I just want to give a warning that this chapter contains blood, and a few swear words.
Stella, sitting alone in the On Call Room, stopped crying when she heard her pager go off.
“Need you in ER again”
Stella wasn’t sure if she could handle another round of triage, but she knew that she had to put Brandon out of her mind for now. Being a doctor means that you have to put your personal feelings aside and do what is best for the patient. Stella wiped the tears from her eyes and tried to regain her composer as she jogged back to the ER. When she turned the corner she saw Sarah standing in front of the doors.
“Before you go in there, you need to brace yourself,” Sarah held Stella by the shoulders as Stella swallowed the lump in her throat.
“They just brought a few more injured solders from the base,” Sarah was speaking slowly to try to keep Stella calm. “And Brandon Crowe is one of them.“
At the mention of his name Stella pushed past Sarah and burst through the ER doors.
Stella spotted Brandon on the third bed to the left of her.
“Brandon,” Stella grabbed his hand, “can you hear me?”
“He is unconscious, but alive,” Dr. Meeks came from behind Stella to begin prepping Brandon for the operating room. “We are taking him in to surgery now to remove all of the shrapnel.”
Stella followed Brandon as far as the doctors would let her go; to the doors of the Operating Room.
“Don’t worry, Brandon is in good hands,” Sarah said before she sent Stella to the waiting room. “Dr. Hart is the best. Plus, he will have me assisting him. And I will personally let you know as soon as we are done.”
Stella found her three aunts already in the waiting room. The four of them embraced in a group hug, and for the first time today Stella started to feel a bit better.
Stella filled her aunts in on Brandon’s condition, then they had some news for her too.
“We got all of the details from your friend Mike, who’s father had talked with General Moore.” April started explaining what had happened after the helicopter crash. “Several of the soldiers got trapped inside the next bunker, which had only one accessible entry in or out. Brandon and a few of the other solders cleared some of the rubble away so the trapped soldiers could escape, but most of them had to be carried away.“
“Brandon went back and forth pulling his fellow solders from being trapped from the bunker.” May added. “But General Moore was calling for everyone to fall back, because the fire was spreading faster than they could put out and getting dangerously close to the ammo.”
“Brandon was helping a man out of the bunker when the ammo went off, sending shrapnel flying everywhere.” June took over telling the story. “But even while he was bleeding and limping, Brandon helped the other man get to the paramedic safely. He even wanted to make sure that everyone else was taken away before he agreed to be taken to the hospital. Brandon passed out somewhere along the way.”
It was the longest two hour wait of Stella’s life. She hated feeling so helpless. There was nothing for her to do but pace the floor in between sips of stale cold coffee. At least she had her aunts with her. Aunt April, Aunt May, and Aunt June never left Stella’s side. Eventually, Sarah came back with an update.
“Dr. Hart had to remove a lot of shrapnel, and Brandon lost a lot of blood,” Sarah informed them, “right now he is still critical, but I think that the worst is over.”
“Can I see him?” Stella ached to see Brandon.
“He won’t be awake yet, but they put him in Room 315.”
The elevator was too slow, so Stella sprinted up the three flights of stairs to room 315. June was quick behind her, while April and May opted to wait.
Tears filled Stella’s eyes as she saw Brandon laying in the bed. He was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and machines. Stella knew exactly what those machines meant. He’s alive. Still unconscious, but alive!
Stella took a seat next to Brandon’s bed. She wasn’t sure that Brandon would hear any of this, but Stella couldn’t keep her feelings bottled up any longer.
“I’m sorry I pushed you away for as long as did. Because I love you. I have always loved you. I was just scared to admit it to myself. I was scared of getting hurt or abandoned again. But what scared me the most was when I thought that I had lost you.“
When Stella finished her speech she felt a light squeeze of her hand. Brandon was awake, but too weak to open his eyes. He was too groggy to speak coherently, but Stella knew that Brandon had mumbled something. Stella leaned in closer to try to hear him better.
Brandon parted his chapped lips and softly, very quietly, said, “I love you too.”
Like most writers I recently suffered from some crazy writer’s block. Whenever this annoying bug hits me I like to listen to the radio. I love how music can evoke all kinds of emotions. Everyone has that one, or two, songs that when they hear it they think back to their first love or their first heartbreak.
I wanted to find that song for Stella. I wanted to find that song that would help me best describe her emotions as she fights her conflicting feeling. The fight between the giant wall around her heart, and her love for Brandon that has laid siege to those walls. And I think that I found that song. And I want to play it here: