It's three in the afternoon, why the hell is the bar so crowded? It's not a holiday, there's no big game on, I can't think of one reason why... Oh, I see it. There's a party going on towards the back. Looks like most of the people here are with that group. Terrific, that means I have to wait behind all of these people before I'll get served.
For one moment, I think about just turning around and joining Jane upstairs, but I sidle up the bar instead and wait my turn. I'm not quite sure what I feel when it comes to Jane. I need a few minutes to sort it out.
When she admitted on the air that she was that anti-male psychologist, I felt so... betrayed. Then she chased after me and told me that she loved me and I just felt... well, I don't know. Confusion was most of it, but not all.
Don't get me wrong, she's a great gal and has become a real close friend, but when she said all that stuff, I just had to pull her close and kiss her. I felt more than friendship when we did that, too. It's been so long, years since I felt anything close to that.
After Becca dumped me, I didn't think I'd ever love again, but I think there might be a bit of love there. There sure as hell is a lot of like. I can see living with her for a long time. She sure keeps things interesting, and that's not only because of today. She's smart and we can talk for hours on just about anything. She's the first woman I've really bothered to get to know in years.
Not that I haven't been with women. I just stayed closed off and never really bothered to get to know them. All I was ever looking for was a night or two of fun and a quick goodbye.
I don't want that with Jane. Sure, I want the fun, but that's not all. That's not even a big part of it, really. I just want Jane, everything about her, anything she wants to share with me. I want to share myself with her.
"Hey, Eddie," Rob says as he finally finishes up with the group of customers and walks over to me. "The usual?"
He already has a napkin down and is turning to grab the bottle when I say, "Nah, need a bottle of... champagne."
Yeah, not wine. We're celebrating. Champagne's right.
"Champagne, huh? Got a gal upstairs? You usually ask for wine."
"Yeah, well, she's no ordinary gal."
"New wife, huh?"
That's what I'd always say when a met a new woman. That she'd be my perfect wife. Of course, after a few dates, I'd find a problem with the "wife" and move on. Jane's not like that.
"No, Rob, it's not like that any more. She's it."
"Yeah, right," he says, casually dismissing me.
He doesn't understand, but he'll see. I can feel it. Everything's changing.
I grab the hefty bottle and make my way out to the stairs and up to our apartment. *Our* apartment. That's the way it is. That's how it's been for a while. How'd I miss noticing that until now?
Jane's doing something in there. I can hear a loud, hollow thumping sound.
I pull out my keys, but when I put the first one in the keyhole, the door pushes open. Jane's lived in New York for years. What's she doing leaving a door open? Well, she was expecting me to be right up. She probably just left it open for me.
I open my mouth to call to her as I walk through the door, but my call dies in my throat when I see a man's head and shoulders peeking up from behind the couch where he's crouching. He's rocking back and forth in time to the beating sound, and I realize he's pounding something on my hardwood floor. What the hell is this guy doing in my apartment and what's he doing to my floor? It's not the super. Could it be someone working for him?
I walk towards him, but he hasn't seemed to notice me yet. He's totally focused on whatever he's doing.
When I come around the kitchen counter, the realization strikes me like a punch. Jane's feet are poking out from behind the couch. She's there and she's trapped beneath him.
With a wordless scream, I launch myself over the couch and at the guy, swinging the champagne bottle at his head like a club. I have to get to Jane. She's gotta be ok. He... I'm gonna kill him.
I hear a crack when I make contact, but the bottle doesn't break over his head like I'd expected. He collapses on top of Jane, and I hit him two more times, yelling at him to get off of her. It's only then that I realize he's unconscious, and I gotta move him myself. It takes some pulling and a few kicks but I finally get him moved.
That's when I finally get a glimpse of Jane. There's blood surrounding her head like a halo and still spreading out as I watch. He beat... her head... I wanna pick her up, just hold her close and make sure she's ok, but I don't want to risk hurting her anymore. I've gotta get help.
The phone. Where's the phone? I stumble up away from her broken body to the portable kitchen phone before returning to her side.
Nine-eleven. Gotta call for help. I look down at the numbers and am momentarily baffled. I've pressed in the nine, but where's the eleven key? Eleven, eleven. I need... Wait, not eleven. One-one.
"Nine-one-one, do you have an emergency?" a tinny voice asks after a few rings.
"Yeah, my girlfriend. She's bleeding and she needs help, now!"
"Ok, I have your address on my screen. Calm down. I'm sending an ambulance now. What are her injuries?"
"Her head's bleeding. I don't... I don't know what else. The guy was just beating her head into the floor."
"A guy? Is he still there? Do you need police, too?"
"Yeah... I hit him and he's passed out, but he's still here."
"Ok, I'm sending another ambulance and officers should arrive soon. Now, about your girlfriend. How much blood is there?"
"A lot and there's more coming."
"You said he was beating her head on the floor, right?"
"There might be a skull fracture. Try not to touch the wound. Ok, let's check ABC. Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Is she breathing?"
"I dunno. I don't want to hurt her. How do I..."
"Bend over, tilt her head back, and put your cheek close to her mouth. You need to listen for breathing, feel for any air on your cheek, and watch to see if her chest rises."
I do as she tells me, listening, feeling, and watching for any sign of life.
"I don't think she's breathing."
"It's only been a couple seconds. Give it a little more time."
I give it a few more seconds, but she's totally still.
"No, she's not... What do I do!?"
"Pinch her nose shut, cover her mouth completely with your own, creating a seal, and give her four, quick breaths, watching to make sure her chest rises."
I put down the phone, follow her instructions exactly, and then pick it back up and ask, "Now what?"
"Put your index and middle finger on her neck just to the side of her windpipe and feel for a pulse."
"I... Yeah, I got one."
"Good. Now, you need to breathe for her every five seconds. Count to yourself, 'one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, breathe.' Repeat that for about a minute and then check to see if she's breathing again."
I do just like she says. It's exhausting, but I'm doing ok. Then after about a minute or so, it starts getting harder and harder to get her chest to rise. After a couple more sets, my breath just comes back at me and her chest doesn't rise at all. Frantically, I pick up the phone.
"It's not working anymore! I can't get any air in!"
She asks me more questions and then she tells me to go check that the door's open for the paramedics and check her for any other injuries she might have. It's busy work, and I know it.
"Dammit! She's not breathing!"
"I know, but there's nothing more we can do until the paramedics arrive."