Thank you so much for reading. I know that this is a very short first chapter but the next one will be much longer. Please let me know what you think. I'd very much like to get everyone's input. Haven't been at this for very long and am not very secure about my abilities. Please review if you're so inclined.

Disclaimer: Don't own anything but a decrepit computer machine named Lyle

Wallet - Chapter One - Waiting

Lisbon gazed at the clear plastic bag given her by one of the ER nurses, a large black woman with warm, brown eyes that looked at her sympathetically as she handed her the bag with the block lettering on it that read 'PATIENT'S BELONGINGS.

It seemed so large to contain such a small number of items. None of his clothing was in it, but she knew that whatever he was wearing had probably been ruined by the blood and what hadn't been soaked through had probably been cut to ribbons by the quick and efficient emergency personnel as they'd sought access to their patient.

She held it up before tired, bloodshot eyes and examined it. There wasn't much there: a battered black leather wallet, a set of three keys on an inexpensive, chrome key-ring, and a cell phone. She shook the bag to shift its contents and there was the thin, gold band. Her chest constricted once again and she let the bag dangle at her side as she looked toward the entrance to the trauma room.

She'd not heard anything about his condition since, over two hours ago, the gurney with his limp body, IV bags, tubing and assorted medical gear had disappeared thru the doors marked 'DO NOT ENTER'.

Unfortunately, she'd gotten used to waiting: in line at the supermarket, the post office, the DMV, the coffee shop . . . yeah, she was used to waiting. She wished she wasn't so practiced at this quiet patience but it served her well. It was serving her now in this shabby fluorescently lit waiting room with the uncomfortable plastic chairs and the worn vinyl flooring.

She'd waited alone when her father had taken a header off the front porch during one of his benders and had been carted away in a ambulance. She'd waited alone when they were stitching up her brother after his latest beating for mouthing off during one of her father's drunken rages. She'd waited alone at the funeral home when, at sixteen, she'd been responsible for making arrangements after her father had finally ended his own misery.

This time, waiting alone was, possibly, even harder. It shouldn't have happened but, then again, things like this should never happen to someone you cared about; someone who's an essential part of your life, someone you could never replace. No one is immune from caring about someone they shouldn't. No one is immune from loss and heartbreak but, she already knew that.

She waited.