Ordinary Life

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Chapter 38

Inside the emergency room of Cincinnati Hospital Stephanie was immediately greeted with a gurney. Holly helped her up and began explaining to the staff what had happened. They all smiled and said they’d been waiting for her. The ambulance crew had radioed ahead 45 minutes ago on their way in.

Holly went back with her as the nurses and trauma doctor began to work. They asked all kinds of questions at first and then went to work. Holly continued to stand by her holding her hand.

Before they began to poke and prod on the injury they gave Stephanie an IV and added some pain medication. She almost immediately relaxed. The bullet had gone straight through her leg. What the police would later call a through and through. The doctor cleaned the wound and stitched up both the entry and exit points.

Two hours later with Holly still holding onto her hand a nurse helped Stephanie into a wheelchair, which Holly wheeled out of the emergency room, across the street and back into the children’s hospital.

Once inside the same nurse from before greeted them. Stephanie reached out her hand, her arm still sporting the hospital bracket. She looked at the woman’s nametag. “Nita, I’m sorry about earlier.” Her big blue eyes full of tears again.

Nita took her hand in both of hers and knelt down beside the chair. “Mrs. Miles, its OK I’d have done the same thing.”

“Thank you.”

As they started to go Nita added, “I heard your little girl’s a fighter. She’ll pull through this, you just watch.” Stephanie smiled and knew that she was right.

They didn’t stop at the ER waiting room. Brett had called about thirty minutes before to let them know Emmy had been moved into surgery and that Dr. Hatcher was still with her.

Upstairs in the same waiting area they’d been in just a couple months ago they found Brett and the boys sitting near the windows. The boys were both playing on their phones and Brett was staring out the window. They heard the door to the waiting room close and looked up. All of them smiled to see Stephanie. She tried to get up, but Holly put a hand on her shoulder to hold her down. “Nope, you’ve got to use this or crutches.”

Taylor couldn’t pass up the opportunity and stuck one of his out for her. Stephanie took it and slid it under her right arm. Holly could only shake her head. “You all are killing me.” Brett and the boys all hugged Stephanie. Holly handed Brett the folder of paperwork that they’d given her at Stephanie’s release. “I’m going to take this back, since clearly you don’t need it. Then I’ll see if I can get any information.” Brett grabbed her hand before she left. “Holly thank you so much.”

“You guys are like family. But a family I really don’t need to see so often.” She quipped.

Once she was gone Stephanie laid her head on Brett’s shoulder and he opened the folder. “So how bad was it?”

“Just some stitches. The bullet went straight through thanks to Emmy.”

“What do you mean?”

“She pushed the girl’s arm down on the first shot. That’s why I only got hit in the leg.”

“Mom, this is one of the top stories on Yahoo.”


The boys had been checking the internet and the story was getting national attention. Tyler read her some of the story. Thankfully they had gotten the facts right. “Mr. Woodson must be overwhelmed by now.”

“He sounded a little overwhelmed when I called.”

“Did he tell you what happened?”


Tears began to fall again, “Brett I’ve never been so scared in all my life than when Emmy ran at her and that gun went off.” Stephanie couldn’t close her eyes because she kept seeing the scene over and over.

The doors opened and suddenly the room was filled with a sea of blue and gray. Stephanie looked up as the entire Lincoln girls’ basketball team filed in. Maisy was first to make it over. Stephanie stood gently on her leg; she didn’t need Holly seeing her, and hugged each and every one of them. Maisy was still shaking as she embraced the coach.

After all the player and parents had their chance. Maisy spoke up. “We’d have been here sooner but they just let us go. The police had to interview everyone and then our parents had to come get us. Coach how is she?”

“We don’t know much yet. She was awake the whole ride here, which the EMT’s said was a good sign.”

Brett took over. “They moved us up here about an hour ago. The nurse said that they’d taken her into surgery.”

“Coach, what about you?” Sophie was concerned for her health as well.

“I’m fine. Just some stitches.” You could hear the whole room let out a breath.

“You know there were all kinds of cameras at school when we left. They were trying to talk to all of us. Mr. Woodson kept them all out of the way.”

“Maisy how are you doing?”

“I’m OK, I just keep seeing it every time I close my eyes.”

Stephanie reached out to took her hand “Me too.” She looked at Maisy, “That was a brave thing you did not leaving.”

“Coach she would have stayed for me. She would have stayed for any of us.”

A nurse came from behind the doors and said, “Mr. And Mrs. Taylor!”

Stephanie grabbed the crutch again and stood, “That’s us. Well, kind of.”

Brett had to explain while she did her best to follow without using the leg. The nice nurse smiled. “Sorry, they didn’t give us your all’s name just Emmy’s. If you’ll follow me Dr. Hatcher is going to come out and give you an update.”

“Is the surgery over?”

“No they are about halfway through, but Dr. Hatcher didn’t want you to have to worry the whole time.” They followed her to one of the little rooms where doctors told families about the outcome of surgeries. Brett helped Stephanie into a chair and stood the crutch in the corner. “He’ll be in in just a moment.”

She left and closed the door. Neither Brett nor Stephanie spoke or even moved. They were both so lost with the enormity of everything that had happened. Thankfully they weren’t left in there very long.

Dr. Hatcher opened the door and entered with Holly close behind. “Stephanie how are you doing? I heard you were injured also.”

“All taken care of. Just a shot to the leg. Thanks to Emmy.”

“Well that special daughter of yours is holding her own yet again. She was still conscious when I got there. All she was concerned about was you. I let her know that Holly was with you and taking care of everything. That made her relax.”

“Dr. Bill Wallace is the trauma surgeon working on her. He is the absolute best there is. If it were my child that’s who I’d want in there.”

He pulled up an image on the screen in the room. “This is a picture from the ultrasound we took down in the ER. You can see the path of the bullet. It entered the left side and shattered her 8th rib. The bullet went through her spleen and came to rest in her left kidney.” Brett and Stephanie both immediately knew it was more serious since that was the only kidney she had left. “The fragments from the rib punctured her small intestine, stomach, colon. All kinds of stuff. Thank God none of those injuries were life threatening. Dr. Wallace has stopped the bleeding and we’ve cleaned up any fluids that spilled. She’s on strong antibiotics because an infection would be bad at this point.”

“The spleen basically exploded so Dr. Wallace just removed all of it. She can function fine without it.”

Stephanie couldn’t wait anymore. “Dr. Hatcher the kidney?”

“Yes. Right now the kidney is our primary concern. Dr. Wallace called in an additional renal specialist and they are working now on repairing the kidney. The blood flow was not compromised so they are hopeful.”

“The good news is that this shouldn’t be fatal. She’s going to pull through this surgery. Even if there is significant kidney damage there’s dialysis and other options. That we can discuss with Dr. Wallace.” Dr. Hatcher noticed how overwhelmed these two parents looked.

“I’m going to head back in. I’ll send Holly out as soon as I know anything.” They nodded as they left through the back door of the room. Brett and Stephanie took a moment before heading back out. Brett opened the door and led his hobbling wife out. All the eyes in the room were on them.

Brett knew that they needed to tell the people something. “She’s holding her own. The surgery is only halfway through. The doctor is very optimistic about her pulling through this.” He took Stephanie’s hand. “You all being here means so much to us and to Emmy. They are only about halfway through with the surgery. It’s going to be late before they finish and then I’m not sure how long after that before we get to see her. You guys have had a terrifying day also so you all go on home. We’ll let you all know as soon as we know anything.”

All the parents and players began to stand. One by one they hugged the Coaches again and filed out. Maisy and her parents were the last to go. Mr. Duvall took both Brett and Stephanie’s hand. “I know you all aren’t members of our church, but may I pray for you and for Emmy?”

“Yes sir. We’d appreciate that.” Maisy, her mother, and the boys joined in too. He began and Stephanie found her heart tugging at every word. The man was asking God to protect and to heal her child. This God was someone she knew of but had never experienced herself. She’d grown up with academic parents who, while they taught at a Catholic university had never really been into religion. Tonight she longed for anything to take away the absolute fear that had gripped her soul. If God was the one to do that, then so be it. She’d crawl on her knees to Him if it meant getting this child back. This child that she’d only barely gotten to know. This child who had already suffered so much.

As she thought about the suffering, Stephanie’s attitude changed. Suddenly she no longer just wanted God’s protection of her child, she wanted to know why God had done this in the first place. Isn’t that the question you’re supposed to ask in situations like this? “Why her God?”

“In Jesus loving name we pray Amen.” Mr. Duvall finished.

Brett thanked him again and Maisy hugged Stephanie for the third time. The boys shook Mr. And Mrs. Duvall’s hands.

Two minutes later the door to the surgical suite closed behind them and Brett, Stephanie, Jake and Tyler all stood there in the silence that enveloped them. None of them wanting to move, Brett’s phone pierced the silence and brought them all out of their despondent state.

He held the phone up for everyone to see. The screen showed a picture of Kim. He answered it and everyone sat down. For twenty minutes he explained everything he could. For twenty more Stephanie relived what she could. Twice she had to stop when the memories flooded in making it unbearable. Kim understood and told her to stop.

When the phone was handed back to Brett Kim said she’d be up in the morning. Brett thanked her again. This time her coming was as much as Emmy’s friend as anything else.

At 8:00 Brett watched as Stephanie’s head leaned against the wall and her eyes slipped closed. She’d fallen asleep sitting in the chair with her leg propped up in another one. He sent the boys downstairs to find something to eat. He knew that none of them had eaten anything since breakfast and his stomach had started growling several hours ago.

While they were gone he looked through the folder of release papers Holly had given him. In it were all the dos and don’ts for the next few days, a card for the checkup visit with the doctor who’d done the stitches, and two prescription sheets. One was for an antibiotic and the other a pain medicine.

He should have sent someone out to get these filled. He knew that Stephanie had been running on adrenaline and whatever pain medicine they’d given her at the hospital. The effects of that drug had to be waning and he had a feeling that she would wake up in a lot of pain.

While the boys were out searching for food, Holly came out to update them. She saw Stephanie sleeping and motioned Brett over to the desk. “I don’t want to wake her, but wanted you to know they are closing up now. Within the next hour they should get her moved to a recovery room and once she’s there you can see her. Probably just one at a time, they might let you and Stephanie since she’s injured too.

Brett just nodded not knowing what else to say. “I’m going to head home. I’m back on in the morning and I’ll come by and check on her and on you all.”

“Holly, I forgot all about these.” He held up the prescriptions. “Is there anywhere around her that I can get them filled. She’s going to need them, isn’t she?”

“Oh yes. I’m amazed she hadn’t already. She definitely needs to get the antibiotic started. There is a drugstore on the corner that’s open 24 hours. That’s where we usually send patients who get released late.”

“Thanks I’ll send the boys as soon as they get back.” Holly began to leave. “Holly, thanks again for everything. I know you didn’t have to stay here all day, or help us out like you do. But I’m not sure we’d have made it through all this without you.” She smiled

“I’ve been doing this a long time and a lot of kids and families have come through our unit. There are a couple of families that you just can’t get off your mind. You guys are one of those families. Emmy is one of those kids that I’ll never forget about. I hope you don’t mind if in 5 years I call you up and ask how she’s doing.”

“We won’t mind at all.” Holly left and the boys met her getting off the elevator Tyler’s hands full of vending machine food. She told them Emmy was doing great and that Stephanie was still asleep.

Back in the waiting room Brett was looking out the window while Stephanie continued to sleep. “Dad” Tyler whispered. “We saw Holly in the hall. She said Emmy was doing good.”

“Yes they said we might get to see her soon.” Brett gave them a puzzled look at the mound of food in their hands.

“All the shops downstairs were closed. We found some drinks, but then the stupid vending machine wouldn’t give change so we just bought $10 worth.” Brett grabbed a drink and a pack of Cheetos. The boys dug in too, while Stephanie slept on.

“Dad is Mom really OK? I mean Dad, Mom was shot this morning. Does that sound crazy to you?”

“Noodle,” Tyler had gotten that nickname as a kid because he always hung on to a pool noodle and it took him forever to learn how to swim. “I think it’s been a crazy day.” He tried to figure out the right words to use to explain it to them. “While I hoped violence like this would never come to our town, to our schools, I knew it was always a possibility. You guys see it all the time on TV it happens more and more and the kids are getting younger and younger.”

Jake had been thinking about everything that Emmy has been through. “Dad it sure seems like Emmy has had more than her fair share of trouble in life.”

“It sure does do it?”

“Mr. Duvall talked about God helping her through this trial, why would God make her go through it in the first place? She’s just a kid and she’s already had a really hard life.” Brett wished that they’d taken the boys to church more. This would be easier to explain.

“Well, the Bible says two things about why bad things happen. The first is that God doesn’t ever cause the bad to happen he. He’s a good God and isn’t the cause of evil.”

“Its the devil.” Jake added.

“Right, the devil and the free will of people. God created humans with free will. The choice between right and wrong. Rita had the choice today to pull that trigger.”

“The second thing the Bible says is that God allows them to happen so that the works of God can been seen through the bad.”

Tyler was kind of following what Brett was trying to say. “So there’s something good that’s going to come from Emmy and Mom getting shot? That seems crazy.”

“It does, I’ll agree. But lets look back at Emmy’s cancer. It was a horrible thing to go through, but it brought her to St. Thomas, which brought her to our team. Her being on the team let your Mom notice that something was wrong and eventually lead to us adopting her and Emmy getting a real family.”

Jake still wasn’t convinced. “But Dad why did God take Emmy’s mom in the first place?”

“We never know why God allows some things to happen. You’ve heard the saying God works in mysterious ways?” They both nodded. “You know the other thing that I believe. God will never allow more to happen then you can handle.”

“So Emmy’s had such a hard life because she’s such a tough person?”

Jake really wasn’t buying that, “Dad that sounds nuts.”

“It does but God knows you like no one else. He knew that both of you could deal with the accident and your injuries. Maybe he also knew that this was coming and that we were going to need time to grow as a family. Time away from basketball. He knew that you all, and Emmy, wouldn’t willingly give up the game, so he allowed the wreck to happen so we’d all have to take a step back.”

Tyler was the more spiritual of the boys “Dad maybe this happened so we’d get closer to God? I think I’d like to start going to church more and maybe we could try Mr. Duvall’s church. I like the way he talks better than the priest at St. Xavier.” They’d been occasional attendees of the local Catholic Church since both Steph and Brett had grown up catholic. Brett’s mother had been very devout but his father and siblings had never really followed her. Maybe it was time to give something else a try.

“That sounds good. I’ll talk it over with Mom and we’ll see what she thinks.”

The doors to the surgery area opened and a doctor still clad in scrubs came out. The doctor spoke “Are you Emmy’s parents?” The noise woke Stephanie who immediately tried to jump up. Wincing as the leg hit the ground she realized where she was and what was going on.

“Sorry to startle you. You can just sit. We’ll talk here since you’re the only ones left.” As he sat another doctor joined them, as did Dr. Hatcher.

“Well I’m Dr. Wallace and I’m the trauma surgeon who worked on Emmy. This is Dr. Saadhi and he’s a kidney specialist that we called in just to look at the injuries to her kidney.” Dr. Saadhi reached out and shook each of the Miles’ hands. “And you already know Dr. Hatcher.”

“Now I want to start with the fact that your daughter is an amazing kid and a hell of a fighter. Dr. Hatcher filled you in on some of this but I want to go over everything again while its fresh in my mind. The bullet entered here.” He used his own side to show them. “Right at her 8th rib. The rib was shattered by the impact of the bullet. The bone fragments did just as much damage as the bullet itself. She had tears to her colon and stomach a small nick on her left lung that didn’t perforate the pleural space. Which is good news given her recent visit to us. All those have been repaired and shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. Her spleen basically exploded and we just removed all of it. Its something you can live a perfectly healthy life without. Then the bullet went through her left kidney before coming out her back just to the left of her spine.”

“Her spine is fine. Other than the potential for some numbness or tingling from the swelling in the area there should be no adverse effects on her spinal cord. Now her kidney is the most serious injury. In a normal patient we’d patch it up and let the right one do the work while it healed. But we all know that Emmy’s not a normal patient.”

“With only one kidney we need that one working perfectly. That is why we brought in Dr. Saadhi who did a marvelous job repairing the damage. Now its up to Emmy’s kidney to heal. Which it very well may and she may go home in a week. That being said we need to prepare for the possibility that that kidney will not heal enough to carry the load.”

“With that possibility we’ve gone ahead and created grafts in both of Emmy’s arms so we can do dialysis. Her veins were already in bad shape from the chemotherapy. Creating the grafts makes some larger veins that can handle the demands of dialysis.”

“Dialysis is not a long term solution for someone as young as Emmy. So the other possibility we need to prepare for is a kidney transplant. Emmy’s case is gong to be very difficult. We have already started the process of getting her on the donor waiting list. But with her cancer being so recent she may be excluded. With her case our best chance is a living donor. A living donor is someone who is willing to donate one of their kidneys. That usually comes from a family member.”

Brett and Stephanie both looked at each other with a pained look in their eyes. “Dr. Wallace Emmy is adopted. She has no living relatives that we know of.” The doctor took a deep breath, he’d really hoped that this would be an easy one.

“That’s OK. We can still test anyone that’s willing to donate. You might not match Emmy, but you may match someone in another state who is on the list and in turn someone in their family may match Emmy. The donor network will set up a donation chain. Meaning that your kidney will go to someone and in turn Emmy gets a kidney from somewhere else in the chain that is a better match for her.”

“There are also some therapies that Emmy can undergo to adjust the chemistry of the blood and make her compatible with one of you. It’s a longer process and the long-term success isn’t as good as a true match.”

The two adults looked at each other again and nodded. “Sign us up.” The boys jumped in too. “Us too.”

Dr. Wallace took care of that one. “Guys that’s fantastic and very brave of you but you have to be 18. So if Emmy is on the list for a while we’ll include you then.”

“OK just in case I had my assistant began to get the tests and the paperwork ready. When they bring you back to see Emmy, she’ll collect the samples. I’ll put a rush on this and we’ll hopefully know by tomorrow afternoon if either of you are a suitable match.”

“Now before we leave there’s one other thing we’ve got to talk about. We’ve received thousands of calls already from the media. What do you want released?”

“Oh…” They hadn’t really thought about that they knew that they needed to talk to Linda, her caseworker, and find out what they were allowed to say. “Can we get back to you on that?”

“Sure. We’ll just say nothing for now.” He looked at Stephanie and the missing pants leg, the gauze and crutch. “Were you shot too?”

“Yes, but just the leg.”

“Might be just the leg but with everything else going on make sure you take care of yourself.”

“I will.” He stood to leave and Stephanie and Brett stood to shake all the doctors’ hands.

Dr. Hatcher stayed behind. “Are you all ready to go see her?” Everyone shook his or her heads. It was so late he didn’t make the boys stay behind. Emmy was the only one in the recovery room at this hour of the night.

He led them through the doors and around the corner into a large room with lots of little rooms formed with curtains. All the curtains were pushed back at this time. In the third bed on the right they immediately saw Emmy laying in the bed.

Much like last time she was very pale but thankfully she was not on ventilation. A nurse saw them and told them to go on back. Dr. Hatcher led the way.

Emmy was laying there very peacefully. From this view you couldn’t tell that there was anything wrong, except for two small gauze wraps on both of her arms.

“The central line was key to getting her into surgery quickly. As soon as she arrived they just hooked it up. Saved them the time of starting an IV.” They looked at the tubes coming up out of her gown and running over her shoulder. “She’s still receiving blood. If anyone would like to donate we’ve used a lot for her today.”

Another nurse entered the room carrying a tray. Dr. Hatcher introduced her. “Ok guys this lady is going to be your new best friend. She’s Dr. Wallace’s assistant and will take care of all Emmy’s post-operative care. She’s also going to get you all tested.”

“Its good to meet you all. Like he said I’ll be in and out a lot over the next few days keeping an eye on her. Doing tests to see how often she’s going to need dialysis. Right now I ’d like to get this done and get it sent off. So we can see who she’s more like Mom or Dad. By the looks of it I’m going with Mom.”

“Actually,” Dr. Hatcher spoke “she’s adopted. Her and Mom’s looks seem to be purely coincidental.”

“Well that’s awesome. Lets do some testing anyway. With your looks who knows maybe you are long lost relatives. And Dr. Wallace told you about the kidney chains, right?” They both nodded.

“Ok just need a cheek swab and I’ll get a blood sample to just in case.” Stephanie went first. Sitting in a chair she pushed up her sleeve and allowed Michelle access to her arm. It was quick and painless given everything else she’d been through. Michelle opened the long swab and rubbed it inside her cheek. Standing carefully with a little help from Brett they switched places.

“I’m going to rush this through the lab. I’ve already made a call to explain the situation and they are sending someone to pick it up tonight so they can run it quickly.”

“Thank you so much.” Brett still couldn’t believe how everyone was working so hard for them. Michelle gathered up all the tests and got them ready to go.

Dr. Hatcher walked them over to Emmy. The recovery room nurse was rubbing her head. “Emmy, can you open your eyes? Someone is here to see you.” The nurse, Lucy, looked at the family. “She started waking up a few minutes ago. Before she even got her eyes open she asked if Mom was OK.” Stephanie’s eyes filled with tears. “I didn’t know what she meant, but now I see.” She looked down at Stephanie’s leg. “I might be good for her to hear your voice. Why don’t you sit here.” Lucy pushed a stool over to the side and helped Stephanie sit on it.

Reaching out she took Emmy’s hand. “Emmy, its Stephanie.” She paused and looked at Brett, “Emmy, and its Mom.” He smiled; she’d never called herself Mom to Emmy before. They’d always hesitated letting Emmy make the first move. “I’m OK sweetie. The doctor stitched up my leg and its just fine.” Emmy turned her head to her voice and tried to open her eyes.

“Mom” Her voice was weak but they all definitely heard her call Stephanie Mom.

“Sweetie open your eyes and you can see who else is here with you.” It took her a moment and a lot of concentration to force her eyes open.

When she did a grin appeared on her lips. “Dad.” Tears fell from Brett’s eyes.

“That is the most amazing thing I’ve heard in a long time.” Her eyes then looked past him and fell on the boys who had tearstains on their faces too.

“Guess you two are going to beat me back.”

“Nah, you’re a fighter you’ll surprise us all.” Jake patted her leg.

“I’m so tired.”

Lucy stepped in. “Its OK just rest. I wanted you to see that everyone was ok and right here with you.”

“O...” Emmy was trying to say OK but was just too tired to finish.

“She’s going to be like this for a while. A combination of the anesthetic and pain medication, with the enormity of what happened is overwhelming for a child’s body. Let her sleep as much as you can. We’ll be taking her up to a room soon but you guys can just hang out here until Michelle comes back to move her.”

“Thank you.” Brett told her as she left. Stephanie couldn’t take her eyes off Emmy.

“ So no ICU this time?” Tyler had been worried that like last time they wouldn’t get to see Emmy for a while.

“No, looks like she ’s going straight to a regular room.”

“Dad the bandages on her arms, what are those from?”

“For the dialysis. They did something to the veins in her arms to get them ready.”

“Why not use the central line in her chest?” Tyler was really getting into medicine and thinking seriously about making medical school his college plan.

“I’m not sure. We can ask Michelle or Dr. Hatcher about it.” Brett looked over at Stephanie who didn’t seem to have been listening at all. “Steph, you OK?” She didn’t answer or even look up. Brett let go of Emmy’s hand and walked around the bed to where Stephanie still sat on the stool. He wrapped his arms around her and asked again. “Are you OK?”

He felt her take a deep breath when he put his arms around her. “Brett we’re going to get her back.”

“Yes we are.”

“How is she strong enough to keep going through this stuff and coming out the other side?”

“Mom remember that line from Nemo, what is it that Dory says, ‘Keep swimming, just keep swimming.’ I think that’s what Emmy does. Day after day she just puts one foot in front of the other.” Stephanie looked at Jake.

“When did you get so smart?”

“From listening to you guys.” She smiled at her boys knowing that they really were great kids, and were going to be wonderful, protective, brothers for Emmy.

Michelle returned an hour and a half later. Everyone but Brett had fallen asleep with their heads on the bed. He saw her stop at the door and look at his mess of a family. She motioned for him to come over. “I won’t wake them yet. We’ve had a hiccup in getting a room. With everything going on outside the hospital executives wanted to make sure that Emmy was in a private room.”

Brett looked at her oddly. “What’s going on outside? The construction?” He’d noticed construction on the backside of the building on one of his walks during Emmy’s last stay.

“You haven’t been outside have you?” He shook his head. “Or seen a TV?” Again he shook his head.

She led him over to the windows on the opposite side of the recovery room. Looking down he saw four different news vans. “Are they all here waiting for us?”

“It’s been wall to wall coverage all day. Seems the story, Emmy’s story got out and people are eating it up.”

“I don’t understand. Last time at the tournament we were able to keep her name out of the news. What happened this time?”

“The first stories we heard were from parents of kids at the school. Seems like the police kept the kids for a while trying to determine who was involved, and the parents waited outside chatting with reporters. I think some of the kids were allowed to call and text with their parents so they’d know they were OK.”

“Good grief.”

“That’s why the higher ups here want to make sure they can maintain Emmy and your family’s privacy.” Brett nodded now understanding why it was taking so long. “They are working on moving a few patients around to get her a room that we can monitor better. Some rooms are out in the open and someone could slip in and bother you.”


“We want Emmy to have the best chance at a full recovery. Being comfortable here and getting rest are the two most important things for her right now. And we’ll work to make sure that happens.”

“I noticed your wife’s leg. She was the teacher shot today, wasn’t she?”

Brett nodded. “And your boys were they there today?”

“No they were with me at the high school. They were hit by a drunk driver back at the beginning of December.”

“You all have had rough going!”

“You have no idea. I’m pretty sure when I get them all home I’m going to wrap them all in bubble wrap and lock them in the house for a while.” Michelle chuckled at that.

“Well, I just wanted to update you, since we are well past the hour I had told you.”

“No problem. They are all resting now so we are OK where we are.”

“I’ll keep working and will come get you all soon as they are ready.”

When he sat back down he unplugged his phone and powered it back on. His phone had died hours ago and when he’d sent the boys out for Stephanie’s medicine he’d had them get his charger from the car. When it came back on he quickly silenced it afraid there may be a ton of messages. He had used Jake’s phone to send a message to Maisy’s Dad asking him to get word to everyone that Emmy had come through the surgery and that she was in serious but stable condition.

His phone vibrated off and on for five minutes after he powered it up. He had 56 text messages and 95 emails. Since sleep wasn’t going to happen for him he ignored the messages and started looking at the news. After reading through a few he learned that police and school officials had not made a public statement yet. He assumed they were waiting to talk to Steph and Emmy. Even without the official statement the speculation of events were pretty close to what Steph had described. Names had yet to be given, but the facts about the two victims were spot on. Brett knew that he would just let Linda, the caseworker deal with all of that. Looking at Emmy and Stephanie he had enough to deal with here.

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