Jill - Chapter 1 – Phone Call
I was at home, playing online chess when my phone started to ring. It was Jill. I felt blood rushing to my face. My heart was already galloping. I hadn’t seen her more than three months. Back then she told me that we should stop dating and should just be friends. It was very hard for me, but there was nothing I could do.
“I need your help, George,” she said.
Her voice was strange. As if she had problems breathing. And somehow tremulous. That frightened me.
“Jill, are you all right?” I asked.
“No, I am not. Sorry for disturbing you, but would you please come as soon as possible,” she said and explained where she was.
I knew the street. Just two blocks away. I put on my shoes, and ran out.
The street looked deserted. A couple of second later, I saw her. Jill was standing on the sidewalk, leaning against a tree trunk. She was wearing a simple dark green dress that was accentuating her slim figure and black high-heeled pumps with pointed toe. I drew closer. She managed a faint smile as she saw me. I noticed that her face was very pale, her blue eyes frightened and confused. There was moisture on her cheeks.
Still leaning on the tree, she bent her head down looking at her feet, as if ashamed of something.
“Jill, what happened?”
She hiccupped. Then I saw that her left leg was bent at the knee as if she was trying not to put much weight on it. The heel of her pump wasn’t touching the ground. I couldn’t help glancing at the delicate curve of her calf. As I got beside her, she reached out, took my hand and looked at me. The tears in her eyes were disturbing to me, the pain in them, even more.
“Jill, did you hurt your ankle?” I asked.
“My ankle! No it’s fine.”
It really looked fine. The black stocking made it look more seductive than ever.
“I can’t believe that such thing could happen to me. It was a big pick-up truck. I think the driver was drunk. I was about to cross the street when he nearly ran me over. I jumped aside but…the bumper caught me. He didn’t even stop…”
With trembling hand, she touched cautiously her left thigh. Her hand jumped back as if she had laid it on burning embers.
“I should call…” I started.
“I already called 911. They are coming. I just wanted you to be with me. That’s why I called you. Sorry for…” Jill said.
“Let me help you sit down.”
“At first it didn’t hurt much. I felt just an unpleasant numbness. I was even able to put weight on it but after a couple of minutes…”
Supporting her back, I helped her sit down. She started to moan as I was doing that. Then I kneeled beside her and hugged her. Her perfume woke up pleasant memories. She snuggled against me as a frightened pet. Her fitful breathing was tickling my neck. Gradually, she calmed down a little. A dark blond lock of hair was hanging before her eyes. I brushed it away, then kissed her temple. She whimpered.
Finally, the ambulance appeared. I moved aside as the paramedics brought a stretcher and placed it beside Jill.
“Her leg is hurt,” I explained.
Jill pointed at her thigh and looked aside. Her chin was trembling. One of the paramedics pulled her dress up and revealed the source of pain. Her black stocking was laddered. Under it, her thigh looked bruised and slightly swollen.
“Give me the splint!” the paramedic said to his colleague.
Then he removed Jill’s elegant pump, and tossed it casually aside. My eyes fixed on the delicate arch of her foot, then on the outlines of her toes, visible through the black stocking. I bent down and took the pump. The heat of her tootsie was still inside it. Pleasant leathery smell reached my nose. At the same time, the paramedics slipped the splint under Jill’s leg. She shuddered and looked at me plaintively.
“Could you help us placing her on the stretcher?” the paramedic asked.
“Of course. What can I do?”
He told me what to do, and I moved behind Jill. Then I slid my hands under her armpits and easily lifted her 110 pound body. She moaned softly at the movement. I felt her muscles tense. At the same time, the paramedics cautiously elevated her legs and placed the stretcher under her. Jill tossed her head back. Her wet eyes fixed on me, staring at me. She opened her mouth as if to say something, then shook her head and remained silent.
I hopped into the ambulance without asking for permission. On the way to the hospital the paramedics gave her painkillers and took her blood pressure. I felt oppressively useless.
When we got there, the stretcher was taken out of the ambulance and wheeled down a long corridor, then into a spacious room. There was a nurse sitting in the corner. She looked bored and sleepy.
“You can wait outside,” the nurse said.
“I would like to be with her.”
She glared at me and pointed at a plastic stool beside the door. I patted Jill’s hand and paced to the stool. I sat down, and then realized that I am too nervous to sit and stood up again. The nurse’s mouth twisted into a wry smile.
“Where is the doctor?’ I asked impatiently.
“Don’t worry, George! I’m better now,” Jill chirruped.
The briskness in her voice seemed false. I sat down again, and tried to wait patiently. The time stretched like a rubber.
The doctor came in just as I was about to stand up again. He was in his sixties, short and plump, with ruddy cheeks.
“Well, let’s see what we have here now? A beautiful, young lady!” he said and adjusted his glasses.
Jill awarded him with a faint, tortured smile. The doctor came closer and got ready to remove the splint. A minute later, he slipped his hand under her calf, lifted her injured leg slightly and pulled the splint out. Jill’s lips parted as she emitted a soft moan.
“I am Doctor Pratt. Where do you feel pain, young lady?” the doctor asked.
“My thigh,” Jill responded.
“I have to cut the stocking.”
“I am not going to complain about that.”
He pulled her dress up to her hips. His eyes narrowed as he scrutinized the bruise. Starting at the top, he began cutting the stocking laterally with a pair of scissors. As the stocking was removed, my eyes fixed on the rosy sole of her foot. I had always wondered how something human could be so perfect. Then, I felt her eyes on me, and looked down at the floor.
“Now we have to X-ray your leg,” Pratt said, and threw the torn remnants of the stocking away.
“Do you think it is something serious, doc?” I asked.
“I hope it to be just a stretched muscle,” he replied, “but whatever it is, we will fix it.”
“Great,” Jill said with a tremulous voice.
“Connie, could you please take her to the X-ray room,” Pratt said to the nurse.
I took the plastic bag containing Jill’s purse and pump, and stood up.
“You can wait here if you want. I don’t mind that,” the doctor said.
“Thank you very much,” I said and smiled at Jill as she was wheeled out.
A futile effort to return the smile twisted her lips. Her face was even paler than before.
Half an hour later, the x-rays were ready. Pratt adjusted his glasses and examined the X-rays. As far as I could see from my vantage point, Jill’s femur looked fine. A minute later, she was wheeled back in.