I’d Like to Go Home Now

Chapter 72

Simon, and Grant are standing by my gurney. Raquel is seated precariously on its edge, holding my hand. The IV saline bag is nearly empty. The nurse comes back to check my IV, and takes my blood pressure.

“How are you feeling?” she asks.

“Calmer, with the lorazepam on board. When can I go home?”

“Medically, you’re probably good to go, but I’ve been instructed not to discharge you until the police say it’s okay. I don’t know if they’re going to file your report now, or later.”

Just then, a woman in business attire enters the tent. She’s carrying a clipboard with papers, and a pen.

“Niki, I can’t tell you how relieved everyone is that this is over, and all of you survived. We’ve been very concerned about your wellbeing.”

“Everyone didn’t survive. Frank didn’t survive. I saw him shot in the head.”

“No, of course; I’m sorry. I didn’t mean… I realize this has been horribly traumatic for everyone involved. I’m Jane Merger. I’m a resource manager from HR, and human resource liaison during your leave of absence that I assume you’ll want to take as you recover from this, um, event. Here’s my business card.”

“Thank you, Jane.”

She hands me a card. I take it with the same hand that’s holding Mike’s business card. I look at them blankly.

“Here, I’ll keep those for you, Nik. I’ll start taking notes and keeping track of your paperwork,” says Raquel.

“Thank you.”

“I’ll be in touch with you through email, and by phone, Niki. Don’t hesitate to contact me when you have questions. We don’t need to do anything about forms right now, except I do need you to sign this nondisclosure agreement between you and the hospital. We would like you to refrain from speaking with the media about this, um, event. That includes posting about it on your social media sites, like Facebook.” Jane reaches to hands me the clipboard, and a pen. Grant intercepts it.

“Hi Jane, I’m Grant, Niki’s brother-in-law, and legal counsel. I’m going to insist that Niki doesn’t sign any agreements at this time. I will be reviewing all legal agreements between the hospital and my client. Here’s my business card.”

Grant hands back the clipboard to Jane, along with his business card.

I’m beginning to realize that although the crisis is over, my life has changed.

“I’d like to go home now.”

A Throat Clears

Chapter 71

Simon steps forward, “Niki, thank God you’re okay. We were so worried.”

“Simon, where’s Maddie? Is she here? Does she know what happened?”

“She’s at home with Amber. Maddie knows there is an active shooter alert on the floor you work on. She knows you’re involved, and that a SWAT team has arrived to rescue you. Other than that, Amber has taken away her cellphone, kept her off of the Internet, and the TV. I’ve updated Amber by text with what little information we’ve had. We decided she and I were the ones to tell Maddie if…”

Simon doesn’t finish his sentence. Again, there’s that awkward silence.

The realization that everyone who loves me thought I might not survive being held hostage by Frank sinks in. I fight back the tears, letting the sedative the doctor gave me do its work, and drift off a bit.

A throat clears. Behind Simon, is Officer, I mean, Mike.

“Simon, Raquel, Grant, this is Mike. He’s a friend of mine from work.”

The trio nod their heads towards Mike. Grant shakes Mike’s hand

“Thank you for all you’ve done for my sister,” says Raquel.

“The SWAT team are the ones to thank. I was just holding place. Um, Niki, I’m going to leave you now with your family and husband.”

“My ex-husband. We share a daughter.”

“Ex-husband, then. Um, I’d like to check in with you in a few days, if you don’t mind, if that’s okay? Just check in and see how you’re doing, if you need anything. Here’s my business card. You can call me too, if something comes up I can help with”

He hands me the card. Officer Michael Elligsen. Mike Elligsen. It’s a nice name.