Fourth and Goal
StrongsouljahFor disclaimers: See Part 1
Johnnie was buttoning her shirt in her bedroom in Rock's Condo. She, Michael and Nadina went to the condo in order to freshen up before they went to The Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation. Old but nimble fingers finished the last button. After she rechecked her appearance she looked on her dresser at Alma's picture. She picked it up and ran her fingers across the photo and smiled, still feeling the love that they shared.
"I'm working on settling down our wild granddaughter so she'll know the happiness that we had," Johnnie said to her beloved wife's picture. "I'm going to meet our future granddaughter-in-law this morning. I just hope that…"
"Mama, who are you talking to?" Nadina asked as she stood at the bedroom door.
Johnnie turned and smiled at her, still holding the picture of Alma. "I was talking to your Mami, Little One."
"I didn't mean to interrupt, but I knocked and you didn't answer." Nadina walked over to her mother and held out her hand.
"You look so much like her," Johnnie said as she gave her daughter the photo. She then reached out and caressed Nadina's cheek.
"Mami was a much more beautiful woman than I am," Nadina said, looking at the picture. "Thanks for the compliment, though."
"C'mon, let's get a move on," Johnnie said as she took the picture from her daughter's hands. "We have a hawk to snare."
Caitlin sat with Bluto and Dora in the staff break room. It was a rarity that the three were able to take a break together.
"I'm glad that Attila isn't here today," Dora teased. "I didn't think I would ever get my patients settled down."
"I know just what you mean, Dora. I thought the plaster was gonna fall from the ceiling with all the yelling that was going on," Bluto added, teasing his good friend.
Caitlin blushed. "I tried to keep Attila contained, but that Calvin guy just wouldn't let me."
Dora moved to sit closer to Caitlin. She also knew of that devastating night five years ago. She studied her friend, not once seeing the naïve little girl from the mountains of Tennessee, but a confident young woman who could still manage to care about people.
"What? Do I have a booger in my nose?" Caitlin asked Dora when she caught her looking at her.
Dora was caught off guard, but managed to regain her composure when Caitlin and Bluto laughed. "Sorry, I was thinking about something."
Bluto was going to say something when he heard voices coming down the hallway. He stood up and walked over to the door, seeing the facility administrator along with three other people he didn't know. "Van Roekel is coming and he has some people with him."
"Who is it?" Caitlin asked.
"I don't know, but I'm gonna disappear before he gets here," Bluto said as he made his way to the door that lead to the west corridor. "They look like they could be potential clients. The old lady is using a cane. I don't wanna get stuck playing tour guide like I did last time," he said over his shoulder, making a hasty retreat.
"Shit," Dora hissed as she pushed Caitlin on to her side and climbed over the back of the sofa, taking the same route as Bluto.
Caitlin finally managed to get off the sofa and head for the door, but it was too late.
"Here is one of our PTs," Mr. Van Roekel said. "Caitlin O'Hara, I would like to introduce you to Ms. Johnnie Green, and her daughter and son-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell. They're considering our facility for Valeria Rockwell to do her rehab." He was barely able to contain the excitement in his voice.
Caitlin turned to see a stunningly beautiful woman, who looked almost identical to Rock, but her features were softer and her eyes were brown. She walked over to the group and shook hands with the visiting trio. When she looked into Mr. Rockwell's eyes, she saw the same ice blue eyes that bored through her at the football game. "It's a pleasure to meet all of you," she squeaked. Goddess, she's coming here?
Johnnie chuckled as Caitlin took her hand. So you're shy as well as sneaky, eh? She wanted to tease the young woman, but she could almost hear Alma's voice chastising her. Instead, she gave a warm and friendly smile.
Caitlin was surprised at the strong grip the older hand possessed. She readily returned the smile with one of her own.
"Shall we continue with the tour, folks?" Van Roekel asked.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, young lady," Johnnie said, unable to hide the merriment in her eyes.
"Likewise," Caitlin said. I wonder if she was flirting with me? Sorry, but you're just a tad older than I like my women. She watched as they made their way out of the lounge.
Nadina looked back at Caitlin and smiled. We'll see you later, daughter.
I wonder what that was all about, Caitlin thought.
"C'mon JB. Just take a little peek and see if anything is going on," Rock pleaded.
"There is no way in hell I'm gonna look down there," JB adamantly replied, as he shook his head and stepped back from the bed.
Rock tried to look as pitiful as she possibly could. "I'd do it for you."
"You wouldn't have to lift the sheet to see if my shit was hard," he said. "Besides, if Gram found out that I brought these nudie magazines in here she'd have my hide." He picked one up and started looking through it. "Why don't you just stick your hand down there and see if it comes back wet."
"I can't feel anything from the waist down, fucktard. How in the hell am I gonna know that I'm in the correct vicinity of my puss…"
"Don't say it!" JB quickly interrupted. "You know I hate it when you talk about your stuff like that." He paused. "Just watch where your hand goes."
"How the fuck do you expect me to do that with this big assed strap across my forehead?" She paused and tried to come up with a plan. "You know that good looking nurse that was in here just before you came in?"
"Yeah, what about her?"
Rock smirked. "Well, if my gaydar is correct, she's family. I bet she wouldn't mind helping me out."
"Lemme go see if I can find her," JB said.
He walked down the hall until he saw the pretty, young nurse that Rock had requested. "Excuse me, but Ms. Rockwell needs some assistance."
She smiled. "Certainly, I'll be right there."
"Thanks." JB smiled at her.
Kay, who had overheard everything stood up and walked around the desk. "Heather, it's almost time for your break. Go ahead, I'll see to Ms. Rockwell."
"Thanks Kay, you're the best. I really could use a break right now."
Kay watched the nurse walk toward the elevator. She turned and faced Rock's room. Oh, I heard about you last night, Miss Thang. I can help you with whatever you need. She had an evil gleam in her eyes as she walked toward her patient's room.
"Yeah, and if I'm not wet, then maybe she won't mind seeing if I can get wet." Rock said, then she and JB burst out in laughter.
"Ms. Rockwell, how may I be of assistance?" Kay sweetly asked.
The smile quickly vanished from Rock's face and so did some of the color. "Uhm, I didn't know you were working today, Ms. Miller," Rock said as she feigned innocence. She and that Sampson woman are in cahoots with Gram. I bet she'd just love to tell Gram what I was up to.
"Yes I'm working today, dear. So is Ms. Sampson," Kay informed her. She noticed the grimace that Rock's face briefly held. You thought you were gonna play slap and tickle, eh?
"I thought that Heather… I mean Ms. Cooper was my nurse today."
"She is dear," Kay said as she walked to the foot of Rock's bed, still smiling. "She looked so tired and I didn't know what you would need, so I told her to go to break early and that I would see to you."
"Gee, thanks," Rock said.
"So what is it you need, dear? Are you in pain, do you need some water, or perhaps a cool towel?
"Well I was gonna ask what time lunch was gonna come up. I'm kinda hungry."
You're lying. "Oh my, you have another two hours to go before lunch is served." Kay made a show of looking at her watch. "So, in order for you to eat as soon as the trays come up, I guess I should go ahead and turn you over."
"Hey, I have another fifteen minutes before it's time to flip me like a fucking flapjack," Rock protested.
JB shook his head. Oh shit, you're in trouble now.
"Such language," Kay admonished as she pressed the turn sequence. "I wonder what your grandmother would say?"
"This just isn't right," Rock whined. "I hate looking at the floor for two hours."
"Doctor's orders," Kay said, not one ounce of compassion was in her tone. She walked back to the head of Rock's bed. "Are you sure there isn't anything I can get you?"
"No thank you," Rock sarcastically said.
"Alrighty then, I'll see you in two hours," Kay gleefully announced as she walked out of the room. Once she closed the door she leaned against it. "That'll learn ya."
Johnnie, Nadina and Michael sat in the facility administrator's office.
"What do you think of our facility?" Mr. Van Roekel asked them.
"It's a very nice place. Not too large, not too small, just right to give our daughter what she needs," Michael said. "What do you think, darling?"
"I think it's a wonderful facility," Nadina said.
Van Roekel grinned from ear to ear. "Good, then it's settled. Shall we sign the papers?"
"Who will be my granddaughter's therapist?" Johnnie asked.
"Dora Cromwell will be her PT," he said quickly.
"Is she the best?" Johnnie asked.
No, but there is no way I'm gonna let O'Hara loose on your granddaughter. "Yes, she is," he lied; unaware that Johnnie had done her homework.
"Well, according to some of the patients as well as the therapists, they all say that the O'Hara woman we met earlier is the very best PT here," Johnnie informed him. Didn't know I had done a scouting mission, eh, pencil neck? "Is there a particular reason you aren't assigning her to my granddaughter?" Johnnie leaned forward and arched her eyebrow.
"Uhm, no. It's just that Ms. O'Hara's schedule is full."
"Maybe we should go to another facility." Nadina said as she rose from her seat, followed by Michael and then Johnnie.
"No!" Van Roekel leaped from his chair. "That won't be necessary. I'm sure that we can make some changes in her schedule so that we can accommodate you." He started sweating. "There is something that I must inform you about."
"What's that?" Michael asked.
He walked around his desk and sat on the edge of it. "Ms. O'Hara's methods are a little unconventional."
Johnnie laughed. "Well, I have an unconventional granddaughter."
"No, I don't think you understand. Ms. O'Hara has been known to get a little heavy-handed with some of our more, how shall I say, stubborn patients."
"Our Valeria is about as stubborn as they come," Nadina informed him and looked toward Johnnie and smiled. "She gets it from her grandmother."
Johnnie turned to look directly at her daughter. "Wait just a second, missy…"
"So, what we need is someone who isn't going to let her get away with anything," Michael quickly interjected.
"I see," Van Roekel said. He was very reluctant to assign this case to Caitlin. What happens if Attila gets lose? He sighed heavily. "Alright, O'Hara will be assigned to Ms. Rockwell." Heaven help us.
"Good. Now let's sign those papers," Nadina said.
"O'Hara, I need to speak with you for a moment," Van Roekel said as he came into the PT room.
Caitlin looked up. "I'll be with you in a moment. Mr. V." She finished up with the elderly woman she was working with then went over to Mr. Van Roekel. "What's up, chief?"
"Caitlin, I need a favor from you." He offered her a seat at the desk and smiled.
She sat down and looked at him curiously. "A favor? What kind of favor?"
"Caitlin, do you remember the people that I introduced you to today?"
"Yes," She replied nervously. Oh Goddess, he found out that I've been sneaking into Valeria's room. I bet I'm gonna get fired.
"Well, it seems that they are going to be bringing Ms. Rockwell here to complete her rehab."
Whew! "That's great Mr. V., but what does that have to do with me?"
His smiled widened. "The family has requested that you be her PT."
"What? Me?" She pointed to herself. "Why me?"
"They want the best for Ms. Rockwell, and you are the best we have."
Caitlin's palms began to sweat and she started feeling nauseous. "I don't think that I can do that, Mr. V. I have a tremendous caseload, and I don't know if I can devote the time a celebrity like her would most likely expect."
"Nonsense, Caitlin," he replied. "Ms. Rockwell won't be arriving here for a few weeks. Your load should be light by then, and I won't be assigning you any new patients."
"But sir, I'm not sure that I…"
He stood up and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Caitlin, I have every confidence that you will be able to help that young woman walk again. Besides, the family requested you."
"Because they've heard that you are the best PT we have here. I know that you will do just fine."
Caitlin sat with a stunned looked on her face. "I'll do my best, sir," she managed to whisper.
"Good, and there is one more thing."
Caitlin looked up at him. "What's that?"
"Can we not have another episode like we did yesterday? Do you think you will be able to keep Attila from surfacing around the Rockwell woman? It wouldn't be good for business."
"I'll do my best, sir," she said. When he walked away, she ran her fingers through her hair. What am I going to do now? She looked at her watch and saw it was almost lunchtime. She smiled broadly. Milli will know what to do. She's a shyster attorney. She'll be able to help me get out of this.
"Why do you have to show your ass every chance you get?" Johnnie yelled at her granddaughter, livid because Nurse Miller told her of Rock's behavior earlier.
Rock sighed as she looked at the floor. "I was only fooling around, Gram. I didn't mean any harm." Oh man, she is pissed.
Johnnie then turned her attention to JB. "And you, bringing those girlie magazines just to get her stirred up. I should whup your ass for that."
"Please Gram, Rock was nervous about her condition. She just wanted to be sure she'd be able to, you know, function when the time came," JB said.
"You planning on fucking today, Squirt?" Johnnie demanded.
JB gasped at the tone and language Johnnie used, so he made his way out of Rock's room. Rock swallowed audibly as she watched her best friend leave her on her own. JB, you big chicken shit! "No, Gram. I was just curious. I needed to know."
Johnnie looked at her only grandchild's backside and could hear the fear in her voice. Lighten up, Green, she's just scared. She pulled a chair over and sat next to the head of Rock's bed. "I know you're nervous about all this, Squirt. Wondering if you'll regain the use of your legs," she paused, "and other vital parts." Johnnie smiled when she heard a chuckle come from Rock. She was happy that she had taken the edge off their conversation.
"Gram, I really didn't mean to…"
"It's ok, Squirt," Johnnie interrupted.
"The waiting is what's killing me. Being turned like I'm on a rotisserie sucks," Rock revealed. "You wanna know what dries me crazy the most, Gram?" Johnnie nodded. "Not knowing if this surgery is a success." She paused. "I'm scared, Gram."
Johnnie touched Rock's cheek. It broke her heart to hear the fear in Rock's voice. I would trade places with you in a heartbeat, child. "I really do know how you feel," Johnnie said, knowing from experience how frustrating the waiting can be. "Has Spencer been in here at all today?"
"Not yet. I wish he'd hurry."
"I know, so do I."
"You're shitting me?" Milli asked, nearly spitting out her Pepsi.
"I kid you not. The family came into the facility this morning," Caitlin said quietly, hoping that no one would overhear. "Mr. V said they requested me."
"Well Cait, what do you expect. You're one of the best Physical Therapists in the state," Milli said. "Naturally they'd want the best for her." Milli looked at how nervous her best friend was. "Are you gonna tell me what the real problem is?"
Caitlin continued to wring her napkin in her hands. Refusing to look up, she reluctantly told her friend what the problem was. "You know I've been sneaking into her room, right?"
"Well, both times I've been in her room she spoke to me."
"She knows you were in her room?" Milli interrupted.
"No, it's not like that," Caitlin said, finally looking up. "She was asleep and I just couldn't resist touching her."
Milli giggled. "You sneaky devil you. Copping a feel while she slept."
Caitlin rolled her eyes. "You're such a hound. I didn't "cop" a feel. I simply touched her cheek."
"Are you telling me you were in her room and you didn't get a peek at the goods?" Milli was in disbelief. "You didn't even touch her tit?"
"Stop being such a perv and help me. What am I going to do?" Caitlin dropped her head on her place setting.
"I don't understand what the problem is. You'll be up close and personal with one of the most gorgeous women walking the planet." Milli slid her chair closer to her friend's chair. "What did she say to you?"
"Well, you know she called me Mi Amor. Last night she said that and a couple other things that I didn't understand."
"Let's see, something with a K. Kerita or something like that."
"You mean Querida?"
"That's exactly what she said. What does it mean?"
"It means precious," Milli revealed. What else did she say?"
"You know I don't know how to speak Spanish. I can't get it right." Caitlin's frustration was becoming evident.
Milli rubbed Caitlin's shoulder. "Sound it out like you did before."
Caitlin took a deep breath. "The ammo bee bee."
"Te amo, bebe," Mille corrected her. "She said 'I love you, baby'."
Caitlin's eyes widened. "Why would she say that?"
"Maybe she was just talking in her sleep," Milli reasoned.
"You're probably right," Caitlin readily agreed.
"Well, now that we have that settled do you want to tell me what's bothering you about working with her?"
"It's just because I went into her room. I got close to her."
"There's nothing wrong with that, Cait."
"It's just not like me to do something like that. It's so... unprofessional."
Milli could sense the distress in her friend so she grasped her hand. "You were concerned for her. That was the first football game and you'd ever attended. She took a vicious hit that left her paralyzed."
"My concern is different this time, Mil."
"Just relax, Cait." She paused. "Do you want to help this woman get back on her feet?"
"Yes I do, more than anything. I want that for all my patients."
"You're her best chance. You have to put whatever fears you have aside and do your job."
Caitlin took a deep breath. "You're right. I can do this and do it right. She'll be on her feet in no time at all."
"That's the spirit. Now let's order, I'm starved."
Mike Sloan entered the Jags locker room hoping to catch the trainer. When he walked in, he noticed a few of his teammates were looking at him a little differently. When he sat down in front of his locker he looked at them. "Why the hell are you guys looking at me like that?" he demanded.
Defensive Lineman Sam Tucker spoke up. "That was some fucked up shit you did, Mike."
"What are you talking about?"
"You know you speared Rockwell in her back." He stood up. "You knew exactly what a hit like that would do to her."
"Wait a second," Mike yelled. "I was trying to do my job, keep her from scoring a touchdown!"
Derek Fields stood up as well. " Your job was to protect the quarterback and you didn't do it. She had you beat. You shoulda just gave it up."
"What the fuck was I supposed to do, just dog it?" Mike yelled.
Sam walked closer to Mike. "You and I both know what this was about."
Mike felt a little of his bravado leaving him. "I don't know what you're talking about, man," he said as he turned back to his locker.
"Revenge is what made you do what you did," Sam said as he sat down beside Mike.
"It's over, just drop it," Mike warned, clenching his fists.
Sam gave him a disgusted look. "You were too much of a fucking pussy to handle that shit when it went down." He stood up over him. "I woulda whupped her ass when I caught her fucking my wife."
Mike roared and turned around and shouldered Sam in his midsection, knocking him to the ground. He hit him on the side of the head and kneed him in the groin before Derek and a few other teammates could pull him off of Sam.
"Get the fuck off me!" Mike yelled as he tried to free himself from his teammates' grasp.
"Not until you calm down!" Derek yelled.
Sam managed to get to his feet. He spat out a small amount of blood on the floor and walked over to Mike and grinned evilly. "Now, that's what you should have done to Rockwell when she had her dick in your wife's pussy."
Mike struggled in vain as his teammates held him back. "I'm gonna kick your ass, Tucker."
"That was a lucky shot, Sloan. I should have known you'd sucker punch me, just like you suckered Rock!" Sam bellowed. "You're done as far as I'm concerned. You wanna know what else? No one on this team will ever have your back again. If I were you, I'd pray to be traded."
"Get this piece of shit outta my sight," Sam ordered. He watched as his friends took Mike out while he screamed obscenities.
Coach Reynolds heard a commotion outside his office so he got up from his desk to investigate. When he opened his door he saw Derek and his cousin, outside linebacker Ricky Fields, taking Mike out of the locker room. "What the hell is going on out here?"
They shoved Mike toward the coach. Ricky went back inside the locker room and Derek glared at Mike, and then turned his attention to the coach. "This piece of shit attacked Sam and we threw his sorry ass out."
"Sloan, in my office right now!" the coach yelled as he walked back into his office.
"This ain't over, asswipe," Mike said to Derek.
"Keep dreaming, punk ass bitch. I'll be waiting on you," Derek growled and gave him an evil look.
Mike turned and walked into the coach's office and slammed the door. "This is bullshit, coach. I don't know what those assholes expected me to do."
The coach knew that even though the defenses were on opposite teams, there was still a code that they lived by. When a defensive player got hurt unnecessarily, no matter what team they played on, all the defensive players took exception to it. He heard rumblings last night on the plane trip home and had hoped that Mike wouldn't come in today. "Sloan, you should have just taken the day off. We would have understood if you didn't show up today."
"What are you saying, Coach?"
Coach Reynolds leaned back in his chair and scratched his balding head. "I had a talk with the owners this morning…"
"About what?" Mike interrupted. "I know they aren't stressing over what happened yesterday."
"Well, actually they are," the coach revealed. "The League officials are reviewing the tape. The owners are getting a little nervous."
"Shit like this happens all the time. Players get hurt. This is football," Mike said, hoping to take the spotlight off himself and what he had done.
"The owners think that you may need some time to get your head together before you have to go before the League."
"Exactly what are you saying, Coach?" Mike asked, feeling his world crumbling around him.
"We're gonna put you on the injured reserve list."
"What?" Mike roared as he stood up, knocking his chair backwards. "You putting me on IR?"
"This is only temporary, Sloan. The owners felt that it would take you out of the spotlight and maybe this mess would just die down," Reynolds informed him.
"This is bullshit!" he yelled and knocked the coach's football that sat on his desk into the wall.
The coach stood up, too. "You better check yourself. They could have suspended your ass until this mess is cleared up. If it were up to me, you would have been suspended without pay."
"You know what? Fuck this shit! I don't need this!" Mike yelled. "You'll be pulling me off IR soon enough when this fucking team loses enough games!"
"Get the hell outta my office, and don't come back until the owners tell you otherwise."
Mike walked toward the door and opened it. "You can kiss my ass, Reynolds. All I did was try and keep that bitch from scoring a touchdown and this is the thanks I get? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on." He slammed the door when he left.
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