It all had happened so quickly. It's not like she wasn't paying attention to the road. She had one eye on it as her hand searched blindly on the floor near her feet for the directions her mother had given to her twice. She'd been lost for the last twenty minutes and Elizabeth knew her mother must be having a bird because of her tardiness. So when her hand found the piece of paper, her eyes instinctively rolled heavenward to thank whatever god was watching over her. That's when it happened. That damn lamppost on the corner of Mineral and Broadway jumped out in the middle of the street and attacked her harmless little BMW 325.
She hadn't even had time to slam on the breaks. Though the other cars around her screeched to a halt. Not like she had a chance to see any of this, seeing that her eyes squeezed shut the split second before the hood of her car crumbled up like an accordion. Other than that, the last thing she remembered before waking up in the sterile white hospital room was the shards of glass covering the gray material of the passenger seat.
The first thing that went through Elizabeth's throbbing head while staring up at the florescent lighting, was this was all her mother's fault. And if her head wasn't thumping like the drum line in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade she might have been able to put the blame on her mother for every bad and horrible thing that had ever happened to her in the last twenty-four years.
Maybe if her mother would just give up trying to find the 'perfect' man for her, none of this would have happen. But noooo, not her mother. Dear Lord the world would stop spinning if Amanda Webber's youngest daughter didn't find Mr. Perfect before her twenty-fifth birthday. What would all the women at the Club say?
Grumbling under her breath, Elizabeth knew what she wanted to say to the chatterboxes her mother associated with. Screw you and up yours, would work nicely. Followed by a sharp 'get a life'. She could see their over stretched faces now. Trying to look surprised by her vulgar language, but instead looking like a bunch of Chawawas. Tight skin pulled over protruding cheekbones, with bulging eyes from one too many face lifts.
This was the final straw. She was done with her Mother's mad dash to hook her up. From now on Elizabeth didn't care if she became that crazy woman on the corner with all the cats, everyone talked about. It was time to face the horrible truth that there wasn't anyone out there for her. No soulmate, no other half. She was destined to be alone.
"You know you're gonna scare someone with that nasty look." Nearly jumped out of her skin, Elizabeth swung her head toward the corner of the room and nearly fell out of bed in shock.
"Jesus. Don't do that!" Holding a hand to her chest, she took a few deep breaths to calm the rapid beating of her heart. She hadn't noticed the man sitting in the corner of her room. How that was possible, she didn't know. Saying that he was slightly scary looking would've been the understatement of the year. Overweight, middle-aged balding men wearing white diapers were pretty hard to miss. And it would just figure that the nut job had a bow and a bag of arrows by his side. It was one of the most disturbing, if not disgusting sights she'd ever seen. "Who in the hell are you?"
"Who in the hell do I look like?" The man shot back, rolling his eyes deep into his head.
"Like a man who's a few floors short from the psyche unit." Looking around for one of those nifty call buttons that would summon a nurse to her room, Elizabeth kept the man in her sights, just in case he decided to do something stupid. "You do realize how rude it is to just barge into someone's hospital room?"
"I wouldn't even be here if you knew how to drive. Plus this isn't even my jurisdiction. We're understaffed right now with war brewing in sector four. All of the guardian angels are pulling double duty over there." The man looked over at her with irritation. "So I was pulled from my union meeting to come here and keep an eye on you until your fate has been decided."
She had brain damage. It was the only feasible explanation as to why she was talking to Buda belly in Pampers. It was sad really, there were so many things she had wanted to do with her life. She had a list at home with all of the places she wanted to travel to. She'd been fiddling with the idea of teaching an art class to underprivileged kids. Now she'd be lucky if the let her wear her shoes with shoestrings and use finger paints at arts and craft time.
"You're not insane."
"That's debatable." Looking out the door to the hallway, Elizabeth prayed someone would pass by, and soon. "Listen not to be rude, but I'm really not in the mood for company. So thanks for stopping by..."
The man snorted and leaned back further in his chair. "I can't go anywhere. At least not till I get my orders."
"Well that's swell. Do you get signals from the Mother Ship?" Why her?
"Has anyone ever told you what a smartass you are? Besides aren't you going to ask who I am?" She could tell he was staring to get a real kick out of this.
"For all I care you're the Michellen Tire man." What kind of crappy hospital was she in anyways? Letting people who were clearly unhinged, wander into patients rooms while they slept. And how long had she been awake now? Not one nurse had come to check in on her.
"No wonder you're still single." Grunting under his breath, loud enough for her to hear, he leaned forward and produced a file folder out of no where. "I'm a Cupid sweetheart. Your guardian angel is overseeing a group of boys in Special Ops. So lucky me gets sent here to keep you company."
"Riiiight. Guardian angels, Cupid? If I haven't gone over the bend then I definitely have some frontal lobe issues." A group of nurses pass by her door. Talking and laughing with one another. It really frosted her hide that they didn't even bother to check in on her.
"Ah hello? Hey patient awake in here!" Cursing under her breath, Elizabeth crosses her arms under her breast and growled in frustration. "This is the crappiest hospital I have ever been in." Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she didn't really care if the back of her hospital Johnnie was flapping behind her or not. The man was wearing a freaking diaper for Christ sake. She sure as hell wasn't going to just sit waiting until someone remembered she was in there.
"HMO's have killed the medical field. But that's just my opinion. St. Peter thinks they're the best thing since the slinky. Stupid idiot."
"Hello?" Calling out to the females who were already halfway down the hall, Elizabeth stared in disbelief when not one of them turned around. Looking over to her right, she spotted another woman at the nurse's desk. Hurrying the short distance from her room to the desk, Elizabeth could hear the echoing of her bare feet slapping against the waxed linoleum. "Excuse me?"
The redhead didn't even look up. Instead she reached for her diet coke. "What in the hell?"
"They can't see you. Come on you're smarter than this. Most people catch on by now. You've got to be one of the most stubborn humans's I have met in the longest time. Ya know that?"
Looking over to the doorway of her room, 'Cupid' was leaning against the doorjamb. Casting him an indignant glare, Elizabeth chin gutted up. "I'm not stubborn. I just happen to have a firm grip on reality. Just because you're dressed up in a diaper and call yourself cupid doesn't mean I'm going to play along with you're little psychotic game."
Snorting, he shook his head at her. "I know you grasp what's going on. You're a smart girl. Christ, Hollywood has made a bundle off it this. Humans having outer body experiences after surviving near death accidents."
"I'm not going to have this conversation with you." Panic started to choke off her air supply. If she wouldn't look like a three-year-old throwing a tantrum, she would've placed her hands over her ears and walked away humming. It was easy to write off the crazy man following her. But when people were ignoring her existence. Well she didn't need an anvil dropped on her head.
"Fine, have it your way. But there's no telling how long you're gonna be like this. There's a reason why you haven't opened those baby blues. The sooner you except this, the sooner we can get your task done so you can go back to your body, wake up and unleash that sharp tongue on the world again."
"You're disturbed." Narrowing her eyes at the humored man, Elizabeth gave on last ditch effort by waiving her hand in front of the woman's face.
"And you're a pain in my ass." Elizabeth countered back.
"And you wonder why you're not with somebody. I'm getting frostbite and I'm standing twenty feet away." Scratching at the stubble on his chin, Cupid turned his back on her and reentered her room.
Every muscle in Elizabeth's body tightened, as her head snapped around to where Cupid was strolling back into her room. "Excuse me?" Pushing away from the nurse's station, her gown flapping behind her, she made it back to her room in five steps. "Did you just call me frigid?"
"Technically Sam was the first one to call you that...when you were thirteen." Chuckling to himself, as though he were remembering a good joke, Cupid sat back down in the chair. "Man wasn't he pissed. All summer long he was forced to follow you around Ridgecrest, summer camp for the rich and spoiled. No matter what he did, how many arrows he used, he couldn't crack through the wall you had already formed around your heart."
A chill went up Elizabeth's spine. "How did you know that my parents sent me to Ridgecrest when I was thirteen?"
Cupid shrugged his shoulders with little interest. "Same way I know they sent you there until you were sixteen and you got kicked out for drinking." Reaching for the creme colored file, he held it up. "It's all recorded in here."
"Who are you? Is someone paying you to spy on me? Cause I'm telling you now, I don't have money. Everything is tied up in a trust fund until I turn thirty. And my parents? They're so anal about their money I swear they could #$ diamonds."
"Nice language." Tisking at her, Cupid saw the angry look on his charge's face. "Hey don't look at me like that. We had to pull straws to see who had to come here. Do you think I was jumping up and down with joy? You're known as being the biggest pain in the you know what."
"Gee, I'm hurt."
Running a hand over his face, Cupid sat forward. "Tell me this and I'll leave you alone until you're returned back to your body."
His words threw her off. What did he mean return to her body? Quickly looking over at the hospital bed she'd just left, Elizabeth felt the world stop spinning. How was it possible for her to be standing just inside the door, but she was also lying in the bed? Tubes a wild mass of confusion crisscrossed every which direction. Monitors beeped, while green lines went up and down.
"What do you have against love?" The man's voice echoed through her head as she reached out blindly for something to support her. This couldn't be happening. It wasn't real, was it?
"Nope. And that doesn't answer the question."
Her face drained of color as she turned to look over at the stranger. "Question?"
"What do you have against love?" He repeated slowly.
"I..." Looking over at the body lying in the bed, she looked back over at the man. "Nothing. Love is swell." She answered, clearly distracted. Inching her way over to the side of the bed, Elizabeth stopped just feet from her target.
"If it's 'swell' then why won't you allow yourself to take the leap?"
Reaching out hesitantly, Elizabeth held her breath. Her heart was lodged up in her throat, making it impossible to breathe.
"I mean you haven't even experienced puppy love. There's been enough men thrown your way. You're not going to try and touch yourself are you?"
Snatching her hand away, Elizabeth quickly stepped away from the bed. "Why?"
"It's just corny. You know as well as I do that your hand will go right through your body. So why do it?"
Bringing her hands up to her forehead, Elizabeth fought to control the panic that was quickly rising inside of her. She hated not being in control. Almost as much as she hated surprises. So far she was getting both at the same time and there wasn't a thing she could do about it.
"So how's my favorite patient?" A deep voice asked quietly from the doorway. Elizabeth let her hand fall to her side as she watched a man in green scrubs walk slowly to her bedside and gaze down at her. He had a chart in his large hands, he didn't even take the time to look at. "You know, you could wake up any day now. I'm dying to see those blue eyes of yours filled with life."
Elizabeth felt her face burn as the doctor brought his hand to her face and outline her cheekbone with his finger. He looked ready to touch her hair before he jerked back. Shame and embarrassment shinned in his eyes as he flipped open her chart.
"His name is Jason Morgan." Cupid smirked over in her direction. "He's been your doctor for the last week."
"He's sick in the head." Finally finding the ability to think straight, Elizabeth crossed her arms across her chest. "Touching unconscious women while they sleep. It's gross."
"Huh. I thought it was rather romantic. But what do I know?" Lifting a brow, Cupid left the question hang between them.
"Well Elizabeth," The doctor's eyes scanned the pages and he let out a long breath. "There's no reason why you aren't awake yet. Your vitals are strong. No brain damage. So tell me what the secret word is to get you to come back to the living."
"Oh come on." Throwing her hands in the air, Elizabeth began to pace back and forth. "The man is fruitier than my Grams Christmas Fruitcake. No wonder I'm still out of it."
"Hey Dr. Morgan is a great doctor." Cupid defended the man who was still staring down at his patient. "He's filled with compassion, loyalty and integrity. He's one of the best on staff. Plus he isn't hard on the eyes."
"I could care less if he was on the cover of GQ." Elizabeth grumbled. "Besides, he's taking to thin air."
"He's talking to you." Growled back. "Dear lord how did someone so young become so jaded."
"Product of my environment."
"Bullshit. You're just being stubborn and you know it. Someone shows you a sign of real emotion and you label them a freak before you even get a chance to know them." She was surprised to see that she actually struck a nerve with the man. So far she wondered when one of her barbs would hit a sore spot.
"I can't get to know him. I'm out of it. I can't move. I can't talk." Feeling the need to defend herself, Elizabeth pointed to her motionless body.
"I could only be so lucky." His words earned him a sharp look. "Fine. Ya know what. You're impossible. I'm gonna go to the nursery. I have this overwhelming desire to bask myself in the presence of innocence."
Keeping her eyes on the man at her bedside, Elizabeth pouted as she took the chair Cupid had just vacated. She was sticking to her guns. The man had a few screws loose. But she would be a liar to say she wasn't slightly attracted to the young doctor.