I hadn’t been to Davy’s since before my accident, so when Brian suggested it I didn’t shoot him down. He knew me too well though because I would have googled to see if it was accessible, it wasn’t something I had ever thought about before. When I pulled in I was able to get a good spot without using the placard I tried to keep hidden in my glove box. I quickly assembled my chair and lowered myself into it, making sure that nothing was twisted, or out of place before heading in and checked to make sure my wallet was in my bag. Brian and I had been friends since college and even through all my rough times lately he stuck around. I couldn’t really ask for a better friend. He gave me space when I needed it but somehow always called just when I could use a buddy. He was already waiting on me when I wheeled through the door and silently nodded as we waited for a hostess.
I scanned the room briefly as we were led to the last remaining table and as the hostess removed the chair I quickly pulled into the table. I didn’t remember wing night at Davy’s ever being as crowded as it was tonight. The small establishment held maybe sixteen tables and had a decent sized bar and it was busy. Even with the hustle and bustle around us we fell into an easy conversation and before I knew it, it was after eight and some of the crowd had disappeared. Just as we were going to ask for our check I heard the crash and when I looked over I saw the girl slam her hand right into the broken glass around her feet. Quickly I wheeled over noticing the large shard still protruding from her hand.
“Don’t move…” I said as I approached her. “You really need to keep still till I can take a look at it.”
“What?” she asked flippantly her blue eyes finding mine.
“I’m a physician…you have…Taylor?” I answered the realization of who it was slamming into me. “You have a shard in your palm there,” I finished, pointing to her now bleeding hand.
“Oh my god…” she sputtered as she became aware of what was going on. “Holy shit, I’m bleeding!” she said loudly as her body wobbled.
“Hey Taylor, look at me. Don’t look at your hand, just focus on my voice,” I said softly, trying to get her attention away from her hand.
“I’m bleeding…” she said finally settling her brilliant eyes back on mine as I gently touched her hand.
“Who is your buddy behind the bar there Taylor?” I asked, gently turning her injured hand over to get a better look.
“Josh, he’s Josh,” she answered.
“JOSH, I need a few towels and some vodka,” I yelled before I winked at her.
It was a completely different person looking back at me compared to this morning. Her eyes were warmer and the anger had disappeared from her features making her appear softer. Brian was never going to believe this when I told him that the girl I ranted about for over half an hour was the same girl I was now trying to keep from passing out. Talk about coincidence. Before I could think any further into it, her cohort from behind the bar was at our side, towels and vodka in hand. He was eyeing me suspiciously as I held her hand in mine. I wondered if this was the boyfriend as I looked between him and her. I wasn’t one to really get intimidated by other guys but this guy was huge. He had to be at least 6’4” and probably pushing 250 pounds of solid muscle with a fresh buzz cut that looked like he just got off base.
“Hey Josh, I’m Elliot. I’m a physician,” I said looking up to meet his skeptical smirk.
“Taylor you want me to call Dave?” Josh asked.
“I think she is going to need to get checked out but let me try to stop some of the bleeding first,” I said to Josh.
“She is right here…bleeding…” she mumbled her body swaying too much for my liking.
“Whoa, Taylor, I need you to sit in that chair right there.” I said, calmly trying to guide her into the chair next to us. “There, now I’m going to turn your hand over and I want you to look at Josh, can you do that?”
She reluctantly broke eye contact with me, I could see the hint of fear in her eyes growing as she turned to the giant. I quickly and gently pushed around the three-inch shard of glass that was sticking out of her palm trying to determine if she hit any tendons or arteries. It looked okay but I wouldn’t want to pull it out of her hand before it was checked. Rule number one, never remove the object protruding from a body.
“Ouch,” she said sucking in sharply.
“Okay Taylor, we are definitely going to head to the ER. But first I need to do something to keep the glass in place. Do you guys have a back room or an office? I’d hate to do this while all these customers are staring at us,” I said, calmly drawing her attention back to me.
“Back through the kitchen man. I’m going to call Davy. He can come down and take you in,” Josh said sternly.
“I’ll go when we close up. I’ll be fine. I don’t want to bother him,” she said nearly begging Josh not to call her brother.
“I really think you need to get there sooner than what two AM?” I remarked on the way through the kitchen.
“Yeah Kiddo,” Josh agreed.
“Nope. Not going to bother Dave. I can hold off till close,” she said defiantly, a hint of anger finding its way through.
“I can take you in,” I nearly whispered as I trailed behind them, surprising myself.
“What?” she questioned, turning so quickly that I almost ran into her.
“I know some of the docs in the ER and we could get in and out pretty quick,” I answered, feeling my cheeks flush.
“I don’t even know you…and this morning…” she questioned.
“I was a jerk. I know. I’m sorry. Doesn’t mean I want you to bleed to death,” I tried to joke.
“Josh, the fine doctor here said he would take me to the ER,” she said, turning and entering the office behind Josh.
“How do you even know he’s a doctor Tay?” Josh questioned coming to stand between Taylor and I.
“I have my ID right here in my wallet, you can call the hospital and check,” I answered confidently pulling my wallet from the bag on my chair, this wasn’t the first time I’d been deemed unfit.
“Josh, just go take care of the bar, I won’t go till I talk to you first okay,” she tried to ease his mind some.
Slowly Josh left us alone in the room. “Boyfriend?” I questioned.
“Nah, more of an older brother type. What about you, that your boyfriend out there wondering what the heck is going on?” she teased.
“Uh, no…I’m not…I don’t…I am straight,” I stuttered as I let the smile grow across my face.
“Gotcha,” she chuckled, wincing at pain.
“Sit. That wasn’t even funny Taylor,” I smirked.
“Oh it was. And it was deserved too. I hate when people assume things,” she shrugged, giving me a slight smile.
“Touché. Listen this is going to hurt. I’m going to have to wrap this towel here tight around your arm and then I’m going to use this one to try and hold the glass in place,” I said again resuming the quiet calm tone I had before.
“Can’t you just pull it out?” she asked.
“I could, but I’d rather make sure you haven’t sliced through anything super important first. You really did a good job slamming your hand into this three inch piece of glass Taylor,” I said softly.
“Oh. Okay. I’m ready,” she said as she closed her eyes waiting for me to start.
“Alright then,” I said, taking one of the towels and ripping it apart as her eyes popped open watching me.
I tied the first towel around her forearm and then tried to be easy as I quickly moved to place the other pieces in a way that would hopefully keep the shard from moving too much. I kept checking her face for signs of distress and each time I caught her staring at me with only minimal signs of pain on her face. It felt good to be looked at like that. When I’d finished with the makeshift bandage I looked up to find her mesmerized by something.
“Taylor, you still with me?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s really starting to hurt now though. Can we go?” she asked in a shy voice that made me want to wrap her in my arms and keep her from the pain that would eventually come.
“Yes. Let me call ahead and let them know we are heading in and let me tell Brian I’m ditching him for the pretty damsel in distress,” I said, jokingly trying to pull myself together from my previous thought. “Just wait in here for now, I need to clean up my hands, I’ll be right back.”
I turned to go wash my hands and let Brian know what was happening.
“Hey man, I’m going to run her up to memorial. It’s a pretty nasty laceration,” I said, pulling some money from my wallet and tossing it on the table.
“She’s cute. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Brian laughed.
“Remember angry coffee girl?” I asked.
“No way. Same chick?” he said shaking his head. “Only you.”
“Right?” I smirked at the irony.
“Call me tomorrow and let me know how it goes,” he said laughing.
I nodded and turned back towards the office after I had called the ER to let them know we were on our way. Thanks to my buddy, she wouldn’t have to triage like everyone else and we hopefully would be in and out. I didn’t call in favors often but it was nice to know that in a pinch being a physician had its perks.
“Okay Taylor, we can leave now. They are waiting for us at Memorial Central,” I said finding her in the same spot I left her.
“Okay. I need to grab my bag,” she said, wondering what had taken so long.
As she went to put her bag over her shoulder one handed I reached for it and stowed it on my lap. She quickly rambled a few things to Josh who looked to me with a scowl on his face when she turned to leave. I held the door for her and started for my truck with her trailing behind me. Before she could get to the passenger side I had the door open for her and was already heading to my side.
“Thanks.” she said softly, watching me as I maneuvered up into my seat flashing her a small smile.
Before long we were heading towards the hospital. The ride there was made in silence until finally once we were in the parking garage I spoke.
“I really am sorry about this morning Taylor,” I said not really looking at her.
“It’s okay Elliot. I was just so preoccupied with all the thoughts in my head that I never realized you were in a… that you…” she trailed off unable to say the word.
“Wheelchair?” I half-stated, half-questioned.
“Look Taylor I get that it makes people uncomfortable. People stare, pretend it isn’t there, and even treat me like I can’t do things. You know what though, they don’t know how I landed on two wheels, so I can either act like I did with you this morning or I can try my best to be the better person. After I left the coffee shop I felt like a total ass for reacting the way I did,” I tried to explain.
“I really didn’t see your wheelchair, and I couldn’t believe I had missed it and then you wouldn’t let me explain. It wouldn’t matter to me that you were in a chair,” she responded.
“So what had you so preoccupied that you missed the two wheeled wonder?” I chuckled.
“The bar, work, life,” she answered through gritted teeth as I reassembled my chair beside the truck.
“Is the pain getting bad?” I asked as I lowered myself down.
“Yeah a little…” she answered, reaching to open her door.
“Hang on a second, I’ll get it open for you,” I said before closing my door.
I wheeled around and opened the door, motioning for her to hand me her bag and then we headed inside. I told the triage nurse who I was and we were immediately led back to an exam room by a nurse. She gathered all of Taylor’s info and before she was even finished, Joe Tabin entered the room. Joe and I had done our residency together at Memorial and while he went into emergency medicine I took the private practice route.
“Taylor I’m Doctor Tabin, Elliot and I go way back,” he said, offering her a smile. “Let’s take a look here.”
“I don’t think she hit anything important but I wanted her to have an X-ray,” I offered.
“Janice will bring in the portable after I take a look, how is the pain?” Dr. Tabin asked.
“Probably an eight?” She answered, a grimace on her pretty face.
“Can you maybe give her some local?” I asked as my hand found her uninjured one.
“Taylor do you need something for the pain or can you hold off a little longer?” The doctor asked with a questioning look between Taylor and I.
“I could go a little longer I think,” she answered quietly.
I mentally wondered why I was acting this way? What was making me lose all self-control and dignity here. I was holding her hand, trying to get her comfort level stable like she meant something to me. I’d just met the poor girl and already I was smitten. Mentally smacking myself, I tugged at my hand gently but she wouldn’t let go. I decided to let it be. Joe looked her over and the x-ray tech arrived and took some x-rays while Joe and I waited in the hallway.
“Girlfriend?” he chuckled.
“Uh, no. Just met her today actually,” I answered quietly.
“Could have fooled me Elliot. I see the way you’re looking at her, the concern in your eyes. She isn’t that convincing either,” he laughed.
“Trust me nothing is going on,” I said almost a little sad at the statement.
“I give it a month,” he joked as the tech left the room and I headed back in.
“How are you feeling? Still in pain?” I asked.
“Yeah. You didn’t tell me it was going to hurt this much,” she said trying to muster up a smile.
“I didn’t want to scare you,” I said, entwining her hand in mine again and reached up to brush a piece of hair from her face.
“You don’t have to stay you know, I mean I’m grateful that you were there and because of you I didn’t have to wait in ER hell out there but if you have somewhere else to be…” she said quietly.
“My life isn’t that exciting Taylor… I’ll stay and take you back to the bar when they are done how’s that sound?” I answered, searching her face for any sign of attraction to me.
“Okay. I just didn’t want your girlfriend to get mad or anything,” she interjected.
“No girlfriend. So no worries there,” I chuckled.
“Really? Studly doctor like you? I’d have thought for sure you were taken,” she laughed.
“Yeah really. The chair matters to some people…” I trailed off as Joe reentered the room.
“Okay Taylor it looks like you didn’t do any real damage to anything important like the good doctor suspected so let’s work on removing this and getting it sewn up for you,” he said not missing her hand in mine.
“Okay,” she said, her voice small and her grip getting tighter on my hand.
Joe worked quickly to numb her hand and prep it for removal and sutures as I watched intently. He was a great doctor and I knew that if she took care of the sutures she wouldn’t have a nasty scar. Other than little winces here and there she was a trooper. She didn’t cry or yell out in pain once as he worked on her. She was tough that’s for sure, I thought as I caught myself staring at her beautiful face.
“All done,” Joe said, “I’m going to give you a prescription for some pain meds which you will probably only need for a few days and then I’ll see you in ten days to remove the sutures. You were lucky this one was around to keep everything under control till you got here. Most people would have pulled it out before they got here.”
“Yeah my knight in shining armor!” she chuckled, looking at me.
“Right place right time,” I said, trying to remove the grin from my mug.
“Either way take it easy for a few days try not to do too much with it,” Joe said as he wrapped it up.
“Will do Doc,” she said.
“Your chariot awaits, m’lady,” I joked as we left the ER.