Peak of Desire Ch. 12byvirgofemme©
*Chapter 13 will be submitted within a day after this one, so be sure to check back for it. Sorry for such a long wait, but I hope you'll enjoy both this chapter, and the next. Thanks for your continued interest!*
Just after eleven a.m. the next morning, Erica arrived at the hospital. After checking in at the nurse's desk, she headed down the hall which led to Cody's room, the soles of her low heeled boots softly clicking against the floor. As she continued along her way, her thoughts turned to the previous evening.
After leaving the hospital, she'd driven directly to the police station to speak with a detective about Cody's attack. She'd not only provided them Natalie's cell phone number, but had also allowed them to listen to the threatening voice mail that had been left by her husband.
Since she hadn't been able to get a good look at the suspect, Erica was unable to provide a detailed description of Natalie's husband. All she'd been able to say about Cody's attacker was that he was 'tall, heavyset, and white.' It was her hope that Natalie would provide the police with more than enough details in order for them to make an arrest.
Before leaving the police station, the detective had promised to give her a call as soon as he had an update, and ever since then, she'd been anxiously waiting for a phone call. Of course she knew that it might take some time for that call to come through, but it didn't stop her from feeling impatient.
As she reached the door to Cody's hospital room, she turned the knob and pushed it open. The two pairs of eyes which glanced her way belonged to women who had similar features to his, leading Erica to guess that they were family members.
Giving them a little nod, she introduced herself. "Hi, I'm Erica. Cody's girlfriend."
The youngest of the two women rose to her feet and walked toward Erica. "Noelle. I'm his sister." She offered her hand to shake.
Tall with jet black hair which came nearly to her waist, Noelle was dressed in a pair of boot cut jeans and a white, form fitting t-shirt.
"Nice to meet you, Noelle." She clasped palms with her.
Erica then directed her attention to the other woman in the room, who was sitting beside Cody's bed. Clearly his mother, she had shoulder length hair and stood about medium height. She had the same deep set eyes as her son, and wore a beige colored blouse and long black skirt.
"I'm Helen, Cody's mother."
"It's great to meet you, Helen." She extended her hand.
"Nice to meet you too, Erica."
As they clasped palms, Erica took the chance to study the other woman's face. Although she looked good for her age, Erica could tell that as a young woman, Helen must have been quite stunning, and she found it remarkable just how similar Cody's features were to his mother.
Helen seemed to study Erica with equal interest, her eyes alight with curiosity. After releasing hands they offered each other a little smile, then Erica took a glance at Cody, who was asleep in the hospital bed.
"How's he been doing?" She asked.
"He was in quite a bit of pain earlier." As she said this, deep sorrow etched into Helen's face. "They gave him a dose of medication an hour ago and that made him pretty drowsy, but he should wake up in a bit."
"Any updates from the doctor?"
"She did tell us that he'll be here for at least five days, possibly longer depending on the condition of the wound. Other than that, not much else has changed."
Erica nodded, then walked closer to his bedside. She leaned down to give him a light kiss on the cheek, then took his hand in hers.
"I still can't believe he's paralyzed," Noelle said. "When the doctor told me, I thought it must be some mistake, because it just didn't seem possible." She shook her head in dismay, eyes full of deep sadness. "The person who did this to him is truly sick."
"I don't know how much he told you guys, but apparently the man who stabbed him is the husband of some woman he used to date."
"Natalie, right?" Noelle asked.
"I remember him mentioning her to me back when he was still in contact with her. Told me what a nut job she is. I guess her husband is just as crazy as her."
"Clearly so." She released a little sigh. "I stopped by the police station yesterday evening to talk with a detective. Gave him all the information I could. He said he'd bring Natalie in today for questioning."
"Good. She'd better tell the truth."
"Even if she doesn't, I have the voicemail her husband sent saved on Cody's phone, so she has no chance of getting away with any lies."
"You saved the voicemail?"
"Yep. Figured that Cody would want to hear it, so he would know who he was dealing with." As she cast a gaze down at his sleeping form, a look of deep regret came into her eyes. "Unfortunately I didn't reach him in time enough to give him the warning."
"I'm sure you did your best." Noelle took a lingering glance at her brother, then said, "If you don't mind, could I could listen to the voicemail? I just wanna hear what this guy said to him."
"Yeah, sure." She retrieved Cody's cell phone from her purse, then handed it over to Noelle. "It's his phone anyway, so you might wanna hold onto it until he gets out of the hospital.
"Thanks." She pressed a few buttons on the keypad, then after accessing his voice mail, she placed the receiver against her ear.
As she listened to the message, Noelle's brows deeply furrowed and her body tensed. Erica noticed her give a thick swallow, then once the voice mail came to an end, she removed the phone from her ear and slipped it into her pocket.
Offering her daughter an inquisitive glance, Helen decided to question her about the voice mail. "What did he say?
"A lot of bad words, mom. Nothing you want to hear."
Noelle bit her bottom lip and raked her fingers through her hair, then quickly averted her glance. After walking over to a small couch that was placed in front of a window, she sat down on it.
Then she lowered her head so that her long hair obscured her features and buried her face in her hands. The shaking of her shoulders was accompanied by quiet weeping, which caught the attention of both Erica and Cody's mother.
Helen stood up from her seat and made her way over to her daughter, and upon reaching her, took a seat beside her. Wrapping an arm around her daughter's waist, she pulled her against her, tenderly stroking the top of her hair as she spoke some words in Navajo.
Although Erica couldn't understand what they were saying, she could tell from the soothing tone of Helen's voice that it was clearly meant to stabilize Noelle, and provide her with some strength.
Observing such an emotional moment made Erica feel a little awkward, as if she should step out of the room and let them have their privacy. She began to strongly consider doing it, but then Cody suddenly stirred awake. As his eyelids lifted, a small groan passed his lips. His gaze then focused on Erica, who gave him a little smile.
"Hey babe, how you doing?" She coasted her palm against his face, allowing her thumb to gently caress his cheekbone. Suddenly she noticed an expression of deep anguish cross his face, and she instantly became alarmed. "Sweetie, what's wrong? Are you in pain?"
The sound of deep worry in her voice caused both Helen and Noelle to rush to his bedside, and they each gave him a concerned look.
"What is it, son? You need another dose of medication, I can call the nurse." She reached a hand out to hit the call button.
"I'm not in pain, mom. I'm okay."
"Are you sure?" She placed her palm to his forehead. "You feel a bit warm. The doctor said there was a chance of you coming down with a fever from bacteria in the wound."
"Really, I'm okay." He exhaled a distressed breath, then said, "I had a dream."
"A bad one?" Asked Noelle.
"No, a good one. I was normal again, and walking. And I could use my arms."
"Oh, honey." Erica caressed the back of his hand with the pad of her thumb.
"It was so real. Then I woke up, and I realized that nothing had changed. That I was still here." He shook his head and cast his gaze downward, perhaps not wanting the three women to see the emotion in his eyes.
"You won't be in this hospital forever, and you are going to get better. Your legs will work again." Helen grabbed his free hand and gave it a light squeeze. "That dream was sending you a message of hope, letting you know that you'll recover."
"You really think so?" As he glanced up at his mother, the shadow across his face lessened.
"I know so. I told you this is only going to be a temporary thing. The doctor says you have a great chance at recovery, so that's what you have to focus on."
"I'm trying, but it's really hard, mom. I can barely even move my feet."
"You have to give it time, Cody."
"How much time? How long am I going to be like this?" His voice had grown hoarse with emotion, and he glanced deep into his mother's eyes, seeming to beg her for an answer.
"I don't know, baby. But you're a strong man. You remember what your father used to say about obstacles, don't you?"
"Yeah, I remember."
"Use that advice he gave you. It'll help you push through this."
He gave a nod, then there came the sound of someone knocking on the door, followed by a nurse entering the room. Dressed in pink scrubs, she had a curly bob hairstyle that was parted on the side.
"Hello." She gave them all a smile, and after putting on a pair of latex gloves, she brought a blood pressure machine over to Cody's bed. "Sorry to interrupt, but I need to check his blood pressure and take his temperature."
Noelle and Helen moved aside, taking a seat on the couch to clear a spot for the nurse. Julia started to retreat from the bed as well, but the sound of the nurse's voice halted her movement.
"You're okay, sweetie. You don't have to move." She slipped the blood pressure cuff around Cody's arm, then pressed a button on the machine so that it would take his stats.
As the machine was running, she slipped a thermometer into his mouth. Once both the blood pressure machine and digital thermometer gave a beep, she checked the display window for the results. "Your blood pressure looks just fine, but you're temperature is a bit high, so I'll be giving you another dose of antibiotics."
"How high is his temperature?" Asked Helen from her spot on the couch.
"Just over 101. A second dose of antibiotics should take care of it, though."
She removed the pressure cuff, then took the thermometer out of his mouth. Then she bent down to glance at the catheter bag which hung on the side of his bed. "It looks like you aren't having any issues voiding, so that's good news. Have you had any pain while urinating?"
"Good." She flipped his bedsheet back, then wedged her hands beneath the left side of his body. "Okay Cody, on the count of three, I'm going to roll you over to check your wound dressings, okay?"
He gave a nod in response.
"One, two, three." After rolling him onto his side, she carefully studied his back. "Oh yeah, these bandages definitely need changing." Taking a glance at Cody's visitors, she said, "This might be a good time for you guys to take a coffee break, because this really won't be the easiest thing to see."
"I'd rather stay," said Helen. "He's my son, I can handle it."
"It's alright, mom. I'll be okay." Cody's voice came out sounding muffled, due to the fact that the side of his face was lying against the mattress.
She remained sitting for a few moments, then reluctantly got to her feet. She walked up to the bed and lovingly stroked his locks, then gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I'll let you have your privacy, then. See you in a bit, sweetheart."
"Be back in a little while, honey." Erica gave him a light peck, and after Cody's sister gave her own words in parting, the three women headed for the door.
After stepping out into the hallway, they made their way toward the coffee machine, but halfway there, Noelle offered a suggestion. "Why don't we go down to the cafeteria, instead? You haven't eaten anything since we got here earlier this morning, mom."
"I'm not hungry."
"You still need food in your stomach."
"Alright." With reluctance in her voice, Helen strolled alongside the other two women as they made their way to the elevators.
After reaching basement level, they headed for the cafeteria, which was buzzing with activity and filled with a conglomeration of greasy food scents. They each grabbed a tray, and after picking out some items from the menu, they went to the cashier to pay for their lunch.
Once they were seated at a table, they each started on their meals. After taking a few nibbles of her macaroni and cheese, Cody's mom focused her attention on Erica, who was spooning some minestrone soup into her mouth.
"So Erica, how long have you and Cody been seeing each other?"
"Going on six weeks now."
"And how did you meet?"
"First time I spotted him, he was washing the windows of this high rise building, but it wasn't until he came down that I was able to see his face." She smiled at the memory, recalling the moment when they'd first locked eyes. "He looked at me, and I looked at him...then like a dork, I tripped and fell."
A small chuckle escaped Noelle's lips. "Seriously?"
"Yep. Flat on my face."
"How embarrassing," said Helen. "It's also kinda cute, though."
"Oh believe me, I'm sure I looked like a complete fool."
"Couldn't have looked too terrible. You caught the eye of my son, didn't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I did."
A thoughtful look came into Noelle's eyes as she said, "Yep, my brother's always had that effect on women. For as long as I can remember, he's gotten way more attention than he knows what to do with."
"Not surprising, cause he's completely gorgeous." Erica's voice was filled with admiration.
Noelle and Helen shared a look of amusement, their lips tugging into light smirks.
Suddenly feeling foolish, Erica lowered her gaze, staring sheepishly into her soup. "Sorry, I'm gushing aren't I?"
"It's okay," said Helen. "That's what you're supposed to do when you really like someone."
"It's not only his looks, though. I love how courageous he is. I'm so amazed by his climbing skills."
"He is very good at rock climbing," said Noelle. "He told me once that if he could rock climb for a living, he'd do it without a moment of hesitation. Guess that's why he decided to become a window washer. It's the next best thing."
"I don't like him climbing, and I don't get why he enjoys it so much." Helen shook her head lightly, then continued. "It's so dangerous. I always worried that he might fall and get hurt."
"I admired him for being so brave, but of course I worried about him too." Cody's sister gave a brief pause before continuing. "It's kinda funny how sometimes the things you worry about most never end up happening. And the things you'd never imagine, end up turning your world upside down."
"Yeah, no kidding. Life can be strange like that sometimes." Erica wrapped her lips around the straw in her cup, taking a languid sip of her root beer.
The women ate in silence for a few moments, each contemplating the ever-changing nature of life. Then after some time had passed, Helen retrieved her wallet from her purse. After undoing the clasp on her pocketbook, she retrieved a photo from one of the see-thru picture slots, then slid it across the table toward Erica.
Picking it up to have a look, Erica saw it was a snapshot of Cody as a young boy, standing beside a tall man with long hair. The resemblance between Cody and the man was striking, and Erica was left with no doubt as to their relation.
Focusing on the background of the picture, she spotted a number of people dressed in beautiful regalia, and realized that the photo had been taken at a pow wow.
"Cody was nine in that picture. If you notice the outfit he's wearing, it's like a miniature version of the clothing his father had on."
Studying their attire, Erica saw that Helen was right. Both Cody and his father were wearing blue jeans, a black t-shirt, and a jean jacket. She also noticed that Cody had mimicked the same pose as his father-hands stuffed casually into the pockets of his denims.
"How adorable. He looks so cute."
The corners of Helen's lips tugged upward. "That was a really good day. The memory is still fresh in my mind, as if it just happened last week."
"It's such a trip looking at this picture. He was so young." She shook her head in amazement.
"Cody idolized his dad. Everywhere he went, so did Cody. Even if it was just down to the corner store." A faraway look came into her eyes, then a sad little smile graced her lips. "They really were quite a pair."
Erica handed the photo back to Helen. "Cody tells me his dad was a musician."
"Johnny was a very talented guitar player. Taught Cody everything he knew."
"Cody can play guitar?"
"Oh yes, he's quite good at it, too. Or at least he was."
"He gave it up, huh?"
"Yep. When his dad died, he just quit playing." She took a swig from her can of Coke, then glanced at her watch. "We should probably be getting back now. Half an hour should have been plenty of time for that nurse to change Cody's bandages."
They stood up from the table, and after clearing their trays off, stacked them on top of the trash can. Then they made their way to the elevators, and upon reaching the ninth floor, made their way to Cody's room.
They entered the room to find Mia by his bedside, holding a glass of water as he sipped through the straw. She turned her head to look them, and as her gaze met with Erica's, her eyes hardened. She then averted her attention, giving Helen and Noelle a friendly smile. Focusing her attention on Cody's mother, she offered her a greeting.
"Hey, Mrs. Begay."
"Hello Mia, how are you?"
"I'm hangin' in there. It's good to see you again."
"It's nice to see you as well." She sat down in the seat next to Cody's bedside, then took his hand in hers and began chatting with him.
Mia set the glass of water down on the tray next to his bed, then addressed Cody's sister.
"Good to see you too, Noelle. It's been some time since we last saw one another."
"Yeah, what's it been? Three years at least, huh?"
"Yep. It was that weekend me and Cody drove out to Arizona for that pow wow. You and Helen had a booth there, remember?"
"Oh yeah, that's right. Wow, that was a long time ago." She took a seat in a chair next to the one Helen was sitting in, then crossed her legs. "I see you cut your hair."
Mia ran a palm over her pixie style haircut. "Yeah, I like it better this way. Plus it's just easier to take care of."
"Well it looks good you."
"Thanks. And of course you're as gorgeous as ever."
"Yeah, right. I've been up all night. There's no way I look even remotely attractive right now."
"Well I still say you look good." Spotting the last available seat next to Cody's bed, she sat down in it.
With Mia purposely hogging Noelle's attention, and Helen and Cody conversing, Erica had no choice but to take a seat on the sofa by herself. She felt kind of strange just observing everyone else, but what else was she to do?
As she glanced at Mia, she realized that her dislike for the other woman was continually increasing. Each time that they came in contact, the tension between them heightened, and she was now certain that it was only a matter of time before things came to a head.
She'd tried her very best to be civil towards Mia, but it was obvious that their interaction would be anything but. Studying Mia from her spot on the couch, Erica noticed that she and Noelle were engaging in quite an amiable chat.
Judging from the words that had passed between Mia and Noelle, Cody had taken Mia out to Arizona with him on one of his visits back home, and it became obvious to her that Mia and Noelle had somewhat of a bond. Erica felt a strong pang of jealousy as she realized that Mia had already known Cody's family for years, while she, on the other hand, had barely met them just an hour ago.