April 26, 2013
I’m not one to ever panic but this had my head spinning. A million thoughts were racing through my mind. What happened? How many people involved? Was Nessie alright? Was she hurt? I had to go to the school! Betsy had seen my face and she put her hand on my arm:
“Dr. Cullen, I know your niece is there but we are going to have a lot of students coming into the ER now and we need you here!”
I knew she was right, but I had to make a phone call. Who knew how many students were injured. I instantly dialed Esme.
“Esme, did you hear?”
“Oh Carlisle, yes I did! I’m horrified! Edward and the others are on their way to the school. I was shopping on the other side of town for some food for the sick kids at home and am on my way their too.”
She sounded like she was almost crying. I knew she was worried sick about Nessie. That would make two of us.
“They need me here at the hospital because of the influx of students from the school. I’m praying it’s not that bad. Otherwise, I’d be there in a heartbeat.”
“I understand. No, you need to stay and take care of the patients. They need the best and you’re it honey. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.”
“Thank you, sweetheart. I love you! Please give my love to the others.”
With that we hung up. For the first time in a very long time, my hands were shaking. I had to get it together. There was already a broadcast that a bunch of ambulances with injured kids were on their way. We were about to be inundated. I took a deep breath to center myself, said a little prayer for Nessie and got my triage unit ready for the first arrival.
Then suddenly the ER doors flung open and a bunch of paramedics wheeled in the first student. One of the paramedics was sitting on top of the boy doing CPR. That is when I knew it was going to be a bad one. I rushed to them and moved them quickly into the first area.
Myself, Betsy, and a few other nurses converged on this boy. We were determined to save this child! Right on his heels came two more gurneys with more children with varies injuries. All were gun shot wounds but to different parts of the body. Thankfully a call had gone to all of the off duty doctors and nurses and the ER was filled with very capable people.
I was still trying to stabilize my first patient. The other doctors and nurses were running from one area to another. It was shear pandemonium. Parents were arriving and screaming for their children; one woman took a look at her daughter and fainted; the girl had 4 bullet holes in her body and had lost so much blood, the probability of saving her was slim. In all, 40 students were brought to the ER. To say the place looked grim was an understatement. Even the FBI had arrived in the hospital. We pushed them into the waiting area so they wouldn’t be underfoot. I understand they have to do their job, but so did we and ours took precedence!
Unfortunately, neither my first patient nor the girl whose mother fainted survived. Both died within an hour of each other. Their wounds were just too severe. Even I, with all of my centuries of expertise, couldn’t save them. They were after all, only human and their small bodies couldn’t endure the brutality that was done to them.
I then had the grim task of telling both sets of parents that their children didn’t make it. There is nothing like a mother’s blood curdling scream and wail when she realizes her beautiful child is gone forever. All I could do was hold the family up as they all but collapsed to the floor.
“WHY???? OH MY GOD!!!! WHY??? CINDY WHY???? MY BEAUTIFUL CHILD!! NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! GOD PLEASE NO!!!”
I shuddered. I couldn’t even imagine what that felt like. I still had no idea what happened to Nessie. But I had to think that she was okay. But none of us knew what it would be like if she was shot. How would her body react to it? She was after all half human. So much was going on in my mind I needed to relax. I still had more patients to take care of. I couldn’t leave until everyone was stable.
Then my phone rang. It was Edward. I held my breath.
“Carlisle! Nessie’s all right! She didn’t get hurt! She’s shaking and crying but she’s alright. Bella, Esme, and Jacob are holding her now. She won’t leave Bella’s side for an instant.”
“Oh thank God! I was going crazy over here. I’ll be home as soon as we stabilize everyone.”
“How bad is it at the hospital?”
“Well we have 40 patients; 2 of which didn’t make it and about 10 still in very critical condition.”
Edward exhaled a sharp breath. “Damn.”
“Edward, what happened exactly? How many didn’t make it?”
“We don’t have the whole story yet. Nessie hasn’t been able to talk and the police are still investigating. They won’t tell us the casualty amount. All we know thus far is that there was one shooter.”
“Alright Edward, if anything changes please let me know. I have to get back to my patients. Please give Nessie a hug and kiss for me.”
“Absolutely will. See you soon.”
We hung up. I was able to breathe and think straight for the first time all day. Betsy had seen me on the phone, she approached and looked at me with raised eyebrows.
“She’s all right. She’s safe. She’s home now; very shaken up and crying. I’ll finish up here and then I must be with my family.”
“Oh thank heavens! A piece of good news finally. Yes of course, I don’t think you’ll have to be here much longer.”
“Thank you, Betsy.” I smiled at her; probably the most relieved smile.
I then spent another hour at the hospital walking from area to area and room to room for those who have been admitted. We had 5 still in surgery. Finally, I felt everything and everyone were stable enough for me to go home. I walked into the locker room, quickly changed into my regular clothes, said goodnight to the staff and praised them for their amazing work. Then I was in my car heading home. All I wanted to do was put my arms around my granddaughter and the rest of my family. It took me about 20 minutes to drive to our house. I parked my car in its spot in the garage and walked into the house.
The whole family was congregated in the living room. Bella and Nessie were sitting on the couch. On the other side was Jacob. Edward was sitting next to Bella. Esme was standing nearby, as were Rosalie and Emmett. Leah and Seth were sitting cross legged on the floor in front of Nessie with each of their hands on her for support. They all looked up when I entered. For the first time since coming home, Nessie disentangled herself from the rest of the family and ran into my open arms. She continued to sob.
“Shhhhhh, it’s alright Reneesme. You’re safe. Nothing will ever happen to you. I love you sweetheart. Shhhhhh…..there there.”
“I love you too, Grandpa. I was so scared, so scared,” Nessie mumbled through sobs.
I walked the two of us to the couch where the others made room so she and I could sit down. Rosalie handed Nessie a box of tissues. The phone rang.
“It’s been ringing off the hook all day. Everyone has been calling,” Rosalie said as she went to get it.
“Hello Cullen Residence? Oh hey Charlie. Yes, yes, she’s alright. She’s just shaken up. No, we don’t know exactly what happened. It has been all over the news but we haven’t really had a chance to watch anything since we don’t want to make her even more upset. Yes that much we know. Carlisle just returned from the hospital, it’s been a very long day there. He said that 40 patients were brought in, 2 of which didn’t make it.”
Nessie flinched beside me. Rosalie made an apologetic face at Nessie as she continued to speak with Charlie.
“Yes Charlie, I will. Bella will call you a bit later okay? Thank you so much for calling. Goodbye.” She hung up.
“Nessie, Charlie sends his love. He said that if you need absolutely anything to call him and he’ll be on the next plane here.”
Nessie sniffled and made a halfhearted attempt to smile. She then gulped and looked at Edward, who got off the couch and strode into the kitchen. He returned two seconds later with a glass of orange juice. The rest of us smiled. It really was good to have a mind reader in the house. Nessie drank the entire glass in one fell swoop. Then she sighed and slumped into the couch. She looked at all of us and didn’t say anything for a long moment. Then she looked at Bella, Edward, and then finally me.
“Is it okay if……I……I talk about what happened?”
We all looked at each other and it was Leah who piped up.
“Ness, are you sure you are up to it? I mean we aren’t pushing you or anything. You don’t have to.” We all nodded in agreement.
“No, I think I will feel better if I tell you what happened. I don’t want to have nightmares forever. Though something tells me I still may. But I just kinda want to get it out of my system.”
“Whatever makes you feel better sweetheart,” said Esme.
We all got comfortable as did Nessie who crossed her legs on the couch and sat against the pillows.
Then Nessie briefly closed her eyes, opened them and focused on the not so distant past and began to speak.
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