She ran out of the emergency room and stood outside. Her arms wrapped around her waist as she felt as though she was going to lose the contents of her stomach. She sat down on the curb and put her head between her knees.
She heard a sound, a whimper and then she felt something lick her face. She looked up and Millo was sitting in front of her. She made eye contact and he let out a whimper that was so close to the sound of a human crying that Tara felt the need to put her arms around his neck and pull him close.
She loved the dog. She loved him as much as Willow did. You couldn't help it.
After a moment she looked up and saw Leo.
He looked terrible. He spoke to Tara now: "Hey. Dumb question but how are you?" He looked down to the ground, he still held Millo's leash and then Tara stood up. She went over to him and put her arms around him and he let his head fall on her shoulder as he yet again began to cry. He shook it off and pulled away and noticed Tara's eyes looking at the once light blue uniform shirt that was now the color of rust. He looked to see what Tara was looking at and quickly pulled his jacket closed.
"Um, Millo is the one that came and got me. The paramedics said if he hadn't come and dragged me down there that she'd have been dead for sure. He saved her life, this guy," he said as he leaned down and gave him a pat. Tara had noticed something to about the dog's behavior.He stared at the automatic double doors of the emergency entrance. He knew that was where Willow was. A minute or so had passed in silence, Tara unable to tear her eyes away from the officer's dark blue pants that she could see to held an unnatural color. The amount of blood that covered his clothing sent a new wave of nausea through Tara and this time she could do nothing about it.
"Hey Tara, sit down," Leo said. "I'll get you some water okay?"
She shook her head and he handed her Millo's lead. As the officer made his way toward the sliding doors, Millo became alert. He stood up and his tail wagged. His paws marching in place as he stared at the officer that made his way inside. He wanted to be ready to run if Leo were to call him to follow. His eyes locked on Leo's form as his tongue licked at his lips due to the dryness in his mouth caused by the excitement of the possibility that someone was going to bring him to Willow.
He watched as Leo went inside and Tara knew that this well trained animal was fighting with himself not to bolt through the doors and find his master. He saw Leo enter the building and realized that he would not be invited to follow, and he sat on the ground. Another cry came from his body, a sad sound that tore at Tara's heart. He wanted to go and find her in there. And Tara once again wrapped her arms around his neck. His eyes remained glued to the doors. His only wish to get in to be near her, while hers was to get out and try not to be found. She was ashamed of herself now. Ashamed that Millo had more loyalty and more love for the woman that lay in that room down that short corridor, that to Willow she would seem a world away if she were to awake and find that she was not there.
"What the hell am I doing?" she said to herself as she turned and made her way to the sliding doors. She walked right in, Millo in tow. She didn't care. She needed to be somewhere at this minute and she had no time to waste to wait for Leo. Staff members watched as Tara now began a slow run to the room that Willow was in.
She looked in the window and she saw Mrs.Rosenberg. She smiled to her and made her way out of the room. She went to Tara and wrapped her arms around her. Once again the two cried with each other in a comforting hug, but this time it was one of gratitude on the behalf of each. Tara grateful for her mother's strength and Willow's mother one of gratitude for coming to be by her daughter's side, knowing that Willow's chances of survival were just dramatically increased.
All were too busy to notice what Millo was trying to do. He knew Willow was in there and he was jumping upward trying to steal looks at his master as she lay in her hospital bed. Then someone did notice. The staff doctor who was freaking out because there was a dog in the hospital ICU. Leo came forward and calmed the man. Retreiving the leash from Tara's hand as he began to walk the dog outside.
Millo was crying now, devastated that he was yet again unable to be at his master's side. Mrs. Rosenberg turned and went to the dog.
"Can you just pick him up and let him look through the window and see her before you take him out?" she asked Leo.
"Of course," Leo said with a smile.
He picked up the dog and allowed him to see. His paws clawed at the glass and the entire hospital looked up in curiosity as Millo let loose with a chart-topping "ORWORWORWORW!"
You couldn't help it. If you were there you would have to smile. He was talking to Willow, perhaps telling her he loved her in his own doggy way. Whatever it was, it set off a reaction. The slightest of movements setting off a buzz on one of the monitor as something inside of her was coming to life. It didn't matter what, it was there nonetheless and it was the first hurdle that had been cleared on a path to recovery that would take what seemed a lifetime to complete.
"I want my money. I did this thing here for you and you are going to pay me. Are we clear on that?"
"I paid you to kill her. She's not dead. She is still alive. I said dead, Phil. Not injured, dead."
"Well listen here. If you think about this it's really a much better deal right? Even if she does live she ain't gonna walk. This way you can get a whole lot a reminders of how you won this here game, right Susie?"
The women stopped for a minute. "You know, now that you put it that way, I think I do like this. Yea. I like this a whole lot. Aright. Come on. Let's go get your cash. Don't forget, get the hell out of town before you get caught. I don't want to spent my victory days behind bars okay?"
"You got it Susie. Now just go on and get me my money."