Okay, so I know at least one reader is a nurse. I probably should have sent this chapter to her for approval. Since I did not, I hope you'll be merciful if my spin on Logan's medical treatment isn't feasible! I figured if soap operas can get away with some of their ridiculous medical storyline (I think of Days) then I figured mine would be alright! Sorry for making you wait for this chapter. I got half way done and then could never find time to finish.
Chapter 19: Recovery
******Later That Same Night******
A few hours after Logan was in ICU, his breathing greatly improved. It was with great relief that Veronica and Logan's friends listened as the doctor told them the good news. By morning, the doctor felt Logan would be able to breathe on his own. Keith tried to get Veronica to go home and come back in the morning. However, she refused. Since he had no family that cared what happened to him, she told her dad that it wouldn't be right to leave. She knew that if the situation was reversed he wouldn't leave her alone in the hospital. But she was lucky; she had her dad. Dick said that he'd be back in the morning. Duncan didn't want to leave, but Veronica told him the ICU would frown on two non-relatives hanging around so late. He promised to come back first thing.
Veronica had been watching Logan sleep restlessly when Mac arrived. Veronica was surprised to see her.
"I thought I'd drop by after everyone had left to see how you were doing," Mac said.
Veronica was so taken aback by her thoughtfulness that she stared at her a full minute before replying. "I'm okay. Just worried. Logan's in a lot of pain, and when he wakes up he has to deal with our incompetent Sheriff," Veronica shared.
"About the arson investigation?" Mac inquired.
"No, it seems that someone has come out of the woodworks claiming that he saw Logan stab Felix," Veronica said.
"I thought you had a witness that cleared him," Mac replied confused.
"I did. Luis went and told what he knew, and then low and behold the very next day this new witness shows up. A Dr. Griffith. Obviously, someone is paying him to lie," Veronica said sourly.
"Well, since you've got your hands full here, why don't I go and see what I can discover about Dr. Griffith? I can get into his bank accounts. See if there's any weird activity. If someone is paying him, there will be a paper trail," Mac said.
Veronica smiled. "Would you? That'd be so great! I could run a check on his known associates tomorrow when I go home. Why don't you meet me at my place for lunch?" Veronica said.
"Sounds like a plan. Oh, I sort of have a date tomorrow night," Mac shyly confessed.
"Oh really? Who's the lucky fella?" Veronica asked with a smile.
"I'm sure you know. It's Cassidy," Mac shared. She blushed in embarrassment.
"Well, Cassidy is the better half of the Casablancas brothers, I think," Veronica said.
"He's really smart, and we have a lot in common. But I don't think Dick's too bad. He's been surprisingly nice to me," Mac said.
"I've noticed. You have a very nice effect on Dick. I usually don't want to kill him when you're around," Veronica said with a wry grin.
"I told him he that if we were going to be friends that he had to behave," Mac said.
"And somehow that works. Careful, Q, or you could become the favorite rope in a game of tug-o-war," Veronica teased.
Mac looked flabbergasted at the suggestion. She decided to change the subject. "Try to get some rest if you can. Call me if you need me," Mac said.
Veronica said goodbye to her feeling better than she had. Mac was turning out to be a really good friend. She was much different from Lilly, but she suited the person Veronica was now much better.
*****The Next Day*****
Logan woke up suddenly. It was like he was oblivious one second and then alert the next. Fear of being burned alive spurred him to full wakefulness. In a panic, he opened his eyes and looked at his surroundings. He relaxed slightly when he realized he was in a hospital room. Then he relaxed more when he saw Veronica asleep in the chair next to the bed. She was curled up in it as only a tiny person could. He smiled and called out her name. However, his voice didn't work. He tried again. A scratchy, whispered, "Veronica," came out of his mouth. Was that him? Was that his voice? He moved to touch his throat and winced at the pain that went through him at the slight movement. It seemed to come at him in all directions. His arm, his legs, his throat, and most intensely, his back.
Veronica must have been attuned to him because even his whispered call jarred her awake. She sat up and looked anxiously over at him. "Logan! You're awake! How do you feel? Are you okay? God, I was so worried!" she rushed out as she jumped up and peered down at him.
Logan tried to give her a reply, but it came out in a breathless whisper. A bit of panic set in. He gave Veronica an imploring look that she correctly interpreted. "Don't worry about your voice. The doctor said it may take a few days before your throat is healed. You inhaled a lot of smoke, and you were intubated. They came in just about two hours ago and took out the tube," Veronica explained. She turned and grabbed the water the nurse had sat on the table. "Here take a sip of water. The nurse said it'd help. I'm going to go get her." Veronica moved the little table so that it went over his bed, and he wouldn't have to struggle to reach the water. Then she left to grab a nurse. Logan painfully reached for it and took a sip, letting the cool liquid soothe his parched and aching throat.
The nurse came back in with Veronica a minute later. The nurse gave him a friendly smile. "Welcome back, Logan. I know it's scary to be wake up and not be able to talk. But your voice will come back. Don't try to strain your vocal chords by talking. We'll get you something to write with. Your throat needs some time to heal," the nurse said. Then she showed Logan how to work the nurse call button. "Are you in pain?" she asked him. Logan nodded, and Veronica winced in sympathy. "Is your pain level more than a five on a scale of 1 to 10?" Logan nodded. "Okay, we have a morphine drip on you. With burn victims, we normally give a lot of pain meds the first 24 hours then start to drop it back. So push this button when your pain level starts to climb. It's set up so that you can't go past a certain amount. The doctor will be here in another hour or so. He'll give you an update on your condition. Your back was hurt the most. That's why we have you propped up slightly on your side. After breakfast, I'll turn you over to the other side," she told him. "I'm going to go find you a notebook or something so you can write. It will keep you from trying to talk."
She left and Veronica took her place by Logan's side. Veronica brushed her hand gently across his forehead and leaned down to place a soft kiss on his chapped lips. "I'm so sorry, Logan. I'm so sorry about your house," she said.
Logan's eyes darkened as memories came back to him in a rush. He remembered being surrounded by Weevil's gang but no Weevil. Then he remembered Weevil pulling him out of the flames when he had given up. "Weevil," he breathed out.
Veronica was close enough to hear his quiet whisper and nodded her understanding. "Don't talk. I'll try to explain what I know happened. Weevil confronted Thumper for killing Felix, but it all fell apart. Thumper challenged him because another witness came forward saying he saw you stab Felix. This fake witness is a doctor or something. Mac's checking on it now. I'll know more after lunch. Anyway, the PCHers beat the crap out of Weevil and took off to punish you. I'm assuming they broke into your house. Weevil called me and warned me they were heading to you, so Dad and I were already on our way. Weevil got a text from one of the PCHers telling him that you were left for dead, so he raced over to your house and got there before us. When Dad and I pulled up, he was pulling you out of the burning house. He saved your life," Veronica said grimly.
Logan nodded, thinking about the events. He had tried with his last bit of strength to open the kitchen door and failed. He was a goner. At least that was what he thought until the door opened, and Weevil appeared. For a moment, he had thought Weevil was there to cause further harm. However, Weevil surprised him. Although he knew he should only feel gratitude, a part of him was really annoyed that he was suddenly so indebted to the guy. If it had been anyone but him, Logan would have been much happier.
Veronica knew him too well. "I know you're not happy that Weevil played the hero and saved your cute ass, but he did. I, for one, am very, very grateful. Even a few more minutes in that blaze could have caused irreparable damage to your lungs and body," she told him.
Logan sighed in resignation. Then the nurse appeared and gave him a notebook and pen. Logan quickly wrote, Is my house completely gone?
"To be honest, I don't know for sure. It was pretty engulfed by the time the fire department got there. I'll drive by and assess the damage after I meet Mac for lunch," Veronica said.
Logan wrote again on the pad. Who told the cops that I stabbed Felix? Will I be charged again?
Veronica looked annoyed. "I don't know anything but that it was a white doctor. Mac's going to find out what she can. I do know Luis did go to the station and told them it was not you that stabbed Felix. However, Dad told me that the most credible witness will be believed. Knowing Lamb, he threw out Luis's testimony. Don't be surprised if he comes by here. Dad's going to go by and talk to Lamb before he comes by here to find out what way the wind is blowing," Veronica explained.
Do I need a lawyer? Logan wrote.
Veronica pursed her lips together for a moment thinking. Then she nodded. "It wouldn't hurt. I'll call your lawyer and let him know what's going on," Veronica said.
Someone came in. It was Duncan. "Hey, you're awake! That's a relief," he said, smiling. "How do you feel?" Duncan came over to the other side of the bed.
"He can't talk. His vocal chords need time to heal. He's got a notebook," Veronica explained. "I'm going to go home and clean up. I got Mac doing some research on the new, lying witness that has miraculously appeared as our real witnessed stepped forward. I'll be back after lunch to tell you what I found out." She leaned over and kissed Logan goodbye. She hated to leave Logan looking so broken, but she wasn't going to sit back on her heels while the police built another case around him. He'd been through too much already.
*****A Few Hours Later******
Veronica had just finished making two turkey sandwiches when the doorbell rang. She opened it and smiled to see Mac. "Great. I just finished making our lunch. Turkey sandwiches," Veronica said as Mac came into her apartment.
Mac looked uncomfortable. "Remember, I'm a vegetarian. Peanut butter and jelly would be better. If you have it, of course," Mac said.
"Oh, I'm sorry! I forgot. Too much going on in my brain today," Veronica said apologetically. "I can do PB &J. No problem. Milk?"
Mac grinned and nodded. "How's Logan?" Mac asked as Veronica finished getting things ready.
Veronica updated her on Logan's condition. Then brought their sandwiches and drinks to the table. She let Mac take a bite of her sandwich before asking, "So did you find out anything?"
"Well, I sort of hacked into the Neptune Sheriff Department and found out the full name of the doctor and his information. It made researching him easier," Mac shyly admitted.
"I'm impressed!" Veronica said with an admiring grin.
"It's not too hard. They have pathetic security," Mac replied with a shrug.
"So what's this witnesses name?" Veronica asked. She got up and grabbed her laptop.
"Tom Griffith. He's a plastic surgeon," Mac said. "So I got access to his bank account and found a deposit for $20,000 from Fitzco Incorp, which is the listed owner of the River Styx."
Veronica only raised an eyebrow when Mac so casually mentioned accessing the doctor's bank records. However, when she mentioned the River Styx, Veronica perked up. "So he's in bed with the Fitzpatricks? That's perfect! It explains everything! Thumper's working for them, so they called on the good doctor. He must patch them up whenever they get banged up in their not-so-safe line of work," Veronica stated knowingly.
"I guess if you like to live dangerously, it's good to have a doctor on speed dial," Mac remarked.
Veronica typed the doctor's name into her search engine on her laptop and got the number to his office. "Hi, my name's Madison Sinclair, and I'd like to make an appointment to see Dr. Griffith," Veronica said into the phone while giving Mac a smirk. Mac laughed. "Monday would be great. The sooner the better. I think I need so much work!" She hung up the phone with a satisfied smile. "I'll meet the good doctor on Monday and see if I can get my hands on his patient list. I will also stake out his work afterward and see if I can get photos of him with the Fitzpatricks. We got to start compiling enough evidence that even Lamb won't be able to ignore."
"Shouldn't you tell him about the bank findings now?" Mac asked.
"Well, Lamb dislikes me so much that he could arrest me for getting the information illegally. There's no way I'm going to bring you to his attention," Veronica said. "Now pictures he'd expect. The more information we have the better."
Mac nodded. "So what's next for today?" she asked.
"Well, I'm going to go by Logan's house and see how bad the damage is. He was asking about it. How about you? Are you ready for your big date? Do you know where he's taking you?" Veronica asked with a sly smile.
"He's not taking me anywhere. He doesn't drive yet, remember?" Mac reminded her with a rueful grin. "He's retaking drivers ed this summer. Dick finds that fact a high source of amusement."
"I bet he does," Veronica said. Dick rarely passed up a chance to give his brother a hard time or anyone for that matter.
"I don't mind driving. Gives me something to do with my hands," Mac confused. "I haven't dated much." She felt foolish admitting it, but Veronica was easy to talk to.
"It's not hard. Guys usually like talking about themselves and sports. However, Cassidy isn't like most guys. He'll probably be more nervous than you, so don't worry," Veronica assured her.
They chatted a bit longer, and then both headed out. Veronica was anxious to see Logan. She made a detour on the way to the hospital and stopped outside the gate to Logan's house. In dismay, she stared at the charred shell that was all that was left of Logan's childhood home. She had mixed feelings as she looked at what was left. A part of her rejoiced that the house Aaron defiled Lilly in was no longer standing. Now that Aaron had been transferred to the state pen, every trace of that man was now gone from Neptune. Except Logan, of course. No matter how much she pretended otherwise, he would always be Aaron's son. She thought about what that meant to her. Could she really ever love the son of the man who killed her best friend and tried to kill her? Maybe it was because they had been friends before they had been enemies. She didn't know, but she rarely thought of Logan as anyone but himself. His presence and personality were so strong that when she was with him, Aaron was never who she thought about. Although Logan's house reminded her of his father and his wealth and status, she knew that for Logan it was the only part of his mom he had left. Veronica said a silent prayer that Logan had some of his mother's things in storage somewhere.
When Veronica made it back to Logan's hospital room, it was empty. In a panic, she went to the nurses station to find out where Logan was at. She was both happy and relieved to hear his status had been changed from critical, so they had moved him down a floor to a private room. They gave her the new room number. When she finally located him, Dick and Cassidy were there with him instead of Duncan. Logan looked tired but alert. She went to his side and leaned down to give him a soft kiss. "Are you feeling okay? I'm so glad you're out of ICU already. That's good news." she said.
He shrugged. Reached for the pad and scribbled her a note. I'm in pain, but I can handle it. Not the first time I've hurt all over.
He gave her a rueful half smile when she read it. Veronica closed her eyes for a moment so that he would not see how that off-hand admittance hurt her to hear. "If it gets worse, let the nurse know. I don't want you to suffer more than you already have," she said.
"You can kiss and make it better, Ronnie. Don't mind us," Dick said with a smirk.
Veronica ignored him. "I went by your house. Unfortunately, it looked pretty bad. I don't think it's salvageable," she told Logan, who grimaced at the news.
"Casa de killer is dead? Is that like poetic justice or something?" Dick asked with a grin.
Logan glared at him. "It was Logan's house, too, Dick, so put a sock in it," Veronica said. "Has the doctor came by?"
"Yeah, how do you think he got out of ICU?" Dick said sarcastically. Veronica gave him a look that usually warned him she was not in the mood to put up with him. Dick grinned and continued, "The doctor said Logan could probably go home Monday if no infection sets in."
"That's good news," Veronica said, relieved.
"Where will you go?" Cassidy asked.
"Dude, you can stay with us. We got plenty of room," Dick offered.
"I'm not sure if that's a good idea. Dad's coming home Sunday. He's bringing his new girlfriend. I think this one is serious. Kendall used to be a L.A. Laker and has Dad panting like a..." Cassidy's voice trailed off in embarrassment when he realized Veronica was not the normal audience for the comment he was about to say.
Dick snickered. "We know what you mean, Beav. She's smokin' hot!" Dick exclaimed.
Veronica wished for the 100th time that she and her dad weren't living in their tiny apartment. Then she would feel comfortable offering a room for Logan. However, she knew that her dad wouldn't be okay with it, especially since all she could offer would be their couch. She changed the subject. "Well, I have news," she said. "Mac came through for me."
When Dick gave her a puzzled look, she explained, "I had Mac look into this fake witness that has suddenly come forward to say Logan stabbed Felix."
"That's a load of shit!" Dick protested angrily. His loyalty to his friends was probably the only thing about him that Veronica actually liked.
"What did Mac find out?" Cassidy asked, curious.
"She managed to find out the name of the witness. Tom Griffith. He's a plastic surgeon," Veronica said.
"How she find that out?" Dick asked.
"Let's just say that Mac is very gifted," Veronica said proudly.
"She's wicked smart," Dick said happily. "But I'm not too sure about her taste in men since she's going out with this loser." He elbowed his brother with a grin. Cassidy rolled his eyes.
"Anyway, she also managed to get access into his bank accounts and found a $20,000 deposit from a company that she tied to the Fitzpatricks," Veronica revealed.
"The Fitzpatricks?" Dick asked at the same time Cassidy said, "She hacked into financial records?" Dick was horrified while Cassidy was obviously awed by Mac's skill.
Logan looked very pleased at the news. He wrote a note on his pad. Now we know who is really behind all this. Thumper was obviously paid to kill Felix.
Veronica nodded after she read the note and passed it to Dick. "Yes. Probably for two reasons. One, Felix's loyalty to Weevil is unwavering. Everyone knows that. If Thumper was pulling some of the PCHers into dealing for the Fitzpatricks, Felix would definitely have a problem with it, especially if he found out. Second, Felix was in love with Molly, their niece. From what I could tell, it's mutual. They'd hate that," Veronica theorized. Then she looked over at the Casablanca brothers. "You two breathe a word of this to anyone, you'll live to regret it." She gave them a steely look of warning.
"Don't worry, Ronnie. I won't say anything to anyone but Duncan," Dick said.
"Don't say anything to anyone! If we want to tell Duncan anything, we'll do it ourselves. I don't want you spinning things and adding to it. Or worry about your loud mouth being overheard," Veronica said. She looked at Cassidy who raised his hands. "Don't worry about me. I know how to keep my mouth shut," Cassidy assured her.
"So this is turning into a major suck job," Dick said. "The Fitzpatricks are some bad dudes. What are we going to do?"
"I'm working on some stuff," Veronica said.
"You should get at them where it hurts," Cassidy suggested.
All three of them turned to him in surprise. "What do you mean?" Veronica asked, interested.
"Their wallets. They run a business. My Dad has said many times that the bottom line is all that matters. Start messing with their bottom line, and they'll start to notice," he replied.
"Good idea," Veronica said, pleased.
Dick pounded his brother on the back. "Good thinkin', bro," Dick said.
"Since they own a bar, they need a lot of liquor. We could figure out a way to get their liquor license suspended or maybe find out who their supplier is and convince them not to be anymore," Cassidy added.
"Cassidy, I must say, your devious mind is starting to impress me," Veronica said in admiration.
"Dad'd be so proud!" Dick exclaimed.
Before they could go any further, they are interrupted by a visitor. "So this is where you're hiding at," a voice from behind them said. They turned to see a very satisfied Sheriff Don Lambs leaning in the doorway.
"No one's hiding. Logan just got downgraded from ICU," Veronica said in annoyance.
"Yes, I know," Don replied, obviously pleased by that news. "I came over as soon as I heard about his steady improvement."
"You forgot the flowers and balloons," Veronica said smartly.
"Well, don't worry, Mars, I didn't come empty-handed," he replied. He pulled out a piece of paper from inside his jacket and unfolded it. "I have for you, Logan Echolls, a warrant for your arrest for the murder of Felix Toombs."
Logan looked resigned while Veronica and his friends had varying degrees of surprise and outrage on their face as they looked at the Sheriff in dismay.
****More to Come****
I hope I won't have to make you wait so long for another update. However, I have finals next week and then I am going to Florida in about two weeks. I'll do my best! Your feedback is always welcome and much appreciated. Thanks for all the reviews and comments!