Saturday, June 27, 2020

Chapter 17

Katie left for the hospital chapel. She had some serious backtracking to do. She was glad for Matthew’s family motto: Apologies are always accepted, and grace is always extended. Katie was going to take full advantage of that family mission. Becca went back into the treatment room and looked at Shawn across from Nick’s gurney. He had a smile on his face, a look of hope. Becca raised her eyebrows at Shawn as if she was asking him a question. 
“Where’s my Teach?”
“She went to talk to my husband. He loves her so, and he’s really worried about her. He couldn’t bear to lose her, too. Becca’s voice quivered as Nick looked up at Shawn. He returned the glance and then over to Becca to reassure her. 
“I think she finally sees it, now. We had a good talk. I think she’ll be fine.” Becca sighed, relieved. She walked over to Shawn and hugged him. 
“Oh, I hope so, Shawn. Thank you for talking to her and caring so much for a complete stranger to you.” 
“She’s no stranger. We met two years ago. I loved her then. I’ve watched this jerk pine after her, desperate to get her back into his life. Now, he’s going to have a hell of a road to win her back. I hope you know that.” Shawn looked down at Nick.
Nick nodded. “She’s not going to make it easy, if she does take me back at all, is she?” 
“She still loves you. She’s just hurting and protecting herself,” Shawn said. 
“Did she tell you that? Did she actually say that she still loves me? I haven’t seen anything remotely close to that.” 
“In not those exact words, bro, but she implied it, for sure.” 
Becca added her two cents. “Well, I saw it on that sidewalk while you were unconscious. She completely freaked when at first you weren’t moving and thought you were dead. Then when I told her how bad a head injury could be, her true feelings came out. It even freaked out Scotty to see her reaction. She does love you,” 
“Dude, she told me that what you are in for will make her seem like a flaky swooning teen Barbie two years ago. She’s out for blood, pal, and she’s going to bleed you dry.” Nick chuckled and then started to cry. Everyone gathered around him and put their hands on him. 
Nick looked up at Becca with that green look in his face. “Are you going to be sick, again?” Nick nodded. Everyone bolted, while Becca stayed to take care of him. She cleaned him all up, and he got his bearings. 
“Thank you for helping me, Becca. I know I don’t deserve it for what I’ve done. I remember some of what happened tonight at that table. You hated me just as much and for good reason. I’m so ashamed.” 
“You know, Nick, I just couldn’t believe that you could have changed so much. I remember meeting you at the State Fair. You were so sweet, the same exact man that Katie had so eloquently described. I had such hope in you. Katie needed someone to make her heart come alive again, and you did that. My girls adored you.” 
“I’m so sorry for all that I have done to them, too. How are they?” 
“They are all good. I think Marianne has taken this the hardest.” Nick nodded. 
“Sweet Marianne, I loved her instantly. She has such a sweet spirit.” 
“Yeah, well, she’s very protective of her Auntie K, and she’s pretty mad at you. She said you made her a promise.” Nick broke down, remembering that encounter. Becca rubbed his arm and cried with him. “I’m counting on you to save our Katie. Give her something to live for,” she said in her tears. 
“If she’d give me a chance, I would do anything to get her back. I haven’t stopped loving her. I think I love her even more with all this waiting and hoping I’ve done. Every day without her, hurt so bad.”
“She couldn’t come back to you, until she was ready. She had the book that she obsessed over, wanting to get it done. She said the sooner she got it done, the sooner she could get you back and then—” he interrupted Becca.
“And then I turned on her. I swear I didn’t know it was her.” 
“We know that,” Becca said. 
“It doesn’t matter, though. I still hurt her, and I feel worse about that, than if I lost her forever. I want to fix this, but she’s going to have me for supper. I’m sure of it.” 
“She loves you. She’ll come around. Give her time to work on the hurt and make it go away. We’ll do what we can from our end. Don’t worry, Nick. I won’t let her get too mean. I know her weakness.” 
“And, what about Scotty?” 
“Well, I gotta admit, that’s going to be a challenge. They are really close now. Scotty’s changed, a lot. He’s going to give you a run for your money. He’s going to fight tooth and nail. He loves her, as much as I hate to admit it, he’s just as dependent on her in his life as you are.” Nick sighed, and then he chuckled. 
“She told me, that she comes as a package deal.” Becca laughed and nodded her head. 
“Yeah, you might want to get used to that idea, she’ll want to give him a room in your house if you do get married.” They both laughed. 
“She already told me that. She really is bonded to him, huh?” Becca nodded. "Ever since that life-saving rescue, they've been inseparable."
“How did he save her life?” 
“No one knows, but they’ve been connected at the hip ever since. Even when he was a jerk, when he hit her, she still went back to check on him all the time. She is not in love with him, like she is with you, but she does love big. She’s so loyal and devoted to those she lets in her heart.” 
“I know that about her. I saw that right away, that’s the only thing that’s giving me a glimmer of hope.” 
They heard Katie’s voice from the doorway. “Is he finished puking yet?” Becca and Nick chuckled. Becca grabbed the emesis basin and whispered to Nick. 
“This right here is going to be your salvation. I know just how to get to her. You leave it to me.” Nick smiled and laughed. He reached out his hand. She took it and lovingly encouraged him. 
The guys all entered the room before Katie. Matthew and Katie were in the doorway talking and then he entered the room. She stood at the door, waiting for the all clear sign. Becca started for the doorway, but turned back and whispered. 
“Operation Gross Katie into Nicety is a go,” Becca said as she held up the full emesis basin. All the men in the room laughed, all but Nick. He was still worried that she would not give him a second chance. 
“Don’t you worry, Nick. My Becca knows just how to get to her. I almost want to watch this. He backed up against the wall to watch and started grinning when he saw Becca walk toward Katie with the vomit.
Becca exited the room with a full emesis basin, and she was carrying it high enough for Katie to see and smell. She put it up right near her face.     
“Okay that was fun,” she said nodding to Katie, as she showed her the contents. Katie turned her head and put her hand to her mouth. She started making heaving noises. 
“EWE! Oh my gosh! Becca, that’s gross, you did that on purpose!” Becca paused trapping Katie between her and the doorway just for a few seconds more. 
“What, you can’t handle a little vomit? It’s fresh too!” Katie started coughing and ran for the ladies room, while everyone busted a gut and could not control their laughing. Even Nick could not stop laughing regardless of the pain it caused. Becca peaked back into the room of laughing men, cracking up herself. 
“See what I mean. Matthew. I think we are going to have to make good use of this.” He laughed and followed Becca out the door. When Katie exited the ladies’ room, she saw Becca talking with Matthew and Dr. Spann. 
Nick had given permission for the doctor to go over the results of the CT scan with Becca. 
“He has a severe concussion. Four weeks of no shows and a great deal of rest, and he should not have any lasting effects. We’ll keep him here tonight for observation and maybe tomorrow. He should be fine. Keep him still, no physical activity for at least a week, and then gradually he can increase it.” 
Katie listened in and heard enough to make her stop worrying. 
“Thank you Dr. Spann. We’ll make sure his family gets the orders.” Becca said. Matthew, Becca, and Katie shook his hand. The doctor looked at Katie. 
“You on the other hand, look like you are worse off; you need to get treatment for that eating disorder.” Katie sighed. 
“Did you say something to him?” She asked Becca. 
“No, she didn’t have to. They are worried about you. I can give you the name of a good treatment facility and some good doctors that specialize in Anorexia.” Katie dropped her head. He put his hand on her shoulder. “It’s treatable; you just want to have to get better. Do it for your family if no one else and for that guy in there. I can see the look in his eye.” 
“You can’t say anything, Dr. Spann, please. The press and all.” 
“HIPPA laws, Mrs. Moore. Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.” He gave her a half hug, shook Matthew and Becca’s hands, and he walked toward Nick’s room to see him. Just as he entered the room, Katie who was right behind him, still behind the curtain, stopped him, speaking loud enough for everyone to hear. 
“Umm, excuse me Dr. Spann.” 
“Yes, Mrs. Moore?” 
“Is there any way possible that the after effects of this concussion could make him any smarter, or brighter, cuz he’s kind of tortoise-brained. I was hoping maybe a knock on the head could shake something loose that may have been blocking his thinking and slowing it down.” The men in the room laughed, while Dr. Spann shook his head. Nick lowered his head and shook it, also. 
“Oh, she’s mean,” Jerry said. Shawn just continued to laugh. 
“This is going to be fun,” he said. Dr. Spann entered the room and addressed Nick. 
“Well Mr. Thomas, looks like you have a battle on your hands. I’m not talking about your physical recovery, that will happen easily, compared to what I think she’s going to do to you,” he cackled. The men in the room laughed more. Nick nodded with a winced face. “I gave them directions, but basically, you are off the stage for at least four weeks. You have a pretty bad concussion. Go home rest, no strenuous exercise, and stay away from her for a little while. She may just knock you upside the head, again.” The guys broke down and laughed, again. Nick and the guys all shook the doctor’s hand. “By the way, there are some swooning nurses out here, male and female. I just wanted to let you know,” he said as he winked at Nick, bringing the room to a laughter, again. 
Outside the room, while Dr. Spann spoke to Nick, Becca showed Katie that she was not amused with her last dig. She called Katie over to where she was, with the emesis basin was behind her. She stepped aside to give Katie a good view and scent. Katie’s eyes squinted as if she had just run over a skunk. She coughed and put her hand to her mouth. Under her hand, she mumbled her complaints. 
“Oh, Becca, that’s so gross, you’re so disgusting." Matthew laughed with a cackle.  
“Well, that’s what you get for being so mean to an injured man. Now, go in there and be nice, or we’ll bag this and put it in your truck.” 
“Ewe, you wouldn’t dare.” 
“Oh wouldn’t I?” Katie looked at Matthew who raised his eyebrows and nodded. “And what I’ll do is put a pin hole in it so that it would leak ever so slowly and permeate your carpets in your new Expedition. It won’t be that new car smell, any more, it will be that new vomit smell,” Becca said. Matthew cracked up, as did Becca.
“Damn it, Becca you would, wouldn’t you? 
“Katie your language,” Matthew said. Katie shook her head. 
“You guys don’t play fair.” The three of them went into Nick’s room with Katie and her bantering. Just then, Matthew got a text from Scotty. “Kate, Scott says he’s on his way and he has a surprise for you.” 
“What is it?” Katie seemed to get just a little excited. 
“I don’t know, but he’ll be here in fifteen minutes.” Matthew started a reply. 
“I was wondering where he went to. He drove me tonight; I thought I may have to be stuck here tonight.” 
“Katie we would have given you a ride,” Becca said. 
“What, do you think that I’m going to ride in the same vehicle as you all the way back to Shelbyville after you’ve touched that stuff and been so close to it? How do you know a little splash of it didn’t get on your clothes? No way missy, I’d rather sit in the public ladies’ room all night, than be in a confined space with you and splashes of vomit on your clothes or hands.” 
Everyone in the room busted out laughing, again. Nick wasn’t laughing as hard this time, with Katie giving him the cold shoulder and news of Scotty coming with a surprise to take his Teach away. Katie walked in front of Shawn; put her hand on the railing and one on Nick’s hand. She looked at Nick who was smiling at her. She did not return the smile, but looked up at Shawn and smiled on purpose.
 “So, are you feelin’ better you vagarious vomiting vocalist?” They all guffawed at her metaphorical name. 
“I wish I knew what vagarious meant. I’m sure it would be funnier,” Nick said without the slightest hint of a smile.  
“It means given to sudden change in behavior.” Katie raised one eyebrow and tilted her head, like she did so many times that night in the booth. Nick thought that was so cute, but could not enjoy it delivered with a stab. 
“Oh, so it was an insult, then?” Katie’s face softened, and she rubbed his cheeks with the back of her fingers. 
“Not if the change is for the better?” Katie had just giving him a little piece of hope and encouragement. She would soon follow it up with a jab, but like she told Shawn, she was going to tease the snot out of that man, making his head spin, so that he had no idea if he was coming or going. 
“Well well well, Katie Lynn Moore, did you just say something nice to encourage me?”
“Well well well, Nick Thomas, stupid-star, did you just say the name Katie Lynn Moore without vomit coming up after it? I thought it made you sick, as you tweeted once.” Shawn shook his head at Katie, ready for the counter attack. 
“Well, since you’ve been gone, I’ve said it almost a hundred times in my head, and now it has become the poetry of my existence. Katie Lynn Moore, Katie Lynn Moore, Katie Lynn Moore, I just love how that sounds.” 
Katie snorted a sarcastic laugh while Shawn put his fist up sideways for Nick to pound it with a fist bump.
“Sickening.” Katie threw her arms across her chest. He beat her on the counter attack.
“Katie, do you seriously want to tempt me or try me on what I said I’d do little Miss Potty mouth?” Becca said, intervening in Katie's little mean spell.  Katie sighed. She was defeated by a basin of vomit.  
“Fine. “ Hey, you Mr. Resistible Revelry Wrangler, the name is Teach, but that’s only when no one else is around. Note I said resistible, not irresistible? It doesn’t change things. Becca’s little bag of vomit is forcing my hand on the niceness factor tonight. Once that vomit is securely where it should be, you are going to see what an Italian firecracker is like when she’s mad.”
“Matthew, let’s put it in the downstairs freezer, that way we can pull it out when we need it, when Nicolas Paul comes to for supper, to see the girls,” Becca said chuckling, nodding to Nick, letting him hope for such a wonderful even.  Nick nodded in happy agreement, welcoming the invitation and the wanting back into those girls' lives.  
"I think we can arrange that, Becca Joy,"  Matthew said, lowering his head, raising his eyebrows, while staring down Katie.  The thought and sight in Katie's mind became far more vivid to her than she could digest, and she grabbed a hold of her middle with one arm and her mouth with the other hand. 
“EWE!” Katie said, again with the dry heaves rushing back and running her out of that room back to the ladies’ room.   As she shuffled past the guys, elbowing a few on her way out, laughter in that room was joyously hear throughout the entire ER at the Albert B. Chandler University of Kentucky Hospital.  Becca looked over at Matthew then Shawn and the boys with one last joke-line at Katie's expense, again. 
“Superman had kryptonite, and Katie Lynn Moore has vomit,” she said giggling. 

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