Revolving Doors Chapter 7

Republisher’s Note: Mick is in the hospital after the attack on the beach.

Revolving Doors – Chapter 7

Danny was sitting outside of ICU when his cell phone rang. Only a handful of people knew his number. He was almost positive that it was his mother calling. He’d tried to reach her at her hotel room in Chicago after Mick had first been taken to ICU. She’d been out for the evening and he’d left an urgent message for her to call. He’d also tried her cell phone, but he’d gotten the standard reply about the number not being available.

“Hello,” Danny said.

“Daniel, this is Mama. You said it was urgent. What’s wrong?” Carmen’s voice sounded tense.

“Hallo, Mama. I have some bad news.”

“Daniel, is it Pilar?”

“No, Mama, it’s Mick.”

“Oh, No. Is he…..?”

“No, he’s not dead, but he’s been hurt really badly.”

“Where is he? Where are you?”

“He’s at Cedars in intensive care. I’m right outside his door.”

“Was he shot? Do you know who did it?”

“No, Mama. He wasn’t shot. He was hit on the head and left for dead. He’s very lucky that someone found him and called the paramedics.”

“Has he said anything about how it happened?”

“He’s hurt really badly, Mama. He’s unconscious. The doctors aren’t sure he’s going to make it.” Daniel heard a sharp intake of breath. He knew his mother was upset, and yet the next thing out of her mouth proved she was the indeed head of the family.

“What about security, Daniel?”

“I need to talk to the hospital administrator about posting some bodyguards.”

“Dietz is coming back with me. He’ll be able to help you set up security.”

“Only family members and hospital personnel are allowed in ICU. When will you be back?”

“I’m leaving right now. I should be back within the hour. I’ll see you soon.”

“Goodbye, Mama.” Danny let out a sigh of relief. That was over. He pocketed his cell phone and went back in to visit Mick. He heard the steady beat of Mick’s heart. Heard the hiss of the ventilator keeping Mick alive. Heard the pump of the blood pressure machine activating itself every few minutes. He wondered what had happened to Mick. He wasn’t surprised Mick had ended up fighting for his life, but he was surprised by his injuries. Most mob hits were just that, gun battles or drive by shootings, bullets ripping through flesh. Just as papa had died. He assumed Mick’s attack had been interrupted. It was possible Mick’s attackers had fled when Michelle Bauer happened upon the scene. One more reason to be indebted to her. He thought back to overhearing her in the chapel. What problems could this girl possibly have? She was beautiful. She was smart. She had a boyfriend. She had a nice family. OK, her brother hadn’t been too nice to him, but he seemed to care about her. There was something about her that intrigued him. He was going to find out as much as he could about her and help her if she would let him. The steady beat, beat, beat of Mick’s heart monitor suddenly became erratic.

An alarm sounded as the heart monitor flat-lined. Danny had seen enough movies to know what it meant. He heard the familiar, “CODE BLUE IN ICU, CODE BLUE IN ICU”, being broadcast over the speakers. He watched with both horror and fascination as the doctors wheeled a crash cart into ICU to attend to Mick. Danny had seen this happen so many times on television that he wasn’t surprised by what they were doing. In a way, he could almost separate himself from what was happening. The tubes providing oxygen, blood and fluids along with the bandages that almost completely covered Mick’s head, made his brother appear almost alien, totally unrecognizable. Danny watched with detachment, as three times, the doctors charged the defibrilator trying to jumpstart his heart. Finally, the fourth attempt succeeded.

Danny left the close confines of ICU after the doctors had stabilized Mick. His body began to relax, he hadn’t realized he’d tensed up. One of the nurses came over to him and suggested he take a break and get some coffee. He told her of his concerns for Mick’s safety. She assured him she would stay with Mick until his return. He asked if there was a place he could get some fresh air. She told him there was a rooftop garden on the 8th floor. He thanked her. For some reason, he trusted her. He took note of her name and made a mental note to send her some flowers for her thoughtfulness. Danny took the elevator to the 8th floor. He found some double doors opposite the elevator that led to something called the AIDS Memorial Garden. He exited the doors of the hospital and went outside into the cold November air. He stayed outside for a long time, thinking about his life and taking inventory of the people he’d lost. His father was dead, now Mick might be gone, too. His mother, although not physically dead, had all but ceased to exist for him. In her place, was a shrewd businesswoman and vindictive mob boss. His sister Pilar was gone from his day-to-day existence, part of Mama’s plan to keep her protected at all costs. Abuela was the only constant in his life, but her health was failing. Pretty soon he would be alone. Being without a wife had been his choice. It would have been easy to marry the daughter of one of his family’s associates. In fact, his mother had hoped he would marry Teresa Sandoval, daughter of her best friend. They had virtually grown up together and for the longest time were like brother and sister. Their relationship had had its ups and downs, but Danny knew he would never marry her. He had been attracted to several “regular”girls, but once they learned he was a Santos they would make it clear that his attentions were not desired. The girls who came from his own background were suspect. One too many times, he’d discovered they knew he was the Santos heir and only wanted him for the power he could provide. He hated being used. He usually picked girls who were on the fringes of mob life. He’d keep them around as long as they didn’t start depending on him. He could screw them one day and forget about them the next. He knew Mama would expect him to marry someday, produce the Santos heir. Now that Mick was hurt, possibly unable to produce an heir, someday might be sooner than he had previously thought. Danny’s hands were numb by the time he came back into the hospital corridor. He stood just inside the double doors that led to the garden and blew on his hands to warm them. He noticed a plaque on the wall commemorating the garden. The plaque listed those involved in its creation. One name in particular stood out among all the others. Michelle Bauer. He’d lived all his life in Springfield. He knew about the Bauers, knew what they represented to his family, to any outcast member of society. Maybe he’d purposefully dismissed her name if he’d heard it before just because of what her last name meant to him. Tonight, after talking to her and finding out what she’d done for Mick, he’d talked to some of the nurses on duty and found out she was in pre-med. One day she would be a doctor, possibly doing what the doctor’s in ICU had just done for his brother. The more he learned about this girl, the more he wanted to know. Danny walked back to ICU to find that his mother had arrived. Actually, he heard the shrillness of her demands long before he arrived back at the nurse’s station. She was belittling the same kindly nurse he’d thanked just half an hour earlier. He interrupted her tirade.

“Hello, Mama.”

His mother berated him, “Daniel, where have you been? You promised you’d watch over your brother until I got back.”

“No need to take your frustrations out on the hospital personnel. This nurse has been very thoughtful. I needed a break and she promised to watch over Mick.”

“I see,” Carmen bristled. “Since when have you started trusting people outside the family?”

“Since she saved Mick’s life,” Danny said defensively.

Carmen looked over at the nurse. “Thank you um….. Ms. Evans…..is it?” His mother said in a less than sincere voice. She did not apologize, that would show weakness, something Danny knew she would never do. The nurse smiled at Danny and returned to ICU.

“Look, mother, I know you are upset about Mick, we all are, but we are going to have to deal with these people until Mick is better. I don’t think any of our enemies or whoever is responsible for Mick have had time to plant someone here. And besides, I watched that nurse and several others save Mick when his heart stopped about an hour ago. I felt I could trust her.” Danny wanted his mother to experience some of the pain he’d had to live through in the last few hours.

Carmen lost her bravado and said, “His heart stopped?”

“Yes, but these people know what they are doing. Don’t worry.” He hadn’t meant to be so unfeeling. He reminded himself she was Mick’s mother. “As far as security goes, I’m going to talk to the hospital administrator in about an hour. I’m sure we can come up with a satisfactory arrangement.” He knew that if the hospital couldn’t meet their requirements they’d find a solution.

“OK Danny, now what about this attack, do you have any clues?” Carmen said, back to her usual demeanor.

Danny responded, “No clues yet. I want to get a good night’s sleep before I start my investigation. We are very lucky Mick was found. We owe a lot to the girl who helped Mick.”

Carmen demanded, “Who is this girl? Are you sure she wasn’t somehow involved?”

“Mother, I’ve learned a lot about this girl tonight. I would bet my life she isn’t.” Danny stated as firmly as possible.

“You’d be betting all of our lives if you’re wrong. I don’t want you to count her out just yet.”

Danny knew she was wrong. There was no way Michelle was involved.

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