Colby silently moaned. Her whole body ached. The pain made it hard to concentrate and kept pulling her back toward darkness. She wanted to open her eyes, but she didn’t have the strength. A headache was pounding behind her eyes and her left shoulder felt like it was on fire.
Colby tried to remember what had happened, but everything was a blur. All she knew was she was cold and she hurt. She lay still, realizing it hurt to even breathe. She heard a soft voice, but she couldn’t figure out why it seemed so familiar to start with.
“I’m so sorry, Col. I let you down. I was supposed to protect you.”
Walker? Was he crying? Her head hurt too much to think. The last thing she could remember was Levi galloping into the arena. Wait...didn’t her saddle break? She moaned softly.
“Just rest,” Walker whispered close to her ear. “You’re safe here.”
Colby still struggled to wake up despite the pain coursing through her body. She felt a hand holding her shoulder down before she felt a slight prick. The last thing she remembered before sweet oblivion too hold of her was the sound of a door closing.
Walker clenched his fists at his sides as he proceeded the doctor out of Colby’s room. This couldn’t be happening. Not again. He glanced up at the ceiling. Hadn’t he been through enough? And Colby’s safety had been his responsibility. Now she was lying in a hospital bed with who knew what kind of injuries. He turned to the doctor after he had managed to calm himself down enough to think coherently.
“Alright, doc, give it to me straight,” Walker said, folding his arms over his chest. “How bad is it? And don’t you dare sugarcoat it.”
The gray haired doctor managed to smother a smile behind his hand by adjusting his glasses. “Seems to me you’ve been through this before.”
“A couple times,” Walker answered shortly, not wanting to think about those times.
The doctor studied his clipboard briefly. “It’s not as bad as it could have been. She is going to be sore for quite some time though. She’s got a mild concussion. But her collarbone’s cracked and her left arm is badly bruised. She’ll be in a sling for a while and no barrel racing until that shoulder’s healed.”
Walker actually laughed. “You can be the one to tell her that. I’m sure you know how rodeo riders can be.”
“Oh, I certainly do. She’s sleeping comfortably now. I’ll come check on her in about an hour.”
The cowboy nodded. “When can she go home?”
“We’ll see how she fares tonight, but I don’t see any reason why she can’t leave tomorrow.”
“Thank you, doctor.”
The doctor gave him a reassuring smile before moving on to finish his rounds. Walker peeked back into Colby’s room. She was still sleeping peacefully after the shot of pain meds. He sighed softly as he watched her sleep. Walker scrubbed at his face. Who was after her? And why? She could have been killed tonight.
Walker leaned against the wall, the door closing behind him. He was glad that she had been moved out of the ER. It had been crazy with the doctors and nurses running everywhere. There had been a car accident not long after he had gotten there and it had gotten even crazier. It was a cop’s worst nightmare. Walker hadn’t been sure who belonged there and who didn’t. At least in a room by herself he could keep a close eye on her.
The young man ran a frustrated hand through his wavy hair, feeling like he had aged ten years in a single day. He took a deep breath before walking over to the window and sitting down on the couch that he knew would pull out into a very uncomfortable bed. Walker stared out the window, not really seeing the beautiful mountains surrounding Cody. Normally he loved the quaint Wyoming town. Him and his sister had shared some good times here.
Walker soon pulled his cell phone out of his back pocket, setting his hat on the couch. He was going to need some help with this assignment and he knew just who to call. As long as she didn’t have something more pressing to do, which he prayed she didn’t.
The phone ran twice before someone picked up with a cheery, “Langley”.
“Hey baby sis.”
“Walker!” she exclaimed, surprisingly not getting mad at him for calling her his baby sister. “What’s up? Something serious?”
Walker laughed. “Never could keep anything from you. But yes, I need your help.”
Walker proceeded to fill her in on everything. He glanced over at Colby as he talked, having a feeling she wouldn’t like what he had planned. He just hoped that having another woman around would help smooth things over a bit. It not, this was going to be a miserable however long.
He soon finished the conversation with his sister and hung up. He leaned back against the wall, feeling worn out. Before he knew it and without wanting to, his grew heavy and he fell asleep.