A-Shift was sitting around
the table waiting for C-Shift to return from the run that had come
just as A-Shift was arriving for duty. They had been gone for an hour
now making them ½ hour after shift change. The C-shift Captain
had just radioed that they would be doing cleanup for the next hour
and that the paramedics had transported some victims to Rampart.
“Boy, C-Shift is putting in the overtime. What exactly was the
call?” Chet knew they would all be ordered to go do their chores
“It was for a house fire, but I heard the Captain call for a
second alarm because it was a ranch that was on fire. Well, they aren’t
going to be back for an hour, so we might as well start our chores,
men.” Hank wondered what had happened just like the rest of the
crew, but knew it would have to wait until C-shift returned to find
out exactly what had happened. He also knew they couldn’t just
sit around waiting.
“Ok, Cap.” All five men pushed their chairs back and headed
in different directions to complete their assigned tasks.
Johnny and Roy walked into Rampart looking for the C-Shift paramedics.
They had brought Gil’s and Charlie’s cars and street clothes
so the two men could leave directly from Rampart. It was already two
hours past shift change and Johnny knew they would be tired.
The two paramedics were talking with Dixie waiting for Gil and Charlie
to finish getting cleaned up from their last run—they had been
thrown up on and had a patient bleed out all over their uniforms. Dixie
had given them scrubs, but when Johnny and Roy showed up with their
street clothes, she had taken them to the grateful men. Now Johnny
and Roy were waiting to see what supplies they would need to replenish.
Gil smiled as he headed towards Dixie’s desk. If anyone had
looked hard, they would have noticed that the smile did not quite reach
his eyes. Some disturbing memories had been bothering him the last
few days—memories he would only share with Johnny and memories
he had hoped were buried deep.
Johnny turned when he heard Gil call his name. It was only a fleeting
moment, but he saw the sad smile and knew the reason behind it. The
two men had been talking a lot on the phone since Gil found out he
was going to be permanently assigned to C-shift at Station 51. This
was his first shift there and both men figured that was what triggered
Just as Johnny opened his mouth to say something to Gil, a loud piercing
scream came from treatment room 3.
Dr. Brackett was worried. The woman was huddled in the corner of the
treatment room. Every time someone came anywhere near her, she started
screaming. He had some decisions to make. If they were going to be
able to treat her, they needed to get her back onto the table and examine
her. But they were no closer to that now than they were when the paramedics
brought her in almost an hour ago.
Taking a deep breath and getting ready to open the treatment room
door, Brackett stopped when he heard his named called from the men
hurrying towards him now.
“Dr. Brackett, what’s going on?” Gil was afraid
of the answer.
“We don’t know yet. The paramedics from Station 24 brought
a woman in about an hour ago. She is huddled in the corner and screams
every time someone comes near. I think we are going to have to sedate
her in order to be able to even examine her. We don’t even know
By this time Kel had the door open and Johnny and Gil caught sight
of the woman huddled in the corner. Johnny glanced quickly at Gil. “Doc,
can I try?” He didn’t tell the group that he was fairly
sure he would be able to get through to her.
“Be my guest. I’d rather not sedate her if I don’t
have to.” Brackett opened the door to the treatment room and
motioned for Johnny to precede him through the door.
Dr. Brackett, Roy and Charlie, who had joined the group when Dr. Brackett
opened the door, were surprised when Johnny grabbed Gil’s arm
to lead him into the room. “Come on, Gil. Let’s go talk
Angeline was huddled in the corner. She looked up as she heard the
door open. Her eyes opened wide. It couldn’t be Johnny. He was
supposed to be dead. And even if he wasn’t, he didn’t want
anything to do with her. That’s what she was told anyway. Gil
was with him. What were they doing here?
She watched as they slowly made their way towards her. The closer
they got, the more she realized that Johnny was alive and that he was
in the same room with her. He seemed to be as nervous about being here
as she was. And Gil was here, too. Maybe they didn’t hate her
like she had been told.
Dr. Brackett and Dixie were amazed that she was not screaming and
seemed to be intently watching as Johnny approached. He was getting
closer than anyone else had.
Johnny squatted down in front of her. Without taking his eyes away
from hers, he reached out to carefully take her hands into his. “These
people here are our friends and they just want to help you. You are
safe now.” Only Gil understood what he was saying to the woman—he
was talking in Seminole.
Gil squatted down next to Johnny. He didn’t say anything, but
he nodded his head when she looked at him questioningly. He reached
out and touched her cheek with his hand.
At Johnny’s “Will you let them help you?” she nodded
slightly and stood up. She let Johnny lead her back to the exam table
and help her up on the table as Dixie and Dr. Brackett watched in silence.
“Doc, she’ll let you help her now.” Johnny helped
her lay down as Dixie and Kel slowly walked towards them. “Oh
and her name is Angeline.”
“If you don’t need me, I’ll go wait in the doctor’s
lounge.” Gil knew they still needed answers to a lot of questions,
but now they would be able to help Angeline.
“No, please stay.” Everyone jumped at the sound of Angeline’s
voice. It was the first words she had said other than the shrill screams
that had been uttered.
“Ok, I will. I’ll be right here.” Gil was glad she
had asked. He wanted to be there for support.
She never let go of Johnny’s hand as Dr. Brackett and Dixie
performed the exam. Gil stood off to one side but didn’t say
Two hours later, Angeline had fallen asleep after a thorough exam
and x-rays. Johnny took one last look at her as he followed Dixie,
Dr. Brackett and Gil out of the exam room and into the doctor’s
lounge. Charlie had a new baby on the way and needed overtime, so he
had agreed to fill in for Johnny for the rest of the shift. He and
Roy had filled the supplies and gone back to the station when they
realized that Angeline needed Gil and Johnny to stay. Neither man had
any answers to their questions, but they knew they would find out soon
enough who this lady was and how Johnny and Gil knew her.
“Ok, you two, what is going on? Who is that lady and how are
you both involved?” Dr. Brackett didn’t even wait to get
his coffee before asking the questions that were on his and Dixie’s
Johnny looked at Gil and took a deep breath. “Why don’t
we sit down and we’ll answer all your questions.”
Roy and Charlie opened the door to the doctor’s lounge to get
a cup of coffee. They were surprised that Dixie wasn’t at the
nurses’ desk, but figured she was in one of the exam rooms with
one of the doctors. They were surprised to find her with Dr. Brackett,
Gil and Johnny in the lounge. They had just brought in a heart attack
Johnny’s voice carried to the door as Roy pushed it open. “So
that’s the story, Doc.”
Before Kel could say anything, Dixie noticed the two paramedics entering
the room. “Hi Roy. Hi Charlie.” She knew that what Johnny
and Gil had just shared with them was still confidential until they
wanted to share it with the others.
“Hi, Dix, Doc, guys. What’s going on?” Roy wondered
what was going on.
Just as Dr. Brackett started to answer, the door to the lounge opened
and a scream from the treatment room across the hall filled the air. “Johnny,
Gil, you’d better go.”
Johnny and Gil were out of the door and into the treatment room before
Roy and Charlie realized they were moving.
“Dr. Brackett, we need you in treatment room three now.” The
nurse who had unwittingly woken Angeline up without having either Johnny
or Gil there, had come to get Dr. Brackett to sedate her.
“What happened?” Kel was trying to keep his anger in check
He had left explicit instructions to not disturb her without either
Gil or Johnny in the room. Now someone had done just that.
“We were getting ready to move her to a room and well, somehow
we woke her up.” The nurse was afraid of Kel’s wrath.
“Ok, let’s go see what’s happening.” Kel led
the way out of the room leaving a stunned Roy and Charlie wondering
what had just taken place.
Johnny pulled into the parking lot of the station. He knew that he
would face a lot of questions that needed answers. He had seen the
look on Roy’s face when Vince and Detective Watson had arrived
at Rampart and asked to talk with Gil and Johnny. He also knew it was
time to tell the guys what was going on. Gil had stayed at the hospital
with Angeline. They knew one of them would need to be there when she
woke up and Johnny wanted to be the one to explain everything to his “family”.
Gil had been relieved and told Johnny he would not move from Angeline’s
“Why didn’t you tell us this before?” Roy couldn’t
believe what he had just learned from his partner and fellow paramedic.
“I just wasn’t ready to I guess.” Johnny’s
voice was quiet.
“Geez, Johnny. You have a wife who disappeared without a trace
four months after your wedding. Not only is she your wife, she’s
Gil’s sister. And now she shows up after seven years and the
police think she has been held captive and sexually abused for who
knows how long. Do they have any idea of who would have done something
like that?” Chet knew now why Johnny had never had a relationship
that lasted very long. “Why did she just disappear? Why didn’t
you tell us any of this? ”
“I just couldn’t tell you. I think I was almost at the
point where I was finally putting it behind me where it belongs and
I was going to talk to you about it. Then this happened. I wanted to
tell you at the hospital but Detective Watson, the detective who investigated
when she first disappeared, and Vince showed up. Because of the on-going
investigation, they told us we can’t go into details about the
investigation. They are pretty sure it is someone who we all trusted.” Johnny’s
voice was so quiet everyone had to strain to hear what he was saying.
“And someone who belongs behind bars.” All seven men turned
to look at Chief Houts at the sound of his voice. “Have you told
them everything, Johnny?”
“Well, not quite.” Johnny had left out one piece of information
he thought would be better coming from someone else.
“What haven’t you told us?” Hank was looking back
and forth between his superior and his paramedic.
“That the person they believe is responsible is related to me.” Chief
Houts looked at Johnny. He was sure that was at least a part of what
Johnny had left out. That was a time they had all wanted to forget
and none of them could believe the person they now suspected could
have done such a thing.
The six on-duty firefighters sat in stunned silence—none of
them knew what to say or how to react. Before anyone could say anything
the klaxons sounded and they ran to their trucks to answer the run.
“Chief, what may have happened isn’t your fault. You didn’t
do anything.” Johnny knew Chief Houts was feeling guilty for
what had happened. Neither man could believe that it was the Chief’s
brother who was the main suspect in this whole situation.
“I know, Johnny. It just never should have happened. And you
almost lost your life over it. I take it you didn’t include that
particular part of the story either.” Chief Houts knew that Johnny
had been left for dead and thought his wife had been murdered, too.
“No, I didn’t, Chief. If and when that needs to be told,
I’ll tell the others. I just can’t believe that this is
really happening. I want to get back to Rampart and find out how Angeline
“I’ll meet you there, Johnny. We will get this all taken
care of soon.”
Johnny entered the room to see Angeline sleeping peacefully and Gil
nodding off in one of the hospital’s infamous hard plastic chairs.
He took the opportunity to take a long look at the woman he had thought
he would never see again. The love he had felt for her from the first
moment he had met her bubbled up inside of him and seemed to blossom
just while he was standing there. Walking to the side of her bed, he
gathered her soft hand into his. “I love you, Angeline.” He
whispered softly into her ear. He was afraid he was going to wake up
and she would be gone—that it was all a dream.
“I love you, too.” Angeline was looking at him through
“I thought you were asleep.” Johnny’s smile went
from ear to ear when he realized she was awake.
“I was just resting. I didn’t want to wake Gil.” She
was still trying to believe that Johnny and Gil were actually here
“I’m awake.” Gil had heard the voices and was happy
to see his sister’s smile.
“I thought I would never see either of you again.” Angeline
was still trying to believe that she was really with her husband and
brother again—two people she had thought were gone from her life
All three looked up as the door open admitting Chief Houts. Angeline
snuggled deeper in her bed as she saw who was entering her room.
“Please don’t be afraid, Angeline. We are all going to
help you and make my brother pay for what he has done to you.” Chief
Houts had always loved Angeline and couldn’t believe his brother
could have been so cruel.
Angeline had relaxed with Chief Houts after talking with him for a
few minutes. She knew he would not hurt her like his brother had. There
was another piece of news that she needed to tell the men and was just
getting ready to say something when the door opened and Vince Howard
“Johnny, Gil, Chief, I think it would be wise if the three of
you left right now and used the staircase. Dr. Houts showed up at the
fire scene and demanded to know what had happened and where his ‘wife’ was.
Chief McConnikee told him she was here and then called us. He is on
his way here now. I don’t think it would be wise for him to find
Johnny looked at Vince and then at Angeline. “I can’t
leave her again. After all he has done, I’m not letting him get
his hands on her again.”
“Look, I understand how you feel, but we need to get you out
of here. We are still investigating. Please don’t do anything
that will jeopardize the investigation or his prosecution.” Vince
really hoped Johnny would agree to leave.
“Johnny, listen. Now that I know you and Gil are really alive
and are not angry with me, I can go back and do what I need to do to
help the police. Let me do what is necessary to put him away without
any hitches. Besides, there is someone on the fourth floor the three
of you need to go and see. Just tell the nurses that I sent you to
see some angels.” Angeline was relieved when the men agreed to
“Ok, but I am going to be close at all times and he will not
hurt you that way again.” Johnny knew he had to do it Vince’s
way if he wanted to see Dr. Houts behind bars for a very long time.
Vince looked out the door and saw that the coast was clear. Just as
the stairwell door closed behind the three men, the elevator door opened
and Vince saw Dr. Daniel Houts exiting. Glad that he was in civilian
clothes, Vince stayed close to the nurses’ desk and kept his
back to the man. There was a plan in place that included him being
undercover at the hospital. Although Dr. Houts had not seen him at
the fire scene, he didn’t want to take any chances that Dr. Houts
would recognize him from anywhere but as a nurses’ aide. As soon
as the door to Angeline’s room closed behind Dr. Houts, Vince
headed towards the supply closet and quickly donned scrubs so that
he could play the part of a nurses’ aide.
Johnny wondered why Angeline would send them to the fourth floor.
That was the pediatric floor. If his mind hadn’t been on what
might be happening in Angeline’s room, he might have had some
different thoughts. As it was, he joined the other two men as they
headed towards the nurses’ station.
“Hi, Amy, how are you today?” Johnny smiled at one of
the nurses he had considered dating.
“I’m doing very well. I bet Angeline sent you up here
to see some angels.” Amy had been informed by the paramedics
from Station 24 that the twins they had brought in had come in with
Angeline. One look at them and Amy knew Johnny would soon be coming
to visit. The nurses on the pediatric floor had been informed of Johnny
and Gil’s connection to Angeline.
“Yes, she did.” Johnny was still so worried about Angeline
that he didn’t even question how Amy knew why they were there.
“Come on, they’re right in here.” Amy led the three
men to a private room.
One look and Johnny knew why Angeline had sent him up there. “Amy,
does it say how old these precious little ones are?” Johnny walked
over to the sleeping children.
“They are five and a-half. Their names are Stephen and Samantha
and Angeline is their mother.” Amy smiled as she left the room.
“Five and a-half? Johnny, that means you’re their father.” Gil
could see that Stephen and Samantha belonged to Johnny and Angeline.
Stephen was a miniature John Gage. Samantha had her father’s
dark coloring and hair. She had her mother’s eyes and nose.
“No wonder she wanted us to come up here. It looks like they
have been beaten, too.” Johnny’s eyes fill with tears as
he saw the bruises and injuries on his son and daughter. “I never
even knew Angeline was pregnant.”
“She might not have known herself when she disappeared. Johnny,
you’re a father.” Gil knew how much Johnny had wanted a
“Yeah.” Johnny moved over to the side of his daughter’s
bed and placed his hand on her cheek. Looking over at the bed, his
son was sleeping in, he was surprised at the love that filled his heart
and grew while he was just standing there staring at them.
Johnny’s thumb rubbing her cheek woke the little girl up. He
was afraid she was going to be scared seeing two men in her room she
had never seen before. Quickly removing his hand, Johnny watched her
“Daddy? Uncle Gil?” Samantha woke to see the two men her
mother had told her loved her more than anything standing beside her
bed. Angeline had pictures of the two of them and had made sure Samantha
and Stephen knew who they were. She held up her arms to Johnny wanting
him to pick her up. Stephen had woken up and was holding his arms out
“Samantha, how do you know who I am?” Johnny readily pulled
her into his arms as Gil pulled Stephen into his arms.
“Mommy showed us your picture and Uncle Gil’s picture.
When it got especially bad, mommy would tell us about both of you.
She said that some day Uncle Gil would come and get us, but that you
were dead, Daddy. I love you, Daddy.”
“I love you too, Daddy.” Stephen had placed his hand on
Johnny’s cheek as Gil held him.
Johnny’s heart broke as his daughter snuggled into his arms.
Not only did his twins trust him not to hurt them, they gave him their
“I’m glad Mommy was wrong and you are alive. Mommy said
that you were very kind and loving—nothing like – like – like
that man.” Samantha’s tears started as she thought about
how her life had been. “All he ever did was hurt me.”
“I would never hurt you, honey. And Mommy was told by that man
that I was dead. I didn’t know about you or your brother, sweetie.
When your Mommy disappeared, I was hurt badly. By the time I was well,
she was gone and everyone told me that she didn’t love me anymore.
I knew that was wrong, but no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t
find her.” Johnny’s tears had joined his daughter’s.
“I know Daddy. Mommy knew you loved her very much. That man
wouldn’t let us go out of the house, even to play in the yard.
I don’t want to talk about it any more.” Samantha’s
tears were turning into sobs.
“You don’t have to talk about it anymore right now, Sweetie.
I think it’s time for you to lie back down and take a nap.”
“Will you be here when I wake up?” Samantha’s hold
tightened around Johnny’s neck.
“Either Uncle Gil or I will be right here. You are safe now
and we are going to keep you that way.”
Samantha kissed her father’s cheek as he laid her back down
on the bed. Her eyes closed in a peaceful slumber before her head hit
the pillow. Once she was asleep, Johnny took his son out of Gil’s
arms. He wanted to hold him. “Hey, sport, how are you?”
Stephen had been trying to be a big boy and not cry, but when he had
seen the person his mother told him loved him as much as he did, he
let his guard down and let the tears stream down his face. “I
love you, Daddy. Like Samantha, I am glad you are not dead. Is Mommy
After being able to calm Stephen down, Johnny pulled him close. “Your
mom has the best doctors in the county working on her. She will be
just fine.” He laid his son down as sleep claimed the little
boy and Johnny and Gil quietly slipped out of the room to talk.
Amy was back behind the nurses’ desk when the two men left the
room. She had been afraid of what would happen if the children had
woken up. Neither of them had let any of the male nurses or orderlies
anywhere near them. She had been afraid that both children would shrink
from the two men. As she had watched the events folding out in front
of her with the two men and how the two children had felt secure, she
knew they were all going to make it through whatever lay ahead.
Vince entered Angeline’s room as soon as he had changed into
scrubs. He was going to check on what Dr. Houts was doing. He could
feel the tension as soon as he entered the room. “Angeline, I
have come to check to see if you need more water or anything else.” Until
he could be taught how to take a blood pressure and temperature reading,
he was going to just check up on her. They knew that if he didn’t
do it correctly, Dr. Houts would know something was up.
“Her name is Mrs. Houts and I will call if she needs anything.” Dr.
Houts was determined to get Angeline out of the hospital and locked
away where no one would find out what he had been doing for six years. “Now
please leave and find the doctor in charge of her case. I want to take
her home as soon as possible.”
Vince saw the slight nod of Angeline’s head letting him know
everything was ok. He left the room and went to find Dr. Brackett and
Detective Watson. Although he knew she would do anything she could
to help put Dr. Houts behind bars, he could see the fear in Angeline’s
eyes. He knew he had to hurry and prayed that they could find a reason
to keep Angeline there for a few more days until they could get the
evidence they needed to lock the “good” doctor up for a
long, long time. It would have to be a very legitimate reason since
he was a doctor too and would see right through any charade. He was
glad to see Detective Watson talking with Dr. Brackett when he exited
the elevator on the ER floor. “Dr. Brackett, Detective Watson,
I need to talk to both of you.”
Dr. Brackett led the way to his office as he was sure he knew what
Vince needed to talk to them about. He had heard Dr. Houts’ loud
voice when he had arrived in the emergency department and demanded
to know where his “wife” was. He was sure that this was
going to get very ugly before it was through.
Chief Houts, Johnny and Gil had decided that Johnny would stay with
his children since Dr. Houts believed that he had killed Johnny when
he had kidnapped Angeline. Gil would stay away from the floor while
Dr. Houts was there and Chief Houts would keep an eye on his brother
since he could use the excuse of his position in the fire department
and the fact they believed the fire had been deliberately started.
Johnny had gone back into his kid’s room and just sat watching
them sleep. His heart burst knowing he had a wife, a son, and a daughter—the
family he had always wanted.
Gil stayed with Johnny for a little while and then decided to go back
to Station 51 and fill them in on the newest piece of news.
Chief Houts had headed down to Angeline’s room in hopes of finding
his brother there. Secretly he was pleased to see the look of fear
on his brother’s face when he entered the room. “Hello,
Angeline. Jed, I didn’t expect to find you here.”
“How do you know Angeline?” Dr. Houts didn’t acknowledge
his brother’s greeting. He wanted to know how much his brother
knew about what had happened six years earlier. “What are you
“I just know her first name because she gave it to the doctor
when she was admitted. I came to talk to her because I am the Chief
of the LA County Fire Department and I need some information about
the fire.” He could see the nervousness in his brother relax
a little. “Do you know her?”
“Yeah, she’s my wife.” Dr. Houts did not let his
guard completely down, but he did relax a little as the time went by.
“I’m sorry we have lost touch for so long. I tried finding
where you were the last few years, but wasn’t successful. I wish
I could have been at your wedding. I need to talk to her since we are
sure the fire was arson.”
“ARSON?” Dr. Houts’ voice could be heard all the
way down the hall.
Vince and Kel were just headed back to check on Angeline. Their steps
sped up as the voice kept getting louder.
Chief Houts knew he had to keep his cool if he wanted the situation
to remain calm. He didn’t know why he hadn’t ever really
seen it before, but as he watched the change in his brother’s
attitude he remembered several scenes when they were growing up. And
he remembered that his parents had always sent him out of the room
as they dealt with his brother. Their parents were long gone, but something
was niggling at the back of his mind and he determined he was going
to do some investigating when he got the opportunity. But right now
he had to deal with the situation in front of him. “Yes, we are
still investigating the fire.”
No one would ever know how Dr. Houts would have responded if Kel and
Vince had not walked into the room, but the evil look he cast at Angeline
made Kel determined he would find a way to keep her in the hospital
as long as possible.
“Hi, I’m Dr. Brackett, your wife’s physician. Vince
told me you would like to speak with me?” Kel didn’t like
the way Dr. Houts hovered near Angeline and seem to put a barrier between
her and the others in the room.
“Yes, I am a doctor so I can take care of my wife. I would like
you to sign the release papers right now and I will be taking her home.” Daniel
Houts wanted to get Angeline away from everyone before she had a chance
to tell anyone about him. He didn’t think that she would tell
anyone, but assuming that the brats were gone, he wasn’t going
to take any chances.
“Dr. Houts, are you aware of your wife’s injuries?” Kel
wanted to keep Angeline there. He was hoping they would find the evidence
they needed to put Dr. Houts away for good. “She has a brain
injury that we are keeping an eye on.”
“Yes, I was informed of her injuries. But she doesn’t
seem to be having any problems and I am a doctor. I can watch her and
take care of her.”
“What happens when she has a seizure? She will need to get immediate
attention. How will you handle it if she needs an operation to relieve
Before Dr. Houts could answer his questions, what Kel feared happened.
Angeline had a small seizure and her heart monitor started beeping
faster. He was at her bedside in an instant. After conducting a quick
exam, he pushed the call button summoning the nurse. “Call OR
and set up an emergency surgery. Page Dr. Early to do the surgery.”
Dr. Houts couldn’t do anything as the activity around his wife
increased. He had to back out of the way and hope and pray that he
could get his wife out of the hospital in a couple of days. The fact
that his brother was investigating the fire worried him. He knew that
he would have to be able to sort through the rubble to make sure there
was nothing there that would cause him problems. If the fire hadn’t
destroyed certain things, he would definitely have to get rid of them.
Telling his brother and the nurses that he had some business to take
care of while his wife was in surgery, Dr. Houts started out of the
hospital to see if he could get to the stuff he needed to destroy.
It was only as he left the building that he realized no one had even
mentioned the twins at all. Of course, he hadn’t had a chance
to ask either, because of the problem with Angeline, but he wondered
if the brats were dead or alive. One part of him wanted them dead so
he didn’t have to deal with them any more. The other part wanted
them alive so he could keep Angeline in line. Not wanting to appear
uncaring, he turned around and started back down the hall. He saw his
brother first and knew he would have some information. As much as he
hated the man, he headed towards him.
“Michael, in all the confusion with Angeline, I forgot to ask
what happened to Stephen and Samantha. Are they alright? Where are
they?” Jed Houts tried to put on the worried father act. He wasn’t
really the brats’ father and in his heart he really hoped they
had died in the fire, but he knew he couldn’t let that show in
either his face or his voice.
“I’m sorry, Jed. You’re right in all the confusion,
I forgot about them, too. I’m sorry but they didn’t make
it. We haven’t told Angeline yet because we didn’t feel
she was up to it.” Chief Michael Houts watched his brother’s
face. As much as he knew Jed wanted to hide it, Chief Houts knew that
Jed had received the news he most wanted to hear.
Trying very hard to not let his joy show that the brats were dead,
Dr. Jed Houts bowed his head with the pretense of composing himself.
When he was sure he would not give his true feelings away, he lifted
his head with tears in his eyes. “Did they suffer?”
“Angeline said Stephen and Samantha were in the upstairs bedroom
sleeping. We are sure they never woke up and died of smoke inhalation
before the fire reached their room. The paramedics who rescued them
tried all the way to the hospital, but they were gone.”
“Did they suffer any burns?” He really didn’t care
but felt he had to ask and keep playing the part of the “grieving” father.
“No, Brice and Bellingham were able to get them out just before
their beds and room erupted into flames.”
“Thanks for letting me know. I need to go take care of some
things while Angeline is in surgery. I want to be here when she comes
out and to tell her about Stephen and Samantha.” And without
another word Dr. Houts turned and left the room.
Chief Houts watched his brother leave wondering when he had become
so full of hatred and what had made him that way. He quickly walked
to the phone and dialed the L.A. County Fire Department passing word
along to the arson investigators that his brother was on his way to
the scene of the fire and was probably going to try to search for something
in the rubble.
Gil entered the station glad that both the engine and squad were in
the bay when he pulled into the parking lot. He took a deep breath
just before he got of his car. Looking up he was surprised to see Roy,
Chet and Mike standing just outside the back door watching him.
“Hi guys. How’s the day going?” Gil walked over
to the waiting men.
“We’ve had a few runs, but it isn’t one of our busiest
days.” Roy knew there had to be a reason for Gil’s visit. “Come
on in. What brings you by?”
“I need to talk with all of you.” Gil led the way to the
Mike slipped out and returned in a few minutes with Marco, Charlie
and Hank in tow. Chet poured seven cups of coffee and sat them on the
table as the men found their seats.
Gil didn’t waste any time. “I know Johnny told you about
Angeline and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.” He
paused a minute as each man nodded his head yes. “Well, there’s
more. Johnny didn’t tell you because he just found out himself.” Taking
a deep breath, he continued. “Johnny has five-and-a-half year
old twins—a son and a daughter.” Not waiting for the responses
he heard, Gil knew he needed to get the rest of the information out. “We’re
not sure of everything, but Angeline thought Johnny was dead—the
person that took her had beaten Johnny and left him with two gunshot
wounds. Anyway, she had told Stephen and Samantha that Johnny was dead.
Needless to say, it was quite a reunion. However, they have been sexually
and physically abused. While we were upstairs meeting Samantha and
Stephen, the person behind all this showed up in Angeline’s room.
He thinks Samantha and Stephen are dead. Angeline is in surgery to
relieve the pressure building in her brain.” Gil had to take
a break. His emotions were finally catching up with him.
“Pressure in her brain?” Roy heard the medical part.
“A daughter and a son--twins? Johnny’s a father?” Chet
picked up on something that he might be able to use against Johnny.
“You mean the person behind all this tried to kill Johnny when
they kidnapped his wife?” Mike realized that Johnny had not told
them the whole story.
“If the man behind all this is at Rampart, are Angeline and
Johnny safe?” Cap was concerned with the safety of a member of
“What are Johnny’s kid’s names?” Marco’s
concern went to the little girl and boy who had been physically and
All the questions came at once and Gil knew they deserved answers.
He pulled himself together, took a deep breath and addressed the questions
that were voiced as well as those he knew they still had.
“Dr. Brackett wanted to wait and see if the pressure in Angeline’s
brain would lessen. However, Dr. Early believes that the stress of
seeing the person who hurt them all added to it and Angeline started
having a seizure. They decided not to wait since the man was demanding
to have her released into his care because he is a doctor and claimed
he could watch her at home.
“And, yes, Chet, Johnny has a son and a daughter. Angeline had
not had a chance to tell him, so Johnny was not even aware of them
until today. Their names are Stephen and Samantha. As I said, the man
who did this was a doctor. We think he was the one that found out Angeline
was pregnant and because he hated half-breeds, was angry that Johnny
and Angeline were married, let alone having a ‘breed’ child.
This doctor had refused to treat any Indians. Angeline was not his
patient, but when she wasn’t feeling good, her doctor was out
of town for a couple of weeks and she had to go see this doctor. He
told her that she should not have married Johnny and that she would
pay for it. It was two days later that Johnny was left for dead and
“Johnny must have been beside himself. He has always wanted
a family.” Roy knew that the “playboy” image Johnny
had was really covering the pain of not having a family of his own.
Roy didn’t know that Johnny had been married and had lost the
thing that was most important to him.
“What do you mean he has always wanted a family? He couldn’t
keep a relationship for more than one date. How could he ever find
a family?” Chet didn’t know how to handle the news he was
receiving about his favorite pigeon.
“Didn’t you ever wonder why he couldn’t keep a relationship
past one date?” Mike felt for his “brother”. He knew
that Johnny had to have been in a lot of pain for a very long time.
“Well, yeah, but I just chalked it up to immaturity.” Chet
really didn’t believe that was the reason, but he didn’t
want the others to know how much he cared.
“Johnny had believed he had lost the one thing that was most
important to him—having a family. He didn’t want to get
close to anyone again because the pain was still there. I think he
was ready to try to put it behind him and find love again, when this
happened.” Gil knew that these guys were all hurting for Johnny.
“What’s the next step according to the police and FBI?” Roy
wanted to be there to support his brother in any way he could.
Before Gil could answer Roy’s question, the klaxons sounded
sending the entire station on an MVA on the 405. From the sounds of
it, it was going to be a long and difficult one. “I’m going
back to the hospital to see Johnny, my nephew, and my niece. Call when
you get back and I’ll let you know if there is any news.” Gil
saw all six men nod as they ran from the dayroom to their respective
Chief Houts had received the phone call that his brother had indeed
returned to the scene of the fire and had wanted to look for “valuables
and mementos” that might have survived the fire. The police and
fire personnel on scene had banned together and had finally turned
him away from the rubble. Detective Watson had heard Dr. Houts mumbling
under his breath about being kept away from his own home and that he
had to find it. He was determined that the fire investigators would
find whatever it was that Dr. Houts was looking for before he did.
It had been an hour since Dr. Houts had seemingly left the scene.
However, all the personnel had been on the lookout and had been placed
in strategic spots so that he could not sneak in from another angle.
Several of them reported seeing Dr. Houts out of the corner of their
eye as they continued the cleanup. Dr. Houts did not make it into the
Detective Watson heard his radio come to life. The lead arson investigator
on scene said he had something he wanted to show the detective. As
he walked toward the investigator, he saw Dr. Houts hiding behind a
tree. He saw the fear in the doctor’s eyes and thought that maybe
they finally had something that would help them put him away for life.
He saw the “good doctor” hurry away so he wouldn’t
be caught. That’s when he had called Chief Houts to let him know
that his brother was probably on the way back to the hospital and to
have all the security he could get around Angeline.
As he listened to the arson investigator, he watched Dr. Houts’ car
pull away at a very high rate of speed. He just prayed that everyone
would be ready at the hospital.
As he turned back to the investigator he saw what had started the
fire. Listening to the other evidence the team had located, his anger
began to build. The fire had been deliberately set and they had the
proof. Now all they had to do was to tie it to Dr. Houts.
Johnny had taken Samantha and Stephen to the playroom to eat lunch
and play with the other children that were unfortunate enough to have
to be in the hospital. Dixie was using her break to check on one of
her favorite paramedics and see how the events of the day were affecting
She smiled as she walked into the room and found the target of her
search sitting Indian style in the middle of the floor with all of
the kids sitting as close to him as they could get. He was telling
them a story and all of the kids were enjoying it.
Dixie was soon joined by Amy. “He has them wrapped around his
“No, I think it is more like they have him wrapped around their
little fingers. I always believed he would make a great father, and
this just proves it.” Dixie joined in the laughter at one of
the faces Johnny made in telling his story. She realized that of all
the times she had come up to visit on this floor, this was the first
time she had seen some of these children smile let alone laugh. Johnny
was good for these kids and from what she could see; Samantha and Stephen
were good for Johnny.
Johnny looked up when he heard the sweet sound of Amy and Dixie laughing
with the children. Seeing Dixie, he was suddenly afraid something had
gone wrong with Angeline. Not wanting to frighten his twins, he looked
at Dixie with a worried question in his eyes.
“Well, it looks to me like you are all having a good time. I
just thought I would stop up and see how these beautiful little angels
were doing.” Dixie had seen the pain in Johnny’s eyes and
walked over to kneel down next to Samantha and Stephen.
“Miss McCall?” Samantha had been introduced to the nurse
when she and her mother had been brought into Emergency.
“Yes, honey.” Dixie held the little girl’s hand.
“Is my mommy ok?” Samantha knew that Dixie would be the
person who could tell her, her brother, and her father how her mother
“Well, she is still in surgery, but they are finishing up right
now. Everything went very well and she will be taken to recovery in
about fifteen minutes. In about an hour and a half they will take her
to a special room where they can take care of her until she wakes up.
When they take her there, we will try to sneak you and your dad down
to see her.” Dixie knew that Johnny was listening to every word
and needed the reassurance as much as his son and daughter did.
“Will--- will--- will that man be there? If he is, I don’t
want to go down there and I don’t want my brother or daddy to
go either.” Samantha knew that somehow the man they had been
living with for her entire life was responsible for what had happened
to all of them.
“No, honey, we will make sure he doesn’t even know you,
your brother, and your daddy are there.” Dixie’s heart
broke at the fear in Samantha’s eyes. It was mirrored in Stephen’s
eyes. No child should be that afraid of anyone let alone someone who
was supposed to take care of them and love them.
“Good, because he is a very mean, bad man—he hurt me and
mommy and Stephen and I want us to live with my daddy.” Samantha
threw her arms around Johnny’s neck and hung on for dear life.
“Don’t worry, honey, we are going to make sure that bad
man will never hurt any of you again and you will come and live with
me.” Johnny held his daughter and vowed he would see that Dr.
Houts would pay for trying to kill his wife, son and daughter.
Dixie gave Stephen, Samantha and Johnny a hug before she went back
downstairs to finish out her shift.
Dr. Houts took a deep breath before opening the doors to the hospital.
He had wondered if he had left any clues that would tie him to the
fire. He had been careful, but hadn’t planned on the fire being
found and put out before it had fully destroyed everything he had wanted
destroyed. But now not only had Angeline survived, the firemen had
found the kerosene lamp he had used. He knew that they could tell by
where it was found that it had been placed there intentionally. He
hadn’t stayed around to see if they could tell the doors to the
room Samantha, Stephen and Angeline had been in had been locked from
the outside with thee padlocks so they could get not out. The windows
had been barred from the outside, too. He hadn’t thought about
what they had said about the kids being upstairs in the bedroom. If
he had, he might have been suspicious of what was going on.
He had raised those brats for five and a half years and had finally
had enough when their mother had gotten a back bone and not let him
have his way with the little girl. She had threatened to leave him
and go to the authorities, so he had locked them in the bedroom and
started the place on fire and then drove away. He had figured that
after the appropriate grieving time, he would move to another state
and start all over again.
But right now he had to get Angeline out of this hospital before she
could say anything to anyone. Without the brats, maybe they would be
able to start over. If not, well accidents do happen. He could always
say he had been in town having breakfast with his good friend. He knew
that Joe hated the redskins as much as he did and would gladly give
him an alibi. After all, he had been the one that had given the doctor
the idea of how to get rid of his “problem”.
Because he was lost in thought, Dr. Houts did not see the two men
who had fallen in step behind him as he headed down the hall to find
someone who could tell him about Angeline. He stopped at the information
desk to see if she was out of surgery and into a room yet. He didn’t
know how he was going to do it, but he was going to get her out of
this hospital today.
Vince had learned how to take blood pressures, temperatures, pulses,
and respirations so that his cover would work. He was actually enjoying
helping out in the ER as he saw the determined Dr. Houts marching towards
the elevators. Getting Dr. Brackett’s attention, the two men
followed the plain clothes policemen who were dressed as orderlies
who were making their way to the ICU floor. When the two plain clothes
officer’s joined him in the elevator, Dr. Houts just nodded an
acknowledgement. The other two orderlies that had joined the group
at Dr. Brackett’s bidding, Dr. Brackett and Vince took another
elevator so they wouldn’t arouse Dr. Houts’ suspicions.
As the two elevators reached the ICU floor and the men all exited,
Dr. Brackett looked at Dr. Houts and saw the determination, hatred
and—was it fear?—in his face. The knot in Dr. Brackett’s
stomach tightened as he saw the man head towards Angeline’s room.
Looking quickly down the hall, Dr. Brackett saw the security outside
of Angeline’s room and knew Dr. Houts would not be allowed in
and knew that there would definitely be some trouble. But he knew that
everyone was prepared for it.
Dr. Houts arrived at Angeline’s room ready to make sure he could
get her out of the hospital sooner rather than later. His plan was
to check on her condition and then determine the best course of action
to remove her from the hospital. Even if it was just moving her from
this hospital to another one, he would get her away from his brother.
If he transferred her to the hospital closer to where they had lived,
he knew he could control the amount of information that was given out.
He would also be able to thwart his brother’s investigation,
of that he was 100% sure.
The security men outside of Angeline’s room had seen the doors
to the elevators open and watched at the man they knew was at the heart
of the investigation walk down the hall. Both men prepared themselves
for the confrontation they knew was coming. As Dr. Houts reached the
room, they stood shoulder to shoulder in front of it to prevent him
“My name is Dr. Houts and the patient in this room is my wife.
I would like to visit her, please.” Dr. Houts had to work hard
at keeping his panic and his anger in check. He was panicked to think
that Angeline might have already told them something to have the security
in front of her door. The anger was from them not allowing him to enter
“I am sorry, sir. This patient is not allowed any visitors without
checking with her physician first.” Jim Sanderson could tell
the man standing in front of them was desperate. His years of experience
as a police detective had taught him to read when someone was angry
or fearful and this man was definite both.
“But I am sure her doctor will give his permission for me to
see her. I am her husband and I demand to be allowed to enter her room” Dr.
Houts knew things were beginning to unravel.
“Ask the nurses at the desk to check with her doctor for permission.
If he gives it, we will gladly allow you admittance.” Eric Stevenson
had only been a police officer for five years and had just become a
detective. But having been partnered with Jim Sanderson, he, too, was
learning how to read the emotions of someone standing in front of them.
The ding of the elevator arriving drew the attention of all the men.
As Chief Houts, Detective Watson, two police officers, and the arson
investigator stepped off the two elevators that had arrived Dr. Houts
knew he was in trouble. Not wanting to let on that he knew they were
probably there to arrest him, he calmly looked around for a way to
escape. Before he could make a move, however, the two security men
moved in behind him and the two undercover men posing as orderlies
flanked him on either side as he came face to face with his brother
and Detective Watson.
“Dr. Houts, you are under arrest for the attempted murder of
John, Angeline, Stephen and Samantha Gage and the kidnapping of Angeline,
Stephen and Samantha Gage.” Detective Watson had waited six years
to get the doctor.
“What are you talking about?” Dr. Houts had been caught
off guard when he said attempted murder of Johnny, Stephen and Samantha.
But he had the presence of mind not to call attention to the statement
about Johnny just yet. “Stephen and Samantha died in the fire
that injured Angeline. I didn’t kidnap them. When John Gage died,
I took Angeline in and helped her raise her children.”
“But the fire was purposely set and the door to the room where
they were all found was padlocked from the outside with three locks.
The windows had bars on them so they could not get out that way.” Detective
Watson watched as the doctor lost a little color in his face.
“I was with my friend having a meeting and lunch from 9 a.m.
until I arrived back at my home to find out my house had burned down.” He
hoped he would get to Joe before the detectives did so they could get
their stories straight.
“What is your friend’s name and where did meeting take
place so we can verify your story?” Detective Watson could almost
see the wheels turning in Dr. Houts’ head as he tried to come
up with an alibi.
“Joe Samuels at his office on Sepevula.” He had to get
to a phone and quickly.
Before anything was said, the elevator door opened again. Dixie had
gone upstairs to get Gil, Johnny, Stephen and Samantha to bring them
down at the Detective’s sign. He wanted to see Dr. Houts’ reaction
to seeing the three alive. When Dr. Houts had started giving his alibi,
the Detective had motioned to the nurse to call upstairs and have them
The look on Dr. Houts’ face was filled with anger. “You
are supposed to be dead. I took care of you six years ago. You are
nothing but a no-good piece of redskin trash.” He hated Johnny
only because he was a half-breed. “And those brats were supposed
to have died in the fire.”
Gil and Amy took the two very frightened kids and stayed close to
the elevator as the events unfolded. Johnny headed towards the man
who had treated his family so badly. Chief Houts step up beside him
and put his hand on Johnny’s arm. Johnny looked at him and slowed
down. He would leave any consequences to the police standing in front
“Dr. Houts, you will also be charged with sexual and physical
abuse of Angeline, Stephen and Samantha Gage.” Detective Watson
watched as two policemen walked up to Dr. Houts. One took out his handcuffs
and the other started reading the doctor his rights.
The anger had built up enough that the doctor was rooted to one spot
and did not put up a fight as he was handcuffed behind his back. “You
all should be dead. I knew I should have made sure you were dead six
years ago and should had used more than the kerosene lamp at the house.
I don’t know how they got there before the fire killed them but
you all should be dead.” He was beyond caring that he had just
admitted to the charges of attempted murder leveled against him. “I
put up with those stupid brats for five and a half years. I had hoped
I could get Angeline to agree to an abortion when I took her away from
that stupid reservation. But she wouldn’t agree to one. We wouldn’t
be here today, except she wouldn’t let me at that those little
brats. She wouldn’t let me treat them the only way they deserve
to be treated. You all should be dead.”
As the police officers led Dr. Houts away, Gil and Dixie brought the
twins over to their father. Johnny reached over to pull one twin into
each of his arms. As Dr. Houts started yelling as he was led away about
the stupid redskin trash, Johnny turned and walked into his wife’s
room. The door closed on the events transpiring in the hallway as the
family was reunited.
Roy and Charlie had just brought in three patients from a major MVA
they had been called to. They were curious why Dixie, Dr. Brackett
and Dr. Early were no where to be found in the Emergency department,
but didn’t have time to find out when the elevator door opened
and the two police officers led Dr. Houts out. He was still ranting
and raving that the stupid redskins and Angeline should be dead. The
second elevator opened and Chief Houts, Detective Watson and the three
medical personnel exited the elevator. As Chief Houts and Detective
Watson followed the trio that had just passed, Dixie, Joe Early and
Kel Brackett stopped beside the two paramedics that were standing by
the nurses’ desk.
“Looks like something exciting has been going on around here.” Roy
wondered where Johnny and Gil were.
“You could say that.” Dixie knew the men standing beside
them cared about the family upstairs.
Gil had taken the stairs down to the Emergency department. He need
some time to absorb everything that had transpired over the last few
hours. He had planned on calling the station to tell them it was over
and that Dr. Houts was in custody. Finding the two paramedics standing
at the nurses’ desk the smile on his face grew. “Hey, guys,
come and meet my sister, niece and nephew.” Having the two men
at the hospital would make it easier to explain what had happened.
The three men took the elevator and headed back upstairs.
Johnny and Gil had both taken the following week off to get Johnny’s
ranch ready for his family to move it. The twins had spent three days
in the hospital because they were a little undernourished and dehydrated.
The other five men of Station 51’s A-shift as well as Charlie
Dwyer all spent their days off also helping to get the twin’s
rooms ready. Their families were a part of the planning, too. When
the twins were ready to come home, their rooms were perfect for a little
girl and a little boy.
As Joanne DeSoto, Beth Stoker and Marie Stanley watched the twins
explore their new rooms, their hearts broke. Both children were in
awe and kept asking if it was really for them. They said that in their
old rooms, all they had was a bed to sleep in and no toys.
Johnny gone out and made sure both children had new clothes, toys,
books and anything else he could think of that five-and-a-half year
olds would need. As he watched his kids, his love grew even stronger.
Two weeks after her surgery, Angeline was released from Rampart. Joanne,
Beth and Marie had shared the responsibility of taking care of the
twins when Johnny worked the week between him going back to work and
Angeline coming home. They planned to share the responsibility of helping
Angeline now that she was home until she was back on her feet. But
today they were having a welcoming party for the newest members of
the Station 51 A-Shift family.
Johnny stood on the deck watching as the twins played with the other
children and Angeline talked with the wives of the other men. Chief
Houts had just left after coming to try to apologize to Johnny again
for what his brother had done. Dr. Houts was sentenced to life in prison
without parole for kidnapping and four counts of attempted murder.
Chief Houts had done some investigating of what really happened when
his parents “handled” each of the problems that had arisen
in their childhood with his brother. He finally learned that his brother
had been diagnosed with schizophrenia but was never really treated
for it. They had taken him to a psychiatrist, but Chief Houts found
out that he was a quack and of Native American heritage. He had used
some treatments that had made his brother hate Indians with a passion.
Johnny reassured the Chief that none of it was his fault and that everything
was going to be ok.
“They fit right in, don’t they?” Roy walked up
beside his “brother” to try and get his mind off the Chief’s
“Yeah, they do. I just can’t believe I really have a family.” Johnny
was still trying to let it all sink in.
“I know you have always wanted one. I am so happy for you. They
are wonderful.” Roy put his hand on Johnny’s shoulder.
“Thanks. They are wonderful. Let’s go join them. I have
five-and-a-half years to make up for.” Johnny’s heart was
light and full of love as he practically ran down the stairs and right
into the middle of the group of kids becoming one of them.
The adults all stopped and watched as the squeals from the kids rang
through the air and Johnny’s laughter joined the squeals.
“He is just as wonderful as I remember.” Angeline watched
her family with contentment and a happiness she had not felt in six
“Yeah, he is.” Dixie was as happy as everyone else that
Johnny and his family had found each other and knew that they had gained
three new members to an already great family.
Today was the twins’ high school graduation day. Johnny stood
watching as they came down the stairs in their caps and gowns. He thought
back to the day they had entered his life and thank the Lord that they
had found each other and for the blessings He had given them. The triplets
followed their brother and sister down the stairs with their younger
brother and sister following the triplets. Johnny’s heart was
bursting with pride as Angeline followed their brood down the stairs.
His life was complete. He was looking forward to the future and what
it would bring.
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