Foolproof

By: Jennifer Blackwood

Chapter One

Jules

Good: giving a guy a heart attack from your wardrobe choice.

Bad: guy having a literal heart attack.

The worst part? My “killer” outfit wasn’t even cute. And it definitely wasn’t a guy I was trying to impress. Nope. Instead, I stood in my baggy green Office Jax shirt, hovered over my middle-aged coworker as he clutched his chest, beads of sweat pouring down his red face.

I scanned the service floor for Jack, the owner of Office Jax. The store was empty, no one around to help Mike—except me. And for a pre-med student, I had no clue what the hell I was doing. People assumed since I sported acceptance into Drexler’s medical program, I had some massive knowledge about all things medical, but I wouldn’t be learning any lifesaving techniques or medical procedures until I was actually in school. So at this moment? Totally screwed. Like only one Oreo left in the sleeve and all the grocery stores are closed screwed.

I took one last look around the store, praying for Jack to walk through the sliding doors like a white knight coming to save the day, but with the only sounds in the store being Mandy Moore’s “Candy” streaming through the intercom and no footsteps, it was apparent I was on my own. I let out a heavy sigh and rocked back on my heels. Of course something would go wrong as soon as Jack went on lunch break. Nothing bad ever happened at a convenient time—like when I actually had a medical textbook handy. “Hold on, Mike. I’m calling for an ambulance.”

Mike gave a weak nod, the sweat from his face dripping onto the linoleum floor. My scalp prickled as I surveyed his declining state. Red face. Shortness of breath. Pain in arm. All roads led to a heart attack. C’mon, think, Ms. Future M.D. I was rewarded with a symphony of crickets.

Sweat started to pool at the small of my back, and I wiped the back of my hand over my slick forehead. Damn it, do something! But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember anything from my CPR classes, the information locked away in a part of my brain that wasn’t functioning during my inner freak-out. Should I give him aspirin? That one commercial for Bayer flashed through my mind. Heck, who actually bought Bayer besides people over seventy?

I looked around the store. Maybe Jack kept some medicine around in the staff room? Doubtful. He didn’t strike me as the free handouts type. My gaze landed on the walk-up ladder, the place where this incident started.

Guilt threaded through my stomach, knotting my insides like a tightly wound ball of yarn. This was my fault. If I’d helped Mike haul that mammoth of an office chair onto the overhead storage shelf instead of letting him be all macho caveman I don’t need your help with this, Jules, he probably wouldn’t be in this situation. To make it worse, my shirt had ridden up as I was tying my hair into a bun, and Mike had looked over, checking out my stomach, just before he dropped the box and doubled over. My pulse throbbed in my ears, my vision wavering. God, what if he died?

I shook my head. I could not think that way.

Mmmkay, girl, this is your chance to prove you got the lady cojones.

I gave myself a mental pat on the back and left Mike’s side. Pulling out my phone from, I dialed 911, my shaky hands barely able to punch in the three digits. The dispatcher picked up on the second ring, her voice calm and level. “911, what’s your emergency?”

I inhaled deeply, willing my mind to stop spinning. You can do this. Help Mike. “Yes, I have a—hold on.” I turned to Mike. “How old are you?”

“Why does that matter? Just tell them the address.”

I put my hand on his shoulder. “It’s important they know how old you are.” At least that’s what all my favorite hospital shows emphasized.

Mike gave me a pointed glare.

Oh-kay.

I chewed on the inside of my cheek. Didn’t he know how important details were in life-threatening situations? It’s okay, just sound professional. Fake it. “I have a middle-aged man, who I believe is having a heart attack.”

“All right, ma’am. What’s your address?”

Shit, I should have had that information ready before I called. “Just a sec.” I put my hand over the speaker. “Do you know the address?”

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