His head, the pain was blinding. He squeezed his eyes shut to prevent tears from forming. “Men don’t cry!” He opened them again. Voices! He tried to focus on the faces above him. What was happening? What were they doing to him? Where is Eve?
Eve grinned in the entrance of the cabin, fully dressed. “Looking for me?”
“Eve!” He tugged on his shirt. “I thought I had been dreaming.”
“Can you hear me, sir?” someone shouted. “Stay with me, man.”
I want to stay with Eve.
She approached him and pushed him back down onto the sofa and sat on his lap. Placing her arms around his neck, she kissed him softly. “It was very real. You certainly haven’t lost your touch.”
He hugged her tightly, grinning like a fool. “It’s all coming back to me now. You, my dear, are very naughty,” he teased.
“What can I say? You bring out the tiger in me,” she laughed.
Eve? Eve, don’t leave me!
The smell of blood and oil filled his nostrils. “I am surprised you didn’t bleed milk, you wimp.” His father’s eyes, cold and cruel, loomed above him as he wagged a gun in his face. Julian groaned. “Stop whining, for god’s sake. It was only a graze.”
“Stay with me, sir!” Something slipped over his mouth. Suddenly it was easier to breathe. “Let’s get him on the gurney…One, two…now.”
He was moving up, closer to the faces; then lowered away again. Where were they putting him? It felt soft and smelled like a hospital. “I need to get to the hospital... I need to see Dr. Russell, only Dr. Russell.”
“We need to get him to the ER immediately.”
“I was on my way to the hospital. What happened?”
She’s still here!
Eve smiled deeply and kissed him. “I can’t deny it any longer, Julian. I need you; I love you. Make love to me.”
“It looks like he slid off the road and hit a tree. He has a nasty cut on his head that is bleeding pretty badly. He’s been drifting in and out of consciousness. They are ready to transport him to the hospital. You should meet them there.” Is he talking about me? Where is Eve?
She touched him. Her gloves felt cold. Only a gurgling sound came from his throat. His arm wouldn’t respond to his desire to reach for her. Eve, don’t leave me again! Doors creaked and then slammed loudly. Her muffled cry filled his ears. I want to be with Eve. Take me back…please…take me back!! His mind screamed as the taste of blood filled his mouth and everything went black.
Earlier that evening, Eve jumped when her pager went off. Oh, no! TC will be so upset!
“Dr. Russell.” She got up from the sofa. “I’ll be right there.” The phone snapped shut.
“Well, so much for our romantic evening!” TC set the wine glasses he had just brought from the kitchen down on the coffee table.
“I’m sorry. That was the hospital. There was an accident; I have to go.” Eve grabbed her jacket and keys.
“I’m going with you. I am not letting you drive in this weather alone.” He put his coat on. “We will take my truck.”
“Thank you, TC.” Eve breathed a sigh of relief. At least he isn’t too mad.
“I know you took an oath, Eve, but sometimes I wish you weren’t a doctor,” he said as they locked the house and headed for the truck.
“TC…” Eve sighed. He said nothing as they climbed into the truck and headed out of the driveway. Eve stared out the side window. Not a few hours before, the roads were still visible when she had walked home from her meeting with Julian. He must be halfway to New York by now. Hot tears splashed onto her cheek.
TC slowed the truck to a crawl. Flashing lights lit up the road ahead of them. “Looks like an accident.”
Eve unbuckled her seatbelt anxiously. “Stop the truck, TC; I want to see if I can help.” TC pulled the truck over to the side of the road.
Eve jumped out, slammed the door shut and rushed toward Sam Bennett.
TC unbuckled and followed her.
Sam greeted them with a worried frown. “I was on my way to the hospital. What happened?” Eve asked as she moved closer. Steam rose from a crumpled car.
Sam touched her arm. They were about to put the gurney into the ambulance. Eve pulled away from him and moved toward the victim, whose face was obscured with an oxygen mask. A gurgling sound came from his throat as blood bubbled out the side of his mouth underneath the ventilator.
Reaching out to touch him, Eve felt her legs go numb. She collapsed against TC. “Julian! Oh god, how can it be Julian?” Her cries filled the air as Julian was pushed into the ambulance. Siren wailing, it raced down the snow covered street toward the hospital.
“Eve, Eve!” TC shook her. “Get a hold of yourself.” Eve sobbed louder. “What the hell is wrong with you? It’s only Julian Crane! It’s not like he’s your husband, or that you will lose anything if he dies!”
Eve trembled as he shook her. Gripping his arms, she shook her head. “No, no, no, he won’t die; he can’t die.” Her cheeks hot from tears, her breath short and ragged. “I won’t let him… I love him too much… I love him too much.” TC released her.
Sam caught her in his arms when she slipped against him. “Eve, I know you have a history with Julian, but TC is your husband.” Alarm laced his tone. He was trying to defend his friend.
Shocked, Eve pulled back from Sam’s arms. Her eyes blurred with tears, she looked at TC. Anger and hurt masked his face. It was snowing harder. She shivered with cold and regret.
Without a word, or even so much as a glance at her, TC turned away from her. He didn’t seem to care that she had no ride as he got into his truck and sped off, his back end fishtailing on the slippery road.
Eve wiped her gloved hand across her face as she stared after him. “TC…” She started crying again.
Sam placed an arm around her and walked her toward his car. “I’ll take you to the hospital.”
Eve nodded numbly. “I’m sorry, Sam. I didn’t mean for it to come out like this. I didn’t mean to hurt TC. He’s been so forgiving of my past with Julian. He didn’t deserve this.”
Sam helped her into the cruiser. “I know you didn’t mean to hurt him, but you did. For your sake and TC’s, I hope you would figure out who you want to be with, once and for all.”
Eve stared out the window aimlessly. Who do I want to be with?