Author's note: Hello there! Sorry for the crappy summary, haha. I'm not really sure where this idea came from, but it showed a bit of potential. Hope you enjoy! Feedback is always appreciated, as I do hope to continue, but I'll just go away to get on with the reading. :)
The helicopter was an HU Iroquois, a "Huey", just like the ones they used to fly in Vietnam. Painted red and white that looked more like orange and grey after years of use, it sat on the helipad, a misfit. The rotors creaked as a breeze pushed across the empty valley where the Santa Rosa Hospital was nestled. Sunlight washed the roof in a dusty yellow glow and the weather vane groaned above as it turned with the wind.
The Huey's pilot pushed open the emergency door leading out to the helipad and smiled lovingly at the helicopter.
The smile vanished once the breeze carried with it a voice from the cockpit. A fiercely protective instinct rose up within the pilot; someone was visible through the dusty glass of the windshield, flailing around in the seat of her helicopter.
She dropped the tool box as she ran. Everything spilled out in a wave of silver, but she ignored it. As she got closer, she could see it was a man, who was shouting to a non-existent co-pilot when she finally hopped in the back, breathless and already sweating from the heat. He was taller than she realized and probably stronger too, but none of that mattered to her then.
"What the hell are you doing?"
The man turned sharply in his seat, and the soundproof headphones he was wearing- her headphones- went lopsided. He was lean and somewhat long-limbed, though he seemed to fit comfortably behind the controls of the Huey. Too well in fact, for her liking. His grin was a little crooked and contrasted greatly with her current scowl.
"Saw her sitting off all lonely- figured she needed somebody to love," he finally replied.
His voice had a distinct Southern twang. Her frown deepened as she yanked the headphones from his head.
"She's got nobody to love but me, pal."
His grin remained, even as he rubbed his ears. "Aw, I think we can share, muchacha."
"Carrie Reynolds," she corrected him, "And this is my chopper."
He just looked at her, no doubt scanning her skinny frame and the ratty clothes she wore. She didn't look like a pilot and realized that, but quite truthfully, he didn't fit the part either. To her surprise, he held out his hand.
"H.M. Murdock. Nice to meet you, Miss Reynolds."
That smile plastered to his face was close to loony; something to compliment the Woody Woodpecker t-shirt he was wearing. Carrie puffed out an impatient breath and shook his hand.
"So did they give you this rust bucket or did you ask for it?"
"I asked," Carrie replied, a bit snarkier than she'd meant, "Now would you please get out?"
Murdock leaned back on the bar forming both pilot seats and took a final glance around the cockpit, chewing on his lip. He finally nodded and Carrie rolled her eyes.
"Sure. I'm not gonna be rude to a chiquita like you, even if this chopper's mine, too."
He popped open the cockpit's door and slid out as if it were a practiced motion. Carrie frowned and leaned out of the cabin to speak to him.
"What are you talking about?"
Murdock laughed and little crow's feet appeared at the corners of his eyes. He pointed to the chopper as another breeze snapped at his clothes and hair. The rotors creaked again and something popped in the dormant engine.
"This little birdy's been here awhile, but I remember the day she showed up…" He shook his head and sighed. "Love at first sight."
Carrie folded her arms defiantly. "Well, her heart belongs to me now, Mr. Murdock."
He laughed again and she knew what he was thinking. She was sure he didn't believe she could fly it- most everyone else didn't. Before he could speak, the emergency door groaned open once again, directing their attention to three doctors, each with a different look of concern across their faces.
"Could you tell them I wasn't trying to fly it?" Murdock asked her, clearly annoyed.
Carrie frowned confusedly as the doctors approached, hopping down from the Huey's cabin.
"Mr. Murdock!" a woman gasped, "Thank God we found you."
The other two rushed to his side and began to steer him back toward the doorway. The woman turned to Carrie and squeezed her arm.
"Thank you for finding him. He's been trying to get in that chopper since we got it months ago."
"He wasn't…trying to fly it," Carrie said, still frowning. Up ahead, she could see Murdock flash the thumbs up sign.
The woman laughed, as if she didn't believe her. "Of course he wasn't. Thanks again."
Carrie watched, transfixed, as they led Murdock from the roof. He reached for the ball cap tucked into the back pocket of his cargo shorts and secured it on his head, successfully holding down his unkempt hair. Carrie's expression lifted into one of shock once she saw the screaming eagle insignia of the 101st Airborne across front. Murdock looked back at her and waved.
"Nice meeting you!"
Carrie barely managed wiggling her fingers in reply. The doctors had guided Murdock away and the door was beginning to close behind them. She looked back at the Huey, still clutching the headphones in her hand. The door snapped closed and she turned back around.
"The 101st Airborne Division…"
Cursing under her breath, Carrie ran for the door and yanked it open. They were already gone from sight and she hurried down the stairs, the cord of her headphones cracking against the steps as she went. The hospital was quiet as usual, and she felt like a complete stranger amidst all the white coats with her messy blonde hair and dirty clothes. Carrie weaved through the doctors carefully, occasionally sputtering a few words of Spanish before Murdock's laugh echoed down the hallway. She saw a group herding him into a nearby room and hurried toward them, her sneakers squealing on the linoleum. By the time she arrived, he was already behind the door, unapproachable. Both orderlies gave her a strange look each before saying,
"Visiting hours are over, Miss."
"Oh, okay," she replied absently, gazing through the window in the door. "I'm just looking."
More strange glances. They left her to stand in front of the door, still searching for the ball cap amidst the other people inside. Nervously, she hugged the headphones to her chest and stepped closer to the door, pressing her hand to the glass. She saw him again, sitting in an armchair in the corner, looking especially bored as the others around him played board games or watched TV. Carrie shook her head.
"I don't believe it…"
H.M. Murdock- the man she was watching in the Rec Room of a Psychiatric ward- was a pilot.
Just like her.