Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oy - what I put my heroes through...

I put each one of my heroes into the hospital!!!

I realized that the other day and wondered why. Am I being sadistic? Yikes.

But then I suddenly understood – vulnerability. I like knowing that my muscled and independent hunks are vulnerable. Okay, maybe hospitalizing each of them is a bit extreme, but it helps to point out how very human they are and it gives a chance for the heroines to take care of them.

Lon gets a busted shoulder, that wasn’t too serious. Brandon winds up getting treated for burns, but only 2nd degree. Poor Tom gets his femur (thigh bone) broken and needs a metal rod inserted (ouch!). Adam comes down with an advanced case of pneumonia and nearly loses his life. Jake is shot in the chest, the bullet pierces his pleural cavity and his lung collapses – luckily for him a paramedic is standing next to him when he goes down. Finally Ryan suffers severe spine and head injuries in a meth-lab explosion and wonders if he will ever walk again.

Omigosh – the insurance companies would have a field day with my novels.

In Forgotten I used Brandon’s injury as a turning point in their relationship. Caitlyn got a very heavy dose of reality that she could lose him forever and while it still took some coaxing from her cousin Tom, she takes care of him through his recovery and has long moments to think while he sleeps from the pain meds.

The room was dark when he opened his eyes. Feeling a little disoriented, he expected to see the familiar surroundings of his hospital room. It took a minute or so for Brandon to realize where he was and who the silhouette at the window was.

He watched Caitlyn in silence. She seemed so absorbed in her thoughts that she never turned around as got up from the bed. He walked up behind her. The moonlight and the neon sign in front of the motel shed a little light into the room. He saw her shoulders shake and realized she was crying. Then he looked beyond her, out the window, and could see the rubble that was all that remained of her home across the street.

“I’m so sorry.” He put his hand gently on her shoulder and felt her jump. “I’m sorry about the house.”

She sniffled, but tried to hide it. “I was just thinking. On around the age of thirteen, I was just so angry and I felt so cheated. My mom’s cousin was super. She and her husband really took me in and tried to give me everything, but it just wasn’t the same. I wanted to know why it was my parents that died. They were such good people.” She waited while she tried not to cry. “I always ran away every time that something didn’t go the way I planned it. But I never ran far. I always ran to the house and sat on the porch. Even though there were people renting the place, it was still my house. One tenant even called the police. They thought my obsession was scary. Tommy had just gotten his driver’s license, and every time I disappeared, he drove by here to find me.”

“It must have been nice to know that someone would come looking for you if you tried to run away.” Brandon figured that his father would have offered him train fare if he had threatened to leave home. “You and Tom are real close. Why didn’t I ever meet him?”

Caitlyn turned to him in the dark. He saw her shrug. “You were always busy. He came to the city once, but you had to go out of town on business. The few times I went back home, you were always working on some project and you never seemed to be interested, so I didn’t push.”

“I am sorry. I should have been more interested.”

“It doesn’t matter.” She turned back to the window. “I was so anxious when the house was mine again. Tommy tried to get me to take it slow. But I just had to get moving with the renovations... and I had to move in. One of the first things I did was take my folks’ stuff out of storage and put it back in the house. Now look at it, it’s all gone.”

“I wish I could undo what happened.” Brandon had a whole laundry list of things he wished he could undo. Be honest with her; that was what Tom had said. “Your cousin told me about the insurance. Caitlyn, I can help you to rebuild.”

She took a long time responding and he worried that he had said the wrong thing. “I don’t know if I do want to rebuild.”

“But why not?”

Again, she was silent for a while. “It just wouldn’t be the same. And I couldn’t replace the material things that really mattered anyway. The family photo albums are gone. So is my mom’s wedding dress. Even my dad’s love letters to my mom are only memories now.”

“I am so sorry Caitlyn.” His voice was very low. Even though it was dark in the room, he couldn’t stand the possibility that she would turn to face him. So he walked back to the bed. “It seems all I have brought to you has been misery. You’ve lost everything because of me. I’m sorry. I really am.” He sat on the edge of the bed again.

“Brandon.” Her voice was stronger, almost reprimanding. Caitlyn came back to the bed. She switched on the lamp that sat on the nightstand. Brandon squinted from the glare. “You have done everything to protect me. My gosh, you saved Tommy and me. You saved our lives. And you almost lost yours.”

Caitlyn could no longer contain her tears. She sat next to Brandon and began to sob. He put his arm around her and she leaned into him. Her tears stained his T-shirt.

Brandon felt uncomfortable. He really hadn’t thought about his dying. He was definitely frightened when he saw the timer. “We’re all okay. Ssh. I was just scared that you would be hurt.”

“I heard the explosion and you were jumping out of the window... and you were on fire.” She clung to him. “I thought you were going to die. I thought I was going to lose you forever. I was never so scared in my life.”

He was surprised. He had never expected Caitlyn to react that way. He had never even given thought that his dying would even be mourned.

She clung to him until her sobs subsided. Brandon just felt good holding her. He hoped she wouldn’t regret saying the things she did to him. He needed the time to show her that he still loved her, and always would.

After her tears stopped, Caitlyn used her shirt sleeve to wipe her eyes. Then she backed away from him. Tentatively she looked up at him. He got the impression that there was something he should be saying to her, but he didn’t know what. There was an awkward silence.

Finally, Brandon had to break the silence. “Uh, how long did I sleep?” Damn, he thought, she’s going to figure I’m changing the topic because I don’t want to share. “By the way, thank you.”

“For what?”

“It was beautiful waking up and seeing you.”

She sniffled and then she chuckled. “You’re welcome. You slept for a couple of hours” Caitlyn stood up and walked to the bathroom. Brandon heard the running water. When she came back, she was drying her face. “Are you hungry? I brought you some dinner.”

He put a hand over his stomach. “I guess I do feel a little bit empty.”

“I got you a turkey breast sandwich. I figured burgers would just be too heavy.” She had filled the ice bucket with ice and was using it to keep his food cool. Using the tray from underneath the bucket, she spread a napkin and unwrapped a sandwich. She placed a small container of potato salad and a plastic fork next to it and popped open a can of ice tea with a straw. She brought the tray to the nightstand and placed it there. “Sorry, I know it’s not that fancy hospital fare you’ve come to love...” She grinned.

“Thank you. I think I can manage.” He caught her hand before she could walk away. Brandon figured out what he should have been saying. “Caitlyn, I love you.”

In Chaunce of Riches, coming out later this year, I do NOT put Ben into the hospital – but then I realized it was his hospitalization after a car accident several years before that separated him from Samantha. Oh well.

I do have this WIP on my desk and he never winds up in the hospital, but we’ll see what happens in re-writes.


All of my novels are available through Amazon, and other major online retailers in print (& Kindle from Amazon) – and ask at your favorite bookstore, some of them are carrying my books on their shelves. My books are also available as instant-download-ebooks from SmashWords & PayLoadz.

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