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Please read the Author’s Notes at the end of this chapter. I hope you enjoy! – CM
The embrace between Kelly, Grace, and I, lasted for a few minutes; long enough for us to understand how each of us felt. When we parted, Grace took my hand in hers and stood close to me. Kelly wiped the tears from her face and gave the two of us a watery smile.
“Thank you – both of you,” she said softly. “I’ve wanted to get all of that off my chest for a long time! Now that it’s done, and we’re friends again, I feel so much better, and…I don’t know…almost lighter somehow. Does that make any sense?”
“Perfect sense,” I said, shooting Grace an amused look. It was ironic that Kelly’s feelings mirrored the ones I’d had after I’d blown up at her in front of Mom, months ago.
Kelly smiled happily. “I’ll leave you two alone, now.” Her smile faded a little as she gestured toward where my tablet was sitting on the tray table. “Kevin, I’m not trying to sound melodramatic or anything, but I hope the two of you are taking steps to protect yourself. The man in the video is a real piece of work!”
“I’m pretty sure I know who it is, Kels, but thanks. I appreciate you bringing it to us. And I appreciate you telling me the truth, and apologizing. Like Grace said, the past is the past. From now on, we are friends.”
Kelly’s face lit up again, and she quietly took her leave, closing the door to my hospital room behind her. Grace and I stood for a moment longer, savoring a moment of closeness, before I steered her back to my bed. I settled myself off on one side so she had room to lay beside me. When Grace was nestled comfortably against my side, I lifted my tablet, found the file, and tapped play.
The video, at first, was an unintellible miasma of noise and action. I managed to make out some familiar voices in the chaos, but it was impossible to make out what was being said. After a few moments, the picture resolved itself. We were looking at the Hospital ER, and it was a symphony of controlled chaos. Doctors, nurses, orderlies, and security officers moved around and past each other, each on a mission.
The video quickly centered on two men. I felt Grace’s body tense up next to me as we both recognized Trent as one of the men. Grace draped an arm across my chest, as though she could protect me from what we were watching. In spite of the sense of foreboding I felt, I couldn’t help a tender smile at this unconcious gesture from her.
The man standing with Trent was shorter than him, balding, and chubby but not fat. He looked to be roughly the same age as Trent. He wore a dark navy blue topcoat over a dark suit. The gold-colored shield clipped to his coat pocket identified him as a police officer. He was holding a note pad and digital recorder of some kind. I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying at first, but then Kelly moved a little closer and their conversation became audible.
“-telling you, Billy!” Trent was saying. “This is something you need to act on!”
“Trent, man, I was sent out here to look into a possible assault. Everyone I’ve talked to agrees it wasn’t assault. So, on that note, I’m leaving! I’m already an hour past the end of my shift, and it would be nice to spend some time with my wife,” the detective said, wiping his eyes tiredly.
“For God’s sake, Billy! I bring you evidence of a crime, and you’re just going to go home to the little wifey?!” Trent asked, incredulously.
“Oh come on, Trent! You have no proof of your allegations! The girl certainly doesn’t look abused to me! And, the desperate way she tried to get in to Kevin’s cubicle just now doesn’t jive with someone who’s been abused, either!” the detective replied.
“I didn’t say she was abused, Billy!” Trent said, as though he were speaking to a child. “I said they were fucking each other! That’s incest!”
“Yes it is,” Billy said, in a deliberately cool tone. “But do you have any proof of that, Trent? You and me, we go back a very long time, but that doesn’t mean-“
“I’ve got video, damn it! I’ve got the two of them fucking on video!”
“Yeah, I’m sure you do! But how did you obtain it? Was it recorded in a public place with no reasonable expectation of privacy? Or was it obtained from inside a private residence without the homeowner’s knowledge and consent?” Billy shot back. “And before you answer that, think carefully, Trent! If you show me something that one of your professional Peeping Toms took without consent, not only will it not be admissable, it could be used as grounds for a complaint against YOU!”
Trent looked as though he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “That wasn’t the way you were talking when YOU hired my agency, Billy! You didn’t seem all that concerned about the legal ramifications then, were you? In fact, if I remember right, you got yourself-“
Billy moved like lightning, much faster than I would’ve expected a portly fellow like him to be capable of. He was instantly in Trent’s face, and his voice and tone were like hammered şişli rus escort steel.
“Don’t forget who you’re talking to, Mr. Collins!” he said quietly, but dangerously. “You will never bring that shit up again, do you hear me! If you do, you and I might not be able to remain…friends. Do you get me?”
The two men stayed like that for several long moments, seemingly oblivious to the people flowing around them, busy at the task of saving lives. Suddenly though, two men in the uniform of Hospital security appeared at Billy’s side.
“Is everything alright, Detective Kowalski?” the taller of the pair asked.
“Yeah,” Billy replied. “Mr. Collins here is just upset over the injuries his nephew suffered. Perfectly understandable, of course. Right now, he’s going to go take a second to cool off, before he ends up in the back of my car.”
He might have been speaking to the security guard, but his eyes never left Trent’s face, and his meaning couldn’t be more clear. The unspoken warning came through loud and clear to me, anyway, and whatever else I’d say about Trent, he wasn’t a total idiot.
“Okay, detective,” the guard replied, also giving Trent the eye. “Should we see him out to the waiting room, to make sure he doesn’t get lost, considering the emotional turmoil he must be feeling?”
“I think that might be best, Officer Adams. Thank you. I’ll be sure to mention your attention to your duties to your supervisor.”
“Thank you detective,” he replied. To Trent, he gestured toward the doors to the waiting area. “This way please, sir.”
“I know the way, you fucking rent-a-cop!” Trent snapped, as he turned towards the doors.
“How nice for you, sir,” the guard said, one hand resting on the heel of his baton. The other security guard positioned himself so that he could support his fellow if Trent should decide to take a swing at him.
For his part, Billy turned and left the camera’s field of view without so much as a backward glance. Kelly gave the Trent and the two security guards a two-minute head start, and then followed them to the ER waiting room. While we watched, the two guards explained to Trent that he could leave the hospital any time he chose, but if he tried to get back into any part of the hospital BUT the waiting room, he would be detained for tresspassing. They didn’t seem at all impressed with Trent’s swearing, or his opinion on their ancestry and level of education. Frankly, they were way more patient than I would’ve been in their place.
One of the pair – the tall one who’d spoken to Billy – left, while the other found a seat next to the clerk in the waiting room. Kelly didn’t risk moving any closer to Trent. Judging from the change in the angle of the shot, she must have been standing partially behind something, not that it would’ve mattered. Trent wasn’t paying attention to anything but his own rage.
He paced back and forth in front of a sofa in the waiting room, mumbling under his breath. The ER clerk (and the others waiting in the room) eyed him nervously while the remaining guard spoke quietly into his radio. When Trent lost it, it startled me.
“That fucking PIG! He wants to start shit with me? After all I did for him? Fine! The gloves are fucking coming off now, motherfucker! YOU HEAR ME BILLY, YOU PUSSY!”
Trent lashed out, striking a trash can with his foot, causing it to crash loudly into the wall and scatter it’s contents all over the floor. Instantly the guard was there, his baton extended.
“Out,” he said firnly. “Now.”
“Fuck you!” Trent snarled. “You’re not a fucking cop! Get out of my face before I break your sad little ass in half!”
“You’re right sir,” the guard replied, smiling nastily. “I’m not a cop. You see, cops have all sorts of rules and laws that govern their behavior and prevent them from abusing their authority. They have to treat you with at least a modicum of respect. They have to observe your civil rights, and all that jazz.”
Trent looked at him in confusion, not seeing where he was going with this.
“Now, me on the other hand?” the guard said, shifting the baton to his left hand and drawing a Taser with his right. “Well shucks, I’m just a security guard. All those rules and laws and such that make cops behave? Most of them don’t apply to me. I can’t arrest you, that’s true, but I can and will defend myself and the hospital against someone making threats. Oh, and for the record: I really couldn’t care less about your civil rights!”
He calmly extended the hand holding the Taser and squeezed the trigger. The two prongs, propelled by a charge of compressed air, flew across the scant few feet separating the two men and struck Trent squarely in the chest. Then there was a crackling sound.
Many people confuse stun guns and Tasers, believing the two devices to be the same thing. They aren’t! Stun guns require physical contact with the target, but are capable of rendering someone completely unconcious in less than şişli türbanlı escort a second. How long they stay that way varies from person to person. In some cases, it can cause the heart to stop, but that’s fairly rare.
The Taser, on the other hand, is what they call a “pain compliance” tool. It doesn’t cause unconciousness, it causes pain, by electrically stimulating the pain receptors in the skin where the probes hit. They can be used at a distance, so you don’t have to be up close and personal with the target. Other than the two superficial puncture wounds that the probes cause, they don’t leave any lasting marks on the body, but they cause some pretty severe pain. They too, can cause death in rare instances, usually when they are used over and over again. Or if the target has a heart condidition.
For better or worse, depending on whose side you’re on, Trent was healthy as a horse. Right now, he was demonstrating the effects of a Taser strike for a live studio audience. He was on the floor, howling like a banshee and twitching like a certain politician at a Benghazi hearing. Grace and I watched the video in horrified fascination as the guard let the demonstation go on for a few moments, before letting off.
“The police – the real police, I mean – have been contacted, sir,” the guard said in a polite tone, peering down at Trent. “If you’d be so kind as to stay right where you are, I won’t have to act in self-defense again. I strongly advise you to do just that. Stay where you are and wait for the cops, I mean. Unless, of course, you’d like another little jolt. Your choice, sir.”
Trent made the first intelligent decision of the evening: he stayed right where he was. He didn’t even try to sit up. A few minutes later, the police arrived. They cuffed Trent, and then the video ended.
“Wow,” Grace said softly.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “Trent doesn’t have much of a singing voice, does he?”
Grace turned her head and stared at me for a moment, then she got it. Her eyes lit up with a touch of humor before she playfully slapped my shoulder.
“Be serious, love,” she said, settling back against me and resting her head on my chest. I sighed, and stroked her beautiful chestnut hair back away from her forehead.
After a moment, I picked my tablet back up again and saved a backup copy of Kelly’s video to my Google Drive account, and to my Carbonite account. I wanted to be sure nothing happened to it. After all, one never knew when or how it might be handy to have access to it.
“Now we know the probable reason Trent hasn’t tried anything while I’ve been here,” I said. “He’s…occupied with other matters, at the moment.”
“Yeah,” Grace sighed. “But, we can’t count on that lasting for long.”
“No, that’s true,” I replied, “but it’s enough to allow us a little rest tonight.”
“Kevin, darling, the only two things that would really help me rest tonight are not allowed in the hospital!”
I looked at her quizzically.
She smiled sweetly up at me and tenderly kissed my lips before listing them.
“The first is sleeping next to you in your bed.”
I nodded in understanding and agreement. Even though we hadn’t been able to sleep next to each other for very long, it was already difficult to truly rest without her there with me.
“The second,” Gracie continued with a hungry look, “is sleeping WITH you!”
“That would be-“
I instantly forgot whatever it was I was going to say as her mouth locked onto mine. It was a loving kiss, yes, but this was hot, hungry, and needy. It wasn’t the gentle, tender kiss from earlier! Almost of their own accord, my arms wrapped themselves around Grace and drew her closer to me. She responded eagerly to my touch, and I thrilled inwardly as I felt her soft sensuousness under my palms.
Grace shifted in my arms until she was laying on top of me. I caressed her back as she cupped the back of my head with gentle hands. She teased my lips with her tongue, before delving her way into my mouth. She moaned in pleasure as I massaged the smooth muscles of her back, then she gasped softly as I cupped her ass in my hands.
As suddenly as it had begun, though, it stopped. Gracie pulled away from me slowly. I knew from her body language (and from basic good sense) that her pulling away wasn’t rejection, it was self-control! Both of us were slightly out of breath as I moved my hands back to her waist. Her eyes were still smoldering with passion, but it was tempered with discipline now.
“I know, my love,” I said, as she reluctantly climbed out of bed. “But we won’t have to wait much longer.”
“It’s a good thing, too,” Gracie said with a very soft chuckle, and pointed down.
My pajama pants did nothing at all to conceal my manhood as it stood at full attention.
“Yes, it’s a VERY good thing!” I said with an equally soft laugh, as I pointed at her chest, where her own arousal was evident.
It felt good to share a laugh şişli ucuz escort with her, after all the seriously heavy things that we’d had to deal with. I think we needed that almost as much as we needed to spend some time alone in private! When we settled down, Gracie grabbed a blanket and made herself comfortable on the recliner. Almost instinctively, we reached across the space between us and joined hands, and soon after dropped off into a restful sleep.
Dr. Khan saw me first thing the next morning. To my everlasting relief, he told me I was going to be released! It was a damn good thing, too, because at this point I was perfectly willing to sign myself out AMA. I’d had enough of this place!
Grace called Elizabeth and Fleur while I got my scant few belongings together and dressed. They arrived just as I was given my discharge papers, and the four of us made our way out together. Grace hadn’t driven, so we rode with them. After we were all settled in their Trailblazer, Fleur turned in her seat and handed me a small nylon case. Inside, I found my Kahr PM45 pistol and my spare magazine.
“Thank you, Fleur,” I said, as I checked the handgun and slid it into it’s holster. Grace had told me that Fleur had taken it before Uncle James drove me to the ER.
Fleur smiled and winked at me, and then we were off. I turned to look at Grace, where she sat next to me. Once again, we shared an almost psychic moment with each other. Elizabeth watched in bemusement.
“Wow,” Elizabeth said softly. “Fleur and I do that, every now and then. I hadn’t realized what it’s like to see it from an outside perspective.”
“What do you mean, Elizabeth?” Grace asked.
“I know that look,” she replied. “You were debating about telling us soemthing, but you weren’t sure whether to do it now or wait. If I get a vote, I’d say tell us now.”
Grace and I both shared a smile. I’d had no idea we were that obvious!
“Do you remember my ex-girlfriend, Kelly Harris?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” Elizabeth said, “I remember her. I also remember the way she treated you!”
I smiled at Elizabeth, and then gave her the short version of the conversation Grace and I had had with Kelly last night. I then went on to tell her and Fleur about the video Kelly had made. Afterwards, the four of us were quiet for a few minutes, alone with our individual thoughts. Not surprisingly, Fleur was the first to speak.
“Was Trent arrested?” she asked.
“Yes he was,” Grace answered her. “It was the last thing we saw before the end of the video. We can give you guys a copy, if you want.”
“Yes, please,” Elizabeth said. “I’d like to show it to Mom.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” I said. “She might know what the deal is between Trent and this detective. Knowing that might possibly come in handy.”
Elizabeth handed me her tablet and I transferred the file. I had just enough time to make sure it transferred properly before we arrived at our house. I saw our parents’ RV parked on the curb in front of the house.
As we were getting out, Elizabeth stopped us briefly. “Call us in a couple of days, and we’ll get together, okay?”
“We will,” I replied. “You two take care. Thanks again for all you’ve done!”
“It’s no problem,” Elizabeth replied, smiling sweetly. “That’s just what family does!”
Inside the house, we found Mom and Dad waiting for us in the living room. I wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels at the thought of having this conversation, but it didn’t fill me with dread, either. The confrontations were all over and done with. Grace and I had staked out our position, and our parents had staked out theirs. All that was left now was to hammer out the details…and clean up the proverbial mess.
Grace and I shared another of our wordless conversations and decided to get it over with now, even though we both really wanted a shower and a change of clothes (not to mention some alone time!). We joined hands and sat down on the sofa across from where our parents were sitting. Mom had set out coffee and some of Grace’s favorite herbal tea. I gratefully took a mug of black coffee.
After taking a long, appreciative sip (Mom brews coffee the old fashioned way, and it’s superb), I set my mug on a coaster and settled back on the couch. As I did, Gracie curled her legs beneath her and leaned into my side, resting her head against my shoulder. Mom stirred uncomfortably and Dad grimaced slightly, but neither of them chose to say anything. I was sorry they were uncomfortable, but they might as well get used to it! A less cheritable part of me wondered, if they felt this awkward about a chaste expression of affection like that, how were they going to feel when Grace and I began living as man and wife?
Dad finally decided to take the bull by the horns, as it were. “Kids, we, uh, we already discussed the basics of our agreement while you were at the hospital, but I want to go over them again to be sure we’re on the same page.”
Mom, probably unconciously, settled against Dad in exactly the same way that Grace had settled against me, and Dad wrapped a comforting arm around her, and kissed the top of her head.
“Unless, of course,” Dad began, “you’ve changed your minds?”
Grace and I gave him identical exasperated looks, and he smiled ever so slightly.
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