Fourth and Goal

Part 6



For disclaimers: See Part 1

Chapter 11

Johnnie sat in the waiting area with Nadina, Michael and JB while Dr. Taylor was in Rock’s room. Nadina could see the look of intense concentration on her mother’s face. "Mama, what’s wrong?"

"I came down kinda hard on Squirt this afternoon," Johnnie revealed. "I should have known she was scared out of her mind."

"Vali understands, Mama. She knows you didn’t mean it," Nadina said, hoping to ease her mother’s conscience.

"I should have known better, Little One. I know what it’s like to be laid up in a hospital bed, not knowing if you’ll ever be the same again."

Nadina shuddered as she remembered the story of her mother getting shot by her uncle. "I know, Mama. Try not to upset yourself about it, ok?"

Johnnie looked into her daughter’s eyes and could tell that she wanted a change of subject. "I have an idea about how to make it up to Squirt."

"How are you gonna do that, Mama?"

JB looked up from his magazine over at Johnnie and Nadina, and then leaned over to Michael. "What do you think those two are up to, Mr. Rockwell?"

Michael opened his eyes and looked over at the two women. "Probably matchmaking."

"Why do you think that?" JB asked.

"You have a lot to learn about women," Michael said as he shook his head. "Do you see the wicked smirk Johnnie has?"


"Now look at my wife. Not only does she have the identical smirk, she also has a twinkle in her eyes. I’ve been married to her long enough to know that look," Michael revealed.

"Rock’s not gonna like that," JB warned. "Maybe we should stop them."

"Are you nuts?" Michael asked, adding a little chuckle. "Those women are like bulldogs when they get something on their mind."

JB laughed. "I see now where Rock gets it."

"So when are you going to execute this plan of yours?" Nadina asked, all too pleased with the plan her mother had told her about.

"This afternoon. If all goes well, the ball will be rolling and all we’ll have to do is sit back and watch it unfold."

They both smiled like cats that had eaten canaries.


Mike Sloan reached for a towel as he stepped out of the shower. He wiped the steam from the mirror and stared into it. What am I going to do now? My wife left me and my teammates hate me. He picked up his toothbrush loaded with toothpaste and began to brush his teeth. I have to convince Miriam to come back. It won’t look good if I have to go through this without my wife. We need to present a united front in order to deflect any speculation about this being revenge. After brushing his teeth he grabbed his shaving gel and applied it to his face. Then he took his razor and started shaving. If I can present a happy home life, no one will think I did this on purpose. All this drama because that bitch fucked my wife. Damn you to hell, Rockwell. "Shit!" he yelled when the razor cut his cheek. Pull yourself together, Sloan. You can’t fall apart now. He was pulled from his thoughts by the phone ringing. "Hello, Sloan residence."

"Mike, it’s Charlie."

"I hope you’re calling because you have some news for me."

"That I do, old buddy," Charlie said. "I had a friend of mine run a trace on her cellular phone."

Mike smiled. "Where is she?"

"I don’t have the exact location, but according to the phone company her calls are originating from Atlanta."

"She must be visiting one of her old classmates. I’m gonna see if I can find something in her address book." Good thing she left it. "I know she has two girlfriends that live in the Atlanta area," Mike revealed.

"While you take care of that, I’ll ask one of my friends there to be on the lookout for her car."

"Thanks, Charlie. Call me as soon as you get something," Mike said and then hung up the phone. He walked into the bedroom and opened Miriam’s nightstand drawer, taking out her address book. He thumbed through it, looking at each address until he found one for the Atlanta area. He picked up the phone and dialed quickly.

"Hello," a woman’s voice answered.

"Yes, hello. Is this Carla Montague?" he asked, his voice dripping with sugar.

"Yes it is, now who is this?"

"You don’t know me, but you went to Sarah Lawrence with my wife. Her last name was Polson."

"The only Polson I went to school with was Miriam Polson," she revealed a little hesitantly.

"That’s her. I’m sorry to be bothering you, but Miriam and I had an argument and now I can’t find her. I’m really worried about her."

Now why would you be calling me if it were only a spat? "What makes you think she’s here? I heard she married a football star and you all live in Florida. Are you aware that I’m in Atlanta?" she asked, her suspicions growing.

Mike could tell that he may have made a mistake calling her. "Well, Miriam has been known to visit friends when we have an argument. I just thought you were one of the friends she’s visiting."

"Look, Mr. Sloan, I don’t know what kind of game you’re running, but I’m not falling for it. If Miriam were here she would have a good reason to come all this way and I would definitely NOT tell you. Please don’t call my home anymore," she said and then hung up on him.

"Bitch," Mike growled as he threw the phone across the room. "I should have known better than to call one of those stuck up Sarah Lawrence cunts." He walked over to the window and looked out at his large estate. "Miriam, you’re gonna be sorry you put me through this."


"So how’s she doing, Spencer?" Johnnie asked.

Dr. Taylor walked over to the waiting family. He sat down next to Nadina. "Well, I must say her progress is remarkable."

"What does that mean?" Nadina asked.

"I ran a series of sensory tests on her feet and legs. When I ran my pen against the bottom of her foot, it moved."

"Thank God," Nadina said as Michael hugged her from behind. She was unable to stop her tears.

Johnnie smiled. "That’s good news."

"There is one thing, though. She wasn’t aware of what I was doing until I moved up her legs."

"What does that mean, Doc?" JB anxiously asked.

"It means there is a delayed response of sensation," he explained. "Now before you get upset, there’s nothing really to be concerned about. This procedure if fairly new, and in all the previous cases this anomaly happened."

"So what are you telling us, Doctor?" Michael asked. "Is she going to be alright? Will she be able to walk again?"

"I believe so, yes. With intensive therapy she should recover," he told them.

Hugs and kisses were given as they were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Johnnie looked at Spencer and stopped him as he was about to leave. "Spencer, could you wait a moment?"

"What is it, Johnnie?"

"You said that her progress was remarkable. What did you mean by that?"

"I mean her progress is above the norm. It usually takes patients who have had this type of operation a few days to feel anything. Valeria is a day out of her surgery and she already has feeling in her legs," he said. "You have an extraordinary granddaughter, Johnnie."

"This is true," Johnnie said, her voice filled with pride.

"I’ve ordered that the frame be placed vertical for two hours as well. I don’t want atrophy settling in her legs."

"Thank you so much, Dr. Taylor," Nadina said as she hugged the middle-aged man.

He smiled. "Any time, Nadina. There was no way I would refuse your mother."

Michael shook his hand. "I don’t know what we would have done without you. We owe you a debt of gratitude. If there’s anything we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to call us."

"That’s ok. Just knowing I was able to help is payment enough," he told him. "Now if you all will excuse me I have some conference calls to make and a statement for the press to prepare."

"Bye, Spencer," Johnnie said. She turned to her family. "Let’s go see Squirt."


"Do you like this position better, Vali?" Michael asked his now vertical daughter.

Rock smiled. "I sure do, Dad. The floor and the ceiling were getting to be quite boring." She paused. "I can really get an eyeful standing up." Johnnie’s eyes snapped up to look into her granddaughter’s and she could see the merriment in them. "I was just teasing, Gram."

"You better be. I still got people keeping an eye on you."

Rock pouted. "Oh, you mean the spies pretending to be nurses?"

"No, I mean the nurses who are going to tell me if you get out of line."

"Enough you two," Nadina jokingly warned. She loved watching them go back and forth. "Tell us what else Spencer told you, baby."

"Well, he said they were going to start therapy before the end of the week," she told them, "and if I keep progressing, I’ll be moved to a rehab center."

Nadina stood up on the stool and kissed Rock on her cheek. "That’s wonderful news, baby."

"Have you guys been looking into any?" Rock asked.

"Yep, and we found one," Johnnie replied. "The Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation is the one we picked out."

Rock nodded in agreement. "I hear it’s the best rehab center in the state."

"Nothing but the best for you, Vali," Michael said.

"Thanks, Dad," Rock softly said. "Dr. Taylor told me it wasn’t gonna be easy. He said it was going to take a lot of work and that it would be painful."

"I know it will, baby," Nadina said as she played with Rock’s hair. "You’ll have all of us here supporting you."

"That’s right, Squirt," Johnnie added. "Michael, what time is it?"

He looked at his watch. "It’s about 4:30."

Johnnie stood up and walked toward the door. "I’ll be back in a bit. There’s something I need to take care of."

"Where is she going?" Rock asked when her grandmother left the room.

Nadina smiled and kissed Rock’s forehead. "Don’t worry about it. She’ll be back in a little while."

"I’ll give JB a call and see if he let the team know the good news," Michael said. Oh boy, kiddo, you’re in for it now.


"I hear you’re going to be Rockwell’s PT," Dora said to her friend.

Caitlin shrugged. "Yeah, it’s no big deal."

"No big deal?" Dora asked disbelievingly. "How can you be so calm? Valeria Rockwell is coming here and you’re her PT. I’d say that’s a big deal."

Caitlin stood up. "C’mon, it’s been a long day. Let’s get out of here."

"Right behind you," Dora said as she laced up her sneakers.

They walked outside and noticed a classic SUV parked behind Caitlin’s car, blocking her space.

"Who’s monster is that?" Dora asked.

"I don’t know, but they’re blocking me in," Caitlin said moodily. She quickened her pace, leaving Dora a couple of steps behind her. She reached up, tapped on the window and waited. "Excuse me, but you have me blocked in. I’m tired and I want to go home," she said as the window was being lowered. "Could you please…"

"Good afternoon, Ms. O’Hara," Johnnie interrupted, smiling broadly.

"Oh my, Ms. Green. What are you doing here?" Caitlin nervously asked.

"I was just in the neighborhood, and thought I would ask a favor."

"I’ll be happy to help if I can," she smiled shyly.

Johnnie started to speak, but stopped when she saw Caitlin’s co-worker looking at her. "Hi, I’m Johnetta Green," she said to the woman who watched her suspiciously. "I’m Valeria Rockwell’s grandmother and I’d like to speak to Ms. O’Hara.

"Uhm, sure," Dora said warily. "I’ll catch you tomorrow, Caitlin."

"Ok, Dora, see you tomorrow," she waved. "Alright, Ms. Green, how may I help you?"

"Well, I’m sure by now the administrator told you that we requested you to be my granddaughter’s therapist."

Caitlin nodded.

"Her parents and I were wondering if you would like to join us for dinner tonight? We’d like to know the person who will be helping Valeria get back on her feet," Johnnie said.

"Oh, I don’t know…"

"Do you have plans?"

"No, it’s not that." Caitlin looked at her scrubs. "I’m not really prepared to go out to dinner."

Johnnie smiled at the small woman. "I wasn’t talking about right this minute, Ms. O’Hara."

"Please call me Caitlin."

"Alright, Caitlin. If you’re free, you can meet us at the hospital after you go home and freshen up. "I’m sure you know…" whoa, Green. Don’t scare her off, "how to get to the hospital. Just go up to the seventh floor. The nurses will tell you what room Valeria is in."

"Uhm, alright," Caitlin agreed. Guess I should get this over with. "I’ll be there as soon as I can."

"Good, we’ll see you soon." Johnnie smiled.

"Ms. Green?"

"Call me Gram, almost everybody does." So, what’s a little white lie?

"How did you know which car was mine?"

Johnnie chuckled. "I have many skills."

Chapter 12

Caitlin looked at her reflection for the thirtieth time, appraising her choice of clothing. She had finally chosen the pearl gray blouse with the thin collar and charcoal gray slacks. Holding up both the cameo that her mother gave her and the pearl necklace her grandfather had given to her for graduation, she decided to go with the pearls. "Simple, but elegant," she said as she clasped the pearls around her neck.

The phone startled her when it rang. "Damn it, not now," she cursed as she looked at the ID number. She knew if she answered it, she would be on the phone for an hour talking to her over-protective mother. It would reflect badly on her with the Rockwell family if she was late, but Caitlin hated to let her phone go unanswered. I’ll just tell mama I can’t talk right now. She walked over to the phone and answered it. "Hello."

"Hey darlin’," Mrs. O’Hara said in her thick Tennessee accent. You sound like you’re all outta breath. Whatcha doin’?"

"Well actually, Mama I’m on my way out. I have a business dinner to attend with the family of a patient of mine."

Her mother chuckled. "Well la di da, you’re almost as important as one of them big city doctors."

Caitlin rolled her eyes at her mother’s analogy. "No Mama, the family just wants to meet with me."

"So who are these folks you’re breakin’ bread with?"

Caitlin looked at her watch and decided she would give her mother a quick rundown. "It’s a football player, Mama. Her family wants to meet with me and see if I’m the right person for the job."

"How’re you gonna handle a big strappin’ football player?" her mother asked, genuinely concerned.

"Mama, this is what I do for a living. No matter the size, I’m trained to handle all types of patients. Besides, it won’t be so difficult. I can handle a woman."

"A woman? The hell you say," her mother said. "You’re gonna be workin’ with that woman who got herself hurt Sunday?"

Caitlin sighed. "Yes, Mama."

"Your Pa was watchin’ that game with Lem and Clem Odom. They was cussin’ up a blue streak when she got hurt."

"I have to go now, Mama or I’ll be late," Caitlin said as she looked at her watch again.

Although Mrs. O’Hara loved to talk she was a stickler for punctuality. "Then you better get a move on. Wouldn’t be fittin’ for you to be late. Call and let me and your Pa know how things is goin’."

"Alright, Mama, I will. Love you." Caitlin hung up the phone and thanked the goddess for getting her usually chatty mother off the phone.


Johnnie watch in amusement as Ms. Sampson fed her granddaughter. She could see the scowl on Rock’s face as the nurse annoyed her with her useless banter.

"Miss Cooper had so many patients that needed to be fed I decided I would help her out," Ms. Sampson happily explained as she gave Rock a spoonful of mashed potatoes. She reveled in the annoyed glances her charge gave her. I can hardly wait to tell Kay about this. She gave Johnnie a conspiratorial wink.

Rock glared at the woman whose hand was feeding her. You really make me sick. I know exactly what you, that dragon lady Miller and Gram are up to. Think it’s time to turn the tables. She smiled sweetly at Ms. Sampson. "Tell me, are you married?"

The nurse stopped in mid scoop, not expecting the question that came out of left field. "Uhm, no, no I’m not."

"You mean to tell me a good looking chocolate bunny such as yourself isn’t married?" Rock asked feigning surprise. "Well, if you’re the one I’m lucky enough to have give me my sponge bath, we can talk about rectifying that."

"Valeria!" Nadina yelled.

"What? I was just making conversation with Ms. Sampson," Rock innocently responded. Now, Samp is good looking but she’s a little bit too old for me.

Johnnie arched her eyebrow and walked closer to Rock’s bed. "You’ll have to forgive my granddaughter, Samp…I mean Ms. Sampson."

Rock looked over at her grandmother and smiled. Gotcha. I’ve only heard people who are tight with Ms. Sampson call her by her nickname.

Figuring out Rock’s game, Ms. Sampson just shrugged. "No problem. I must admit I’ve been looking for someone to be with." She wiped Rock’s mouth. "I’ll be back later to give you that sponge bath and then we can discuss a relationship further, Sweetie." She moved a curl that was near Rock’s eye and blew her a kiss.

Girl, don’t you know we can outwit you any day of the week and twice on Sunday? Way to go, Samp, Johnnie thought, barely able to contain the laughter that was threatening to escape when she saw the look of disbelief on her granddaughter’s face.

Michael and Nadina weren’t as controlled as Johnnie and they chuckled, receiving a warning look from their daughter. They both walked over to the window, bodies shaking with quiet laughter.

"Aren’t you guys gonna get something to eat?" Rock asked, annoyed that her plan had backfired.

"Why? You hoping your new girlfriend will hurry back?" Johnnie asked and then doubled over with laughter, causing her daughter and son-in-law to finally lose it.

"Not funny, Gram," Rock pouted.

"Ok, I’m sorry. We’ll be going out to dinner as soon as our guest arrives," Johnnie said.

"Who will be joining us, Johnnie?" Michael asked, already having an idea about who it was.

"I thought it would be a good idea if we got to know the woman who’ll be helping Squirt get back on her feet," Johnnie announced. "I told her to meet us here so Squirt could meet her as well."

"That was a wonderful idea, Mama," Nadina said.

Michael shook his head. Sorry Vali, there was nothing I could do.

Before anyone else could speak, there was a knock on the door. It slowly opened and a blonde head peeked in. "Hi, I hope I haven’t kept you folks waiting," Caitlin said.

"C’mon in. We were just talking about you," Johnnie said, smiling broadly.

Caitlin entered the room and Nadina was by her side in a flash. "Hello dear, I’m glad you could join us." She then guided the young woman to her husband so she could introduce them.

Knowing Gram, I bet this O’Hara woman is a real dragon lady. Rock thought as she held her eyes closed tightly. She opened her eyes and nearly swallowed her tongue seeing the gorgeous PT. Rock’s eyes zeroed in on Caitlin’s breasts. Oh goddess, just look at those tits. When Caitlin turned to meet Michael, Rock nearly broke free from the Stryker frame. That ass, that ass. I would just love to get my hands on those cheeks.

Johnnie watched Rock as she perused the PT’s body. Ok, just wait until she looks into those eyes. I bet she’ll forget about her other attributes.

"And this is our daughter Valeria," Nadina said as she ushered Caitlin over to Rock’s bed. "Valeria, this is Caitlin O’Hara."

Caitlin and Rock stared at each other. Rock was lost in those gorgeous gray eyes and Caitlin’s smile.

Johnnie tapped her cane on the floor. "Manners, Squirt, manners."

"H..Hi," Rock stammered.

"Hello Ms. Rockwell. It’s a pleasure to meet you," Caitlin said softly.

"I remember you," Rock said when she regained control of her vocal cords. "I saw you at the game."

She remembered seeing me? "Uhm, yes I was at the game. Sorry about what happened to you. That Sloan is a real jerk."

Johnnie smiled at the way Caitlin said Sloan’s name. I bet she would rip him a new one if she had the chance.

Caitlin’s reaction to what happened at the game didn’t go unnoticed by Rock’s parents either. The fire that Caitlin possessed impressed Nadina and Michael so much, they knew Caitlin would be able to handle their daughter.

"Have you heard when you might be released, Ms. Rockwell?" Caitlin asked hoping to make small talk. She’s awfully quiet. Nothing like the person I’ve heard about.

"Uhm, not yet. I’ll be starting physical therapy here with the hospital staff tomorrow."

"Now that’s impressive. It usually takes about a week before therapy is started. That’s definitely a good sign," Caitlin revealed.

Johnnie was amused by the way Rock and Caitlin tried not to stare at each other but failed miserably. She would have loved to just watch them, but her stomach was having none of that. "I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m starving."

Michael and Nadina agreed, and waited for Caitlin to say something as well. They smiled when they saw how shyly their daughter was acting.

"How about you, Caitlin?" Johnnie asked. "I’m sure you must be hungry after working all day."

Reluctantly she tore away from Rock’s gaze. "Yes, I could do with a little dinner." She looked at Rock once more. "I’m looking forward to working with you, Ms. Rockwell."

"Call me Rock," she said.

Caitlin smiled. "Alright, Rock, but you must call me Caitlin."

"Agreed," Rock said, flashing pearly white teeth.

Nadina walked over to Caitlin and placed her hand on Caitlin’s lower back. "Well, let’s eat."

Rock watched as her parents ushered Caitlin out of her room. Johnnie was walking toward the door when Rock called out to her. "Gram, can you hold up a minute?"

Johnnie walked back over to her granddaughter’s bed. "What’s up, Squirt?"

Rock looked toward the door to make sure she couldn’t be overheard. "Why didn’t you tell me she was gorgeous? Is she single? How old is she?"

"Whoa, Squirt," Johnnie said, "How did you go from a mute to Chatty Patty in mere seconds?"

"Did you see those eyes? Oh goddess, they’re beautiful," Rock said. "You’re gonna find out all about her at dinner and come back and tell me, right?"


"C’mon, Gram."

"We’ll see."

Rock sighed. "Ok, Gram. See you after dinner." She watched her grandmother as she closed the door and left. Her thighs involuntarily clenched. "Glad to know the plumbing still works, but how am I gonna handle this?" she moaned, hating the fact that she couldn’t take care of the situation.


"Your wife definitely isn’t as smart as she looks," Charlie said to Mike over the phone.

"What do you mean?" Mike asked.

"She used her cell phone again and I was able to get the information from a friend of mine who works for Bell-Verizon."

Mike sat up in his chair. Finally some good news, I can sure use it after a day like today. "Well, don’t keep me waiting. Where exactly in Atlanta is she?"

"According to the phone company, she’s no longer in Atlanta. Miriam is now in Beaufort, South Carolina," Charlie revealed. "Some friends of mine tracked her down and she’s staying at the Embassy." He paused. "So when do you want to leave, Mike?"

"I’ll be at your place later tonight. I have some things I need to take care of and then we can take off."

"Ok, I’ll see you later."

Mike hung up the phone and smiled. "I’ll get you to come back, one way or another."

Chapter 13

Caitlin looked at her hosts from one to the other. Why are they smiling at me?" she wondered. Taking a look at Rock’s grandmother, she could see the same cocky grin that Rock flashed her before she ran off onto the field that fateful day.

"How long have you been a physical therapist, Ms. O’Hara?" Michael asked as he perused his menu.

"Please call me Caitlin," she shyly said. "I’ve been a PT for almost seven years now."

"You must really enjoy your work, Caitlin," Nadina stated. "You can’t find many young people willing to stick with an occupation for that long."

"Oh, I do. I really love helping people," Caitlin revealed. "I’ve wanted to be a PT since my father was hurt in the fields and he had to go to rehab. There was this PT who was very nice to him. She made his recovery less painful."

So she’s very dedicated. "Where are you from originally?" Johnnie asked as she took a sip of water.

"Tennessee." She smiled wistfully. "The mountains are so beautiful this time of year, so peaceful and serene." I wish I had gone home before the colors turned. I really miss that.

"That’s funny, I don’t detect an accent," Nadina commented.

Johnnie chuckled. "Oh, there’s a hint of it in her voice. You just have to know how to listen for it."

"When I first became a PT, some of my patients found it difficult to understand what I was saying, so I try to hide it as best I can." Caitlin blushed.

"I think you have a lovely accent," Johnnie said as she leaned closer to Caitlin.

Caitlin smiled. "Thank you, Ms. Green."

"Uh, uh, uh, remember I told you to call me Gram," Johnnie admonished.

"Sorry, Gram," she said. "So, tell me what type of person Rock really is."

Nadina nearly choked on her wine. Michael patted her on the back as he looked to Johnnie to tell Caitlin how difficult Rock could be.

"Are you alright, Mrs. Rockwell?" Caitlin asked as she reached over and touched Nadina’s shoulder. Ok, what are they not telling me?

Johnnie chose her words carefully before she spoke. "Squirt can be rather difficult at times, Caitlin." She paused. "Oh hell, she can be down right obstinate," she revealed as she twisted her napkin in her hand.

"Oh, I see," Caitlin said.

"We heard you are very capable of handling patients who refuse to cooperate," Michael added.

"You have our permission to do whatever you have to so she’ll make it through her therapy," Nadina told her once she was able to speak again.

Johnnie touched Caitlin’s hand and looked directly into her eyes. "We know about Attila. That’s one of the reasons we insisted that you handle her rehab."

Caitlin blushed immediately at the reference to her "alter ego". They know and they still want me as Rock’s therapist?

Johnnie could see the look of confusion on Caitlin’s face. Please don’t bail on me now. I need you, but Squirt needs you more. "Caitlin, I hope you’re not reconsidering taking Squirt on as a patient."

"No, it’s not that. It’s just when people get a taste of Attila, they usually run for the hills," Caitlin said. "As a matter of fact, Mr. Van Roekel insisted that I keep Attila on a tight leash."

"No!" Johnnie, Nadina and Michael said in unison.

Caitlin looked at each of them and giggled. "Is she really that bad?"

"I’m sorry to say it, but she is," Nadina informed her. "She gets it from her grandmother." She looked at Johnnie, giving her a sweet smile.

"Now look here, missy, this is the second time you’ve tried to blame me for that mile wide stubborn streak your daughter has," Johnnie challenged, pointing her finger at Nadina. "I happen to remember you and your stubborn ways when you were a child."

"Mama, please just get over it," Nadina replied. "Mami always said that Vali was just like you."

Caitlin watched as mother and daughter playfully argued back and forth, unable to keep the smile from her face.

Welcome to the family, kiddo. "I don’t know about you ladies, but I’m starving," Michael said as he signaled for the waiter.


"JB, it was awful," Rock whined.

"Now why do you say that, Rock? Ms. Sampson is a nice looking woman. If I were available, I might make a play for her."

"I was horny and she was giving me a sponge bath, JB. My shit was wet and ready and then she comes in all cheerful and shit."

JB chuckled. "Well, did you ask her?"

Rock arched an eyebrow. "Ask her what?"

"To…you know…get the monkey off your back."

"Fuck you, JB. That woman is old enough to be my mother," Rock yelled.


"Besides, she’s in cahoots with Gram. All I need is for her to run back and tell Gram I was being disrespectful."

"Speaking of Gram, where is she?"

A smile grew on Rock’s face. "She and my parents have gone out to dinner."

JB looked at his best friend. "What’s the smile about?"

"They’ve gone out to dinner with my PT," Rock revealed, her smile broadening.

"Ah, she’s a looker, eh?"

"Hell yeah. She has the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen. They’re this beautiful gray. They get darker when she’s embarrassed, a kind of gun metal gray."

JB moved his chair closer to Rock’s bed. "Tell me more."

"Well, she has a smile that lights up a room. Her voice is sweet and melodic…"

"Wait a sec. Who are you and what have you done with my friend?" he interrupted.

"What are you talking about?" Rock asked, annoyed at the interruption.

"We’ve been talking about this woman for more than five minutes and you haven’t said a word about her body."

"Stop being such a woof-woof and lemme tell you about her."

JB’s jaw dropped at his friend’s sudden change. "Alright then, go ahead and tell me about this wonderful woman."

"Thank you," Rock jokingly snapped. "Like I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, her voice is so calming." She paused and looked at her friend, seeing the confusion on his face. "She’s got the best tits and ass that I’ve seen in a long time. Is that more like it?"

"That’s better," JB said. "I was beginning to wonder if they didn’t rewire you while they had you in surgery."

"Fuck you, JB," Rock said as she flipped him off.

"Oh such language," Nurse Miller said as she came into Rock’s room.

Rock groaned. "Yeah, and what are you gonna do about it Mata Hari? You gonna tell Gram?"

"What are you talking about, Ms. Rockwell?" Kay asked, feigning innocence.

"You must think I’m stupid. I know exactly what you, Samp and Gram are up to," Rock said. "She told you and Samp to keep an eye on me because I can be a bad girl."

"Who is Samp?"

"You know exactly who she is. That’s Ms. Sampson’s nickname. I’ve heard you use it and Gram slipped up earlier."

"I have no idea what you’re talking about."

Sure you don’t, tattletale. "Ok, if you say so." Rock paused. "Well since you’re here could you fluff my pillow, please?"

JB stiffened because he knew what was coming next.

Kay walked over to Rock’s bed and fluffed her pillow. Rock smiled sweetly up at her and when Kay turned to walk away Rock pinched her rear end.

"Ohhhh!!!!!" Kay gasped as she placed her hand on her behind to soothe the offended area.

"You got a cute butt," Rock said as she leered at the nurse.

"Oh you!!!!!!!" Kay hissed as she walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.

"You’re gonna be in so much trouble when Gram finds out," JB said.

"Gram isn’t gonna find out. If she does, and says anything to me about it, their little plan will be ruined," Rock revealed.

"I just hope you know what you’re doing, my friend." JB cautioned.

Johnnie peeked in on her granddaughter through the window in the door to her room. You think you’re so smart. Let’s see how much you like what I have planned for you. She walked in and smiled at Rock.

Rock smiled back at her. Well Gram, let me have it.

Johnnie leaned over and kissed Rock on her cheek. "How ya feeling, Squirt?"

"I’m ok." I knew Miller wouldn’t rat me out. "How was dinner?"

Johnnie walked over to the chair next to Rock’s bed and sat down. "Dinner was nice. Didn’t your folks tell you about it when they came back?"

"Yeah, they said you guys had a good time," Rock said. "So, tell me about her."

"About who, Squirt?"

"Aww, c’mon Gram, you know who."

"Oh, you mean Caitlin?"

"Yes." Rock smiled. The most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

"She’s a sweet enough girl I guess," Johnnie said. Not tonight, Squirt. You think you can show your ass and then get what you want? I think not.

"Tell me about her," Rock anxiously said.

Maybe tomorrow, Squirt. I’m really tired." Johnnie yawned. She stood up and walked over to the recliner in the corner.

"But Gram," Rock pouted.

"Tomorrow," Johnnie said in her "end of discussion" tone.

"Fine then," Rock grumbled.


Mike and Charlie got out of Charlie’s truck and walked over to a van that was parked a few spaces down in the Embassy parking lot. Charlie knocked on window of van. "Hey Pete, c’mon out."

The door to the van opened and a tall, thin man stepped out. "Bout time you got here, Charlie."

"Sorry Pete, but I had to wait for my friend here," he said, pointing at Mike. "Got here as soon as I could." He paused. "So what do you have for us?"

"I found the woman you were looking for," Pete said. "I saw her and two little boys go in earlier today. Looked like she had the shit beat out of her," he added, casting a disgusted look at Mike.

"Never mind that," Mike snapped. "Did you find out what room she’s in?"

"She’s in room 738."

Mike turned to Charlie. "I’ll be back in a bit." He brushed past Pete and walked toward the entrance of the hotel.

"You know, Charlie, I thought you were a decent guy," Pete said.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"You know as well as I do that he beat the hell outta that woman, and yet you help him find her."

"Aww c’mon, it was just a misunderstanding. Things just got outta hand."

Pete looked at him in total disbelief. "Misunderstanding my ass."

Charlie scuffed his shoe against the asphalt. "He didn’t mean it, Pete. You don’t know the circumstances…"

"Oh hell, everyone knows she slept with Rock Rockwell and that’s why he crippled her," Pete interrupted, almost yelling. "I bet she called him on it and that’s why she looks like she’s been in a boxing match. If I had known it was Sloan looking for her, I never woulda called you."

"He’s in enough trouble as it is. Mike won’t do anything stupid."

"For your sake, I hope not."

Miriam stood in front of the bathroom mirror, looking at her battered and bruised face. It was still very tender to the touch, but the bruises seemed to be fading slightly. I’ll be so glad when my face heals. She had decided to take a shower when she couldn’t sleep. Just before getting into the shower she had called room service and ordered a glass of milk. Thank god for late night service.

She came out of the bathroom with her hair wrapped in a towel and wearing a hotel bathrobe. Sitting down on the sofa, she grabbed the remote and began to channel surf, hoping something would catch her attention. "Yes!" she quietly said, pleased to find Insomniac Theater. "Ooh, a classic, Alien vs. Predator." Miriam loved old horror movies.

Just as the opening credits finished, there was a knock at the door. Perfect timing, she thought as she walked over to the door.


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