He wasn’t sure how he got there. The last thing he remembered was searching for the enemy when the floor gave way. Suddenly, he fell into the black abyss.
Jake tried to move again, wishing he could release himself from the bands. He looked around the room as well as he was able. The room was on the small side, with only four beds and another sling hanging from the ceiling. He had never been in a place like this.
Where was Paul? Thinking of Paul made his heart rate rise. Paul was his partner. They had been together when he fell, with Jake leading the way, as usual.
Two people came through the door, pushing another patient. She didn’t move. Was she dead? Jake didn’t think so because they were gentle when they moved her to the bed and adjusted her. They spoke softly to her and said kind encouraging words.
I wonder what happened to her. Looks like her leg may be broken and her head is wrapped in a bandage. Sniper? Or did she fall into a trap like I led Paul into?
Jake and Paul were partners for the last five years. They ate together, worked together, and bivouacked together. He should have sensed the trap. He let Paul down. Jake felt responsible for Paul and would give his life for him. Paul felt close to Jake and told him many of his personal struggles. They were more than partners—they were friends. Jake tried again to escape his bonds.
“There now buddy, don’t struggle. You need to stay in the sling for a while. If you are worried about your partner, he is doing fine. They have him at a local hospital. He cracked a few ribs, fractured his right leg and foot, and right wrist. Sounds like you two like to do things in tandem. You need to relax and let the healing process work. I wish you could tell me how you are doing.
Jake tried to speak but there was a contraption holding his mouth shut. Do I have a broken jaw?
The man walked over and adjusted the female patient’s IV bag as he had done with Jake’s. Then he turned her over to face Jake. Jake watched him bend over and rub her head, and then heard him murmur to the patient. He only caught a few words: lie still, better, good.
Jake liked the view. The moonlight danced across her form. She was beautiful. In spite of the bandages he sensed she was breathtaking. He hoped, when she opened her eyes, his eyes would be the first thing she saw. He tried to stay focused on her, but drug induced sleep overtook him.
The female patient’s name turned out to be Chelsey. Chelsey had opened her eyes after that first night and they had gazed at each other. He sucked in his breath. She had the most beautiful deep chocolate eyes, with long lashes, he had ever seen. There seemed to be an understanding and bond between them even though no words were spoken.
Days turned into weeks. Jake got stronger and was able to take short walks. It felt strange to have the cast so he kept his leg up, off the floor. Paul came in for visits and talked about discharge and what life would be like for them both. Jake was afraid of the unknown because Paul was his only family and he had no one else. Paul became aware of the attraction Jake had for Chelsey. He smiled to himself and started scheming.
Jake awoke to an empty bed across from him. Chelsey was gone and she didn’t return. His heart was about to break. His happiness was wrapped around his roommate, Chelsey, and Paul’s visits. The future looked dim to say the least.
One day, Paul came in with a huge grin on his bearded face. “Hey buddy, guess what? I have two surprises for you. Are you ready? First, would you like to come home with me? I worked it all out. I got the docs to release you to my care. We leave in a few hours. Second, we will have a traveling companion.”
Paul stepped aside and Chelsey sashayed in!
Chelsey! She’s more beautiful than I could ever have imagined! Her soft brown eyes are smiling into mine! My traveling companion? Paul did that? Amazing!
As the two dogs nuzzled each other, Paul reached down for both leashes. “Come on Jake. You and your lady friend can get more acquainted on the ride back to the States. The three walked out the door together—a man and his two dogs.