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Lee Spencer looked around the conference area of her office. There was coffee, tea, sodas and ice on the counter along with a tray of sandwiches and salads, chips and cookies. The meeting was scheduled so it could be a working lunch as At each place was a folder with the info she had gathered and was using as a starting place for the series of meetings.
Although she had been working as a special project manager for the state since the start of the paramedic program this was a new office. Up till now she had used an office at Bailey and Spencer Private Investigators on Sunset Strip but Stu had been offered a job teaching at a university up in San Francisco and had decided to take it.
Jeff had been offered a position which would require his moving to the Washington DC area and was seriously considering it. Lee knew if not for her he would have said yes in a heartbeat.
She was certain he would say yes when the deadline came up in two weeks. There was no reason she could not have stayed at the office but it was time to start over. The new office had some advantages such as being closer to the apartment and since she worked so close with Kelly Brackett, Joe Early and Dixie McCall it just made sense to move when the space became available.
Her bosses in Sacramento had thought it was a good idea since there would be two more offices like hers in the state soon, it was a good move. Lee would be supervising these offices also besides, as Tom Clark said half joking, Lee did not handle not getting her own way well.
Will Fargo her other boss agreed and said since Lee was the only one who knew exactly what her office did they had to keep her happy. As usual Lee was at the conference table when the other committee members began to assemble and soon all were present except the paramedics from Station 51 who were going to be late due to a child being hit by a car that needed their attention and would join them as soon as possible.
“Please help yourselves to lunch….I am sure you can all use a few extra minutes of peace and quiet.”
“Squad 51 was scheduled to stand down at 11:00 and the call came in at 10:45,” Captain Houser said with a smile.
“Knowing Roy and John they will be here as soon as possible.” Dixie said with a grin. “They were ready to transport when I left the base to come up here.”
“I haven’t met them yet but I feel like I know them from reading their reports and the info that comes into the office. They have the lowest F rating in the county…”
“Is that good or bad?” The representative from the hospital asked looking embarrassed. “I am sorry to admit I know very little of how this program works even after 2 years of being here.”
“Don’t be…that is one of the details my office and the fire department need to be concerned with…Its one you and your medical staff can be very proud of…as well as your department Chief. The name comes from the codes used by the fire department…Code F is a fatality…” Lee smiled at the gentleman and her friend Dixie. “You should be very proud of the work done by all the paramedics in the county. You are among the first in the country and you are setting the standard for the rest…and it is an extremely high one. I just wish it had been in place 6 years ago…not that the fireman and police officers weren’t doing a good job …they did the best they could with the training and equipment they were given….Now with better equipment and the excellent training they do a much better job. Very dear friends who are doctors not associated directly with emergency medicine are very impressed with your program. Dr. O’Donnell I think you know Jim Kildare over at Blair General?”
“Yes and I know Dr. Gillespie as well…both excellent doctors and both think very highly of the program... And of you may I add?” The Irishman’s eyes sparkled with playfulness. “It seems as if he knows you very well?”
“He is married to my best friend who is like my older sister and they are family so he better say nice things,” Lee answered with a laugh. “They try to keep me out of trouble. “ She said something in Gaelic and the hospital administrator laughed till he had tears in his eyes.
Earlier that day before role call at Station 51:
“Man, how did we end up on this committee? Don’t we have enough to do without all this?” Johnny Gage asked not really wanting answers since he already knew them. “Why did Dixie and Dr. Brackett think we would be the ones to do this?” He was frowning and chewing on his lip. “Do you even know what the Office of Data and Statistical Information Analysis does?”
“From what Dixie said when she asked us to be on this with her…it’s a way for the state to track how well the paramedic program works and to develop or find areas that can help us be more efficient and carries a lot of weight with some of the money men at the state level.”
“So how do we fit in?”
“The young lady in charge wants to have input from the paramedics in the field. Dixie and Dr. Brackett recommended us….You going to tell them no when they ask us for a favor or help?” Roy asked knowing Johnny would do anything for those two friends. “So we go to the meetings and some will be like today and some may be on our own time.”
“So do you know anything about Lee Spencer?” Johnny asked.
“Just that Dix said she had worked hard to get the bill passed when it first came out and has been working for the state on this special project ever since…”
“Roll call in 5 minutes gentlemen,” Cap shouted as he left his office.
Johnny and Roy came into the conference room as quietly as possible not wanting to disrupt the meeting. The young woman at the head of the table looked up from the paper she was filling out and smiled in welcome. “Hi, I’m Lee and I would guess you are Roy and Johnny. Glad you are joining us. Please fix yourselves a plate and we will get started in just a few minutes…If it’s ok with you we will go over the few things we have already covered after the others leave…”
“DeSoto, Gage I am glad to have you on this committee…I hope your run was successful.” Chief Houser said as the men quickly fixed their plates and sat down.
“Yes sir, the little girl is going to be fine…a few stitches in her hand and leg and her eyebrow that Dr. Brackett said were not going to leave a very big scar…Her mom was worried about that.”
“Good to hear.”
“We were talking about what we can do to help cut down the number of people who use the paramedics as substitute for a doctor’s visit or a trip to the ER they could make themselves.”
“Is there any way we could start a list of these people? If they and someone else called in at the same time the other call would take priority? Not that they would be ignored…but the closest squad go to the less frequent caller?” The woman asking worked in an administrative office for the county.
“Roy?” Lee asked the senior member of the paramedics.
“That is something we talk about a lot…Dixie knows a lot of the ones they have that come here…but then there are others like the family with a young child who has CP and has seizures that are life threatening…transporting him in a car would be a serious risk to him and the driver…as well as the fact he often needs oxygen to help him breathe during the seizure. JT might go 3 or 4 weeks without a seizure then have 2 or more in a week…there is no predicting.”
“That’s a very valid point Roy and why I wanted paramedics involved in this…no offense to you who are administration or in the support offices…but it is the field officers and firemen and paramedics that have the experience to give us the guidance we need. We cannot come up with solutions if we don’t know or understand the problem. Jason, you and your other instructors can teach the basics and advance book work but there is no substitution for actual field work and experience and Lt. Karmand, I want law enforcement personnel to remember some of what we are doing can greatly benefit them…and their safety.”
“I think we learned that when you called us about the accidents at West Mount and Dexter…It was a simple solution after we knew what was causing the accidents there.” He looked at Lee and smiled. “Your misspent youth hanging around cops is paying off.”
“I spent more time at your station than I did at school the last 2 years.” Tim Karmand laughed at the shock expression on several faces. “Lee’s family is in law enforcement and she would come in and help with filing and such.”
“And typing reports…you guys are worst than doctors when it comes to handwriting.”
“So how did you solve the problem at the intersection? We had a few bad calls there.” Johnny asked.
“Lee figured out the problem and the solution,” Tim answered. “She picked up on a pattern of time and weather conditions…”
“The glare there was terrible for awhile…Remember Roy we almost got creamed there because the other guy didn’t see us coming.” Johnny interrupted then smiled in apology.
Lee noticed what a cute crooked smile he had and how it lit up his dark brown eyes.
“Exactly it was a combination of the sun’s position and the positioning of a large piece of construction equipment that was blinding the drivers. Lee talked to someone in our traffic department we checked it out and agreed and she called someone at the construction site. She explained it was not only a danger to the motorist but to the men working…they repositioned the equipment and problem solved . We even got a call back from the construction people saying the repositioning had solved a problem they were having for the same reason and hadn’t realized that was the source.”
“This is what I hope this office can do as well as provide information for records no one will ever care about but provide information that is useful in saving lives and property.”
They talked awhile longer and the meeting was closed with some ideas to think about and a date set up for the next meeting. Everyone had left except the paramedics and Chief Houser who were talking off in a corner.
“Why don’t you call the station and make your selves available and if it’s ok with your chief and captain we can go over what you missed?”
“That would be fine…Give my regards to Captain Stanley…Lee it was a pleasure as always.” Chief Houser left and Roy made the squad available.
“May I use your phone to call the station Miss Spencer?” Roy asked.
“Only if you promise to call me Lee and use the phone on my desk…Johnny…there is plenty of food…please help yourself to more if you’d like.”
“Thanks, Lee.” Another of those crooked grins lit up his eyes. He got another sandwich and a soda. “Can I get you something? A sandwich or cookie...soda?”
“A diet Dr. Pepper would be great…they are in the little fridge under the counter…Once I get all this settled in I want to keep a supply of snacks up here for the paramedics. I know sometimes you all miss meals and don’t always have the time to wait in the cafeteria line…Maybe you can get a list together of what you would like to see up here…”
“That’s really a great idea and a nice one…”
“Thanks…” Roy came back and they went over what they missed and Roy had some good input… After about 15 minutes they finished.
“The containers for the leftover food are there on the counter…why don’t you take it back to your station? It’ll just go to waste here.”
“The guys will appreciate that.” Roy said.
“They sure will Chet is cooking tonight.” Johnny wrinkled his nose. “I will appreciate this tonight.”
“Not a good cook?” Lee said laughing at the face he made.
“Naw not really.” Johnny was over putting the leftovers in containers. “Besides Johnny and Chet have this long standing love hate relationship…They are friends they just don’t want others to know it.”
“I understand completely.”
“Lee is you sure you don’t want any of this?” Johnny asked watching her as she talked with Roy.
“No thanks for asking…I am going to baby sit for my friends, Jim and Kathy tonight…They have two kids…Jimmy is nine and Stacy is five...they are great kids. It’s like I am their aunt rather than just a family friend.”
“Yeah I know what you mean…Roy’s kids are about the same age and they call me Uncle Johnny…I baby sit for him and JoAnne every once in awhile.”
“My daughter has him wrapped around her little finger, has from the day she was born.”
They talked awhile longer then went back to the station. He guys were glad to see the food since Chet’s stew didn’t look any better than it smelled.
After dinner Johnny was sitting out at the station’s back wall. I t was quiet there and he didn’t feel like talking to anyone. He was thinking about the girl he had met today with the beautiful green eyes…the same shade of green he remembered his dad having. He had been out there about as half hour when Roy came out looking for him.
“You ok, junior? You’ve been kind of quiet all evening.” Roy watched his partner trying to figure out what was causing him to look so concerned.
“Just thinking…not about anything in particular…wondering about why things happen the way they do…”
“Yeah sometimes there just doesn’t seem any reason …Guess that is where our faith and trust comes into it.”
Lee was having dinner with Kathy and the kids since Jim had gotten tied up at the hospital and canceled their date. The kids had finished their pizza and were outside playing.
"So how did your meeting go today? Did you accomplish anything?"
"I think so. We have some good people on the committee and some who are there because they have to be. The paramedics from Station 51 seem really nice. Roy has two kids and Johnny is cute and a flirt. Kel and Dixie think they are one of the best paramedic teams in the county."
“So is Johnny cute?"
"No he is handsome. He has this great smile that lights up his eyes. They are the deepest brown eyes and even when he is laughing there is something sad behind them. I bet he gets in trouble for not keeping his hair cut short as they want. Its dark black and shaggy and thick. I would guess with those cheek bones and skin tones he is part Native American."
"Sounds as if someone has a crush starting," Kathy teased.
"Don't be silly...I am too old to have a crush on someone let alone someone I just met besides , he would never look twice at someone like me." The last said very softly but Kathy heard her and the sadness in her voice.
“'Your paramedic isn't the only one with sad eyes when they laugh, my friend.”
The next shift started the phantom Vs pigeon game going on as usual. Roy noticed Johnny seemed distracted. Soon as Cap dismissed them Johnny went out to the squad to begin the morning radio check Roy followed him.
"Ok Junior, what's going on in your head?" Roy asked as Johnny put the radio away. "You worried about something?"
"No. You think when we go to Rampart we might have time to go up to Lee's office? I have that list she wanted."
And yeah I had an idea I wanted to ask her about. There seems like a lot of calls have been coming in over by West Moor Ave and Franklin...maybe she could use her program to find a pattern like she did with the glare."
"Yeah that makes a lot of sense. Lee is going to set up a snack bar for the paramedics when they miss a meal or can't wait in line to get something from the cafeteria. Think you were on the phone when she was telling me about it and asked for suggestions."
"Hey Gage, you gonna fix something besides hot dogs or hamburgers tonight? Since you had so much to say when I cooked?"
Johnny looked flustered for a minute before deciding to ignore Chet.
"Maybe after chores we can go over to Rampart for supplies and we can go talk to Lee....then go to the store." Roy said as he started into the dorm.
After they finished the chores Johnny and Roy went in to see Cap and explained the errands they needed to run.
" Fine just stay available and be back here in time to do lunch," Cap answered.
As they were driving over Johnny was on a rant about Chet's cooking. "There should be a way of dating stuff in that fridge and a law against some of it..."
"Like the stuff Chet puts into his stew?" Roy said frowning. "I think some of that stuff was from another shift..."
"Lee sure saved us the last time...the lunch meat and salads she gave us were good..."He smiled. "She is really smart figuring out the problem with the glare."
"Yeah that was smart...So what are you fixing?" Roy wanted to know. "Or was Chet right?"
"Hey Dixie," Johnny said as he came up to the nurses' desk in the ER. "Pretty quiet in here…"
"John Gage don't you dare jinx us." Her smile let him know she was just teasing. "Where's Roy?"
“Talking to the guys from 36’s out in the parking lot. We needed some things."
By the time Roy came in the supplies were gathered and waiting.
"Ready to go upstairs…?"
Dixie gave them a questioning look.
"Lee asked me to make a list for her and Roy has a question," Johnny explained. "She seemed really nice and smart"
"She is and she works hard making that office is more than just a numbers depository."
The sign on her door said come in but they knocked as they opened the door. She looked up and smiled.
"Let me finish this sentence...There done. Now how can I help you? All you paramedics were busy yesterday...Thankfully nothing overly dangerous."
Roy explained about the fires and she agreed there could be a pattern.
Johnny gave his list to her. "Thank you there are some really good suggestions...add some yogurt and individually wrapped cheese sticks...Juices and some milk in the fridge...I wanted something nutritional not just a sugar rush...not that that is a bad thing."
"That is really nice of you to do."
"Glad I can do it...my door has a keypad lock...I'll make sure the paramedics know the code numbers. So, you on your way back to the station?"
"After we go to the store...its Johnny’s turn to cook."
"Man, you sure saved us the last shift," Johnny said giving her a crooked grin.
"Was it as bad as you were afraid of?"
“Worse... even Chet couldn't eat it." He frowned. "So now I have to come up with something good."
“Here try this...it’s easy, not very expensive and good...I always add a package of frozen peas and carrots to it...add a salad and some good garlic bread..." she handed him a recipe she had written out while talking. "The roasted chicken in the deli department at Kelson’s is perfect with this."
The HT came on and with a quick good bye they were gone.
Lee watched them leave and sighed. She hadn't realized how much she had been looking forward to seeing Johnny Gage again.
"This recipe sounds really good and easy...Did you notice her eyes? The a really pretty green...And she really liked that you listened and did a follow up on what she said."
The call was for a lady who had hurt her wrist and arm. She had been hanging curtains and had used the couch as a step ladder. She had broke her wrist and her arm when the cushion shifted and she fell. Roy rode into Rampart with her and soon as they were finished they went to the store.
"Hey John, this is really good." Cap said as he finished his second helping of the casserole. "The salad was good too...never thought about using fruit in a salad like that."
"Thanks Cap, a friend gave me the idea." He looked over at Roy frowning and gave a slight shake of his shaggy hair. "I'll start the clean up."
Clean up didn't take long as he had done all the prep dishes while the casserole was baking. Roy waited till all the others had left the kitchen and began drying the dishes.
"Ok Junior, what are you doing?"
"Just washing dishes," Johnny answered with a shrug and then a grin. He knew better than try to evade Roy's questions. "I mean ...Chet ...and the others." Johnny looked disgusted with himself and took a deep breath. Whatever was on his friend's mind was important to him for him to get so flustered. "I can't really explain it...I just don't want them to know Lee gave me the recipe...and I don't want to listen to Chet teasing me about her...I don't know why but she is different..."
"So as far as anyone here needs to know she is just someone in an office at Rampart...They might tease you but you know they would never really do or say anything to hurt you on purpose right?"
"Yeah, I know." He smiled as he finished the dishes.
That night at dinner, Lee and her Uncle Jeff talked about his moving to the Washington DC area for a new job. Lee knew it was the right thing for him to do but it was still hard to imagine him not being in her everyday life.
"Mr. Waverly wants you to come to New York with me next week so you can see some of what they do. You know you could move with me and get a job at the DC office...or even the New York one..."
"No, it’s time you had your life back without me hanging around...You have had to put your life on hold for me for too long."
"Sweet pea," he said using her childhood nick name. "I have never thought of it that way. There were some sad times but I never regretted one day I have spent with you. My biggest regrets are your parents didn't get to see you grow up and that you got hurt...but nothing else. Maybe I should stay here in LA awhile longer."
"I can't move with you because I have a job here that I love...Besides it’s not like I will be totally alone...Maria and Hector will still be living downstairs and Kathy and Jim are close by...This apartment is perfect for me." She looked a little sad."I will miss you terribly but I will be fine. And it’s not like we won't be talking on the phone and visiting you..."
"Leona Elizabeth, I am so proud of you and all the hard work you do for others...Never sell yourself short or forget how much you mean to so many. So…You coming to New York with me? It’s been awhile since you saw your uncle Matt...Can you get the time off?"
"I'm the boss remember? Besides I have lots of vacation days saved up. I will call in the morning and set it up with Tom and Will and re schedule the meetings for the paramedic advisory group. The paramedics from Station 51 were in today with a question and a list I had asked for...they are going to be really good to work with...They thanked me again for the leftovers from the meeting I sent with them after the last meeting. I gave Johnny the recipe for the chicken casserole you like since it was his turn to cook...I got the feeling he had made some comments about what the last guy fixed so he had to do something really good...He has this quirky smile that just lights up his dark brown eyes. He and his partner are the best paramedic team in the county...probably in the state...His partner Roy has kids about the same age as Jim and Kathy..."
Jeff listened to her smiling at the look on her face as she talked about the paramedic and felt better about leaving her in LA.
The next shift was a busy one and Johnny was antsy about seeing Lee. When they were alone Johnny had talked to Roy about her and was debating about asking her out. Johnny finally had a few minutes to spare since Roy was in the treatment room with the victim.
"Carol, if Roy comes out before I get back tell him I went up to Lee's office, please."
“I will...She had left a message she wanted to see you two,” Carol answered.
There was a smiley face on the door that said Please come in, It looked like something Jenny would have made. Knocking softly, Johnny opened the door. "Hi, you wanted to see us?" He asked as he came in and sat on the edge of her desk.
"Hi...give me just a minute to finish this," she answered with a smile and a nod. "Ran the information through the computer and found out a few things. There is a definite time pattern...just as the junior high and high school in that area are letting out. Also, the night time fires were all on the same day as an evening event at the schools...So there will be some extra eyes watching around those times. That was a really good catch on you and Roy's part."
"Roy gets the credit for that."
"What am I getting credit for? Roy said as he came into the office.
Lee shared the information with him.
"I'm going out of town later this week so we have to reschedule our next meeting. I'll let everyone know the new time. How did your dinner go? Did they like the casserole?"
"They loved it...Cap even asked for the recipe to give his wife."
"Great, I have a bunch more I can share with you...Jeff's hours were so uncertain I never made anything that was time sensitive unless he was there..."
The HT toned out and they were off on another run. As they made their way through traffic Johnny was quiet.
"She turns you down?" Roy asked.
“Naw, I didn't ask since she is going out of town… Maybe when she gets back…"
Later that day Dixie went up to Lee's office to give her some papers and to check on her. Knowing it was official and Jeff would be moving in a few months, she figured Lee needed a friend to talk with.
"How's it going?" Dixie asked as she set the papers on the desk.
"Slow...but it'll be ok...You know I really wanted you and Jeff to be more than friends even if I knew it wasn't going to happen. Johnny and Roy were up earlier..."
"Yeah Roy said Johnny was a hit with your casserole."
"They seem really nice...Johnny can come off like such a kid but them when I read the reports... And I hear the nurses talk about his flirting..."
"They are excellent paramedics and fire fighters and even more important really nice people. Johnny and Roy are gentlemen in the truest sense of the word."
"For some reason that doesn't surprise me...but it’s nice to hear."
Everyone had been asleep for about an hour when Roy heard the familiar sounds of Johnny having a nightmare. Quickly he went over to his partner's bunk and shook him as he talked to him softly. “Come on junior, wake up." He brushed his fingers across Johnny's forehead, talking softly as he did so. "It’s a dream Junior; no one is going to hurt you."
Johnny slowly opened his eyes taking a minute or two for the images to leave his mind. Johnny got up and went into the latrine and washed his face with cold water. Trying to be quiet, he put his pants on and went out to the kitchen. Roy was waiting for him and handed him a glass of milk. Quietly they went out to the back wall.
"Don't you get tired of babysitting me?" He asked after a brief silence.
"Do I get tired of seeing you hurt or in pain yes...do I get tired of helping my best friend? No, never." Knowing that for some reason Johnny needed reassurance he wasn't a burden to his friend he encouraged him to talk. "Want to tell me about your dream?"
Shaking his head no, Johnny looked at the stars. "Do you ever wonder why things happen like they do? When it seems like the bad stuff happens to good people more often than not? "
"Like you?" He had heard Johnny begging his uncle not to hurt him as he came out of the nightmare. "I've wondered about that a lot."
“No, not me...I wasn't thinking about me..." Johnny said as he, in his mind he saw sad beautiful green eyes. "Sorry I woke you up."
"No problem, I can catch up later today."
"Roy, if I ever do get married and have kids... Would you and Jo take them if something happened to both of us?"
"In a heartbeat partner...in a heartbeat." Roy brushed the hair back from Johnny’s forehead. "You worried about something in particular?" He put his hand on Johnny's shoulder.
"No, just wondering what it would have been like to have had someone like you and Jo raise me instead..." There was a soft hitch in his voice and Roy could feel him shudder. "But it doesn't do any good thinking about it."
"No it doesn't but remember, now you have a family that loves you and cares for you and respects what a good, kind and caring person you are."
"Thanks Pally." They sat there quietly for awhile before going back in. Roy went back to the dorm, while Johnny washed and put away the glasses.
Neither noticed Cap watching the two paramedics return and settle for the remainder of the night. Like all good fathers, Cap worried about his sons.
The next week was a long one for Johnny as he waited for her to come back from New York. It seemed even longer because he couldn't explain to anyone how he felt. Actually he wasn't sure how he felt Others had noticed his moods and had given him some extra space. Roy was talking to Dixie waiting for Johnny to come out of the treatment room.
“Is Johnny ok? He seems kind of down." Dixie asked as she fixed herself as cup of coffee.
"He had another bad nightmare last night...couldn't or wouldn't remember what it was about except his uncle hurt him and left him to die alone. Think that has been a reoccurring one lately," Roy told her.
"I got a call from Lee last night. She is going to reschedule the meeting for next Wednesday. They get home Sunday night but she has a doctor's appointment on Monday so she isn't coming into the office until Tuesday."
"They?" Johnny hadn't mentioned she was going with anyone. Maybe that explained his moodiness.
"Her uncle Jeff is moving to the East coast...Lee has lived with him since her parents were killed in a car accident when she was 7...Her other uncle is a police captain in New York. They're her only family..."
Before Roy could say anything Johnny and Kel came out of the treatment room smiling so Roy and Dixie knew the victim would be fine.
Tuesday morning Johnny came into the locker room looking happier than he had for awhile. Chet gave him a long look but didn't say anything since Roy and Cap had both told him to lay off the jokes and teasing. Something was going on in Gage's head and Chester B Kelly was going to get to the bottom of this mysterious change in mood.
Johnny was nervous as he waited for the elevator. He didn't want to seem pushy but he really wanted to ask her out. There was just something about her that made him want to know her better. Maybe it was her green eyes or the combination of her eyes and smile. There was a sign on her door. A large smiley face that said ‘come in’ under it. It looked like something Jenny would make. He opened the door slowly so if she was busy he wouldn't startle her.
“Hi…hope I'm not interrupting anything." He came into the room and sat on the edge of her desk.
"Not at all, I was wishing for a reason to take a break." She looked up at him smiling. What she had really been wishing for was a visit from him. "Hope you had a good week."
"It was ok...Uhnm...I was sort of wondering ...uh...would you like to go out to a movie and dinner on Saturday? We could go where ever you'd like and see whatever you want." He couldn't read her face. "I wanted to ask you out before...but you told me you were gonna go out of town." He was on pins and needles waiting for her answer.
"I'd like that." Suddenly feeling very shy, she could feel her face turning red. "I'd like that very much. Thank you."
Before they could make any definite plans, Lee's phone rang. She answered quickly when she saw it saw an in house call.
"Lee Spencer." She listened and nodded. "He's on his way." Johnny was moving towards the door. "You both take care…"
"I'll call you to set up the details." And he was gone.
Roy came out of the treatment room and didn't see Johnny anywhere. As Dixie hung up her phone he went over to her.
"Your partner is upstairs...He gave me a quick hello and was gone. He seemed preoccupied."
"He was...He was going to ask Lee out the other day but she was going out of town so he didn't. So he has been worrying about it all week..."
"I'm not sure that is such a good idea. Is he sure that is what he wants to do?"
“Yeah...," Puzzled about her concern. "Why?"
Before she could answer Johnny came into view and the HT toned in sending the paramedics to the squad.
"She said yes...that she would like to go out with me." Johnny told him as he put on his helmet. "I think we should go somewhere really nice for dinner and a movie. She has the prettiest green eyes. Did I tell you that?"
"Yeah, several times Junior."
"Roy, do me a favor?"
"Sure, if I can," hearing the seriousness in his friend's voice.
“Don't tell anyone about Lee and me having a date...I don't want to hear the jokes and slurs...and you know how the guys gossip from one station to another...I don't want her hurt by their teasing me." Feeling very protective of her and their friendship. "Thanks."
"And you don't want to be teased about this...it’s too important to you, Junior." Roy added to himself.
The rest of the shift was busy but nothing life threatening for victims or paramedics. Chet was trying his best to get Johnny to spill what was on his mind. Cap noticed the change in his mood as well and relaxed. He had been worried the moodiness and nightmares were the prelude to another bout of illness.
Friday morning Johnny went up to see Lee while Roy was getting supplies. Roy had never seen Johnny so serious about a date before. There was a look he got on his face when he talked about the plans he was making. Dinner at a nice restaurant and a list of movies and times for her to choose from. He didn't mention he had came up with an alternate idea while listening to the radio on the way to work.
Knocking softly as he opened the door and went in sitting down on the edge of her desk. She looked up smiling as she finished typing.
The guys earned their pay last night...I think every squad in the county had multiple runs."
"Maybe that means a slow day for us. Do you like seafood?" He asked.
"It’s my favorite...except maybe for Chinese but then I always get a seafood dish there too." She giggled. "Mexican is good too especially the seafood."
"I was thinking maybe after dinner we could go to a new club a friend told me about. Bet you are a really good dancer."
"I suggest you leave now and I don't want you back in this office unless it’s on paramedic business...."
He had noticed her change in posture when he mentioned dancing and now was totally mystified by her sudden change in attitude. "Get out now before I call security." The hurt in her eyes and voice stunned him as much as the anger. "I suppose you think you're cute but...Just leave."
Johnny quickly left without a word. He was speechless at how fast she had turned against him and how sad her eyes had been. What had he said that was so terrible?
Lee sat there stunned and hurt. How could she have been so wrong about him? She really liked him...how could he be so mean and hurtful? The tears came as much from anger as hurt. How could she have been so stupid as to think someone like him would really want to date her? She was usually a better judge of character than this.
Roy was talking to the paramedics from Station 36. "I'll be in the squad." He said as he quickly went by not waiting for an answer. Roy could see something was seriously wrong and how upset Johnny was. When he got to the squad Johnny was slumped in the seat his eyes closed.
"Want to talk about it?" Roy asked gently.
"No,” was the quiet answer.
The ride back to the station was too short as far as Johnny was concerned. He didn't want to talk to anyone or be around anyone especially Chet. It was a relief that the station was empty.
"Get a couple of aspirins and go lay down...a cold cloth over your eyes might help,” Roy said as they got out of the squad.
"Thanks Pally...How did you know my head was splitting?" Frowning as they walked towards the kitchen.
"I can see it in your eyes....besides it'll keep Chet out of your face." Roy smiled at the look Johnny gave him. When was Johnny going to learn that Roy knew him better than he knew himself.
"I'm sure glad Chet didn't know about her...don't think I could put up with his teasing...Roy, I really liked her...and I thought she liked me...I gotta find out what I did..."
Dixie watched Johnny walk by and thought it was strange he didn't say hi or at least wave. She was even more worried when she saw Lee, it was clear she had been crying. Dixie hoped that Johnny hadn't said or done something to cause the tears. It wasn't that he was thoughtless or uncaring it was just sometimes he blurted out the wrong thing. Sometimes he just didn't understand the social ins and outs of relationships.
Johnny was about half asleep when the crew came back in. Roy was in the kitchen reading the morning paper. Cap looked around. "Where is your partner?"
"In on his bunk…he has a bad headache...I told him to try a cold cloth over his eyes and some aspirin. He just needs some time by himself, ok Chet?"
"Did you hear that Chet? That means the rest of the shift no goading him. "
"Cap, don’t tell me you've adopted him too? He's my perfect pigeon."
"Right now, pigeons are out of season, understood."
"Yeah, I do..." He walked away grumbling under his breath.
"So is this headache something serious?" Cap answered thinking to the other times Johnny had complained of bed headaches and of the times he hadn't till it was almost too late.
"Think he hasn't been sleeping too well."
"The nightmares have been more frequent...any idea why?"
"No." He did but he wasn't going to betray Johnny's confidence.
A half hour later they were on their way to a house fire in one of the older neighborhoods.
The small house was neat but slightly run down they neighbors said an older widow lived there and as far as they knew she was home. Cap quickly and efficiently had his men in position.
"John, Roy, there may be a lady in there in and out quick." Cap ordered.
"Sure thing Cap," Roy said as they suited up. Roy wasn't sure how safe the house had been before the fire so they were in and out of the rooms as fast as possible. They had checked all rooms and were on the way out when the ceiling in the hallway began groaning and cracking. As it started to come down Johnny shoved Roy out of the way of the majority of the falling plaster and wood. Johnny staggered and fell as a large chunk of plaster and a piece of the broken stud hit him on the shoulder. He lost his balance and fell but was quickly able to get up and moving with a hand from his partner.
"I'm ok let’s getting out of here."
Once outside they checked with Cap to see if there was any word on the owner.
"Her son just drove up...he was on his way home...his mom spent the night at his house babysitting..."
"Good, glad she is ok..." He was checking the cut on the side of Johnny's face.
“How did you get a cut there? Where was your mask?"
"The falling crap must have knocked it off center." He gave Cap a crooked grin, "My helmet stayed on." Johnny winced as Roy was carefully checking the range of motion for his left shoulder. It had been injured a in another building collapse about 6 weeks ago.
"It’s a little tender...why don't I run you over to Rampart and get it checked out,” Roy said looking at Cap.
"I don't need to go..." Johnny started. Roy started helping him out of his coat and as a precaution put the arm in a sling.
"Good idea," He spoke into the HT letting dispatch know his squad was out of service.
“Thanks junior," Roy said as they pulled away from the house heading to Rampart.
"For what?" Johnny asked confused. "You're the one doing all the work."
"Because you were the one the ceiling hit...Because again, you pushed me out of the way."
"Hey, Jo and the Princess would never forgive me if I sent you home hurt." He closed his eyes wondering if Lee would forgive him for whatever he had done or said to make her so angry.
"You still with me…?" Roy asked noticing how quiet he was and how he was leaning back against the seat with his eyes closed.
"Still with you ..."Johnny answered with a sigh. "Getting a helluva headache…"
Dixie and Kel were at the nurse’s station. "Well what did you do now John?" Kel asked with a slight grin.
“My partner is just being over protective," he grumpily answered.
“His shoulder took a good hit from a collapsing ceiling ...his fingers went numb and his grip was weak…" Johnny wondered how Roy knew that he had never said anything. "The cut is deep."
"Dix, send x ray down to 3 and we’ll get him checked out. Come on."
They started towards the treatment room while Roy waited for ?Dixie to finish her phone call.
"Did he do it again?" Dixie asked seeing the expression on Roy's face.
"Yeah he did... Dix how do I make him understand he is just as important as anyone else? WE were lucky this time."
"He looked really upset when you left here earlier...Was he ok?"
“No... He said Lee got really angry at him earlier and threatened to have security throw him out of her office. That she never wanted to see him again unless it was official business."
"That doesn't make sense. She was really excited about going out to dinner and to a movie with him."
"Johnny has been talking about her since that first meeting...especially her beautiful green eyes...but only to me...He doesn't want anyone else to know or teasing him about her. Said everything was fine until he asked her to go dancing instead of a movie. That he thought she would be a good dancer.
"He did what? Why on earth would he..." She stopped and shook her head looking amazed. "He doesn't know?"
"Know what?" Roy looked totally lost and confused.
"Get up there and tell her he doesn't know...She thinks he pulled some kind of cruel twisted joke on her..That he is making fun of her. Get up there now.”
"Why would she think that? It doesn’t make sense." Roy said still confused.
"She's been in a wheel chair for 6 years....since a car wreck when she was 16."
The sign on the door was a frown and underneath that, it said STAY OUT in big red letters. Roy knocked on the door and went in. Lee looked up at him glaring...
"Lee, we need to talk its important."
"I can’t think of anything we need to talk about unless its paramedic business."
“It’s about a pretty special paramedic...can we talk?"
"I don’t think we have anything to talk about ...especially about someone like John Gage." She wouldn’t look at him. Her voice was as icy as the look she gave him. "But if we have to work together go ahead. Have a seat if you like."
Roy sat down across from her. "Johnny didn't know...neither of us did...Johnny has the kindest most caring heart....He would never hurt anyone on purpose and especially not someone he likes...that he considers a friend. Every time we have been up here you have been sitting at the desk or at the table."
He took a deep breath. “I can't give you any real details...but he lost both of his parents by the time he was 12 and it wasn't very good after that...Because of that and some other issues ...sometimes he doesn’t notice things others would. His social awareness skills can be a little rough. When he asked you to go dancing he had no idea...honestly.”
"Why isn't he up here telling me this?" Still unsure and unwilling to be hurt again.
"He still doesn’t know...Dixie just told me. He 's in getting an x-ray done on his shoulder and probably a stitch or two on his cheek...He got hurt pushing me out of the way of a falling ceiling...And it’s not the first time he has got hurt protecting me. He never thinks about the danger to him just to his friends...
Dixie told me because she saw how upset he was this morning...Please at least talk to him." She sat quietly thinking about what she would say.
“Here is my home number...if he wants to talk to me later tonight." She remembered the look in his eyes when she had told him about her parents...It was of understanding not pity like so many. "Is he going to be ok?" The warmth was back in her voice and her eyes were not as harsh.
"Yeah the x-rays are just a recheck he didn’t re injure his shoulder. Giving him this “He held up her number. "Is probably the best medicine for him right now?"
“Thank you for coming up here...Johnny is lucky to have a friend like you."
"That works both ways...I’m lucky he’s my best friend..."
"I think you and him are what I call family of the heart...blood doesn't make a family but love does." Lee said softly looking at him shyly.
"That's about the best way to describe what Johnny means to me and my family..."
When Roy went downstairs, Johnny was waiting for him slumped in a chair?
"You good to go Junior?"
"Not too sure about good but ready,” he said with a grin. "Doc said it’ll be sore but it’s just a bruise."
"Here take these,” Dixie said as she came around the corner. She handed him 2 aspirin and some water. “Go easy and if something comes up in a rescue you can’t do ...don’t try it." Looking at Roy,
"Getting better. Come on Junior let’s get back."
Johnny got in the squad and leaned back his eyes closed. Roy keyed the mic and let dispatch know they were available. Not certain how to bring up his and Lee's conversation. "I talked to Lee. Didn’t give her any details just that you lost your parents when you were young and your social skills were a little ragged sometimes. She thought you were making fun of her when you asked her to go dancing. That it was a practical joke you asking her out."
"Why would she think that?"
"Because she can’t walk."
"She was in a car accident when she was 16... I explained we didn’t know...she gave me her home number if you want to call her later."
Johnny was quiet for a minute then shook his head. "Think we can grab a milkshake before we go back to the station?”
"Sounds good to me."
Dixie was at the desk when Lee came down to go home. She wheeled over to her. "You look worried about something... Or someone.”
"Dixie, should I talk to Johnny? I’m not sure..."
“I think you owe it to him and yourself...He’s worth it and so are you."
Jeff was already home when she got home.
"How was your day?" He asked as she went into the kitchen.
"Frustrating...me ....Johnny the paramedic I told you about."
"The one who asked you out to dinner and a movie?"
"Yeah...him...He came in today and said he thought I would be a good dancer and did I want to go dancing after dinner."
The anger on Jeff’s face made her glad Johnny wasn’t t here. "That dirty ..."
"He didn’t know...he’d only seen me in the office..." She looked at Jeff with tears in her eyes. "He didn’t know why I was so angry and mean to him...Dixie said I should give him another chance...but it scares me...What if..."
"Sweet pea, you can’t let the ‘what ifs’ control your life. If Dixie said give him another chance I figure its good advice." Jeff and Dixie had dated and were friends now. "Trust yourself...you have good instincts." And if he hurts you again me and Cisco may have a talk with him...”
Johnny waited until everyone was watching TV and slipped out to the other room to call Lee. Chet watched as Johnny left the room.
"What is he doing?"
"Chet if he needed you to know he would have told you. Roy said. "Drop it."
"Kelly, give John some privacy, understand." Cap said in a no nonsense tone.
Lee answered the phone knowing who it was. "Hello."
"Hi its Johnny...Thanks for talking to me.”
"How is your shoulder? Roy said that you had hurt it again." She was struggling to keep her voice normal and non committal.
"It’s just a bruise nothing too serious ...ah...could we talk tomorrow? Face to face...not on the phone?"
“I think that would be a good idea. Would you like to come here for dinner? About 6 or 6:30?"
"Yeah that would be great...See you about 6." He hung up and just sat there thinking. He hated the idea he had hurt her feelings. The sad look in her eyes before she ordered him out of her office haunted him. He heard Roy come in.
"Everything ok?" He asked as he poured Johnny a glass of milk and ice tea for him. He sat down at the table. "You talked to her?"
"It’s not ok but its better...at least she talked to me that was progress. I'm going to see her tomorrow night." A hint of a smile as he added, “She is cooking dinner for me."
"Good maybe you can get thru the night without nightmares."
"Would be nice." Johnny drank his milk frowning. "How come we never noticed?” A deep sigh escaped him, “Pally, what if she doesn’t give me a second chance? I can't explain it but ever since the first time she smiled at me I can't get her out of my head. I saw those green eyes and that smile and I just wanted to take care of her and protect her and make her smile even more..." Shaking his head, “Does that make sense to you?"
"As much as anything else does." Roy watched as Johnny washed and dried the glasses. “Junior you just described how I feel about Jo...sounds like for the first time in your life you're falling in love..”
The night passed quietly with no nightmares or runs. Johnny had left as soon as possible even turning down Roy's offer for a therapy session after breakfast. He had seen a new flower shop near his apartment complex and wanted to stop there. It was in an old Victorian style home with a wide porch full of hanging baskets and wind chimes. He thought it looked cool and inviting and maybe he could find something special there. As he went in he noticed how the smells and colors seemed to blend in and not be overpowering. As a silver bell announced a customer a lovely West Indian lady came thru the doorway.
"Good morning...how may I help you?" Her voice was as welcoming as her smile.
"I accidentally hurt someone's feeling really bad...I want to get her something special to tell her how sorry I am...She is more special ....more special than just roses..."
"Tell me about your young lady...what are her favorite colors?"
"I think she likes purples and pinks and blues...seems she wears those colors a lot...I haven't known her very long...She has the most beautiful green eyes and a smile that makes the world light up...She looks delicate and fragile but you know underneath there is a strength about her..." Johnny was surprised at how she could tell this stranger so much more than he could explain to Roy.
"I think I know just the thing for your young lady." She went to the cupboard and got a antique tea cup that hat a soft floral pattern in pink and lavender and soft green. She went into the back workspace and came out a few minutes later. The cup now held flowers in various shades of lavender and pink.
"They are perfect...just like Lee..." He smiled the famous Gage crooked smile. "What are they? They’re so small and delicate..."
“Faerie roses...a wild free spirit..."
Lee was on an emotional roller coaster. All day. Afraid Johnny would tell her he was sorry he didn't know about the chair...but it would cause too many problems...that he would pity her...that he would be indifferent to her...That he wouldn't like what she cooked...She had decided on salmon and au gratin potatoes and a salad and sour dough bread. She had made a triple layer pineapple cake for dessert. Jeff came into the kitchen.
"I'd ask you how you are doing but all this tells me…" He kissed her lightly on the forehead. "Relax he is going to love everything you fixed...The cake smells really good."
"I'll save you some....Am I doing the right thing? Can I trust him?"
"I have never met him how can I tell you if you can do that?" He smiled trying to make her feel better
"Will you get 2 place settings of Grandma Spencer’s china down for me or do you think that's too fussy?"
"I’ll get it down and let you decide,” he suggested. "I’ve got some errands to run before my dinner date...Take it easy, ok?"
"If you see Hector or Cisco doesn’t tell them about the mix up...I don’t want them to dislike Johnny before they know him."
Johnny went home and slept without any nightmares. He did some chores around the apartment until time to get ready for his date. He had a hard time deciding what to wear...He didn't want it too casual like he didn't care...but he didn't want it too dressy and formal feeling. He finally settled on his new black jeans and the sweater Jo and Roy had given him for Christmas. He didn't remember ever being this nervous before a date before.
Lee looked around the apartment and smiled, everything was ready. The table looked nice but not fussy. The cake had turned out perfect and everything was ready...she just had to broil the salmon and she had a rib eye in case he didn't like fish.
After finally deciding on what to wear (a deep purple skirt and a lighter lavender long sleeved blouse) she did her makeup. She used just a little mascara and some eye liner and a pale lipstick. She tried several different things with her hair deciding to put it up in a lose bun. Finally she was satisfied with the way it looked.
“Ok you are 22 years old and ready for your first real date...one that wasn't made on a dare ...
Johnny pulled into the parking space and looked at his watch. 5:57. taking a deep breath he picked up the box that had the flowers in it. A quick check of his hair and he got out of the car and started towards the door.
He noticed the flowers and landscaping and smiled. It just seemed so right for her to live somewhere with lots of flowers. He had noticed the plants in her office...what a jerk...he noticed the plants but not a wheel chair. As he started up the front walk the man who had been working with the plants turned to look at him.
"Can I help you?" The older Hispanic man asked looking at Johnny with a frown.
"I'm having dinner with the young lady who lives upstairs." Johnny saw a slight nod in response. "I'm John Gage...a paramedic with LA County...I know Lee from work..."
"She told us she was having a guest for dinner and not to worry if there was a strange car in the lot." He looked over at the rover. "My family lives downstairs...We're kinda protective of her...she is like our daughter...you understand how it is."
"It's good she has someone looking out for her...she is a special lady."
"She has been cooking all day...She made a cake that made the whole building smell good...enjoy your dinner."
"Thank you sir…" He went in and Hector smiled. The young man had been polite and had called Lee a lady...that was good.
There were 8 parking spots in the lot and they had been having a problem with strangers parking there. Neither Jeff nor the Alvarez family wanted strangers hanging around when Lee came home after dark.
Hector had put it mildly when he had said they were protective of Lee...especially his second oldest son who had appointed himself her protector when he was 12 and she was 7. The bully across the street had made Lee cry.
Lee hadn't cried as loud or as long as the bully had after Cisco tackled him.
Lee saw the car in the lot and knew he was getting the once over from Hector. She smiled, wondering what Johnny thought of her protector. The door bell rang and she opened the door after taking several deep breaths.
"Hi ...Welcome," she said as he came in. "Was Hector downstairs?"
"Your downstairs neighbor? Yeah he must have thought I passed inspection. It's nice you have someone to look after you." They moved into the comfortable uncluttered living room.
"Yeah it is......Would you like a soda or some tea?"
"A soda would be fine." He looked uncomfortable and Lee's heart sank.
"Have a seat and I'll get the sodas...I forgot to get any regular soda so its diet Dr. Pepper....Is that ok?"
"It's fine...I honestly...when I asked you to go dancing...I didn't know ...These are to tell you how sorry I ...Here..." Frustrated at himself for getting tongue tied he handed her the package.
When she opened it, it was her turn to be speechless."Oh Johnny they're beautiful...I have never seen anything like these before..."
"They're faire roses and old fashion wild rose...they reminded me of you."
"Old fashioned and wild…?" She teased as he turned red.
"NO...delicate and beautiful...but strong and proud....Lee I never saw a wheelchair in that office...All I saw was your smile and pretty green eyes...Please believe me." He gave her that wonderful crooked smile that totally melted her heart.
"I do...I knew it was a misunderstanding after talking to Roy and Dixie...they were both defending you and even my uncle said I was usually a good judge of character. So can we just pretend that conversation never happened and you forgive me for being so rude to you?" Suddenly she felt very shy and a little afraid of what she was feeling.
"No I want to remember it so I never do anything that stupid again...I never want to see you looking so sad and hurt because of something I did or said."
"Thank you..." She smiled at him. "Would you please put this in the center of the table while I get the sodas?"
He was seated on the sofa when she came back into the room with a tray on her lap with soda cans and glasses. He wanted to get up and help but knew she had things under control. She came over and sat the tray on the table.
"There's beer or liquor if you wanted something else. Usually I just drink soda or maybe a wine cooler or a glass of wine once in awhile."
"This is fine...I don't drink except for a beer once in awhile..."
As they talked they found out they had a lot of things in common. They both liked to read mysteries and westerns and they both liked action movies and musicals and hated the so called chick flicks...
"You must be starving...Everything is ready except the meat...there is salmon and steak…which one or both?"
"Both would be great." He followed her out to the kitchen. "What can I do to help?"
"Just sit there and talk to me...How do you like your steak?"
Medium rare...Your friend Hector said the cake you made today smelled great."
Maria, Hector's wife is the one who taught me to cook. Jeff hired her to watch me and take care of the apartment when I first moved here...They are family...they adopted me and Jeff into their lives and after the wreck I don't know what we would have done without them. Jeff was hurt and I was pretty much helpless for the first year...once they quit trying to fix me and I got serious about therapy things got better. Johnny I honestly wasn't trying to hide the fact that I'm in this chair...In the office I use a regular chair because they are more comfortable and give my back more support...I just took it for granted everyone knew." As she was talking she got the steak and fish in the broiler and went to the fridge to get the salad out. "There is a pan of potatoes in the top oven ...would you be so kind as to hand them down? I usually don't use that oven unless I know someone will be here to help me."
He got them out of the oven and carried them into the dining area. He took the refilled soda glasses and the salad as she finished with the salmon and steak.
During dinner Johnny told Lee about some of the antics at the station with Chet and a little about his friendship with Roy and his family. Lee listened as Johnny talked about his love of the outdoors and the camping and fishing trips with Roy and the kids. Johnny watched her face and wondered why she suddenly looked sad as they were getting ready to go into the living room area.
"Are you OK? Did I say something wrong?"
“No...If I tell you something promise not to laugh?" She looked down at her plate. He got up and moved to her and pulled her chair away from the table and turned it towards him.
Squatting down in front of her he waited until she looked him in the eyes."I will always laugh with you never at you...That are a promise."
"This is the first real date I have been on...you are the first guy who ever asked me out...except for one who did it on a dare for $50...and to prove he wasn't afraid of Cisco. The idiots couldn't keep from bragging and Cisco found out so the date never happened."
"Who is Cisco?" Johnny realized he was angry at the jerk who’d hurt her. No wonder she had reacted to his asking her to go dancing like she did.
"Maria and Hector's son who is on the Carson police force...I was 18 then...pretty pathetic isn't it."
"That guy was a jerk and missed out on knowing a pretty special girl." Johnny wiped a tear from her cheek and stood up.
They went into the front room to watch a movie (having decide to have cake later)
"It's easier for me to get comfortable if I sit next to the sofa arm...gives me something to push up on...," she explained as he watched her transfer from her chair to the sofa.
It was an old classic movie with William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. After the movie Johnny insisted she stay put and went out and fixed a tray with cake and 2 glasses of milk. They were eating their dessert and watching another THIN MAN movie when the doorbell rang. Johnny recognized it as Morse code for him.
"It’s Jeff...we stated that when was about 12 and he left me alone here sometimes in the evenings. That way I wouldn't be frightened when the door opened. Of course Hector and Maria were always home on those nights and the stairs and elevator were locked and had alarms on them." Johnny smiled glad she had been so loved and protected when she was younger...
Lee introduced Johnny. "There is cake and I can make you some coffee."
"Cake sounds good but think I'll get some milk like you ...I'm going to my room to write up some case notes then get some sleep. It’s been a long day. Nice meeting you, John. Night sweet pea…"
"Thanks nice meeting you." They shook hands and then Jeff went off to the kitchen. After the movie was over Johnny took the cake plates and glasses to the kitchen and rinsed them before saying his goodbyes. Lee told him to take some of the cake home with him.
"Thanks for a great evening...and for giving me a second chance."
Lee slipped back into her chair. "I had a nice time...." They were moving towards the door.
"Would you like to go out to dinner Tuesday? I know a good Chinese place...or where ever you want...maybe see a movie?"
"I'd like that.”
"May I kiss you goodnight?"
"I'd like that too." He bent down and gently kissed her on the lips.
He left and both were very happy and confused at what they were feeling.
Next shift Johnny was in and changed before Chet got there. Chet eyed him trying to figure out what had gotten into his pigeon. Roy had been gone all day Sunday so he was anxious to hear how
Saturday had gone. He didn't have to ask when he saw the grin on Johnny's face.
"Hey Pally, I called you yesterday but didn't get an answer.”
"We were over at Jo's sisters...so how was your week end?"
"Saturday was very good and yesterday I went hiking for a few hours."
"So what was so good about Saturday? A hot new chick?"
"Nope just got a lot done...changing the oil in the rover, getting my laundry done, getting my hiking gear all cleaned up..."
"Sounds like a productive day...Ready for some coffee?" Roy said before Chet could start up.
After chores were assigned and announcements read, Roy and Johnny quickly did theirs so they could go over to Rampart for some supplies. Soon as they were in the squad Johnny began telling Roy all about the date. Roy was amazed when Johnny said she had never been out on a date before.
"That is why so got so mad...and hurt...Man she is a great cook...maybe we can have a cook out over there...she has a nice pool and swims about 150 laps a week as part of her therapy...You gotta taste this triple layer cake she made..."
Roy listened to the comments and nodded and smiled. It was nice hearing his partner and best friend so happy. But there was still a nagging worry in the back of his mind. What did she decided after a few dates she wasn't interested?
“Junior I hope you aren't setting yourself up for a whole lot of grief”
Dixie was getting coffee when Lee found her Monday morning.
"Good morning...nice week end?" Dixie asked with a casual tone.
"Yep...and I owe you a dinner at any place in town you pick...thank you for not letting me give up on Johnny....He is..."
"Johnny...there is no better way to describe him...So I take it you had a nice time."
Lee told her about the flowers and conversation and plans for Tuesday. Lee was too embarrassed to tell her it was the first real date or kiss she had ever had. "He makes me feel pretty..." she added with a shy smile.
"He has a way of seeing the best in everybody…Except himself...maybe you can help him learn to do that.”
About an hour later the guys came in for supplies. Roy looked at him raising an eyebrow then nodded. Dixie grinned watching him go to the elevators.
"So Johnny is as happy as she is."
"Yeah I have never seen him so totally happy."
"Then why the worried look?"
"Because he is in love for the first time in his life..." He frowned, "He doesn't know it...not sure if he will...until something happens and it’s over."
"Hope it doesn't…She is so in love with him she can hardly breathe...she just doesn't know it yet...Now we just have to stand by and let them figure it out on their own."
"He doesn't want anyone to know he likes her doesn't want them teasing her or him."
"All we can do is be there for them and hope they get the Happily Ever After they both deserve."
THE END (of the beginning)
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