Dead End Job: A Louisa Hallstrom Novel(70)

By: Ingrid Reinke

“You have nothing to be sorry about,” I said. “You saved my life.”

With that, Rocky gave me a half hearted smile, turned around and left, closing the door behind him.

Chapter 18: All Bad Things Come to an End

I was still in the hospital four days later. My left shoulder was achy and still very bruised, scabbed and gross looking, but the bandages covered that up, and the cuts and bruises that covered the rest of my body were slowly healing. Rocky had been right—the bullet had gone straight through, causing relatively little damage. The doctors told me that I’d caught only a glancing shot. Martin had probably been aiming his gun elsewhere, and if I hadn’t jumped forward at the second that I did, I would probably not be in as good of shape. However, my surgeon insisted that I would have to keep my arm in a sling for the next couple of weeks in order to make sure I healed properly, which meant no driving and total dependence on others to bus me around and keep me fed for awhile.

My parents live a bit too far away from Seattle to commute each day, so they stayed downtown at a hotel near the hospital while I was there, keeping me entertained and my spirits up. I spent the afternoon after I woke up enduring a long and exhausting session of questioning by Detective Schreck and Detective Wang. Thankfully Detective Lopez was absent, so the feeling this time was much less accusatory. Detective Wang even thanked me for the information I provided to her about Martin’s plans and sounded relatively sincere. When I asked about Martin’s alibi, the “Norwegian Viking,” Detective Schreck told me that he’d finally admitted under questioning that he was so drunk he really didn’t know what time Martin picked him up at the bar.

Beverly and her husband came down several times, and Alex and Amanda were also staples in the room. Even Kathy showed her face, and even though I was asleep, I was told that she chatted my parents up for longer than necessary about the merits of wind and solar power in Washington State.

I also got flowers and visits from some of my colleagues at Merit. Ari came over with Elaine and Mark a couple of days later, and they visited for an awkward five minutes. Elaine loudly proclaimed that I was her “hero” and that Merit Legal was simply not the same without me. Ari quietly explained to me that Guy Farner was under full FBI investigation for the involvement in Martin’s botched attempt at corporate espionage, and that the death of NorCom’s Leila Carson was also being investigated as a possible homicide. The authorities believed that Guy Farner had also tried to collect information from NorCom’s Portland office, and even though she’d died at home, Leila might have been another victim. Priti came by one evening with some home-made chocolate chip cookies, and I got an ostentatious bouquet from the Merit management and HR teams that read “Thank you for your service to Merit, we look forward to your speedy recovery and return.”

My mom told me that Rocky came by twice to see me, but I had been asleep both times. The second time he came by he left a massive and beautiful bouquet of yellow roses with a card that read: “I can’t wait until you get better – R.” I didn’t know how I felt about his visits. Even though I was so grateful to him for saving my life, I still felt that he had betrayed my trust within our romantic relationship. A big piece of my heart ached for him to hold me again, and tell me that he loved me, but I just didn’t know if I’d ever be able to really trust him, and that was not a good place to start a relationship. I would have to give it some time and see how things felt as I healed and got into a more normal place, physically and mentally.

My mom insisted on staying with me for a few days once I got home. I spent the next week or so in bed riding the manic-depressive high of strong opiates. When I was happy I was either watching TV, chatting on the phone or messing around on my laptop (it was too hard to read or do anything that required any type of concentration) and when the happy haze dissipated, I was either cranky, uncomfortable, or sleeping. I slept a lot—up to twenty hours a day. My mom patiently puttered around the house, cooking me healthy food, doing my laundry and bringing me handfuls of antibiotics and ibuprofens for the swelling.

When I went to my check up appointment, ten days after the “incident,” my doctor gave me a rave review. My injuries were healing ahead of schedule, and even though I would always have a nasty scar, I was promised that if I kept healing at the same rate I would regain full function of my left arm and shoulder within about six months. The doctor patiently reviewed the large stack of leave paperwork that my mom had filled out for me, and signed the appropriate boxes indicating that I could return to work on a part time basis starting the next week, and could go back full time within a month. Joy.