I was so relieved to hit the pavement again, my kidneys felt like they’d done ten rounds in the Octagon. I was so glad I’d stowed everything properly in back, as the ambulance had been tossed side to side on the uneven ground. Abaddon was waiting for us at the side of the road, he pulled out ahead of us as we were making the turn. It was a short drive to Silver Bay, then we headed south towards Duluth.
The day was beautiful, the late afternoon sun was warm on my arm despite the cool breeze off the lake. I was looking at the hills to the inside, the lake to my left past Snake’s head as he drove. The roads was busy, lots of tourists and bikers around. We were in a section where the road uphill had gone to two lanes, with one of oncoming traffic; our ambulance was tucked in with the old people, the trucks and the recreational vehicles. I watched the faster traffic pulling past us on the slope, listened to the rumble of a Harley as it passed. The woman driving it was grinning, her black hair blowing in the breeze. “When we’ve taken this beast home, you’re coming back, right?” He nodded. “Want company on the trip?”
“Sure,” he said. “That might help me with the ladies.” He smirked a little. “I think you got the easy end of our little deal, Meghan. You’re young, smart and beautiful, I bet you could line up dates for the rest of the year in an hour just off those who have already asked you.”
I blushed a little, he really didn’t know what it was like for me. I was the Ice Queen, the prodigy who had never been to a school dance, never asked to a sleepover with the girls my age. While the other girls my age were learning to dance and put on makeup, I was studying microbiology and taking college courses. When they were having their Proms and going to football games, I was graduating from college. While they were dating fraternity boys and partying all weekend, I was doing my residency. My entire life I had been on the outside, never dating, never having fun. It was easier to turn them down than to deal with the fact I’d never learned how to do anything. I graduated and still hadn’t had my first kiss.
I looked up just in time to see a car in the right lane ahead of Abaddon suddenly change lanes to the left. The lane wasn’t empty, though; the motorcycle that had just passed was in the space the big Lincoln was moving into, blissfully unaware of what he was doing.
The Harley locked its brakes, barely holding on control as the driver finally saw her and panicked. He locked his brakes up, leaving her a pair of bad choices. She chose not to risk the oncoming traffic, instead she skidded hard right and slid across the lane into the ditch. She laid it down on the pavement, sliding off just before the front wheel hit the guardrail and flipped over. I watched her head and shoulder hit the rail before she rolled to a stop.
“SNAKE!” I screamed as he laid on the brakes, the big vehicle slowing as we pulled over to the side of the road. Abaddon had stopped just ahead of us, his Harley at the edge of the road as he ran forward to the body resting against the guardrail. He hit the flashers that we had added when we made the transport company official, and in moments I was out the door and running for the back. Snake met me there, and he grabbed the backboard as I took the medical kit.
Traffic was already slowing and moving around us as we ran back up the hill to where Abaddon was kneeling next to the woman in black leather. “Stay down, the doctor is coming,” he was telling her as she tried to move. I could hear her cussing up a storm that would make a drill sergeant blush, something about assholes not looking where they were going and how she’d like to stick his phone so far up his ass he’d have to use his tonsils to dial. I glanced at Snake, he was smiling a bit, knowing this meant she probably was not hurt bad.
I set the bag down, opening it up and pulling on gloves from the pouch in top. “I’m Doctor Jenkins, what is your name?”
“Mia. Mia Taylor,” she said as she grimaced in pain.
“OK Miss Taylor, I’m going to examine you for injuries if you consent. I need you to relax and just listen to me, all right?”
“Yes.” She relaxed back into the road. I was sure as I examined her that she’d be in bad shape if she hadn’t been wearing her protective gear. Her helmet wasn’t a full-faced racing helmet, but it was enough to have taken the impact of the guardrail. I could see paint where it had bounced off. She had on a heavy leather jacket, leather chaps and heavy boots, plus she had full-finger gloves. I checked her papillary response with a flashlight, they were equal and reactive.
“Any neck pain?” I gently touched down her neck and shoulders, careful not to move her.
“It’s sore but not bad,” she said. I continued with checks of her extremities, verifying she still had sensation and control. “My shoulder hurts a lot, though.”
I had seen her bounce off the guardrail, and symptoms could be hidden. I took the neck brace and carefully fitted it around her head. “Miss Taylor, we’re being careful here because we can’t rule out a head or neck injury on the side of the road. I know it’s not the most comfortable thing, but we’re going to tape you down to the backboard for transport. It’s a precaution to make sure nothing moves around.”
A State Trooper pulled in near us, directing traffic around. Snake and Abaddon carefully moved her to the backboard while I stabilized her head and neck, then we used tape to fix her helmet to the board. Abaddon ran back and got the gurney, we picked her up and rolled her back to the ambulance doors. I jumped in, and the two pushed her forward. “My motorcycle,” she asked as she was slid in.
“I’ve called for a wrecker,” Abaddon told her. “We’ll need a winch to get it up from there. I’ll have it taken to the Harley dealer in Duluth.”
“Thank you,” she said. The doors closed, and with her locked in place I buckled into the jump seat for the ride.
“Ready,” Snake asked.
“Go,” I said. I heard the trooper pass us with lights and sirens, and felt the old ambulance accelerate as we pulled in behind him. I put on the headset that would allow me to talk to Snake while we drove.
“How is she doing,” he asked me.
“Good, this is why I’m always after you guys to wear helmets and safety gear,” I said. Some of the guys in the Club were old school, wanting to go without helmets because they ‘interfered with me enjoying nature.’ Stuff like this made my point. “Without a helmet she’d be pushing up daisies. How’s that for nature?”
Once we were steady, I unbuckled and moved around to hook up monitoring equipment. The funds Vivian had poured into the Club clinic had been kept up, and werewolf medicine was a fairly lucrative private practice. The Packs paid well when they called for my services. Her vitals were good, her blood pressure and pulse were both high but that was to be expected. I got on the radio to the emergency room at the Duluth hospital, giving the attending my report. They’d have Radiology ready when we arrived, and if the scans were good, she’d probably be released tonight. I moved closer to her, so we could see each other with her head fixed towards the ceiling. “Is there anyone I can call to let you know where you are headed?”
It was only then I saw the tears start to move down her face. “No. No one.”
I took her hand, having taken the gloves off earlier during my checks. I checked her nails, she wasn’t painted up, they looked like Snake’s with all the little cuts and the evidence of lots of cleaning. “Where do you live?”
“Nowhere right now,” she said. “My divorce just became final, and I had to sell my restaurant in Chicago as part of the final settlement. I’d always wanted to spend a summer touring, so I sold my stuff and bought the Harley. I’ve been on the road for two months now.”
“That sounds amazing,” I said. “I grew up in a motorcycle club, I’m actually in it now. Snake, he’s the driver and the one who was helping me, he’s been in it for decades. We were actually heading down to St. Paul to drop this beast off and get our bikes to come back and ride for a few days.”
“It’s beautiful up here,” she said. “I’ve been just riding until I feel like stopping, going wherever the wind blows. I didn’t plan to look for a place to settle down until September.”
“Meghan, we’re two minutes out,” Snake said over the headset. I’d left it on, so he’d heard the whole conversation.
“We’re almost there,” I told her. “What kind of restaurant did you have?”
“Italian, family style dishes, lots of wine and music. It was more of a place to take your mother than your business associates,” she said.
The ambulance made some low-speed turns then stopped, the doors immediately opened. I had already disconnected the monitors, and so I helped them as they pulled Mia out of the back and onto the rollers. “I’ll check on you soon, Mia,” I said as they took her away.
I pulled off the gloves, tossing them in the small garbage compartment, as Snake came back to stand with me. “Why don’t we grab some dinner, then we can get going. I can call and make sure she’s all right,” I told him.
He looked like I was taking away his favorite toy. “Meghan, I don’t think I can do that,” he said. I stared at him until he continued. “She… her eyes… when I looked at her, there was something there,” he said. “I don’t want to leave until I’m sure she’s all right.”
“You’re kidding me,” I laughed as he stood there, looking in the windows where they’d taken her. “You’re so desperate to get a date you’re ambulance chasing?”
“MEGHAN…” I just sat on the bumper and laughed, this was SO perfect. “I called the clubhouse, one of the prospects is going to ride up here with my Harley and take the ambulance back. I thought maybe you’d be all right staying here in town overnight, then you can ride back in the morning.”
“I’m in no hurry to get back to the cities, Snake. Have you seen how beautiful it is up here?” I got up and closed and locked the doors. “Come on, you owe me dinner. It’s the least you can do for the Doctor who found the perfect woman for you. Harley rider, hot body, talented chef, swears like a sailor, that’s pretty much all the boxes for you. And the name….”
“What do you mean? Mia is a beautiful name, she’s a beautiful woman.”
“Yeah. Think about her name if you guys get married and tell me if this isn’t God’s way of saying you belong together. I mean, what is better than Willie B. Hardigan and his lovely wife, Mia Hardigan?” I busted up laughing as I walked around to the passenger door. This was the best thing since that waitress who hit on Dad during the road trip.
I was still laughing so hard I could barely breathe as we pulled out. Snake, his mind was elsewhere.