The Doctor on call recognize Patrick Valdez and took charge of his care. They wheeled him through double doors calling out his vitals and leaving Adam behind. The hospital smelled of antiseptic as the nurse on call told Adam to wait in the lounge as they prep Mr. Valdez for surgery. That was two hours ago.
Adam sat in limbo, waiting for anyone from the staff to give him answers about Patrick’s condition. His thoughts were chaotic as he tried not to think of the worst case scenario with Patrick. His head and mouth wouldn’t stop yawning as he tried to stay alert. But he was alone in the waiting room, and the chair was soft as his eyes and ears shut to the sights and sounds around him.
A rocking motion brought him around as he slowly opened his eyes, and A.J. came into view.
“Adam,” said A.J.
“What,” he stammered and realized he was on his back, with a blanket over him. He tried to sit up and finally experienced the aches from the night before. A.J. helped him into a sitting position that he welcomed as his whole torso throbbed. “How did I get like that?” he asked.
“I guess you fell over, and maybe a nurse put this blanket on you.”
“Patrick, my God, is he…” he tried to stand but A.J. stopped him by placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Calm down he’s out of surgery and will pull though. The knife was hair away from piercing his heart. He’s most likely still asleep.”
“What time is it?”
“8:30 in the morning.”
“I was here all night. Is he awoke?”
“Is the doctor around?”
“The doctors or nurses wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about his condition. You’re not his family or husband.”
“I know but—Oh man his family.”
“They were notified. They had to give their consent to operate.”
“He’s alive,” Adam sighed his relief.
“A.J., when it was me, did anyone stop you?” A.J. couldn’t believe Adam brought that up as the vision of him in the hospital with a bullet wound came rushing at him. At first he was just told Adam was shoot and in surgery. He was so relieved it was a shoulder wound and not life threating. But that was the third and final time A.J. ever wanted to go through Adam’s recklessness.
“That was a low blow Adam.” A.J. stood and took a step back from him remembering why he had to get Adam out of his life.
“A.J. I’m sorry.”
“No, you’re not,” he said. Adam rose holding in the sharp pain coursing through his body. He saw Artie getting off the elevator looking around most likely for A.J. “He’s in the ICU room IC334.” A.J. said turning and seeing Artie, who waved at him. When he looked back, Adam was gone.
Adam’s pace was steady and swift as he moved down the sterilized hallway towards Patrick’s room. Remembering him with a knife sticking out of his chest was all that was coming to mind. And he wanted that vision gone as the door came close, and he barged through.
Patrick laid slightly propped up with his dressing gown open at the chest where bandages covered his injury. His eyes opened as he lay in a groggy state. That is until he saw Adam enter the room. A warm, welcoming smile spread on Patrick’s cheeks. Adam moved to his side cupping his face with one hand and kissing his inviting lips. They parted Adam allowing Patrick to catch his breath as he dived in for another taste of his mouth.
Patrick didn’t want his detective to stop, but he knew something Adam didn’t. Placing his hand on Adam’s resilient shoulder, he pushed back but still being tired after the surgery it had little effect.
“What do you think you’re doing with my son?” The voice behind him had a stiff accent that Adam’s brain recalled. He turned, and there stood Raoul Cyprus Valdez, in a leather coat that covered his tailored suit. His auburn hair full and healthy was combed back, his sideburns trimmed along his jawline, and his square dimple chin and upper lip were clean. His sad hazel eyes resembled Patrick’s and stared entitlement at Adam.
A man a few inches shorter stood behind Raoul dressed just as nice but looked rough around the edges. His hard looks reminded Adam of guys he met in the military that saw one too many missions. He stood clenching his fist as if he was flexing his joints for a fight.
Adam was about to speak his peace when someone else spoke up.
“Raoul, I believe Mr. Potter is due respect. He is the one who protected our son,” said an enchanting woman whose would put Nefertiti to shame. Adam wondered who she was when he saw Patrick smiling at her.
“Hello, I’m Patrick’s mother, Drusilla Valdez,.” She smiled, standing from her seat and extending her hand to him. Adam almost felt unworthy as he touched the baby soft skin that also reminded him of Patrick soft skin, shaking it with care. She slipped her hand free and waved it at her husband. “I believe you already know my husband Raoul Cyprus Valdez?” she said.
“Yes,” began Adam. “…I’ve met Mr. Valdez.”
“And if I remember Mr. Potter I told you to stay away from my son.”
“F—ather,” Patrick tried to speak and sit up triggering pain in his chest. Adam and Drusilla react to settle him back when someone grabbed Adam’s arm and pulled away from the bed.
Adam snatched his arm away from the unnamed male. Raoul walked between Adam and his son who reached for his father’s arm grasping the sleeve of his coat in desperation to calm his wrath. Raoul reached back to his only child’s arm and squeezed it lightly.
Adam turned back to Patrick but stood face to face with Raoul.
“Mr. Potter, my son, was nearly killed and is recovering from surgery. I and his mother would like to spend time alone with him. “You can understand that.”
Adam wanted to spit his disagreement back in Raoul’s condescending face, but he swallowed his anger and knew Patrick’s father was right. Adam didn’t have the right to interfere with Patrick’s family celebrating their son’s survival.
“Of course,” Adam said sucking in his breath as he caught a quick glimpse of Patrick, who apologized and thanked Adam at the same time with his perfect eyes. “I’ll give you time. Apologies for the intrusion.” Adam backed away and turned to the door that was held by the nameless man. Adam took note of him 5’8, Philippine, short chop hair that was finger-combed. He was about his built and had some tribal tattoo crawling up his neck like a claw.
He stepped out of the room, and the door shut behind him. He headed down the hallway towards the waiting room where A.J. and Artie were waiting for him.
“We thought you might come back here,” said Artie.
“Thanks for the heads up about his parents,” Adam said towards A.J.
“Would you have cared?”
“I suppose not.”
“Let’s get some breakfast and we’ll fill you in on our Harlequin killer,” suggest Artie.
“He’s dead, why should I care?”
“You’re going to want to hear this Adam,” said A.J.
“Fine but I’m coming back here to see Patrick when—he’s alone.”
“Fair enough, we’ll even help you get past his bodyguard,” promised Artie.