Tony and Bruce stood at the nose of the trailer watching the rescue squad loading Peter into the ambulance. The State Patrol Officer that had taken their reports, turned after a lengthy conversation with the injured driver of the vehicle in the ditch. He started toward them not showing any signs of what was about to happen to them or the load.
“I guess Peter wasn’t so angelic after all ay, Bruce?” Tony mumbled as they watched the ambulance attendants load the man into the back.
“No, I was wrong about that.” Bruce looked down feeling a bit foolish now.
“Hey, don’t sweat it man. I had the same thought myself when I first met ‘im. I just didn’t give it that much thought when it passed through my mind. And, there’s nothin’ wrong with hopin’, prayin’, all that stuff.” he tried to console his dear friend seeing the emotions cross his face time and again.
“Yeah, but I’m more practical than this, Tony. I guess I was hopin’ too much.”
“Not a prob. You know better with me.”
“Yeah. We’d better get on the other side of the truck. He’s comin’.”
The tall dark complected officer moved in their direction with a purposeful gate. Tony and Bruce moved around the truck, and stepped back to the grass as the man came around the nose of the truck.
“Okay guys…” he had his hand on the microphone on his shoulder listening to the scratchy radio voice that was speaking to him. It was difficult to make out what was being said as he kept his voice down. It appeared there was a conspiracy about to take place as the two stood by feeling helpless and vulnerable at the moment.
“…Your stories all checked out. You might want to thank the blonde for being honest enough to tell me the truth. Anyway, your stories collaborated with his. Now…” the man stepped closer guiding the two men further onto the grass as the state driver came to get the trailer and the load.
“They want you to keep your truck. And your boss asked my boss if we would hold the load for him until he can get another driver out here to get it and carry it on to Deming.”
“What about Jonathan?” Bruce asked seriously.
“Yes, the boy…” the officer sighed heavily. “…I’m not even supposed to tell you where he’s going. But after talking to the Russian guy, and my boss, I’ll do more than give you directions to the hospital he’s headed to. His uncle is all up in the air trying to claim you boys kidnapped his nephew–“
“That lyin’ sack o’–” Tony growled, but was cut off by the officer.
“Hold on, now. The Russian told me everything, alright. I understand your frustration. But the boy has to go back with his uncle until they resolve their issues.”
“But the issues are that his uncle was beating and raping him, and then he was sellin’ the kid for sexual favors!” Tony barked.
The officer stared at him now. “You know, if I hadn’t talked to the Russian, I wouldn’t believe that right now. But it seems I recall a case that was thrown out for lack of evidence in Arizona recently. Alright, I’ll tell you what. My hands are tied as far as the boy’s concerned. His uncle is flying in tomorrow to get him. I’m not supposed to tell you that either. But you didn’t hear it from me.”
“No, we haven’t heard a word.” Tony grinned.
“Well, it also seems that my boss is real chummy with your boss…” he motioned a hand to Tony. “You were assigned to protect the kid. So, I’ve got some respect for you, sir. Especially, being you’ve kept him alive and well for so many months now, and all the crap you’ve been through with this scenario. He said to put you up at a motel just down the street from the hospital. So, if you’ll get in the truck we’ll head that way.”
As they climbed back into the truck, Tony knew that Ben had something up his sleeve. He understood by that, he would be making a private call to his boss and find out what his next mission is.
“God, I think the shit is about to hit the fan.” Bruce commented as they followed the officer back east.
“Yep, and whatever happens, Bruce, we really need to be rested and fresh. It may be that Ben wants us to sneak the kid out undercover. So, I really need you to pay attention and do what I tell ya. If you miss one detail, it could ruin it for all of us.” he admonished.
“I realize this, Tony. And you know I wouldn’t screw this up for the world. I want the kid back.” he complained.
“I know, and we’ll get ‘im back no matter what.” the man persisted.
“Good.” Bruce nodded in agreement.
“Tony, we have no jurisdiction there. All I can do is sit back and ride it out.” Ben was telling him over the phone.
“That total bullshit, Ben and you know it!” he argued. “After all the time and energy we’ve put into this kid and yer just gonna turn yer back and walk away. It’s personal now. I’ll get the kid with yer help or not.” he claimed vehemently.
“I thought you’d say that, Tony.” Ben chuckled. “So, this is what I want you to do…”
A blonde man stepped off the elevator into the lobby of the fourth floor bahis şirketleri of the hospital. His lengthy hair was tied back into a tight ponytail. He had on a white lab jacket with a security badge hanging from the front pocket. With shades on that adjusted to the light he meandered down the hallway whistling a peppy tune. Pushing a wheelchair before him, he made his way to the nurse’s station.
“Hello, ladies…” he stopped leaning on the counter.
“Well, hello…” one of them grinned admirably at him. Her eyes seemed to devour him almost lewdly.
“How are all you fine lovely nurses tonight?” he poured on the charm fairly thick.
“Oh, just peachy, honey. What can we do for ya?” she asked seeming to be the head nurse of the shift.
“I’m supposed to come collect the bullet wound in four-twelve for an MRI.” he explained.
“I thought that was scheduled for in the morning.” she piped then.
Tony looked at his watch. “Well, my boss said to come get ‘im. He said somethin’ ’bout the doctor might have to do an exploratory early this morning’ and wanted this done already.” he explained further.
“I remember that.” one of the other nursed spoke up then. “That’s right… Dr. Jones needs that MRI earlier in case he has to go in earlier.” she concurred with Tony’s story.”
“You see…” he perked watching the woman realizing she was a team player then, as she winked at him quickly and discretely.
“Okay…” the head nurse agreed to let him pass. “…But you strap that youngin’ in that thing good. His uncle is comin’ in the morning’ and I don’t want to explain to him that some lazy orderly let ‘im fall out of a chair on his way to get an MRI.” she fussed.
“Yes, ma’am…” he nodded respectfully at her rank alone. “…I’ll be sure I do that, just for you.” he smiled pushing the chair along to the room. Inwardly he seethed trying to control it. He reminded himself that the woman knew nothing about him and his expertise in the field.
A rental cop was sitting outside the room just a couple doors down from the station. He had been listening in on the conversation and opened the door for Tony to go in.
Tony moved up beside the bed. Pulling the blanket back off Jonathan’s body, he deflated the balloon removing the catheter from his penis. Taking hold of the I.V. bag, he placed it on the hook that jutted up from the chair.
Then he put the railing down lifting the youth in his arms. Placing him into the chair, he strapped him in tight. A blanket was thrown over his legs and tucked around his arms to keep his body temperature in.
Once all of that was done, he quickly raided the supply bin close by. A couple urine bags, a catheter tube, I.V. bags, and a couple syringes and needles were borrowed. He stuffed some of it behind Jonathan’s back. And what would fit in his pocket when there.
As leisurely as he came in, he started out. Strolling down the hallway, he passed the desk again.
“See you ladies in a bit…” he waved to them as he passed by.
It almost seemed the trek from there to the staff elevator would never end for him. But he kept his cool, meandering toward it attempting to act like the professional he is. But all the while he just wanted to get the kid in the truck and head east as fast as those ten wheels could go.
Finally, he reached the elevator. The doors opened to him and he pushed the youth in. Pressing the ground floor button he waited until the door closed. It wasn’t long before he was strolling out into the main lobby and out the entrance door.
Bruce jumped out of the cab to help Tony put Jonathan in. they quickly managed him with a little teamwork. Jumping in, one on each side, they were swiftly driven back to the motel. The cab pulled up to the truck that was already loaded and ready to go. Tony maneuvered Jonathan up to Bruce who lifted him into the truck on the passenger side.
After he was put in the bunk on the new air mattress, Tony hung the I.V. bag on a hook on the inside of the closet door. He then inserted a new catheter into Jonathan that was attached to a fresh bag. That was placed on a hook that was purchased and already in place before they began this little excursion.
Bruce shut the passenger door, sitting in the driver’s seat preparing his logbook for the trip. “Let me know when you’re finished, Tony. I won’t move the truck until you have him completely situated.” he called back to him.
“Okay.” Tony worked deftly to finish the preps for the trip. He removed everything from his pockets to a bin in the closet so he would know where they were. Then he went up front after covering Jonathan with a blanket. “We’re ready. Let’s blow this state.” he grinned.
“Your wish is my command, my friend.” Bruce pushed in the brake; put her in reverse, backing out of the parking slot he was in.
Bruce drove to Jackson, Mississippi. Once through it, he set the cruise and traded with Tony. Then he went back checking on Jonathan before he plopped down into the passenger seat with a pillow in hand. bahis firmaları Leaning it up against the window and frame, he dozed all the while Tony drove to Alabama. They traded again while tooling down the road somewhere near Bessemer, Alabama.
Ben had given them explicit orders to not stop, for any reason, or make any phone calls from their cell phones. And they were not to accept any calls from anyone, no matter who they were. He also advised them to take the most direct route to Macon, Georgia and the hospital. Jonathan was to go directly to the hospital, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. This was a mobile medical transfer from the hospital he had been in, to Macon.
“You want something to eat, Tony?” he asked before he went to sleep.
“No, I’m too tired to eat. If I do, I’ll just get sleepy.” he returned.
“Let me know if you need something. I’m gonna take a nap.”
Tony only nodded continuing to stare at the road, wishing the trip was done.
After they traded in Alabama, Tony made sandwiches for them. He handed one to Bruce sitting in the passenger seat cramming his mouth full of his.
“Thanks, Tony.” Bruce could see the weariness on him. He hadn’t slept well in the first leg of the trip for worrying about Jonathan. More times than he could count, Tony was up out of his seat checking on the kid.
He almost asked him why he didn’t just lie down with him, instead of all the fussing he was doing over him. But he remembered that Tony had mentioned they shouldn’t sleep with him. They might accidentally roll and jab an elbow in his side or some other incident might take place that would cause him more harm than good. So, he said nothing.
Yet, he worried over Tony now, as the man scarfed down the sandwich so fast he barely had time to taste it. He knew he had been hungry when he took over in Mississippi. And as much as he wanted to insist he eat, he knew Tony was right. After not sleeping well, a full meal would make him drowsy.
“That didn’t last long enough.” Tony stood saying.
“Why don’t you get some of that fruit in the cans we bought in Texas before we left?”
“Ooh, yeah. And there’s pudding too.” he moved into the back to rummage through the goodies they had bought before they went to retrieve Jonathan from the hospital.
He came back up front with a cup of fruit, and fudge pudding for them both to eat. Setting what he had gotten for Bruce on the dash, he sat in the passenger seat opening the single serving can of fruit. With his plastic weapon in hand, he shoveled it into his mouth with a vengeance.
After eating the pudding his eyes showed even more unrest. Weariness. Exhaustion.
“Sleep, Tony. You need it, bud.” Bruce glanced over at him for only a second.
“Yeah. I’m so tired.” he put the can of Pepsi to his lips turning it up. “I think I’ll sleep good this time.” he admitted.
“I hope so. You could use it.”
“I must be getting’ ugly all of a sudden. I’ve lost a lot of beauty sleep.”
Bruce laughed. “Well, you don’t look all that great, right now.”
“Thanks, friend.” Tony chuckled. He lifted the pillow that Bruce had left on the seat pushing it up against the doorframe. Leaning his head on it, closing his eyes, he was fast asleep in minutes.
“Tony! I gotta pee!” Bruce called from the driver’s seat.
Tony’s head popped up off the pillow he was resting on. Groggily, he stood going to the back to retrieve a urinal bringing it up front with him. Popping the lid of the plastic bottle he unzipped Bruce’s jeans inserting him into the rim. “Okay…” he muttered letting him know it was safe to go ahead.
“We’re almost home.” Bruce smiled into his face. “Just a couple miles to go.”
“And you can’t wait?” Tony griped now.
“Man, I’ve been holdin’ it since Birmingham.” he quipped.
“Then why didn’t you wake me up?”
“Because you needed the sleep!”
“Okay, man.” Tony grinned. “Don’t blow a gasket.”
Bruce laughed. “I can’t wait to see Greg. I know I’m gonna hear it though.” he admitted.
“Yep, better you than me, too.” Tony chuckled.
“Hey, I was told not to make one phone call.” Bruce defended.
“That’s right. If you had, we could’ve been traced. But, I’m almost sure Ben would have told him. He may not say a word.”
“Well, if he does, I’ll just know he missed me and loves me, is all. He only fusses like that because he loves us, Tony.”
“I know, but it can be a bitch, ya know?”
Bruce laughed as he maneuvered the truck toward the hospital entrance.
“You know what I’m gonna do when we get settled?” Tony asked rubbing his eyes sleepily as he emptied the urinal into the portapotty.
“Sleep…” Bruce grinned knowingly.
“You bet. I miss my sleep.” he replaced the urinal in its place then cleaned his hands with a Wetone.
“So, do I, babe.” Bruce stopped the truck right in front of the emergency entrance canopy. He pulled the brake and Tony stood going into the back to remove the catheter for transporting the youth kaçak bahis siteleri inside.
A team rushed outside with a gurney toward the truck. Bruce zipped up his jeans and motioned for them to go around to the passenger door, as he stood approaching it. He popped the door open just in time, as Tony came out of the bunk carrying the youth.
Bruce stepped away to allow him to hand Jonathan down to the medical team. One of them grabbed the I.V. bag while the rest of them worked together to hoist him down from the truck, placing him on the gurney.
They stood watching as the group of people ran beside the bed on wheels into the hospital. Tony then closed the door and Bruce parked the truck in an open space away from the cars. They got out moving inside to find Greg.
Getting in an elevator, they rode up to the fourth floor where Greg worked, most of the time. Coming around the corner they saw him looking Jonathan over thoroughly.
“Put him in this room.” he pointed to the vacant room that Jonathan had occupied before. Following the team with the patient, he disappeared into the room with them.
They sat in the waiting room knowing not to go in. Greg had to assess his patient’s condition and decide what needed to be done. So, they waited, as tired as they were, for more than an hour before they saw him emerge from the room again.
Then they stood catching his eye. His face lit up and he rushed toward them.
“God, it’s so good to see you two. I was about crazy with worry, when Ben told me what happened.” he hugged each one discretely in the view of the public around them. “Are you guys alright?” he began to check them now.
“We’re just tired, Greg. Really, that’s all.” Bruce informed him as Greg searched him for anything suspicious.
“You didn’t get shot? Not even a graze?” the doctor lifted his shirt looking.
“No, Greg. Not even a graze.” Bruce answered with a grin. His mind was wondering again, as it had the night it all happened. And Greg’s inadvertent gentle touches weren’t helping in the least. Greg moved around to his back looking, not taking their word for it at all. He then moved to Tony doing the same.
“We’re fine, Greg.” Bruce reiterated.
“Hush.” the man scolded doing his exam anyway, more for his own peace of mind.
Bruce sighed heavily. “We could take this in your office, you know.” he suggested.
“Good idea. I want you two to strip so I can have a look at the both of you.” he released Tony’s shirt, turned, leading the way without a thought. Bruce glanced over at Tony with a wicked grin on his face.
“Not me, man. I just wanna sleep.” Tony mumbled to him.
“Suitchyerself.” Bruce half laughed. “I’m gettin’ me some o’ that.”
Going into the office Greg held the door for them locking it when they were in. stepping to his desk by the window. He slid the drapes closed then turned leaning over the desk to the phone.
“Yes, Dr. Carroll?” Catherine’s voice came over the intercom.
“Hold my calls for me, would you? I’m doing an exam on Mr. Crawford and Santini.” he requested.
“Sure.” she returned, her voice reflecting a pleasure to do so.
“Okay, Tony…” he stepped around the desk again. “…Take it off.”
“All of it?” Tony fussed lightly, his eyes barely open as he did.
“Yes, all of it.”
“He wants to get fresh with ya, Tony. Since when do you fuss about that?” Bruce jested.
“I want to check you guys over. That’s all. If you have a problem with that, I can call Ben in here to help me.” Greg put his hands on his hips protesting vehemently.
“Whatever…” Tony began to unbutton his shirt. He slipped it off his shoulders being approached by the doctor right away.
“Sit.” Greg ordered firmly and Tony parked on the exam table by the wall.
He lifted his stethoscope placing it on his chest. “How do you feel, Tony?” he asked in a mutter hearing the rapid beat of the man’s heart.
“Tired, Greg. Very tired.”
“Hmm. You look exhausted. When’s the last time you ate?” he then heard the man’s tummy grumble at him.
“About three and a half hours ago. But it was only a sandwich, a small can of fruit and one of those puddings in the little plastic container.” Bruce explained. “He ain’t eat anything but that since we started.
Greg nodded. All the while he was having Tony breath in deep letting it out as he listened. “Any pain anywhere?” he asked then.
“Yeah, my head aches, my shoulders and neck are tight and sore.”
Greg put the earpiece around his neck reaching to feel a great amount of tension in his neck and shoulders. “Hmm. Yes, very tight. Okay…” he stuck the stethoscope into the upper pocket of his jacket as he went to his desk. “I’m going to give you something ‘mild’ for your pain.” he emphasized the word, ‘mild’.
“I want you to take this to Catherine. She’ll set you up in a room and feed you. Then I want you to rest, Tony. And if you give her any trouble, you deal with me.” he scribbled on two prescription forms handing them to Tony. “Give those to Catherine.”
Tony was buttoning his shirt, as he approached taking the two forms in his hand.
“Go…” Greg waved him on, as Tony had only stood there staring at him while he finished buttoning his shirt.