Chapter 2: Olivia
Mason and I glanced at each other, a silent question of how much we should say passing between us. When he gave me a nod, I knew we’d decided to just tell him the truth.
“We don’t know much,” I began, and sat down in the chair I’d taken residence in over the last several days. “We stumbled across you by complete accident, found you lying in the middle of the woods a couple miles from here. You looked like you’d either jumped from a plane without a parachute, or a group of guys had beaten the shit out of you.”
“We actually thought you were dead at first.” Mason shook his head, and I knew he was remembering the way I’d frozen at the sight of his body peeking out from a clump of trees, terrified we were about to be the inspiration of a Criminal Minds episode before he’d jumped into action. “I have medical training, and even though you were still alive, it was a close call for a minute there.”
I shuddered once again, knowing that this man was lucky to be alive right now. Mason had cataloged his injuries and I’d written them down for him in a shaky hand, making the list of things we’d need to grab from around the cabin and things we’d need to grab from town the next day as soon as possible.
A small part of me still wondered why we hadn’t just taken him into town, but Mason and I had somehow come to agree to keep him at the cabin and help him recover. Because of the 10 years Mason had spent as a doctor in a Denver hospital, he had plenty of training and experience. If he thought that this man would be fine with what we could do for him, then I trusted that.
“Do you remember your name?” Mason’s question brought me out of my musings.
The man on the bed stiffened slightly, the parts of his face that were visible screwing up in concentration.
“You’re not sure?” I sent a worried look over to Mason, who signaled for me to be calm. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he answered.
“Not really. It feels familiar, but not quite right. It’s the only thing coming to mind right now though.”
“That’s alright, it should come back to you soon enough. With the extent of damage you had when we found you, it’s not surprising that you’ve got some temporary amnesia.”
“Temporary? That’s something good at least,” Noah said and visibly relaxed.
Mason tapped his fingers on his knee, and my heart rate picked up. I knew that was one of his nervous habits, one that only came out when he was really worried about something.
“Mason?” I tried to keep my voice quiet so I wouldn’t disturb Noah with the fear lacing my tone, but something alerted him to it anyway.
“What? What’s wrong?”
Mason ran a hand through his hair, blowing out a big breath. “Well, I’d like to keep your eyes bandaged for a few days longer.”
“Okay,” Noah said with apprehension drawing the word out. “Why are you saying it like that?”
“Based on the blows to your head and face, there’s a possibility that you have permanent eye damage. Keeping the bandage on and your eyes closed should help the healing process, but I can’t guarantee that you’ll be back to normal.”
Noah fidgeted nervously, and I instinctively reached forward and grabbed his hand to comfort him. It startled him at first, but then he relaxed slightly, clinging onto my hand.
“What kind of visibility should I expect?”
“Right now, I would say you can expect to regain anywhere from 40 to 90 percent of visual capability. It’s hard to say, although I wish I could give you something more definite.”
“I understand.” Noah’s voice was perfectly emotionless, but I could feel the tremor in his hand as he squeezed mine. Tears welled up in my eyes, wishing I could just heal him. Something about this stranger tugged at my heartstrings, and I just wanted to help him. “What about the rest of me?”
“Your knee was dislocated, so I popped it back into place and put a splint around it so it could heal properly. I had to stitch three wounds, one on your stomach, one on your left hip, and the other on your right shoulder blade. Other than those, your eyesight and the mild concussion, everything else is just scrapes and bruises. It’ll be a healing process, but we’ve got pain meds for you so it shouldn’t be too bad.”
“Exactly,” I picked up. “Mason used to be a hospital doctor, and has recently got into physical therapy so he’ll be a big help there. I can cook, and I am good company. We’ll do everything we can for you, Noah.”
He sat in silence, but when he spoke up his voice was more gruff than before. “Thank you. I heard you talking earlier, and if what you said is true, then I owe you my life.”
“Just happy to help.” Mason’s words rang strong and true, and Noah nodded in acknowledgement.
“Are you tired? Hungry?” I stroked the top of Noah’s hand as I asked him the questions, and marveled at the strength in him even though he was laid out.
“I am feeling a bit tired. You guys don’t mind if I rest for a while longer?”
“Not at all. Call for one of us when you wake up and we can help you with whatever you need.” I stood, sliding my hand out of his.
“I’ll bring you some water before you go back to sleep. You need some after being out for the last few days, not to mention whatever happened to you before we found you.”
Mason and I left, shutting the door to the room behind us. I walked with him to the kitchen, waiting until we got in there to bring up my only worry.
“I don’t know if he’s just not medically knowledgeable, or if he’s too hurt to realize it, but all those injuries don’t add up to him almost dying.”
“Yeah, I know,” Mason said and hung his head in defeat after filling up a glass of water for Noah.
“Why didn’t you tell him the whole thing?”
“He’s probably already overwhelmed with not being able to remember his name, not to mention a bunch of other questions I didn’t ask him yet, plus the fact that he might never see again. I didn’t want to tell him I had to do an emergency blood transfusion to save his life.”
“That’s a fair point. Good thing we’re both O-neg.”
“Fucking right it is. I have no way to tell what he is, so both of us being universal donors was a stroke of luck for him.”
We stood there in silence for another moment, thinking about just how wrong it could’ve gone for Noah. Mason shook his head to clear his thoughts, and lifted the glass up.
“I’m going to take this to him before he falls asleep again. I’ll take the first watch tonight.”
“Okay. I’m going to get ready for bed, but wake me up if either of you need anything.”
“You got it, Liv.”
I watched as he made his way towards Noah’s room, and I reluctantly made my way up the stairs to my own. I wanted to stay and help, but I knew that it wouldn’t do anyone any good for me to be exhausted. And I was; donating blood for the transfusion the last couple days had really taken it out of me, plus the rotating sleep schedule with Mason to make sure Noah hadn’t taken a turn for the worse.
I let out a giant yawn as I stripped my clothes, then fell into bed. Just before passing out, I pulled the blankets snug around my neck, trying to get thoughts of the stranger to stop rolling through my mind.