[Yup. Welcome back everybody - Louise has gone back to college.]
I hate the ER. No joke.
Only this time it was Mac with me, instead of Murphy. We were waiting for X-Rays to come back on my ankle. There had been five minutes left in the game, I'd gone to clear the ball which meant that my left was planted, and some - some - some asshat slid into me after the ball was halfway down the field, and through the ankle. Asshat got a yellow and I got assisted off the field by Mac because there was no idea how much damage was done.
Which was why Mac and I were at the ER. Fabulous.
"It's not broken," I said, gnawing on my thumbnail. "Can't be broken."
Mac looked at me, reclining in the hard chair with his feet on the side of the bed. "If it's broken, it's broken. We'll deal."
I looked at it, the it, being the ankle. The damn joined was swollen and purple - almost the size of a softball. The more I looked at it, the more I realized there was the distinct possibility that it might be broken.
"Can't be broken," I muttered.
Mac slapped a hand over his face. "Okie...." It was practically a growl, a clear warning and yeah, I ignored it.
"Mac, it's not broken." My head thumped against the pillow, right leg hanging off the side of the bed. I'd changed out of the uniform and into sweats and a long-sleeved shirt, and then Mac had driven me. And we waited. Which was another reason to hate hospitals.
"Olivia. If it's broken, it's broken, and we'll deal," he said. He looked at me. And looked like he was missing something. He was, actually, but he's a smart man. He'll figure it out, and then this is not a conversation I want to have with Mac in the freakin' ER.
My phone buzzed in my pocket. I didn't have to look to know it was Murphy.
Well...that was up for debate. 'Where are you?' I typed.
He got back to me pretty quick. Fishbowl. liam & i need to come get u? sasha told me.
Mac gave me a suffering look as I typed. 'No, Mac's here. I might need some help when I get there.' And there were also a few things to talk about. Things to come clean on.
I stuffed the phone in my pocket. That was me in all my Polish glory. The ER doc stood in those puke-green scrubs in the doorway with a folder - mine - and it was pretty thick. "It's not broken," he said. I would have jumped for joy if Mac wouldn't have murdered me right then and there. "But, in the long run, you might have done better to actually break it outright. It's badly sprained. I'm putting you in an air cast with no weight for four weeks, and then you'll see an orthopedic doctor and go from there." Hadn't noticed the air cast he was holding. He snapped it on with ruthless efficiency and produced discharge papers. A nurse came along with crutches. I signed the papers, balanced on one leg so they could fit the crutches to my short legs, and then hobbled out with Mac.
"Someone going to help you up?" Mac asked once I was loaded in the car.
"Yeah," I said, staring out the window, hangin' on to my control by my big toenail. And that was putting it mildly. I dug out my phone. 'We're almost there, can you meet me at the door?'
Mac pulled up in the parking lot by the building. "See me tomorrow before practice."
"Can do." I got out. "Thanks." This was not my first time walking with armpit legs.
Murphy was absolutely beautiful. He opened the door from the inside as I hobbled up and then hugged me once I was in, crutches and all. "Not broken?"
He let me to go to kiss my forehead. Devan appeared behind him in the stairwell.
"I'll take your crutches, Ollie," he said, snatching them before I could protest. No doubt he and Murphy were in cahoots. "Ours or yours?"
"Mine, please." I looked at Murphy, trying to keep my balance. "I have some things...I have some answers for you."
"Oh-Kay." Murphy took my hand and squeezed. "How's a piggy-back ride?"
I nodded. He turned his back and sort of squatted, his hand under my left thigh and caught the right one when I pushed off. I clung to his back, arms wrapped loosely around his neck and we ascended the stairs. My ride was spent mostly freaking out about things: Calling my mother and telling her I was out of action once again; explaining my pill bottles to my four-day boyfriend; trying to figure out how to do normal things like showering and even getting in and out of bed (the thing has the mini-fridge under it, so it's about three foot in the air, not including the thickness of the mattress) and a whole bunch of other stuff. There was the distinct possibility there was an ulcer in my future, too. After the heart attack, of course.
Devan had left my crutches leaning by the door and fished my keys out of my pocket and draped them over Murphy's shoulder.
Oh, yeah, also, my boyfriend was about to enter my corner single. And I couldn't remember if the place was picked up or there was stuff strewn everywhere.
Murphy pushed open the door and flicked on the light. It crackled into existence, humming contentedly from the ceiling. He nabbed the crutches and, once he let me down and I had them in my possession, hobbled to turn on the semi-illegal Medusa lamp in the dormer. Murph turned off the overhead and I sank into the moon chair.
The door shut. Rather anticlimactically, too.
"This is it," I said, heaving myself to my foot and hopping to the bed. Murph wrapped big hands around my waist and assisted me up. And yes, there on the floor, not quite in the dirty clothes pile, was my sports bra. Fabulous. If he noticed, he didn't say anything. He just kind of rose up on his toes and simply sat next to me. Long-legged football boy.
"It's nice," he said. I had some posters up, and some photos. He gently took one from my Vera ribbon board. It was small and square, with rounded corners; a man and woman in a church.
"That's my parents." While he was distracted with that, I reached over to my dresser and with dexterity born from waiting tables, retrieved my various bottles. He put the photo back; I dropped the bottles between us with a rattle. "I was really sick last year. I had pain here," I touched my lower belly, "and nobody could figure out why. I had tests and blood work, more pokes and prodding and Gyno visits, and I had surgery." I swallowed. Explaining this was sometimes really difficult and semi-embarrassing, and other times it was something that showed an inner strength. Not sure which occasion this was. "I have three scars on my belly. Two on the sides and my belly button was cut in half." I raised the hem of my shirt to show him where my umbilical cord had been cut nineteen years ago, where it was sliced neatly in half from the bottom going back. "Please ignore any lint."
He chuckled, reaching out to tickle my side until I caught his hand. "That what the OTC stuff is for?"
"Nope. I thought I was okay, and then I had more issues and had to see a GI doc. Who did another pleasant medical procedure, figured out the problem, and gave me the stuff to take to keep me functional." Took a deep breath. "I take ten pills a day for a crazy-straw digestive system, can't stomach white pasta, and soda. Actually, can't do anything with carbonation. And that's me."
He squeezed my fingers. "And you take these and you're good to go?"
"Every day. Or I can't function." Which was the bare, simple truth to the entire situation.
"And you're seeing if I'm okay with this?" He looked at me curiously; my stomach dropped into the laundry basket beneath the bed. "Don't get me wrong, ten pills is a little scary, but they have a function: So you can do what it is that you do. And I like you, so...yeah." He shrugged. "Weird things happen, especially to the human body, but you make the most of it."
"I know." I did, really. I knew that. Shit happened. Sugarland wrote a song about it that become my theme song over the summer. "But I don't want to have to tell my mom that I'm not okay again." And that's what it always came down to. That was the most difficult thing: Telling my mother I was some variation of sick again. Or, more accurately, in this case, telling her that I couldn't even stand on my own two feet without the left one probably collapsing.
"You should." Murphy scooted closer. "You know that you have to, and if you want, I can leave or I can sit right here and hang on." He squeezed my fingers. He pulled out his phone with his free hand, leaned in, and kissed my forehead again.
My wobbly lower lip was permission for him to keep his ass planted where it was. And this - this form of - caring (which was awesome, definitely) made me more jittery and edgy and I really wanted to hit him with one of my crutches.
"And please don't whack me with a damn crutch when you're done," he said.
Was I seriously that transparent? No, actually, I was just a moron who was mumbling to herself again. Go me. Must be the Polish-ness.