As Hood had predicted, two detectives from internal affairs showed up less than ten minutes after his departure. After informing Leslie that the arrest warrant against her had been rescinded in light of new evidence, they proceeded to take her statement. Leslie recounted to them to the entire chain of events, beginning with her rescue of Jocelyn Parker. To her, it felt like months had passed since that day when, in reality, less than two weeks had elapsed.
Almost two hours passed before she finished. She left nothing out, although she did her best to downplay the role her feelings for Jake had played in the choices she had made. The truth was, she didn't feel ready to examine that aspect of her actions right now. She had chosen her heart over her head at nearly every turn, no matter the stakes involved. She had endangered not only her own life, but those of countless strangers, in doing so. No matter what the eventual conclusion of the internal investigation would be, she doubted she would be able to forgive herself any time soon. The fact that it had all turned out relatively well was no extenuation. She had done the unforgivable by putting her personal feelings over her professional responsibilities.
Hence she was all the more surprised when no probing questions about her relationship with Jake Doyle followed. Instead, the two detectives seemed satisfied with her account, at least for the moment, and left. When Leslie had asked about her official status, they had been non-committal, saying that for now she was on paid sick-leave. Anything else would depend on the progress of their investigation. It wasn't a very satisfying answer, but Leslie hadn't expected it to be.
After the visit from the internal affairs detectives, Leslie must have dozed off, because the next thing time she opened her eyes, it was dusk outside. She wasn't wearing a watch, so it was hard to tell how much time had passed, but it had to have been at least a few hours. She wasn't sure that she had been wearing a watch before, but decided to check the nightstand anyway. She turned her head, only to discover a huge bouquet of flowers neatly arranged in a vase sitting on the nightstand. That hadn't been there before, she was sure of it. Curious to learn who had sent the flowers, she opened the attached card.
Thanks for everything.
That was all it said. There was no name indicating who the sender might be.
A knock on the door distracted her from the mystery.
"Come in," she answered.
A petite woman with dark-rimmed glasses entered the room. There was something familiar about the young woman, but Leslie couldn't place her.
"Good to see you awake, Ms Bennett. How do you feel?"
Leslie thought over the question. "Sore, but okay...I guess." She had been so wrapped up in her other problems that she had hardly given any thought to her injuries until now.
"Well, I'm not sure I can confirm that assessment," the doctor answered in mild amusement. "I might even go as far as to say that you got yourself banged up pretty good. More specifically, you got partial fracture of the right wrist, two cracked as well as one broken rib, a bullet wound to the left arm that tore muscle, assorted lacerations, abrasions and bruises and several torn ligaments in your left ankle."
The woman let that information sink in for a moment, then continued:
"There isn't much we can do about the fractures, except try and make sure that the bone knits evenly. To that end, we have put your wrist in a cast, which will have to stay on for maybe four weeks. We've also cleaned and restitched that bullet wound since most of the original stitches had been torn. There are signs of infection, so we have you on antibiotics which will hopefully clear up the infection. Your ankle is a bit more problematic. Due to the extent of the damage, you'll need surgery to repair the damage to your ligaments. There was considerable swelling by the time you were admitted. We are treating that with medication right now. Our orthopedic surgeon will see you later and discuss the details of the surgery with you."
Leslie nodded, a little stunned at hearing the full list of her injuries. "How long will I have to stay here?"
It wasn't like she had anywhere in particular she needed to be. Given what she had just learned, it would be weeks until she had recovered sufficiently to return to work and that wasn't even taking into account the internal investigation which might very well put an end to her career. The prospect of being stuck at home alone with nothing to do wasn't appealing, but it sure beat being stuck in hospital.
"It depends on how soon you can have surgery, which in turn depends on how fast we can bring down the swelling. After surgery, assuming a normal recovery without complications, you should be out of here inside a week. However, you will need to follow a physical therapy regimen on an outpatient basis after your discharge. Also, if you have any family or friends who can stay with you for a while, that would be good. You will have difficulties getting around for a while, so you'll need someone to help you."
Great, Leslie thought. Just great. She had hoped that at least her personal life would go back to normal once she was released from hospital, even if her career still hung in the balance, but apparently it was not to be.
Out loud however, she made a vague statement of agreement, deciding she would cross that bridge when she came to it.
After the doctor had left, Leslie tried get some rest, but her mind refused to cooperate. Finally, she gave up and pressed the call button to summon a nurse. A few minutes later, a nurse appeared. She was young and appeared decidedly apprehensive as she entered the room.
"Is something wrong, Ms Bennett?" she asked nervously, her gaze flitting around the room and finally settling on a spot above Leslie's head.
"I was wondering if I could get access to a phone?" Leslie asked, puzzled by the nurse's demeanor.
"Uhm...I don't know...I'll need to go check that with my supervisor," the young woman stammered before turning on her heel and making a hasty retreat.
Leslie stared after her, wondering what had the nurse so rattled, when it occurred to her for the first time that her picture had probably been all over the news ever since the bombing and especially after Calvin had kidnapped her following the ambush. That girl probably thought Leslie was a terrorist. No wonder she had been scared.
Still, less than five minutes later, an older nurse appeared with a phone. Unlike her younger colleague, she was professional and efficient. It was from her that Leslie learned that the mysterious flowers had been delivered by a woman whose description sounded a lot like Rose. Leslie thanked the nurse for the information and she left again.
Rose welcomed the chance to stretch her legs when she went to the vending machine down the hallway to get coffee for Mal and a granola bar for herself.
Neither of them had gotten any sleep the previous night. By the time she had told the police what they had found out about Sydney's twin brother Calvin and his recent activities, dawn had arrived. She had had her phone turned off while at the police station and by the time she was done, Mal had left her several voice messages updating her on Jake's condition.
Much to her relief, the latest update had indicated that while still unconscious, Jake was out of immediate danger. After she had checked in with Tinny and Des, Rose had taken a cab to the hospital to join her husband.
She had tried to convince Mal to go home, even if it was just for a few hours, while she stayed with Jake, but, predictably, Mal had refused. So, they had both stayed, awaiting developments. They had spoken little since her arrival, but as far as Rose was concerned, it was a big step up from the last time Jake had been lying unconscious in hospital. Then, Mal had shut her out completely, spending his days doing god knows what. Now, she had even been able to convince Mal to take the occasional break from sitting at his son's bedside. He had come back from one of those breaks with news about Leslie, having apparently run into Sergeant Hood who was on his way to see Leslie. Both had been happy to hear that the arrest warrant against Leslie was going to be dropped. Still, they had been in the business long enough to know that the criminal charges were only part of the trouble Leslie was in. Her recent actions were bound to provide plenty of fodder for an internal affairs investigation. Rose couldn't help but feel sorry for Leslie. For whatever else Leslie had been forced to do while she had been Calvin McAllister's captive, she had saved Jake's life. As far as Rose and Mal were concerned, that was all that mattered and as soon as they could, they were going to tell Leslie as much.
Rose had gone to visit Leslie earlier that day, but Leslie had been fast asleep, so Rose had simply left the flowers she had bought at the gift shop, intending to return at some later time.
The vending machine beeped to indicate that her coffee was ready, jolting Rose from her thoughts. Holding the cup in one hand, Rose tore open the wrapper of her granola bar with her teeth as she made her way back to Jake's room.
As she rounded the last corner toward Jake's room, she was surprised to see Mal standing outside.
"Is everything all right? Did something happen?" Rose asked anxiously as soon as she reached her husband's side.
"Leslie's in there," he answered, indicating the closed door. "I figured it'd be best if I gave her some space."
"How is she?"
"Well, you've seen her," Mal said.
Rose nodded. She had seen Leslie all right and she looked like hell with all those scrapes and bruises all over her face.
"A nurse brought her down in a wheelchair, so she must be pretty banged up," Mal added thoughtfully.
Leslie was grateful that Mal hadn't asked her any questions when the nurse had wheeled her into Jake's room. Instead, he had simply thanked her and then politely excused himself, leaving her alone with Jake.
Despite what Hood had told her earlier, she could feel her stomach clench with anxiety the moment she set eyes on Jake's unconscious form. Part of her hated herself for feeling that way, after all the trouble her feelings for Jake had gotten her into lately. It would be so much easier if she could just bring herself to stop caring so damned much about Jake. By all rights, she should hate him. Ever since Jake had come into her life, her emotional life had turned into a roller coaster ride. And it wasn't just her feelings, he had wreaked havoc with her professional life as well. So why did she still feel about him the way she did? Leslie had mulled over that question at length and was no closer to finding an answer. She had tried to move on from Jake, but it hadn't worked. Her heart wouldn't let her, even though her head was telling her that she would just get her heart broken over and over again if she gave into those feelings. But who was she kidding? Even though their relationship was technically a purely a professional one, it hadn't stopped her world from collapsing when she had thought that Jake was dead. Neither had it stopped her from choosing Jake's life over that of dozens or more innocent bystanders. The rest she could have forgiven herself for, but not this. No, this had to stop right there, she decided. From now on, she was going to keep their relationship professional. And she definitely wasn't going to sit at Jake's bedside waiting for him to wake up. Her mind made up, she tried to maneuver her wheelchair toward the door, but with one arm in a cast and limited mobility in the other, the task proved to be impossible.
She was considering getting up and trying make her way to the door on foot, using the wheelchair for support when a groan from the direction of the bed caught her attention. Her resolve was instantly replaced by concern.
"Jake?" she asked softly.
Jake's eyes remained closed, but a pained frown had settled on his face.
Leslie grasped Jake's hand without thinking.
"Jake, can you hear me?"
Jake groaned again, moving his head slightly in what might have been a nod. The action seemed to cause him considerable pain. The frown deepened, accompanied by a moan.
"Just lie still," Leslie told him, hating to see Jake in pain. "Squeeze my hand if you can hear me," she instructed.
Seconds passed, then Leslie felt Jake's hand finally tense around hers.
"Yes, that's it, Jake!" Leslie exclaimed, overjoyed that Jake could not only hear her, but was clearly lucid enough to understand. She didn't know the full details of his injuries, but she was well aware of the dangers posed by head injuries. The sooner Jake was checked out properly by a doctor, the better, so Leslie leaned forward and reached for the call button, still holding on to Jake's hand like her life depended on it.