Dorian’s lifeless body hit the cement like a sack of potatoes. I stood like a statue for a moment, not yet registering what had happened. I killed someone. Dax’s groans of pain brought me back to earth and I quickly crawled over to him, throwing the gun across the room.
“Not to be that cop, or anything, but throwing a gun is incredibly dangerous.” Dax scolded, clutching his bloodied wound with his good hand.
“Give me a firearm lesson later, for now, let’s focus on getting you to a hospital.”
“There’s no time for that, I’m bleeding too fast and too much, you need to take the bullet out.” He winced, nodding toward the stairs. “Go check to see if there’s a needle and thread somewhere upstairs-”
“Are you insane?” I screamed, blinking at him.
“No, I’m logical. The nearest hospital is forty minutes away, and that’s just to get there. By the time we get a doctor to do what I’m asking you to do, I’ll have to get the majority of my arm cut off. Now, you’re studying to be a vet. Just think of me as a dog, who got shot, and you need to fix me up so I can go home to my family.”
“O-Okay,” I stammered, stumbling toward the stairs, “I’ll be right back.” I tore up the stairs and ran around the house looking for a needle. Finding nothing in the kitchen or any of the bedrooms, I finally found a mini First Aid kit in the bathroom. I clambered back down the stairs and proudly displayed the kit to Dax.
“Good, Princesa, now open it up and find what you need.” Dax instructed and I did as I was told, rummaging through the kit until I found a needle and thread.
“Should I apply the alcohol towelette or-”
“No, Princesa, I need you to reach into my shoulder and pull out the bullet, okay?” He reached out with his good arm to squeeze my trembling hand. “You can do this.” With a nod, I slowly moved over his wound, watching blood pulsate out of the muscle and tissue. Swallowing back my fear, I pushed my fingers through the bullet wound and felt for pieces of metal. Dax ground his teeth together in agony and I whimpered in guilt and frustration.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I apologized, finally finding that the bullet had gone completely through Dax’s shoulder. “The bullet is gone, there’s an exit wound.”
“Good, now sew them up and we’ll go.” He took a deep breath as I threaded the needle.
“Oh yeah, easy as pie.” I mumbled, pressing the needle against his skin. “Here it goes...” I pushed it through his skin and then back through the other side. I did this over and over until the entrance wound had been sealed, and then I started on the exit. When I finished, Dax slowly stood to his feet and leaned against me for support. We climbed up the stairs and stumbled out of the front door. Red and blue lights flickered in the distance, a helicopter light shining down on us from above.
“Backup is finally here.” Dax grumbled, rolling his eyes. I laughed softly, relieved that this was over. Over for good.
“Jane,” Dax pulled away from me and insisted on standing on his own, “I love you and loosing you was the worst thing to ever happen to me. I need you.” I smiled brightly up at him.
“I love you, too.”
Dax was released from the hospital two days later and ordered to bed rest until his arm and rib fully healed. We flew back to California in a plane specifically for medical transportation, where I volunteered to take care of him until he got better. When the cab pulled up to Dax’s house, I realized how long it had been since I’d been home. The grass was long and shaggy and the plants had died from lack of watering. I helped Dax settle into his bedroom, helping him undress and slip under the blankets. I kissed his forehead as the pain medication kicked in and he fell asleep. I was walking out of Dax’s yard when a familiar red head popped her head out of our house.
“Jane?” She called out, running down the steps.
“Viv!” I called back, colliding into her arms. We jumped up and down, holding each other tight. I missed her; I missed her smile, her stupid yoga poses, and her girlfriend. Dalila watched us, laughing softly at our dramatic reunion and soon joined in on the hug.
“So tell me everything.” Viv grinned. I laid out the entire story, including the steamy details of my first time and the news about my biological father. Dalila left an hour later to visit Dax and for just a moment, things felt like they had before I met Dax. Simple. And boring. Viv and I made a bag of pizza rolls and watched trashy reality TV. I felt like my life was falling back into place. When I finally had a moment to myself, I wandered into my bedroom where I found my phone where I had left it. My voicemail was filled with messages from Riley, asking for another chance. I scrolled through my contacts and deleted his number, placing it back on my desk.
My bed was still made the way I had left it and it felt cool against my skin as I sunk under the covers. I couldn’t have been asleep long before I felt my mattress dip under someone’s weight. I drowsily flicked my lamp on and starred at the tattooed cop that had climbed into my bed.
“What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in bed.” I laughed softly, shaking my head. Dax yawned and ran his fingers through his tousled hair.
“We slept together every night we were in Mexico, you can’t expect me to sleep without you now.” He laid on his back and pulled me across his left side, kissing my forehead. “Goodnight, Princesa.”
“Goodnight, Officer Rivera.” I giggled softly and pressed a kiss to the corner of his lips.
“I love you.” He murmured.
“I love you, too.”