There’s not much to report this week.
Chris got promoted to bagging, he says it’s a few more pennies an hour, other then that, he would have preferred to stay a stock boy, so he didn’t have to deal with people. I asked Chris more about his father and how he feels about the man wanting to visit him in December or January. All he says is he’ll cross that bridge when it gets here.
Buck is in his height of glory playing football. He looks forward to every game. Personally, I think it has something to do with the cheer leaders. I have been contacted by a lawyer in Nevada, what he needs to speak to me about, I have no idea, but I’m hopeful it has nothing to do with Buck and his mother.
I did find out through JD, Ezra has a birthday coming up soon. Ezra has been asking if there was a letter from his mom almost everyday, I think he’s wishing for a card or something for his birthday from her, but according to JD, she rarely sends him a gift, only rights a letter, let alone celebrates it with any kind of party, so the boys and I have planned a surprise party for him. Vin told me Ezra’s into magic, so that’s going to be the theme of the party.
Vin still will not hang out with Chris when Ella’s around. I think Vin senses something is not right with her, it’s like he has some form of ESP when it comes to things like that. He also stays away from Buck for some reason, what, I have no idea and he won’t say why, just that something’s wrong and he can’t figure it out.
JD and his father have been writing back and forth every sense we left New York, John calls JD once a week and they talk for an hour. It’s good to see JD so happy. The Wilcox’s have tried to appeal, but so far, no luck. I just hope they never get a judge to appeal the decision.
All in all, everything is going fine. A little bumpy at times, but nothing I can not handle.
Josiah finished his report and sent it off to Nettie. He then leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath, the aroma of frying hamburger with chilly spices made it’s way to Josiah. Josiah came out of his office to see who it was that was cooking in his kitchen. He saw Chris at the stove, with a frying pan on one burner and a pot with steam coming out of it on another.
“What are you making, Chris?”
“The boys wanted chilly dogs and French fried potatoes. You were busy in your office, so I went ahead and made them.”
Josiah looked around, “Where’s Buck?”
“He’s with his team.” JD answered.
Josiah noticed Chris didn’t say a word, “Is anything wrong, Chris?”
“He’s mad because Buck forgot he was suppose to help with the new horse today after school.” Vin answered.
“Chris has to work tomorrow night, so he can’t do it then.” JD added.
“Yes, and Chris and Buck did agree to have the horse broke by this weekend for Mr. Cassidy.” Nathan said.
“And it seems that, Buck has broken a few other promises that he made.” Ezra said while going through the mail.
Josiah sighed, “Ez, there isn’t a letter in there from Maude.”
Ezra sighed and dropped the pile onto the table, “It doesn’t hurt to look.”
Josiah smiled down at Ezra, “I know,” and patted him on the shoulder.
“Even if I could do it tomorrow, Buck has practice.” Chris said as he set the food on the table for everyone to eat.
“So tonight was the only time the two of you could do it then.” Josiah nodded, understanding Chris’s anger.
“When is he dew back?” Josiah asked.
“Who the hell knows.” Chris answered, “ He’s been a bear to live with lately. Did he tell you about the phone call he had with Cheyenne?”
This had Josiah curious, “No he didn’t. What happened?”
“He did something he said he would never do, he stood her up.” Chris stated.
There were five shocked faces staring back at Chris.
JD was the first to recover, “No way! Buck would never do that to a girl, let alone Cheyenne. Nash would kill him.”
Chris nodded, “I had a hell of a time talking Nash out of coming down here and doing just that. Let’s just say, the St. Claire’s won’t be coming around any time soon.”
“Buck did apologized, right?” Josiah asked.
Chris didn’t say a word, just got up and went to the refrigerator and got soda’s for everyone.
“Chris, why haven’t you said anything about what has been happening, I need to know these things so I can report them.”
Chris sighed as he hand out the drinks, “Because I didn’t want to get Buck into trouble. He’s my best friend, okay. Normally, you can depend on him, just the last two weeks, every sense the coach has them doing extra practice for the big game. He has Buck on the starting line up, so…”
“So he’s been pushing him to do better.” Josiah nodded, knowing Buck wanted to do good for the man he looked up to.
“Yeah, and until then, we’re going to have to put up with the grizzly bear that was once Buck.” Chris heaved a huge sigh.
Josiah made a mental note to have a chat with Coach Banks.
After they all ate, Josiah helped Chris break in the horse for Mr. Cassidy, then they all went in to watch a movie. It was late and well after everyone went to bed, when Josiah heard a car pull up into the drive. Josiah looked over at the clock, then shook his head and got up to meet Buck at the back door.
Josiah stood with his arms crossed when Buck came in the door, “Buck, we need to talk, now.”
Buck yawned, “Can’t this wait till tomorrow?”
Josiah narrowed his eyes, and sniffed the air, “Have you been drinking?”
In answer to Josiah’s question, Buck staggered a couple of steps, “Maybe.”
Josiah was already angry at the late hour in which Buck came home, but to come home drunk, “You are sixteen years old, Buck, I want to know who gave you the liqueur and if the driver of that car had anything to drink?”
Buck didn‘t answer, just stared up at Josiah.
Josiah’s yelling woke Chris and the others, but they stayed where they were, not wanting to get into trouble.
Josiah was getting angrier by the minute, and Buck not answering any of his questions wasn’t helping, then Josiah said the one thing that got Buck to talking, “No more football. You are grounded.”
“You can’t do that! The team is depending on me.”
Josiah smiled, “Chris depended on you to help him with Mr. Cassidy’s horse, where were you then? Cheyenne depended on you to show up for your date with her, and I depended on you to come home at a decent hour, sober, are you? No you are not. Something has got to give, Buck, and sense you can not be depended on to full fill your promises, I guess I’ll have to do the parent thing, and make the decision for you.”
Buck just stood there, staring at Josiah. He couldn’t believe it, Josiah grounded him. Buck Wilmington was grounded. Then it occurred to him what Josiah had said, and the only way Josiah would know about Cheyenne and the horse was Chris. He wondered what else Chris said. Buck vowed to find out.
As Buck was thinking, he didn’t hear what Josiah was saying, “Buck?”
Josiah startled Buck when he yelled his name, “What?”
“I said, I will have a talk with Coach Banks about tonight and inform him you’re off the team tomorrow.”
Buck had to think fast, “No don’t. Give me another chance, please. I promise I won’t drink again, please Josiah?”
Josiah took a deep breath, “Fine, you can still be on the team, but other than practice and games, you are to come home after school and you are to apologize to the St. Claire’s.”
A relieved Buck sighed, “Yes, whatever you say.”
Josiah narrowed his eyes at Buck, “I mean it Buck, the St. Claire’s are good people, and if you show up drunk again, I will not hesitate on pulling you off the football team. I will not put up with it, understand?”
Buck nodded, “I promise, Josiah.”
Josiah took a deep breath and let it out, “Now, was the driver drunk, and if so, why the hell did you get in the car with him?”
Buck hesitated before he answered, “Yes, but he’s twenty one.”
Josiah was getting angry all over again, “Why did you get in the car with him? You could have called me.”
Buck sighed, “I didn’t want to wake you up.” Buck smiled.
Josiah counted to ten the back to one, to himself before he said anything else, “Go to bed, Buck. We will discuss this tomorrow, in my office after school.”
Buck nodded, “Yes Sir.”
Buck made his way to his room on wobbly legs. No sooner had he laid down to go to sleep, he had to head to the bathroom and puke his guts out.
Chris heard his friend in the bathroom and decided to get up and help him if he could, what he wasn’t expecting when he entered the bathroom was Buck’s anger, “Leave me alone, Larabee. Josiah almost made me quit the team because you opened your big mouth.”
Chris had all he could take of Buck’s attitude, “No, Buck, because you came home drunk. You could have called me, I would have came and got you, no questions asked, but no, you got in a car with a drunk driver. So don’t you dare blame me for your stupidity. You know Josiah stays up to make sure we’re all home safe, you know this, and you still came home at 1:30 in the damn morning, drunk off your ass.” Chris’s voice rose as he spoke to Buck.
Upstairs, Josiah overheard what was being yelled, and chose not to interfere. He would have a chat with Buck later about his attitude and maybe get to the bottom of what is bothering him.
Up on the second floor, Chris could be heard, barely, but heard just the same. What he was yelling, Ezra did not know. As he lay in his bed, he heard a soft knock on his door, “Yes?”
“Ezra, may I come in?” JD asked through the door.
Ezra smiled, “Yes you may, and if Vin is with you, he may enter as well.”
Both boys entered the room. Ezra sat up in bed when they did. JD climbed up on the bed as did Vin.
Ezra could tell JD was worried about something, “What’s wrong JD?”
“Are we going to stay a family? I like it here. My dad just gave me to Josiah, will I have to leave and go live with Aunt Roselyn and Uncle Richard?”
Outside Ezra’s door, Nathan was listening to the three teens inside the room. He didn’t like what he was hearing and decided to have it out with his older brothers.
Josiah heard someone come down the stairs and decided to check out who it was. He stepped out of his bedroom in time to see Nathan disappear through the back door that led to the basement, “This ought to be good.” Josiah said to himself as he followed Nathan.
In the basement, the yelling was ear piercingly loud as the two oldest boys were have a yelling match.
Nathan stood with his hands on his hips and standing with his feet apart and glaring at the two teens in front of him when he shouted, “SHUT THE HELL UP!
Chris and Buck stopped yelling and glared at Nathan.
When Nathan got their attention, he went on, “I hope you’re satisfied with your selves. After all the hard work Josiah has done to make Ezra, Vin and JD feel like they can trust us, hell, JD is up in Ezra’s room with Vin and Ezra scared that we won’t be a family anymore.”
Josiah hung his head, “That’s all we need,” Josiah said to himself.
Josiah turned to go back up the stairs but stopped when he saw Ezra standing at the top, looking down at him, “I reassured JD that no matter what happens, we will all still be a family and that no one can take us away from you. Please, do not make me out to be a liar.”
Buck over heard what Ezra said and it made him feel like a jerk. Chris wasn’t to far behind. Both youths felt bad about waking everyone up with their shouting.
Josiah watched Ezra go back into the house, then turned to the remaining youths, “Go to bed, all of you.”
Buck opened his mouth to say something, but he changed his mind when he saw the look on Josiah’s face.
Everyone left Buck alone standing in the bathroom. Buck was still feeling a bit nauseous, but felt he could go to sleep. Buck made his way back to his room, slowly. Lying in his bed, Buck stared up at the ceiling, “I only had one beer, why am I feeling like this. I know I had only one.” Buck looked down at his hands and shook his head, they were trembling, again. Buck took a deep breath, just like Coach Banks said to do when the trembling starts. Soon Buck fell into a fitful sleep.
Chris reached out from under the blankets and hit the alarm clock when it went off. It took Chris a few minutes to get his bearings before he could attempt to get out of bed. The smell of freshly brewed coffee helped to motivate him. When he left his room, he spotted Buck sitting at the folding table they were using for a dinning table, “Morning.”
“Morning, Chris,” Buck answered.
Chris walked over to the coffee pot. When he reached for a cup hanging on the coffee mug tree, Buck placed a mug of coffee into his hand, “Thanks,” Chris said.
“I’m sorry for this morning,” Buck apologized.
“Let it go, Buck. Just, don’t let it happen again.” Chris smiled.
Buck returned the smile.
Chris opened the refrigerator and looked in, “What would you like for breakfast?”
Buck swallowed the coffee he had in his mouth, “I already had breakfast, and the morning chores are done too.”
Chris glanced over at Buck, “How long have you been up?”
Buck shrugged his shoulders, “Two, maybe three hours.”
Chris shook his head, “Did you get any sleep?”
“Yeah, some, why the third degree?”
Chris detected a little bit of anger in Buck’s voice, “Sorry, I’m just trying to make conversation,” Chris said as he took a bowl from the cupboard.
Buck glanced at his watch, “We can talk later, I’ve got to go. Coach Banks wants us to show up before school starts for some extra practice.”
Chris puts his bowl back, “Okay, I’ll take you and then I’ll get some drive-thru.”
Buck grabbed one of his energy drinks from the fridge, “No, that’s okay, Eddy’s picking me up, but thanks anyway.”
Before Chris could say anything, Buck was gone. Chris looked over at the sink and sighed when he touched the dry stainless steal surface. No longer hungry, Chris goes upstairs to talk to Josiah.
Josiah wakes to someone knocking on his door, “Yes?”
“Josiah, it’s Chris, can we talk?”
Josiah sighed, “Sure, just give me a few minutes.” Josiah heard Chris walk away, then got dressed.
Chris was waiting for Josiah at the dinning room table when Josiah came out of his room.
Josiah sat in a chair next to Chris and waited for him to begin. Josiah didn’t have long to wait.
“I have no idea what’s gotten into Buck,” Chris sighed.
Josiah watched Chris, “Could he be doing drugs?”
Chris shook his head, “No, not Buck. He don’t even like taking pills for a headache, and he told me he doesn’t like needles.”
Josiah leaned back in his chair, “Then what has you so concerned?”
“Well,” Chris hedged, “I haven’t known him long, but long enough to know when he’s not acting like himself. Take this morning, he was up before me, he did all the morning chores, and when I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, he told me he already had breakfast.”
“Him having breakfast is what has you worried?” Josiah asked
Chris looked Josiah in the eyes, “When Buck has breakfast, or any other meal for that matter, he leaves a mess. This morning, there wasn’t even a dirty dish in the sink, and when I checked the sink, it was dry, so he didn’t do any dishes. I’m telling you, Josiah, something’s wrong. Sometimes, I feel like I’m walking on egg shells.”
Josiah reached over and rubbed the back of Chris’s neck, “I’ll get to the bottom of this, Chris, I promise.”
Chris smiled at Josiah, “Thank you. I think I’ll go and watch Buck practice, after I stop at Mc. Donald’s drive thru.”
Josiah patted Chris on the shoulder, “You do that.” Josiah watched Chris leave.
Chris went to the bleachers when he arrived at school. With his drive thru breakfast, Chris sat back to watch the early morning practice. “Buck is good,” Chris thought to himself.
Coach Banks called it quits until after school, and told the team to get showers. Each team member stopped long enough to grab a bottle of the sport energy drink that Buck’s constantly drinking.
Buck smiled and waved up at Chris in the stands. Chris held up the bag, letting Buck know there was a sandwich for him. Buck shook his head, indicating to Chris he wasn’t hungry. Chris hung his head and sighed.
When lunch time rolled around, Chris thought he would take Buck out to lunch, any where he wanted. It was Chris’s day off from work, so he had time to kill. Even though Buck had job corp., he could still take the time to eat lunch.
Chris was waiting for Buck outside the cafeteria doors, “Hey Buck, how about going out to lunch?”
Buck smiled, “That sounds great.”
At the restaurant, they ordered their drinks and went to the buffet table to fill their plates.
Back at the table, Chris noticed Buck didn’t load his plate nearly as much as usual, “What, you’re not hungry again?”
Buck looked down at his plate and smiled, “The coach wants me to cut down on my eating, he says I need to build up muscle, less fat.”
Chris looked Buck over from head to foot, “Buck, you are not fat.”
Buck nodded, then swallowed the bite of food in his mouth, “I know, but I don’t want to get fat either.”
Chris sighed, “Just don’t stop eating to keep the fat off, okay, Pard?”
Buck looked Chris in the eye and smiled, “Not going to happen, I love to eat to much, it kind of supports my habit.”
Chris looked at Buck with a confused look on his face, “Your habit?”
Buck smiled at his best friend, “Yeah, it’s called living, or staying alive, how ever you want to put it.”
Chris chuckled, “I think we all have that habit.”
The rest of the meal went by in companionable conversation. Before they knew it, the time for Buck to go to work came and went. Buck made a phone call to his supervisor and told him what happened. The supervisor told Buck it was a good thing there wasn’t anything for Buck to do today and not to let it happen again.
Buck closed his cell phone, “Looks like we have the whole afternoon together, Pard.”
Chris nodded, “Good.”
Buck sighed, “I still have practice though.”
Chris took a drink of his cola, “Coach Banks seems to push you guys hard.”
Buck nodded, “Yeah, well, this is as close as Four Corners has ever gotten to the regional finals. Come tomorrow night, if we win, we’ll be in the running for the state championship. This is a big deal for the Coach, he would be the first Coach in Four Corners history to take his team to the state championship held in either Denver or Colorado Springs, so yeah, he’s pushing us a little harder than usual.”
Chris could see why the Coach was being so hard on the team, but he also didn’t like what it was doing to Buck. Chris dropped Buck off at school, then went home.
It’s Saturday night, and the night of the big game. The St. Claire’s came down to watch it with Josiah and the boys. Buck apologized to Cheyenne and bought her a silk rose, he would have gotten her a real one, except he knew she was allergic to flowers. Nash had forgiven Buck, but informed him, if it ever happened again, there would be hell to pay. And Monty backed his brother one-hundred percent.
Vin and JD filled up on junk food, while Chris, Ezra and Josiah just kept to drinking soft drinks, while Nathan drank bottled water. The St. Claire’s, like Vin and JD ate junk food and drank soft drinks. Nash informed everyone they had to leave before they were able to have dinner, because Cheyenne didn’t want to miss any of the game.
Everyone laughed and seemed to be having a good time at the game. Cheyenne made a sign with Buck’s name and number on it and every time Four Corners scored, she would jump up and yell Buck’s name as she held up the sign for everyone to see. This was embarrassing to Ezra. Chris just smiled every time Cheyenne did it when he looked over at Ezra. Vin And JD would yell out as well, and so did Josiah, Nathan and the rest of the St. Claire’s. Chris was just having fun watching Ezra. Nettie and Casey joined them a little late, but were enjoying the game as much as the rest of them. Stephen Travis was on the team, so Judge and Mrs. Travis we’re rooting for him and Buck both, as was Mary. Ella Gains joined the group at half time, saying she had stuff she had to do and couldn’t get away until then.
There wasn’t much left of the game, and Coach Banks called his last time out, “Okay, boys, we’re only a couple of touch downs a head of them, I want to keep it that way, so keep them back and let the clock run out.”
The team nodded and went back out on the field.
The other team has the ball, and all Four Corner’s has to do is keep them from scoring and they’re in the running for the state championship.
The other team fumbled the ball, and since Buck was the closest, he dove for it. Immediately, there was a pile up with Buck on the bottom, holding onto the ball. Coach Banks is ecstatic, because his team has the ball, and there is no way the other team is going to catch them now. Referee’s are pulling ball players off the pile and telling them to stand back. When they get to the bottom, Buck’s not moving and groaning in pain, but he has the ball. Coach Banks smile disappeared when one of the referee’s knelt down beside Buck and takes the ball and sets it down beside him and started to examine Buck’s right knee.
Up in the stands, Josiah and the gang rushed to get to the field. Stephen Travis is standing beside Buck’s prone position, “You did real good, Buck.” Stephen said, then looked up into the stands then back at Buck, “Josiah’s coming and so it the rest of them and Coach Banks.”
All Buck could do was nod his head. He tried to hold back the tears, but they came any way. The Referee had removed Buck’s helmet when knelt down beside him.
The Referee, known as Mason, looked up at Josiah and Coach Banks when they got to him, “I was close enough to hear something snap, I think he may have busted a knee cap or one of the bones in his lower leg. There is no way I am allowing him to walk off this field.”
Nash made his way over to the Referee, “You don’t have to.” Nash reached down and helped Buck to stand, then with Josiah’s help, the two of them got Buck into the locker room. Chris followed them. The rest of the group were told to wait outside the locker room as was Chris, but Chris ignored it and went in any how.
The school Nurse was there to do a quick exam. She told Josiah Buck needed to go to the hospital.
Coach Banks was on the phone, “Thanks Gene, I’ll tell Mr. Sanchez.”
“Tell me what?” Josiah enquired.
Coach Banks hung up the phone and looked at Josiah, “Dr. Eugene Fuller will be waiting for you and Buck at the hospital. His expertise is sport medicine. He’ll know what needs to be done.”
Josiah nodded his head, “Good, and thank you.”
Dr. Fuller was waiting for them when they arrived, “Exam room four is waiting.”
Buck was taken to the exam room. Josiah was shown to the admittance office to fill out insurance papers. Chris stood outside the exam room. He wanted to go in but the doctor said he was to stay out, then the door was closed.
Josiah met up with the others in the waiting room, “Is anyone in with Buck?”
Ezra snorted, “Dr. Fuller told us we had to wait here.”
Nash pointed down the hall, “Chris is waiting outside the door.”
Josiah nodded and went to join Chris, “I’ll go in and keep you informed.”
Chris looked up Josiah, “Thank you.”
Josiah patted Chris on the shoulder and entered the room.
Dr. Fuller didn’t look up when the door opened, “I said, you were to wait in the waiting room.”
Josiah walked over to the pulled curtain and stood at the end of the examining table, “I’m his guardian, I’m staying.”
Dr. Fuller sighed, then turned to face Josiah, “This is my patient, I will not have you interfering with my examination.”
Josiah nodded toward Buck, then looked at Dr. Fuller, “I don’t give a damn, I’m staying.”
The two men glared at one another, it was Dr. Fuller that sighed and relented, “Fine, just stay out of my way.”
Josiah looked back at Buck. He noticed Buck didn’t seem to be in to much pain at the moment, even looked to be falling asleep. Dr. Fuller ordered x-rays on Buck's right knee and leg.
Outside the room, Dr. Madison Parker was coming down the hallway when she spotted Chris leaning against the wall across from examination room four, “Hey, Chris, what’s up?”
Chris looked over at Dr. Parker, “Buck got hurt during the game. He’s in there,” Chris indicated with his chin, “With Josiah and Dr. Fuller.”
Dr. Parker stopped and faced Chris, “Really?”
Chris nodded his head, “Yep.”
Dr. Parker didn’t take her eyes from Chris as she opened the door to the examination room.
Dr. Fuller looked up when the door was opened, “Dr. Parker, what, may I ask, are you doing here?”
Dr. Parker smiled, “I just came in to ask, why I wasn’t informed that, one of my patient’s was brought into the emergency room while I was still on duty.”
Dr. Fuller smiled at Dr. Parker, “I had no idea he was one of yours.”
Dr. Parker came to stand next to Josiah, “Yes he is, as well as Josiah, Nathan and Chris. I expect Ezra will soon be as well, when he turn’s fifteen.”
This was the first Josiah knew this, but something told him not to say a word in front of Dr. Fuller.”
Dr. Fuller sighed, looked down at the clipboard in his hand, then back to Dr. Parker, “Spot medicine is my expertise, I think I know what is best for young Mr. Wilmington.”
Dr. parker crossed her arms, “I didn’t say it wasn’t. I just want to know why, you or anyone else on the medical staff, didn’t inform me, that one of my patient’s was in need of medical care?”
Dr. Fuller glared at the female doctor, “I suppose you want to finish the examination?”
Dr. Parker uncrossed her arms and reached for the clipboard, “Yes I do.”
Josiah noticed Dr. Fuller started to sweat a little, but he handed the clipboard to Dr. Parker and left the room.
Dr. Parker turned to Josiah when both Dr. Fuller and his Nurse left the room, “Josiah, please go with me on this, I know you don’t have a doctor for you and the older boys, but if you will allow me, I would like to be that doctor. I want to take some tests on Buck.”
Josiah looked at Dr. Parker, with a worried look on his face, “Of course, no problem, why do you ask?”
Dr. Parker sighed, “Because, if I know Dr. Fuller like I think I know him, he’s out there looking through Buck’s medical file and he’s going to come back here and demand I leave because you didn’t put me down as his doctor.”
Josiah nodded his head in understanding, “Then when he returns, I’ll inform him that you are Buck’s doctor.”
Dr. Parker smiled, “Good, then I will proceed with the examination.”
As Dr. Parker predicted, Dr. Fuller came back in, ten minutes later and demanded she leave, but Josiah kept his word. So Dr. Fuller had to leave and let Madison attend to her patient. She ordered blood work and other tests that Josiah wasn’t sure why she wanted them, then the x-rays were done and she asked Josiah to wait for her I her office up on the third floor, professional wing of the hospital. She also handed him a questionnaire, and asked him to fill it out with the boys.
The x-rays showed a hair-line fracture to the right knee cap and a shattered fibula to the right leg. Madison had put a rush on the tests, so she could have them with in hours instead of days. She had a hunch, and was running with it. After the tests were taken and x-rays were done, she admitted Buck into the hospital, she then went to meet Josiah in her office.
Madison closed the door and smiled at Josiah, she had the x-rays with her. She sat down in her chair and proceeded to tell Josiah about Buck’s injuries and what was going to happen, “Now that, that’s over, do you have the questionnaire filled out I gave you?”
“Yes I do,” Josiah answered and handed it to Madison.
Madison took it and read over the answers and sighed, “I thought as much.” Madison sat the questionnaire down and rubbed her temples before she looked to Josiah’s expectant and worried face, “I have admitted Buck to the hospital, and if my feelings are correct, Buck has been taking steroids.” Before Josiah could say anything, Madison held up her hand, “The thing is, I don’t think he knew he has been taking them. What I need to know from you is, do you know how and or where he could have gotten his hands on them?”
Josiah was stunned, he should have seen the signs, but simply ignored them, now that he thought about it. He shook his head, “I wish I DID, Madison, but I have no idea.”
Madison sat back in her chair, “Well, I can tell you this much, he’s taking them orally. I had a rush put on the tests, so I should know by tomorrow if and what he was taking. I’ll call you as soon as I know.”
Josiah stood to leave, “If the tests prove he has been taking them, what can be done?”
Madison tapped a pencil on her desk, then looked up at Josiah, “He won’t be able to be cut off cold turkey, it’ll have to be a slow process. To take him off cold turkey, could cause as much damage as if he were to continue taking them.”
Josiah shook his head, “Why did you take over from Dr. Fuller?”
Madison sighed a deep sigh, “I wish I could tell you, but since we are colleagues, I am not at liberty to say.”
Josiah cocked his head to one side and glared at her.
Madison looked down at her desk instead of looking Josiah in the face. She couldn’t take his scrutinizing glare.
“What are you not telling me?” Josiah demanded.
Madison closed her eyes, she could not lie to this man, even if she wanted to, “What I am going to say can not leave this office,” Madison said as she looked into Josiah’s face, “Dr. Fuller has been linked to illegal drug distribution.”
Josiah sank down in the chair he had just vacated earlier, “And he’s still allowed to be a doctor?”
Madison looked Josiah straight in the eyes, “There has never been concrete proof of it, just here say. The thing is, I believe it.” Madison sighed, “Like your boys, I grew up with out parents. Going from one foster home to another, and doctors like Dr. Fuller, would use me and other foster kids as guinea pigs for every new drug that came on the market. I vowed I would not let that happen to another kid.”
Josiah smiled, “What would you need to prove it?”
Madison thought for a minute, “You would have to ask the investigator in charge,” Madison wrote down a name and number for Josiah and handed them to him, “He could tell you more than I can.”
Josiah took the slip of paper with the name and phone number of a DEA investigator, Nicholas Brighton, “I’ll give him a call later.”
Madison took the paper and wrote a couple more number’s on it, “The first number I gave you is his office, these other two are his cell number and my cell number.” Madison looked up at Josiah when she handed him the slip of paper again, “What?”
Josiah smiled, “Your cell number?”
Madison blushed, “Yes, well, we have a few things in common.”
Josiah stood up and went to the door, “I’ll give him a call later like I said, but right now, I’m going to go sit with Buck.”
Madison became serious, “Josiah, Dr. Fuller does not know he’s being investigated. So like I said, what we discussed here in my office, stays here. If Dr. Fuller found out, it could jeopardize the investigation.”
Josiah nodded his head, “I understand completely. Just let him know I will be calling him and to expect it.”
Madison nodded, “I will.”
Josiah entered Buck’s room and found him surrounded by the others, “I thought I would find all of you in here.”
Chris looked up when Josiah came into the room, “What did Dr. Parker have to say?”
“She said she wanted to keep Buck for a couple of days, and depending on the tests that were ordered, he may be staying longer. But one thing is for sure, he’s out for the rest of the season, sorry Buck. He has a hair-line fracture to his right knee cap, and a shattered fibula. “He’ll have to be in traction, even if he’s allowed to go home, he’ won’t be able to put any weight at all on the leg. He’ll have to have surgery.”
Buck was confused, “Dr. Fuller’s a sport doctor, why is Dr. parker my doctor?”
Josiah looked at Buck, “Because she’s you regular doctor.”
Buck smiled, “I didn’t know I had a regular doctor, specially a pretty female one.”
Josiah shook his head, “She’s Chris’s, Nathan’s and mine as well.”
Ezra looked over at Josiah, “Why isn’t she mine, or for that matter, Vin’s and JD’s?”
“Because neither of you are fifteen yet,” Josiah answered.
JD thought this over, “So, when we turn fifteen, we won’t have a baby doctor anymore?”
Josiah nodded, “That’s correct.”
“Will she be our regular doctor too?” Vin asked.
“Yes, Vin, she will be,” Josiah answered.
Vin’s face went pale and his eyes got as big as saucers, “But she’s a girl?”
Buck laughed, “Yes she is.”
Ezra patted Vin on the back, “You have seventeen months till your fifteenth birthday, so you have plenty of time to prepare yourself.”
Vin nodded as he took a deep breath to calm himself.
Buck watched Vin visibly calm himself as Ezra rubbed his back, “Don’t tell me, he’s scared of girls?”
JD shrugged his shoulders, “No, he’s just really shy.”
A nurse came in just then, “There can not be this many people in the room at the same time, besides, visiting hours are over.”
Everyone said their goodnights and that they would be back tomorrow to se him. Buck turned the TV on and surfed the channels till he found a station he liked. The nurse handed him a pill to take then left.
Dr. Fuller was at the nurses station when Nurse Helen Kendrick came to stand behind the station, “Did you give it to him?”
Nurse Kendrick nodded, “Yes I did.”
Dr. Fuller smiled down at the nurse, “What would I ever do with out you, Helen?”
Nurse Kendrick just smiled as she watched Dr. Fuller leave.
Before she left to go home and get ready for her date with Nicholas, Dr. Madison Parker decided to check on Buck. She stopped at the nurses desk, “How’s Mr. Wilmington doing?”
Nurse Kendrick was startled, “Dr. Parker, I thought you went home?”
“Net yet, I wanted to make sure Buck was settled in and doing okay, then I was going to head home.” Madison said as she wrote in Buck’s chart.
Nurse Kendrick was holding her breath until Madison left for Buck’s room. She then hurried and ran to the elevator to tell Dr. Fuller, Dr Parker was still here and looking in on Buck Wilmington, but she’s too late, he was already gone.
Madison walked into Buck’s room to find him bent over with his arms wrapped around his stomach and gasping for breath, “BUCK!”
Buck looked up at her, “Can’t… breath… Hurts… to… much…”
Madison pressed the emergency button. Two nurses and an orderly entered. Madison barked orders to them as she worked to relieve Buck's stress and calm him down.
Buck was scared. He had never felt pain like this before, pain so bad it took his breath away. He wanted scream but couldn’t get the air into his lungs to do it. He started to look for the call button, but it wasn’t anywhere in sight. The pain was getting worst, it felt like something was tearing at his insides, and he doubled over, wrapping his arms around his stomach to hold his guts in. Just then, Dr. Parker came in. Buck heard her call his name, he looked up at her, fear in his eyes, “Can’t… breath.. Hurts… to… much…” Buck listened to the doctor as she talked to him. Soon she had an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth and telling him to take short breaths. When she pressed down on his abdomen, Buck rolled up in a ball.
One of the nurses tapped Dr. Parker on the shoulder and pointed to the catheter bag. Madison looked down at the bag, “Shit! I want an surgical teem, STAT! Call Dr. Harmon and tell him he’s needed immediately! And tell him I will be assisting.”
As Buck was being taken down to the OR, Madison made the phone call to Josiah.
Josiah was driving so Chris answered his cell, “You have reached Josiah Sanchez’s cell, this is…”
“Chris! Tell Josiah to get his ass back here, Buck is having emergency surgery, now. I have called Dr. Zachery Harmon to do the surgery and I will be assisting. I have got to go and scrub up. Just get back here.”
Chris stared at the cell phone. Josiah saw Chris go white as a sheet, “Chris?”
Chris turned to Josiah, “That was Dr. parker. She said to get your ass back there. Dr. Zachery Harman is doing surgery on Buck and she’s assisting him.”
Josiah did an illegal U-turn and headed back to the hospital.
Little more than five hours later, Dr. Harman and Dr. Parker were coming through the surgical doors to the surgical waiting room, “It’s a damn good thing the man’s predictable. I hope we nail his ass soon.”
Madison rolled her head, “Me to, Zack, me to”
Dr. Harmon nodded toward the waiting room, “Is this his family?”
Madison looked over to see Josiah coming towards them, “Yes it is.”
Josiah all but ran to the two doctors when he spotted Madison, “What happened?”
Madison and Dr. Harmon led him back into the waiting room, “Please, Josiah, have a seat and we’ll explain everything.” Josiah did as Madison asked, “This is Dr. Harmon, he performed the emergency surgery.” Josiah shook the man’s hand. “After I made my rounds, I had decided to do one last check on Buck before I left to go home for the night. When I entered Buck’s room, he was difficult time breathing and was doubled over with pain to his abdomen, one of the nurses noticed blood in his catheter bag, which is an indication of internal bleeding.”
“This is where I come in. Madison told me she told you what she suspects is Buck’s problem, well, she’s correct. We need to flush them out of his system before there’s any more damage to his organs. We were lucky this time. I went ahead and took care of Buck’s leg.”
Chris looked at Josiah, “What are they talking about, Josiah? What problem?”
Josiah hung his head, not knowing how to tell the other’s about the steroids. Madison gently patted his knee, “Buck has been taking steroids. I don’t think he knew it, cause if he did, he wouldn’t have been.” Madison informed Chris and the others.
JD was confused, “How?”
Madison looked at the youth, “That’s what we need to find out. I know it’s orally, because there’s no needle marks any where on Buck's body.”
Chris stood up and started pacing, everyone could see he was thinking, he then stopped dead in his tracks and started at Madison, “Orally?”
Madison stood and walked over to where Chris was standing, “Yes, you know something, Chris?”
“Maybe, it’s just a hunch, but he didn’t start acting like himself until he started drinking the energy drink Coach Banks been giving him.”
Madison looked hopeful, “Do you by any chance have any of it back at home?”
Chris smiled, “Better, there’s a bottle in Buck’s back pack out ion the bus. He never goes any where with out at least one bottle with him. He’s hooked on the stuff.”
Nathan ran to the bus and was back in minutes with the bottle in question, “Here’s the bottle.” Nathan said as he handed Madison the bottle.
Madison took the yet to be opened bottle, “And you say he got it from Coach Banks?” Chris indicated he had, Madison looked at the bottle then back at Chris, “Thank you, Chris. This may be the very thing we need.”
Dr. Parker took the bottle down to the lab herself to get tested. Dr. Harmon finish explaining what he had done and what damage the steroids had done.
“We have him on antibiotics, I had to remove part of one of his kidney’s. The steroids have weekend his immune system, so we have him in a sterile environment. If either of you have a cold or even a slight fever, you will not be allowed to enter his room. And when you are allowed, you will have to wear sterile gloves, masks, cloths over your street cloths and booties over your shoes. I don’t want to have to go in and patch him up again. Understand?” Everyone nodded their heads, “Good.”
It’s been a couple of days since the game, and Buck’s been in and out of sleep. He felt like he couldn’t get enough sleep. He was told about the steroids in his system, and swore to Josiah he didn’t know about them. Josiah assured him he believed him and not to worry, who ever did this to him, would pay for it. Buck was surprised to find out the steroids were in his energy drink. He told Dr. Parker he drank a energy drink before each meal and then at bed time, just like Coach Banks told him to do.
Wednesday morning found Josiah storming into the boys locker room looking for Coach Banks.
The coach was on the phone when Josiah entered without knocking, ‘I’ve got to go.” Coach Banks said to who ever was on the phone, then hung up, “Josiah, how’s Buck?”
“Where the hell did you get the energy drinks, Darrell?”
“I don’t like your tone…”
“I don’t give a damn! I want to know where you got the drinks! And I want to know now!” Josiah didn’t hide his rage.
The assistant coach came running into the office, “Josiah, please, let the police handle it.”
Coach Banks was confused, “The Police?”
Josiah smiled a smile that didn’t reach his eyes, “Yeah, the police. There’s illegal steroids in the energy drinks you’ve been giving Buck, and now he’s stuck in the hospital, in an sterile room because those steroids weekend his immune system. He may not have the use of his right leg either. One of his kidneys failed, Darrell. I almost lost him. I want to know where you got the energy drinks?”
Coach Banks stood, stunned, “I had no idea, Josiah. I swear it. When Eugene told me about this new energy drink and what it could do, I told him I would like a case of it for my player’s. It did everything he said it would, so I kept buying it from him.”
“As in Dr. Eugene Fuller?” came a voice from behind Josiah.
Josiah turned around to see a man that looked to be in his mid to late twenties, sky blue eyes and dark blond hair, “Who are you?”
“Detective Nicholas Brighton of the DEA. I have been investigating Dr. Fuller for a while now, but haven’t been able to pin anything on him.”
Coach Banks looked from Josiah to Detective Brighton, “Like I said to Josiah, I had no idea the drinks contained steroids.”
“You’ll have to come down to the DEA office and make a statement.” Detective Brighton took Coach Banks by the arm and as he led him out through the locker room, the Detective read Coach Banks his rights.
Principal Stockman stepped out of his office and stood next to Josiah, “What’s going on here and why is Coach Banks being arrested?”
Josiah turned to the man, “He’s been giving the football players steroids without their knowledge.”
Stockman was shocked to say the least, “How was he doing it”
“By lacing these energy drinks,” Josiah said as he held up a bottle of the drink.
Principal Stockman looked down at the bottle, “Geoffrey is on the football team.”
Josiah patted Stockman’s shoulder, “So is Stephan Travis,” Josiah sighed, “And my Buck.”
“I have some parents to call as well as the school board.” Principal Stockman hung his head, “This is one hell of a mess.”
Josiah felt for the man, “I don’t envy you.”
Stockman grinned up at Josiah, “I could use a hand?”
Josiah thought about it, “Sure, I’ll call the school board, while call the parents.”
Stockman shook his head, “Chicken.”
Josiah looked at the man that he calls friend, and made a chicken noise. Both men laughed.
A couple of hours later at the hospital, Dr. Madison Parker was doing her rounds when Detective Brighten came up to her, “Dr. Parker, have you seen Dr. Fuller?”
Madison turned to face him and noticed two uniformed officers behind him, “Please tell me you’re here to take him in?”
Detective Brighton smiled down at her, “Yes we are.”
Madison looked down at the chart she was writing in, “He’s in room 240.”
Detective Brighton left to go and arrest Dr. Fuller. Madison watched him leave, “Nurse Kendrick, I know you were under orders by Dr. Fuller, when you gave my patient an illegal drug, so you will not be arrested,” Madison then turned to face the nurse in question, “But as of now, you no longer work here. You have thirty minutes to empty your locker, and leave your employee badge with your superior.”
Helen looked from Dr. Parker to the other nurses that were standing around. Not a one of the other nurses were sympathetic with her, in fact, they were the total opposite of sympathetic.
Just at that moment, Detective Brighton was coming down the hallway, reading Dr. Fuller his rights.
Madison went back to her charts, “Eugene, rest assured, your patients will be well taken care of.”
Dr. Fuller growled at Madison, “You did this.”
Madison looked up at him and shook her head, “No, you did it to yourself. I hope they through the book at you. You could have killed one of my patients.”
“Ha, I didn’t go any where near any of your patients.” Fuller glared.
“No you didn’t, you just ordered someone else to do it for you. That’s just as bad, if not worse.”
Detective Brighton took Fuller away.
Detective Brighton was waiting for the elevator when Josiah and the rest of his boys got off of the elevator, “Mr. Sanchez, Boys.”
Josiah smiled at the duo, “Detective Brighton. I see you have your man.”
Detective Brighton sighed, “Finally.”
Nurse Kendrick tried to get on the elevator with Detective Brighton and Dr. Fuller, but was told she had to wait for the next one. While she stood there, Josiah ignored her and went to the nurses station, as did the rest of his boys, except for Chris, “Dr. Parker said you were under Dr. fuller’s orders when you gave Buck that pill, Saturday night. I want you to know this, if Buck would have died, I would have came after you, just like I would have Fuller. You didn’t have to do what you did. As far as my family and me are concern, you’re just as guilty as he is.” Chris left after he said his piece.
Chris heard only half of what Dr. parker was telling Josiah.
…..”And Dr. Harmon said Buck should be able to be moved to the third floor by Friday.”
Josiah sighed in relief, “That is good news, thank you.”
“What is good news?” Chris smiled.
Buck is doing better than the doctors said he would,” JD said excitedly, “And we don’t have to where the green suits, just the mask and we have to wash our hands real good before we go see him.”
“And he can’t get enough to eat,” Nathan added.
“Buck has been charming, bribing, cajoling, and what ever else he can think of to get one or more of the medical staff to bring him an extra large number one meal at Mc. Donald’s, with a large chocolate shake, on top of the large soda.” Ezra shook his head.
Josiah grinned, “I think Buck’s back.”
Dr. smiled, “He still isn’t a hundred percent, and won’t be for a while. He still feels the need to fall asleep, and he will need physical therapy, but, yes, he’s coming around better than we expected. When he is released, he will not be able to put weight on his right leg and will have to follow doctors orders to the letter, or I will readmit him.”
“Can you give us some kind of date when that will be?” Josiah asked.
“Hopefully next week,” Madison said.
The group was very pleased to say the least.
Ezra smiled, “In that case, Josiah, we can have ice cream and cake come the following weekend, to celebrate my fifteenth year on this earth.”
Dr. Madison looked at Ezra, “That means I’ll have a new patient in a couple of weeks.”
Ezra lost his smile as the realization hit him, he’ll have a female doctor for his regular doctor. A beautiful female doctor with caramel colored hair and eyes so blue, they looked like polished steel.
Every one was laughing at the look of pure horror on Ezra’s face.
The following week, Buck was discharged with explicit instructions to follow. He did them so Dr. Parker wouldn’t put him back in the hospital. As much as he liked being waited on by the pretty nurses, he didn’t like the food. At Ezra’s birthday party, he ate the chocolate cake that Nettie Wells made, and enjoyed every bite of it.
Josiah decided to keep the letter from Nevada to himself until Buck was more like himself and could handle the news that the man who murdered his mother was released on a technicality. He also wanted to discuss it with Nettie and Orin before telling Buck, the reason was because Buck had a gun to the man’s head and made him confess.
The good thing is, the man doesn’t know where Buck is.
Chapter Six: The New Girls