#6 Tarzan and Jane will have to wait
“Jesus fucking Christ, what happened to you?”
I motion for Thomas to come into my apartment. I’ve only gotten here two minutes ago. Thomas must have heard me come home, since I didn’t let him know I was here. He looks at me with wide eyes, taking in the horrific state I’m in.
“Shit happened,” I say vaguely, pulling a hand through my hair. My cat General Furrington – yeah, I really called him that – rubs against my leg, but I’m too tired to pet him right now.
“Why didn’t you call me?” Thomas asks, stepping forward to wrap his arms around me.
I allow myself to just lean against him for a moment, enjoying how warm he feels against me. He’s in nothing but sweatpants and I dig my nails into his bare back, feeling better with him here. He’s real, he’s got nothing to do with everything that happened tonight, he’s familiar. I feel more grounded back in my apartment, and I can finally breathe again.
“Did someone hurt you?” he asks, pulling back and holding me at arm’s length to see if I’m injured.
“No, I’m fine,” I assure him. “Sorry to just leave you at the club. There was a fight, I had to check on a guy that got injured, and then me and my friends got arrested.”
“Arrested?” Thomas shakes his head. “I’m gonna need more than that, Franny. What happened? Start from the moment you left my side.”
I grunt, not really in the mood to rehash everything, although I get that he’s worried and just wants to be there for me. It’s not like I can do anything for my friends right now, so I decide that no one will blame me if I take half an hour before heading back to the police station. Surely Shaughna will call me if there is any news. I could use a cup of coffee and a shower. And sleep, but there’s no time for that right now.
“Go shower,” Thomas tells me, touching my face gently. “I’ll fix you something to eat and put on a pot of coffee.”
“My hero,” I tell him, giving him a quick kiss. I’m happy he heard me come home. I didn’t think I’d want anyone around right now, but he’s being so good to me that I’m glad to have him with me. He helps me feel centered.
The shower works wonders on me, relaxing me further. I shoot Shaughna a text when I’m dry and in some jeans and a T-shirt, needing to know she’s still fine. She replies right away, telling me that nothing changed. That’s both good and bad news, I guess. It means that things didn’t get worse, but it also means that the guys still haven’t been released. I’m most worried about Aston and Nathan, since they were bleeding when they got arrested, but of course I get that Shaughna’s thoughts are mostly with Dshawn, since he’s the man she loves. It’s the same reason Aston is the one I’m worried about most, even though he’s not truly mine. I can’t help but think about him while I pull a brush through my wet hair and walk back into my living room. The smell of eggs and bacon welcomes me and my stomach grumbles in response.
“You look exhausted,” Thomas says, putting a plate in front of me the moment I sit down at the kitchen table. “Here, eat up, babe.”
I dig in right away, feeling way better now that I’m clean again and getting some food in my system. He sits down across from me and hands me a cup of coffee in my favorite pink mug with a picture of my mother’s cat on it. He sips his own drink from another cat themed mug, looking at me with worry in his blue eyes.
“Tell me what happened,” he says, reaching across the table to squeeze my hand.
The next ten minutes, I fill him in on everything that went down, stuffing my face with eggs while I do. General Furrington seems to feel that I need some emotional support, since he lies down on my left foot while I talk, purring and rubbing his head against my leg.
“I wish you’d have come get me,” Thomas says when I’m done talking. He flexes his muscles unconsciously, making my eyes move to his muscular chest, enjoying the view for a moment. “You could have gotten hurt. I should have been there.”
I honestly didn’t even think about asking him for help. Everything went so fast, and I forgot about him in the heat of the moment. I get that he feels guilty for not helping out, but it’s not like things would have been different had he followed me out of the club instead of waiting for me in the bar. He’d mostly likely be back at the station with the other guys right now.
“Hey, you said you got a new tattoo,” I suddenly remember, thinking back to us dancing in the club before everything went to hell. “Show me!”
He blinks rapidly at the sudden change in topic, but then he gets up and pulls down his sweatpants a little in the front, showing me a small crown in black ink.
“You crowned your dick?” I joke, although I have to admit that the tattoo works perfectly with all the other ones on his chest and stomach, fitting right in.
“You know Tarzan deserves it,” he says with a grin. One night about a year ago, we decided to name each other’s private parts, just for the hell of it. We were buzzed, drinking beer on his couch, and watching old cartoons. I decided on Tarzan for his cock, so of course my vagina is now called Jane.
“Yeah he does.” Even though this is still a weird, stressful night, part of me wants to grab him and drag him into my bedroom, just to forget about everything for a moment. I don’t, of course, since I know I need to head back to the police station to be there for my friends. I’m not so selfish that I’m going to have sex in the midst of all this chaos. It’s bad enough that I left to take a shower and eat, and flirted with a cop without meaning to. I’m a horrible friend.
“Do you want me to come with you?” Thomas offers when I start to gather my stuff and throw it in a big purse. I make sure to grab some medical supplies in case the guys need me to fix them up when they’re released. I’m not sure how well they were looked after in there.
“Nah,” I say, dismissing his offer, even though it’s sweet. I need to focus on my friends, not on him. “Thanks though, I’ll let you know how things turn out.”
“Please do.” He grabs my wrist when I walk into the hallway and pulls me against him, refusing to let me leave. “Don’t I get a kiss goodbye?”
I tilt up my face and intent to give him a quick peck, but he turns the kiss into a steamy make-out session within a second, leaving me gasping for air when he steps back. The guy can kiss alright. Fuck, now I want to stay here and fuck him even more.
“Bye,” I breathe, taking a step back.
He smirks and touches the side of my face. “Don’t forget about me again, okay? Text me if you need anything. I won’t mind jumping in my car and coming to pick you up no matter where you are or what time it is. Even if you just want to talk, call me. I’m here for you.”
This is not a side of Thomas I get to see often. I know he can be sweet and caring when he’s got a girlfriend, but he’s usually a lot more crude around me, not needing to woo me since I’m already good with our little arrangement and we both don’t want nor need more from each other. I never pull out all the stops with him either, and that’s exactly why sleeping with him is so easy. I can just come home from work, fuck him before I even take a shower, and then get back to my own life.
“Thanks, Thom.” I give him a small smile and then I’m off, leaving him to lock up behind me before going to back his own place. He’s had my spare key since the first month I moved in here, and that’s very handy when a shift goes long and I need someone to feed my cat.
Pinky, my wonderful old car in the brightest shade of pink I could find when I went to look for a secondhand car, takes me to the police station. I check on Shaughna and Caroline, who are in the same state as they were when I left. Shaughna is still a goddamn warrior goddess, harassing the cop behind the reception desk for information about Dshawn the other guys, while Caroline is trying to stop crying, huddled in on herself in the corner on a chair.
“Hey,” I say softly, sitting down next to her and rubbing her back. I feel bad for being so harsh on her earlier. She’s obviously not doing well. “They’ll be fine. Nathan will probably be released soon.”
“He’s got a criminal record,” she says with a shudder. “He was in jail for two years. If he gets convicted again…” She trails off, leaning against me with her eyes closed. “I can’t believe I got him in this mess. I’m the worst wife ever.”
Well shit. I had no idea Nathan got convicted for something. I wonder what he did. I also can’t help but wonder how he landed a girl like Caroline. I may not like her all that much, but that’s mostly because I feel like I’m the outside looking in whenever she and Shaughna get together with me tagging along. She’s a nice girl, really. Considerate, kind, beautiful. Nathan must be pretty special to get a girl almost 20 years younger than he is to marry him, especially if he’s a convicted criminal with a kid and an ex-wife. Poor Caroline. I get why she’s so distraught now.
“It was just a fist fight,” I say, still rubbing her back. “He’s not going to jail for that. I bet he’ll be out soon. Hollister was drunk and probably high on something, and Melchior is an abusive prick. I doubt they’re going to press charges. This sort of stuff happens all the time outside of clubs. Do you have any idea how many drunk guys I see coming into the ER at night? I get that this all seems very daunting right now, but this isn’t that big of a deal, really. He’ll be out soon, I’ll take look at his hand, and then this will soon all be a distant memory.”
“You think so?” Caroline stops crying a moment, sitting up and looking at me with a hopeful look in her eyes.
“Yeah, I do.”
We stay like that for a while, watching Shaughna pace the room. The cop on duty is getting agitated by her, but he just keeps typing away on his computer without looking up more than once every few minutes. After half an hour, I just can’t sit still anymore, so I step outside for a moment, walking around the parking lot and checking my phone. Thomas texted me again, asking me how I am. I call him to have someone to talk to who isn’t worried or crying, and it’s nice to chat to him, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
James Tyson also texted me, telling me that it’s unlikely that Aston and Dshawn will be released anytime soon, but that things are looking good for Nathan. I don’t go in to tell Caroline and Shaughna that, for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t want to get them even more worried. They’ll be happy to hear about Nathan, but I don’t know anything for sure, and the news about the others isn’t good. Second of all, I’m embarrassed about getting a date with one of the officers who arrested us. They’re in there worried sick about their guys, and here I am, calling Thomas and texting James. I’m such a self-centered slut.
I need to make one more call, this time to Joshua. He picks up on the fourth ring, sounding a little groggy.
“Who’s this?” he asks, his voice hoarse.
“Hi, this is Francesca, the girl who-”
“The purple-haired nurse,” he interrupts me. “Right! Sorry for not calling you. A nurse gave me your number a while ago, but then my mother started crying and I got distracted.”
Ah, so Candice didn’t forget. I knew I could count on her. “How are you doing?” I ask, hoping to get some good news.
“Fine,” he says. “Did you really just call me to ask me that?”
“Yeah, I was worried about you.”
He’s silent for a moment. “You don’t even know me.”
“You’re Shaughna’s friend,” I say, wanting to get back to talking about his health. “How’s your leg?”
“Good,” he says, then laughing softly. “Well, no, that’s a lie. It’s broken. Crutches and a wheel chair for eight weeks. They put the bones back in the right place or something, hurt like a motherfucker before they gave me more pain meds. I’m getting a cast soon.”
“Dr. Richards is treating you, right?” I ask. “He’s really good. The whole staff is. You’re in good hands.”
“Would you mind telling my mom that?” Joshua says, chuckling. “She keeps saying the wants me to be transferred to the private clinic on the other side of town, but I keep telling her this hospital is great.”
“It is,” I agree with him. “Sure, put your mom on the phone.”
He’s quiet for a few seconds before speaking up again. “I was just kidding.”
“I’m not. She must be freaking out, right? Put her on. Oh, and what’s her last name?” Talking to worried relatives is a big part of my job as a nurse, after all. There’s not much I can do to help, so I’m glad to find something to make me feel of use.
“Erm… sure. Her last name is Chambers.” I hear him call out to his mother, and then a soft female voice greets me. She’s got a posh British accent that surprises me. Joshua doesn’t sound like he’s from England. Maybe his father is American?
“Hi Mrs. Chambers,” I say in a professional, reassuring tone. “I’m a friend of Joshua’s. I was with him when he got hurt and I happen to work as an ER nurse in the hospital he is in right now. I understand you’re worried about his wellbeing?”
“Yes!” she says, sounding like she’s been crying all night. “The nurses keep telling me he’s fine and the doctor said so too, but no one has been in to see him the past twenty minutes!”
Twenty minutes is nothing. If Joshua has gotten the x-rays he needed and his bones are back in place, there’s no need for the staff the fuss over him. They’ve surely got more urgent patients to care for before checking on him again.
“That’s good news, actually,” I assure her. “If doctors and nurse keep running in and out, that would worry me more. If they keep comfortable leaving him alone for twenty minutes, he must be doing great. I know Dr. Richards and the other staff members and they’re the best. Top notch. Trust me, he’s in good hands. And the paramedics who tended to him are also amazing.”
“But he’s not even in a cast yet!”
I try to assure her that there is a good reason for that, and that Dr. Richards never just leaves a patient without proper care, but she keeps freaking out on me. Fifteen minutes later, she finally becomes less worried, and I manage to keep her from yelling into the hallway for a doctor to home in. They’re busy, I just know they are, and they don’t need a worried mother to make their shifts even more hectic.
“Thanks,” Joshua says when he gets back on the phone. “Sorry about that. She’s just… well, being my mom, I guess.”
I laugh at how apologetic he sounds. “Trust me, I get it. My mother is the same way. Do you need me to talk to your dad as well?”
“No, he’s mostly rubbing mom’s back,” Joshua says, chuckling softly. “He’s not much of a talker anyway.” He sounds like he’s doing alright, which makes me feel better about leaving him all alone in the ambulance. Well, there were two paramedics with him, but no one he knew. I wish I could have gotten in with him and taken him into the ER myself, but goddamn James Tyson had to arrest me instead.
“Could you text me updates on how you’re doing?” I ask, not sure if that’s something I can demand of a guy I barely know. “Shaughna is worried about you, but she’s dealing with bigger problems right now, so I think it’d be better if I stay in touch with you right now instead of adding more stuff to her already heavy load.” Shit, did I just call him stuff? And insinuate that Shaughna is too busy for him?
“Sure,” he says, not sounding bothered at all. “How is she doing?”
“She’s hanging in there,” I say, not wanting to go into detail. I don’t know how much this guy knows about what she’s been going through lately. “You know Shaughna. She’s tough.”
“Yeah she is,” he agrees immediately, sounding like he genuinely cares about her. “I know she’s going to feel bad for what happened to me, so please assure her that I’m okay, will you? I don’t want her feeling guilty or anything. I’m just sorry I couldn’t help out more. I really should hit the gym more often.”
“You did great,” I tell him with a little smile, starting my millionth lap around the parking lot. “How are you ribs?”
“Painful,” he says with a grunt. “I got some painkillers, and I only seem to have bruised two of them, but it sure feels like it’s got to be more than that. I’ll be fine though. Don’t tell Shaughna that I’m in pain, okay? It’s really not that bad. Oh – hi, Dr. Richards! – Sorry, Francesca, I’ve got to go.”
“Text me later,” I remind him before hanging up the phone. That’s one less problem to worry about.