tagNovels and NovellasLady in Red Ch. 04

Lady in Red Ch. 04


"Holy cow!" yelled Amber Stahl as she watched in awe. "Tell me you've got that on video, Stan! Keep recording. We're looking at high drama here. I'm going on air in thirty seconds. I want the camera on me until something happens in the river."

"Hello, Keith," began Amber as she spoke to the station anchor sitting in the studio, as well as thousands of viewers. "What was supposed to be a celebration and send off for the Sparta football team has suddenly turned into a struggle for life itself. A car with two toddlers just rolled off that hill and crashed into the river, taking the children with it. The mother is inconsolable. Just now a young man, Steve Hammer, the team quarterback, dove into the waters, presumably to search for the children. He must be down there over a minute already and the kids half a minute longer. How long can anyone survive under these frigid waters? Nothing is showing on the surface."

Charlotte and Gwen heard the newswoman's broadcast as they huddled nearby. "Oh, Gwen! Those kids! And now Steve!" cried Charlotte. "No one can hold their breath that long! If he doesn't come up soon, I don't think he'll make it!"

Gwen had heard and seen enough. Charlotte was right! No one could stay under water that long. Steve could be floating to the surface soon and she was determined to be ready to pull him from the icy waters. She wouldn't let him die!

For her part, Kate Anderson reacted to the horrors by calling her mother. "Mom! A car just crashed into the river with two kids in it," cried Kate into her phone. "It's on TV! Steve dove into the water a long time ago and he hasn't surfaced yet! We can't see anything down there! I'm scared that he won't make it, and neither will those two little kids!

"Oh no! Mom! Gwen's taking her clothes off! She's down to her bra and panties. She just jumped into the water! You saw her, too? What can she do?" cried Kate. "This is horrible!"

Meanwhile, Steve had been shocked by the painfully cold water as it enveloped him. He angled his dive to take him toward the area where he believed the car should be and he quickly found it. It was settled slightly on the driver's side with the front end lower than the rear. As he grabbed on the door handle, Steve actually heard crying! Looking in, Steve realized that a pocket of air had been trapped inside the vehicle. One baby was almost entirely out of water while the other had water approaching its chin. He knew that he couldn't open the door on the upper side until the water replaced the air in the vehicle. The driver's side wouldn't open because it was tipped and the door was jammed against the river bottom. Looking around, Steve quickly found a rock slightly smaller than a volleyball. He was in desperate need of air as he smashed the rock into the driver's window. The rock fell through and onto the seat as Steve quickly swam inside, crawled over the seat to reach the air pocket. Gasping for breath, he saw that the twin on the lower side was now under water!

Forcing himself to not panic, Steve unbuckled the restraint and lifted the child into the rapidly diminishing pocket of air. The infant gasped and began to cry, much to Steve's relief. With his other hand, he unbuckled the second baby as water reached its chin and held him up to the ceiling. He considered the situation as he turned his face upward to again draw air into his tortured lungs. He had to be certain that the water pressure was equalized on both sides of that door before he tried to open it. He would have to keep the infants in the air pocket as long as possible, then open the door and swim as fast as he could to the surface.

Steve placed both babies' little shirts in one hand, took a deep breath, and dropped down to try the door while holding the children above the water level. The door refused to open. Realizing it was probably locked, Steve fumbled for the release. His lungs began to ache again and the babies no longer had any air pocket from which to draw oxygen. Steve forced himself to remain calm; knowing the lives of the infants depended on his actions. Finally, he managed to unlock the door and shove it open. He swept the kids into his arms and pushed for the surface.

Gwen, too, had been shocked by the low temperature of the water as she splashed into the river. She knew that she needed to keep moving or she'd be of no help to anyone. Suddenly Steve appeared to her right! He held the two babies above the water with one hand. Gwen swam to him and tried to take a child from him, but Steve wouldn't let go!

"Steve! It's okay! Let me have the baby," urged Gwen as she tugged on the child. Steve relaxed his grip and she swept the baby to her chest and swam over to the bulkhead near where the car had gone into the water. A metal ladder was somehow hung over the wall and it extended down into the water. A policeman stood on the ladder, water up to his knees and Gwen handed the baby over and swam back to Steve. She took the second child and swam that one over to the policeman. When she turned for Steve, he was gone from sight!

When Gwen had entered the river, Amber Stahl's voice showed her absolute amazement and awe as she described Gwen's courage as she leapt into the icy waters. Viewers were literally sitting on the edge of their seats as they watched Gwen swim back and forth in the icy waters. Onlookers had pulled a ladder off a pickup and tied ropes from it to the pickup and hung the ladder over the edge. A young policeman removed his hat and coat and climbed down as others worked to hold the ladder steady.

Suddenly, Steve broke the surface, well over three minutes after he had disappeared into the river! When he held up the babies, the crowd erupted into cheers. They watched Gwen pry the infants from Steve's grip and deliver them to the policeman, who gently passed them up. The first baby was actually crying! Grown men felt tears streak down their faces as they watched in stunned wonder. Gwen handed the second baby up and turned in the water.

"He's gone under!" cried an onlooker. "He lasted long enough to save the kids! Then he ran out of air."

Gwen dove down and swam toward where she had last seen Steve. Unable to find him, she surfaced for a quick breath and dove again. This time she found Steve and pulled him to the surface. Realizing that getting a big guy like Steve up the ladder would be nearly impossible, Gwen began swimming toward the opposite shore. The river was about two hundred feet across and Gwen was tiring as she struggled with Steve's weight. As she finally reached shore, she realized it was too steep for her to pull Steve up!

Billy Marsh had stood watching and worrying about the situation, but unsure of what he could do to help. He was a mediocre swimmer, at best. He saw first Steve, and then Gwen fearlessly dive into the icy waters and risk their lives to save another person. He cursed himself for not having the courage that they exhibited so easily. When Steve remained under water for such a long period, Billy began to doubt that Steve would survive. Then he saw Steve surface and Gwen hand off the two infants. Billy felt immense relief. Suddenly Steve went under and Gwen, all alone, pulled him to the surface and started for the far shore. Billy had fished the river many times and knew that Gwen would never manage to get Steve up the bank. Thinking that the time had come for him to man up and grow some balls, Billy stripped down, jumped into the river and swam to help Gwen.

"Here, Gwen, let me take him," spoke Billy Marsh as he swam up to her, grabbed Steve under the arms and with tremendous effort, dragged Steve out of the water. Gwen immediately dropped down and placed her hand on Steve's neck.

"He has a pulse!" sobbed Gwen as she bent over Steve, tilted his chin up, pinched his nose and forced her breath into his mouth.

Amber Stahl was delivering riveting commentary as the struggle for life was waged before her camera, and the eyes of thousands of viewers. When Billy hoisted Steve onto the shore and Gwen bent over and began rescue breathing for Steve, Amber's voice was breaking as she spoke. "Gwen Anderson's now performing rescue breathing for Steve Hammer! His life now hangs in the balance!"

The cameraman had zoomed in. Viewers watching on TV could see the situation with far more detail than those standing on the far side of the river. Initially, he had zoomed in to show Gwen bending over Steve and feeling his carotids for a pulse. Wearing only wet panties and a red bra, her cleavage was ample, and quite revealing. The cameraman realized that a shot like that may not be what the station wanted to show, so he zoomed even more and caught Gwen press her lips against Steve's as she forced air into his lungs.

Diane had been visiting Paula when Kate called to reveal the desperate turn of events at the rally. At Paula's behest, Diane turned on the TV. As Kate gave her running commentary to her mother, Paula and Diane's eyes were glued to the television. What they saw frightened them to the core.

"Come on, Gwen! Get him out of the water! Look, Billy's pulling him out of the water for Gwen. God, look at Gwen now! The damn cameraman must be trying to show her boobs! Look at all of that cleavage, and on TV yet! Steve must have a pulse, Paula, Gwen's breathing for him, but she's not doing CPR. That's a good thing," assured Diane. "Look! Steve's moving! He's breathing! Look at Gwen cry, Paula. She was afraid that he was going to die. Wow! Look at that!"

Gwen gave Steve several breaths, all the time praying silently that he'd recover. Her heart felt colder than the waters she had so recently left. What if he died? She decided she'd breathe for him for hours if that's what it took. Suddenly she felt Steve cough. She quickly moved her lips off his and tilted his head to the side. A surprisingly small amount of fluid spilled from his mouth. Then Steve gasped for breath. Gwen watched Steve take several large breaths. Then, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she leaned back in and kissed his lips gently. She then pulled his head to her chest and hugged him as her tears of joy rained down on his face. Then she saw the blood!

Steve's stomach was crimson as blood flowed down his abdomen and dripped onto the frozen ground. Gwen reached down and felt the red fluid, trying to convince herself that it couldn't be blood. As she rubbed it between her fingers, she soon realized that it truly was blood and it was coming from lacerations in Steve's stomach and chest!

"Gwen, put this blanket on and let us take care of Steve. You've saved his life, but we need to get him to the hospital. You can ride with us," promised Nancy Burns as she and her crew, seemingly coming from out of nowhere, moved quickly to professionally care for the patient. "We'll backboard him and transport him as fast as we safely can."

The throng that had come for a football rally, stayed to watch their volunteer ambulance crew provide the best possible care for the team's star quarterback. The viewers at home had the same opportunity, but with a far better view. Gwen hovered nearby and even assisted when she could. Billy, with a blanket wrapped around his middle, was a great help in lifting one side of the backboard that held Steve. He assisted the crew as they carried it up the incline to the waiting gurney. It only took a minute for the crew to secure Steve in the gurney and load him into the rescue vehicle. Gwen nimbly climbed in the rear of the ambulance before the doors were closed and the vehicle sped away.

Charlotte saw Billy standing alone, watching the ambulance as it sped away. She ran to the platform where he and Steve had shed their clothes and gathered all of their belongings into her arms. Then she made her way toward Gwen's pile of clothing, only to find Kate already there.

"Kate, we'll go get Billy and drive to the hospital! Your amazing sister may want her clothes, although she sure got out of them fast enough. That was the most incredible, and heroic thing I've ever seen!" babbled Charlotte as she raced Kate to her car.

Paula was beside herself as she watched her semi clad daughter climb into the ambulance. "Come on, Diane! We're heading for the hospital. I have to take some clothes to Gwen. You can make phone calls on the way, just get in the car," urged Paula.

"Paula, Do you believe what we just witnessed on TV? Your cell is ringing every few seconds. I bet all our family and friends either saw that rescue, or have heard about it by now. I can't believe what happens when those two kids get together. It's like some sort of cosmic event or something," offered a still amazed Diane.

Amber Stahl had wrapped up her live coverage of the event and was helping her cameraman pack his equipment into their van when her cell rang. "It's the station, Stan. Hello, Frank. Yes, it was even more incredible in person. Yeah, we're headed to the hospital right now. Thanks! I just said what came to mind as I watched the most amazing thing I've ever seen. These kids are unbelievable. We should have a crew follow them around all the time!"

Charlotte, Paula, and the TV van pulled into the hospital parking lot at almost exactly the same time. "Mom!" called Kate as she joined her mother racing for the entrance. "Did you see Sis? She saved Steve's life, and he saved those babies! Has anyone ever had a cooler big sister, or big brother?"

After opening the stubborn car door, Steve could remember starting for the surface with the two children in his arms. His lungs were in agony as they practically screamed for oxygen. He remembered nothing after that until he felt warm water dropping onto his face and soft lips forcing air into his tortured lungs. He coughed and immediately felt his head being turned as he spit up fluids of some kind. He opened his eyes and saw Gwen's face very close to his as she brushed his lips quickly with her hand. Then she kissed him and clutched him to her chest!

Steve was surprised that she had no shirt on, but he wasn't about to complain. He was taking deep breaths and trying to return to normal. He felt Gwen touch his stomach and then heard the ambulance crew talking to Gwen. He was undecided if he was in a dream, or if it was real. Then he began to feel very cold and started shivering. He was able to answer direct questions, but remained silent otherwise, as he was back boarded, carried up a hill and placed on a gurney. Steve saw Billy looking at him with tears in his eyes as he was being loaded into the ambulance, so he winked, drawing a huge grin from his friend. The ambulance crew quickly placed a mask over his face and Steve began to feel a lot better.

By listening to the conversation between Gwen and Nancy, he learned that Gwen had saved his life. He had given Gwen the two children and then he had slipped under the surface. If Gwen had not already been in the water and prepared to help, it was doubtful if Steve, or the children, would have survived. Gwen minimized her role, but it was evident that Nancy believed her actions were extremely heroic, and told Gwen so repeatedly.

As soon as he had been placed in the ambulance, Steve was given oxygen from a non-rebreather mask. Nancy gently cleaned some of the blood from Steve's chest and stomach as Gwen assisted her. It seemed like they had just left the scene when Steve felt the ambulance stop and back up. The doors swung open and several men carefully released the gurney and rolled it to the rear of the vehicle and lifted it off.

At the hospital, Dr. Laura Masters had been between patients when she saw the nurses and staff crowding around a television. Out of curiosity, she joined the group and watched in fascination and amazement as events unfolded. Laura saw the incredibly beautiful girl perform rescue breathing on the young man. Then Laura was paged. Two infants involved in a near drowning were due within minutes. As she prepared to treat the children, she considered the situation. The one baby had been crying on camera, so it likely would be healthy. The second child was the concern, although she had only seen them momentarily on the screen before they were whisked away by the first ambulance on the scene.

When the crew entered the emergency room, Laura knew immediately that the children would be fine. They were both wide awake and crying. She gave them a quick examination and then ordered x-rays since they had been involved in an automobile accident. Serious injury appeared unlikely, but that was the reason for x-rays. Laura knew that she couldn't always see broken bones. Laura spoke to the parents as she examined the children.

"I saw some of this on the television. I've got to tell you that your children are extremely fortunate. I'll have them x-rayed because they were in a serious accident. We'll also keep them in the hospital overnight for observation, but it appears, on my initial examination, that they're doing pretty well. It's especially amazing when you know they were under water for several minutes. That young man must have kept his cool and somehow managed to get these two some air in that car."

"Thanks so much, Doctor! I'll never be able to thank Steve Hammer enough for saving my babies. I just hope he'll be okay," sobbed the infants' mother. "The team was supposed to be on the bus right now to get ready for the big game. Now I hear they're staying home tonight to see what happens with Steve. Coach Watkins really cares about his players. That's why they play so hard for him. When they bring Steve in, please take real good care of him!"

It was only a few minutes later that Laura was notified that the second ambulance was nearing the hospital. The patient's vital signs were strong. He was, however, bleeding from numerous cuts and abrasions. When the door to the emergency room slid open, Dr. Laura Masters and the nursing staff watched a tall, beautiful young woman in a red bra and panty set, smeared with blood, and hair dripping wet, walk along side a gurney and hold the hand of the young man wearing a weak smile, and very little else.

"So, "The Lady in Red" and her dance partner decided to save the lives of two infants that were pretty much given up for lost?" greeted Laura as she directed the gurney to an empty bay, picked up a pair of scissors and deftly cut Steve's muddy, wet underwear into several pieces.

She tossed the remains in a trash can as Steve attempted to cover himself with his hands. "I'm Dr. Laura Masters and I'll do everything in my power to get you back in the game, literally, Mr. Hammer. Let's check your vital signs. Ms. Anderson, I understand that you expect to become a doctor and practice here, after you raise enough money to expand this hospital and add a children's wing. Why don't you wash up over there while a nurse finds a set of scrubs for you to wear? Then I want you join me, and we'll take care of our hero together. I've wanted with speak with you for some time."

Dr. Masters saw Gwen blush as she tossed Steve's underwear away. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to embarrass either of you. If you're going to be a doctor, you'll see everything. I've seen and heard so much about Gwen Anderson and Steve Hammer the past month or two that I assumed you two were very close, if you know what I mean."

Dr. Masters interviewed and examined Steve closely. Satisfied that Steve showed no obvious neurological problems, Laura ordered x-rays, and then spoke to Gwen and Steve. "As soon as we can be sure that Steve has no broken bones or spine issues, which I doubt, we can allow him to move around safely. It looked like he'll need some stitches to close some of those cuts, but then he wouldn't be able to play football and he's got a pretty big game coming up Saturday. From what I've seen, the team will never stand a chance without him. I think we can dress those cuts well enough so he can play in the big game. I can stitch him up the next day."

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