Home > Reunited on Sugar Maple Road(9)

Reunited on Sugar Maple Road(9)
Author: Debbie Mason

Cal straightened and looked her over. “No headaches? No dizziness?”

“I’m fine. I just want to go home.”

“Maybe later today. I’ve ordered more bloodwork, another chest X-ray, and an MRI.” He glanced at his phone. “Dr. Rashida, the neurologist, will probably want to run more tests too.”

“No way.” She threw back the covers with the thought of getting out of bed but the pinch of the tubes attached to her hand had her flopping against the pillow. “I don’t need more tests. I feel like a pincushion. I just need to sleep, and I can’t do it here.”

It was true, but she also wanted to be alone with Brad. At home where she wouldn’t have to worry someone would walk in and catch her talking to him. She fussed with the blanket so her brother wouldn’t notice her sneaking a peek in Brad’s direction. Brad lifted his eyebrows, nudging his head at Cal, who of course hadn’t taken his eyes off her.

“Where’s Bri?” she asked, hoping to distract him. Em also hoped her best friend could work her magic on Cal and get her released.

Cal drew his gaze from where Brad was standing, nothing in his expression indicating he saw anything out of the ordinary. Em wasn’t sure but she figured that’s how it worked. No one would see Brad but her. Still, underneath the relief that he was there, she had a niggle of doubt.

She couldn’t quite accept that this was real. Maybe if she was into the woo-woo like the Sisterhood, she wouldn’t be questioning that the man she loved was standing there with a half smile on his handsome face. But that wasn’t her. She questioned, analyzed, and evaluated the facts. She took nothing at face value. Those traits were what made her a good cop but right now they were stealing some of the joy of being reunited with Brad. She needed evidence she wasn’t imagining him.

“She went to grab you some breakfast,” Cal said, looking, she assumed, at her chart on his iPad.

“Great. I’m starved.”

“Figured you would be.” He rolled his shoulders.

“Were you here all night?”

“Yeah, so were Bri and Josh. We took turns sitting with you. Gus was banished to my office when he jumped on the bed and took out one of your lines. Gabe and a couple of your coworkers dropped by. Izzy too.”

Em had woken up once or twice in the night but had been barely able to open her eyes. She prayed it was the same for her mouth. “Did I talk to anyone? I don’t remember.”

“No. You were exhausted. You’ll need to take it easy, Em. No playing superhero for the next week at least,” he said, lowering the bed rail. “Same goes for Gus.” He told her how Gus had rescued Steve and how Josh had saved her. “Josh took Gus back to his place.”

She had a faint memory of seeing Gus and Josh in the ambulance, but it was foggy, and she’d been focused on Brad. “Steve, Jenny, and their little girl are okay?”

He nodded. “We kept mom and daughter overnight for observation and, like you, we’ll run a few more tests on Steve before he’s released. I’m sure they’ll want to stop by and thank you before they leave.”

“I was just doing my job. Right place, right time.”

“You would think that, Freckles. But everyone around here thinks you’re a hero, including Steve and his family, so you’re just going to have to put up with the gratitude and accolades.” He grinned when she groaned. “And you might want to prepare yourself for a parade of visitors. The nurses have been fielding calls since news spread around town. Including from Phil and Patsy, who didn’t understand why they couldn’t see you since you’re family.”

Em and Cal shared a smile. Josh’s parents, Phil and Patsy, had basically adopted Em and Cal as members of their family. They’d had a standing invitation to all of the Callahan’s holiday celebrations, and not just the major ones. If Patsy had her way, they’d be celebrating something every week, and Phil would be right there with her.

Bri walked in carrying two large takeaway bags, her smile turning into a frown as she came around the bed. She shivered. “You must be freezing, Em.”

“No. Why?”

She waved one of the takeaway bags in Brad’s direction. “You don’t feel the draft?”

“Where exactly do you feel a draft?” Em asked, thinking this might be the evidence she was looking for.

Bri went and stood in Brad. “Right here.”

Em mentally pumped her fist. If Bri could feel something, it was evidence Em wasn’t suffering a hypoxic brain injury.

But then Cal, who was adjusting the hospital bed table over Em, glanced up at the ceiling. “You’re standing under the air vent, babe.”

And poof, just like that, her evidence disappeared. Thankfully, Brad didn’t.

“Maybe you can get them to close the vent. It can’t be good for Em.” Bri placed the takeaway bags on the table and leaned in to hug her. “We were so worried about you. When Cal told me…” She straightened, swiping a finger under her eye. “I’m just so glad you’re here, and you’re okay. I don’t know what we would’ve done if something had—”

Em had been ready to give up. If it wasn’t for Brad, she would have. She hadn’t thought about her brother and Bri and what losing her would’ve meant to them.

Afraid the guilt tightening her throat would be reflected on her face, Em cut off her best friend. “Please tell me you got me coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Highland Brew.”

“I did,” Bri said, opening the bags. “I also got you chocolate scones.” She held Em’s gaze as she laid everything out on napkins. “I know you don’t like sharing your feelings or dealing with anyone else’s, but we love you, and we nearly lost you. So you’ll have to get used to us being mushy and emotional for a little while.”

Em focused on a breakfast sandwich and picked it up. “For how long?”

She sensed her brother and Bri sharing a glance and heard the amusement in her best friend’s voice when she said, “Six weeks.”

“One, but I’ll give you an extra week if you can convince my overprotective brother to release me.” She went to take a bite of the sandwich, muttering around it, “I love you too. Both of you.”



“This is not what I had in mind when I asked you to convince Cal to release me,” Em said from the Camaro’s passenger seat. She glanced over her shoulder at Brad, who was sitting in the backseat, taking in the scenery. It was midafternoon, and the sun was shining on Blue Mountain. Bri had taken the long way around to avoid the scene of last night’s drama.

“Making frowny faces over your shoulder at your brother isn’t going to change his mind,” Bri said, easing up on the gas as she approached a hairpin curve.

“I don’t make frowny faces.” She made them all the time, as evidenced by the indent between her eyebrows, especially when she was on a case and trying to figure something out. Like how her dead fiancé was here and hanging out in the backseat of the Camaro.

“But if I was, it’s because I’m trying to figure out who’s in the vehicle behind Cal.” She hoped there was a vehicle behind her brother’s Jeep. It was the only excuse she could come up with for why she kept looking back and frowning.

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