Heart Burn

by Mallory

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thanks to Lisa S. for the plot bunny and all the helpful suggestions along the way! Your expertise was much appreciated! Thanks to Antoinette for the great beta!

DISCLAIMER: Mag7/Las Vegas alternate universe was created by Sarah (aka Midnight Profit) and is based on the “Las Vegas” TV series. This AU is not related to the Mag7/Las Vegas RPG created by Lisa O. and Ruby. Trilogy, MGM, and the Mirisch Corporation own “The Magnificent Seven” characters. NBC Studios, NBC Universal Television, DreamWorks Television, and Gary Scott Thompson Productions own “Las Vegas.” They are not mine. The only purpose of this story is for entertainment. No money is being made.


For Josiah Sanchez, it was the start of what he thought was just another Monday. He woke early, as he did most days. Stretching out on the hardwood floor beside his bed, he did fifty pushups. He pulled a blue exercise mat from under his bed, lay on his back on top of it and proceeded to do fifty sit-ups.

By the time he was finished, he’d worked up a good sweat and headed into the bathroom to shower and dress for his day.

Whistling a tune under his breath, a container of coffee in his hands, Josiah entered the security bull pen area.

"Morning, brothers," Josiah chirped heartily.

JD grinned, "Morning, Josiah."

"Josiah," Vin nodded.

"Mister Sanchez, you certainly seem to be in a euphoric mood this morning," Ezra commented.

"Well, why not, Ezra? Beautiful day, sun shining, all is right with God’s creatures," Josiah said.

Vin grinned, "Amen, brother."

"Anything happening I need to be aware of?" Josiah asked.

Vin shook his head, "No emergencies. Oh, but your girlfriend is coming back for a visit." Vin grinned and added, "Jo-Jo."

JD and Ezra snickered

The Head Valet grinned, taking the teasing in stride. "Due for her yearly visit already. Well time does fly. If you’ll excuse me, gents, I’m off to my post."

Mondays' were usually quiet in the front of the Montecito. There were more guest leaving who had spent the weekend than there were guest arriving. Josiah saw to it that departing guests had assistance with their luggage; that their cars were brought around promptly. The morning passed quickly. Greg Sidney appeared so Josiah could take a well-deserved mid-morning break.

Heading into the casino, Josiah walked the floor and stretched his legs. It always amazed him how many folks could spend the better part of a lovely day indoors gambling. He shook his head. It probably explained why he enjoyed his job so much. Being cooped up indoors all day would not have suited him at all. He enjoyed manning the front entrance of the Montecito. Josiah felt it was definitely his realm.

Josiah returned to his post. He grinned seeing an approaching car. The Stevenson family was coming for their yearly visit to the Montecito. George and Sylvia Stevenson were a married couple with two young children. They loved coming to Las Vegas once a year and always came to the Montecito. They spent much of their time with their children at the children’s pool and seeing the tourist attractions, like the Hoover Dam. Their children, Bobby, who was eight now and Natalie, who was six, were lively, friendly kids.

As the car pulled up, the rear window opened and Bobby Stevenson waved and yelled, "Hi Josiah!"

Josiah grinned and opened the passenger side door, "Hi Bobby. Welcome back to the Montecito, Mrs. Stevenson." He helped her from the vehicle.

"Hello, Josiah," the pretty brunette smiled. "It’s so nice to see you again."

"Hey Josiah," George said, handing his keys off to one of the valets.

"Welcome back, George," Josiah nodded. Turning to the rear door, Josiah opened it and he and Bobby exchanged high-fives as Bobby bounced out of the vehicle.

Little Natalie, an adorable six-year old blonde, smiled shyly up at the big man. "Hi Jo-Jo." Josiah had to fight not to chuckle at the nickname she’d given him. He gave her a big smile.

"Hi Natalie. Boy, I missed you! Don’t you look nice today," Josiah said.

Natalie let Josiah lift her from the rear seat. "Do you like my dress? It’s new," she grinned.

"It’s very becoming," Josiah said, setting her down. He looked to George who was opening the trunk, "We’ll get the luggage for you."

"Oh, the kids can help," George said. "Bobby?"

Bobby came around to his dad and took the backpack his father handed to him. "Dad said if we wanted to bring our toys, we had to carry them," Bobby explained to Josiah.

The Head Valet chuckled, "Well, I can understand that."

Bobby moved to stand by his mother.

"Natalie," George continued, pulling a pink backpack from the trunk, "come and get yours."

Mrs. Rachel McDonald was driving down the road when she felt a pain in her chest. At 84 years of age, the widow was still happy that she could get around town in her Cadillac. The pain got a bit more severe and she decided she’d better pull over for a few minutes. She saw the Montecito Hotel up ahead and signaled to pull into their parking lot.

"Chris! We got a car racing into the front entrance!" JD yelled.

Larabee looked up from his conversation with Vin to see JD gesturing to one of the surveillance monitors that showed the front entrance.

"Shit!" Chris muttered. "It’s going to hit Josiah."

The three security men watched in disbelief as they saw Josiah shoving clients out of the way but he wasn’t fast enough to avoid the car that came careening into the hotel’s entrance.

"Get Nathan down there!" Chris shouted as he raced from the control room.

Josiah looked up to see another car pulling up behind the Stevenson’s rental car. Instead of slowing to pull to a halt in front of the Montecito’s entrance, the Cadillac appeared to be picking up speed. Without another thought, Josiah pushed George Stevenson away from his car. He turned and grabbed up Natalie, tossing the child to her mother. Even though everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, Josiah wasn’t fast enough to avoid being hit by the Cadillac himself.

The call came in to Nathan and he ran to the Montecito’s entrance. Greg had already placed a 911 emergency call and was keeping an eye out for the police and ambulance.

Natalie Stevenson stood crying with her brother and parents. She sniffed, "Jo-Jo has a boo-boo. Fix his boo-boo."

Nathan glanced at the child and motioned to Greg. Whispering he said, "Better have the family taken inside. I’m sure this is traumatic for the kids. The cops can talk to them later."

Greg nodded and turned to talk to Mr. Stevenson, ushering the family inside the hotel.

Nathan moved toward where Josiah lay on his back. Someone had thrown a blanket over him. Nathan knelt beside his friend.

"How are you doin’, Josiah?" Nathan asked.

"It hurts, Nate," Josiah said. "Pain here." He tapped the left side of his chest.

"Any weakness or numbness in your left arm?" Nathan asked.


"Okay, well don’t move till the EMTs' show up," Nathan said, slightly relieved that the big man wasn’t having a heart attack. "I’m going to go check on the driver of the car that hit you."

Chris passed by Greg and the Stevenson family in the lobby. He raced to the front entrance and flagged down the approaching police squad car. Two ambulances quickly followed. Chris advised the valets to keep guests in the lobby, offer them a drink in one of the lounges on the hotel’s dime until the emergency was over.

Josiah was loaded into one of the ambulances. Nathan rode along with him to the hospital.

Chris watched as the EMTs' from the second ambulance and the police interviewed the elderly driver of the Cadillac.

One of the police officers, shaking his head, approached Chris.

"Mr. Larabee? You’re head of security here?" The police officer asked.

"Yes," Chris nodded.

"I’m Officer Lane."

"What happened, Officer?"

"The 84-year-old driver of the car reported that her foot slipped from the brake pedal just before the car accident," Lane reported. "She said she had chest pains. We thought it might be a heart attack, but the EMTs' said it was indigestion."

Chris let out a breath and shook his head.

Nathan paced the floor of the emergency waiting room. He’d lost all track of time until he saw a doctor he recognized who hurried to him in surgical scrubs. Doctor Susan Johnson was one of the leading surgeons in the Las Vegas area. Nathan was simultaneously relieved and concerned to see her.

"Nathan," Susan nodded, taking no time for niceties, "Josiah has a ruptured spleen and a broken leg. We’ve got to get him right in to surgery."

Nathan nodded, knowing how serious a ruptured spleen could be. "Do it."

Susan nodded and hurried back to the examination area. Over her shoulder she called, "Should know more in an hour. I’ll send you word!" And she was gone.

Nathan pulled out his cell phone and called Chris.

Things were wrapped up at the Montecito. The elderly woman was released to a family member. The police and EMTs' finished up their interviews and took their leave. A melancholy mood descended over the staff as they waited for news of Josiah’s surgery. Chris could finally stand the wait no longer. He left Vin in charge and headed down to the hospital to meet up with Nathan.

After an hour an intern reported that the surgery was going well and Doctor Johnson would be up to see them as soon as Josiah was in recovery. It was nearly two hours later before the doctor came to see Chris and Nathan.

"He’s exceedingly lucky," Doctor Susan Johnson said. "If he hadn’t come to the hospital so quickly he could have bled out. The ruptured spleen is the most serious injury. He also has a broken right leg. He’ll have to spend a few days in the hospital. He’ll be laid up at home for at least a week afterwards. You may have to make some accommodations at work for him. I don’t think he’ll be up to manning the front entrance for a while."

"Don’t worry, Doctor," Chris said, clearly relieved, "we can do that."

"When can we see him?" Nathan asked.

"He should be out of recovery in another hour. You can see him when he’s moved up to a room," the doctor said. "But he’s going to be on painkillers so he won’t be conscious until tomorrow."

Chris and Nathan were sitting next to his hospital bed when Josiah woke up the next morning.

"Hey ‘Siah," Nathan grinned. "How are you feeling?"

"Sore," Josiah muttered. "My throat hurts."

"From the breathing tube they had down your throat during surgery," Nathan said. "I’ll get you some water."

"Surgery?" Josiah questioned, looking at Chris.

"Don’t you remember? You were hit by a car yesterday in front of the Montecito," Chris said.

Josiah blinked, "Thought I dreamed that."

Nathan brought Josiah some water, "No you didn’t."

Chris smirked, "Just don’t do it again, Josiah. You scared us real good."

Josiah took a sip of water and grinned back at his boss, "I’ll try not to, brother Chris."

Doctor Susan Johnston stopped by Josiah’s room on her rounds the next day. He was sitting up but still in bed.

"Heard they got you up on your feet last night," she said. "How did it feel?"

"Sore, but good," the Head Valet replied.

"Good," Susan replied. "The sooner you get moving, the faster you’ll heal." Then she smiled, "Oh, feel up to some visitors? There’s been a young lady asking after you."

Josiah grinned, "I could do with some company."

Susan went to the door and opened it.

"Jo-Jo!" An exuberant voice cried as a small blonde dynamo streaked into the room.

"Natalie, it’s good to see you," Josiah said.

"Hey Josiah," George Stevenson said, following his daughter into the room.

"Hi George. Nice of you both to come see me," Josiah said.

"Couldn’t keep us away. Sylvia and Bobby will be by later. We didn’t want to overwhelm you too soon," George replied.

Natalie jumped up and down excitedly by Josiah’s bedside. "When can you come back to the hotel?"

"Not for a couple of days, I’m afraid, Natalie," Josiah replied.

"You should ask for ice cream," she offered. "That’s what my momma gives me when I’m sick and it always helps me feel better."

Josiah chuckled, "I’ll take that under advisement."

"Josiah," George began, "I don’t know how we can thank you. Natalie could have been –"

"George, believe me, it was my pleasure," Josiah interrupted. "I couldn’t have bore anything happening to her."

"Jo-Jo?" Natalie asked.

"Yes, honey?" Josiah replied.

"Can I sign your cast?"

Josiah grinned, "Sure you can."

Natalie moved around to the right side of the bed and her father lowered the rails on the hospital bed. Natalie removed her backpack and pulled out a set of colorful marker pens.

"Can I draw a picture too?" She asked.

The big man chuckled, "Have at it, Natalie." He sat back and watched as the little blonde drew a vibrant picture of flowers, a rainbow and wrote her name with a flourish when she finished.

Josiah was glad to be back in his condo. Every night at least one of his "brothers" made it a point to stop by Josiah’s place to see how he was faring and to bring over dinner, books and DVD’s so he wouldn’t be too bored.

Josiah also received a call from Officer Lane of the Las Vegas Police Department. Office Lane wanted to see if Josiah wished to press charges against Rachel McDonald. After hearing about Mrs. McDonald's bout of ingestion, Josiah declined to press charges. Her insurance company was picking up the tab for his hospitalization but Office Lane informed Josiah that due to Mrs. McDonald's age, there was a good chance she would lose her driver's license. Josiah felt bad for the elderly lady. She'd sent him flowers and a sweet note while he was recuperating in the hospital.

Josiah had pestered Chris about returning to work and Chris finally decided after a week that Josiah could work in the bull pen until he was up and back on his feet again.

JD offered Josiah a ride on his first day back. Coming up to the entrance of the Montecito on his crutches, it seemed every employee in the hotel was waiting in the lobby to welcome him back.

After the rousing reception, Josiah looked around at his friends and co-workers.

"Bet you’re glad to be back, Josiah," Inez said.

The big man smiled, "This looks like home to me."



The Las Vegas Chronicles