THE BRASS RING
BY MAVIS APPLEWATER
FOR DISCLAIMERS SEE PART ONE
Thanks to my beta reader, Joanne.
AS ALWAYS FOR HEATHER
Jamie rubbed her eyes tiredly as she allowed the orderlies to escort her newest patient from the room. A nurse had already informed her that the police were waiting. Nothing new since it was a gunshot wound. Jamie braced herself as she said a silent prayer that CC wouldn't be one of the officers waiting to question her. She had already lost enough sleep because of her ex-lover. She stepped out of the curtained area and gritted her teeth as she watched her former lover banging her head on the counter. It would have been comical if it werent CC.
"Who am I kidding?" She found herself smiling. "It's damn funny. Im glad to know I'm not the only one whos freaking out over our paths crossing again," she said quietly as she approached the detectives. "What the hell. I could use a little fun." She shrugged as she stepped up to the nurse's station.
"If you get blood on the counter, youll have to clean it up yourself," Jamie stated dryly. She smirked as the taller woman suddenly halted her movements. She winked at CC's partner who was just standing there looking bewildered. CC raised her head and glared at the doctor. Jamie felt her heart drop. CC looked so tired and defeated. She was about to reach out to her. Stopping herself, she withdrew her hand. "I take it youre here because of the guy I just sent up to surgery?" she stated in a professional manner.
"Yes," CC responded in the same cold professional tone.
"He'll make it," Jamie answered, not even blinking as she stared down CC's icy gaze. "And before you ask, he didn't say anything. If that's all, I have work to do."
"Fine," CC snapped as she turned away, her movement causing a basket of files to topple over. Jamie suppressed her laughter as the tall brooding detective growled. Jamie just stood there as the flustered woman bent over to pick up the mess. The laughter that was threatening to emerge suddenly died as she found herself leering at CC's backside.
Thankfully, CC and her partner were too busy cleaning up the mess to notice her overt ogling. As they returned the items to the desk, Jamie found herself blushing. CC turned to her, seemingly understanding what she had just done. The taller woman flashed her a cocky grin.
Jamie clenched her jaw and folded her arms across her chest, glaring at CC who seemed far too happy with the turn of events. "I have work to do," Jamie spat out as she turned away. CC's laughter was burning her ears. She didn't turn around until she was certain that theyd left. Turning slightly, she caught sight of CC walking down the hallway. She glimpsed once more at the woman's rear end. She gasped slightly as CC turned and winked at her.
Jamie's head fell onto her chest as she fought back the anger that was building up inside of her. She sighed in defeat, knowing that anger wasn't the only emotion she was feeling. As she felt her nipples straining against her T-shirt, she hated her body for still finding CC attractive.
A few days later, Jamie was back at work. She was beyond exhausted at that point. Since her last run in with CC, she hadn't been able to sleep for more than a few hours. She wished that it were anger that was keeping sleep from claiming her tired body. It wasn't. Her mind and body were betraying her. She found herself lost in the thought of touching CC. The ache had been building steadily and she was fighting a losing battle to get past it. "Tonight," she tried to reassure herself as the ambulance doors swung open. "I'll get some sleep tonight."
"Talk to me," she commanded the EMT as she looked down at the frail teenage girl on the stretcher.
"Seventeen year old female," the EMT said hurriedly. He began to run off her vitals. Jamie could see the concern in the man's face as he spoke. "Drug overdose. We found these at the scene," the man explained as he handed her a vial of sleeping pills.
"Intentional?" Jamie continued as they wheeled the girl into one of the bays. "Okay people, on my count," she instructed the staff as they lifted the small girl onto the table.
"Yes," the EMT confirmed her earlier question. "She was on the phone with a crisis center. The counselor called it in."
"Can they do that?" one of the interns questioned.
"Yes," Jamie snapped. "Okay people, let's pump her stomach."
"Parents are on the way," the EMT added as he gathered up his things. "Sos the councilor. Off duty cop," he added before leaving.
Jamie was taken aback by the sadness in the older man's eyes. It was never easy when it was someone so young. She focused her energy on saving the girl. The monitors screamed out. "She's crashing," Jamie yelled out as they ripped open her clothing. "Tube her," she instructed her intern.
Jamie continued to work on the teenager long after life had slipped away from her. "Fuck," she growled finally, stripping off her latex gloves and tossing them on the floor. She pinched the bridge of her nose, fighting back the tears. Jamie knew that the girl had died only moments after she came in contact with her. Something inside of her just wouldn't let her go. Now she had to. Weakly she announced the time of death.
Jamie carefully pulled a sheet up to cover the tiny body. "I'll get her cleaned up," Evaline, one of the nurses, offered as she touched Jamie's arm lightly. Jamie nodded mutely, taking one last look at the girl she failed to save. She stripped off her gown and brushed back her errant blonde bangs, knowing that now she had to face the girl's parents, and in a clinical manner inform them that she had failed to save their child's life.
She stepped out of the room, grabbing the chart as she went. She signed off on the paperwork, taking a quick glance to note the girl's name and her parent's names. She handed the paperwork over to the desk clerk and noted that it was after three a.m. "I'm done for tonight," se muttered grimly. The clerk simply nodded in understanding. "Where are . . . " She stopped her inquiry, noting the resemblance to the girl, Susan. " . . . never mind. I see them."
As she approached them, she spotted a lone figure hiding in the corner. CC looked like she had been through hell and back. "Oh baby, why are you still doing this?" she murmured quietly. Jamie spoke carefully to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. They were shattered. She tried to be comforting as Susans mother screamed "Why?" Jamie watched CC out of the corner of her eye while she tried to comfort the grieving parents. She watched as the brunette was sucked into her own private hell.
CC had been five when her brother committed suicide. Jamie had heard the story of how the young girl had found him hanging in his bedroom. She knew that CC had been a volunteer for a teen crisis hotline back when they were dating. Shed always been proud of her for turning her own tragedy into something positive. At this moment, watching and knowing that it was CC who had been the one on the telephone was tearing Jamie apart.
Jamie was miffed that the Johnsons rebuffed her offer to provide them with phone numbers of councilors. They seemed to be blaming the crisis hotline for their daughter's suicide. Jamie tried to shake it off. They were in shock. She finished talking to them as she watched azure eyes filling with tears. CC wrapped her arms around herself as she stood there alone. Jamie called for a nurse to take the Johnsons to see their daughter.
After they left, she stood and ran after CC who had stormed out of the waiting room. It didn't take her long to find the woman outside, clinging to the brick wall as she wept. Jamie choked as she watched CC slump down on the ground. Jamie raced over. She knelt down and wrapped the distraught woman in her arms. CC curled up in her embrace and wept.
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