Recovery of a Hero Ch. 17byRoadbug©
Chapter 17: A Hero Falls
Special thanks to Desert Pirate for his kind assistance.
The next morning, I was still a bit stiff and sore. I got up slowly and put my bathrobe on. Going to Uncle Dar's room, I saw that he was awake so I asked him if he minded me using the tub for a long soak.
He looked at me and asked, "Bit sore this morning? Bet that teaches you to start a bit slower."
I glared at him and said, "Well at least I did good. Jimmy and Megan were both happy with what I could do."
"Yes," he said. "But you have to learn moderation. You've been out for a bit over a month and that takes your muscle tone away. You aren't in bad shape, but you need to realize that even a week away will mean starting slow and working back up. I let you get away with it yesterday so you'd remember better than if I'd just told you to go slow."
I thought about it and admitted that he was right. I would be more careful after today without having to be told. I told Uncle Dar, "Your right, I guess. I'll be more careful now and work up a bit without trying to do to much at once."
"Good," he said. "I was watching you yesterday, and so were Jimmy and Megan. We wouldn't have let you really hurt yourself but we wanted you to learn on your own. I hope you forgive me for this. I wouldn't have let you injure yourself."
I laughed and said, "I know. I've known that since I got hurt. You wouldn't have come into the pool after me if you were going to let me hurt myself bad. You wouldn't have insisted on pushing my wheelchair out of the hospital if you didn't care. You wouldn't have given me that medal if you weren't my friend."
Uncle Dar smiled and said, "Go take your bath and soak as long as you want. I have a feeling that some other girls will be using some other tubs around here for the same reason."
I laughed and said, "I bet your right. It's a good thing that there's a bathroom on each floor plus the basement. I never figured out why this house was built like that, but now I can see a good reason for it."
Uncle Dar chuckled and said, "Now you see why it's nice to have even a small extra bathroom in a large house. My Grandfather did that when he built a house for himself and Grandmother years ago. He had three bedrooms and a full size bathroom and a small closet sized one with a toilet and sink. It's really nice not to have to wait in line."
I laughed and said, "That sounds like the voice of experience."
"I spent over ten years in the army," he said. "I've lived in barracks with over one hundred other men and the latrine as it's called wasn't big enough for that many in most of them. It could get a bit crowded with that many trying to get shaved and showered early in the morning."
I laughed at that thought and said, "Well I think you just talked me out of a military career with that."
Uncle Dar laughed and said, "Good. I don't think you'd do well in the military. You're too kind and loving to even go through boot camp. You care too much about people."
I thought about that for a moment and said, "I wouldn't want to hurt anybody. I'm learning to fight but I don't know if I could."
Uncle Dar motioned me to come over to his bed and had me sit down on the edge. He said, "Let me tell you a secret." I nodded and he continued, "If you have enough reason you will fight. If you thought you were protecting someone you love you'd fight as hard as you could. You might hate yourself afterwards, but you'd do it."
"The most dangerous person in the world is someone fighting for their loved ones," he continued. "I've seen the best and the worst of people and I know that anyone will fight for that. A mother protecting her children will attack a lion with a broom if thats what it takes. She'd loose the fight but even knowing that wouldn't stop her."
I thought about that for a bit. He was right, I realized. I'd fight to protect Janny or Erica. I'd do whatever I could to protect George too. I might hesitate but I'd do it. Shelly, Sandra, Ellen and Nancy too.
I looked at Uncle Dar and said, "Thats why you came into the pool. Not just because I'm your friend."
"Yes," he said. "No hesitation or thought. I saw you floating face down and that was enough. I've never been so afraid in my life as I was while I waited in the pool for the medics to check you over. I knew my leg was hurt but it didn't matter because you were to important to worry about that. It wasn't until I asked George for help that I saw the blood."
"If someone you care about is in danger, you don't worry about the cost to yourself. You act. Only a coward won't act and even some of them will to save their children or spouse. For you and your family, my two girls, Megan, Shelly and Sandra I'd do whatever was necessary. I couldn't live with myself otherwise."
When he'd finished, he pushed me off the bed and said, "Go take your bath. I'm not in a hurry and theirs no need to rush so go have a good soak. There's Epsom salts under the sink. Use some of that and relax for awhile. We aren't doing anything special today."
I thanked him and went to the Dens bathroom. Filling the tub, I put some Epsom salt in the water. While it was filling, I went to my bedroom and got some clothes for the day and took them back to the bathroom.
After taking off my robe and pj's, I got into the tub and stretched out.
I thought about what Uncle Dar had said for a long time. I didn't want to fight, but he was right. I would do what it took to protect my friends and family. I don't think I could just fight even in a tournament, but he was right about the rest.
When I started feeling more relaxed, I got out of the tub and cleaned it out after drying myself off. When I finished, I got dressed and went out to the main room.
Ellen and Nancy were playing games on the plasma when I came out of the bedroom. I said good morning to them as I went to the kitchen to fix my breakfast. They both said good morning back and went back to their games.
I went to Uncle Dar's door and looked in. He was reading when I looked at him. He looked up and asked if I needed anything.
I said, "No, I was just checking to see if you did. I'm going to make something to eat if your hungry."
"I ate while you were in the tub," he said, "but if you could get me some coffee in a bit I'd be grateful."
I told him I'd bring him a cup in a bit and left to go to the kitchen. For a change, nobody was there. I checked the coffee pot and seeing that it was empty, I started some.
That done, I made myself some oat meal while the coffee was brewing. I got done with that about the same time the coffee was done so I cleaned up my mess and took Uncle Dar a cup.
That done, I went to my room to watch some TV for awhile. I watched a few shows, but couldn't find much on really worth watching so I went back out to the main room. Ellen and Nancy were gone now so I went to my computer and started it up to check my email and do a little surfing.
When it finished booting and I logged on, my calender popped up with a notice. I read it and slapped myself on the forehead. Today was Janny's and Georges anniversary. I'd forgotten all about that.
I went to Uncle Dar's room and told him. He said, "Well I guess I'll need some help. Can you call Janny and ask her if she'll help me get dressed? Just tell her that I want to take you and go do a bit of shopping for a few things I need."
I said, "OK. Do you want me to get the others?"
"No," he said. "Just you and me this time. I've been so busy with Ellen and Nancy that I haven't had time to spend with you. Go get your sister and let me get ready. We'll go get them something special. While we're gone, we can get the others to fix a real nice meal for Janice and George. They can cook and we'll get them a couple of gifts."
I agreed. Going to the intercom, I called Janny and asked if she could help Uncle Dar get dressed because he wanted to go get a few things for his computer. She told me she'd be right down.
Erica and Janny came down and helped Uncle Dar get ready while I talked to Ellen and Nancy. I told them that we were going to get Janny and George anniversary gifts and asked them to help with dinner.
They got real excited and agreed immediately to help I got them started in the kitchen and came back to find Uncle Dar ready to go. He said, "Erica is coming with us to drive. The Beast is way to expensive for just the two of us but I don't feel comfortable driving you car. Too small for my leg to stretch yet.
We went out to the car and I helped Uncle Dar get in the front while we waited for Erica. She came out shortly after I got in the back.
After starting the car, she asked, "Where do you want to go?
I asked her if she knew what day it was, and she told me the date. I asked, "And whats so special about today?"
She thought for a moment and exclaimed, "It's George's and Janice's anniversary"
I laughed and said, "Right the first time. Ellen and Nancy are fixing dinner for them and we're going to get them a gift."
"Well I guess I'll have to get them something too," she said. "So, where do you want to start?"
Uncle Dar asked, "How bout a jewelry shop? We can get them something nice there, and then I want to go to the liquor store to get them a bottle of champagne to go with their dinner."
"I want to get them a flower arrangement for the table and maybe something special for dessert. Maybe we can get something from that place you took us for dinner if they do take out orders."
"Thats a good idea," said Erica. "I know George likes fancy cakes and such."
Uncle Dar said, "Now we have a plan. "Lets get going."
We headed to town. I used my cell phone and called Megan and told her about it. She said she'd meet with us after we picked up the champagne so she'd have time to shop too.
We went to a jewelry store first and went in to look. The woman at the counter asked us what we were looking for, and Erica said, "Todays our older sisters anniversary and we want something special for her and her husband."
"How special?" the woman asked.
Uncle Dar answered, "Well they've been raising these two since their parents passed away. They took me out of the V.A. hospital and gave me a place to live while I recover from some injuries from while I was working in Iraq. Real special, I'd say."
Erica and I agreed with him.
"And how much do you want to spend?" the woman asked.
Uncle Dar looked at us and said, "Try to keep it under twenty please. I spent a bit much on that van yesterday."
I said, "Well I've got about fifty I can afford."
Erica said, "I have two hundred."
Uncle Dar laughed and said, "I meant thousand. I can by whatever you two pick out. You can chip in but pick something really nice for both of them. Don't worry about the cost."
Erica stared at Uncle Dar and asked, "How much money do you really have?"
Uncle Dar said, I was teasing my cousins husband at the car lot when we got the van. I told him I could only afford about half his stock. I lied a bit about that. I could afford the whole lot if I cashed in some bonds I'm holding right now."
I whispered to Erica, "He's not kidding. He paid for the van out right. He also paid twelve thousand for a year for rent for the court when he adopted Ellen and Nancy. He's got tons of money, I think."
Erica stared at me in shock and said, "He's renting from us? Why?"
"To show the court that he can support two teenagers," I said. "He paid a full year to show that they had a stable home. George's lawyer set it up and the amount was fair value for a similar apartment with the pool and exercise room."
"Oh," said Erica. "I understand now. If it was my say, he could stay there forever and not have to pay rent."
I agreed with her on that, but I understood why he paid the money and why Janny accepted it. It had to be a real transaction for the court and the amount had to be realistic too.
While we'd been talking, Uncle Dar had been looking in a display case that the sales woman had shown him to. He called out to us and said, "Hey girls. I found something interesting here."
We went over and he pointed to a matched set of his and hers watches and said, "What do you think? They're Swiss and have a life time guarantee on them. Think they'd like em?"
I looked at them and said, "I think I'd like them. They're beautiful."
Erica agreed so Uncle Dar said to the sales woman, "We'll take the set. Can you gift wrap them please?"
She agreed to wrap them and took them up to the counter. Uncle Dar gave her his card and signed the receipt when she gave it to him.
While she was wrapping the watches, I asked Uncle Dar, "How much were they? I need to know so I can pay you back my third."
He said, "How much do you think Janny and George are worth to me?"
"OK," I said. "So how much do I owe you? I have to pay something if they're from all three of us."
"Fifty is what you said you could afford. That's enough."
Erica said, I'll stop at a bank machine and get you the two hundred I said."
Uncle Dar said, "Fifty is enough. That'll leave you with enough to get something else for them."
Erica smiled and hugged Uncle Dar and said, "Thank you. Sally and I have never had enough to get them something really special before."
Uncle Dar hugged her back and asked her, "Well who helps me get up in the morning and who helps me get ready for bed at night? My turn for special now."
We laughed and thanked him with more hugs.
The woman finished wrapping the watches and handed the package to Uncle Dar and said, "If there's any problem with them all the recipients have to do is bring them in here with the guarantee inside the box. It has our store information on it and we have a certified watch repairman who can fix them or ship them back to the manufacturer."
Uncle Dar thanked the woman and Erica bumped me out of the way to push him back to the car. I helped him in and got the chair into the trunk and Erica asked, "Where to next?"
Uncle said, "Well I think that if you can get a cake from that restaurant, we can get the champagne. Drop us at the liquor store and then go get the cake. Sally can help me get in and then wait at the door while I see what they have."
"OK," said Erica. "Next stop it the liquor store for the champagne and while your there I'll get the cake."
I said, "Then the florist for something for the table."
"That works," said Erica.
She drove us to the store and I helped Uncle Dar get into his chair. Erica said, "I should be back in about twenty minutes to pick you up," then drove off.
I pushed Uncle Dar up to the door of the store and he went in.
While I was waiting, I saw four men walking down the street toward me. I don't know why, but I suddenly felt afraid.
When they got up to me one of them grabbed me and put his hand around my mouth before I could scream. Then two of the others each grabbed one of my arms and they dragged me into the alley next to the store.
The one holding my mouth said, "You and your family have been a problem for a long time. Too bad you didn't drown in the pool like you were supposed to. Now your going to hurt before you die."
I was terrified at this point! I didn't know the men but they really frightened me when they mentioned the pool.
They turned me around and pushed me against a brick wall. The one holding my mouth took out a knife and pointed it at my throat and said, "Now you get to die."
I heard a voice behind them that said, "I would recommend you reconsider. I don't think you'll like what will happen if you don't."
The two holding my arms let me go and turned around. The three not holding me pulled out knives, and one said, "You should leave while you can old man. If you don't want to get cut up you should go."
The one still holding me turned sideways and I saw Uncle Dar. He was standing on the sidewalk at the entrance to the alley looking at us.
He said, "I don't think you understand. This alley is a dead end and to get out you have to come this way. If the girl is hurt you won't make it."
The one holding me dropped his knife and pulled out a gun, saying, "If you don't leave your dead."
Uncle Dar looked at the gun and laughed. He said, "You really aren't very smart. There's a cop car about a block up. You shoot and they'll be here in less than a minute."
The three holding knives suddenly rushed Uncle Dar. I didn't see much of what happened, but they were on the ground so fast that I couldn't believe it. One had his head turned funny and the other had his eyes wide open and was just staring straight up. The third was face down, but he wasn't moving either.
Uncle Dar looked at the fourth man and said, "Now you're alone. Put the gun away and leave or shoot and deal with the cops. Your choice."
The man pointed his gun at Uncle Dar and shot him! Uncle Dar's face didn't change at all. He just kind of sagged down to his knee's and leaned forward a bit.
The man with the gun looked at me and said, "I didn't want to do that but..."
Suddenly there was a knife in his neck. He dropped the gun and fell down making a gurgling sound.
I looked at Uncle Dar. He was still on his knees with one hand on the ground.
He spat on the ground and said, "Idiots," then fell forward.
I ran up to him crying. I thought he was dead. I got to him and slowly rolled him over. His back felt funny. Like it was made of something really hard. I didn't see any blood on his chest and he was breathing so I knew he was alive.
He opened his eyes and said, "Call George now. Tell him what they said. Don't call the police until you talk to him."
I called George right away. I was crying when he answered and I told him where we were at and what had happened. He said that he was calling Inspector Reach right away on his cell phone and that I should not hang up.
Uncle Dar opened his eyes and said, "Phone."
I held it to his ear and he said, "Four of them. Said whole family. Tell Reach. Nice vest."
He closed his eyes again and seemed to relax. I knew he wasn't dead because he was still breathing but I thought he was unconscious now.
George didn't say anything for a few minutes while I was waiting. Then he said, "Reach is on the way. Call an ambulance and the police now. Tell them when they get there that the NCIS is investigating this. Don't let them try to talk to Dar and stay with him. I'll get Janny and meet Erica then we'll come to you where ever they take Dar."
I said I'd do it and hung up. I called emergency and told them where I was and what had happened. They said that a police unit and an ambulance were on the way. I told them that I thought the four attackers were dead and that the NCIS was coming too.
He said, "I don't know anything about that. Just stay on the line and tell me about your Uncle."
I said, "One of them shot him. He isn't bleeding though and his back and chest feel funny. Real hard, kinda."
The man said, "He's got a vest on. He should be OK as long as nothing got broken by the bullet. How are you feeling?"
I started crying again and said, "I'm scared. They said they were going to kill me. They had knives and one had a gun. I'm really scared."
A police car pulled up while I was saying this. The driver was one of the two from court and CPS problem.
He ran over and asked, "You all right?"
I again said, "I'm scared. They were going to kill me and they shot Uncle Dar."
The man on the phone asked, "Is the police man with you?"
I said, "Yes, he's here and I know him."
The man said, "Alright, you can hang up now."
I turned off my phone. Still crying, I asked the cop, "Is Uncle Dar going to be OK? I don't want him to die."
The cop was checking Uncle Dar and said, "He should be. He has a bullet proof vest on and the round didn't go through it. He probably has a very sore chest, but he should be just fine."