“Yeah, I’d like that. I think it will put everyone’s
mind—including mine—at ease.” Nicole smiled a smile that didn’t quite reach
her eyes, but let everyone know she was going to be ok. “I’ll be back in
a few minutes to let you know how he is doing.”
“Wow, Nicole has really been through a lot, hasn’t she? And I thought Johnny
was just being moody last shift and yesterday. He has been as worried as
Nicole. I mean Johnny cares so much for all of us and to have our lives and
our families’ lives threatened had to be eating away at him. Then to have
Cameron Donaldson say the things he did to him and treat him like he did—I
would never had made it.” Chet was at a loss of what to say or do. But he
was voicing the thoughts that were running through everyone’s mind at that
“Yeah, Chet and I think we need to find a way to help them.” Roy was determined
to put Tim and Cameron Donaldson where they belonged—behind bars. He wanted
to do it the right way, but how?
Nicole entered the room slowly. She knew that he would be hooked up to all
kinds of machines and tubes, but she wasn’t prepared for how pale he looked.
Dr. Brackett noticed the pain on her face and slipped his arm around to waist
as he helped her to the chair the staff had set up for her. Johnny was waking
up and was getting agitated again, so Nicole reached out and took his hand.
“I’m right here, Johnny. I’m not going anywhere. Don’t try to talk, you are
on a ventilator and need to let it do the work. I love you.” Johnny settled
down and Nicole’s tears started again. Both Dr. Brackett and Dr. Samuels
were surprised how quickly Nicole could calm Johnny.
Dr. Early had left orders that Nicole was to have access to the room 24 hours
a day and had an extra bed moved into the private room for her to use at
night. Dr. Samuels explained to her what everything was for and updated her
on Johnny’s condition. Then he slipped out as Dr. Brackett stood with his
hands on Nicole’s shoulders for a few minutes.
“Nicole, I’m going back to work now. I’m just a page away if you need me.
We are going to post security personnel outside the door.” Dr. Brackett leaned
forward and kissed Nicole on the top of the head.
“Thanks, Dr. Brackett, I appreciate everything you’ve done.” Nicole didn’t
take her eyes off the still form of her husband lying on the bed.
Dr. Kelly Brackett slipped out of the room, called security and made sure
there were two men in place on either side of the door before he left the
As the door closed, Nicole noticed Johnny’s eyes on her. He started signing
to her. ~How are you?~ Johnny noticed the tears and that she looked pale.
“Better now you’re awake.” Nicole smiled, stood up and kissed him on the
“You have four broken ribs, a punctured lung which was punctured in three
places, some internal damage that had to be repaired, a mild concussion and
they had to relieve a little pressure on your brain. You have a chest tube
and the ventilator for several days to let the lung heal completely and give
your body a rest. I’m just so glad you are awake.”
~Cameron Donaldson left me.~
“So you remember what happened. Dr. Samuels didn’t think you would right
~Can’t forget the look in his eyes as he left me with the beams across
my chest and legs.~
“Johnny, we need to talk about that, but not right now. You need to rest.
I do have something that I was going to tell you tonight.”
Johnny was a little concerned when Nicole stopped talking
for a minute.
“Johnny, you are going to be a father.” Nicole watched Johnny’s face. She
smiled as his eyes got big.
“Yeah, really. In about seven and a half months.”
~I love you, Nicole.~
“I love you, too. Now you rest for a little while. I want to go tell the
others you are ok.”
~Who all is here?~
“Well let’s see, there’s Roy and Joanne along with Chris and Jennifer, Mike
and Beth Stoker, Hank and Emily Stanley, Chet, Marco, Dixie, Dr. Morton,
Dr. Early, Dr. Brackett, Chief McConikee and Vince Howard. One of the nurses
took Chris and Jennifer down to the cafeteria for awhile, but I bet they
are back now.” Secretly Nicole was thankful that the kids had gone down to
the cafeteria just before Vince showed up and the discussion that followed.
~They’re all here?~
“Yes, and most of them have been here all day. I’m going to go talk to them
now. You just rest and I’ll be back in a few minutes. As a matter of fact,
I’m going to call the doctors’ lounge and have Roy come up so he can see
for himself, ok?” Nicole knew they would not want her to be in the hospital
by herself. She used the excuse of getting Roy up there so he would be able
to go back to the doctors’ lounge with her.
~Yeah, I’d like to see him before I go back to sleep.~
there was more going on, but he also knew that Nicole was right. It was something
they needed to talk about later.
Nicole smiled and picked up the phone on the stand next to Johnny’s bed.
“Hi, this is Nicole. Can I talk to Roy for a minute?” After a brief silence,
Nicole again smiled at Johnny. “Roy, there is someone up here who would like
to see you. Then I thought you and I could tell the others how he’s doing.—Ok,
see you in a few minutes.”
Nicole sat down next to Johnny’s bed and took his hand in hers again. “You
know, Teddy Bear, I love you.”
Johnny’s eyes danced at Nicole’s pet name for him that she used only in private
and only at very special times.
~I love you too, Chipmunk.~
Johnny had picked his pet name for Nicole
the day she had all of her wisdom teeth pulled and had swollen cheeks. This
was his name only in private and only at very special times.
That was the way Roy found them a few minutes later. He had realized that
Nicole had known that they would all be very concerned if she had arrived
back at the doctors’ lounge alone and this was her way of making sure someone
was with her, but not alarming Johnny.
Roy and Nicole waited until there were sure Johnny was asleep before quietly
leaving his room. Roy sent up a silent thank you to God that Johnny had someone
special like Nicole and asking Him to help Johnny get back on his feet as
soon as possible. Nicole sent up a silent prayer asking God to help Johnny
and to give her the strength to be with him each step of the way.
During the time between when Nicole left and Roy was called to Johnny’s room,
he paced the floor in the doctor’s lounge. Each person in the room had been
lost in his own thoughts about what they had just heard. It seemed like Johnny
was the first good thing that had happened in Nicole’s life and now that
was being threatened.
“Why did Nicole and Johnny keep all this from us? Maybe we could have done
something.” Chet knew there really wasn’t anything any of them could have
“Remember, Johnny didn’t even know about the Donaldson’s until Cameron showed
up at the station. And knowing both Nicole and Johnny the way we do, they
didn’t want any of us to worry.” Joanne knew that their friends cared more
about the people in this room than they did their own lives.
“You’re right, but what are we going to do now?” Roy knew that both Nicole
and Johnny were going to be thinking about what the Donaldsons had said about
an accident happening to any one of the people in the room or their families.
“If Cameron and Tim find out that we know any of this, it is going to get
difficult for both of them and maybe someone in this room, too. I know that
all of us in this room are willing to do whatever it takes to protect them.”
“I just put security guards outside Johnny’s door.” Kelly Brackett had returned
to the room just in time to hear Roy’s comments.
“I think the easiest way to explain it is that the fire was known to be arson
and until the investigation is complete, we are keeping all the firefighters
of station 51 under protection. We can even ‘assign’ someone to Cameron Donaldson
to make it look good. And we will let Cameron continue working until we can
talk to Johnny to get his side of what happened.” Chief McConikee wanted
these men put away
Just then the phone rang and Dixie picked it up. “Yes, he’s right here, Nicole.”
Dixie held the phone out to Roy.
“Hi, Nicole.—I’d like to see him, too. Yeah, I’ll be right up.” Roy turned
to look at the faces of the others in the room. “That was Nicole. She said
that Johnny’s awake. I think she wants to come down and talk to us, but knows
we don’t want her running around the hospital alone. She didn’t want to alarm
Johnny. She asked me to come up and say hi to him and walk her back here.”
“She’s right, we don’t want her wandering around.” Chet was very concerned
about his friends, but was very happy that Johnny was awake.
“I’m going up now. We’ll be back in a few minutes.” Roy smiled as she left
the rest of the group tossing out ideas for helping Johnny and Nicole.
“Chet, that will never work. Only you could come up with a hair-brained
idea like that.” Hank Stanley was voicing the opinion of everyone in the
room to another one of the ideas Chet had volunteered to the group.
“Chet, thank you for trying to help us.” Nicole entered the room and walked
over to Chet to kiss him on the cheek. Chet blushed clear to the top of his
“As Roy probably told you when I called down here, Johnny is awake. He knows
that Cameron Donaldson left him there to die. He said he would never forget
the look in Cameron’s eyes as he left him with the beams across his chest
and his legs. I didn’t want him to get upset so I told him we would talk
about it all later.”
“How did you get his mind off of it? Usually when Johnny starts on a topic,
he doesn’t give up.” Joanne had been around Johnny enough times to know about
his ranting. She had a pretty good idea, especially when she saw the grin
on Nicole’s face.
“Well, I gave him something else to think and worry about.” Nicole liked
drawing out the suspense.
“Like what?” Chet was getting a little frustrated right about then.
“Oh, just the fact that he’s going to be a father.” Nicole turned and walked
over to sit in a chair at the table. She grinned at Roy who was trying to
keep from laughing.
“Oh, ok—wait, did you say that Johnny’s going to be a father?” It had finally
reached Chet’s brain what Nicole had said.
“Yep, that’s what I said.” Nicole looked at the shocked looks on most of
the people in the room. Of course, Roy, Joanne, Dixie and Dr. Morton knew,
but no one else did.
Congratulations came from everyone in the room. As the din started to quiet
down, Roy noticed Nicole deep in thought. “Nicole, what’s wrong?”
Everyone turned to look at Nicole when they heard Roy’s words and his worried
tone of voice.
When she didn’t answer, Roy walked over to her, put his hand on her shoulder
and asked again, “Nicole, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, sorry. I was just thinking.” She wasn’t sure she was quite ready to
tell everyone yet what she was thinking. She really ought to discuss it with
Johnny first, but she had to put the plan into action before someone else
“What were you thinking about?” Roy was beginning to worry. Something didn’t
feel quite right.
“Well, I wanted to talk to Johnny first, but I don’t think this can really
wait.” Nicole knew she had to tell them, but she was afraid—afraid of their
reactions and afraid for herself and Johnny. But not being able to come up
with another way, she took a deep breath and started. “I think I have a plan
that will get Cameron and Tim Donaldson to tip their hand. However, I can
tell you all right now that none of you will like what I am going to suggest
and to be honest with you, I am scared. But I have dealt with both of these
men before. There are only two other options if you don’t agree and I really
won’t blame you if you don’t agree.”
“What are you suggesting and what are the other two options?” Chet really
wasn’t sure he wanted to hear what she had to say. He may give Johnny a hard
time, but he would give his life for him.
“If Johnny wasn’t involved and they hadn’t already threatened the rest of
you, I would just go with them and this would all be over. But they have
included Johnny now and the threats have been made, so that option is out.
What I am suggesting is that for the time being you all act as if you don’t
know what Cameron Donaldson did.” Nicole saw everyone’s back stiffen, but
she continued. “Try to get a little friendlier with Cameron by starting to
act like you are prejudice against Johnny’s heritage, too. We need to get
them to get bold and make a mistake. If they think you are on their side,
then they will start to be more open in their plans. But most of all, they
will stop threatening each of you. Dr. Brackett, the guards outside of Johnny’s
room need to be pulled.”
“But we can’t and won’t do that.” Everyone was surprised when Mike was the
one that spoke up, but they all agreed.
“Then you leave us no choice but to select one of the other two—no make that
three alternatives.” Nicole knew it was too much to ask of them, but she
had to try.
“What are those?” The knot in Roy’s stomach was getting tighter.
“That’s for Johnny and me to know. We will select one and it will not involve
any of you. But you will know when we decide. Now I am going back to Johnny’s
room—ALONE! And Dr. Brackett, you are going to remove the security men outside
our door. I know how hard it will be for all of you, and I really do understand
why you can’t and won’t do as I asked. But Johnny and I have spent hours
discussing this since Cameron and Tim showed up and we refuse to let anything
happen to any of you or your families.” No one had really paid attention
to the fact that Nicole had risen and was slowly making her way to the door.
As she said her last word, she opened the door and ran.
Nicole’s hasty departure took everyone by surprise and by the time Roy, Chet
and Mike had reached the hallway, she was gone. They all started towards
the stairs not wanting to waste time with the elevator. However, by the time
they reached Johnny’s room, the security guards Dr. Brackett had ordered
had been replaced by two different men. Dr. Brackett had followed the three
men up the stairs and was just arriving when Dr. Samuels stepped out of the
Dr. Samuels looked at the four men standing in front of him with a sad smile
as he blocked their entrance to the room. “I’m sorry, gentlemen, but I cannot
allow you in there.”
“Why? I’m their doctor.” Dr. Kelly Brackett pushed his way to the front of
“Not any more.” Dr. Samuels knew how much these men cared for the people
in the room behind him. He didn’t understand everything that was going on,
but he had to abide by their requests.
“What do you mean, not any more?” Dr. Brackett was confused.
“They have asked me to arrange for another lead doctor on their cases. They
have stated that it cannot be you, Dr. Early or Dr. Morton. They have also
said that the only people who will be allowed to enter their room will be
their new doctor, me, and a few select nurses--excluding Miss McCall. There
will be no visitors and no other hospital personnel.”
“How could all this been arranged so quickly?” Roy was sure Nicole hadn’t
had time to do this in the few minutes it took to get from the doctor’s lounge
to their room.
“Actually, Mrs. Gage handed me written instructions when I talked with her
a little earlier. She asked me to be prepared to follow them the second she
requested it. Just before Roy came up earlier, she made that request. The
two security guards had been replaced earlier. I don’t know what is going
on, but I do know I am not going to do anything to upset either one of them
and jeopardize their recovery.”
Realizing that Nicole had already figured they would refuse her request and
had put her plan in motion, Dr. Bracket’s shoulders slumped as he turned
away. “Come on, guys, let’s go back downstairs. We need to talk about this.”
Chet, Roy and Mike were ready to enter the room, anyway, but they didn’t
want to make a scene so they turned and slowly followed Dr. Brackett down
Just inside the door, the tears that had been silently running down Nicole’s
cheeks turned to sobs as she listened to what was transpiring on the other
side of her door. She knew that everyone would be upset, but she also knew
it was the only way to protect them.
As the four men entered the doctor’s lounge, the others noticed the looks
of desperation on their faces. Joanne pulled Roy into her embrace. “Where’s
Nicole and what happened?”
Mike took a deep breath and looked around the room. “We really blew it.”
Shocked that not only had Mike spoken again, but also that he was distraught,
everyone turned their attention to him as he continued. “We have just been
informed that we are all banned from Johnny and Nicole’s room.”
“What do you mean banned from their room? Kel, what is going on?” Dixie couldn’t
believe what she was hearing.
“Mike’s right.” Kelly Brackett took a moment to gain his composure. “When
Nicole said she and Johnny had been discussing it, we should have listened.
They drew up a plan on what to do and gave written instructions to Dr. Samuels
stating that should they request it, he implement the instructions on the
sheet. Nicole made that request before Roy went up there before. She knew
we would refuse to do what she asked us to do. Dr. Samuels is arranging for
another doctor to be their lead doctor and it cannot be me, Joe or Mike.
The new doctor, Dr. Samuels and a few select nurses—excluding you, Dixie—will
be the only ones allowed in the room. There will be no visitors or any other
hospital personnel. They had even changed the security guards on the outside
of their room.”
At that moment Dr. Samuels entered the lounge. “Kel, I’m sorry I had to do
that. It was the Gages’ request. I just wanted to let you know that I had
to give Mrs. Gage a sedative. She was very upset when I went back into the
room because she knew how hurt all of you were going to be. When I asked
her why they were doing it then, she said that at least this way they knew
that all of you and your families would be safe. She was crying so hard by
that time, the only thing I could do was give her something to help her relax.
I really don’t know what is going on, Kel, but I hope you can get it straightened
out soon.” With that he turned and left the room.
“How could they do that to us? What were they thinking?” Chet was getting
angry—angry at Nicole and Johnny, angry at Dr. Samuels, and most of all angry
at Tim and Cameron Donaldson.
“Because they care enough about all of us that they are willing to give their
lives for us. They are not doing it to us, they are doing it for us.” Chief
McConikee had been listening to what was going on around him and he knew
that it was harder on Nicole and Johnny than on anyone in that room. Now
he just had to make the rest of them realize it.
“What?” Chet had been pacing and stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at
the Chief as if the Chief had two heads.
“Stop and think about all that has happened here in the last few hours. When
Cameron and Tim Donaldson showed up they mentioned Nicole’s friends from
Philadelphia. She explained about the fire and how many of the people close
to her had died. She and Johnny have been receiving phone calls and letters
since Cameron and Tim realized who they were. Neither one of them want what
happened in Philadelphia, or anything else like it, to happen to anyone here.
Don’t you think that it is harder on them than it is on any of us? They are
giving up their friends and possibly their lives so that we are all safe.
From listening to the little Nicole told us today, I dread to think what
they both will go through if Tim and Cameron Donaldson get their way. And
because we couldn’t do as Nicole asked, I’m sure that is exactly what is
going to happen.” Chief McConikee could not keep the tears from running down
his cheeks. He had a special place in his heart for Johnny Gage and his wife,
even though he wouldn’t admit before.
Not a sound was heard in the room as everyone thought about what the Chief
had said. Chet was the first one to respond. “Aww, shoot. We all said that
we would do anything to help and at the first suggestion that Nicole made
we said no. Maybe if we call up there and talk to Nicole we can tell her
that we changed our minds. I mean that is if everyone is willing and they
will talk to us.”
“Yeah, I’m willing—let’s at least try.” Marco looked at Roy, Mike, and Captain
Stanley for their support.
Echoes of “yeah, let’s try,” were heard from everyone.
Roy made his way to the phone and asked to be connected to Johnny’s room.
Everyone said a silent prayer that they would be put through and Nicole would
answer the phone.
Nicole knew as soon as the phone rang that it was their friends. With a deep
sigh she picked up the handset. “Hello.—Roy, I had a feeling it would be
you.—I need to talk to Johnny about this. He is just waking up. Let me talk
to him and I will call you back in an hour. Will you be in the lounge?—Good.—Yes,
I’m feeling better. The sedative was a mild one that was just enough to calm
me down.—Yes, I’ll let you know, Roy.—Bye.” As she hung up, Nicole smiled
at Johnny who had been watching her intently. “Johnny, I need to talk to
you. Cameron and Tim Donaldson stopped by this afternoon.” Nicole proceeded
to tell Johnny everything that transpired as she sat on his bed holding his
hand in hers.
Meanwhile down in the lounge Roy waited to be connected to Johnny’s room.
“Hello, Nicole—Yeah, well, we’ve talked about it down here and we really
would like to do as you asked and ‘make friends’ with Cameron Donaldson.—Yes,
we’ll all be in the doctor’s lounge.—How are you feeling, Nicole?—I’m glad,
you will let us know in an hour, right?—Bye.” Roy turned to look at the anxious
faces before him. “She said Johnny was awake and she was going to talk to
him. But I have to tell you that from the tone of her voice, I think it’s
too late.” Roy sank onto the couch. There was something in Nicole’s voice
that made him realize it might be a long time before they saw Johnny and
Nicole again—IF they ever saw them again.
Johnny listened as Nicole told him what had happened. Just as she finished,
the phone rang. Knowing that Roy would not be calling, Nicole tentatively
lifted the handset. “Hello.” Nicole couldn’t keep her voice from cracking
as she answered.
“Hello, Nikki. How are you and your husband doing?” Tim’s voice was filled
“Hello, Tim. We are doing better. What do you want?” Nicole shuddered as
Tim called her Nikki and fought hard to keep her voice calm and strong.
“Now, now, Nikki, dear. We just wanted to make sure you and your husband
are being well taken care of.”
“Well, we have asked to have Dr. Brackett removed from our cases.” Nicole
realized that this was the time to start the plan that she and Johnny had
agreed upon. “We are looking for a new doctor.” She looked at Johnny who
gave her a slight nod of encouragement. As much as it was going to hurt them,
they both felt this was going to be the only way to protect their friends
“Well, if you let Dr. Vance Warner from the Donaldson Memorial clinic take
over your care, then not only will you be well taken care of and safe, so
will your friends and family.” Nicole could hear the excitement rising in
Tim’s voice as he started to believe he was finally going to get what he
“Just a minute, let me ask Johnny.” Nicole put the receiver down and walked
over to Johnny’s bed. “Well, honey, it’s now or never. He said that if we
let a doctor from his father’s private clinic take over our care, then not
only would we be safe but so would our family and friends. I guess this is
it, teddy bear. Are you ready to do this?” Nicole held Johnny’s hand as she
talked. The slight nod of his head and squeeze of her hand gave her the go
ahead she needed. She picked up the phone once again. “Ok, Tim, send over
“Ok, I think I’ll call him right now. He will probably want to transfer you
to the clinic. However, you and Johnny are not to tell anyone that you will
be transferred or where they are taking you, is that understood?” Tim was
floating on cloud nine.
“Yes, we will not say anything to anyone.” Nicole’s heart grew heavy.
“Ok, we’ll see you tomorrow then.” And with that Tim hung up the phone.
With a very heavy heart, Nicole hung up the phone and let the tears slide.
Johnny got her attention and she walked over to his bed where he took her
hand and squeezed it. Letting go, he signed.
~It will be alright, Chipmunk.~
“I hope you’re right, Johnny, I hope you’re right.” She squeezed his hand
and walked back over to pick up the phone and call Roy.
As they waited for the call from Nicole, Roy started pacing. He knew that
every minute they waited instead of going up and finding out what was really
going on was taking Nicole and Johnny that much further away from them. He
stopped in the middle of the room. “We’ve lost them, you know.” He wasn’t
talking to anyone in particular.
Hank Stanley looked at the face of one of his paramedic team. He saw the
worry etched in Roy’s face. “What?”
“We’ve lost them. Whatever they decide to do, it won’t include any of us.
I just pray that someday we will see them again, but I have a very bad feeling
about this. They are both scared and sad right now, but they will do anything
to keep the rest of us safe. When Nicole calls, it will be the last time
we talk to them for a long time if not the very last time.”
“Roy’s right. I have that same feeling. I haven’t felt like this since they
were taken as hostages in that bank robbery. We blew it when we said no so
fast. Now we may not get the chance to straighten this whole thing out.”
Joanne knew the feeling that her husband had because she had the same feeling.
Those “feelings” had saved all four of their lives over the time they had
been friends more times than anyone wanted to count. “And there is another
person that we have all forgotten about.”
“Who’s that, Joanne?” Chet didn’t like what his friends were saying. He didn’t
want to hear it.
“Nicole’s pregnant, remember?” Joanne knew that everyone had forgotten that
“That’s right. We can’t let them do anything.” Chet was beside himself.
Before anyone could answer, the phone rang. Roy rushed and picked it up on
the first ring. “Hi, Nicole.—No we are all still here.—You’ve made a decision?—Before
you tell us what that decision is, I need to tell you that we all want to
do it your way. We just want you and Johnny here with us.—No, it’s not too
late. Nicole, we want to do this for you.—But, Nicole----?” Roy turned to
look at the expectant faces in front of him as he hung up the phone. “They
made a decision and it doesn’t include us. When I told her that we wanted
to try it her way, she said it was too late. She said that they will not
be talking with us or seeing us anymore and then she hung up.” Roy couldn’t
believe what he was telling everyone else.
“Try calling her back, Roy. We can’t just give up on them like this. We have
to fight.” Chet was beginning to get very upset. “Please Roy, try calling
Roy picked up the phone and asked once again to be connected to the Gages’
room. This time, however, no one answered even though Roy let it ring 20
times. What he didn’t know was that Nicole had unplugged the phone after
talking to him. He turned with a very heavy heart towards the faces looking
to him for answers. “There was no answer.”
There was a stunned silence in the room as each one realized that they were
not going to be talking to or seeing Johnny or Nicole that evening. As much
as he hated it, Captain Stanley knew there was no reason for them to wait
around the hospital. “Well, we’ve all had a long day and since there is no
more to be done here, I guess we all should go home. I’d tell everyone to
get some rest, but I know that I, for one, will not be able to sleep tonight.”
He stood up and taking his wife’s hand was at the door when the phone rang.
Roy picked up the phone even before the first ring stopped, “Hello--Nicole?—Yeah,
we’re all still here.—I’ll tell them, but, Nicole, won’t you let us help
you?—But we can try it your way and see if we can get them to slip up.—He
did, when?—But—Ok—Be careful and we all love you both.—Bye.” Now the tears
were running down Roy’s face and he couldn’t stop them.
Turning to the others, he took a deep breath. “Those two are really special
people, you know.” He stopped needing a minute to gain his composure.
“But what did she say? Why won’t they let us help?” Chet was ready to kill
Tim and Cameron Donaldson.
“She called to let us all know that they love all of us and consider us their
family. She said they would do anything to protect us.”
“But why won’t they let us do it her way?” Chet was getting angry at Johnny
“Because Tim Donaldson has already contacted her.”
“We were all here when he came in.” Chet didn’t understand what Roy was saying.
“No, he called Johnny’s room just before she called down here to tell us
their decision.” Waiting a moment to let that bit of news sink in, Roy looked
at the stunned faces around him. “He told them that if they let a doctor
he is sending over take over their care then not only would they be safe
but—“ Roy had to stopped as his voice caught. Johnny and Nicole were putting
themselves in danger to protect the people in this room.
“But what, Roy?” Hank saw the pain in Roy’s eyes.
“Not only would they be safe but so would their family and friends.” The
events and emotions of the day finally hit Roy and he had to sit down.
Joanne gasped as she realized what Roy had just said and what it meant. It
wasn’t long before the others realized it, too.
“You mean that they are willing to accept whatever Cameron and Tim Donaldson
have planned to protect the rest of us.” Chet really cared about Johnny and
Nicole. He just couldn’t believe how much they all meant to them.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.” Roy and Joanne just held each other and
let their tears flow. Chris and Jennifer had both fallen asleep on the couch
about an hour earlier. Both Joanne and Roy said a silent prayer of thanks
that they didn’t know what was really going on.
It was a dejected group that finally left the doctor’s lounge 14 hours after
Johnny had been taken to surgery. As they headed towards their cars, Roy
and Joanne both turned to look back at the hospital. For some reason their
gaze wandered to the sixth floor. There they noticed Nicole watching from
Johnny’s window. They didn’t realize that their room was on that side of
the hospital. They weakly waved and were happy when she waved back. It wasn’t
long before the whole group stood looking at Nicole. It was only when she
threw them a kiss and turned with slumped shoulders away from the window
that they finally left Rampart.
It had been two days since Johnny’s accident. The only way they were getting
any information on how Johnny and Nicole were doing was through Dr. Samuels.
Since he had done the surgery they kept him on the case. He would let Dr.
Brackett know and Dr. Brackett would make sure the others knew. But Roy was
hoping he might be able to somehow run into Nicole in the hall or something
today on his shift.
Tom Dwyer was filling in for Johnny. Headquarters was aware of what was going
on because of Chief McConikee. They assigned Dwyer as Roy’s partner until
Johnny could return. Of course, Cameron Donaldson was there again and he
was whistling as he walked in the door. Roy hurried out of the locker room
as fast as he could. He did not want to spend any more time with Cameron
than he had to.
The station was toned out for a major traffic accident before Captain Hank
Stanley could even get through roll call. As they worked everyone kept a
close eye on Cameron Donaldson. They had to be careful as they didn’t have
any idea of what was happening.
All thoughts about what Cameron and Tim Donaldson were up to disappeared
as the men of Station 51 did their jobs—that is everyone but Cameron. He
stood off to one side. When Captain Stanley approached him to order him to
help, Cameron started talking first taking off his gear as he talked. “Captain
Stanley, I quit effectively immediately.” He left his gear on the ground
and turned, walking away and totally ignoring Hank Stanley’s orders to stop.
Captain Stanley would have followed him, but he was needed to help get the
victims out of the cars.
“Where’s Cameron?” Roy looked around to find out where his shift mates were.
“He just quit and walked away.” Captain Stanley was relieved on one hand
and worried on the other. He didn’t want Cameron Donaldson working for him
because he was a liability not an asset. But they had all wanted him where
they could keep an eye on him and hopefully find out something about Johnny
There was a knot in Roy’s stomach as he heard what Captain Stanley said.
But he pushed it aside and attended to the people who needed his help.
Station 51 worked for three hours to get the victims out of the cars and
transported to Rampart. Other squads had been called in and Roy finally rode
in with the last patient as Tom Dwyer drove the squad. Roy was gong to check
to see if he could find out anything about Nicole and Johnny.
As Roy walked out of treatment room 3, he headed towards Dixie’s desk. “Hey,
Dix, have we heard how Johnny and Nicole are doing today?”
Dixie looked up from her paperwork and smiled at one of her two favorite
paramedics. “I know that Kel was going to check with Dr. Samuels, but I haven’t
had a chance to ask him if he has talked to him yet.”
As if on cue, Dr. Brackett left treatment room 3 and headed for Roy and Dixie.
“That last patient you brought in is going to be just fine, Roy.”
“Thanks for letting us know, Doc. Have you had any word on Johnny and Nicole
today?” Roy was hoping that they would have changed their minds and would
let one of their friends visit them.
“No, I was just getting ready to ask Dr. Samuels when the victims from that
accident were starting to come in. I haven’t seen him all morning.” Dr. Brackett
was just as anxious to know about Johnny and Nicole as the rest of them.
At that moment, Dr. Samuels walked up. Roy, Dixie and Kelly knew there was
something wrong by the look on his face. “Kelly, we have a small problem.”
Puzzled, Dr. Brackett looked at Roy and Dixie before answering him. “What
kind of a problem?”
“Well, Dr. Vance Warner took over John and Nicole Gages’ cases the day of
his surgery. Johnny is not in very good shape.”
There was a knot forming in Roy’s stomach. Something was terribly wrong and
he knew it. “But he is getting the best care here, right?”
“Well, that’s the problem. The Gages aren’t here anymore.”
“WHAT!!!??????” Dr. Brackett’s voice could be heard all over the first floor.
“Dr. Warner moved them to another facility this morning.” Dr. Samuels didn’t
like the news he was giving these friends of the Gages.
“What facility?” Roy really didn’t like the sounds of this and the knot was
“They wouldn’t tell us. When I asked about sending results, etc., Dr. Warner
said he would have someone stop by and pick them up.”
“So we have no idea where the Gages are right now.” Dixie sent up a silent
prayer for the safety of their friends.
“No, we don’t. I’m sorry.” Dr. Samuels just looked at the faces of the three
people standing in front of him as he hurried to answer the page that has
just come over the sound system.
“They’re gone. I hope they will be alright.” Roy picked up their supplies
and headed out of the hospital.
“They will be, Roy, they will be.” Dr. Brackett wasn’t sure if he was trying
to convince Roy or himself.
The engine was out when Roy and Tom returned to the station. They walked
into the day room and poured themselves a cup of coffee.
“How am I going to tell the others?” Roy asked no one in particular. Then
he walked over to the phone and called his wife. He really needed to hear
her voice. “Hi, honey.—Yeah, I have a bad feeling, too.—I don’t know, Jo.—Jo,
something did happen today.—No, not to me, to Johnny and Nicole.—When we
had a run to Rampart, I asked how they were. Dr. Samuels told us that they
have been moved to another facility by the doctor, Dr. Vance Warner, who
took over their care and that he would not give them the name of the facility.
No one knows where they are or how they are doing. Johnny was still on a
ventilator with a chest tube. Jo, I’m scared for both of them.—Yeah, I’ll
pray and I’ll let you know if I hear anything.—I love you, too. Bye.” With
a heavy heart Roy hung up the phone.
“No one knows where who are?” Chet was the first of the engine crew through
the door on their return from the last run.
“Oh, I didn’t hear you guys come in.” Roy was didn’t like what he had to
tell the rest of the crew. Trying to gain his composure, he walked over and
sat at the table before he answered.
“No one knows where who are?” Chet didn’t like the look on Roy’s face as
he and the rest of the crew sat at the table and he repeated his question
a little louder.
Taking a deep breath, Roy related the information he had received. “On our
last run I asked Dr. Brackett how Johnny and Nicole were doing. He hadn’t
had a chance to ask Dr. Samuels yet and was just ready to go do so when Samuels
walked up. He said that a Dr. Vance Warner had taken over their cases and
that Johnny is not in very good shape.” He paused a minute as he heard gasps
from a couple of the guys. “But the worst part is that Dr. Warner moved them
this morning to another facility and wouldn’t tell anyone what facility.
He said he would just come back to pick up the test results. No one knows
where Johnny and Nicole are right now.”
“Oh man, well I for one am going to be praying for them.” Mike was the first
to respond in a whisper after the silent minute where the news had sunk in.
“Yeah, me, too,” came from all the other firefighters.
“Well, I bet there are two people who know where they are and that is why
Cameron quit today. He knew we were going to find out. And if I ever get
my hands on Cameron and/or Tim Donaldson and either Johnny or Nicole is hurt,
I’ll kill them.” No one had ever seen Chet this angry before.
Just then the phone rang and Marco answered it. “Roy, it’s for you.” Marco
handed the phone to Roy. “I don’t know who it is. I don’t recognize the voice.”
Marco whispered as Roy took the phone.
“Roy DeSoto speaking.—Tim? What can I do for you?” Roy looked at the faces
of his shift mates as he realized who was on the phone. “No, we haven’t talked
to them since the day of the accident.—No, we don’t have any idea where they
are right now.—Yeah, I guess you’re right.—Thanks for calling.”
Roy had to take a deep breath to still the anger that was rising in his chest.
He turned to look at the expectant faces of the other men.
“What did he say, Roy?” Captain Stanley didn’t like the look on Roy’s face.
He knew that something had been said that made Roy very angry.
“As you all know that was Tim Donaldson. He just called to see if we had
talked to Johnny or Nicole or if we knew where they were at. I think he just
called to rub it in. Anyway, then he said that at least we could all rest
easier now because Nicole and her ‘stupid, half-breed’ husband were being
taken care of and the rest of us would be very safe.”
“I’d better never see either Tim or Cameron Donaldson again other than in
a jail cell. If I do, I won’t be responsible for my actions.” The fact that
Mike Stoker was the one to speak was surprising enough, but the anger and
frustration in his voice shocked the rest of the crew.
Dr. Vance Warner walked into Johnny and Nicole’s’ room at the Donaldson Memorial
Clinic. He had no idea why the Donaldson boys wanted these two moved out
of Rampart. Johnny was not in very good shape and should not have been moved.
Dr. Warner prayed that he would be able to keep him alive. “Nicole, how are
you feeling this morning?”
“Not too good. I can’t get warm.”
Dr. Warner walked over to Nicole’s bed. She was burning up. He called for
a nurse and an IV with antibiotics. He was not happy with the Donaldsons.
In a few hours he would actually begin to hate them.
The move had caused Johnny’s temperature to rise, too. For the next hour
Dr. Donaldson stayed in their room and finally got their temperatures to
begin to return to normal. But just as he was satisfied with their progress,
Tim and Cameron Donaldson entered the room.
“How are our two star patients today, Doc?” Tim walked over to Nicole’s bed.
“Not too good. The move has given both of them an infection.” Dr. Warner
wondered what Tim Donaldson had in mind.
“So you aren’t feeling too good, huh, Nikki? That’s too bad.” Tim started
to caress her face.
Nicole pulled away from his touch and turned her head away from him without
saying a word. Tim got angry and slapped her across the face.
“Restrain their hands and their feet.” Tim’s voice was low and menacing.
“Why do we need to do that? Mr. Gage is still drugged from the move and being
on a ventilator can’t move anyway. And Mrs. Gage has no reason to be restrained.”
Dr. Warner spoke in a calm soft voice. He didn’t want to anger Tim any further.
“Just do it, Doc. Bye, Nikki, my love. We are going to get some lunch. I’ll
be back later.” Tim leaned over to kiss Nicole. When she started to pull
away from him, he grabbed her shoulders and pulled her to him. His kiss was
rough and he pushed her away when he was done. “I have plans for you.” Without
another word he turned and walked out of the door with Cameron following
Dr. Warner wasted no time in getting to Nicole’s side to check her over.
“Are you alright?”
Nicole turned away from the doctor so he wouldn’t see her tears. Silently
she nodded in response to his question.
“Mrs. Gage, please look at me.” Dr. Warner had sat on the edge of her bed
and softly turned her head to look at him. “Can you tell me what is going
on? I didn’t like moving your husband yesterday and I don’t like what I am
“Nothing is going on.” Nicole wanted to tell him everything; but the Donaldsons
employed him and she didn’t want any more trouble than what they were already
The Doctor’s next statement made Nicole wonder if he could read her mind.
“Mrs. Gage, I have a feeling there is something going on here that makes
me want to terminate my employment with this facility and with the Donaldsons.
Will you please tell me what is going on?”
Nicole found his quiet voice a comfort and found herself telling him everything
that had happened from the moment she had met Tim and Cameron Donaldson.
The doctor listened patiently and looked calm on the outside, but on the
inside his anger grew with every word she said.
“Please call us Nicole and Johnny.” Nicole somehow knew she could trust this
“Nicole, I am going to comply with Tim Donaldson’s orders right now.” He
saw Nicole stiffen as if she regretted trusting him. “Notice I said, right
now. I need to make some arrangements and until I can, we need to keep him
and his brother as calm as we can. I am going to keep your husband sedated.
Hopefully, it will keep them from doing anything to him. Since you are fighting
an infection, I can sedate you some, too, but I don’t think it would be wise
for me to sedate you as completely as your husband, ok?”
Nicole looked at him and knew he was going to try to do something to help
them. With the first feeling of hope she had had in over a week, she agreed.
“And keeping Johnny sedated will give his body time to heal. Now I’m going
to get the restraints, but will do everything I can to have this situation
taken care of before anything serious happens.” He noticed the smile reach
Nicole’s eyes for the first time since he had met her. As the nurse came
with the restraints he had called for Nicole gave him a reassuring smile
and drifted off to sleep.
The members of Station 51 A-shift had gathered at Roy’s home. None of them
could sit still and not know what had happened to their friends. They had
asked Vince to join them and when Chief McConikee had heard that they were
getting together asked if he could come too. Now they were sitting around
the picnic table in the back yard discussing plans of how they could find
out where Johnny and Nicole had been taken. All of them knew that neither
of the Gages would have left without telling someone where they were if they
could. That meant that their leaving was not their choice.
Joanne DeSoto had just come out with drinks for all of them when she stopped
and looked at Roy whose face mirrored hers. “Roy?”
“Yeah, I know, honey.” Roy grabbed Joanne’s hand and pulled her onto the
picnic table bench next to him.
“What’s going on? What do you guys feel? Are Johnny and Nicole alright?”
Chet had often kidded the Gages and the DeSotos about their “feelings” when
they weren’t together. Somehow they knew when one of the group was in trouble
and if something had happened—whether bad or good.
“We don’t know what’s going on, but something has turned in Nicole and Johnny’s’
favor. They are still in trouble, but something or someone is on their side.”
Roy knew that things may not turn out the way they all hoped they would,
but he also knew that Johnny and Nicole had someone to help them—they were
Talk then turned back to their plans on how to track down Johnny and Nicole.
But in the end they had no way of finding them and didn’t have any place
to start looking.
Dr. Warner left the Gages’ hospital room and headed for his office. He placed
a call and made an appointment. Ten minutes later he passed the Donaldson
brothers in the hall. He prayed that they would leave Johnny and Nicole alone.
He had given them both a sedative and they were sleeping when he left. If
he timed it right, he would be back before they woke up.
He knew that the Donaldsons would be at the Gages’ room by the time he was
leaving the parking lot. As he pulled out of the parking lot, he used his
car phone and called the nurses’ station to see what had happened when the
Donaldsons found them asleep. He sighed with relief when the nurse said that
the Donaldsons had left the room. They weren’t very happy, but at least they
Pulling into the parking lot of the office building, he prayed that this
meeting would go well.
Tim Donaldson walked into the Gages’ room. He had been in the room several
times the last three days. Nicole had been awake for most of his visits and
he had left her with visible signs of his visits. “Hi, Nikki. How are you
today? I really hope we are going to have a pleasant visit today instead
of like the last two days. You know I really don’t like having to hit you.”
He walked over to her and kissed her forehead. “I ordered you some lunch.
When it gets here, I will take the gag off and feed you. However, you know
that if you yell, not only will the gag be replaced, I will inject this into
your husband’s IV and he will have severe pains, right?” He held up a syringe
to make his point.
Nicole looked over at Johnny and nodded her head yes. She was glad that Dr.
Warner was still keeping Johnny sedated even though he had removed the ventilator
and chest tube the day before. Not only was his body still healing; he was
unaware of what was going on. At least that is what she thought.
“Good, today you are going to give me something that should have been mine
over three years ago—you.” He caressed her check. He would have done more,
but Dr. Warner entered the room at that moment.
“Mr. Donaldson, I wasn’t aware that you were here. I need to check my patients
“I’ll be right outside the door and when the doctor is done, I will feed
you your lunch, ok?” The tone of Tim’s voice gave Nicole no choice and she
Nicole nodded as Tim left the room. She looked over at Dr. Warner and smiled
when he approached the bed.
Gently removing her gag, Dr. Warner sat on the bed and laid his hand on her
arm. “It won’t be long now, Nicole. There are just a few more things to be
put into place and this will all be over.” He walked over to Johnny’s bed
and inserted a needle into his IV. Nicole watched as he put the sedative
“I know and I won’t be able to thank you enough. Is Johnny really ok?”
“Yes, Nicole, I’m ok.” Johnny had woken up when Tim Donaldson was in the
room, but he didn’t want to say anything with him there. “What day is it
and what is going on?” Johnny didn’t get his answers as he lost the battle
against the sedative. Nicole just sighed.
Dr. Warner had just enough time to get back to Nicole’s bed and replace the
gag when Tim Donaldson walked back in.
“Doc, you are done now. I am going to feed Nikki now. Is Johnny still unconscious?”
Tim knew that Johnny had suffered severe injuries and really didn’t know
that much about medicine, so he trusted the doctor when he told him that
Johnny was unconscious. He didn’t know that the doctor was keeping him asleep.
If he didn’t wake up soon, Tim would just kill him like he had planned. The
only thing is that it would take all the fun out of it if he didn’t wake
up. Tim wanted to see the fear in his eyes and the guilt in Nicole’s. Oh
well, he would take care of that problem soon.
“Yes, Johnny is still unconscious. I hope that he will begin to wake up in
the next few days.” Not realizing the fury he was about to unleash in Tim
Donaldson, Dr. Warner smiled at Nicole and said something he would regret
for the rest of his life. “I’m glad you finally brought her something to
eat besides what we put in her IV. She needs to keep her strength up so that
baby will grow healthy and strong.”
Nicole’s face paled as she saw the anger that flashed in Tim’s eyes.
“Baby?” Tim could not keep the hatred and anger out of his voice.
Realizing he had just made the biggest mistake of his life, Dr. Warner looked
at Nicole apologetically. “Um, yes, Nicole is about two months pregnant.”
“Thank you for telling me, doctor. Now if you will excuse us, Nicole and
I need some time alone.” Tim smiled a tight smile at Dr. Warner as he dismissed
Dr. Warner nodded and when Tim turned back to Nicole, he mouthed a silent
“I’m sorry” to her. The look Nicole gave him told him she forgave him and
not to worry about it. Saying a silent prayer for these two people he left
the room determined to return as soon as Tim Donaldson left and with the
final parts of his plan in place.
As the door shut Tim Donaldson threw the tray he was carrying on the floor.
He walked over to Nicole’s bed. There was something in his eyes that Nicole
had seen only once before and that was right before Daniel’s accident. “So
you’re pregnant with that piece of trash’s baby?”
Nicole didn’t even acknowledge that he had spoken. For one thing she was
gagged, but she wouldn’t even look him in the eye—which irritated him even
more. “Don’t think that you will carry his baby. I am going to see to that.”
It had been three days since Johnny and Nicole had just disappeared. The
men of Station 51 A-shift were sitting around the table. For some reason
this shift seemed to be unusually quiet. All six men jumped when the phone
rang. As Roy went to answer it, a feeling of dread came over him. “Station
51, Roy DeSoto speaking.—Oh, hi. Jo.—Yeah, I just felt it.—I don’t know,
but whatever it is, it’s not good.—I’ll be home as soon as I can in the morning.—Yeah,
I’ll call you if I hear anything.—I know you will.—Let’s just keep them in
our prayers.—I love you, too.”
Roy just stood there and didn’t move. Something had happened. Both he and
Jo had felt it. Both knew that whatever it was that at this point it only
involved Nicole. But they both knew that could change, too, and probably
“Roy, what was that all about?” Captain Stanley had learned to trust Roy
and Joanne’s feelings when it came to Johnny and Nicole. They always knew
when something was wrong. But it was true for Nicole and Johnny, too. They
could tell if something was wrong with Roy or Joanne.
“I’m not sure, Cap.” Roy walked back over to the table and sat down. “Whatever
it is, something bad has happened to Nicole.”
“Just Nicole, how can you be sure?” Chet was really worried about his friends.
He hadn’t told anyone, but he had tried to follow the Donaldson brothers
the day before. It took a red light and a fire truck pulling out to respond
to a fire for him to lose them. He was determined he was going to find them
if it was the last thing he did.
“It’s just a feeling, Chet, but it was just Nicole—at least for now.” Roy
knew the frustration Chet was feeling. They were all feeling it.
Dr. Warner walked back into the Gages’ room as soon as the elevator doors
closed on Tim Donaldson. He had already replaced the “security guards” outside
the Gages’ door with ones of his own. Now all the pieces were in place and
he hoped this would soon be over without the Gages getting hurt any further.
What he found when he entered their room, made him sick to his stomach.
It was now or never. He picked up their phone and placed the call.
Tim and Cameron Donaldson walked down the hall towards the Gages’ room. They
were about three rooms away when Tim realized that the guards were no longer
outside their door. They had been there five hours ago when he had left and
they were scheduled to be there until he told them to leave. Where were they?
Hurrying down the hall, he practically ran into the room.
Cameron almost knocked him over when Tim stopped dead in the middle of the
now empty room. There was no evidence that any patients had even been in
the room earlier. The beds were made with clean linens, the equipment put
back in its place, and the floor shined. As the anger built Tim turned and
headed back to the nurses’ station. “Where are the two patients that were
in room 403?”
The nurse looked up at the angry man in front of her. She had just come on
duty and didn’t know anything about any patients in 403. Looking through
the files she didn’t find any records for any patients in 403 for the last
week. “I’m sorry, but these records indicate that room 403 has not been used
for a week because they were in the process of remodeling it.”
“What room are Johnny and Nicole Gage in?” Tim had never seen this nurse
before, but if she didn’t give him the information he wanted, he would make
sure she was fired.
“I have no record of either a Johnny or a Nicole Gage. Are you sure they
were on this floor?” She had been warned not to give any information out
if someone asked about the Gages. Well, that wouldn’t be too hard since all
their records had disappeared.
Tim had seen her look through everything and knew she was not lying to him.
He was even more furious that he couldn’t blame her. “Yes, I’m sure.” He
could barely control his anger. “Thank you for your help. I am going down
to the main desk and ask them.” With that he turned, ignoring his brother,
and took the stairs. He was not going to waste the time waiting for the elevator.
His anger grew when his efforts to find the Gages or their records came up
empty. His attempts to find Dr. Warner were met with no success either. It
seems that Dr. Warner had taken a two-week vacation starting at noon. There
was nothing he could do at the moment. But he would find out where Dr. Warner
was and get in contact with him. He would find the Gages and when he did,
Johnny was a dead man and Nicole was his wife.
Maybe that Roy DeSoto knew something. He and Johnny Gage were pretty good
friends. If anyone knew, he was willing to bet Roy did. With determination,
he found the nearest pay phone and called station 51 hoping they weren’t
out on a call.
Roy had had a strange feeling all afternoon. It wasn’t necessarily a bad
feeling, but he couldn’t quite figure it out. When he talked with Joanne
after dinner, she had the same type of feeling. He had just hung up from
talking with Joanne and was entering the day room when the phone rang. He
was closest to it, so he picked it up.
“Station 51, Roy DeSoto speaking.—Tim? I wasn’t expecting to hear from you.—No,
none of us have heard anything about Johnny or Nicole for a week now. We’ve
decided they are gone for good and have stopped expecting to hear from them.—Sure,
I think we can do that.—Bye.”
Roy immediately dialed his phone number again. “Jo, it’s me again.—Listen,
if you hear from either Johnny or Nicole call me right away.—No, I don’t
know. I just got the strangest call from Tim Donaldson.—I’ll tell you all
about it when I get home. —I love you, too. Bye.”
All five of the other members of A-shift crew were wondering what was going
on. Roy was acting very strange. “Roy, what was that all about?” Captain
Stanley couldn’t stand it any longer.
“The call was from Tim Donaldson. He wanted to know if we had heard anything
about Johnny and Nicole. He said he was wondering if they were ok and was
just checking in. Then he said if we heard from them or heard how they were
doing to please call him.” Roy was still trying to figure out what was going