Title: Promise of a Stranger
Set up: After barely surviving near-lethal mixture of cocaine and alcohol, Heather faces an intervention.
"My ring is gone. Where the hell is my ring?"
She barely looked up from the chart. "If they checked you in with any jewelry, Ms. Tyler, it's either with your family or in the hospital safe."
"It's Mrs. Tyler," I snapped, but my quaking voice diminished my fury.
Pursing her lips, the nurse offered a sympathetic glance to my brother before she locked the brakes on the wheelchair and approached me. Not wanting to suffer the indignity, I struggled upright, convinced myself I could walk down the hall, even though I knew I couldn't even make it to the bathroom without help.
When fatigue stripped me of independence, I slumped forward into a puddle of self-pity.
"Josh, I want to go home."
"Shut up, Heather. You don't have the right to feel sorry for yourself. You better be happy to be here. It's a miracle you aren't dead. Now get your a** in this chair so we can get this over with.”
I recoiled at Josh’s sudden command over my situation. Clenching my jaw and choking down tears, I scooted to the edge of the bed. The nurse draped a robe over my shoulders before helping me to my feet. I managed the two steps to the wheelchair, and then collapsed in the seat with leg muscles quivering like noodles in a pot of boiling water.
My stomach knotted. Josh wouldn't answer any questions about our destination while he pushed me into the hallway and down the corridor.