Twenty Minutes Ch. 02


"I was technically dead for two minutes and eleven seconds they said, so I guess you could say he killed me, as promised." The words were sluggish, as if this was the first time she'd said them aloud. She ate a bit more of the fish, absently tasting the instant rice and realizing it was a little overcooked before looking across the table into those worried, warm brown eyes. She took a deep breath and blew it out, remembering she didn't have to be on guard with this one. Not with this one.

"They removed seven of the ten bullets. The others posed too much of a risk. Then they said I was out for a a coma. I didn't know where I was when I finally opened my eyes, wasn't sure what had happened...they said I asked for you as soon as I could talk." That brought a bitter-sweet smile to her full lips. It still amazed her that even when she was so close to death, she had worried more about the petite woman sitting across from her than she had herself.

They sat in silence for a while. Shy was so focused on reliving the nightmare of those first few hours, those first few days, that she didn't realize Robbie was crying until she saw the woman quickly wipe the tears from her cheeks.

"Why Shy? Why did you do it? Why did you lie to me, leave me there all alone?" The questions were tortured, pained, reflecting the horror both had been forced to deal with for the last year. Shy pushed the plate from in front of her.

"I couldn't let them hurt you," she insisted passionately. "I fucked up, not you," Shy swallowed, trying to keep her own tears at bay, "I wouldn't let them hurt you."

Robbie watched her closely, recognizing the tension in her shoulders, in the fists she held tightly clenched at her sides. So much much guilt. She shook her head, this woman had no idea, did she? No idea that she would have accepted anything they did to her as long as Shy was okay. She would have let them end her life if they'd promised to spare Shy's. Of course, those were probably the thoughts and feelings that had led Shy to make the choices she'd made. She shook her head, how could she have remained clueless for so long? She'd been angry with the gentle giant sitting across from her for months on end, when the woman had simply made the same choices she would have made. Robbie swallowed past the constriction in her throat before speaking again.

"I wish-" She had been about to chastise her, but what was the point after realizing she would have done the same. "I thought..." She had to swallow again before the tears overwhelmed her, "I th-thought you were dead. I-I thought-" She shook her head, she couldn't continue. The words wouldn't come, not yet. She wiped at her tears impatiently, smiling weakly when she looked over into those bottomless gray eyes. For a moment, they could do nothing but stare at one another. Shy finally continued.

"They were shocked when I woke up. The nurses, the doctors, all thought I was dead. But...-I-I couldn't walk. One of the bullets had shattered my knee. I was in the hospital for another month, then a rehab place for six. They had to teach me how to walk," the words were strained, those intense gray eyes reflecting the pain and fear she'd felt at the thought that she'd be confined to a wheel chair or on crutches for the rest of her life. She shook her head, forcing herself to keep talking. "Then, one day, I look up and Terese is standing in my door," she chuckled. "If I could stand, I would have kicked the living shit out of her."

Robbie smiled just a little, she knew that feeling well.

"She told me it had been a set up. They wanted to take Ronnie down. She was working with Jules, his competition. She said she didn't realize I would-" She choked on the words and Robbie was at her side, kneeling, forcing her hand to unclench so she could hold it.

"She said she didn't think I would be upset. Could you believe that bitch? She thought we weren't tight anymore-" Shy took a moment to take in some air, closing her eyes for a second before continuing, "she said her boys found me, they'd left me for dead. If she hadn't heard about it when she did, I would be." Another pause before she continued. "She was there for the rehab and everything. All those months. She paid for everything...said it was all her fault, she should have told me. And then she couldn't find you." Shy finally looked down at her, their eyes meeting. The larger woman reached out and gently caressed Robbie's check.

"It was the only thing I wanted from her and she couldn't find you. She found the money-"

The words jogged Robbie's memory, "the money!"

Shy squeezed her hand, "don't worry. Terese gave it to me. She had someone following Janet, so when she picked you up from the airport..."

Robbie nodded, pressing her cheek against Shy's calloused hand. It was enough for now. It would have to be, she couldn't listen to anymore. She just wanted to enjoy being with this woman. She stood, helping Shy to her feet and waiting for her to grab her cane before leading her to the sofa. She sat beside her, snuggled against her side, and sighed. She didn't want sex, she didn't want any more conversation, she only wanted this woman to hold her. Just hold her.

They held each other close for hours, sometimes watching television, other times just enjoying the sound of each other's breathing. For both of them it was a miracle to have found one another again after so much pain, so much time. Robbie realized she'd fallen asleep against her gentle giant when she felt Shy shift just a little as she leaned down to whisper in her ear.

"I came back from the dead for you," Shy's husky voiced caressed her ear, warming her. "I love you."

Robbie smiled at the feel of Shy's lips against her forehead and returned to the first peaceful sleep she'd had in a year.

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