Katy is gently holding Peyton’s head in her lap while attempting to feel her friend’s pulse through her wrist. Peyton’s pulse is faint, but it is there. Still, Katy cannot wake her up! Sweating profusely, she takes a big gulp and checks the other wrist, which is much more worse for wear – blood is seeping out of the makeshift gauze wrap Katy dressed in hopes of applying pressure to Peyton’s horrible arterial bleed. The wrap is so tight that it’s causing Peyton’s fingers to turn a bit purple.
Katy has no clue what to do. All she sees is a best friend struggling for her life. Katy is battling her own wounds and bite marks, but she’s trying her best to keep it together. For Peyton’s sake, she has to. The noise outside the bedroom is unbearable … the scene hopeless.
“Stop, Jack! Please!,” Katy screams, with tears flowing down her cheeks.
“I can’t do this alone, Pei Wei. Please wake up! You’re my best friend, and you’ve always been the strongest of us two. I can’t lose you now.”
In that moment of helplessness, Katy remembers back to when she and Peyton were little. …
“On your mark, get set, go!”
Katy Sloan and Peyton Wyatt, both seven years old, burst from the starting line to begin their mother-daughter relay race. These two girls race against each other all the time and can’t help but love it. Some children play video games, some play kickball, and others play ‘house,’ or pretend, but these two run!
Katy and Peyton’s parents believe that being neighbors and friends since birth can be the greatest gift for two young girls. Frequent play dates were set up, and as the families became closer, barbecues were set up, too — complete with mother-daughter relay races.
Katy and Peyton take their 30-yard leg and race to touch the hands of their mothers, who are the second and final leg in the relay. The moms take off toward the finish line. Katy’s mom, Holly, swings her arms back and forth as fast as she can, but Nancy, Peyton’s mom and Bob’s wife, strides across the finish line with all of her might.
“Yay! And the Wyatts win again!” yelled Bob.
“Again?” Holly argues. “I think we won last time, Bob.”
“Don’t mind him, Holly. He just wants to participate. He is such a competitor and an old has-been,” Nancy laughs as Holly, Peyton, and Katy join in.
“You know, Holly, Bob could participate in the race if you had a gentleman friend he could race against,” said Nancy.
“A gentleman?” Holly said while trying to hold back a laugh. “Really, and where do I find one? Not many of those left, Nancy.”
“Bob has a friend he wants to set you up with,” explained Nancy.
Katy and Peyton closely listen to the conversation, roll their eyes, and leave to go inside. The little ones aren’t old enough to fully grasp what Nancy and Holly are talking about, but they are old enough to sense that they’ll probably be embarrassed by their mothers if they stay.
“Set me up, huh? Gotta love the sound of that,” Holly anxiously replies as she sits down on Nancy’s lawn chairs.
“For real, Holly. You need to let Bob set you up. His friend is nice and good-looking. I think you would like him. I would take him myself if Bob weren’t around,” Nancy says with a snicker.
Holly takes another drink of her Dos Equis and rolls her eyes. Nancy sits back in her chair and takes a little swig, too. Bob decides he can’t take the female banter and leaves to go into the house (under the guise of checking in on the girls).
“Holly, you are beautiful, talented, fun, a loving mom. A guy would be crazy not to fall for you,” comments Nancy.
“Oh, really Miss Nancy? It sounds like you have a crush on me,” Holly grins.
Her face red with embarrassment, Nancy gulps her beer and shakes her head at her long-time friend.
“Just messing with you, Nancy,” Holly admits. “I love you, too.”
“Well, you never know, Holly. If Bob and I don’t work out, you can always be my back-up,” Nancy quips back, as she takes a bite of a hot dog.
“Back-up? That sounds so lame,” chuckles Holly.
As the two friends laugh, Nancy begins to choke on the hot dog. She tries to spit out the food as Holly continues to laugh so hard she has tears in her eyes. But her face changes when Nancy grabs her throat and is choking. Nancy is clearly panicked, with small ragged gasps, and looks straight at Holly with a look that begs, “Help me!” Holly, an ER nurse, quickly spins Nancy around, wrapping her arms around her waist, and starts performing abdominal thrusts. Holly continues to squeeze her belly as Nancy struggles to breathe, her face becoming a bluish-grey color. Holly begins to worry what will happen next if she can’t dislodge the foreign object. Holly feels Nancy’s body swaying and becomes heavy and limp; she is passing out. Holly gives one more huge upward-heave, and finally, a portion of a hot dog comes flying out. Nancy is relieved but has suffered too long without oxygen and passes out. Holly eases her to the ground, lies her flat, and discovers she is not breathing. Holly then checks for a pulse. Nancy has a pulse, but Holly knows she will soon lose that pulse if she is not breathing, which can lead to cardiac arrest or even death.
Holly bends down to give Nancy four deep rescue breaths. She rises to check for a response from Nancy, but there is none. Holly then delivers four more breaths. Bob walks out of the house and sees the two on the ground, with Holly’s mouth on Nancy. He smiles and watches for a moment.
Holly looks up to see Bob staring at them. “Well, don’t just stand there. Call 911! She’s not breathing!”
“What? Oh shit, what’s going on?”
Holly breathes for Nancy again.
“Oh, my God, what happened? Is she going to be OK?” worries Bob as he watches helplessly.
Holly abruptly stops when she feels Nancy’s lips move. Nancy opens her eyes. Looking up, she sees Holly kneeling beside her and Bob standing, white as a ghost. “So, were those your lips on mine? Because I think that answers my curiosity.”
“I know, right? Was it as good for you as it was for me?” Holly jokes as a tear falls down her cheek. She smiles, adrenaline quickly turning into giddiness.
“Are you kidding me right now? Stop playing around and tell me what happened!” screams Bob. He kneels down and lifts Nancy up while holding her tight.
“Bob, I’m OK,” Nancy replies in a shaky voice. She hugs him back.
“Bob, she was choking on a hot dog. I used abdominal thrusts to dislodge it, but she still passed out. I did perform rescue breathing until she could breathe on her own. You scared me, Nancy. I had to go into ER nurse mode on you. Don’t ever do that again,” demands Holly, going in for a hug after Bob.
“Thank you, Holly. You saved me. I knew I was choking and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Nancy admits as she finally realizes what happened.
Holly holds her tight. “I know, I know.”
The two sit there holding each other while crying, with Bob standing tall with support and a feeling of relief. Nancy is fine now, but both mothers are thankful their daughters didn’t hear the commotion.