The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer    The Nineteenth Year
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Three
"Reality"

Back to Chapter Two
"Enemies ... Good and Bad"
On to Chapter Four
"The Head"
Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page

The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer

Action Adventure
Violence
Sexual Situations
Rated Teen 13+

Proudly presented by The Tarheel Writer - On the Web since 24 February 2003. Celebrating 21 Years on the Internet!
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Javan walked out of the guest bedroom and looked over at Teri who had fallen asleep on the couch. He was taking the bloody protective surgical gloves off his hands. He sighed deeply and glanced up at the clock. It was almost three in the morning. As the plastic gloves snapped off his hands, Teri stirred and looked up through half-asleep eyes.

"He's very lucky," Javan said before Teri even had a chance to ask. She looked down, sighed deeply then looked back up.

"Thank you," she said quietly. Javan was a good friend. He was in his mid-twenties and worked full time as a paramedic with the county ambulance service. He was also studying to be a physician's assistant at the local community college. He walked over to the kitchen sink and washed his hands. His dark curly hair was matted with sweat. The surgical shirt he wore was stained with blood. Javan pulled it over his head and tossed it into the corner. He reached into the refrigerator, pulled out a beer, and walked back toward the couch. The pop of the can as Javan opened it caught her attention and she sat up. He sat down next to her and took a long swallow from the cold can. She could see he was tired. It had been several hours ago that she and Daniel had knocked on his door. Javan was stunned to see his friend and how badly he had been beaten. Both he and Teri had helped Daniel into the guest bedroom. Javan had already prepared it for Daniel's arrival. Green surgical sheets had been spread out on the bed. Medical instruments and supplies had been brought in.

Teri wanted to help, but the sight of blood always made her woozy. It didn't take long for her to politely back out of the room and take up a waiting position on the couch. It had been around midnight. Now she looked at an exhausted Javan and anxiously waited what he had to say.

"The swelling on his head has gone down some, but he'll have a hell of a headache. The scratches on his face were mostly superficial and will heal quickly. The bullet wound on his shoulder took a couple of stitches, but it was clean and shouldn't get infected. I gave him a shot of antibiotics just to make sure. He's got a pretty bad contusion on his left leg. It'll be sore and he should probably try to stay off of it for a day or two. As for his chest, well, I had to put a chest tube in. One of his lungs is punctured." Tears fell down Teri's face as Javan recited the laundry list of Daniel's problems.

"He'll need to stay here for a couple of days to allow the lung to heal. Miraculously, none of his ribs are broken. A couple may be cracked, but none are broken. I wrapped the ribs, but that's about all anyone can do. He'll just have to deal with the pain until they heal, but that shouldn't take too long. I just gave him a shot to help him sleep. I have some pain pills for him. He'll need them for a few days. Other than that, I'd say he'll be fine." Teri considered all that Javan had said and finally looked up at him.

"Thank you," she said softly. "Thank you so very much. Daniel is in a lot of trouble right now and he really needs his friends. Tonight, you've shown that you are a true and loyal friend. I speak for him in saying, thank you very much."

"Hey, it's not a problem. But I will tell you the truth. Somebody beat the shit out of him. Somebody that knew what they were doing and that somebody needs to pay for what they've done."

"Oh, they've paid," said Teri. "Believe me. They've paid."

"How's that?" asked Javan. Teri started to tell Javan all about the NSA and the men that Daniel had killed, but suddenly, she thought she shouldn't. It wasn't that she didn't trust Javan. It was more like she would be breaking a trust with Daniel.

"Daniel will need to explain all that. It's late and we should get some sleep."

"You're right. I'm totally exhausted. At least I'm off for the next couple of days, so taking care of Daniel will be no problem." Teri reached over and squeezed his arm.

"I'll be here every minute," she said.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Daniel awoke to a splitting headache. He blinked his eyes open and was suddenly hit with a tremendous pain in his left chest. His right hand instinctively reached down to rub the source of the pain. His hand touched something strange. Looking down, he saw a small plastic tube sticking into his chest. It was then he realized where he was and what was going on, but it didn't stop him from groaning out loud. In mere seconds, the door to his world opened and he saw Javan looking at him.

"Hey sport. How's it hangin'?" Javan said jovially.

"Aah, a little to the left," Daniel said. When he started to laugh at his own joke, the pain increased tenfold. "Aaaaaah," he groaned.

"You better take it easy on the jokes there, buddy. I've got some more pain meds for you." Javan walked over to the bedside table and picked up a bottle. After shaking a couple of large pink pills out, he handed two to Daniel.

"What's this?"

"They're for the pain. Just take them and try to relax," Javan said as he handed the pills to Daniel. "Here's some water." Daniel took the pills, popped them in his mouth and washed them down.

"Good. They'll ease the pain. I know it hurts, but trust me, you'll be better real soon. What you need right now is rest. The pills will make you sleepy. So don't fight it. Just go ahead and sleep."

"Teri?"

"She's asleep on the couch."

"Time?"

"It's about ten AM. You've been asleep about seven hours. Sleep some more and when you wake up we'll get you something to eat."

"Thanks, Javan. You're a good friend."

"You're welcome, Daniel, but you're gonna owe me an explanation."

"No problem. I'll tell ya all about it," Daniel said as he yawned.

"Get some sleep, bud. I'll see ya in a few. OK?"

"OK. Thanks again. This really means a lot."

"Sleep, Daniel. Get some sleep." As the words left Javan's mouth, Daniel passed back into the world of painless darkness.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Hey, camper. Are ya hungry?" asked Teri as she walked into the room. "I've got you a grilled cheese sandwich, some chips, a pickle, and some Gatorade. Daniel had been awake for a total of two minutes. With a great deal of effort, he focused his eyes and looked at his best friend.

"Hey," he said weakly. Teri sat down on the side of the bed.

"Hey, babe. How do you feel?" she asked with great concern.

"Like warmed over shit." Teri chuckled.

"You sure have been sleeping a lot. It's almost seven." Daniel struggled to sit up. "Wait a minute. Let me help you." Teri shoved a couple of pillows behind Daniel and helped him to sit up. He winced at the pain, but struggled through it anyway. His discomfort did not go unnoticed.

"First of all, let's take a pain pill or two." She reached for the bottle beside the bed, shook out two pills and handed them to him. "Take these, then you can eat." Even though he didn't like drugs, of any kind, Daniel didn't argue and popped the pills into his mouth. Teri handed him the glass of Gatorade, which he took and gulped down. Teri sat the tray down on Daniel's lap.

"Now, eat. You need to keep your strength up." Daniel wolfed the sandwich down. He hadn't eaten since breakfast the day before and he was famished. The Mount Olive Dill Spear from the Mount Olive Pickle Company in North Carolina reminded him of his friend Jevic, which in turn, reminded him of his job obligations.

"Oh shit. My servers. Jim is gonna kill me," he said, slightly slurring his words as the effects of the pain medication started to take effect.

"Don't worry about that. I talked with Jim. He's got Jevic monitoring the servers and everything is under control. You have nothing to worry about."

"What did you tell Jim?"

"I told him we were in an accident and that you had been pretty banged up. I asked him if Jevic could take care of the system for a few days. He had no problem with that. He just wants you to get better real soon. Hell, he almost flew down here, but I told him you'd be back on your feet in a few days."

"Sounds like him. And Jevic is cool with taking care of things?"

"Yep. He's done it in the past and he said for you to just get better." Teri paused and looked away for a moment.

"What?"

"Jevic and Javan have both been asking questions, Daniel. I've been putting them off, but they're both gonna need an explanation real soon." Daniel yawned again.

"You're right. I'll tell them what's going on. But right now," he started. Yawn. "I've gotta pee before I go to sleep."

"Come on, I'll help you."

"No offense, but could you ask Javan to give me a hand. It's kind of a guy thing, ya know?" Teri smiled.

"Daniel. You know I know what you've got. Hell, we've been skinny dipping together, what, a thousand times?"

"I know, I know, but this is different."

"OK, OK, she said throwing her hands up in the in air in mock defeat. "I'll get him," she said as she stood up. "Be right back." Teri walked out of the room and Javan entered a few moments later.

"So, you need to shake the dew off the Lily, huh?" Daniel looked up through blurred vision and a fogged mind.

"Huh?"

"You need to pee?"

"Yeah, bad." Javan helped Daniel out of bed and over to the adjacent bathroom. Javan steadied Daniel in front of the toilet. Daniel looked over at his friend and gave him a slurred smile. "These pills are kickin' my ass." He was holding on to the wall with one hand and to Javan with the other.

"Hey bud, let's just take a leak, OK?" Daniel smiled and nodded his head. Javan waited for Daniel to do something, but nothing happened.

"You gonna pee, Daniel?"

"Aaaah, yep."

"Do you need some help?"

"Nah, I got it." Daniel continued to stand there and weave back and forth bit. Javan took a deep breath, then reached down and pulled Daniel's boxer briefs down to his knees. Then Javan aimed Daniel's penis at the toilet. "OK bud, let her fly." A strong stream of urine flowed into the toilet. Moments later, Javan gave his friend a shake or two and pulled his boxer briefs back up.

"Hey, you trying to get fresh with me?" Daniel slurred.

"Yeah, I think you're really hot," said Javan chuckling. "And I really wanna get you into bed."

"I ain't no hussy. You're not getting' nuttin' on our first date."

"But you're so cute," Javan said chuckling as he helped Daniel back to the bed.

"Flatulence will get you everywhere," Daniel slurred.

"You mean flattery?"

"Right, flatulence," Daniel said as Javan helped him into bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, Daniel was out like a light.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

A quick glance at the clock told Javan it was almost suppertime. Teri had gone out earlier and picked up some fresh fish. Like Daniel, she was picky enough to go down to the dock and get some from a charter captain friend. What you find at the fish market comes from who knows where. She was cooking tonight and wanted fresh ingredients. The dried out spices, the canned vegetables, and the out of date milk in the refrigerator were enough to send her to the market. Javan couldn't understand.

"It's just food," he had said.

"It's your health," Teri had snapped back.

That got Javan thinking, but not enough for him to give up Spam, despite having read the ingredients at Teri's insistence. Rubbing his hand on his jaw, Javan studied the ingredients laid out on the kitchen counter as Teri worked to prepare the meal.

"What's that?"

"Flounder."

"What's that?"

"Spinach. Here. Make yourself useful and wash these," Teri said handing the spinach leaves to him.

"Wash?"

"Yes, as in rinse off thoroughly."

"Oh. I've never eaten spinach before."

The scream was almost blood curdling. Teri looked at Javan. Javan looked at Teri. They both headed for Daniel's room. As they burst through the door, they were greeted by a pale, sweaty young man. Daniel had the covers pulled up tightly to his chin. He slowly looked up at both of them, visibly trembling. Tears were streaming down his face.

"Oh God, Daniel," said Teri softly as she quickly went to his bedside. "Nightmare?"

"T-they k-killed, they k-killed Timmy," Daniel sobbed. Teri pulled him into a tight embrace as the gut wrenching sobs came from her best friend. She had only seen the nightmares once or twice, but she knew they were intense. After seeing the videotape and reading the emails, she had a fairly good idea what the nightmares were about, but murder? It had never entered her mind. What exactly had Daniel been through?

Javan sensed the extremely personal moment the two friends were sharing and backed out the door. He eased the bedroom door shut and walked back toward the kitchen. Whatever was going on with his friend Daniel was serious. He had known the boy for some years. Daniel had always been happy, very smart, and deeply dedicated to everything he tried, being hugely successful with most of them. Javan met Daniel at the local community college. Both had been taking night classes. Javan was taking physician's assistant classes while Daniel had been taking computer classes. That had been four years ago. The two had hit it off immediately and became fast friends. Javan had always been amazed at Daniel's ability to learn, that and the fact that a fifteen year old was taking night classes.

"That was intense," Teri said as she walked back into the kitchen. Javan looked up and gave her a concerned look. "He's gone back to sleep. I gave him a pain pill. Hope that was OK?"

"Yeah, he was due one anyway."

"I've only seen that a couple of times. He has nightmares when he's under a lot of stress and right now is a very stressful time," she said as she sat down at the kitchen table.

"What's going on, Teri? I mean what's really going on?" She took a slow deep breath. Javan had a right to know, after all, he was putting them both up at his house and providing Daniel with much needed medical attention. But telling Javan the whole truth would be a breach of confidence with Daniel. She had to approach this one with kid gloves.

"Javan, there's a lot of weird stuff going on right now," she started. Teri carefully explained about the car wreck and the kidnapping. She left out the part about Daniel killing the NSA agents. She left out the emails and the video too, but mentioned that Daniel has received some threats. After all, Teri didn't totally understand it all either.

"So the NSA is trying to find Daniel?"

"That's right, Javan," Teri said as she stood up to finish preparing supper.

"And they ran you two off the road and kidnapped Daniel?"

"Yeah."

"And they think he did what?"

"I don't know. I haven't had a chance to talk to Daniel. He started to tell me, but when I saw he was having such a difficult time breathing, I decided he needed to be here instead of talking very much. So I told him to be quiet and rest. Then I brought him here."

"You made the right choice. With his collapsed lung, he needed medical attention."

"Thanks again, by the way."

"Oh, no problem. So I guess we could get the whole story in the morning, maybe? I should be able to take the chest tube out then. The contusions are healing nicely, but his ribs will be sore for a while. And he could go home if he wants to." Teri's thoughts immediately focused on Percy and his buddies Sam and Dave. She hoped someone was taking care of them. She also knew the police department and Sergeant Brown would be looking for them, along with the NSA. Somebody would probably be watching the house. How could they go back there without being noticed? Where else could they go?

"Earth to Teri." She glanced up at Javan.

"Sorry. I've got about a hundred things running through my head," she said as she turned back toward the stove. "And cooking should be the only one there right now or I'm gonna ruin this wonderful meal." Javan noticed her evasion of his question slash suggestion, but decided to let it slide. He'd ask Daniel himself if he had to, but he wanted an explanation. The NSA had a reputation for being kinda ruthless. If they had indeed been the ones that kidnapped Daniel and worked him over, causing all the injuries, they must think he's done something pretty bad. But that still does not excuse a governmental agency of acting with such callous disregard. Yes, Javan would find out what was going on.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Daniel awoke to the smell of frying bacon. His mouth watered involuntarily and his stomach growled. The cobwebs in his head had disappeared since the pain medication had worn off. The chest tube still hurt like fire, but he had almost become used to it. Struggling with the pain, he was finally able to sit up in the bed. Daniel sat back against the pillow and closed his eyes. The memory of the nightmare was still fresh in his mind.

Timmy had been the oldest boy. He wore his jet black hair short and spiked like any ordinary thirteen year old would. His beautiful olive skin complexion gave him that tanned look all the time. Timmy's dark brown eyes sparkled. Some even suggested they glowed. At five foot six with a swimmer's build, Timmy was all boy and he was the peacemaker of the group. The other boys, usually ten total, would take their questions and problems to him and Timmy would sort them out. The boys ranged in age from ten to thirteen. Timmy went to bat for them when they needed something. He was one of those people that was genuinely nice to be around. He hated no one and even made excuses for the fat smelly old men saying bad things had happened in their lives that made them that way. Timmy always found the good in every person he met. He exuded confidence and often comforted the others as they tried to deal with the situation they were in. At one time or another, every one of the boys broke down from the tremendous strain of being held captive and made to do things they didn't want to do. Timmy would always be there for them with a hug, a kind word and a shoulder to cry on.

One day when the boys woke up, Timmy was gone. One of the guards told them Timmy had grown too old and had been sent home. After the guard left the room, one of the boys said he had stayed awake late last night, not being able to sleep. He had heard terrible screaming that seemed to go on and on. Then there had been a strange silence. He thought it was from some house down the street and thought nothing more about it. Most of the boys accepted the guard's explanation, but Daniel immediately became suspicious.

Later that morning, the boys were herded into the studio for another filming session. Daniel kept his eyes open. He didn't know what he was looking for, but there just had to be something that would give a clue as to what happened to Timmy. He didn't know why, but just felt it in his gut that something bad had happened. When they called him to the set, Daniel went to throw his chewing gum away. He casually glanced into the trashcan as he tossed in his gum. What he saw shocked him and confirmed his suspicions. Lying on top of the other trash was a pair of underwear. Timmy's name stood out boldly on the waistband. The underwear was soaked in blood.

Daniel shuddered and pulled the covers up to his neck as he fought to put the memory back in its safe place ... the place where he put all the memories of that time ... the place where they could be kept safely without constantly popping into his conscious mind. A single tear rolled down his cheek as he remembered Timmy and what a great friend he had been. The tears were for the loss of a kid's life, but also for the loss of a friend who had the potential to really make a difference in people's lives.

"I miss you, Tim. At least you're in a better place and don't have to struggle with the memories," Daniel whispered to himself. The bedroom door opened and Teri walked in.

"Good morning. How ya feelin'?" she said cheerily. Daniel quickly wiped the tear from his eye and forced a smile.

"Well as can be expected, I guess," he said. He actually did feel much better. The headache was gone and he could finally move his leg without pain. The only thing that really bothered him was the chest tube.

"Javan is scrubbing up to take the tube out. He came in earlier while you were asleep and listened to your lungs. He said they sounded real good, full and clear I think he said. Anyway, he's on his way in. I'm cooking breakfast. As soon as he's finished, I'll bring you some food."

"Coffee too, please."

"Now that sounds like the Daniel I know and love. Javan will be right in," she said as she walked out the door. Daniel could hear them talking, but couldn't make out what was being said. A few minutes later Javan showed up at the door in his surgical clothes.

"Let's get that tube out of your chest. You'll feel a lot better." Daniel grimaced at the thought, but nodded at Javan. Javan pulled on his rubber gloves. He smiled at Daniel. "This is only gonna hurt for a second. Then it'll all be over." Javan swabbed the area around the tube. Then he took a heavy gauze pad and held it right next to the tube.

"Ready?" Daniel nodded and closed his eyes. There was a quick sharp stab of pain and then a lot of pressure. He opened his eyes and looked at Javan. "Better already I bet. I've just got to get this airtight bandage on the incision and we'll be all done." He worked smoothly and a moment later was finished.

"Any blood in there?" asked Teri from the door.

"Not today," said Javan. "Feel better, Daniel?"

"Yeah. It's still sore though."

"It will be for a few days while the incision heals. Right now, why don't you eat some of the delicious breakfast Teri fixed. Then a little later we'll get you up and moving around."

"Thanks." Javan patted him on the shoulder.

"No problem." Then he looked at Teri. "Be sure to give him just one pain pill after breakfast. Two will put him to sleep. I want to get him up and about today. A shower would probably make him feel good. And I know he'd smell a hell of a lot better," he said as he chuckled and headed out of the room.

Daniel couldn't believe the huge breakfast Teri had prepared. The sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, and the English muffin didn't stand a chance when placed before the starving patient.

"That's what I like to see. A healthy appetite," Teri said smiling. "Oh, here, take a pain pill." She shook one out of the bottle and handed it to him. Daniel washed it down with a glass of orange juice. Then he took a big sip of coffee.

"Oh I have wanted some coffee. This is so good. Thanks. By the way, the flounder last night was delicious. Almost as good as mine," Daniel said while stuffing another fork full of eggs into his mouth. Teri put her hands on her hips in mock disgust.

"You must understand that I was working with primitive equipment and minimal ingredients." Daniel smiled at his friend. "You've spoiled me. I'm used to my kitchen. The one you remodeled for me. The one with all the wonderful counter tops. The one with the beautiful task lighting. The one you worked on for months." Teri reached out put her hands gently on Daniel's cheeks and looked him directly in the eyes. "The one I thank you for every day." She leaned forward and kissed his nose.

The sound of the doorbell boomed through the house like a cannon. Teri quickly turned and looked at the door of the bedroom. Daniel stopped in mid-chew. Their fears ran through their heads simultaneously ... cops or, worse yet, NSA Agents? They listened intently as Javan answered the door. The conversation was too quiet to hear, but they soon realized that Javan had let whoever was at the door inside. Teri quickly helped Daniel off the bed and over to the bathroom. They stepped inside and closed the door. Teri looked up at the small window above the toilet. Then she looked at Daniel. She saw the bandage on his side. She saw the boxer shorts. She saw the terror in his eyes. She turned and quickly locked the door.

"There's no way to get you through that window. And even if you do, you don't have any clothes," she whispered.

"I don't give a shit. Let's get out of here," he whispered back. Before either one of them could move, they heard a knock at the bathroom door.

"It's OK, guys. Come on out. I want you to meet a good friend of mine. He's cool and won't tell anyone." Teri and Daniel looked at each other. They knew the less people who knew anything would be better. But right now, trusting another person seemed to be the only logical choice. Teri unlocked the door and pulled it open slowly.

"Hey," she said when she saw Javan.

"Hey yourself. Come on out." Teri pulled the door wide open. She grabbed Daniel's arm and helped him back toward the bed. With the sudden surge of adrenalin, the pain pill had been rapidly absorbed into Daniel's system. Its effects were beginning to show. He stumbled slightly coming through the bathroom door. As he looked up, he saw someone standing in the doorway to the bedroom. He locked his eyes on the young man. Even through the fuzzy vision, Daniel could tell he was looking at the perfect picture of male beauty. His legs suddenly froze. He concentrated and cleared his vision. The boy stood just slightly taller than Daniel and appeared to be about the same age. His curly brown hair framed an absolutely beautiful face.

"God, he's got gorgeous eyes. Brown? No. More like chocolate," Daniel thought to himself. The boy's dark tan glowed warmly against the white tank top. If the bulging biceps were any indication, the rest of the boy's body was probably in great shape too. Daniel took in the whole vision with his peripheral vision as he continued to stare eye to eye with Javan's friend. Daniel's legs started to wobble. Teri tightened her grip.

"Daniel. Are you OK?" she asked. The words broke the trance and he looked at her with a dazed expression. He blinked a couple of times then looked down and noticed he was wearing only boxer shorts. He could feel the heat rise on his face as it reddened from the embarrassment.

"Teri. Daniel. I'd like you to meet a good friend of mine. This is Cody." Teri and Daniel looked at the young man.

"So his name is Cody. What a beautiful name to go with a beautiful body," Daniel thought to himself. Cody looked like a deer caught in headlights. "Cody?" said Javan. Cody blinked, shook his head slightly, and then smiled.

"Hey, looks like you've been through a meat grinder." Daniel smiled back.

"I feel like it too." An awkward silence ensued as the young men stood and looked at each other. Teri sensed it, but Javan was oblivious. She sensed the immediate attraction the two boys had for each other. She knew Daniel was gay. They had that conversation when Daniel was ten. As for Cody, she sensed it immediately. Daniel stumbled a bit. Cody was instantly at his side helping Teri.

"God he even smells great," Daniel thought as Cody's warm gentle hands helped to steady the walk to the bed. Daniel's mind was reeling. It was partially from the pain meds, but mostly from Cody. No one had ever affected him like this. No one. His heart felt like it would break out of his chest. Butterflies had invaded his stomach. A warm feeling had washed over him. As he sat down on the edge of the bed, Daniel looked deeply into the chocolate eyes. He saw care and concern. But he also thought he saw something else. He couldn't quite put his finger on it. Daniel studied the angles of the face surrounding the eyes. He suddenly longed to touch the soft curly brown hair. He could hear someone talking, but didn't want to listen. All he wanted to do was look. A sudden shaking at his shoulder rudely pulled him back into reality.

"Daniel. Daniel?" Daniel looked up and saw that Cody was talking to him. He smiled widely. "Can I help get you back into bed?"

"Please," Daniel whispered. Teri looked at her friend and smiled. She stood back and allowed Cody to help Daniel get stretched out on the bed. Then he gently covered him up with the blanket.

"Cody manages the local Radio Shack. He's a wiz with computers and electronics. I thought you two should get to know each other, Daniel. I told Cody what you do for a living and he's been really interested in meeting you," said Javan.

"Sorry you have to meet me like this," said Daniel.

"Oh, no need to be sorry. I've enjoyed it," Cody said a little more enthusiastically than he had intended, but it went unnoticed. "You just get some rest so we can spend some time together. I'd love to see your set up."

"That'd be great," Daniel said. "But right now I've kinda got a lot on my hands. There's a few things that need to get straightened out."

"That's OK," interrupted Cody. Daniel could see the disappointment on Cody's face. "I understand. Sorry I asked."

"No. Cody. You don't understand. I'd love for you to come by some time. Really. I mean that. I'd really like to spend some time with you. It's just that now isn't a real good time." Cody's disappointment instantly disappeared and his broad smile returned.

"That's cool. You get some rest and I'll see you later this afternoon. Javan wants to run some errands and didn't want to leave Teri here by herself, so I'm here."

"Sorry, I forgot to tell you guys," said Javan.

"Oh, it's no problem. None at all," Daniel said, also a little more enthusiastically than he had intended. Teri noticed just as she had noticed earlier when Cody spoke. Javan just stood there like everything was perfectly normal.

"Sparks from the fireworks are gonna start flying all over this room," she thought to herself as she smiled.

"Well, OK. I'm gonna take off. You two should let Daniel get some rest," he said to Teri and Cody.

"OK," they answered in unison. Javan turned and left the room. Teri grabbed the breakfast tray and followed right behind him. Cody turned to leave too, but stopped at the door.

"If there's anything, and I mean anything I can do, just let me know, OK?" Daniel nodded. "Thank you, Cody," he whispered. Cody closed the bedroom door and joined Teri and Javan in the kitchen. Daniel was emotionally exhausted. The pain pill took him away to a restful sleep. Meeting Cody allowed him to sleep with a smile on his face.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"I have a few errands to run and should be back in a two or three hours, depending on the damn tourist traffic," said Javan.

"That's cool. Take your time," answered Cody.

"Yeah, take a break, Javan. You've been watching over Daniel for almost three full days. Get out of the house for a while. We'll be just fine," Teri said.

"I've got the grocery list. Is there anything you can think of?"

"Can't think of a thing. If I do, I'll call your cell phone."

"OK, see you later." Javan grabbed his keys and walked out the door.

"Do you want something to drink?" Teri asked as she turned toward Cody.

"Yeah, sounds good."

"Tea?"

"Sure." Teri poured a glass and handed it to Cody. "Thanks." They walked back into the living room and were just about to sit down when the phone rang. Teri picked it up.

"Hello."

"Teri," said an excited Javan.

"What's up?"

"There's a big black Chevy Suburban circling the block. They went real slow when they went by the house."

"Oh God, no."

"What?" asked Cody. Teri covered the mouthpiece. "Quick, get Daniel up and get him dressed. We've gotta get out of here now."

"Huh?" asked Cody.

"Please don't ask questions. Just help Daniel get up and dressed. And please do it as fast as you can." Cody took off for the bedroom. Then she turned back to the telephone.

"Javan?"

"Yeah."

"I've got Cody getting Daniel up. We've gotta get out of here."

"I've pulled into a neighbor's driveway. I can see my house from here and I can see the street. I'll let you know when it's clear to go."

"Perfect. I'll call you back when we're ready. If something happens, you call me right back."

"OK."

"Javan. Do you have a gun?" The silence on the other end of the phone told Teri Javan was having a hard time comprehending everything. "Javan?"

"Aaah. Oh, sorry. No, I don't have a gun."

"OK, thanks anyway. I'll talk to you in a minute."

"OK." She hung up the phone and headed for the bedroom. Cody already had Daniel up and was helping him with his shorts.

"Hurry," she urged.

"What's happening?" asked Daniel, still woozy from the pain pill.

"The black SUV is back," Teri said flatly.

"Oh shit," Daniel said as he watched Cody look around the room. "What?" he asked Cody.

"Where are the rest of your clothes?"

"This is it," said Daniel motioning to his shorts. The ring of the phone jerked them all back into reality. Cody had no idea what was going on, but by the reaction of the other two, it had to be serious. Teri ran out to the phone, talked for a moment, and then came running back in.

"I've got a plan," she said breathlessly.

"OK, lay it out," said Daniel, just then starting to get his wits about him.

"I'm gonna make a run for it in my car ..."

"Oh hell no, you're not!" Daniel said hotly.

"Shut up and listen to me!" Teri barked back. Daniel was stunned. Teri never spoke to him like that. As a result, he shut up.

"As I was saying, I'm gonna make a run for it in my car. They know it. They'll follow me. Then, Cody you help Daniel into your car and get him the hell out of here."

"I don't like it. I don't like it one bit," said Daniel. "They might try to hurt you."

I can drive like a bat outta hell. They'll never catch me. Besides, I'm going to drive straight to the police department. They won't touch me there."

"I still don't like it," said Daniel defiantly.

"I don't care what you like. This is what we need to do and you know it. Cody, give me your cell phone number. I'll take Daniel's phone and we can stay in touch." Cody jotted the number down on a piece of paper and handed it to her.

"Where do you think we should go?" he asked.

"I don't know. Anywhere away from here to start with," Teri said. The phone rang again. Teri ran back into the living room. Cody helped Daniel up from the bed and they slowly moved toward the door.

"Grab my pain pills, will ya?" asked Daniel. Cody swiped them off the bedside table and shoved them into his pocket. Then he put his arm back around Daniel's waist. "Thanks," Daniel said smiling. The warm feeling came back immediately as he felt the strong arms offer their support. They walked into the living room just as Teri hung up the phone.

"OK, they just went around the block for like the fifth time. They'll be coming back around soon. When they do, I'm gonna back out of the driveway and take off. They should follow me. As soon as we're out of sight, you two get outta here." Both boys nodded. Teri gave Daniel a big hug and then looked at Cody. "You take care of my best friend. OK?"

"No problem, Teri. You be careful." She paused a second, then leaned over and kissed Cody on the cheek.

"Thank you," she whispered. Then she turned and ran out the door to her car.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



On to Chapter Four
"Reality"

Back to Chapter Two
Memories

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page


The Nineteenth Year is Copyright © 2008 by The Tarheel Writer.
    This work may not be duplicated in any form (physical, electronic, audio, or otherwise) without the author's written permission. All applicable copyright laws apply. All individuals depicted are fictional with any resemblance to real persons being purely coincidental.


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