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Steven remained asleep for most of the morning finally coming around a little before noon. Almost as soon as he woke up a nurse appeared to check on him. Debbie and I stood back while she went around checking things, lifting his robe to check his bandages, drainage tube, IV, etc. The nurse explained how his pain meds worked that you could only press the button for more only so many times in a day and that it would likely knock him out for an hour or two. She left the room after 15 minutes and left us alone with him.
"Are you in pain right now?" Debbie asked.
"Not really. It's managable right now mom." Steven replied, "I'm glad you made it down but I'm sorry you have to see me like this Jason."
"I would rather see you like this than the alternative after someone gets shot." I started sobbing.
Steven squeezed my hand, "I have a lot to live for."
About half an hour later my parents and Bryan came in and the water works started flowing for everyone. Soon enough the conversation made its way to the shooting itself with Steven asking the majority of the questions.
"Did the guy who shot me live or die? Were the children harmed? How's Stan? How were you guys notified?" Steven rattled off.
Debbie took the lead answering, "Stan is fine. He shot and killed the guy who shot you. You protected the kids and the CPS worker. Stan called us to let us know. That Dustin guy was on a ride along in town and they pulled up as we were leaving and escorted us through town to the freeway."
"After seeing to your parents, he came out to our house and let us know what had happened." John spoke, "We met your parents down here along with family and officials from the department."
Steven just nodded to the answers of his questions. He didn't ask for more details and stayed rather quiet for an hour. Around 2PM there was a knock at the door and Debbie recognized them; inviting them inside.
"Debbie, good to see you again but I'm sorry it is under these circumstances," the man started. "Steven, I am Sergeant Scott and this is Detective Griffin, we are with Internal Affairs and part of the shooting review board. Do you think you are able to answer some questions for us?"
"Sure, just take it easy or I'll hit the painkiller button and fall asleep on you." Steven chuckled, immediately grabbing his side when he felt a sharp pain and an audible 'ouch.'
The nurse came running into the room to see what happened and check on Steven. She warned everyone and Steven especially to refrain from laughing if possible and for the guys from IA to go easy on him so soon after surgery. The IA guys said they needed privacy during the questions and asked us to wait outside. Anne suggested we go to the cafeteria while Debbie said she was going to step outside for a cigarette and asked Bryan to get here a Diet Coke.
We walked to the cafeteria and ordered food from the grill as the stuff in the food line looked unappealing. Food and drink in hand we found a table as Debbie joined us.
"Well, he seems to have his sense of humor back quickly." John started.
"What sort of stuff do you think they will ask him?" Anne asked.
"Probably just his recollection of what happened. Have him walk them through a sequence of events. Ask him questions about certain parts to get a detailed idea of what happened so they can file a complete report." Debbie answered.
"Is this going affect him returning to his volunteer work?" I asked.
"The injury will keep him sidelined on ride alongs as well as other possible events they are supposed to work. They may allow him to do shifts at dispatch but I'm not sure what the head advisor will say. If Steven was to be found at fault for anything in this situation, he could be removed from the volunteer program but after talking to Stan afterwards, it sounds like Steven acted in line with policy and should be fine." Debbie went on to explain.
A little after 2PM we went back to Steven's room and found him asleep. The nurse informed us that he took another round of pain meds after the detectives left. Bryan said he would stay with Steven for the night and urged Debbie to go home, clean up and rest. My mother said I had to come home tonight now that Steven was going to be okay but I tried to protest. My father affirmed my mother's decision and at that point I knew I had no choice but to go along with it. If I fought dad on it, I wouldn't be able to see Steven until he got out of the hospital. We said our goodbyes and left to go home.
The drive home seemed longer than usual and it hurt inside knowing that each time I thought about it, that I was going further and further away from where Steven was. My mother sensed my despair and tried to engage me.
"Honey, do you think you can get Steven's work from his teachers while he is in the hospital and recovering and take it to him each day. Maybe help him with it a bit? We'll pay for your gas and you will be able to see Steven every day after school until he goes back himself."
"I was hoping you or Steven's parents would ask me to do that. I gladly accept." I smiled.
I awoke sometime just before 5PM when the smells of food were making their way through the halls. The doctor put me on a clear liquid diet which really makes feeding time feel like torture time. Hospital food can be unappealing but when faced with the dietary restrictions that a doctor orders, I would eat almost anything they brought near me. Dad was next to me when I awoke and we chatted about this and that but nothing intensive. I think he was trying to keep me from getting worked into a tizzy. We tried to watch some TV but there was only so much news a person can watch between 5PM and 7PM.
There was a blip about my shooting as a follow up story but my name was withheld due to my age. All they said about me was that I was in stable condition and expected to pull through. My pain stayed away for the majority of the night, enough to watch Jeopardy and play against my dad; something we enjoy doing. Mom can't keep up with us especially when it comes to anything geography, math or history related. The only time she feels smart is if they are talking about something legal or biblical. Mom did return close to 8PM to see me before visiting hours were over and I told both of them that I was fine and they could go home and get a proper nights sleep.
The left at half after 8 and left me to my thoughts. That sergeant that mom knew was okay. The other guy was a prick. He wanted every fucking detail like where I placed my hands when I was rushing and covering the kids, getting them to the car? Why did I use 999 (officer down) instead of man down since I was not an actual peace officer? Did I know the family and could I have been shot because of another reason not related to why I was there? I mean was this guy for real? I answered his questions but at some point after the first one I began to wonder what the fuck and are these questions really necessary and crucial to your investigation. I got a little snarky with the fucker near the end and the sergeant caught on and said they had enough for their report. As they were leaving, he was the last one out and made eye contact with me. He tilted his head towards his partner, rolled his eyes and mouthed an apology. After that shit I was just done and wanted to sleep.
After trying to clear my head of the interview I turned down the volume on the TV and went to sleep without the aid of medication.
Thank you to my readers and stay tuned for the next chapter to appear shortly. All comments are welcome, please no flames. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org