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I have seen Finn in the worst of war, dealing with the fucking lowest of humanity but I’ve never seen the look of sheer terror on his face I see right now. Jesus Christ. As soon as he opens the door, I can smell the blood in the air, the metallic tinge hitting the back of my throat. Oh God. Christ Peyton what did you do?

I race in behind Finn to find Peyton in her bathtub, the water red with her blood. She is so pale my first thought is there is no fucking blood left in her body – we’re too fucking late! I hear footsteps enter the apartment behind us and assume it is the cops. I shout for them to call for an ambulance while Finn and I let our training take over so we can do what we need to do so Peyton keeps fucking breathing.

We’re both first aid certified and have CPR training so after checking out what the hell is going on, we apply pressure to her wrists to slow the bleeding. The fact that she’s still bleeding is an incredibly good sign – it means her heart is still fucking pumping. Thank God. She’s still alive – even if only barely. We lift her out of the tub and lay her on the bedroom floor. Her breathing is shallow and sporadic – she needs to get to a hospital and fucking fast.

The cops seem to catch on quick to what’s happening and help, instead of throwing us in handcuffs. Maybe that’ll come later, I don’t know. I also don’t care as long as Peyton gets to a fucking hospital. More sirens and in a few short minutes that feel like hours the paramedics are taking her away in an ambulance. Now Finn and I get to talk to the cops, and we tell them over and over again why we broke in, and why we were fucking worried in the first place. It is fucking hours before they release us and we’re finally able to go to the hospital where Peyton is. We don’t even know if she’s alive – we’re not family so the cops wouldn’t tell us anything. I get it but I fucking hate it.

The hospital isn’t any better, but they let us stay in the waiting room. We stretch out on benches and catch a few minutes of sleep here and there while we wait for hours for someone to tell us when we can see her. When the doctor does finally come – he isn’t a medical doctor but instead a psychiatrist. Part of me is surprised but I’m more relieved than anything. Whatever demons Peyton is dealing with she clearly isn’t winning the fight on her own, and unlike me having Finn to talk to – she obviously needs someone herself.

He introduces himself and we do as well. Turns out he also served and has been out for eleven years. He now specializes in helping soldiers with post-traumatic stress, but still helps out at the hospital when cases like Peyton come in.

“I can’t tell you much out of respect for her privacy, I hope you understand,” he says and we both nod that we do. She probably doesn’t even fucking know we’re out here – why would she? She has no reason to suspect how either of us feel about her and she isn’t going to – at least not for now. She has enough shit on her plate. “Peyton has agreed to check herself into our Psychiatry Ward. By checking herself in, she can leave whenever she wants but she recognizes that she needs help. It is up to her to tell you what exactly happened, but I will say that it is a damn good thing you two got to her when you did. Minutes more and you’d be planning her funeral.” Jesus Christ – don’t hold back or anything. But hearing my worst fucking fears being confirmed by a doctor just tightens the knot in my stomach.

He says when she’s ready he’ll tell her how she got to the hospital and our involvement in it. Until then, our role is done, and we can go home. So we leave. We fucking leave. What else can we do? She doesn’t know we’re there, so she isn’t going to ask to see us. We can’t force our way in to see her – no matter how much we want to. Hopefully, she’ll reach out when she’s back home, I guess that’s all we can wait for… wish for. This fucking sucks.

The drive home is quiet with both of us lost in our thoughts. What the fuck just happened? We finally meet a woman we both like and before we get the chance to pursue anything with her, something fucks her up to the point where she… Yeah. This fucking sucks. We both like her so much, yet neither of us are in a position to do anything more than wait. Fucking wait.

Wait and hope she contacts one of us when she gets out of the hospital, whenever that is. I know from experience with my fellow soldiers that ‘recovery’ takes a lifetime, but the actual hospitalization can be anywhere from a few weeks to fucking months. One poor son of a bitch still hasn’t left. So all we can do is wait and hope for the best. The best for Peyton’s physical and emotional recovery.

The best for everyone’s future.

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