For disclaimers see Part 1

Part 3

C-C-Cold.

The chilly atmosphere sent goose bumps running up and down Sam’s arms, causing her to shiver.

Where am I?

She opened her eyes but was unable to see clearly. Instead, her heavy lidded vision revealed half images and swirling colors that created a kaleidoscopic blur of reds and grays.

Oh, Jesus Christ!

She tried blinking repeatedly but it didn’t help to clear her vision.Now the colors alternated between dark and lighter shades of gray and red.

I really need to stop partying. Wait, I don’t party.

Sam forced her eyes wide open to clear her vision but it remained unfocused.

What the hell is going on?

She blinked, squinted, and even squeezed her eyes tight trying to make out anything through the blur.

Oh this is bad…really, really bad.

Her instincts were crying out for her to focus.

Alright don’t panic, use your other senses.

Slowly, she concentrated on the environment around her. This pungent smell assaulted her nose; it was something like a strong anti-septic mixed with a cinnamon scent.

What is this smell? What about this freaking beeping sound?

Her rational detective senses were starting to kick in.

This isn’t my room and since I don’t do sleepovers...

“Ms Mathews?”

Sam attempted to reply but was thwarted by something scratching her throat.

What the fuck?

“Ms Mathews?”

Sam turned toward the voice and was met with the outline of an angel.

Oh, shit! Don’t tell me I’ve screwed myself to death.

“Samantha, when I count to three, I need you to cough.”

Cough? I don’t want to cough.

“Alright Samantha, I need you to cough now”

I don’t need to…

Suddenly, the tickle at the back of her throat turned more painful.

Alright, enough! I’ll cough. I’ll… The sound of her own raspy coughing sent shudders through her body.

“It’s okay Samantha. I pulled the tube out of your throat. It will ease your discomfort”

You call ripping my throat out a discomfort? Maybe this isn’t heaven after all.

Sam felt cold fingers roaming and poking her body.

Hey! Stop touching me. Why are you tying that around my arm? Ouch! Stop that your moron. It’s hurting…that’s right, let it go. That’s better, thank you!

Sam tried once again to focus her vision but the figures moved away from her.

Hey, come back here!

The light around her began to fade.

Where the hell am I anyway?

Sam didn’t find her answers as her eyelids grew too heavy to keep open and her world faded to black.

* * *

It was pre-dawn when Dr. Thomas walked to the admit desk area and looked over the board.

“Hernandez, the patient in exam one has been here since eleven o’clock with left flank pain.” Ann handed him the chart. “You might want to check that out.”

“I’m on it, chief.” The resident took the file and walked off.

“Hey Sarah,” Ann stifled a yawn. “I’m going to take a break. Page me if anything comes up.” Ann waited to see the nurse acknowledge before heading toward the elevator. Her fingers automatically moved to push the habitual button but something made her hesitate. On impulse she pressed the forth floor button. “Just for curiosity sake,” Ann first rationalized, then used both hands to massage her tensed shoulders while rolling her head from side.

What am I doing? I should be getting some sleep.

Something about that patient intrigued Ann, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She replayed the previous day’s trauma room scenario in her mind until a puzzling phrase reverberate time and again, ‘I’m not losing you again’.

Where did that ‘again’ come from? Have we met before?

Her musing stopped as did the elevator and Ann departed.

“Hey Jack,” she greeted the lone male nurse sitting at the station. “I didn’t know you were working up here tonight.”

“I’m not.” He shook his head. “I’m covering for a friend. What about you, Doctor Thomas, have you been riding anymore patients up to the OR today?”

“Nope,” Ann pursed her lips fully aware that her teasing was just getting started. “As a matter of fact, I’m a bit curious about that patient I…uh…‘rode’ earlier.” She put her forearms on the desk and pushed her body forward trying to view the computer screen. “How is she doing?”

“Let me see,” the nurse keyed a few words before reading. “Samantha Mathews, age thirty two, gunshot wound to the back, rode in by… ” Jack chaffed.

Ann hung her head, hiding behind a veil of blonde hair.

“Just kidding,” Jack teased trying to soften the blow.

“I’m not going to live that one down, am I?”

“Nope!” The smug look on Jack’s face said more than his short reply.

“I didn’t think so,” Ann murmured.

Jack turned the screen so Ann could also read it. “The skinny is that the bullet’s out and the patient’s stable.” He looked up into questioning green eyes and sensed what the doctor wanted to know. “Recovery room,” he pointed the direction.

“Thanks, Jack. You’re a doll.”

* * *

Inquisitive eyes searched the dim lighting of the room.

Why is everything so white? What is this place?What’s going on?

Sam’s thoughts turned suddenly inward when she swallowed.

Christ! I feel like shit. I must’ve been drugged.

An uneasy feeling alarmed Sam as she pushed her body up. It seemed as though something or someone was preventing her to move.

I have to quit this one night stand stuff. Alright, I’ll play the bathroom card, it always works.

Okay baby time to move.

“I have... I need…” Exhausted, Sam dropped her head back down to the pillow in surrender. “…to go.”

“Don’t try to get up. You have a catheter in place. Trust me, it’s only a sensation.”

Although barely heard, Sam acknowledged the compassionate sounding voice anyway.

That voice. It seems so…familiar but in an odd sort of way.

“How are you feeling?”

Yep, I definitely heard it before.

Sam clung to that recognition as if her life depended on it. She turned her head and saw the backlit apparition of an angel.

Oh yeah, this is definitely heaven.

“Am I dead?” Sam worked hard to get the question out but it came in little more than a raspy whisper.

“Not anymore.”

“What?

“You were shot but we brought you back.”

“Were there many angels with you?”

“No. Well, I don’t know who else was there aside from me and a few of my staff.”

The voice grew closer to the point that Sam swore she felt someone breathing on her ear.

“I’m a doctor, by the way.”

Sam opened her eyes and the only thing she saw was the sweet smile on an angel’s glowing face.

“Doctor Angel,” she babbled somewhat incoherently, feeling safe and secure in her angel’s soothing presence.

My beautiful angel! You found me, love. I’m finally home.

Sam’s inner voice stilled with the engulfing darkness as her weary body slipped into a healing slumber.

* * *

Why do you look so familiar, Samantha Mathews? Better yet, why do I feel so comfortable around you?

Lost in her thoughts, Ann took the patient’s hand in hers and felt an overwhelming sense of warmth emanating from their touch.

“That’s odd.” She used her free hand to feel the patient’s forehead for a fever. When none was found, it made Ann feel rather foolish.

“I must be really tired.”

Ann gingerly let go of Sam’s hand, then inched the blanket over the patient’s exposed arm before turning to leave. The doctor stopped by the door and apprehensively glanced back at the patient. Again a disturbing feeling of familiarity washed over her. Too tired to think any more about it, Ann shook it off, then turned and exited.

* * *

Oh, God! Is this a hangover?

Sam pursed her lips to form an audible question.

“Ow!” She quickly attempted to moisten her parched lips. Her attention slowly spread to the environment surrounding her. Melodic beeps and astringent smells filled the room.

There’s that freaking beeping again. I don’t know what’s worse it or the smell.

Searching the room, she found the source of the sound, a heart monitor.

“What the hell?” Sam tried to move her arm but found it tethered by an IV line connected to the back of her hand.

What did I get myself into this time?

“Good morning. How are you feeling?”

“Thirsty,” Sam croaked.

“That’s to be expected but it’s something we can deal with.” The nurse placed a straw to Sam’s lips encouraging her to drink. “Here, take it slowly.”

“Where am I? What happened?” Sam coughed around a swallow of water, a little anxious to put some puzzle pieces together.

“You’re in a hospital. You were shot.”

A chill ran up and down Sam’s spine.

“Rest,” the nurse tucked an extra blanket around the visually quivering woman. “I’ll be back soon.”

Shot? Oh boy, mom is gonna kill me!

She closed her eyes and began to doze off but a sentence echoing on her mind nagged her.

I’m not losing you again.

“That voice…I know that voice.” Sam closed her eyes again forcing her memory but got nothing except some out of context sentences.

I’m a doctor. Beautiful angel. We brought you back. A doctor. An angel.

“Doctor Angel!” She whispered as realization hit her in a shock wave.

Is she real? Or is this some really bad dream I’ve been stuck in.

Sam tried hard to force the memories to come forward but disappointment flooded her when it came all blurred.

It’s just a dream, Samantha, like your love life.

A despondent sigh accompanied the thought. She used a hand to rub her face as if the gesture would clear the bad memories.

You swore never to fall in love again, remember?

“But she could be real.” She cast a glance at the door hoping to see her angel standing there. Instead, she found a giant get-well-soon balloon bobbing over a very familiar face.

“Hey, look who has come back from the dead!” Mark greeted his friend with a big grin plastered on his face. “You scared the crap out of me, you know that? Don’t you ever do that again, you hear me?”

“Sorry, buddy.”

“You’re sounding a little raspy there. You got a cold? Do you remember anything?”

“Vaguely. Everything is ...” Sam sighed. “What happened, Mark? I know I went outside to get Big Ed, but everything from there is all misty.”

“One of the rookies tried to surprise Ed, but the sneaky son of bitch saw him and shot the guy...”

“Jake…he was gonna shoot Jake. He didn’t hit him, did he?” The monitor started beeping faster when the events from the previous night started coming back to her.

“Take it easy, Sam.” Mark put a soothing hand on his friend’s shoulder. “The kid is fine. You took the bullet for him. You saved that rookie’s life, you know. I might even consider recommending you for a medal,” he joked.

“Yeah, it better be a good one.” she reclined on the bed as her heartbeat slowed down. “What about Ed? Did he get away? Did we loose him?”

“Don’t worry about him. He isn’t a problem anymore!”

“You got him, didn’t you, partner?”

“Multiple times.”

“My hero!” Sam batted her eyelashes while faking a melodramatic sigh.

“Is this the part where I take you in my arms and kiss you senseless?” Sam hesitated for a second trying to decide whether her friend was being serious or just fooling with her.

Mark sensed his friend hesitation and decided to break the growing tension. “In your dreams, Matthews.”

Sam breathed a sigh of relief when Mark released a throaty laugh.

“Now, take it easy and get some rest, okay?” He rearranged the pillows to make her more comfortable.

She shot a puzzled look at him. “What are you doing?’

“I’m helping you relax. Allison always does that when I’m sick or hurt.”

“Do I look like your wife to you?” she slapped his hand annoyed.

“No, she’s a delicate woman.” he said rubbing the back of his hand.

“Bite me.” She retorted bratty

“How are we doing this afternoon?”

The sickening sweet interruption caused both cops to eye the nurse coming through the door suspiciously.

“That depends on whom you mean by we and what you plan to do with that needle.” Sam narrowed her eyes at the syringe in the nurse’s hand.

“Yeah, who do you mean by ‘we’?” Mark challenged the nurse with as much bravado as he could muster. “She’s the sick one.”

“I’m not sick.” Sam glared at her partner. “I’m injured.”

The nurse stifled a chuckle at the pairs’ antics. “Don’t worry. I’m injecting the medicine in your IV.” The nurse crimped the tubing and did what she’d come to do then turned to leave. “I’ll come back in twenty minutes to check on you.” She hesitated at the door, giving Mark a stern look before turning a gentler gaze toward her patient. “You should try to get some sleep in the meantime.”

Taking the nurse’s hint, Mark attempted to draw their meeting to an end. “She’s right, you need to rest. I better get going, Sam.”

“Wait Mark, there’s something bugging me.”

“What? Is it a pain?” His frantic gaze surveyed Sam’s face for a clue. “Do you want me to call the nurse back?”

“No! It’s not that.” She tried to calm her freaking out friend. “I’m fine. It’s just that…I think I had a visitor last night.”

“You think?” Mark rubbed his hand on his chest forcing his own heartbeat to return to a normal rate.

“Yeah, it’s not very clear. Actually, nothing from last night is clear. I don’t really remember the details.” Sam pondered for a moment then promptly dismissed it with a wave of her hand. “Maybe it was just a dream.”

“Dreams are good. It means you’re getting your rest.” Mark paused as Sam stared straight ahead.

“I think a doctor came in to see me.”

“So? They work here. They’re allowed to.”

“There was just something about ‘em,” Sam mused.

“You lost me.” Mark furrowed his brows. “This is a hospital Sam. A doctor was here. Somebody call the police!”

“I know. It’s just…she glowed, Mark. She glowed like an angel.” Sam got a dreaming look on her face. “She has this sweetest voice that keeps echoing in my head.”

“You’re unbelievable Samantha, I’ve been worried sick about you all night, and you’re here fantasizing about an angelic doctor,” he shook his head, not believing his ears, “that you don’t even know is real.”

“I can’t explain it. I never felt like this before.”

Mark stared at his friend azure eyes and saw an unusual gleam.

“Alright, Sam.” he sighed passing a nervous hand through his sandy colored hair. “What is it that you do remember?”

“Almost nothing. At least nothing solid.” She closed her eyes as if trying to bring the images back to life. “I remember a soothing voice and the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.”

Unaccustomed to seeing his partner so emotional, Mark was impressed by the sweetness in her voice. He felt a twinge of jealousy coursing through his system, but decided to push it down. Sam needed him and he was going to be there for her.

“Does this angel have a name?”

“If she gave me one, I can’t remember it.” She sighed in frustration letting her head sink into the pillow.

“Rest now, my friend. I’m on the case.” Mark tenderly smoothed her hair as Sam began to doze off. “If this angel of yours is for good, you’ll meet her again. I promise.”

“Blonde hair,” Sam murmured in a sleepy tongue. “She’s got blonde hair.”

To be continued…

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