What'd We Do Now?
By Audrey W.
Dixie came into the nurses' lounge and let the door close behind her. She eyed paramedics John Gage and Roy DeSoto, who were taking a much needed break before Dispatch might come over the Handie Talkie in John's hands and send them on another rescue. The men's gazes never wavered from her, but they didn't say a word. The two wondered why she wore a frown on her face, but were afraid to ask.
"Doctor Brackett would like to see you in his office," she said, her arms folded across her chest.
"What about?" Roy wondered.
Not having been 'officially summoned' to the doctor's office since the early days before the paramedic program was approved, Johnny tried to think of what it could be about this time. Back then it was after he and Roy had treated three victims at a car accident, Dixie being one of them, without the consent and advice of Brackett. Johnny had even gone so far as to turn off the biophone then to ignore the doctor's protests. The younger paramedic couldn't think of any recent incidents that could warrant a lecture.
"What'd we do now?" Gage asked.
Dixie shrugged. "I don't know. But he was very adamant that he see you both now."
Johnny looked at Roy, who in turn shrugged.
"Don't expect me to explain it. I'm as baffled as you."
Gage shifted his attention to the head nurse. "Dix, are you sure you don't have any idea what this is about?"
"Trust me, if I could tell you what it was about, I would."
That put a deeper frown on the dark-haired paramedic's face. A day that had started out great suddenly had become sour. His brow furrowed, he looked down at the table in front of him in thought.
"Well, I say we just go and find out," Roy offered. "It can't be that bad, if we don't remember it. And making him wait isn't going to improve on the situation, what ever it is."
Johnny raised his eyebrows and nodded, his gaze still locked on the surface of the table. Roy was right. He pushed back his chair and got to his feet with a sigh. Roy was already standing near the table as he waited. Then both men then followed Dixie from the room.
Johnny glanced at each nurse they passed in the corridor, wondering if anyone else had gotten word about Brackett and them. He noticed a couple of them return his gaze, but no one said a word, not even a friendly hello.
Maybe that means they *do* know something. . .
His gloominess increased as they came closer to Brackett's office. He glanced at Roy and noticed he had a very serious look on his face, but seemed to be avoiding eye contact with his partner.
I wonder if he's blaming me? Man, now *that* would sure take the cake. Blame *me* for somethin' I don't even know anything about.
Johnny's expression turned to annoyance with the thought. He then shifted his gaze to the door in front of them. Dixie opened it and stood to the side as first Roy, then Johnny filed in.
Roy's voice had sounded with the many others. Doctors Kel Brackett and Joe Early; another head nurse Betty was there, as well as about a half dozen nurses the paramedics knew better than others. Even Dixie turned out to be in on the secret. A birthday cake was on Brackett's desk; a pitcher of fruit punch and several paper cups and plates were on the desk beside the cake.
Johnny turned toward Roy, a wide grin on his face.. "You knew? All morning, you knew?"
"Yeah. Fooled you pretty good, huh?"
"I'd say." He snorted a laugh, then thought back to the suspicions he'd had just a few moments before. "Man, I owe you an apology."
While Johnny went on to tell the others how surprised he was, how well they'd all kept it hidden, Roy wondered why he'd be owed an apology. Figuring this was his sometimes quirky partner saying it, anything was possible. Usually with Johnny, though, things blew over pretty easily, so Roy just shrugged the comment off. It was the guy's birthday and that was really all that mattered. . .
For now, anyway, Roy thought to himself.
"Man," Johnny said as he looked at the white-iced rectangle one-layer cake. The words, 'Happy Birthday John' were written on it in red icing and red 'shells' made of frosting trimmed the top along the edges. "First the guys spring for donuts this morning and now this."
Gage beamed as he took in the smiling faces of his co-workers and friends at Rampart. Between them and the guys at the station, it had been just enough celebration without too much fuss. A guy couldn't ask for more than that.
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