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We left Marilyn passed out on the floor last week. Let’s find out what happens next!
Buck watched in horror as the emergency workers swarmed around Marilyn, throwing around abbreviations like confetti.
He’d dived to the floor as she as she dropped, but he couldn’t wake her up. Her skin was pale and there was a lump on the side of her head. Someone had called emergency. Buck vaguely heard the young lady from the counter rattling off the address.
He’d knelt beside Marilyn, trying to recall the details of first aid. Clear the area, open her airway, take her pulse. She was breathing and her heart was beating, but he couldn’t discern anything else about her condition.
The emergency team arrived and loaded her onto a gurney after checking her vitals and trying to get a response.
They shoved him toward the ambulance with them, peppering him with questions about allergies, medications, and illnesses. Buck wasn’t sure who Marilyn’s next of kin was, but he wouldn’t send her to the hospital alone. He climbed in, clutching her purse.
She revived briefly in the ambulance, but passed out again before they arrived at the hospital. Once they arrived, she was rushed away in a flurry of blue scrubs.
And he was left in the waiting area with her purse.
He’d been in this situation once before, although that time he hadn’t been alone. His five year old son had been crying next to him as they watched their wife and mother roll behind the heavy metal doors.
The memory of that moment hadn’t rushed over him with such force in more than a decade. Buck stumbled over to a chair, the purse banging against his knee.
That was the moment the light of his future dimmed. That flurry of activity and separation was his last moment with Annette.
He had stood numb, staring at the doors — waiting for something — for word that it wasn’t as bad as it looked, that everything was going to be all right, that he was going to wake up and find it all a horrible dream.
The doctor had returned sometime later — long enough for Joshua to have fallen asleep on the bench next to him. The man’s face had been grim and Buck knew what he would say before a word was spoken.
Buck had clutched the sleeping Joshua’s shoulder with the fleeting hope that as long as he held onto the boy nothing would separate them too.
He swung Marilyn’s purse onto his lap. The upholstery of the waiting room had been updated to muted blues and greens from the olives and gold etched in his memory, but the atmosphere was the same. Cold, isolated, lonely.
He didn’t want to be there alone. Should he be there at all? He wasn’t anything to Marylin but a client. However, she should have someone here for her.
The weight of the purse on his leg reminded him that her contact information was available to him. He could call her family, her children, or her husband. His mood soured more when he realized she might be married and he might have to witness another man go through his last night with Annette.
He took a deep breath before sliding the zipper open. He’d never searched a woman’s purse for anything. It was easier and safer to hand them the bag and wait for them to retrieve the desired object from the mysterious depths.
What should he even search for? A wallet? An address book? The question was answered by the phone laying on top.
As long as there wasn’t a passcode, he was golden. He could get some family here and escape the memories.
The phone was unlocked, so Buck fumbled around until he found the contacts, begrudgingly thanking Penny that she had forced a smart phone on him last year.
Her favorites were the restaurant where they met this morning and a health food store. He scratched his forehead and tapped contacts. No one with the same last name. No one designated mom or dad or hubby. How was he supposed to know who to call?
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