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Every Day Life

An Emergency Story by

Alana
 

 

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A shift was enjoying one of those rare days when dinner was proceeding without interruption.  In fact, the whole shift had been quiet.  The squad   had completed the rechecks on several restaurants for safety code violations.  The  drills had  been  done  before the  engine  was  called  out to  assist  on  a MVA   that had  been  more of a traffic  nightmare than a  medical /fire  emergency.   Of course, no one was mentioning the fact it had been an easy shift.   No one wanted to jinx it.

 

Johnny had made dinner using a recipe from Lee.  Since he had gotten married, he was becoming a good cook.  Lee loved to cook and he liked hanging out in the kitchen and helping her.   He had  made  dressing  then  rolled it  up in a  well  beaten  piece of  round  steak and  baked it in a  mushroom  gravy.    He made a salad and   fixed frozen peas and carrots to go with it.  Lee had sent in dessert, a lemon pudding cake.   Even Chet could not find anything to complain a bout the meal. 

 

 "So you guys want to do something Saturday night?"   Chet asked as they were just sitting around the table enjoying the end of the meal.   "We haven't been bowling for awhile."

 

"Saturday sounds  good to me…Em and the  girls  are  going  away  on  Mother  daughter  retreat  with a  group  from  church." 

 

"Jo's mother is having a birthday party for her brother in law Sunday.   Jo and the kids are going down on Saturday to help get ready for it.  

 

"Think  Melissa  would  be  glad to  get  out of the  house  for awhile…I'll  see if  we can get a sitter."  Mike added.   "Don't think she can bowl but her and Lee could be score keepers."   John  appreciated the  quiet  engineer's  thoughtfulness  in  thinking  of a  way  Lee could  be an  active  part of the  group   not  just  sitting  back at the  table  watching.

 

"Saturday  is fine with me…I'm  helping  my  mom  move  boxes  to the  church  for their  garage  sale  next  week  end  during the  day.

 

"Want meet somewhere for dinner before we go?"   Chet asked. 

 

Sure."  Johnny said as he began clearing the table.  Clean up would be easy since he had had time to do the prep dishes.   "Any place in mind?"

 

"No."

 

"Why not let the girls pick a place?  There are some nice places near the bowling alley."  Cap said.  "Mike  call Melissa and  ask her to talk  to  Lee about  where they  would  like to go for  dinner  Saturday  night.   Then she or Lee can make reservations if they need to." 

 

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 The SCU tones out just as Roy and Johnny finished cleaning the kitchen, 

 

 "Squad 51 injured child…2424 Grant Dr.   2 4 2 4 Grant Dr.  Cross Street   Dunaway Rd.   Time out   18:43."

 

 "KMG 365."  Cap responded as he handed Roy the slip of paper.   The address was in a new sub division not far from   the station.   When they reached the home, a teenage boy was waiting   by the curb.

"My  sister and I are  watching our  cousins  while our  moms  went  shopping…Timmy  was  running and  crashed into the  end  table…He has a  cut on his  forehead  that’s  bleeding a lot…"  The boy told them as they got out the equipment.

 

"How old is he?"  Roy asked as they went into the house. 

 

"Three…my aunt says he is a little monkey always running and climbing on stuff…"  The  found a  girl of  16  holding the  three year old  on her  lap  with a  washcloth  full of  ice   on his  forehead.   The  little  boy  was  crying  not so  much  from  hurting  but  because  he  wanted  down to  run  around  some  more.

 

 "Hey there, I'm Johnny and this is my partner Roy…What's your name?"

 

"Anne Marie…and he's Timmy.   He  was  playing  with  our  kitten and  was  chasing  him…I  put ice  on his  cut  while  Greg  called  you…"  The girl was working hard at trying to keep   from crying.  "My aunt is gonna be so mad…We   were watching him and the other kids   and it just happen so fast…"

 

 "I'm sure you were taking good care of him and you did exactly everything right." Johnny said as he took the squirming toddled from her.  As he held, Timmy Roy cleaned the  cut and did a quick assessment.  ''Ann Marie do you know where your mom and your aunt were going shopping?"

 

 "Keelson's   I think." 

 

 "Johnny call there and have her paged…Anne Marie what is your aunt's last name?"

 

"Larson…Her name is Jean Larson."     Johnny handed Roy the toddler and quickly dialed the number. 

 

 "Keelson's Market, how may I help you?" 

 

This is John Gage…is your dad   there…It's important Stevie."   

 

"Yeah Johnny…"  He heard the phone drop to the desk…"He is on his way…" 

 

 "This is Mark…you have a rush order Johnny?"  The friendly voice greeted Johnny warmly.

 

 "No but I do need you to  page a Mrs. Jean Larson if she's still in the store…"

 

 "She is…I was just talking to her.  Is something wrong?" 

 

 "I need to speak to her   please."   Mark understood he was on duty.

 

 "Just a second…"  Johnny heard the click of a P.A. system being turned on.  "Jean Larson please comes to the office…Jean Larson   come to the office."   Jean came to the office door looking confused.   "You have a phone call."

 

 "Hello?"  Puzzled.

 

"Mrs. Larson  my  name is  John  Gage and I'm an LA  County  paramedic…Don't  panic  …Timmy has a  3  inch  cut on his  forehead…The  bleeding has  stopped and he is  very  alert.  Would it be possible for you to meet us at Rampart?   He   does to need a stitch or two."

 

 "Of course…we'll be there soon as possible…Are you sure he is gonna be ok?"

 

"Yes ma'am…Right now he is trying to get down so he can go chase the cat.…"  They hung up.  Mark looked at the worried mother and smiled.

 

 "If Johnny and Roy are taking care of him, Timmy's gonna be just fine."

 

 "Miss Lee said they are the best…"  Stevie added with a huge smile.  "They helped me and dad when our car wrecked.   Right Dad?'

 

"They sure did son, and Miss Lee is always right."  He laughed as his son blushed.

 

 "Yep…she is."   Jean thanked them for the reassurance.  She and her sister who had been listening   in the doorway left.

 

"Come on Stevie let’s   get their carts and   check them out.  We'll deliver them over to Ann Marie's house."

 

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Roy  had  called  Rampart on the  biophone  while  Johnny  had  been on  the  land line.   It was decided that Johnny would ride in with Timmy   since the young boy seemed to be more still when Johnny was holding   him.   They  had  decided against  even  trying to get him to  lie  down on the  gurney.

 

 Johnny   held  the  little  boy and  talked to him and   generally  kept him  happy   as  they  rode into the  hospital.    It  was a pleasant uneventful  ride  and  they had  taken  him into the  treatment  room  when  the  mother and the  aunt  arrived.    Dr. Brackett sent Johnny out to see if the mother was there yet.

 

 Johnny heard the women asking about Timmy, went over, and introduced himself.

 

 "Thank you so much for taking care of him …He can be a handful." 

 

 "He  was  fine…sat on my  lap and  played  with my  name tag  on the  way in….Your  niece,  Ann Marie and her  brother  did a  good  job of  watching  him and the  others.  Soon as  he  got  hurt  Ann Marie  got  ice on it and her  brother  called the  fire  department…They handled  everything  as  well as an  adult…Better than  some I've  seen."

 

"Thank you…I'm Annie, Ann Marie and Greg's mother. Thanks for telling me that the kids did good.  I recognize you now…You shop at Keelson's.  Stevie has a major crush on your wife. "

 

"That boy has excellent taste in the ladies.  Stevie is a good kid…"   Roy came in and Johnny introduced him to the women.  "You have a good evening…"

 

 A few  minutes after they  left  Kel  came out and  talked  to Jean  telling her  that Timmy  had  4  stitches and  was  fine.

 

"Your  paramedics made sure  we knew  he  was  ok  and  that the  other  kids at home  were  fine  also when we  talked with them  on the  phone.  We appreciate that."

 

"We appreciate hearing that…and yeah they are two of the best."  Kel said   proud as always of "his" paramedics.

 

 When they got back to the station,   everyone was watching a movie and all was calm.  Mike had talked to Melissa who was going to talk with Lee.  Johnny  has seen the movie and hadn't liked it the  first time  so  he  went  out to the  kitchen  to  call  Lee.   She answered on the second ring.

 

"You sitting on top of the phone?"  He teased.

 

"Nawh just waiting for you to call…Missed seeing you today…Heard you all had a pretty nice day."

 

 "Yeah we did…So you and Melissa decided where you'd like to go to dinner on Saturday?"

 

 "There is a new  place near the  bowling  alley  that is  supposed to have  really good  barbecue …Melissa  said  several of the  girls  from her  play  group  have  been  there…She  was  going to  check to  see if they  take  reservations."

 

"So you don't mind spending Saturday night with this bunch?   I know going bowling isn't    whole lot of fun for you."

 

"I'll be with you, right?  Then it will be fine…" They  talked a  few more  minutes.  " I love you…have good dreams."

 

"You too…see you in the morning.  Love ya."

 

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Johnny  went  back  out to the  day  room  but  wasn't  really  interested in the  movie  so  he  got a  puzzle  book and  went  back out to the  kitchen  table.  A half hour later   Roy came in to the kitchen and sat down at the table.

 

"Everything ok?"  Roy  asked.

 

 "Yeah  fine…Roy  did  you  ever think  what it  would  be  like if  you had  married  someone  else?"    Not looking at Roy as he said it.  Not  really  sure  why   he had  said  that  and feeling  ashamed as if it  was a betrayal to  Lee.

 

 "No…JoAnne is the only   person I ever really dated seriously."  He frowned looking at his best friend and seeing a look of confusion in his eyes.  "There isn't anything wrong between you and Lee is there?" 

 

 "No…Of course not."  Shocked that Roy would even think that.   " I  can't really  imagine  being  with  anyone  but  Lee…She has  been  talking  about maybe building a  house.   We more or less agreed to stay at the apartment at least a year…but lately she has looking at house designs.  Maybe I should get serious about it too."

 

"Seriously?    Gage you being serious is a joke."  Chet said coming into the room.   "You're serious when you're with a victim but the rest of the time….forget it." Chet said as he sat down at the table.  "Now what are ya getting serious about?"

 

"None of your business. …Lee and  Melissa  said  they  want to try the  new  restaurant   that is  suppose to have  really  good  barbecue."

 

 "Yeah I heard that too…And that they do an awesome catfish and hushpuppy basket…Should be a good place to go."

 

 The next morning before they left, they decided on a time to meet for dinner.   When Johnny got to the apartment, Lee had a nice breakfast ready and they had a pleasant morning.

 

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He was  sitting on the  balcony  with a  book  but hadn't  turned  a  page for awhile.  She went out to him.  "Honey, is something wrong?"  She had been watching him wondering what he was thinking about.

 

 "No just day dreaming I guess…Anything   special you want to do?"  He looked at her seeing the love and concern in her face.  "Everything is fine…You know I think you get more beautiful each day…"  He reached over and stroked her cheek softly.  "And I realize how lucky I am… "

 

"The  feeling is  mutual  my  love….You  know  I'll  always  listen  if  you  want to  talk…and  won't  ask  questions if you  don't…  The  only  thing I want to  do to day is  hang out  with  you…All the  housework is  done  for the  week…no  pressing  errands to run…and I made a  cake  last night after I  got  home  from  the  store…We're having  ham  unless you have  something  else  you'd like."

 

"With your au gratin potatoes?"

 

 "Of course…and homemade rye bread…"

 

 "If  there isn't  anything  you need  I  think I'll  go  down and  develop  that roll of  film  I  took  last  week  end…and  thanks…"  He stood up stretching. 

 

"For what?"  She cocked her head and looked up at him.

 

 "For just being you and letting me just be me…"  She giggled as he bent down and kissed her.

 

"Haven't you figured it out yet?  You  just  being  you  is  my  most  favorite  person in the  world…Go   develop  the  films."

 

 Saturday  after  breakfast and a  nice  long  shower for  two  they  were  both  lost in  a  good  book. Lee was on one of end of the couch her legs stretched out resting on   Johnny's lap.  Every so often  not  even  realizing  he  was  doing  it he  would  reach  down and  rub  her   leg…the  spot  right at the  end of her  calf  that  had a  tendency  to  go into  muscle  spasms.   He was reading a western, she was reading Sci-Fi fantasy.  

 

 "Do you think someday we can go to England and Ireland?  And Wales and Scotland?" she asked suddenly. 

 

"I don't know I never thought about it…But if you were there I'd have a good time.  But right now I am totally happy being here…What time do we have to be at the restaurant?"

 

"6 ---I think...I wrote it down on the board.   You gonna take the pictures you developed last night?  I  really  like the  one  of  Jenny  and  Stacy  playing  fashion  models…And  the ones of the  boys   playing  soccer  were  great  too.   If you ever decide you don't wanna be a paramedic any more you could be a photographer."

 

"It's a nice hobby but I can't see me not being a paramedic…at least for awhile."

 

"Until you and Roy decide to become captains?   I can see you as  captains  but  not  engineers…especially  not  you…But  that's in the  future and  the  farthest  future I am  interested  in right now is dinner and  bowling."  

 

 Lee was in the bedroom changing for dinner. Johnny heard a crash and quickly went in to check on her.  He watched her for a minute as she struggled to pull up on the edge of the bed.    The  books  and a  stack of mail  that had  been on the  night  stand  was on the  floor along  with a broken  glass.  Her  chair  had  been  pushed  away  from the  bed and was  sitting  backwards.

 

 "Ya know if I stand here much longer we definitely will be late for dinner."  She blushed but still did not smile.  "You ok?"   She hadn't  put her  shirt on  yet  and  her  slacks  weren't  quite  up to her  hips."

 

 "No, I am a 23 years old adult.  An  adult  should  be able to go in and  get  dressed without a  making a major  production  out of it…But  not  me…I   knock  everything on the  floor and in a  brilliant  display  of  temper  shove  my  chair so it  goes  off  where I can't  reach it…And  you're  standing  there  leering at me  like  …."  She raised her hands in a gesture of defeat.

 

 "Like I'd rather finish undressing you than help you get dressed?"  He went over and  sat  down  next to  her,  one hand  gently  stroking  her  cheek   as the  other  went  around her  neck.  "It's ok…I like helping you."  He whispered in her ear before kissing her.  "Now what do you need me to do to help…"

 

 "I  noticed you said  need not  want…If I said  what I  wanted  we would never make it  to  dinner….and maybe not the  bowling…"   He kissed her again and she giggled before pushing him away.   "Hand me the shirt that is over on the floor and   help me get these jeans pulled up.…"  He helped and they were ready on time.  He was lifting her into her chair.

 

 "So what did this poor chair do to deserve you shoving it?" 

 

 "I  was  pushing  up  to  stand  up  and it   moved…I  knew the  brakes  needed  to  be  tightened…Jake  said they had a new  travel  chair  coming  out  that is  lighter and  easier to  fold…Maybe  we  need to  go  look at  chairs…Said they  were working on  a design for a  smaller  electric  chair…that  by the time I  need an  electric  chair they  should  be on the market."

 

"Girl, why didn't you tell me that earlier today?"  He shook his head.  "I could have checked it out and tightened the brakes."

 

"Because I didn't think about it until I went to get dressed…Besides I thought the way we spent the afternoon was perfect."   

 

"What am I gonna do with you?"

 

"Kiss me and tell me you love me and take me to dinner."   Lee said batting her eyes at him.  "Ya know ya do."

 

"Yep I do…"   He kissed her on the tip of her nose.  "Come on lets go eat."

 

The  restaurant  was  crowded  but  when she had  called  for reservations  Melissa  had  told  them  8  including a  wheelchair.   They  were  soon  seated and   having a lively  debate over  what  year a  movie had  first  came out.

 

 "Towering Inferno and Earthquake both came out in '74."  Lee insisted

 

"No they   didn't …It had to be 72 or 73."  Chet   was just as certain.  "I bet ya…"

 

"Chet you twit haven't you learned   your lesson about betting against her?"   Cap interrupted him.  "Didn't you just buy $25 worth of toys for the playroom at Rampart?"

 

"I wanted to bet $5.00 He is the one who insisted on $25..."  Lee said laughing.  "I didn't wanna take advantage of the poor lad."

 

"You don't worry about taking advantage of me…I know I am right."  Chet said with a smirk.   "If I am right  it’s another  $10  for the  playroom…if I'm  wrong and  your  right  then  you  owe the  department  toy  fund  $10.00."

 

  Cap was heard to mutter twit and the others laughed as Lee agreed.  "Tomorrow we'll find out that 74 are right…"

 

"And then you  go to Mr. Lester's  book  store and  tell him  you  need  some  books  for the  playroom at  Rampart."  Johnny  smiled  knowing that  Mr. Lester  gave the  playroom a  discount  on  books and often  donated  extra  ones  when he made a delivery  there.

 

 "Ahem,  Lee  didn't you tell me  you and  your  uncle  were friends  with  the  guy  that  made  the  Towering Inferno?   And that you went to the premiere with Jeff?"  Roy said with a grin.   He had seen the pictures in an album one night when Lee was looking for a picture to show Chris. 

 

 "Yep…Jeff's firm did work for several of the studios…I'd tag along."  Chet groaned, he knew he had lost again.

 

"Are you ever wrong about anything?"  Chet said as he handed Lee a $10 bill."

 

 "Sure I am…but remember I'm the girl with the nerdy memory." 

 

 "Do you have to remember every stupid thing I've said?"  Chet said looking a little worried.

 

"Kelly, even her memory isn't that good."  Johnny could not let an opening like that slip by.

 

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 Everyone laughed and soon they were on their way to the bowling alley.  They had been there several times, it was a nice friendly place.  They were more family orientated than some of the larger bowling allies in the area.  The  guys who  didn't have their  own shoes  got  them  from the  desk and  found  balls  they  liked.  Once they  reached  their assigned  lanes  Johnny  lifted her  out  of the  chair and  carried her  down to the  scorekeepers'  table.  He  sat her  down and  waited  while she  squirmed around  until  she  was  comfortable and  secure in her  balance. 

 

 "Thank you kind sir."  She said with a nod.  ""Do you ever get tired of all the bother I cause?"  She  asked  softly.  She could feel the people on the other lane watching.

 

"What bother?  Want a soda?  Melissa what would you like?"

 

 "A coke please…"  Melissa said as she sat down.

 

 "Beers for you guys?"  Johnny asked before he pushed the empty chair up to the desk where the manager safely stored it.  His next stop was the concession window.   "5 beers and 3 large cokes…"  He got the drinks and made his way back to the lanes. Lee and Melissa had filled out the score sheets.  It would be a straight score no handicap.  

 

"Johnny, Cap and Mike are on lane 6 …Cap is up first."   Melissa said after they had all had two warm up balls.  The game was lively and the trash talks friendly.   Roy and Johnny were both having   good games.  Marco and  Mike were  bowling  their  usual  games  but  Cap and  Chet  were  having  bad  games.  Cap was  getting  eight and  nine  pins  but  not  picking  up spares.  Chet's  6  or 7  pins a frame  was  giving him  fits. 

 

 "Man  I  can't  believe this…I'll be  lucky  to  break 100   going  like  this…Who's  bright  idea  was this any  way?"  Letting the others know the grumbling was all in fun Cap said as he left a pin standing.

 

 "Beer round…"Chet announced.  "Low score for the frame buys." 

 

 "Chet you're already in the hole for $10 to Lee can you afford to buy a round?"  Johnny teased as he watched Mike and Marco both make strikes.   Johnny got a strike and Roy a spare.   Cap   went  up to the  line and studied  the  pins  and took  his  time  lining  up his throw.

 

Counting and   concentrating  he  threw  the  ball and  it  was  going  down  the  lane  perfectly  then  curved and  knocked  3  pins  over  before  dropping into  the  gutter.  Cap  muttered under his  breath as he  heard the  men  of his command  struggling  not  to  laugh  at their  captain.    The  word  twirts  was  heard  just as he  released the  ball…again  it  looked  like a  perfect  shot  but ended with  a  wicked  curve…knocking  over  two  pins.

 

Chet moved up to the line and smirked as he turned to the men behind him.  "Sorry Cap…"  He  let  go of the  ball  and  soon as he  did  he knew it  was a  gutter  ball.  "OK Chester B   shake it off   …that was just a fluke…You can get a spare easily."   Talking  softly  to  himself  he  again  approached  the   line  looking at the  pins  with  determination.  Arm  back   keeping it  straight ,  keep  the  wrist  straight  ….release  perfect.  The 10 pins fell as the foul buzzer went off.   "Nooo"   the  sound  that  came out of his  throat  was  pure  pain  as  his  friends  dissolved in laughter.   Chet  trudged off to the  concession  window  and  ordered  eight  large cokes. It  really  didn't  surprise  anyone that  Roy and  Johnny  tied  for  high score  with  164..   Marco's  144  beat  Mike's  score  by  one  point,  Cap  breathed  a  sigh of  relief  as Melissa  announced he  had 102.  Chet  just  hung  his  head  and  cringed as  his  62  was announced.  Lee was good and did not say anything mean.  She really was trying hard to get along with him.   They  bowled  2  more  games  and  Chet's  luck  did  get  better and he   broke  100  on  those  games.   Cap  won  the  last  game  by  2  pins   when  Johnny  missed a  spare  leaving a nasty  split. 

 

Sunday was a nice peaceful day.   Roy was working a half shift for Dwyer.  While his mother in law  took it as a personal  insult it  had  been set up  before she  decided to have  the  surprise  party for Jo's  uncle.  The  first thing  after  breakfast  Johnny  checked  and  tightened the  brakes on her chair and did  some other  maintenance  on it.  All in all it was a pleasant peaceful  day. 

 

***************

 

Roll  call was  over  and  chores had  been  started when the  vistor's  doorbell  rang . Mike  answered  the door  then   came  back to the kitchen  with  three visitors.    Mrs.  Larson  was  holding  Timmy and his  aunt  was  holding a  picnic  basket.  

 

"ONNY!" The  three year  old  yelled and  wiggled to  get out of his mother's  arms.  Johnny  grinned  broadly  as he  took  the  little  boy  from his  mom. 

 

 "How ya  doing  buddy?  Your  ouchie looks  better…"    Johnny  turned to  Cap and the others.  "Timmy  had a run in with the  corner of the  coffee table  the  other night,"  he  explained.  "Doc  had to  put in  some  stitches."   He  introduced  Mrs Larson   and her sister to Cap and the others.

 

 We  made  pies  for our  family  get together  yesterday and  while we were  at it  we made  a couple of  extra   for  you.   Captain  you  should  be  very  proud of these  two.  They  not only  took  good care of  Timmy  but made sure  my  niece and  nephew  who  was  watching  them  were  ok…and  helped to keep the other  children  calm…And  made sure when they  contacted  us  we  knew while  there  was a problem it  was  well taken  care of  and my  baby  was  fine."

 

She  looked at Timmy as he  was  again  playing  with  Johnny's  nametag.  "It's  hard when  you  get a  phone  call  telling  you one of  your  children has  been  hurt.  Even  when it's  considered a  minor injury."

 

"I understand  that,"   Cap  said  with a smile.  "And  we appreciate your  thoughtfulness …"

 

"There's a mixed  berry  and  butterscotch…"  

 

"Is it ok if I  take  Timmy into the  day  room  so he can  meet  Henry?  He's  our  station  mascot."

 

"Oh  Timmy  would  love that…And  the butterscotch  pie  should  go into the  fridge…."  They  followed  Johnny into the  day  room.  Cap had  Marco  put the  pies away and  returned the  picnic  basket to the  women.

 

 The  SCU  toned out and Johnny  quickly  handed  the  little boy  to his  mother.  After their squad had,  left  Mrs. Larson  turned to  Cap.  "We  won't  take up any more of  your  time. They were so   good with children."  Meaning  Johnny and  Roy.   "Do  they  have  children of  their  own?

 

 "Roy  has  a  boy and a girl…Who have adopted John and his  wife  as  aunt and  uncle.   John just  got married  last August."

 

"I've seen them  at the  grocery…she's  a   very  pretty  girl.   It's clear they adore  one another".  

 

********

 

The  squad  pulled  up in  front of  a  log  cabin  type home  that  was  back  at the  end of  a 2  mile  long  lane.  The  small  clearing  was  boarded  with  trees  on  3  sides  and a field planted with  corn... There were  six  large dogs on  chains  that  didn't  look  very  friendly  near the  house and the  lawn  was over grown and  trashed  with  beer  cans , broken  bottles and assorted junk. 

 

"Hope those  chains are as  strong as they  look…"  Johnny  said as he  got the  drug  box  out.  Roy  grabbed the  biophone.   Carefully  they  made their  way to the  door.   The  dogs  were straining  on the  chains  but  they  seemed to be  holding.  The dogs were less that a foot  from the  front  door.   Gingerrly  they  approached the  door.  Johnny  pounded on the door,  "Fire department."   Knocking a second time,  they heard a  sound inside.   The  door  was unlocked  so they  carefully  entered  the  house.  There were  two  dead  dogs  one  laying  near the   door and the  other  by a  broken  table.  Chairs  were over turned and a trail of  blood  led  into the  next  room.  Calling  out  to identify  themselves  Johnny and  Roy  went into the  smaller  room.  A  man  was  lying  on the  bed,  bloody  towels  wrapped around   both  arms and  his  leg.   A  gun  was on the  bed  next to  him.

 

 "Who  are you?"

 

 "I'm  Roy  DeSoto  this is  my  partner  John  Gage… We are paramedics with LA  County  Fire Department.  Can you  tell  us what  happen  Mr.?"

 

 "Ralph  Morgan.  Nate  Masterson  set his  dogs on  me…said  my  dogs  killed  his  best  hound.   Hell,  my  dogs  ain't been off their  chains in a week… That  hound of his  ran into some  coyotes  or  wolves…"

 

 “Hold  still…"  Roy  said as he  was  peeling  back  one of the  bloody  towels.   Johnny  was  setting  up the  biophone.   "You've got  some  pretty  deep  bites.  They're  going to need  some  stitches after  they are cleaned  out."

 

 "Can you  stitch  them  up?"  The  man asked as  he  watched  their  every move.

 

"I  can  clean  them and  treat them as the  doctor  orders  but  he'll  have you  transported into  Rampart  to get them stitched.  We'll  call the  dispatch and  have an ambulance  sent out." 

 

 "Ain't  going to any  hospital…so don't  bother  calling  any one ." 

 

 "Look if  you  weren't  going to  let us  do  our  job  why  did  you  call us?"    Johnny  asked  curious and  frustrated at the  same  time.   There  was  just  something about this  place  making  him  very uneasy.  Something more than the  snarling  barking   dogs  outside the  door.

 

 "You see any  phone in here?   Must have  been Nate  Masterson's   kid…she  probably  figured  if  her  old  man  came  home alone I  was  hurt or  dead.   She used to  be sweet on my  boy…"

 

Roy and  Johnny  cleaned the  wounds and  bandaged as   instructed  after  telling  Rampart the  injured man  refused  transport.    Roy  gave him the   necessary  papers to  sign  and  they  began  loading  up  the  equipment.   As they  were taking the  equipment  out   Johnny  was looking around  trying to  figure  out  what  was making  him  so  uneasy. 

 

Something  caught his  eye  out  in the  trees across  the  gravel  driveway.  It  was a glare of  light as if  the  sun  was  hitting something  metal.     Johnny  yelled as he  lunged  at  Roy, causing Roy  to lose his  balance  as Johnny  hit  him.  As he got to his feet, Roy saw  the driver  side  window was  shattered.    The only  noise he  had  heard  was  a whooshing  sound and the  dogs..  Johnny  slumped against the  squad with  a blood  on his  face and  shoulder.  Roy  heard  several  loud  pings.

 

"Johnny…"  No response as Roy carefully moved towards his best  friend.  He  didn't  want to  draw any  more  attention from  whoever or  whatever  was in the  woods.   He  heard  the whooshing  sound then  more  pinging  against  the  side  of  the  squad.   He  got  the   passenger  side  door  opened  and  carefully  maneuvered  Johnny  into the  seat,  lying him  down.  He  heard a  loud  noise and  saw motorcycles  taking off.    Roy  grabbed the  drug and  trauma boxes.    He  quickly  took   his pulse and  respiration  then  checked his  pupils.  The  bleeding  on his head had  stopped  and the  shoulder  wound  slowed.  He  got the  oxygen and  quickly  slipped it on him  after  moving him into an  upright  position..  "Come on  Junior…"  He  hit the  radio. 

 

"LA  this  is  squad  51..."   Putting  several  pads of  gauze on the  shoulder and  tapping it in  place

 

"Go  ahead  51." 

 

 "I have a  code I   and  am  heading to  Rampart  Shots  fired…Have  a  deputy  meet  us at  Rampart…notify  Rampart  we are on our  way in."

 

 "Sheriff's office has  been  notified…Will  contact  Rampart."

 

"10-4"  Roy  drove carefully along the rutted lane   trying to  watch the  road,  watch out for  possible  attacks and  keeping an  eye  on his  partner.  He would  be much  happier  once they  reached  the  highway.      As he pulled onto the highway,  he  had a CHP  escort.  In the rear view mirror, he  saw  deputy cars  turning into the  lane.   He  quickly  picked  up  speed  and  prayed  that  other  drivers would  pay  attention  to the  lights and  sirens.

 

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 He  saw Dixie and  Kelly Brackett waiting with a gurney as he  pulled up to receiving.   He  knew who  ever  was in the CHP  cruiser must  have called in  to let them  know how close  they were.    They quickly got  Johnny  into the   building.  Dr. Brackett was  giving orders as they wheeled Johnny into the  treatment  room.  Roy had  told  him  that as far as he  knew  Johnny had  only   opened his  eyes  once  but he had  not  been able to  keep as  close of  eye on him  as he  would have  liked  on the  drive in.

 

 "I  had to  get  him out of there …didn't  want  whoever was  shooting coming  back…"

 

 "You  did the  right  thing… It  wasn't going to  do John  any  good if  you got  shot  too…   "  Malcolm  came in with  the  X ray  unit  and they  went out into the  hall.  "Do me a favor…go  up and  talk to Lee before any of the gossips get up there…" 

 

 "Doc…"

 

"Look, we'll  take care of your  partner…Right now  he  needs  you to take  care  of   Lee for  him."   Kel and Dixie  knew of the  promise  Johnny had  gotten  Roy  to make…that if there  was ever a  choice  between  helping  him or  Lee,  Lee would always  come  first.

 

 "You're  right…Doc,  there  wasn't  any   sound…Johnny  just  pushed  me  down  and  then  …"  He  ran  his  hand  thru his  hair…"There was all  this  blood and  a  broken  window…Johnny  never made a  sound…"

 

 As he  was  waiting  for the  elevator he heard his  name  being  called  he  looked up  and there was  CHP Officer  Barry  Baricza, or  has his  friends  called him  Bear.

 

"How is  he?" 

 

 "Still unconscious…Brackett  wanted me to  go tell  Lee. "

 

"Want some  back  up? "  Bear  said as the  elevator  doors  opened.  "I  just  happen to  be   near by when the  shots fired  call went out…Didn't  know it  was you  guys  until I  saw  you  coming out of that  lane."

 

"Has  any one  called to  let  you  know if they  found anything?"

 

"No  but I'm  sure they  will…the  sheriff's  department  was  going to  go investigate."    They  walked  down to Lee's  office in silence.  The  door  to her  office  was  closed  but the  happy  face  please  enter  sigh  was on the  door.  Stacy had  made  that  sign for  Lee when she had  moved her  office  there,  Before  going in  Roy  turned  it  over to the  sad  faced  stay  out  sign.

 

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Lee looked  up  from her  paper work  hoping it  was  Johnny.   He and  Roy  often  came up  between  runs or after  supplies   but never abused the  privilege.   (The only  complaints  had  been  from  Brice and  from  Kevin  Richards and  both  had been  told  to mind their own business  by the  powers that  be.)  Lee  saw the  two  friends and  her  blood  ran  cold. 

 

"Is he…?"  She  could not  bring herself to  say the  word.  "Roy…Tell me?" 

 

 "He's  hurt…but he 's alive…Doc is  with  him and  Dixie…Wouldn't  surprise me if  Dr. Early  isn't in there too…Kel  didn't  want you  hearing  rumors…"  The  color  was  slowing  returning to her  face.  She  took a  deep  breath and  gave the  two men a  weak smile.   "Better  go  check on  me boyo…Bear  did you know  we're  going on  vacation with  the  Desoto's?  He's  taking me  surfing   in Hawaii  just  like on  our  honeymoon…Isn't that  right, Roy?'   Her  voice  broke and the  tears  came.  "Right?"

 

 "Yeah  we're  all  going to  Hawaii…"   His  voice  was  calm  for her  sake  but  his  emotions  were  running  high.   "Let me  push  you ok?"  He knew  she  hated  having anyone  other than  Johnny  push  her.

 

 "Yeah I  think  that would  be a good idea…Bear  please set the  code when you  shut the  door. Nell isn't here today…" 

 

 "Sure  sweetie."  He  looked at  Roy  who  told  him  the  numbers 7751...

 

 When they  got  down  stairs  Roy  called  the  station  while  Bear  sat  with  Lee.  (Bear  had  called  in for his  lunch break to  spend  time with her.)

 

"Station  51  Captain  Stanley  speaking."    He had  been  waiting  for this  call  since dispatch  had  called  and  McConnikee  had also  called  to  tell him  the  squad  was  stood  down as the  police  would  need  it  for  the investigation and  then it  would need  repairs.  He had also  said  that they  would be sending in a replacement  squad and two  substitute  paramedics.

 

"Cap its  not  good.  I'm  waiting  for   Dr. Brackett  to  come out and  talk to us…"

 

"While  you're  waiting  can  you  go out and  get the  drug  box and  the  biophone and  whatever  else  they'll  need for a replacement squad?  The  sheriff's  department  wants to  tow  51 into  the  police  yard  as  soon as possible…When the  replacement  squad and  paramedics  get here  I'll  send  them over to  pick  up the  stuff.   And they'll  be   someone over to  talk  with  you…"

 

 "No problem, I can store it in here at the base station…"

 

 "Any  idea  how  he is ?  Do  you want  me to  have  Emily  come  stay  with  Lee?  Or  her  friend  Kathy?"

 

 "…Bear is  here  with us  right now…Doc  sent  me out of the  room  when they  took the  xrays and had me  go  up and  talk to  Lee…She's  pretty numb  right now…He  was  unconscious  when we  got here…pretty  much the  whole  time…Just  did a  grab and  run…Had to  get him out  of there without  taking the  time  for a lot  of  care…"

 

 "You  did the  right  thing  Roy…You had no  way of  telling  why or  how many  there were…"

 

 "Yeah I  kept  telling myself that …"

 

 "Call here if  you need us…Did  you  call  Jo?"

 

"No  not until I have something  more to tell her…"

 

"Ok Pal,  just keep us informed."

 

 It  was another  15 minutes  before  Kel  and  Dixie  came out of the  treatment  room.  He looked around  and  spotted the  three   off in  a  corner.   This was the most  serious  injury  Johnny had  received  since he and  Lee had  known  each other.  Kel  was not  looking  forward to  telling her  how  serious it  was.  Roy and  Bear  stood  up  as  Dixie and  Kel  walked  towards  them.  Dixie sat down beside Lee.  Kel stood in front of her his arms crossed over his chest.

 

 "Why  do I feel like you're  God looking  down on  me about to  send  me to Hell? "  Lee asked  quietly.   "Are you  gonna  destroy  my life  again?"

 

 "No…What I have to  tell you isn't the  best  news  but  it's   not  going to destroy  anyone's  life.    His  collar  bone is  broken and  there are  some  serious  bruises…more than  just the  soft  tissue,  these are  deep  bone  bruises .  He has  some  bruising on his  chest and his  ribs are gonna be sore for a while.  We  found  a  ball bearing imbedded  in  his  shoulder  right  below the  joint but the  joint is not  damaged…and  one  in the fleshy  part of his  arm.  He has a severe  concussion   and we are  watching  for  any  increase in  swelling or  bleeding."

 

 "A  ball  bearing?  HOW?  WHY?   All he  ever wanted to do is  help  people …why  would  someone  want to hurt  him?"

 

"An  air  cannon…seems to be a favorite  new  toy of  some  of the  local  gangs and  drug  dealers,"  Bear  said.  "They  load  them  with  everything  from  rock  salt to  broken  glass and  rusty nails…"

 

 "And I  think  that  hose  jockey  of  yours  was  luckier than it  sounds.  I  would  hazard a  guess  that  Johnny  was  hit  by ricochets  rather than full  force."

 

 "Ricochets off of what?  And why didn't I hear them?"  Roy asked   still confused.

 

 "Can I see him?"  Lee asked  not  really  caring  how he  got  hurt  just caring that he  got  better.

 

 "We are  going to  heavily   sedate him…I  don't  want  him  moving around  a lot.  He   is  going to have  some  major  pain  and  I  don't  want him  straining  those  ribs and  muscles   throwing  up.  ."

 

 "Deep  bone  bruises  are  worse than  breaks…they hurt  like  bloody  hell and  there is  nothing you  can  do about it.   At least  with a  break  you can  cast it and  protect  it."  Bear and Roy  looked at her  surprised.   "When  the doctors  thought I  could  learn to walk  again  they  had me  using a  walker…After I  fell  for the  third or  fourth time they  decided that  wasn't  going to  work…I had  deep  bone  bruises on  my  foot,  ankle, one knee and my  wrist plus  2  cracked  ribs  from  that little  experiment and  a doctor's ego  trip."

 

Dixie  looked at her and  shook  her  head  knowing  exactly  what  Lee was  doing.  Being totally detached and  analytical…one of her  favorite defenses  mechanisms.  She had  seen  it  when  Jeff had  got  shot  when they were dating.  

 

"Lee,  Johnny   is  gonna  need  you  to  help  him  through  that  pain  once  we  let  him  wake  up…Its  going to be a  good  6  weeks  before he is  back to  work…so  you need to  focus  on  that…his  getting  better…Can  you  do that?"

 

"Yes…for …by the  time  he is awake  enough to  know  what I'm  thinking I'll  have myself   ready  to  be cheerful  and  supportive.….Right now  let me  be scared and afraid and  mad…Ok?"

 

 "Do  you  want us to call  anyone?"  

 

 "No  not  right  now…now I  need some  time  with me  boyo  alone…except  for Roy  …"  She  smiled   "You  need to grab  something to  eat and  get back on  duty,  Bear…thank  you…for  everything."    He  bent down  and  kissed her and she  whispered in his  ear, "They  might think you're a  grizzly  but I  know  you're  a  teddy  bear."  He laughed  as he  stood  up and  left.

 

 

Dixie and   Kel  went  back into  the  treatment  room and  Roy  stayed  with her.  She  could see   he  wanted to tell her  something  and she had a good idea  what it  was.   "You  know he  told  me about the promises  you two  made."   Roy had stopped  pacing and  sat  down  next to her  again.

 

 "Which  ones?"

 

 "That  he would  do  his  best to see that you went  home  safe to  Jo and the  kids  every shift….and  the  one you made to him  when  George South  was  ….stalking  us…That if it  was a choice between  him and  me  you'd  look  after me.   I  know  you  want to  be in there  with  him…People  think  just  because  we laugh and  tease  we  don't  have serious  talks…They  don't  understand…  we know  the  ….we  know  the  value of the  laugher  and the  good  fun  …and that  it  can  end  too  suddenly…But not  now…its  not  gonna  end  now."  Her  eyes were pleading  with him to tell he everything  was  going to be alright  and  he  would  be  good as new in  few  days.  Her  head knew  it  wasn't  going to be a few  days  but  weeks  before he  was  good as new.  However, her heart needed to  believe  it  would  be ok  now.

 

"He  heard or  saw  something…you  know  that internal  radar of  his…and  pushed  me  down."

 

"Would  you  expected anything less  from  him?  I  wouldn't…."  

 

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 Before Lee went into his  room  she had it  together.  She had  seen  him in the  hospital   other  times  but  never like  this.  He was so  quiet and  still …and so  pale.   The long  dark  eye  lashes  against the  pale  skin  accented  each  other.   The mechanical   hissing  and  the  pulsating  of the  machines  made it all seem  like  something  out of the  Sci/Fi  books.   She had  visited  Jeff   when he had  been  shot  several  times but  never  remembered it  being  this  frightening.  Roy  stood  back and  let her  take it all in.  She  moved as  close as it  was  possible  for her to  get.

 

 "My  darlin' boyo…you  don't  look much  like a  raggled taggled gypsy  right now…more  like a sleeping  angel…You  rest  and  dream  peaceful  healing  dreams…and  know  that I  love you  with all my  heart…"  She  laid her  hand on the  bed.  "Kel  said  I  can  stay until  10…Roy is  gonna  stay  all night…you  won't  be alone…never alone…Bear  was here  for  you  but  he had to go  back to  work…but he  said  he'd  be back.…"   She  looked over to  Roy.  "If  you  all  want to  go to Hawaii in  two weeks  that'll be fine  but I  don't  think we'll be going then…I know the  kids are really  excited  about  going and  don't  want to disappoint  them"

 

 "We'll  wait until  we can all  go  just like we planned…The  kids wouldn't  want to go without  their  Uncle  Johnny…or Aunt  Lee."  He  smiled at her  trying so hard  not to  cry and to  reassure  him  she  didn't  blame  him.   "You  know  you  can  be human…No one  expects you  not to  cry  or  be  scared."

 

 "Not in front of him…He said he never wanted to be the cause of me crying again.  We  did  amend  that  to  sad  tears  because I  cry as much  when  I'm happy…and he  makes  me  very  happy."  She leaned forward and brushed his hand lightly.  "You  know I fell in love  with him  that  first  meeting…That  smile of  his…and  the  way his  eyes  were  laughing…But  even then I  could see the  sadness  behind  the  laughing…"

 

"That  sadness is   pretty  much  gone  thanks  to  you…After a bad  run I'll  see it  but once he  talks  to you  it’s not  as  bad.   I  think  he   started falling  that  day  it  just  took  him a  little  longer  to figure out  what  he  was  feeling…"

 

 "The other  day  he  was  thinking about  something and  they  didn't  look  sad  exactly but  far away…I  figured he  would  tell me  what he  was  thinking  about  when he  was ready."

 

 

 

"Yeah  Junior  usually  tells  one if  not  both  of  us  what he is  worried  about or  trying to  figure  out…"

 

 "Roy…don't tell him but I'm scared…what if when he comes home I can't take care of him?"

 

 "Lee,  when he  comes  home if  you are  uneasy  taking  care of  him  hire  someone…just like when  you  fell…"

 

"The last nightmare he had  was about me  falling and  George  hurting  me…which is  kind of ironic  since I've been  having  nightmares about  you  two  getting  hurt and it  being  my  fault."

 

"Neither one of you was to blame…"  Roy said.   "Look, I'm gonna go get some coffee…anything you want?"

 

"No  but there is  some  good  ham  salad and  chicken  salad and  cold  cuts  up in the  office…Mick  brought  supplies  for you all today…go  get something to  eat…I'll  be  fine  honest…And  you need to  talk to  Jo.   If  nothing  else to  explain  why  our  vacation is  postponed…And maybe when you come  back you could bring the Dragon book.. I'll  read it  to  him…Dragon  Song…I  can see him as a dragon  rider  can't you?   Fighting Thread…using the dragon's fire to save the world?   Always a  hero…You  know  you can tell me to  shut  up…I'm   talking to  cover  up  the  sounds of  those  machines…Go on…go…please  for a little  while.''

 

 "Ok I'm going up to your office." 

 

 He had not been gone very long when Dixie came in.  Lee was  sitting  there  talking to  Johnny about  their  honeymoon  and the  adventures they had  on the  Tiki  and on the  private  island…and  whatever else came to her mind.  Lee had no idea she was there.

 

 "…and  remember  how  Clay laughed when he  found  out  that you'd  carried me  up the  gangplank  thrown over your  shoulder?    He  didn't know  I  had  dared you to  do  that  and  thought I'd  be mad?….And  all the  flowers  the  little  girls  gave us?   The orchids and hibiscus?  They  were pretty  but not  near as  pretty as my  faerie  roses you  give  me…Poor  Hector  he  would  be  upset if   he knew  I  knew  George  killed  my  faerie  rose…he worked to  find another one   so I  wouldn't  know…That  patch of  ground   will  be  toxic  for a  long  time I  think…Do you think  the others would be shocked if they  knew I went  swimming  topless  in  the  little  pool  by the  waterfall?    Think  Chet  would have  called  me a cold  fish  then?…I  know  you can't  open your  eyes  now  because of the medicine…But  I  want you to know I'm  here…"  Her hand was on top of Johnny's and she   was lightly making little circles on it.  "And there will always be someone with you…me or   Maria or Hector or …"  She stopped talking as the tears flowed down her face.  Dixie went and put a hand on her shoulder.  "You need a few minutes outside?"

 

 "Dix,  he  looks  so  pale and  like  such a little  boy…so  quiet…Kel is telling me  everything  right?  He wouldn't lie to me?"

 

 "Now do you think he wants you throwing a bed pan at his head?   I'm sure your aim has improved since you were 17..."

 

"That jerk deserved it… " Smiling and getting back in control.  "I did pretty well at not crying most of the time I was talking to him…"

 

"I 'm sure you did…Sounds like you two had a great trip…"  

 

"Yeah we did…Wish we could have stayed on that island forever and played in that waterfall…"

 

"Water  rescues aren't  his  favorite  but I'm  guessing  with you  he  didn't  mind being  in   the  water…"

 

"You know me…I love the water…Jeff said I could swim before I could walk… And  look at me  now…I  swim  like a  fish and  some days I  feel like a fish  out of  water…just struggling to  move  on  dry  land."

 

"Well, you are the warmest blooded fish I ever met."  Dixie said her hand on Lee's shoulder.

 

 "How long were you standing there?"  Lee blushed a little.  "He  taught me it  was ok  to  be me…I  still  wonder if I  will  ever  totally  understand  why  he  loves me  but I  never  doubt  that he  does."

 

"And  the  why  doesn't matter…but  I’d  say he  loves  you for  you…why  do  you  love  him?"

 

 "Because he is Johnny…that’s just the best answer I can give…There are so many reasons. I just told Roy I fell in love with him that very first day…"

 

"I  think  it  was  mutual."  She checked the   readings and   gave Lee a reassuring look.  "The numbers are good…"  

 

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 Roy fixed a sandwich, which he really did not want but knew he needed to eat.  His head was aching and he knew he had to eat before he took anything.  He got a soda and called Jo.

 

 Soon as she heard his voice, she knew something was wrong.  "Where are you?"

 

 "Rampart…Johnny  got hit  by some  ball  bearings  shot out of an  air  cannon…Doc  said  he has  severe concussion  and  a  broken  collar  bone…Some  serious  bruises…Lee is  with him  now."

 

"Do you need me down there?"

 

 "No  not   tonight…maybe  tomorrow  when the  kids are in school…Lee  was worried about the  kids  being  disappointed if  we  didn't  go to Hawaii .  Told her  we would  go  when we all could  go just like  we  planned. "

 

 "Are you ok?"

 

 "Yeah  he  pushed me  out of the  way…Lee  sent me  up to her  office to  get something to  eat…I  better  get  down there.   …Talked to  Cap and I am off duty.   McConnikee  figured after being  shot  at and with  Johnny  here I  wasn't  gonna  be  concentrating  too  well."

 

 "He's  probably right…Call me  if  you need  anything?  And  give  Lee  and  Johnny  my  love."

 

 "I will,  love you Babe,"  he  said   feeling a  little  better after  talking  with  her.  He  grabbed  two  cans of  soda and the  book  from her  desk.   When  he  went   she  was  just  sitting  there  her  eyes  closed  her  hand  on  his.   She  was  humming a  song Roy  did not  recognize.  That  was one  thing   Lee  and  Johnny  hadn't   been on the  same  page  with  when they had  first met.  Johnny liked the  basic   rock and  roll and  country  music.  Lee  liked the British invasion, big  bands,   Broadway,  soft  jazz, ballads   and  folk  music.   Now  when you  were over at their  apartment  you  never  knew   what  was  going to  be on the radio or the  stereo.  The  stereo  was  usually a  mix of  his and  hers.  It  was  just another  way they  embraced  each others  differences,  likes and  dislikes.   

 

"Was  Jo  upset about the  trip  being  postponed?"   She  took the  soda from him.  "Thank you."

 

 "No she  was  concerned   about  you and  Johnny.  She  sent her  love." 

 

 "Guess I  should  go  call  Hector…I  know I  can't  drive  tonight…"

 

"That’s a  good idea.  

 

 "Ok I  am  going to go  call …and  probably  get  yelled at..."

 

 "Now  do  they  ever yell at you? "

 

 "Not  really  but  they  still treat me  like I'm  16  sometimes.   But when I think back about  how I acted when I was 16  I  should have  been  yelled  at more."

 

"Like  going  skydiving?"

 

 "Yeah  but if I  hadn't  done  it that  day I  would  have never  gotten to  do it…Don't  put off  doing  something   till  later…If  there is  ever a trip or an  experience  you  want for  you or  your  family…do it…don't  worry about the  expense   that’s  no problem.   The problem is  living  with  regrets.   The only  thing  that money  I  inherited  is good  for is  doing  for the   people I  love…It  should have  been  shared  with  people I  loved  in the  first  place…"

 

She   looked at him and  shrugged and   went out to the  pay  phone in  the  waiting area..  Roy was always  amazed at  how  she  thought  and rationalized   her  thinking.

 

Lee  dialed  the  number trying to  plan  what  she  wanted to say.

 

"Alvarez  residence."   Hector  sounded as if he had  been taking a nap.

 

 "It's me.   I  need a ride  home about  10:00..."

 

"Where are you?  What is  wrong?"  He heard the  tiredness and  fear in her  voice.  "Are you alright?"

 

 "I'm  tired..I'm at  Rampart  Johnny…He has a  head  injury and  some  bad  bruises…A  broken  collar bone… He's heavily  medicated…Roy and I have  been  with him.   Kel is  kicking me out at 10  but  Roy  can  stay."

 

"One of us will stay  with you tomorrow  while Roy gets  some  sleep…How  did it  happen?"

 

"They   hurt  him on  purpose…They  shot  at them with  air  cannons…They  go to help  someone and they  hurt  him…"   She had  come to the  phone in the  hall  for a reason.  If she went up to her office and had privacy,  she  would  fall  apart.  In  public  she had  to  stay  strong…she  couldn't  give in to the  urge to cry and  scream.  "I'm  going  back  in…Love  ya."

 

 The  time  passed  slowly  as  they  sat   in the  room  watching  Johnny  sleep.   They talked  some  but  neither  really  felt  like it.  Lee would  read to Johnny  then  pass  the  book to  Roy.  Her  hand  was  always  near  his.  Once the  nurse  came in and  repositioned  Johnny   so  his  hand  was  out of her  reach. As soon  as  the nurse  left  Roy  went over and  moved his  hand  back  to  where  Lee  could  touch  him.   She  nodded  her thanks.  Kel and  Dixie  both  stopped in  before  going  home.   Lee  looked at the  clock and  at  5 till  10  let out a deep  sigh.

 

 "I  hate  leaving  you here…"  She  looked  over at  Roy  who  was  almost asleep.   "But  Roy is  here so  you  won't  be alone…and I  will be  back in the morning  soon as I  can…I  love  you my   boyo…"   She  looked over at  Roy  who  had  opened his  eyes.   "Help me  stand  up please…"   with  support  she stood  up and leaned over and  kissed  Johnny  on  the  forehead.  "Peaceful  dreams."  She had  just  sat   down  when  Cisco and  Hector  came in. 

 

 "Come on  Little one,  its  time to  go."  Cisco  said as he   took  hold of the  wheel  chair.   "Dad is  taking her  car  home…One of  us  will  bring her  back in the  morning  and  stay  with her  so you can  get  some  sleep.  I  think  ma  wants her to sleep  down  stairs  tonight  but if she  doesn't  they'll  keep the  intercom  on."

 

"Don't talk about me  like I'm  not  sitting here  please…and I  don't think  your  dad  can  drive my  car…but  we  could  stop  by the  station and  get the  rover."

 

 "We will  get the  rover in the morning…Now  we  just  need to  take  care of  you."   He turned to  Roy.  "Call us  if you  need anything…And we will  be  here  early  in the morning I'm  sure.  And   thank  you for  being  here for them."

 

 "That's  what  family  does…She  drank  some  juice  but  wouldn't  eat…"

 

 "That  doesn't  surprise me…Ma'll  take  care of   her."

 

 Lee  didn't  say   much as they  went out to the  car and  Cisco  lifted her in and  fastened her  seat  belt.   Once they got to the house,  Cisco  carried  her into the  apartment.    Hector  brought her  chair  in.  Cisco  sat her  down in the  recliner.   Maria  came into the  room  with a  cup  of  tomato  soup.  She  handed  it to  Lee.

 

 "Drink  it and  then we  will  talk…"  She  looked at  Lee  who  just  nodded.  "Cisco  you  and  your  father  make  sure  she  drinks  that  while I go  upstairs  and  get things  ready…You are  going  to  shower  then  off to  bed after you take a  pain   pill.   And  the intercom  will stay on,  is  that understood?"

 

"Yes ma'am…"  Lee  smiled  it  was  nice to have  someone else  take  charger  at  least for a  little  while.  She  was exhausted and  her  back and  legs  did  hurt.   Forty-five minutes later  Lee  was  in  bed  and  almost asleep.  Maria  stayed   up  with her  until  she  was sure  settled.   Maria  looked in once last time  before  going  down  stairs .  Lee  was  fast asleep holding  onto  Johnny's  pillow.

 

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Dr. Brackett   went into  Johnny's  room the  first thing   the next  morning.  Roy was asleep in the  chair his head  buried in  his  arms  folded on  the  edge of the  bed.  He touched his friend's shoulder lightly.  Roy was instantly awake.  "Morning."

 

 “Hard to tell  time in here…"  Roy  answered as she  stood  up and  stretched.  "They   seemed   pleased  when they  were in here  about  5...said his  breathing  was  more  relaxed…"

 

 "They   started  decreasing the  sedation  at  midnight…The  numbers are  looking  better…His  blood  pressure is  about  normal  for  him…Did  Lee  leave at  10?"

 

 "Yeah  Cisco and  Hector  came and  got her…They   gonna  go get the  Rover this  morning…They  may have  left her  car  here…They  said they'd  be back  this morning so I can  go  home and  get some  rest…"

 

 "Go,  he  is  doing  fine and  it'll  be  early  afternoon  I'd  guess  before he is  completely  awake  …We'll  do  another  X ay  to  check  on the  swelling." 

 

 "I  will  soon as they  get here…Knowing  Lee I'm  surprised she isn't here  already."

 

 "She's  on her  way…Maria  made her  eat  and  do her  exercises  before  she'd  let anyone  bring her…I  got a  call  just as I  walked in the  door.  

 

Linda  dropped  Cisco  off at  Station  51.  He went to the firefighter's entrance and knocked.  He had talked to Hank earlier on the phone so they were expecting him.  He  followed  Cap into the  kitchen and  accepted the   cup of  coffee  he  was  offered.  B  shift  was  slowly   gathering  in the  kitchen as  well as  Johnny's  crewmates. 

 

 "Any  word  from the  hospital?"  Cap  voiced  the  question on  everyone's  mind. 

 

 "Lee  talked to  Kel …the  numbers  looked  good over night.  Dad is  taking her and  Ma  over there and after  I  drop the  rover off and  pick  up Ma's  car I'll  go over.  The   DEA  agent I  know  pretty  well  is  gonna  keep  me in the  loop…They  were  lucky  the  shooters  weren't  more accurate…The  side of the  squad is  pretty  well  dented…There are  some on the   roof  and  back  end…Morgan and Masterson are  both  under arrest…Morgan's  corn  field  was  very  productive…he had a  nice  pot  crop  about  ready to  harvest.   The  sheriff's  department  and  DEA  have   some  leads to the  bikers  they  were  working  with  but  nothing  anyone is  saying   out loud."

 

 "Tell your  mom  that  me and  Emily  will  be over later  this afternoon…and  we  can  set up  some  kind of  time  line  for   people  being  there   with her."

 

 "Good  because  Lee is  bound and determined  he  won't  be  alone… She   promised him  he  would  never  be alone  when he  was  hurt or  sick  again…No one on is  going to  give her  any  grief  on  that  except  maybe my mom.  And  you know  that  girl  won't  fight  fair  where  he  is  concerned."

"She  proved  that  didn't she  back in  February?"  Cap  couldn't  help  but  laugh.  

 

 "You  all   just  laughed when I  said she  was a hell  cat…I've  been  on the  receiving  end of that  temper a  few  times.   You  think  they are  kidding  when  they  tease her about  throwing a  bed pan at that  stupid  …so  called  doctor ?  She may have  missed  but  not  by  much…"  He  finished  his coffee.  "The  DEA is  asking  for me to  come  back  and  work  some  for  them.  Wasn't  gonna  but  I  think   now it’s   getting a  little  personal…May  just  have to rethink  that  no."

 

 "Don't  let it  get to  personal…you  guys  need  Rule  #1   just as  much as we  do."  Cap  reminded  him.

 

 "They  made it  personal  when they  hurt  my  family…"    He  put  his  coffee  cup  in the  sink.   So  you  keep  an  eye  out  for  them for  me…Not sure  what the  DEA is  gonna  have me  do  but they  did  tell me  not to  shave   for the  next few  days…and   asked if  I  still had  my  leathers…"

 

**************

 

Lee  stopped at the ER nurses station  before  going  upstairs.  Dixie  was  just  coming out  of a treatment room.

 

"Did  you see him   this morning?"  Lee asked.  "They  said  he  was  resting  comfortably  when I  called about  6.  Has  Kel  seen  him?"

 

"Kel is  planning  on  going  up  there  soon  as he  finishes  in  4...I  saw  him   just a  few minutes  before I  came on  duty…He  was  sleeping and all the  numbers  looked  good."

 

 "We're  going  up…" 

 

The nurse  at the  desk  smiled as  Lee and  Maria  went  past her.  She had  seen  Lee  up  there  before and  didn't  bother to ask  any  questions.  Roy  was  asleep  in the  chair  by  his  bedside.  His  hand  was  resting on the  bed.  His  head  came  up and he  rubbed his  face as they  came  farther into the  room.  "Morning."

 

 "Morning.   I  heard he had a  good  night."  She  reached out to  Roy and  squeezed his  hand  tightly.  "Thank  you…I  got  some  good  rest  because I  knew you were  here with  him.  Now  you go home and  rest and  enjoy  your time with your  family."

 

"You two are part of that family.  You should know that by now."  Roy said as he watched his sleeping partner.  He stood up and stretched.

 

 "We do…and…He would be really unhappy if you didn't go get some rest and spend time with them.  We will be ok…honestly.

 

 "Jo and I 'all  be  by later…then I  can  come  back  and  spend the  night…Pretty  sure the  others will be  around  sometime today…You  call if…"

 

"I  will  call   if  anything  else…Give Jo and the  kids our  love."   He stood by Johnny and gave his   uninjured shoulder a squeeze.  "Behave  yourself , Junior."  He  brushed his  bangs  back .

 

He  kissed  Lee  lightly  and  gave Maria  a  hug  before  slowly  moving  out.

Maria  helped her  position her  chair  and then after  giving  Johnny a  gentle  kiss on the  forehead  she  handed  Lee  the  book  she  was reading to  Johnny.  "I'm  going  up to  your  office and  give  Nell  your  message  then I  will be  back…You  have  everything  you  need?"

 

 "For now…I'll read to him and hopefully he'll wake up…"  Her  hand  was on his that Maria had  placed  outside the  covers  so  she  could reach  it..  "His color is better…"   Maria  left  knowing  that  right now  what  Lee needed  most  was  time  with  him. 

 

"Ya  know,  I   think  I  understand  some of  the things  we have  talked about  better  now. Even when I  was scared I  knew  what I  needed to  do…What  you  wanted  me to  do…Roy and  Jo  will  probably  be here  later  tonight…and  the other  guys I  would  guess…You  should  be  We'll  still  go to  Hawaii   the  5 of  us  but  not  until  you are well  and  can  enjoy it  too…I  love you  my  boyo…Remember  me  laughing at you on the  Tiki  when you had  on those  ragged  cut offs  and  a  bright  bandanna  around  your  hair all  wet from the  sea spray?   That  was the  first time I  called you a  raggled taggled  gypsy…My  darling boyo … darlin' open your eyes and smile for me?"   She  waited  but there  was no  response  so she  opened  the  book and  began  reading.

 

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 She had been reading to him for about 15 minutes when Kel came in.  He stood at the door and listened to her read and carry on a conversation.  "Sounds like an interesting book."

 

 "Yeah we like it…Its part of a series."  He came in, read over the chart, and checked his vitals.   "  He  should  be waking  up  soon...The  numbers all  look  better…You  here by  yourself?"

 

"No Maria is up in the office talking to Nell and giving us some time alone."

 

"You  keep  reading and  talking to him  and  I'd  guess  he'll  be  talking   back to  you   before  long."   He started out the door.  "Don't forget to take care of yourself."

 

 "I won't…I have to be able to take care of him…with some help from our friends." Lee said knowing it was true.  She  didn't have to  do it  all…no one  except  herself  expected  her  to  do it all.  It was ok to need help.   "John  Roderick  Gage,  you  teach me  so  much about  myself …How  come  you  know   more about  how I  feel  than I  do  some  days?"  With a sigh, she began reading again.

 

 Johnny  could  hear the  nurses and   hospital  sounds  as if they  were in a  tunnel  but  none  meant anything to him.  It  was  warm and  comfortable  where he  was  even if  someone  did  stick  him  every so often it  really  didn't  hurt, it  was just annoying.   He liked listening to the story  about the  dragon  riders.  Lee's voice  was  warm and  comforting and  he  liked  the  soft  touch  of her  hand on his.  It was just all so peaceful.   The reading stopped and he felt her hand move away from his.  Was she going to leave him?  She promised she would not go.

 

 Maria came back in with a soda.  "I'm going to go back up to your office.  If you need me, call.  I have a good book and that sofa you have up there is more comfortable and quieter."

 

 "Why don't you go on home?  I  am fine and he is  doing  as well as we  can  hope  right now…Cap and the  others will be here   sometime  this  afternoon…Please…I know  you had  plans."

 

 "No plans are more important than you two." 

 

"I  know how important  your  work at the  church is  to  you and  getting things  ready  for the  festival  there is  important…they  need  you."

 

 "Ah, when did you grow up on me?"

 

"Slowly  but  you have  taught me  that  even as a  grownup  I  still need the  love and  support of  my  family…But also that I need to be strong and  not  doubt  my  abilities  to  take  care of  myself and my darlin'…"

 

The next half hour she read to him and talked to him about everything she could think of.  She noticed his eye lashes moving as if he was trying to open them.  "John  Roderick   open  your  eyes  and  smile  at me…I know  you can hear me…Please …Soon  as you  wake  up  your  friends can come visit."

 

"EE?" His throat and mouth were so dry "Dr…in…k" He opened his eyes slightly.

 

"I'll call the nurse." Frustrated she could not give him the water he asked for. Pushing the call button."

 

Someone will be here soon…"

 

 

The nurse stuck her head in the door. "Yes?"

 

"He is awake and wants some water…also would you please let Dr. Brackett know."

 

She gave Johnny a few sips of water then went to have Dr. Brackett paged. "I love you …thank you for that wonderful smile." Lee told him after the nurse left.

 

"Love you too." His eyes were closing. "Roy?" He couldn't remember what happen but he knew Roy had been with him when he got hurt. "K?"

 

"Yes…he was here all night and went home to sleep…You pushed him and he wasn't hurt…"

 

"Goo."

 

"I know it's hard but can you stay awake until Kel comes in? I can read some more."

 

"'Bout dra …gon…s"

 

"Well it's nice to see you awake…How do you feel?" Kel looked down at his young friend.

 

"Tired…my head hurts…thirsty…" Johnny said slowly as he thought about it. "If I move my head the room spins… My shoulder aches."

 

"Sounds about normal for the type of injuries you have…You have a severe concussion and a broken collar bone and assorted bruises. A few days in here then home and rest…" He wrote on the chart.

 

"And it’s on the chart someone will be with him as long as we feel it’s necessary? No arguments."

 

"None from me," Kel said seeing the fire in her eyes. "I think that is a good idea…we want you to rest as much as possible."

 

Twenty minutes later was sleeping. She was reading when Cap and Emily came in about 2 hours later.

"How is he?" Cap looked down at his sleeping friend thinking he looked like he was about 12 years old. "Has he been awake at all?"

 

"For a little while. They gave him something mild for pain and they changed the bandages. He has some bad bruises …They put something in the IV to help keep him from throwing up…" She had reached over and taken his hand. "He is gonna be home in a few days." She looked over at the small doorway to the bathroom. "Emily would you mind coming with me? I need to go down the hall." This was an end room and for some reason was slightly smaller than some of the private rooms. Lee knew once she was in the ladies room she would be fine getting into the handicapped stall but the door into the restroom on this floor were heavy and hard for her to open by herself. The hospital was slowly remodeling to make things easier for people with disabilities but this floor hadn't been changed yet.

 

When they returned to the room Marco, Mike and Chet were there. Lee greeted them and moved back next to the bed, her hand on his.

 

"Roy and Jo'll be over in awhile. Jo said to tell you she'll take you home when visiting hours are over," Mike said.

 

"Me too?" They all jumped when they heard the whispered comment. Cap poured some water and held the glass to his lips after positioning the straw. Johnny took several small sips then flashed a grateful smile.

 

"In a few days luv. Kel said at least 3 days in here." Johnny looked disappointed at that news.

 

"Man Gage, you find some of the strangest ways to get hurt," Kelly said as he stood at the foot of the bed. "Nice shiner…one of the more colorful ones I've seen lately."

 

"Dunn's know hh…ad itt." Lee looked worried at the slight slurring in his speech but didn't say anything. She knew he was still severely concussed.

 

"You need anything before we go? Dixie said we could only stay a few minutes today…" Marco asked. "Mama said to tell you when you go home she will be bringing some food over…That Lee will be so busy fussing over you she won't have time to cook."

 

"Tell her I said thank you…" Lee had grown very fond of Mrs. Lopez as had Maria.

 

After the three crewmates left Cap and Em stayed and talked to Lee as Johnny drifted back to sleep.

 

"If there is something you need to do or somewhere you need to be we'll be fine. The nurses are really good about answering the call light."

 

"We're doing what we need to do and what we want to do…You and John are family…I thought we had that all settled?"

 

"Yeah we did, but things have a way of getting unsettled…at least for me…when I get so panicked and scared…Its not others I doubt but myself…Johnny teases me about my memory…but there is a down side to it…you never forget things you should." She let go of Johnny's hand and moved around slightly trying to ease her hip. When she let go of his hand Johnny opened his eyes and turned his head towards her.

 

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"You ok?" Turning his head slowly so he could see her more clearly.

 

"Yes …would you like a drink?" She asked as she saw him lick his lips. Hank gave him the cup after putting fresh water in it. "Easy…"

 

"Not sure he knows what that word means…Junior likes keeping us on our toes doing it the hard way." Jo shook her head at her husband then went over and gave Johnny a kiss on the cheek. She sat a package down on the tray table.

 

"Don't pick on him…wait till he can defend himself, right sweetheart?" Jo said smiling at him. "I called Kel and he said I could bring you some chicken and rice soup as long as it was mostly broth…Thought you would like that better than the hospital food."

 

"Thanks." Lee was relieved that his speech was clearer and he seemed more alert. "You eat?" He looked at Lee raising his eyebrows.

 

"I will later." She answered hoping he would accept that. "Roy'll help you with the soup, won't you?"

 

"Of course…While he's eating why don't you go up to your office or down to the cafeteria?" Lee gave him a dirty look and Johnny smiled knowing his friends would take good care of her.

 

"Em and I'll go with her…" Hank said taking a hold of her wheel chair. "We'll take good care of her for you."

 

"Thanks…luv ya."

 

"I love you and you behave for these two…" she said trying to be upbeat and not cause him to worry.

 

"You need to learn to be ambidextrous. Ya know that Junior." He was opening the thermos of soup. ""So now that she is out of the room how do you really feel?"

 

"Tired. My head hurts and my shoulder aches…but the stuff they gave me for my stomach helped…She ok?"

 

"Yeah she's good…No talking eat." While Roy helped him eat Jo told him all about the kids and what they had been doing. Jen had made him a get well card and promised soon as they would let her she'd come visit.

 

Once they were out in the hallway, Hank stopped "Your office or the cafeteria?"

 

"My office…I don't want to talk to anyone." Lee said with a shrug. "I should be the one in there helping him…"

 

"Are you going to have what Roy calls a Gage rant?" Trying to get her to calm down and knowing she would if he could only get her to laugh. "I heard you can out rant him if you're upset enough." He smiled at her letting her know it was ok to vent.

 

"Hank you know I love you and Emily dearly but I need to be alone right now…I really don't feel like being around people right now….I’m angry and frustrated and …"

 

"That is all the more reason you need to be with someone right now…Don't you think he can read you like a book? Get it out of your system now and then go back in there and be what he needs you to be." Hank said very Captain like, like it was an order to one of his men. As he was talking, he was pushing her towards the elevator.

 

"This is a test you know…one of the cruel tests the Fates give us poor morals to amuse themselves. They love seeing us fail that is what makes them feel so superior. I have failed at so many things now the challenge isn't to see if I'll fail but how badly." They were in the office alone. Emily was making her a sandwich. Hank had lifted her out of the chair onto the sofa.

 

"What happen to all that positive energy you had a while ago," Hank asked amazed at how fast she had changed. She was reminding him of a teenage drama queen.

 

"She is saving it for when she has to be cute and bubbly and pretend her heart isn't breaking seeing someone else take care of her Johnny." Emily said as she handed her a plate of food. "I saw the look on your face when Hank handed him that water and when you had to ask Roy to help him with the soup. It tore your heart out and it showed on your face. And you knew it that’s why you didn't protest more when we took you out of there. You did not want John to see you so angry. Knowing his misguided sense of guilt he would have assume it was something he did. Now eat so you can go back down there and be what he needs you to be…strong and supportive."

 

"Well the only problem is I haven't done very well at either of those things lately…Just some more items on the failure list…"

 

"Did you fall apart where he could see it?" Emily asked not giving Lee an inch or any sympathy.

 

"No."

 

"Were you there when he woke up? Did you call for a nurse when he needed something?"

 

"Yes."

 

"So why would you say that you weren't strong and supportive? Maybe you couldn't help him get the water but you made sure someone got it for him…And feeding him…that was something Roy needed to do for his own self…You don't think he has been going thru hell thinking he failed Johnny? That it was his fault he had gotten hurt. That you were blaming him…"

 

"He did everything possible under the circumstances to help and protect Johnny… Johnny knows that and so do I…"

 

"And Johnny knows you are there for him…and that you love him and will do everything you can for him. Now where is the failure in that?" Lee didn't have an answer. "The physical limits we can help you with…Your main job if that’s what you want to call is to be supportive of him emotionally. If he thinks you are unhappy or angry he is going to react to that. You haven't let that happen and I don't believe you will. When he is feeling better then you can be the one who needs the support and comfort…and he'll be there to give it. Remember how hard it was for him before not to be able to help you in and out of the chair? Well, its going to be like that again only probably longer. Are you going to think less of him for that?"

 

"Of course not…"

 

"Ok now finish your sandwich so you can go visit him a little while longer before you have to leave for the night."

 

"I don't want to leave I want to stay. Kel has it written up on his chart that someone can be with him 24 hours…" She was pouting and she knew it but couldn't help it. She was just so frustrated.

 

"Leona Elizabeth, now you are being unreasonable. Is it going to help him if you go into muscle spasms because you have been in that chair too long? When was the last time you were out of it before we came up here?" Emily looked at her sternly.

 

"A little while ago."

 

"Besides the bathroom."

 

"I did my exercises before I got here…Ok you're right…I couldn't help him even if he needed it anyway."

"Ok now you ready to go back down for awhile?" Hank had been sitting back letting Emily handle this. Lee was looking thoughtful but there was still a lot of anger in her eyes. Hank was pretty sure the anger was at the situation and the frustration not at Em or him. "Honey, it’s ok to be frustrated just don't let it get in the way of what is really important. You can get help when John is at home for the physical stuff. He needs and deserves your emotional support. So if you are done feeling sorry for yourself and being mad at yourself…"

"I'm probably not but I'll be ok…thanks for letting me vent…" She said only half kidding about feeling sorry for herself. She finished her soda and they went back down. Roy and Jo were talking to Johnny who was struggling to stay awake. Lee smiled as Hank put her next to the bed.

 

"See I told you she'd be back soon…He ate all the soup and drunk some juice."

 

"Good."

 

"You eat?" Johnny looked at Emily for conformation when Lee said yes. "Spending too much time in here."

 

"Never, no such thing as spending too much time with you my boyo. And you need to stop fighting and go to sleep."

 

"Wanna stay awake…be awake when you came back."

 

"Well, I'm back and now you can sleep and get better…More you rest the quicker you'll be better." She had a tight hold on his hand. " I love you John Roderick Gage…you just think about that while you sleep…about all the things we're gonna do when you feel better."


After he was sleeping soundly all left but Lee. Hector and Eddie came in just before the end of visiting hours. Lee had just given Johnny a kiss (with support from Hector) and was getting ready to leave when a new nurse came in.

 

"Visiting hours ended a half hour ago. Why are you still here?"

 

"If you check his chart you'll see the note from Kel…Dr. Brackett that someone will be with him at night and as much as possible during the day. Hector will be here until I get back in the morning with Johnny's breakfast…" Looking up at Hector, "You'll call if there is any problem, promise? And you have Kel's home phone and Dixie's if there is any problem?"

 

"You know the nurses will take good care of him and so will I…now go Maria will be worried about you."

 

The next four days went by slowly but Johnny was doing very well. The guys from 51 came to visit and Lee was able to get some work done when he was sleeping. Johnny was pretty antsy by now and was ready to go home. About 12:30 O'Shea's delivered lunch to him and Lee (with some extras in case they had visitors) They were just finishing when Kel came in.

 

"Well, you think if I sent this hose jockey go home tomorrow you can make him mind?"

 

"Oh very definitely…" Lee said smiling. "We've had several long talks about that this week…"

 

"Doc, she is worst than Roy when it comes to me following the rules." Johnny said. "If I don't follow her rules she won't cook." He teased. "That’s what I call cruel and unusual punishment."

 

Sticking her tongue at him in a pretend pout, "Is that the only thing I'm good for?" Johnny didn't answer just gave her a smile and raised his eye brows at her. Kel laughed at Lee turning red.

 

"Ok you two, behave. Lee I'll have everything ready for you in the morning…Seriously, John, no lifting or putting any undo pressure on your arm and shoulder. Rest and get back here if there are any problems. No driving for another 4 weeks…If you want to swim and do some light range of motion activities ok…"

"I'll have Jake call you and he can come over in a few days and work with him...OK?"

 

 

"Yeah that'll be great…" Kel smiled at the two holding hands. Johnny was sitting in the chair that someone had moved so it was over by the window. "I have to admit Lee I was a little worried how you'd handle this…but I should have known you two would be just fine."

 

"Well we had a lot of good family support. …Both personally and medically…Don't you think it'll be good for him to come to work with me and help do filing? That wouldn't put too much strain on his arm."

 

"Doc, did you ever see the size of some of those files?" Johnny grinned at her wrinkling her nose.

 

"Well I wouldn't want you lifting any the size of your medical file that’s for sure." They all laughed at that knowing his medical history. "OK you two …See you in the morning."

 

Later that afternoon Roy came in for a quick check. He was surprised to see Johnny was alone.

 

"She had a phone call from one of the other officers she had to take…I figure she'll be back in about a half an hour. Doc is letting me go home tomorrow. No dizzy spells for 24 hours…Everything else is looking good. Now maybe she'll get some rest."

 

"That’s great Junior. I know you've been ready for awhile…."

 

"Yep and Lee is gonna have Jake do the pt there at the house. That'll cut down on her having to bring me back here…It'll be mostly passive range of motion…Roy, you were with her a lot…How did she do? I think I heard her crying the other night…"

 

"She was pretty stressed out at first but she handled it pretty good. I know the day she couldn't hand you water when you first woke up was the hardest…The thing that she concentrated on was keeping calm for you and staying positive…Em and Cap let her rant and vent and from what Cap said Em didn't give her any sympathy and after that she was good. Once you get home if you need anything call."

 

"Thanks Pally and thanks for being there for her…and me."

 

"Look Junior if you hadn't pushed me out of the way you wouldn't have been here." Roy said. "You have to stop doing that…not just for you but for her now."

 

"Hey, if you had got hurt who would have taken care of me out there? It’s not all about you, Pal…Besides…you would have done the same for me." The unspoken communication between them said more than the words could.

 

"Well I better get back down there…I’ll let the guys know you're going home…Lee gonna need help getting you there?"

 

"Nawh…Maria and Cisco'll be there….Dixie and the orderlies will get me into the car …"

 

Several hours later they were still in his room talking and waiting for someone to bring him dinner. They were playing gin and like usual his expressions were giving it away when he had a good hand. "Johnny you never did tell me what you wanted for dinner tomorrow…You think about it and I'll make sure I have everything I need to fix it for you."

 

One of your roasts with all the veggies cooked around it and a pecan pie?

"That'll be our dinner tomorrow night. And every day we'll do whatever you want as long as you don't overdo it…Get lots of rest and good food…Maybe take some walks…"

 

"Sounds good to me…if you don't mind doing all the work…"

 

"Helping you isn't work…It's what makes me feel the best about myself." She smiled at the puzzled look on his face.

 

"Waiting on me like you were a servant makes you feel good about yourself? That doesn't make sense."

 

"Oh? When you help me does that make you feel like a servant? Johnny, remember the times when I couldn't even do what the therapist use to call basic self care activities…You did everything…"

 

"That was different…"

 

"And just why is that?"

 

"Because I'm your husband it’s my job to take care of you….."

 

"Oh so giving me a shower and lifting me in and out of my chair was just a job to you? Helping me dress and brushing my hair were chores you had to do not to mention…"

 

"Ok stop it I get your point…I did those things because I wanted to make you more comfortable….and because you needed me. And because I love you and wanted you to be happy and secure----- and to know I would always be there for you…That wasn't playing fair."

 

"Kiss me and stop that foolishness." He leaned over and gave her a quick kiss.

 

"Gin…I finally won a game." He said discarding the ace of hearts.

 

"Only because you made me forget what card I was gonna play being silly…" She laughed and watched that wonderful crooked smile spread across his face. "All I could think of was how wonderful it'll be to have you home.

 

"Yeah guess that makes us both winners. I asked Roy how you were doing and he said you did good….Honey I wasn't talking behind your back I just needed to know…I could see you were tired and worried and I didn't want you making yourself sick over this…We both knew it was part of the job…"

 

"And we both know that some days are gonna be harder than others. The fact that we both know there are some fantastic wonderful people who love us and support us so whatever happens neither one of us is ever alone…Never again….do we have to face anything even our fears alone. And I know that being ALONE is not the same as not being in the same physical place …its knowing in our hearts there are others we can call on and trust. Maria said I grew up…I think it is more than that…but I can't explain it."

"I think it's knowing you are loved and have someone to love."


Since he was going home in the morning it was decided she would leave at the end of regular visiting hours instead of staying until 10. There hadn't been any nightmares for several days and the dizziness had stopped so it had been 2 days since someone had spent the night. And the last few nights Hector or Eddie had stayed it had been more for Lee's peace of mind than real necessity. Hector came up to the room a little before 8.

 

"Are you sure you can't think of anything else you need in the morning? I brought your clothes today…and your other shoes…Roast and pecan pie for dinner tomorrow night…"

 

"Will you stop fussing…" Johnny laughed as she wrinkled her nose at him. "Just make sure you get some good rest tonight…So Hector, you'll be here about 9?"

 

"Yes…I will have Maria's car so it'll be easy for you to get in…And we will be home all day if you need us but otherwise we will stay downstairs…I hope that your friends will also realize you two need some time alone and to rest…." He looked at Lee and she just smiled. She knew that since Johnny had been in Rampart the intercom system between the two apartments had never been off and they knew exactly when she was had been up moving around in the middle of the night. "I would guess there is enough bread in your freezer to last a you a month…or at least a week of cinnamon toast every day…" Hector teased.

 

"You should know there's been a loaf of bread or a pan of rolls for you every morning." Johnny just shook his head at her.

 

"So that’s how you've been keeping that temper under control…Lucky me," he said watching her eyes. They still looked tired but better.

 

"Don't gloat or I may give up baking…"

 

"Not until you do a pecan pie, please." He had a hold of her hand. "Whatever makes you happy Baby girl…Whatever helps you …"

 

The announcement that visiting hours were over was made and with one final kiss Lee and Hector left. Anita was at the nurses' station and Lee asked Hector to stop so she could talk with her a minute.

 

"Dr. Brackett said his discharge papers would be up here by 9...so we'll probably be here around 8:30...He is probably not gonna sleep well tonight …."

 

"We'll keep an eye on him…I know last night it was late when he finally turned the light off but he was reading and fine…Once he did go to sleep there wasn't any problem." Anita had heard some stories about his nightmares in the past.

 

On the way home they stopped at Keelson's and Lee got everything she needed to make Johnny's homecoming dinner and some other fresh fruits and veggies and 2 gallons of milk.

 

"Stevie will be disappointed he wasn't here….From the look of this cart I'd say Johnny is coming home. You know you need anything call and we'll deliver to you." Mark Keelson said as they went thru the check out.

 

"Thanks…I may just do that later in the week…Oh tell Stevie we are planning on going to the swim meet next week end…In fact we may even make it to the some other things since Johnny is off."


Once she got home and got the groceries put away she was tired and ready to settle down for the evening. By 10 she was in bed watching tv. By 5 A. M. she was wide awake and ready to get up. She knew Maria and Hector would be getting up at 6 and did not want to start moving around til then or Maria would be up to see what she needed. When Johnny was home the intercom system was turned off and usually unplugged. By 7 o'clock she was showered, dressed and doing her version of pacing. She would go out to the balcony, back to the front room to the kitchen to the bedroom double check everything was perfect and then back to the balcony to see if Hector had moved Maria's car yet…At 8:15 the phone rang.

 

"Hello?" It had startled her when it rang.

 

"Hi …You ok? You sound worried?" Johnny asked.

 

"I was day dreaming and the phone just sort of surprised me…How you doing? That’s the important thing."

 

"Just waiting for the papers to get up to the nurses' station. Talked to Dixie a minute ago and she said Doc had sent everything to the discharge desk…You been up long?"

 

"Yeah I went to bed early last night…so was up early…" There was a knock on the door. "Hector is here…see you in about 20 minutes….Luv ya" She went over and let him in.

 

"I called but the line was busy…Did you call him or he call you?" Laughing at the look on her face.

 

"He called…I never call him first in case he is sleeping."


By 10:00 they were back to the apartment. Hector had went upstairs and made sure they were settled in then true to his word he went downstairs. Johnny was in his recliner as she was fixing a late breakfast/early lunch for them. Kel had taken off the figure 8 strapping and told him to keep the sling on.

 

Lee heard him let out a long deep sigh and wheeled herself into the front room.

 

"Do you need something?"

 

"No I was just sitting here looking at the wedding portraits and thinking how good life is…and how blessed we are…A minute a go you looked up and never said a word just smiled at me…You looked so like your mom…Its just good to be us, ya know?"

 

"Yep it is….and even if some think it’s a crazy life for us it’s the best life…And it’s good to be back to what passes for normal for us."

 

The End

Published to Site 03/31/12

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