Where was she?
When they’d plunged into the river he’d lost his grip on her, and she had floated away. The current was strong, and by the time he’d gotten his head back above the water he hadn’t been able to see her anywhere.
She’d said she couldn’t swim.
Frantically he looked for her, he hadn’t saved her life just for her to drown. Diving under the water he began to search. It was dark, and visibility was basically zero. As he swam he moved his arms about, hoping desperately he would feel something.
He searched until his lungs burned and demanded he go back up for air. After dragging in just a few precious breaths, he dived back down again. How long could she last? He’d never even seen her head bob back up. She could be dead already, but he couldn’t stop searching for her.
He was on his fourth search attempt when his fingers brushed against something long and stringy.
Reaching around in that area his hand felt a shoulder, and then an arm, and he wrapped his hand around it and dragged her close, then hooked an arm across her chest and swam them both up to the surface.
As soon as his head was back above the water he began to swim towards the shore. The woman was completely limp in his grip. Was she already dead?
At the water’s edge he swung the woman into his arms and clambered up the slippery slope. He dropped to his knees in the grass and laid the woman out, one hand curled under her jaw, searching for a pulse, his other hand pressed to her chest, hoping to feel a heartbeat.
He found neither.
“Breathe,” he ordered her unresponsive form. “Now.”
Determinedly he commenced CPR, he was not letting this woman die. He’d risked his life to snatch her out of the hands of that lunatic with a gun, he couldn’t let her die, she was his responsibility now, and he always took care of his responsibilities.
He didn’t know how long he worked on her, it could have been seconds, it could have been minutes, all he knew was that he had long ago lost hope that she could be revived.
Then a miracle happened.
Beneath him the woman began to splutter.
Quickly he rolled her onto her side as she began to cough up the water that had clogged her lungs. When she was done he laid her back down. Her eyes were wide and unfocused and her breath was coming unevenly and too shallow.
“Breathe in,” he said, stroking her wet matted locks from her face. “Slowly.”
It took another few minutes for her breathing to grow somewhat normal, her gaze cleared and those big blue eyes locked right onto his.
He felt it.
He literally felt it.
A spark had zapped between them.
Then he heard it.
The cocking of a gun.