For disclaimers see part one.
I’m very sorry for the lack of updates, but I’ve been very busy lately. I’ll try and get back to my weekly updates as soon as possible.
Hannah stared at the photo on the table without really seeing it. Occasionally, she blinked her eyes to keep them from tearing up, but other than that the nurse hardly moved. She was exhausted and wished she could crawl into bed and go to sleep. But she knew it would not be restful. The fact that Nathan had been able to take a photo of them had really shaken her up. It had scared her, but also enraged her and Hannah tried to determine which emotion was the strongest. It could very well be anger, because every time she thought about Nathan, she unconsciously clenched her hands into fist, wishing she could tell him what she really thought about him.
“Hannah, sweetie, are you alright?” Gertrude’s voice suddenly penetrated her dark thoughts and, with tired eyes, the blonde looked up.
“Just tired, Granny,” she sighed, rubbing her eyes. “And I’ve got a bit of a headache as well.”
“I’m sure they’ll be done in a little while,” Gertrude tried to reassure the younger woman. ‘They’ were the two police officers who had been inspecting the house meticulously. As soon as Rachel had called Jack Wilson, the police man had come over, bringing one of his co-workers with him. With a grim expression on his face, he had listened to their story and he had insisted on inspecting the outside of the house.
“If Nathan’s still around, he’ll know you’ re looking for him,” Rachel had remarked, but Jack Wilson had shrugged his shoulders and there had been a determined look in his eyes.
“I want him to know who is chasing him,” he had answered. “He knows I’ll be hunting him down like an animal and, if he has one functioning brain cell left, he knows who will win this game.”
“He’s never been stupid,” Maureen Rivers, his red-haired co-worker had responded.
“He’ll make a mistake,” Jack Wilson had answered, his low voice full of confidence. “All we have to do is keep the pressure on and wait until he screws up.”
Both Hannah and Gertrude looked up when the door opened and Rachel stepped into the room. The Doctor’s face was pale and there were dark circles underneath her eyes. She took a seat next to Hannah and pushed her hair away from her forehead.
“They left,” she explained in a soft voice. “Jack said he’ll make sure there will be frequent patrols, but he can’t guarantee round the clock protection. Of course,” she added with a sigh.
“Did they find anything out of the ordinary outside?” Gertrude asked.
“No,” Rachel shook her head. “Nothing. Nathan must have used a zoom lens and one of those portable printers. It’s the only way he could have printed that photo so fast.” Rachel took a deep breath and when she lifted her head she caught Gertrude’s eyes. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered. “I wish you didn’t have to go through this and...”
“Did you invite him?” Gertrude asked with a hint of a smile.
“Did I invite...? You mean Nathan? No, of course not,”the Doctor responded. “I would never...”
“Then stop apologizing,” Gertrude insisted. “It’s not your fault, Rachel.”
“No, it’s not,” Hannah added. “Besides, we knew this could happen, we just didn’t expect it so soon. But you know what?” In spite of her fatigue, frustration and headache, the blonde mustered up a smile. “This time we’ll be facing it together.”
“That’s true,” Gertrude smiled. “And if we get our act together, you, Hannah and I can give Nathan a run for his money.”
“You think so?” Rachel smiled.
“Oh, yes,” Hannah nodded, reaching out and grabbing her grandmother’s hand. “Do not underestimate the Jensen women.”
“I’d never do that,” Rachel mumbled, which made both Gertrude and Hannah chuckle.
Gertrude nodded, patted Hannah’s hand and slowly rose to her feet.
“These old bones need some rest,” she said. “Make sure you get some sleep, both of you,” she warned with a stern look on her face. “Breakfast will be served at seven-thirty.”
“Granny,” Hannah protested. “You shouldn’t. You need your rest as well. I can cook breakfast and...”
“Hannah, it’s alright,” Gertrude smiled. “I’d be happy to get more than six hours of sleep at night. I’m always up early. It comes with the old age,” she winked.
“We could go out for breakfast,” Rachel tried.
“We could,” Gertrude nodded. “But we’re not going to. As long as I’m capable of cooking, I will. Case closed. I’m old, not dead.”
A pair of clear, blue eyes traveled from Hannah to Rachel and back again. Gertrude almost chuckled when both Hannah and Rachel obediently nodded and she smiled.
“Good girls. Have a good sleep and don’t worry about Nathan; even he will not be able to slip into this house unnoticed.”
Hannah jumped up and enveloped her grandmother in a hug, which was returned with surprising strength. Old, blue veined hands stroked the unruly, blond hair and for a moment it was completely silent.
“I love you, Granny,” Hannah whispered, kissing the elderly woman’s cheek.
“I love you, too, sweetie. Get some rest, alright? Rachel’s not going anywhere,” she added in a whisper, before lovingly patting her granddaughter’s cheek and slowly walking towards the door.
After Gertrude left, the room was very quiet. Only the soft, rhythmical ticking of the clock could be heard until Rachel scooted closer to Hannah, who was sitting next to her on the couch, and wrapped her arm around the blonde’s shoulders.
“You look tired,” she gently spoke. “Gertrude is right; we need some sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’m about to topple over.”
“I feel like I could sleep for days,” Hannah admitted. “But I’m afraid I can’t. I’m still too wound up about this whole thing.” The blonde paused and glanced at the dark-haired woman at her side. “How did you deal with this, Rachel? On your own?”
“Well, at first I thought it was some bad, practical joke. When I realized it wasn’t, I figured that, whoever was responsible for those letters and photos I received, would eventually give up and leave me alone.” The grip around Hannah’s shoulder tightened and unconsciously the blonde leaned into the one-armed embrace. “When I saw those photos that were taken in your bedroom, I freaked out. That’s when I left. I felt I had to.” Rachel exhaled slowly and rested her cheek on top of Hannah’s head that was tucked against her shoulder. “But it was so hard to deal with it,” she softly continued. “No matter how many times I told myself it was for the better, because it would keep you safe, I had to force myself not to run back to you.” The Doctor swallowed hard and closed her eyes, letting Hannah’s closeness chase away the pain of the dark memories. “I wanted to call you so badly that, one night, I had to pick up my phone and hurl it against the wall, so I wouldn’t be able to use it.”
“I’m so sorry,” Hannah whispered, feeling the tears sting in the back of her eyes.
“So am I,” Rachel responded. “But no matter what I’ve been through, you’ve been through worse.”
“It wasn’t easy,” Hannah nodded against Rachel’s shoulder. “After you left, I...I was in shatters. I so wanted to be angry at you, but, deep down inside, I knew you must have had a good reason to leave and I refused to believe there was someone else. I tried to rationalize the whole situation, but that didn’t change the fact I was hurting so badly, even breathing seemed to be painful.” Hannah took a deep breath and clasped Rachel’s hand between hers before continuing. “ I was convinced I couldn’t hurt more than I did, but I was wrong. When Mom and Dad were killed in that accident I really believed I’d die as well. I could not imagine surviving that much pain, but I did,” she added in a soft voice. “When Granny had a stroke I had to pull myself together. It brought me out of my...I don’t know what it was,” Hannah shrugged. “I was in a haze. It’s a miracle I was able to do my job.”
“You left the ER though.”
“I had to,” Hannah nodded with a sigh. “I couldn’t deal with all the anger and pain anymore. There’s so much...sadness. It became harder and harder to deal with the domestic violence and child abuse cases. I figured the best way to keep my sanity was to leave the ER. I guess it worked,” she added with a small smile, lifting her head and looking up into a pair of warm dark-brown eyes.
“I guess it did,” Rachel smiled. “I know there are a lot of things I can’t...undo, because they’re in the past, but I can promise you I’ll do my best to keep you from being hurt in the future.”
Hannah looked up from Rachel’s shoulder and her eyes were dark, contrasting starkly with her blonde hair. To Rachel, it seemed like she hesitated for a moment, but then she let out a shaky breath and increased the pressure on the Doctor’s hand.
“I’m...very...willing to give us another chance,” she started in a voice that was hoarse with emotion. “But...if you’d leave...again...I don’t think I’d survive. Not a second time,” she added barely audible.
Rachel swallowed hard, trying to get rid of the painful lump that constricted her throat. Again, she felt a hot stab of pain lance straight through her heart when she realized how much pain the blonde had endured. That made her gentle and forgiven attitude even more impressive.
“Hannah...I,” she tried in a husky voice, searching for the right words, but Hannah reached out a hand and pressed her fingers against Rachel’s trembling lips.
“Right now, I don’t care what happened and how long we’ve been apart,” the blonde whispered. “You’re here and that’s all that matters. You were my very first love and I never wanted anyone else but you. The fact that you left and we spent almost four years apart doesn’t change the fact you’re here now,” Hannah explained softly, pressing Rachel’s hand against her heart. “There’s only been you.”
Rachel’s eyes caught Hannah’s and she managed to muster up a watery smile, even though her heart was pounding with heavy, painful beats.
“I don’t deserve you,” she spoke very softly, surprised when Hannah reached out and wiped away a tear that had made its way down her cheek. The blonde smiled and let go of Rachel’s hand to cup the Doctor’s face.
“But you’re here,” Hannah repeated with a smile that put a sparkle in her eyes, “And I plan on keeping you around.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Rachel agreed through her tears. “Come here.”
Before Hannah realized what had happened, Rachel had pulled her in her lap, wrapping her arms securely around the slightly smaller blonde, pressing her lips against her forehead. Hannah relaxed against her and they soaked up the warmth of each other’s close presence.
They sat like that in silence, until Hannah stirred and glanced up at the other woman from her comfortable spot in the circle of her arms.
“I’ve missed this,” she confessed with a small sigh. “I always loved to snuggle up with you.”
“I know,” Rachel nodded with a warm smile. “I remember you once telling me you didn’t want to go to Medical School, because you couldn’t study and snuggle at the same time.”
Hannah chuckled at the memory and nodded.
“It’s true. Studying takes away precious cuddle time. Besides, one Doctor in the family is more than enough.”
After hearing Hannah’s words, Rachel unconsciously sucked in a breath, while her heart skipped a beat.
“What’s wrong?” the blonde asked with a small frown.
Rachel cleared her throat and dropped a kiss on Hannah’s head, needing a few precious seconds to regain her composure.
“You said ‘family’,” she explained, barely able to keep the quiver out of her voice. “It’s...that’s something we always dreamed about, you and I.”
“And I haven’t given up on that dream,” Hannah answered, burying her face in the crook of Rachel’s neck, letting out a contented sigh. “That is, if you still want that,” she continued with a touch of insecurity in her voice.
“More than anything else,” Rachel whispered in her ear, pressing her lips against Hannah’s temple. The blonde leaned into the contact and, encouraged, Rachel let her lips travel down a soft, warm cheek, until she reached the corner of Hannah’s mouth.
“I love you,” she said softly against the blonde’s skin.
Hannah turned her head sideways, so she could look at the other woman and when she caught Rachel’s eyes, she saw something she had once feared she had lost forever. She reached up and stroked the Doctor’s cheek, before running her fingers through the thick, dark hair.
“I love you, too,” she answered, before their lips met in a slow kiss that felt so familiar, yet so new. They took their time to explore each other leisurely, pressing their bodies so close, Rachel had to lean back into the couch to prevent them from losing their balance and ending up on the floor. She smiled against Hannah’s lips when the blonde let out a soft moan and slipped her hands underneath Rachel’s sweater.
“Is it hot in here, or is it me?” she asked, aware of her irregular breathing.
“Must be you,” was the mumbled answer. “Of course, you could take off your sweater,” Hannah encouraged, playfully tugging the heavy fabric.
“I could,” Rachel breathed, closing her eyes when a pair of lips left a hot trail of kisses down her neck. Thinking became increasingly difficult, especially when Hannah shifted and suddenly straddled Rachel’s body. “What happened to taking it easy?” she asked in a husky voice. “Mm? Oh, I guess we should,” Hannah answered, nibbling Rachel’s skin. “I guess I had a reason for saying something like that, huh?” she muttered as an afterthought. “Can’t seem to remember why though,” she grunted when she felt Rachel’s hand caress the skin of her back. How the Doctor had been able to slip her hands underneath her shirt without her noticing was a mystery to the blonde. One she didn’t ponder over for long. Instead, she concentrated on the feel of Rachel’s lips against her own and the interesting sounds the other woman made, every time she deepened the kiss.
It was extremely hard for Rachel to stay focused. Hannah’s loving administrations were extremely distracting and she would have loved to give into it wholeheartedly, but somewhere, in the back of her mind, a disturbing thought kept nagging her. It was important to remember, she knew that much...Then she remembered....
“Hannah, sweetie, we need to slow down,” she whispered. “Nathan’s around...we need to...”
“Yes, we do,” Hannah responded with a sigh. “He managed to drive us apart for almost four years, but you’re here now, with me and I know he’ll never succeed in driving us apart again.” Hannah swallowed hard and leaned back so she could glance into those warm brown eyes she loved so much. Her fingertips traced across Rachel’s face and she smiled. “I don’t want to make things...complicated, but I love the way you make me feel” she confessed with a mixture of desire and shyness in her eyes. “I need to know...I need to feel ...us...you and me...I need to be close to you, Rachel. I want us to be close, before we’ll have to face whatever he throws in our path.” Hannah cast down her eyes and let out a shuddering breath, missing the look of love and admiration the Doctor sent her. “Don’t get me wrong, but...do you...I’d really like you to stay with me tonight,” she added in a whisper.
“I’d love to,” Rachel smiled. “ And you need to know that...,” she hesitated, searching for the right words. “I want to be as close to you as I can, but I...some things have changed and...”
“We’ll leave the door of Nicky’s room open,” Hannah responded, having guessed what Rachel was trying to say. “She’ll be across the hall from us and when she needs you, we’ll know.”
“Thank you,” Rachel smiled, leaning forward to kiss Hannah’s soft lips, something the blonde did not leave unanswered. She wrapped her arms around the Doctor’s neck, losing herself completely in the increasing passion between them.
“I need a shower,” Rachel whispered, playfully biting a tasty earlobe. “I’ve been in the ER all day and...”
“Say no more,” Hannah responded with a soft chuckle. She slowly stood up, too tired to make any fast movements, extended her hand and, when she felt Rachel’s firm grip, pulled the other woman up off the couch. “Let’s go.”
Silently, Rachel followed the blonde, who in passing the light switch, gave it a swift tap, effectively killing the soft illumination in the room. The Doctor reveled in the feel of Hannah’s hand in her own and involuntarily her thoughts returned to the time they had just started dating. Back then, she had loved taking her girlfriend to the movie theater, simply because, in the dark, she could hold the blonde’s hand undisturbed.
“What are you thinking about?” Hannah asked, glancing aside and seeing the half-smile on Rachel’s face.
“Long movies,” Rachel promptly answered, giving Hannah’s hand a gentle squeeze.
Hannah left out a soft, surprised laugh and briefly rubbed her cheek against Rachel’s shoulder.
“Your favorite time of the week,” she remembered. “If my memory doesn’t fail me, I believe ‘The English Patient’ was one of your favorites.”
“It was nice and long,” Rachel admitted with a chuckle, suddenly stopping in the middle of the hallway and pulling Hannah into her arms.
“And if I remember correctly, our goodnight kiss that night was quite...impressive,” she recalled with a twinkle in her eyes.
“Oh, yes, it was,” Hannah nodded, feeling her heart rate pick up by the memory. “You were relentless.”
“I aimed to please,” Rachel smiled, not able to resist kissing the blonde’s lips.
“Aimed?” Hannah drawled with an impish smile, chuckling when she saw the twinkle in Rachel’s dark-brown eyes.
“Oh, I still do,” she whispered close to Hannah’s ear, which immediately caused goose bumps to erupt all over the blonde’s body. “If you let me, I’ll show you.”
“I might, one day soon,” Hannah whispered back, fighting the urge to bury herself into Rachel’s arms. She knew that, if she would do that, they’d never make it into her bedroom.
“If you check up on Nicky, I’ll dig up some towels for you” Hannah suggested in a husky voice. “Did you need anything else?”
“Just you,” Rachel answered, slowly letting go of the blonde and stepping towards Nicky’s room. “I’ll be there soon.”
Rachel sighed in pleasure when the warm water ran down her body and swirled around her feet, before disappearing down the drain. It was relaxing to feel the liquid caress her neck and shoulders, areas that were tense after a long, stress-filled day. Even though she was tired, her body was still humming, remembering Hannah’s kisses and the soft promises of things to come.
With a smile, Rachel rinsed the shampoo out of her hair while her thoughts were with the blonde, who was waiting for her only a few yards away. Her heart skipped a beat, every time she remembered those familiar blue eyes that had looked at her with so much trust and affection, it had robbed her of speech.
“She loves me,” the Doctor mused with a sense of wonder, stopping the flow of water and reaching for a towel. “She still loves me.”
Rachel quickly toweled herself off, slipped into a sleeping shirt and combed her hair, very aware of the smile that was plastered on her face. For the first time in some long years, she was happy. It was funny, she thought, the idea of Nathan stalking them should bother her, but instead there was a feeling of warm joy and lightness in her heart. And that had everything to do with the blonde who had so openly reached out to her.
“Together we can face this,” echoed in her mind. “We won’t let him win.”
Rachel nodded at her reflection in the mirror and switched off the light in the bathroom, opening the door and stepping into the bedroom where Hannah was already snuggled up underneath the blankets. In spite of the warm flow of air that warmed the room, there was still a bit of a chill in the air and Rachel shivered while walking towards the bed.
As soon as she turned down the covers to slip in next to the blonde, her smile deepened and she let out a low chuckle. Hannah was lying on her side, facing her, with one hand curled around the pillow and the other one tucked underneath her chin and the blonde was fast asleep.
“Poor baby,” she whispered. “You must have been exhausted.”
Rachel slid underneath the covers, carefully wrapping an arm around Hannah to pull her closer. The blonde let out a contented sigh and snuggled closer, putting her head on The Doctor’s shoulder.
Rachel smiled and dropped a kiss on the blonde hair. It felt so good to have Hannah in her arms again. It made her realize how much she had missed her, something she had tried to tuck away in the back of her mind. It had been the only way to deal with the aching emptiness after she had left. The arrival of Nicky had taken away part of the pain and loneliness, but there had always been the nagging pain of not having Hannah in her life. But those days were over. They were back together again and Rachel was incredibly grateful for the chance she had been given to reclaim her part in Hannah’s life.
Rachel turned her head so she could brush her lips against Hannah’s forehead, enjoying the feel of the other woman’s skin.
“Sweet dreams, my love,” she whispered.
The days before Christmas were extremely busy for Rachel and Hannah. The blonde had returned to work on Monday and before lunchtime she already felt exhausted.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” Mary, a nurse tech had mumbled when Hannah had asked her to give her a hand in one of the patient’s rooms. “I’ve worked here for almost fifteen years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this busy just before the Holidays.”
“Maybe it’s the early flu-season,” Hannah had sighed, wishing she could sit down for a while and rest her tired body. “Or maybe it’s because they had that fire at Mercy and their ER and part of their surgery units are closed now.”
“Maybe both,” Mary had nodded, following Hannah into the room.
That had been hours ago. Hannah was still trying to get all her work done and had missed lunch completely. When she finally had a chance to sit down, it was to go through her patients’ charts, but she welcomed it anyway. At least, she was off her feet.
“How are things going here?” a cheerful voice sounded and with a tired smile Hannah looked up at Yolanda, the head of Nursing Services. “Busy, huh?” Yolanda continued having seen Hannah’s face.
“Kind of,” Hannah mumbled.
“Did you get lunch?” Yolanda asked. “Did any of you get lunch?”
“We did,” Jada, one of Hannah’s coworkers answered. “About twenty minutes ago. Hannah didn’t.”
“Snitch,” Hannah said, turning around to look at the tall red-head, but there was a smile in her voice. “Besides, do you call a five-minute break to eat half a sandwich, washed down with lukewarm coffee, lunch?”
“Hey, I also had a piece of chocolate,” Jada grinned and Hannah chuckled. She turned back to the dark-skinned Yolanda and shot her an apologetic look, knowing what the other woman was going to say.
“I know, I know, I should take better care of myself,” she beat the older woman to it.
“Yes, sweetie, you should,” Yolanda sighed. “You’ve been pretty sick last week. You should at least try and eat something to keep your strength up. Yesterday, I had a nurse on the eighth floor who passed out because she skipped lunch. Come to find out, she hadn’t even had breakfast either.”
“Oh, but I did,” Hannah quickly spoke. “My Grandmother makes sure of that. If I’d leave without breakfast, she’d follow me and give me a lecture that would make your toes curl.”
“Somehow I believe that,” Yolanda chuckled, having met Gertrude on several occasions. “Your Grandmother is a force to be reckoned with.”
“Amen to that,” Hannah agreed.
Yolanda smiled and her dark eyes looked at the blonde with a mixture of curiosity and worry. She had known Hannah ever since the nurse had started her first day at the hospital. At that time, she had been her manager.
“Hannah, I don’t want to pry into your personal life,” she started hesitantly, aware of the look of surprise that was sent her way. “But...there’s something you need to know.”
Hannah put down the pen she had used to write into her chart and folded her hands on top of the paper, giving Yolanda her undivided attention. Outwardly she was calm, but inside her heart was racing.
“You know the hospital’s policy on it’s staff’s privacy; no names, phone numbers or addresses are exchanged, especially not through the phone. Well, this morning I received a phone call from this man...” Yolanda continued, while Hannah moistened her suddenly dry lips. “He was asking for you and when I asked him for his name, he became evasive. Then, in the end, he said you’d know who he was, if only I’d tell you, and I quote here, ‘the guy from the photo’ had called.”
Hannah sucked in a breath and tried not to shiver. Nathan. He had found out where she worked. But how? Fear and shock were rapidly replaced by anger when Hannah realized Nathan must have followed her that morning. How else could he have found out where she worked? Obviously, he did not know which floor she worked on, but she knew that would only be a matter of time.
“Creepy jerk,” she hissed through her teeth, feeling her anger rise.
“I take it you don’t care for him,” Yolanda replied dryly. “I guess I figured that after I delivered a message to Doctor Kendrick. Her reaction was about the same as yours, although the expletive she used was new to me. It must be very educational to work in the ER.”
Hannah’s eyes went wide when she stared at the other woman.
“When did you talk to her?” she asked with difficulty.
“Just now, a few minutes ago,” Yolanda answered softly, touched by the distress in the other woman’s eyes. “She was in a difficult case and asked me to come up here and make sure you were alright.” Yolanda paused and stretched out a hand to cover Hannah’s fidgeting fingers and gave them a gentle squeeze. “What’s going on, Hannah?”
“I...it’s a long story,” Hannah sighed. “But, to make a long story short, the man you talked to on the phone used to be a friend of mine. Until he turned into a stalker,” she added with bitterness in her voice. “He has done a lot of damage and we thought he was dead, until a few days ago.”
“Are you in any danger?” Yolanda asked with a worried frown. “Is Doctor Kendrick?”
“I’m not sure,” Hannah answered, suddenly feeling drained of all energy. “In the past he did threaten me, although I didn’t know anything about that. I’m afraid he’d hurt Rachel, though,” she added softly, not seeing the barely raised eyebrow of the other woman in response. Hannah looked up and her blue eyes were dark with worry. “What...” she swallowed hard. “What did she say? Ra...Doctor Kendrick?”
“She’s worried about you and asked me to tell you to stay here, until she’s talked to you. And she made sure I’d tell you it’s not an order, it’s a request.”
That last remark put a tired smile on Hannah’s face and the blonde nodded.
“I won’t go anywhere, I promise. I need to talk to her as well.”
“Good,” Yolanda answered. “I’m glad my mission was successful. I have one more thing to ask though; can you tell me what this...person looks like? I’d like to give the security a heads up, just in case...”
“Gosh, I haven’t seen him in years,” Hannah sighed, rubbing her forehead. “The last time I saw him, he was a little taller than I am, dark-blond hair, always clean-shaven face, immaculately dressed...pretty plain looking, I guess,” Hannah said.
“Any special features? Is he cross-eyed? Does he have a limp? A very visible scar maybe?”
“He has a scar on his neck,” Hannah quickly answered, glad she remembered. “When he was a kid, he fell in some barb-wire and it left one of those ragged looking scars. It runs from underneath his right ear to the back of his neck.”
“I’ll make sure to tell security,” Yolanda answered with a grateful smile. The information Hannah had given her was not much, but at least it was something they could work with.
“Hannah, sweetie, if you want some time off, I’m sure we can arrange something. Your safety and well-being is very important to me. To all of us.”
“I appreciate that, Yolanda, but I have no plans to give this bas...this idiot what he wants. I can’t put my life on hold, just because he doesn’t have one. I can’t and I won’t!” Hannah responded and Yolanda nodded, happy to see the fire in the blonde’s eyes. She still had not figured out how Rachel Kendrick fitted in the picture, but, given time, she knew she would. She had her suspicions, though. The intense shock and fear in a pair of dark-brown eyes when the Doctor had asked her to find Hannah, please, had been indication enough. Yolanda had a feeling there was something going on between Hannah Jensen and Rachel Kendrick, but she would keep that to herself. There was no need to stir up unrest, just because of the prejudice and bigotry of a lot of people. Inwardly though, Yolanda smiled. She would keep a close eye on Hannah, not just to make sure she would be safe, but also to make sure no gossiping tongues would be able to hurt her favorite nurse.
It was hard for Rachel to stay focused on her work. She wished she could leave the small room she was in, leave the floor and run up the stairs to the floor where she knew she would find Hannah. Ever since Yolanda had told her about the strange phone call, there had been a heavy, painful feeling in her chest that did not want to go away, no matter how many times she took a deep breath. Rachel knew that, inside the hospital, Hannah would be reasonably safe. But she wanted to make sure of that and the only thing that could possibly reassure her, was seeing Hannah in person.
With difficulty, Rachel turned her attention to the still figure on the gurney. Her eyes took in the different bags of fluids and the tubes that ran from them into the patient’s arms.
“Do we have results back yet?” she asked in a tired voice, looking at Betty Palmer who had just entered the room.
“Hemoglobin is 7.2, Doc. That’s all I can tell you, the rest of the results will come in soon. They’re working on it.”
“I can’t wait much longer. This patient is losing his blood as fast as we can pump it in. I’ll call GI and ask for the Endoscopy team to come down. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got varices that are bleeding.” Rachel sighed and headed for the door. “Keep an eye on him, Betty, I’ll be right back.”
Rachel grabbed the first phone she saw and, within a minute, she was talking to one of the hospital’s GI Doctors, who promised to come down to the ER as soon as he could.
“Is the patient stable?” he asked.
“For now,” Rachel answered. “We’re keeping the units going and right now his blood pressure is reasonable; 96/54.”
“Give me fifteen minutes, Rachel. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”
“Thanks, I appreciate it,” Rachel sighed, feeling the responsibility for her patients weigh heavily on her shoulders. Again, she had to fight the urge to leave the ER and go up to see Hannah.
“Damn,” she muttered, glancing at the clock. She knew she could not abandon her patients, but making a phone call should not be a problem. Dialing the number of Hannah’s floor from memory, she waited for a response, impatiently tapping her fingers on the dark green surface of the desk.
“Hannah Jensen, please,” she said, after the call was answered. There were some sounds in the background and after a few muffled exchanges, the same nurse who had answered the phone, sounded again.
“Who is calling?”
“Who is...? Oh, yes, of course,” Rachel responded, mentally slapping herself. How insensitive of her after Nathan had just called the hospital, asking for Hannah. “It’s Rachel Kendrick. May I talk to Hannah, please?”
“Yes, Doctor, of course. Hold on.”
Rachel could hear some chairs being moved and a few seconds later Hannah’s voice filled her ear. She was so relieved to hear the familiar sound, she instantly felt relaxed.
“Are you okay?” she asked, very aware of the people around her.
“I am now,” was the soft answer and Rachel smiled, feeling a comfortable warmth settle in the pit of her stomach.
“I should be done here in about an hour or so. Will you wait for me? I don’t like the idea of you leaving on your own.”
“I’ll wait,” Hannah promised, wishing she could reach out and stroke that little frown she knew for sure was visible on Rachel’s forehead.
“Thanks for indulging me,” the Doctor spoke softly. “I feel a lot better now.”
“I know,” Hannah smiled. “I do, too. How are you holding up?”
“I’m hanging in there. I can’t wait for this day to end, though. We need to talk and come up with a plan.”
“Yes, we do.” Hannah agreed. “A good plan, because I want this stalking business to end for once and for all.”
“Just stay put for now and let me come up and get you when I’m done, all right?”
“I will, I promise,” Hannah nodded. “I have to go, one of my patients needs me. I’ll see you soon.”
“Absolutely,” Rachel smiled and, involuntarily, Hannah smiled back, unseen to Rachel’s eyes.
“Stay out of trouble,” the blonde gently joked.
“Always,” was Rachel’s chuckled reply. “Bye, see you soon.”
“Bye,” Hannah put the phone down and, with the smile still on her face, sent an apologetic look to Yolanda, before walking out of the nursing station, heading for room 5012. She wondered what Abel Jacobs wanted. He was an elderly man who never asked for any attention, so, when he used the call light it was serious.
“Mister Jacobs,” Hannah spoke opening the door. “What can I do...?” The nurse halted in mid-sentence when she noticed the bed was unoccupied. With a frown and increasing worry she cast a glance at the bathroom door. Abel Jacobs had been seriously ill and was too weak to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom all by himself. And as far as Hannah knew, Jacob’s wife had left to run some errands.
“Mister Jacobs?” she called out, stepping towards the door of the bathroom and putting her hand on the handle. With her other hand she knocked.
“Abel? Are you all right? May I come in?”
When there was no answer, Hannah didn’t hesitate. She knew the safety of a patient took precedence and with a feeling of dread she opened the door. Immediately her eyes flew to the corner where, on a low stool, she noticed the slumped form of Abel Jacobs.
The nurse rushed to the elderly man’s side and quickly felt for a pulse. She let out a sigh of relief when she felt a weak and rapid beat underneath her fingertips. Only then she noticed the blood that had formed a puddle on the side of the stool.
“Oh, my God.”
Hannah’s hand went to the nurse’s call light behind her, but before she could pull the cord, her fingers were suddenly caught in a painful, vice-like grip.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a smooth voice sounded behind her and, with a yelp, Hannah jumped to her feet, positioning herself between the patient on the stool and the unexpected visitor.
“Who...what...?” she stammered, staring at the man in front of her. Then all blood drained from her face and she had to stretch out a hand to grab the edge of the sink keeping her balance. The face she saw was the one from her nightmares and with a half-sob she realized she and her patient were trapped.
“Nathan!” she whispered.
Feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
To be continued in part 11
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