Chapter Five

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Chapter Five

Caden

A deep guttural scream escaped my lips. The rage that had threatened to boil over exploded in the middle of the parking lot.

I raced toward the large man with overly defined arms as he banged on the driver's side window.

"Miss? Miss?"

"Get out of my way!" I growled.

The man stepped back and a concerned frown spread across his brow. "She left her water bottle in the gym. I just wanted to return it."

I looked in the car window. Hadley lay slumped over the center console.

"Call 911!" I barked.

The man's hands shook as he fished his phone out of his pocket. Sweat dripped off his brow as he explained the situation to the operator.

Drops of sweat formed on my brow. I tried the door handle, but it didn't budge.

"The doors are locked," the man said as he watched me. "It appears that she's unconscious. Yes," he paused. "Yes, we're at Fitness 411 on Lexington Street."

I crouched down and ran my hands through my hair. What if she's hurt? What if she had a heart attack? Should I break the window?

"D- d- do you know her?" the man stammered.

Yes! My mind screamed, but instead I mumbled, "No."

Shaking my head, I forced myself to bite my tongue, preventing anything further from popping out of my mouth. I had already planned out our first meeting, our first date, the first time I would tell her that I loved her. It was going to be perfect. It couldn't happen this way. I just couldn't... But what if she's dying? You'll never forgive yourself!

The man pressed his face up against the glass. "I can't tell if she's breathing," he said in a panicked voice.

Without hesitating another moment, I grasped my keys in my fist and began slamming the sharp point across the back window on the driver's side.

"Come on," I spat. "Come on!"

Finally, a small crack formed. I hit the windshield a few more times and it finally shattered. Small shards of glass fell to the pavement and covered my shoes.

Reaching in, I unlocked Hadley's door. "Quick," I shouted at the man, "Open the door!"

With an ashen face, he pulled open the door.

"Move," I said, pushing him out of the way.

As the man stumbled backward, I leaned in the car. Putting one hand behind her neck and one under her knees, I pulled her body out and cradled it gently in my arms.

"I need something to put under her head," I said frantically.

The man looked in the car and found a towel Hadley had used at the gym. He grabbed it and quickly folded it in half. "Here," he said as he placed in on the ground.

I gently set her down, making sure her head didn't touch the cement.

Lowering my head, I hovered about her lips. Forcing myself to turn my head, I listened for her breath.

The man stood watching me with wide eyes. The fat under his chin quivered. "Is she breathing?"

Hadley's faint breath tickled my ear.

"Yes!" Yes," I said, "I can hear her breathing."

Sirens blared in the background and a sense of relief washed over me.

"It's okay," I said softly. "Help is coming."

Hadley's eyelashes fluttered.

I gasped and pulled back.

"I think she's waking up," the man said into the phone.

Standing up, I took a step back. Don't let her see your face!

The man with the phone to his ear waved his hands as an ambulance, police car, and fire engine pulled into the parking lot and made it's way toward us.

EMTs jumped out of the ambulance and rushed toward us.

"Is she breathing?" a small woman with blonde hair asked me.

"Yes," I responded.

"What happened?" asked the second EMT.

Anger bubbled at my core. "He," I said pointing to the man, who had finally put his phone back in his pocket, "He pounded on her window and scared her half to death!"

"I- I- I didn't mean to," said the guy, throwing his hands into a surrender position.

As the woman tended to Hadley, the man asked, "According to our phone call, she was out for about two minutes, does that sound correct?"

"I guess so," I said. "But it felt a lot longer."

"Do either of you know her?"

We both shook our heads.

"Okay, we're going to load her up and bring her to the hospital," said the woman.

"Ah, hang on," I said as I ducked my head and grabbed Hadley's phone and wallet off the passenger's seat. "This will probably help."

"Thank you," said the female EMT as she took Hadley's possessions from my hands.

After a quick, "Thank you," they loaded Hadley into the back of the ambulance and drove off.

A clean-shaven police officer said something into his radio and then approached me with a stack of paperwork. "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"

"Ah, um, sure," I said. "But, do you mind, if I grab a drink of water first? This whole thing has me really shaken up."

He nodded and gave me a kind smile. "Of course."

"I'll be right back," I said before turning around and heading toward the club.

Yeah right, I'm not coming back, I thought to myself as I pushed through the doors of the fitness club. I made my way back to the changing room and began pulling open unlocked locker doors.

There, that will work, I thought to myself as I pulled out a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt. After getting dressed, I pulled open another locker. Perfect. I pulled out a pair of aviator sunglasses.

A few minutes later, I slipped out of the club and put on the sunglasses. I walked down a few rows and zigzagged until I reached my car. As the ignition purred to life, I took a deep breath and forced my trembling hands to loosen their grip on the steering wheel. Don't worry, Hadley, I'm coming. I won't let you be alone.

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