up the front lawn to my house.
I waved at him.
I had to take my old beater Chevy ¾ Ton since it was the only thing not blocked in, and until I was reminded the moment I got in it that I needed to have the transmission worked on.
She drove, though, which was all that I needed at that point in time.
Tasha’s loft apartment over the bar wasn’t in my favorite part of town.
Earlier in the week, I’d gone over there to tell her about her car and had barely contained my fury when I realized what kind of shitty locks she had.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that if any one of the drunks from downstairs wanted up here, it wouldn’t take more than a boot to the door to get through.
But as I climbed her outside stairs, I realized that the boot to the door wouldn’t be necessary if she left the goddamned door unlocked as she had when she’d gotten home.
I twisted the knob, much to my annoyance, and went inside.
I froze when I heard crying.
“Tasha?” I called loudly.
“In here,” she whimpered softly.
I followed the sounds of her quiet sobs and froze when I saw her in a tight ball on the bathroom floor.
“What’s wrong?” I dropped down to my knees beside her.
“I don’t know. Stomach hurts. Bad,” she whispered, pain filling her voice.
“Tell me what you’re feeling. How does it hurt?” I pushed.
“It’s like everything is all wrenched up inside. My whole belly feels like a dull throb,” she croaked. “And I can’t stop throwing up.”
I didn’t hesitate to scoop her up.
She felt light in my arms, and the way her head lolled limply against my chest let me know just how not alright she was.
She couldn’t even lift her arms high enough to wrap them around my neck.
“Am I gonna need to grab a bowl?” I asked her.
“I don’t know,” she moaned, burying her face into my shirt as she started to cry once again.
The ride to the hospital was terrible, and the whole time I wanted to scream each time she did.
I didn’t handle crying women well, but crying women in pain topped the list of torture for me.
I’d made it through BUDs training and multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, but nothing made me feel worse than this.
“We’re here,” I told her, pulling up under the ER’s entrance thirty minutes later.
She nodded her head where it rested on my thigh, and I slowly put the truck in park, got out, and moved around to the passenger door.
She was exactly where I left her only moments before, and I reached in and pulled her out.
The security guard saw me, narrowed his eyes and hurried to my side.
“What’s wrong with her?” he barked.
I guess it was the biker look that had him concerned.
I concerned a lot of people, but right then I didn’t have time for him to spew shit about me.
“She’s having belly pains and is vomiting uncontrollably,” I told him.
A man in grey scrubs walked out of a side room covered in glass windows, and brought a wheelchair with him.
“If she stretches out, it gets worse. I’ll carry her for you,” I spoke to the big man.
He looked like The Hulk in scrubs.
“What’re her symptoms?” The Hulk asked.
I repeated what Tasha had told me.
“Any rebound pain?” he questioned, raising his badge from his pocket and waving it in front of an electronic key pad.
The doors swung open, and he took me immediately to the examination room closest to the nurse’s station.
Nurses and a doctor slowly trickled in as I placed Tasha down on the gurney.
When I started to back up, she reached out like a snake and grabbed my hand before I could make it two steps.
“Stay,” she pleaded.
I wasn’t totally heartless, after all.
“Sir,” a woman in blue scrubs spoke. “How long has she been like this?”
I answered questions as another nurse tried, time after time, to get an IV started on Tasha.
She laid there limply, with her eyes closed and pain etched across her face.
On the fifth try, I was