In Another's Shoes
by Christy Kulp
NOTE: This story takes place shortly after the last aired episode of "1-Adam-12". I felt that the arguments between Jean and Jim were not going to be solved just because she came to the award dinner. - CK
Officer Jim Reed found it hard to keep the laughter out of his voice as he keyed the radio. "This is 1-Adam-12, we have located the stolen vehicle at 1650 West Ahearn Drive. Code 6 at the scene."
Malloy parked the black and white police car on the curb and exited the vehicle. After adjusting his hat and sheathing his nightstick he walked toward the vehicle parked at an odd angle, half on the lawn and half in the driveway. He was aware of his partner coming up behind him.
Pete leaned in the open window of the black and white police car parked on the lawn and reached over to flip off the still flashing overhead red lights. "Woods and Wells will be glad to see this again."
Jim was still trying to keep an amused smile off of his face, unsuccessfully. "I'm just glad it's not ours that was stolen."
"Tell me about it," smiled Pete. He nodded toward the door of the house. "Shall we go see if he's home?"
Jim bowed to Pete and swept his arm in front of him. "Lead the way, partner."
Cautiously Pete approached the front door and rang the doorbell. Jim hung just far enough back that he could cover Pete if the suspect did anything unexpected. After ringing the doorbell and knocking at least ten times, Pete was beginning to think no one was home. Just as he was about to give up he heard a voice cursing in the house. Finally the porch light flipped on, the door slowly opened and a short pudgy man answered.
"Yessss?" The man leaned on the door heavily.
Pete shook his head as he took in the man. He was only wearing boxer shorts, and his breath stank of alcohol. "Sir, we need to speak with you a moment."
The man worked very hard at focusing his eyes on Pete. "Ohhhhh,….. of cuurse Ocifur, come on in." The man stumbled as he opened the door wide enough to allow Pete and Jim to enter his house.
Pete reached out to steady the man. "Sir, are you aware of what is parked in your driveway?"
The man drunkenly nodded at the officers. "My car, sssilly." The man stumbled to his door and leaned out to look at his driveway. He stared for a second and then his eyes opened wide in surprise. "Ocifur, I want to report a stolen vehicle. That's not my car."
Jim rolled his eyes as the man turned back towards them. "Sir, we have your car. We would like our car back."
"Ohhh," the man hiccuped. "You police work fast. Sure you can have your car back. I wonder how that got there?"
Pete tried hard to be nice to the man; it was obvious he was too drunk to know what he had done. "Sir, could you please put on some clothes? We're going to have to take you to the station for questioning."
"Ohhh, suuure." The man stumbled to his bedroom. Jim followed to make sure the suspect didn't bolt, and soon the two reappeared. This time the drunken man came back dressed in a pair of dirty blue jeans and a greasy T-shirt.
Jim shook his head and looked at Pete as he handcuffed the man to escort him to the police car. "Are you going to drive their car back or shall I?"
Pete smiled and handed Jim the keys to Adam-12. "Be my guest, partner."
"I see, stick me with the drunk. You're so kind, Pete."
Malloy smiled as he exited the house and headed for the stolen police car in the driveway. "Just keep in mind all these favors I do for you and we should get along just fine, kid."
"1-Adam-12, clear." Jim leaned forward and replaced the radio mic but couldn't keep back a chuckle.
Pete glanced at him as they pulled out of the station parking lot. "So did they say how it happened?"
Jim smiled back. "Woods swears that he never saw the guy until it was too late. They pulled over to break up this argument outside the bar and when they turned around their car was gone. A witness saw Mr. Feiston get in and drive off. A case of mistaken identity; I guess the guy was too drunk to realize it wasn't his car."
Pete laughed. "Reed, remind me to keep the keys with me the next time we both leave the car."
"You bet. It will take forever for those two to live this one down." Jim settled back in his seat and returned his attention to watching the city pass by.
Pete was still laughing. "I can't wait to tell Judy. She'll love this one."
"Yeah," was Jim's only response. He continued to stare out the window. After a few minutes he looked at his watch and then sighed.
Pete couldn't help but notice the change in his partner's demeanor. He was no longer laughing at their fellow officers' misfortune and had fallen back into the funk he had been wallowing in the entire shift. "How much time do we have left?"
"What… oh… one hour."
"Eager to get home, huh."
Pete looked at his partner again. "All right, what gives? This is usually the part where you're gushing about how much you love being married and painting bathrooms and how I should ask Judy so I can be as happy. What's been eating at you?"
"You don't sound so eager to get home, but you keep checking your watch every five minutes."
"I don't want to be late getting home again, that's all. I'm tired of cold dinners and cold stares." Jim tried to concentrate on the scenery but couldn't stop himself from checking his watch again.
"You and Jean are still arguing? I thought things were getting better. I mean, she did come to the Medal of Honor dinner and all."
"Well, things have been better, sort of. I don't want to talk about it, Pete."
"Okay, okay. I'm not the best guy at giving marriage advice anyway." Pete concentrated on the road ahead and gave his moody partner some room. He tried, but the silence in the car was deafening.
"Have you thought about talking to a marriage counselor?"
"Malloy!" Jim gave him an angry scowl. "I don't think that would do any good."
"Sorry, just trying to be helpful."
"When I need your help, I'll ask." Jim returned his eyes to the darkness. He kept up the silent stare for a few more minutes. He sighed, looked at his watch then turned back to Pete. "Sorry, I guess my temper is a little edgy right now. I didn't mean to yell at you."
"Apology accepted. Are you sure you don't want to talk?"
Reed leaned back in his seat. "I don't know what it is with us right now. Every little thing sets us off. I can remember when us arguing was a rare event, but now it's a nightly occurrence. She is really having a hard time getting over you being shot and me risking my life to save you. After the award dinner she said she'd be more understanding, but I can still hear it in her head. She's tired of me being a cop. I don't know how to get through to her."
"Are you still thinking of taking the detective exam?"
"I don't know if it that would make her happy. Detectives get into trouble sometimes too. The way she's feeling, she probably won't be happy until I leave the police force altogether."
"What about Dispatch or evidence?"
Jim rolled his eyes. "Please. Do you want me to leave patrol duty, too?"
Pete glanced at Jim. "Are you kidding? No way. Without you there to save my bacon, Judy would have me riding a desk right next to you." Pete's attempt at humor fell flat. Jim didn't even crack a smile. "I don't know what to tell you, Jim."
Before Jim could respond, the radio came alive. "1-Adam-12, 415-domestic dispute, 214 Ellison Way. Handle code 2."
Jim leaned forward and grasped the mike. "1-Adam-12, roger."
Pete turned the car around and headed for the address.
Jim glanced at his watch as they sped toward their call. "I hope this doesn't take longer than thirty minutes."
One hour and twenty minutes later Jim sighed as he tried to stretch his cramped legs. Kneeling behind a police car with a shotgun pointed at a dark house was not his idea of an enjoyable ending to a shift. He heard Pete move beside him. "I wonder what the hold up is?"
"These things take time," whispered Pete. "One wrong move and he'll blow them all away."
"How can a father hold a gun to his wife and children? What could drive a man to that?"
Pete glanced at Jim. "If we knew that we wouldn't be here, now would we? Shhh."
After a few more silent moments they heard the sound of someone approaching their position. Watch Sergeant MacDonald pulled up next to them. "We have his sister on the way. Hopefully she can talk him down. Any movement?"
Pete shook his head. "None. It's been real quiet."
"Hang in there, you two." The sergeant moved away.
The minutes seemed to tick by like hours. Soon another police car pulled up and the officers escorted a middle-aged woman over near Jim and Pete. Sergeant MacDonald pulled out his bullhorn and addressed the house. "Vernon, we have you sister here. She would like to talk to you."
The woman anxiously took the bullhorn and spoke in a shaky voice. "Vern, please listen to me. Let Lillith and the children go. Nothing is worth this. Come talk to me about this. Let me help you."
The curtain moved and a shotgun barrel appeared in the window. A shot rang out into the night. Marge screamed as MacDonald pulled her down safe behind cover.
"That's my answer," Vernon yelled from the window. "I'm not going to listen to your devil words, Marge. The world's not worth living in. I'm going to save us all from the evil."
Jim and Pete glanced at each other. They both knew this man was not going to give up easily.
Neither was his sister. Again she tried to reason with her brother. "Vern, I know you're upset about losing your job, but it's not the end of the world. You can find work again. Please don't give up on us like this."
The shotgun barrel reappeared in the window. "What would you know about my problems? You live in that nice big house with all your fancy things. You never seemed to care about me before now."
Jim watched the drama unfolding before him. He suddenly noticed shadows moving on each side of the house. Slowly the shadows took the shape of the men from the police SWAT team. He tapped Pete on the shoulder and pointed.
Pete nodded his head, indicating he saw them. They both braced themselves for what was going to come next.
One of the shadows reached up and grasped the barrel of the shotgun and yanked on it. Vernon was pulled halfway out of the window before he relinquished his hold and disappeared back inside. The other shadow burst through the door and disappeared in the house. Now yelling and screaming could be heard from inside.
Jim and Pete left their positions behind the cruiser and rushed the house. They were halfway across the lawn when a frantic woman and two crying children burst out of the front door and ran straight for them. Jim put his arm around the mother and guided her toward the safety of the police car. Pete took control of the two children and soon joined his partner.
The woman cried and clung to both of her children. "It's over, babies. It's over." Marge came over and hugged the ragged group, trying to comfort them all.
Soon the SWAT team came out of the house with Vernon in handcuffs. They led him to a waiting police car and shoved him in.
Jim and Pete stood watching the scene as MacDonald walked up to them. "Good job, you two. Why don't you head back to the station and start on your report."
"Sure thing." Pete turned toward the car but noticed that Jim was still staring at the distraught family. He reached over and tapped Jim on the shoulder. "You heard the man, the sooner we get started on that report the sooner we can go home."
Jim sighed and sat in the car. He glanced at his watch and then looked at Pete, as the car lurched forward. "Will you do me a favor?"
"Sure partner, what?"
"Will you come to my funeral? Jean's going to kill me for being late again."
Pete glanced at Jim trying to figure out if he was kidding or not. "Don't you think you're being a little dramatic?"
Jim sighed as he stared out into the darkness. "I wish I was."
Jim pulled his car into the driveway of his house. The front porch light was on but all the other windows were dark. He steeled himself for entering his own home. Maybe she's already asleep and I can avoid talking to her. He put his key in the door and walked in.
He flipped on the front hallway light, but there was no sigh of Jean. With a relieved sigh he turned off the porch light and headed for the kitchen. Sitting on the table was a sandwich and a note saying there was piece of pie waiting in the fridge. He smiled and headed for the pie and a glass of milk.
He had just begun to eat his sandwich when he heard the unmistakable swish of her robe and the sound of her slippers hitting the linoleum kitchen floor. Then the overhead light was flipped on. "Late again?"
Jim smiled and stood up to hug her. She did not hug back. "I'm sorry, but we got tied up with a call right at the end of the shift." He looked down into her eyes.
Jean only glanced at him and then broke out of his grasp. "Well, I suppose I should just be glad that you came home. Did you find the pie?"
"Yes. What's that supposed to mean?"
Jean walked over to the counter and retrieved a piece of paper to hand him. "Some wives have husbands who cheat on them with other women; I have one who cheats on me with his job. Your sister called."
Jim took the piece of paper out of her hand but didn't look at it. "Cheat on you? What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Jean pulled her long blonde hair out of her face and glared at Jim. "Simple--you get more pleasure out of waving that gun around then you do being with your family. If you cared about Jimmy and I, you'd be here with us and not out saving a bunch of strangers."
"I can't just leave in the middle of a call and come home to you when ever I want, Jean." Jim raised his voice a little louder than he intended.
"Don't yell, Jimmy's sleeping."
Jim tried to control his anger as he looked at the cold stare coming from his wife. He lowered his voice a notch. "Jean, I am a little tired of this. I spent a long hard day at work dealing with thieves, arguing couples and lawbreakers. Today I helped stop a father from blowing his own family away. The last thing I need is a wife who starts on me the minute I get home. Why don't you give me a break?"
"I'll give you a break when I get one. You are over two hours late! You didn't even call me this time!" Despite her warning to Jim, Jean was now raising her voice.
"I figured you and Jimmy would be in bed. Besides I knew you'd just yell at me. You've been doing a lot of that lately. What's gotten into you?"
"What's gotten into me? I sit around the house all day waiting on you to come home, wondering if you're even going to come home. Sometimes I wonder why I bother cooking and cleaning for you, if all you're going to do it go off and get yourself killed."
"Jean, I am not going to get myself killed if I can prevent it. You're being a little ridiculous. My job is just like anyone else's. You worry way too much."
"Oh, I suppose wondering how to pay the bills and raise a son by myself is just piddly stuff compared to what you see every day. I'm sure my suffering pales in comparison to the crap other people have to deal with. Maybe if I was on dope you'd care more about what happens to me."
Jim stepped forward and yanked Jean toward him angrily. "Stop making light of my job. You have no idea what I have to go through every day. There isn't a minute of the day where I don't think about you and Jimmy and how lucky I am to have such a caring and understanding wife. At least I used to. Now I'm beginning to wonder."
Jean's anger turned to pleading. She grabbed Jim by the shoulders. "Jim, you have no idea how I worry about you. Please, give up being a cop. I love you too much to lose you. I don't know how much longer I can take it!"
Now it was Jim's turn to break the contact. He pushed Jean away. "I will not quit my job just because you are getting all emotional. I'm a police officer and you'd better get used to it."
Jean leaned on the chair by the table. "James Reed, you don't care about me or your son!"
"That's not true and you know it, Jean." Jim angrily stabbed his finger in her face.
In a fit of rage, Jean grabbed the plate with the piece of pie on it, and threw it at Jim. He easily dogged it. "Jean, stop that!"
She picked up his sandwich and threw that at him too. "I'm not your wife anymore. I'm just your cook and maid. Well, I'm not going to wait around to become your widow."
In shock at the barrage by his wife, Jim flinched as the lettuce, tomato and ham hit him square in the chest. He had never been so angry with her in all his life. Before he realized what he was doing he raised his hand, poised to slap her.
Before he could complete the move the small voice of a five-year-old boy spoke up. "Mommy, Daddy, please don't be mad."
Jim stopped and hurriedly turned toward the kitchen door. His voice caught in his throat as he looked at the frightened child standing there clinging to his favorite blanket. Suddenly Jim realized what he had been about to do and in front of his own son. He froze in fear and looked at Jean. "My God, what is happening to us?"
Embarrassed that she had lost control of her temper Jean tried to hold back the tears that were brimming in her eyes. "Honey, I…I…shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry." Then Jean turned toward the boy and knelt down in front of him. "We're sorry, sweetie. We didn't mean to wake you."
"Is Daddy mad at me?" Jimmy couldn't hold back his tears.
"What?" Jim moved next to Jean and picked the boy up in his arms. "Why would I be mad at you, Tiger?" He tried to smile as he wiped the tears from little Jimmy's eyes.
"Mommy said you'd be mad if I played in the street again. I know I was bad. I'm sorry, Daddy."
"Well now, you know better than that." Jim tried to give Jimmy a stern but loving look. "Since you know you did wrong, I won't get mad, okay?" He gave his son a kiss on his forehead.
Jimmy reached his arms around Jim and gave him a big hug. "I luv you, Daddy."
"I love you too, Tiger." Jim returned his son's hug. "Why don't we go back to bed. Say good night to Mommy."
Jean reached up and kissed Jimmy on the cheek. "Good night, sweetie. Don't worry, no more being mad."
Jimmy smiled and waved at his Mom as Jim carried him out of the kitchen and back to his bedroom. Jim placed him back on his bed and pulled the covers up over the little boy. He felt his heart swell with love as he looked at the big blue eyes staring back at him. "Good night."
Silently he watched as the little boy cuddled up to his favorite blanket and fell asleep again. I wish I wasn't gone so much. When he was sure Jimmy was asleep, Jim headed back toward the kitchen.
He stopped at the door for a second as he listened to Jean. She was cleaning up the mess she had made, but she was also crying. For a moment Jim paused as he tried to collect himself. The realization that he had almost hit his wife left him shaken and uncertain. Perhaps he shouldn't go back in there. Hearing her cry, however, was breaking his heart because he knew he was the reason for her tears. Finally, he gathered his courage and walked in. He gently touched her shoulder as she tried to wipe the cherry sauce off the wall.
She dropped the sponge and spun around into Jim. She grabbed him and pulled him close. "I'm sorry, Jim. I have been too emotional about this. It's just that when you didn't call, I started imaging the worst. I didn't mean to throw your dinner at you. I'll make you another sandwich."
"No, don't bother. I'm not hungry." Jim felt his own tears threatening as he held her. "You have a right to be worried. I promise I'll call no matter how late it is. I don't want you to worry more than you have to."
"I love you, James Reed, just not your job." Jean buried her face in his shoulder.
He pulled her closer. "Jean, I love you more than anything." He stopped fighting the tears and let them fall.
"Dang, kid, if you don't watch it you'll get a gut like Malloy's."
Pete walked into the locker room just in time to hear Well's voice. It was obvious who the target of his comment was.
"Lay off, Wells. Reed is still a growing boy," Woods chimed in.
Pete approached the group to try and see for himself what the fuss was about.
Jim just rolled his eyes at the two and stuffed the last bite of his donut into his mouth. "I'm just going to pretend you two aren't standing there."
Pete jumped in before Wells could say anything else. "Nice try, partner, but Wells doesn't disappear that easily. Not nearly as easily as their car disappears, anyway."
At the reminder of the stolen cruiser, Wells immediately backed off. "Hey, it could have happened to anyone. Come on, Woods, let's not be late for roll call."
Pete couldn't keep the smug look off his face as the two walked away. He was still ahead of Wells. He looked again at his partner, who was putting the finishing touches on his uniform while eating another donut. Pete couldn't help but notice that a third donut still lay on the briefcase. "They're right, you know. You keep eating like this and you'll be as round as me."
Jim readjusted his tie. "Sorry, I'm just hungry and I didn't have time for any real food."
Pete headed for his locker to get changed. "What's wrong, doesn't Jean feed you any more?"
"You could say that," Jim replied in a voice so soft that Pete almost didn't hear it.
He stopped and turned back to face Jim. "Uh oh. Sounds like you had trouble last night."
Jim grabbed his last donut and his briefcase to head out the door. "You could say that. I ended up wearing dinner instead of eating it."
Pete hoped Jim would continue but instead his young partner took a bite out of his last donut, picked up the rest of his stuff and headed out the door. Pete stood there alone in the locker room watching the door close. Finally he turned back toward his locker. "Great, it's going to be a long shift today."
Jean pulled the station wagon into the driveway and sighed as she walked to the back to start unloading the groceries.
Little Jimmy came bouncing back to her. "Mommy, can I go play with the bunny?"
Jean loaded her arms with grocery sacks and smiled at her son. "Okay, but don't let him out of the cage. It might rain and I don't have time to catch him."
"Otay, I won't let him out." The little boy eagerly ran off to talk to his pet bunny rabbit.
As soon as Jimmy was gone another figure appeared next to Jean. The elderly woman who lived next door smiled at Jean as she bent over to grab a bag of groceries. "Mind if I help you?"
Jean had to smile back. "Oh, I won't complain. Thanks, Emma."
"My pleasure, dear." The two women carried the groceries into the kitchen where Jean began to put them away. Then she remembered her son and called out the back door, "Jimmy, come inside."
From the distance came an "Otay, Mommy." Soon the happy boy ran through the backdoor. He had something in his hands and hurried past his Mom towards his room.
Jean watched him breeze by. "Jimmy, that better not be an animal!"
Emma giggled as Jean rolled her eyes. "Don't worry, dear, it only gets worse as they get older."
"Thanks for the encouragement." Jean noticed that Emma was still hanging around to help put away the groceries. Emma had always been a helpful neighbor but even this was a little beyond the usual.
Finally Emma turned toward Jean with a purpose. "Jean, is everything okay with you and Jim?"
Jean was a little shocked at this question. "Yes, why do you ask?"
"Well," stated Emma as she moved closer to Jean. "I'm not trying to be nosy but you two were loud enough last night that I even thought about calling the police. Of course, I figured Jim would never forgive me if I did." Emma tried to smile warmly at Jean.
Jean could feel the red creeping up her face. She had no idea they had been that loud. "I'm sorry if we disturbed you. We'll be more careful next time."
"Dear, that's not what I'm worried about." Emma removed the jar of mayonnaise from Jean's hand and guided her over to the kitchen table. "I'm just worried about you, that's all. I know it's not easy being married to a man with Jim's job. Remember I went through it, too."
Jean looked up at Emma. "That's right. I forgot that Roger used to work for the fire department." Jean felt her emotions well up and she let herself go. "Oh Emma, I don't know how much longer I can take it."
Emma pulled Jean close and let her cry. "I know how you feel. We take a big gamble falling in love with men in dangerous jobs. I remember a time when I thought I couldn't handle it anymore, either. It was a very rocky time in our marriage. I almost left Roger."
Jean looked up through her tears. "Really? To be honest Emma, I've thought about that but I can't stand the thought of leaving him. I wish he would find something else to do."
"Jean, one thing I learned about Roger was that giving up fire fighting would mean giving up a part of himself. It was a hard lesson to learn but I finally realized how much it meant to him."
Jean stood up and began to pace around the room. "Why can't they give it up? Why is it more important than coming home to a family? Jim doesn't care about my feelings. He told me I was being too emotional about the whole thing. All I can think of is how much I worry every time he is even fifteen minutes late. Every time I hear a police siren I wonder if it's him and if the criminal has a gun. I haven't even told him about the nightmares I keep having about being at his funeral."
Emma watched the younger woman with understanding eyes. "I used to have the same nightmare. The flames would reach to the sky and then I would be standing there next to his grave holding his helmet, not even shedding a tear, as if it didn't matter to me that he was dead. It's normal to feel this way."
Jean slammed her fist on the counter. "I hate feeling this way. I just don't understand what is so important about being a cop that he is willing to risk everything. How did you make it Emma? Is there something I can do?"
Emma stood up and gently grasped Jean's hands. "I wish there was some magical formula I could tell you that would take the worry away. I never understood what drew Roger to fire fighting but I made the conscious decision to stick with him and support him. I knew he needed me there for him just as much as I needed him. It's a gamble. I won that gamble, but I had many friends that lost it. All I can tell you Jean is that you need to make a decision. If you are willing to accept the risk then stay, but if you cannot accept it, leave. Don't bet on him changing his job. Men can be stubborn that way."
"I'm scared. I don't know if I can do either one."
"Use your heart, dear, and give yourself some time." Emma reached over and handed Jean a tissue.
Jean smiled as she took it. "Gosh, just talking with you makes me feel a little better. Thanks Emma. I guess I'll just try to be strong."
Emma glanced out the window at the gathering clouds. "Well, I'd better get my laundry down before the rain comes. Hang in there, Jean. Remember that my door is always open when you need it. You don't have to go through this alone."
Jean gave Emma a brief hug before she went out the back door. She watched her neighbor return to clearing her clothesline. Jean had to admit her burden felt a little lighter after that talk. She would just have to stick with Jim for now and hope for the best.
The thought of her husband reminded her that little Jim had carried something mysterious into the house. Her mom instinct told her to go investigate. She walked down the hallway and found him in the bathroom looking into the sink with joy.
Jean put her hands on her hips and looked at her little boy. "James Reed Jr. where did you find a turtle?"
The big blue eyes looked up at her hopefully. "In the yard. Can I keep him?"
Jean had to smile. "We'll ask your father when he comes home. Now come help me in the kitchen."
Jim watched the coin flip in the air. "Tails."
Pete caught the quarter and slapped it on his wrist. "Heads. You lose again, partner."
Grumbling, Jim grabbed his ticket book and pulled his raincoat closer around him. "I swear, there has got to be a better way to decide who has to go out into the rain."
"This works fine for me." Pete gave Jim his smug look and waved bye as Jim shoved open the door.
It had started raining shortly after their dinner break and hadn't stopped since. This was no light rain either; it was raining hard enough to wash California into the ocean. Jim plodded through the mud puddles as he approached the stopped car in front of them. In the dark he couldn't judge how deep the potholes were and cursed when he stepped in one that was shin deep. "What's the use of wearing a rain coat if we don't get rain shoes?"
Finally he reached the car door. The woman inside rolled down her window and blinked her long lashes up at Jim. "Gee, I'm sorry, officer. What did I do?"
"You ran that stop sign back there, ma'am. May I see your license?" Jim shined his flashlight around the interior of the tan sedan and noticed a small boy sitting in the back seat staring at him.
"But Officer, there wasn't any oncoming traffic, I thought you only had to stop if there were cars coming." The lady clearly was trying to get out of the ticket.
Jim was not in the mood to be too polite. He was getting wetter by the minute as the wind blew the rain in his face. "I'm afraid not, ma'am. You're supposed to obey all road signs regardless of traffic. Your license please."
"Fine, if you have nothing better to do than harass women and children." She dug around in her purse and finally handed over the small card.
Trust me, lady, I can think of a million things I'd rather be doing. Jim took the paper and quickly scribbled out the ticket. He hoped that is was readable considering the rain and lack of proper light. "Sign here please, ma'am." He handed her the ticket book.
With a huff she signed it and shoved it back out the window, then held out her hand for her license back.
Jim gladly handed it to her but then felt he should at least try to be polite. "Drive safely, Mrs. Wooding, and remember not to drive through moving water."
"Yeah, thanks." The lady quickly rolled up her window, started her car and drove off before Jim could even start moving back towards the police cruiser.
He moved through the headlights and the driving rain, trying to avoid the pothole he had stepped in earlier. To his dismay he found one deeper and almost dropped his ticket book as he struggled to regain his balance. Finally he opened his door and plopped down in his seat with a sigh. "Boy, on days like this I think I'd rather be an insurance salesman. At least I would stay dry."
Pete smiled back at him. "Yeah, and the people would be friendlier, too." Malloy noticed the down look on his partner's face. "Hey, don't worry. I'll get the next one."
"Yeah. I promise."
"Good." With a small smile Jim leaned back. "Maybe I'll be dry by then."
Pete laughed and pulled the car back on the road. He watched as Jim took his shoes and socks off and tried to squeeze some of the excess water out of the socks. "Hey please, not in the car. We still have three hours to go on shift yet."
"Sorry, I hate having wet feet." Jim gave up trying to save his socks and put them back on.
"We could swing by the station?"
"Nah, I'd just get wet again." Finally Jim sat back and looked out the window.
A lull in the conversation hung in the air until Pete decided to take a chance. "So you argued with Jean again?"
"Yeah." That was all Jim volunteered. He had wanted to avoid talking about this subject as long as possible, even though he knew Pete would bring it up eventually. Actually he was surprised that his partner had waited this long.
"Did you make up?" Pete could tell that Jim was not in the mood to talk about this.
"Sort of." Jim shifted in his seat as he checked the car in front of him on the hot sheet. Not finding it he settled back again. "I almost hit her, Pete."
"What?" Malloy knew his partner had a temper when riled but this was a surprise even to him.
"I can't believe it myself. I'm getting scared. I see all those husbands who lose control, like Vernon, and can't help but wonder if I'll be like that someday. First it would start with a simple slap and the next thing you know I'm holding a load pistol and shooting at the police."
"Whoa, Jim. I think you're getting way ahead of yourself. I know you. You'd never let it get that far. You didn't hit her because you couldn't." Pete couldn't hide his concern now. Maybe he should stress the counseling idea again.
"I stopped myself just in time, but maybe next time I won't catch myself. I didn't realize what I was doing, I was so angry. Man, I just want the arguments to stop." Jim stared at the windshield wipers as they beat back and forth. "Why does she have to be so emotional about this? If she wouldn't worry so much there wouldn't be a problem."
Pete tried to think of something to help his partner, but when it came to women, it was not his strongest suit. "Women like to worry, it makes them feel like they're involved. Jim, she worries about you because she cares."
"I know, but…"
Jim didn't get the chance to finish his comment since the radio came to life. "All units in the vicinity of 1-Adam-12, a 211 in progress at 16805 Briarmeade. 1-Adam-12, handle code 3."
Without hesitation Pete flipped on the lights and sirens and sped toward their destination. He knew that it was an all night diner that had been robbed too frequently. The old man who owned the joint just couldn't get a break.
Jim kept his eyes open as they approached the restaurant. He spotted the dark dressed suspect fleeing from the front door. "Pete, he ran down the alley!"
"I see him." Pete slowed down and maneuvered the black and white as far as he could down the narrow passageway. When the headlights illuminated a bunch of trash cans in their way, Jim shoved open his door and took off after the suspect on foot.
Pete backed the car out of the alley and noticed Mr. Peabody stumbling toward the car. He stopped the vehicle when the elderly man leaned in the door.
"Malloy, it was that same punk who robbed me last time. I'm getting sick of this." Peabody shook his fist at Malloy as he tried to keep his other hand on the handkerchief held against the wound on his forehead.
"Mr. Peabody," Malloy knew he had to get back out and follow his partner. "We'll catch this guy. Stay here and wait for the back up units. My partner's in foot pursuit."
Understanding the urgency in Pete's voice, the proprietor backed away from the vehicle and allowed the police car to speed away.
Grabbing the mic Pete called in his situation. "This is 1-Adam-12. My partner is in foot pursuit of 211 suspect in the alleyway between Briarmeade and Pontway. The suspect is wearing a dark jacket, blue jeans, white tennis shoes and a red baseball cap."
"Roger, 1-Adam-12," the voice on the radio repeated his information.
Pete turned the corner and headed toward the other end of the alley. He reached it just in time to see the suspect and Jim, still wearing his bright yellow rain coat, running down the alley the next block over. Pete kept maneuvering his car trying to keep his partner in view. However, when he turned the next corner he realized that neither running figure was anywhere in sight. "Damn!"
Pete kept on the same track and methodically began searching every street for some sign of Jim.
Jim took off running through the driving rain after the man. He was determined to catch the robber this time, because Mr. Peabody had been through enough. Besides, he was not in a good mood tonight and a suspect was always a good target for relieving frustration. He actually found himself enjoying the chase as he easily kept the suspect in sight.
However, the man was just fast enough that Jim was not shortening the distance. They had run for over four blocks before the thief began to realize he was not going to lose the cop running, so he tried another tactic.
Jim realized almost too late that the man had pulled a gun. As he quickly ducked behind a corner he felt the wind of a passing bullet. He jerked his own weapon free and then took up the chase once again.
The suspect ran up to a large fence and quickly climbed over. He turned and fired another shot at Jim.
Again the bullet came way too close. Jim realized that his bright yellow raincoat made him an easy target. He was going to have to lose it if he intended on keeping up the pursuit. Reaching up he quickly stripped it off and then ran up to the fence. He stuffed it into the chain links as a clue to Pete where he was; then he scaled the fence and entered the warehouse yard after his man.
Jim could still hear the man running and when he rounded the corner of the main building he caught a glimpse of the red baseball cap. "Halt! Police!" he yelled, knowing it would do no good.
The suspect whirled around and again fired a quick shot but this time the bullet came nowhere close since the suspect wasn't sure where Jim was now.
Jim continued his pursuit, using the safety lights in the large yard to help spot his man. Finally he rounded a corner and found his suspect hiding behind a stack of boards. He was looking the wrong direction, no doubt still expecting Jim to be in his raincoat.
Jim snuck up behind him and stood there covering him with his weapon. "Police! Drop the gun!"
Hearing the voice behind him the thief whirled around and found himself staring at Jim's pistol. Obediently he dropped the gun and slowly lifted his hands above his head.
With the chase over, Jim allowed himself to relax a little. Unfortunately, he relaxed a little too soon.
The crook had only raised his hands halfway when suddenly he reached out and grabbed one of the two by fours on the stack next to him. He swung the end around and knocked Jim to the ground and then the man in the baseball cap took off running again.
Cursing under his breath for his carelessness Jim struggled to his feet, ignoring his muddy condition. Since the criminal no longer had his weapon, Jim quickly reholstered his and again took up the chase.
Jim was really angry now and put a little more speed in his step. The criminal was running across a large parking lot in the compound, heading toward the fence on the other end.
Sensing that Jim was gaining ground on him the criminal frantically flew over the fence. He ran across the road, slogged through an overflowing drainage ditch and started running through the park.
With a leap Jim hit the top of the fence and easily swung over. He landed on his feet with cat-like grace and darted across the road. He quickly waded through the drainage ditch and then put on a burst of speed as he sprinted toward his suspect.
Fifty yards later he launched himself at the running man and with a tackle that would have made his football coach proud brought the suspect to a halt. For a brief moment they struggled in the grass, but Jim's experience won out and soon he was kneeling on his suspect's back and applying the handcuffs.
"You picked the wrong night to challenge me to a foot race, pal." Jim finally dragged the young man to his feet.
"I know my rights," whined the thief. "I ain't sayin' nothing."
"Good. Now start walking." Jim shoved the criminal forward. He was breathing heavy after the long chase but he felt exhilarated. Not only had he physically beat the man in the chase but he was getting another piece of trash off of the streets of Los Angeles. This was the part of the job he loved. That feeling that he was really doing some good by being here. It wasn't the tickets or the power trip that turned him on to being a cop; it was the desire to truly make the world a safer place for his family and friends.
They reached the drainage ditch but this time they had the chance to think about it. Jim realized that they had both been foolish to barge through the moving water. However, if they hoped to reach the street again, they were going to have to repeat that feat.
The criminal balked when Jim tried to coax him into the water. "Man, are you crazy? If I fall I'll drown."
"I've got you. Don't worry, I'll make sure you serve your time behind bars." Jim grasped the suspect's arm firmly and forced him into the deep, swift moving water.
Slowly the two moved into the water until they were waist deep. At the slower pace they could feel the mighty pull of the water as it rushed toward the already overrun sewer system. Suddenly a piece of debris shot through the water as if it were a torpedo and struck the leg of the suspect. He slipped and fell, disappearing in the torrent.
Jim kept a tight grip on the arm but found that he too was knocked off of balance. He let go of the prisoner momentarily to try and regain his balance, but the water sucked him under too.
Quickly Jim struggled to regain his footing on the muddy bottom of the culvert. He kept moving his feet and finally managed to stand up again. Panicked he looked around for his charge and finally saw him struggling to keep his head above water, which wasn't easy considering his hands were cuffed behind his back.
Jim leaped toward him and grabbed the man under his armpits. Using his strength he pulled the man's head out of the water and struggled with all of his might to drag them both on to the shore of the ditch. An agonizing minute later both of them were lying on the road trying to cough the water out of their lungs.
"See, I told you you'd be safe." Jim flashed his charming smile at the criminal.
The man just glared back as Jim again pulled him to his feet and ordered him to start walking.
As they walked the long way around the fenced-in warehouse compound Jim had a chance to reflect on his condition. One of the things he hated about foot chases was that it was very easy to lose track of how far you ran and the distance always seemed twice as far walking as it did running. Before he had been oblivious to the driving rain. Now as the wind whipped around he was very aware of the fact that every inch of him was completely soaked and that his uniform was covered in mud. The rain was trickling down his back, sending shivers through him. He couldn't wait to get in the police cruiser and crank up the heat.
After what seemed like an eternity, Jim and his charge rounded the far corner of the compound and spotted two black and white police cruisers ahead. They were parked by the gate and the officers were looking at Jim's yellow raincoat stuffed in it. One of the officers was about to jump the fence, when Pete noticed Jim coming.
They waited patiently as the pair approached. Jim unceremoniously shoved the suspect at Pete. "I swear this is the first time I've ever been on a chase that involved swimming."
Pete laughed as he took charge of the suspect. He noticed the bedraggled condition of his partner. "Mighty Jim Reed. You chase suspects on bike, foot and water. You should try out for the iron man competition."
"Right now I just want some dry clothes." Jim sat in the cruiser, slammed his door shut and cranked the heater on full blast.
Pete guided the suspect into the back seat and then looked at Jim who was crouched by the heater like it was a fire. "I hate to spoil your drying off, but shouldn't you be sitting in the back with our suspect?"
Jim rolled his eyes as he exited the car, into the rain again and then sat in the back next to his capture. "Pete, the next one is really yours."
Pete laughed as he headed the cruiser toward the station. But when he looked in the rearview mirror at the two drowned men in the back seat he couldn't help but feel a little concern. They both looked terrible and Jim was cold enough that he seemed to be shivering. "Are you okay, partner?"
Jim rubbed his hands together as he tried to warm himself up. "Yes, could you please hurry. I've discovered that the only thing worse than wet socks is wet underwear."
"Roger that." Pete pressed down on the accelerator.
An hour later, dressed in a dry uniform and with a blanket still draped around his shoulders, Jim finished the last line of his report. He slid it over to Pete to double check. "Done." Suddenly he sneezed. "Sorry."
"Bless you." Pete looked over the report, shaking his head. "Drowning in a four foot ditch would have been a hard one to explain."
"Yeah, well it felt as big as a swimming pool when crossing it." Jim finally gathered the blanket to return it to the supply closet. He glanced at his watch. "Let's get it turned in and back on the streets."
Sighing Pete stood up and looked at his watch too. "Forty-five minutes. Too much time to stall at the station, but barely enough time to get to our beat and back."
"I know." Jim stretched and gingerly rotated the shoulder where he had been hit with the board.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"It's just a bruise. Stop worrying. The sooner we get going the sooner our shift will be over." Jim finished putting his blanket away and headed toward the garage.
"You have strange logic, partner." Pete slipped the reports into the proper tray and followed Jim out the door.
Luckily, the last part of their shift was spent quietly making one last sweep through their territory. They were actually going to get off work on time.
Jim rushed to his locker and speed changed into his civilian clothes. "See ya, Pete." He slammed his door shut and turned to hurry out of the locker room but had to pause to sneeze again, several times. "Dang, I hope I'm not catching a cold."
Trying to stay out of his partner's dust, Pete just hung back and grinned at the young man. "Stay dry on the way home."
Jim waved goodbye and eagerly climbed in his car. This time he would not have to face the wrath of Jean because he was late. With a smile on his lips he barged through the door. "Lucy, I'm home."
A small boy in pajamas burst into the room. "Daddy!!"
Holding out his hands as if fielding a ground ball, Jim swept his son up into the air. "What are you doing up?"
Jean came into the room and flashed a 'mommy's mad' look at Jimmy. "Someone had too long of a nap this afternoon and is still wired. Jim, you're home already?"
Jim tucked the boy under his arm and began swinging Jimmy around the room like an airplane as he moved toward Jean. He stopped long enough to give her a quick kiss and then sent the boy spinning again. "Yep, with all this rain the Coast Guard took over and relieved us all."
Jean smiled as she reached out to snag the giggling boy. "Enough. We'll never get him to bed now."
Grinning Jim planted another kiss on his wife and moved into the kitchen. "Any more of that pie?"
Struggling to control the squirming five-year-old in her arms, Jean waddled into the kitchen. "One piece left. I saved it for you. Do you want a sandwich?"
After digging in the refrigerator for a few minutes he emerged triumphant with the piece of pie and turned to retrieve a fork. He took a bite before he bothered to answer. "No thanks, hon. Pete and I actually got to eat all of our dinner."
"Did you manage to stay dry? Jimmy, will you settle down!" Jean tried to keep her eager son away from Jim while he ate.
Upon hearing her husband's answer she rolled her eyes. "Okay, how many uniforms do I have to clean this time?"
"Just one." Jim tried to innocently eat his pie.
Jean analyzed his response. "Uh huh." She allowed Jimmy to run to his father and stare wantonly at the desert. She stood up to go look in the bag Jim had carried his dirty uniform home in.
Jim noticed his son's begging stare. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had an entire piece all to himself. Cutting off a small piece, he pulled his son up on his lap and offered him a bite. "You're going to have to brush your teeth again."
This didn't stop little Jimmy from eagerly chomping down the offered piece.
"James Reed," Jean was now standing in the kitchen doorway holding his filthy uniform up for him to see. "What in the world did you do, wrestle a pig?"
"Very funny." Jim rolled his eyes as he listened to Jean chuckling at her own joke on the way to the laundry room.
"More, Daddy." Jimmy was tugging at his sleeve.
Jim stabbed the last big bite with his fork and stuffed it in his mouth. "Sorry kid," he mumbled. "All gone."
Picking up the boy, Jim slung him over one shoulder. "Come on, let's go brush our teeth and go to bed."
"Aww," Jimmy tried to pout as he was carried to the bathroom.
Jim put the boy down and prepared to turn on the water, except he realized that a turtle was living in the sink. "Is this yours?" he asked his son.
Jimmy stood on his tiptoes and looked into the sink with glee. "Mommy said I could keep him. Do you like him Daddy?"
Jean appeared in the doorway. "I said you could ask Daddy if you can keep him." She glanced at Jim making it clear that he was to respond no.
"I tell you what, Tiger," Jim picked up the little box turtle and deposited him in the bathtub. "We'll keep him but we'll find a place in the backyard where he can live tomorrow." He winked at his wife as he picked up the toothbrushes and toothpaste.
"Yeah!" Jimmy jumped up and down.
After getting Jimmy to brush his teeth, Jim eagerly marched his son to his room and tucked him into bed. "Good night, kid." He ruffled the small head of hair and gave Jimmy a quick kiss.
Jean watched from the doorway enjoying the moment.
"'Night, Daddy." Jimmy reached up with his little arms and gave Jim a big hug.
Jim smiled but then had to turn his head as he felt a sneeze coming on. He felt more coming so he quickly gave his son one last pat on the head and hurried out of the room. Just as he closed the door behind him he erupted two more times.
Holding out a tissue, Jean looked at him with concern. "You're not catching a cold, are you?"
"Who me?" Jim gave her his best 'I'm innocent' smile. "What makes you think that?"
Having witnessed Jim's getting sick process too many times she knew better. "All right, that means it's your bedtime, too." She shoved her husband toward their room.
Sliding his arm behind her, he pulled her up next to him. "Oh no, not the bed torture."
Jean giggled but when Jim sneezed again she knew that nothing romantic was going to happen tonight. "We'll see how you feel tomorrow."
The rain continued to fall, but Jean ignored every drop as it pelted her hat. She was aware of all the people standing around but her eyes just stared straight ahead into nothing. Not even the squirming of the boy next to her registered as she looked at the water drip off of the polished wood.
A priest said some wonderful words that tried to comfort the grief of those congregated but they were meaningless to her. Countless hands gently touched her but who they were she couldn't say. Somewhere a bagpipe played a mournful tune.
The neatly folded flag of the United States was thrust towards her. Pete Malloy's voice came to her ears. "I'm sorry, Jean."
Numbly she took the offering and turned to hand it to Jimmy. The boy clung to it as if he understood that this was the closet he would get to his father for a long time.
Not one tear fell down her face as she walked away. The love of her life was gone and she could not shed one drop. What was wrong with her?
With a start Jean sat up in her bed and tried to reorient herself. It took an agonizing minute to remember that it was just a dream and that her husband was actually sound asleep next to her.
Her heart was still pounding in her chest as she watched his chest slowly rise and fall. Gently she slid out of bed and then readjusted the covers around him. Judging by the light trying to get through the dark curtains, it was time to get up anyway.
A single tear slid down her cheek as she gently reached out to wipe a stray strand of his dark brown hair off of his forehead. She leaned over and planted a gentle kiss on his head. Making sure she did not wake him, she dressed and left the room.
She quietly moved down the hall and slowly cracked the door to Jimmy's room. He too was still sleeping peacefully.
Knowing she was alone she made her way to the kitchen, started the coffee and collapsed at the table to finally allow the rest of her tears to flow. She couldn't help but fight the feeling again that her nightmare may someday be reality.
After relieving her emotions, Jean started her day. After dropping Jimmy off at the kindergarten she ran some errands and kept busy with some house cleaning. Shortly before lunch she picked up Jimmy and spent the early afternoon trying to keep Jimmy quiet so Jim could sleep. It was obvious her husband was very tired so she wanted to make sure he got the rest he needed.
Finally Jimmy disappeared into the bathroom to play with his turtle. Jean made use of the quiet time to work on the bills. The moment lasted longer than normal, when she happened to glance at the clock she realized it was three in the afternoon and Jim was still asleep. "Oh no." She jumped up and ran to the room to wake him up.
He finally stirred after several vigorous shakes. "Jim, what time to do you have to be at work today?"
Jim moaned and rolled over on his stomach, not wanting to face the day. "Four," he mumbled.
"In that case you'd better hurry, sweetheart. I'm sorry I forgot to wake you up." Jean pulled back the blankets as an incentive to get up.
Jim glanced at the clock. "Oh man." He leaped out of bed and headed for the shower.
Jean tried to ignore the large bruise on his shoulder as he quickly dried off and reached for the clothes she had just laid out. "Do you want me to fix you something you can eat real quick?"
Jim struggled into his pants and nodded his head. "Make it something I can take in the car with me. I hope the traffic cooperates. I don't want to be late."
Jean hurried to the kitchen and threw together a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She made a mental note to buy some lunchmeat the next time she was at the store.
Grabbing the first sandwich Jim took a bite. Being the father of a five-year old, he was not surprised at his breakfast. He planted a peanut butter flavored kiss on his wife's lips. "See you later tonight."
"Bye, honey." Jean took a close look at his face, noticing that he looked tired and a little pale. Of course, that could be because he had just woken up. She followed him into the living room where he was grabbing his jacket. "Jimmy, come say good-bye to Daddy."
From out of nowhere burst the little boy who eagerly ran to his father. "Bye, Daddy."
Jim reached down and gave him a hug. "Be a good boy. Sorry I didn't spend any time with you today, but I'll make it up tomorrow."
"Otay." Jimmy smiled. "Say good-bye to Terrance too." He held up the little turtle.
Jim smiled and patted the turtle on its shell. "Bye, Terrance." He flashed Jean an amused smile and then disappeared out the door.
Jean watched him go and the same feeling she always felt returned. Every time that door closed she had the brief fear that she had seen the last of him. She whispered a little prayer that he would come home safe tonight.
With an effort she forced herself to put that thought into the back of her mind and then turned to face the little boy. "James Reed Junior, you put Terrance back where he belongs this instant."
She shoved him toward the backyard, "Don't ahh Mom me."
Jim tried to ignore MacDonald's pointed stare as he slid into the room in the middle of the briefing. Quickly he made his way to the seat that had been left vacant next to Pete.
"Cutting it close, partner," Pete leaned over and whispered in his ear.
"Overslept," was the excuse Jim replied with.
Pete just nodded and returned his attention back to the briefing.
Jim tried to orient himself to what was being said. Of course it wasn't easy since he had missed the beginning but he knew his partner would fill him in.
When Mac was finished the officers filed out of the room. Jim hoped that he would be able to slip out without a reprimand but he wasn't that lucky.
"Reed," Mac gave him that stern supervisor stare. "You do know what time roll call is?"
"Yes, sir." Jim sheepishly looked at his sergeant. "I overslept. It won't happen again."
Mac stared hard at Jim for a moment. "Okay, just don't let it become a habit. I suppose we all do it once or twice. Hit the streets."
Glad to be getting off light, Jim hurried down the hall to catch up with Pete. Suddenly he remembered something he had forgotten. "Hey Pete, I'll meet you at the car."
"Okay," Pete shook his head as he watched his partner hurry off on some odd errand. He made his way to the car.
Soon Jim reappeared with something white in his hands. He quickly deposited his helmet bag and briefcase in the trunk and then took his seat. After securing the shotgun he finally sat the white object down next to him on the seat.
Pete just stared at it. "Why did you steal a roll of toilet paper?"
Jim was about to answer when he sneezed. He pulled a length off the roll, blew his nose and sheepishly looked at Pete. "Sorry, I think I'm catching a cold."
"More like it already caught you, partner." Pete backed the car out of the lot. It looked like he had another interesting shift ahead.
Jim sighed as he quickly rubbed his already raw nose with a handful of tissue, trying in vain to keep his nose from dripping. "Ma'am, I'm afraid 'he was a hippie' does not qualify as a description." Quickly losing his patience, Jim tried to deal with the elderly lady in front of him.
The petite woman indignantly waved her cane at Jim. "I'm telling you that thief looked just like all them hippies do. What more do you want to know?"
"Ma'am, what color was his hair, his eyes, what was he wearing, how long was his hair? We can't just pick up every quote 'hippie' in LA and ask if he has your purse." Again he wiped his nose with the soaked tissue.
"Humph, well, his hair was long and brown. I didn't care to look into his eyes. He had on them funny looking pants that sailors wear and one of them flower type shirts. Who ever heard of a man wearing a shirt with flowers?" She eyed Jim critically. "I'd give you a hanky put I kept them in my purse."
"Thanks anyway, ma'am. Here, I need you to sign this report. A detective will also be by to speak with you." Jim now tried to cover up a cough as he handed over the report book.
"What good will that do? I hope you plan on seeing a doctor, young man!" The woman quickly signed the page and returned the book.
Jim cleared his throat as he tried to answer her. "Uhh, most purse snatchers are repeat offenders and we'll try to match up this suspect with other incidents and hopefully catch him that way. The detectives are the ones who handle that."
Finally Pete approached the pair and leaned over, placing his hands on his knees momentarily to catch his breath.
"I suppose he got away." The woman directed a disapproving stare at Pete.
"Don't worry ma'am." Pete gasped out. "I got a good look at him and I think we've picked up this guy before. I'm sure this won't be our last opportunity at him."
"It better not be." The lady prepared to walk away but cast one more motherly glance at Jim. "You be sure to take care of that cold, young man."
Jim rolled his eyes at the lecture from this strange lady. "I'll be fine, ma'am."
"Humph, men." With that the old lady slowly made her way back the way she had come.
Jim turned back to the car. After putting his nightstick away, he sat down and leaned forward to rest his forehead on the dashboard. The cold leather felt good against his warm skin. Another coughing fit took control of him. With a heavy sigh he leaned back in his seat. "Sorry, Pete."
Pete had been watching Jim all evening. At first it had started with just occasionally blowing his nose and a cough here and there but now Jim was almost constantly emptying his nose and the coughs were more frequent, not to mention that now his face was flushed and looked feverish.
"Hey, in your condition there was no way you were going to catch that guy." Maybe we can do this the easy way, Pete thought. "Are you feeling okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine." Jim blew his nose again and another tissue joined the growing pile at his feet.
"Uh huh," Pete started the car and headed for a particular destination.
Jim looked out the window blankly staring at the city. Finally he noticed that they were no longer patrolling their territory. "Hey, where are you going?"
"Back to the station." Pete picked up the radio mic. "This is 1-Adam-12. Show us code 6 at the station." A few minutes later Pete pulled into the parking lot.
"Why are we coming here?" asked Jim as he followed Pete into the building.
"For back-up," was all Pete said as he headed straight for Mac's office.
Jim stopped outside suddenly realizing what Pete was doing. "Hey, Pete I'm fine. I'll make it through the shift. I don't want you to have to finish it by yourself."
Pete stopped before knocking and gave his partner a matter of fact look. "Jim, I'm already practically doing this shift by myself." He turned and knocked on the door.
A pouting look came to Jim's face and he decided not to enter. To his dismay Mac came out and crossed his arms while examining Jim. "You're right, Pete. Jim, go home."
"But Mac…" Jim hated missing work for any reason.
"Jim, don't argue. Trust me you look like you could use some rest. We'll be fine without you." Mac gave his young officer a comforting pat on the shoulder and then returned to his office.
Standing there with a victorious look on his face, Pete gestured toward the locker room. "Let's get you changed and then I'll drive you home."
Grudgingly Jim trudged toward his locker. It would be nice to lie down and try to get rid of the pounding in his head. "Are you sure, Pete?"
"Listen Jim, you look terrible. You're having trouble staying alert, you can't breath and a cop who goes around waving a white hanky everywhere is not helping. Trust me, I'll be fine. You just go home and get better, okay."
"Fine." Resigned, Jim changed his clothes. He gathered his things and followed Pete to the police car. He sat down and tried to fight the heavy weight of his eyelids.
After what seemed like only a minute later, he felt Pete gently shaking his shoulder. "Hey partner, we're here."
Jim slowly climbed out of the car and leaned on it for a second as a dizzy spell washed over him. He noticed the door open and a very worried Jean coming out. She must have been scared to see a police car pull into the driveway at this time of night.
She hurried to his side. Reaching up to check his temperature, she put her arm around him. "Oh, I was afraid this was going to happen. Thanks for bringing him home Pete."
Malloy moved to Jim's other side and helped escort him into the house. "He was fine at the beginning of shift but I think it all caught up with him at once." They maneuvered Jim down the hall and helped him lie back on the bed.
"Take it easy, partner. I'll see you later." Pete hesitated as he looked at Jim. He looked even worse now then just an hour before.
Jim sat up as Jean tried to coax him out of his clothes. "I'm sorry, Pete. I'll try to make it up to ya."
Pete just laughed and shook his head. "You will be sorry if I catch it. Hey, don't hurry back--I could use the break. Bye, Jean."
Jim was too tired to think of a good comeback at the moment so he let his partner disappear out the door. Within minutes he was covered up in the blankets and trying to concentrate on falling asleep.
To his dismay, a few minutes later, Jean was rousting him to take his temperature and to give him some medicine. Finally after the mini-torture session was over she tucked him in again. "Get some rest, sweetie." She lightly kissed him on his forehead.
Jim looked up at her. He noticed the concern in her eyes, but also saw the smile on her face. "Are you enjoying my suffering?"
"No, it's not that, dear. I know you aren't feeling well, but this means that for a few days you will be safe here at home with me. That makes me happy." Jean kissed him again.
Jim just shook his head and closed his eyes. Relief from the heat and pounding on his head came when Jean placed a damp cloth on his forehead. Soon he was able to slip into the dark nothingness of sleep.
Late morning the next day Jean sighed as she watched Jim toss and turn in the bed. He had slept only fitfully during the night. His fever and cough only seemed to get worse. It was clear to her that she had one very sick husband on her hands.
She had already called the police station and left a message for Sergeant MacDonald that Jim definitely would not be at work today. Her next phone call had been to Doctor Brown who agreed to make a house call in the afternoon.
"Jim, please try to drink at least some of it." Jean gently lifted Jim's head and put the cup to his lips.
After taking a sip, Jim made a sour face and lay back down. "Yuck, I hate tea."
"Well, it's either tea or water. I'll pick some 7-Up at the store this afternoon." She tried again to get her husband to drink some of the tea. After he refused again, she gave up and placed the cup back on the stand.
A painful round of coughing took over. When he was done, Jim grabbed Jean's pillow that was lying next to him on the bed. He covered his face with it and groaned. "Just kill me now!"
Jean tried to hide an amused smile as she removed the pillow and then proceeded to tuck it behind him to prop him up a little further. "Don't be such a baby. I already have one five year-old, I don't need another."
Jim gave his wife a reproachful look; he noticed the smile playing at the corner of her lips. "You are enjoying this!"
"Nonsense." Jean leaned over and kissed him. The warmth of his skin worried her but she felt confident that he would be fine in a few days.
Suddenly the frantic voice of a little boy came ringing through the hall. "Mommy! Mommy!"
Jimmy pushed open the door and came running into the room in tears. Jean met him halfway across the room and picked him up to comfort him. "Jimmy, didn't I tell you we need to be quiet so Daddy can get better?"
Jimmy nodded his head as he tried to control his tears. "But Terrance is gone!"
"Oh dear." Jean looked back at Jim. "I'll be back soon, sweetie."
Jim just moaned as she disappeared out the door. Not only was it terrible to be stuck at home feeling miserable, but it also meant he couldn't play with his son. It brought a whole new meaning to the phrase 'so close yet so far away'.
Jean led the little boy into the kitchen. "Turtles like to move around, Jimmy. Don't worry, you'll get another chance to see him when he wanders back around."
The little boy wasn't convinced. His little lips started to quiver again and that look came to his face. Mom knew that if she didn't find a way to distract his little mind she'd have a tantrum on her hands. Glancing at the clock she saw the solution to her problem.
"Look, Jimmy. It's lunchtime. What do you want?" Jean watched her son think about the question.
The trick worked as his short attention span went from turtle to insisting on macaroni and cheese for lunch. "Daddy might want some too!" Jimmy jumped up and down as Jean pulled the cheese out of the fridge.
Jean smiled, "Why don't I make you macaroni and cheese and chicken soup for your Dad. I think he'll like that better."
Jean hovered in the background, unable to hide her concern as she watched Dr. Brown examine her husband.
Jim didn't seem to appreciate the thermometer in his mouth or the cold stethoscope on his chest either.
Dr. Brown finished with a few more checks and then stopped to write in his book for a moment. After recording Jim's temperature and other information he closed the book and stood to look at Jean. "Well, Jean, he is a very sick person right now. His temperature is running a little high and his lungs are very congested."
Jean nodded and watched as the doctor returned to his bag and dug out a small notebook.
The doctor kept speaking as he scribbled on the pad. "I'm going to give you a prescription that should help handle the infection." Dr. Brown ripped off the piece of paper and handed it to her. "Jean, if his fever goes any higher or doesn't go down in the next two days I highly encourage you to get him to the hospital. Keep a close eye on him. If he gets any worse don't hesitate to call me."
Jean accepted the piece of paper with writing that looked like to her a foreign language. "I'll get this filled today. Don't worry I'll keep a real close eye on him."
Dr. Brown finished gathering up his stuff and turned to address Jim. "Get plenty of rest, Jim. If not taken care of, you could risk pneumonia, so don't get in a hurry to get back to work."
Jim wearily nodded. "I just hope I have enough sick leave to cover this."
The doctor turned to leave the room. "Don't risk your health for a few dollars."
Jean escorted the doctor into the living room. "Don't worry, I'll make sure he gets plenty of rest. I really appreciate your coming here. I didn't want to try and drag him to an office."
Dr. Brown gave Jean a big smile. "That's what I get paid for. I don't mind house calls at all." The doctor cheerfully patted Jimmy on the head and then kneeled down to look at the concerned boy. "Do you think you can help your Mommy take care of Daddy for a few days?"
Jimmy nodded eagerly.
The doctor smiled and pulled a lollipop out of his coat pocket. "That's a good little man." With a last wave the doctor disappeared out of the door.
Jean just shook her head as Jimmy eagerly started sucking on the lollipop, and wrote herself a mental note to get him a dentist appointment. She walked into the kitchen and picked up the phone to call her neighbor. "Emma, this is Jean… Yes the doctor just left and I have to go get his prescription filled. I was hoping you would do me a favor…Great, could you watch the Jims while I go to the pharmacy…Thanks, see you in a few minutes."
Jean placed the prescription in her purse and walked into the bedroom. Jim was trying to get back to sleep but a violent coughing fit was making that difficult. She smiled and poured him a glass of water and waited on him to stop coughing. "Here, honey."
Jim accepted the glass and then gave his wife a sad look. "This is not how I want to spend my days home. I think my head is going to fall off."
Taking back the empty glass Jean just smiled and tried to make him more comfortable. "Honey, I'm going to go run a few errands. Emma is going to be here if you need anything. I promise I won't be long." She reached down and gave Jim a quick kiss.
"Okay," he laid back and closed his eyes for a moment. "Hey Jean, I just remembered, today is payday. Can you stop by the station and pick up my check?"
"Sure, sweetheart. I'll take it by the bank so I can make the house payment." Just then the doorbell rang and they could hear Jimmy's excited yell as he ran to answer it. "That must be Emma. Don't worry I won't be long."
With a heavy sigh Jim rolled over. "I'm not going anywhere."
Jean quietly left the room and greeted Emma at the door. "Thanks for coming over at such a short notice."
Emma smiled in a motherly fashion. "Anytime, dear. I'm happy to baby-sit big and little Jim."
Jean grabbed her car keys and purse. "Jimmy, you be good for Mrs. Waverly." She reached down and gave her son a quick kiss. "I promise I'll be home in time for dinner. I'm going to the station to get Jim's paycheck, get his prescription filled and stop by the bank. Dr. Brown's number is on the fridge if you need it."
"Don't worry. I'm experienced at this, remember." Emma gave Jean a friendly shove towards the door. "They'll be fine."
With a final wave Jean disappeared out the door. Emma turned to Jimmy and placed her hands on her hips happy to play grandmother for a little while. "What do we want to do first?"
Jimmy was excited to have her there and eagerly lead Emma to the kitchen where the finger paints were.
Jean ran into Pete as she walked out of Mac's office. "Hey Pete, how's it going?"
Pete smiled and tipped his hat with an exaggerated flourish. "Why, just wonderful, ma'am. How is my partner?"
"Not too good, I'm afraid. You're going to have to deal without him for a few days. The doctor did give me medicine for him. I'm on my way to go get it filled."
"Well," Pete said with a wink, "don't let him know that I'm doing just fine without him. Tell him that I think we'll manage to keep things under control until he gets back."
Jean smiled, "Thanks Pete, I'm sure that will help him get better faster than anything. He'll want to get here just so he can keep you under control."
Pete groaned, "Don't tell Judy I have a different partner. She's made me promise to always keep Jim close. It's like she thinks he's my keeper or something."
With a knowing look, Jean gently patted Pete on the shoulder, "Well until you come to your senses, Jim is your keeper." With that she turned to walk out the door.
"What do you mean come to my senses?" Pete looked at her disappearing form with a confused look as Woods laughed in passing.
Pete turned to Woods, "What did she mean by that?"
"Sorry, Pete," Woods quickly retreated. "I plead the fifth."
Jean looked at her watch again as she stood in line. Why they only had two tellers open at one of the busiest times was beyond her comprehension. Time seemed to be crawling as she waited to deposit Jim's check in their account. His medication was in her purse and she was eager to get it home to him. She sighed as the man ahead of her in line began protesting with the clerk. This was obviously going to take a while.
Trying not to get too impatient Jean looked around the room of the small bank. The bank employees were all busy at their desks and there were plenty of customers in the bank. She noticed one man standing over by the island filling out a form. There was someone else pacing nervously by the public restroom as if waiting for his turn to go. Her eyes continued to scan the room to stay occupied and she also noticed another man sitting on a chair in the lobby, just sitting as if he had nothing better to do.
The next line seemed to be moving faster and a young man with long shaggy sideburns and long sandy blond hair stepped up to the counter. He handed over his piece of paper to the lady and then to Jean's horror pulled out a gun. "I'd make it quick if I were you."
After that, all hell broke loose as the other people in the bank began to realize what was happening. The men by the restroom, island and in the lobby all stood and pulled weapons out from underneath their jackets. The one with long black hair pulled back into a ponytail unleashed one barrel of his shotgun. "Okay folks, everyone get to the center of the room and get down!"
The security guard standing by the entrance to the bank realized a second too late what was happening and reached for the weapon at his side. The man who had started the entire robbery quickly diverted his pistol toward the threat and fired. The guard dropped his weapon and clutched at the bullet wound in his chest.
One of the ladies screamed in fright as the men began to push everyone to the center of the floor. Jean was frozen for a moment when she suddenly felt something hard hit her shoulder. She turned and realized that the man standing in front of her in line was also involved and he was poking her with his pistol. "You too, blondie!"
Finally her feet began to move and Jean joined the huddled mass of people on the floor. Still in shock Jean watched almost numb as the man who had shot the security guard yelled at the crying teller to fill his bags with money. The other men were yelling at everyone to keep their heads down.
"What do you mean, this is all?" The horrifying voice of the sideburned robber echoed through the bank.
The frightened voice of the teller responded, "The rest was just locked up in the safe. The manager is the only one who can open it."
The sideburned robber waved his gun menacingly. "Get over there with the others."
The teller didn't hesitate as she ran around the corner of the counter and quickly lay down on the floor next to Jean. Without hesitation, Jean reached out her arm and comfortingly placed it around the young woman who was crying hysterically from fear.
"Where's the manager?" yelled the bank robber.
The bank fell silent as no one dared to answer. With very little patience the robber approached the group and repeated his question, but there was still no response. Tiring of the game the robber reached down and dragged an older gentleman in an expensive suit to his feet. "Are you the manager?"
The man stuttered, clearly frightened. "Y…Y…Y…es."
Roughly the robber dragged the manager towards the back of the bank where the vault was. "Then I suggest you open the vault and do it quick. I have no intention of being here when the fuzz arrive."
The man fumbled as he tried to comply with the order. Meanwhile the other robbers kept their guns pointed at the huddled mass on the floor. The one with the black ponytail kept looking out the window. "Ruddy, you better get them to hurry, man."
The robber with the manager shoved his pistol into the man. "Yeah, man, move like your life depends on it."
With shaking hands the manager dialed the combination. Once it was entered he reached over and pressed a button and waited. The red light over the safe was still on, indicating it was closed.
Ruddy was losing his patience again. "What is taking so long?!"
"I…i…it's…ti..ti…timed." The manager was pale and shaking in fear.
"What do you mean timed?!"
"I…I…I…can't open it for another fifteen minutes. It's a safety feature." The man cringed, as he knew this was not going to make the crook happy.
Ruddy let out a primal yell. "Fifteen fricking minutes! Ahh you're killing me man! What kind of nutty vault is this!!"
"Shoot, Ruddy." One of the criminals watching the people frustratingly lowered his weapon. "The cops will be here any minute!"
"Shut up, Ted! I'm running this show. Keep an eye on those people and shoot anyone who does something stupid." Ruddy then returned his attention to the bank manager. "If I were you dude, I'd figure out a way to make those fifteen minutes go by real fast like."
Ten minutes ticked by like an eternity as Jean lay on the floor with the fourteen other people in the bank. The only sound was the ticking of the clock and the groaning of the wounded security guard. Jean tried to maintain control of her emotions but at this moment all she could think about was getting back to Jim and Jimmy.
Suddenly another sound could be heard outside. Hope jumped up into Jean's heart as she realized there were police sirens surrounding the bank. With the police here, hopefully this nightmare would be over soon.
The criminals too realized what that sound meant. The black robber with an afro looked at Ruddy. "That's the fuzz man, we best jet before it's too late."
Ruddy stood there for a moment thinking. Before he could say anything a voice came from outside on a bullhorn. "This is the police. We have the bank surrounded. There is nowhere for you to go. Give yourself up and no one will get hurt!"
Jean recognized Pete Malloy's voice. Thank God help was here.
Ruddy waved for one of the other robbers to come watch the bank manager. Then he ran across the room and looked out the window at the police cars surrounding the building. He looked at his accomplices. "We're not giving up yet. This job took too long to plan." All of the other robbers nodded either out of fear or agreement.
Opening up the door Ruddy yelled out at the police. "We ain't leaving until we get what we came for. You fat donut-eating pigs don't scare us. We got a bunch of dead bodies in here if you don't do as we say. You pigs understand that!"
The criminal with the black ponytail joined his boss at the door and aimed his shotgun out the door and fired both rounds at the police. Then the two slammed the door shut and looked at each other. "Nice shooting Spence. Did you see those pigs run!"
Spence expelled the spent shotgun shells and reloaded his weapon with fresh cartridges from his pocket. He smiled as if he was relishing this game of cops and robbers.
Jean stared in horror as she realized that the nightmare was only just beginning, for they were now hostages with five trigger-happy bank robbers in control. She pulled the sobbing bank teller closer as she tried to control her own tears. Please God, let me see my husband and son again.
Slowly Jim made his way down the hallway towards the voices. He had to pause and breathe deeply to keep from falling over. Finally he made it to the edge of the hallway and looked into the living room. Sitting on the floor were Emma and Jimmy playing with a set of Lincoln logs. Jim stood there for a moment steeling himself for the trip to the easy chair, when suddenly Emma realized he was standing there.
She quickly approached him, "James Reed, what are you doing out of bed? Get back there this instant!"
Jim leaned on her a little more than he wanted but continued heading for his easy chair. "Emma, I can't sleep and I'm tired of being in that bed. Please, just help me over to the chair."
Knowing that she probably wasn't going to win the battle, Emma gently helped Jim settle down in his chair. She then retrieved a blanket and pillow for him and helped him get comfortable. "Fine, but I won't protect you when Jean comes home and sees you out of bed."
"Thanks, Emma, I'll pay the consequences." Jim smiled at Jimmy. "What are you building?"
Jimmy frowned at his father. "Why are you sick, Daddy?"
"I don't know, son. I guess God just wanted me to take it slow for a few days." Jim sighed as he wished he could be the one playing with his son. "Why don't you build me a house?"
"Sure!" Eagerly Jimmy began to construct a small house for his father.
Jim was feeling a little better now, since he was at least involved in what was happening in the house. Emma walked over and handed him some water to drink and a box of tissue. "Thanks, all the comforts of home from my easy chair."
Emma laughed. "Well don't get too comfortable, Jim. Colds do go away eventually."
Trying to convince himself he was better then he really felt, Jim lifted his glass as if toasting, "But I'll live like a king until then." The mood was broken when he started coughing again.
Emma laughed and rejoined Jimmy on the floor to help him build his log kingdom.
Finally Jim began to relax and his eyes began to droop as he watched Emma and Jimmy. Soon he fell asleep in his chair listening to their joyful laughter.
Jean still couldn't believe she was living this nightmare. Trying to comfort the hysterical teller was helping her maintain her sanity. She watched as a few of the robbers gathered for a conference.
The black man looked at his boss. "Ruddy, man, I'm not sure getting in a shootout with the fuzz is what we want."
"Lenny, I planned this robbery to the T. How was I supposed to know about the stupid vault?" Ruddy paced the floor trying to think. He kept glancing at the hostages. "We can still make this work. We have fifteen trump cards right here; all we have to do is use them right. For each demand they meet they get one person back alive but for each time they gyp us they get a dead body. Get it. They'll meet our demands to save their sorry little reputations."
Spence shouldered his shotgun and smiled. "Those crazy pigs don't know what they're up against. I'll take them out if they try anything stupid."
"Right." Ruddy was now taking charge again. "Neon, get over by the back and keep an eye out for the fuzz trying to sneak in the back. Spence, you keep an eye on the front. Ted and Lenny, you keep an eye on these hostages. Me and Mister Manager have some business to finish." Ruddy walked back over to the bank manager who was trying to disappear into the background.
The light over the safe was now green. With a yank Ruddy managed to open the vault and disappeared inside with the sacks. After a few minutes he tossed out several full bags on the counter. "Boys, we've got ourselves close to a million bucks. What did I tell ya?"
Ted smiled as he realized that they were close to getting all that money. "Groovy, dude, that will keep my girl flying high for a long time."
Spence walked back to the front. "Shoot, I sure ain't going to waste my money on some doped up chick."
"Yeah, what are you going to do with the money?" Ted wanted to know.
Suddenly one of the hostages slowly stood up. "What the hell are you doing?" Ted demanded as he walked forward and put his weapon in the man's gut.
The man cleared his throat. "Please, I'm a doctor. Let me help the security guard."
Ruddy called out from the vault, "What does that square want?"
Ted called over his shoulder, "He wants to help that stupid guard you shot."
Ruddy looked at the doctor and then at the groaning guard. Shaking his head the leader walked over to the guard and kicked him. "Are you still alive, huh?"
The guard could only moan in response. "Fine," declared Ruddy. He bent down and grabbed one arm of the guard and dragged him over in front of the doctor, leaving a trail of blood behind. "There, work away, dude." Ruddy deposited the guard in front of the doctor.
After glaring at Ruddy's back the doctor quickly approached the wounded guard and gently rolled him over. The doctor then set about doing what ever he could to help the wounded man.
Jean watched the doctor and realized that he could probably use some help. The young teller had stopped crying so Jean gave her one more reassuring pat and started moving towards the doctor.
Now Lenny approached her like she was crazy. "Lady, where do you think you're going?"
Jean couldn't believe she was doing this, but she knew that she couldn't just lie there and do nothing. "I'm going to help the doctor." Her voice didn't sound as brave as she wanted it to but she managed to keep it from trembling in fear.
Lenny just nodded and let her go. "I think that is plenty of help. All you other good Samaritans just stay put."
Relieved Jean quickly reached the doctor's side. "I don't know much, but I'd like to help."
"Are you a nurse?" He asked.
"No," Jean shook her head, "a housewife and mother to a five-year-old son and a five-year-old husband."
The doctor smiled. "You're taking a risk by helping me."
Jean took off the sweater she was wearing and used it to cover the guard. "I just couldn't sit there anymore."
"Well, thank you." The doctor finished placing a make-shift bandage over the wound. "By the way my name is Gerald Morgan."
"Jean Reed." The two shook hands and turned their attention to trying to keep the guard alive.
From outside Sergeant MacDonald's voice now came over the bullhorn. "Hey in there, this is the police."
"No shit Sherlock," mumbled Ruddy as he moved closer to the door.
Again came the eerie echo of the bullhorn. "We need to talk."
Spence shook his head as he glanced out of the windows of the bank. "Rude, I wouldn't go out there. They most likely got snipers all over the place." Spence then smiled and winked, "At least, that's what I would do."
Ruddy patted his friend on the back. "That's why I brought that military mind of yours, Spence." The sideburned criminal cracked open the door. "Well, you're going to have to come in here if you want to talk because I sure ain't coming anywhere close to your stinkin' pig pen."
Just then the phone sitting on the main desk rang. Ruddy turned and looked at it. Then with a determined stride he walked over and picked it up. With a singsong voice he answered, "Central Bank, how may I help you, pig!"
Ruddy listened for a while but then grew tired of the chatter. "No, you listen to me oinker. I have a whole bunch of people here. We want a large truck here and we want the police to back off or we start killing people. Trust me I got plenty of hostages to keep us here for a long time, so you best do what we want, dude. I want that truck!" With that he slammed the phone down.
Almost immediately the phone started ringing again. Ruddy picked it up, "I don't feel like talking to you anymore, pig. You've got thirty minutes before the first body comes rolling out that door." Ruddy slammed the phone down on the cradle and then yanked the phone line out of the wall. "I've always hated the phone." With that he hurled what was left of it across the room.
The rest of the bank robbers laughed as Ruddy destroyed the rest of the phones.
Jean looked at Dr. Morgan and they both knew what the other was thinking. Which one of the hostages would be killed first? Right now there was nothing they could do but wait and hope that the police came up with something.
Jean looked at the pale face of the guard lying on the floor of the bank and suddenly she saw Jim's face. Slowly the tears began to roll down her cheeks. This could easily be her own husband someday. The doctor, not really knowing why she was crying, put his arm around her and gently comforted her.