Getting Lucky Ch. 03bynerd4music©
Nina hated hospitals. When she was twelve her tonsils were so swollen she had to get them removed. She remembered staying up the night before her operation, dreading the part when she would have to be put under. Her older brother D.J. reassured her it was not a big deal; she would be allowed to eat all the ice cream she wanted. She smiled, remembering how he wrote down all her favorite ice cream flavors (vanilla, strawberry, and raspberry) and promised her that they'd be waiting upon her return.
Like D.J. said, the operation wasn't bad at all. Her throat was only a little sore afterwards and true to his word, her big brother had three small tubs of her favorite flavors waiting for her when she came home from the hospital the next day.
But this wasn't the same.
God, just thinking about it.
When she heard the gunshot, she immediately knew something bad had happened, and when she screamed his name and there was no answer, it felt as if her heart crashed to the floor.
Nina threw on clothes, not even caring if they matched. Looking down, she would have chuckled at her appearance if she didn't feel like bawling. She willed herself not to cry again.
She had raced down the three flights of steps to the lobby. When she got outside, the ambulance was already there. Wes shot her a sorrowful look and Nina began to sob uncontrollably. He held her for the briefest of moments while the EMTs loaded the gurney into the back. She climbed into the back with them.
They didn't speak to her much, more concentrating on their work. Nina couldn't bear to look at them. Everything just seemed to hurt.
The drive to the hospital wasn't long. She jumped out and allowed the EMTs to do their jobs.
That was over an hour ago. Now she was sitting on the edge of her seat, alone in the last place she'd ever thought she'd be.
Her mind was racing, her heart was praying. God, please let him live. Don't take him away from me. The tears she tried to force back down flowed freely. She swiped at her eyes with her sleeve. The scent on the sweatshirt caught her off guard. It was one of Sean's old college hoodies that he'd left over at her house. She remembered joking around with him about the thing. It was heather grey and incredibly soft and smelled of the clean Calvin Klein scent he always wore. She told him to leave it because she was probably going to steal it eventually.
Thinking of that memory, she buried her face into the sleeve and wept for her lover.
"Oh god, Nina honey I am so sorry!" Nina cried harder as she felt a pair of strong muscular arms lift her from the chair and wrap around her shoulders.
She looked up, teary eyed into the face of Connor Gavin. She tried to speak, but the tears just kept flowing.
"Shh, it's okay," he soothed, rubbing her back. "You don't have to say anything sweetheart."
Connor looked over the top of her head at his fiancée who was pacing angrily.
"Nina, have they said anything to you?" Angie's eyes were stormy.
Nina calmed down enough to stand on her own. "No," she said tearfully. "I've been here for over an hour and no one has said anything to me. I don't know what to do, Ange. I don't know how to get in contact with Sean's mom. I didn't even know his dad was still alive. I just feel so useless."
Connor put his arm around her shoulder. "Don't worry, Neens. We'll take care of all that."
"You're damn right we will," Angie hissed. "I want to see whoever the hell is in charge of this crackpot organization."
"Hellcat, there's no need to get so mad. Let's just see..."
"No!" Angie practically shouted. The nurses at the reception desk glared at her. "Conny this is ridiculous. They've had her sitting here for over a fucking hour and no one has even glanced in her direction! This shit is going to stop."
Angie marched over to the reception area and knocked rapidly on the counter. "Hello. Lisa is it?" she indicated the heavyset woman's nametag. "Lisa I'm wondering if I can get some smidgen of information about a patient that was just admitted. Sean Reilly."
The woman cast a bored glance Angie's way. "Ma'am I can only give information out to family members. Are you a family member?"
Angie sucked her teeth. "You saw when they rushed him past. Do I look like a fucking family member to you?"
Lisa huffed loudly. "Miss, there is no need to use such language. If you can't conduct yourself like a reasonable adult, then I'll be forced to get security involved."
Angie balled her hands into fists. "Call security then. I guarantee I won't go quietly."
"Lisa," Connor said, stepping in between them. "You'll have to excuse my wife. She can get a little hotheaded."
Lisa smiled when she saw Connor's handsome face. "Not a problem Mr..."
"Gavin. Connor Gavin." He flashed a smile.
Sitting up straighter, she flipped her brown hair over her shoulder. "What can I do for you, Connor?"
"Well, a good friend of mine Detective Sean Reilly was rushed into the emergency over an hour ago for a gunshot wound. My wife is his partner and close friend. That lovely lady over there is his girlfriend. We were just wondering if you could tell us any information, anything at all."
Lisa smiled. "I would love to. But like I told your wife, we can't release info of this nature without first informing the family."
"I understand darlin', I do. What if I told you that Sean's mother is en route to the hospital as we chat?"
"Now would I lie to a beautiful and intelligent woman like you?" He flashed another sexy grin.
The woman actually giggled. "Well, I'm not supposed to. But, since you asked so nicely I suppose I can call the doctor out."
"Fantastic," Connor said. He reached out to finger her necklace. "Wow, that's really pretty. Where did you get it?"
"Well." Lisa was taken aback. "I bought it..."
Angie was too amused to be disgusted. She walked back over to Nina, who was sitting down once more. She was calmer this time, her shoulders rocking gently as she held the hoodie sleeve to her nose.
"The receptionist is calling the doctor out."
Nina looked up at her. "Thanks Ange."
Angie shrugged. "No thanks to me. It was all part of the Gavin Man Charms. He had that bird creaming for him."
Nina smiled weakly. "You are so wrong."
"Nah," Angie said, sitting down next to her. "I don't mind that he makes a chick like her happy. Just as long as she doesn't try to wrestle him over the desk to have her way with him, everything's fine. Besides, how you doing?" She grabbed the girl's hand covering it with her own.
"It's my fault, Ange. I try to tell myself that I'm wrong. But I told him to go out for condoms. He went and now he's..." She felt her throat seize up at the thought. No, it can't be.
"Nina, don't say that. We don't know what's going on, but we have to have a little hope, you know?"
Nina nodded and tried to smile. She looked up when she heard someone clearing their throat.
"Excuse me miss, but are you Nina Gill?" The man was dressed in scrubs.
"Yes, I am."
He extended his hand to her. "I'm Doctor Fox," he said as she grasped his hand. "I believe you arrived with Sean Reilly?"
"Yes," she nodded. "Detective Reilly is my boyfriend."
"I see," Doctor Fox said. His blue eyes were filled with an emotion that Nina couldn't read. "Well Miss Gill, would you care to sit down? We can go over Detective Reilly's issues..."
"No disrespect Doctor, but I have been sitting on my ass for over an hour now and the last thing I want to do is sit back on it for news. If you don't mind, I think I'll stand."
"Very well," Doctor Fox said easily. "Miss Gill, when Detective Reilly first arrived here he was in bad shape. He lost a large amount of blood and was unconscious. We were able to remove the bullet and repair the damage..."
"Damage?" Nina asked.
"Yes. There was an excessive amount of tissue damage where the bullet hit. The bullet missed his heart by a mere three inches. Detective Reilly is quite lucky."
Nina felt her heart soar. "So, you mean..."
"Yes," Doctor Fox gave her a small smile. "He's a fighter, that one. He's still unconscious, but I believe that he's going to pull through."
Nina felt the satisfaction wash over her as tears of relief and joy streamed down her face. She grabbed the Doctor in a tight hug. Doctor Fox smiled as if this sort of thing happened all the time and patted her shoulder.
"Can I see him now?" she asked, releasing her death grip on the man.
"Yes, you may. He's still out, but he most likely will be able to hear you."
Doctor Fox led the three back to the private room where was. The sight nearly broke her heart. Sean was deathly pale. His eyes were closed as if in peaceful slumber.
Nina gulped. He looked so...un-Sean like. She turned to Angie and Connor. "Do you guys mind if I have a minute with him?"
"Not at all," Angie said. "I should call and let Lou and the boys know the updates. Plus, see where Sean's mom is. Take your time, Neens." She walked out the door, Connor's hand in her own. Poking her head in the doorway she grinned. "And no copping feels, perv."
Nina grinned. Pulling up the rolling chair next to the bed, she sat down. Looking at her lover, she wondered if he could hear her. Her hand reached out to grab his. She half-expected it to be cold, but to her surprise it was warm.
Bringing it to her lips she planted a soft kiss, rubbing his hand on her face. "Hey Slugger," she whispered. "I hope you can hear me. You have no idea how glad I am you're alive. When I thought I lost you..." her voice started to break a little.
"When I thought I lost you, it felt like the world snapped in two. I couldn't breathe, babe. I don't what I would do if I didn't have you." She stroked his hair, enjoying the soft feel of his red hair in her hands. "Slugger," she whispered. "There's so much I have to tell you. You are the first guy to ever get into my head like this. When you wake up, I am going to make sure to take care of you. I want us to take care of each other for the rest of our lives. I can't lose you, Sean."
She leaned closer to his ear. "Come back to me." She kissed his lips softly, her tears making salty rivulets stream down his face. Nina rested her head on his lap. Kissing his hand again, she cried harder, tears of sadness and joy until she felt her body break down at last from exhaustion.
Nina awoke to the sounds of the nurses bustling around in the room. Lifting her head, she felt the stream of sunlight hit her in the face.
"I'm so sorry for falling asleep," she said. She rose quickly. "Here, I'll just get out of your way."
"Don't worry about it honey," the elderly nurse said. "I know you'd been waiting to see your man for quite some time. You looked so peaceful I didn't want to wake you."
"What time is it?"
"A little after three PM. I let you sleep on account of you looking so sad."
Nina smiled at the woman. "Thank you. Do you know where I can get some coffee?"
The nurse smiled. "Even better. How about I take you down to the cafeteria? It's mashed potato day, damn near the best day in this place. There's also chocolate cheesecake for dessert and honey, you look like you could use a slice or three."
Nina laughed. The old nurse reminded her of her grandma June. "Okay. I just don't want to leave him for long."
"Don't worry honey. I'll bring you back shortly so you can have time with your fella."
Taking Nina's arm, she led her out of the room. "And might I add he's a handsome one at that."
Nina rode the elevator up from the cafeteria fifteen minutes later. She didn't think she'd have an appetite, but one look at the creamy mountain of buttery potatoes and her thoughts of starvation were quickly abandoned. She ate with fervor; it was as if she hadn't eaten in days.
Cathy, the elderly nurse turned out to be a lovely lunch companion. She definitely reminded Nina of her mother's mother, Grandma June. She had the same walnut brown skin, smooth and soft almost like the finest silk. Her black hair had streaks of dignified gray in them. Her brown eyes sparkled as if she had a private joke she wasn't willing to share.
She told Nina stories about her childhood in Harlem and about her marriage of 35 years to her husband, Walter who was an electrician. Nina told her about Sean and her family and friends. Cathy noticed the young woman's eyes light up when she talked about her boyfriend.
True to her word, Cathy and Nina both ate three pieces of the delicious chocolate cheesecake. Fully stuffed and sated, she exchanged contacts with the older woman, who promised to give her a real cheesecake recipe.
Nina felt a lot better when she walked down the corridor to Sean's room. Standing in the doorway, she was taken aback. There was an older woman sitting now in the seat next to Sean's bed.
She had the look of someone who at one point must have been a great beauty. True, she was older, but she still retained a youthful look in her blue eyes. Her hair was grayer than the reddish brown streaks that must have been the previous color. Nina looked at the woman's face and glanced at Sean's. She is his mom, she thought.
"Mrs. Reilly?" Nina walked tentatively over to her. The woman watched the pretty brown-skinned girl walk in, wearing a hoodie that was a little too large for her, blue jeans with flecks of red paint on them, and soccer sandals with one blue sock and one orange. "Mrs. Reilly, I'm..."
"You're Nina," she whispered. She rose from the chair to face the young woman.
"How did you know?"
The woman smiled. "My Boyo couldn't keep anything from me." Nina could hear the faint Irish lilt in her voice. She was surprised when the woman wrapped her arms around her, pulling the girl close to her body. "Call me Maggie, dear. Sean has told me a lot about you."
Nina nearly wept at the kindness of the woman. "It's good to finally meet you, Maggie," she said.
Maggie smiled. "Regretfully under these conditions."
"Have you spoken with Doctor Fox?"
The woman nodded. "Aye. He told me everything, saying it was only a matter of time before Sean wakes up. All we have to do is wait."
The next five days were repetitive. Nina and Maggie would switch shifts on watching over Sean, who remained in the same state. Cathy was always the resident nurse on the floor. After introducing Maggie to her, the two became a chatty pair. Cathy always came by, bringing the two cheesecake and other goodies from the cafeteria.
After informing her job of the situation, Nina was free to stay longer at the hospital. She called Mara, her assistant and had her take over a light load of work.
Sean's room was flooded with visitors and gifts. Several of the guys from the police station had come in with flowers and cards. Angie and Connor stopped by, bringing a massive gift basket. Carrie and Jess came after work a couple of days, bringing Nina a much needed change of clothes. They were happy to stay and chat with Sean's mom, who was a little overwhelmed by all of the love her son seemed to have around him. She smiled at Angie, whom she knew from way back and laughed when Connor flirted with her. They all tried to keep her in high spirits.
Nina was overjoyed when Roxie called late one night. She apologized about not returning, but with her belly expanding, she was hesitant to travel. Nina reassured her that everything was fine.
The investigation into Sean's shooting was well underway. There were reporters who tried to come by the hospital for interviews but were met with resistance from Nina and Maggie. Eventually the precinct sent over a pair of officers to stand watch over Sean's corridor.
For everyone else, things were slowly returning back to normal. But for Nina and Maggie, they were slightly on edge. They anticipated the slightest movement from Sean, hoping that would be the one to bring him back. After a couple of days, the flush returned to his face, giving Nina a glimpse of the man she knew before.
Friday morning Lieutenant Adams and some of the higher ups came to question Nina about the shooting. She told them as much as she could. When they asked her why Sean left the apartment, she felt her cheeks flush. She tried to explain to them that the errand was of a sexual nature without getting into too much detail. She had glanced over at Maggie, who was trying not to laugh.
Later that afternoon, Maggie left with Lieutenant Adams to retrieve clothes from Sean's apartment, leaving Nina alone in the hospital room. She realized it was the first time that she had been alone with Sean since the first night.
The constant buzzing and beeping of the machines had become a sort of monotonous lullaby for her. She looked down at Sean, his eyes still closed. Nina realized she missed looking into them, the blue and green always soothed her. Kissing his cheek, she climbed into the hospital bed beside him, careful not to lie on any tubing.
She rested her head gingerly on his shoulder as she gazed down at the bandage covering his chest.
"Do you remember our second date? We planned to see some movie, I don't remember. Anyway it was sold out, and we decided to go back to your place with pizza. I was looking through your DVD collection and noticed you had 'Love Actually'. I teased you and called it a chick flick. You pretended some girl you were seeing left it at your place. I made you put it on anyway."
Nina smiled. "You didn't know this, but I saw you tearing up at the good parts. And at the end, when that Beach Boys song played, you swiped away a tear and said there was something in your eye. I laughed and I knew then our time together was going to be so much fun. And it has. Thank you Sean, for being amazing." She brushed an errant tear from her brown cheek.
"You underestimate the awesomeness of the Beach Boys."
Nina felt as if she were hearing things. She glanced up at his face, and to her surprise and joy Sean was staring right back at her.
She was so ecstatic her mouth seemed incapable of speech. "What," she stammered. She sat straight up.
"That song," he rasped. "That song is touching and it is alright to shed a manly tear over it."
He glanced over at her, eyeing her outfit. She was wearing a long sleeved Mets shirt, black running shorts, and blue socks. Her black hair looked like it could use a good brushing, and her brown eyes were tear-stained. Yet to Sean, she never looked better.
Looking at her open-mouth expression, he tried to laugh but it came out as a loud cough. Nina snapped to attention. She reached for the small paper cup filled with water on the tray next to the bed. Holding the cup carefully to his lips, Sean drank thirstily. She used a napkin to blot the stream of water that had run down the corner of his mouth.
"It's like I'm a baby," he said awkwardly.
She smiled at him, her usual sweetness slowly returning. "You're my baby," she said, clasping her hand into his. With her other hand, she stroked his auburn hair.
"How you feeling?" It was a simple question.
"Like I got shot," Sean replied with a hint of amusement. "How long was I out?"
"Nearly a week."
"Damn, that's a lot of soaps to catch up with."
"You don't watch soap operas, Sean."
"True, but I figured I'll have a ton of free time with all this recovering I have to do, so there's plenty of time for cheesy soaps and trashy talk shows. I can't wait."
Nina grinned. He was trying to make her feel better, she knew it. But part of her wasn't over the fact that she nearly lost him.
Sean glanced around the room at the many balloons and gift of well-wishing. "Whoa check out all the swag,"
"Courtesy of your friends. There are a couple of gift baskets in the hallway too. You're quite the headliner right now."
"All over the news, huh?"