Jake and The Fatman

Titlt:Promises

Rated: K

Language: English

Genre: H/C, family and friendship

Word account 9022

Author: coffeepot/ German Author

With the energetic help of Jake Styles and Derek Mitchell, the Federal district attorney Mc Cabe brings a dangerous criminal under lock and key. But the case cannot be put aside…

"Derek", it rang out loud and gruff through the office of the district attorney Jason Lochinvar Mc Cabe, better known as J.L.

Apparently, he wasn't in a good temper. Derek Mitchell, his young and dynamic deputy pushed aside the file he was working on and made his way to Mc Cabes office.

"Where is Jake, damned? I try to call him for half an hour now! I only get this stupid answering machine. We made an appointment for 8:30 am! You are my witness Mitchell! I cannot reach him over his car phone as well", the corpulent man chided on. "I hope he has a good reason to let me wait, otherwise I'm going to quit him here and now!"

"Sir, you know for sure that Jake is reliable to a hundred percent! He will be here every moment!" the blond man retorted.

Mc Cabe sullenly lighted a cigar and scratched the massive head of his bulldog called Max, deep in thoughts.

The evening before, he had invited Jake and Derek for dinner to celebrate the successful end of the Gregory Hearst case.

Hearst was a criminal of the worst kind. He walked over one's grandmother to subsidize his extravagant lifestyle. This time he had gone too far. He had hijacked the 16 year old Alexander Deville, son of a multimillionaire and had blackmailed 3 million Dollar. The delivery had ended in disaster - the teenager had lost his life! Gregory Hearst and his accomplices were on the run with the money.

Mc Cabe immediately put Jake Styles his best private investigator on the case. His deputy Derek Mitchel made recherché from the office and after only three days Hearst was arrested. But the two accomplices and the ransom were as if the earth had swallowed them up!

Mc Cabe gave his best at the tribunal in the tried and tested manner and Hearst was sent to prison for 25 years. After the sentence, when the criminal was led out handcuffed, he shouted with a knowing look in Mc Cabes direction: "See you soon, Fatman!"

J.L. had been threatened often enough during his career and these verbal attacks never worried him so far. But this time he had a kind of queasy feeling!

"Derek", he shouted again, "I want you to drive to Jakes house right now!" he directed. The young deputy just started for the door, when Mc Cabe got an alarming telephone call.

"Mister Mc Cabe, I want to suggest you a deal!" he heard from the other side of the line.

"Who are you and why should I be interested in a deal with you?" Mc Cabe asked.

"My name is of no interest! But there is a young man in my company – for his sake, you should listen to my proposal!"

J.L. felt the blood rising to his head and his heart started pondering furiously. Oh God! Jake…someone had Jake in his power! Mc Cabe activated the speaker of his telephone, so that Derek Mitchell was up to date!

"You release Gregory Hearst and you get your dick back in return! How does this sound to you, Fatman?" the voice snarled.

J.L. took a deep breath" How the hell will I know that you keep your promise and let him go when I have met my part of the arrangement?" Mc Cabe persisted.

"I think you have to trust me – it's so simple", the man sniggered. "You make a feint and visit Gregory in prison. I am sure, you will find something plausible! Gregory will overpower you and with the pistol you have obliged to smuggle in, he will have no problem at all, to find open doors! As soon as Hearst is on the safe side, you get Jake Styles back. By the way, if you don't cooperate, you will get him back as well – but dead as a doornail! You got it?"

"I want to talk to Jake, right now, or you can forget the whole affair!" Mc Cabe demanded as calm as possible.

"Hey, Fatman! It's me who makes the terms here! But for all I care, you can talk to him – if it makes you happier!"

Mc Cabe heard a rumbling, then steps.

"Jake, is that you? Jake, answer me!"

"J.L. don't you get involved in this affair! Hearst is right where he belongs!" Jake said sharply. Then Mc Cabe had to listen to a sound of a fist slamming with brute force and he heard a groan. J.L. jerked.

"Jake, do you hear me? What happened?"The district attorney asked.

"J.L., you have to promise me, not to make that deal! They will never let me go…"Jake answered and Mc Cabe could hear the pain in his voice.

"If I were you, I wouldn't test it out, old man! You have exactly three hours. If Gregory isn't out of the prison at twelve o'clock, I'll kill your friend – you got it?"

"Wait a minute! Where do I find Jake when everything went off?" J.L. wanted to know.

"You will come to know it soon enough!" there was a deadly silence at the other end of the line.

Derek was the first who regained his composure: "We have to call the head of the prison, now! The sooner Gregory Hearst is at large, the better are the chances for Jake to save his bacon!"

"Derek, to think that Jake is in the teeth of these criminals, perhaps for hours…" Mc Cabe shook his head: "But you are right, let's call the prison!"

Mc Cabe succinctly explained the facts of the case and talked about the details of the 'jailbreak'. He unmistakably pointed out that the guards had to hold back.

At eleven o'clock Derek and J.L. arrived at the prison. The visit of the district attorney was announced and the guards had been told that Gregory Hearst wanted to sell the haunt of his accompanies to provide himself with facilitations during his imprisonment.

Of course Mc Cabe could enter the visiting room without body search and thus nobody detected the pistol the district attorney had smuggled in- hidden in his old worn-out briefcase.

After the door was closed and Mc Cabe was alone with Gregory Hearst, the criminal came down to business without further digressions: "I told you that we soon will meet again! Did I promise too much? If you would be so nice to give me the weapon now!" he said quite self-satisfied.

Against his usual habit, Mc Cabe didn't objected and handed the pistol over to Hearst.

"We have a settlement Hearst! I hope I can rely on your word and you let Jake Styles go!"

"It's totally touching that the district attorney is appealing to a delinquent's sense of honor! Really touching! But now let's go!" Hearst aimed the unlocked gun at Mc Cabes head and shouted out loud: "Open the door or I'm going to blow off Fatmans head!"

The door was opened immediately and with the district attorney as a bumper, Hearst could leave the prison without problems.

Sitting in his car, Derek watched Hearst coming out the main door of the prison, pushing his boss Mc Cabe along. Then he heard squeaking tires – a black van without license plates passed Mitchell and Hearst pushed J.L. to the ground and jumped into the vanishing van.

Derek run over to his boss and helped him on his feet again: "Are you okay, Sir?" he asked and tried to clean the dusty jacket.

"Did Hearst tell you where we find Jake?" Mitchell wanted to know but a look at J.L.'s face killed his hopes in a flash!

"They didn't keep their promise – that had to be anticipated! These bastards! What now! Where the hell do we start the search for Jake?" the blond man asked despaired and dropped his head.

"We have to keep cool Derek. If we go into panic now, it will not help Jake! We go back to the office, perhaps they called there!"

But nobody had called or given a tip where to find the young investigator and waiting for something that wouldn't come was more than cruel and J.L. Mc Cabe was next door to crazy.

The search for the black van was running at full blast but unfortunately as ineffective as the inspection of Gregory Hearst's preferred haunts. Jake was still missing and with every minute that passed by, the chance to find him alive, sank down bit by bit.

Derek Mitchell entered Mc Cabes office and it made him sad to find his superior sitting there, staring at the wall in deep despair. J. Cabe wasn't the hard boiled man he used to play and he had taken a great fancy to Jake- he was like a son for the sour old man, even if J.L. would have never admitted it.

The ringing of the telephone tore Derek out of his thoughts and he answered the call.

"Office District attorney! You are talking to Derek Mitchell", he said. "Yes Sir! We are on our way, thank you!"

Mc Cabe looked at him, the fear visible in his eyes: "Is it Jake…they found him! Is he…?"

"He is alive! Dockers found him in a warehouse. They immediately called an ambulance and the police. They brought him to the L.A. Memorial…I'm sorry Sir, that's all they could tell me!"

"Hurry up Derek! What are we waiting for?" Mc Cabe urged and was out of the door.

The deputy attorney had huge trouble to keep a tight rein on his superior. The older man didn't show his best behavior and given the circumstances, Derek really understood. But being impolite and loud didn't help at all!

"Sir, would you please calm down! What I am trying to explain…" a nice nurse tried to neutralize.

"I want to talk to someone professional! To someone who is able to tell me how Mister Styles is doing! At Once! Is it that so difficult to understand? Am I talking Chinese?" the heavyweight barked.

"Sir, do I really have to remember you that you are in a hospital and that you have to behave yourself? Otherwise I will be forced to give you the sack!" The young nurse had the patience of a saint and under other circumstances Derek would have felt some kind of malicious pleasure for the dressing-down his boss had just caught – but the occasion was too serious and sad!

"Derek, I can't stand it any longer! There must be somebody here, who is able to tell us how…

"Mister Mc Cabe, I guess? My name is Dr. Robert Newman," a grey haired man in his mid-fifties introduced himself to J.L. " I am Mister Styles physician. Let's go and talk a few minutes in my office, gentlemen." He led Mc Cabe and Derek Mitchell into a tiny room: "Please take place – well Mister Styles was taken here about an hour ago. He suffers from a gunshot wound underneath his left shoulder…he has lost a lot of blood and his condition is…life-threatening! Since he came here, we are trying to stop the bleeding but the wound was caused by a short distant shot of a high potential weapon. It has torn up an artery… honestly we are fighting at the limit. We try to stabilize him so that we can risk removing the bullet. I really regret, but at the moment, his chances are not good. The fact that he made it to us, absolutely borders upon a wonder!"

"But Jake is a diehard and incredibly willful", Mc Cabe answered with a trembling voice.

"Well this could save his life", Dr. Newman answered encouraging.

"Dr. Newman, the anesthetist is waiting for you! We are ready to start Sir!" a nurse called over inter phone.

"Now, please excuse me gentlemen, but I have to go and take care of my patient!"

Agonizing long hours passed by and Derek was not able to find a way to bolster his superior – let alone to give him consolation! He himself was at bay, unable to understand what has happened. Jake was like his big brother! His bravado, his absolute dedication – no matter what he did, Jake did it with all his hearts – and Derek admired him for that!

"Mister Mc Cabe, Sir! Shouldn't we inform Jakes family…I think his mother would like to be with him now, Sir?"

"God damned Derek! I didn't spend a single thought on that! Of course, call Carla Styles – she has to be here as soon as possible! She will shop off my head! I promised her to take care on Jake! How the hell could I have been that arrogant? Derek, she has got Jakes temper- or contrary! But she surely will kill me for what happened! But you are right! Call her and bring her here! But Derek, please be gentle!"

Derek searched for the next phone and informed Jakes mother as mild as possible about the actual state of the affairs.

The poor woman was totally shocked and wanted to be at the side of her loved son as soon as possible and so Derek booked the next available flight to L.A. and promised , to pick her up at the airport after she had given him a call.

"Sir, everything is on the march. Misses Styles will arrive in the evening!"

"That is good, thank you Derek – but Jake will blow my bones that we informed her! Carla is a real mother hen. She will smother him with her welfare!" Mc Cabe said with a sigh and hoped that Jake's mother would have a thousand chances to do like that.

After three hours, finally a nurse released the waiting men from their torments: "Mister Styles is on the ICU now. The doctors allow that one of you can have a short visit!"

Mc Cabe heaved out of the much too tight seat in the waiting area and said: "I want to see him…I want to be with him!" He looked at his young deputy. "Is it okay for you Derek?"

"Of course Sir it's okay! Go and have a look after him! I'll take care of the rest!"Derek answered.

Mc Cabe hadn't spent a single thought of what he would have to endure – but he never was prepared for this view!

Jake was lying in one of these narrow hospital beds, the safety rails up, attached to a breath supporting machine. Various tubes led in and out the body of the injured man. He was shockingly pale and lifeless. Not the Jake Styles J.L. loved so much, just like a son! 'Oh Carla, how in this world will I ever be able to look into your eyes?' the heavy weighting man asked himself. He shivered. He had failed! He hasn't been able to protect his best investigator.

J.L. cautiously approached Jakes bed and tears were burning in his eyes when he looked into the face of the young man. Tears of relief, that Jake had been found alive but as well tears of despair. All the time they had worked together, it had never crossed his mind that Jake would have to fight for his live – never! And now he faced his worst nightmare – he was standing in front of him and there was nothing he could do to help Jake! Nothing but prey and hope!

Mc Cabe tenderly touched Jakes cold hand then he took all his courage and firmly squeezed it with his own.

"Jake I am sure that you can hear me – anyhow! You are strong and you will make it! But you have to fight! Do you hear me? You cannot give up…" tears run down the face of the older man and he had to recover for a few minutes.

"I don't know what these bastards did to you and it doesn't matter right now! You have to fight – like you always do if it is necessary! You are not allowed to give up now!" J.L. whispered and angrily wiped away the tears.

"I promise that I'll change myself! You can have as much holiday as you want to…to see your family or whatever you want! I don't force you to make extra hours…and you don't have to take Max out for a walk – I know how much you hate it! Jake, you mean a lot to me! Damned, I want you to pull yourself together and fight for your life! Is that asked too much? If you don't do what I'm telling you, you are fired! Do you hear me? Fired! The stout man suppressed a sob: "I couldn't stand it loosing you!"

"Mister Mc Cabe, hats off! You have a very special manner of motivating people!"Dr. Newman said.

Mc Cabe turned around and looked right into Dr. Newman's face: "Perhaps that's the only way to reach him…Jake is very dutiful, you know? J.L. apologized.

"To be honest Mister Mc Cabe, if I were in his place, I would start to fight like a lion just not to make you angry!" the physician answered and put a hand on Mc Cabe's shoulder.

"I am really sorry Sir, but Mister Styles needs a lot of care and attention and we have to avoid every kind of distraction, right now! I have to ask you to leave. We will inform you as soon as there is the slightest change in his condition! I promise! "

"May I ask you a question?" J.L. asked nearly inaudible as if he didn't want it to be heard by the wounded man.

"Of course, whatever you want!"

"Will he make it?" the district attorney asked, his voice filled with tears.

"I don't want to speculate right here and now but given the fact that he made it so far and that he is a well trained young man – I would give you a cautious 'YES', he can make it. Always provided there will be no further complications and he don't stop fighting!" Dr. Newman answered.

"We have informed his mother! She is on her way…"

"Oh that is good! Does he have a close bond to her?"

"Oh yes, he has! Even though he doesn't meet her very often…I haven't allowed him to take a few days off to see his family in the past. L.A. is a' gomorrah' and we are occupied around the clock!"Mc Cabe said with a sigh. "Jake asked me for two or three days off, but I always reminded him on his duty!" Mc Cabe stared at the floor."If I could only turn back times! I wouldn't act like that again…he deserves it, but not this way!"

"Mister Mc Cabe, it absolutely doesn't help if you lacerate yourself with reproaches! It doesn't help him at all!"Dr. Newman said and looked at Jake. "He has to fight and he needs the will to stay alive – that's all that matters! You can give him more free time or whatever, when he has recovered from this nightmare and if it is the will of the Lord, he will recover!"

Mc Cabe sighed and allowed the physician to lead him to the door.

"As soon as there is something new, I'll let you get informed. Go home and try to relax a little!"

But J.L. was tough and stubborn and sat down next to his deputy Derek, who was deep in thoughts, in one of the narrow plastic chairs in the waiting area, again. Suddenly Mitchells cellular phone started to ring and Mc Cabe barked:"Damned Derek, every baby knows that cell phones are not allowed in hospitals…"

"I'm sorry Sir, but I am waiting for a certain call! Derek Mitchell…yes Madam, just stay where you are, I am right on my way! No there is no change but he tolerated the surgery quite well…see you soon! Sorry Sir, shall I bring you home first?"

"No, I'll stay!" J.L. mumbled. "Derek you are responsible that Carla Styles arrives here in one piece" Mc Cabe demanded.

"But of course, Sir!"

An hour later the district attorney herd hasty steps in front of the door of the ICU…'Heaven help me, that must be Jakes mother!'

Carla Styles approached Mc Cabe at the double and shouted: "J.L., you promised to take care for him! You swore that nothing will ever happen to him!" she sobbed, totally out of herself. "How could that happen? Where is he? I want to see my son, now!"

"Carla, please calm down! He made it through the surgery and the physicians are confident…"

"What do you want to tell me? That everything is going to be okay! You would have never called me if it were not a matter of life and death! Tell me the truth – will I see him again…alive?"

"Of course you will! We take care that you can see him as soon as possible", J.L. nodded into Derek's direction and took the trembling woman into his arms.

"Everything is going to be okay…he is stubborn and he is strong! He knows how to fight…he will make it!" Mc Cabe wished that he could trust the words he had just spoken out, himself. "As soon as the doctors allow it, you can see him! I promise!"

A few minutes later, Carla Styles nearly collapsed at Jakes bed and it tore J.L. heart apart to see her suffer like that. He knew that she was an extraordinarily strong woman and that she had rose up her two children under huge deprivations after her husband has left the family without an explanation. Carla was able to come over with a lot- she could bear quite an amount – and Jake was like her to a hundred percent, because he was as strong and had an incredible force of will, as well. But the sight of her wounded son was too much for her and if Mc Cabe hadn't caught Carla in time, she would have sunk down on the floor. But a few minutes later she had caught herself again. She took Jakes hand firmly into hers and started striking his cheek and talking smoothly to him.

"Darling, it's me, Mom. Everything is going to be okay! You just need a little rest! Don't worry, I am here…"She sat down on a chair next to Jakes bed and started to talk about home. She told Jake about his younger sister Angie. "She is dating a nice young man. His name is Sonny. He is a bookkeeper and he knows what he wants. But it would be great if you could come and have a personal look on him! I want to know your opinion about him! But to tell you the truth, your sister would not accept it if we told her not to see him again! She is head- over- heels in love with him!" Carla told her son.

From time to time she wiped away the tears that were running down her face. The steady beeping of the monitors and the ugly monotone rattling of the breathing-machine were the only answer she got.

Mc Cabe sat silently on the other side of the hospital bed and listened to Carla's dialogue. He was ashamed that he wasn't interested of Jakes family so far and that it has to come to this point to show him, how much the young man really meant to him! In his position as the district attorney he was only interested into facts and successes…the sooner the better and at any cost! And now he was sitting next to Jake and took himself pitiless to task! Life had acerbated him and if emotions tried to come out at light, he failed them immediately in plant or patched them up with his feared acrid and famous sarcasm !But Jake deserved a better fate and J.L. would have given everything if the young man would just open his eyes and give him his shining smile!

About an hour later Dr. Newman entered the room again. After he had checked Jakes vitals and readjusted the monitors he said: "He is doing a great job and I am satisfied so far. There is nothing you could do right now and I suggest you all go home and try to recover from the events of the day.

Just leave us a telephone number where we can reach you – just in case. He will certainly need you when he wakes up and you should be rested and fit then. He is in the best hands and we do whatever we can – trust me!"

Carla softly kissed Jakes forehead and whispered: "Just rest darling, I'll be back again soon! You have to hang on! Do you hear me?"

With a heavy heart J.L. and Carla left the room and Derek, who had patiently waited all the time, drove them to Mc Cabes house.

The district attorney had insisted that Jakes mother should stay with him. He didn't wanted her to be alone in Jakes house in this situation and moreover Mc Cabe's house was only twenty minutes away from the hospital. But if the older man was honest to himself, his offer was a little egoistic as well because he didn't want to be alone with his fears and dark thoughts at all.

"Derek you should go home now, it's late and you surely need some sleep!" J.L. told the young blond.

"Sir, if you don't mind, I would like to stay a little longer" Mitchell answered."I could make us some coffee."

"Well that's a good idea" Mc Cabe answered quite soft.

First they sat together in silence until Carla Styles started: "J.L., I want to apologize! I had no right jumping down on your throat and yelling at you, the way I did in the hospital…I was despaired and angry…I still am…!"

"Carla there is nothing to be sorry for. We all are in a state of emergency and I am responsible for this mess!" J.L. sighed.

"Sorry Sir but I have to intercept here" Derek begun to speak. "Nobody but Hearst has to be blamed for what happened and I am sure that Jake would agree! The only thing that really matters right now is Jake and we should concentrate on him!"

Carla nodded and cleared her throat: " I was never happy with his choice of career but it has always been his dream to become a policeman, to help other people and to bring a little more justice in this world – and I couldn't keep him away from doing it. I arranged job interviews for him at several financial institutions and insurance companies. He only laughed and said: „ Ma, could you really imagine me behind a desk, the whole day? I would die from boredom! Then he took me in his arms and said:"No matter if you like it or not, you have to accept my choice. Besides I have a sedulous guardian angel. So what should happen to me?"

"Los Angeles! The city of the angels – what an irony!"

J.L. patted her hand: "Everything is going to be okay, of that I am sure!"

An hour later Jakes mother was fast asleep from exhaustion on the couch.

Mc Cabe decided not to wake her up and covered her with a plaid; then he escorted his deputy to his car.

"Derek I want to thank you for everything you did today! I would have never made it through this awful day without you!"

Derek blushed because he wasn't accommodated to praise or gratitude from his boss – this was a clear sign of who much the older man suffered from the events of the day.

"Sir, you should try to get some sleep as well. I'll pick you up at half past eight tomorrow morning. Good Night Sir!"

Mc Cabe sank into the heavy arm chair next to the phone. He vehemently hoped that his silent prayers would be heard and Jake would survive the night.

A dark warehouse at the harbor…Shots! J.L knelt next to Jake who is lying on the cold floor, covered in blood. J.L. shakes the lifeless man: "Jake…breath…you have to breathe! Jake do you hear me! You have to fight… Green eyes are staring at him….empty. NO, Jake you have to fight, don't give up! You have to fight…fight!"

J.L. opened his eyes horrified and looked around confused…this wasn't a warehouse. He was in his own house. Mc Cabe wiped his forehead with a trembling hand – it was just an awful nightmare. He stood up clumsy and scuffled into the kitchen. After he had drained a glass of water he felt a little better.

It was seven o'clock in the morning and the phone hadn't rung during the night! This was a good sign…Jake had survived the night! Mc Cabe took a deep breath and started to prepare breakfast.

Softly he woke Jakes mother up: "Carla…I have fresh coffee and toast…"

Carla Styles startled from her deep sleep…"What happened…Jake!"

"Please calm down, everything is okay! The hospital didn't call – after breakfast and a hot shower we go to the hospital to see him! How does it sound?"

"Oh J.L., I hoped so much that it was just a bad dream!" Jakes mother answered.

Mc Cabe shivered at the thought of what woke him up a few minutes before.

Accurately at half past eight, Derek picked them up and drove them to the hospital.

Dr. Newman just left Jakes room when they arrived. "I have good news for you", he greeted them

"He had a good night and his vitals are continuing to stabilize so we could remove the breathing machine an hour ago. He is breathing on his own now – that is good, sorry that is very good! Please give the nurses a few minutes to do their work. After , you can see him!"

Jakes mother took Mc Cabes hand and squeezed it firmly before she started to speak: "Sorry Dr. Newman, when will my son wake up?"

"If he is reasonable, he will take up time to wake up – Mister Mc Cabe comes down hard on him, as much as I learned. Now he has the unique chance to rest! Sorry, it was ….kind of a joke! No, honestly, I don't know! But the way I gauge the strength of your son, it won't take very long. He is really a tough guy!"

Twenty minutes later, two nurses left Jakes room and nodded into the direction of the waiting people.

The fact, that the injured man was breathing on his own and that the ugly noise of the machine become silent, relaxed the tensed situation tangibly. Now, Carla Styles allowed herself a glimmer of hope, that her son would make a full recovery. Derek was standing at Jakes bed instead of his boss; the young man had asked Mc Cabe just to give him the opportunity to see his friend," only a few minutes Sir!" he had begged and given the fact how much Derek had done the day before, Mc Cabe couldn't refuse he young man's wish. Mitchell squeezed Jakes hand and said: "Jake, wake up! I think you have lazed out more than enough! Some people are waiting for you to open your eyes! I know you can make it!" The young blonde was at his emotional limit and left the hospital room hand over head! He was overtaken by the sight of Styles. He only knew Jake as a vigorous, powerful and well trained young man. The man lying in the hospital bed was shockingly pale with dark circles under his eyes, lifeless. Everything seemed unreal to Derek, as if he was in a bad movie.

In the waiting area, Derek sat down next to his boss and sheepishly wiped away the tears.

Mc Cabe fatherly slung an arm around the blondes shoulder: "Everything is going to be okay Derek! Of that I am more than sure now! We just have to be patient!"

In the late afternoon, Styles woke up while a nurse was just adjusting a new IV.

"Look who is back among the living again!" the nurse said and patted Jakes hand friendly. Then she pressed the emergency button. The minute, Dr. Newman run over the corridor and hurried into Jakes room, Carla, J.L. and Derek who had been asked to wait outside during the nurse's work, jumped up from their chairs in sheer panic.

"Oh my God! J.L. something is wrong…Jake…I have to see him…" Carla nearly cried.

"Calm down Carla, please! Someone will tell us soon what is happening!"

A few minutes later- it seemed to be like an eternity- the nurse left Jakes room and with a smile on her face, she released them from their fear: "Mister Styles just woke up! Dr. Newman is examining him right now. He will talk to you later!"

Carla broke into a passion of tears – tears of relief and J.L. softly pushed her back into the chair.

"He really made it! Everything is going to be fine!"

Dr. Newman closed the door and fetched a deep sigh of relief: "He is awake and responsive. But he is not pleased by the fact that he is in a hospital in deed! What are you waiting for? Go in, but please don't excite him! He is very weak!"

They entered Jakes room and went to the bed of the wounded man. Jakes eyes were closed.

Carla started gently to stroke his cheek and Mc Cabe had to fight back the tears.

Jake opened his eyes in slow motion and stared surprised at his mother and at Mc Cabe.

"Ma…what are…you doing…here?" he whispered hoarsely. "J.L….Why?" He closed his eyes again- exhausted.

Carla started crying again and Styles weakly patted her hand…" It's okay…Ma…don't cry…I'm still…alive!"

Mc Cabe stepped closer to Jakes bed and took his hand: "How are you, son?"

"Never…felt…better", Styles tried his best…" little groggy…Hearst?"

"Don't worry about Hearst – not now! We'll talk about it when you are better!" J. L. answered.

"I'm…fine…okay…no jogging…today…"Jake answered sleepily.

"Jake darling, don't strain yourself", Carla said, "just rest-we stay here-just rest!"

Jake nodded the exhaustion visible on his face and fell in a deep healing sleep within seconds.

Jake shortly woke up again late in the evening and after Dr. Newman had stated his condition as more than satisfying, Mc Cabe and Carla Styles could be convinced that everything was under control and that they could allow themselves to get some rest in J.L.'s house, without feeling guilty.

The next morning, Derek drove Jakes mother to the house of the injured man to pack some stuff, her son needed. In the meantime, the district attorney made his way to the hospital.

He was surprised but moreover relieved to find Styles in a half-seated position in his bed: "I hope you have asked for permission, before you manipulated your bed, son", J.L. chided him.

"Good morning to you as well, grumpy…but to soothe you, it was the idea of one of the nurses!" Jake replied weakly.

"How are you Jake? You look a lot better than yesterday!"

"That's surely because I feel a lot better! What about Hearst?"

"Jake, it's not the right time now! We'll talk about it when you are better! You need a lot of rest – Dr. Newman will cut off my head! I promised not to excite you!"

"J.L…Please!"

"Well, okay you won't leave me my peace! You are a real teaser, you know? Listen, they found a van gutted by fire – right now it is being checked by the forensic technicians. We suppose that Hearst and his accomplices have left to Mexico with a helicopter and went into hiding there. We are investigating in this direction-unfortunately we don't have a hot trace by now!" Mc Cabe finished.

"J.L. they waited for me at my house…I was just entering when I got a heavy knock on my head…I woke up in a warehouse any time in the night… pinned and gagged…two armed men…masked…" Styles, was totally exhausted and closed his eyes.

"In the morning one of them gave you a call and the other one drove away shortly later."

"Jake we should really talk about it later! You are not up for this right now! It's obviously too much!" Mc Cabe insisted.

"Later…When my Mom is around? Just be serious!" Jake mumbled weakly.

"Okay that is a good argument! What happened next?"

"About two hours later, my guard got a call…I couldn't understand what he was talking about. He came over to me and aimed at my head…I really thought he is going to shoot me right in the head!" Jake said and shrugged. I heard the bang and felt the impact of the bullet…and… pain! After that, I can't remember a single thing!" Styles sighed.

"Jake, I am so sorry! It is all- my fault! I should have taken Hearst's threat at the court for serious!"

"J.L., if we start to think about each and every threat, we can't make a step out of the house anymore! You know that I am right! But you should have never got involved in Hearst's blackmail! You didn't act very professional…he is a criminal to the core- he has killed a young boy that makes him a murderer! He belongs behind bars – for the rest of his poor life!" Jake closed his eyes again.

"Jake, I had to try to save your life…I really hadn't much of a choice!"

"J.L. listen, I was ready to die this night, believe me!" Jake answered and took a breath - as deep as the pain in his wound allowed it."J. L. I am so tired of being shot at, of being beaten up or knocked down! I should have listened to my mother and chose another, a decent career!"

"Oh Lord! What career are you talking about Jake?"

"How the hell shall I know?" Styles gave a shrug of his shoulders and this movement proofed to be very painful and he winced.

"Perhaps a lawyer or a banker, don't know!"

"Come on Jake!"Do you know how many financial institutions are raided every month and how many lawyers are killed every year? Apart from that, do you really can imagine yourself sitting behind a desk- day by day?" J.L. shook his head.

"You mean like you do? No, you are right – that would not be my cup of tea at all!" Styles had to laugh and groaned from the starting pain.

"What's wrong Jake? Shall I call the doctor?" J.L. asked very concerned.

"No, it's not that bad! It just hurts when I laugh, so don't move me to laughter!"

"Jake, I assume, your Mom will give you a hard ride here…I know after all what happened, she has every right and to be honest, she has the better arguments as well! She would surely appreciate it if you would change your job!"

"Yes, I know" Styles moaned. "I only hope she doesn't start to fix me up with every unmarried nurse around! That would be awkward!"

"Well, but it would save you lots of efforts and you had the absolute certainty, that your girlfriend would fulfill your mothers demands!" Mc Cabe answered with a chuckle.

"Come on, J.L.! First I am old enough to look for a woman on my own – if I want to and …!"

"What comes secondly?" Mc Cabe teased.

"J.L., what kind of intelligent lady wants to get in with a type, who is always with one leg in the grave and who cannot keep eight of ten appointments? This lady needs to be baked!" Styles said sadly.

"Jake, I will accept your decision no matter how it turns out! But if you should make up your mind and stay…I promise…"

"Yeah! Yeah! More vacation…less extra hours and you will never send me into the park with your beautiful dog…" Jake mumbled with closed eyes.

Mc Cabe was totally perplexed and had to pull himself together. "How in this world do you come to say that?" He asked the injured man.

"I don't know! It just crossed my mind! I have no idea – perhaps a 'Deja-Vu'! But it would be a start, mh?"

J.L. shook his head in disbelief: "Yes it would be a start! But who knows, if you start a career at a financial institution, I could work there as well – perhaps as the bank director! It would leave things as they are!" Mc Cabe grinned.

"Heaven forbid! What would I have gained then? You would give me the thumbscrews day by day, again! Moreover you would have to shave every day in this job! So forget it!" Jake grinned back.

"Do you want to hint that I am bad shaved?"

"You want an honest answer, right? You are bad shaved or not shaved, J.L.!" Styles answered and tried not to laugh to avoid another burning pain. "And now stop making me laugh! It hurts like hell!"

"Okay, I let you rest now. I go to the office-a pile of documents are waiting to be put in hand. Your Mom will be here soon and then you are in the best hands! I'll stop by again in the evening. Shall I bring you something? Would you like a book, a magazine or a bit of this incredible Chinese food, perhaps?"

"No, I'm fine, but thank you! By the way, my Mom loads me with presents. Look around! This is a sort of combined gift and flower shop!"

"Jake, she wants to give you a treat! You are not in a good shape at the moment otherwise you would laugh at it, son!"

"I know it and I am sorry! But I hate it to lie around that useless and I absolutely don't like it if my cushions are made up every five minutes and I am asked at least a hundred times a day, if I need something or if I am doing well! It is both painful and grotesque when my mother provokes a riot just because I run a little fever! I want to go home! I know I am thankless! But I want to have a shower when I think it's the right time for it and without a watchdog in front of the door! I want to eat when I am hungry and not when my Mom plumes herself in front of me – armed with fork and knife and decides that it's time to eat…and damned I want to sleep when I feel tired and not on demand…do you understand me? I need to go home I am going nuts here! I want go back into my 'regular – unregulated life '! Okay, I was wounded! I call it 'Bad Karma'! But I am a grown up man and I want to be treated like that! Is it asked too much?"

"Bless my hart! That sounds really bad Jake! Shall I talk to your mother?"

"For God's sake no, J.L.!" She would shed a torrent of tears and she would certainly be affronted for days! She doesn't deserve it to be treated like that! She really had a few bad days here, you know!"

Jake became more and more impatient and galled: „I hate hospitals! I have to go out!" The young man complained after seven days.

"That is out of the question Jakob Styles!" Carla replied as resolute as usual. You are much too weak and the wound isn't healed so far! You'll stay! Just ask Dr. Newman, he will surely verify it! Here you are taken care on around the clock and that is very good!"

"Ma, it's terrible, yes terrible! I feel as if I am living in a shop window! I can't stay it any longer. I'm going home even if I have to discharge myself!"

J.L. scratched his head and mumbled: "Wouldn't be the first time!"

Oh J.L. please don't you fall on me now! Listen, I will recover a lot better when I am at home and… "

"Jake, I know you for thirty-four years now – you only do what you think it is right! You will never follow the instruction of the physicians! That I know for sure! Okay, perhaps you try it the first day- if we are lucky, the second day as well. But then your Italian temper will gain the upper hand- and you will overexert yourself! At the end we will have to bring you back here!" Carla told her son.

"Ma, I promise to strictly obey the instructions and it really makes no difference if I lay in bed here or at home!" Jake gave his mother a pleading look.

"No, no! Don't you give me that look son! I remember it too well…you did it when you were a small boy! You looked at me that way to smart me!"

"Ma…you are here as well…that's better than ten nurses together!" This argument didn't miss its effect and Carla finally gave out.

"But only on the condition that Dr. Newman agrees! Bless my heart! I would really feel better if I had it down on paper what you just promised me Jake! J.L., as the district attorney, you are surely able to help me here!"

Mc Cabe had listened to the dialogue between mother and son in amusement and answered after a short reflection: "I think in this special case it will be sufficient that I witnessed this verbal agreement!" he looked Styles right in the eyes and warned: "The smallest contravention will be prosecuted!"

Jake would have undersigned everything- no matter what- just to leave the hospital and after a close examination the next morning, Derek picked him up and gave him a ride home to his house.

"Be careful Jake! Come on, let me help you!"The blond man offered and took Jakes arm to guide him to the front door.

"Stop it Derek! Right here and now! I am able to make these few steps on my own! I don't need your help! I just hope I'll know my house – guess my mother totally re-decorated it!" Styles said with a sigh.

Carla had watched the two men from the kitchen window and opened the door.

"Good morning boys! I prepared some breakfast! Derek, you stay for breakfast!"

"Well, of course Carla! But first things first! I'll take care that Jake is as comfortable as possible!"Jake gave the young blond an inflictive look for his comment.

"Oh, I already made his bed and deposed some extra cushions on it! Jake, you rest and have your breakfast in bed!" Carla said.

Ma, I am going to have breakfast with you in the kitchen, if anything!" Jake answered.

"If anything, what does it mean?"

"Okay, it means if I am hungry! If not, I just take a coffee!"

"But you have to eat! How will you regain your strengths? And coffee is out of the discussion for you! You can have tea or milk with honey!"

"Coffee…I'll drink coffee, Ma - Black and strong!" Jake tried his best not to jump out of his skin after just ten minutes at home.

Derek said goodbye after the breakfast and Styles would have given a lot to accompany his friend! The dark haired man stood up while his mother cleaned the table.

"Where do you go darling?"

"I'm going to the bathroom!"

"Let me help you…"

"Ma, from here to the bathroom, that's not a marathon race! I can make it!"

Jake you are really shaky and Dr. Newman said you are not allowed to strain yourself", Carla answered.

"I will not overdue myself and in case I need some help you'll be the first whom I call – promised! And now do me a big favor…just relax!"

That was too much for the poor woman. She put her hands on her hips and started to cry against her son: "Aha, you want me to relax! Well that's a piece of cake, right? Now you listen to what I have to tell you Jakob Styles!"

Jake closed his eyes – he knew he had just set an avalanche in motion and he couldn't stop it! When his Mom was like that, there was no way back!

"It's not ten days ago, when I got a call from Derek- by the way until this time, a totally stranger to me! He told me that my only son is in a hospital, fighting for his life! But okay, no reason to dramatize! I was dead afraid for days! I was in panic to lose you and you really expect me to relax! Actually I am feeling like a rocket short before the take-off! So don't you tell me to relax – that's not that easy!"

Jake was shocked and took his mother tenderly into his arms: "I am sorry Mom! I didn't mean it that way!"

"Jake, I know, I really bug you! I thought, I would never see you again – alive! Jake I am an old woman and my heart is too weak for excitements like that!"

Styles started to laugh loudly and said: " Ma, you are not old at all and as much as I know, your heart is in a top condition!"

The telephone started to ring and Styles answered it: "Angie, that's a surprise…yes I am at home, thanks God! Yes, I am doing fine but you don't sound that well! Mom, yes of course, wait a moment…not a problem, little sister…bye!" he handed the phone over to his mother. He was a little alarmed because he had noticed that Angie had fought back tears while she was talking to him.

Carla Styles patiently listened to her daughter at least for ten minutes: "Yes sweetheart, I'll try to come back as soon as possible! In the meantime, you calm down a little! I am sure it will all come out in a wash! Just give him some time to rethink…yes! I talk to Jake and call you back! Bye!"

"What's wrong with her? Does she have problems – she sounded terribly unhappy!"

"Listen Jake, she had a dispute with Sonny and they parted!" Carla answered with a sigh. "She is completely devastated! You know how sentimental she is…"

Mom, you have to go home! Angie needs you more than I do!" Jake demanded.

"Darling, you are not fit yet, so I'll stay until you are back to normal!"

"Come on Mom! I am sure, J.L. and Derek will take care that I don't strain myself! You can go home without any fear and help Angie over her heartache! Let's try to get a flight for you!"

Barely an hour later Jake Styles booked his mother to the first flight for the next morning.

"Oh my dear, I wanted to invite J.L. and Derek for dinner to thank them for all their help and now I am not able to say goodbye at all!"

"You can invite them the next time you visit me! Just give them a call at the office! They will understand!"

At first Carla talked to Derek and thanked him for his help; then she was put through to Mc Cabe.

"J.L., it's me Carla! No, don't worry, Jake is doing fine…it's my daughter, she has a problem at home and Jake encouraged me to go back. I just wanted to thank you and ask you a big favor!"

"Just name it Carla!"

"Could you please take a look at Jake, he feels his oats and I don't want him to hurt himself! Could you do that for me?"

"You can count on me Carla! Don't worry!"

"That takes a load off my mind! Thank you so much…J.L.! You and Derek, you are always welcome at my home!"

"We will surely hark back to that – provided Jake doesn't mind! Have a safe trip back home Carla!"

The next morning a cab brought Jake and his mother to the airport and after Carla was checked in, she embraced her son firmly: "You promise to take care of you Jake! I asked J.L. to have a look at you –just as a precaution!"

"Well what could go wrong than? Please stop worrying Mom! Give Angie a kiss and tell her that everything is going to be okay! "

After Carla was out of sight, Jake left the airport and took a cab.

"Where do you want to go Mister?" The driver asked.

After a short consideration, Jake answered him: "To the office of the district attorney, please!"

Styles entered the building and took the lift to the second floor. It was unusually calm as the young man opened the glass door. The vestibule was decorated with garlands and there was a big banner that greeted him: 'Welcome back Jake and get well soon'.

A delicious buffet was served on a big table. Jake looked around as suddenly all his colleges and the rest of the staff came out of every corner and welcomed the bewildered man.

"But how did you know…I mean…Styles stuttered and blushed.

"J.L. emerged and said with a trembling voice: "We didn't know, but we all hoped, Jake!" Mc Cabe embraced his investigator carefully and whispered: "It's so good to have you back, son!"

The phone started to ring and Mc Cabes secretary, Lizzy answered the call: "Well yes! I'll take care of it! Mister Mc Cabe, we have an armed raid in Main-Street! One person got killed, Sir!"

Jake followed his instinct and just wanted to leave the room but J.L. held him back: "The 13th police station will look after our business Jake! We have a party here and you sit down on your bum and relax! That's an order Mister Styles ! You are still incapacitated! For the next two weeks, only slight office work! This long, the criminals have to manage it without you! And now let's cut this delicious cake or do you want me to die from hunger?"