All in a Day's Work
Kathy and Randy have known each other for the past three years but are afraid of breaking Corporate protocol by expressing their love for one another. After all, they work for the same company. An accident brings the two together and they realize their love for one another transcends even Corporate policy.
The screams of several women shot through the second floor of Luthron late in the day galvanizing people to a near tragedy.
Randy Campbell and Jack Bonner were on ladders in the area working on computer cables when the screams made them look around. Randy was the first off his ladder seeing where the sound came from. He ran between the cubes to where he heard the screams.
"What happened?" he wanted to know as he stopped at the cube. He glanced at the card board name plate stuck to the side: Kathy Hilton. He drew in a quick breath stepping past two people trying to revive Kathy. "Here, let me."
Kathy was gasping for air, her face nearly blue lying on her work station.
"Kathy, here let me put you on the floor." Randy turned to a couple men, "Get the chairs and stuff out of the way for me. Hurry… Janet!" he called to a woman nearby. "Call two-nine-one-one and tell the guard to call the med center and get the nurses up here with oxygen ASAP – cube 2J791 - Now! And tell them to call the ambulance now; we need to get her to the hospital. And keep the guards on the line – don't let them off the line `til the nurses get here!"
Janet called the guard station even before Randy finished speaking.
"Elevate her feet a bit – not much…"
Jack with two other men took her chairs out of the cube placing them in an empty cube. Randy laid Kathy on the floor tilting her head back a pillow someone had elevated her feet. He began applying mouth to mouth recitation, between breaths as he forced air through her constricted air passage, he asked: "What happened to her?"
"I don't know," someone replied. "She went to get a drink at the fountain came back to her cube and collapsed."
Randy looked up with shock. "She's allergic to different things – one of them is chrome cleaner!"
He continued the resuscitation. People were shocked.
"Your people did put that stuff on kinda heavy, Randy," another said.
"Not mine, Bridgett's," Randy snapped as he place his mouth back over Kathy's. He
swore that if anything happened to Kathy, he'd have somebody's ass. "Sorry … I am not in charge of this mob."
From the moment he saw Kathy Hilton and found out from a friend of Kathy's she was unattached, very single, he fell in love with her. However, it was almost destined not to happen. Fraternization rules and the fact she worked for Luthron, he could only admire her from afar. He would greet her in the morning, she would give him a cheery hello in return and that was usually as far as their relation went: friends.
However, he found out by chance by chance from a co-worker of Kathy's she was allergic to several fungi, certain types of dust and worse – chrome cleaner. He told Bridgette to get rid of the chrome cleaner due to people (Kathy Hilton especially) being allergic to the material. They had several arguments over it: Bridgette refused to get rid of the cleaner; she thought the cleaner made the chrome look brighter.
"What do you think Windex will do? Its soap and some water mixed together!"
His argument fell on deaf ears.
The two nurses who took care of the company medical center, a virtual HMO (Health Medical Office), were cleaning up after treating one of the guys from facilities for a bruised hand when the blue call lights began flashing throughout the center; the phone rang.
Seeing it was the guard station Mary, the head Nurse, grabbed the wall phone: "Mary…!"
"Guard Station One, need you in Building 2, second floor, cube 2J791 –person with serious allergy condition, patient cannot breathe…"
"Gotcha…" and hung up the phone.
Mary's assistant Paula set the emergency kit and oxygen bottle on the gurney and wheeled it toward the door.
Mary ran ahead of her opening doors. "This building, second floor, cube 2J791 …"
A female guard who knew the buildings met them at the freight elevator. "I know where the cube is at, follow me," she said as they waited a moment for the elevator to come down from the second floor.
They got on the elevator and rode it to the second floor. The guard ran ahead of them as they quickly pushed the cart along the hallway. The three reached the end, turned right: it was not hard to guess which cube it was.
"Mary and Paula are here," someone shouted.
Randy looked up from his attempts to revive Kathy just as the nurses arrived. On the other side of the cube he noticed a familiar head, his supervisor, Bridgett. Mary pushed into the cube with the five pound oxygen tank and mask. Randy and Mary slipped the mask on Kathy's face; Mary set the valve and life giving air flowed to the girl's lungs.
Mary checked her with a stethoscope and blood pressure band.
"How is she?" Paula asked stepping in to the cube beside Randy.
"A little better now. She's starting to take the oxygen."
"Put her on the gurney?" Randy asked, watching Kathy's face as the blue the blue of her lips began to fade.
Mary nodded her head. "Yes."
Randy picked her up in his arms, Mary held the oxygen tank. Kathy started to revive as Randy held her standing to place her on the gurney. He looked down at her for a second troubled that she was affected by the chrome cleaner. Turning he stepped out of the cube, Mary following with the oxygen tank he laid her on the gurney.
The last person he expected to see at that moment, Larry Martin second shift team lead walked in to the crowd.
"What happened?" he asked unaware of what was taking place.
Randy was starting to place the holding straps in place. He gave Martin a withering look. "She's allergic to that damn chrome cleaner I told you to get rid of – she's dying from that damn stuff."
Martin looked from the girl Randy was strapping down to Randy again, his face went pale. Randy and Paula put two more holding straps in place.
"Let's go." Randy pushed the cart toward the main corridor.
The guard running ahead called out: "I'll get the elevator."
Randy with the two nurses trailing in his wake pushed the cart at a near run down the corridor toward the west cross corridor and the elevator.
Kathy's manager looked at the two a second in disgust. The tone of his voice was acid. "If it wasn't for Randy's quick thinking just now Kathy might be dead."
Bridgette and Martin found themselves the focus of unwanted hostile attention. The Managing Vice President and the Facilities Vice President, Mack Vorus, and four other vice presidents were looking at the pair. They had seen most of the situation and heard what witnesses said, especially Kathy's supervisor.
The Managing Vice President Kelly McDonald nodded his head toward the exective suite and his office at the far end of the corridor. "Both of you in my office – Now."
Bridgette and Martin woodenly followed the Vice President back to his office with the Security Chief in tow. As McDonald passed his secretary he said: "Hold everything until I'm done, Paige."
Paige noticed Bridgette and one of her people with the group enter McDonald's office. She bit her lower lip knowing this would not be a pleasant scene with the other's involved too.
The first group of paramedics rushed up stairs with a guard in the lead yelling: "Unclassified! Unclassified!"
The paramedics attempted to stop Randy as he pushed the cart past them. "Down stairs, guys she's barely breathing!"
"But we have to check her," the paramedic said as he watched the cart disappear toward the elevator.
The guard held the elevator for them, the doors open.
"Check her down stairs."
Randy with the guard, nurses and paramedics, pushed the cart on to the elevator. The guard punched the button and the elevator dropped back to the first floor. The door opened with a hiss. Randy pushed the gurney out, swung it right and through the first set of double doors. The security manager and another guard were already at the medical center holding the doors open for them. Randy pushed the gurney pass them into the evacuation room. Outside in the parking area set two fire engines. The ambulance was backing up to the open doors which another agent held open for them.
The back doors of the ambulance opened and the paramedics jumped out. The gurney followed. They extended the landing gear and rolled it inside. A paramedic and Mary exchanged oxygen tanks and placed an IV bag on the cart then the needle into Kathy's left arm. Paula gave another medic the details they would need for her admittance.
Using surgical scissors, Paula cut the lanyard to take her security badge off.
Paramedics started to transfer Kathy to the other gurney but Randy pushed them away. Paula and Mary quickly stopped them. "No," said Mary soft but firmly, "that's his girlfriend. Leave him be."
The paramedic started to protest but stopped as Randy gently picked Kathy up, turned to the other gurney placing her on it. Paula helped move the oxygen and IV set to the other cart.
"Which hospital?" he asked as he began strapping Kathy down.
He moved the oxygen mask aside leaning down to kissed Kathy on the lips that were pale blue. "Later, honey. I'll be right behind you."
The paramedics took over shoving the gurney into the ambulance. The doors shut with an ominous bang.
Randy turned and ran to the other side of the building where the office was. He ran in
to the office grabbing his time card from the rack . The two girls who worked the night shift were sitting in the office.
Jessica, the youngest asked: "How is she?"
Randy ran his card through the time card clock. "Okay. She's on her way to the hospital now – no thanks to Martin."
"How do you know it's Martin?" Vickie asked as Randy started for the door.
Randy stopped. "What do you mean?"
"It's Martin," said Jessica. "Bridgette has him thinking everything made of chrome, it's supposed to shine like a new mirror."
"Well Bridgette and he are in Mr. McDonald's office right now, as far as I know. He won't be around this afternoon long enough to say good bye."
He started toward the exit doors now thinking only of Kathy.
Later that afternoon, following the scene in McDonald's office Bridgette sat in her office waiting for the rest of the crew to show up for a brief meeting. Mr. McDonald would have Mr. Vorus pull the contract the main corporate headquarters in Virginia was being notified that afternoon. Larry Martin sat depressed thinking now the girl's department made it his fault he had not listened to Randy in the first place, now he was paying the price.
Randy Campbell arrived at the hospital on the north side of the city minutes later. Fortunately it was not that far from their facility. Finding a handy parking place he rushed into the emergency room entrance going to the nurse's station, he was given directions to which room she was in.
He braced himself for the worse as he stepped into the room. The attending nurse was stepping out.
"How's Kathy?" he asked trying to control his emotions, tears were streaming down his face at that moment
"She'll be okay. She was taken care of just in time."
Randy stepped in to the room seeing Kathy with the array of tubes and life monitor cables extending from her gave him pause at that moment. He pulled the chair over to the bed sitting down he stared at her until she opened her eyes. In that moment he never realized that she had such dark brown eyes.
"Randy?" Kathy focused on him as she reached out her hand touching his. "It was you who saved my life."
Randy did not want to say anything, he nodded his head. "Yes."
"I – I don't know how to thank you."
"Thank you is all you need say right now."
Kathy folded her small delicate hand about his. Randy turned his hand taking hold of her small delicate one. The two held hands until the doctor came back to check on her.
"She'll be moved to a room upstairs here in a few minutes."
"Can I stay with her?"
"Certainly – that is until visiting hours are over."
He held the girl's hand in his rough work worn one just savoring the feel.
Late that afternoon Mr. McDonald and Mr. Vorus looked into the ward to see Randy beside the bed.
"How is she, Randy?" Mr. McDonald asked as they approached the bed.
"She's resting fine. The doctor gave her an anti-biotic against the condition." He paused weighting whether to say anything. "Martin doused the water fountains pretty good with that chrome cleaner. Just to make them shine."
"We know," said Vorus. "They're cleaning that stuff everything now."
The two left after a while leaving Randy and Kathy alone. Randy remained with Kathy until he was chased out by the ward nurse at nine.
He stood and leaned down to kiss her. "'Night sweet heart, I'll be back tomorrow,"
As he left the hospital he almost dreaded the next day. On the one hand he was her department's hero for saving her life. But he wondered how he'd fare with his company's people once they were notified they would probably lose the contract only a year into the project.
The next day from the moment he walked in through security check points the guards, cafeteria workers, and everyone on Kathy's floor wanted to know how she was doing. Bridgette on the other hand kept a low profile that morning. Her supervisors would be down from Denver to make an attempt to appease the Luthron people and salvage the contract – if they could. McDonald and Vorus were determined Gatley Cleaning Company would be replaced.
On the other hand, Vorus wanted Randy to stay on at Luthron.
Randy went about his morning chores as he had for the last couple years. He stopped briefly at Kathy's cube now empty. She had been off before, the cube empty but not like now; empty because she was nearly killed by something as innocent as chrome cleaner. Randy was praised by Kathy's co-workers and friend as he passed through the section. People stopped him to thank him for his quick reaction and the way he took charge of the situation.
Janet and Chris each gave him a passionate kiss for his actions.
Late that morning the group from Gatly Cleaning Company arrived. Randy decided to lose himself in a secure area for awhile, preferably one which did not allow electronic devices.
The Gatly group was left in the lobby for a while "cooling their heels". Mr. McDonald and Mr. Vorus were in no hurry to see them. McDonald was in a morning meeting with the finance chiefs reviewing the budgets for different projects they were over seeing; Vorus was in the Facilities office with the company chief engineer discussing the design for a new section they were to start taking contract bids on.
Nearly an hour passed before the phone at the guard desk rang. The guard answered it on the second ring, listened then looked over his shoulder at the sofa. "Yes, ma'am. They're still here. Yes, ma' am."
He hung up the phone. Shortly a stately young woman descended the executive stairwell passing through the security locks to the lobby. The woman crossed the lobby to the sofas.
Paige gestured for them to follow her to the executive suite.
Randy's chores helped him escape the Gatly executives. Late afternoon and three pm did not seem to come fast enough for him. Bridgette was gone before three and before the night crew was in place. He did not even care Kathy was on his mind now.
He drove over to the hospital by way of a super market and the flower shop. Cursing the stop lights delaying him from reaching Kathy's side he had to bare up under the slight delay. He finally reached the hospital and a parking place and ran across the parking lot to the front entrance. He checked in with the receptionist then took the elevator to the third floor and Kathy's room.
Stopping in the open door he stared at Kathy sitting up in bed. They exchanged smiles as he gave her the boutique of flowers.
"Hi, Randy," she said with an open smile, the smile melting Randy's heart. "Oh. Randy, thank you. You're a sweet heart and my favorite wild flowers."
"For you." Randy stepped in to the room then sat in the chair he'd been occupying the evening before.
The flowers were in a vase that Kathy was able to set on the night stand. They were silent a moment then they touched hands; Randy held her small delicate one in his.
Kathy said in a soft voice, "I get out of here tomorrow. The doctor wants me under
observation one more night."
Randy hurriedly said, "Tomorrow's Saturday, I'll come get you."
"That's okay. You're a sweet heart. I'll take a taxi to the facility to get my car."
Randy smiled. "That'd be okay, but one of your friends – Janet I think got a hold of your purse and keys and took your car to your place. The keys and purse are locked up in the
security safe in security with your security badge – 'til Monday. And you know what a hassle that can be."
Kathy rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. "Great." She looked at Randy with a smile. "I don't want to put you out."
Shaking his head Randy held her hand. "I don't do much on Saturdays anyway. Please?"
The way he asked her and "Please…" she knew then Randy was devoted to her interests.
She nodded her head. "Okay, thank you. You're a dear."
Randy spent most of the evening with Kathy. The girl soon found herself despite her self-doubt's falling for Randy. Kathy could not overcome Randy was the one who saved her life. People from her department had come to visit her and all had expressed the opinion Randy had saved her life with his quick thinking the other day.
Time had gotten away from them and it was time for Randy to leave.
"Eight o'clock okay," she asked holding onto his hand.
Without hesitation, Randy said: "If you said four a.m., I'd be here."
He lifted her hand to his lips. "Tomorrow." Kissed her hand and turned to leave not looking back this time.
Kathy held her hand to her chest as she watched Randy leave the room. "Why does he love me? Can I trust myself to love him?"
She was not sure why but an old song from the 1940's by a little known band leader R. Kelly came to mind: "You Made Me Love You."
Do I deserve him? He saved my life, do I owe him? I've never felt loved by a man the way he seems to love me. Do I deserve him? So many questions – so few answers."
She lay back on the pillows staring at the ceiling. The nurse entered. "Ms. Hilton, lights out."
Kathy nodded her head. "Thank you."
Saturday morning Kathy was up early waiting for the doctor to make his rounds. She had her last breakfast. No more eating in bed. She smiled as she thought what it would be like to have someone bring her breakfast in bed. She stopped with the glass of fruit juice almost to her lips. Randy? But I hardly know anything about him. She finished her breakfast and the orderly cleared away the dishes as she waited for the doctor.
True to his word, Randy peered in to the room. "Okay?"
"Randy? Yes, come on in. I'm just waiting for the doctor to release me."
Randy walked in taking her hand in his he raised it to his lips. "Good morning –
Kathy allowed a smile as Randy held her hand. "You know I was going to say yesterday, you must be the last of a dying breed of men who do that."
He pulled up the chair beside the bed. "I always thought it appropriate for a woman – or girl, a guy hardly knows to kiss her hand on the first date."
"But then, I've only known you for the past three years. We're hardly strangers."
Smiling, Randy said: "And I've only known you for three years. We're even."
The doctor coughed as he walked in glancing at the clip board full of forms. "Ready to go home, Ms. Hilton?"
The doctor frowned as he read over the other doctor's extensive in take notes. He glanced up looking at Randy then Kathy.
"Excuse, sir but do you work with Ms. Hilton?"
"Yes, I'm with the Facilities department at Luthron."
The doctor read over the notes again. "Do you know anything about what happened to Ms. Hilton? The possible poisoning?"
Randy and Kathy were pale as they listened to the doctor.
"Kathy is allergic to several things, among them is chrome cleaner."
"That's what Doctor Benson is saying here in his intake report. What'd somebody do, douse the drinking fountains with the chrome cleaner?"
"Yes, sir." Randy replied. "The witnesses said that to make them shine, this certain person would wipe the fountain down with a lot of chrome cleaner to make them shine."
"Good god, did this person ever check to see if anybody is allergic to that stuff?" He made additional notes.
"I told them there were, at the time Ms. Hilton started there were a couple people who were allergic to the stuff."
The doctor lifted his eyes to regard Randy. "And obviously nobody listened to you, I take it?"
The doctor made a noise in his throat. "Okay, Ms. Hilton, the nurse will be here for your check out from the hospital."
Randy waited until the doctor left for the next room.
He reached over to the bed to give Kathy a kiss. "I'll be out by the nurses' station."
Kathy watched as Randy stepped out of the room. It felt as if her heart followed him out of the room to attach itself to Randy. Was she really falling for Randy just then? What was love really like?
Randy stopped in the open parking place next to Kathy's little foreign car. He looked at the apartment building a moment as Kathy started to open the door. He asked: "Would you like to go somewhere after you change?"
"I don't know. Where?"
"Mmm, a park, someplace beside a stuffy apartment."
Kathy gave it a few seconds thought. "Let me get changed – and a decent shower."
They went up to Kathy's apartment. Randy contented himself sitting in the living room while Kathy changed.
Kathy closed the bed room door, leaning against it she looked across the room wondering about this new affair that was beginning with Randy. As she undressed and got in the shower she wondered what was happening.
A short time later she emerged from the bedroom dressed in jeans, a pull over shirt and running shoes. Randy stood to look her up and down. He like what he saw. "Beautiful."
"Thank you. You look handsome too."
Randy held his hand out to Kathy. She held his hand as they stepped out of the apartment in to the summer morning air.
Kathy's apartment was close to a park. Hand in hand they walked to the park. Randy indicated a bench to sit for awhile. They watched children from the apartment's playing on the swings and slides, and sand boxes. Randy could almost visualize their own children playing in the park. They looked at each other a minute expecting the other to say something.
Kathy had a fairly good idea what Randy wanted to say: He loved her. She admitted to herself she loved him too. Randy slid a hand toward Kathy touching her hand. Their hands touched, hers was soft and delicate, his rough and work worn. That's what attracted her to Randy; he worked instead of parking in a cube or office all day. Many times she would watch him as he passed her cube. She often wondered what kind of man he was. Now she knew: Caring and gentle with her.
He turned to face her. "Kathy, I haven't had a chance to say anything to you. I am not much on these words…" The words came out in a rush. "I love you and want to ask you to be mine."
Kathy leaned over to kiss him: "Yes. And I love you too. Always have."
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