Pets Chapter 51 (Richard): Waking up to reality

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This entry is part 51 of 48 in the series Pets

I was awoken by a knock on the door of the apartment. I took a look and saw that Ellie was sleeping next to me, but Amber wasn’t in the bedroom.

I heard the door open and Amber talking with a hushed voice.

I located clean boxers, a pair of pants and a t-shirt and got dressed in a hurry. Ellie was still in deep sleep.

I tiptoed out of the bedroom and gently closed the door behind me.

Amber, dressed in her school clothes, was talking to two uniformed police officers, a male, and a female. I had never seen any of them. The male police officer was tall and rather old, while the female was African American and rather young and short.

“Oh, I guess he is awake. Richard, these police officers wanted to talk to you”.

I approached them, wondering what was going on.

Both took their hats off. Wasn’t that a bad sign?

“Sir, sorry to wake you up, but we thought you wanted to know. The police officer you helped yesterday is out of intensive care and has regained consciousness. He is asking to talk to you and we were wondering if we could bring you to the hospital”, said the older man.

“Sure, but you look serious, is something wrong? Is he going to live?”, I replied, worried.

“Oh yes”, said the female officer.

“It’s just…”, the man said.

“Yes?”, I said.

“Well, they are going to have to amputate his leg.”

“What?”, I said. “It was just a bullet!”

“Well, yeah, but it got infected. It’s not your fault, without you, he would have probably died. It’s just that his surgery is planned in 2 hours and he would like to thank you personally before going under anesthesia again. I mean, if it’s not too much trouble…”, he added.

“No, not at all, let me get properly dressed”

I turned toward the bedroom and saw the door open, with a completely nude Ellie standing in the doorway, still half asleep. I panicked: the police officers had a perfect view of her body, but Amber quickly jumped to the occasion: she placed herself in the door frame, and invited the police officers to wait with her in the corridor.

I ran toward the bedroom and quickly explained the situation to Ellie.

“Want me to get dressed and come with you as moral support?”

“Don’t you have class this morning?”, I said.

“So do you, and I think we have a pretty good excuse”

“Sorry they saw you like that”

“I don’t think you understand me if you have to say that…”

I thought about it and realized that not once had she been ashamed of being seen nude. At the Black Lotus Dungeon, she had had no problem being naked, same at her parent’s house.

I kissed her, it seemed the logical thing to do, and we both got dressed in a hurry.

We still grabbed our school things and joined Amber and the two police officers in the corridor. They were talking about their job on the force or something like that but stopped when we exited.

“Can my girlfriend come too?”, I asked while sending a sorry vibe to Amber.

“Sure”, replied the female. Amber wished us good luck and returned in the apartment, probably to prepare for school and I hoped she wasted mad at me or anything like that.

We sat at the back of their police cruiser. It felt odd since this is were criminals usually sit but they made no comments on that, or on Ellie’s nudity.

Despite the lack of emergency lights or a siren, we quickly made it to the hospital. I think that people prefer to let a police car move in front of them rather than fighting to be in front of it.

We had no problems parking, however: the police car just stopped in the ambulance parking zone and the officers opened the doors for us (there are no handles to open the door at the back of a police cruiser).

We were both escorted by the two officers inside of the labyrinthine hospital until we reached a room on the 3rd floor with a police officer next to it. He opened the door for us and Ellie and I were guided inside but were left alone in the room with the patient.

I could barely recognize him. He had bandages on part of his face, and an IV tube going into his arm.

“Is that you, kid?”, he asked.

I replied with a hesitant yes.

“Come closer please, with the pain medication, I can barely focus my eyes. Is that your girlfriend next to you? Hey, you were great in the car. If only more kids were like you, our job would be much easier”

“Thank you officer”, Ellie replied, very calmly.

“But seriously dude, they told me what you did. Thanks to you, I’ll see my wife and my kid again. Heck, I already did, this morning. They are in the cafeteria. Go see them after you’re done with me, alright? Thanks, dude. Sorry, I am rather out of words, the pain meds…”

“Sorry I couldn’t do more for your leg”, I said.

“Hey, I lose consciousness. Do you know what happens to a cop who loses consciousness during a shout-out? He doesn’t regain it, like, ever. You are a God damn hero. I don’t care about my leg, you saved my life. I’ll live another day thanks to you.”

I blushed.

“Listen, guys, I’d love to talk more, but this morphine is serious stuff. I wanted to say thanks. Oh, and They bagged your belt. I’ll give it back to you if you want, but I’d rather buy you another one. They tell me the garrot you did with it is the only thing that kept me alive. The bullet was in an artery. I would have bled out completely in what, a minute? Maybe two? You made me survive way longer than that. That belt is getting framed.”

“Yeah, sure. It’s part of my uniform, don’t sweat it, my boss will get me another one”

“Thanks. Go see my wife, she is a lot more coherent than I am.”

I didn’t know what to do, but Ellie pulled me and we left the room.

I had tears in my eyes. It was just too much to bear.

The two police officers were still there, in front of the door and silently, they guided us to the cafeteria where they brought us in front of a woman who visibly hadn’t slept, and who was trying to drink a coffee. In front of her was a 6 or 7-year-old girl, sleeping on her arms on the table.

The women lifted her head and when she saw me, she asked the police officer “Is that him?”

The older police officer nodded and the women jumped on her feet to hug me. She held on tight, and tried, a few times, to say something but held tight, silently.

I could see Ellie who was gently rubbing the women’s shoulder in empathy and a tear was also in her eyes.

Eventually, she just added, without breaking the hug. “Thank you for bringing him back to us”.

I managed to say she was welcomed, but I am not sure it sounded very coherent.

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