Bridget’s memory had been blurry after she fell to the ground. She only noticed an indescribable pain in her right ankle and Sarah rushing to her side, supporting her head and screaming. She saw Franky standing there frozen in shock. She couldn’t tell how long it took until Vera came running. She was on her phone. Franky had wanted to kneel down in front of Bridget when Sarah was shouting at her: “Stay the fuck away from her!”
She was pulled away from a tall person short after, Will perhaps.
Bridget saw those apologizing green eyes, wide in shock, and quivering lips.
The rest was in a haze. Bridget heard sirens coming closer. She was lifted on a gurney soon and found herself in the inner of an ambulance. She noticed a paramedic fixing an i.v. access to her arm. When she turned her head slightly she saw Sarah sitting next to her holding her hand.
“It‘ll be better soon, honey, they‘ll give you something against the pain now,” Sarah reassured and stroke over her knuckles.
Sarah was discussing something with the paramedic who clearly seemed to be annoyed that she was interfering. Bridget didn’t understand what exactly they were arguing about. She suddenly felt dizzy and tired and closed her eyes. When she woke again she was already in an examination room at the hospital. The artificial illumination was burning in her eyes. She squeezed them shut when she felt a hand caressing the top of her head.
Franky!, she thought instantly. A slight tilt of the head exposed something else though. Someone else. Sarah was still sitting next to her, offering a sad smile even though worry was painted all over her face.
“Hey, there you are,” she spoke calmly. Bridget blinked and waited for her to continue.
“They have to take an X-ray of your ankle soon, darling.”
She didn’t beat around the bush. She told Bridget that she assumed the ankle to be broken. The question was how bad it was.
“Happy New Year,” Bridget laughed wryly through her nose. The clock had struck midnight while they were on their way to the hospital.
“How are you feeling? Are you in pain?,” Sarah squeezed Bridget’s hand.
Bridget shook her head in response.
“Just tired and a little dizzy. Pain‘s tolerable,” she stated wearily.
“I required not to give you too heavy meds since I know how sensitive you are,” Sarah winked and continued “and I made sure that you‘ll get surgery instantly if necessary.”
Bridget rolled her eyes feigning annoyance. Sarah was completely in her element. Bridget certainly didn’t have much good words to say about Sarah lately, but if Sarah was something, she was definitely caring about her patients.
Two nurses came into the room dealing with some paperwork and checking on Bridget. They were chatting about a random guy whilst doing their work. The two looked pretty young Bridget noticed. One of them squeezed Bridget’s hand slightly and had a closer look to the i.v. line in her arm.
“Ok Miss Westfall, here we go. X-rays is waiting,” one of them said to her.
Sarah slowly got up from the chair next to Bridget as if to follow her when the other nurse pointed out “It won’t take long until we have the results. You can wait outside in the waiting area.”
Sarah opened her mouth to disagree when Bridget took her hand and smiled reassuringly but sadly “It‘s ok, see you in a few.”
* * * * *
Bridget was back in the examination room in no time, her x-ray image fixed against the bright viewer at the wall. Sarah was standing in front of it not saying anything at all.
The concern in Bridget grew exponentially because she knew Sarah and it was never a good sign when she stayed quiet like that. It usually meant bad news. Bridget inhaled deeply and was about to ask the question nobody wanted to hear when the door opened and a middle-aged man entered the room followed by one of the nurses from before.
“Morning Miss Westfall, I‘m Dr. Rodriguez,” he said thickly, his voice filled with sleep.
Bridget gave him a weak smile in response and nodded briefly.
“I already had a quick look at your x-rays and discussed it with the radiologist. Bad news are that your ankle probably had to take quite a bit. Good news are that it‘s gladly pretty quiet right now so you can have surgery instantly.”
Bridget’s eyes widened in shock at this diagnosis. Until this point she was still hoping that surgery wasn’t necessary and she had only sprained her ankle very badly.
“Which bones are fractured? And which procedure will you chose?,” Sarah interrupted.
The doctor turned towards her looking at her in surprise with raised eyebrows.
“And you are?,” he asked.
“She‘s my-,” Bridget began and didn’t even know how to name Sarah now. Her ex? A friend?
“I‘m Miss Westfall‘s partner and a surgeon, too,” Sarah cut in.
“We have a clear fracture of the lateral malleolus here joined by a torn lateral ligament of the ankle,” the doctor explained.
“Which exact type of fracture do we have here though? Do you even know that? Isn’t some MRI necessary to diagnose it exactly? See, there are different levels of fractures and they need to-” Sarah probed.
“Miss.... you are an orthopedic surgeon, or?,” the doctor intervened before she could go any further and folded his arms in front of his chest.
Bridget seemed pretty uncomfortable in the meantime since Sarah - like always - wanted to decide everything for her and show everyone what a good surgeon she was. Nothing against the latter but it annoyed Bridget like hell that Sarah just didn’t let the doctor do his job.
“No, I‘m a trauma surgeon and internal medicine surgeon, but-”
The doctor tried to calm her yet he was obviously annoyed by Sarah’s attitude either.
“Look, Miss Westfall is in good hands here. We, that’s my resident on call and I, already figured out a plan. We‘ll go the conservative way. We‘ll fix the fracture with screws and plates to get the bone into the right place again,” he turned towards Bridget while explaining because she was the patient at least.
When the doctor approached Bridget and squeezed her forearm, he continued with a reassuring nod “Don’t worry, you‘ll be out of the OR in no time.”
Bridget reciprocated with smile of her own.
“How long will the recovery take?,” she asked quietly, her eyes focused downwards on a random crease in the sheet covering her.
“Well, unfortunately, 6 weeks with a splint after or at least until the soft tissues are not swollen anymore. No full weight-bearing until then, perhaps partial weight-bearing after a few weeks. Depends on the healing process.”
So that meant 6 weeks on crutches and barely able to go anywhere at all except physical therapy and doctor appointments. Fucking great. Bridget didn’t even know where to stay at that point because being alone in her house would hardly work the first days or even weeks after being released from the hospital. But she was too fucking tired to think about that at the moment.
“Ok, let’s get started then,” Bridget finally spoke.
* * * * * * *
“Franky, what the fuck happened,” Will asked her when they were sitting next to each other at the beach bar. He had dragged her back there after the accident happened and Sarah yelled at her. And Will knew Franky and her temper.
Franky sat there, silently, head bowed, both of her hands clutching a bottle of beer.
Rose stood behind the bar and was about to pour something stronger into three small glasses.
Franky raised her hand to stop her “Not for me. Wanna go to the hospital later. Do you know where they brought Gidget to?”
Rose and Will exchanged a short glance.
“Franky-,” Will started.
“Don‘t,” Franky cut in.
Silence filled the space. Will and Rose knew better than trying to convince Franky of something she didn’t wanna hear anyways.
* * * * * *
Bridget woke in the early hours of the mourning. Her eyelids felt heavy and she needed time to localize where she was. She was laying in a hospital bed, a monitor was beeping with it‘s steady rhythm next to her. An i.v. line was fixed in the crook of her arm and her injured leg was positioned in massive splint. She pressed her head further back into the pillow and briefly squeezed her eyes shut. Unfortunately, everything what had happened wasn’t just a bad dream. She turned her head slightly and found Sarah sleeping in the chair next to the bed. Who was she kidding? Did she really expect Franky sitting there? She briefly had to laugh ironically through her nose.
Sarah noticed the movement and dashed forward. She smiled released when she saw that Bridget was awake.
“Hey,” she spoke calmy, “there she is.”
It hurt Bridget more than any physical pain to hear those words. Didn’t Franky once say that to her? There she is. Bridget remembered as if it were yesterday. That strong feeling in her belly that she had when she visited Franky back then at Wentworth. How Franky’s eyes gleamed when she entered the visitors center. How the other inmates turned around and hardly believed their eyes that Bridget was actually visiting Franky Doyle. Their former psychologist. Everyone probably thought at that point that the rumors were true but Bridget didn’t care. All that mattered was Franky and it was so fucking good to see her back then. Franky was desperate for her help and so Bridget would never refuse. I wish I could say no. But Bridget was at a loss. She really wanted to do something for Franky, but she didn’t see how. And it was too risky anyways. When she came home that night she decided she had to let go. She tried once when she resigned and left Wentworth and still Franky managed to drag her back in. This had to stop. Pack your things up and leave, once and for all, otherwise it will destroy you, Bridget, she had told herself.