Friday, May 20, 2011

Journey - Waiting



    DJ made himself as comfortable as he could. The foot of the bed had been the only place he felt he could sit without worrying that his feet would get caught in a cable or cord. Wanting to touch her but not willing to risk hurting her shoulder or interfering with the IV’s, DJ found another option. Sliding his hand under the blanket, he’d curled his fingers around her foot. For a very long time, he sat with his fingers wrapped around her foot watching her breathe. The nurse came in the room for her rounds, making notes in a chart. After one such visit, she grinned as she was leaving, “She’s still maintaining. Each hour she stays steady is one more hour out of worry.”

    Bolstered by the news but not fully willing to surrender to optimism, DJ finally dozed. When a hand squeezed his shoulder, DJ opened his eyes. Meg’s head was turned to the left instead of the right but she was still far too pale. Scrubbing his hands over his face, DJ was surprised to find that he’d slept at all. Jet Lag must have kicked in. Pulling his fingers from under the blanket and immediately missing the contact, DJ looked over his shoulder. Uncle Mark handed him a foam cup filled with coffee. Taking the offered cup, DJ started to rise but Uncle Mark shook his head.

    “Take a minute, son. ”

    His watch told him it was nearly four in the morning. He’d slept for a few hours. Which meant he’d slept through the last of the doctor’s checks on Meg. Her monitors were reading the same as they had a few hours before.  Tasting the coffee, DJ found it good. It awakened his taste buds and his stomach. His stomach reminded him of the neglect DJ had given it.

    Mark stood at the foot of the bed and looked down at his step-daughter. DJ got to his feet, handing Norma’s cell phone over, “I’ll be back this afternoon.”

    “Take your time, son. I’ll call you if something changes.”

    Resettling his beret on his head, DJ squeezed Meg’s toes before leaving.


   
    The streets in the early hours of the morning were not completely deserted but they were sparse. DJ made good time to return to his parent’s house. He wasn’t sure what surprised him most, the fact that his mother was cooking breakfast or that Matthew Addison was sitting in his parent’s kitchen.

    Matthew lifted a cup of coffee in his direction, “How’d our girl do during the night?”

    “They’re watching her blood count for signs of internal bleeding. She didn’t move around much even when they check her bandages.”

    “Morphine.” Matthew sipped his coffee, “Michael’s on his way over. Your mom was nice enough to fix breakfast.”

    Charlotte hmphed over her stove and DJ grinned at her back. She wore jeans and an old button down of his fathers. “It’s the least I can do. Besides, I figure if I feed you boys, I’ll hear the news.”

    Matthew ran a hand through his brown hair, “I'm starting to get gray hairs and she’s still calling me a ‘boy’.”

    With a glance over her shoulder, Charlotte chuckled, “You are. My boys. I just didn’t give birth to you." She turned and set two plates of scrambled eggs, hashed potatoes and bacon on the table for them. “Eat. I’ll finish up Michael’s plate.”

    A cup of coffee for DJ followed and juice and glasses were placed in the middle. They ate in silence for a few minutes until Michael came through the front door. He grinned at DJ and dropped into an empty chair.

    “For some reason I take great comfort in seeing that you’re just as tired as we are.”

    DJ lifted an eyebrow but shoveled more eggs into his mouth without replying.

    Michael beamed a smile at Charlotte, “Thank you, Mrs. Rediker.”

    Charlotte had finally given up on having the Addison boys ever calling her anything else. Just as she’d given up on thinking of them as anything but boys. Looking at the three men at her table, she doubted she could have been prouder. Her heart swelled and before Charlotte knew it she smiled at them.

    Nearly as one, they stopped and stared at her.

    “You okay, Ma?” DJ finally asked.

    “I'm trying my best not to gush. I'm very proud of all three of you.”

    Three grins flashed at her before they bent back to eating.

    “No one can sleep through the smell of bacon.” Paul Rediker announced from the door way. He’d showered and dressed. If he was going to get up, he might as well do it properly. He’d arrived at the door in time to hear his wife’s declaration. He agreed with her and had waited to get a grip on the surprising rise of emotions before making his presence known. Meg was family, even if DJ had not taken the steps until recently to make it official. The threat to her life weighed heavily with him and with Charlotte. Putting a smile on his face, he motioned with his hand, “So? Do I get some of this food?”

    Soon he was at the table with his own plate.  A plate filled with much smaller portions. Each man was given seconds. With the edge off the hunger they started talking about their night.

    “Meg slept?” Michael wanted to know.

    “Yeah. They kicked me out once or twice to check her wounds. I don't think she moved around much.”

    “Morphine." Matthew reminded them again.

    “She’s steady.” DJ offered. He’d watched her chest rise and fall as he’d listened to the steady beeping of her heart monitor.

    Matthew grinned at Michael, “She’s going to have more scars than you.”

    With a lift of his eyebrow, Michael acknowledged it, “A price I’m willing to pay to have her brag about it.”

    Paul appreciated his wife’s cooking, even before the sun was risen in the sky, “The news report of the shooting made it to the national news. Brandon Carroll did several interviews with the network.”

    DJ straightened and looked from brother to brother, “Did you know he had a thing for Meg?”

    Both sets of eyes stared at him. The amusement was evident even before they laughed. Both leaned back in their seats, enjoying the moment. Matthew laughed again before telling DJ,  “Meg gave him an A for effort, and that’s all she gave him.”

    “He’s a good guy.” Michael grinned and reached for more coffee, “He’s working on the tape for the breaking news that he wants to play in the morning. It’s nice having a reporter on our side instead of against us.”

    “We were on our best behavior.” Matthew grinned, “We didn’t want anything that looked like police battery on video.”

    “Did you find them?”

    Both brothers nodded but it was Michael who started, “Oh, yeah. It didn’t take long, all things considered. We broke into three squads to move into neighborhoods where this group might have been hanging.”

    “My group found them." Matthew grinned, “They’d taken over an old tannery in no-man's land.”

    “A section over between Fairman and Pine,” Michael explained to DJ’s frown and unvoiced question. “It’s mostly filled with broken down buildings. You know the kind. Old warehouses and industrial buildings. Some store fronts with the apartments on the upper floor. Most people don’t go down there if they don’t have to. There's always talk of revitalization. So far no one wants to risk the loss that they’d incur.”

    DJ glanced from face to face as the brothers bounced information back and forth.

    “Michael’s group found someone on their sweep that knew what went down and confirmed everything. He’s willing to talk under the agreement that he gets immunity from whatever the DA can find on him.”

    “Lenny said he owed it to Meg. I don’t know how she affords him, though. He’s one expensive informant.” Michael groused into his coffee. “He might have agreed to talk to the DA but he cost me fifty bucks.”

    “Chump change. And you were the chump." Matthew grinned before pressing forward over his brother’s murmured reply. “Anyway. When we got to the tannery there were a few shots fired. The shooter was on the roof.”

    “Where I’d be,” DJ agreed. “On another building.”

    Matthew narrowed his eyes, “Luckily, these guys are stupid. Once we dealt with the shooter and got into the building it was entirely too easy. Apparently, we have the brains of the operation down town, in the hospital or dead. Captain Zuck and Neil Spiro were in charge of the interviews when we left.”

    “We were glad to leave.” Michael grinned.

    “Like I said, it was too easy for all the pain they caused. We only had to shoot two of them before the rest practically threw their guns at us.”

    DJ grinned slightly.

    Michael grunted, “They had quite a collection of stolen electronics upstairs and an chop shop downstairs. Some of the vehicles were in pieces and parts.”

    “It’ll probably clear up a bunch of robbery cases. The paper work on the merchandise alone is going to take time.”

    “When we left the scene they were hauling the stuff away in a moving van.” Michael turned his coffee cup between his fingers, “I’ll be curious to hear how they kept their activities a secret. If they used threats to enforce neighborhood silence. If they did, then we’ll probably get more people coming forward to talk about them.”

    Matthew leaned back, “Still. We’re looking at a lot of paper work. Neil Spiro has taken over the shooting case until Mulholland returns. The way it looks, the good captain is going to be on medical leave for a couple of months.”

    “Detective Spiro has already made it clear that any one who took part has a report to file.” Michael grinned, “I got lucky not to have to do any of the interviews.”

    Matthew slid a key toward DJ, “Because we’re going to be neck deep in paper work, you get to feed Meg’s cat.”

    With a grin that matched his brother’s, Michael offered, “You might as well get to know each other.”

    Staring at the key, DJ wanted to know, “She has a cat?”

    “Cat’s name is Cinnamon and we’re not exactly sure who owns who.”

    “Watch your back, too.” Matthew grinned, “Cinnamon has a temper.”

    “Gee, thanks.” DJ took the key and slid it into his pocket, “Is there a time limit here?”

    “Nope.” Getting to his feet, Michael grinned, “none at all.”

    “You can take all the time you want.” Matthew agreed. “The cat won’t go anywhere. Eat some more. Sleep off the jet lag. Definitely take a shower.”

    DJ made a suggestion of his own and laughter followed the Addisons outside.
   
    Paul studied his son. When the laughter stopped ringing through the room he offered, “You could use a shave, too. You look pretty scary.”

    Lifting an eyebrow at his father, DJ finally grinned, “It’s good to be home.”




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© 2011 Amelia Antwiler/ComfyDenim

3 comments:

Mother Mayhem said...

Happy face.

Christa said...

I think I am already addicted to finding good fiction in my Google Reader every morning. :)

ComfyDenim said...

I'm very pleased with your pleasure. Thank you for reading it all. It's been so much fun to share with you.