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Ambition 2

By´╝ÜLauren Landish

Chapter 1


When Mark called Sophie while out on patrol, I knew something was wrong. He never used his phone while on a mission, not without coordinating it beforehand. If he had to talk with her, he preferred to use two way secure radios or a constant open microphone using a VOIP system. During those times, Sophie was always in the bell tower or in the home office, where she could access communication systems that the two of them had set up. I'd watched her a few times, and she was always intense, focused, with her headset on and her eyes constantly roving over the multiple screens. It was like watching an android at work.

This time though, we were chilling out in the entertainment room. When Mark went out on patrol, we would often hang out there, mostly trying to distract ourselves from anything but the fact that her husband, and the man that I considered a brother, was out risking his life. It was the sort of thing that would drive you crazy if you let it. I could understand why police and firefighter spouses age prematurely.

We were watching a DVR'd day old edition of The Daily Show when Sophie's cell phone rang. Her conversation with Mark was short and to the point, and when she hung up, her face had changed. It wasn't quite the look she sported when she was in the bell tower, but it was getting there quickly. "Mark's bringing a wounded man here," she said simply. "Follow me."

Following her into the bedroom, Sophie pulled open a drawer and tossed me some clothes. "They're a bit big for you, but they'll work. We can dispose of them later if we need to."

We stripped out of our pajamas and into clean light pants and shirts quickly. Sophie led me to the bell tower, where she and I set up the foam rubber mattress. Sophie got out her surgical kit and handed me a mask. "We may have to conceal who we are," she explained. "Leave it on."

The room set up, we headed down to the garage. The wait wasn't long, but in the few minutes between when we got down there and Mark came in, I could see the tremble in Sophie's hands. She was muttering to herself, most of it too low for me to hear, but in the cavernous silence of the four car garage, I could hear some of it. She was wishing, or perhaps praying would be a better term despite her professed atheism, that Mark was unhurt. Mixed in were some reminders to herself, like she was psyching herself up for what was to come. I understood, it’d been a while since she had done any serious medical treatment. I'd watched her keep her knowledge up to date with online simulators or other sorts of study materials, but that wasn't the same as the real thing.

Mark arrived with his passenger, who was hanging on his back loosely. For a few moments I thought perhaps he was awake until I realized that the reason his arms were so secure was because Mark had taped his hands together over his shoulders. Sophie and I helped Mark off his cycle and up the stairs, where we laid him down on the mattress.

"Genius boy over there started shooting the Gangster Disciple donut shop with a goddamned hopped up air gun," Mark said, telling us about the incident, "not knowing their tactics. But he didn't complain, took one in the back as I drove us off."

"He's been shot in the right lung. It's still inside, I need to get it out," Sophie stated, her voice eerily calm and filled with command. I'd never seen her when she was doing her internship at University Hospital, but knew instantly where she got it from. It seemed like a lifetime ago, but it came back to her in an instant.

She used her scissors to cut open the man's shirt, and as she peeled the cloth back, I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach. The hole in his back wasn't that big, it looked like something I could plug with my little finger, but as she and Mark worked together to clear the space for her to work, they exposed his upper body. An upper body I'd felt and explored very recently. I'd felt those muscles, and had run my fingers around the two little moles there on the lower back near the waistband, so close together that you could loop them in a figure eight if you wanted to.

I didn't want to believe it at first, but when his right arm was visible in the light, my brain went into panic mode. There, I could see the designs I'd traced after we'd made love, and I was sure if he was turned over I'd see the gryphon on his right pec. I lost all sense of time, paralyzed. I heard Sophie ask me to do something, but I couldn't move, could barely breathe as I watched her and Mark work.

I've said before I love Sophie, she's my sister, but I've never been in awe of her before. I'd seen her do some pretty cool stuff, but never anything awe inspiring. For example, she was great in the gym, but she wasn't on the level of an Olympic athlete. Her skill in martial arts and stick-fighting were impressive, but I was pretty sure Ronda Rousey could still kick her ass. What made me love Sophie was her mind and her soul, which while amazing, isn't exactly awe inspiring.