Underground has a lot of interesting twists and turns, mostly because (aside from the actual Mole hunt going on) I was taking pieces from my real life and morphing them into events that fit the fictional storyline going on.
This was one of those scenes. While I’ve never been in the middle of an actual combat zone, and I’ve never been wounded in the line of duty (at least, not physically… It all depends on how you define the words “wounded” and “line of duty”), this scene was drawn from a conversation had not too long after I ended up in a very dangerous, self-inflicted situation. As with many events in the first three books of this series, this scene is a fictionalization of a very real event, and its aftermath (this particular event was kept hidden from everyone except myself, the man involved, and the medical personnel who treated me). This scene, from Rick’s POV, is the fictionalization of the fear the man upon whom Rick’s character is based dealt with during my own medical ordeal.
When love lays close to expiring, what would you give to keep it alive?
“Alive or Dead” – Excerpt from TAMIA (Underground, Book #1) –
Rick paced a wide circle in Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Operating Room waiting lounge, exhausted but unable to even sit. A worried frown creased his face as his gaze went to the door. Damn it, what was taking so long?
He glanced at the clock again and noted that it was twenty-three-fifty hours. Tamia had been in surgery since oh-eight-hundred this morning, and he’d seen no one. No nurse with a progress report, no doctor to say if Tamia lived or died. He ploughed his shaking hands through his hair, and wished he could smoke, to calm his nerves. However, he had to go outside the hospital to do that, and he wouldn’t leave until he knew Tamia would to make it.
“You finally found a way to stop me smoking, babe,” he murmured beneath his breath, and laughed bleakly as he realized he already talked to her as if she was dead. The laugh cracked, and he pressed his hands to his stinging eyes as tears slipped silently loose. Damn it, he needed to do something, or he would totally break down! He couldn’t just stand around, waiting for someone who had no idea what Tamia meant to him to determine her fate, and their future.
Rick drew a shuddering breath, his hands clenching in trembling fists. He needed to see her, to hold her, so bad. Last time he saw her was through the glass partition of the Isolation Room, and his heart nearly shattered at the sight. She looked like Snow White in her damned glass coffin, her skin so pale it was translucent, and her body wreathed in vine-like tubes. He wanted to pound down those walls, sweep her up, and carry her off to somewhere far away from the taunting machines she hated so much and the white-clad wraiths that hovered over her, so that they couldn’t take her away from him. Instead, he stood there, helpless, as he watched the only thing he ever really wanted in life slip away from him.
Rick whirled at the sound of a voice, to find a blonde woman in blood-covered scrubs paused just inside the doorway. That was Tamia’s blood on her clothes, his mind registered as his heart clenched, and he felt sick with fear.
“How is she?” He surged across the space toward her.
The woman frowned in concern as she studied his face. “Commander, I think you better have a seat.”
Ice plunged through Rick, and his heart stopped mid-beat. No. Tamia wasn’t dead. She couldn’t be dead, damn it!
“Just tell me,” he begged the woman, his voice a croaking whisper. “Please.”
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