I expected joy and a happy ending, once we found Mia in what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. I anticipated a feeling of relief washing over me as Thompson and his agents brought her out, or at least a sense of accomplishment that we had won. Yet, I didn’t feel any of that, not happy, not relieved and not even content with the situation. Mia was being carried out in the arms of a man who looked just as horrified as I was in what he was seeing. She was unconscious with visible signs of aggression on her skin and everything in me wanted to scream at the sight of her. Rushing her to the ambulance the paramedics took over and I immediately made my way over to check she was indeed alright and that we hadn’t arrived too late.
I froze as I got to the back of the ambulance and saw three people acting as fast they could to inject her with different things, hook her up to several machines and check her body for injuries besides those visible to the eye. Amongst all the chaos going on around her she was stayed unresponsive and remained ignorant to the fear in everyone’s eyes at what her future might look like. She had cuts and bruises all over her arms, showing signs of burns in the form of small circles caused by what I could only assume were cigarettes. Her clothes were torn apart before the paramedics even put their hands on her and her ankles and wrists had dry blood all over them where the rope holding her in place had cut deeply through her skin.
The monitor showing her weak pulse gave me some hope that she wasn’t too far gone but I feared the moment she would wake up and see herself. How the memories of everything would come flooding back to her from the scars and bruises she’d suffered to all that pain she’d endured. They were getting ready to transport her to the nearest hospital, rapidly trying the doors on me as I begged to be allowed in the ambulance with them. The paramedics looking apologetic, asked me to meet them at the hospital as they didn’t have any space left in there. I was ready to curse and ask for the right to be there but John came around and stopped me from looking like a child who’d been denied candy. ”You can ride with me to the hospital.’ He said, attempting to calm my nerves which had made me look like a total mess in front of everyone. ‘I want to go with her, John. I didn’t even get to touch her…or hold her.’ I cried, unable to hold my tears as the ambulance’s engine started and the doors were shut in my face. ‘You will! We’ll get there and you’ll be able to see her. I promise.’ he reassured me and pulled me into an embrace. ‘Now get ahold of yourself and let’s go. She’ll need you once she wakes up.’ he badgered and motioned for me to get in the car.
Driving like the law allowed him to, he flew us to the hospital Mia was headed towards. We quickly caught up with the ambulance on the road and were the first ones to get to the hospital where a team of doctors awaited her arrival. She was taken straight into the trauma ward and we were told to wait ‘patiently’ until someone came out to give us any news. ‘Does she have anyone we could call? Any family?’ John inquired and I shook my head in denial, ‘No, not that I know of. If she had anyone she trusted she would have never ended up in our small town.’. She’d been scared and alone with nowhere to go. If she had any family left she hadn’t wanted to bother them with her plan of escape. ‘When she wakes up…’ he began, ‘She’s not going to be the person you met when she first came into town.’ he warned and I drew in a breath, knowing exactly what he was referring to. ‘What they did to her there, she’s not going to be only physically scarred…’. ‘I know that, John’ I interrupted, ‘My biggest fear is that she won’t want me by her side through all this.’ that she will reject me so I don’t see the depth of her scars and what those people did to her. ‘She might not and you need to bare that in mind, but she might also need you now more than ever before’. That wouldn’t be an issue. I had no intention of actually leaving her side any time soon. If she wanted it she would be stuck with me for good because there was no way she would ever go through something like this again. Over my dead body.
‘I’m in for the long haul, John. My plan was never to walk away when I found her.’ I admitted, in case he didn’t think I was serious enough about her. ‘I didn’t mean to question that, but after this experience she’ll need you but also try to push you away at the same time. It’s not going to be easy, Hunter.’ he warned and a part of me felt insulted that he thought I’d gone through all this without so much as thinking it through to the end. ‘Since she’s been gone, I haven’t slept, John. I’ve barely eaten and I’ve become a walking-zombie trying to find my way to her. I don’t care how hard it is or how much she pushes me away. I’m here for her and I always will be. It’s hard to think that you would be the one doubting me, man.’ I acknowledged slightly disappointed. I understood his point but it didn’t make it hurt any less. He placed a hand over my shoulder and looked me in the eye, ‘Hunter, I’ve known you since you could walk. If I didn’t think you were serious enough about her I would have simply told you to go home because I’ve got it from here. I know you have feelings for her, but I feel it’s my duty to tell you what you should expect. I’m not doubting you man, I just want you both to be alright.’
‘It doesn’t feel like it, John…’ I sighed, disappointed. Running my hands through my hair, I desperately felt the need for some fresh air but just as I was about to leave, Mia’s doctors called out for her relatives in the waiting room and I was persuaded to stay. ‘Are you a relative, sir?’ the doctor asked John. ‘I am the sheriff in charge of her case and this is Mia’s fiancé.’ he answered and pointed towards me as if he hadn’t just told a lie to the guy. ‘How is she?’ I asked, unable to control myself any longer. ‘She’s asleep. She woke up briefly as we were examining her and panicked at seeing so many people but, we sedated her to calm her down. She’s presenting several external injuries that luckily have not affected any vital organs so she’s been moved upstairs to be monitored through the night.’ he explained calmly. ‘When can I see her?’ I asked, somehow in a rush to run up the stairs and see her. ‘Once she wakes up, we will do a psych evaluation and determine when se can receive visitors. For now it would be best if she just rested.’ he answered, denying my request in the most polite way. He excused himself after that but John didn’t allow him to go, ‘With all due respect sir, this man has been waiting for weeks to find her after she was kidnapped and you can’t let him see her for five minutes?’ he pressed in the most unlike-John way. ‘Five minutes.’ said the doctor, getting a nurse to direct me to her room. I tried to brace myself on my way up the stairs to see her, but no pep talk could have ever prepared me for the moment I saw her in that bed, all beaten up and filled with stitches across her face and arms. I could never be prepared for that.
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