The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer    The Nineteenth Year
by Jevic
The Tarheel Writer
Chapter Fifteen
"Damage Control"

Back to Chapter Fourteen
"Set Backs"
On to Chapter Sixteen
"The Devil's Snare"
Chapter Index

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The Nineteenth Year by Jevic, The Tarheel Writer

Action Adventure
Violence
Sexual Situations
Rated Teen 13+

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The sound of sirens pulled him toward consciousness as the comfortable bliss of blackness was being replaced with pain, lots of pain. He fought the pain and slowly rolled to his side. It seemed that his shoulder was on fire and he couldn't move his arm. Just thinking about it upped the pain to the intolerable level. Fighting the pain induced tunnel vision. He slowly got up to his knees. The sirens were close now, maybe even just outside. Using his good arm, he pulled himself up on his feet. Tentatively, he took a step and promptly fell forward against the wall. He hissed from the pain. Looking up and down the corridor, he quickly opted for the fire escape. The stairs would probably be full of cops. Stumbling along slowly, Stan Bouchard moved down the hallway. He fought the pain in his shoulder all the way.

If the hallway was difficult, the fire escape was a monumental task. He struggled down the steps and finally reached the ladder portion of the escape route. Stan swung his right leg around to the top rung. As he moved his left leg, his right gave way and all six foot two hundred twenty-five pounds of Stan Bouchard went crashing to the pavement below. Blinding pain shot through his body.

The one small bit of luck that went Stan's way was that he had parked his car in the alley, just ten feet from the fire escape. Through bleary eyes, he looked at his car. Grinning despite the pain, he crawled over to the driver's door. Then the grin faded as a vision of his car keys lying on the kitchen counter came to his mind. Stan reached for his cell phone only to find that it had been smashed in his fall. Stan slumped down between the car and the wall. Nothing seemed to be going his way.

Thinking back, Stan remembered putting the pistol on the kitchen counter beside his keys. Then he had gone after that little shit of a kid that brought Daniel to his door. Unable to find the brat, Stan decided to see if Daniel was still at his door. As he looked through the peep hole, the loud sound of the pistol and the intense pain in his shoulder seemed to happen at the same time. Finding himself about to fall back, he grabbed the door knob, but it turned and the door swung open. That was the last thing Stan remembered before waking up on the hallway floor.

Through all the years of working with kids and the rich slimy assholes that were willing to pay top dollar, Stan had never even pulled his gun on anyone. He'd pistol whipped a couple of smart assed kids, but never pulled the trigger. Shooting Danny's "boy toy" felt good. Stan knew that would hurt Danny even more than actually shooting the little brat. It was because of him that Stan had to move. It was because of that freaking little eleven year old kid that the government seized his assets and left him virtually penniless. Hate didn't even begin to describe how he felt about Danny. One day soon, Stan would exact his revenge … and it wouldn't be pretty.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

As the police officers started to wrap up their investigation, Timmy slowly turned and headed toward Daniel. He watched as Teri held her best friend in her arms. Even though the tears had stopped, Daniel's emotions were still raw. The news Timmy was about to deliver could send his friend over the edge. He tried to think of an excuse to not give the news, but he knew that if the tables were turned, he'd want to know.

When Timmy learned his parents had been killed in an automobile accident, it was his uncle that brought the news. He remembered the expression on his uncle's face just before the news was delivered. Timmy briefly wondered if the expression on his face matched the one that had been on his uncle's.

Dread filled him like lead weights, slowing his walk. Dealing with the news was hard enough for Timmy. He had grown quite fond of Cody and enjoyed his company. Timmy remembered how Cody would light up when Daniel was with him. The love that flowed between those two boys was unmistakable, bringing both boys immeasurable joy. Now Timmy was about to destroy that joy with the news of Cody's death. Timmy walked up to his friends, but couldn't look Daniel in the face.

Daniel saw the worried expression on Timmy's face and mistook it for concern for Cody. He wrapped his arms around Timmy. The hug was meant to be reassuring, but it only added to the apprehension.

"It's gonna be OK, Timmy. Everything will be just fine," Daniel said softly. Timmy tightened his hug and fought the tears threatening to spill down his face. He took a deep breath and gathered his courage. The news was important and had to be delivered, despite the grief and anguish it would bring.

"Daniel, I talked to the police," Timmy whispered in Daniel's ear. "They've heard from the ambulance." Daniel stiffened slightly then tightened his hug on Timmy. "Daniel, the news wasn't good. I'm afraid that …" Timmy felt someone tapping on his shoulder. He turned and saw the English speaking police officer.

"Excuse me, but the hospital called. We need to get over there right now," the officer said. "They need to talk with someone about Cody's medical history." Timmy was suddenly confused and the look on his face didn't go unnoticed by the officer. "Oh, the report from the ambulance was wrong," the officer added with a smile. "Sorry about that." Relief flooded through Timmy so quickly that he felt weak. Daniel steadied him. Timmy looked at Daniel and smiled.

"I was about to have to give you some bad news," Timmy explained. "Now it seems things are different. Come on, let's go see Cody." The five friends piled into a police car and they sped off toward the hospital.

Timmy unconsciously clung to Daniel. He needed to be near. He needed the physical contact. In a twisted kind of way, Timmy needed the contact to reassure him that, indeed, things would be all right. As he thought how close he had come to actually telling Daniel, he physically shuddered.

The police car came to an abrupt stop at the emergency room entrance. The officer barely had the car in park before Daniel was scrambling out and heading for the door. Every one else was on his heels. Daniel made a beeline for the reception desk asking where Cody was, but the lady at the desk didn't speak English. Once again, the friends were thankful to have the police officer translate for them. After getting directions, they all headed for the Intensive Care Unit.

Daniel peered through the glass door. The doctor wouldn't let him go in. Giant tears rolled down his face as he took in the scene. He watched the heart monitor as the police officer translated for the doctor. The bullet had punctured Cody's right lung. They had to operate to repair the damage. Cody had been lucky that the bullet missed any bones and had passed cleanly through his back. The blood loss was significant and Cody's heart had even stopped due to all the trauma. Overall, Cody was stable, but in guarded condition. He hadn't regained consciousness yet and the doctor didn't expect him to come around for at least a few hours. Then the questions started.

The doctor wanted to know how to get in touch with Cody's parents. He wanted to know the relationship between Cody and Daniel. He wanted to know everyone's blood type in case Cody needed more blood. They had exhausted the hospital's supply. He wanted to know if Cody was allergic to anything. And the head nurse wanted to know who was going to pay the bill. All the questions overwhelmed Daniel, but Teri immediately jumped in and took over. She gave the doctor all the information she had and for what information she didn't have, she gave them a phone number. Satisfied with the information, the head nurse then directed each of them into a room for a blood sample. She indicated that donating blood was entirely voluntary, but not one person backed down.

"Officer, and I'm sorry, I don't even know your name, do you think the doctor would let Daniel in to see Cody?" asked Teri as she walked back into the hall after giving her blood sample.

"Johan."

"Excuse me?"

"My name is Johan." Teri held out her hand.

"Johan, I'm Teri and I'm very pleased to meet you."

"I am pleased to meet you as well. In the short time I've known you and your friends, I can't help but see how close you all are. I will do what I can with the doctor."

"Thank you, Johan. This will mean a lot to Daniel." Johan smiled and headed for the doctor. The head nurse came back out of the blood testing room and announced that Cody and Daniel had the same blood type. Daniel immediately told her to take as much as she needed. She couldn't understand what he said, but she recognized the true love and concern in Daniel's voice and relaxed from her stern demeanor and actually smiled.

"Daniel," Johan said interrupting. He turned and looked the officer in the eye. "The doctor says you can go in and see Cody." Daniel quickly embraced Johan then headed for Cody.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Stan Bouchard woke up still lying next to his car in the alley behind his apartment. What woke him up were the three teenagers rummaging through his pockets. He was far too weak to resist. The teens quickly relieved Stan of his watch, gold necklace and his wallet. Stan was somewhat upset about being robbed, but what the laughing teens did next, humiliated him. To begin with they were going to leave, but ended up coming back. Much to Stan's horror, the three boys all unzipped their pants and urinated on him.

Wallowing in piss and blood, Stan somehow gathered the strength to pull himself to his feet. He staggered down the alley, turned the corner and made his way toward the front door of the apartment complex. Since the sun had set, he moved unnoticed by passersby. He stumbled up the steps and made his way up to his apartment. Ripping the yellow police tape from his door, the tried the door knob, but found it locked. Despite the blood loss, the excruciating pain and the rank smell of urine, he chuckled to himself. Kicking the door mat back, he slowly and painfully reached down and retrieved the key.

Once inside his apartment, Stan moved quickly. He grabbed the phone and called his video editor, the only person he could trust. The editor arranged to have a physician come to Stan's apartment, treat his wound and most importantly, bring something for the pain.

It was mid-morning when Stan woke up. He rolled to his side and was greeted with a sharp stab of pain. Reaching for the pill bottle beside his bed, he quickly downed two pain pills and headed for the bathroom. Then he headed for the kitchen for coffee. Finally, he headed for his home office and his computer. Revenge was at the top of his list as the slightly dulled pain in his shoulder egged him on. Stan quickly and easily hacked into the NSA computer system. Locating the agency's file on Daniel, Stan started to made some modifications. When he was finished, the revised file would catch the attention of the main system and put Daniel on the top ten list. That taken care of, Stan turned his attention to more practical means of exacting revenge. He easily accessed Daniel's financial accounts and closed them all, but not before transferring the funds to his personal account. Then Stan grinned. It was time to make someone hurt, just the way he was hurting. No one gets the better of Stan Bouchard. No one.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Javan had been home from the hospital for only a few days. Jevic had brought him up to date on everything Daniel, Cody, Teri and their new friends had been up to. They both shared a huge laugh about the fake severed head. Javan filled Jevic in on his "stay" with the rogue NSA agents. Jevic filled Javan in on his house burning down and the subsequent flood that washed his lake home away. Suitably up to date, the friends decided that Daniel was truly being pursued by someone that was totally whacked. The two young men agreed to keep each other up to date.

After Javan hung the phone up, he felt better. It was good to know that he wasn't the only person suffering because of Daniel. He held no animosity toward Daniel, after all, he was a friend, a close friend. Javan was most concerned that Daniel and Teri were in Europe and were probably in over their heads. He knew first hand the evil that men can exact on people. Javan settled down on his couch and picked up the remote. He scanned a few channels and finally settled on the local news. The headline took his breath away.

"Topping our local news," the reporter started, "a local man has been identified as being responsible for hacking into the computer systems at a damn in North Carolina and releasing enough water to kill over a hundred people and cause millions in damage. Daniel Simon of St. Augustine has been identified as the main suspect in the case. Local officials had no comment on the report."

Javan couldn't believe what he heard, but what really got his attention was the knock on his door. It was a little after eleven o'clock. There was only one thing that could possibly be waiting on the other side of the door … trouble. Javan cautiously made his way to his front door. He flipped on the front porch light and peered though the peep hole. Recognizing the person on the other side of the door, he immediately opened it.

"Sergeant Brown. What are you doing out this late?" Javan asked. The sergeant had a serious look on his face.

"We need to talk about Daniel. He's in trouble and we're the only ones that can help."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Daniel, Teri, Timmy, Dillon and Casey walked into their suite at the Pyramida Hotel. Every one of them were totally exhausted. Dillon and Casey held hands and told everyone good night. Timmy and Teri sat on either side of Daniel on the couch.

"Come on, Daniel. Let us help you get to bed," Timmy said. Daniel nodded and slowly stood up. Teri and Timmy helped him to his bedroom. They helped him strip down to his boxers and put him in bed. After Daniel assured them he would call them if he needed them, they retired to their own bedroom. The general feeling in the suite was unsettled because one of their own wasn't there. Dillon and Casey stripped to their boxers and slid between the crisp sheets. Once there, they kissed softy. Dillon turned on his side and Casey slid in behind, snuggling up and pulling Dillon in tight against his body. The sexual tension was non-existent. All that was there was love and concern. They drifted off to sleep peacefully.

In Teri and Timmy's room, things were a bit different. Teri desperately needed to be in contact, physically. Once they were stretched out and comfortable under the sheets, she turned to Timmy.

"I need to make love with you," she said bluntly. Timmy, a bit surprised, turned to Teri.

"I was thinking this would be a snuggling and holding kind of night."

"At first, that's what I wanted, but now, and I can't explain this, but I want you to fuck me til the sun comes up."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The forest seemed foreboding through the eyes of the eleven and a half year old boy. Despite living in the state that's home to the 'sun and fun capital of the world,' he was chilled to the point of goose bumps. The object he carried in his hand seemed as large as a baseball bat and as heavy as a brick, but it was nothing compared to the weight he carried on his shoulders. The things he had done and the things he was made to do continuously haunted his mind. No matter what he did, the memories wouldn't go away. They stalked him, waiting for a weak moment. And when it came, they pounced like a starved tiger. He tried everything to make them go away, but they always came back, relentless in their determination to take up residence in the young boy's head. He was ashamed of what had happened and of the feelings he was having. He was riddled with guilt and told no one about it. All the memories … all the 'what ifs' … and all the shame … remained locked tightly in his mind. There was no escaping it.

The walk down the forest trail was measured. Footsteps were taken slowly and deliberately, but taken with the actions of an old man. Tears freely ran down the boy's face. There was only one escape from the weight on his shoulders. His ticket to freedom was clutched tightly in his right hand. The Florida sun occasionally peaked though the heavy canopy of trees above and glistened against the chrome plating. There was no other way, he told himself. The weight had become too much. He suddenly thought about Timmy and wondered what his friend would have done. Timmy was always bright, cheerful and optimistic, despite the horrors. Maybe it had all been a front. Maybe Timmy had been just as scared, just as alone and just as frightened. If anyone would understand how the boy felt, it would be Timmy. More tears rolled down the boy's face as yet another horrific memory came to mind … that of finding Timmy's bloody underwear and the realization that Timmy was no longer alive. The young boy took a deep breath and continued down the forest path with renewed determination. Perhaps he would be able to talk with Timmy soon, if you believe in that. Perhaps he would finally be free. Or maybe things would just go black. He didn't know and didn't care. All the boy knew was he could not continue, not with nightmares, not with the guilt, not with the shame.

Many things had been considered up until the walk in the woods. He thought about his parents. His family wasn't a 'touchy-feely' family and the boy couldn't remember the last time he had been hugged. Openly crying was not an option. One does not allow their emotions to take control, his father had told him. You must keep a stiff upper lip. His mother ruled the house with an iron fist. Everything was done according to her direction. There was never any consideration of what the boy wanted … never. He was expected to act a certain way. The rules set forth by his parents were unrelenting. Infractions were dealt with promptly and harshly. They would never understand what he had been though and they would never understand the feelings he was desperately trying to deal with.

The boy's list of friends was easily counted on one hand. In fact, they could be counted on one finger. Teri was his best and only friend, but the boy was too ashamed to even tell her. Surely she would understand. And then again, maybe she wouldn't. Maybe she would be mad. But the boy was beyond all the maybes. All he could deal with was the harsh reality that relentlessly haunted him every waking minute of the day.

The fallen tree at the side of the trail provided the perfect resting place and he sat down. He'd always enjoyed walks in the woods, but today the trees seemed to know what was about to happen. They didn't seem happy. A fresh round of goose bumps rose on his arms as he lifted the huge chrome plated pistol into his lap.

Daniel's eyes popped open and he sat up quickly. He was covered in sweat and couldn't seem to catch his breath. His sore throat and the sudden appearance of Teri told him he'd had another nightmare. She wrapped her arms around him and whispered reassuringly into his ear. Ever so slowly, his breathing came under control and his tense muscles relaxed. The nightmare had been so real that he could still smell the pines trees.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Sergeant Brown boarded the sleek government Lear jet and took a seat in one of the plush chairs. After strapping himself in, the pilot came back and told him they would be leaving almost immediately. The sergeant nodded and picked up his brief case. He took out a folder with Daniel's name printed on the outside. As the engines began to wind up, he started to peruse the folder contents. An hour later, he closed the folder and sighed. Now he knew the whole story. The sheets of paper inside the folder contained all the details of Daniel's kidnapping. Those sheets were rather old. The newer sheets had facts about the agency's suspicions concerning hacking into secure government sites. It was all there in black and white. Daniel had the computer and Internet expertise, but the facts failed to mention a motive. With decades of street smarts, the detective knew it was rare for people to do something without a motive. The omission of a suspected motive was in of itself a clue. Twiddling with his pack of cigarettes, the sergeant got up and walked to the cockpit.

"Any chance of a smoke?" he asked the pilot as he held up his cigarette pack. The pilot grinned, but shook his head no. Sergeant Brown shrugged his huge shoulders and returned to his seat. He put Daniel's folder back into his briefcase and pulled out another folder. The name across this one was Stan Bouchard. As the Lear jet made its way across the Atlantic Ocean toward Prague, the sergeant kicked back and started to read.

"Sergeant, phone call," the co-pilot said. Sergeant Brown looked up and the co-pilot pointed a phone.

"Thanks." He got up from his seat and picked up the phone. "Howard Brown here."

"Sergeant Brown, it's Agent Bodenheimer. We've received some news about Daniel."

"Oh."

"One of the people in his group was shot and was taken to the Prague hospital Na Homolce. Our agents there were able to identify him as Cody Charles Campbell. He's in Intensive Care at the hospital and Daniel was there earlier. Our agent wasn't able to find out any more, but chances are good that Daniel will be back."

"That's good news. How'd the boy get shot? And please tell me it wasn't an agent."

"No, it wasn't an agent. From what I've learned, it seems possible that he was shot by Stan Bouchard. You should have his file in your brief case."

"Yeah, I was just reading it. He's a pretty nasty person."

"Understatement. He's been involved in child pornography for years, but we haven't been able to get our hands on him."

"So what do we do about Daniel?"

"We've stationed a few agents at the hospital. They're under strict orders to only report if they sight Daniel and not to do anything else. I'd suggest making the hospital one of your first stops."

"That's pretty obvious."

"Sorry, but when you never know who you're working with or what their experience is, you need to cover all the bases."

"No offense taken. Just make sure your boys keep it in their pants. I don't need a bunch of CIA agents still wet behind the ears pitchin' wood for a quick collar."

"They have strict orders to only report and not to act. There shouldn't be a problem."

"Yeah, and that's what Nixon said to Halderman."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Daniel took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Would the nightmares ever end? Thank God for Teri. He stretched then sat up on the side of his bed. His throat was parched and he needed something to drink. Daniel quietly padded into the living room of the suite and headed for the wet bar. He filled a glass with water and was just taking a sip when he heard a quiet knocking at the door. He quickly glanced at the clock on the wall. 2:17AM. Daniel frowned and slowly walked over to the door. He peered through the peephole. Seeing who was on the other side of the door, he quickly unlocked the door and pulled it open.

"Remik!"

"I-I'm sorry, but I had nowhere else to go," the boy said softly. Daniel wrapped his arms around Remik and pulled him into the suite. After closing and locking the door, Daniel directed Remik toward his bedroom. He closed the door behind them.

"We can talk in here and won't wake anybody else up," Daniel explained as he sat down on the edge of the bed. Remik stood nervously in the middle of the room. "Come on, have a seat." The young boy moved cautiously over and sat down beside Daniel.

"I'm real sorry to bother you."

"You're not bothering me. I was wondering what happened to you."

"The police let me go after they talked with your friend. I went home and told papa what happened," Remik explained as tears started to roll down his face. "Papa got mad. He said my family could not live without the money I was making. He beat me and threw me into the street. He told me not to come back unless I had money," the young boy sobbed. Daniel's heart almost broke. He wrapped his arms around Remik and pulled him into a tight reassuring hug.

"How could anyone do this to such a sweet innocent kid?" Daniel thought to himself as the young boy completely broke down. "Who am I kidding? Stan fucking Bouchard could do this. Bastard!"

Remik was completely exhausted and was soon asleep in Daniel's arms. Daniel gently laid him back on the bed. He quickly removed the boy's socks and shoes and with some effort, pulled the boy's shirt off. Daniel pulled Remik onto the bed and covered them with the comforter. He held the boy tightly against his chest until he heard the distinctive sounds of a slight snore. Daniel smiled to himself. He moved his head closer and lightly kissed Remik between the shoulder blades, just as he would have kissed Cody. Daniel's exhaustion took over and he fell into a deep sleep.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Stan Bouchard sat in his car and watched incredulously as the police made their way in and out of his apartment. They carried box after box. Stan knew what was up … his time in Prague. Luckily, he took everything of value from his apartment before leaving to see his editor. In the eight years he had been in Prague, he had managed to amass a little over seven million dollars. Those foreign men with a healthy appetite for young performs had lined Stan's pockets. The long list of young performers didn't bother Stan. He had plenty of money that was well hidden from the prying eyes of the government. Changing his base of operation would be a royal pain. Prague provided a very nice pool of young performers. One of the first things he did when moving to Prague was to find out where they were. It took some time, but he eventually had a seemingly endless supply of little urchins to put on camera. Now, the thought of having to relocate pissed him off. He'd have to start all over again.

The sharp knock to his window brought Stan back to the here and now. He turned and looked into the face of a young policeman. For just a moment, the face looked familiar, but Stan couldn't quite place it. He tapped the window button and rolled down the driver's side window.

"Yes."

"You can't park here," the officer started, but a look of recognition came across the officer's face. "You!" the officer exclaimed. Timing wasn't Stan's strong suit as recognition hit him as well but it was just a bit too late. He was looking into the eyes of one of his former … performers. A wave of panic rushed over Stan as he glanced down and saw the officer reaching for his gun. Stan floored the accelerator of the Octavia sedan leaving the officer in a cloud of rubber smoke.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Stan worked up through the gears and shot around the corner. He headed for the main road. As he approached the intersection, he downshifted and braked. Just as he turned left onto the main road, he glanced up and saw a police car coming.

"Shit!" The car's RPMs revved up to the red line as Stan desperately tried to get away, but the police BMW was slowly gaining ground. Stan weaved in and out of traffic and slid the car sideways turning off the main road to a side street. He'd just shifted into second when the sound of a police siren blared out from behind him. Glancing up, he saw that a second police car had come from an adjoining street and was right on his rear bumper.

"This is getting out of hand." Stan slammed on the brakes and brought his car to a sudden stop. The police car swerved to the right to avoid hitting him and came to a stop halfway on the sidewalk. Stan grabbed his pistol and shot the front tire of the police car then floored it and took off. The second police car screamed by the disabled one and continued the pursuit. Stan tired every trick he knew, turned down every hidden lane and side street he knew and even tried slamming on his brakes again, but whoever was driving the police car was relentless. After barely missing a delivery truck, Stan decided it was time for desperate action. He slowly moved his car to the side of the street and stopped. The police car pulled up behind him. Stan gripped his pistol tightly. "Step out of the vehicle," the police officer said over his loud speaker. Stan opened the door and put his right foot on the ground. Then swinging around quickly, he aimed his pistol and opened fire. Seven shots later, the entire front windshield of the police BMW was shattered. Stan slammed his door and took off, not waiting to see if he'd hit his mark. With no one in pursuit, Stan slowed a bit, but quickly decided a change of vehicle was in order. He slipped into a car lot and asked to test drive a brand new Audi TT. Five minutes later, Stan Bouchard was zipping down the M2 headed for his editor's house.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The sun shone brightly through the window and urged Daniel to wake up, but the warmth next to him begged him to stay in bed. He wrapped his arms around his bedmate and snuggled in closer. His "Good morning America" flagpole slid effortlessly between the legs in front of him. Daniel buried his nose into soft hair and breathed deeply. That was when he totally woke up. He openly gasped as he realized it was Remik in bed with him and not Cody. Blushing a bright crimson, he gingerly extricated himself from between Remik's legs. The young boy remained asleep. Daniel carefully got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. After a quick shower he returned to the bedroom and quietly got dressed. Remik was still sleeping soundly. Daniel was worried about Remik and where he would go since his father had thrown him out of the house, but he also worried about Cody still lying in Intensive Care at the hospital. After tying his shoes, he headed out to the suite's living room.

"You're up early," Teri said cheerfully.

"You're in a good mood this morning," Daniel said as he closed the door to his bedroom. Nodding back toward the bedroom door, he continued. "Got a visitor last night." Teri's eyebrows rose. "Remik."

"You slept with Remik?" Teri asked shocked.

"Slept being the key word. Yeah, he showed up at the door about two. His father kicked him out of the house and he had nowhere else to go."

"Some people really piss me off," Teri said with a frown as she pushed a cup of coffee toward Daniel. He joined her on the couch and took a sip.

"If the sounds of your headboard slamming against the wall all night long are any indication, I 'd say some people make you very happy," Daniel said with a grin. Teri smiled with not a hint of embarrassment. "And all that screaming … I thought I was in church."

"Huh?"

"Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!" Daniel said in his best Teri impression. Now Teri blushed, but not missing a beat, she folded her arms indignantly across her chest.

"Well it seems to me that I remember you being quite reverent at times yourself, but your comments included 'harder, oh God, yes, harder.'" Daniel blushed but Teri's comments also reminded him why he got up so early.

"I'm headed to the hospital, Teri. I'm so worried."

"I know you are, so go on and get outta here. We'll be along shortly and don't worry about Remik. We'll figure something out for him." Daniel smiled a weak smile and nodded.

It was a short twenty minutes later that found Daniel walking down the hall of the Intensive Care Unit. He paused at Cody's door and looked in the window. The heart monitor was still chirping away. Some of the IV's had been removed overnight, but one still remained hanging next to Cody's bed. A nurse was in the room making some notes on Cody's chart. She looked up and saw Daniel looking in the window and smiled. She came out the door a moment later.

"You American boy's friend?" she asked in broken English. Daniel nodded. "He much better now. You can go in." Daniel smiled.

"Thank you so much." She smiled back at him and headed for the nurse's station. Daniel walked into the room quietly. The sight of Cody hooked up to all the machines brought back the emotions from the day before and Daniel found himself wiping tears away from his face as he sat down in the chair beside Cody's bed.

"I'm so sorry, baby," he whispered as he gently took Cody's hand into his own. Daniel leaned over and rested his head on Cody's hand thanking God for not taking Cody away.

"You're a sight for sore eyes." At first the raspy voice he heard didn't click in his mind. When he felt Cody's hand tighten around his own, he quickly looked up and saw Cody grinning at him.

"Oh thank, God," Daniel exclaimed as more tears flowed down his face. He quickly stood up and leaned over looking Cody in the face. "I thought I was gonna lose you," he whispered.

"Not today, Daniel. Actually I feel pretty good despite all this," he said gesturing to the medical technology in the room. "Now lean down here and gimme a kiss." Their lips met softly as the door whooshed open. Daniel looked toward the door and saw a man dressed in a dark suit.

"Daniel Simon, I have a warrant for your arrest," the man said grinning.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


On to Chapter Sixteen
"The Devil's Snare"

Back to Chapter Fourteen
"Set Backs"

Chapter Index

Jevic's Story Page


The Nineteenth Year is © 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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