“It’s not your fault, honey.” Jeff wraps his arm around me and hugs me to his side. He’s tall and broad like his sons, but he has fair hair and blue, kind eyes.
“I know,” I whisper.
“Come on, you can ride to the hospital with us,” Nancy offers.
I shake my head and back away toward my car. “That’s okay. I’ll meet you there. I need to change my clothes. Go on ahead and I’ll be right behind you.”
“Are you sure?” Jeff asks, his voice and face worried. “We’ll wait.”
“No.” I shake my head again and offer them a wobbly smile. “I’ll see you soon.”
I turn away and hurry into the house, grabbing my things and stuffing them into the suitcase I brought over Friday night when Josh asked me to spend the weekend with him.
An incredible, sexy, fun weekend.
And now, I’ve learned that he didn’t mean to invite me to live here and he blames me for his nephew’s being hurt.
I carry my things to the car and pull out. Josh’s parents’ car is gone.
I hit the highway and head to town, but when I get there, I turn toward my house rather than the hospital.
I told Seth I’d be there for him, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to show up where I’m not welcome. I’ll call Seth and check in on him later. I need a break from all this drama. I need some distance, and there is only one person I need to be with right now.
I pull up to my house, and as I pull my bag out of the car, I call Ty.
“I need a favor.”
“Shoot,” he says with a chuckle.
“I need a ride to the airport.” I unlock the front door and step inside, toss my keys in their bowl, and stride quickly to my bedroom.
“Are you okay?” His voice has lost its humor.
“No. Can you give me a ride?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t bought the ticket yet.” I pull the dirty clothes from my suitcase and throw them in the hamper, then randomly pull clean ones from my drawers and closet and replace them.
“Text me when you know what time.”
I hang up, zip my bag shut, and open my laptop, thankful that I just deposited my insurance check on Thursday, because this is going to be expensive.
Finding a flight out tonight, and feeling nauseous at the amount of money it costs me as I enter my credit card number, I text Ty with the info.
I need to leave in fifteen minutes.
Ty rings my doorbell in ten.
“Thank you,” I murmur earnestly as he takes my suitcase from me, watching me carefully.
“What’s wrong?” he asks softly.
I just shake my head, tears in my eyes. I have to hold it together until I get to Jilly.
He nods once and sighs. “Got it.”
“Where is Cara?” Seth cries, his eyes wild and afraid as he looks around the small emergency room at the hospital. “She said she’d be here.”
“Seth, I need you to calm down,” Dr. Anderson tells him firmly as he examines Seth’s ankle. “Order X-ray, stat,” he instructs his nurse. “We’re going to have X-ray come see you to see what’s happening in there, Seth. I’ll be back with the results in a bit.” The doctor smiles at all of us and hurries out of the room.
“I want Cara,” Seth repeats, crossing his arms over his chest and scowling.
“Where is she?” I ask my mom, who is standing in the opposite corner of the room, leaning against my dad’s chest.
“She said she would meet us here.” She shrugs and frowns. “She should be here soon.”
I pull my phone out of my pocket and dial Cara’s number, only to have it go straight to voice mail. I redial, just in case she was trying to call me at exactly the same moment, but it again goes to voice mail.
“Her phone is turned off,” I mutter.
“Hopefully it didn’t get ruined in the creek when she was holding Seth’s leg,” Zack responds, glaring at me.
What the hell?
Before I can respond, the X-ray techs bustle into the room.
“We need everyone out, please.” A young woman with blond hair, dressed in blue scrubs, pulls a high-tech X-ray machine into the room and positions Seth for the images.
“What the hell, man?” I mutter to Zack, out of our parents’ earshot. He simply shakes his head and hurries back into Seth’s room when the tech leaves.
I try Cara’s cell again, and my stomach clenches in fear when it goes straight to voice mail.
Where the fuck is she?
Long minutes later, the doctor returns with a grim look on his face and dark gray X-ray films in his hands. He pushes them against a backlit frame on the wall and turns to face us.
“I’m afraid I don’t have fantastic news. You did a good job on that ankle, Seth.” The doctor points to the anklebone on the film. I’m no doctor, and even I can see that it’s severely broken. “See here where the bone is completely separated from itself? This isn’t something that can heal with just a cast. I’m afraid you’re going to need surgery, buddy.”
“Can you do that here?” Zack asks with a frown.
“Yes, we have an excellent orthopedic team. We’ll get him into surgery in about twenty minutes.”
“That’s fast,” Mom mutters with surprise.
“We have an OR available, and I want to get this set as soon as possible.” The doctor smiles reassuringly at a shocked Seth. “Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine.”
The nurse bustles in to prepare Seth for surgery, and before we know it, the anesthesiologist arrives.
“I want Cara,” Seth whimpers. “She said we were in this together.”
“I know, buddy. She’ll be here when you wake up.”
Seth is whisked to surgery, and Zack, Mom and Dad, and I are led to the surgical waiting room, where we pour horrible coffee and wait.
I dial Cara’s number again and curse when I get voice mail.
“Where the hell is she?” I ask the room at large.
“I wouldn’t have followed you here either,” Zack replies calmly, and grimaces when he takes a sip of his coffee.
“What the hell, man? What is your problem?”
“You were a dick to her today, Bro.”
“I was not.”
“What happened?” Dad asks as I scowl at all of them.
“You should have seen him at the creek.” Zack shakes his head and throws his untouched coffee into the trash. “She was doing everything right, and he snapped at her to get the hell out of his way.”