Part V - Chapter 20 - The Interrupted Family Reunion

Hard Rock, CA

James and Rachel arrived in Hard Rock in a flash of light and an overwhelming sound. For the first time James noticed a bit of discomfort during the journey but assumed it was more to do with carrying a person from one geographic location to another. He landed just outside the house and his feet had barely touched ground before Lenore came rushing out to James with tears streaming down her face. Within moments her sense of relief changed to panic as she noticed all the blood covering both Rachel and James.

"It's not mine, Ma. It's Rachel's. We gotta get a doctor right away!"

At that moment, the local preacher came out of the house in shock with all of the noise, lights, and the sudden appearance of James with a bloodied heap of petticoats in his arms.

"Go for a doctor," Lenore called. She kept her voice as steady as she buried the multitude of emotions that she was feeling to move into command mode. One learns how to keep a cool head in crises by being a mayor, a restaurant owner, and sheriff's wife.

However, the preacher was not switching from town planning to emergency mode and Lenore did not have time to ease him into the change of pace or prioritization.

To snap the older man to the matter at hand, Lenore had to yell out, "Preacher! Go! Now!" She had commanded him with such a force that the preacher blinked out of his shocked state and moved quickly to retrieve his horse to get the local doctor. Lenore and James carried the barely conscious Rachel into the dining room. Within moments, everything that had been on the table was brushed off and onto the floor.

"James, I need you to boil some water and I need you grab the linens in the family room where we were sorting your daddy's things. I know that those linens were to cover furniture pieces that we would give away or sell but right now that's the closest thing and every second counts."

James quickly moved from room to room to carrying out her instructions. Luckily, Lenore had a doctor's kit in the dining room. She had been talking with the town council about placing medical kits in various locations about town so that more people could receive medical attention quickly in a time of natural disaster or unexpected accident. In a moment of disassociation which occurs in traumatic moments, she made a note about how her plan might actually help to save this poor girl's life and should be emphasized during the next council meeting.

James arrived back in the room with the linens and handed her an apron. Rachel began to howl in pain as she moved in and out of consciousness. The kettle blew signaling that the water was ready. As James moved towards the kitchen, Lenore hollered, "Grab some brandy too. She's gonna need it!"

Lenore tied the apron around her waist and gently moved the hair out of Rachel's eyes. "Alright, young lady. This is going to be painful. But I need you to fight. I am going to need you to stay strong, ok? You holler as much as you like but you need to fight!" She held Rachel's hands and squeezed them in an attempt to pass courage to the tiny form on the table. "Oh my God! This girl can't be over 18 years old. She's too young to die!" thought Lenore.

As James came back into the room, Lenore pushed the observations of Rachel's youth down and tried to ignore all of the blood. It would not serve Rachel well if Lenore believed that she was too far gone before their work had even started. The hot water had been poured into a large bowl and Lenore dumped the medical equipment into the pot to help clean the items. Something in her said, or maybe she had read it somewhere, that the instruments needed to be cleaned before use. Maybe it was just a superstition, either way Lenore was determined to take any precaution. Without being asked, James quickly tore up a few of the linens as he knew they would be needed to stop the bleeding.

"James, I need you to help me turn her over. I need to see if the bullet went through."

As James turned her over, Lenore noted that there was not an exit wound on Rachel's back. As Lenore directed, James alternated between imbibing Rachel with the brandy, holding her down, and consoling her through the pain. Lenore used a small knife to open the wound a bit more before utilizing the forceps to pull out the bullet. Tears fell down Rachel's face and she winced in pain but followed Lenore's instructions to stay strong as she held in any attempt to holler or cuss aloud, though it would have been acceptable considering her injury.

After the bullet was removed, Lenore had barely thread the needle when the doctor and his nurse finally arrived to take over the process of care. Lenore was suddenly too tired to see if the doctor needed to correct her work. Rachel seemed to be in good hands now and Lenore took it as her moment.

Lenore walked outside and took a deep breath. Based on how low the sun was without touching the horizon, the day must be almost over and sunset would occur shortly. As the colors in the sky began to change, all of the emotions hit Lenore at once. She felt the worry about her son's disappearance, the joy in his return, the fear that it was too late because of all the blood, and then needing to pack it away to help save the life of Rachel. Within moments, she felt her body sink to the ground and she allowed herself to feel everything resulting in a half weep and half laugh mess. Suddenly, she felt two strong arms lift her up and wrap her in a large hug.

"It's okay, Mama. I'm home."

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Miami, OK

Fiona and Madeline had calmed down enough to sit down to lunch, although by the time everyone sat down, it was dark and the food had gone cold. Based on the sour mood that everyone felt, cold food seemed to fit the environment.

In an effort to brighten the heaviness at the table, Doc ventured to make observations about the day's successes. "So Fiona, why did you decide to use a car to crash through the wall?" asked Doc. "I know that I am not a spy but it seemed a bit extreme."

"It was a shame to let you all have all of the fun," smiled Fiona.

"And using liquor to cause additional explosions?" asked Doc.

"The goal was to disarm the Irish gang, correct?" Fiona barely allowed Doc to nod his head before she continued, "So, I distracted and Michael disarmed," she stated in matter-of-fact voice as she took another bite of the food. Brisco couldn't help but smile. Fiona would always remain a force to be reckoned with.

Just then the phone rang which caused Doc to practically jump out of his skin. Madeline answered the phone before calling Brisco over to it.

"Hello? Who is this?" Brisco demanded into the receiver.

"Brisco? It's Lenore! James made it home!" her voice was muffled but there was a contagious excitement in her voice.

"It worked!" Brisco shouted over to the group who stared back at him with puzzled expressions. "What about Rachel? Did she make it? Is she ok?"

"Yes, she made it. The doctor was able to dress her wound. She's asleep now but they're both fine!"

"Thank God," breathed Brisco. A sense of relief washed over him. Rachel and James were safe with Lenore in Hard Rock.

"I've got Doc with me and we'll head over there-"

But the line went dead. Brisco called Madeline and Michael over but neither of them could fix the phone. For whatever reason, the line was dead. Brisco told the group that Rachel and James had made it back to Lenore in Hard Rock and that Rachel had survived the gunshot. The news was just what the group needed to hear.

While it was still discouraging that Franz and O'Banion would not be publicly punished for their conspiracies and treason, they had been identified. From now on, any attempt to undermine the American government, to destroy commerce, or to cause public fear to rise due to senseless bombings would be nearly impossible to accomplish. For all intents and purposes, these two men, and anyone that they associate with, were now burned spies.

For Brisco and Doc, the more important victory was James' return home. The young man was now done bouncing across the States. As soon as Brisco could find a working phone line or arrive in Hard Rock with Doc, James would be released from the bracelet and Doc would be sent back to the future. With Michael and his team moving to D.C. and Brisco about to wrap up his debt to Bowler, there was much to celebrate. The atmosphere changed in the cabin for everyone and no one was ready to end the festivities right away. Brisco and Doc decided to stay for a glass of champagne

Which turned into two glasses...

And then a bottle...

Soon, it was morning and the hangover was truly miserable.

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