invisible scars

bit by bit

Chapter 5

Bit By Bit

Blue eyes opened as she heard a light snore coming from her left. The room was dark but she could make out the red head doctor slumped in the chair, looking very uncomfortable. She recognized her from earlier but couldn't really remember her name. Embarrassment suddenly hit her as she remembered how she had shown such weakness earlier in front of Callie. Thinking that the brunette got sick of waiting around and sent someone else to babysit her made her feel a bit deserted.

Her face didn't hurt so much anymore. Ribs and arms were still sore but she actually felt like she was well rested. Her knee was still aching but it was bearable unlike the emotional pain that was heavily bearing down on her chest. Slowly, she tried to reach for the glass of water that was situated on the bed side table. As she held it in her hand a sharp stabbing pain shot through her injured knee and with a crash the glass shattered into thousands of pieces on the hard floor.

April flew from the chair suddenly highly alert. "I'm awake. I'm awake." Franticly looking around the room she could feel her face turn a nice shade of red as she spotted Arizona staring at her in wonder. "Oh, eh hi. I'm Dr Kepner. April Kepner but you can just call me April." She giggled nervously and was about to reach out to shake Arizona's hand when she noticed what had actually woke her up. "Oh, you didnt hurt yourself, did you?" Not waiting for an answer she began to clean it up.

"No... I... I'm fine. I just needed some water. I'm sorry."

April asked a passing nurse to get a brush, a dustpan and a new glass before she turned to Arizona. "You have nothing to be sorry for. It was an accident." She corrected the blankets, covering the frail from, that had gotten into a tangled mess. "Dr Torres got paged for an emergency a few hours ago and she asked me to stay. A seven car pile up and lots of broken bones." Talking was a nervous habit for April. The words just kind of came out before she cold stop them and random information was sputtering out. Realizing she had done it again she mentally kicked herself. "Sorry, you did not need o know all that. I talk. I talk a lot... When I'm nervous. Not that you make me nervous or anything, it's just that I keep on rambling when I'm uncomfortable." April realized what she had just said. "I didn't mean that. I mean, I do but I don't and... I'm gonna stop now."

The nurse came back with the glass and brush. April poured some water for the blonde and watched her empty it. An awkward silence filled the room. April felt sorry for this lonely woman who had no family left. She wondered what was going to happen to her now and after she was released from the hospital? Where would she go? What happened to her? Where had she been all these years? The curiosity got the better of her.

"You know, if... If you want to talk about... You know, what happened to you, I'm a very good listener. Everything you tell me would be confidential of course. Nothing you tell me leaves this room unless it could jeopardize your safety." April gave her a shy but reassuring smile. There was something about April. Something about her presence that made people comfortable and at ease. Even in grade school her friends always came to her when they wanted to talk about their problems, get some advice or just to vent. She prayed to God that this woman would feel the same way and was comfort enough to open up, even just a little bit.

Arizona once again had fear in her eyes but calmed slightly as the doctor took a seat in the chair that she recently had dozed off in. The blonde still remained quiet and the red head decided to try a different approach. "Okay, how about if I ask you questions and you give me the answers? And if there's a question that you don't want to answer or not ready to answer just let me know, okay?"

Arizona thought about it for awhile I should tell her. At least his full name. She hasn't said his name out loud since that day so long ago. The day that changed her whole world and her perception of it. Nothing had ever been the same since and nothing ever would be. If she could turn back time she would go back and do things differently but she knew that was impossible. All that has been done could never become undone. This is it. This is where I'm at now.

Licking suddenly dry lips she prepared herself mentally and physically. "His name is Kevin William Tucker. He... He took me away from my family." She said it so fast that April could barely understand. Releasing a breath she didn't know she was holding, Arizona looked at the doctor. Her heart was racing, almost beating its way out of her chest, ringing in her ears, and she was sure that April could hear it too.

The intern smiled warmly. "Okay, you're doing great. Can you tell me his date of birth?" Arizona knew why she wanted to know that detail. A full name and a date of birth and the police would try to track him down. They would check in the registry and find his social security number, get his address and work from there.

Just tell her the date, the cops will find him and arrest him and nothing more will ever be said about it. She closed her eyes shut as tight as she could, afraid of what was going to happen once the words came out. "June the second 1974." Before April could answer, Callie appeared. Tired from the chaos in the pit and from performing back to back surgeries for the past few hours.

"Oh, you're awake. I'm sorry I had to leave. 911 call." Callie glanced over at Dr Kepner who just gave her a hasty smile and excused but stopped in the doorway.

"Dr Torres, could I have a word with you outside, please?"

The Latina just nodded and told Arizona she would be back in a few. Once outside the room, out of Arizona's view, Callie raised her hands in defence. "I know, I'm sorry I was gone for so long but you know what it's like in the ER. It was crazy and Im..."

"Torres..."

Callie kept going. "... I'm sorry you had to..."

"Torres..."

"wait and cover for me and I..."

"TORRES!" April almost shouted. Looking around she made sure no one was close enough to hear their conversation. "It's okay, I don't mind." Again she scanned the area. "She told me his name and date of birth. I'm gonna go call the cops and let them know."

Callie looked stunned. "Oh... Eh, okay. Did she say anything else? Did she mention what happened to her? Anything?"

April shook her head. "No, but it's a start, right? I'm gonna go make that call, let you know what they say and head home. My back has probably developed scoliosis after that chair."

Callie watched her as she walked away. Smiling, she was grateful for what the intern had achieved and for the loyalty that April constantly showed her patients and coworkers. "Thanks Kepner." The red head just waved.

Arizona was staring out the window with a distant look in her eyes. Upon hearing her doctor approach she quickly wiped a lone tear rolling down her cheek. She tried to give Callie a slight smile but it ended up looking more like a grimace. The Latina wasn't easily fooled and saw the fear on Arizona's face and how she tried to brush it off and pretend that she was fine. Callie sat down.

"I'm sorry I wasn't here when you woke up. I know I promised and I hate breaking promises. Usually I don't make promises I can't keep but I had to run and..."

Arizona interrupted. "Its fine. You don't have to babysit me. I know you are busy." Callie could hear the emptiness in her voice. Like she didn't care about anything, not even herself. It made Callie sad to see the blank stare and the resigned body language of the blonde.

"I didn't mean for it to come across as baby sitting. I just thought you'd like some company." Silence. "April said that you told her his name. That a very good start, Arizona." Tired blue eyes still gazed out the window and Callie wondered if she was even listening or hearing her. She pushed the chair even closer so she could fully block Arizona's view. "I know you're scared but you are safe here. There are doctors, nurses, cleaners and security here around the clock. If you want I could contact the authorities and have a protective detail set up for you. There would constantly be an officer right outside your door to make sure everything is okay and safe."

Finally Arizona looked over at the brunette, terror covered her face. "No, I don't want any man standing outside my room. I... I can't, I..."

Callie put a hand on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. "Okay, okay. You don't have to. What about a female officer? Would that make you feel better?"

Arizona gave it a good thought. Callie seemed genuinely concerned. She didn't know what she wanted. A part of her wanted that security but another part of her didn't feel comfortable having a stranger hanging outside her door. "I don't know. Maybe..." Blue eyes started to well up as she looked at the doctor. "I... I just... want to go to sleep and everything to be gone when I wake up. I just... I can't... I..."

The tears were flowing freely now. She covered her face with scraped and bruised hands, not wanting Callie to see her cry. A few seconds passed and she was shocked and a slightly relieved when she felt two strong arms encircling her shaking body. She was so sick of crying. She was amazed she had any tears left in her system to produce and yet, here she was again, crying. The embrace felt soothing. Almost healing in a way. She welcomed the warmth and eventually wrapped her own arms around Callie not letting go, holding on for dear life and melted into the comfort and security that this particular woman seemed to radiate.

Callie had her eyes closed, trying not to get too emotional herself. It was never good, or appropriate, to get too emotionally involved with your patients. Another rule and policy drilled into her brain from med school. Sometimes it was hard, other times even harder but when a case like this appears it's almost impossible not to get attached and too involved. Callie had had a couple of cases and patients before that got too deep under her skin and she knew what pain it could bring. This case, however, felt totally different. She couldn't put her finger on why but she just knew she had to see this through and make sure this woman found some peace and closure.

The petite blonde continued to shake in her arms. A couple of minutes passed and Callie's shoulders and neck had begun to cramp up a bit. She slowly stood up, making sure not to break the physical contact, and sat down on the side of the bed still holding Arizona tight against her own body. Callie rubbed soothing circles over the small of her back hoping it would calm her down some.

"Shhh, it's gonna be okay. Everything is going to be just fine. You're safe and you're healing. Its all going to take some time but I promise you that everything will work itself out for the better. You'll see."

Arizona took a deep breath. "I thought you didn't make promises that you can't keep?"

Callie smiled. "I don't." The brunette pulled back a little so she could look into Arizona's eyes. They were red, puffy and full of tears but Callie thought she looked amazingly beautiful. "I know everything is gonna be fine. Do you know how I know?" Arizona shook her head. "Because you made it this far. You are gonna heal and get better, bit by bit." Once again she pulled Arizona close.

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