Once Was Lost Ch. 02bytaylorreed©
I apologize for the corny name but I didn't want to use a real town. I am no good at making up names for places..Sorry!
He woke with a pounding headache and sunlight blinding him through the flimsy curtains. He wondered for a moment what was missing? Then he knew. The constant scream of sirens and the ever-present rumble of progress and traffic. There was none of that here and he had to admit it was a little spooky.
The odd noises his stomach made reminded Stephen that he hadn't eaten since yesterday so he rose and quickly dressed. He wished he didn't have to put clothes on. The humidity made everything wet in seconds. He went to the front desk and asked about places to eat.
The lack of restaurants made the choice easy. There was a small diner just down the street so thanking the clerk Stephen made his way there. The locals did the obligatory ogling of the stranger in town and without too many hassles Stephen managed to order a cup of coffee and the breakfast special of the day. He looked out the window and the air was hazy with heat already. Why on earth had Adam chosen this area of all places to live? Stephen guessed that it was because he needed a fresh start and a clean slate. No one knew him so there were no expectations.
When he had all but inhaled his food he asked for directions and inquired about a taxi.
The question got a smirk from the waitress. "I hate to tell you handsome but that's something you won't find around here."
Stephen stared at her, dumbfounded. It hadn't even occurred to me that there wouldn't be any taxis. There was no way he could walk. It was too far and he would certainly die from the heat. Well crap!
The waitress waved her talon red nails and the locals. "Hey! Anyone here give this fella a lift to Cooper's Crossing?"
You could have a pin drop. Well this is just great! Suddenly a hand grabbed his shoulder. Stephen turned and was staring into a pair of beautiful blues eyes. Unfortunately they were attached to a girl. She beamed at me. "I can give you a lift if you want?" Clearly flirting with me.
You're barking up the wrong tree. Stephen thought to himself. But accepted anyway. Hey beggars can't be choosers. They went outside and into a sporty convertible...of course! She drove like she talked. Fast and totally ditsy. At least they got there in record time.
He learnt along the way that her name was Cheryl and her entire life story. Stephen had no idea where to start looking for Adam so he just got her to take him to the police station, assuming of course that it was still standing.
Driving through the streets it was like one of those stories you see on the news. He was seeing it but just couldn't quite believe it.
There were some houses totally gone and others made it through unscathed. Stephen never understood how that happened. With one last predatory smile, Cheryl released him from her grasp and he stepped out onto the sidewalk then up the stairs to the station.
The building had sustained some obvious damage but remained functional. In a time like this and the chance of looting high, Stephen was relieved to see the station fully manned.
About five sets of eyes watched him approach the front desk. Stephen held his hands out in a placating gesture. The last thing he wanted was to be mistaken for a would-be criminal.
A tall blond haird officer stepped up to help him. "What can I do for you sir?" Stephen had always been a sucker for a man in uniform and grinned like an idiot. "Well I'm not sure that you can but I needed to try and find an old friend of mine who lives here. His name is Adam. Adam Watts. His daughter died." Stephen flinched saying those words. God what Adam must be going through!
The officer turned to his colleagues. "Didn't they take Mr. Watts to the hospital? You know the guy who lost his kid." The others nodded in agreement. Mr. Handsome turned back to Stephen. "He's probably still at the hospital. From what I can remember he had quite a bad head wound too."
Stephen wondered how far away the hospital was and just how on earth he was going to get there. Maybe he should have flirted with Cheryl and kept her around a bit longer.
"Um. You wouldn't be able to give me a ride there would you? I came in on a bus and I understand taxis aren't big around here." Stephen looked hopefully at the officer.
"Well I guess I could step away for a few minutes." He glanced around the station, probably wishing for an emergency. Sighing he collected his keys and led Stephen out to a patrol car.
Stephen had never been in a police car before and it made him feel guilty for some reason. He felt like yelling at the people passing by that he was just getting a ride and not under arrest.
The powerful car had them at the hospital in just less than ten minutes. Stephen looked at the officer and extended his hand. "Thanks. I really appreciate it."
He was rewarded with a smile. "I hope your friend is ok. Stay safe." Shaking Stephen's hand in return.
Stephen watched the car turn the corner then made his way inside. He was immediately taken aback by the volume of people. The hallways were crowded with the injured but obviously not too bad off. Doctors and nurses running around tried in vane to get things under control.
Stephen must have stood at the check in desk for twenty minutes before he gained a nurse's attention.
She looked harried and out of breath. "Yes?" Came the impatient question.
"I'm trying to find someone who may be here. His name is Adam. Adam Watts. His daughter died in the twister."
The nurse checked her records. "Yes he's still here but I can't let you in unless you're immediate family."
"I understand but I don't think he has any. I've known him for years and I think he would like me to be here for him. Please" Stephen pleaded his case and watched the nurse struggle with following the rules or helping one of her patients get through a traumatic event with a friend.
She glanced from side to side. "Ok. He's in room 126. If anyone asks you're his brother. I could really get into a lot of trouble for this." She pointed down the hall. "Go right at the next turn and then it's three rooms down on the left."
Stephen reached out and took her hand. "Thank you. Thank you so much." And she blinked in surprise, obviously used to complaints instead of praise. Stephen followed her directions to Adam's room and then stood outside for a moment. Unsure now he was here of what exactly he was going to say or do.
He didn't plan this out too well. He took a deep breath and walked quietly into Adam's room.
Adam was lying in bed with his eyes closed. A huge bandage swathed around his entire head. He looked so fragile and small. He had lost a lot of weight and seemed to have aged but that was to be expected after the events of the last few days.
Stephen traced Adam's face with his eyes. The strong square jaw and high cheekbones. He remembered his large but gentle hands and when he smiled his whole face lit up. Chocolate brown eyes that you could just drown in. Now those eyes were open and looking directly at him.
Stephen blanched a little at the lack of life in them. They seemed dull and empty. He felt tears form and spill over onto his cheeks. He desperately wanted to hold Adam and take all the pain away. "Adam? Adam it's....its Stephen. Do you remember me?"
There was no response. He may as well have been talking to a mannequin. Stephen moved closer and sat down. Adam's gaze followed him but there was no recognition. Stephen took a chance and reached out to take Adam's hand in his.
"Don't fucking touch me you bastard!" Adam shrieked at the top of his lungs. "Get away from me...Don't touch me!"
Stephen leapt out of the chair and screamed down the hallway for help. Two orderlies and a nurse with a needle ran into Adam's room. Adam still yelling began to curl himself up into a ball, trying to become as small as possible.
Stephen felt tears streaming down his cheeks. "Please Adam. It's ok. They're not going to hurt you. I'm not going to hurt you. Adam...please." But Adam was now so far into himself that he couldn't have heard anything anyway.
The two burly orderlies held him down while the nurse added the powerful medication to his IV line.
Adam's screams began to dwindle and eased off into quiet sobs. Stephen felt totally responsible for the outburst. It was almost too much to see Adam this way. Something had shattered inside and Stephen had no way to help him. The nurse glanced his way. "I think you'd better leave now."
He nodded and walked on unsteady legs back outside. Now what? He certainly hadn't planned on that and was at a loss as to what to do next. He couldn't stay here forever but he didn't want to give up that easily.
Not paying attention Stephen stepped out right into the path of an ambulance. Luckily for him it had slowed to turn into the hospital and only narrowly avoided missing him.
Justin jammed his foot on the brake, sending him and his partner plus the patient in the back flying forward. Aiden held onto the man on the gurney to prevent him from falling onto the floor. Justin yelled in surprise. "Shit! You stupid asshole!" And jumped out of the rig prepared to rip this guy a new one. The words froze in his mouth as he took in the very good-looking man staring at him with an open mouth. Justin had the feeling that the guy thought he was going to beat him up or something. Then again he hadn't been far wrong.
He raised a hand and touched the guy on the shoulder. "Hey. Are you ok?" The man looked at him totally dazed and then sat down heavily on the road. Justin knelt quickly and took his pulse. It was a little fast but then he supposed under the circumstances that was perfectly ok.
He drew the man to his feet and took him over to sit on a bench in the shade. They were both trembling a little but Justin was handling it better. "What's your name?"
The man looked at him, opened his mouth then closed it again. "Umm..Oh it's Stephen. I'm Stephen. Sorry about that I wasn't paying attention."
Justin noted how blue his eyes were and made a mental note to find out more about him. "Are you here to see someone? I haven't seen you around here before. Did you just get into town?" Justin closed his mouth to end the questions.
Stephen looked at him again and seemed to be thinking over his responses.
"I was visiting a friend. We knew each other a long time ago and I saw him on the news. Hey..I think I remember seeing you too!"
Justin knew right away whom he was talking about. Adam Watts. Now he really was curious. Friend huh? Somehow there was more to this story. Aiden, the master of bad timing stuck his head around the corner.
"Are you coming or what?"
Justin blushed and stood. "Hey I gotta to go but if you need anything here's my card. If you don't have anything to do later on, I get off at 7.30pm. We could go get a drink if you want?" Justin had no idea why he had just said all of that but what the hell.
Stephen looked at him and then took the card. "My visit with my friend didn't go well at all and I have no car so now I'm stuck here for a while I guess. So yeah, that sounds good. I can just meet you here if you like?"
Justin smiled and shrugged like it was all no big deal. "Ok so I'll see you here then. Seeya."
He went inside to book the patient in. Aiden looked at him and smiled.
Aiden just shook his head. "Only you could actually hit on a guy you nearly ran over. You are too much buddy."
Justin pasted an innocent look on his face. "I was not hitting on him. I merely suggested a drink. It was the least I could do after almost running him over."
He went to the nurse's station to fill out the paperwork. Maybe he could end this shift early?
More coming folks!