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From Nursing a Grudge
Chapter Three Continued
After the hospital checked Paula into an observation room, the
first words out of her mouth were, “When can I get the epidural?”
The nurse, a small blonde who looked not a day older than 12, said
sweetly, “Oh, we need to see how far along you are before we can even
get you admitted to Labor and Delivery.” She tapped at a computer
monitor then said, “I’ll be back in flash. I just need to get you set up in
Paula smiled sweetly back to the nurse, but as soon as she left the
room Paula let out a stream of profanity that someone suffering from
Tourette Syndrome would envy. She finished with, “I want the stupid,
stupid, stupid epidural now.”
“Hey,” I said, rubbing her shoulder. “They’ll get it to you soon.”
She let out a series of deep moans that frightened even me.
Another nurse peeked into our room and asked cheerfully, “Every‐
thing all right in here?”
Paula replied quickly, “Oh, yes. Thank you. My friend rubbed my
shoulder and I feel better already.”
I frowned. The mere presence of the nurse had calmed Paula
The nurse proceeded to complete her check of Paula, including
attaching as many monitors as possible. Neither Paula nor that baby
would make a move or take a breath that wasn’t accounted for.
While the nurse worked, Paula had a contraction but breathed
right through it. No moans, no swearing, no yelling. But as soon as the
nurse left, satisfied that Paula was progressing as expected, Paula let
out another scream.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“It’s another contraction, dummy,” she said.
I cringed. “Sorry.”
The blonde nurse returned to check on Paula’s IV, which again
turned Paula into an angel. When the nurse left, Paula began to moan
as if she’d been stabbed.
I squeezed her hand. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Don’t touch me,” she said.
“How come you’re all nice to the nurses and mean to me?” I asked.
“I don’t know them,” Paula said.
I laughed. “Okay. I’m the punching bag until David gets here, huh?”
My phone went off and I crossed the room to get my purse.
Paula asked, “What are you doing?”
“Checking my phone. When you called I was at lunch with Jill— ”
“You can’t check your phone now. I’m in labor! You’re supposed to
be my support!”
I grimaced. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just that—”
She moaned again.
“You want to watch some TV?” I asked.
Paula stared at me. “Watch some TV?”
“You know, to distract you a bit.”
“Punching you in the nose might distract me.”
“In your condition, I think I can take you,” I said.
She didn’t laugh though, instead she moaned again, only this time
deeper and longer as if possessed. I crossed to the door.
When she recovered from the contraction enough to speak, Paula
asked, “Where are you going?”
“Nowhere. I’m looking for a nurse, hoping one will come in soon
to check on you so you’ll be nice to me again.”
Paula’s face softened for a moment. “Sorry, Kate. You know I love
She was overtaken by another contraction and I called the nurse. “I
think things are speeding up in here. Maybe it’s time to move us to
Labor and Delivery?” I said on the intercom.
A nurse came in to evaluate Paula. While Paula was distracted I
checked my phone. Galigani had left me a voicemail and I itched to
If I left the room, certainly Paula would notice.
“I’m just going to use the restroom,” I lied.
Paula moaned softly and glared at me. In the glare I could defi‐
nitely tell she was calling me on my lie. The nurse stroked Paula’s
forehead and she seemed temporarily soothed with the acknowledge‐
ment of the pain.
I escaped into the private bath that was attached to her room. I
quickly dialed voicemail and listened to Galigani.
“Hey kid. I haven’t heard anything about your friend Jill, but I have
news on the accident victim. It ain’t good. Call me.”
I dialed Galigani, and when he answered I ran the tap water to
mask my voice.
“Hey,” I whispered. “What’s happened to Perry? What room is he
in? Can we go see him?”
“He was DOA, kid.”
I gasped. “Oh no.”
“Yeah, terrible. The Coast Guard picked him up,” Galigani said.
“They’re releasing him to the medical examiner. Do you think there’s
any reason for me to try and flag the case?”
“Flag the case?” I asked. “You think there was foul play?”
“No. Well, I don’t know,” Galigani said. “That’s what I’m asking
“Oh. Well, no. I mean, he fell while hiking, right?”
“Seems so,” Galigani said. “Although his girlfriend, Jill, is missing
I swallowed past the fear building up in my throat. “Well, she’s not
exactly missing, is she? I’m sure she’s going to call me soon.”
There were escalated screams coming from the hospital room. “I
gotta go,” I said, hanging up.
I turned the water off and ran into Paula’s room. “How are you?”
She gave me the evil eye. “Awful. The nurse said I’m not
progressing at all.”
Reaching out for her hand I said, “Oh, sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry about that. It’s not your fault. Be sorry about the
fact that you’re sneaking phone calls in the bathroom when you’re
supposed to be here supporting me!”
I squeezed her hand. “Sorry about that, too.”
She pulled her hand away. “And don’t touch me!”
I laughed and seated myself in the soft chair by the window. “Want
me to sing to you?”
“Did you bring a book? I can read to you.”
“Okay, no TV, no singing, no reading. How about I play a medita‐
tion CD for you or something?”
She gave me a scathing look. “Meditation CD?” Her voice was
filled with contempt. “Puh-leese.”
“Those haven’t caught on with you yet?” I asked innocently.
She raised a brow at me but didn’t say anything.
After a moment of tapping my fingers on her food tray and eyeing
her saltine crackers, I asked, “Did you bring a photo album or
anything to look through?”
Paula stared at me. “What?”
“You know, in all the labor prep books they tell moms to pack
some calming photos to look through. Like pictures of the beach with
the little huts on stilts in Bora Bora overlooking the emerald water, or
a picture of Danny or—”
Paula looked like she held back screaming at me in order to
breathe her way through a contraction. When it passed, she said,
“Okay, put on the stupid TV. Anything is better than listening to you.”
I decided not to be hurt and flipped on the TV. My stomach
rumbled and I eyed the saltine crackers on Paula’s dinner tray. “Are
you going to eat those crackers?” I asked.
Paula turned to me and seemed so upset that I could swear her
eyes were glowing red. “What do you think?”
I leaned forward and snatched the crackers of the tray. “You’re not
supposed to eat at this stage of labor. It could make you sick. I’m
doing you a favor here.” I ripped into the package. “I didn’t get to eat
“Sorry I interrupted your little soirêe with Jill,” Paula said sarcas‐
“No. You didn’t,” I said, stuffing a saltine in my mouth and
ignoring her sarcasm. “That’s what I was trying to tell you when
Paula’s shook her head. “Uh huh. I can’t hear it now. Sorry. Pain.”
Her face contorted, but she didn’t moan or have a bout of
“You okay?” I asked.
Paula nodded. “Yeah, that one wasn’t so bad.”
“I’m glad. It really sucks to see your best friend in pain.”
Paula smiled, not a full, normal Paula smile, but at least her lips
twitched up instead of down.
“Tell me about Jill before I have a baby.”
I filled her in as quickly as I could. Oddly, she didn’t have a
contraction during my story and she seemed almost herself.
When I was done we stared at each other.
“Did Galigani flag the body so the M.E. can take a look?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. You wouldn’t let me talk to him.”
“Call him,” Paula said.
I looked at the monitor that was tracking Paula’s contractions. “I
don’t think I’m supposed to use a cell phone near the equipment.”
Paula followed my eyes. “Hey, look at my report there.” She indi‐
cated a roll of paper that was spitting out of the machine periodically.
I picked it up. “What?”
“I haven’t had a contraction in about 15 minutes!”
“I don’t think that good,” she said.
“I’m sure it’s alright. Want me to call the nurse?”
“I guess, but I already know what she’s going to say.” She sighed.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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