"I just left the hospital. My Ethel passed away earlier this evening and I couldn't bear to leave her just yet." He answered tiredly.A feeling that Stacy couldn't describe washed through her body. She hadn't felt it since she was in elementary school and had accidentally wet her pants in the lunch room. She guessed it was humiliation. "I am so sorry." She said loudly, enunciating each word slowly so he was sure to hear. "I didn't know. If I would've realized I wouldn't have..." She trailed off, not able to finish her apology because the humiliation she felt was so full.
"It's okay young lady. That baby is more important than any grief I may be experiencing. She's still among the living." He retorted as he pulled into the parking garage.
Stacy checked on Tiffy Sue again, just as she had numerous times in the fifteen minutes it had taken them to get to the hospital. She was still whimpering, but sleeping lightly. "I don't know what to say. My car is in the shop and my cell phone is turned off and I was so scared. The only recourse I had was to make someone stop and take me to the hospital."
"That makes perfect sense to me." Paul said sincerely as he opened his door. He stood up and reached down to the side of his seat. It was only then that she realized he was missing a leg; the left one.
Stacy couldn't help it. She gasped in horror as she got out of the car and rushed around to his side to help him. She clutched the baby tightly to her chest and used one arm to steady him.
"It's okay little lady. I've been sporting this injury since I was twenty-two." He told her as he waved away her offered hand of support.
"Were you in the war then?"
"No." He chuckled. "Before I became a veterinarian I worked on the bomb squad." A rueful grin lit up his wrinkled face.