriptions of medical events, nothing too graphic but not for those who faint at the mention of an IV. With that said, I hope you enjoy!
I’d like to thank Vic and Trish, the two people that encouraged me to put this out to let others decide its fate.
Also, for Sue, the reason I want to do my best is to be the woman you deserve-I’m always on call for you!
Cait grabbed my hand tightly as I brought us in the back way that the ambulances took to bring people in to the ER. We went to the board and saw what room she was in but I still stopped a nurse and asked about her condition before we went to see for ourselves. I didn’t want Caty to walk in to a bloody mess or watching them resuscitate her sister.
“You can go on in Donny. She’s going to be fine. I think they are keeping her on a twenty four hour hold, just to watch her, but she’s going to be fine.”
I gave the nurse a grateful smile and brought Caty to the curtain covering the entrance to Pauly’s cubicle. I stuck my head around the curtain first, just to make sure there was nothing showing that would upset Caty, then pulled her inside with me. Pauly was sacked out, her left arm was immobilized, and there was a dressing on her forehead. Other than that, she looked unharmed.
We walked over to the bed and Caty took a hold of Pauly’s right hand and held it tightly between her own hands. Pauly’s eyes started to open and she winced as she turned her head to look at Caty.
“Hey kiddo, how ya feeling?” I had to ask, no one was saying anything and the quiet was deafening.
“Sore, but I’ll be fine Donny. Thanks for bringing her down. Caty, did you hear me? I’m going to be just fine.” Pauly tried to get Caty to look at her, but Caty kept her head down, bowed over Pauly’s right hand.
I tried, “Baby, isn’t that good? Pauly’s going to be fine. Honey?” I bent down next to her, trying to catch her attention. Without warning, she released Pauly’s hand and started to collapse against me. I grabbed at her, catching her before she could fall and put her in the chair next to the bed.
“Put your head down between your knees. That’s it. I’ve got you baby. Everything is fine.” I rubbed her back and kept an eye on her until she was able to bring her head up without looking as white as a sheet. She gave us both a sheepish smile.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened.”
I hugged her close, “It’s a normal reaction baby. You were worried about your kid sister and it was the relief combined with the stress. Your body got overwhelmed for a minute but you’re okay now.”
Pauly was looking over at us with concern. “I’m sorry Cait. I didn’t mean to make you worry. I’m really fine. I could go home right now if they would let me. The Cap says I have to stay here overnight so that I’m covered by the insurance and stuff. I’ll do what they tell me to, so please, don’t worry.”
She looked more worried about Cait than she was about her own injuries. I had to put a stop to this and find out what had happened.
“Look you two, I think this sisterly joint worry thing is great and all but can we take a break? Caty, she is going to be fine, let’s find out why she is here to begin with, and Pauly, Cait is fine as well, she really didn’t eat yet today so that may have had something to do with it.”
I looked at them both and they looked at me, then at each other and grinned. Finally! A break through at last! Encouraged, I pressed on, “Now, as a part of your chain of command and as a concerned friend, tell me what happened out there?”
Pauly rubbed her hand over her face and ruffled up her spiky blonde hair as she gathered her thoughts. “Well, we were dispatched to the address for an injured woman and we had no additional information. According to county, the caller simply gave the address and said his wife was injured. He didn’t say anything else before he hung up. We arrived on scene and when I radioed dispatch, they said PD was enroute, but they would be another five minutes. We grabbed our gear and went to the door, I was lead, and Tony had my back.”
She stopped to think and I looked to Cait. She appeared to be handling this pretty well so far but I moved a little so I could keep a better eye on her as Pauly continued.
“The door was partially open, so after knocking and identifying ourselves, we made our way inside. I had Tony hang back a bit to keep the exit route clear and starting calling out and trying to find the patient. There was a long hall that I went down that led to a large kitchen and it was when I got closer that I saw the blood.”
She stopped then and just stared ahead of her.
“What blood Pauly? What happened?” I asked but I was afraid I knew the answer.
“I called to Tony to hurry up PD as I went into the kitchen, focused on the woman on the ground. She was bleeding heavily from a chest wound, so I started with direct pressure and I was trying to work her when I hear Tony yell to me. As he came in, he had seen the guy in the corner coming towards me. Donny, this was my fault! I tunnel-visioned on the patient and didn’t check the room out first.”
I looked at her, and tried to figure out how to handle this well. Yeah, technically she was right. She should have checked the room for safety first, but we’re human too. She saw a large amount of blood and a still viable patient. She did what we are trained to do, she tried to save a life. I decided to tell her that as well as a little bit more.
“Look, no one is perfect all of the time. You did what you thought was best at the time. The good news is, you will be fine, Tony wasn’t really hurt, and the woman is critical, but stable. You gave her a fighting chance Pauly. Tell me the rest of it. I know there’s more to it.”
She flushed but went on, “Well, yeah, when Tony yelled, I looked up and this big guy was coming at me with a knife. I ducked but he still got my forehead, ten stitches for that one. I grabbed his arm with the knife and managed to disarm him, but when I used a shoulder throw on him, he shifted on me. I got him down but he pulled on my arm enough to dislocate my shoulder. Tony took it from there and kept him down until the cops got there and took over. I went back to the patient and kept pressure on her wound with my good arm until the other crew got there.”
Cait gasped and I turned in time to see her stand up. Quickly, I went to her just in case she started to pass out again but she pushed me away. She went to Pauly and I wasn’t sure if she was going to slap her or praise her. Honestly, I don’t know if she was sure until the words started coming.
“Pauline Connor! You don’t mean to tell me that you went charging in to a scene without verifying scene safety? Then, you disarm an armed man, getting hurt in the process, and you still took care of your patient while having a dislocated shoulder?”
I had ever seen Cait like this and I wasn’t sure what to do. If it had been anyone else, I could have told them to stand down, but this was family and I wasn’t getting in the crossfire unless I had no choice. I couldn’t believe how quickly Pauly sat up at the use of her full name. That part was at least a little amusing.
“Um, yeah. I’m sorry Sis, I really didn’t think. It all happened so fast and if I hadn’t gone in, she would have bled out before the cops got there and dealt with the guy.”
Her eyes bright with tears still unshed, Cait looked at her sister and leaned down to kiss her above the bandage.
“Pauly, I love you! I am so very glad that you will be fine but you scared the hell out of me! I am so proud of you too! While I wish you had been more careful, you kept your head, protected yourself, your partner and the patient. Even injured, you took care of that poor woman. You really are something!” She paused then added, “But do me a favor? Don’t do it again!”
Pauly and I both laughed and she agreed to do her best to avoid future incidents. The truth was, as a dispatcher she knew that the dispatch center had no idea they were sending a team into a dangerous place. Other than waiting for PD, they had done their job. Knowing the politics of the department, someone would spin this into a more heroic tale than it was and the two medics would receive commendations.
I mocked glared at Pauly and she quickly sat up and stopped laughing. I let her stew a minute before coming closer to her and leaning in to make sure she understood me very clearly. “Paramedic Connor, you will stay in the hospital until the medical staff provides you with a proper discharge. At that time, you will stay with your sister and me until you are in better shape. Is that understood?” As I finished, I relaxed my face and gave her a wink.
A look of relief passed over her face and she smiled. “You bet Donny. Thanks, you had me going there for a minute. But wait, will there be room, isn’t Spike staying there too?”
I had forgotten that Pauly didn’t know that Spike was in a room a few floors above our heads. I couldn’t tell her that and besides, I had the room either way. “She’s still a resident in the Hotel Connor-Donovan, but there is still room for family.”
Cait gave my hand a squeeze, I supposed in thanks, but either way, Pauly was my family, and I would always try to help family. Pauly looked tired, so we told her that Caty had to get to work soon and took our leave. In truth, we headed upstairs first to check on Kristy before leaving.
In the elevator Cait leaned against me and I gave her a hug. “You okay babe?”
She stood up straight again and replied, “Yes, but thank you for everything you did in there. I was a wreck when I saw her. All I could think was, ‘Dear Lord, not her too!’ I just flashed on losing our father on the job, you know?”
“I know, that’s why I kept an eye on you. I think that’s why Pauly looked worried about you too. But, this isn’t like with your father, she is going to be just fine in a few weeks.”
She sighed as we walked off the elevator on the correct floor. “I know, but sometimes I hate that the two most important people in my world work for the same department that cost me my father.”
I was silent for a moment. I would give up my job for her if I had to, but the problem was that I loved my job. It was part of my identity. Caty was part of my soul though, and it was an easy contest. I pulled her to the side of the hallway to talk a bit more. “Do you want me to resign? Is that it?”
“I wouldn’t ask you to do that baby! I would never consider asking you to leave the department.”
“I know, but I’m offering, you didn’t ask. Would you like me to resign? I can teach, I can go back to school and become a Physician’s Assistant. I don’t care what I end up doing. I just want you to be happy and stay with me.”
She looked at me like I had grown an extra head. “Chloe, I’m sorry if I gave you the idea that I want you to quit. Would I like to keep you safe? Of course, but being a paramedic is part of who you are. I know that and I knew it long before I fell in love with you. I love you for being willing to give it up, but I can’t ask you to give up something that means so much to you. I like everything about who you are as a person, that includes your desire to save lives and help people.”
“Are you sure? I promise to do my best to stay safe but I can’t promise anything. I’ll never be rich doing this either.”
When I said that, she started chuckling. “I surely never thought about money when I fell for you Donovan! My family has been fire service for so long that our blood has soot in it. I know the risks and I know that loving a member of the department means that there is a lot of love and some risk. But, loving a member of the department means accepting the good and bad parts of the job, the hours, the risk, the extended family, the constant stories, and the obsession with new toys for your med kits and ambulances.”
I had to grin then, because it was true. We never stopped telling stories and talking about new gear. “Okay, you’ve got my number. Thanks baby, for understanding me so well.”
“No need to thank me, and of course I have your number! It’s the same as mine now.” She threw me a wink and headed for the door to Kristy’s room before I knew what had happened. Left on my own I chuckled and followed her.
I followed Caty into Kristy’s hospital room and was happy to see her sitting up in a chair reading a book. She looked up when we entered the room and smiled at us in greeting. “Hey guys, thanks for stopping in. What’s going on?”
She sounded cheerful, not at all like the confused person from the call the other day. “We’re good. How about you? Any idea when we can spring you from this joint?” I leaned against the wall and motioned to Caty to take the other chair in the room.
She shrugged her shoulders, shook her head, and said, “Nope, you know doctors never commit to a date of release. We have done some good work while I’ve been in here. The private room helps with sessions and I’ve been able to think. The doc has done that hypnosis stuff one me a few times now and we started figuring out some of what happened to me.” Her face grew dark, like storm clouds had just rolled over the whole sky.
Caty spoke up, reaching a hand out to touch Kristy’s sleeve. “You don’t have to tell us about anything you don’t want to, but if you do want to talk, we’re both willing to listen, anytime.”
I nodded, “Yeah buddy, if you need anything, just let me know. I just want to help out and get you back with us at the station.”
Kristy looked up at me sadly, “I might not come back Donny. I just don’t know if I can go back after all of this. I’m sure it has gotten around that I’m in here. Besides, I just don’t know if I have it in me anymore.”
Shocked doesn’t begin to cover what I felt after hearing the best medic around giving up so easily. “First off, Tony has grown up a lot since that suspension. He actually offered his help with whatever was going on and has kept his mouth shut about it. No one knows you were the patient on that call or what happened. Pauly has kept her mouth shut too, though she did come to me to ask if you would be willing to let her visit. I told her I’d talk to you about her coming by the house.”
That reminded me of the little problem of both women staying with us, and that Pauly would soon know that Kristy wasn’t with us right now. Quickly, I filled her in on that information and asked how she wanted me to handle it.
“I hate to lie to the kid. I know she won’t say anything, so go ahead and tell her. She can visit if she wants to see me. I think I’d like that. She’s a good medic and a good kid.”
Cait smiled, “Thanks Kristy. I’ll bring her by when I pick her up from here tomorrow. I’ve got to get to work, but if you need us to bring anything, or if you want to talk, just call either one of us.”
“Got it, I’m not ready yet. It isn’t you guys, I just can’t deal with some of the stuff the doc and I are talking through right now. If you could bring a few books over, that would be good. The television sucks and I’m bored.”
I stepped in at that point. “Look, I’m gonna run Caty home to get her car, then I had some errands to run anyway. Why don’t I bring you some books while I’m out? Any requests?”
“Nope, just about anything that isn’t medical related. Some history stuff or biographies would be nice.”
“You got it, I just happen to have a few things I think you might like. I’ll also bring some of those Soduko books you like, might as well grow your brain while you’re in here.” I grinned, knowing she was addicted to those number games.
“Great, thanks. I’ll see you later.”
As we left, I felt Caty take my hand. I wasn’t sure which one of us was giving or receiving comfort at that point. Maybe it was a little of each for both of us, but it helped. By the time we got home, Caty had just enough time to change and get to work. I did some chores, grabbed the books I promised Kristy, and headed to the store to get the Soduko books.
As I pulled in to the hospital lot for the second time that day, I decided to go see what was going on with Pauly while I was there. I checked in the ER first but found she had been brought up to a room, so I headed upstairs. I knocked on the doorframe of her room and went in to find two investigators from Internal Affairs asking her questions.
“What’s going on here?” I asked, feeling my temper.
“And you are?” asked the older guy standing closest to me.
“I’m her Field Supervisor, and I don’t appreciate you coming in here to bother her while she is recovering from serious injuries.’
“We have a job to do, just as you do, why don’t you let us finish up and we can go on our way,” he, not so politely, suggested.
I looked at Pauly and saw that she looked worn out as well as pissed off. I decided to stand my ground with these two pests. “I don’t think so. According to the Department Guidelines, she is entitled to have a representative present while being questioned. I’m that rep, right Pauly?”
“Yup, I asked to call you and they wouldn’t let me Donny.”
That got me steamed, “You were denied your right to a representative?” I turned to the two men with a glare. “I want your names, badge numbers, and supervisor’s name. I want it right now, and then, I want you two investigators to get the hell out of this room. Got it?” I was using my best command voice and it seemed to be working.
The younger guy shot a look at his partner before pulling a business card out of his jacket. He scribbled some information on the back, handed it to me, and then tried to apologize.
“Look, I don’t want any hassles. We weren’t denying her her rights! We simply didn’t see a need to bother you. All we wanted was some basic information for our report. That’s it, nice and simple stuff.”
I pocketed the card without looking at it. Instead, I turned my glare back on him as he rambled on. “I don’t care. Now, get out and don’t come back until you are called back, clear?”
The older guy sneered at me, “You don’t control us. You don’t outrank us either. I don’t know who you think you are but—“
“I’ll tell you exactly who I think I am. I’m her,” I pointed at Pauly, “supervisor, which means that she is under my protection. You will not risk her health for your gain. After she has had some rest, I will call you back to finish your interview. Now get out before I call security in here.”
The younger guy mumbled some apologies as he pushed his partner out of the room. I turned to Pauly and noticed that she did look worn out. “You okay kid? What were they after?”
Pauly shook her head slightly, “I don’t know Donny. I’m worn out, but I’m not hurting too badly. They came in, waving Department badges and asking questions. I asked to make a phone call to you and they refused. Actually, right after that is when you came in.”
“What did they ask before I got here? Any idea what they were after?” It didn’t make sense that they were that gung ho to investigate this incident.
“They asked for a run down of how the call happened, where my partner was located, and what the patient’s injuries were. I didn’t tell them anything. I didn’t know them, I didn’t get a good look at their ID, and I wasn’t going to talk without someone else being present. For all I know, they were trying to trick me into giving away confidential information.”
I tried to reassure her, “You did the right thing. I don’t know what they were fishing for, but I don’t like their manners or tactics. I’m gonna borrow your phone and call the Captain about this.”
I picked up the telephone and dialed in to the station first. Gina answered so I asked her if the Captain was in yet.
“He just got back a few minutes ago. Have you seen Pauly yet? How’s she doing?”
“She’s doing fine and I’m actually standing right next to her. Do you want to talk to her?” “Yes, please. Thanks Donny. I’ll get the Cap for you after I talk to her, I promise.”
“That’s fine Gina, I can wait a minute. Here she is.”
I handed the phone to Pauly and stepped over to the window for a minute to think about how I should approach this with the Captain. I did my best not to listen to Pauly’s side of the conversation but I heard her speaking softly and an almost whispered, “I’ll see you later,” before she called me back to the phone.
“Thanks Donny, I’ll go grab the Cap now for you, hold one.”
“Copy that,” I smiled at her use of radio terms and even wider when I realized that I had followed her lead and answered in the same manner.
A gruff voice came on the line, “This is Captain Williams, what can I do for you?”
“Hey Cap, it’s Donny. I think you should know that I found IA in Connor’s hospital room, giving her a hard time.”
I heard him grumble and the squeak of his chair as I imagined him leaning back in it. “Just wonderful! What the hell did they want from her?”
“I’m not sure Cap, but they were asking for information on today’s incident, including patient information. They also refused to let her call anyone in as a representative to sit with her. It was just luck that I came in when I did.”
He sighed and I could hear him shuffling some papers. “Just wonderful, something else to add to this fucked up day! Tell me the rest.”
“I got their names and badges, told them we would be in touch when she was healthier, and chased them out. I think you can expect a complaint about me being a bully.”
I gave him the information on the two IA guys and filled him in on Pauly’s condition before we hung up. When I did and turned to face Pauly, she was sound asleep. I wrote her a note and left it for her before I headed up to see Kristy.
When I got there, the door was closed with a note taped to it. The note said to check in at the nurses’ station so I did. “What’s going on with Kristy? Why do I have to check in here first?”
“She’s in session with the doctor, you can wait, or you can come back later.”
I looked at the time and decided I had to get going so I could run my errands and cook a great meal for my time with Cait later. “I have to run. Can you just make sure she gets this stuff? It’s just some books and stuff.”
The nurse assured me that she would take care of it. I started a mental checklist of all the things I needed to accomplish before going home. With a sigh, I got in my car and started my errands.
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