Prisoners of Love by Samina_Blink

Chapter 26

A SWAT officer discovered Evangeline lying bloody and broken in the yard behind the house. John’s heart was in his mouth as he knelt beside her, joyful and terrified to see his beloved. Her skin was gray and her face was frozen in a grimace of sorrow. She wasn’t moving and her body looked as if it was drowning in a rusty old barn coat. All of the light and the fight had gone out of her – she was little more than a dark patch melting into the earth. If she wasn’t dead, she was close. John was relieved to feel a trace of warmth on her cheek but the blood on her thighs horrified him. "Help! God help her! Help!" he bawled. "Evangeline, don’t leave me! Please, please don’t leave me!"

Dr. Michael McBain was grateful he’d decided to ride along with the EMTs. He gently shoved his brother aside and said, "John, let us do our job. We’re going to do everything we can to save Evangeline."

The EMTs carefully bundled Evangeline onto a stretcher and lifted her into the van. Michael could feel her pulse, quick and faint as a bird’s. "She’s shocky – by the blood loss, it appears to be hypovolaemic," he called as he checked her vitals. He turned to see his brother climbing in behind him. "Michael," John said in an urgent murmur, "she’s pregnant. About three months."

Michael’s heart sank. From what he could see, it looked as if she’d lost the baby and was bleeding internally. It would be all they could do to keep her hanging on long enough to get to the nearest hospital. "John, you ride with Bo. We don’t have the room for a ride along."

"No way – I’m not leaving her," John said, gripping Evangeline’s feet through the blanket.

Michael knew his brother shouldn’t see what they might find when they opened the ragged jacket covering Evangeline. John shouldn’t see the frightening and brutal things he would have to do to keep her alive. Michael laid a gentle hand on his brother’s. "Johnny, we don’t have time to fight. Trust me – look at me – trust me on this one and get out of here."

John glanced at Evangeline’s face, grey against the blue thermal blankets and felt his soul ripping open. "Michael, I…" John began, his feeling swallowed up in a sob.

Michael had never seen his big brother so naked and helpless. "I know Johnny. I’ll take good care of her."

* * * * * *

They didn’t have time to take her all the way back to Llanview. Lacking privileges at County, Michael had to hand Evangeline’s care over to the staff. On the way they’d given her a blood transfusion and raised her blood pressure, but she was barely holding on. She was giving up – and that didn’t seem like the Evangeline Michael knew.

John and Bo arrived a couple of minutes after the EMT van. As soon as Michael stepped away from the huddle over Evangeline’s stretcher, John pounced on him.

"Mikey, tell me!"

"John, it doesn’t look good. We did what we could to fight the shock, but it’s like she’s giving up. The baby…John, the baby’s gone." Michael saw a light dying in his brother’s eyes. He continued, "She’s been through so much. Do you think maybe she saw the explosion? Maybe she thinks you were in there."

A sickening realization came upon John. Did she know she’d lost the baby? What if she thought he’d died in the explosion? Did she love him so much she didn’t want to live without him? What had he done?

"Michael, I’ve got to see her. Please."

Michael took John by the arm and whispered briefly in the ear of the attending physician. "Just a few seconds John -- they’ve got to get her ready for surgery."

In addition to the miscarriage, Evangeline had a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs, a broken wrist and lacerations on her chin, arms and legs. The doctors were most concerned about the spleen – if they didn’t repair it quickly, she would die.

John bent next to the stretcher, bringing his mouth close to her ear. "It’s me darling. Evangeline, it’s John. I’m all right – I’m here. I’m here with you, but I can’t lose you. Please come back."

He felt Michael’s hand on his shoulder and then he watched as five masked strangers wheeled her away.

Bo had phoned ahead and about twenty minutes later Nora and Lisa arrived. John saw them burst into the waiting room, Nora’s pale, stricken face and beautiful Lisa, so like Evangeline, only on fire with fear and love for her child. He saw them as if through water – he knew they were speaking, asking him things, pulling at his sleeves, but he couldn’t fix his mind on what their words meant, what they were all doing here. The only part of him that mattered was three floors up in an operating theater.