Trenton and Melissa arrived at the hospital in record time, with Trenton once more driving.
Walking in the hospital doors, it all became real as the weight of what had happened pushed down on Melissa making it hard to breathe. Trenton seemed to sense her nervous turmoil and grabbed her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze as he asked, “What floor and room?”
“Second floor, room 224.”
Finding the elevator easily they took it. Once they arrived on the second floor, they walked down a quiet hall to Lisa’s room and walked in.
They waited just inside the door and listened to the doctor who was standing at Lisa’s bedside speaking. “Everything looks good. She’s breathing on her own and the scans show brain activity. I believe she’ll wake up soon, don’t lose hope.”
“Thank you, doctor,” Stella said, her voice slightly shaky.
Then with a nod to her, and them, the doctor left the room.
“Stella,” Melissa called quietly, not wanting to startle Stella.
Stella turned and, with a sob, threw herself into Melissa’s arms. When she finally stepped back, she wiped at the tears on her face as she said, “Oh, Foxxy, I’m so glad you’re here.”
“I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” Melissa said, wiping at her tears. “How long?”
“Three days. As I said on the phone, I didn’t know how to get hold of you. I called your agent, but they said they didn’t have a new number for you since you retired.”
“They did, but even if they hadn’t, Lisa has my number,” Melissa said, confused before remembering that Lisa’s phone had gone missing. “Oh, her phone was lost, I remember. Do you have any idea what could have happened to it?”
“The police think the attacker took it with him or it got smashed somewhere, but it was never found,” Stella answered.
Chad must have taken it, Melissa, though, biting her lower lip. Lisa must have had something in it that gave away my location, that’s how he found me! Worried at the thought that Chad could find her through Lisa’s phone, she took a deep breath and asked, “Tell me what happened.”
Stella took a deep breath, then turned to take Lisa’s hand. “She worked late that night and had called to tell me she was going to stop and pick up a pizza for us. She was just about to hang up when I heard her screaming “no” at someone, then nothing else. I called 9-1-1 and they sent someone out. They were too late though to catch whoever did this because the person was already gone by the time they arrived. The police told me it looked as if she’d fought whoever it was, and they took skin samples from under her nails.”
“Did it help? Do they know who…?” Melissa whispered, her voice shaking as Trenton moved closer and wrapped his arms around her.
Stella shook her head. “No. Whoever it was isn’t in the system. Anyway, her car has a big dent in the hood. The investigator believes her assailant didn’t have anything on him, so he just beat her head into the car.” Putting her hand to her mouth, she muffled a sob as tears once more fell. “Why? Why would someone do something like this? It’s a small quiet town, hardly any crime happens here, and then this.”
“Stella, did Lisa tell you why I retired or why she left New York?” Melissa asked.
Stella looked up, her blue eyes still shimmering with tears. “She just said you were tired of it all and that you were ready for a change, so you retired. Then later she admitted that you’d decided to leave New York because your break-up with Chad had been bad. She said that you hoped leaving would make him realize you were serious about not wanting him in your life. Um… as far as her leaving, she said it just wasn’t the same without you.”
“Well, that’s… mostly the truth. You see Chad didn’t take the break-up well at all. I found out he has money problems and that he seemingly needs my money to fix them.”
“Uh-oh, dear. He needs your money, so he wants you back, that’s why you left,” Stella murmured, her eyes wide as she connected the dots.
“Correct. So, he went nuts, blowing up my phone or coming by and harassing me at work. When they didn’t let him see me at work he’d come by my house at all hours, drunk and yelling, waking up the neighbors. He even caught me one afternoon coming home from the grocery store and slapped me around before my neighbor came out and threatened to call the cops. That’s when I changed my number and got a restraining order on him, but it still didn’t stop him. So, I left. I was getting tired of modeling anyway, so I suppose it gave me a good excuse to leave it all behind.”
“And Lisa coming here?” Stella asked.
“Chad started stalking her when I left, trying to get information from her. So, she decided it was safer to leave and I don’t think she thought he’d find her,” Melissa whispered as she looked at Lisa laying so still and pale on the hospital bed, “but he did. Chad did this to her; I know he did.”
Stella gasped, then whimpered asking, “How, how do you know it was him?”
Reaching into my purse, Melissa pulled out the letter Chad had written and handed it to her.
Stella quickly read it, then, as if her legs gave out, she dropped into a chair asking, “Oh, Foxxy, what are we going to do?”
Crouching down in front of her, Melissa took the letter and shoved it back in her purse. Then, her voice barely above a whisper she said, “You are going to be here for Lisa, that is the only thing you are going to do. You’re also going to forget what I told you about Chad if you’re asked any questions because I’m going to take care of him myself.”
Stella’s eyes widened. “What…?”
“You don’t need to know. Just know that he will not be a problem if he comes for me because I’ll take care of him. Trust me on this Stella.”
“I do Foxxy,” Stella told her. “You always watched out for Lisa even though she’s older than you. She liked to tell us stories of all the things you did for her.”
“She’s the sister I never had but wanted,” Melissa informed her. She then stood up and wrapped her arms around Trenton. She breathed deeply of his sweet male scent because it was fast becoming her lifeline to sanity.
“My name is Trenton by the way,” Trenton told Stella then as if feeling the need to fill the sudden silence.
“It’s nice to meet you, I’m Stella,” Stella replied as she shook his hand.
Feeling much calmer, Melissa walked over to Lisa’s bedside and leaned in close. Laying her forehead against Lisa’s temple and she took her hand and whispered, “Hi Lisa, I’ve missed you and I hate seeing you like this, but I will avenge what he did, I promise. I want you to get better for me because I have someone, I want you to meet. You’ll like him, I know you will. My wolven likes him, loves him really, and has made him her chosen one. I told you about Trenton and I’ll tell you everything else about him when you wake up, promise.”
Straightening up then, she took a seat on the small couch next to Trenton and the three of them began their vigil until visiting hours were over and the nurse kicked them out.