Since Prez was having a hard time concentrating, they cut their meeting short and they all walked down to the clinic to talk to Doc and to find out how David was doing. They found David laying face down on the exam table with Doc stitching up some particularly deep gashes on the young man’s back. They didn’t have to go close to see how badly his back was torn up and they all wanted to kill his father for doing that to him after they spent time losing their last meal.
The kid was high as a kite and all of the men began to laugh when David called out to them “Hey guys! How’s it hangin’?” Then he began to laugh like what he had said was hysterically funny. Then he looked around as much as he could and said “Did your daddy whip you too? Don’t worry, doc here has some won-dear-ful med- eye-sin. I ain’t never felt so goooooood in all my........ ZZZZZZZZZZZ.” David had fallen asleep mid sentence and started snoring loudly.
“Finally! I was beginning to think I was going to have to give him another shot just to shut him up. Someone had better go make sure the guns are all locked up and that his mama can’t get to a vehicle because I’m sure if she can, she’s going to kill her husband. She got mad as a hornet when she saw this.
That bastard really did a number on this poor boy and from what I can see, he’s been doing it for a long time. His entire backside is covered in scars, even his butt. It makes it twice as hard to stitch the new wounds closed so I’m using surgical glue and butterfly stitches but he’s going to have to keep still for a while or we’ll be back to square one again.
I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to her but David told me that his mother is the one who usually had to stitch them up so she must have some medical training or is an unbelievable seamstress because the stitching here, from what I can see, was very good. Some of the best I’ve ever seen, in fact.” Doc said with admiration in his voice.
“If she was stitching her boys, I wonder who was stitching her up?” Prez said and was shocked when Doc whipped around to look at him with a look of pure fury on his face.
“Are you telling me that that bastard beat Melinda like this?” Doc demanded and when Prez nodded, Doc shouted, “I’ll kill him!”
“Whoa! Doc! Calm down. Don’t worry. We are going to take care of Mr. Bertram Collins as well as the other bastards in Jacob’s church group. After dinner tonight, I’m going to call for church. You can attend if you’d like. In fact, I’d like you to be there to see some pictures. It will help prepare you for what you might see in person, later on.” Prez said. Judging by Doc’s reaction, he had found a love match in Melinda Collins but knew Doc well enough to know that he, like himself, would not act on it until she was free of her husband. “But what I came here for first was to find out if the kid is going to be alright?”
Doc was breathing hard but after a moment he just nodded, took another couple of deep breaths and then turned back to what he was doing.
“Doc? Do you have any idea where Melinda went?” Prez asked tentatively.
Doc just shook his head but did not turn around or look at them. His hands were still shaking slightly and he had to lean against the table for a moment to get himself under control as images of that beautiful woman’s back being torn up like her son’s and he felt a rage like he had never felt before rush through him over and over again.
Doc’s entire life had been dedicated to helping people so this feeling of wanting to hurt someone to the point of killing them unnerved him and made him feel sick to his stomach and he couldn’t even try to speak as he repeatedly swallowed large mouthfuls of air.
Knowing that they had upset Doc, they all turned and left the infirmary, unknowingly leaving a very confused Doc to finish up with his patient.
Doc stood there unmoving for at least a full minute trying to figure out what had come over him. He had never felt such a rage in all of his life. But why? Why had he reacted like that? He’d never seen her before today. But when he had seen her, she had taken his breath away.
He may have only met Melinda once. But for him, once was all it took and he knew that now he would never be able to forget her. That thought in itself shocked him. Was she the one? The one he had been waiting for for so long? “But if she’s David’s mother and it’s his father that did this to their son, that means she’s married. “Just my luck!” Doc thought to himself.
When David had been brought into his infirmary, he never could have imagined that the kid was hurt as bad as he was. He had been limping and was kind of hunched over but once he took his shirt off and Doc had seen the condition of his back, Doc found it amazing that the kid was still on his feet.
Doc had helped David to finish taking off his clothes and then to lay down on the exam table so that Doc could work on him. Doc took blood to cross match, took his blood pressure and pulse and listened to his heartbeat and breathing. Then questioned him about any allergies before he hooked up an IV then he went to get the things he would need to stitch David up.
He gave David some morphine, through an injection into the IV and started getting his needle ready when he heard the door to the infirmary swing open. He turned to see an unbelievably beautiful woman entering his clinic. She had stopped in her tracks when she saw him and they had just stood looking at each other for a full minute, maybe longer.
To say that Doc had been startled at first and then shocked when the young man laying on the table said “Mom! I’m naked! Doc here is going to take care of me this time. Is Daniel okay?” David asked.
“David Collins, I am your mother! I’ve seen you naked plenty of times. Yes, your brother is fine. I came to see how you are doing.” She said but had not moved or taken her eyes off of Doc yet.
“Doc, this is my mom. Mom, Doc. As for how I’m doing? I’m actually starting to feel pretty good.” David said.
Doc finally found his voice and said “Hello. My name is Aaron Goodson. Are you the one who has been stitching him up in the past? Are you a nurse? Your stitches are very neat.” Doc said, realizing that soon he would be able to swallow his whole foot if he didn’t shut up. He had never been very good at talking to women outside of the medical world.
“My name is Melinda Collins. No, I’m not a nurse and yes it was either me or Rachel Jensen. Is he going to need a lot of stitching?” Melinda asked as she stepped forward. When she saw the condition of her son’s back side, Doc saw her fist clench, her beautiful hazel eyes flashed as she gasped then muttered “Oh my God! I’m so sorry, David. That son of a bitch is going to pay for this, I promise!” Then she ran out of the room. As he watched her go, Doc wanted to follow her but he couldn’t just walk away from his patient.
Doc had never married, in fact he rarely ever dated. And he NEVER messed with the club whores. When he was younger and in school, he had dated some but never got serious with anyone. He had always concentrated on his studies, knowing that there would be time for girls later. He wanted to be the best doctor he could be. He had done his time in residency at a big hospital in Chicago, not far from where he had grown up.
His parents had been so proud of him when he had gotten his degree two years earlier than he was supposed to. A year later, he had been devastated when they had been hit by a drunk driver on their way home from a function they had gone to for his father’s business.
Aaron had told himself that he was glad that they had died instantly so that they didn’t suffer and that they had gone together. He knew how deep their love for each other had been and how it would have taken a toll on the one to survive if one had died and not the other.
All through college, his mother had been constantly trying to set him up with young women that she thought would be his “perfect match”. He had met one after the other, usually at dinner at his parents house on Sunday evenings but none of them had “rung his bell”. If he was going to take a wife, he wanted the kind of love his parents had shared. Sure he had hooked up with women in the past and had had his fair share of sex but he had never met the one woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Until now.
Doc finished patching up David, put a “stand” over his back that would keep the sheet from sticking to his wounds and then covered it with a freshly washed and sanitized sheet. He stood looking at him for a minute. He looks so much like his mother, both of the boys do. He thought about Melinda, of when he had first seen her.
She is about 5’5”, milk chocolate brown hair, hazel eyes, beautiful full lips that he wanted so badly to kiss. She had a mature woman’s body. Large but not huge breast and “mother’s hips” but he could tell she had not been eating well as she was rather underweight. But that didn’t matter now.
What did matter is that she is a married woman. He may have done some shady things since he had become involved in the MC but he would never put his hands on a woman that was tied to someone else even if that man was a scumbag who beat his wife and kids to the point of scarring them for life.
Doc stood next to David without really looking at him, thinking about his time with the Rescuers MC and how he had come to be here. He had finished his required residency and since his parents were gone, he had been working hard to establish a name for himself. He would put in long hours at the hospital and after 5 years of working almost nonstop he was beyond tired and it was beginning to show.
The head of the surgical department of the hospital where he worked insisted that he take some time off before he burned out or started to make mistakes. Aaron had insisted he was fine but he knew his boss was right so since he hadn’t taken any time off since his parents had passed away, he finally agreed and decided to go down to their vacation home in Norfolk, Virginia where his mother’s family was from.
Aaron hadn’t been there in years but since he had inherited “the house on the bay”, as they had called it, he decided he needed to go check on it. He chose to drive not only because he hated flying but besides, since the hospital insisted he take a whole month off, he would need a car to get around in. He couldn’t see wasting money on a rental when his barely used, like new, car would be just sitting in his garage. Also, it didn’t hurt that he was going to be driving through some of the most beautiful parts of the country.
One his way down there, he had stopped at the diner in Winchester for lunch. Badger, who was not the president of the MC yet and Lois, who was still just his girlfriend, and some of the others had been in there having lunch when a young man had come stumbling in with blood all over himself. He hadn’t said a word but had passed out just inside of the door.
Aaron had immediately jumped out of his chair and rushed to the young man as did Badger and the others. They had nearly collided as he tried to get to the young man and he had pushed Badger out of the way, causing him to stumble back into a table, nearly knocking it over. The next thing Aaron knew a very large man had him by the shirt collar and his feet were dangling about 6 inches from the floor. “You’re a dead man.” The large man growled at him.
Unsure of what he had done to offend the large young man, his only concern was for the injured kid on the floor at their feet. “I’m a doctor! At least let me help the boy first.” Aaron had managed to get out on the limited amount of air he could get through the fist that was putting pressure on his throat.
“Thor! Put him down.” Badger said and suddenly Aaron could breathe and his feet were on the floor again.
“Look, I’m sorry for pushing you. My only concern was getting to the kid.” Aaron had said as he turned and dropped to his knees and started to do triage on the bleeding boy. He had been beaten up pretty badly but most of the blood was coming from his broken nose and the split in his lip. But what had Aaron worried was that the kid had passed out and had a nasty looking bruise on his right temple that was growing darker by the minute.
“Can someone please call 911? I need x-rays of his head. I don’t like this bruise on his temple. If it is what I think it is, he’s going to need immediate surgery.” Aaron had said and Badger immediately called for an ambulance. Aaron had lifted the kids shirt and told Badger, “Tell them to hurry! Tell them he has internal bleeding and possibly a epidermal hematoma.”
Just then a large man, who had obviously been drinking came stumbling through the door. His knuckles were bloody and he still had a fifth of whiskey in his hand. He looked down at the boy laying on the floor and said “You good for nothing lazy brat! Get your ass up from there and drive me home.” He had reached a big flabby hand out as if he was going to yank the kid up off the floor.
Aaron wasn’t sure what happened after that but for a big man, Thor sure could move fast. Before Aaron could even blink, Thor picked the large man up by his shirt front and punched him so hard the man passed out. Then he dragged him outside and threw him in the back of a van that was parked near the entrance.
About that time the ambulance showed up and two paramedics ran into the diner. Aaron identified himself as a doctor and gave a run down on the young man as best he could without having any equipment with him.
They thanked him and asked if he would be riding with them to the hospital. He explained that he was not licensed to practice within the state. As he was not from here, he didn’t want to be in their way. He said he would follow behind them in his own car and they said they understood.
As soon as they pulled out, Badger pulled him to the side and introduced himself, Lois and the other club members and asked who he was and why he was in town. Aaron was several years older than Badger but Badger had such a presence about him that he sat down with them and quickly explained that he was on vacation from the hospital in Chicago and was just passing through on his way to Norfolk.
Even though he was anxious to get to the hospital to find out how the injured boy was doing, Aaron had liked the fact that Badger listened attentively to everything he had to say and then explained who they were. “We are the Rescuer’s MC. My father is the president but his health is failing and soon I will take over his position. We don’t have a doctor in house anymore and if you would ever consider relocating, I would like to offer you a position with our club.” Badger had gone on to explain what they did and why they were called the Rescuers and Aaron had to admit, he had been intrigued.
This was the kind of doctoring he had always wanted to do. He liked his job only because he was saving lifes, well most of the time. But working in such a busy ER was causing him to burn out and fast. That was why the hospital board had insisted he take this month-long vacation.
Aaron had thanked him for the offer and promised to think about it and told him he would let him know. They had exchanged phone numbers and Aaron asked for directions to the hospital. Badger told him “Just follow us. The boy will be one of our rescues now so you can see some of what we do.”
So Aaron had followed them to the hospital. Lois rode behind Badger on his Harley and they and the big man he now knew as Thor rode in front of Aaron while the rest of his men had followed behind him. He felt like he was the president or something with a motorcycle escort, except that the president would have been riding in the backseat instead of driving an unarmored Mercedes.
When they had arrived at the hospital, the paramedics met them and told them that it was a lucky thing that Aaron had been there and diagnosed the boy so quickly. It was still touch and go and the kid was still in surgery but at least now he had a chance.
About an hour after their arrival, a battered and bruised woman showed up saying that someone had called and said her son was here. The woman kept glancing around like she was terrified of something or someone. “My name is Sybil Clark. Someone called and said my son, Jason is here? What happened to him? Is he alright?” She had asked.
The woman was pencil skinny and had on one of the ugliest plaid dresses that Aaron had seen in a long time. She had on a pair of dusty, scuffed up flats that barely had any sole left to them and he wondered when was the last time she’d had new shoes.
She also had a black eye and a scab on her lower lip that couldn’t have been more than a day or two old, if that. Bruises on both wrists looked fairly new and she stood hunched over like she was hurting and her breathing sounded labored like she had just run a marathon.
Lois approached her and nodded at the receptionist, who just nodded back. Lois put her hand on the woman’s shoulder and started to introduce herself when the woman dropped her shoulder and gasped loudly as if the light contact had hurt her.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Mrs. Clark, my name is Lois Spelling. I’m with the Rescuer’s MC. Your son stumbled into the diner about an hour or so ago, covered in blood. He passed out right after he stepped through the door. We called an ambulance and brought him here.
Your husband showed up just before the ambulance did and didn’t seem to care that his son was hurt and even though he was unconscious, began yelling at him to get up and drive him home. Now you show up here looking like your son is not the only one he has been beating on. We can help you and protect you and help you get somewhere safe.” Lois told her.
Mrs. Clark looked at her as if she was terrified to trust anyone but finally whispered to her. “There is no place that is safe. I’ve tried taking my kids and running before but he always finds us and then the punishments are even worse.”
“You have other kids at home? Where are they now?” Lois asked.
“My daughter, Christy, is in school. She’s in the sixth grade. My other daughter, Mattie, is with a neighbor. She upset Harry last night and she can’t sit down today.” Mrs. Clark said with her eyes downcast in shame.
“I’ve called the cops so many times, hoping they would lock him up and throw away the key but they only keep him long enough for him to sober up and then they let him go again and he comes home and the punishments are worse.
I honestly don’t know how much more I can take. I live in constant fear that he is going to hit one of my kids too hard and kill them and he’s nearly killed me a couple of times.” Mrs. Clark said in a choked voice as big tears began to roll down her face.
Lois wanted to hug her but was afraid of hurting her. “He won’t be hurting you anymore. I promise. Come on. Let’s go to the bathroom so that you can wash your face and hands.” Lois told her and then led her over to the ladies room.
They came back out about 10 minutes later and Sybil looked much better. She had washed her face and hands and her hair had been brushed out somewhat and was now tied back. Lois had used one of the hairbands she had braided her hair with that morning.
Fifteen minutes later, a doctor came out of the door and called for the family of Jason Clark.
“I’m Jason’s mother. My name is Sylvia Clark. Is my son alright?” Sylvia asked.
“My name is Dr. Roberts. I’m the ER physician on duty today. Please sit down, Mrs. Clark.” The doctor said and Aaron braced himself for the worst. He has had to make this speech all too many times himself and when it started off like this, the rest was rarely good news. Mrs. Clark, reached out to Lois and grabbed her hand as they sat down. She needed someone to ground her if this was bad news.
“Mrs. Clark, we’ve gone in and stopped the internal bleeding but he has received a blow to the head that I need to find someone who is more experienced than me to operate on his head. He has a epidermal hematoma, which basically means he has a bruise on his temple that is bleeding into his brain. I’ve relieved some of the pressure that will hopefully help until I can get someone in here to operate to seal the bleeder. I’ve never done that type of procedure before and I don’t feel confident enough to do it on my own.”
Without hesitation, Aaron stepped forward and said “I can assist you. I’m not licensed to operate within the state of Virginia but I am in Illinois. I am on vacation and was having lunch at the diner when Jason stumbled in and passed out. I can walk you through what you will need to do to seal the bleeders and to drain any excess blood to relieve the pressure on his brain. That is if I have Mrs. Clark’s approval?”
“Please? Don’t let my son die!” Mrs. Clark begged Doc without hesitation.
“I’ll need to get approval from the head of the hospital but if you are willing, I’d really appreciate your help.” Dr. Roberts said, relief evident in his voice. “Just give me a minute and I’ll be right back.” Dr. Roberts hurried out of the waiting room to make his call. He called the head of the hospital, explained the situation and was told to go ahead but to find out all the information necessary about the visiting doctor.
“I can’t believe they don’t have a qualified surgeon on duty but don’t worry, Mrs. Clark. I’ll do everything in my power to keep your son from dying, even if it costs me my license.” Aaron said and without knowing it, he had earned the respect of Badger and the others. Badger decided right then and there that this is the man they had been looking for.
Dr. Roberts came back about 10 minutes later and told Aaron, “The chairman has approved it. If you follow me, we can get scrubbed up.”
Aaron didn’t even hesitate but immediately stood up and followed Dr. Roberts through the doors. Thankfully, Dr. Roberts was a lot more talented than he gave himself credit for and did an excellent job. Dr. Roberts was very appreciative for Aaron’s help and said that if he ever decided to relocate, that he was sure he could get him a job there at the hospital. Aaron admitted that he was already considering relocating and taking a position offered to him by Badger.
“Badger and the men of the Rescuers MC are good people. They do good work and have kept the people of this town safe for a long time. When I was growing up here, an MC called the Satan’s Riders used to terrorize the town’s residents. People were scared to go out after dark or to walk the streets alone or even in pairs. Badger’s father and his men kept them under control but Badger and his boys are really cleaning things up. Granted, they’ve still got some work to do but it’s already much better than it was.” Dr. Roberts told him.
Between the two of them, it took over two hours for them to seal the bleeders and drain the blood that had built up near Jason’s temple. After they finished up with Jason and he was on his way to recovery, the two doctors walked back to the waiting room and found Badger and Lois waiting with Mrs. Clark. Dr. Roberts informed her that Jason was headed for recovery and that he was going to be fine.
Mrs. Clark looked up at him and started to thank him then passed out. Lois had been standing closest to her with Badger right next to her and between them, they managed to catch her before she hit the floor.
Lois looked up at Dr. Roberts, and said, “She’s hurt but I’m not sure how. When I touched her shoulder a little while ago, she hissed and drew back. She’s been balled up like she’s hurting in her ribs.”
Dr. Roberts yelled over this shoulder for a gurney and as soon as it was there, they had lifted her onto it and Dr. Roberts asked that Aaron not leave until he was sure of her injuries.
Fifteen minutes later, Dr. Roberts came back out and told them that she had a cracked collarbone and three cracked ribs but there was no internal bleeding. “Looks like the son wasn’t the only one he was beating on. That poor woman is covered in bruises, almost everywhere her clothes were covering her and she’s got some awful scars from what appears to be a belt. Some of them are recent and I mean like in the last 48 hours. I’m waiting for x-rays to come back but an educated guess tells me she’s had her shoulders dislocated at least once and they have not fully healed yet.” Dr. Roberts reported.
Badger swore and then walked out of the ER waiting room, pulling his phone out as he went. The last thing Aaron had heard from him was “Thor, put that bastard in the shed. I’ll be there soon.”
Aaron was brought back from his wool gathering just then when Melinda came into the infirmary to check on her son, followed closely by her younger son, Daniel. “Doc, this is my youngest son, Daniel. Danny, this is Doc......... I’m sorry, I was so worried about David earlier that I didn’t catch your name before.”
“Goodson. Aaron Goodson but that’s kind of a mouthful so you can just call me Doc. Everyone else does.” Doc said with a grin at the younger boy who was like a carbon copy of his brother, just a bit younger. Both boys bore a strong resemblance to their mother.“How’s my brother, Doc?” Daniel asked.
“Sleeping right now, which is the best thing for him. I’m planning on keeping him asleep as much as possible for the next few days at least.” Doc was talking to Daniel but couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of Melinda. He didn’t know what it was but something was drawing him to her like a magnet. He wished they were alone so that he could talk to her but maybe it was best if he waited. Hell, she’s still technically a married woman and he would not go there.
“How long will he have to stay like this?” Melinda asked, as she ran her fingers through her son’s hair, pushing it off of his forehead.
“Depends on how fast he heals. I’d like for him to stay immobile for at least a couple of days. Moving around is not going to help him heal. Some of the deepest cuts were on places that will be pulled on if he tries to move around.” Doc said and Melinda nodded as she stepped closer to her son and lifted the corner of the sheet so that she could look underneath.
“Are you the one who has been stitching up your boys in the past?” Doc asked and Melinda nodded but didn’t say anything.
“You did nice work. Do you have medical training?” Doc asked.
“No. Just common sense medicine and I read a lot.” Melinda said.
“Did you do it for Daniel too?” Doc asked tentatively.
“Yes. Didn’t have much choice. Jacob wouldn’t allow us to go to the hospital. He knew it would bring trouble from the law.” Melinda said. “All of the women had to learn first aid. How to deliver babies, to fix broken bones, stitch up all kinds of wounds. I wish I would have had some of the books that are in the library here.” Melinda said.
Just then a prospect showed up with Doc’s dinner on a tray. “Hey Doc. Dinner is here. How’s he doin’?” Edmond asked.
“He’ll live. Thanks, Edmond. Melinda, you and Daniel should go and eat. I’ll watch over David. You can come back later and sit with him if you like. It would give me a chance to take a shower and Prez asked me to be present at a meeting after dinner.”
“Daniel, if you will go and make me a plate of food, I’ll eat with Dr. Goodson and then watch over your brother while he goes to get his shower and go to his meeting.” Melinda said.
“Okay, mom. I’ll be right back. Do you want tea or a soda?” Daniel asked.
“Tea please.” Melinda said.
Doc couldn’t explain how much her offer pleased him and he did his best to keep from smiling like a fool right now. Normally he ate his meals sitting at the stainless steel counter near the sink when he had a patient in the infirmary but since Melinda was going to grace him with her presence, he pulled two chairs up to a small table that he had sitting off to the side of the infirmary. Normally it got used as a place for him to sit and work on paperwork when he couldn’t leave his patients alone since he didn’t have a desk in here.
It didn’t take long for Daniel to come back with a plate of food for his mother and he had a small smile on his face as he told her to “Enjoy. I’m going to go eat with Edmond and some of the other boys.”
“Okay son. Mind your manners.” Melinda told him as she put her plate and glass of tea on the table and then waited for Doc to sit down.
Being the gentleman he had been raised to be, he helped her with her chair before sitting down himself. Melinda acted rather surprised but she was also very pleased. It had been a very long time since a man had treated her not only with respect but courtesy.
They mostly made small talk and Aaron knew that she kept leading the conversation towards him and away from herself and even though he was dying to ask her if she had any plans for after she had her freedom, he didn’t push it. He understood that she needed time to think. All of what was going on was happening so fast and realistically, she still wasn’t free yet.
Melinda asked about where he was from and how he had come to be involved with the MC and Aaron shared his story with her, hoping it would help her to share her story with him, when she was ready.