Hurry Up part 4
Josh walked past the armed guard outside the hospital room with two cups of coffee. As the door opened, Sam quickly turned to see who entered. Josh gave a look of apology and handed one of the cups to his friend. Looking over at the other occupied chair, "She should go home and get some rest." Josh said referring to the sleeping form of Donna.
Sam nodded, "We all should." The truth was none of them wanted to leave CJ's side. She was motionless on her hospital bed. The nurses had done all they could to position her comfortably, but with the back injuries and the dislocated shoulder, there was no comfortable. After some drugs she had finally fallen asleep on her left side, supported by a mass of pillows.
No one had dared to sit in Josh's chair in his short absence. He walked around the bed and sat so that he was face to face with CJ. He wanted to be the first thing she saw when she woke up. He studied her features. She was as white as the pillow case her head was resting on, and her brow was creased with the pain she was feeling despite the drugs she was given. Bruises were easily seen, angry black and purple marks leapt out at him in contrast to her pale skin. He grabbed her hand and saw the finger shaped bruises around her writs and forearm. He was reminded of how quickly the night turned from subtle flirting to the most painful situation he had ever experienced. His mind replayed the look of agony as she was struck repeatedly. He could clearly see the welts split open with each blow—
His thoughts were interrupted as the door to the secured room opened. Everyone stood as the President and his wife entered. "Please, everyone, as you were." He addressed them, but before he was done speaking his attention was directed to his press secretary. Abbey was instantly at the foot of the bed looking over her chart. Josh moved away from the chair with great hesitation, allowing Bartlett to sit. The President took her hand in his and placed and the other on the top of her head. "I'm sorry." He spoke softly to not disturb her, but CJ seemed to sense that the President was speaking to her as she began to stir. Her eyes slowly opened and Josh stepped closer to make sure he was in her line of sight. Her eyes were the only thing to move as she held Josh's concerned gaze and then focused on the person in front of her. Jed smiled, "Hey, I wanted to let you know that for the first time in history the Press Core is quietly listening to everything they are told."
CJ smiled, she couldn't imagine what it would be like to tell the Press Core something and not have them shoot back with ten more questions. "Too bad I had to ruin an Armani to accomplish that." Her voice was barely a whisper, as if she was testing it out.
"Well I would have put that dress on and paraded in front of all of them if it would have spared you from this." Jed responded.
This caused her to laugh quietly, "I think that might have had the opposite affect on the Press Core sir." Her laughing stopped suddenly and her grip on the President's hand tightened. He was forced to watch as her face contorted with pain.
"I know it's a painful mental image, but I didn't realize it was that bad. I'd shave my legs." He continued talking in hushed tones, rubbing his thumb back and forth on her hand, trying to comfort her.
Abbey spoke up, "Muscle spasm," she told everyone. "They'll happen with injuries of this nature. Unfortunately, the tighter the muscles get the more tense she'll get. It's an exponential cycle." She walked around the bed, opposite her husband, and began gently rubbing CJ's neck, which was free from injury. "Shh, CJ. You need to relax. Don't think about the pain. Focus on where I'm touching. Relax those muscles."
Josh felt helpless. Donna and Sam watched with the same sense of impotence. They all wished Toby were there. He was an action man, and would have had at least an idea of something they could do, even if it didn't work, they'd be doing something. As it was, Toby had been in California. They needed to start thinking strategy for re-election. He was boarding the plane to come home as they spoke.
Slowly, CJ began to relax. She opened her tear filled eyes, and quietly thanked Jed and Abbey. Abbey moved around to her husband's side and put her hand on his shoulder. "CJ, Donovan is still concerned about your safety. As soon as you are released from here, you're going to come to the Residence. Abbey will be staying with you as long as you need her."
CJ began to protest, but Abbey spoke up, "It's either that or you stay in the hospital in a secured area."
Conceding CJ nodded her head, and her eyes began to drift shut. She merely had the energy to ask, "When?" But she was asleep before Abbey could answer.
Despite the prominence of the visitors, after several hours the President left and the remaining staff was told they should leave also. Josh refused, which was no surprised to the nurses. They brought a cot in for him, but they still found him asleep in his chair, with his head on CJ's bed, and her hand in his. Amanda Johnson had been a nurse for twenty years, and had seen her share of senseless injuries. Still she dreaded her next task. Trying her best to not wake CJ, it would be best for her, Amanda set the basin of warm water and gauze on the bed stand. As she lifted the blanket CJ flinched. "CJ, sorry, it's Amanda, I'm sorry but I need to change your bandages again." CJ nodded, but Amanda could only see the back of her head. "We also need to reposition you soon. We don't want you to get bed sores."
At the thought of movement CJ tensed and whimpered in pain. This was enough to wake Josh. "CJ? What's wrong?" He waited for a response but wasn't expecting to hear the answer come from the other side of the bed.
"I was telling her it's time to change her bandages and then I need to reposition her." The nurse explained. At the last comment CJ's grip on his hand tightened considerably.
"It'll be ok CJ, we'll get through it." He continued to talk to her as the nurse removed her bandages and her back was exposed to the cool air.
"It hurts Josh." She moaned and squeezed her eyes shut.
"I know, look at me." No response. "Hey, CJ, look at me," he pleaded. When she did as she was asked, the pain in her eyes was almost too much for him to bear. His own eyes filled with tears.
She was touched by his display of emotion. "Ok... you got my attention... now what?"
"Nothing, I just can't stand that nobody in the room was paying attention to me."
"Well, you can have the nurse's attention... I'd rather not have it right now."
Amanda smiled as she applied the antibiotic ointment gently. "Well CJ, a lot of the younger nurses have been trying to get his attention, but it already belongs to someone else. They've tried everything short of cartwheels."
CJ smiled at that, "I can do a mean cartwheel, good to know I have that going for me."
"I've seen your athletic ability, so let's hope it doesn't come to that. If you break a window here there are no interns to fix it, and considering the activity, it would be more than a basketball that goes through the window." Josh looked over her shoulder and was glad to see that the nurse was almost done, and the idle chatter had distracted CJ.
Amanda spoke up again, "Okay CJ, I'm going to move you into a semi prone position. It'll just change the pressure points, but there isn't a drastic shift required." CJ tensed again. "Once I remove the pillows, I'll have Josh support you." As the process began she continued to explain what she was doing and what she was going to do. It was a painful process, but she wanted to make sure there were no surprises. Josh talked to her through it as well, and it was all over quickly. "There, it's over. How's your overall pain?"
CJ was breathing hard as if she just worked out. "Can I just have something to help me sleep?" Nurse Johnson nodded and promised she would be right back, leaving Josh and CJ alone.
CJ realized that this was the first time they were alone and she was awake since he had grabbed her from behind at the dinner. All of the emotions she had felt came flooding back and she began to cry.
Josh, understanding PTSD all too well, recognized what was going one. He started rubbing her neck like he had seen Mrs. Barlett do. "Shh, it's over. Let it out. You're safe now." He leaned in and kissed her forehead.
"I love you." She choked out.
He knew she did, but hearing her say the words out loud created a tingle he had never experienced before. He kissed her on the lips, and whispered, "I love you too." Once he spoke the words he knew that there was nothing more important to him than her. Their relationship was one that was meant to last. There was no hurry.
This could be the end, or I can continue with CJ's recovery. It's up to you all. Tell me what you want to see happen.