Authors: P.G. Van
The Evil Twin?
P. G. Van
2016 P. G. Van
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner.
Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
“911, what is your emergency?” I heard the firm voice of a woman as I got out of my car at two o’clock in the morning.
“Hi, I’m reporting an accident. A car just went off the highway.” I looked at the dark colored sports car that was now lodged against a tree with its headlights pointed at the branches above.
The car had driven past me just a few seconds earlier as I took the exit. Half way through the exit, the car spun out of control, and I saw it roll off the road down the slope on one side of the curvy exit ramp. The driver wasn’t going that much faster than me to have lost control, and I was sure there was ice on the road. The temperatures had been too low for a California winter day, and I was sure a nice layer of ice had formed on the road.
“What is your location, Ma’am?”
“I’m on 280 northbound at the 380 exit ramp,” I said, debating if I should go down the slope to check on the people in the car.
“Can you describe the car to me?”
“It’s a black sports car.”
“Make and model?”
“It’s a BMW coupe, one of those tiny sports cars.”
“Ma’am, are you at a safe location?”
“Yes, I am, and I’m walking down the slope to check on the driver.”
“You should wait for the first responders, Ma’am. It may not be safe for you.”
I hesitated for a moment before I took the next step and looked at the car for signs of fire.
A moment later, I saw the driver’s side door open and heard someone coughing.
“The driver just opened the door,” I reported walking down the slope.
I saw a guy step out of the car holding his chest and coughing. The light from the headlights of the car was enough for me to safely make it to the driver.
“Hey, you okay?” I asked as the guy got out and leaned against the low height car. The guy was taller than me, and I wondered how he fit into the tiny sports car. He did not respond and as I got closer, I heard him breathing rapidly and his nose was bleeding.
“This guy has blood all over his face. Send an ambulance fast.”
“First responders are on route, Ma’am. What other injuries does he have and are there any passengers?”
“He is the only one, and I don’t see any other injuries but it’s hard to tell in the dark.” I scanned the guy’s tall structure as I spoke to the operator.
“Thank you, Ma’am. Can I get your name and contact number?”
“Vinnie…Vinitha Raj.” I almost stumbled as I rarely used my official name.
I gave the operator my contact information and the description of my car. I told her I would wait for the first responders to arrive, as it would be difficult for them to locate the sports car without a visual cue.
I flashed the light from my phone screen over the guy’s face. “Hey, help is on the way. Are you okay?”
He nodded as he dusted the powder from the air bags off of what looked like a motorcycle jacket.
“Thanks for calling for...” His voice trailed off and his eyes widened. His face went pale as if he saw a ghost.
“Dude, are you alright?”
He firmly wrapped his fingers around my wrist and slurred, “Don’t leave, please.”
Before I could process his reaction, I saw his eyes close and he slid off the side of the car pulling me on to him collapsing to the ground. I cursed, expecting the worse. Either he had a concussion or some major internal injury.
I took a deep breath to steady myself and placed my ear to his chest to check his heart rate. I was relieved to find his heart beating and hoped he was fine. His face had traces of the blood from his nosebleed, but he seemed to be breathing normally. A few moments later, I heard the sirens approaching and stood up to signal to the first responders.
Fifteen minutes later, I watched the emergency response team carry the guy on the gurney into the ambulance. I turned on my engine satisfied he was in safe hands. I paused before I put my car in gear when I saw the police officer approach my car.
“Hi officer, is he doing okay?”
“Yes, Ma’am, and your friend is asking for you.”
“I am sorry, what officer?”
“Your friend wants you to ride with him in the ambulance. I can have one of the guys drive your car to the hospital.”
A long night of bartending, a long drive back home, and now a ride in an ambulance with a complete stranger. I was pretty sure at that point the night couldn’t get any more interesting.
“Am I allowed in the ambulance?”
Please say no.
Why Vinnie? Why?
I grabbed my tote and handed my car keys to the police officer and followed him to the emergency vehicle. The officer helped me climb into the ambulance and directed me to take a seat next to one of the paramedics who was still checking on the guy on the gurney.
I looked at the oxygen mask clad face of the guy who was awake and was staring at me as if I was an alien. His brown eyes were riveted on my face as if he could not get enough of my tired and sleepy face.
“Hey, are you okay?” I asked softly.
He nodded as I sat on the bench next to him.
The guy finally looked away to respond to the paramedic’s questions, and I took the opportunity to scan his well-built body to see if he had any other visible injuries. He was taller than I thought he was when I had seen him next to the car in the dark. Again, I wondered how he managed to fit his broad shoulders into the tiny sports car.
He still had his motorcycle jacket on and his dark hair was messed up, yet he managed to look presentable while lying on a gurney.
He seemed to dominate the space even when he was in such a vulnerable state and as I watched him respond to the paramedic, I realized the guy was not the kind that needed help or reassurance from a stranger. I tore my eyes away from his face and wondered why he had asked me not to leave before he lost consciousness and why he needed me to ride in the ambulance with him.
Fifteen minutes later, the ambulance pulled in front of the emergency entrance of the hospital, and the first response team ushered the guy on the gurney through the double doors. I looked around wondering where my car was and asked the driver of the ambulance about the whereabouts of my car.
After a few minutes of back and forth, I was informed my car would arrive in a few minutes. It was freezing outside, and I went into the lobby to wait for my car. It was almost three in the morning, and I was barely awake as I settled into a chair in the emergency room waiting area.
“I am looking for Mr. Bhatia’s friend.” A woman in her mid-twenties in a hospital uniform announced in a firm voice and shook me out of my partial sleep mode. I looked at her and turned around to look at the elderly woman and middle- aged man that were waiting in the lobby.
The medical assistant looked right at me and said, “Ma’am, are you here for Mr. Reyan Bhatia?”
I stared at the medical assistant as she approached me and continued to speak to me even though I had not responded to her question.
“Mr. Bhatia is doing fine, and he is being checked for internal injuries.”
Oh, the dude from the car was Reyan whatever.
The medical assistant continued on as if she was on a mission to give me all the information.
“He should be done with his tests in the next thirty minutes and will be back in room 21. If you want, you can wait inside instead of sitting here.”
“Ummm...that’s okay… I got to...”
Get out of there, Vinnie.
“We have some coffee and hot chocolate in the break room. I am sure you’ll enjoy a warm drink.”
Coffee sounded very appealing, and I followed her past the double doors in a daze. I asked the security guard in the lobby to hang on to my car keys until I came back. I grabbed a cup of steaming coffee and went towards the room where the dude was supposed to be. I told myself I would check on him one last time and head home.
My sleep deprived brain remembered being told that the guy was being examined when I was welcomed by an empty bed and beeping machines.
“Here you go. This is Mr. Bhatia’s stuff, Ma’am. He reminded me twice about giving you his stuff,” the woman said as she handed me a transparent plastic bag with some personal belongings and pointed to another bag and added, “and his clothes are in there.”
I swallowed wondering if I should tell the medical assistant that I was a complete stranger, and I shouldn’t be taking his belongings. I shut my mouth as I couldn’t figure out why I got into that dang ambulance with the guy to begin with when he was a nobody, especially when all I wanted to do that night was to go home and crash.
I sat down on an uncomfortable chair holding the plastic bag the medical assistant had handed to me. The bag had a phone, a wallet, a watch with its face cracked, and some access cards. I stared at the phone and wondered if the guy’s family was notified about the accident. I set my coffee on the side table and reached into the plastic bag and pulled out his phone. I placed the plastic bag with his belongings in my tote and powered on the phone.
As expected, the phone required a passcode, and I wondered if I was supposed to call or if someone was called already. I sipped on the coffee wondering when would be a good time for me to leave. I told myself I would stick around until I finished my coffee and then head out.
The coffee wasn’t great, but it did its job as the caffeine kicked in. I felt the familiar pain grip my heart as I realized what made me get into that ambulance for a complete stranger a short while ago.
Which way is room 21?” An anxious male voice just outside the room interrupted my thoughts.
A few seconds later, a guy peeked his head into the room and looked straight at me.
“Oh my god, are you the girl that called 911?” I was relieved that someone reported the accident.
I nodded at the twenty-something guy who looked extremely well dressed to be in an ER at three in the morning.
“Thank you!!!” he said and pulled me into his arms for a bear hug.
“Reyan and I had an argument before he stormed out, and I am sure he had the accident because he was distracted. We have been together for so long I should have known better.”
“Are you his...errr...friend?”
“Reyan is more than my friend.” He released me.
“Oh...okay, did he call you?”
“Yes, he did, and I freaked out.” The way he talked was way too effeminate, and I wondered if the guys were a couple.
“Thank you so much for bringing him to the hospital.”
“You don't need to thank me for anything. Any good samaritan would have done what I did.” I knew that wasn’t the entire truth, but there was no need to tell him why I felt compelled to do what I did that night.
“No way girl!! You are an angel. I am Neel by the way, and thank you for sticking around for Reyan.”
“Nice to meet you Neel, I am Vinnie.” We shook hands.
“Neel, I hope Reyan feels better soon.” I handed him the phone and the bag of Reyan's stuff. I took a few steps away from the room and heard Neel call out.
“Vinnie, can I have your phone number?”
Really you want my number?
“I am sure Reyan will want to thank you.”
Thirty minutes later, I entered my room from the side door of the garage. I tiptoed into the once tandem garage that was converted to two bedrooms connected by a bathroom. I threw my tote on the chair and crashed on the bed. Sleep came to me with no difficulty that night.
The last thing I remembered before I dozed off were those penetrating eyes looking at me in disbelief that night. I was sure he was shocked that I agreed to ride in the ambulance with him. I knew why I felt the need to do what I did, and I knew my mom and dad would have been proud of the simple gesture.
I love you and miss you mom and dad!!
I didn't know why our paths crossed and why he felt the need for me to be around him. I hope it helped him to feel secure in such a vulnerable state after a near-death experience.
Have a good life dude!!