Copyright© 2021 by Charly Young
Katherine Keegan thought, not for the first time, that she needed to move back home. One of Seattle’s biggest law firms had aggressively courted her after law school, and Althea ordered her to take it. Originally, she thought it would be nice to be out of Emory and just have the responsibility of keeping an eye on any political or economic threats to Emory. But she soon found out that she didn’t fit in—her background was far too different. She missed her sept-sisters and was tired of the endless hours. Now, given all the chaos in Emory, she was glad to have had an excuse to come back.
She drove up to the hospital in Arlington and found a parking place across the street. As soon as she walked in, she heard the furious argument even before she ran into Thistle, who was in the process of practically punching out her sister Daisey. Along with Mandy, Charming and Bella, they had all been had been best friends for years but these days it seemed like they could barely stand the sight of each other. She shook her head; she had no time for taking sides in whatever had touched off world war three.
She avoided them by ducking down the hallway and ran into Megan Hart. She was a petite woman with dark brown hair and kind brown eyes that were now rimmed with the red of exhaustion,
“Hi Meg, how’s Julie doing.”
“She’s good. She got out of surgery last night. Lucky the bullet didn’t hit any bones but it did a lot of muscle damage. Apparently it also nicked one of the arteries in her leg. The doctor said she should make a full recovery. She woke up with a panic attack until we got her the sweatshirt that man left on her. For some reason it’s like a security blanket. It will be a while before she gets over this.
“Well, that is such good news about her surgery.” Katherine gave her a spontaneous hug. “We were so worried when we heard.”
“That guy saved her life, the doctor said. Said he did a better job than some of the residents would have getting the bleeding controlled. He said she was so lucky.”
Megan stopped and began to cry. “I wish I knew who he was, I need to thank him. I don’t know what I would have done if she had...” she broke down completely.
Katherine hugged her again. “Is anyone here with you? You need to get yourself home and get some sleep.
“My sisters are around here somewhere. I have to go find her. Thanks for coming to visit. I’m sure she’ll be glad to see you.”
“They’re down in the lobby arguing with each other. You take care of yourself. I’m going to stick my head in and say hi and get up to see Althea. Call if you need anything.”
Loud laughter and a chorus of giggles showed her the way to Julie’s room. She looked pale and tired after her surgery, but she was propped up and smiling at her two friends, Kayla, and Lauren.
“Hi kiddo,” Katherine said, “how are you doing.”
“Okay, Aunt Katie. It doesn’t hurt too bad. The doctor said I will be okay just need to get healed up and do some physical therapy for the muscle damage.”
“You are a lucky girl. What on earth are you wearing?” She had a tattered gray sweatshirt with a Marine Corps logo over her hospital night gown. She was lost in. It was four or five sizes too big for her.
“The hunky guy who rescued her,” her friend Kayla said breathless with drama, “took off his sweatshirt and put it over the top of her to keep her warm. How frigging cool is that?”
“The stinking hot pirate,” said Lauren, the other member of the trio. “I mean, he sorta looked like a pirate.
“Jeez, Katie,” Kayla said. “You should’a been there. The guy was an eleven on a ten scale of hotness. He had the coolest green eyes and his voice...”
“Oh. My. God. It was soooo melty rumbly,” Lauren said. “Gave me shivers. Jules there would have swooned I bet, even if she hadn’t been shot.”
Kayla giggled. “Me and Lauren are going to do some detective work and search him out and see if he’ll give us each one of those cool sweatshirts without the whole getting shot thing.”
“Seriously?” Julie laughed. “Like my guy would have anything to do with you two skanks.”
Then her eyes got big, and she gulped.
“Oh. My. God.” Kayla said softly.
“Excuse me ladies,” a voice came from behind Katherine. “I thought I’d check on you, Miss Julie. How are you feeling?”
Julie’s mouth gaped oven as she stared at the visitor The other two were no different. They stepped closer together and stared.
He was handsome enough, Katherine supposed. Too bad he was such a jerk. His face was definitely masculine and not the slightest bit pretty. The scar on the right side of his face did give him a piratical appearance. She thought again how much bigger he was than she remembered maybe 6’ 3” or 6’ 4”.
He looked kind and concerned. How could anyone hide their real nature so effectively?
“Lan,” she said coldly. “The two young ladies over there are Kayla and Lauren. You’ve already met Julie.” Then added with some snarky sarcasm. “I assume you are the knight in shining armor.”
Quinn ignored her.
He nodded to the two girls and walked over to Julie’s bedside and grinned a mischievous grin at her. His face changed remarkably. The girls gasped and Katherine wondered again how many women had moved heaven and earth to tease out that smile.