Screw waiting. Jane's dying here, right in front of me. There has to be something I can do.
I bend over and try breathing for her again, but there's no difference. I can't get any air into her. It's like something's blocking it. Gingerly, I pull her jaw open, trying to see what's causing the problem.
Her tongue looks like it's fallen back in her mouth. Could that be what's... I crouch lower, trying to see better, when I hear voices in the hallway. The door's still wide open, and I can hear them coming from the other end of the building.
"Hey! In here!" I yell, desperate to get Jane help. I'm sure not doing her any good. She needs someone who knows what the hell he's doing.
Two officers edge into the apartment, guns drawn. They see me across the room and the older one yells, "Police! Freeze!"
"Hey, hey, I'm the one who called you guys! Put the guns down."
"Where's the attacker?"
"Over here behind me. Unconscious. Where's the paramedics?"
"They're behind us."
"Well, get them the hell in here!" I demand.
They ignore me, carefully walking into my apartment with guns still up and ready. They make their way around the kitchen counter and over to the couch. It's only when they see the guy on the floor that they relax.
"All clear," the older one shouts and then the paramedics race in.
Thank heavens. There's four of 'em, but only two come over to help me with Jane, a guy and a gal.
"She's not breathing. You gotta help her."
The guy starts going through his gear, but the gal's kneeling down by Jane's head. I scoot over to get out of her way, but still stay with Jane, grasping her hand with mine.
"Oh," I gasp. There's something really wrong with her hand here. It's moving around loosely, at angles it shouldn't be able to make. I set it down quickly. "Hey... Hey, I think her arm's broken."
"First things first. How long has she been like this?" the gal asks as she fishes around in her box and pulls out a long plastic tube and an L-shaped piece of metal.
"I... I don't know. When I got to her, she wasn't breathing. I called for help right away, so however long that was... Five minutes or so?"
She doesn't answer me. Her face is scrunched up in concentration, and she's using that piece of metal to sweep Jane's tongue out of the way to try to get the tube down her throat.
From her expression, I think something's wrong. Should it be taking this long?
"Paul, get over here. I need crycoid pressure."
The guy, Paul, puts his hand on my shoulder and nudges me further over so he can help. I won't leave Jane, though. I can't. Reaching out, I grasp onto her ankle. It's like if I can just touch her, she'll know I'm here and she'll be ok.
Paul puts his hand on her freshly bruising throat, but whatever he's doing doesn't seem to be helping. The gal still can't get the tube in.
She looks up at him in frustration. "There's too much swelling. I can't see the cords. I can't even get the tube to move."
"Let me try, Nat," Paul says, and they switch places.
It doesn't seem to be working for him either.
Every second that passes, Jane's dying a little. You can't survive without air for very long. They have to help her now.
"Do something!" I demand.
"We're working on it," that Nat gal counters. Then she turns to her partner. "Whaddaya think? Trach?"
He nods. "Only way."
They put away the tubing they'd been working with and pull out some different stuff along with a nasty looking scalpel.
"Hey, what're you doing?"
"Look, her throat's swollen shut," she snaps, exasperated. Then she takes a deep breath and explains more calmly, "Sorry. I know you're upset. We need to cut into her throat to bypass the swelling and help her breathe."
My mouth's so dry it feels like I've never had a drink in my life. That sounds horrible. Still, if they have to... "Do it. Whatever. Just save her."
There's less blood than I expected. They do it quick and soon Paul's pumping air into Jane using a plastic bulb while Nat's gently wrapping her head wound with gauze. I'm just relieved that she's finally breathing again. How long did she go without air, three minutes, five minutes? Will the lack of air cause permanent damage?
I'm so caught up with Jane, I don't hear the officer talking to me until he puts a hand on my shoulder and says, "Hey, I asked you a question."
"Is this your apartment?"
"Yeah," I answer and turn back to Jane.
"I need to take a statement from you," He continues.
"Can't it wait?" I need to stay with Jane, at least until she's at the hospital and in good hands.
He pauses for a moment and then answers, "Yeah, ok."
I go back to focusing on Jane. I give her ankle a little squeeze and will her to hang on. She's got to. We're just starting something. She can't leave now. Not when I'm just realizing how much I really care for her.
I just watch and hope as Nat finishes with the head bandages and puts a brace on her swelling arm. Soon, they're ready to move her to the stretcher, and I have to let go of Jane for a second to let Paul move her.
I'm back, right by her side out to the ambulance and during the ride to the hospital through traffic. There were some times when we came to a complete stop. New York drivers. The sirens blared away but it didn't do much good. It was like every driver was deaf. Made me so mad I wanted to go out and make 'em move.
Finally, we got to the hospital and they took Jane away from me. One of the nurses led me to the crowded waiting room, but I couldn't sit still. Not when Jane's barely holding on in there. I've gotta know what's happening. I have to do something, talk to someone.
Liz. I'll call Liz. She's Jane's best friend. She'll know who else to call, friends, family. Jane'll want all the support she can get.
I look up M Magazine's main number and ask the receptionist to connect me.
"Liz Davis," she answers after three rings.
"Liz," I start, then... well, I don't know what to say. How do you tell someone news like this? Hey, your friend got attacked while I was downstairs buying champagne and she might not recover, but I'm real sorry?
"Liz, it's Eddie."
Something in my voice must've given it away 'cause she answers, "Oh no. It's Jane, isn't it? What's wrong? Where is she?"
"She's... well, she's been hurt but she's at St. Vincent's Hospital, and..."
Her voice cracks with emotion as she asks, "The hospital? Is she going to be ok?"
"I... I don't know yet, but I think so. Just... I don't have any phone numbers. I need you to call everyone she'd want down here."
"Yeah... yeah, right, ok," she says with a sniffle.
I say my goodbyes, and when I get off the phone with Liz and turn around, that cop from back at the apartment is waiting for me.
"Can I ask those questions now?"
I sigh. There's nothing left to do, at least not until the docs update me or Liz shows up. Might as well.
He leads me outside, where we might have at least a little privacy, and as I follow him, I can feel all the adrenaline just flowing out of me. I need a smoke so bad now.
Once we sit down on the curb, I pull out a Marlboro and offer him one. He shakes his head, so I pocket the pack and light up. The nicotine's already starting to settle my nerves when he says, "Let's start with you telling me exactly what happened."
So, I do. I don't miss one step, especially about how I found Jane. That image'll stick in my nightmares for years.
While I keep coming back to Jane, Officer Miller keeps asking about the guy in my apartment. Did I know him? Had I ever seen him before? What did I hit him in the head with? Why did I hit him more than once? Did I try to help him like I did Jane?
"The guy broke into my house and was killing my girlfriend!" I burst out, jumping to my feet and yelling around my fifth or sixth cigarette. "I don't care about him. She could be dying in there 'cause of him."
Then the cop asks a question that makes my jaw drop and my cigarette butt fall to the ground. "He's dead. Did you mean to kill him?"