Ch. 24 Not Today

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Around nine the next morning, my pager buzzed.

I got up and went into Lucas's room. After shocking him three times and pumping epinephrine through his system more than I would have liked to, I still couldn't revive him.

After the fourth try, a nurse spoke, "Dr. Malone, you need to call it."

I couldn't. I watched as his mother and father broke down. I remembered that feeling. I remembered how my world crumbled around me, how helpless I was. I resented the doctor who called my son's time of death. I couldn't do it. I dropped the paddles.

"Dr. Malone?" Dr. Hart spoke.

I looked at him. I tried to speak, but nothing came out.

He looked at his watch and spoke, "Time of death 9:32."

Then, he pulled me from the room.

I looked at him. "I'm sorry. I just couldn't do it, not today."

"Okay. Why don't you go do some charting? Take it easy the rest of your shift."

He led me to the nurses' station and handed me a stack of charts.

I sat down and got to work. I didn't stop working until I got every single chart finished. When my hand started cramping, I put my pen down and sighed.

It was around eleven, so I went to the locker room and changed into my regular clothes. Then, I went upstairs to Jake's room.

Dr. Taylor was giving him discharge papers.

Jake looked up, dressed in a white shirt and jeans. He looked so relaxed. He stood. "Britt, you ready?"

I nodded and picked up the bag I left with him. I led him out of the hospital and to his truck. I helped him in, then I got in.

"You okay?" he asked.

I nodded and started the truck. I pulled out and started the drive home.

When we got to his house, I helped him out and inside.

"It smells good in here," he smiled.

Crap. I forgot about the Christmas tree!

A huge smile spread across my face. I dropped the bag and took his hands. "Close your eyes."

He closed them.

I pulled him to the living room. "Okay. Open your eyes," I smiled as butterflies beat me stomach.

He opened his eyes. His eyes widened and his mouth dropped open. He didn't say anything.

"You hate it, don't you? This overstepped some sort of line. It's okay. I can get rid of it if you want," I blurted out. I was in a complete panic. How could I have been so stupid?

His eyes met mine. "You did all this?"

"Well, I had a little help, but yeah," I sheepishly admitted.

He pulled me to him, wrapping my arms around his waist. He gave me a kiss. "Thank you. It's beautiful."

"You really like it?"

"Yeah, it's perfect," he smiled.

I sighed in relief. He liked the tree!

He went to the couch and sat down, staring at the tree.

I turned the lights on and sat with him.

"I can't believe you did this. It's amazing," he smiled, giving me a kiss.

"I'm glad you like it," I smiled as he pulled me into his chest.

He kissed my head and pulled me on his lap so I was straddling his waist. He ran a hand through my hair, looking up at me. "I could get used to this view."

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