Her Loyal Seal(10)By: Caitlyn O Leary
“I know, Mase.” Clint went back to Lydia.
He sat down and carefully pulled her against him. He spoke to her in Spanish, then remembered how she had responded better to English during her nightmare and switched languages. Her eyelids fluttered.
“We’re going to be in the States soon. We’ll get you to a hospital. Your family will be safe just like we promised.” He could swear her expression relaxed and he took an easier breath. He pushed her matted hair away from her face.
“Just hang on Baby, please. I’m begging you, hang on.”
Clint rocked her gently until it was time to load up. Darius helped to place her on his back, ensuring she was secure and safe.
Once again, Darius took up the rear and they headed off towards their final destination point.
Something was wrong. Really wrong.
“Dare!” Clint screamed as the chopper whirled overhead. His friend helped to lower Lydia onto the ground. Clint frantically felt for Lydia’s pulse at the base of her neck.
Darius shoved him out of the way and started to perform CPR. The huey settled into the clearing as Mason ran over to Clint.
“Mase, I didn’t feel her pulse.”
Mason signaled to the corpsman who brought a stretcher and an oxygen mask. They whisked Lydia into the belly of the bird continuing to perform CPR, with Darius running behind them. Mason directed the rest of the civilians to follow. Finn and Drake were next, and then he pulled in Clint.
Clint skidded on his knees to the pallet holding Lydia. They had an IV in her arm. The corpsman working on her stopped compressing her chest. At long fucking last the corpsman gave Clint a thumbs-up. He moved away and Clint saw her breathe on her own. He touched his forehead to hers.
“Thank God. Thank God.”
There was a knock on the door.
“Hello, Beautiful,” he said in a low voice.
Lydia looked up from her hospital bed and did a double take, or was it a triple take? She recognized the voice, but not the man. There was no mistaking the rumble that was Clint Archer’s voice, but this clean shaven, sandy haired man in a button down white shirt and black jeans was somebody new.
“Lydia?” This time he didn’t sound quite as confident. That was when she noticed the flower arrangement in his hands.
“You brought me flowers? Roses?” Nobody had brought her flowers since she had been in the hospital. She had to blink fast so no tears fell. “Clint, how did you find me? They put me under an assumed name.” Lydia cleared her throat to get the words out.
He walked partway into the room and smiled at her.
“It took a while to find out where they put you. Then it took a little bit more time to arrange leave so I could be here with you.”
She pulled the thin blanket up a little higher to cover the cotton gown the hospital provided.
What was he doing here? She was much better and going to be released by the end of the week, so why was she having a tough time breathing?
“I wanted to call, but like I said, it took a while before I could find you. Luckily, after I did, I found out you were still going to be here by the time I could get leave. So I figured I would just show up. That’s all right, isn’t it?” He sounded unsure, having watched as she pulled up the blanket.
“Of course.” His eyes narrowed as she pulled the blanket even higher.
“It doesn’t look like it. It looks like I’m making you uncomfortable.”
“You are,” she blurted out.
He ran his hand through his hair; his other still holding the vase of flowers. “Damn Lydia, I never meant to do that. I just hated the way they took you away. I got them to tell me you were going to be okay, and that you were going to make a full recovery. But the US Marshalls took you into their system and refused to let me know how to find you. Making you feel bad or upset you is the last thing I wanted to do.”
“Oh Clint, that came out wrong. I dreamed of seeing you again. Only I wanted to see you one day when I was normal. Not sick. Not in a hospital bed. I wanted you to see me like I really am. I’m strong.” But she wasn’t strong, she was babbling.
“Are you kidding? You’re one of the strongest people I know.”