More Than Just a Fairy Tale Ch. 11byJaisen©
This chapter wrote itself in spite of continuing computer issues. For all of those readers who have been holding your breath, enjoy! I think the only reader more impatient to find out what happened next has been my partner. He's frothing over the next installment and hopes that my next bit of free time is spent writing.
Meg took the last curve at 75mph. It was only rated for 50, but she didn't give a damn. Luc had passed out fifteen minutes ago, and she was way past panic and into that state of calm which would closer her down hard and leave her exhausted once she stopped. It was a straight shot to the truck stop and there next to the first entrance was an ambulance. As she got closer, the lights began to come on. Meg pointed the car towards the ambulance and pulled in next to the driver's side.
Two medics moved towards the passenger door and started to help Luc out of the seat. They picked him up and put him on a gurney. One checked his vitals as Meg crawled out from behind the steering wheel. Ginny was right there.
"I'll take care of the car and your stuff. Go with Luc in the ambulance," she said giving Meg a quick hug and a kiss.
Meg moved in a fog and walked towards the back of the ambulance as the two medics loaded Luc. One held his hand out to her and hoisted her into the back while the other slammed the doors shut. She perched on a jump seat while the first medic started an IV and the other hit the lights and headed off out of the truckstop.
"How big was the bear ma'am?" the medic asked.
"Big enough," she said.
"Brown or black?" he asked.
"Brown with blonde highlights. I know that sounds weird, but that's what it looked like," she answered, her voice getting softer as she began to relax.
"Probably a grizzly then," he said and started to slowly check around the wound. He didn't want to move too much of the cloth. If he did, Luc would start bleeding again. He braced against the gurney as they went round a corner. Meg looked out the window and didn't recognize where they were going. She looked back to Luc, who was breathing shallowly.
"He'll be okay," he said trying to reassure her. "It always looks worse than it is. It's the ones that don't look so bad that usually kill us," he finished.
"Great. Just what I need, an optimistic paramedic," she thought. The adrenaline was wearing off, and she was loosing her ability to keep her sarcasm in check. "Where the hell are we going?" she wondered. Looking out, she recognized the area of town they were in, but didn't have a clue to where they were headed. Next thing she knew, the ambulance turned off it's lights and pulled into an underground drive. Harsh sodium lights greeted her as the doors opened. She was helped out and then Luc on the gurney was taken out and into the building through huge glass doors. She followed and headed down the hall with the medics and Luc when a nurse stopped her.
"Just wait here ma'am," the nurse said.
"No, I want to stay with Luc," Meg countered.
"Ma'am, the doctor is going to have to deal with his wounds and it will be easier on you if you stay here," the nurse said with more force.
"No, I'm going with him," Meg said trying to push forth.
The nurse didn't say anything, she simply grabbed Meg by the arms and walked her backwards into a waiting room. Meg tried to get around her, but it wasn't working. Next thing she knew, she heard Ginny's voice.
"Meg! Stop fighting the nurse!" she hollered with sub-vocals ringing under the words. Meg flinched and stopped.
"But... I want to be with Luc," she said. Despair was coloring her tone of voice as Ginny lead her to the couch and they sat down together.
"You need to let the doctor do his thing. As soon as he can, he'll let us into see Luc. Plus, if Luc starts to fight the doctor, anyone in there might get hurt. Sometimes when we are in pain, we don't react well and strike out at people," Ginny tried to explain.
Meg blinked, trying to understand Ginny as exhaustion and adrenaline let down hit her hard. She swallowed and nodded her head. Ginny wrapped her arms around Meg and held her close. Meg put her head on Ginny's shoulder. The tears began to flood her eyes and she began to cry softly.
"It will be okay," Ginny said softly. "Luc's tough, and we heal fast. Just relax."
Meg cried for a few more minutes and then ever so slowly fell asleep. Ginny adjusted Meg so that she was asleep across her lap. Meg's hair fell to one side and Ginny could see the necklace that Luc had picked out for her. Ginny smiled, and hoped that Luc would be alright.
"Don't you dare die on me Luc," she thought as they waited for the doctor to finish up with Luc.
Ginny had fallen asleep too while waiting for the doctor to report on Luc. She woke as the door opened and the nurse entered.
"Is she still asleep?" the nurse asked quietly.
"He's out of surgery, and the doctor thinks he'll be down to talk to you in a little bit," she said and left as quietly as she'd entered.
Ginny tried to wake up without disturbing Meg. It almost worked. Meg sat up and blinked groggily. She looked at Ginny with a look of confusion. She sat up and tried to rub the sleep out of her eyes.
"Has the doctor been here yet?" Meg asked.
"He's suppose to be here any minute," said Ginny.
They sat there trying to wake up as they waited for the doctor. Ginny stood up and stretched while Meg sat.
The door opened a few minutes later and the doctor sat down in the chair next to Meg with a thump.
"First off, he's fine and sleeping off the anesthetic. Thank you for being such a quick thinker and apparently a race car driver," said the doctor with a tired smile on his face.
"Can we go and see him?" asked Meg.
"As soon as we get done talking here," he said. "Now, the bear did a lot of damage to his neck and shoulder. Missed the artery and veins by centimeters. His collar bone is broken and I had to rebuild his rotator cuff and most of the shoulder. However, he will heal. There will be scars, but he is alive. Hardest part will be keeping him from shifting."
"Why don't you just keep him sedated?" Ginny asked.
"Well, I could do that, but that leads to other problems as you know," said the doctor.
"What kind of problems?" asked Meg.
"Sometimes shifters have trouble with the anesthetics. Just like old people hear or see dogs or cats, shifters sometimes do the same thing. It is like their four legged side tries to take over. We have to use heavier doses than for humans too and after too many doses they become hypersensitive to the drugs. Luc hasn't had too many surgeries or serious injuries, so he may be okay. On the other hand, his dad had terrible issues. So, I am loath to dose him anymore than I have to.
"And why do we need to keep him from shifting? I thought you healed better when you shifted," said Meg.
"We do. Right now, Luc is in four legged form. What I don't want is for him to shift back to human form, said the doctor. He was trying to be patient with Meg. He'd only learned a few minutes before he came to see the women that Meg was human and rather new to the whole shifter world.
"Oh, said Meg who realized that there was so much she didn't know about Luc. "Is me visiting him going to make him want to shift back?" she asked.
"We don't know. How long have you been mated?" asked the doctor.
"Um, he just gave me this," she said as she touched the necklace. "But, I've known him for a couple of months and we've been living together most of that time."
"Plus with the bear attack, he will probably fret if he doesn't smell she's okay," added Ginny.
"There is that," added the doctor. "By the way, my name is Jeff. Before you ask, yes, I shift and I'm a doctor and a veterinarian."
"Oh, I ... I didn't even think about that. I guess it would be helpful to be both," said Meg.
"It was really difficult to be honest. Especially as my wolfish side kept seeing all the patients as prey," said Jeff.
"Ewww!" said Ginny.
The nurse walked in and gestured towards Jeff. "Sir, Luc is whining."
"We'll be right there," said Jeff and turned back to the women. "He probably smells you and is fretting. Let's go see him and see how he reacts."
They got up and headed back along a hall to a suit of rooms. Luc was in the far left corner on a bed that looked like an elevated dog bed. He had lots of bandages wrapped around his neck and shoulder, but wasn't moving much. He whined louder as they walked into the room. Meg walked over and sat on the edge of the bed and stroked his head and nose.
"Luc, it's okay. We're safe and you're all fixed up," she said softly. She still didn't know what he understood, but figured it didn't matter.
"You scared the hell out of us Luc, but I still love you," said Ginny as she patted his back away from the bandages.
Luc whined again and tried to move towards Meg. Meg looked at the doctor who nodded and she then moved up onto the bed. Luc wrapped around her as best he could with his hurt shoulder across her lap. He sighed. "Soft one safe. Now rest," he thought and then with a shudder went back to sleep.
"Good," said Jeff.
"How is this good? He just curled up and went to sleep on me. What am I suppose to do?" asked Meg.
"Well, I suggest that you curl up and sleep. Just don't lay on his bandages. If you're hungry, we can get you some food. Or, we can spot you if you need to go to the bathroom. However, if you tried to leave, he try and follow. I didn't realize how new your mating was or how attached he was to you. I take it the wolf side of him chose you before he gave in?" asked Jeff.
"Yes," said both women at the same time.
"Not surprised. Never thought he'd ever mate. Stubborn bastard," said Jeff.
"You know him?" asked Meg.
"Went to school with him. We were always best of friends or worst of enemies. Depending on the day or the minute," said Jeff with a smile.
Ginny nodded. Meg sat there wrapped in wolf taking all this information in and trying to make sense of it.
"Are you hungry?" asked Ginny.
"Yeah, it seems like breakfast was ages ago," said Meg. "I take it your hospital food is better than regular hospitals?" she asked wondering what would be on the menu. Kibble? Peanut butter dog biscuits? Raw steak?
"It isn't too bad. Meat for those that want it or can eat it, and we order out for families," said Jeff, knowing what must be going through Meg's head. He smiled.
"Oh, okay. I'd love a salad with chicken on it," she said after a moments thought.
"Grass? You want grass with chicken?" teased Jeff.
"What?" asked Meg, knowing she was being teased, but not understanding the how of it.
"Canines eat grass when they're sick. So eating salad is like eating grass to some of us," he explained as he turned and walked out the door to order Meg some food.
Ginny nodded. Meg just rolled her eyes.
Twenty minutes later, the nurse who introduced herself as Michele came in with Meg's dinner. The salad was huge with lots of veggies, a big piece of grilled chicken and three different salad dressings. On the side of the tray were peanut butter cookies and iced tea. Michele brought a tray over for Meg and adjusted it to the right height.
"Thank you. This looks delicious," said Meg as she started to eat.
"You're welcome. If you need anything, just call," said Michele and handed Meg a cord with a call button on it. "And when are you going to eat?" she asked Ginny.
"At home. I've got lots to do and if I don't get moving, I'll be asleep too. You take care of Luc and I'll be back later," she said.
Meg nodded as she had a mouthful of salad. She tried to eat slowly, but she was famished. Between the adrenaline crash, the hike that morning and the drive down the mountain, she had burned up every calorie she had. She finished off the salad and started in on the cookies. She smiled when she saw that they were peanut butter. For a moment she wondered if chocolate ever crossed the threshold, or did it come with a skull and crossed bones poison label. She giggled.
Meg realized she had to get up, and tried to do so without waking Luc. It didn't work. He woke, so Meg hit the call button. Michele came in and worked on keeping Luc in bed. Meg headed for the bathroom. Looking down, she realized that her shirt was spattered with blood as were her jeans. She'd have to call Ginny to bring her some new clothes.
He whined. Whined loud enough that Meg could hear him through the bathroom walls. She tried to hurry up and when she came back in the room, he tried to get off the bed.
"No!" she said forcefully. "You stay on the bed!"
Luc dropped back to the bed. Michele looked from one to the other and smiled.
"I didn't think you had it in you to keep him in bed. I'm impressed," she said.
"Thanks. I may be human, but I'm a real bitch when I want to be," said Meg. Both women laughed.
"I'll bring you a blanket if you want," Michele said as Meg took off her boots and jeans.
"That would be great," she said as she crawled back up to snuggle with Luc.
Michele returned with the blankets and turned off the lights as she left.
Meg snuggled next to Luc and eventually drifted off. It had been one hell of a day.
The wolf sniffed his mate. "Soft one safe. I safe. Hurt," he thought as he drifted off to sleep.
Ginny and Duke brought them home three days later. Luc had been allowed to shift the night before. Most of his stitches held and the doctor bandaged him up adequately for a human form. Meg had a bag full of pills. Some for pain and others for infection. They got Luc in bed and Meg looked around trying to figure out what to do. Luc was already drifting off to sleep. Jeff and Michele said he'd do that for the next few days.
"Meg, just go sit with him," suggested Duke. "We brought your camping stuff back and Ginny and Bitty put it away for you already. There is plenty of food in the fridge and we are taking care of the office. Go relax."
"But I keep thinking I should be doing something," Meg said. "What about the car? Do we need to call a wrecker or the insurance agent?" she asked.
"Already taken care of," said Ginny. "Oh! I almost forgot. That bear left a claw in the side panel of the car. Must have hurt like hell when that ripped off," she said as she dug in her pocket. She pulled a huge claw capped with silver out and handed it to Meg. It covered her palm from her thumb in an arch over to her pinkie finger. It was heavy.
"Oh my gods," said Meg with a shudder. She had pocket knives smaller than that claw.
"We notified the park rangers up in that area that a bear had attacked you. They're looking for it just in case. Of course they said there were no grizzlies up there, or wolves, but we both know differently," said Duke.
"Oh yeah," said Meg still holding the claw. She'd give it to Luc when he woke up later.
"If they don't find it, some of us are thinking of going up and taking care of it," said Duke.
"With guns or fangs?" asked Ginny who thought the whole idea was stupid. Leave the damned animal alone had been her thoughts when asked.
"Guns of course. Geeze Ginny, we aren't stupid," said Duke.
The look Ginny shot him said otherwise.
"We've got the office guys looking for another Subaru. We know how attached Luc was to his, but there isn't enough left of that one to make good scrap. I'll let you know what they find," Ginny said.
"Okay," said Meg. She hadn't realized the car was that damaged. Granted, she never really looked at it, but after looking at the claw, she wasn't sure she ever wanted to see it.
"Meg," came a faint call from the bedroom.
"Be there in a second Luc," said Meg.
"We'll be back later. Call if you need us," said Ginny as she propelled Duke through the door.
"Bye," said Meg as she waved and then headed to the bedroom.
Luc was sitting up in bed and trying to move to get comfortable. He saw her and stopped. Meg sat down on the edge of the bed, the claw closed in her hand.
"Hey Meg, are they gone yet?" he asked.
"Yes, finally. It's good to be home," she said.
"Yeah, I could hear most of what you were talking about. What did Ginny give you?" he asked.
"Um,..." she hesitated. "This," she said as she handed him the claw.
Luc took the claw in his hand. He turned it over once or twice and then his hand went to his neck. "Damn I was lucky," he said. "We were lucky."
"Yes, we were," said Meg. They sat there for a moment just looking at the claw.
"Do you think we could get me in the shower?" he asked.
"I guess. Can we get the bandages wet?" she asked.
"I don't care. We can always put new ones on. I just itch." said Luc.
"Okay," said Meg and took the claw from Luc.
Luc slowly got out of bed and walked to the bathroom. He got out of his pajama bottoms while Meg ran the shower. When it was warm, she helped Luc into the shower. Then she stripped of and climbed in with him. It took about ten minutes for the bandages to soak off. In the meantime, Meg soaped the exposed bits of Luc.
"I guess you got messy," she teased as she scrubbed his lower back.
"Yeah, sponge baths just don't work well on fur," he said.
"Nope, they don't," said Meg. She started to work on the bandages, not exactly sure if she wanted to see the damage. She hadn't been in the room when he shifted. The first layers peeled off and then the gauze next to the stitches. The first surprise was that most of them were staples and only those near his face were regular stitches. The side of his neck was a series of long rakes running from his earlobe and jaw line back to his shoulder. Nearly his whole shoulder was covered in scratches and gashes that were scabbing up inbetween the claw marks that were stapled closed.
"Oh Luc," said Meg. "Do you want to see it?"
"No, I saw it in the hospital. Ugly mess, but I never said I was a beauty queen," he said softly.
"The doctor said it was close, but I didn't realize how close," she said realizing how near to the jugular the one claw had gotten.
"I almost died. If you hadn't taken over the driving, I would have died," he said turning his head into the water. The water hid his tears.
Meg wrapped her arms around him. "Let's get you out of the shower and dried off. We can bandage lightly and then you need to sleep," she said.
Luc nodded. It took forever to get him dried off. They got his pajama bottoms on and the bandages done up enough that he wouldn't rub his stitches against the sheets. He got in bed and Meg went out to make them something to eat.
She came back with toasted cheese sandwiches, tomato soup in cups and peanut butter cookies. It was painful for Luc to eat, so they didn't talk much while they devoured the food. Meg took the empty dishes to the kitchen and then they curled up in bed. Meg wrapped her arms around Luc as they snuggled.
"You know, this has to be a first," he said.
"Oh? What kind of first?" Meg asked.
"Here we are in bed, alone in the house, and I haven't ravished you," he said in a teasing tone.
"Like you could," she said sarcastically.
"Believe me, if I didn't hurt so much, I would ravish you until you passed out," he said.
"Well, I'll hold you to that. Just remember, when you are healed and the doctor says you can go back to being yourself, you owe me one ravishment, and a total pass out from pleasure," said Meg.
"I promise," he said with a yawn. In moments, they were both asleep.
Meg woke to the sound of metal 'chinking' next to her ear. "What the hell?" she thought. Opening her eyes, she saw little bits of metal laying on the bed next to Luc. She picked one up and realized that it was one of his staples. There was blood on the bandage as well.
"Luc, wake up, you're shedding staples and bleeding," she said.