Well Maxie and Cole officially meet. I hope this is okay. Feedback please. :)

Chapter 4

Maxie took a long, deep breath as she paused in front of the door to John Doe's room. So far nothing, but nothing, had gone right for her in the past twenty-four hours and she was honestly afraid this guy was going to have the book thrown at her for mowing him down. But in the end, she promised herself she wasn't going to let that happen.

She sighed and put her hand on the door. "Wakey, wakey, Mr. Doe," she said as she pushed back the door. "We need to talk and-" She broke off as she zeroed in on the guy. He was trying to crawl out of bed and was grunting with the pain of exertion. His brown eyes shot to hers and he looked angry.

"Who are you?" He barked out.

"Uh, Maxie, Maxie Jones," she said as she watched him wrestling with the covers as if they were made of steel rather than cheap cotton. "I came to talk to you."

"I don't feel like talking," he said darkly. He finally succeeded in getting free of the blankets and tossed one leg over the side of the bed. He weaved in place and Maxie was cut with indecision.

"Do you need help? I could call someone in here."

"No!" He practically bellowed. "Just leave me alone." He caught himself on the edge of the bed and looked around. "My crutches, where are my crutches?"

"Let me help you look," Maxie found herself offering.

"You're still here?" The guy said with a roll of his eyes. "You're obviously not on staff here so why are you bugging me?"

"Why would you assume that? I could be a doctor." The guy raised an eyebrow at her. "A nurse…." He shook his head. "An orderly?" He rolled his eyes. "Okay fine I am none of the above, Mr. Know it All, but I have spent enough time in hospitals to know how things work. Somewhat anyway. I do know the doctors need to know you're awake and breathing."

"I don't want them to know that," he said. "I am getting the hell out of here." Determination was in his eyes as he scouted around for his crutches. Maxie spotted them first. They were tucked against a corner at the far side of the room.

"Found them!" She crowed and brought them over to John Doe. She handed them to her and he fairly yanked them from her hand. "Impatient much?" She said with a roll of her eyes.

"Why are you still here bugging me?" He asked. "Never mind. I just need to get out of here and see Hope."

"Hope, so that is a person?" Maxie asked. "You kept saying that name over and over when I found you and –" She broke off as she saw the anger in his eyes, the recognition. He had the most expressive eyes she had ever seen and it was frightening how easy it was to read the emotion in them. He clearly was not happy with her.

"Wait. You're the one huh? You're the one who ran me down like a dog in the road?"

"You make it all sound so much more sinister than it really was. And hey you were jaywalking!" She snapped out.

"You had to have seen me coming," the guy snapped back. "I can't move very fast on my crutches and now thanks to you I am even slower than before."

"You are angry, okay I get that, but you're not angry enough to say… press charges … Are you?"

"Hell yes I am but –" He broke off for a moment, thinking about something. "But I won't do that if you help me get of here."

"Right now?"

"Yeah right now," he said.

"But you're all broken and bruised up," she said. "You need medical care."

"I need to get of here. Hope needs me."

"Who is Hope?" Maxie asked.

"My daughter."


He tucked the crutches under his arms. "Now find me something to change into because I am leaving one way or another."

"Alright, fine. I'll be right back." She headed for the door.

"Don't tell anyone I'm awake," the guy hissed at her in a low voice.

Maxie looked back at him and rolled her eyes. "Fine, whatever you want.. Cranky." She then slipped out the door and shut it behind her.

She looked both ways before zipping down the hall towards the linen closet. She yanked it open and sighed, memories immediately assailing her. Matt had taken her right against that wall… She hurt inside so badly thinking of it but she refused to give into the need to cry again. She would never cry over Matt Hunter again, she vowed.

She found a pair of scrubs sitting on a shelf and hoped they would fit her John Doe. Maxie was very curious about the guy and why he was so against seeing any medical staff. She mused, maybe he was a Jehovah's Witness or something.

She tucked the scrubs under her blouse and slipped out of the linen closet and back down the hall. She opened the door to find John Doe was yanking his hospital gown off. "Oh jeez, warn a girl," she snapped as he moved into the room and he dropped the thin material to the floor. She averted her eyes as she moved over to him and handed him the scrubs. He had a nice body from the flash she had seen of it but wasn't in the habit of staring at strange, naked men. And this guy was definitely beyond strange.

"You could have knocked," he said. He struggled to keep standing while trying to slide on the scrub top. He cursed in frustration and looked over at her. "A little help please."

"What – me? Are you serious?"

"Yeah. Unless you want me to press charges."

Maxie glared at him. "Oh now you're just blackmailing me," she spat but finally sighed and moved over to him. He passed her the shirt and dropped the crutches on the ground. He then dropped heavily onto the bed and held up his arms. It looked like he was struggling to keep them raised so Maxie tried to be quick about sliding the material down his lean arms but her fingers snagged in the material of the left sleeve.

"Watch it!"

"Excuse me," she said, "but I haven't dressed anyone but myself in a really long time." She adjusted the scrub top but ended up having to step between his long legs to get closer. Her breasts were practically in his face and she barked out a warning for him to look away or lose something vital. He immediately turned away.

She finally stepped back. "There."

"The pants too," John Doe said pointedly. She rolled her eyes at him but finally got to the floor and began helping him slide on the pants. It took a bit of effort but finally she bunched them up to his knees. His left leg had a long jagged scar on it that she hoped hadn't happened when she ran him down.

"You do the rest," she demanded and he sighed and lifted himself off the bed as much as he could to slide the pants over his bottom. Finally he was dressed and reached for his crutches again.

"Are you sure you want to leave without seeing a doctor?" Maxie asked. "I mean what's the hurry? It's not like you're on the run from the law or anything …" Her eyes went wide as she thought everything over. His suspicious behavior screamed out to her now. "Ohmigod! You are. You are an escaped convict!"

He didn't answer, just looked away.

"I am going to tell my Dad right now! I mean I should. He's a cop. He has the right to throw you back in prison where you came from …"

"You do that and I will press charges," the guy warned. "Now help me out of here."

Maxie shook her head. "Mac would never forgive me and –"

"Okay let's talk to the cops then. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? You go to prison for attempting to kill me…."

"It was an accident!"

"We'll let the jury decide that …" He let his voice trail off but the threat was very clearly dangling in the air between them. Finally, he sighed. "Look, please help me out of here. I just want to see my daughter. It's been eight months since I saw her last. I've fought like hell to come home to her so please … please help me here."

Maxie knew all the reasons she should refuse him but she nodded. "Fine I'll get you out of here. Besides, it's not like you're not the first guy on the run I've smuggled off into the night."

He looked at her strangely. "Alright so we're going then?"

"Yeah," she agreed. "Anyway what's your name?"

"Does it matter?"

"It does to me. If I'm going to risk aiding and abetting someone, I want to know his name. Your real name," she said pointedly.

He sighed. "It's Cole."

"Cole what?"

He shook his head. "That's all you need to know. Now let's go before we get caught."

"Fine, fine," she said rolling her eyes at him. "But as soon as I get you out of the hospital, you're on your own."

"Fine!" he snapped. "Let's just hurry up here."

"Impatient much?" She asked but still, she headed out to find him a wheel chair.

All Maxie could hope was that they didn't get caught.