No Real Monsters Ch. 03byterowl©
When she woke, Terri realized she was alone. The alarm was screaming at her and she groaned as she realized if she didn't hurry, she would be late. At least this would be a morning she would not have to worry about Mike adding more insult to injury after last night. She really didn't care where he had gotten to; that she had the morning alone was enough.
Hitting the alarm off, she pulled her aching body out of bed and assessed the damage. Taking a breath, she stopped unable to take a deep one. He had broken ribs this time. Work was going to be hell today. Stepping into the shower gingerly, she hissed at the new bruises and the sensitivity of her skin under the water. There were fresh scabs too.
It was a quick shower, it had to be, but she was at least clean. She pulled on a long sleeved shirt then put on her scrubs. Her hair was once again put into the neat pony tail. A last look into the mirror told her that no one but her would know what her body had endured the night before. Well, unless someone watched the way she moved today.
Terri sighed and moved as quickly as she could to the dining room where she kept her keys on a hook, grabbed them and headed to her small car. At least Mike never messed with this. Of course, he had to let her keep her job, it kept him in his liquor and them in their house. He just ran everything else. And she let him. What else could she do?
At work, the day was just like any other. She took care of her patients though she would have to ask for help from her co-workers for some of the harder lifting and such. The ribs just wouldn't let her catch her breath this time and she wasn't moving as fast as she should she knew. Stopping at the nurse's station, she leaned against the counter for what must have been the fiftieth time that day.
"Terri, are you okay?" Lucy, one of the other nurses on the floor had been watching her all morning. She knew even if Terri had been trying to hide it all these years what the woman had been going through. Terri had come in one too many days with bruises barely hidden and that scared look that said 'battered woman'.
"I'm fine," Terri lied as she always did, but the shortness of breath was unmistakable especially to a fellow nurse.
"Bullshit! What did that bastard do this time?"
Terri looked at Lucy in shock. She had always been so careful that the bruises didn't show, that she did her work harder than any other. How could Lucy possibly know?
"Terri, we all know. We just didn't talk about it because you didn't talk about it. You have to leave him."
Terri shook her head, the fear in her eyes unmistakable. "I can't. The last time I tried he nearly killed me." The words were barely above a whisper.
Lucy immediately was at Terri's side and slipped her arms around the woman. At Terri's hiss, she stopped though. Her critical eye watched the woman and she shook her head. "How badly did he hurt you? I think you need to see a doctor, girl. You can barely breathe. Your lips are nearly blue. You look like you need to be in a hospital bed yourself."
"I can't stop working..." Terri fought for breath. She just couldn't get enough air. Grasping the counter, she shook her head, the world going dark as she fainted.
Lucy was close enough she caught Terri before the woman could fall to the ground and called out to others around her. Luckily the other nurses and a couple of doctors came quickly to her aid. Soon they had Terri settled into a patient bed as she explained what happened.
Dr. Samantha Fox quickly took over and decided she'd be the one to take care of Terri. Based on what Lucy said, she listened to the lungs first and ordered an immediate x-ray. Shaking her head she looked at the other nurses.
"I hope she doesn't have a punctured lung. But with the ribs broken, which is what it sounds like might have happened, and her working anyway, she likely does have one. There are no lung sounds on the left side. Get her to x-ray now! I want this looked at so we can get her taken care of before we have something worse than just a pneumothorax on our hands. Can't have one of our best nurses out, now can we?"
Her words spurred everyone into action and the floor was suddenly moving in well precisioned order. Terri was quickly gotten to X-Ray as ordered and a chart was started for her as a patient. Very soon, the results were done and Dr. Fox was ordering Terri to the operating room to correct her collapsed lung.
Jonathan still hadn't gotten that girl out of his mind. He had just been too busy with things at the den to be able to do anything about it. Finally he had gotten the extra security in place like his brother wanted and everything seemed to be in order there. Now, he could concentrate on finding this Terri Scott since she had never called his firm.
A few discreet checks got an address and the fact that she worked at the local hospital. He would have to talk to Samantha. She worked over there as well. Always nice when some of your clan had medical leanings and took to training at the local hospital in order to keep tabs on their young that way. Maybe Samantha would know about Terri since he got the impression she was a nurse by the scrubs she'd worn the day he bumped into her. Better yet, maybe he'd just go pay a visit to Samantha at the hospital. It had been a while since he'd talked to her and he could always use the excuse of beefing up security.
With his mind made up, he left the office with a message for his brother that he was headed out to talk to Samantha regarding the recent issues they'd been having. Down in the garage he slipped behind the wheel of his Dodge Durango and headed out toward the hospital. It was a nice day out despite being cold. He'd always enjoyed the fall weather and this November day was proving to be a nice one.
It was about twenty minutes later when he pulled into the hospital parking lot. The hospital wasn't huge, but it didn't need to be for their city. They weren't a large city and they were not that far from a rather sprawling metropolis of a city just to the north. Out here they didn't keep the very severely injured or sick cases, they sent them up north for treatment. But at the same time, there were many things they could take care of if the need arose.
Jonathan parked his car and headed into the hospital. Knowing where Samantha's office was, he headed directly there, but was rather surprised by all the hustle and bustle on the floor where she typically worked. Pausing at the nurse's station, he looked around and asked the clerk what was up.
"So, did I miss something on the way in? Did we get a really sick or injured patient or something?"
The clerk cocked her head at Jonathan a moment. She noticed all the nurses were rather busy and then offered, "Well, one of the nurses suddenly took ill and Dr. Fox is now taking care of her."
Jonathan nodded his head and looked around. "Well, when Dr. Fox has a moment, I'd like to speak with her if I may."
"That may take a while. Dr. Fox just took the patient to the operating room. I'm not sure how long they'll be. "
Just then Lucy came back down the hallway. Upon seeing Jonathan talking to the clerk she was surprised. She hid it well; however, when she slipped an arm around his waist and nearly purred in his ear.
"Well hello, handsome. Never thought I'd see you here."
Jonathan had to disengage himself from Lucy quickly. He offered her petulant look a longsuffering smile. Ever since he had bedded her once two months ago, she was convinced he was hers. To him, it was just a fling. He was still looking for his mate, but she was biding her time until he claimed her for his mate. He had no intention of doing that.
"Hi, Lucy. I came to talk to Samantha actually."
"Oh." Her face fell at that. "And here I thought you came to see me."
He had forgotten that she was the reason he avoided the hospital. In his hurry to see if perhaps Terri did work here and Samantha may know her, he totally forgot that he avoided this place because of Lucy. Her clinging was more than enough to drive him away from a lot of places.
"So, I understand Samantha is in surgery?" He decided changing the subject was in order.
"Yeah. One of the nurses had a collapsed lung. She's draining it and making sure she's okay."
Nodding his head in understanding, he looked around the unit at everyone scurrying about. Seemed like a bit of a fuss was made. He frowned slightly.
"How did that happen on the unit?"
"Well, it actually didn't. The girl has an abusive husband. She came in having been beat by him rather badly, broken ribs, that sort of thing. She tried to work anyway and it caused a punctured lung from what Samantha figured."
A small growl was forming in his throat, but he fought to keep it down. Jonathan knew there were humans here at the hospital and he didn't want others to hear. How could a man treat a woman like that? Women were meant to be treasured, not beat up like that.
"Please tell me she is pressing charges?"
"Oh I doubt it. She's very afraid of the man. Said the last time she tried to run away he nearly killed her."
Lucy was oblivious to the effect her words were having on Jonathan. She wasn't even looking at him now, looking instead where Dr. Fox was walking down the hallway from the operating room. Jonathan was busy trying not to growl loudly and trying not to see red.
"She is doing much better now. We caught the pneumo in time to repair it. She'll be okay, but needs time to heal. Her body is just covered in bruises and you can see where she's had breaks before that have healed on their own especially in her ribcage."
Samantha was talking to Lucy who was hanging on her every word. The concern for her friend was actually etched on her face. Lucy actually reached out and hugged Samantha.
"Thank you! I'm so glad to hear she'll be okay. Do you think she'll actually listen to me and leave him now?"
"I doubt it, Lucy. She is scared. But keep supporting her. She needs it, especially right now. It's going to take some time to heal."
Lucy nodded and looked at Jonathan almost apologetically. "I'm going to see if she's okay. She'll want someone there when she wakes up. Otherwise knowing Terri, she'll try to jump off that recovery table and work again." With that Lucy was off down the hallway.
Jonathan looked confused a moment, then looked to Samantha. "So, this nurse who was hurt. She wouldn't happen to be named Terri Scott, would she?"
Samantha was about to ask why Jonathan was there. Then the question was asked and she simply looked at him. With that, she reached up and took his arm, guiding him toward her office.
"Come on, we can talk better in my office. You obviously came here needing to talk about something and you have some questions."
They went into Samantha's office. The office was a small room, just a desk and a couple of leather bound chairs as furnishings. Samantha shut the door as they entered, then the two of them settled around the desk.
"So, you know Terri's name. What else do you know?"
"I ran into her, literally, at Starbucks the other morning. Something...something about her has stayed with me. I can't get her out of my mind and it's causing me to not be able to concentrate on my duties."
A small smile crossed Samantha's lips. To be young again. She shook her head with a chuckle, a hand moving up to brush at the gray strands of her hair.
"I see. So you really know nothing about the woman then? Let me tell you about her. She has worked here as a nurse for going on five years now. She came to us desperate for a job already with her RN license. Apparently, her husband of about eleven years has kept her on the run or something like that. I don't know all the details, so you'll have to forgive me. Anyway, she had to leave her last job and didn't really have references. I sensed her good heart and gave her the job. I wasn't disappointed. It was Lucy who realized what was going on with her husband though. To say he is abusive is too simplistic. He beats her. She is always covered in bruises and has more wounds physically and mentally than I can count. Neither of us are sure beyond that what he does to her other than she is convinced she cannot leave him. Go easy with that one."
Jonathan listened and as he did the growl started in his chest. The man had no idea what he was doing. You can't treat a lady like that! It wasn't right! The growl was intensifying as Samantha told him about what Terri's husband did, how he beat her and kept her scared. He didn't even know his eyes were red now and he was growling audibly.
"Jonathan, you may want to calm down." There was actually amusement in Samantha's tone. If she had to say it, Jonathan was reacting to a mating call. But she could be wrong. She knew he hated when women were mistreated.
"How can he do that! And you had to take her to surgery? To help her breath?" The anger was not going away, if anything it was getting worse.
"Jonathan! Calm down!" This time it was said with a tone of authority. She really did not want to call Dave to get him to calm down, but she may have to if he didn't calm on his own. "She's okay! I was able to help her. She's fine now. I promise."
"I want to see. I have to see." His voice was almost desperate as he said that.
Against her better judgment, Samantha picked up the phone and asked if Terri had been transferred back to her room. Getting the affirmative, she nodded to Jonathan. Standing, she moved toward the door. Before she opened it however, she stopped, her body between him and the door, not letting him through.
"I don't think this is the best of ideas. But I will be there, and so help me if you do anything to hurt this girl, I'll hurt you myself and don't think I can't, Jon!" There was a promise in her voice and a steel in her eyes.
He simply nodded, heeding her words, knowing she meant what she said...