Khali’s features jerked as the man’s hand slammed against the toughened glass. Expletives spewed forth, as his contorted face turned redder and redder. She had already called security, but there were only two guards on duty and they were yet to appear.
The faces on the other side of the glass were taut. They seemed afraid to watch, yet drawn against their will. One woman’s eyes darted to and fro as she cradled her son, begging him silently to be quiet lest his crying attract unwanted attention. Khali hoped security would arrive soon.
“We’re ready for Liam Croydon now. Do you think I should risk calling him or not?”
Khali turned to John, still amazed that such a giant of a man could be so gentle and patient. His way with kids was uncanny. Even the most distraught youngsters warmed to him, drying their tears of hysteria and being brave for Nurse John.
He reminds me of Nathan.
She shook her head slightly.
“That’s him over there, and I know his mother would love to have him on this side of the glass, but we might need to wait until security arrives.” She glanced again at the agitated man now pacing back and forth in front of her counter. Every so often he would stare at her and then lunge forward. It never failed to make her flinch; even though she knew it was coming.
She looked past him to Liam’s mother. Liam’s crying had intensified and she was patting and rocking him gently, but her eyes gave away the fear that little Liam was probably picking up on. The poor woman looked like she’d happily run from the emergency department right now, but clearly, her concern for Liam was keeping her here. According to the information that she’d been given, Liam was only one year old, and he’d fallen onto concrete and put his teeth right through his lip. No wonder he was crying.
“I think we should try.”
Khali’s eyes grew wide at John’s pronouncement.
“I’ll see if I can get Scott to come out. Between us we should be alright. I can’t let him bring the place to a halt while we wait for security.”
As she watched John’s broad frame striding back into the emergency department, her mind drifted.
“Khali, you be the patient this time. I’m the doctor.”
“No. I don’t want to be the patient. I want to be the nurse. Let Eddie be the patient.”
“Alright. Eddie, you need a check up. Come here.”
Obediently, Eddie toddled over, and pulled his t-shirt up, revealing his chubby baby tummy. Nathan put the stethoscope on Eddie’s tummy, pretending to hear his heartbeat.
“You have the chicken pox. Give me the medicine nurse.”
Khali handed him the invisible bottle. Eddie opened his mouth as Nathan pretended to spoon in the medicine.
“Good boy. You’re all better now.”
Eddie smiled, and Khali remembered feeling good.
“I’m going to be a nurse when I grow up.”
“Yeah? I’m going to drive an ambulance.”
Khali started as John’s hand clasped her shoulder. The man outside the glass was still ranting and raving.
“See if you can get her attention and wave her over to the side door. Scott and I will be waiting there to make sure she’s safe and he stays out.”
Khali nodded at John and held her breath as she waited for Liam’s mother’s gaze to fall beyond the glass. Her mind drifted again to the past.
“I’m sorry Khali, but there’s been an accident”
Khali searched her father’s face for more information.
“You heard about the riots near the beach? Nathan insisted on going to help. The rioters didn’t care that he was helping the wounded; they just saw that he had a uniform and went for him. He was killed.”
Khali heard her own cry. John was watching her with a question in his eyes.
“Sorry.” She mouthed.
Nathan lost his life helping others. This guy is scaring me, but I’m not risking my life. I’ve always stuck to what I said as a kid, just like Nate did. Just because I didn’t understand what it really involved doesn’t mean I was wrong. Nate would want me to be strong, I need to get Liam’s mother’s attention. He needs help.
Khali focused on the task at hand, motioning silently for Liam’s mother to gather her things and head for the side door to the emergency department.
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