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  • Home > Laurell Kaye Hamilton > The Anita Blake Series > Wounded (Chapter 11)     
  • Wounded(Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #24.5)(11) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
  • She made a face and rolled her eyes. “He’s only thirteen, he is a kid.”

    “And that’s why he won’t talk to you,” Nathaniel said, “because to you he’s still your little brother, but inside his own head he’s trying to be more than that.”

    She frowned and studied Nathaniel’s so-serious face. “I don’t understand that, because he’ll always be my kid brother, but you’re right; he’s at the age where we all try to figure out what we’ll be as adults. You’re saying as his family we can’t see him clearly.”

    “Something like that.”

    “You think he’d do better with a male counselor, because he’s learning to be a man and suddenly everything that society tells him is manly just got taken away from him.”

    “Not away, but he’s hurt,” Nathaniel said.

    “How bad is the physical damage?” Micah asked.

    “What did Tomas tell you?”

    “That the doctors aren’t sure he’ll walk again.”

    “That’s not true, he will walk again.”

    “How about run?” I asked.

    Mercedes looked serious and then sad; it was not a good sign.

    “That bad?” I said.

    “He got shot in the stomach, but there seems to be nerve damage down one leg. It’s just bad luck that the bullet hit what it did. A one-in-a-million issue, the orthopedist said, but he also told Frankie and me in private that if the bullet had gone a few inches the other side he might have bled out and died before he got to the hospital, so it’s all so . . . Tomas’s whole future hung on a few millimeters inside his body, and what the bullet hit, or didn’t hit.”

    Her eyes got shiny with unshed tears, sparkling in the dramatic wedding eye shadow. She took a deep, shaking breath, visibly steadying herself. Her voice was almost even as she said, “They think if he does his physical therapy religiously, and adds even more weight lifting than he was doing for track, that he should recover enough to run.”

    “Recover enough to run like he did before?” I asked.

    She shrugged. “No doctor is going to say yes or no right now. There are too many variables. I’ve tried to explain it to Mama and Papa, but they want definite answers and it’s just not that easy.”

    It took me a second to realize that Mama and Papa were Manny and Rosita.

    “I understand the reasoning,” Micah said. “They can’t know for sure what will heal, and they can’t control how hard Tomas works at his physical therapy.”

    “He’s young, so that will help him heal, but he’s started the very beginnings of PT, and he’s not working at it like he should.”

    “He’s depressed,” Nathaniel said.

    “Yes, but if he doesn’t do his PT then it’s almost a guarantee that he won’t heal enough to do track again. Damn it, if he doesn’t put effort into recovering, he could end up crippled permanently.”

    “What will make the difference?” I asked.

    “Following doctor’s orders, being serious about PT, and in a few weeks if he does that Frankie and I will help him start adding weights and other exercises. This is the kind of thing we both wanted to do to help people. We, I, can help Tomas, if he’ll let me.” The tears started trickling down her cheeks now.

    I glanced at Micah, and then Nathaniel. One looked at me, and the other one made a small motion. I sighed and hugged Mercedes, letting her fold herself down so I could hold her while she cried even though I was inches shorter. Why was it always the girl who was supposed to hold people when they cried? Shouldn’t whoever was best at it, regardless of gender, do it? But I patted her back and made comforting noises, not sure if it did a damn bit of good, but sometimes it’s the best you can do, or the best I can do.

    “Have you tried introducing him to someone who’s recovered from a similar injury?” Micah asked.

    It made Mercedes stand up straight and wipe at her eyes. She wiped too hard and smeared her eye makeup. I’d tell her before she went back to the reception. “We’ve got some patients who are pro athletes. It’s not the same kind of injuries, but Tomas loves sports, and hearing about how hard they’re working to recover might help him work harder at PT. That’s a great idea, Micah, thank you.”

    “Yes, it is, but what about Anita talking to him now?” Nathaniel asked.

    We all turned and looked at him. “What do you mean?” I asked.

    “Doctors told you that you might lose the use of your arm, but you hit the gym harder than ever and were fine.”

    I glanced down at my arm as if I’d forgotten it was there, because I knew exactly the injury he meant. The bend of my left arm was a mound of white scar tissue. It worked just fine, but it was the worst scar I had, and the one that had made the doctors talk about permanent disability.

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