Romance Fiction posted December 18, 2011 Chapters:  ...43 44 -45- 46... 

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Anna and Troy visit the ER.

A chapter in the book Lonely Hearts Meet

Part two Chapter 14

by barbara.wilkey

Anna is a young mother striving to find a way out of an abusive marriage. She meets a stranger, Troy. Troy fights his own demons. Can they help each other find love, or are their struggles too much?
Troy reached for Michael as the dog sprang forward. Sharp canine teeth went into Troy's forearm.

The teenager grabbed and held the dog. "Sorry, sir. I don't know why Bailey did this." He glanced at the child with a messy face in Troy's arms. "Oh, he loves graham crackers." Then he noticed the blood dripping from Troy's arm. "Bailey, you did it this time. His shots are up to date."

Anna crawled from the backseat, ran toward Michael and took him from Troy's left arm. "What happened?" She reached for Troy's right arm.

"Don't get my blood on you. Check Michael and make sure there's none on him. It looks worse than it is. The dog went for Michael's graham cracker and got my arm. He didn't mean to bite."

"You need stitches. I'll drive you to the ER." Anna searched her child for blood. When she didn't find any, she held him tighter. "It could have been you. I shouldn't have left you unattended. This is my fault"

"It was an accident." Troy turned toward the boy. "Where do you live?"

"Two stairwells down." He pointed toward the area. "The second floor in apartment twenty-three B."

Troy and Anna glanced around at the sound of loud mufflers but didn't see the vehicle.

"Young man, do you happen to know who those pipes belong to?"

"No sir, they're new to the neighborhood. I'd sure like to know what he has under the hood." He started to walk away. "I'm sorry about everything. Come on, you two." He yanked the dogs' leashes and headed home. "Dad's going to be really angry this time."

As Anna walked toward her apartment, Troy explained the events of the dog bite.

Inside the apartment Anna wrapped a clean dishtowel around Troy's arm. "We can leave as soon as I grab my purse and diaper bag. Thank you for saving Michael." I should never have left him alone. I'm a horrible mother.

Troy removed his cell phone from his belt clip. "Michael doesn't need to be in ER, I'll call my parents to meet us there. They can take him home."

When Anna and Troy arrived at the ER, Betty and Paul stood by the door.

Betty did a quick inspection of Troy's arm. "I'm guessing twelve stitches." She turned toward Anna and took Michael from her. "I'm sure this will take a while. Don't worry about Michael or dinner. I have them both covered." She kissed Troy's cheek. "Over dinner you can tell me how this happened."

Paul patted his son on the back. "Did Anna or Michael get any blood on them?"

"I made sure they didn't."

"I figured as much. See you both later." He gave Anna's shoulders a squeeze.

Inside the crowded waiting room, Anna searched for two seats while Troy registered.

A mother and child were called to see a doctor, so Anna took a seat and set her purse in the second one. She turned and watched a triage nurse examine Troy's arm. A few moments later she overheard Troy explain the events of the bite and where the dog lived. The nurse inquired why the child was left unattended as she filled out paperwork.

Anna buried her head in her hands. Bobby was right. I'm a horrible mother. Because I put Michael at risk, Troy was bitten. If Troy hadn't dropped by, my baby might be fighting for his life or worse. I'm going to lose him and there's nothing Paul can do. Why didn't I put him in the front seat? That would have been the best way to handle it. Why am I so stupid?

A touch to her arm caused Anna to glance up. Troy stood above her. "I'm the one with battle scars." He wiped tears rolling down her cheeks. "What's wrong?" After he moved the purse and sat, he scanned the room. "We'll have plenty of time to talk."

Tears continued to spill from Anna's eyes. "I've already figured it out I'm a failure as a mother."

"Whoa! I've never accused you of anything. Back up a little. Where did this come from?"

Anna watched a nurse direct a uniformed police officer in their direction. "I guess he's here to arrest me for child endangerment."

"Or get directions to the dog owners' apartment. Medical personnel are required to report dog bites."

Troy stood and shook the officer's hand. "Hello, I'm Troy Whitman. I'm guessing you want my statement."

"Yes, sir. The nurse said this was an accident, but I need the details. Tell me what happened."

After the officer listened and took notes, he turned toward Anna. "You're the child's mother?"

"Yes, sir," she said meekly and wiped a tear.

"How far away from your child were you?"

"I'm not sure." She inhaled a deep breath. "From the front bumper to the backseat. How far is that? The laundry detergent spilled in the back seat and I was vacuuming it up. My eyes were off Michael, maybe five to seven minutes at the most."

"So no more than ten feet from your child." The officer wrote it down.

"Ms. Rodgers is a single parent. She couldn't leave the child inside while she cleaned up the mess, so did the best she could. The dog wanted the graham cracker, not the child." Troy's hand rested on Anna's arm.

"Officer, how much trouble am I in?" She wiped another stray tear.

"I don't see a neglect problem, ma'am, but your child was very lucky Mr. Whitman came along when he did. Where's the child now?"

"With my parents. We didn't think he needed to hang around the waiting room."

The officer scanned the crowd. "I understand. I'll talk with the dog owners. If the dog hasn't had the required shots, I'll be in touch."

Anna watched the man walk away. "He's not taking Michael away, is he?"

Troy shook his head. "No, he's not." He took her face between his two hands and stared into her eyes. "You're a good mom. Maybe someday you'll believe it."

"I'm sorry you were bit."

"So am I, but I don't blame you. It was an accident. I'd rather it was me than Michael."

"I hope I didn't disappoint your parents."

"Mom and Dad understand how things happen. They raised me, didn't they? I've lost count how many times Mom had to bring me to the ER. We were on a first name basis with the nurses and doctors. Notice they weren't overly concerned." Troy smiled.

After waiting for almost four hours, Anna watched Troy walk back to see a doctor.


I wish all of you the very Merriest Christmas and a Blessed New Year!!!!!!!!!

I am a gigantic dog lover. I'm sure my fans know I'm the owner of two large breed dogs; a black labrador and a great pyrenees. I love the gentle giants, but accidents do happen.
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