I sat in the waiting room of the ER and Karla's mom came rushing in. “Where is she? Is she alright?”
I pointed to the nurse's station, not knowing what else to do. She talked to the nurse, who got the doctor and I saw her face change from worry to relief.
“They said she just has a cut on her forehead and needed only four stitches. She's going to be fine. But how on earth did this happen?”
Before I could answer, the nurses said we could go in and see Karla, and her mom could take her home. They warned she should stay awake at least for a few hours even though the scan indicated no concussion or anything. I was grateful for that, knowing it could have been much worse.
Karla was sitting on the edge of the gurney when we walked in, Her knee had a brush burn and her head was bandaged. Her mom ran over and hugged her, tightly. “What are you doing here, Ma?” Karla looked at me, I just shrugged.
“Someone had to sign the papers for your treatment. I got here late, but I also had to show my insurance. Are you OK, Sweetie? I was so worried. What on earth happened?”
“I had too much to drink at the party and I stumbled and conked my head is all.”
“Young girls drinking and Cheryl drove in her condition?” Her mother gave me a withering look and I felt embarrassed.
“Look, Ma, don't be blaming Cheryl. If it wasn't for her I could have been hurt worse, she helped me. Cheryl doesn't drink, if she can help it. She isn't drunk so she drove just fine. You should be thanking her, not blaming her.”
Her mom looked at me and she smiled. “Thank you Cheryl for looking out for her. I'm sorry, but I was upset when the hospital called me.”
“That's OK, I know you were upset. I'm just glad Karla is fine though.”
“Well we need to get you home now.” Her mother was helping Karla to stand up, but Karla pulled back when her mom offered her an arm.
“No, I'm going to Cheryl's like I planned. The doctors said I'm fine, I just need to stay awake for a few hours. I go home, I'll be bored and fall asleep. You gotta work tomorrow, you gonna keep me awake?”
Her mom hesitated but agreed to let Karla go home with me. “Stay inside and stay out of trouble. If you feel the least bit sick, you had better call me to come get you. Understand?” We both nodded indicating we understood very well.
I think Karla didn't want to face her mom's boyfriend because he thinks Karla is a slut, so she figured he'd blame her and probably rant and rave half the night too.
Karla's mom stopped at the nurse's station and picked up the pills for pain for her and handed them to me. “Here, since you're obviously the more responsible one, you keep an eye on these for Karla.” I could see Karla rolling her eyes, but I knew she loved her mom.
Her mom hugged Karla as we stopped at the car and we got in the hearse to head home. I was wondering where Duncan was, he said he'd meet us here, but I saw no sign of him. As soon as Karla's mom left though, I saw someone walking out of the shadows behind us.
“Duncan!” I was so grateful to see him. I jumped from the hearse, ran over and gave him a big hug. His skin felt like a salamander's, sort of smooth and sort of cool and rubbery at the same time.
“Is Karla OK? Are you OK?” He gently pushed me back and looked me up and down, like he was looking for scratches or something.
“We're fine. I'm fine.” He seemed convinced after he gave me the once over with his eyes. “Karla was the one who was nearly raped. Oh my gawd, Duncan, if you hadn't come along just then, I don't know what would have happened.”
“Well I'm not certain what those two guys were up to but I can assure it wasn't anything that would have benefited either one of you ladies.”
“How on earth did you find us anyway? My cell phone wasn't picking up any signals way out there.”
“The GPS system in the Mustang. It has a tracking device in it. When I saw the address, way out there in the country, I decided to come check it out. I couldn't imagine what you two would be doing way out there. I got curious.”
“Well, I'm, we're glad you did. We might have been killed or worse.”
Duncan laughed. “Worse? What could have been worse than being killed?”
“Being raped would have been worse than death.” Karla answered, sticking her head out the window. Duncan just laughed at that one.
“But how could the GPS system get a signal, my cell didn't even work.” I was a bit curious as to how he'd answer.
“GPS systems have a much more powerful signal. There was no problem picking it up.”
I figured maybe he was right, since I knew nil about electronic things. I'm the girl who just wants my computer to start and not give me problems, so I accepted his answer.
“The two guys, did they attack you again?” I remembered one of them moaning and trying to get out of the ditch.
“Nope, they took off and I suppose they decided they didn't want to tangle with me again.”
“How did you do that? How did you just toss those big guys around like they were light?”
“I work out a lot?” He was smiling, that little wry smile he gets when he's teasing me.
“Uh, care to try again?” Anyone can see he's not muscular so I wasn't buying that answer.
“Look, I took Karate for like a hundred years. I was top in my class, so I can handle myself just fine. It's all in the leverage anyway. It makes no difference how big anyone is. If you plan to attend these parties often, breaking down in East Boondoggle, maybe I better teach you a few moves.” He was grinning and looking at me, waiting for an answer.
“As much fun as this is, talking in a cold parking lot, watching you shiver, maybe you'd best get Karla home and warm for the rest of the night.”
I had neglected poor Karla so I agreed, hugged Duncan once more and headed for the Mustang. Karla had already slid into the passenger side. “I like this car better anyway. That hearse gives me the creeps.”
“That creepy hearse is what gave you a ride here to get you looked at. So don't knock it too much.” I smiled as I started the Mustang to get us home.
When we got inside, it was quiet and dark. I was glad Mom was at work and Rachel was probably in bed. I didn't want to have to explain Karla's bandages on her head, at least not until I had a good night's sleep.
I asked Karla if she wanted a soda or juice, she said no, so we quickly went to my room to try and keep her awake for a while. We started to talk about the evening's events.
“Did you see how Duncan tossed those two guys around like that? I've never seen anything like it before. He isn't all that big. Who would have figured him to be that strong?”
“He says he's taken Karate for a lot of years. He actually said, 100 years, but I know he was exaggerating. He told me he was the top in his class and it's all in the leverage, not the size of a person.”
“You believe him?”
“Of course I do. I've seen small guys who know martial arts, take on much bigger ones before.”
Karla seemed satisfied at that answer and settled down a bit. I guess the pain killer had finally kicked in. We watched a movie, actually two of them, then I allowed her to fall asleep, feeling good that she'd been up a few hours and now she could safely sleep.
I didn't fall asleep for a while though. I couldn't get the events of the night out of my head. I wondered how did he decide to check on us, GPS system or not. I had a lot of questions for him. Finally, I too grew tired and fell asleep.
I smelled coffee as the sunshine was streaming in my bedroom window. I looked over at Karla and saw she was gone. I bolted out of bed worried that she was sitting at the kitchen table, coffee in hand, spilling her guts to Rachel about last night. Karla had such a big mouth at times.
Sure enough, there was Karla and Rachel, at the table laughing and talking. “Sounds like you had a wild night last night, according to Karla.”
My eyes narrowed, and I was annoyed she probably spilled it all. How in hell was I ever going to explain this one? “Oh?” I said under my breath a bit, but Rachel heard it.
“Well she told me how some kid left their skateboard on the steps and she didn't see it in the dark, so she took a tumble. She's lucky she didn't break her fool neck”
“Oh that. Yeah, that was quite a scare. I thought Karla had broken her head though.”
“She told me you saved her from more harm. It's lucky you were there to grab her arm and break her fall. She might have gotten hurt much worse. Good job, little sister.” Rachel offered me her hand and gave me a high five.
So that was the story Karla had concocted? I felt a relief, that for once, Karla hadn't felt the urge to tell the truth. But when I think of it, Karla hardly ever tells the truth, at least not to responsible adults anyway. I poured myself a cup of coffee and joined them at the table.
“So is Duncan coming over to meet us tonight then?” As soon as Rachel said that, Karla looked up. “Duncan is supposed to come over tonight. Cheryl invited him to come and meet us.”
“I'm staying then.” Karla's eyes lit up when she said that. She had an uncanny excitement to her voice.
“No, you need to go home, sleep in your own bed and get some real rest.” I wasn't about to have Karla here, fawning all over Duncan. Meeting my own family, with no one else around, was quite enough. I certainly didn't need Karla gumming up the works, at least not until I saw how he liked Rachel and Mom.
Karla gave that fake little pout again, but agreed she probably should go home after a while. She figured her mom would be worried about her well being, so she reluctantly agreed. I offered to give her a ride and she got up to go gather her bag.
When we got in the car, Karla started to whine a bit. “How come you don't want me here when Duncan meets your family?”
“I didn't say that. I just think you need to go home for a while. Your mom would like to be sure you're fine, I'm sure.”
“Yeah, whatever. You can just say you don't want me at your house when Duncan is there.”
“I never said any such thing. But now that you mention it, meeting my family is a big deal. So please try to understand.”
“Yeah, I do understand. I just thought I'd like to see their reactions is all.”
“Yeah, yeah, I get it, so stop worrying.”
“I never said I was worried. I'll stop worrying if you stop your whining then. Deal?”
“Yeah, okay, it's a deal. But you will call me or text me later. Right?” I agreed I could at least do that much.
We pulled into the trailer park and I let her out at her trailer. “I'll talk to you later then. Take care of that cut.” Karla turned and smiled and waved and went inside.