Chapter 3

~ February 16, 1945 ~

Elizabeth bit her lip and checked her appearance one more time in her compact mirror before entering the military hospital. Her hair was neatly curled, her makeup applied correctly, not to overdone, not too light. Her white blouse was pressed, her navy blue skirt was smooth, not a wrinkle in sight. Her hose had no runs in them, her shoes weren’t scuffed.

All in all, Elizabeth looked prim and proper.

She approached the desk where an intimidating soldier was seated. “Excuse me?”

He glanced up, raked his eyes over her figure before reaching her eyes. “Yes?”

“I’m here to see Jason Morgan,” she said softly.

“Sorry, ma’am,” he replied. “Only family.”

But he has no family, Elizabeth wanted to say. Instead she found herself telling him something completely different.

“I am family,” she said. “Fiancée.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.” He shoved a book at her. “You need to sign in, ma’am and I’ll have someone show you to Private Morgan.”

“How is he?” Elizabeth asked, almost fearfully.

The soldier frowned. “Weren’t you informed of his condition?”

“Of course,” Elizabeth fumbled. “But I was just making sure it hasn’t changed.”

“He’s still in stable condition, Ms…” he trailed off and looked down to where she’d signed the book. “Ms. Webber. He’s still drifting in and out consciousness. The infection had us worried, but he seems to be pulling out of it now.”

Elizabeth nodded. “I’d like to see him now.”

—-

She sat next to his bed in the tiny room and set her purse aside. He was lying completely still on the bed, his face pale. His left arm and leg were bandaged heavily.

She found herself running her fingers through his dirty blonde hair. She was suddenly glad she’d given into Mr. Holden’s demand that she come and see him. No one deserved to be in a place like this alone.

She glanced around the room, taking note of the barren appearance. The only indication that someone was here other than the occupied bed was a closet slightly opened. She saw a shirt hanging out of it and assumed that Jason’s belongings had been sent there.

A sound from the bed drew her attention and she turned back to him. His eyes were slightly open, his face twisted in some pain.

“Jason!” She leaned forward and took one of his hands in hers. “Are you okay?”

“Elizabeth?” he murmured. His eyes opened a little more fully. “Is that really you?”

“Hey, how are you feeling?” she asked softly.

He shifted a little and looked around. “Where am I?”

“A hospital in Los Angeles,” Elizabeth told him. “You were injured and sent here.” She bit her lip. “Would you like me to get a doctor?”

“No. I’m…I’m okay.” He shifted again. “How badly am I hurt?”

“I don’t know. Your friend Zander Smith wrote me and told me only what had happened.” She tightened her hands around his. “I was so worried about you.”

“I’m glad you’re here,” he told her.

“I’m going to get a doctor,” Elizabeth said. “Just be safe. I’ll be right back.”

—-

She spied a doctor just down the hall. “Excuse me?” she called. He turned and smiled at her.

“Well, hello,” he said. His eyes crinkled when he smiled–he looked only a few years younger than Mr. Holden and Elizabeth found herself homesick for her substitute grandfather right now. “You’re a new face.”

Elizabeth smiled. “I’m here visiting Private Jason Morgan. He’s awake…but I can’t tell how much pain he’s in…” She looked back at the doorway to his room. “I don’t really know anything about his condition.”

“Well, I can help with you that. I’m Dr. Hardy,” he said, extending his hand. “Dr. Steve Hardy. And you are?”

“Elizabeth Webber,” Elizabeth answered, shaking his hand. “Dr. Hardy, about Jason…”

“I’ll come to see him now if it’ll settle your mind, miss,” Dr. Hardy replied. “Are you his wife?”

“No, no,” Elizabeth said quickly. “His fiancée,” she finished, lamely. She must remember to talk to Jason about this. “Is he going to be okay…I mean…” She bit her lip. “Dr. Hardy, can I be honest with you?”

“Sure thing, Miss Webber,” Dr. Hardy replied. He clasped his hands together and studied her.

Feeling uncomfortable with his scrutiny, she cleared her throat and looked away. She needed to find out exactly how bad Jason was and needed to come up with a way to get this doctor to tell her without giving herself away. She couldn’t leave Jason alone here. Not now.

“See, Jason and I…we got engaged right before he left,” Elizabeth began. “A-and no one else knew except the people we chose to tell. His friend, Private Zander Smith was the one who wrote me actually. But he didn’t tell me anything.”

“Of course,” Dr. Hardy nodded. “Well, actually, Private Morgan doesn’t know anything about his condition either. From what I understand he’s been in and out of consciousness since his injury.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened. “Dr. Hardy, he was injured well over a month ago! Is he that ill?”

“No, no,” Dr. Hardy assured her quickly. “But his injuries have left with him with quiet a bit of pain and we’ve been careful to keep him sedated.”

“What are his injuries?” Elizabeth asked, impatiently. “Is he going to be okay?”

“Come with me, my dear and we’ll all talk together. I’m sure Private Morgan will want to see your face at a time like this.”

Jason was still awake when they entered and Elizabeth took that as a good sign. She moved to his side immediately and took a seat. “Jason, this is Dr. Hardy.”

“Hello,” Jason said warily. He’d was as awake as he’d been since the morning of the injury and was a little upset to find out it was February and most of his left side bandaged.

“Good afternoon, Private Morgan,” Dr. Hardy greeted affably. “Good to see you up and alert. I think it’d be a good time to talk about your condition.”

“I think so,” Jason agreed. He shot a look at Elizabeth, wondering how she’d managed to get in here with the family only rules firmly into place. Or how she’d found out in the first place.

“Your fiancée was worried that you being in and out so often wasn’t good, but I explained that you’d been in a lot of pain and we kept you sedated.”

“My fiancée?” Jason questioned. He eyed Elizabeth, who flushed a little.

“Yes,” Elizabeth told him, her eyes pleading with him to play along. “And it’s good thing you did propose the night before you left or they never would have let me in.”

Suddenly grateful for her, he grasped her hand in his and brought it to his lips. “Best decision I ever made,” he told her softly.

Her cheeks flushed even more and she looked away quickly. He let their hands fall, but was careful to keep her hand in his. “So, doctor…” Jason prompted.

“Well, Private Morgan, the debris and such badly burned your left arm and leg,” Dr. Hardy began. “There will be some scarring and you’ll probably walk with a limp once you regain the use of your leg.”

Jason’s body tensed. “Regain the use?” he repeated.

“Yes, well, the burns damaged some nerves,” Dr. Hardy continued. “You’ll need extensive therapy, but there’s every chance that you will recover, I assure you.”

“This therapy,” Elizabeth said softly, seeing that Jason was stunned. “Will it be available here? I mean, will he have to stay here?”

“Yes, he will,” Dr. Hardy told her. “It might take a month or two, perhaps more. But as long as he works hard, he should be just fine.”

Elizabeth squeezed his hand. “See, Jason? You’re going to be fine.”

“I heard him,” Jason snapped. He saw the stung look on her face and instantly regretted his sharp tone. “I’m sorry. I–”

“It’s fine,” Elizabeth said briskly. She looked back to the doctor. “Do you know of any hotels or boarding houses that I would be able to get a room in?”

Jason gaped at her, surprised she’d stay with him anyway. “Elizabeth, what about the diner?” he asked.

“Hush, the diner can take care of itself,” Elizabeth replied. “You need me more.”

Jason would have replied that he didn’t, but he didn’t really want her to leave either. “All right then. If you insist.”

“I do,” Elizabeth said firmly. She looked at the doctor. “Well?”

“There is a boarding house a few blocks away,” Dr. Hardy told her. “If you want, I’ll give my niece a call. She runs it. I’ll tell her to expect you.”

“Thank you,” Elizabeth said, gratefully. She waited as the doctor jotted down the address and handed it to her. “I appreciate it.”

The doctor left and Elizabeth bit her lip. “I’m sorry about the whole fiancée thing…but it was the only thing I could come up with on the spot. I came all this way and I didn’t want to be turned down.” She frowned. “Although I suppose I could have told them I was your sister, but–”

“Elizabeth,” Jason cut her off. She stopped and looked at him. “It’s fine,” he assured her. “I…it means a lot to me that you came and that you want to stay, but you don’t have to.”

“I am not leaving you all along here,” Elizabeth told him. “So get used to that.”

“Okay,” Jason replied, glad he didn’t have to talk her out of it. “I’m sorry…I’m sorry I was so short with you earlier. I just…”

“Jason, you got just a piece of bad news,” Elizabeth replied softly. “It’s fine.”

“I just…you came all this way…” Jason trailed off and eyed her. “Why did you?”

Elizabeth shrugged and looked away. “After I got Zander’s letter, I was so worried about you. He didn’t really have anything to tell me except that you’d been sent here and you were injured. Mr. Holden practically ordered me to come and see you.” She brushed a piece of hair off his forehead. “I’m glad he did.”

“So am I,” Jason replied quietly. “I’m really glad.”

Comments

  • Oh such a sweet chapter!

    According to shilo0854 on December 13, 2014