“Mommy!” Elizabeth yelled, running towards them through the living room. Dana bent to pick up her daughter.
“How was your day?” Dana asked.
“I missed you! How was the photo shoot? What did you wear?” She inquired as she looked to see her mother was wearing nothing but a long sleeve shirt.
“I wore a black bikini today, sweetie. It was…uh, interesting,” she said, kissing her daughter’s forehead.
“Really? Can I wear one like it?” Elizabeth asked excitedly.
“Over my dead body,” Edward growled, giving Elizabeth a kiss. Dana smiled and put her daughter down. Edward was a sweet man who honestly cared about her children. He was so different from Jeff.
“Cole?” Edward called loudly, walking through the house.
A high pitched scream froze all three of them in place.
“Cole?” Edward took off running towards the scream that wouldn’t stop. He shoved open the kitchen door to find Cole on the ground, holding his arm against his body. All the color in his face was gone.
It only took a few seconds for Edward to figure out what happened. The burner was on and a turned over saucepan was on the floor. Water was all over the floor and Cole’s shirt and shorts.
“Oh god, baby boy!” He ran forward and shut the burner off. He picked up Cole and ran with him to the guest bathroom with Dana hot on his heels. He turned the shower on and set it to cool. He gently stripped Cole’s clothes off. Large blisters were forming all over the bright red skin that covered his arm, stomach and leg.
“Baby, call 911!” he yelled.
Dana dropped her clothes and pulled her cell phone out from her pants. As the phone rang she pulled on her pants and comforted Elizabeth, who was now hysterical. She watched as Edward placed Cole in the shower and held him down. Cole screamed as the water touched his skin.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“I need an ambulance at 623 Long Point Road. My three year old son just burned himself with boiling water. He has second degree burns covering more than half his body,” Dana said, trying to remain calm and put all her old EMT training to use.
“Okay, an ambulance and fire are five minutes out. What are you doing for him now?”
“My boyfriend has him in the tub cooling his burns off,” Dana said, not realizing or caring at the moment what she called Edward. Cole was her only concern.
Cole’s screams got worse. Edward stepped into the tub and cradled Cole in his arms holding him under the water. He kissed Cole’s head repeatedly. “It’s okay, little man. I’m here, I’m here.”
“Ma’am, what happened?” the operator asked.
“I don’t know. I just came home. I left the kids with a babysitter from the White Sands agency.”
“Where is she?”
“That’s a damn good question. I’m going to find out right now.” She dropped to her knees in front of a sobbing Elizabeth. “Baby girl, where’s the baby sitter?”
“The green guest bedroom with her friend,” Elizabeth sobbed. Edward’s eyes shot up. There was pure fury in his eyes.
“Hold on,” Dana told the operator.
“Stay here with Uncle Edward, sweetheart, and help out.” She made her way out of the bathroom to the guest room. She opened the door to find a very na**d babysitter and man passed out on the bed. Liquor bottles littered the floor. She closed the door slowly, deciding to leave them to the police. “She’s passed out in one of the rooms with a man. There’s alcohol in the room!”
“Is she still there, ma’am?” the operator asked.
“Yes, I didn’t wake her. Please send the police, I’m filing charges,” Dana said.
“I’m way ahead of you, ma’am.” the dispatcher said.
She made her way back to Edward. Cole was still crying. “It hurts!”
“I know, buddy,” Edward said. He was completely drenched now. He looked up. “Where is she?”
“She’s in the bedroom passed out with a man, alcohol everywhere,” Dana said, trying to hold back her own anger. She’d never seen anyone look more furious that Edward at that moment.
A loud knock had her running to open the front door. Several fire fighters and EMT’s entered followed by two police officers. She showed them where her son was. They each held several bottles of sterilized saline. The officers made their way to the bedroom. They walked in and dragged each adult to the floor, screaming at them. Unfortunately they were too drunk to realize what was happening.
Dana left them to go to her children. She stepped into the hallway just in time to see her little boy passed out with a face mask placed over his mouth and nose. An IV was already in his uninjured arm. He lay limply in a fireman’s arms. Tears streamed down her face as she watched him rushed out of the house.
Edward walked next to the fireman. He held Cole’s limp hand in his. “Ma’am, the boy’s father is coming with us. We’re going to Mercy. Do you know where it is?”
“Mommy!” Elizabeth cried.
“It’s okay, baby,” Dana said as she dragged on her shoes.
“Ma’am, we’ll meet you at the hospital to take a statement,” one of the officers said.
She nodded and pulled Elizabeth into her arms and rushed outside in time to see Edward climb into the back of the ambulance. She made her way to her Jeep and buckled Elizabeth in. She waited for the ambulance to leave before driving to the hospital.
On the way to the hospital she called Deana and told her what happened. Then she called up Amy and asked her to bring a change of clothes for Edward. She explained quickly what happened before she hung up.
She walked into the hospital with Elizabeth sobbing in her arms and made her way to the triage nurse. “I’m looking for my son Cole Mathews. He was just brought in by ambulance.”
The nurse looked over her reports. “Have a seat. They’ve just started to treat him. As soon as I can I’ll bring you back there.”
“Thank you. Can you just let him know his mommy is here?” she asked.
“I think he’s still unconscious.”
She nodded automatically, placing Elizabeth down on the floor and walked her to the chairs. Dana sat down and Elizabeth immediately climbed onto her lap. She ran her fingers absently through Elizabeth’s hair as she watched the ER door and waited.
“Dana!” Amy said, running through the waiting room. She had a large group of people in tow, but Dana didn’t take her eyes from the door. She couldn’t.