Hector Williams was dead.
Sara could hardly believe what she was hearing. "It was a mission," Molly told her, "so I don't know much about the details, but Charlie was hurt badly. He's all right, but he's going to be hospitalized when he comes home."
She couldn't absorb what she was hearing. She sat down and just stared at Molly.
"When?" Sara said when she was finally able to get sound to come out of her mouth.
"I don't know, sweetheart. We'll just have to wait and see. I promise to let you know if I hear anything."
"Okay," she said as she walked into the closet in Molly's living room. It would have been funny if she hadn't been so lost in grief and worry.
Molly took her arm and led her to the couch. "You're in no shape to drive anywhere. Just stay here for a while until you feel more like heading home. I think you may be in shock."
After more than an hour of watching Sara struggle with her grief, Molly offered her a glass of water. "How are you feeling?"
Sara drank from the glass, but didn't answer.
Molly lifted Sara's feet and scooted her down on the couch. Then she covered her with a blanket.
"Just stay here for tonight. Maybe we'll hear something by morning."
Sara's expression remained blank.
"Charlie told me that you didn't talk for a while after you lost your baby, but you don't have that luxury this time. Charlie is going to need your strength."
Sara heard what Molly was saying, but she needed some time to get control of her emotions. Tomorrow would be soon enough to start thinking about what was going to come next.
She laid her head down on one of the couch pillows and closed her eyes. She had to try and get some sleep. Molly was right about Blue needing her strength.
At one o'clock in the morning, Molly shook Sara's shoulder gently. "Colonel Ryan just called. Charlie will arrive here by medevac in a couple of hours. Get ready and I'll drive you to the hospital.
By the time Sara freshened up, Molly was ready to go. They arrived at the hospital in time to meet Colonel Ryan, and he entered the emergency room with them.
"What can you tell us, Colonel?" Molly asked.
"Charlie should be arriving any minute. He has two bullet wounds that are serious, but the reports I'm getting tell me that Hector was instrumental in saving Charlie's life before he was killed."
Sara swiped at the tears that had started running down her cheeks. She was going to have to summon more strength if she was going to help Blue. How devastated would he be after losing Hector?
Just then the helipad doors opened and a gurney was pushed in by several doctors and nurses. Sara wanted to see Blue for herself, so she followed the path of the gurney until it turned into a treatment room. She caught a glimpse of his ashen face, and she could see tubes extending from his arms and his side. Then the doors closed and she couldn't see anything else, but she felt better just knowing he was nearby and was getting help.
"Ladies, I'll check in with you to find out how Charlie is doing. I need to follow up on the return of Hector's body along with the rest of the team. Keep your cell phones on."
With that, the Colonel left and Sara and Molly took seats in the waiting room. After two hours, a doctor came out to update them.
"Are you Sara Franklin?" the doctor asked.
"Yes, doctor. How is Blue… I mean Charlie?"
"Sergeant Grey wanted me to fill you in. He has two very serious bullet wounds. He's extremely lucky to be alive. An excellent medic tended his wounds and that's what saved his life. There's a lot of pain, but we can get that under control now that he's here. I believe he's out of danger. We'll be moving him into a room on the third floor in about twenty minutes."
"Thank you so much, doctor. Is it all right if I meet him upstairs?" Sara asked.
The doctor had an odd look on his face. "I don't know quite how to say this, but he has asked that you leave the hospital and not return."
"I don't understand," said Sara.
"I'm sorry if it isn't what you were hoping to hear." With the message relayed, the doctor turned and walked away leaving Sara standing dumbfounded in the waiting room.
"Well I'm sure Blue's just worried about me being here in a hospital, that it would bring back bad memories of the last time we were in a hospital together… after Jung-Su. I'm sure he's just trying to spare me any pain," Sara said.
Molly wasn't so sure, but she nodded just to keep from upsetting Sara further.
"I am going to meet him upstairs," Sara said.
"You know, it might be better if you saw him in the morning. Let him get settled into his room and let him get some rest." Molly tried to urge her toward the door, but Sara wouldn't budge.
"No, I'll let him rest as much as necessary, but I have to see that he's all right. I won't be a bother, but I can't leave."
Molly was concerned but heard the determination in Sara's voice. "All right, let's go upstairs and find out which room Charlie will be in."
By the time they got upstairs, Blue's room was already being prepared. Sara was relieved it wasn't an intensive care ward, but there were still a lot of monitors and equipment waiting for the next patient.
Then she saw nurses wheeling Blue off the elevator.
She smiled at him as he passed and tried to take his hand, but he pulled it away and croaked, "Leave."
Stunned she said, "But Blue…"
Before she could finish, he again said, "Please leave." He winced and his voice was filled with pain. When she tried to follow him into his room, a nurse intercepted her.
"I'm sorry, but he has asked that you not be admitted into his room."
"I don't know, Mam, but you will have to leave now." The nurse was insistent.
"Come on, honey," Molly said. "Let's go. Maybe he'll feel more like seeing you tomorrow." She led Sara to the elevator and got her on right before Sara broke down completely."
"Molly, what's going on?" she cried. "Why won't he see me?"
"He's lost someone very important to him and he's hurt and vulnerable. You're going to have to give him some space and understanding while he learns to cope with what's happened." They reached the lobby and the elevator door opened. "Come on, I'll take you to my place and you can stay with us for a few days."
"All right." Sara was in a daze as Molly put her arm around her and led her to the car.
When they got back to the house, Molly gave Sara a mild sedative and put her to bed in Betsy's room. She hadn't heard from Jonas yet, and that worried her especially since one of his team had been killed. Hector had been almost like a son to them and she already missed him, but right now, all of her energy was focused on Sara and what she might have to do to help her in the next few days. Charlie's attitude bothered Molly almost as much as it bothered Sara. Sara and Charlie had been inseparable over the last few months. They seemed so much in love, but a tragedy like this one could change a man. When Molly's head finally hit the pillow, she worried about how this blow might affect their relationship.
When Molly woke up in the morning, Sara was gone.