Roy jumped as he heard the metal screech and the door near him open.
“Captain, can we get a helicopter here? Dr. Brackett doesn’t want to wait
for the ambulance.”
The look on Roy’s face and the request from the doctor made the men of
Station 51 realize the situation was not good.
“Let me check.” The Captain walked away from the group and called into
headquarters. Less than 30 seconds later he was back.
“The helicopter is landing now. They were on their way back from a run
and just happened to be in the area.” The Captain silently prayed that
this was a good omen. “How are they, Roy?”
“Just a minute, Cap. Rampart, the helicopter is here now and we are ready
to transport. And Rampart, be advised the two victims are Johnny Gage and
Nicole Schall.” Roy heard Dixie’s gasp in the background. “ETA 5 minutes.
Squad 51 out.” Roy turned back to the four faces looking at him for information.
“Johnny’s conscious and worried. He has a broken arm and probably a concussion.
Nicole has been unconscious the entire time. She had some broken ribs,
a broken leg and probably a concussion. There are three areas of bruising
on her head and Johnny said that about three hours ago a doctor said she
has pneumonia. We need to transport immediately.”
Nothing else had to be said. Chet, Mike, Marco and the Captain had the
backboards and were ready to help lift them out of the van. Like a well-oiled
machine the group worked together and knew exactly what had to be done.
It took less than a minute to transfer Johnny and Nicole from the van to
the helicopter. Brice and Roy climbed in as Captain Stanley told them the
crew would meet them at Rampart. It was a solemn group that watched as the
helicopter carrying their friends lifted off and praying harder than they
had ever prayed before.
During the flight Johnny watched Roy as he had to intubate Nicole. Looking
at Roy he knew that probably one of her broken ribs had punctured an already
weakened lung. ~Please, Lord, let her live. I need her. Please don’t take
her away from me.~
Dr. Kelly Brackett, Dr. Mike Morton, Dr. Joe Early and Nurse Dixie McCall
were waiting on top of the hospital when the helicopter landed. They helped
as Johnny and Nicole were transferred to gurneys and pushed towards the
ER trauma rooms.
Dixie looked down to see Johnny looking at her. “Hey, Johnny, it sure
is good to see you. But couldn’t you have just walked in the front door?
We’ve been missing you, but did you really want to spend time with us that
bad?” Dixie knew he was worried about Nicole and she wanted to keep his spirits
“You know me, Dix, have to do things the hard way.” Johnny’s smile didn’t
quite reach his eyes. “Take care of her for me, please Dix.”
Dixie knew that Johnny wanted her to be in the room with Nicole and not
with him. “Sure, Johnny, she’s going to be just fine.”
“I hope you’re right, Dix.” Johnny turned so he could see the gurney
that held Nicole. “I sure hope you’re right.”
Brice went with Johnny as he was rolled into treatment room 3. He turned
and followed Johnny’s eyes as Nicole was rolled into treatment 4. “Johnny,
she’ll be ok. She has the best doctors in town and Roy will let us know
as soon as they know anything.”
“I hope you’re right.” Johnny closed his eyes as the doors to both treatment
“Hi, Johnny, how do you feel?” Dr. Brackett knew Johnny was worried about
Nicole and wanted to take his mind off the other treatment room.
“My head and arm both hurt really bad.” Johnny let Dr. Brackett and the
nurse check him over. He was waiting for word on Nicole. She had to be alright.
She just had to be.
Brice quietly left the room with one last look at Johnny. He sent up
a prayer for both Nicole and Johnny.
Johnny was getting impatient as he endured the x-rays of his head and
arm. What hadn’t Roy or Dix come to give them some word about Nicole? Just
as Br. Brackett was putting a cast on Johnny’s broken arm, Roy pushed open
the treatment door. “How are you feeling, Johnny?”
“Just a little sore. I have a broken arm and 12 stitches in my head,
but that’s it. I don’t even have a concussion. I guess someone was watching
out for me.”
Roy knew Johnny was stalling for time. As much as he wanted to know Nicole’s
condition, Roy knew that Johnny was afraid of what he might hear. “Johnny,
I’m going to be honest with you. Nicole isn’t doing so well. She has a
broken leg. And the doctor was right about the pneumonia, but she also
has an infection. Add a punctured lung from one of four broken ribs and
a concussion, it’s not good.”
Dr. Brackett had finished Johnny’s cast while Roy gave his report. He
moved back into a corner to watch Johnny’s reaction and to be there if he
“What does Dr. Early say?” Johnny was fighting to keep back the tears
that threatened to fall. “Has she regained consciousness?”
“They have taken her to surgery to repair the lung. They are going to
put her on a ventilator. No, Johnny, she hasn’t regained consciousness.”
Roy took a deep breath before continuing. “Johnny, Dr. Early is afraid of
brain damage. But they won’t know until she regains consciousness.” He didn’t
add that Dr. Early had really said if she regained consciousness.
But Johnny didn’t need to hear the word if—he had seen how bad she looked
at the accident and knew the possibilities. The tears that had been threatening
since they had arrived at Rampart now flowed freely down his face. “As
long as she is alive, I don’t care. I will be here for her no matter what.”
Johnny slowly sat up. “Dr. Brackett, are you through with me? Can I go
see about Nicole?” The pounding from his headache had lessened from the
painkiller they had given him.
“Well, I’m going to let you go wait in the doctor’s lounge with the rest
of the guys from your station. But you will be admitted overnight so we
can keep an eye on you. I’ll come and get you when we have word.” Dr. Brackett
knew that Johnny needed the support of family and friends right now.
“Thanks, Doc.” Johnny followed Roy out of the treatment room and into
the Doctor’s lounge. There they found Captain Stanley, Brice, Chet, Marco,
Mike, and Joanne with Dixie. Captain Stanley had taken Station 51 out of
service for the remainder of A-shift. It had been two hours since they were
brought into emergency and Nicole had been sent to surgery.
Chet jumped up when Johnny entered the room. “Johnny, are you ok? How’s
Nicole? What happened? Where have you been for the last week?” The questions
tumbled out one after the other.
Johnny just held up his hand to stop Chet’s flow of questions. But before
he could answer, the door opened slowly. “Can I come in? The nurse at the
desk told me I could find you here. It sure is good to see you, Johnny.”
Vince stopped in the doorway and took in the looks on Roy and Johnny’s faces.
“Sure, Vince, come in.” Johnny had found the closest chair and sat down.
He was beginning to feel the effects of everything that had happened over
the last week.
“Johnny, I know this is a bad time, but do you feel up to answering some
questions for me?” Vince looked at the tired, pained look on Johnny’s face
and almost said that it could wait for another time.
But before he could, Johnny spoke up. “Yeah, I think it would be good
for me to talk about it now and with almost everyone here, I won’t have to
repeat it too many times. Maybe Dix can tell Dr. Brackett, Dr. Morton and
Dr. Early so I won’t have to.” Johnny’s questioning expression was relaxed
when Dixie nodded yes. However, before Johnny could begin Dr. Morton and
Dr. Bracket joined the group.
It took Johnny a few seconds to gain his composure, but when he started
talking he didn’t stop until he was done. “Well, when we got to the bank
and I saw Nicole in the door of the bank with a gun to her head, I thought
I was going to lose it. Then Roy and I were called in to take care of the
guard and Carl. Oh, how is the guard by the way?” Johnny paused long enough
for Dixie to tell him the guard had been released and was resting at home.
With a smile, Johnny continued. “I checked Carl out and then found my hands
being tied behind my back just as Nicole’s had been. I was scared, but Nicole
needed me as much as anyone else at that moment. I was surprised to see how
calm she was. Anyway, when we left the bank, Nicole and I were pushed down
in the back of a van. They gagged and blindfolded us. I don’t know how long
we traveled, but we made a stop. I had lost all track of time, but when
the van started again, they hogtied us. We didn’t travel very long and stopped
again. This time we were moved to another van. They pushed us back to back
so that we were able to entwine our fingers. If they hadn’t, I know Nicole
would have lost it.” Johnny stopped to take a breath.
Joanne had noticed the look on Johnny’s face and thought about the fact
that Johnny had mentioned Nicole in a strange way. “Johnny, why would Nicole
lose it?” Joanne thought that Nicole was one of the strongest women she knew
and that she could handle anything.
Johnny looked at Joanne and the faces of the others in the room that
cared for her almost as much as he did. It was time to tell them. “Because
of what happened to her when she was growing up.”
“And what was that, Johnny?” Dixie was beginning to get an idea. She
had worked with Nicole on several cases and had thought that something
horrible had happened to Nicole when she was a child.
“Nicole was sexually, physically and mentally abused growing up. But
the part that would have bothered her that day was being tied, gagged and
blindfolded. That was what her father and cousins did to her when they
wanted sex. And she was beaten repeatedly as well as other things too horrible
to mention. To her love hurts and teasing is only mean. I knew that it
would bring up memories she has worked so hard to put in their proper place.
That’s why I was glad to have some contact with her. It helped her know
that I was there and she was alright.” Johnny looked at the floor as the
tears started coming once again.
“So that’s why she reacted like she did the day of the barbeque at our
house.” Roy was beginning to understand the pain he could seen in Nicole’s
eyes and her reluctance to let someone really love her.
“Yeah.” Johnny gained control of his emotions.
Dixie knew that she had to get the dark haired paramedic’s mind on a
different topic right now. They would all help both Johnny and Nicole through
this later. “Where did they take you?”
Johnny seemed to be relieved to talk about something else. “Well, I think
we both fell asleep, so we didn’t know how long we had been traveling.
They pulled us out of the van and untied our feet so we could walk. When
they put us in a bedroom and untied our hands, we pulled off the blindfolds
and gags. The door to the room was locked and we didn’t know what was going
to happen to us. Nicole was the one to recognize the cabin that we were
being held in. It was an abandoned cabin that we had found on the hiking
trip where we met. The windows in the room were too high and small for us
to try to get out of.” Johnny didn’t notice Dr. Early entering the lounge.
“The first night they opened the door and wanted me to check out Carl
again and Nicole to cook supper. They all had their ski masks on and used
only notes to communicate with us—we figured they didn’t want us to recognize
their voices IF they decided to let us live.” Johnny paused a minute as
he heard the gasps when he emphasized the word if. “Well, Nicole cooked
supper and I checked on Carl. The bullet had gone cleaned through, so I
just made sure he wasn’t bleeding. I told them he should see a doctor, but
he just waved it off. Then I was pushed into the kitchen. I think I was supposed
to help with supper, but Nicole asked me how Shades was. Tom started cussing
at Carl. I guess he wasn’t supposed to tell us his name. And he got even
angrier when Jim asked him about not talking. Both Nicole and I thought we
were in trouble then and that IF was no longer an option. They put us back
in the room and locked it. There was a lot of shouting and we decided that
we weren’t going to do anything that might upset them—including escaping.
We were both hoping to get out of the situation alive.”
Johnny stopped a minute and gratefully accepted the cup of coffee Roy
handed him. No one said a word and Johnny sat deep in thought for several
seconds. Just when everyone thought the silence would get to them, Johnny
continued his narration. “Tom was angry. He didn’t blame us, but we knew
that he wasn’t going to let us live. Well, we tried to do what they asked.
But every time they brought us out of the room, Tom took his anger out on
Nicole. I thought she was having flashbacks to her childhood again. Each
time we were alone, I would hold her and let her cry. Every time I tried
to intervene, Jim and Carl would hold me back and make me watch. He didn’t
abuse her sexually, but the physical abuse was bad enough. Well, this morning
Jim came rushing back into the cabin. He said that there were some hikers
and campers about 30 minutes from the cabin and that we had to get out of
there. Tom agreed. I was afraid then that they would kill us and leave us
there, but when Nicole collapsed from her fever, Tom seemed genuinely concerned.
I said she needed a doctor, but I didn’t really believe he would take her
to one. That’s why when we did stop, I promised him I wouldn’t say anything
and I didn’t. I wasn’t sure what his intentions were, but he had helped Nicole
and I was grateful for that. After we left the doctor’s office, we started
towards LA and that’s where the accident happened. The rest you know.”
There was complete silence in the room for the next
few minutes. No one knew what to say. They thought about the ordeal Johnny
and Nicole had just gone through as well as what Johnny had revealed about
“That’s what all those other bruises I found were.” Dr. Early had seen
the bruises and was going to ask Johnny later.
“Yeah. Doc! How is Nicole?” Johnny jumped up as he realized that Dr.
Early had entered the room. That meant Nicole was out of surgery. Now he
had to know.
“Well, she came through surgery fine. We repaired her lung and mended
her broken ribs. She is in ICU. Now it is just a waiting game.”
“What about her concussion? How serious is it?” Johnny had to know.
“I’m not going to lie to you, Johnny. Right now we won’t know if there
is any brain damage until she wakes up. It looks like she took some pretty
hard blows to the head. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you better news.” Dr.
Early’s heart broke at the look on Johnny’s face. Johnny just nodded.
Then something occurred to Johnny. He looked at Vince. “Vince, how are
Tom, Carl, and Jim? I know that Carl went flying over our heads. We had
put on our seatbelts, but I don’t think he had his on.”
“No, Johnny, he didn’t. Neither did Jim or Tom.” Vince knew that the
three men had treated Johnny and Nicole cruelly, but he also knew that
Johnny would feel bad when he heard Vince’s next words. “Johnny, they all
died of broken necks at the scene.”
Johnny thought about that piece of information for a minute and then
looked at Vince. “Thanks for telling me.” Johnny slowly got to his feet
and started walking towards the door.
“Johnny, where are you going?” Roy was concerned about his friend.
“I just need some time alone with Nicole. I’ll be in ICU.” As Johnny
left the room, everyone in the room sent up a silent prayer for him and
his fiancée in ICU.
Word had been left in ICU that Johnny was to be allowed to stay by Nicole’s
beside for as long as he wanted to. That’s why when he entered, the nurse
led him to a private room and pulled up a chair for him to sit at Nicole’s
bedside. When he had settled into the chair as comfortably as he could,
she quietly left the room with a silent prayer for these two people.
Johnny waited until he heard the door quietly shut behind him before
he took Nicole’s cold hand in his. He had to fight the tears in his eyes
as he saw the tubes, IVs, and wires connecting her to all the monitors. “Please
don’t leave me, Nicole. I need you. I love you.” He couldn’t control the
tears any longer and finally gave in to them. “Please don’t leave me. I heard
a song on the radio while we were in the doctor’s lounge. When I heard it,
it was meant for you. I memorized the words so that I could let you know
that you are
MY SPECIAL ANGEL (by Jimmy Duncan)
You are my special Angel
Sent from up above
The Lord smiled down on me
And sent an Angel to love
You are my special Angel
Right from paradise
I know you’re an Angel
Heaven is in your eyes
The smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine
Tears from your eyes bring the rain
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again
You are my special Angel
I’ll have my special Angel
Here to watch over me
A smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine
The tears from your eyes will bring the rain
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again
You are my special Angel
I’ll have my special Angel
Here to watch over me
“You are my special Angel, Nicole, and I need you to watch over me. Please
don’t leave me.”
He didn’t know how long he sat there remembering the times he and Nicole
had spent together over the last fifteen months. He was so lost in those
memories that he didn’t hear the door open when Roy and Dr. Early entered
the room. A hand on his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts.
“Johnny, why don’t you go change and let Roy and me move this bed right
next to Nicole’s. Remember, you are being admitted, too. This way you can
get the rest you need, but still be right by her side.” Dr. Early smiled
at the paramedic. They all knew they weren’t going to get Johnny out of that
“Ok.” Johnny took the bag that Roy handed him and went into the bathroom.
By the time he was ready to lie down, Dr. Early had given Nicole a quick
exam and he and Roy had moved a bed right next to Nicole’s. Johnny gratefully
climbed on the bed and got comfortable. He could easily hold Nicole’s hand
as they lay there. The tears were once again flowing freely.
Dr. Early patted Johnny on the shoulder. “She’s going to be ok. She has
you to love her.”
Johnny smiled a watery smile at Dr. Early and turned back to watching
Nicole. He heard the door close and felt a hand on his arm. Roy had pulled
the chair beside the bed and was now trying to lend his support. “Johnny,
why don’t you rest? I’ll stay here for a while and will let you know if anything
happens. You won’t do her any good if you don’t get the rest so you can
“Thanks, Roy. I’ll do that. But when you have to leave, it’s ok. Thanks
for being here, Roy.” Johnny hardly had the words out before he was sound
“You’re welcome, Junior, you’re welcome.”
It was two hours later when Johnny woke. It took him a few minutes to
remember where he was and what had happened. He looked at the empty chair
beside him. Roy must have had to leave. Johnny was starting to get hungry,
and just as his stomach growled, Roy and Joanne entered.
“I guess that’s our cue.” Roy had heard Johnny’s stomach. They had brought
something for Johnny to eat and hoped that his growling stomach meant that
he would eat it.
“Yeah, I guess it was. I guess not eating since last night has made me
a little hungry.” Johnny smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“Last night!” Roy thought about the events of the day and realized it
was late morning when they found Johnny and Nicole at the accident.
“Yeah, Nicole was fixing breakfast when everything happened this morning.”
Johnny looked back over at his fiancée and sighed. “It seems like
a lifetime ago.”
Much to Roy and Joanne’s relief, Johnny ate everything they brought him.
Then they sat talking quietly until the events of the day caught up with
Johnny and he fell asleep with Nicole’s hand firmly clasped in his.
“How are they?” Roy hadn’t heard Dixie enter the room.
“Hi, Dix. Well, Johnny ate some dinner we snuck in—“ Roy paused a minute
to see if Dixie was going to chew him out. But he breathed a sigh of relief
when she nodded and smiled at him. “Then we talked for awhile. He fell
asleep about ten minutes ago.”
“Well, we’re going to give him something to help him sleep all night.
Why don’t you both go home and get some rest. It’s been a hard week.” Dixie
patted Roy on the shoulder and then walked to Johnny’s bedside. “Johnny?”
Dixie was just going to give him the shot, but didn’t want him waking up
in the middle of it. So she tried to see if he was awake.
“Yeah, Dix.” Johnny had heard her talking to Roy. “You want to give me
something to help me sleep, I heard.”
Dixie smiled to herself. “Yeah, are you ready for shot?”
“No, but do it anyway. You know I’m not fond of needles.” Johnny moved
his arm over to Dixie without even opening his eyes.
“I know, Johnny, I know.” Dixie watched the dark-haired partner of her
favorite paramedic team. They were more like brothers to her. She wiped
his arm with the alcohol prep and gave him the shot as gently as she could.
“Thanks, Dix, I didn’t even feel it.” Johnny yawned and drifted off to
sleep as Dixie patted his arm and covered him with the blanket.
“You’re welcome, Johnny. Sleep well.” Turning to Roy she didn’t even
try to stop the tears that were sliding down her cheeks. “They’ll be alright.
Everything will be fine.”
Roy nodded not sure if Dixie was trying more to reassure him and Joanne
or herself. “Yeah, we’re all here for them every step of the way. Jo and
I will stay a few more minutes and then head home. Thanks, Dixie.”
The door closed quietly behind Dixie and Roy pulled Joanne onto his lap
and let the tears he had been fighting loose. They had to be alright. They
were their friends. But like he had told Dixie, no matter what, they would
be there every step of the way.
Roy and Captain Stanley had talked Chief McConikee into letting Johnny
do “ride alongs” and work as much as he could. Not that it took much. No
one knew it but Chief McConikee had a soft spot for one dark-haired paramedic,
but he wasn’t about to tell anyone. So Johnny went back to work only five
days after his accident. Everyone soon found out that Johnny could perform
all his duties—even with a broken arm. But for the safety of everyone,
he was still a “third party” on the team. He didn’t mind; it kept his mind
off of Nicole when they had runs. At night he would return to the hospital
and the bed Dr. Early had put next to Nicole’s. Everyone knew they wouldn’t
get him away from the hospital on his time off and actually no one wanted
It had been four weeks since the accident and Nicole was still in a coma.
She had been moved out of ICU three weeks ago; taken off the ventilator
two weeks ago and most of the monitors had been removed a few days earlier.
Roy was amazed at the way Johnny kept talking to her as if she was carrying
on a conversation with him, but he knew that Johnny was starting to get
discouraged. They were both well aware of the fact that the longer it took
for her to wake up the more chance there was of brain damage when she did
or even worse the chance that she wouldn’t wake up at all.
“Johnny, why don’t you take a break and let me stay with her for awhile.”
Joanne and Roy had been spending almost as much time at the hospital as
Johnny. “Take Roy down and get him a cup of coffee for me, please?”
“Ok, Joanne. We’ll be in the doctor’s lounge if there is any change.
See you in a few minutes, honey.” Johnny leaned over and kissed Nicole
giving her hand a quick squeeze before he followed Roy out of the door.
“Nicole, don’t give up on us now. We all need you to wake up, but Johnny
really needs to see your blue eyes. He loves you and is starting to get
discouraged.” Joanne looked at her friend that lay so still in the bed.
It was then that she jumped. Nicole was looking at her. “Hi, how are you
feeling?” Joanne wanted to talk to her for a minute before she called for
“Scared.” Nicole looked at the woman who sat beside her bed.
Joanne couldn’t keep the look of surprise off her face. “Scared? Why
are you scared?” It was then she noticed the tears leaving a trail down
Nicole’s cheeks. “What’s wrong, Nicole?”
“I have been lying here listening to you talk to the two men who just
left. But—“ Nicole turned to look out of the hospital room window.
When she still hadn’t said anything several minutes later, Joanne sat
on the edge of her bed. “But, what?”
“I guess the best way to say it is just to say it.” Receiving an encouraging
nod from Joanne she continued. “I—I – You called one of the two men who
just left here Johnny and the other one Roy. Then you told me that Johnny
loves me so I assume that one of the men that left was your husband and
that it must be Roy—I noticed your wedding ring. The other one—the one who
kissed me—must be Johnny. Is he my husband? They called you Joanne before
they left, is that your name?”
Joanne just sat and stared at Nicole for a minute. She still didn’t understand
what was going on. “Yes, my name is Joanne and Roy is my husband. No, Johnny
isn’t your husband—yet. But you know all that. Don’t you?”
Before she could continue, Nicole went on. “Joanne, I don’t know all
that. I don’t even remember my own name. You called me Nicole, so I assume
that is my name, but I don’t know my middle or last name. I don’t know
what day it is; what city I am in; who is President. I don’t remember any
of that stuff.” Now Nicole was crying harder.
Then Joanne remembered the doctor’s talking about the possibility of
brain damage. Her heart sank. “Yes you are Nicole. Your name is Nicole
Angeline Schall. Let me call Dr. Early and have him check you, ok?”
Nicole just nodded her head yes and turned back to looking out the window.
Joanne left in search of Dr. Early. She ended having to go to ER to find
him and when she did, he was talking with Roy, Johnny, Dixie, Dr. Morton,
and Dr. Brackett.
Johnny was the first to see her coming and was on the alert. “Joanne,
did something happen?” He saw a look on Joanne’s face that he couldn’t quite
figure out. “Is Nicole ok?”
“Well, Dr. Early, I think you need to come and check on her.” Before
anyone could go rushing off, however, she put out her arms. “But first,
I need to let you all know something. Just after Roy and Johnny left, I
was talking with her. When I looked up she was looking at me. I asked her
how she felt and she said ‘scared.’”
“Scared?” Johnny wondered what was going on.
“Yeah, I asked her why she would feel scared and—“ Joanne stopped to
catch her breath. She really hoped that Nicole’s amnesia was only temporary.
“And, what, honey?” Now even Roy was getting worried.
“She doesn’t remember what day it is; what city she is in; who the President
is. She doesn’t remember me or Roy or—“ Joanne’s eyes filled with pain
as she looked right at Johnny. “Or Johnny. She doesn’t even remember her
Johnny had thought he was prepared for the possibility of brain damage,
but he hadn’t expected this. “She doesn’t?”
“No, I think we need to get back to her now.” Joanne led a very somber
group to Nicole’s room.
Nicole turned towards the door as Johnny hesitantly pushed it open. She
looked into his eyes and found only love there. For some reason she knew
she could and would trust this man even though she couldn’t even remember
ever seeing him before. “Hi.” She smiled at him as he walked into the room.
“Hi, how do you feel?” Johnny smiled back at her as he walked over to
the bed and picked up her hand.
“Actually, I feel pretty good. I guess I was just out of it for awhile.”
Nicole felt comfortable with this man. She couldn’t explain why, she just
did. She silently prayed that this man was Johnny. Oh, not that the other
one—the sandy haired one wasn’t cute, but there was just something about
this man. When he didn’t let go of her hand, she was sure he was Johnny.
“Nicole, I’m Dr. Early. Joanne tells us you can’t remember anything.”
Dr. Early proceeded to examine Nicole. He smiled to himself when he noticed
that Nicole held onto Johnny’s hand and wouldn’t let go. It looked to him
like it was her lifeline. As he finished his examination, he looked at
Nicole. “I’d like to get some more x-rays of your head to see what’s going
“Sure, thank you, Dr. Early.” Nicole felt disappointed when Johnny pulled
his hand out of hers, but breathed a quiet sigh of relief when he pulled
up a chair as close as he could and took her hand into both of his. “Would
you like to meet the rest of this group? There are a lot more people who
are going to be so glad you are awake, but I think this group is big enough
to start with.”
Nicole looked into his eyes and smiled. “Yeah, I would.”
“Ok, you’ve met Dr. Early. This is Dr. Brackett, Dr. Morton and Nurse
Dixie McCall from the ER.” Johnny waited for Kelly, Mike and Dixie to come
over and tell Nicole how glad they were that she was ok. As the four medical
personnel left to return to their duties, Joanne and Roy came over to the
bed. “And these are our best friends, Roy and Joanne.”
After Nicole came back from having x-rays, Johnny, Roy and Joanne spent
the next hour answering Nicole’s questions about her name, where she lived,
their names, their friends’ names. They answered questions about the time
she and Johnny had been together. Soon Johnny noticed that Nicole was drifting
off to sleep. “We’ll finish this later. We have all the time in the world.”
Johnny pulled the covers up and leaned over to kiss Nicole’s forehead as
she settled in for the night.
As Nicole drifted off to sleep, Johnny, Roy and Joanne walked quietly
to the door. “We’ll help her get through this, Johnny. She is strong and
she has you for support.” Roy squeezed his friend’s shoulder, glad that Nicole
had come out of her coma.
“Yeah, and both of you, too. Thanks for all your support.” Johnny gave
both Roy and Joanne a quick hug.
“We’re here for both of you. And you know the guys are going to be so
happy tomorrow to know that she is awake.” Roy shook Johnny’s hand one more
time as they moved into the hallway.
“Yeah, see you tomorrow, Roy.”
“Johnny, I’ll be here as soon as Chris and Jennifer leave for school.
She won’t be alone while you are at work. Dixie and I are planning on taking
turns being with her when you can’t be. And Roy and I agreed that when she
is released she will be staying with us so that she is not alone.” Joanne
had grabbed Johnny’s arm just before he returned to Nicole’s room.
“Thanks, Joanne. I had been worried what to do about that.” Johnny leaned
over and gave her a peck on the cheek then with a slight wave walked back
into Nicole’s room with a lighter step.
Johnny was fidgeting. He wanted the rest of A-shift to get there so he
could share his good news. They really were a family and he knew that all
of them wanted to help.
“Gage, what are you doing here so early? Did you set your clock wrong
or something?” Captain Stanley stopped in the doorway to the day room.
Johnny had expected a quip from Chet, but not from his Captain. “No,
I just wanted to talk to everyone before the shift started.”
When Gage wouldn’t reveal anymore than that, Captain Stanley began to
worry that something had happened to Nicole. He was the one fidgeting now
as the time seemed to slow down until everyone showed up.
“Ok, Gage, we are all here, what’s going on?” Hank Stanley couldn’t wait
any longer. Chet hadn’t even made it across the room to get his coffee
“Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that
Nicole woke up last night.” Johnny grinned at the smiles that broke out on
his friends’ faces.
“That’s great, Johnny. What’s the bad news?” Chet was blunt as always.
Johnny’s lost his grin as he looked at Roy for support before taking
a deep breath and continuing. “She doesn’t remember anything.”
“What do you mean, she doesn’t remember anything? You mean she doesn’t
remember what happened?” Chet remembered hearing that most people don’t
remember the incidents that put them in the hospital.
“That’s part of it, Chet. But the worst part is that she doesn’t remember
any of you.” Johnny figured he would start with the easy part and work
his way to the hardest part. “She doesn’t remember anyone at Rampart, or
Roy or Joanne.” Johnny had to take a deep breath before he could continue.
It finally hit him. She didn’t remember him or even her own name. How were
they going to get through this? “She doesn’t remember me or even her own
Mike, Marco, Chet and Hank all stood or sat like statues as the words
sunk in. They looked at Johnny in disbelief. Looking at each other in acknowledgement,
Hank spoke for the group. “Johnny, we are all here for you and for Nicole.
We will do whatever we can to help. Is this permanent?”
Johnny smiled in relief and went on to answer the questions that now
came fast and furious. He knew how they would get through this – with the
help of their friends.
Nicole sat on the edge of her bed. They had told her last night she would
be released today—only two days after she had woken up. Joanne was supposed
to be there any minute to pick her up. The knots in her stomach kept getting
tighter as the minute hand on the clock swept closer and closer to the
time Joanne would be there. Just as she was about to sneak out of the door
and the hospital, the door opened.
“Hi, Nicole. Honey, are you ready to go?” Instead of Joanne walking in
the door, Nicole saw Johnny coming in. The knots loosened quite a bit.
For some reason Nicole knew she wanted nothing more than to spend the rest
of her life with this man.
“I thought you had to work today.” She smiled at his crooked grin and
noticed that he was in uniform.
“Yes, we are working a double and I am still on duty, but, well—please
don’t get mad. The whole crew came down to see you off. We are going to
follow you and Joanne in the car and make sure you have everything you need.”
Johnny hoped that Nicole wouldn’t get mad. The guys couldn’t wait any longer
to see her. They hesitantly walked in behind Johnny.
“Oh, I’m not mad. It’s time for me to meet the rest of the guys.” Although
the knots started tightening again, Nicole knew how much these guys had
done for her and Johnny in the last month and she really did want to see
With a unison sigh of relief, Mike, Marco, Chet and Captain Stanley ventured
further into the room.
“Ok, let me see if I can tell who you are from what Roy, Joanne and Johnny
have been telling me.” She figured she would have a little fun with them
at the same time. Looking at the Captain, she began. “You’re Captain Stanley,--the
‘father’ of this group, right?” When Hank blushed and looked a little shock,
the other guys snickered. Then she received an acknowledging nod from Johnny
who was trying to keep from laughing so she continued. “And you must be
Mike, the quiet one.” The other guys all nodded and looked as Mike’s face
started turning the same color as the Captain. “You’re Marco, the Phantom’s
friend and right hand man.” Marco looked up in shock. What had Johnny and
Roy been telling her? Now it was his turn to blush. “And last that leaves,
Chet, or should I say the Phantom?” She laughed as Chet kept opening and
closing his mouth.
“Well, I’d say you did pretty good there, Nicole. Now your chariot awaits
and it’s time to blow this Popsicle stand.” Johnny was laughing now.
“Popsicle stand? Is that what you think of our hospital?” Dixie’s eyes
were twinkling as she led Dr. Brackett, Dr. Morton, and Dr. Early into
“Aw-Dix, I just—“ Johnny tried to get his ‘foot out of his mouth.’
“It’s ok, Johnny.” Dixie laughed with the rest of the group.
Johnny helped Nicole into the wheelchair and turned it towards the door.
As Johnny wheeled her past Chet she reached out to take his hand. Chet
was a little surprised until he felt the buzzer she had in her hand. Everyone,
including Chet, started laughing when he jumped.
“And, Chet, Johnny didn’t know anything about that—that was all me.”
Nicole smiled as Johnny turned down the hall and headed towards the elevators.
Chet just stood there as the rest of the group filed by smiling. Just
as the door was about to close he smiled, shook his head and raced after
Johnny was remembering Christmas and New Year’s this year. Christmas
had been a wonderful time for all the friends. They had spent the day at
Johnny’s ranch. New Year’s Eve was nice as Nicole and Johnny spent a quiet
evening with Roy and Joanne at their house. He prayed that there were would
be many more Christmas’s and New Year’s Eves like these.
Chet smiled as Johnny entered the locker room whistling. He finished
getting dressed and ducked into the bathroom to watch as Johnny opened
his locker. The Phantom had been at work and Chet wanted to watch it.
Johnny opened his locker knowing that Chet had planted either a water
bomb or a shaving cream bomb or both in his locker. He grinned as he opened
the door wide. He wasn’t disappointed. Chet had planted both and they got
Johnny full in the face. With a slight laugh, Johnny pulled out the extra
towel he had brought just for that reason and wiped off his face. Then he
proceeded to get dressed and wash off his face. Then he turned and headed
for the dayroom for a cup of coffee.
Chet stood dumbfounded as Johnny didn’t yell or get angry. He hurried
into the dayroom in time to hear Roy greet his partner.
“Good morning, Johnny. Hey, your hair is a little wet.” Roy was happy
to see his partner in a good mood today. Evidently, the Phantom hadn’t shown
up or Johnny would be ranting and raving and in a snit.
“Yeah, I just had to clean off a little present the Phantom left me this
morning. I’m going to go start checking the supplies.” Johnny smiled as
he took his cup of coffee and headed towards the bay. Five jaws dropped
and five sets of eyes followed him out of the room. No one could believe
Johnny was not yelling at Chet. Thirty seconds later everyone was running
out into the bay to see what was going on. Johnny was busy checking supplies
and running the daily checks with Rampart. He was whistling as he inventoried
the drug box.
Roy still couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Chet, what did the Phantom
do to him?” Roy whispered so that Johnny couldn’t hear him.
“Both a shaving cream bomb and a water bomb.” Chet couldn’t believe Johnny’s
“Both?” Roy took one last look at Chet and walked over to help his partner.
“I did the calibrations with Rampart. Everything looks good. Must be
Brice worked as a fill-in on the last shift. This drug box is in alphabetical
order.” Johnny kept reorganizing the drug box as Roy checked the rest of
It was then that Captain Stanley realized that not only was Johnny early,
he was early enough to complete the checks before roll call. “Gentlemen,
it is time for roll call.” He wondered what was going on in his junior paramedic’s
Roy and Johnny finished putting away the equipment and boxes and joined
the others in line. Chet looked sideways at Johnny. Yeah, Johnny had been
taking the pranks better, but when the phantom hit with two at once it usually
got Johnny going. But not today—he was in a very good mood. Captain Stanley
was glad and prayed that it lasted the entire shift.
Even though she didn’t have her memory back yet, Nicole had returned to
work at Rampart. Her boss was working with her and filled her in on the
details of all her cases. She may not remember what had transpired on the
cases before her accident, but she picked up and handled them with the same
professionalism and efficiency she had before.
Nicole had been called down to ER to consult on a child that had been
brought in. Her heart was breaking as she walked out of the treatment room.
It was a four-year old child who had been severely beaten by her father.
The little girl was fighting for her life. The mother was crying because
she now realized that not interfering earlier with her husband meant two
terrible things—first her daughter might die and second, if she didn’t die
she would be taken away from the parents. All the father could do was yell
that no one had a right to interfere with how he disciplined his daughter.
Her eyes brightened as she looked up and saw Roy and Johnny standing at
Dixie’s desk. She was too far away to call to them, so she started towards
them. She stopped when a nurse stepped up to them. Not sure why, she thought
it best to wait a minute before going to talk to them.
Cindy Stevens was a new nurse at Rampart. She was assigned to floating
right now until a permanent position opened up and was currently filling
in for another nurse on maternity leave in the ER. She came out of treatment
room 1 and saw two very good looking paramedics standing at the desk talking
to Dixie. With her eyes (and heart) set on the black-haired one, she made
a beeline for the desk.
“Dixie, are you going to introduce me to your friends?” As she got closer,
Cindy ran an appraising eye up and down Johnny. She looked at his hands and
noticed he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. Yes, this was the man she was
going to go after and get. Nothing was going to stand in her way. In her
mind as long as he wasn’t married, he was fair game. It wouldn’t matter if
he had a girlfriend or fiancée. She would win him over.
A Special Wedding or A Funeral?
Please send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org