Room for More(7)

By: Beth Ehemann

“I want to be a hockey player like you,” she said proudly with a big, toothy grin on her face.

“You do? That’s awesome. I can put in a good word for you. I know some people.” I laughed back. “Come on, guys, let’s go find your mom. She’s gonna be so surprised to see us.”

They hopped out of my truck and each grabbed one of my hands as we went inside.

We followed the red signs that led us to the ER.

“Hi there, can I help you?” asked an overly cheery woman with a big smile.

“Uh, hi.” I walked over and leaned on the counter she was sitting behind. “We’re looking for Kacie Jensen.”

Her eyes grew wide as she bit the corner of her lip, trying to keep her smile in check. “Hang on, I’ll page her for you.” She turned and said something into the phone before turning back to us. “You guys can sit over there if you want. She’ll be right out.”

I stared at her curiously for a second before Lucy tugged my hand, pulling me over to the waiting area.

Before we even sat down, Kacie rushed around the corner with a concerned look on her face.

Holy shit, does she look hot in her light blue scrubs. Maybe I can get her to give me an exam later.

“What’s going on? Is everything okay?” Her eyes scanned Lucy and Piper top to bottom before she turned to me.

“Yeah, we’re fine.” I reached over and squeezed her shaky hand. “We just thought we’d surprise you for lunch.”

Her brows were furrowed in confusion as her green eyes searched my face, trying to process what I’d just said.

“Surprise?” I held my hands up and shrugged my shoulders, not sure she was happy to see us.

“Are you mad?” Lucy asked nervously.

Kacie’s head snapped over to Lucy and her face instantly relaxed. “No, no, baby. Not mad at all, just shocked. I thought something was wrong. You just scared me, that’s all.” She pulled Lucy and Piper in for a big hug. “I’m so glad you guys are here. Thank you.” She looked up at me and smiled, but it didn’t quite meet her eyes.

“You okay?” I asked.

“Yep, fine. I’m ready for a break anyway. Let’s get out of here for a while, okay?” She looked around nervously and led us toward a long hallway. “I’ll be back in a bit, okay, Darla?”

The woman behind the desk smirked and nodded, still staring at me.

“Where are we going?” Piper asked after a minute.

“The cafeteria. Is that okay? Mommy needs coffee, bad.” Kacie smiled as she slipped her tiny hand in mine.

Once we were in the cafeteria, Kacie seemed back to her normal, happy self. Lucy and Piper had chicken noodle soup while Kacie and I sat and talked.

“You sure you’re not hungry at all?”

“Nope. I’m good.” She lifted her coffee cup to her face and closed her eyes as she inhaled. “This is perfect.”

“Sorry about the food. We were going to stop and get you something, but two little people I know kept asking me to stop the truck so they could pee.” I cocked an eyebrow at Lucy and Piper.

“Uh oh, they do that. I should’ve warned you.” Kacie gave each of them the “mom look.”

“It’s okay.” I winked at the girls. “I just feel bad that you aren’t eating.”

“Oh, don’t worry about me. Darla always has extra food. I’ll steal something from her in a bit.”

“Is that who was sitting at the desk just now?”

She nodded and took a sip of her coffee.

“What do you think of her? She kept looking at me funny.”

“She just thinks you’re hot.” She giggled. “I don’t really know her yet, but from what I’ve seen so far, I like her. A lot, actually. She’s sweet and really funny. Sometimes inappropriate, but mostly funny.”

“Inappropriate, huh?” I shook my head. “Sounds like the perfect woman for Viper.”

“Do you think Viper will ever get married?”

“No way.”

“Who’s Viper?” Lucy asked.

“Uh… Viper is one of my friends.” I chose my words carefully. No way could I ever accurately describe Viper to a six-year-old without scaring the hell out of her.