I've been on a Psych marathon, thanks to Netflix, and realized that I am in love with Lassiter, lol. This story will follow my OC, Adrienne. There's also implied Shawn/Juliet…though it will be seen through Adrienne's point of view.
The usual disclaimer of Psych not belonging to me.
The middle-aged man looked up from behind the counter offering her a warm smile in greeting. "Adrienne! How was the shift today?"
"Ugh, tiring as usual. Ended up pulling a double. Car accident on the highway. The driver was mangled up pretty bad."
"I saw that on the news! Crazy kids, drinking and driving. What the hell were they thinking?"
Adrienne Bennett sidled up to the counter, picking up a grocery basket on her way. She gave her friend a shrug. "Who knows? Maybe they think they're invincible."
They made small talk. Adrienne asked about Ralph's family and how business was doing. Ralph chided her for being such a workaholic and nagged her about finding a "good boy to settle down with", as he put it. She enjoyed her late night jaunts into her local corner store and her usual chats with Ralph.
After a few minutes, their conversation came full circle, and Ralph asked the question that had probably been on his mind since Adrienne had mentioned the car accident.
"Did he make it…the driver?"
She clutched at her heart feigning to be hurt. "Ralph, how dare you ask me this question?" Then she smiled at him, reaching over to pat his hand. "Don't worry. I'm not the best surgeon in Santa Barbara County Hospital for nothing."
"That's my girl." He squeezed her hand in response. "Don't think I was doubting you, Adrienne. You're a damn hero in my book. Not many people can say that they save a life every single day."
She felt her cheeks flush at his compliment. Adrienne had never thought of herself as a hero. She was a doctor; it was her job to save lives.
"What can I say? I'm a life saver," she joked, grabbing her basket and heading down one of the aisles.
"And a damn good one," Ralph called out after her.
Adrienne shook her head in amusement as she began her shopping. She had stopped by the store on her way home from work for some food staples. Milk, bread, eggs…beer. She was still in her scrubs, having pulled off an almost twenty hour shift at the hospital. Her long brown hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail. Wisps of hair that had escaped from their confines framed her face.
She was exhausted, but her refrigerator and pantry were practically growing cobwebs. She was down to one can of tuna and some stale crackers that were probably already months old. The next day was her day off and, after such a long shift, she knew she was going to spend the day in bed catching up on her sleep.
Perusing through the aisles, she barely heard the ring of the door as someone else entered the store. She hummed along to the music playing on the speakers as she debated whether she should just go ahead and stock up on everything she needed. Adrienne was in the middle of checking off her mental grocery list when she heard arguing. She dismissed it at first, figuring that whoever had entered the store was probably annoyed at running an errand so late at night. But then the muffled dispute grew louder.
She chanced a peek around an aisle and almost dropped her basket in alarm. Two men were standing in front of the counter...right where she had been standing earlier talking to Ralph. The poor man was now holding his arms up in defense. The men were both dressed in black, ski masks pulled over their faces.
Adrienne slowly placed the grocery basket on the floor, careful not to make any noise. She reached into her pocket for her cell phone. Her trained surgeon hands remained steady as she dialed 911 despite the fear that was reverberating throughout her entire body. However, before she even had a chance to talk to the operator, a shot rang out followed by a pained cry.
Adrienne gasped in surprise, stuffing the phone in her shirt pocket but not ending the call. She was scared, but her medical training and instincts had her running to the front of the store to see if anyone had been hurt.
She was met by the two men. One looked young. If she had to guess, she would figure him to be about 16 or 17. His scrawny figure and overall sense of panic made Adrienne think that this was his first time committing a crime. The other man was big and burly. He seemed to be the leader, holding a gun in his hand which was quickly whipped around to her.
She held up her hands, knowing how futile the action was if they decided to shoot her. But it was the only thing she could think of to show that she wasn't a threat. Ralph was nowhere to be seen, but a quick glimpse to the floor behind the counter showed her worst fear. A trail of blood was slowly streaming around the corner.
"Please...let me help him," she pleaded, surprised at how strong her voice sounded. "I'm a doctor."
She prayed that the 911 operator could hear her. Adrienne didn't want to be too obvious, but she hoped that the message would get through that somebody was hurt.
"Where were you?" the leader sneered.
They had obviously planned on the store being empty considering it was almost three in the morning. A quick robbery, go in and go out, no harm done. Only things had gone wrong. From what little she could gather, Ralph had tried to fight back, and he was shot in the process. Now, the robbers also had an eyewitness to add to their problems.
"I-In the back...I didn't see anything," she answered truthfully. She had heard the shot, but she hadn't actually seen what had happened. "Please," she pleaded with them again, "take whatever you want. Just let me try to save him."
She was painfully aware of the precious seconds that were ticking by as the two men contemplated what to do. The trickle of blood she had seen earlier was now flowing faster. Adrienne's heart sped up, more in urgency than in fear. At the moment, all that mattered was Ralph. Considering the amount of blood he was losing, his life was hanging precariously on a balance.
After what seemed like an eternity, the leader finally nodded, wagging the gun over to where Ralph was laying. She immediately checked her friend's vitals, noting the weak pulse and stilted breathing. He let out a low groan as she placed pressure on his wound to stem the blood. The bullet appeared to have pierced through his abdominal area.
"It's okay, Ralph. I've got you. Everything's going to be okay," she whispered fervently.
Behind her, she could hear the robbers ransacking what they could. Sirens began to wail in the distance, and Adrienne silently thanked them for such a quick response.
"What did you do?" The leader suddenly appeared next to her, pressing the gun against her temple.
"Nothing!" She held up one hand while the other kept pressure on the wound.
"Nothing, huh?" His hand reached into her pocket to pull out her cell phone.
The screen was still turned on, traitorously showing the call and the amount of time that had passed since she had placed it. He cocked the gun as the sirens grew louder.
"Jerry, what are you doin', man?" The young guy sounded hysterical. "The other one could have been self defense but this? This is cold blooded murder!"
Jerry narrowed his eyes at the kid as if imploring him silently to shut up.
"We gotta go, man!" The kid cried out. "The cops are getting closer!"
Jerry looked at her, his dark eyes menacing. He pulled the gun away and tucked it into his waistband. "If you talk, I'll find you." The threat hung in the air, and she gave him a curt nod. Seconds later, they were gone.
She turned her attention back to Ralph as car tires screeched outside and several police officers entered the store, their guns poised and ready.
"Over here!" she called out from behind the counter. "Call an ambulance, somebody's been shot!"
She barely heard the officers make the call. Ralph was her priority. She barely noticed that her hands and scrubs were soaked in blood. Saving her friend was all that mattered.
"Adrienne," Ralph whispered hoarsely. His skin was ashen, and she knew that he didn't have much time. She mentally cursed the ambulance for taking so long.
"Shh, don't talk. Save your strength," she whispered back.
"My family...tell them..." he gave out a weak cough, a string of blood trickling from his mouth. "Tell them I love them."
"You can tell them yourself," she chastised him. "You have to stay strong, Ralph. Stay strong and you'll be okay."
She felt so helpless. Ralph needed emergency surgery. Years of medical training and, in the end, there was nothing she could do. He opened his mouth to say something else, but she quieted him.
"I...know. I'm...in good hands." He gave her a feeble smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. Then, with a final sigh escaping from his lips, he closed his eyes and fell limp in her hands.
Next chapter: The gang's all here! Well, mostly. Detectives Lassiter and O'Hara investigate the robbery with Shawn, Gus, and even McNab thrown in the mix. :D