Chapter 27 – Morning after Attack

(Text in orange is to provide some orientation about this excerpt’s intended location)

Suddenly, he understood why Dad blamed Doug for Mom’s death. If Doug had the means to stop bad things from happening, he should do it all the time! And if he couldstop such things, but didn’t, wasn’t he almost as guilty as the bad guy—aiding and abetting, in a sense?

Chris shifted uncomfortably. How could he, in good conscience, ally himself with someone who allowed such things to happen—especially when associating with Doug put him directly in Stan’s crosshairs? Maybe he should leave the race and live a quiet life away from them both. Grandma would certainly understand his quitting if she had known the whole truth.

These questions taunted him all night. And the more he considered them, the more the raw, intense fury initially directed at the attacker became redirected at Doug.

Susana woke up shortly after Debora left for her morning run. As her eyes fluttered open, they focused on him, and her brows furrowed. “Did you stay all night?”

“Yeah. I promised I would, didn’t I?”

“Wow. Thank you.”

“How do you feel?”

“Not too bad. I’m kind of surprised I slept so well considering how much everything hurt last night.”

“So you don’t remember the ice packs and pain medicine?”

“What do you mean?”

“I guess that’s a no.” To her puzzled expression, he explained, “Josh had me give you the pain killers every three hours so you could sleep better.”

“You did that for me?”


“But that must mean you didn’t sleep much.”

He shrugged. “I’m fine.” She frowned, and he objected, “Don’t worry about me. I’m just so glad you’re here instead of—” He decided not to elaborate on any one of the three gazillion scenarios that had run through his head last night. “I’m just so glad you’re okay, tesoro. I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you.”

Grasping his hand, she murmured, “Thank you. Thank you for everything.”

“You’re welcome.” He lifted her hand to his lips. “Okay, enough lazing around. Can you get up?”

“Of course I— Ay!” She grabbed her side and collapsed back down. Looking up at him, she giggled. “Maybe not.”

“Yeah, I thought it might be a problem. You can’t use the muscles in your side to sit up, you won’t be able to push up with your left hand, and you can’t lay on your left side to push up with your right. So let’s try this …”

He stood up and slowly lifted her up to a sitting position. She then went to the refrigerator to start breakfast while Chris began making up her bed. But between the poor grip in her right hand and the braces on her left, she couldn’t even get the refrigerator open.

When Chris looked up, Susana was holding both hands out in front of her, flopping them around like flippers. “I look like a seal!” She barked like one and then erupted in laughter. Grabbing her side, she added, “A seal with a side stitch!”

Chris pulled her into a hug as he joined her laughter. “Only you could make a joke out of this.”

But as he held her close, a wave of emotion swept through him. He had come so close to losing her yesterday! “I love you, Suze. I’m sorry I didn’t remind you of that when you needed to hear it.”

Josh walked in just as Chris was planting a kiss on the top of her head. “Smooching again?”

“We were until we were so rudely interrupted,” Chris said with a grin. “What do you want?”

His coach laughed. “I thought Susana may need help getting up. But it looks like you figured it out. So, how about some breakfast? I’ve already got it made.”

“Oh, goodie,” Chris said to Susana. “We get to start the day with Josh’s cooking.”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cesar
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 23:16:47

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