Runaway Love part V (final)
“Saige!” my sister rushed towards me. If her voice was not an indication of her worry, her face was. “Are you ok? What happened?”
Not knowing who else to call, I called Anise when I got to the ER. I still couldn’t find my phone and her number was one of the few I knew by heart. EMT, the fire department, and the police all pulled up to the Hampton Inn within seconds of each other. When they found out it was a cop that had been shot, everything became frantic. They got Deck in the ambulance, and I climbed in with him, begging, pleading with him to hang on. I wasn’t sure if the other officers blamed me for Deck getting shot, but I wasn’t going to sit by them. So, I called Anise to come be with me. I was sure I scared her half to death when I told her Deck was at the ER.
At the ER, I was questioned by three different officers. I was tired of repeating my story, but I had to. I needed them to find Tay.
“Deck,” I sniffed. “Tay shot him!”
“Deck? Shot? How? Why? By who?” Anise asked me too many questions and I couldn’t focus on answering them all.
“We had just come back from his parent’s house. We were at the Hampton, going to my room when Tay just appeared out of nowhere. I don’t even know how he found me. Tay just showed up and just shot, well, I guess he was shooting at me, but Deck…I think he jumped in front of me.”
Repeating it for the fourth time didn’t make it less emotional. It was still surreal. For one, Tay showed up intending to kill me, and two, that Deck jumped in front of me. I was in shock by his actions. If anything, telling it so many times was pushing the knife in my heart deeper and deeper.
“Who is Tay?”
“I met him in Tennessee. Things were great for about five months, then he just flipped out because I didn’t want to be with him.” Before Anise could begin her speech about how this was my fault, I added, “I don’t need your judgment today.”
“No judgment here, sis. I just need Deck to be ok.” Anise grabbed my hand, and I was relieved she was here with me. I was worried to death about Deck and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he didn’t make it. Because the only reason he was here was because of me. The guilt was eating me alive.
“Hey Saige,” one of the detectives I talked to earlier approached me. He looked down at me, his arms folded. He looked annoyed like he wanted to berate me for doing this Deck. “Just wanted to let you know we got the guy.”
“Thank God,” I exhaled. “Did you talk to him? Did you ask him how he found me?”
“He tracked you using your cell phone. Got a general area then I guess he just rode around until he found you.”
“My cell phone? But how? I don’t even know where my phone is!”
“He knows someone who knows someone is what we figured,” the detective answered.
I sat back, dumbfounded. It was then I realized I must have left my phone in my hotel room and that’s why I couldn’t find it and how he was able to track me to the Hampton Inn. Tay went through a lot of trouble to find me, all because I didn’t need him to save me. It was scary that he went to this extreme because I rejected him.
“Thanks for letting us know,” my sister answered since I was lost in my thoughts.
“No problem.” The detective turned to leave but faced us again before walking off. “And just to let you know, we don’t blame you. Officer Bates is a good cop and even better man. We’re just worried, that’s all.”
Whether he meant it or not, I didn’t care. I was just relieved he said it. “Thank you. It means a lot to hear you say that.”
Before the detective could join the rest of the Americus police department officers, a woman walked quickly to where we were sitting. “Dennae,” the detective greeted. “You got in touch with your parents yet?”
“Yeah, they are on their way from Florida,” the woman answered. Her eyes fell on me, and I recognized her as Deck’s sister. She was in the grade below me, but I knew of her. We didn’t hang out or talk much back in high school, though. There was no bad blood or anything, we just didn’t run in the same circles. “Are you Saige?”
I nodded and her eyes go small. “You can go. We don’t need you here.”
“Hold on now,” Anise began. “My sister-“
“Is the reason he’s here,” Dennae spat angrily. “She brought her relationship drama here and got my brother involved. And I want you to leave. Now.”
“You can’t make her leave. You don’t have rights over the ER waiting room,” Anise retorted.
“Isn’t it bad enough she almost got him killed? Why would you want to stay here?” Dennae cried. “He’s not going to want to see you when he’s out of surgery. So just go.”
“Let me tell you something,” my sister argued standing up. But I grabbed her arm, pulling her back down.
“No, Anise it’s fine. I’ll go.” Dennae just said how I felt out loud. I blamed me. I put him in harm’s way, not intentionally, but nevertheless, Deck was shot because in my running, in my avoidance, I met someone who didn’t understand what no meant. I put Deck in harm’s way because I never dealt with who and what hurt me. I never imagined Deck would be the one who suffered because of my actions.
Dennae looked pleased I agreed to go, but before I could stand up, a doctor emerged from the double doors and into the waiting room.
All of the officers stood and Dennae had to be steadied by the detective. I reached for Anise who grabbed my hand and held it tight.
“Surgery went well, and Officer Bates is recovering in ICU.”
Everyone in the room gave a collected cheer of relief, except me. I was relieved but my relief came out as tears. I couldn’t celebrate knowing I was the one that put him in a position to fight for his life.
“Who is Saige?” the doctor asked, his eyes jumping between Dennae and me.
I didn’t trust myself to answer, so I just raised my hand.
“Before he went into surgery he wanted me to tell you it was ok. It’s not your fault.”
More tears fell from my eyes and Anise rubbed my back. Had he not made it, he wanted to make sure I knew he didn’t blame me. But even knowing that, I still felt so incredibly guilty.
“Can we see him? Well, can I see him?” Dennae asked, quickly removing the plural so I didn’t get any ideas. “He’s my brother.”
“Not right now,” the doctor replied. “In a little while, I’ll come get you and take you back.”
Knowing Deck was ok was enough for me. I asked Anise to take me to her house, even though she objected and wanted me to stay to go see him, I told her I couldn’t sit in there any longer. Nor was I wanted. She finally conceded and I went to the room to check out. Sure enough, my cell phone was sitting on the nightstand, almost dead. Back at my sister’s house, I laid on her sofa. She joined me and after my third one-word answer, she stopped talking. At least for a little while.
“Saige, it’s not your fault. It was a crazy asshole who shot him, not you,” Anise reasoned.
I shook my head. “It is my fault. Had I not run, I never would have met Tay. Then Tay wouldn’t have gone through this trouble to find me. You were right. I should have dealt with my shit before now.”