Hi Everyone! Hope you are having a great summer (or winter depending on hemisphere). I apologize for taking so long to follow up but I have a special treat for you. With all the time I took, this story is complete and I will be uploading it all today. I hope you enjoy. If you do not, please let me know what I can do to improve.


One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Marshal Annie Frost had been in the hospital for a week now. The infected gunshot wound to her leg seemed to be healing properly though it still needed to be cleaned and bandaged daily. The surgery to put a plate on her cracked orbital bone had been successful but the bruising was still dark and disturbing.

She had been given permission to walk with the assistance of a nurse but Annie just couldn't wait until a nurse was available. She was going stir crazy in her hospital bed and was desperate for some sort of change of view. She needed to get moving.

When her cell phone rang she grabbed it up happy for the distraction. "Hello?"

"Annie, it's Daisy. 59 is going to drive me crazy! Can you get a nurse to bring you downstairs so he can see you?"

Annie grinned and her whole face lit up. She had missed her dog desperately and so far, had only been able to wave out the window at him from her wheel chair. "I will be right down…"

She heard Daisy start, "with a nurse, right? An…" but Annie hung up and pushed the covers off her legs grimacing.

She carefully lifted herself out of bed reaching for the mobile IV pole with one arm as she shuffled toward the door to get her robe on. The linoleum floor was cold on her feet so she shuffled back to get her slippers on. She was in a real mood and she wanted to stomp her feet. She wanted to have a fit. She wanted to see her dog and run and run and run and run.

But she couldn't run with her bum leg so she continued shuffling out the door of her room… down the hall… past her neighbor's room.

He didn't even look up from his sports pages to know she had limped by. His deep voice didn't have to strain to be heard. "Annie where are you goin'?" Annie froze in the door and felt like she had been busted. He continued. "They are letting me go home today. You want me to get 59 and take him home with me?"

"Ugh! How did you know? I am going to go see him right now… " and dropped her head in silence. "Can you?"

Jimmy's grin peered around the paper and he started chuckling. "You pouting because you are going to miss me or your dog?"

"My dog" she left the doorway and continued down the hall.

"Annie, you will be home before you know it!" He called after her.

She needed to speed things up or her dog was going to be so worked up, he was going to knock her over. She headed determined toward the elevator. The silver doors called to her when suddenly they were blocked by those medical blue pants she had become quite familiar with.

"Annie?" Natalie stood in her path with her arms crossed.

She rolled her eyes at the doctor standing in her way but couldn't look her in the eye. Quietly but firmly she mustered, "I just want to see my dog, Natalie. I won't run away."

"Then I will get a nurse with a wheel chair" the familiar doctor shook her head and headed toward the Nurse's station. She continued mumbling, "why do you always have to push?"

Annie just stood there looking at the floor. She wanted to just go and not rely on anyone for help. Luckily a nurse appeared with the wheel chair almost immediately and Annie reluctantly sat down.

"Where are we headed?"She had not seen that the nurse was Maggie. The two women had become fast friends. She was so relieved that a huge grin spread across her face.

"Wanna meet my dog?" and she pointed at the elevators. "He is outside with Daisy. I haven't pet his head since I was taken the night Jimmy.. was.. walking.. him…" She ended her sentence quietly remembering that evening. The kidnapping had interrupted the start of her new relationship with Jimmy. Since the night they had rescued her, she had fought falling in love with him. She was no longer ready to take that step. She no longer felt comfortable trusting anyone but herself.

Her thoughts were immediately interrupted by Maggie's upbeat response, "I would LOVE to meet your dog. What is he?"

The nurse enthusiastically rolled the wheel chair into the elevator and pushed the button for the lobby.

When the doors opened, the big headed Rottweiler took one look at his favorite buddy and there was no stopping him. Fortunately for the hospital, the front doors were motion activated or they might have been destroyed as the lug of a dog sprinted mindlessly toward his best friend.

"59! Hey big fella! It is so great to see you!" Annie leaned forward to put both arms around her beast as he skidded to a stop at her chair.

Maggie let out a breath of relief when no collision took place and started giggling. Watching the petit marshal and the ginormous dog, it was clearly heaven. Their reunion was priceless. Daisy joined the nurse and couldn't help but laugh, too. She had tried to keep the dog outside but there was no holding him back.