Perfume Ch. 08byMsLaLa31©
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So, ending the story at Chapter 8 really seemed like a good idea...BUT, it didn't quite work out that way! Apparently Eric and Wynston had a little more to say, so instead, I will be concluding the story at Chapter 9.
I apologize for the long wait, but homey got STUCK!!! I was agonizing for days, afraid that I wouldn't be able to get my mojo back for like, months! But thank the literary gods (and your butt-naked rain dancing) that it didn't happen that way.
Thank you for your faithfulness, understanding and wonderful feedback...please keep them coming (and vote, too)!!!
I really, really hope you enjoy. Without further ado, Chapter 8...
The machines beeped quietly in the dark hospital room. The mounted television showed the weather forecast, the volume low. Wynston was groggy as she awoke. She looked around for a moment, unsure of where she was.
Slowly, the events of the last couple of days came back to her remembrance. As her heavy eyelids drifted closed once more, Wynston remembered how she had gotten shot.
The first gunshot was immediately followed by another.
Wynston screamed as she, Eric and Ethan all lunged for the floor. When they looked up, it was to find Bo in the doorway, his gun pointed at Mike.
The three swung their gazes to the chair Mike had been slumped against. He now lay wounded on his side, his gun hung loosely in his hand.
"Shit!" Mike exclaimed as Ethan ran over to him. "That fucker shot me!"
"What did you expect, you idiot?" Ethan growled. "You shot first!"
"Damn right! You...stop where you are and put your hands where I can see them!" Bo barked at Ethan.
"It's alright...he's alright," Eric said quickly. "He helped us."
Bo uncertainly lowered his gun, but went to kick the gun out of Mike's hand just in case. Then he handcuffed him.
Examining Mike's wound, Bo found that the bullet had pierced Mike's left thigh. "I'm going to get the medics out here. Apply pressure to the wound," he instructed Ethan.
"Oh my GOSH!" Wynston muttered.
When they had dropped to the floor, Eric had covered her body with his own in an effort to protect her. Now he sat up and looked down at her.
"That asshole shot me!" she said in disbelief. "What maniac shoots a lady?!"
Confused, Eric instinctively looked down at her body; the crimson stain that was spreading across the sleeve of her shirt caught his eye.
"FUCK!!! BO!!!" he shouted. The anguish in his voice was heart-wrenching.
Bo rushed to them and saw that Wynston had been shot in the arm. He gently pulled the shirt away from her and found the bullet hole.
He instructed Eric to put indirect pressure on the wound. Then he used his phone to call the dispatcher. Bo sent for an emergency helicopter as there was no way they could drive to the nearest hospital without putting Wynston in further danger.
He had no idea how bad her injury was.
When Bo was done, he turned back to Wynston and checked her pulse. It was weak but there. "We need to make a sling," he said, indicating the injured arm.
"How you holding up, sweetheart?" Eric asked as he removed his shirt.
Wynston did her best to be brave. She didn't want him to worry about her. "This crap hurts," she said, making an attempt at humor.
"I know, baby. The emergency 'copter is on the way."
He and Bo worked quickly and deftly to immobilize the arm by making a sling out of Eric's shirt.
Within a few minutes they heard the blessed sound of the helicopter overhead.
"I'm going to go down and bring them back up here," Bo said as he made his way to the door. "Monitor her so that she doesn't go into shock," he called back to Eric.
"Eric, I don't feel so good," Wynston murmured.
He tried to swallow around the lump in his throat. He needed to keep Wynston talking so she wouldn't focus on the pain. "Just stay with me. Talk to me...tell me again how you feel about me. Remember what you said on the phone earlier? I want to hear it again," he urged.
Wynston's eyes fluttered. The pain was excruciating. "I'm—I'm in love with you...I love you so much Eric," she said breathlessly.
She took a deep breath and kept talking.
"I didn't know I could feel this way about someone else...and so early on. You make me so happy," she said. "The night before the bank robbery...I prayed for the right man--for you to find me. I suppose we should thank your brothers for that," she said smiling weakly.
Her big, doe eyes filled with tears as her breath became rapid and shallow. Eric touched her face and found that it was cold and clammy.
She was beginning to go into shock.
As he kept applying pressure, he found that blood was everywhere. Wynston was losing way too much blood. He hoped Bo and the paramedics got there quickly.
He then began to talk to Wynston, offering reassurance and encouraging words. He told her how much she meant to him and that he would strangle her if she didn't pull through. Eric also pulled out the heavy artillery and told Wynston that Terrence was depending on her to make it.
Ethan sat listening and looked down at Mike once more. He would have to get out of there soon. He hated to leave his brother, especially since Mike would probably be going to prison; but Ethan wouldn't be any good to him locked up as well.
"Mike," he whispered. "I gotta get outta here. Just hang on; I'm going to get you the best lawyer money can buy. Bank on that."
"Don't leave me, man. They're gonna fuck me up, I just know it," Mike cried. Ethan ripped pieces off his own shirt and tied it tightly around Mike's wound.
"I can't do anything for you if I'm in prison, too. I'm going to fight for you the best way I can," he promised.
Ethan once again looked over at Wynston and watched her as she writhed in pain.
If only he had listened to his instincts and made sure Mike was fully unconscious...he should've upped the aspirin dosage to accommodate Mike's body weight; or even if he had thought to remove Mike's gun, neither one of them would be lying there injured.
Ethan took in Eric's expression.
He was obediently applying pressure to the wound with one hand and was grasping Wynston's limp hand in the other. He was whispering something quietly to her that only she could hear.
Ethan could tell Eric was trying to be strong, but he was very near to his breaking point. The last thing he had wanted was to cause Eric any more pain. Quietly he said a prayer for Mike and Wynston and slipped from the tower.
There was utter chaos around the lighthouse. There were cops, sirens and medics all over the place. As Wynston was gently placed onto the chopper, Eric hopped in alongside her.
"I'll be there as soon as I can," Bo called over the sound of the propellers.
Eric grimly nodded his head and turned his attention to Wynston. Even though she had lost consciousness, he continued to grasp her hand in his.
Bo did his best to get the authorities up to speed and quickly made his way to the hospital. He cut the trip in half by blaring his siren and doing 90 mph the entire way.
Once at the hospital, he got Wynston's floor from Information and took the staircase. Bo found Eric in the waiting room, his head in his bloody hands, tears running down his face.
"Shit," Bo said.
He walked to Eric, afraid to ask how Wynston was.
"Any news?" he asked.
"No," Eric said quietly. "She's still in there."
That was good. At least no one had come out with bad news. It was a shot in the arm, but so many things could go wrong. Wynston had been shot at close range. Depending on the bullet location, it could've caused a lot of damage. It could've fractured Wynston's humerus, or it could've hit vital nerves, arteries and muscles.
She could suffer from infection and lose the arm completely.
Bo refused to utter any of those things to Eric, though. He needed Eric to be strong and focused. He got up and walked to the nurse's station and asked if they had some sort of hand sanitizer.
Handing the bottle to Eric with some napkins, Bo sat next to him and grasped Eric's shoulder; he tried to give him something to look forward to.
"She's going to be fine. When you get this second chance with Hughes, you'd better do right by her," he said as Eric cleaned his hands.
Eric chuckled wryly. Digging in his pocket, he produced the velvet ring box he had been agonizing over the last few days. He had brought it with him in the event he never saw Wynston again. Eric wanted to at least let her know how much she meant to him.
Bo looked at him surprised and opened it. "Damn, man! Lacey's gonna hate me when she sees Hughes wearing this!" he joked.
But Eric didn't laugh.
"She told me she was in love with me," he said quietly. "When I spoke to her on the phone at the hotel...she said, 'Eric, I'm in love with you.' Then she said it again in the lighthouse. What if she doesn't make it, Bo? I just found her."
"Hughes is strong...she will make it," Bo said earnestly. "You two will have the rest of your lives to love each other. Hold on to that and don't give up on her. She will be fine...you have to believe it."
Eric nodded and prayed with every ounce of his soul that his baby would make it through this just fine. He promised that he wouldn't ever doubt her feelings for him. He would love her until she got tired of him...and even then, he still wouldn't go away.
He just needed her to pull through. Then he would take care of the rest.
When Wynston awoke again, she turned her head to the right and saw flowers, stuffed animals and balloons all over the place. When she turned her head to the left, she smiled weakly.
Eric was sitting in a chair beside her bed. His dark head was resting on his arms, which were on the bed near her thigh. She lifted her hand to run her fingers through his soft hair but froze.
"Oh my gosh," she croaked.
On her finger was the biggest, prettiest engagement ring Wynston had ever seen in real life. Her jaw dropped. She didn't know too much about diamond rings, but she knew this one was expensive...and SO pretty!
This time, she did run her hands through Eric's hair and marveled at the way the ring contrasted with Eric's dark hair.
At her touch, he awoke, lifting his head. He looked like he was disoriented.
Then Eric jumped up, startled and broke into the biggest, brightest grin. He tried to grab her up in a bear hug, but couldn't because of her arm. Overwhelmed with joy, Eric began to tear up.
"I've never been so glad to see those beautiful eyes," he said softly. "You scared the shit out of me."
He leaned down to tenderly kiss Wynston on the forehead. Damn but she loved this man.
"Look what I found," she said hoarsely. She held up her ring finger, showing off her new piece of jewelry.
Smiling, Eric grabbed her hand and kissed her fingers. "Do you like it?" he asked.
"You mean this boulder? What's not to like?? I love it! Does it mean what I think it means?" Wynston asked shyly.
"Let me clarify so there's no doubt. I am in love with you. You make me happier than I've ever been, and I want to spend forever with you. Will you marry me, Wynston Hughes-Grey?" he asked sincerely.
"With all my heart, yes," she sobbed.
Eric kissed his wife-to-be and thanked every good, benevolent force for this miracle. Wynston had done her part and had pulled through; now he would do his and set about the business of making her the happiest woman alive.
Wynston lay in the hospital bed, holding her hand up toward the light. She hadn't put her arm down since she had discovered the ring on her finger.
"Wow," she breathed.
Eric had gone to the house to shower and change. He would be back shortly. Before he left, he had answered all Wynston's questions, telling her that Mike had been transported to another medical facility. They hadn't heard yet how serious his injury was.
Personally, Wynston didn't care...the bastard had shot her. How different Ethan had been from Mike, she thought ironically. She had liked Ethan and was happy that he'd chosen to help them instead of carrying on the lifelong animosity toward Eric.
Eric had said Mike was probably going to serve a goodly amount of time for shooting her and for the part he played in the bank robbery.
"Good," Wynston mumbled. How was she supposed to function with a messed up arm? How was she going to bake??
Her own injury thankfully wasn't as bad as it could've been. Mike had gotten her in the fleshy part of her arm. Wynston had never been so glad to be thick.
She had ducked at the first sound of the gunshot, which allowed the bullet to only penetrate the arm. And while it had gone completely through, she did not sustain any bone damage.
As it was, the doctors were expecting her to have a good deal of pain for a long while...her recovery period would be slow; but Wynston was grateful. She could've lost the arm entirely, or her life.
She owed a lot to Bo. He had made sure to get her to the hospital during the "Golden Hour" which gave her a better chance at survival. Wynston didn't know a shot to the arm could be so serious. But there were many variables that could've affected her outcome.
Yes, she was definitely grateful.
Wynston held her hand up again and gazed at the ring. Smiling happily, she looked in the direction of the door at the sound of the brief knock.
A nurse came into the room and introduced herself as Michelle. She was going to take Wynston's vitals.
When Michelle was done with that, she asked Wynston when her last period was.
Embarrassed, she gave the nurse her last period date which was about two months ago. Her period was very irregular and pretty much came on whenever it felt like.
But Michelle didn't pass judgment on Wynston...not outwardly anyway. She only said she would send the ultrasound tech in shortly.
"Ultrasound tech?" Wynston asked, but Michelle was already out the door. Must be some mistake, she thought.
She shrugged her shoulders and immediately regretted it as pain shot through her injured arm. She hoped it would get back to normal at least enough for her to function.
Wynston killed time, trying to figure out how she would show off her ring. "Oh, Eric, you're just so funny!" she exaggerated as she swung her hand this way and that.
"Oh, you're out of whipped cream, Starbucks? Whatever shall I do?" she gasped with feigned surprise, lightly resting her hand on her cheek. In every direction she posed her hand, the ring sparkled magnificently.
Wynston giggled. "He asked me to marry him," she whispered. "And he loves me back!"
She quickly sobered up as another nurse came in the room with a machine. This time, it was Amanda.
Wynston frowned. She remembered the contraption from when she had been pregnant with Terrence. It was one of those monitors that gauged a baby's heartbeat.
"Do me a favor and verify your name and date of birth, please?" Amanda said.
Wynston complied but stopped the nurse when she went to affix the strap around her stomach.
"Amanda, there's some kind of mistake. I'm not pregnant," she said.
Amanda frowned. She grabbed the chart and looked at it then she looked at Wynston's ID bracelet.
"Wynston Hughes-Grey, date of birth 10/25/1981...came in with gunshot to the right arm. Says here you're approximately two months pregnant," Amanda said.
This was just a cruel joke, now. Wynston was getting incensed. "Ma'am, with all due respect, I'm not pregnant...I can't get pregnant! There were complications during my last pregnancy."
She was very close to tears.
Worry wrinkled Amanda's forehead. "Let me go grab my boss. I'll be right back," she said.
Wynston angrily swiped at the tears that had fallen onto her cheeks. She couldn't believe this was happening.
A few moments later, Amanda came back with the nurse manager. She was a kind, older woman.
"Amanda tells me you believe you can't be pregnant?" the older nurse asked. She had introduced herself as Norja.
"Yes ma'am, that's correct," Wynston replied.
"Your chart says your pregnancy test came back positive. We need to see if we can find the baby's heartbeat especially in light of your recent trauma," Norja said. "According to the last date of your period, you should be far along enough for us to hear it."
The fight went out of Wynston. She just turned her head away and allowed the nurses to fuss over her.
Where was Eric?
When the monitor had been placed around her stomach, Wynston only listened with half an ear to what the nurses were saying and doing. She silently cursed and hoped they'd hurry up and get out of her room.
This was humiliating.
The room was silent now as Norja moved the monitor over Wynston's stomach, attempting to find a heartbeat.
Then the unmistakable, rapid beating of a small heart filled the room. Wynston's head whipped back toward the nurses as she stared at them in disbelief. For a moment, she was paralyzed.
Her eyes pooled with tears. "That's a baby!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah! That's what we've been trying to tell you!" Amanda chimed in.
"But...my doctor said I can't have any more children!" Wynston said, her voice trembling.
"Well, whoever your doctor is, they're wrong. You certainly can and you will have a child in just seven short months. So you'd better get ready. You're already behind in prenatal care and planning!" Norja said jovially.
"But...I started my period a couple days ago!" Wynston explained. This couldn't be right!!!
"We did notice some spotting," Norja said. "I understand you were assaulted recently?"
When Wynston nodded her head, Norja continued.
"Yes, high-stress situations like those will make mommy bleed; and they endanger the fetus, which is why we say that you have to relax...especially during the first few weeks," Norja explained.
"I think when you were hurt, the baby got a little uncomfortable in there. But he or she is a little warrior, and the heartbeat sounds strong," Norja told her.
"You and your baby really are a miracle Mrs. Hughes-Gray. That baby really shouldn't be here. So now that you know, we want you to take it easy; we're going to get you on some prenatal vitamins and send you downstairs for an ultrasound. Until then, tell your husband and enjoy this special time."
Wynston's face crumpled as she burst into tears. She was pregnant and Eric was the father! Terrence was going to be a big brother!
"Awww," Norja crooned as she hugged Wynston.
Behind her, Amanda dabbed at her own tears. It was sweet moments like these that made this business worth it.
Eric walked into the house and sighed. He was tired, but happy. Wynston was okay and they were going to get married...she was in love with him. That's what she'd said.
He replayed her words over and over in his head. There was no way he could be happier.
"How are you, brother?"
Eric stopped and turned slowly toward the voice. Not again. He couldn't take anymore of this shit.
Sitting on the loveseat was Rob.
His face drawn, Eric's muscles became taut as he waited for the blast of a gun or some other horrific thing Rob had planned.
What he wasn't prepared for was what Rob did next.
Holding up his hands, he showed that they were empty and that he meant no harm.
"I can't stay long, Eric. I just came to apologize," Rob said quietly.
What the fuck was up with all the apologies?
Eric still watched Rob distrustfully. It was even harder for him to believe Rob than it had been to believe Ethan.
"Why would I believe you?" he asked.
"Because I could just as soon put a bullet in your head. What would I gain from lying to you?" Rob replied bluntly.
He had a point. Rob never wasted time on trifles when he fucked Eric up. He just did it.
"Okay, so what brought about this change? You and Ethan dying or something? Trying to clean up on your way out?"