I kept arguing with myself about this story…

SHATTERED – PART TWO

NSSNTRVLR

September 12, 2001

Texas

She woke up alone and vaguely remembered her husband getting up about 4AM, that in itself was unusual as he normally slept up until the alarm went off, sometimes even later if he didn’t need to be at work early. Climbing out of bed she walked into the living room and saw him sitting on the couch with his head in his hands; going to sit beside him she asked, “Hard to sleep when there’s so much on your mind…it’s really bothering you, isn’t it? What Alex is going through?”

Jimmy turned to look at his wife saying, “Yeah, it’s just not fair…deaths, near deaths, the news they won’t be able to have more kids, now this…you know how much I love those two, Alex is like my sister and Walker is just as much a big brother to me as Simon is, when they hurt, I hurt.”

The tears were flowing down his face and she pulled his head down to rest on her shoulder as she held him tight. “I know you love them and they love you just as much and once you and I got together they welcomed me into that circle as well.” She took his hand and placed it on her stomach. “When these two are born I know they’ll grow up calling Alex and Walker their “Aunt” and “Uncle” just like Angela will call us that. We may not be family by blood but we’re family where it counts most,” she moved his hand up over her heart, “right here.”

Her words eased a lot of the pain he was feeling and he moved so he could kiss her. “Thank you for loving me, for marrying me, for these two babies you’re carrying, I know that without you my life would be empty; I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Grinning he said, “I still have an hour before I need to officially get up, care to come with me back to the bedroom?”

“Only if you help me, with these two weighing me down…this couch is nearly impossible to get up from at this point.”

Standing up he laughed as he pulled her up, gave her a passionate kiss, then hand in hand they left the room.

Ranger Headquarters

Opening the drawer of his desk he pulled the business card out and stared at the phone as he debated whether or not to call, he’d argued with himself all the way to work. Picking up the receiver he said, “I won’t know until I try.” Before he could talk himself out of it he dialed.”

Rosetti.”

“Vince, it’s James Trivette from Dallas; I’m really sorry about what happened yesterday, I wanted to see if you were okay.”

“Physically yes, in every other way, Hell no. We lost several members of our department, good people.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“There’s nothing anyone can do, but thanks for asking.”

“I know this is going to sound inconsequential but I do have a small inkling of how you feel; Alex’s father was in the North Tower.”

Thinking of the blue-eyed blonde and her tough as nails husband he replied, “Tell her I’m sorry for her loss, other than this setback, how are they doing?”

“Good, they have a little girl now, she’s a little over eight months old. I think that’s one of the reasons they’re taking Mr. Cahill’s death so hard, he was the last grandparent she had.”

“What about you? Still the local lothario?”

Not hardly; believe it or not I’m married with twins on the way.”

“Good for you.”

“I should probably let you get back to work, I’m sure there are a million things to do over there.”

“You got that right but frankly I wish I had a distraction.”

Jumping at the chance Jimmy said, “I might have one if you’re interested.”

“Let me guess, you want me to find out what I can about Alex’s old man.”

“I think it would help if she had official closure.”

“Okay, tell me everything you know about him, full name, where he lives, where he worked, anything you think might help. I won’t make any promises but I’ll see what I can find out.”

New York

Rosetti whistled as he pulled to a stop in front of the address he had been given, he had been expecting fancy just from the neighborhood but this was fancy with a capital “F”.

After he parked his car he walked to the door where he was greeted by a doorman who asked, “May I help you sir?”

Showing the man his badge Vince said, “I’m trying to get information on a Gordon Cahill, were you the one on duty yesterday morning?”

“Yes sir, I got a cab for him when he came downstairs, he said he was running late and hoped he could make it to work on time.”

“Do you remember which cab company?”

“Yes sir.”

A few minutes later he arrived at the company’s office and after showing his badge he was directed to the dispatcher. “I’m looking for information about a passenger from yesterday.” He gave the address where Cahill was picked up and where he was supposed to be dropped off.

The man flipped through his logs and said, “Got it, my driver called in at 8:29 to say he was clear.”

“Any chance I could speak to the driver?”

“Unfortunately not…he was the victim of a hit and run just a few minutes after that, he was killed instantly.”

“Damn, well I knew it was a long shot, thanks for your time.” He walked back to his car and pounded his fist down on the roof; he had really hoped that he could turn up a miracle after all the tragedy, but it apparently was not to be.

“Sergeant, hold on a second…this might not mean anything, but my man had a passenger with him, no ID of any kind, he didn’t call when he made the pick-up either.”

“Thanks.” A germ of an idea began to form and he hastily made his way back to Gordon’s place; he was admitted to the man’s residence and a quick search turned up a wallet. Glancing around he saw a picture of Alex with an older man at her wedding and picking it up he immediately started out.

Going to the closest hospital to the crash scene he started showing the picture around and when he got no news he moved to the next hospital and started again.

Staring at the picture the officer had handed her the nurse asked, “So you think he was admitted as a John Doe?”

“That’s what I’m hoping anyway.”

“Sergeant, I really wish I could help you, but after yesterday there are numerous John Does all over this city.”

“Yeah but this one would have come in from a traffic accident.”

Straightening up she got a determined look in her eyes as she said, “Follow me, l can look up information from my computer, maybe we’ll get lucky.”

A few minutes later she handed him a room number from a different hospital saying, “This is the only one I see that might be your guy.”

Surprising himself he pulled her into a hug saying, “You’re amazing.” He ran to his car and sped across town; a few minutes later he walked into the hospital room and one look was all he needed; sinking down into the chair he said silently, “At least there’s going to be one happy ending.”

When the doctor walked into his patient’s room a little while later, he saw the man sitting there and asked, “May I help you?”

Showing his badge he replied, “Name’s Rosetti, I think we can help each other; your John Doe here is actually a man named Gordon Cahill; what can you tell me about his condition?”

“He sustained some significant injuries in the crash, but my professional opinion is he’s going to make a complete recovery.”

“Has he been conscious at all?”

“In and out mostly.”

Nodding his head he replied, “I’m going to stay if that’s all right with you; his daughter is a friend of mine and she believes he died in the North Tower collapse; I’m not about to call her until I can tell her what happened.”

“Understandable, you’re welcome to stay as long as you want; if you need anything just let one of the nurses know.”

A couple of hours passed before he was rewarded by the man opening his eyes asking, “Where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital Mr.Cahill.”

“What happened?”

“Traffic accident, do you remember?”

“No…wait…I got to work yesterday and realized I left my wallet at home, running late and left without it, had no way to pay the cabbie, anyway I was on my way back to get it, after that I have no idea.”

“That wallet saved your life.”

“What?”

Vince filled him in on the events of the day before and could tell it wasn’t sinking in at first then when it did he saw the belated horror register.

“Oh my God, my daughter probably thinks…”

“That you’re dead? Yes she does.”

Looking at the man in surprise he asked, “You know Alex? Have you talked to her? Just who are you anyway?”

“Sorry, name’s Vince Rosetti, NYPD sergeant, I worked with her on the Chairman case several months ago and no I haven’t called her, I wanted to get the whole story first.”

“So if she thinks I’m dead, why are you here and how did you find me?”

“I got a call from a mutual friend, Jimmy Trivette; he asked me to see what I could find out…as for how…good police work and a lot of luck.”

Laughing, Gorgon replied, “You remind me of my son-in-law.”

“Walker’s one of the best so I’ll take that as a compliment.” He started to say something else then realized the older man was out again.

He stepped out of the room and flagged down a nurse; he handed her the wallet and the picture and she assured him she would make sure they were returned.

As he left the hospital he took a deep breath and said, “This is one call I’m actually looking forward to.” Laughing he said, “I just wish I could see the look on Trivette’s face when I tell him.”

Texas

He was staring out the window, lost in thought, his friends very much on his mind, knowing they were grieving their loss, the ringing of his phone made him jump and picking it up he said, “Trivette.”

“You better sit down.”

Recognizing the voice he plopped into his chair asking, “He made it to work didn’t he?”

“Yes.”

“Oh man, I was afraid of that, but at least it will give her closure.”

“Hold on! Let me finish.”

“What?”

A few minutes later he hung up the phone and unmindful of the others in the office he gave a whoop of pure joy and ran to his car.

Walker heard the car and looking at his watch he frowned as he wondered what Trivette would be doing at the ranch when he was supposed to be at work, opening the door he stepped out onto the porch. His confusion grew when his friend joined him with a huge smile on his face asking, “Where’s Alex?”

“Upstairs with Angela, why?”                          

“We need to talk.”

“Okay what’s going on?”

“Just get her, I only want to say this once.”

A few minutes later they were all sitting in the living room and she asked, “What are you up to Jimmy?”

He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to her as he said, “This is for you, compliments of Vince Rosetti.”

“Vince? What?” She looked down at the paper then up at Jimmy, “Is this…”

“Hospital and room number…yes.”

Afraid to believe she whispered, “He’s alive?”

Walker jerked his head to look at his grinning partner then took the paper from Alex’s hand and began to smile. “How the Hell did you manage to pull this off?”

“Simple, I called Vince and he took it from there.” Looking at his shell-shocked friends he continued, “From what he pieced together Gordon was running late yesterday and ran out without his wallet, he got to work, realized he had no way to pay the driver and was on his way back to get it when his cab was involved in a wreck, he was admitted as a John Doe.”

“Why didn’t he call?”

“Apparently he had some pretty serious injuries and is still in and out of consciousness,” he saw the look on her face and hastened to add, “But the doctor said he should make a complete recovery.”

The two men watched as a beatific smile erupted on her face; turning to face her husband she reached for his hand and said, “He’s alive! Oh Walker, Daddy’s alive!”

She let go of his hand and launched herself at Jimmy hugging him fiercely as she whispered, “Thank you, you have no idea what this means to me.”

Kissing her cheek he replied, “I think I do.”

Releasing him she said, “I’m going to go tell Angela.”

Walker watched her go then turned back to his best friend, “You know I don’t say it enough…you’re an amazing guy James Trivette; I know Alex will never forget this and neither will I.”

High praise indeed coming from Walker and Jimmy felt the words clear to his soul; he hesitated just for a second then gave his “brother” a firm hug. “We’re all family here; you would have done the same for me.” Stepping back he said, “I should go back to work; I’ll talk to you later.”

As he watched the car disappear down the driveway he thought for the millionth time how lucky he was to have a partner, a friend…a brother… like Jimmy Trivette; wiping a tear from his eye he looked up saying, “Thanks CD.”

 

Even I was writing the first part of “Shattered” I knew there was a possibility I would not be able to let Gordon die, which is why I left myself a way out.

Angela needs a grandparent. J