His chest hurt, why did his chest hurt? He felt like his breathing was being constricted, his heart throbbed and ached. What was going on? Maybe it was just a symptom of getting older? He was almost 40 now, but he just passed the yearly physical with flying colors.
Brushing off the dull ache as a fluke, he focused his attention back on his sons'. He laughed and smiled watching as his boys mimicked what Uncle Don was trying to teach them. They had their little ice skates on and miniature hockey sticks in their hands.
Danny felt proud of his boys. They weren't even a year apart but they didn't seem to have a sibling rivalry, yet anyway. Mateo was 5 and Dante was 4. They both loved sports and excelled in everything they had tackled.
Don was the ice hockey coach for a community center mighty mite's team and he knew the Messer boys would love every minute of it. And boy did they.
An hour after practice, Danny and Don sat with the boys at their favorite pizza joint.
Don's phone rang, "Flack." He answered. Don dropped his food as he listened to the caller, he flicked his eyes up at Danny who was making sure his kids where eating everything. Don swallowed the lump in his throat, and inhaled deeply. "Yeah, I got it." He replied hanging up the phone.
Don cleared his throat and spoke, "Uh Dan, we ugh, we have to go," he said as calmly as he could, the information Stella had just told him, still rattling around in his head.
Danny looked up to see his best friend's face white as a ghost. "God Don, who died?" he asked trying to break his mood.
Don just looked at him unfazed.
"Don?" Danny questioned, and then the ache in his heart came back. Lindsay. Digging his phone from his clip on his belt he looked at the screen to see his phone was shut off. FUCK!! He tried turning it on, but the battery was dead. He looked back up to see Don helping the boys get there jackets on silently.
"Will drop them off at your ma's?" Don explained as Danny followed his lead to the car.
Nothing was said between the two of them until 20 minutes later and the boys had been dropped off with Carmilla Messer.
"Who was the phone call from?" Danny asked calmly.
"Stella," Don said.
"Is my wife okay?" Danny asked, but he already knew the answer, his heart had been telling him for the last 2 and half hours that, no she was not okay. But he didn't want his boys to know something was going on so he was silent until they left. He felt the ache in his chest again, only this time tears came to his eyes.
"I don't know," Don honestly said. He knew where he had been told to drive to but he didn't know her condition.
A few hours earlier….
Sophia Hawkes, Sheldon's sister was the chief attending physician of the ER at St. Michael's hospital. She had been on duty when the ambulance pulled up to the bay.
The victim was pulled into trauma, beaten and battered, no id. 36 year old Caucasian female, blunt force trauma, possible sexual assault.
Sophia pulled the curtain back to work on the victim. She knew this woman, but being the professional she was she did what was needed right away. Instruct the other residents as to how to proceed; she took off her gloves as she made her way over to the nurse's station. She picked up the phone on the desk and dialed that familiar number.
"Hey Shel," Sophia said, "Yeah I'm still on duty. I think you better grab Stella and come down here."
This night had gone from bad to worse really quickly.
Danny purposefully strode into the waiting room in the ER wing, glad the doors automatically slide open or he might have knocked the door off the hinges.
Seeing Stella at the nurse's station on the other side of the plexi glass he tried pushing his way through, but was stopped by the security guard. "I don't give a fuck who you are! My Goddamn wife is back there!!" He screamed at the security in front of him, Flack trying his best to calm Danny down.
Flack dug his badge out just as Stella, who heard Danny screaming through the flimsy glass, told him they were cops too.
Danny felt like he was about to go crazy. He knew something bad had happened to Lindsay, he could feel it. He felt like his heart was being ripped in half slowly. But he couldn't get Don to tell him anything. She could be dead, Dear god, no please, but he had no idea cause nobody had told him anything yet.
"Where is my wife Stella?" Danny half pleaded and demanded all at the same time.
Without saying a word, Stella walked him to a curtained bay; she stood aside as he pulled the curtain back and entered.
His heart dropped and tears formed and fell the moment his eyes fell upon her. His Montana, his beautiful strong and brave Montana, lay on the hospital bed bruised and battered. Her once full luscious lips covered in blood and split. Her fiery deep brown eyes purple with one swollen shut. Her cute button nose, broken and bandaged. Her rosy cheeks, black and blue. Her head had a bandage wrapped around it. Her neck, deep purple bruises from fingers being wrapped around it. Her arm in a sling and casted deep bruising evident on her wrists.
Taking a tentative step closer, then another, he knelt down to her lightly kissing her forehead. He took her uninjured, if you could call it that with the knuckles all bruised, and kissed her knuckles.
"Montana, I'm here baby," he whispered softly to her still form. "I love you, Montana."
Danny looked up to see Stella stepping into the room, "What happened?" Danny asked Stella.
Stella just stood there, no snappy comeback, no explanation, nothing.
Danny felt the anger and rage he had been trying to keep at bay, bubble to the surface. As much as he hated it, he set his wife's hand back down and stood nearly toe to toe with Stella. He wanted answers!
"What happened to my wife?" Danny repeated as calmly as he could.
Stella straightened her back and stood as tall as she could, not missing the anger she saw in Danny's eyes. "We really aren't sure, Danny. She was found by some runners in Central Park about 3 hours ago," she paused before she spoke the next part, "Her clothing was torn off her and she has been unconscious sense the EMT got there."
She went jogging in Central Park at least twice a week to help her clear her head. She went mostly in the late afternoon, but in the late evening sometimes too. Today Danny and Don had made a boys day out of things and had been gone most of the day leaving Lindsay with something she wasn't used to. Free time.
He didn't want to ask, but it had to be done, "Stel, was she," his breath caught in his throat, "was my wif" the lumped stopped him from talking this time, "Was she raped Stella?" he finally managed to gasp out. He could feel the tears coming down his face.
"I can answer that," Sophia Hawkes entered the room, followed by Sheldon. "Det. Messer has suffered a sexual trauma. Her forearm has been broken as well as her shoulder being dislocated." Dr. Hawkes said matter of fatly. She was a nice woman underneath the professional exterior but she hadn't quiet learned the personal side of medicine.
Danny heart shattered into a thousand pieces. He looked at his bruised and beaten wife again. His sweet beautiful Montana had been violated. He wanted to kill the bastard, he wanted to castrate them, make them feel the pain and suffering she had felt. How was he gonna tell her?
"We are waiting for the specialist to check on the fetus," Sophia added.