|Just Another Day at the Office
Author: HardyGirls PM
TAG for Season One Episode: Heat Wave The grueling heat wave took it's toll on more than just the swimmers at the beach...Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Words: 6,308 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 8 - Published: 11-11-07 - id: 3885094
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tag to "Heat Wave"
A/N:This is slightly AU and adds a little extra backstory that wasn't in the episode regarding Craig's activities in the days leading up to this one.
For those that don't remember – "Heat Wave" is the episode where Craig is given an ultimatum by his law firm; work for them seven days a week or not at all.
All typos are mine, all grammatical errors are mine. The characters are unfortunately not mine, I just get to play a while.
Craig Pomeroy eased himself out of the car a little slower than he normally would have; the exertion of crawling through drains and rescuing the two small boys coupled with the extreme heat wave of the day before had left his muscles sore and achy. Reaching back into the car he picked up his briefcase then rolled his shoulders to try and allay some of the stiffness in them. He tried to ignore the headache buried deep in his eyes and wished he hadn't let himself get so dehydrated the day before.
He was kicking himself for having slept a little longer this morning. On any other day he would have been up before dawn and running along the sand as the sun rose. Today however, Gina had taken matters into her own hands and turned off the alarm before they went to sleep. He'd awoken to the smell of bacon and eggs and fresh coffee. Today was going to be a hard day no matter which way it started and she'd hoped doing it on a full stomach would at least help a little.
He headed to the office doors of Dreyfuss & Strothers realizing that this now would be the last time he passed through them as a member of the firm; a member of the team. He couldn't think like that; he'd been given an ultimatum and in his heart he'd always known what his only choice could really be.
The day was already heating up and he was grateful to pass through the doors into the cool air conditioned reception area and guiltily thought that of all days this was the day to not be available on a tower. Then the guilt was replaced by more guilt when he considered the out-of-control day they'd suffered yesterday and that Baywatch would be suffering the same if not more of it today. He bit his lip when he thought about them. For a split second he considered turning on his heel and heading back to the beach; there, he wasn't just part of a team, there it was family. Taking a deep breath he continued on to his office to begin the inevitable job of packing.
His boss Marty Dreyfuss had laughed his head off the previous afternoon and made fun of him being on the news crawling around in drains. He'd been more than a little amazed at the depth of the man's ability to be sarcastic and sadistic in his comments but it had only served to show Craig a new layer of the man's demeanor. Everything happens for a reason Gina's words looped through his mind on repeat, and seeing that side of Marty Dreyfuss showed him what he didn't want to become in the future.
He allowed himself a private but rueful smile at the sight of packing boxes that had been placed surreptitiously beside his desk, like an omen; he was going whether he liked it or not and he knew that Dreyfuss would delight in holding the door for him. He shook off the emotion of the moment and focused his mind on getting done what he had to in the shortest amount of time.
It was almost 11am before Dreyfuss entered his office on a single knock. He had a determined look on his face and his lips turned up slightly in a tiny mocking smile.
"Ah… Pomeroy… good… you found the boxes then?"
Craig smiled. "Well… took me a few minutes but then I nearly fell over them and…" he continued to smile sweetly.
For a moment Dreyfuss's smile faltered and he realized Craig was now mocking him. His eyes narrowed and his voice lowered. "I trust I don't need to explain to you the ramifications of removing client files or the confidentiality agreement you signed when you started with this firm do I? Do I need to be checking these boxes before you leave the premises?"
Craig took a slow deep breath and drew himself up to his full six feet. Squaring his jaw a little he stared into the brown eyes of his boss. "Really, do we have to make this quite so petty?" Staring a moment longer he chose to look away first and turned his attention back to the files he'd been going through. He usually made meticulous notes on his cases but now was the time he needed to make sure the clients he was involved with found the transition seamless and that all information both professional and personal were at his incumbent's finger tips. It's not how you come but how you go replaced the loop of Gina's words in his head.
Dreyfuss realized after a moment that Craig wasn't going to take the bait and wasn't the least bit phased by his attempts to ridicule him. He started to take an interest in what Craig was actually doing. There was little point scoring to be done there; one thing that Marty Dreyfuss knew above all else was what a good lawyer Craig was and in truth part of his anger was at the fact that he'd taken the bluff and left. He didn't need to be told what a hole Craig's departure was going to leave in the firm.
"So, was there something else I need to do for you?" Craig asked, not bothering to lift his eyes from his work.
Dreyfuss walked to the window clenching his jaw. "You're making a mistake Pomeroy, you know that don't you?"
"Maybe so, but that won't be your concern after today." The words were out before Craig even had a chance to think about it.
Dreyfuss turned quickly, his frustration flaring. "Look Pomeroy, I don't need to tell you what a good lawyer you are…"
"Well, thanks boss" Craig interjected laconically.
Dreyfuss continued quickly, ignoring the interruption. "You've made a name for yourself here; your clients are confident in you, you could make partner in the next ten years, do you have any idea what this little fantasy trip of yours is going to cost you career-wise?"
Craig sighed and tipped his head to the side. "That would be… the clients that don't have a problem with me having any kind of a personal life on weekends …Did you process a refund for Paul Dudford?"
Dreyfuss clenched his jaw again. He's coming in today to pick it up.
"Oh, well, good for you…" Craig jutted his chin out in subtle defiance. "You gotta do whatcha gotta do" he drawled. He was disappointed again by this man who had once more not bothered to defend him to a client and more than likely had spent his time agreeing with him and outdoing himself in the more than common art of "Cover Your Ass." He could only begin to imagine the groveling that had taken place. The decision to leave was starting to feel better and better and Craig found himself aching for the feel of sand between his toes.
Seeing he wasn't going to rile Craig as he'd hoped to, Dreyfuss reached into his jacket pocket and drew out an envelope. He was about to speak when a knock on the door interrupted him.
"Come in" Craig called without thinking.
His teary eyed assistant stood before him, a huge spray of flowers in her hands. "Oh Mr. Pomeroy…" she started.
Craig stepped forward instantly seeing her predicament of holding flowers and trying to find a tissue. "Oh Connie, don't cry…" he soothed, taking the flowers and setting them on the coffee table.
"But they're… they're… so …. B-b-beautiful!" she sobbed, unable to contain her grief.
"I just wanted you to know how much I've appreciated all your hard work Connie; you're one in a million." Craig craned his head down to smile at the diminutive young woman. "Oh… and I've written you a reference too so if you need it you've got it ok?"
New sobs wracked her body and he found himself all of a sudden with her hugging him fiercely. He stroked her back and hugged her, not bothering to acknowledge the man behind him. Finally the sobs subsided and looking over his shoulder she saw Marty Dreyfuss standing there, envelope in hand, jaw dropped open in disapproval. Connie's face flashed red with embarrassment and she hastily unwrapped herself from Craig and made to smooth her hands over her clothes and wipe her tears. Her eyes were red and her face blotchy but Craig didn't mind, he'd always had a soft spot for Connie and it really did hurt the most that he had to say goodbye to her and hoped her job would still be safe with the firm. He made a mental note to hug Gina for organizing the flowers to be delivered today.
"Oh! Mr. Dreyfuss, I'm so sorry! – I didn't know…. I mean… I didn't…" she fumbled for the right thing to say.
Craig drew her gaze back to him. "Connie, it's ok, I asked you to come in… I tell you what, you go put the flowers in some water and I could really do with a cup of coffee when you're done; can you do that for me?" As he spoke he'd gathered up the flowers and making sure she had a good grip on them gently shepherded her to the still open door. Seeing her out he noticed the rest of the staff in the outer office were now silent and staring in his direction. The look of dread on their faces left him disquieted but he didn't have too much time to think about it. Closing the door gently he turned back to his boss.
"Sorry, you were saying?" he eased his breathing down just as he would have after a long swum rescue. Control was what he needed now and his body eased back into with long practiced ease.
Dreyfuss continued to gawk at him for a long moment. Gathering his thoughts he looked down at the envelope in his hands, then, with his gaze hardening again he threw it dramatically towards Craig's desk. "Think of it as your bonus. He wants to see you when he comes in for it." He turned and headed for the door without another word and with little regard for the perplexed look on Craig's face.
After the door closed Craig reached for the now slightly crumpled envelope. His stomach sank a little lower at the realization that there was now more conflict to come. Paul Dudford was going to be picking his refund up from Craig personally. The envelope contained the refund check.
Sighing deeply Craig put it in his desk drawer and turned his attention back to the files he'd almost finished. One step at a time... his new mantra replaced the last one looping through his mind.
The knock on the door some minutes later drew Craig from his files once again. "Come in" he called loudly. Readying himself for the bluster of Paul Dudford he was pleasantly surprised to find Connie edging her head around the doorway, her eyes darting about the room.
Craig smiled softly. "It's ok Connie, the coast is clear" he whispered dramatically.
The relief washing over her was obvious as she entered the room depositing a steaming mug of coffee on the coffee table and a plate holding a large slice of chocolate cake.
"Umm… Sarah over in conveyancing, she'd baked this for you last night… we didn't know if we'd get the chance to…" her eyes welled with tears again, but, taking a deep breath she kept control. "…get a chance to wish you all the best…Oh, and I've rescued your favorite mug – somehow or other it seemed to have gotten lost this morning so after you're finished you give it back to me and I'll make sure it gets washed up for you to … to… pack" she finished in a whisper.
Craig came around and placed both hands on her shoulders, smiling down at her. "Connie, I've loved working with you and please, if I don't get to see her, please tell Sarah thank you, I love chocolate cake!" Though his stomach wanted to rebel at this point he made a great show of tasting and enjoying the cake, talking with his mouth full and ended up with the desired result; Connie was laughing, tears forgotten for the moment. He had to be careful. He so wanted to tell Connie he'd love to have her come work for him but right now he didn't know if he'd be able to afford it, not to mention he wasn't allowed to be seen to be poaching staff from the firm.
"Connie, it's been great, you know? – I couldn't have asked for a better assistant than you, really, you've made my job so much easier."
Connie smiled and bit her lip. "Thanks… I mean… it's just not going to be the same without you too you know?"
Craig nodded. "Well, you never know what the future holds Connie, you just never know, and do you think now you might find a way to actually call me Craig?"
Their chat ended suddenly with another knock on the door and after calling out once more to enter Craig found himself face to face with the haughty Paul Dudford. Craig stood instantly and naturally centered himself ready for the barbs that were sure to come.
"So Pomeroy! – the firm has seen fit to punish you appropriately and fire you" Dudford started loudly, choosing to keep the door wide open.
Craig looked at the ceiling for a moment then turned back to his desk to retrieve the refund check. Now he knew just how far the groveling must have gone. Depositing the envelope in his visitor's hand he pulled the door open even wider and stood where he could be seen by all outside before he continued. He didn't miss the fact that Dreyfuss was standing watching from the reception desk, his eyes disdainful. "Well… actually Paul, I've actually been made a better job offer and frankly, it's one too damned sweet to turn down. Marty has suggested I'm making a mistake in leaving and I need to rethink things. Now I really do appreciate his offer but I'd prefer not to be here anymore."
Craig's come back had the desired effect. Paul Dudford's face started to turn a pale pink with a line of red rising rapidly like larva up his neck. As the red reached his face his neck had started to turn purple. He spluttered and clenched his fists then started to point frantically at the young lawyer before him. No words came; instead, he started to cough and in seconds was reaching for his neck and appeared to be chocking. Suddenly he grabbed for his arm, sinking to his knees on the soft carpet.
Craig was amazed at the sudden change but Dudford's problem was obvious to him. "Connie, quickly - call 911; tell them it's a heart attack!" Craig moved quickly, easing Dudford down and loosening his clothing. All the while he could see Connie's feet glued to the spot. "Connie NOW!" he bellowed.
With a sudden strangled yell Dudford stiffened, and then his frantic motion stopped. Craig instantly fell into the all too familiar routine of checking for breathing, a pulse and finding neither started the single operator role for resuscitation. As he worked he could see feet starting to appear and could hear their shocked voices. The questions were coming thick and fast but he continued valiantly to try and revive his ex-client rather than waste precious breath speaking. Everything was against him; the man was extremely overweight to begin with, not even slightly fit, and obviously highly strung. He was essentially a heart attack waiting to happen.
"They're on their way" Connie's face came into view between compressions and breaths.
He nodded, quickly adding "tell them; I can't stop this."
Connie filled in the crowd surrounding him and then a surge of importance instructed them all to "move back and give Mr. P… Craig some room!" if he hadn't been so tired already he'd have smiled.
All the while his aching muscles strained at his efforts. It was quite a task for two operators but when there was only the ratio for breaths and compressions was different and it was obvious there wasn't another first aid trained person in the place to help him. If there was they'd have come forward; that's what first aid trained people do. This time he was on his own. Every so often he'd stop and check for a pulse, but never found one. He didn't care. The best he could do for this man was to keep oxygen flowing to his lungs and pump his heart for him. Once the paramedics came they'd have equipment to help but right now this was all he could do and do it, he would.
He was tiring quickly and wished he had the support of Mitch or Eddie or at least someone who knew what they were doing. He was cranky at himself that the previous few days had affected him so much but doggedly he kept breathing for the man before him. Doggedly he ignored the pain in his own ribs which was becoming sharper by the minute.
It seemed like forever before two more people plopped down beside him and immediately one of them set their hands to take over from his at compressions. He looked up into the eyes of two paramedics Joe and Dave that attended emergencies at the beach quite often. He'd never been so glad to see them.
"What've we got?" Dave asked readying an ambi-bag to take over when Craig finished the next round of breaths. Joe had already smoothly taken over the routine of chest compressions.
He sat back on his heels, sweat pouring from his brow and wrapped his right arm carefully around his own aching chest. With almost shaking hands he found he had to lean forward to ward off the inevitable head rush. "Looks like a coronary, can't get a pulse, been at it for…." He looked at his watch and did a quick calculation. "That can't be right?" he panted at them, swallowing hard. "It's almost an hour. What took you so long?" Joe was still doing compressions as a third medic was readying a portable defibrillator. Craig's mind registered the familiar whine as it charged up.
"Oh yeah,… about that – you always get the long ones don't you Craig?" Dave smiled at him. "We had trouble getting through, the freeway's still banked up with over heated cars today; you'd think people would know better wouldn't you? Any idea what set this off?"
Craig nodded. "He was overstressed"
"You gave him a bill then?"
"To the contrary actually… think he was a bit pissed to find out I'd quit and hadn't been sacked…" The voices behind him twittered a little more and he could hear the unmistakable sound of Marty Dreyfuss clearing his throat nervously.
Looking around suddenly at the people behind him he was amazed to see that the other partner of the firm, Mr. Strothers, had also come from his office. Drifts of conversation reached him.
"He knows them…"
"They know him...?"
"Was he fired? I thought he resigned?
"No way, Dreyfuss sacked him… I heard it from…."
Craig moved stiffly out of the way as the defibrillator was brought closer and watched as the medics tried to restart Dudford's damaged heart. Four shocks later a thready pulse was found and the job of stabilizing him for transport began.
Out of the corner of his eye he could see Connie handing the third paramedic a sheet of paper and studiously talking to him. His heart swelled with pride. The girl was good; she'd obviously had the quick thinking to ready all the information and contact details they needed on Paul Dudford and had it all written down for them.
"You ok man?" Craig turned his attention back to Joe and was surprised to find the paramedic had his hand wrapped around his wrist and was taking his pulse. "You've done a few of these in the past few days, had a check up?"
Craig pulled his hand away. "Fine, I'm fine – just had a hard day yesterday and didn't get a chance to stretch my muscles this morning." Joe watched him carefully for a few more seconds then nodding went back to ready the ambulance for their patient.
For all the easy banter the paramedics were smooth professionals who were in and out in less than fifteen minutes. Craig was used to their easy ways knowing it said nothing of their incredible talent and innate acuity when it came to reading an emergency.
"Thanks Craig, We'll let you know buddy… get a check up." Joe yelled as they closed the doors, drawing him back to the present.
Craig stood at the door, his lean shoulders sagging in relief that he'd done his best. He didn't really hold out too much hope for Paul Dudford's recovery but still he'd done all he could. As he turned to walk inside another ambulance pulled up and out jumped two more paramedics that Craig also knew quiet well. He raised a tired arm in greeting.
"Hey, Sam, Pete, … Joe and Dave have been already…"
Sam was tall and had short dark hair that was starting to recede slightly.
"Yeah… we heard… come inside man, you look beat." Craig vaguely knew when he was being handled but this time he didn't realize how easily they did it. He was led back into the cool of the building to the waiting stares and twittering of the staff and a very confused Marty Dreyfuss trying to fill in Mr. Strothers as to what had just happened. Seeing the two new paramedics he quickly came over.
"Another ambulance has been … is there a problem?" Dreyfuss blustered, finally finding his voice. As the previous hour had played out Craig couldn't recall his input at all in helping.
"Yes we know. We've been in radio contact already; we were backing up 409's unit as they'd gotten stuck in heavy traffic. Right now we just need to check this guy over." They both smiled broadly at Craig. "Bit far from the sand - How many is that now?"
Craig looked a little stunned then the realization hit him. "Oh man! C'mon? – I don't need this! I wasn't exactly in the water today was I?" he whined. All the while Sam and his partner Pete had eased Craig towards a vacant seat. Craig shook his head. "Oh hell, if you're going to do this come into my office." He lurched to his feet and was a little surprised at how wobbly he actually felt. Two strong arms grabbed his biceps and at Connie's directions led him back to his own office sofa.
Dreyfuss followed them chewing his lip nervously. "I don't understand" he stated simply.
Sam turned to him quizzically. "And you are…." He trailed off
Dreyfuss cleared his throat. "I'm Mr. Pomeroy's boss." He answered pompously.
Pete tapped Craig on the shoulder. "Thought you were going to Baywatch?"
Dreyfuss gave a frosty stare as Craig answered. "Sure am, just came in to finish up the paperwork; but he's right, technically he's my boss until five o'clock."
Sam leaned in and whispered to Craig loudly "You want us to make him wait outside?" He smiled impishly enjoying the chance to give Craig a moment over the boss. They had easily read the overbearing boss routine as soon as they'd entered the prim and proper law firm. The scuttlebutt around Baywatch was that this guy had come the heavies with Craig and they were quite eager to get a little payback for him.
"If it's all the same to Mr. Pomeroy I'll be staying – what with the legal position he has now put us in by administering CPR to a client – well, I don't know what to think?" Marty Dreyfuss wasn't making a whole lot of sense and if he'd been less tired he'd have laughed at the last comment.
Sam and Pete looked at Craig who nodded easily. "I don't care; just want to get this over and done with so I can finish up and get out of here."
"Oh, yeah and Mitch said he'll be here soon too; - hey, heard you had a up-close-and-personal with the County drainage system yesterday; – how are the two little boys Ricky and Mikey doing by the way?"
Craig nodded, his eyes closed. All the while Pete had started the routine round of obs on him and was presently helping his fumbling fingers with the buttons on the front of his shirt. "They're good; no worse for wear and dying to get to school and tell all their friends…I think the story has morphed into them saving us." Pete snorted lightly.
"What do you mean Mitch is on the way?" Craig suddenly realized the first part of what had been said.
"Well, that was a long resus you've just done on your own and the other paramedics weren't exactly liking your color. Can't have one of Baywatch's finest keeling over now can we? Figured you might need a little backup so gave headquarters a call…got Mitch on the line as it so happens,"
Craig opened his eyes to roll them then cringing chose to hang his head forward, leaning his elbows on his knees. "Easy, easy now…." Pete had him in a firm grip to stop him from listing any further forward and he quickly found himself being coaxed to lie down. "Headache?"
"This is stupid, I'm just tired is all!" Craig grumbled.
"We'll be the judge of that – God this is so much easier when you guys are in trunks." Sam told him, easing Craig's shirt off to listen to his chest. When he was satisfied he carefully felt along Craig's ribs. Dreyfuss gulped at the bruises before him and winced with Craig when his ribs were tested.
Pete watched Dreyfuss's reaction and turned to the older man. "Dived out of a Scarab – at speed; funny, most people think water is soft but it can break bones when you hit wrong".
"Or hard" Pete added.
"Still sore then" Sam muttered to Pete. "Anywhere else?"
Craig looked from one to the other then sighing admitted he was pretty much aching all over. As the two paramedics completed their checks and wrote up their notes Craig eased himself back to a sitting position and rolled his neck. He didn't need to be told he was suffering from muscle fatigue. Excessive heat could do that and with the rescue the previous day he knew his own water intake had been woefully inadequate.
Connie had been standing to the side with eyes wide open. She hadn't missed the sight of Craig's shirtless chest and knew if anyone had been watching her she was blushing furiously. Her stomach fluttered at his evenly tanned hairy chest and the way his muscles rippled as he moved. Her eyes were drawn to how the light brown curls disappeared into his perfectly fitted suit pants. She was pretty sure she was going to the beach this weekend. Somewhere near his tower.
She finally found her voice over her hammering heart. "Is there…. anything I can do?"
All eyes were on her suddenly as if she'd just appeared from thin air. She hoped the fire burning her skin wasn't quite so apparent to everyone else.
Craig smiled at her, focusing her worried eyes. "Yeah Connie, can you get me some water?" Connie nodded quickly, not trusting her voice again and ran from the office.
Craig looked up at Dreyfuss and held his gaze for a moment before speaking. "She's a good kid Marty; I'd really like to believe that I can trust you not to take out your dislike of me on her after I'm gone."
Dreyfuss looked stunned but couldn't find the words to answer. A sudden knock at the door didn't have Connie returning but rather Mr. Strothers showing in a determined Mitch Buchannan. Mitch nodded in greeting to Pete and Sam then turned his attention squarely onto Craig. Craig could feel himself being assessed even from a distance.
Strothers cleared his throat. "Mr. Pomeroy, your Lieutenant Buchannan and I have just been having an interesting conversation in reception." Strothers gave a cursory glance towards Marty Dreyfuss but didn't address him. The two men came straight over to where Craig was sitting and addressed the two paramedics. "Is Mr. Pomeroy going to be alright?"
"Mr. Pomeroy is right here" Craig answered without thinking. His sudden gaze lacked the venom Craig had expected.
"You are at that Mr. Pomeroy, but it is obviously these two men who can give us a more accurate assessment of that since they are in attendance of you."
"A much more honest assessment." Mitch had crouched his 6'4" frame down to his level and steadied himself by putting a hand on Craig's knee. "How's it going buddy? Rough day at the office?" he asked softly.
"Oh you know, work seems to follow me" Craig smiled ruefully "How goes the beach? Better or worse than yesterday?"
"Fine, and don't change the subject."
"I'm good Mitch." Craig let the easy lie roll out effortlessly.
Mitch nodded sarcastically. "Oh yeah, I can see that. How long?"
"Almost an hour" Pete murmured lightly.
"You're on light duties tomorrow; that is, if Gina lets you out of the loft at all, and don't even bother to ask for a tower." Craig bit his lip and wanted so much to give the retort on the tip of his tongue but stopped when he saw the concern in Mitch's eyes.
With little regard for the warning glare from Craig the next few minutes had the paramedics informing the elderly partner of the reasons Craig was struggling today.
The subject turned to Paul Dudford at which time Sam and Pete told him point blank that for Dudford to have been given even a sniff of a chance at surviving, Craig had had to do what he did.
After a few moments Connie returned with a jug of water and glasses and Craig was grateful for the cool fluid flowing down his throat. He had to remind himself not to throw the rest of it over his head to cool himself. Tomorrow he could do that and he found himself yearning for it.
Craig hadn't had a lot to do with Mr. Strothers during his time in the firm, but he couldn't help but be a little impressed with his demeanor and the way he spoke so respectfully to Sam and Pete. He cringed inwardly a little as Sam referred to the rigors of being a Lifeguard, explaining to them that under normal circumstances he'd be rested at this point to let his body recover. The fact that Craig danced to the beat of two drummers made the line of recovery a little blurrier.
"Mr. Pomeroy, I'll have my secretary arrange an appointment for you to come and see me when you've recovered your strength. In the mean time I'd suggest you listen to these two men and allow your body to recover adequately. I'm sure Mr. Pomeroy can complete his packing another day Marty, you'd agree?" directing the last question to Dreyfuss.
Craig had to bite his lip at the vigorous nodding head.
By the time Mitch pulled up outside the Craig and Gina's place his friend was sleeping soundly. There had been a little conversation at the start of their trip but Mitch could see his Craig's eyes fighting to stay open. He drove in silence, periodically checking he was comfortable enough.
Turning off the engine didn't wake Craig either and after a moments thought Mitch got out of the car and headed to the door to buzz Gina. She came down in less than a minute and Mitch had to stop her from racing full pelt to the car.
"Gina, he's had a rough day; I'll help him upstairs ok? Do you want to go ahead and get the doors for me?" Giving Gina something to focus on was the best way to keep her calm.
Gina nodded but turned her attention back to the sleeping form of her husband in the car. "How does he get himself into these messes?" she asked, shaking her head.
"Hey, you can't blame Baywatch this time! - happened on a lawyering day." He put his hands up in mock surrender.
Gina didn't see the funny side of it though. "He's tired Mitch, he's been tired for weeks – three weeks on that court case in Washington – then the past few days here… He's addicted to the beach I know but I'm worried something really bad's gonna happen if he doesn't take some time for himself.
Mitch nodded. "Yeah I agree; but in all honesty if he didn't do this today then that guy would have died for sure; it's still touch and go but at least there's a fighting chance now thanks to him."
Gina nodded in agreement but still her face betrayed her worry.
"Come on, I'll help you get the boy to bed." Mitch went back over to the car and gently coaxed Craig awake. He was disoriented for a moment, not remembering exactly where he was and how he got there. Before he was fully awake Mitch had eased him from his seat and started the slow trip inside.
When he saw Gina at the door to the apartment his heart melted for her. Worry was etched into her beautiful face and Craig hated that. Mitch didn't give him a chance to sit down opting rather to get him straight into bed while he could still keep him mobile.
As soon as Craig sat on the side of his bed he let himself down gently and curled around his pillow.
"Hang on sunshine, gotta get you out of your gear before you can sleep, c'mon, give me a hand and we'll get there quicker and then you can sleep all you like." Mitch was already undoing his shoes.
Gina left Mitch to finish undressing Craig. She wondered what it must have been like when these two lifelong friends actually shared a flat together in their early years as Lifeguards. From the sounds in the bedroom this maneuver had been performed on more than one occasion and as she expected Mitch had him settled in only a few minutes.
He came out smiling at Gina and drew her into a hug. "He's going to be fine Gina, he just needs rest; lots of rest. He's not going to be on duty for a little while but I'll drop that on him when he's more awake. If you have any trouble at all or he … gets sick or whatever, just ring me – ok? Night or day…"
Gina agreed and it wasn't long before Mitch headed home himself. Gina closed the windows and locked them and turned out the lights. On second thoughts she padded back into the living room and turned on a small reading lamp. Looking around in the mellow light made her satisfied that if Craig did get up he'd at least have a light on.
She slid herself into their bed quietly and turned to watch him sleep. He groaned as the bed moved and she held her breath that she'd woken him. Running the back of her hand gently along his arm satisfied her that she could at least touch her husband now and she lay watching him. It wasn't long before her eyes were closing. She resisted the urge to wrap her arms around him. No matter how long she'd been with him she never tired of his lean muscular body and longed to be able just rest her head on his shoulder and drink in his warm masculine scent.
To be continued…