Home > Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(4)

Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic #1)(4)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

I scribbled on the pad again, and he read it out loud. “‘Don’t call me Allie.’” He gave me a brief smile. “Right. Sorry.”

I wrote, Bettina?

“Your coworker? She’s fine.” A strange look passed over his face, so swiftly that my addled brain couldn’t decipher its meaning. “Actually . . . she has no memory of any of it. She doesn’t even remember pushing the panic button.”

I blinked, surprised. The panic button is a big deal at my store: once a year our store manager holds a special meeting just to go over the rules of when to push it. How could you not remember doing something like that?

John fumbled for the little remote thingy attached to my hospital bed. “Speaking of buttons, we should let them know you’re up.” Before I could ask, he added, “It’s Wednesday, by the way. You spent most of yesterday in surgery.” He pressed the button for the nurse, who promised to send the surgeon in to speak with me right away.

I was getting tired already. It’s amazing how in a couple of days your body can go from perfect health to getting exhausted by two minutes of conversation. All it took was a little thing like your heart stopping.

While we waited for the doctor, I wrote on the pad again. The couple—I think names were Darcy and Victor.

John’s face darkened with rage. “I’ll tell the police that, but . . . they got away.” He looked away from me, and I saw the shame in his eyes. “I didn’t hear a thing, Lex. They came into my house and took my child, and I didn’t even wake up. How is that possible?”

Not your fault, I wrote. I remembered the strange way the couple had moved, how the man had shaken off my blow with the baby food jar like it was nothing. There was something weird about them.

John read the message. “What do you mean?” he asked.

Before I could respond, a petite Asian woman in a white lab coat bustled in, eyes glued to a clipboard in front of her. “Good morning, Miss Luther.” She looked up, her eyes taking us in. “And Mr. Luther?”

“No, we’re not together,” John said quietly, not looking at me. “I’m her brother-in-law.”

“Oh, sorry,” the doctor said with a shrug. “But I need to talk to Allison about her health, and if you two aren’t together . . .” She left the sentence hanging, and John picked up the hint.

“Right.” He squeezed my good hand and stood up. “I’ll check on you later, Lex.” Before he could move away I snapped my right fingers to get his attention, then wrote a question on the pad and turned it to face him.

“‘Is someone feeding the herd?’” he read. His face broke into a wide smile. “Yes. We’re taking turns with that too. Your dad has a three-inch scratch on his ankle where the gray cat attacked him.”

I smiled back around the mouthpiece. That sounded about right. My gray cat, Gus-Gus, hated men for some reason.

John left, and the petite doctor stepped up, fussing with some of the machines near my bed. “I’m Doctor Towne,” she told me. “Did I hear correctly that you go by Lex?”

I wrote on the pad. Yes. Army nickname. My full name is Allison Alexandra Luther, named for my paternal grandparents, Allison and Alexander. I’d gone by Allie my whole childhood, but a few days into basic training, I’d gone to the barber on post and had all of my long reddish-brown hair buzzed off. I didn’t realize at the time that I was setting myself up for a nickname that practically wrote itself.

The doctor just nodded. “Okay, Lex. Are you ready to get that chest tube out?”

Was I ever.

A few unpleasant minutes later, I was sitting up, more or less, though still angled sideways to keep pressure off the stitches on my back. Dr. Towne had given me a big glass of orange juice to sip through a straw. It was supposed to help with the scratchy feeling that the tube had left in my throat.

While I drank, Dr. Towne extracted some X-rays from my file and carried them to the one of those light boxes on the wall to my right. Pinning them up, she pointed. “These are your injuries. You were stabbed five times in the upper back. Three of those wounds went deep into the muscle. We were able to sew them up without a problem, although you’ll have some tightness and pain. I’ll be recommending physical therapy to help with that.”

She pulled that X-ray down and posted up another. “One strike damaged your left lung. Barring complications, it should heal just fine.” She pointed to another mark on the X-ray, which I could barely make out. “The last strike was sloppy. Your attacker nicked your left brachiocephalic vein, here, which is why you lost so much blood. We repaired the cut, and gave you quite a bit of blood, but it will take your body some time to stabilize your blood pressure.” She shook her head. “Your attacker was apparently determined to go for the heart, but the human body is built to protect that organ. If she’d gone for one of the other major arteries instead, she could have killed you.” She gave me a wry little smile. “Well, maybe not you.”

“What does that mean?” I rasped, barely recognizing my own voice.

“Well,” Dr. Towne said, looking a little uneasy, “that’s the other thing we need to discuss. Your heart wasn’t beating when the paramedics arrived. They tried to revive you anyway, which is standard, but frankly, they were surprised when it actually worked.”

I nodded. “John told me.”

For the first time, the woman’s straightforward demeanor faltered, and she looked a little unsure. “Lex,” she said gravely, “it wasn’t just the one time. Your heart stopped again while they were prepping you, for two minutes. And it stopped four times during surgery.”

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