Chapter 1 - 3rd Shift
“Keep compression on the wound.” Phil the EMT yells at his new partner as he ushered the gurney inside the ER. Phil has worked as an EMT for longer than I have been alive, he could retire but when asked why he isn’t he just replies with “Where would I get my adrenaline rush from if not here?”
Working 3rd shift in a fairly remote mid-size town definitely had its advantages. Most nights the height of my excitement consisted of heart attacks, strokes, or domestic abuse but every now and then members of some of the local MC gangs would end up in the ER.
“What’ve got?” I asked Phil as I eyed the man on the gurney. The man had a GSW to his abdomen and was bleeding profusely. I didn’t usually take notice of any non-medical details about the patients that went through my ER but the cut on his shoulders made it hard to ignore. He was a Crimson Angel, a local biker gang that was known for disturbing the peace. I looked at Phil to see if he had noticed and the scowl on his face told me that he had. “Shit, let’s work this one fast and move him on to surgery before the rest of his gang shows up.”
“Did you administer Celox?”
“No, not yet. I didn’t have time to stop the bleeding.” Phil replied with a shrug of his shoulder.
“Gladys Book OR three, I have a GSW to the abdomen and the bullet needs out stat.” I hollered at the head nurse by the nurse's station. She immediately grabbed the phone and called the OR so it would be prepped by the time we made it up there. She slammed the phone down on its receiver and shook her head. “I’m sorry Dr. Fox, the OR are all full for hours.”
“Shit. Fine, prep exam room five!” I hollered back at her. The man on the gurney grabbed me by the arm and raised himself slightly off the bed, he looked me in the eyes with the most beautiful emerald eyes I had ever seen and pleaded “Don’t let me die.”
I mentally scolded myself for thinking of his eyes when his life was at stake and answered him before he passed out. “I won’t” I promised him. The exam rooms were not set up for surgery but my stint in the Army had taught me to make do with what I had on hand. Before I had time to close the curtain to exam room five, the Crimson Angels started to trickle in one by one. One of them saw the man on the gurney and stalked toward us in a hurry. The man was large, maybe even twice my size and all muscles. He was just as attractive as the man on the gurney but his eyes were a deep ocean blue, beautiful. My eyes landed between his legs where I could see a large bulge forming. What the hell is wrong with me tonight?
“What are you doing to him? Doesn’t he need surgery?” The large man demanded an answer. His voice was deep and the epitome of a manly man’s voice. I couldn’t help myself but get wet at the sound of his voice. I am insane, I need to focus.
“He does but the OR’s are full. I’m going to extract the bullet here and then sew him back up.” I rushed around, gathering the materials I needed when I felt a large hand on my shoulder, stopping me in my tracks.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” the large man asked gentler than before.
“I do. Now let me go, every second we waste is a second closer to his grave.”
“I’m not leaving.” The man stated.
“Fine, but stand in the corner and stay out of my way.” I spat.
“Gladys, hook him up to the IV with O neg, saline, norepinephrine, and amoxicillin,” I ordered.
“What are you giving him?” The man asked me with a look of concern on his face.
“Who are you to him? A family member?”
“He’s my brother.” He replied without hesitation.
“I’m giving him some blood to replace what he lost but I don’t know his blood type so I went with O negative. I also gave him something to help with his low blood pressure, some fluids, and then antibiotics. I don’t have any painkillers so this will hurt a lot.” I grabbed some tubing from the cart and placed it between the patient's teeth. “Here, bite down in this!”
“I’m sorry about this.” I carefully dug into the man’s abdomen with the forceps, not wanting him to hemorrhage worse than he already did. The man strained against the bed but didn’t let out much more sound than the occasional grunt as I dug around looking for the bullet and assessing the damage. I finally found the bullet, extracted it and the satisfying clung of metal hit the kidney dish echo in the room.
The large man in the corner hadn’t moved from his spot but he was watching my every move perhaps in an attempt to intimidate me to do my best work. I knew all too well what it would mean for me if I let a Crimson Angel die on my table. “The worst part is over,” I assured my patient. “It appears that you got lucky, no major organs were hit and the damage done will heal on its own with time. I just have to sew you up and then keep you a few days for observation.”
“He won’t be staying here, sew him up, and then we’ll be going.” The large man demanded.
“He has to stay, what if he has a blood clot or he starts to hemorrhage again? Then what will you do?”
“I’ll be fine.” The man on the gurney promised.
“You don’t know that.” The men looked at each other and after a few seconds, the large man nodded his head. “Patch me up doc.” The man said with a smile. His smile reached his eyes and I thought the world would stop spinning on its axis. The man was gorgeous and for the second time tonight, I felt my pussy ache.
I started to stitch him up and my curiosity got the best of me. I had never been one to run from danger but that didn’t mean that I went looking for it either. “So, Why the Crimson Angels?” I blurted out before I could catch myself.
The man on the gurney chuckled “Damn, woman. No foreplay, you just go straight to the hard questions?” He joked. I drew the needle through his first stitch site and his breath hitched. “You did that on purpose didn’t you?”
“I guess you’ll never know.” I batted my eyes and then laughed. Why was I flirting with him? There was nothing at the end of this road but trouble.
“Let’s make a deal. I’ll tell you mine if you’ll tell me yours.” The emerald green-eyed man stretched out his hand “I’m Jack, that big softy over there is Bear and to answer your question. I’m with the Crimson Angels because they have each other’s backs no matter what. I trust them and they trust me. We are all brothers there.”
Jack eyed my badge “Now your turn, Doctor Harlee Fox. You are an ER doc but you hold yourself like a soldier yet you look no older than 25 years old.”
“My father was a general in the Army, I grew up being an Army brat moving from base to base. It was only natural that I would also join it. Due to my father’s disciplined upbringing I was ahead in school and graduated early which then allowed me to join the army early with special permission due to my age. I’m an infantry medic and then went on to medical school. My training in the Army allowed me to test out on some courses and I graduated years before I normally would have. And here I am.” I finished my final stitch and covered his wound with gauze.
“All done. Now if you get a fever, the wound turns red or swollen, pus starts to drain. Nausea or vomiting appears, or if the pain remains with the pain pills then you will have to come back. You are free to go once the police have spoken with you.” I handed Jack the discharge papers.
“All that won’t be necessary.” Bear proclaimed. He stepped towards me, wrapped his large arms around my legs, and threw me over his shoulder. “You’re coming with us, Doctor Harlee Fox.”