Chapter 25

Mary looked at Jake sitting on the couch holding Bron with tears running down his face.  A.J. was holding the t-shirt he had been wearing to the back of her head.  Mary glanced to the back of the bus and noticed that Carlos must have read her mind.  He had begun to change Kevin’s sleeping area back into a lounge.  The front lounge was too cramped to hold everyone.  “Mary,” she heard Carlos call her.  Mary turned to Jake, “Jake take Bron in back please.”  Jake stoop up, walked to the back of the bus, and sat back down never letting her go.  Everyone else promptly followed them.

Mary walked over to him, “Jake you have to move.”  Silently Kevin walked over and picked Bron up so Jake could move.  Mary caught a glimpse of his ashened face.  Jake scooted out and Kevin laid her back down gently on the couch.  He then went and sat across from Bron.

A.J.’s hand never left her head.  “Alex roll her over for me,” Mary asked as she kneeled by the couch.  A.J. did as she had requested.  Mary started probing the back of Bron’s head with her fingers.  Everyone heard Mary suck in her breath suddenly.  “Go get my bag Alex,” she uttered, never stopping what she was doing.

“Oh honey, if you’re okay I’m going to kill you when you wake up,” Mary mumbled to Bron.  The bag was dropped by Mary’s knee. 

Mary scanned the room looking for help she desperately needed.  Kevin was useless half in shock; Nick was already sick from the blood.  She could see that Brian was watching over Kevin.  She heard movement next to her glancing up it was Howie.  “Need some help Mare?” he asked her.  “Yes, Thank You,” she responded.

Mary reached in her bag and handed Howie a pair of gloves.  “Put these on,” she told him while she did the same.  Fishing through her bag she came out with a bunch of small plastic bags.  “I want you to just hold the skin together while I sew,” she said as she glanced at him.  Mary saw Nick make a hasty exit up to a bunk.  She glanced to Kevin who was just staring and then Brian who was standing next to Kevin with his hand resting on Kevin’s shoulder.  “Get him out of here,” she said to Brian.

“Come on Kev.”  Mindlessly Kevin stood up and followed Brian to the front of the bus like a helpless child. 

“Alex let me know when an hour has passed,” she spoke without looking at him.  “Can you handle this Howie?” she looked at his soulful eyes.  He retuned an answer with a nod of yes.

Carefully Mary’s skilled hands put 25 stitches to the back of Bron’s head, Bron never woke up.  Mary motioned Jake over, “Put her in a low bunk,” she told him.  Jake did as Mary had requested.

The bus continued to move along the highway but no one seemed to notice.  Nick was in a bunk across from Bron’s to have some privacy.  Kevin and Brian were sitting up front not talking.  Every one else sat silently in the back of the bus.  After some time had passed Mary heard A.J. whisper in her ear, “It’s an hour.”  Mary walked up to Bron’s bunk and started checking on her.

Nick came out of the bunk and looked at Mary.  His eyes were red from crying.  He glanced up front and saw Kevin with his head in his hands and Brian just watching over him.  If anything happens to her he is going to fall apart.  So will I he thought.  They have a shot at something good here, if she makes it.

Mary looked at Nick, “Stay with her for me,” she said.  Mary grabbed A.J. and whispered to him, “Get Kevin back here I need to use my cell and the connection up there.”  A.J. walked up front and pulled Kevin from his seat and directed him to the back lounge.  Brian followed behind them.  Mary motioned A.J. up front with her.

“Go find out from Keith if we are going anywhere near Akron?” she asked him.  A.J. left and came back.  He sat next to her.  “Akron in an hour,” he said.  Mary started flipping through her address book and landed on the S’s and dialed a number.

“This is Dr. Mary Newton, is Dr. Shaw in?” she waited on the phone.  A.J. sat listening to one side of the conversation.  He watched Mary’s intently as she spoke into the phone.

“Hi Jim. How are you?”

“I’m fine.  How are you?”

"The same," was her reply as she watched her the road. 

“Glad to here it. I hear you're taking a long vacation.”

“Yes, I will be off for at least another month.  The girls are there if you need anything.”

This was a stretch, Bron needed to be in a hospital, not a bus, “Jim I need a favor.  I need you to meet me at your office.”

"Is something wrong?" Jim knew Mary wasn't one to make requests like this.

“No, I’m fine, but my friend isn’t and this is really on odd situation.  My friend received a blow to the head.  I had to close a wound with 25 stitches.  Jim she has been out cold for an hour and she is still out.”  Mary looked at A.J. and smiled, “He’s a good guy, trust me.” 

A.J. glanced back to Kevin, “I hope so.”

“Sounds good, I’ll be there in hour.  I told you this was odd situation; you can’t miss us, we’re on a bus,” she chuckled into the phone.  “Okay, just be waiting, you’re in for a surprise.”

Mary scribbled something on a piece of paper and gave it to A.J.  “Take this to Keith and tell him we really need to get there fast.”  A.J. looked at the paper.  It read Akron General Trauma Unit and had the address.  His eyes started fill with tears as he looked at everyone sitting around in the back and Nick standing next to Bron’s bunk.  Quickly he went up front to talk to Keith.  Mary quietly sat there staring at her watch.

A.J. went to the passenger seat next to Keith.  “Mary says you need to get us here and fast,” he told him as he handed him the note.  A grimace settled on Keith’s face and he shook his head.

Keith looked at A.J., “You better make some calls for this delay.  I’ll take care of the buses, we can’t have everyone following us there.”  A.J. nodded a yes to him and went to get his cell phone and came back.  Keith relayed to the other drivers that they were stopping for some sight seeing and that everyone else was to continue on to Chicago.”  He hung up the radio and looked at A.J., “I hate lying.  It’s not like they don’t know, but at least there will be less of us.”

A.J. nodded as he was trying to get through to management.  A.J. told them that they needed to make a stop.  Although angry with the boys, in the end, it was accepted.  As he hung up the phone he said, “What choice do you have, we’re all on the same bus and we want to stop.”

Keith looked at A.J., “How is she?”

“Not good,” was A.J.’s reply.

“Well I hope she is okay.  I didn’t even get to meet her yet.  Rumor has it she brings out the best in my bud.”  Keith snickered.

A.J. laughed as he walked to the back and called back to him, “A whole different side of the man.”

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