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Despite the superb water pressure, this motel was small, smaller than usual anyway. The others Lauren stayed in afforded her a modicum of privacy in that she could come and go easily without being noticed. This place, however, did not offer that luxury. Every amenity she would need was located in the main lobby under the watchful eye of the desk clerk. If she weren’t on the run, as it were, Lauren wouldn’t have minded. Despite the usual uses of motels, Lauren would not be enjoying such dalliances. But she was running, or hiding, and it didn’t help having to trade pleasantries with the desk clerk every time she needed ice or a snack from the vending machine.
“Here for more corn chips? You’re eating up our entire supply.”
Lauren smiled tightly. She’d need to move on from this motel soon. The fact that someone easily three hundred pounds was judging her eating habits didn’t annoy her half as much as the fact that he himself was gorging himself on a snack as well.
“Just here for ice this time.”
“Well, help yourself, Ms. Smith.”
It wasn’t the most imaginative name she could think of, but it was the only name she could think of. She’d given the name Lauren Smith when checking in into the first motel—paying cash of courseand the name just stuck.
Making haste to the ice machine, she winced as it roared and stuttered to life, sloppily dispensing the ice in the bucket.
“Good night,” she said absently on her way out the door stopping only when she got no replay in return. Who she now begrudgingly knew as Hank always made it a point to wish her a good night and ask after her breakfast accommodations. He also made it a point to stare at her breasts in the process.
To her chagrin what she suspected, and hoped upon hope wasn’t true, really was happening. Years of careless eating and zero exercise were catching up with ol’ Hanky and they were seeking their revenge on her watch.
“Of course,” Lauren murmured as she lost the bucket and rushed around the counter.
She thanked whoever was listening that he fell on his back, as she’d never be able to move him in order to issue life saving care.
“Hank, Hank can you hear me?”
His eyes rolled to the back of his head as his right hand fell away from his left arm.
Lauren now cursed whoever was listening that she’d have to do what was next. The convulsing ice machine was now a welcomed alternative as she placed her lips over Hanks. Giving him a few puffs of air, she pulled away with a loud smack and began chest compressions.
“One-one hundred, two-one hundred…”
She repeated the process, happy to see the adrenaline of helping was overtaking her germaphobia. As she breathed in to deliver another life saving burst of oxygen she realized that there was something obstructing the path. Not stopping to think, Lauren placed her fingers in his mouth looking inside for anything that could be impeding his survival. Seeing nothing, she sat back on her haunches only then seeing the outbreak of hives under the sheen of sweat on Hank’s pale skin.
Lauren changed tact, continuing the chest compressions as she looked around her immediately surroundings. Finding everything she needed Lauren pulled the hunting knife off Hanks belt, grabbed a jug Purrell, a pen and the cordless phone.
Everything around her disappeared as set up of a makeshift surgical station. When her hands, the pen and the knife were all thoroughly disinfected she cut open Hank’s shirt so she’d have an unobstructed view of the incision point. With a quick press of the knife, and the insertion of the emptied pen body into Hank’s neck, one press on his chest sent out a flood of blood and fortuitously air.
Smiling triumphantly, Lauren blew into the pen happy to see Hank’s chest rise and fall and resumed chest compressions with one hand as she phoned 911 with the other.
“What the fuck did you do lady?”
Lauren was happy to see the EMT for all of two seconds. Frowning disapprovingly she ignored the comment and began rambling off instruction.
“The patient is suffering from anaphylaxis from whatever is in that bag there, I’m guessing the peanut oil. I’ve inserted a…”
By the end of the diatribe the once judgmental EMT was an apologetic one.
“Okay, you heard her,” she said to her partner, “let’s get him on the gurney and to the hospital.”
Lauren stepped back as the young lady expertly injected an IV and stabilized his neck for good measure. She took his vitals with aplomb and Lauren wondered at her obvious efficiency at such a young age. It wasn’t lost on her that she was pretty too. More important than all of that was the efficient manner in which the two EMTs got Hank’s girth onto the gurney.
“Do you want to ride along, doc?”
“No, I don’t think—how did you know I was a doctor?”
“Pretty obvious, but the most noteworthy, you called him the patient. Habit doctors just can’t break.” The young ladies attention was broken when her partner got the mobile leads attached. “All set? Let’s roll.”
Lauren watched with pride as Hank was led outside to the ambulance. She knew he’d have a rough time for a while, but would ultimately be okay.
“Hey, are you here to apply for the ER spot at the hospital? You’re a shoe in after this.”
“No, no, I’m just passing through.”
The brunette hopped into the back and waited for her partner to get into the drivers seat. “Shame. What room are you in case the doctors have follow up questions?”
“Thirteen,” Lauren stuttered.
“Luckily thirteen.” The young EMT smiled and Lauren momentarily forgot that giving her room number to anyone was rule number one on her list of things to not do while on the run.
“Close ‘em up, Jess!” The driver called.
One door shut and Lauren was well on her way to an exit strategy when she was stopped again.
Lauren stared at her for what was only seconds, but considering the circumstances was tantamount to minutes. The EMT began to slowly roll away, yet the young EMT didn’t ask again, she just waited, something eerily familiar in her blue eyes.
“Lauren,” she finally said. What did it matter when she’d never see this woman again?
“Good work, Lauren. Hope we meet again,” was the last thing the young lady said before slamming the other door shut.
Lauren made it back to her room in a haze similar to the cloud of dust she stood in for long moments after the ambulance left. She was feeling the familiar high that accompanied performing medicine. Lauren was a doctor, a profession that easily became ones life. The time away from practicing was time away from her life, her very being.
It was in this moment that she realized that she couldn’t run forever. She hadn’t thought about what her end game would be. The light fae had always determined her fate and she’d grown comfortable in that order. She didn’t need to make decisions and that offered a certain simplicity. Now, though, every single choice was her own.
After scrubbing herself of Hanks blood—and his bad breath—she packed her things for good measure. Preparation was never a disadvantage.
She stared at the heavy motel door feeling an odd reluctance to leave. It was startling juxtapose her usual compulsive desire to flee. Lauren absently wished she believed in a higher power, someone she could beg for a sign to make this easier. What little faith she had left after med school was surely extinguished by her knowledge of the fae. She’d literally watched men move mountains.
Lauren was teetering on the precipice of something and she hated the precariousness of that feeling. As she began to take rest on the knowledge that ones first instinct is often best…the phone rang.
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