Auburn Ski Camp / Barton Hospital: Love’s Easy Tears

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Jimmy

“Sabrina!”

Oh, sweet Jesus!

Comin’ back from my room, I heard a big thump while I was passin’ by Sabrina’s room. Vic was with me, thank God! He came back to the resort after he did his business in San Francisco. I’m so glad he did!

I go into Sabrina’s room and she’s lyin’ still as death on the floor. Sweet Jesus on Calvary! Vic follows me in and gasps.

There’s just a trickle of froth comin’ from her pretty mouth, and I can’t see her breathin’ at all!

“Oh, Christ! I think she’s OD’d!” Vic quickly kneels next to Sabrina and checks her breathing and pulse. He must know somethin’ about this stuff. I’m still so shocked, I just stand there like an idiot.

“She’s not breathin’! Oh, fuck me!” Vic rips Sabrina’s blouse off and begins to do CPR on her. He is so in charge. How does he know what he’s doin’?

“Jimmy! Kid! You gotta get that doctor over in the infirmary. I don’t know if I’m doing any good here. Come on boy! Snap outta it, for God’s sake!” Vic orders me and I go do it. I don’t want to leave Sabrina, but I know I’ve gotta get the doctor. Vic is so in charge. I know I just said that. This isn’t happenin’!

I about run into Brian and Snowflake, who look like they’ve been attracted by the commotion. I must be pantin’ from fear and excitement.

“Jimmy! What is wrong? Where is it that you are going so fast?” Snowflake has grabbed me by the shoulders.

“Sabrina! Needs the doctor! Leggo!” Is all I can get out as I somehow wrench myself free from Snowflake’s iron grip and gallop down the stairs to the Infirmary. He calls after me, but I don’t have time for him right now.

Sabrina is dyin’!

I burst into the Infirmary and Bob is there behind the counter. Thank God!

“Jimmy? What the hell, son? Slow down or you’re gonna end up on yer butt,” Bob says with his slow Texas drawl.

I’m gaspin’ for breath, and find myself bendin’ over with my hands on my knees trying to get air enough to talk.

“Sabrina…” *gasp* “On the floor…” I wheeze uncontrollably. “Collapsed…” I manage to get out.

“What?” Bob asks densely. Wake the fuck up, Bob!

“Need the doctor! She’s dyin’! Dyin’!” It’s at this point that the reality of this terrible situation starts to hit me and the tears come.

“Please!” I beg Bob.

“What on earth? Sure! Sure! Hold yer horses!” Bob grabs a yellow toolbox of some kind and leaps over the front counter of the office. As soon as he lands he’s got his cell phone in his hand, cussin’ out Dr. Malone for not pickin’ up on his emergency line.

I can only barely keep up with Bob as he rushes full tilt up the stairs lugging that heavy box. He’s so spry. I just said that! Oh my God! This isn’t happenin’!

I hear him start shouting at the phone with some expletives to get Malone to haul his fat ass up here. We make it to Sabrina’s room in record time. Snowflake is standing at the door with a look of absolute horror on his face. He’s lookin’ in that room with his hand coverin’ his mouth. I think I can see tears!

I hear very clear and sharp commands being said in the room and Vic is responding. I hear countin’. I follow Bob into the room who’s had to elbow the frozen Snowflake out of the doorway to get into the room. As I stop at the door, hands over my own mouth, I look in and see somethin’ I wasn’t sure was good, bad, stupid, or what the fuck!

Brian is there blowin’ in steady puffs into Sabrina’s mouth. Oh, dear Jesus, she’s so God awful pale! Vic is pumping away at her chest three times for each time Brian calls out a number between puffs.

Bob rushes to their side and opens the box. It’s got those heart paddles like on that Code Black show!

“Narcan! STAT!” Brian orders.

“Wait a minute! Why Narcan? You know for sure it’s a morphine OD? Why would you know anyway? You have medical trainin’?” I want to strangle Bob for the 20 questions! Brian knows what he’s doing! He’s a doctor…almost!

Brian just points to the nightstand and the evidence of the heroin Sabrina had used.

“Oh!” Bob says like motherfucking Forrest Gump.

“Narcan, Godayyamit! We’re losing her!” Brian bellows.

Bob takes out a vial and a needle and preps it. Brian takes it quickly and jabs it into Sabrina.

Agonizing seconds tick by, and I feel my heart squeezin’ up so tight inside my chest. She’s dead! My best friend’s gone! This isn’t happening!

Then…

Sabrina begins coughing and gagging while tryin’ to sit up. Brian holds her steady by the shoulders as she fights for breath.

“Oxygen!” Brian orders, but Bob’s already on it and has the mask over her nose and mouth.

“Easy, baby. Breathe easy. Just take it slow,” Bob tells Sabrina as she continues to gasp. Brian is massagin’ her shoulders and stroking her hair. I could kiss his face off!

Mercifully, Sabrina’s breathing starts to ease off, and she lays back on the floor, half-conscious. Every now and then her body jerks like a spasm.

“We need to get her to a hospital, like yesterday,” Brian says with concern. That takes away some of the relief I feel! I feel a strong arm around my shoulder and back. Snowflake is holding me. I can feel the shiver in his chest. He is still crying. I look up at him and he is just fixed on the sight of that lovely woman near dead on the floor, tears runnin’ down his cheeks with his eyes all red.

I’ve never seen him cry before. Not ever!

Dr. Malone comes rushing in at this point, white coat sailin’ around him like a cape.

“Status!” Dr. Malone prompts Bob.

“Somewhat stabilized. Got Narcan in her. It’s working,” Bob reports.

“Narcan? On who’s order?” Malone barks sharply.

“Mine, asshole!” Brian growls.

“On whose authority? Who do you think you are? A doctor? That could kill her as sure as whatever else is going on with her, dammit!” Malone bellows at Brian, bearing down on him.

“Take a fucking look, Doc!” Brian points to the table again.

“Oh…” Dr. Malone says and then goes to examine the hypodermic needle and heating pot for the heroin.

“You got an oxygen monitor and a pulse reader in that kit, Bob?” Brian asks with that same professional crispness.

Bob, who is now thoroughly confused, looks to Dr. Malone for confirmation. The doctor merely nods as he continues to examine the evidence of Sabrina’s drug use.

Why didn’t she tell me she was goin’ this way? When did she start usin’ again? What the fuck, Sabrina?

Bob sets a little pincher with a red light on Sabrina’s finger and sees a reading come up on a smartphone in the toolbox.

“RPM is low as well as HR,” Bob says and then waits for an order from…someone.

“Half dose Narcan. Carefully. Scant dose,” Malone orders, turning his attention back to the patient.

“We need to ready her for transport. Where’s the nearest hospital that can deal with this, Doc?” Brian asks.

“Barton is a Level III trauma center. We need to get Calstar to move her. Bob, get the gurney. I’ll contact Barton,” Malone says, no longer questionin’ Brian’s ‘authority’.

Bob shoots more of the medicine into Sabrina, who starts to breathe a little easier a few seconds later. He then leaves the room in a dash. Snowflake and I back off to allow room.

“Yeah, this is Auburn/Boreal. Dr. Kevin Malone, facility physician. We have a critical respiratory case in need of immediate transport to Barton. Can you accommodate?” Malone asks over his cell phone.

“Many thanks. We’ll have her on stand-by. Yes. Yes, I feel she is stable for transport. Yes. We’ll be waiting,” the doctor tells the person on the other end.

“We’ll need to move her to the lobby. When the helicopter comes, the EMTs can secure and collect her,” Dr. Malone says, verbally planning the next moves.

“I’ll help secure her to the gurney, Doc if that’s ok,” Brian offers. Malone does not look like a man in good shape and Sabrina is heavier than she looks. I know, I had to try and pick her up one time when her stiletto heel broke and she fell down. It wasn’t easy!

“You’ve helped a lot already, Mr. Chesney. We appreciate whatever else you got. Thanks for the initiative. I think you saved her life!” Malone grins and pats Brian on the shoulder.

“Sorry about the disagreement. This is my watch and I get protective of it, I’m afraid,” Malone admits.

“Shouldn’t be any other way, Doc. I’m just glad I was here to lend a hand,” Brian says, shruggin’ like it’s nothin’. Bob comes in with the gurney from the elevator around the corner. Snowflake, kind of, drag-carries me out of the way like I’m a puppy. He still can’t quite let go of me.

Brian and Bob manage to heft Sabrina onto the lowered gurney with Dr. Malone guiding and stabilizing her body. This causes Sabrina to groan and toss her head back and forth. She mumbles something that no one can understand and then falls back into unconsciousness. Brian peels her eyelids back and flashes a penlight he must have gotten out of the toolbox into her eyes.

“She’s showing signs of brain trauma. How long before the helicopter comes?” Brian asks as he helps Bob push Sabrina out of the room.

“ETA 10 – 20 depending on that weather system looming off in the distance.” Dr. Malone eyes dark clouds off to the west as they push Sabrina outside to the ski prep house which will be closer to the landing site.

Snowflake jogs up behind them with me barely in his wake. He’s holding a blanket which he quickly puts on Sabrina and tucks around her.

“S-she gets so cold, ya know,” he utters helplessly.

Awww…it’s so unbelievably sweet and sad all at once. I take hold of Snowflake’s hand and put his arm around my neck and shoulders, tucking myself under his armpit.

Brian sees this and the professional steel in his face melts and he comes up to Snowflake and wraps him in a big hug and then kisses his cheek. I’m not jealous. I just want to join in on the love!

“We’re gonna do everything we can, Snowflake. I promise!” Brian says with his deep blue eyes holding Snowflake’s wavering gaze. I look on and can’t help but smile at the total sincerity I see in Brian’s face.

“Will she live, Brian? Truthfully?” Snowflake tightens down, tryin’ to be strong for what he figures will be bad, bad news.

“She’s lived through to this point, baby. That’s a very good sign, but she’s still critical. We’re…just going to have to see.” Brian looks back at Sabrina, who is still unconscious and unresponsive.

The sound of a helicopter’s propellers beating the air suddenly comes up and across the valley. It gets closer and closer until it’s right on top of us.

Suddenly looming over the trees, the Calstar medical emergency air transport speeds in and touches down deftly in the starting zone of the cross-country track. Fortunately, no one is there to get blasted by the blizzard the helicopter kicks up.

Within seconds four EMTs emerge from the helicopter and rush to meet Dr. Malone, who has come out to greet them. They all trot into the ski prep house and they carry Sabrina away to the transport.

Snowflake, Brian, and I are all stand huddled together, linked arm in arm, watchin’ the helicopter lift Sabrina away from us…perhaps forever.

I lose it and I start to weep openly and bury my face in my hands. Snowflake and Brian cover me in their hugs.

Sabrina’s tragedy has glued the three of us together in a way we never thought would ever happen. Through our love of her, we became like brothers to each other today.

Brothers in grief, cryin’ love’s easy tears.

❄️❄️❄️❄️

Snowflake

She goes from me in this way.

In a helicopter’s insides surrounded by strangers who are trying to keep her alive.

With the helicopter gone, I have a strange sense of disconnectedness from the moment. I feel like this is a dream and that I will soon wake up and it won’t be real.

But, as always, the cold against my cheeks reminds me that I am awake and this is reality. The reality that Sabrina may die today…and that it is all my fault!

I have been terribly selfish! I have been negligent to the point of criminality! I should have seen this coming! I should have! I SHOULD have!

I can remember when she first came to Auburn Ski Camp to work at the bar. I could tell she was running away from something. As we got to know each other, her story was told to me.

She had been in and out of rehab a lot of times when she was in San Francisco. She had fallen into addiction to run away from the fact that she needed to transition, but the scarring to her genital area made the procedure risky. Too risky for any transgender surgeon in the San Francisco area to even attempt. Such ‘elective’ surgeries require subjects in very good health and no damage to the areas needing change. The liabilities for the surgeons are too great otherwise.

She had nearly OD’d the week before she was directed to rehab by the court for the third time. One more time and they would have had to incarcerate her. She was never clear about whether it had been an accidental overdose or if she did it on purpose.

Either case does not matter, really. It just showed how little she valued her life as she was forced to live it. All addictions like this are slow suicides, anyway. This is basically true of any heroin or meth addict I have ever met. Invariably they ‘want out’ somehow and heroin is one of the easiest ways to do that.

After that rehab and the excellent counseling she got, Sabrina decided to move out of the city. She found bar work with Albert here at the ski camp and moved out here, far away from temptation.

We became fast friends and when I discovered her truth and she discovered mine, we became somewhat more than friends.

She helped me to come to terms with my being gay. My relationship with her was also a great stepping stone for me, as she was basically both male and female in one package. It made it easier for me to come to terms with things when I had a beautiful ‘woman’ to have sex with.

It also spared me any shame in the face of American sensibilities as nearly everyone believed that Sabrina was a birth-woman.

The Boreal management particularly loved our coupling because we looked like a ‘fairy tale’. The ‘handsome Snow Prince and his beautiful Snow Princess’. They hyped that to St. Petersburg and all other parts of Hell when the ‘Frozen’ film came out. It made for marvelous marketing to children whose parents wanted them to learn to ski. They could take ‘Prince Snowflake’s’ skiing class and then, after that, Princess Sabrina’s ‘ice magic’ class. This was, basically, making paper snowflakes.

She was very talented at making those…was.

Was…

She is in the past tense again. The tense she taught me in English. But I do not want this kind of ‘gone’. Death is too permanent. Far, far too permanent!

We shall never dance our fabulous dances together again. My heart breaks! She was so alive just yesterday, smiling and laughing. I don’t know what happened!

I just don’t know.

How cruel a God this one must be to punish my sin with the death of one so precious and unique! So beautiful! A *real* snowflake!

Sabrina was pure beauty personified. She lit rooms by merely entering them. She commanded attention. Who could not but stare at this Goddess?

God must have been jealous of her light and felt the need to snuff it out.

Oh…now I have fallen into blasphemy. But, it is so easy to be angry at God, who is supposed to love us and care for us. Then, instead, He turns on what He made because it isn’t what He intended. He breaks the mistakes.

Like misshapen pots.

Alas…I am sorry for having felt these things. God didn’t do this, Sabrina did. She chose it as her way out.

I flatter myself when I think that I was the only thing holding her to this world. But, perhaps that is the truth.

With me lost to Brian, what did she have really? This work in this faraway place? A constant reminder that she could never be what she truly is inside?

I treated her like a lady. I treated her just as my Pappa had taught me to treat girls. I treated her gently and with deference because ‘they were not rough like we men’.

She could believe for a while that she was, in fact, the woman she was always meant to be.

Then…that was gone.

I should die with her. That is what I should do.

But, when I look at Brian, I do not want death. I want to live. I want to live with him and for him. Always. Always to follow him. Always love him. My life is tied to his in a way it could never be with Sabrina. It is the Norn’s wish. Even God cannot countermand that, no?

Somehow, in some way, I will always find him. Throughout time and the endless cycles of life and death…I will fall upon his nose like his own personal Snowflake.

How cruel a joke, though, for Sabrina. To find one to make her feel alive again, only to then rip that one away from her and give him to someone else. But, she is meant to be with someone else. If she dies, then that person will not meet her and become one with her. She will have cheated this secret man in an unknown place.

He will be forever incomplete. He will only be living a half-life. Much like I was before I met Brian. Frozen inside. Unable to give Sabrina that deep place inside me where my soul lives. That place was reserved since my birth for Brian.

My tears will come easily for my Sabrina because I will never forget her. She is more than my friend, but less than my soulmate. For I give my life to Brian. I cannot help it. This is gravity. This is irresistible physics. This is meant to be. Sabrina and I were not meant to be. Not in that way.

Now we shall never be anything to each other ever again.

❄️❄️❄️❄️

Albert

I am so fucking outta breath. My old fat ass just can’t move like it used to.

When I heard the roar of the helicopter setting down, I knew something had happened. I saw Calstar on the side of the AIRBUS EC135 and knew somebody was having a very bad day. I had to come running to see. I have to keep reminding myself I’m no spring chicken anymore. Better that I remember before my body reminds me.

I figured it was just another ski accident. I’m glad for skiers because they keep me in tips, but I think they are all crazy bastards. Controlled falling, that’s what I call ‘alpine’ skiing. I think Jusse’s cross-country skiing is more sensible, but admittedly less ‘bang for the buck’ as far as excitement is concerned.

I’m the sort that’s had way more than enough excitement for one lifetime. First, my time with the Marines and then later as a law enforcement officer cured me of wanting that shit anymore.

After seeing too much, I retired and took up bartending. I’d even managed to get my gold shield and made detective, but that didn’t save me from raining bullets in LA from time to time. Craziest goddamned city on the face of the earth, and you can quote me on that! My stint in San Francisco wasn’t much better. Then there was that thing with . . . Christopher and Simon. Some memories only hold madness so I won’t go there!

The old Marine/cop reflexes still come in handy at times, particularly when some young punk gets too much sauce. They always underestimate old Albert and then find themselves out in the snow on their lily-white asses.

I see Marty, the mechanic, trotting back from where the helicopter set down. His rather thick features betray a bit more worry than the usual when an accident happens. We all usually feel bad for the poor sap who’s run into a tree, but then we just shrug and go back to whatever it is we’re doing.

This look is different. Marty keeps looking back at the chopper and running his hands over his short-cropped hair. It’s a tell. Between being a police interrogator and a shoulder to cry on in a bar, I’ve become something of an expert on nonverbal cues.

This has gotten Marty all shook up. Now I must know what is going on!

I grab his attention: “Hey Marty? What’s that all about over there? Did they make it or are they toast?” I ask nonchalantly…but not really feeling it.

Marty tries to avoid my eyes, another tell something’s going on that’s bad. He looks back nervously at the chopper.

“Uuhhh…” he says, now scratching the back of his neck slowly while looking back and forth from me to the chopper.

“Well?” I ask rather sharply to wake him up.

“Well…uh…well…” Marty is starting to piss me off.

“Cough it up, willya?” I don’t shout as much as pitch my volume up enough to rattle his cage. This is an old interrogation trick that works wonders when trying to get someone to divulge information they’d rather not give.

“Well…uh. Yeah. Like it’s Sabrina,” Marty answers unsurely.

My blood runs instantly cold, and I’m out the door at as full a gallop as I can get my lard-butt into. Marty is completely forgotten. I don’t even let him finish telling me what else he knows.

All I need to know is Calstar+Sabrina = Holy Fucking God!

Not my sweet baby! Not my beautiful Sabrina! Not her! Dammit!

My efforts to see her before going are in vain, though. Just as I arrive, the helicopter is lifting off. I see three of the guys standing there: Jusse, Jimmy, and that Mr. Chesney character. They’re huddled together like a bunch of puppies. I see Dr. Malone and Bob walking back in this direction from where the helicopter took off. Both look concerned. I don’t like this. I don’t like this one fucking bit!

As I walk up to the guys, I see that both Jimmy and Jusse have been crying. I feel sick seeing that. Jusse is not the most emotional of men, at least on the surface, and not when he’s sober. I know that he and Sabrina shared a relationship of sorts. I can’t say I wasn’t a little bit, maybe a lot bit, jealous, but then I’m a man from another generation. I taught myself long ago to face facts and the fact of the matter is that I’m not as young as I used to be. Not by a lot, and Jusse, well, he’s the whole enchilada. Looks, heart, resumé. He’s also young.

But I don’t really care about that now. I just need to know how she died, because I think that’s what I am about to hear. When I know the truth, then I can start the grieving process. Damn, I hope I can talk around this lump in my throat.

“Hey, fellas…what’s the deal?” I try to keep it cool, but the quiver in my voice gives me away.

Jimmy, the ever affectionate, unmolds himself from Jusse and Mr. Chesney and engulfs me in a big hug complete with a wet and mucousy face. It’s sweet…if a little gross.

“That’s ok buddy. Let me know what this is all about, kiddo.” I pat Jimmy on the back as he hugs me. My old paternal instincts always kick in. Jimmy reminds me of the son I haven’t seen in 15 years.

“Uh…like…Um, Sabrina…” Jimmy’s voice shudders into a sob. I rub his back to ease the words out of him. I gotta know for certain about her death and how it happened. There’s a cold spot in my chest that hurts but steels me to hold the burden of this grief for the younger ones.

Jimmy is in his 20s, but in many ways, he’s still a child. Oddly enough, Jusse is not much different, really. Just a little older than Jimmy in his emotional maturity. Rather like the older teenaged brother to Jimmy. To some extent, I have replaced my own son with these two. I know their secret hurts and their joys. I knew they were both gay even before they did, and I helped them both with it the best I could.

I watched them grow.

Sabrina, strange though it may seem, as she always looked so much younger than she actually was, worked like a surrogate mom to the two boys. It was that tenderness that caused her and Jusse to get closer even than what they already were.

So, as anxious as I am to hear the terrible news, I am also having the instinctive need to comfort these two. I need to let things come in their good time when Jimmy is ready to tell me. I have to be the strong one and I have to be patient. Two things that are a giant struggle for me at the moment.

“Sabrina OD’d, Albert. They…don’t know if she’s gonna ~sob~ make it,” Jimmy tells me brokenly.

“ODed? Oh no. God no. Not…again.” I find my nose and face pressing into Jimmy’s hair to nuzzle him. He’s shaking with his crying.

“She had been using in her room. We found the heroin and the tools,” Jusse adds, barely keeping it together himself.

“Brian saved her life, but we do not know if it will have been enough. The medics evacuated her just now,” Jusse continues as he manages to swallow back his own tears. He loves her very much in his way, I know this.

I look to Mr. Chesney who is standing respectfully aloof as we share this ‘family’ meeting. He really is an amazing man. Such a stranger here, but someone who’s managed to infiltrate into our little team with remarkable ease.

I reach for his hand and we shake.

“Thank you for doing what you could, Mr. Chesney. Sabrina is, as you might figure, very, very special to us here at Auburn Ski Camp,” I say, though I figure I’m merely stating the obvious to someone who already knows this all too well. I remember their intimate talk in my bar two weeks ago.

“I tried. I hope it is enough. I like Sabrina too. She’s…one of a kind.” Mr. Chesney turns to look at the receding dot that is the helicopter carrying our sweet angel away.

“Please, call me Brian,” he whispers absently.

Just then Dr. Malone and Bob walk up.

“She is stable, but her heart rate is erratic and they are assisting her breathing with a bag. We will just have to take things hour by hour, I’m afraid,” Dr. Malone reports.

This curls in me like a burning love letter. The others sink into the snow a bit more than before. It’s not the kind of news any of us wanted to hear.

“What kind of H was it, Doc? Do you know?” I ask through clenched teeth.

“China White. Probably uncut by the reaction Sabrina had to it. I can’t imagine where she might have gotten ahold of something like that up here. That crap isn’t even popular on Sunset Strip anymore, not with meth so easy to get and cheaper,” Malone muses.

“Well…I aim to find the asshat who brought that shit up here. I have a fantasy of plugging him up with it and watching him gag to death.” I am angrier than I have ever been!

“Um…an understandable reaction, but…” Malone eyes me with distrust and a touch of fear.

“No, Doc. I don’t aim to murder anyone. I will see what I can find out, however. I’ve got to do something. I’ll blow a gasket just serving Tequila Sunrises while Sabrina struggles for her life,” I reassure the Doc and the others.

“I was a detective before I came here. I can still sniff things out. If I get a lead, I’ll tell Boreal Resort Police and then hound them until they do something about this. Useless bunch of SOBs!” I growl bitterly.

“I’m sure they would appreciate the help, Albert. Your record precedes you, on that account.” The doctor knows the chief of security quite well. Obviously, they must talk and exchange gossip. Weird, I never thought of Malone as a gossip.

“We should go to the hospital. She’ll probably be out of it for a couple of days, but it would be good to be there when she wakes up,” Jimmy declares optimistically.

Neither Malone nor Brian press home any sober realities on the boy. It’s best to keep the young as hopeful for as long as possible…before they lose it and become bitter and frightened old men such as myself. I respect their sensitivity to this.

“What’s the situation?” A concerned if ‘all-business’ sounding deep voice speaks from behind us.

Malone takes the lead.

“Yes, Mr. Hutchence. It seems Sabrina has taken ill and needed to be air-vacced out of here to the hospital. We’re still determining the actual cause.” Malone’s obfuscation is a kindness I did not expect from him. Especially, speaking before the Head Honcho himself. All Sabrina needs now is an ‘administrative action’ to complicate her already dire circumstances. As you can tell, I don’t trust the management at this place very much.

Edmond stands by Mr. Hutchence rather like a lieutenant JG aide stands at the elbow of his captain. A likely lapdog.

Mr. Hutchence is a commanding figure. His custom made suit of Italian wool/silk blend, his greying distinguished sideburns, and his sharp steel blue eyes are intimidating even for the most hardened of employees here, like me. I always figured he was ‘connected’ somehow to someone living in one of the palaces around Lake Tahoe. He manages to maintain this place even in the leanest of years when there’s no profit at all and things are supposed to be in the red.

I sometimes think this is a cottage business for him sort of like a plaything. Wealth like that is very hard to understand for a man like me who’s been poor most of his life.

“Hmm…that’s…a damned shame.” Hutchence’s face actually does fall a little upon hearing this news.

“Where is she being taken?” His steely glare fixes on Malone with a burning intensity.

“Barton, Sir.” Doctor Malone calls only Hutchence “Sir”.

“Hmm…that will have to do for now. It’s closest, but I want her transferred to Stanford as soon as it’s safe for her to travel. She’ll be seeing my team of doctors. Edmond, get my helicopter ready and the spare. I want Julius and Pedro to have them warmed up when we arrive. Thereafter, man the desk and attend to the guests. Call in our night shift,” Hutchence says over his shoulder and Edmond hurries off, cell phone in hand, to execute the orders.

Hutchence then casts his pointed index finger in our direction.

“Doctor, we need you here. Same with Bob. The rest of you, come with me.” With that Hutchence turns sharply on his heel in the snow and marches off back toward the lodge. We follow in his wake.

❄️❄️❄️❄️

Sabrina

I live in dreams. Pink and black and violet and blue. My mom was just here. Not my dad. Not my dad. He couldn’t make it. He isn’t allowed here yet.

So many colors. Colors without names. Spinning. Whirling…and there is such peace. Warm. Nothing to fear. Nothing to be sad about.

His face glows boldly as a backdrop to all the colors. He shines like an angel. That beautiful pale face. Those riveting grey-blue eyes. He speaks, but I don’t hear him.

Why does he look so sad? There is nothing to be sad about. Nothing at all!

Shhhh. Don’t cry! Don’t cry…you’ll make me cry! It’s a sin to cry here. It’s always peaceful. Never sad. Warm. Nothing to fear.

Only in the world where there are no other ways to express it, does love cry in easy tears. Here we can shine! Shine brave and bold and honest as ourselves in every color!

The crying hurts me somewhere dull. Like lower. Like I feel the weight of things pulling. Pulling me back! Back. Back down.

Down to the world. No!

Yes.

No…it hurts.

It hurts in my throat. It hurts a lot. Uuh! Why does it hurt?

Don’t pull my hand away, fucker! It hurts in there! Stop it!

“Sss…tto p. Hurts.” I hear a deep, gravelly voice. Is it mine?

“Mr. Turner. You mustn’t move, Hon! We’re taking your breathing tube out!” A kind female voice that belongs to the one holding my hands away from what hurts.

I hear a whine from someone and I want to get up and get away! Where am I? Why do I hurt? Stop it!

“STRR K PIIIIT!” I hear someone squeal with something in their mouth. The hands are holding me down now. They won’t let me up!

“Sedative, Rachael. She shouldn’t be awake for this,” a deep voice says.

“Yes, Dr. Philips,” I hear the hand-bitch say. Then it’s warm again and…

❄️❄️

“Sabrina! Are you awake? Sabrina?” My Blanco! I can hear him in here. What is he doing in here? This is only a place for the dead!

I feel a strong hand on my hand. I open my eyes slowly because the bright light hurts them. The world is blurry and I don’t know where I am or what’s going on.

“….Blanc–o? Istha you?” My hand squeezes his and he squeezes back.

“I am right here, Sabrina. We have been here since just a little bit after you arrived here by helicopter.” The Finnish accent is so smoothly comforting to me. I wish I was a Finn. Calm and strong. Such smart things to be.

“W-hy? Wo-rk ta-do,” I rasp.

“Why?” Snowflake is astonished, I guess. He has so many clients. He has work to do. Mr. Hutchence won’t like him taking the time this close to Christmas.

“Ch-ristm-ass r-sh rush.” I am getting tired, but I want to talk to my white knight.

“Ah, it’s long past Christmas, Sabrina. It is nearly April!” Snowflake looks scared.

I am confused. Why it was just Christmas in a few days! We were going to light the tree and then make love under it, just like last year. We called it ‘wrapping the presents’.

There is a man behind Snowflake. I don’t like him. He looks like an asshole.

“Who, ~cough~ s that?” I try to point, but I can only lift my finger. I am tired.

“This is Brian, Sabrina. Do you not remember him? He is a client and a friend. He saved your life,” Snowflake says.

I never met this person in my life. I also don’t like him. He is standing too close to my Blanco.

But…I’m so tired.

“Uuugh…” It hurts in my throat and chest again. I feel so tired.

“I think we should leave him to rest for a while, gentlemen. He has only been conscious for two hours now. Things will be fuzzy for him for the next week or so,” a pleasant female voice says.

Him?

I feel my eyes snap open and look in the direction of the voice. It’s a small Filipino nurse adjusting the blinking beeping machines.

“NnnOT…HIM!” I don’t recognize my own voice it’s so coarse and….masculine!

The nurse merely turns and calmly looks at me.

“But of course you are. You are a him. I have given you the right urinal. You will be ok!” She seems to not understand anything.

I feel my fist crash onto the service tray next to my bed and it squirts out from under the blow to hit the window blinds.

“Not ‘him’, ‘her’! I am Sabrina!” I bellow.

The stunned nurse merely looks at me in shock and then examines my hand.

“Tsk…You may have hurt your hand, Mr. Turner! You may have broken it. You must be more careful! I don’t want to have to sedate you again,” she says, examining my finger joints for breaks.

I suddenly feel so tired. I can’t take any of this. Snowflake’s stranger client. This dumb ass nurse calling me a guy! This fucking bed!

My lost….love.

Brian and Snowflake. No.

I remember now.

“Do not cry, Mr. Turner. It will be ok! We can get you something!” the nurse strokes my throbbing hand.

I already had something…and it didn’t work.

The tears come hot and easy. My heart is broken. My love is lost. It’s easy to cry.

I may never stop.

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