At Chris’s suggestion, we stopped off at the grocery store looking like total hooligans and picked up a bag of frozen peas for Rissa’s face. Then when we got to the ER we sat in the parking lot for a minute to get our bearings. “What are we going to say in there?” I asked him.
Chris looked at me, frowning and said, “I think if we tell them we did this to each other and that we aren’t going to press charges against each other, that they won’t care.”
I looked over at the entrance and I could see through the glass doors that it was busy in there. Maybe they would ask fewer questions if they were busy. “But, Chris, you obviously got kicked in the face last night, then the stomach thing wasn’t until today. Don’t you think they will find that to be suspicious?”
“I don’t know”
“Well we have to get our story straight.” I said.
“We could just say that we got into it last night then again just now.”
“Huh. I guess. They are going to think we’re total thugs. It barely makes sense that we would come in together.” I took a deep breath and my ribs hurt through it, even with the pain pills working their magic.
We sat there quietly, then Rissa said, “Come on lets go in. ”
We both looked at her like she was crazy. “You’re not coming in” I said. If we go in there with a minor, with a girl who’s been hit in the face too they will call the cops right away.” Then I felt bad, like I wasn’t taking proper care of her. I said, “Is it just your face or did he hurt you in any other way?”
“Its just my face” she mumbled. “I’ll be fine. But I don’t want to sit in your truck for the next 5 hours, or more.”
I gave her my phone. You can watch a movie on here. The charger is in the glove compartment. See if you can get wifi from the hospital, then you’ll be able to watch whatever you want on Netflix. The wifi password is probably ‘guest’. If not, I’ll text it to you from inside.” Then I looked up and her cute face with her pressing peas against it as she examined my phone, made me smile. “Here are my truck keys too if you need to go to the store for anything. But just come right back to this parking lot OK. I don’t want your dad to find us. Call Chris’s phone if you need anything.”
She pulled up the movies I had on my phone and said, “The Sound Of Music?”
Chris busted out laughing. I realized I’d never heard him laugh before. I said,
“I have nephews, OK, who like to watch that when I visit them. What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing. I’ve never seen it before,” Rissa said.
“Thats weird,” I said. But then felt instantly sorry. What kind of a little-girl childhood is void of that movie? “Come on, lets go in. But Rissa, don’t loose that phone. It would be like loosing my fucking brain.”
“I won’t,” she said. “I have plenty of friends around here. I could just take your truck to one of their house’s then pick you both up when you are done.”
“No, just stay here, even if you have to wait,” I said. “I don’t’ want to have to go looking for you somewhere. Just stay here. You can go to the store and get food or whatever but then come right back and just stay close by.”
“Um, OK.” She shrugged. I could tell she thought that was odd and I didn’t’ know where my sudden over-protectiveness came from. I guess I thought I lost her back there until she came running out to the truck, and I didn’t want to loose her again.
Chris and I got out and walked through the parking lot. I looked back at her to see the light from the screen flickering on her face. The sliding doors opened and Chris and I headed in to begin our four-hour wait in air-conditioning as cold as the arctic. Or maybe it just felt that cold after the conversation I tried to have with him.