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Gabrielle rushed to her husband’s side, sat on their bed and stroked his head. “Sweetie, sweetie, sweetie. I’m so sorry to have worried you. I’m okay. There was some bad shit that almost happened but everything’s fine; I swear it.”

Adriel moaned in response, wishing that he could take her in his arms, comfort her rather than the other way around but relieved beyond measure that she was safe, sound and with him.

“I think we’re going to have to get you up so you’ll know what’s going on but first I want to tell you what’s happened without any lights on,” she explained, “then we’ll get you going and you can ask any questions that you need.”

As she spoke she went about preparing him for their very early rise from bed; holding the urinal flask for him, positioning his body in the trapeze so he could get in his wheelchair, positioning his computer screen in front of him and booting it.

She rolled him into the bathroom and washed his hands but, remembering Officer Davies admonishments about cleaning herself up, not her own. “I couldn’t sleep so I went for a walk. Three drunk assholes thought they were going to have fun with me but I got away from them no problem. At least, no problem getting away.”

She quickly related how she had run away only to be literally tripped up by her blindness. The great good fortune of their new friend Duvan finding her and dialing 911. How in the confusion of battle she had struck out at him and after the hurried explanation she added, “I hit my head so there’s blood,” and then nonchalantly flicked the bathroom light on. Her statement about blood had been little preparation for the state she was in. Scalp wounds are prodigious in their ability to bleed.

“Like I said he’d already called 911 and then he found my phone and called you. When you didn’t answer he called someone else.

“He called Bill Finger, who turns out to be a friend of his.

“Shit! Duvan said Bill was on his way! Crap! Let me call and stop him and then we’ll get you presentable for company and get you in your chair.

“Oh, Adriel! I’m so, so sorry!”

Able to speak for the first time in hours he was left speechless. “Kiss me,” he said finally. “Kiss me and help me figure out what’s going on. Oh, Gabrielle I love you so much.”

She did, tenderly holding his face, her sightless eyes wide open and staring into his where he hoped she could see the love he felt for her, the relief at her safe return and his utter joy at having married the most amazing woman he had ever met.

“Okay. Call Finger and tell him he’s not needed. Then you need to do what Davies said and have the EMT’s take a look at you. And if they’re done with Duvan have him come inside, he’s got to be dead on his feet.”