Chapter 2: Overdrive (3/8)

Tuesday (3/8)

Get out of my way.

Stepping out of the complex, they were blasted with a torrent of people armed with cameras, microphones, and loud voices asking personal questions.  JZ extended his hand back to Elle and she held on tightly.  Then she held Xiong’s hand rightly and the three of them began slowly squeezing through the unyielding flood.

JZ kept his free hand up in front of him to create a path for him and his tail to get to his car.  A minute into the rush, JZ felt a tug in Elle’s direction and looked back.  She was going backward and yelling, “XIONG! XIONG!” She scanned frantically, took a breath then shouted louder, “XIONG! JUMP!” and kept repeating it.  Her heart panicked as she scanned the sea.  A minute later, she saw a hand with the end of a guitar in the air, and pushed people away to get to it.  She saw him and tightly gripped his arm, right above his elbow and had him very close to her.  Then she looked up at JZ and nodded her head with a worried and relieved face.

JZ resumed leading his tail, looking left and right, and over his obstacles.  A 10-minute walk to downtown Beijing turned into a 45-minute struggle to JZ’s car.  They finally reached it and she thought, “Great, a two-door.”  She unlocked the car, opened it, slid the front seat forward, and Xiong quickly got in.  She slid it back and got in herself.  She closed the door but was stopped by a video camera stuck in between, so she widened the gap and pushed the camera out, slammed the door shut, then immediately locked the doors.

She opened the arm rest and said, “Yes! Just what I was looking for,” and took out a marker.  She ordered, “Phone,” from JZ and it was given.  She typed something and wrote, “I won’t yield to people who are obstructing my path,” in characters backward across the top of his windshield.

When she got back into the driver’s seat a few minutes later, she handed the phone back to JZ and put the marker back where she found it.  She looked back to throw her purse in the backseat and saw that Xiong already had his seat belt on.  She said, “Good,” then looked at JZ with his seat belt buckled despite the chopstick ends sticking out from his hands.

She started the engine and quickly notified JZ, “I don’t know how to use this,” pointing to the stick shift, “so you’re going to have to use it,” regretting that she had damaged his sedan so badly.  He nodded his calm head and firmly placed his palm on it.  It took her five long minutes to get out of the parallel space the car was in.  Once she was out, she drove slowly, and continually increased her speed as she saw the unyielding people buzzing in her way.  JZ saw her face significantly madden and knew she was going to step hard on the gas on her next move.  He adjusted the shift and she sped seven times her previous speed, knocking about 20 people down.  She kept increasing her speed.  By the time she got away from them, Xiong looked back and gleefully said, “150 people are lying on the street! You are so cool, Miss Elle!”

JZ turned on the A/C until her face relaxed.  He then suggested that she slow down, and adjusted the shift.  Then gave her directions to the studio.

***

She noticed the entrance to the subway in JZ’s neighborhood and saw a sea of people armed with cameras, microphones, and pointing fingers blocking the sidewalk leading to his suite and studio.  She slowed down to turn into the parking garage, but people were blocking the entrance.  When she got in, Xiong said with impressment, “Whoa, Miss Elle, you drive like they weren’t even there!”

She parked the car, turned off the engine, and unbuckled JZ’s seatbelt.  Everyone got out with their things.

“Come here,” he said quietly.  “There’s a secret way to get inside,” he said extending his hand to Elle.  She took Xiong’s hand and clasped it in JZ’s, then he gently pushed him to JZ.  “Go,” she quietly ordered with her voice and louder with her eyes and eyebrows.  They quickly went.  She looked back and saw the new security entourage moved to the entrance of the garage, swept the fallen paparazzi out, then held them back.  She kept looking back to see if they were still held back, fearing she would have to use other defensive measures if necessary.  JZ led them to a dark corner and went up the narrow stairway.  Climbing up an unknown amount of stairs, they finally reached the top.  With a tiny red light blinking, JZ placed his hand on the wall and a touchpad lit up in dark green, scanning his hand.  A door revealed itself by sliding up.  Elle was the last one up, seeing the touchpad still lit, she wiped it with her sleeve before entering.

As JZ closed the door from the inside with a button, she was in awe with the room.  “There’s nothing in here but a sky light and a grand piano with its seat,” she said to herself.  JZ was on the far end of the room, saying quietly to Xiong, “Get out.  I need to talk to her in private,” pushed him out, closed the door, and locked it.  He walked to her, slid his hands around her hips, on her back, bent his neck down to look at her relieved face, her eyes half-opened and looking at him.  He brought her body close to his and kissed her on the lips to tell her how impressed he was at her handling the ordeal.

She pushed him back and said like it was her last breath, “I’m too tired.”  She took a few steps toward the door JZ pushed Xiong out of, then collapsed.  He ran to her, turned her over on her back and shook her.  “ELLE!” he shouted.  “ELLE! ELLE!”  She did not wake up.  JZ took a big step to the door, unlocked it, opened it,  and shouted, “BIG CALL AN AMBULANCE! BIGGER GET CEECEE UP HERE NOW!”  Then returned to his angel lifeless on the floor.  “WAKE UP BABY! TELL ME WHAT’S WRONG!” he yelled as he continued to shake her.

Xiong poked his head in and saw Elle lying on the floor.  He rushed there and asked JZ in a worried voice, “What did you do to her?!”

“GET OUT!” he yelled.

“Check her heart! Maybe her tremendous heart caused a heart problem!”

“GET OUT! YOU CAN’T SEE WHAT I’M ABOUT TO DO!” and forcefully pulled the strips of cloth and chopstick pieces off his fingers with his thumbs.

“I’M NOT LEAVING!”

JZ did one chest compression and heard and felt a crack.  He paused a moment, then unbuttoned the button closest to where his hands were.  He saw something shiny and fished it out with his forceps.  It was a fragment of the hair clip.  He pulled out another piece, and then unclipped it from her bra.  He saw some blood flowing, so he took off his shirt, placed it on the wound, and continued the chest compressions.

Big entered and loudly notified with worry in his voice, “The ambulance will be here soon.”  Seeing Elle on the floor again, he asked with concern, “Did she faint again?”

“I DON’T KNOW! SHE JUST FELL!” he yelled.  He scooped her up in his arms and said, “Check around for my keys, they may be in her purse.  Tell CeeCee and Bigger to take my car.  You’re going to ride in the ambulance with me,” and he walked down the stairs to the front entrance.

“I want to ride in the ambulance, too,” Xiong chimed in.

“You’re staying here,” JZ said seriously.  “Tell the musicians to babysit him.”

Big followed JZ and was on the phone with his brother first, and then Hero.

JZ looked through the glass front doors and the ambulance had not arrived yet.  He took her to the common area.  “Tell me when the ambulance gets here,” he ordered his receptionist.  He placed Elle on the floor and resumed the chest compressions.

A minute later, he heard his receptionist say, “The ambulance is here.”  JZ scooped Elle back into his arms and met the medic at the back of the ambulance.  “Go first, Big.  Block them.”

“We were being chased by so many paparazzi, and earlier in the morning, she was trying to take her shower head apart,” JZ told the medic as he laid her on the stretcher.

“I was watching the whole thing on my phone.  The Rebels streams it live,” said the medic.  “Tell me what I didn’t see.”  The medic pushed the stretcher in.  He got in, then JZ, then Big struggled to get in.  “He’s not going to fit in here,” said the medic.

“He has to come with us.  Otherwise you won’t be able to get her into the hospital.”

“Ride in the front with my partner,” said the medic.  Big got in the front seat and the driver started driving.

JZ took a breath then said, “She said she was really tired, then she took a few steps, and then she fell.  I did chest compressions.”

“Why is she bleeding?”

“I forgot that she kept the hair clip I got her there, and when I did the first chest compression, it broke and broke her skin.  How’s her heart?”

“I don’t hear anything,” said the medic, listening to Elle’s heart with his stethoscope and trying to stay calm.

“Is she still alive?”

“I don’t know.  Wait for the doctor,” he said trying to stay positive, and putting an oxygen mask on her face.  Then he did chest compressions until they reached the hospital.

Big hopped out of the front seat and immediately fought his way to the back of the ambulance.  He opened the hatch and the medic pushed the stretcher out.  JZ and Big acted as a wall against the burgeoning paparazzi so the stretcher could be rolled into the hospital.  Then they closely followed the stretcher until the medic stopped them before the operating room.  “This is as far as you can go,” he said.

“Can I at least kiss her? This may be the last time I kiss her when she’s warm.”

“I’m sorry, but time is of the essence.”

Next

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Published by

Leanne

I began writing Elle's Adventure in China (EACh) in June 2014 as a fun summer project, but as obstacles kept interfering with my plans, I forked and forked more options. I took writing this novel much more seriously in mid-July, and want to have it officially published someday in my lifetime. As many artists put their hearts into their projects, so do I. I did not start out liking to read, but a professor suggested a book for me for homework a few years ago, and it was an amazing book. Since then, I read for pleasure, and I hope my novel, Elle's Adventure in China, does the same for as many of you as possible. The same thing goes to writing. I did not like to write until I took a course where the professor and papers made me love to write. I hope every one of you find what makes you happy and dedicated to work. In May 2015, I started my other blog, Read and Write Here (R&WH), as a place to post other things that aren't China- and Chinese culture-related and not EACh. I share some of my memories and experiences from student teaching, irregular participation in Daily Prompts, etc. I'd like to have regular people and bloggers to write book reviews and post it on R&WH someday. Keep reading and writing!

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