Welcome to Tuesday Tales!!
We’re back with Jaiden and Marshall at the emergency room.
“What happened to your ankle?” He tipped his head toward her propped foot. Her calf met her ankle in a puffy cankle under her knee socks. The doctor would have to cut her sock off her foot. “I think I twisted it on the root I tripped over.”
“I”m sorry. I should have helped you to your vehicle,” he said. “My name is Marshall, by the way.”
“Jaiden. What happened to your friend?”
“Hilda was attacked.” Marshall slung his arm around the woman’s shoulders.
Hilda smiled sheepishly, patting the back of her head with a stained cloth. “At least the bleeding stopped before I got into Mister Marshall’s car. That would have been a bear to clean.”
Jaiden wondered if Hilda had already been given some pain medications. Who worried about blood stains when they had a wound like that on the back of their head?
“I told her not to worry about it.” Marshall patted her shoulder, looking much less intimidating than he had in the woods. Without the jacket—or the adrenaline pumping through her veins–, his frame took on more human proportions. Perhaps he wasn’t a creeper after all. In fact, he was kinda cute with the way his eyes crinkled when he grinned and the way his overgrown haircut stuck out around his head.
Hilda called him Mr. Marshall. Was that her pet name? Her mother called her father Mr. Walker occasionally but it was usually when she teased him.
Marshall’s cell phone rang. He pulled it from his shirt pocket and surveyed the display. His brows crunched together and his lips formed a tight line.
“Excuse me,” he said as he thumbed the answer button and pressed the phone to his ear.
Jaiden knew it would be polite to turn away and pretend she didn’t hear every word he was saying and half of the ones from the other end of the line. The conversation spilled out about window locks, fingerprints, and a security team.
Hilda reached tentative fingers to the back of her head.
“It’s not too bad,” Jaiden said. “Once the stitches are out, you’ll never know it was there.”
“That’s sweet.” Hilda dropped her hand to the bloody towel. Her fingers pulled at the terry cloth nubs with nervous energy.
“I’m not crazy about hospitals either,” Jaiden commented, hoping to ease Hilda’s agitation.
“Hospitals are fine. It’s the break-in.”
“How were you attacked?” Jaiden’s imagination conjured a home invasion with assault rifles, ski masks, and zip ties. Mister Marshall’s conversation became more clear.
Mister Marshall said something about the gates and the perimeter.
Hilda swallowed a deep breath.
“Well I don’t know if they took anything. Mister Marshall didn’t take the time to look around. He just rushed me over here.” Her fingers fluttered near her head again.
“He must love you very much.” Jaiden waited for some hint of the nature of Hilda’s relationship with Mister Marshall. She didn’t have the look of a cougar, but Jaiden was more familiar with the nature of the four-legged ones than the two-legged ones.
Hilda laughed as Mister Marshall dropped his phone back in his pocket. “According to Tony, Nothing was taken at home or at the office. You must have surprised them and they ran straight out.”
Hilda sighed in relief. “There won’t be much to clean.”
“I will hire someone to take care of it.”
“Then what would I do all day?”
“I suspect you will need to rest and eat bonbons for a few days.” Marshall laughed. “That will be harder than anything.”
“That and staying away from your spies.”
Jaiden must have given them a funny look because Marshall responded. “My place is isolated. I never like it when Hilda is there alone. I’ll have to add more security guards until we get this straightened out. I want Hilda to be safe.”
“I don’t need a nanny,” Hilda snapped.
Marshall raised an eyebrow. “The color on that cloth says otherwise. What if I hadn’t found you for a couple hours?”
Hilda grimaced. “As long as it’s temporary.”
Jaiden tried to put the puzzle pieces together. Hilda appeared to be ten years older that Mister Marshall given the more prevalent streaks of gray in her dark hair. Were they married? She seemed to dote on him and he clearly cared for her, but Jaiden hadn’t seen wedding rings on either of their hands. Of course, not everyone wore them. If Hilda was doing some cleaning, she might have taken hers off.
There wasn’t enough age difference or resemblance to be mother and son.
And then there was the security guards and more of them, implying that there already were security guards at his house. Jaiden didn’t know anybody who had one security guard at her house, let alone multiple ones. The most aggressive home security system she knew had four paws, was named Butch, and begged for table scraps which he promptly regurgitated on the closest rug. Mister Marshall’s security sounded like dark glasses, ear pieces with the coily wire thing traveling into a crisp white collar, and a concealed weapon.
Who was Mister Marshall?
Before she had time to contemplate it any further, a nurse emerged from the emergency area and called her name.
Jaiden inched her swollen ankle off the chair, then braced herself to put wait on her good foot. Mister Marshall jumped from his seat and slid his arm around her waist. Her arm naturally dropped on his upper arm and he half-carried her to the doorway.
She felt like she was grabbing on to a tree trunk.
“Is he your husband?” the nurse asked.
“No,” Jaiden responded.
“You’ll have to wait here, sir.”
Marshall eased Jaiden back onto her foot and wished her well. The nurse pulled her through the doorway and shuffled her into a curtained exam area.
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