First Offense

First Offense by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Read Free Book Online

Book: First Offense by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
him, opening the door and peering inside to make certain the head nurse was still busy with another patient. He knew Lucy Childers, and she was a stickler for rules. Cop or no cop, she owned the recovery room. Once she had banged Reed on the head with a bedpan when he refused to follow orders. Placing a finger over his mouth. Reed jerked David’s hand and pulled him inside the room, walking quickly to Ann’s hospital bed.
    “Is she asleep?” David said, tears in his eyes. “She looks so white.”
    Reed draped his arm over the boy’s shoulders and nudged him closer to the bed, reaching behind him to pull the white drapes closed. “Talk to her, guy. She’s supposed to wake up now. When she hears your voice, she’ll wake up for sure.”
    David’s stubby fingers locked on the railing as he leaned close to his mother’s face. “Mom, can you hear me? It’s David. I love you. Mom. Be brave. Be a big girl.” He turned to Tommy. “That was stupid. I don’t know what to say. She used to tell me all the time to be a big boy. Uh, you know,” he said, self-consciously, “until I got fat.”
    “David,” Ann mumbled, her eyes opening to glaring overhead lights and sharp medicinal odors. Even though seven hours had passed, in her mind she was still on the sidewalk. Her eyes darted frantically around the room as reality slowly took hold and she realized she was in a hospital. Before her eyes settled on David’s face, however, the drugs pushed her down and her head sank back into the pillow.
    Like slides passing before her eyes, Ann could see the scene on the sidewalk, feel the bullet ripping into her flesh, smell the distinctive odor of blood. But it wasn’t the pain that terrified her, it was lying on that sidewalk screaming for help, fearing that no one would ever come to her rescue. She ran her tongue over her cracked lips, tried to swallow but found her mouth too dry. Then she heard someone else talking, but the voice seemed far away. She was safe, she told herself, her fingers closing on the edge of the blanket. She was in a hospital and she was alive. Nothing else mattered.
    “Ann, it’s Tommy,” the detective said softly. “And David’s here with me. You’re in the hospital, honey, and you’re going to be fine. We’re all here for you.”
    David eagerly took his cue. “Yeah, Mom, we’re all here. You’re going to be fine. Does it hurt? Where did the bullet go in? Did it come out the other side?”
    Reed winced, shaking his head at David. Then he whispered in the boy’s ear, “Try to talk about something other than bullets.”
    Ann heard her son’s voice but kept slipping back under. David was here. She had to be strong for him. Just thinking of the setback this could cause him chilled her to the bone. “David,” she called, her eyes still closed. “David—”
    “I’m here. Mom.”
    Her mind was spinning, dozens of images coming at her at once. She saw herself holding Hank’s picture in her hands, but she couldn’t remember where or when. Then she remembered thinking he was there, had actually come to rescue her. Things were so jumbled that she couldn’t sort through them. “Long hair,” she mumbled, remembering the man’s hair brushing across her face. “The man…where’s the man with the hair?”
    Reed sprang to life, thinking Ann could be describing her attacker. “Ann, did you see the person who did this?”
    She shook her head and ran her tongue across her lips again. “Didn’t see the suspect. The man…who stopped. Who was he?” She’d been so certain it was Hank. But she knew it was just a hallucination. Of course, she would think of Hank during a crisis. The man had been her husband, her protector.
    “The man who stopped was Jimmy Sawyer, Ann,” Reed told her. “Says he’s one of your probationers. When he saw you stumbling on the sidewalk, he stopped. He was trained in first aid. Said his father’s a doctor.”
    Why? she was asking herself. Her outrage at why someone

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