DECEPTIVE CONTROL

by Winnie

 

Part 4

 

JD looked up from his desk at the sound of someone outside the office door. He saw the familiar form in the wheelchair and knew the case was officially underway. With Chris Larabee now a patient at Shady Acres they would have to be careful not to let anything slip. As Vin pushed the chair past the door the young man shuddered at the thought of what life would be like for the blond while he was a patient here. He turned back to the computer and again tried to access the files of the six deceased patients.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Buck looked up from dusting the table as Tanner pushed the wheelchair toward the rear exit. He fought back the instinct to grab Larabee and escape before the next phase of the operation began. Blue eyes met equally blue ones and both men knew the fears they shared would only grow worse. He watched until the two men disappeared through the door before turning his attention back to the job. ‘I hope we don’t live to regret this, Pard,’ he thought.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Vin pushed the chair out the door and onto the narrow path leading toward the locked facility. He stopped when he was out of sight of both buildings and put the locks on the chair. He knew if someone saw him he could say the straps came undone and he was making sure they were tight enough.

 

“Chris?” he called softly as he knelt before the blond.

 

Larabee heard the familiar drawl, but had a little trouble trying to grasp who it was. He opened his eyes and tried to focus his vision.

 

“Hey, Cowboy, how are you feeling?” the Texan asked.

 

“T...tired...w...what’s going on,” he slurred.

 

‘Damn it!’ Tanner silently swore. “Chris, they gave you a sedative. Remember?”

 

“Sed...a...tive...why?”

 

“That’s it. I’m calling this whole fuckin’ thing off. We’ll find another way to get to the truth!” the sharpshooter snapped and went to move away. A hand clamped onto his arm and he looked into Larabee’s eyes, surprised to see a moment of lucidity. “Chris?” he asked as a small smile formed on the handsome face.

 

“Gotcha,” Larabee laughed softly. “Sorry, Vin, just wanted to make sure I could fool the doctors. Figured if I could make you believe I was completely under the influence I could fool anybody.”

 

“Jesus, you deserve an Oscar for that performance,” the Texan said.

 

“Thanks, Vin. Coburn didn’t give me a full dosage of the drug, but he told me last week how it would affect me. We’d better get moving before they send out a search party,” Larabee said.

 

Tanner met the glazed eyes once more and again wanted to take Larabee and bolt from the area.

 

“Chris...”

 

“Vin, there’s no other way. Besides it’s too late.”

 

“No, it’s not. We can leave right now...come up with a new plan...”

 

“We’ve been through this! There’s no other way!” Larabee repeated, dropping his head as if he was sleeping. “Someone’s coming,” he whispered and felt the tracker place his hands on the straps holding him in the chair.

 

“Is there a problem?”

 

Vin looked up to see Craig coming toward him and stood up. He didn’t like the man’s attitude toward the patients, but he couldn’t do anything about it until the case was over. Once that happened he would report Styles to the board that ran Shady Acres.  “He seemed to be slipping from the chair,” he explained.

 

“Is he still out of it?” the second orderly laughed as he placed his hand under Larabee’s chin and lifted the blond head.

 

“Yeah, guess the doc gave him a strong drug to knock him out like this,” the sharpshooter laughed and grabbed the handles to hide his distaste of the other man. “Sure seems like it.”

 

“Wish they’d do this to all of ‘em. It’d make our jobs a hell of a lot easier,” Styles said, releasing his grip on Larabee’s chin.

 

“Yeah, well, I’d better get him to Dr. Kent before he starts comin’ out of it,” the tracker said and pushed the chair past the orderly.

 

“Kent will make damn sure he behaves himself,” the man said as he hurried back toward the patient he’d been sent to help.

 

“Asshole!” Larabee spat when they were out of earshot.

 

“Yeah, gonna see if I can do somethin’ about him once this is over.”

 

“We both will,” Larabee said, lapsing into silence as the gate came into view.

 

“Just be careful around Kent. I’ve heard some things about him,” the tracker warned.

 

“Yeah, Coburn warned me about him at the last meeting.”

 

“Better play your role again, Chris,” Tanner said as they reached the gates.

 

“Who’s this?” the guard asked.

 

“Got Dr. Kent’s new patient here.”

 

“Name?”

 

“Chris Jacobson,” Tanner answered, his throat constricting as he realized this would be the last time he’d see Larabee until his scheduled rotation in the secure facility. He watched as the older man checked the logbook and picked up the phone. He heard him speaking with someone and the guard finally hung up the phone.

 

“Wait here. Dr. Kent and an orderly are on their way down.”

 

“Okay,” Tanner said, hiding his nervousness. He watched the guard move back inside the tiny gatehouse. He looked around at the high fence and shuddered inwardly at the thought of his best friend being a prisoner in the institution. A hand touched his and he looked down at the green eyes.

 

“I won’t do anything to draw attention if I can avoid it, Vin,” Larabee whispered.

 

“Promise me that, Chris,” Tanner ordered softly.

 

“Can’t do that, Cowboy, but I do promise to try. Looks like Kent’s coming.”

 

“Damn it!”

 

“Stay frosty, Vin. It’ll be alright,” Larabee assured his companion, and let his eyes close once more.

 

“Open the gate!” Kent ordered, hiding his smile at the thought of having the snide Jacobson under his care. He watched as the guard opened the gate and the young orderly wheeled the semi-conscious man toward him.

 

“Steven, please take control of the new patient. Vince, you know the rules. This is as far as you go, I’m sure Dr. Coburn has other duties for you,” Kent explained as Tanner relinquished control of his friend’s life.

 

The sharpshooter moved outside the fence and fought the urge to race through the closing gate and grab the handle of the wheelchair. An icy chill of morbid fear ran down his spine as Chris Larabee was taken away from the freedom they all valued and cherished. ‘Don’t you fuckin’ die on me in there, Chris!’ he thought as he turned away. 

 

Chris felt as if he’d been slammed in the gut when he heard the gate close and lock behind him. He forced his breathing to remain calm as he was wheeled further into his new home. Somehow he didn’t think this was going to be as easy for him as he told Vin and the boys it would be. This would be a test of just how much control he had over his own life, and how much he was willing to give over to others. For now he was giving over complete control, but he would need to figure out ways to get around the locked doors and security. He smiled as he thought of the lessons in lock picking the gambler had provided each of them with. Maybe it wouldn’t be so hard after all.

 

The blond kept his eyes closed as he was wheeled up to the building he’d visited earlier in the day. His head remained down on his chest as the doctor spoke to the orderly, placed his card into the small slot, and keyed in his numbers. His eyes moved as he tried to make out where they were taking him. Chris recognized the lobby and the desk with the monitors as he was wheeled toward the door they’d led him through earlier. He forced himself to remain calm as he was pushed through the now open door and into the common area.

 

“This way, Steven, we need to get Jacobson settled in his room.”

 

Chris heard Kent’s voice and didn’t like the underlying threat he thought he heard. He knew it could be the effects of the small amount of sedative Coburn had given him, but instinct told him this man took pleasure in his work. He continued to watch through slitted eyes as they wheeled him past door after door, deeper into the facility and away from his team. They turned into a second corridor and suddenly stopped. Larabee heard the unmistakable sound of elevator doors opening and again had to calm his breathing. Coburn told them the first few days were spent assessing a new patient and he was usually kept in isolation while they considered what meds he should be taking. The doctor assured them that Chris would be given oral medications unless he refused to take them. If that happened they would resort to injecting the sedatives into him. Larabee had no intention of having that happen, but he also knew it was important that he not take the pill form either. He needed his wits about him if he was going to do any investigating. The elevator ride was a short one and again he was wheeled out the doors and into a brightly lit corridor.

 

Larabee kept his head down as the chair came to a halt and he heard someone move around in front of him.

 

“Mr. Jacobson, can you hear me?” Kent asked.

 

“Hmm,” the blond mumbled incoherently.

 

“We’re going to get you to your room and let you sleep for a while, okay?’

 

Larabee shook his head slowly, and pretended he was having trouble getting his eyes open. He licked his lips and met the doctor’s hardened gaze. “N...no...go h...home,” he stammered, and frowned as he tried to move. “...let me o...out!” he snarled, but there was no energy in the words.

 

Kent watched as Larabee fought the effects of the drug he’d been given, and reached for the tiny light in his pocket. He shone it into the patient’s eyes and shook his head. He stood up and looked towards the desk.

 

“Jenny, bring me an injection of Valium. About half the normal dose,” he smiled as he looked at the patient. “It seems Dr. Coburn is still under medicating new patients.”

 

Chris felt his heart pounding in his chest and knew things were not going to go as smoothly as they’d presumed. This man was about to take complete and utter control over his life and there was nothing he could do about it. He felt a hand on his knee and opened his eyes to look at the psychiatrist.

 

“Hello, Chris. I’m sure you understand why you’re here.”

 

“B...bastard brother...” Larabee mumbled, trying to keep up his charade, yet feeling as if things were slipping away from him. He knew the man kneeling in front of him would be suspicious if he continued to remain calm. And the man’s next words convinced him of that.

 

“You’re a good actor, Chris, but I know how Dr. Coburn operates. He has always failed to sedate a new,” he smiled as he forced the patient to look into his eyes, “I’ll use your term here...inmate, properly and according to procedure. I cannot in all conscience allow that to continue as too many people can be hurt if we are lax in our duties.”

 

“Here you go, Dr. Kent,” the nurse said as she handed him a syringe and a small alcohol pad. She watched as the patient began to fight the restraints holding him in the chair.

 

“Thank you, Jenny,” the older man said and swabbed the pad on Larabee’s left shoulder

 

“Y...you bastard....k...kill you all!” he cried out as strong hands clamped onto his shoulders and held him immobile in the chair.

 

“This should make you feel a little calmer, Chris.” He smiled as he shoved the needle into the unwilling flesh and administered the remainder of the medication. He handed the empty syringe to the nurse as the blond head sagged forward and dropped to the lean chest. He patted his patient’s shoulder and spoke in soothing tones.

 

“That’s much better, Chris. Now why don’t we get you to your room and make you comfortable. Steven, Jenny, kindly accompany me,” he ordered as he took control of the handles and the man seated in the chair.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Vin stopped just out of sight of both the secure facility and the regular one and leaned heavily against a chair. His mind replayed the final few minutes before he turned his best friend over to Kent and the orderly. He knew this was going to be one of the hardest things Chris ever did. None of them liked relinquishing control, yet Chris was now in the hands of people who thought he was a violent patient with other problems mixed in. He heard a sound from the left and turned to see Wilmington walking toward him.

 

“Is he...”

 

“Yeah, they just took him inside. Jesus, Buck, we should’ve found another way.”

 

“Vin, we exhausted all possibilities. Chris knows how to handle himself.”

 

“Yeah, he also hates bein’ confined...and God only knows what they’ll do if’n they find out he’s not who he’s supposed to be.”

 

“Yeah, but Chris is a damn good actor. He’ll watch and wait until he’s sure it’s safe to look around.”

 

“That’s another thing that worries me. If they catch him goin’ through the files they’ll know he’s not takin’ whatever meds they decide to give him. Jesus, I saw that happen in an old movie me and Chris watched a couple of weeks ago. The man palmed his pills or held them under his tongue ‘til they left then he’d spit them out...”

 

“Yeah, I saw the same damn movie. It didn’t end well for that guy, but this is different. You’ll be there, and me too. Hopefully Nathan will be able to do a rotation or two in there. Josiah and Ezra will also be able to visit and we can always have Susan James come in as his family psychiatrist to make sure everything is as it should be. We got his back, Vin. Nothing’s gonna go wrong.”

 

“I hope yer right, Buck. Look I gotta get back before they get suspicious. When does yer shift in there start?” he asked, nodding in the direction of the secure compound.

 

“I haven’t seen the new schedule, but it looks like it’ll probably be the beginning of next week. JD’s already trying to access some of the files.”

 

“The kid better be careful!” Tanner said.

 

“I already told him I’d lay a whoopin’ on him if he does anything stupid,” Wilmington told him. “I’d best get back to work. Try not to worry too much, Vin, it’ll only make things harder.”

 

The tracker turned a steady gaze on his friend as he asked. “Are you worried, Buck?”

 

“Hell, yes, Vin, but we each got a job to do and Chris knew what he was getting into. I’ll see you at the office tonight, okay?”

 

“Yeah, watch yer back, Buck.”

 

“You too, Pard,” the ladies man said as he continued toward the garbage containers situated near a couple of empty picnic tables.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Raymond Kent watched as Steven Barker removed the straps from the new patient. He smiled when he realized his patient was totally under now and would wake up to find himself in the pure white room. The bed was against the wall and illuminated by a single florescent light set in the ceiling and protected by wire mesh. There were no windows, except for an observation portal in the single door. Nothing hung in the room to break the monotony of the stark white paint. The four walls were cushioned in case a patient became violent and tried to hurt himself by throwing his body against them.

 

The bed itself was simple, with white sheets and leather straps, lined with sheepskin and a garishly large buckle at wrist and ankle. Secondary straps were available to go across the legs, stomach and chest.

 

“Doctor, do you want him in the restraints?” Jenny Lidstrum asked as she lifted the single white sheet over the well-tanned body resting comfortably on the bed. She’d worked with Kent for more than three years now, and enjoyed her work, in spite of the dark side of the institution.

 

Kent looked at the slack features of his patient and felt the familiar tingle he got every time someone new came under his care. No one knew of his need for control. They might have suspected, but he was careful to keep that side of himself hidden. Jacobson’s attitude when he was touring the facility grated on his nerves and he wanted him to know who would be giving the orders. The orderly and the nurse had easily removed the new patient’s street clothes and put him into the soft blue hospital issue pajamas.

 

“Yes, at least for now. Mr. Jacobson is to be considered a violent patient and as such should be treated that way. Wrist and ankle restraints are to be in effect for 24 hours. Once the sedative has worn off we will do a complete psyche evaluation to find out what meds he’ll be given,” the psychiatrist explained. He leaned against the wall and watched as the nurse attached the leather restraints and turned away from the patient.

 

“Is there anything else, Doctor?” she asked.

 

“No, that’ll be all, Jenny. Just make sure you keep a close watch on Mr. Jacobson and no one’s allowed into the room without my consent. I will be in my office if you need to contact me,” Kent said as he held the door for the nurse and orderly to leave. He turned his gaze back to his patient and an imperceptible smile formed on his face. He wanted so much to see Jacobson’s face when he opened his eyes and realized he was restrained, but that would only throw suspicions on him and that was something he could not afford.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Dr. Bradley, I assume you know the rules of the institution,” Kent said as he shook the newcomer’s hand.

 

“Yes, Dr. Kent. I read through the papers I was sent and went through them with Dr. Coburn. I must say I’m very impressed with what I’ve heard about this place,” Jackson said, hoping his words sounded genuine. 

 

“I’m sure you’ll be even more impressed when you see how well things run. I know security briefed you on your identity card and the code you’d be using to enter and exit the facility, but I must warn you that it is your responsibility to keep it with you at all times. If you lose it you need to notify security immediately so they can delete that code from the active ones. The card alone is of no use to the patients, but if the code was cracked there could be trouble. Make sure you don’t share your code with anyone, not even me! Do I make myself clear?”

 

“Certainly, Doctor.”

 

“Good, now why don’t I give you the grand tour? We’ll start with the common room. This way Dr. Bradley.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

JD was frustrated by his lack of success in getting into certain files. He’d managed to hack into the personnel records and transferred the information to his computer at The Firm’s office, but the ones he really needed were still hidden within the depths of the secured files. He made sure he didn’t leave any evidence of his tampering as he shut down the files and logged off. The young man looked at the clock on the wall over his desk and knew it was time to leave. He stood up and grabbed his jacket from the hook beside the door and smiled at the woman at the next desk.

 

“Bye, Melissa.”

 

“Bye, JD, see you tomorrow,” Melissa Tandy said as she finished shutting down her station.

 

JD hurried out of the building and into the parking lot. He moved toward his motorcycle and lifted the helmet from the back seat. He smiled when he saw Buck Wilmington walking toward his Mustang, knowing the car was the scoundrel’s pride and joy. ‘An investment in the ladies’ was what the older man deemed his purchase of a year ago. Without acknowledging the other man’s presence, JD turned back to his bike, knowing they’d be meeting at the office in two hours. Two men would be missing from that meeting. Nathan Jackson was on evening rotation at the secure facility and would not be able to attend. Chris Larabee was a patient and would not be attending any of the meetings. For the coming weeks the blond would be confined to the institution's fenced area. He started the bike, moved toward the gate, and pulled in behind a PT Cruiser and waited his turn to sign out.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“Well, Dr. Bradley, what do you think of Shady Acres so far?” Kent asked, not really interested in the man’s answer as they moved toward a locked door.

 

“I am impressed with the modern equipment and security really seems tight,” Jackson said walking beside the older man.

 

“Security needs to be tight here. We haven’t had an inma...” he stopped as he realized what he’d been about to say, “A patient escape in over five years.”

 

“That’s an amazing accomplishment,” Jackson told him.

 

“Yes it is and the staff here knows what they’re doing in the case of an emergency. Everything is monitored and the nursing stations are manned 24/7. The one thing Shady Acres does have is a constant influx of money, which in turn insures we can pay for the best people available. The pay is higher than at government run facilities.”

 

“The staff does seem to know what they’re doing.”

 

“They do!” Kent said as he slid his card into the slot and opened the door leading into the Maximum Security area. He held the door for Jackson to enter. “This is where we keep the new patients. They are kept isolated for 24 hours and then put through a psyche evaluation to determine the proper regimen of drugs and therapy. Family members are asked to stay away for a full 48 hours in order to allow the patient time to settle in.”

 

“Are there any new patients coming up for evaluation?” Jackson asked.

 

“As a matter of fact we have one new patient who was admitted earlier today. He’s extremely violent and we needed to sedate him. Would you like to take a look at how we handle violent newcomers?” Kent asked, hoping the new doctor would give him the chance to check up on Jacobson. It was nearly seven hours since he administered the Valium and the man should be on the verge of waking up.

 

“Is that possible?” Jackson asked, feeling his stomach churn at the thought of what he might see.

 

“Of course it is. He’s my patient and since you will be working with me' you need to know what’s involved and what better way than to start at the beginning of Mr. Jacobson’s stay with us. Follow me.” He led them toward an elevator and again used his card to access it.

 

Nathan tried to control his emotions at the thought of what he was about to see. Chris Larabee/Jacobson was a patient here and would need to go through the same routine the others did. He knew this would include private as well as group therapy sessions and he hoped Larabee would be able to handle it. His stomach continued to churn as the doors opened and they exited onto the second floor. He followed Kent to the nursing station where he signed in with security before being led toward a room at the end of a long hallway. His mind registered the pictures on the wall and knew they were bolted on so they could not be removed. The wonderful landscapes and seascapes were done on canvas and he knew a lot of money had been spent on them. Shady Acres was a very well sponsored sanatorium and he knew money was not an object here.

 

“This is Mr. Jacobson’s room and it will give you an idea of how we protect not only the staff, but the patients themselves from harm,” Kent explained. He opened the portal and looked inside. The patient was on his back with a white sheet and thin blanket covering him to his shoulders. He closed the portal and used his key card to open the door.

 

“Come in, Dr. Bradley, he’s restrained.”

 

The words cut through Jackson’s thoughts when he realized this was the part he didn’t want to see, yet there was no choice. He stepped through the door and fought the urge to remove the heavy straps that crossed over Larabee’s body. Somehow he managed to control his emotions as he moved closer to the bed. The blond head was turned slightly to the left, the eyes closed, and the lips slack. He watched as his colleague placed a hand on the sleeping man’s shoulder.

 

“Mr. Jacobson,” Kent called and smiled as the patient stirred under his touch.

 

Chris knew there was something he needed to remember as his mind fought through the layers of fog enshrouding it. His tongue seemed too thick as he tried to open his mouth.

 

“T...th...thir...sty...” he moaned, but didn’t open his eyes.

 

“That’s the sedative we gave him,” Kent explained as they watched the patient fighting to open his eyes. “Dr. Bradley, would you kindly ask one of the nurses to bring us a glass of water?”

 

“Certainly, Doctor,” Jackson said. He didn’t want to leave Larabee alone, but there was no choice in the matter.

 

Chris finally won the battle with his heavy eyelids, but it took a few more minutes to get them to stay open. He focused on the man standing beside the bed, his eyes widening as he realized he couldn’t move his body.

 

“What the hell!” he snapped as he fought the restraints. Memory returned slowly and he knew he was here as part of a case, but the details were still muddled. “Get these fucking things off me!”

 

“Calm down, Mr. Jacobson,” Kent said.

 

“Where the hell is my fucking brother!” the blond snapped as more memories escaped his cloudy mind. He knew he needed to keep up the charade in order to keep suspicions off the real reason he was here.

 

Jackson came into the room and moved to the opposite side of the bed. He held a Styrofoam glass with a straw in his hand and listened as Kent tried to calm his irate patient.

 

“Now, Mr. Jacobson, Dr. Bradley has some water for you. If you calm down he can give you some.”

 

Larabee turned toward the familiar man and felt his heart skip a beat as his eyes met the soft brown ones of Nathan Jackson. He knew he couldn’t show any signs of recognition and scowled at his friend. “Get these things off me!” he strained at the straps, but was unable to move, except for his head.

 

“Mr. Jacobson, would you like some water?” Jackson asked.

 

“I want out of here!” Larabee snarled angrily.

 

“That’s not going to happen, Mr. Jacobson, so you might as well relax...”

 

The blond turned a heated gaze on the doctor, his eyes glaring green daggers as he continued to fight the restraints. He bared his teeth in anger as he looked from one man to the other.

 

“You get that bastard back here and get me out of this or I’ll sue the ass off whoever owns this fucking place! EZRA! You get your ungrateful ass in here right now!”

 

“Your brother is not here and won’t be allowed to see you for several days,” Kent explained.

 

“You can’t keep me here!” Larabee snarled.

 

“I’m afraid we can. Your brother and your family psychiatrist...”

 

“Psychiatrist my ass! She works for that ungrateful sonofabitch and I’m going to...”

 

“You’re not in a position to do anything right now, Mr. Jacobson,” Kent explained, outwardly calm, yet inside his excitement mounted at the thought of his control over the angered man. 

 

Chris tensed his body against the leather straps on his wrists, the corded muscles in his neck straining with the effort to free himself.

 

“Dr. Bradley, please tell Nurse Lidstrum I want Mr. Jacobson’s scheduled dose of Valium!”

 

“Yes, Dr. Kent,” Jackson said, glancing quickly at Larabee before leaving the room.

 

“You bastard! You won’t get away with this! You tell that brother of mine that I’ll get him for this! He’ll pay for putting me in here! Let me out of here!”

 

“Mr. Jacobson, I’m afraid you won’t be getting out of here for some time. Dr. James...”

 

“That bitch...”

 

“Dr. James signed the commitment papers and it’s gone through the courts. I’m afraid you’ll be staying here until I’m satisfied we’ve got your anger under control.”

 

“You’re all going to pay for this! I swear I’ll get free and when I do...”

 

“You’ll be much calmer...”

 

“No way in hell, you can make me take any of those fucking drugs you have!”

 

“Here you go, Dr. Kent,” Jenny Lidstrum said as she uncapped a syringe and opened an alcohol pad.

 

“Don’t you give me that!” Larabee snarled as Kent handed the syringe to Jackson.

 

“Dr. Bradley, would you kindly administer the sedative?” the psychiatrist asked, ignoring the glare Larabee turned on him.

 

Chris knew how hard this was going to be on his friend, but he needed to keep up the charade. He turned a heated glare on the medic and snarled.

 

“Don’t do it!”

 

Jackson swallowed and swiped the pad across Larabee’s shoulder. He knew he had no choice in the matter as he felt Kent watching his every move. He gently pushed the tip of the needle into the blond’s arm and delivered the strong sedative. ‘Shit, Chris, I’m sorry!’ he thought as he looked into the sea-green eyes. He was amazed at what he saw there just before the drug took control. Larabee was letting him know he understood what was happening.

 

“Well done, Dr. Bradley,” Kent said. “That should be enough to last him until tomorrow and we do his assessment. Will you be available to sit in on the consultation?”

 

“Yes, Dr. Kent.”

 

“Good, we’ll go over some of the procedures at that meeting as well. The quicker we get Mr. Jacobson into a program the easier he’ll be to handle,” the psychiatrist explained.

 

“Will that be all, Doctor,” Lidstrum asked.

 

“I think so, Jenny. Just keep an eye on him and let me know if there’s any more violent behavior.”

 

“I will,” the nurse said as she left the room.

 

“Care to join me for a late dinner, Dr. Bradley? The food in the cafeteria is quite good.”

 

“I already ate dinner, but I could use a coffee,” Jackson answered. He took one last look at the patient before leaving. He hated what he’d just done, yet knew there was no choice in the matter. This case was already on his list of the worst ones he’d ever been involved in and it was only just beginning.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Buck reached for the coffee and sank into his seat as Sanchez, Dunne, Standish, and Tanner joined him. The gambler had stopped at their favorite coffee shop on the way to the office and picked up one for each of them. The conference table was full of papers as the five men settled in to discuss what they’d seen and heard at Shady Acres.

 

“Vin, how was Chris when you last saw him?” Sanchez asked.

 

Tanner sipped from his sweetened coffee before speaking. Taking a deep breath he turned to each of the men present. “Chris seemed amazingly calm considerin' what was happenin'. I had a few minutes ta talk ta him before Kent came ta the gate. He knew what was happenin' and was ready to play his part in all this. Dr. Coburn gave him a shot of Valium, but not a full dose, which means he’s able to think pretty clearly. He’s gonna have ta do a damn good actin’ job once they start him on their drug therapy program.”

 

“Chris can do a damn good job of acting, Vin. He’ll be able to palm the pills and pretend he’s taken them,” Wilmington assured the younger man.

 

“Ezra, I know this is hard on you...”

 

“I’m fine, Mr. Sanchez,” Standish interrupted, not wanting the focus on him. The truth was he hated his part in all of this, but again it was a necessary part of the ruse.

 

“I’m sure you are, son, but having to sign a friend into an institution such as Shady Acres has to be hard on you. Especially when it’s someone you respect and care about. Chris knows what he’s doing and he’ll be careful.”

 

“I know he will. I just don’t like the idea that I’m the one who put him there,” Standish blurted as he stood up and paced the floor. “I’ve seen what they do in some of the best sanatoriums around the world. Mother had a friend who was committed by her husband and they kept her sedated constantly. She didn’t even recognize mother when we went there. She ended up in worse shape than when she went in.”

 

“Ez, Chris will have help if things get rough. All it takes is a phone call and he’ll be released,” Wilmington tried to reassure the younger man.

 

“I hope you’re right, Buck,” Standish said, standing and walking to the window. He’d spent the day wondering if they should have taken on this case. Seeing Chris Larabee immobilized and sedated plagued his conscience. He turned as he realized there was another man present who shared his memories of those moments. He knew they shared the same fears, especially after seeing and hearing what the undercover man would be put through.

 

“JD?”

 

“Yeah, Buck,” the kid answered.

 

“Were you able to access the files?”

 

“I got into the unprotected files, but not the password protected area. They’ve got a top of the line security system and it may take a while to hack into it,” Dunne explained.

 

“Did you send copies of the files you did access?” Sanchez asked.

 

“They should be stored on the computer,” Dunne explained as he booted up his laptop.

 

“When can you see Chris again, Ezra?” Sanchez asked as they waited for the Bostonian to retrieve the information.

 

“They won’t let family see the patients until they’re settled in and placed on a drug program. Probably be three or four days,” the gambler answered, a distinct coldness edging its way into his voice.

 

The ex-preacher turned to the other men seated at the table. “When do you two start your rotation in the secured area?”

 

“I don’t know if I’ll be assigned to that cleaning crew,” Wilmington answered. “What about you, Vin?”

 

“The orderlies are changed on a regular basis. The rotation begins on Mondays and ends the following Sunday. We’re then given two days off and come back to work in another area of the institution. I should be assigned to the secure facility at the beginning of the next rotation.”

 

“So you’re off Monday and Tuesday and should be in with Chris on Wednesday?” Sanchez asked.

 

“Yeah,” the tracker answered.

 

“That means we have to hope Nathan is able to see him over the weekend,” Dunne supplied as he keyed in his password.

 

“And that Chris doesn’t do anything that’ll get him in hot water until one of us is there to watch his back,” the ladies’ man offered.

 

“He won’t. Chris Larabee knows what he’s doing!” the ex-preacher assured them.

 

“Yes, but he’s going to have to be careful disposing of the pills,” Standish said, dropping into the chair across from Tanner.

 

“He knows what he’s doing. JD, how’s it coming?”

 

“I’m bringing up the files now, Josiah. Mostly personnel files right now, patient access is a little trickier,” the Bostonian answered.

 

“I have the utmost confidence in you, Kid!” Wilmington smiled as he patted the younger man on the shoulder.

 

“Thanks, Buck,” Dunne said gratefully. He typed in a secondary password and a list of employees from Shady Acres appeared on the screen. “Done.”

 

“Alright, JD, print them out and we’ll divide them into groups and see if we can come up with any leads,” Sanchez suggested. 

 

“Sure, Josiah,” Dunne said and hooked up to the printer.

 

“What time is Nathan meeting us at Buck’s Place?” Tanner asked.

 

“He should be there around 11 tonight,” the ex-preacher answered.

 

“That gives us two hours to get the files printed out,” Standish told them.

 

“Think you’ll be done by then Kid?” the scoundrel asked.

 

“Yeah, should only take half an hour to print these off,” Dunne said as he finished connecting the computer. The small conference room was silent, except for the printer as the five men waited for the information they needed.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Nathan walked slowly toward his pride and joy, a 1995 silver Camaro. Anyone who saw the man would be able to tell he was not himself. His shoulders slouched, his hands were tucked into the pockets of his leather jacket, and his step lacked the surety it usually had. He took a small device from his pocket and pressed the button. The lights on the car blinked as the signal reached its destination and the locks were disabled. He opened the door, slid behind the steering wheel and slipped the key into the ignition. He sat back against the seat and closed his eyes, hoping he could ward off the headache before it became a full blown one that required medication. He knew the pain was a result of what he’d been forced to do to Chris Larabee, and would probably continue throughout this case. Taking a deep breath he turned on the car and drove toward the exit, leaving the blond alone in a world they knew little about.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“There’s Nate,” Wilmington said as the medic entered the dimly lit bar. Their eyes met and Jackson hurried toward their table.

 

“Boys,” Jackson said as he dropped onto the chair beside Sanchez. He saw the files lying open before each man and knew they’d been working since their arrival.

 

“Are you all right, Nathan?” Sanchez asked.

 

“No, no I’m not,” the medic said, rubbing at the bridge of his nose.

 

“What happened?” Tanner asked.

 

“Chris?” Wilmington said softly and saw the dark head bob once.

 

“What happened?” Standish asked fearfully.

 

“Kent. The bastard knew Coburn didn’t give Chris the full dose of Valium...”

 

“Fuck! What did he do?” the ladies’ man asked worriedly.

 

“What do you think he did, Buck?” Jackson snapped irritably, and shook his head at his own loss of temper. “Look, I’m sorry. Kent ordered a second shot as soon as Chris was taken up to his floor.”

 

“Did you see him?” Standish asked.

 

“Yeah, yeah, I did. Kent wanted me to see how new patients were handled at the institute. He was very pleased to show me Chris Jacobson.”

 

“Was Chris awake?” Sanchez asked, reading the underlying tension in the medic’s voice.

 

“Oh, yes, he was awake when we went into his room,” Jackson answered.

 

“How was he?” Dunne asked.

 

“About as well as could be expected when you’re restrained...”

 

“Restrained?” Tanner snapped.

 

“That’s right, wrist and ankle restraints. Plus straps across his chest and hips. He was tied down and couldn’t move.”

 

“Did he say anything?” the tracker’s voice was soft, but the others heard the fury in the words.

 

“Yeah. He put on a good show of anger. Cursed Ezra and Dr. James. Said he’d get even with them and that’s when Kent ordered...” The medic grew quiet as Sanchez slid a drink across the table to him. “Thanks,” he said, downing the shot and setting the empty glass back on the table.

 

“You’re welcome. So what did Kent do?”

 

“He ordered another shot. That man seems to think drugs are the way to treat everything!” Jackson snapped and landed a heavy fist on the table.

 

“Easy, Brother,” Sanchez said, knowing there was something more bothering his friend.

 

“Nathan, it’s not your fault,” Wilmington said as he watched the tense body lean back in the chair.

 

“You don’t understand, Buck. Kent ordered the shot but I...I...”

 

“He made you give it to Chris,” Tanner finished.

 

“Yeah, and I did. Chris looked at me and God help me I did it and I knew by the look in his eyes Chris didn’t blame me.”

 

“Of course not, Nathan, there was nothing else you could have done,” Standish told the distraught man.

 

“I could’ve refused...”

 

“And Kent would’ve given him the shot and you’d probably be dismissed, leaving Chris with no one to watch his back in there. No, Nathan, you did the right thing,” Wilmington said.

 

“I hate this,” Dunne said as he watched the worried faces. His own fears were evident on his face as he picked up another file.

 

“We all do Kid,” Tanner whispered as they settled down to study the papers on the table.

 

Josiah signaled for Inez to bring another round, already convinced they’d be taking taxis home tonight.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Katrina Morgan unlocked the door and entered the room of the newest patient. His chart said his name was Chris Jacobson and that he was to be restrained until further notice. She moved closer to the bed and listened to the steady breathing. She hated the restraints, but would not disobey orders. She studied the slack features and wondered how someone who looked so peaceful could become violent upon awakening. She touched his forehead, flicking back the soft blond hair, and heard him mumble in his sleep.

 

“What are you thinking about, Mr. Jacobson?” she asked as she watched his eyes move beneath the lids. She knew he’d sleep for hours yet, and turned away from the bed. She turned back and smiled as she heard his soft voice whisper once more.

 

“Love you, Sarah.”

 

Smiling she left the sleeping man to his dreams.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Vin walked through the front door of his ranch house, shutting it behind him and leaning heavily against it. He ran his hand across his stubbled chin and finally made his way toward the rustic kitchen. He moved to the double-sided refrigerator and reached for the lone bottle of beer sitting at the back of the top shelf. Twisting off the top he moved into the dining room and sat in his usual chair. He lifted the bottle, draining half of it before placing it on the table in front of him.

 

The beer tasted bitter to him and he knew it had more to do with the events of the last 24 hours than whether it was a bad batch or not. He placed his elbows on the table and placed his hands on his eyes, rubbing at the burning orbs. Dropping his hands from his face he stood up and walked to the shelf at the back of the simply decorated room. The picture was taken after they’d returned from Guam and Chris was still seated in the wheelchair. The injuries he’d received during the so-called vacation had placed him in the chair for nearly six months. Chris looked vulnerable in the shot, yet Vin knew his imprisonment in the chair was a lot easier than the imprisonment he now faced. At least in the chair he’d been able to move around his ranch, work at the office and anything else he wanted, but he would have no freedom at Shady Acres. His every move would be watched, monitored to ensure he did not escape. 

 

“Damn it, Chris, I fuckin’ hate this!” he swore as he slammed the picture face down on the table. He picked up the beer and finished the last of it before heading for his room where he dropped onto his bed and curled onto his left side. Exhaustion quickly worked to overshadow his worries and he sank into a troubled sleep. Nightmares where the walls closed in on Chris Larabee, and he was shut off from the rest of them, with no hope of his friends rescuing him. He turned onto his back and his right hand came up to cover his eyes.

 

“N...no, Chris,” he said to the images in his nightmares, yet the sound was clear in the darkened room.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

‘Must’ve been some party,’ he thought as he tried to open his eyes. His head pounded and his tongue felt too thick for his arid mouth. He lay back against the pillow and panicked when he realized he couldn’t move his arms and legs.

 

“What the hell!” he snapped and struggled against the bonds. Green eyes shot open and he groaned as the overhead light seemed to bounce off the too white walls.

 

Memory returned slowly and he let his eyes close once more as he calmed his breathing. Two faces flashed before his closed lids. Vin Tanner and Nathan Jackson, both men were given jobs to do and the impact of those jobs was clear in their eyes. The worst was Nathan, and Chris hoped he’d been able to allay some of the guilt the medic had shown when he was ordered to give him the shot. He hated what he’d been forced to do, but there’d been other cases where they’d all been forced to do things they later regretted. 

 

“Mr. Jacobson.”

 

Chris heard the male voice and turned a steady glare at the man who was supposed to cure him of his anger. He struggled against the bonds, a violent storm raged in his sea green eyes as he looked at the man standing beside the bed.

 

“Get these things off me!” he ordered through gritted teeth.

 

“I see you still haven’t realized who is in charge here, Mr. Jacobson,” Kent said as he moved to the bed.

 

“Sure as hell ain’t you! Get that bastard brother of mine in here and I’ll show you who’s in charge!”

 

“Calm down, Mr. Jacobson, or I will be forced to have you sedated again!”

 

“You wouldn’t dare!” Larabee sneered.

 

“Try me! Now I have a busy day planned for both of us and I’d rather not have it delayed again because of your inability to admit you have an anger management problem!”

 

“I don’t have a problem with my anger!”

 

“Ah, you don’t, but I’m afraid others do and they have a real fear of what you’ll do if you don’t get help. Your brother...”

 

“My brother is a cowardly sonofabitch and...”

 

“Mr. Jacobson...”

 

“Don’t Mr. Jacobson me, Kent!” he spat as he struggled against the restraints. “Get these fucking things off me!”

 

“I had hoped we could move into the next phase of your therapy, but I see you’re in need of a sedative...”

 

“No...”

 

“There’s really no choice...unless...”

 

“What?”

 

“You calm down and we discuss what’s expected of you. Now, are you willing to work with me and find out the best way to get rid of that anger?”

 

The blond stared at the man and knew he couldn’t give in too easily. Kent seemed like the type of man who would be suspicious of a quick change. Chris knew he needed to be free to move around if he wanted to uncover any wrongdoings at Shady Acres. Taking a deep breath he glared up at the older man and saw something in the dark eyes. It sent a chill down his spine as he sensed that this man loved the control he had over his patients, and it did not bode well for Chris Larabee.

 

“Well, Mr. Jacobson, are you willing to work with me on a course of treatment that would enable you to control your anger?”

 

“I’d rather just get outta here!” the restrained man spat.

 

“Well, I’m afraid that won’t happen for some time.”

 

“Look, damn it!” Larabee swore impatiently. “I’m not the one who needs to be in here...”

 

“That’s not what Dr. James says in your commitment papers. She says your anger has grown steadily worse since the death of your...”

 

“She had no right to tell you about that!” Larabee spat. “That was supposed to be patient confidentiality.”

 

“Oh, she doesn’t go into details and she didn’t betray your confidence. Actually your brother was the one who supplied the information...”

 

“That bastard!” the blond snarled and again fought the restraints.

 

“I take it that means you don’t wish to discuss your therapy?”

 

“I don’t need therapy! I need to get my hands on that sonofabitch!” He watched as the doctor moved to the door and heard him call one of the nurses. ‘Shit, time to show a little restraint,’ he thought as Kent came back to the bed.

 

“I’m going to...”

 

“Look, shit, Doc...”

 

“Make sure the nurses...”

 

“I’m okay, Doc, I’m calm! See!” Larabee forced a smile to his face as a dark haired nurse stepped into the room.

 

“Keep me informed...”

 

“I don’t need it...” the blond tried as Kent took the syringe from the nurse.

 

“Of...”

 

“No...look, Doc, I’ll cooperate. Just don’t give me any more of that shit! O...okay?”

 

Kent made a show of squirting a small amount of the liquid into the air and turned his attention back to his patient. “Mr. Jacobson, how do I know you won’t get angry once we release you?”

 

Larabee glared at the older man for a few seconds, but quickly turned his gaze on the syringe. “I don’t want any more of that shit, okay? Makes my head hurt. Just let me out of these and I’ll do whatever you say.”

 

“Sheila, release Mr. Jacobson’s wrists and ankles,” Kent said as he snapped the cap back on the medication.

 

“Yes, Doctor,” the woman said and did as she’d been told.

 

Chris rubbed his wrists and pushed the blankets away. He slid his legs over the edge as Kent handed the needle back to the nurse and she left.

 

“What now?” Larabee enquired.

 

“Well, the first thing you need to do is eat. I’m afraid you overslept and missed breakfast, but I’m sure the kitchen can provide something to tide you until lunch.”

 

“Not hungry,” the blond said.

 

“You need to eat, but if you’d rather wait until lunch then we’ll get started on finding the best course of treatment for you. I will arrange to have a set of daytime clothing sent to you. See that you’re dressed and ready for your assessment...”

 

“And if I’m not?”

 

“I have many sedatives at my disposal, Mr. Jacobson,” Kent warned, before he turned and left the room.

 

Chris sat on the edge of the bed and breathed a sigh of relief as the door was closed and he was left alone in the room. He knew there was a camera located somewhere, but he hadn’t been able to spot it yet. His mind wandered over the events of the last 24 hours, and he knew he’d need to keep his wits about him if he was to succeed. He ran his fingers through his sweaty hair and thought of the look he’d seen in Kent’s eyes. Something told him this psychiatrist held a bit of a cruel streak and he’d need to tiptoe around him until he found the information they needed.

 

It wasn’t long before an orderly unlocked his door and entered the room. He held a small bundle in his arms and placed it on the bed beside the blond.

 

“Dr. Kent is waiting for you in Dr. Parker’s office. See that you get changed and I’ll be back for you in five minutes.”

 

“What happens if I’m not?” the patient asked, and saw a strange light in the other man’s eyes.

 

“Then I come in here and help you, Jacobson!” with that threat he exited the door and left the newcomer to his thoughts.

 

Chris sat for a few seconds and briefly wondered if he really could go through with this. The thought of having his every move monitored, of being told what he could do, and when he could do it made his stomach crawl. He looked at the blue sweats on the bed beside him and took a deep breath. Realizing he didn’t have a choice now that things really had progressed too far to turn back, he pulled the shirt from his body and picked up the short-sleeved garment. By the time he pulled on the hospital issue slippers the door opened and the orderly was back.

 

“Wise choice, Jacobson,” he said, leering at the blond’s lean body. “Follow me!”

 

Chris stood up and followed the larger man out of the room he’d slept in. They made several twists and turns, with the agent noting every room and the signs placed on the heavy doors. They finally stopped outside a door and Chris watched as the man slipped a card inside and pressed his personal code. The lock mechanism released and the orderly motioned the blond forward. Chris stepped into another room and looked around. There were three doors against one wall and a heavy mahogany desk against another wall. A man sat at the desk, his fingers flying over the keyboard of a computer. Chris stood by the desk waiting for the man to finish.

 

“Hello, Brian,” the man said to the orderly.

 

“Hey, Mike. I’ve got Chris Jacobson for Dr. Parker and Dr. Kent,” Brian Newcomb told the male secretary.

 

“Hang on and I’ll see if they’re ready for him,” Michael Perkins ordered, sizing the newcomer up and down as he pressed the button on his phone.

 

“Yes, Mike?” a female voice came over the speaker.

 

“Brian is here with Mr. Jacobson.”

 

“Send him right in. Tell Brian to come back in an hour.”

 

“Yes, Dr. Parker. Mr. Jacobson, come with me. Brian, you heard.”

 

“Yeah, see you in an hour, Mike.”

 

“Okay,” the secretary said as he took Larabee’s arm and led him toward the first door. He rapped softly and waited for the muffled ‘come in’ before opening it.

 

Chris moved through the doorway and into another room. This one was simply furnished with a round table, four chairs, several ocean lithographs on one wall and a single light over the table. The walls had been painted a soft green, and trimmed with a seascape border.

 

“Hello Chris, I’m Samantha Parker. I’m a psychiatrist and I work with Dr. Kent.”

 

Chris looked at the woman standing before him and placed her age somewhere in the mid to late thirties. Her sun-kissed blond hair was cut to frame her delicate features, yet he knew this woman was anything but delicate. Her eyes were a deep blue, her cheekbones high, and her mouth just a bit too large for her face. She came up to his shoulders, yet he sensed her reluctance to look up at him.

 

“Won’t you have a seat?” Parker asked.

 

“Don’t need to. Just tell me how to get out of here!” Larabee ordered, ignoring the empty seat between the two doctors.

 

“Chris, sit down!” Kent ordered. He watched the newcomer secretly hoping the man would make one wrong move.

 

Larabee watched the doctor, once more seeing something in the man’s eyes. Reluctantly he pulled out the chair, pulling it as far away from the man and woman sitting at the table as he could, before sitting down. He knew they were watching his every move, gauging just how far he would go. He watched as the woman looked at the open file before her, and knew it was a false document supplied to the sanatorium by Susan James and his ‘brother’.

 

“Well, Chris, it appears you are in need of our help,” Parker said softly, watching the new patient for any reaction to her statement.

 

Larabee remained silent, refusing to even look at the woman.

 

“According to your file you’ve had a serious drinking problem compounded by your being unable to control your anger. I know these reactions are related to the death of your wi...”

 

Larabee stood up and grabbed the file off the table, throwing it across the room as he slammed his fist on the table. “Where the hell did you get that shit?”

 

“Chris! Sit down...” Parker said.

 

“Mike, send for an orderly...”

 

Parker held up her hand to Kent as she looked at the irate blond. “Cancel that. Mike!”

 

“I warned you about his anger, Samantha...” He knew Mike would’ve already summoned a couple of orderlies and a nurse would be arriving with a sedative as well. When they’d set up this meeting he’d told Parker about Larabee’s very real, very nasty temper and she’d agreed to having them on alert. He also knew the panic button on the wall would bring enough people to make sure Larabee was unable to escape this room.

 

“Yes, you did,” she agreed as she watched Larabee pacing the room, his hands clenching and unclenching with each step he took. “Chris, you need to calm...”

 

“I am calm. That fucking brother of mine and his so-called doctor are gonna pay for this!” he snarled.

 

“Pay for what?” Parker asked calmly.

 

“They had no right telling you about my fa...family,” he said, tears brimming at the edge of his eyes. He knew the others hadn’t wanted to use this as part of his past, a part that ended in the real tragedy that took his wife and son from him.

 

“They were trying to help you, Chris,” Parker explained.

 

“Yeah, right…my brother doesn’t give a damn about me! He never did! All he wants is the money and I damn well won’t let him have that! Now you people better let me out of here or I’ll sue this fucking place for every cent it has and then I’ll see to it you people never work...”

 

“Chris, you don’t really want to do that,” the woman said.

 

“Don’t I? They fucking put me in here and you people just took it for granted that I belonged here!” he said slamming his fist on the table in front of her.

 

“Don’t you?”

 

“No! I fucking don’t! Now give me the fucking papers and I’ll sign myself out!” Larabee’s eyes were deadly as he stopped in front of Kent.

 

“That’s not going to happen, Chris, so you might as well sit down and listen to what we have to say!” the man ordered, again pointing to the chair.

 

“Fuck you!” the blond hissed, sending the empty chair across the floor.

 

“Mike, send in the orderlies!” Kent ordered, knowing the room was being monitored.

 

Parker watched the man as he stalked across the room like a caged animal. When the door opened the patient stood on the opposite side of the table, his eyes filled with glacial fire as two men entered the room. Larabee recognized the bigger one as the man named Mike who’d brought him to the office. 

 

“Stay the hell away from me!” Larabee snarled as the two men advanced toward him.

 

“Wait!” Parker told the two men, before turning to the irate man once more. “Chris, if you calm down and take a seat I’ll tell them to leave.”

 

“Tell them to keep away from me, Doc, or I’ll...”

 

“Chris, they are just doing their job, just like Dr. Kent and I are. We’re here to help you if you’ll let us.”

 

“I told you how you could help me! Sign those fucking papers and let me out of here!”

 

“I can’t do that, Chris. Your temper is out of control and we haven’t even started talking about why yet!”

 

“Why? I’ll fucking tell you why. That little shit of a brother of mine and his doctor lover! They won’t get away with this!” He saw the two men getting closer, one man moved to the right and one to the left as they sought to cut him off.

 

“Stay the fuck away!” Larabee snarled. He could see Kent move to the door as a nurse handed him a capped syringe. ‘Shit,’ he thought as he realized he’d gone a little too far, but couldn’t see any way out of it now. Parker continued to talk to him, but he was too busy watching the two men to hear what she was saying. As the orderlies rounded the sides of the table he lunged forward, vaulting over the table to land on the opposite side as Kent turned toward him, blocking the only way out.

 

“Chris...”

 

“Outta my way, Kent!” he snapped, but something heavy landed on his back and he was forcefully pushed to the floor. His head contacted the edge of the chair as he went down, but no one noticed the blood as Kent moved to quickly inject the sedative.

 

Chris struggled against the strong arms holding him, crying out as the needle was savagely pressed into his shoulder. He felt something trickle into his left eye, just as the pain from the wound registered in his mind.

 

“Now, Chris, we’re going to get you on your feet and back to your room,” Parker explained as the two men lifted him to his feet.

 

“Shit, he’s bleeding!” Kent said.

 

“Damn it, he must have hit his head on the chair when Mike and Ted brought him down,” Parker explained. “Put him in the chair. Cassandra, bring me some gloves and bandages!”

 

“Yes Doctor,” the woman said as she ran out of the room.

 

Parker knelt in front of the injured man and tried to get him to focus on her, but the combination of the blow to the head and the drug in his system made it impossible. The two men stood on either side of the injured man, holding his arms to keep him from slipping out of the chair. She waited for the nurse to come back with the bandages so she could treat the wound and see if it required sutures.

 

“Here you go, Doctor,” Cassandra Wilkes said as she ran back into the room.

 

“Thank you,” Parker said, pulling on the surgical gloves, before reaching for the sterile dressing tray. She watched as the nurse opened the bottle of saline and poured it into the container. Using the small forceps she cleaned the wound with gauze, wincing at the darkening bruise over Larabee’s eye. A low groan from her patient made her look at his eyes and she knew he wouldn’t be awake much longer.

 

“Chris, I’m just going to finish cleaning this and we’ll get you back to your room,” she explained as she tried to control the bleeding by applying pressure. She knew head wounds bled more than others, and wasn’t too alarmed by the amount of red staining his shirt.

 

“How is he?” Kent asked.

 

“He’s going to need a couple of stitches. Cassandra, have Dr. Mercer paged to the examination room.”

 

“Right away, Dr. Parker.”

 

“Mike, go get a wheel chair or a stretcher. He’s not going to be able to walk out of here!”

 

“Yes, Ma’am,” Mike said and hurried after the nurse.

 

Parker removed the gauze and checked the deep laceration. The bleeding had slowed to a small trickle, but she held the bandage in place a few seconds more, then took a clean one and taped it over the wound. She looked up as Mike returned with a gurney.

 

“Chris, we’re going to put you on a stretcher and bring you down to see Dr. Mercer. He’s probably going to need to put a few stitches in your head, okay?”

 

“...okay...” the blond’s voice was slurred.

 

“Mike, Ted, help me get him up!” she ordered.

 

“I...I ca...can do...”

 

“No, Chris, just let us help you,” Parker told him.

 

Chris felt the two big men grab his arms and lift him up. The stretcher was lowered and he sat on the edge, frowning as he tried to remember what was happening. His head was reeling as he was forced to lie back and his legs were placed on the bed. A thin blanket soon covered him and he felt someone touch his right hand and wrap something around his wrist.

 

“Are those necessary, Ray?” Parker asked.

 

“He’s a violent patient, Samantha, and we both know the rules.”

 

“Between the head wound and the sedative he won’t be able to do anything...”

 

“It doesn’t matter. He is to be restrained while being transported after a violent outburst,” Kent snapped, taking pleasure in tightening the leather straps. He reached across the patient’s body and did the same to the straps covering Larabee’s chest, hips, and legs.

 

“Okay, Mike, you and Ted, bring him to the examination room. I’ll meet you in Jacobson’s room when Mercer is finished with him. Make sure he’s restrained at all times!” Kent ordered as the two men grabbed opposite ends of the gurney and left the room, the nurse following close behind.

 

“Well, Samantha, now that you’ve seen how violent Jacobson can be, what type of drug therapy do you recommend?”

 

Parker crossed the room and righted the chair the patient had tipped over. She then knelt to pick up the file papers, before answering Kent’s question. “I think we should start with 5mgs Haldol and 2mgs Ativan. If we need to we can increase both drugs.”

 

“That’s what I was thinking. I’ll write up the new orders and we can start him on it when he’s awake and lucid. Thank you, Samantha.”

 

“You’re welcome, Ray. I want him in group therapy as soon as possible.”

 

“Well, if we get him started on the Haldol and Ativan he should be able to start attending sessions and taking part in activities on Monday. I’m going to grab some lunch before I check on Jacobson, would you care to join me?”

 

“Not right now, Ray, maybe another time.”

 

“Certainly…thanks for the consult.” Kent hurried out of the room, before she saw the smile on his face.

 

“Well, Chris, it looks like we’ve got a tough job ahead of us,” she thought as she closed the file and left the room.

 

 

 

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