Characters: JD, the guys, Orin and Evie Travis
Popping one last candy from the buffet table into his mouth, his suit jacket hanging from his index finger and draped over one shoulder, JD looked across at his six friends, Orin Travis, and the owner of the Palms Casino and Resort, Don Alfredo Madera. They appeared to be holding up their glasses in some sort of toast. He loosened his tie, glad the conference was finally over.
Startled, JD turned to face the Palms head of security, Rafael Martinez. The man was watching JD's friends, and smiling.
"What a team and what I wouldn't give to work alongside you all." He looked at JD. "My offer to you still stands, chiquito I think you would like my terms very much."
JD smiled. "I'm really flattered, Mr. Martinez truly but "
" but you have found your place with these men," Rafael gestured with his head toward the group.
JD blushed a little and nodded. "Yes sir."
Martinez laughed, softly. "Good for you, though if you should change your mind "
Smiling, JD bobbed his head. "I appreciate that, sir."
Walking away, Martinez called back. "It's Rafael, JD."
About to join his friends, JD noticed Evie Travis struggling with some packages. Draping his jacket over a chair, he went over to assist.
"It has been a pleasure to meet with you and your team," Don Alfredo stated to the seven men standing with him. "I look forward to the Annual General Meeting you will be hosting next month."
Travis nodded. "A first, for us we're looking forward to it, also." He smiled. "Though I think Mr. Larabee and his team would prefer a quieter event than accommodating every casino owner and entourage on the strip, for three days."
Don Alfredo's eyes glistened as they tracked the men before him. "I have no doubt this notorious security team of yours will handle it with the utmost professionalism. "
Chris raised his eyebrows. "Flattery, Don Alfredo? Not thinking of putting an offer on the table, are you?"
"Always!" he chuckled. As they laughed, Madera raised his glass. "To the AGM!"
The seven men returned the gesture as they all took a sip of their drinks. Buck was glancing around for JD, relaxing and winking at the kid when he saw JD approaching Evie Travis.
"Hey, Mrs. Travis looks like you could use a hand, there."
Evie smiled at JD. "Bless you, sweetie, I'm afraid I got a little carried away with the shops, here. Orin will go mad, I already have so many things simply gathering dust bunnies on the top shelf of my closets, but "
"Aah what he doesn't know, won't hurt him," JD winked as he took the parcels. Evie giggled.
"How true. I was heading for the garage, is that okay?"
"Sure. Would you like me to call for the car to be brought around?" JD asked, shuffling the boxes in his arms.
"Oh no Orin isn't quite ready to leave, yet."
Nodding, JD just managed to poke out a finger to hit a button on the elevator panel before getting into the car.
In less than two minutes, the trunk was filled with packages and JD was closing it. "All set," he smiled, his grin disappearing as Evie looked beyond him and gasped just before something hard hit JD's neck and shoulder from behind, dropping him on his knees to the ground. Aware of scuffling feet and Mrs. Travis's muffled cries, JD looked up to see the woman being dragged toward a car by four men. Despite his discomfort, the young tech pushed himself up and gave chase.
"Hey HEY! Leave her alone HEY!"
He was vaguely aware of one man stopping and turning, the man's arm moving up, back and then forward at great speed. It was only when something thudded into his upper chest did JD stop in his tracks.
Dazed, the youth looked awkwardly down at his shoulder, shocked to see a knife buried almost to the hilt. His breaths came in gasps, watching helplessly while Evie was bundled into the car. The man who had thrown the knife stared back at JD. Their eyes locked and the distraction caused the kidnapper to miss the rear car door closing, momentarily trapping his hand and causing him to scream out before jumping into the rear seat and slamming the car door closed. JD concentrated on studying the vehicle, to then see it screech off, and out of the deserted garage.
Feeling his knees weakening and an indescribable pain wash over him, JD patted himself, cursing as he realized his cell was in his jacket, back in the conference room. Staggering, he headed toward the elevator he had to get help.
The seven men from the Montecito had moved outside the conference room and into the lobby. Having told them JD was helping Evie, Buck had moved toward the check-in desk to chat to one of the receptionists.
"That went well," Ezra stated.
Orin nodded. "Don Alfredo's a good man. I've heard his son Paulo can be a bit of a spoiled brat, though." He glanced around. "If Evie got JD to take parcels to the car, it probably means she's been flashing my credit card, again. The way she's going, I'm going to have to buy a bigger house."
They all laughed, turning sharply toward the elevator as a woman screamed. Vin and Ezra suddenly took off at a sprint, Chris stared then hurried after them.
Sweating now, it was all JD could do to keep himself upright and try not to hyperventilate. His hand clutching around the bloody, embedded knife, he leaned heavily against the elevator wall, as he watched the lighted numbers on the panel above the door. He closed his eyes with relief at the `ding' and the doors opening.
"Thank God "
Sliding along the walls for support, JD tried to walk out of the doors but stumbled, falling heavily through them to the carpeted floor outside.
Vaguely aware of a woman's scream, he looked up, thankful to see Vin and Ezra racing toward him. He howled as they laid hands on his aching body, writhing against the pain.
"Easy, kid," Vin whispered, "we gotcha." He was startled as JD grabbed his jacket.
"They got her, Vin they got Mrs. Travis "
"Who has?" Ezra asked, quickly realizing JD was fading and needed to be somewhere other than the floor of a hotel lobby.
With five of Team Seven assisting, they got JD into a smaller conference room and laid him on one of the couches.
JD was struggling a little more now, his eyes shut tight as his features contorted with the pain. He opened them when he felt hands either side of his face, to see Chris looking at him.
"Who, JD? Who took Mrs. Travis?"
Swallowing, JD shook his head. "Don't know " he glanced at Vin. " cameras garage "
Nodding his understanding, Vin took off. Nathan was examining the wound, the knife still deep within it. JD was looking at him, eyes wide as saucers, black lashes damp from perspiration.
"G get it out Nathan "
"Can't do that just yet, JD it's stopping you from bleeding out too much."
Groaning, JD arched his back against the pain, digging his heels into the upholstery as he fought the agony ripping through his shoulder and chest.
Josiah handed Nathan a first aid kit from the front desk and, improvising, the doctor tended to JD while they waited on the paramedics. They all looked up as Vin returned with a laptop. Placing it down, he popped in a DVD and soon images of the kidnapping were played out. Orin sobbed and Josiah placed a hand on the man's shoulder in support.
"Damnit they smeared something on the plates the camera can't read them." Chris cursed at the clever trick which reflected light off the plates to prevent a camera picking out the letters and numbers.
"Got 'em " JD panted out, closing his eyes in concentration and reciting the numbers as Vin jotted them down. Chris gave a tight smile.
"Good work, kid." He looked to the others, just noticing Buck coming into the room. "Let's move."
JD grabbed the blond's arm. "Trunk of my car "
Nodding, Chris dug out keys from JD's pants pocket and moved out.
JD watched them leave then looked up at Nathan. "I wanna go too "
Nathan pulled a face as he wrapped a cloth around where the knife had settled. "The only place you're going is to the hospital," he warned.
Buck had realized, while talking to the desk clerk, that something was going on across the lobby, near the elevators. Seeing it was being handled, he relaxed, but his curiosity got the better of him and he decided to make his way over to where the incident had seemingly started. Hearing mumbling about paramedics being called as he neared the elevator JD had fallen out of, Buck quickly figured out where the fuss was coming from. When he entered the room and approached the sofa, he was shocked at what he found, instantly squatting down to check on JD.
"What the hell happened?" he demanded from the ensemble. Buck turned to his injured friend, his tone and demeanor softening while unable to conceal his shaking hands as he reached toward JD and placed a hand on the youth's abdomen.
"Hey, kid how you doing?"
Weakly, JD raised his good arm and patted Buck's hand with his own. "'m fine."
Nathan filled Buck in quickly, concluding just as Chris' voice drifted over from the door.
"Buck, you coming?"
About to say no, his attention turned to the Montecito's on-call doctor as the man spoke.
"If it's any help, Buck, there's nothing more we can do for him, here, once the paramedics arrive." Nathan offered.
Buck was torn. He looked at JD, who nodded.
"Go Mrs. Travis needs all of you."
Touching his hand to the boy's head, Buck rose. "I'll be back."
JD licked his lips and swallowed. "I know."
Pride shining in his eyes, Buck took one last look at JD, then joined the others.
Orin watched as JD closed his eyes against the pain. "My God this is a nightmare my poor Evie and JD." He rubbed a hand over his face. "I should have gone with them, too."
Nathan shook his head. "No sir the kidnappers may try to contact you here you need to be available." He smiled, knowingly. "JD has his own portable take on a police scanner in his car carries it with him everywhere. Chris can have that number plate located in minutes not to mention the GPS in Evie's cell phone. JD's little gadget can pick that up, too." He smiled fondly at the young tech. "Technology's a wonderful thing."
Travis nodded, "Especially when you have someone gifted enough to know how to develop and use it." He turned as the paramedics came in, followed by Lieutenant Luis Perez of the LVPD. Nathan handed the officer a DVD and a piece of notepaper.
"Someone's kidnapped Mrs. Travis. It's all on here and this is the vehicle's plate number. Chris and the others have gone to try and head them off."
Perez scowled. He didn't like civilians turning vigilante, but in the case of Larabee and co. he'd make a small exception they weren't exactly typical civilians. "Thanks, I'll put out an APB, then I'll be back to get some information."
The paramedics were ready to move out.
"Better make it at the hospital, then," Nathan called back, following the medics and gurney out, "'cause that's where JD's heading and he's the only one that saw it firsthand."
Watching them go, Luis turned to Orin and squeezed his arm. "We'll find her, Mr. Travis. Looks like you have a lot of good people already on it."
Dropping down onto the sofa JD had just vacated, Orin crumbled. He stared teary-eyed at the bloodstains on the upholstery, visibly shaking at the shocking recent events.
"She's such a sweet woman, Luis I love her dearly. If anything should happen to her "
"Have faith," Perez assured, squatting down next to him. "It looks like we got a good start."
Chris drove like a man possessed, his Ford Expedition SUV tossing his belted companions around as he took corners almost on two wheels while tearing across the outskirts of Las Vegas in pursuit of Evie Travis' kidnappers. Vin was attempting to navigate from JD's device's interpretation of the GPS signal while listening in on the police band for any sighting of the vehicle they were chasing. When the signal showed no movement, Ezra called Luis with the possible location, holding his breath as Chris screeched to a halt just before reaching a stationary vehicle, parked in a clearing just off the highway.
All five men piled out of the truck, only to find the car abandoned and a cell phone nestling on the carpeted floor. On examination, it was confirmed to be Evie's. Larabee slammed down his hand on the car's hood.
"What now?" Josiah asked, watching Vin examining the tracks in the dirt around the car.
Vin stared out across the highway, his shoulders slumped. "They switched vehicles, joined up with the freeway, again." He sighed, turning back to his friends. "So I guess now, we have to go tell Orin we lost 'em."
With heavy hearts, the five men of Team Seven returned to the SUV while debating who would return to The Palms and who would go check on JD.
They had failed and Chris was furious. He wasn't used to failure.
Smiling, Nathan stood as Vin, Buck and Josiah entered the surgical waiting room of the Las Vegas Memorial Hospital.
"JD just got out of surgery and is in recovery. It went well. As I figured, the knife went in deep, but it didn't hit anything major. He's on an IV for fluids, antibiotics and Demerol." Seeing Buck move to enter the recovery room, Nathan grabbed onto the man's arm to stop him.
"He's pretty sick right now, Buck. JD'd been eating just before it all happened, so he's had a reaction to the anesthetic. He'll be fine it's not uncommon. The nurse said she'd come get me when he's settled down."
Urging them all to take a seat, Nathan cast a concerned eye over them. Finally, Buck spoke, raising his head from the hand it was resting on.
"What the hell is going on?" he sighed. "Why would anyone kidnap a sweet lady like Evie?"
"Orin's pretty wealthy," Josiah replied.
"And to use a knife on the kid " Buck continued.
"Could've been worse they could've had guns," Vin pointed out.
With that thought weighing heavily on their minds, the four men sat in silence, eventually looking up when the door to the recovery room opened and a nurse stepped out.
"All clear," Nurse Morris smiled. "John's not fully awake but he's not sick anymore." She stared as all four men stood.
"Oh, uh not sure you can all go in, I'm afraid." She felt her heart flip on seeing their distraught faces. Looking warily around, she nodded. "Go on then, he's on his own but just for a few minutes."
Squeaking at the kiss Buck planted on her lips, Nurse Morris couldn't help grinning as the four men entered the room.
They all were saddened to see JD's pallor and pained expression as he lay in the bed amongst numerous tubes and wires.
"Jesus," Buck whispered, recovering quickly when he noticed a pair of hazel eyes peeking back at him. Buck grinned.
"I guess you get tomorrow off, then." He wrapped his hand around JD's free wrist.
"Mrs. Travis? " JD rasped out.
"All in hand, kid," Vin winked. "You just rest easy."
"Sorry I couldn't help "
"You did remarkably well considering you had a knife in your chest, son," Josiah reminded. "You just concentrate on getting well and leave the rest to the LVPD, and us."
JD knew it was bad news, but just didn't have the energy to ask any more questions. He looked at Buck through tired eyes. "They got me on the good stuff."
Buck laughed. "Really? I couldn't tell." He watched JD slipping back into sleep. "Hey you got a real cute nurse, too."
"Shoot, Buck " JD breathed, sporting a lop-sided grin. "Don't you ever quit?"
Buck grinned at the now sleeping form. "Hell, no kid, not on the ladies and not on my friends."
Orin Travis' shoulders slumped as soon as he saw Chris and Ezra walk into the suite Don Alfredo had courteously arranged for him.
"Sorry, Judge," Chris slipped into the familiar title for his old friend. "But we haven't given up; we'll do all we can to find her."
"I appreciate that, Chris." He turned sad eyes to his Security Chief. "Have you heard how JD is?"
Chris shook his head. "We dropped Buck, Vin and Josiah off before coming here. They said they'd call and let me know."
The ringing phone on the desk, caused Chris, Ezra and Orin to stare at it. Luis approached, nodding for Orin to take the call, stretching out his hands to suggest he keep them talking.
"Travis I see I'll be here. Please, is she " He sighed. "They're gone. They're calling back in five minutes."
The four men took up positions and waited.
Evie wiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her dress. She was very frightened, but unharmed. Locked in a prettily decorated bedroom with bathroom just off to the side, she was mulling over recent events. It had all happened so fast. The one thing on her mind was that awful moment she saw JD with a knife protruding from the very top of his chest. Evie sobbed. He had been trying to help her, and now she didn't even know if JD was still alive.
Stiffening as the door lock sounded, she stared wide-eyed at the two men approaching, one holding out a cell phone.
"Just tell him you're okay," the man instructed.
Evie took the phone and placed it to her ear. "Hello? Oh Orin no dear I'm fine. Orin they hurt JD, is he ?" Before she could finish or hear the reply, the phone was snatched from her.
"Listen up, Travis, five million, in used notes, by tomorrow. We'll let you know when and where." The man snapped the phone shut and looked at Evie, pointing to her untouched food tray. "Eat, Mrs. Travis, it's gonna be a long night."
"Please, no wait!"
Orin covered his face with his hand as the line went dead. He looked at Luis, who was holding a cell to his ear. He nodded.
"We got an area just wasn't long enough to pinpoint the exact location."
"It's a start," Chris said optimistically. "Let us help."
"I'll let you know when we're ready," Perez assured. "Now, go see that kid tech of yours. Tell him I'll be along soon to talk to him."
Chris glanced across at Travis, who was slumped in a chair. He looked crushed. Torn between the need of two friends, Chris, partially comforted by the fact JD had Buck, Vin, Nathan and Josiah with him, made a difficult decision. "Ezra, why don't you go on ahead I'll stay with Orin."
Standish smiled, fully understanding the chief of security's dilemma, because it was his, too. "As much as I want to visit with our young friend, if you don't object, I will stay here, also, for now."
Chris nodded, gratefully, looking up as Josiah and Nathan entered the room. "How's the kid?"
"He'll be fine," Nathan replied. "Sore, but fine. Doc says he'll probably be released in a day or two, but as long as he rests, he'll do okay."
"Thank the good Lord," Ezra stated, clearly relieved by the news.
"Buck and Vin are staying with him, for now," Josiah informed them. He laughed softly. "It might be for the best if Lieutenant Perez arrests *them* before either of those boys gets their hands on the people involved in this."
"Them and me both," Chris growled. "It doesn't sit well for me that they kidnapped a good friend, while leaving someone I care about with a knife sticking out of him."
All three smiled at Chris, fully comprehending why JD hero worshipped him, and that most everyone that knew him, held Larabee in such high esteem. The man was an enigma, for sure, but his passion for justice and love for those close to him shone like a beacon in the night.
Despite his attempts to hide it.
Exhausted, they all settled in for a very long night.
Later that morning, and JD yawned. He was still a little muzzy- headed, but was feeling a whole lot better than earlier. He had been surprised at how much detail he'd remembered from the attack when Lt. Perez had come in to question him, but was heartsick to learn the car had been abandoned and the kidnappers lost. He wiped away a tear escaping from the corner of his eye. Poor Mrs. Travis, he thought. Turning his head to one side, he saw a pair of bright blue eyes looking at him.
"Vin? You still here?" he rasped out.
"Sure," the Texan smiled. "How are you doin'?"
"Pretty good, thanks." He yawned again, both men looking up as the room door opened and Buck walked in.
"Well look who's awake. Hungry, kid?"
"Nah could use a drink, though."
In seconds, Buck had the head of the bed raised and a straw at JD's lips. Vin chuckled at Buck's attentiveness.
"If you ever wanted to borrow money, kid, now's the time to ask."
JD grinned at the comment, shifting awkwardly in the bed. "Do you think I can get up? I feel real stiff lying here."
"Let's wait on the doc. He should be here soon to take some of those tubes out of you. If he says yes, Vin and me'll walk you down to the vending machines, okay?"
JD nodded at Buck. He glanced between the two men. "How's Mr. Travis holding up?"
"Not too great," Vin offered. "Chris and Ezra have been with him the whole time."
"I guessed as much," JD replied.
"Hey," Buck squeezed the young tech's arm. "Don't be reading anything into that, okay?"
"Aww Buck I'm not. Mr. Travis needs good friends around him right now. I'm glad he's got us to lean on well, maybe not me right now, but I'll soon be on my feet not that I can't get up, I'm staying put 'cause the doc says I have to, for now "
Vin laughed at JD's rambling, Buck shook his head, glancing at the security officer then at JD. "Oh yeah he's getting better."
"So, there she was laughing while I chased after my car as it rolled away down the hill." Orin smiled. "I looked back for a second to see her beautiful face lit up. I knew, right then and there I loved her."
The four men of Team Seven smiled warmly. Orin had talked most of the night about his beloved wife. It seemed to help. They watched as he answered his cell.
"That was Sylvester my bank manager. He says the money's ready to pick up."
"Would you like me to collect it for you?" Chris asked.
"Would you?" Orin replied, wearily.
The blond stood. "Consider it done." With a nod to Josiah, the pair left.
"Excuse me excuse me, Mr. Kidnapper hello " Evie sighed as she walked back from the door she had been tapping on. She was in despair over not knowing how her young friend was. Unable to shake the image of JD being stabbed, Evie thought maybe she could simply ask someone if they knew anything. Realizing no one was about to come to her aid, the graceful lady lay down on the bed and softly cried herself to sleep.
Vin woke from his dozing with the feeling he was being watched. Opening one eye he was proved right as a pair of hazel eyes tracked his stretching and yawning. Vin grinned.
"You okay, kid?"
"Thank God," JD sighed with relief.
"Need somethin'?" Vin asked, sitting forward in his chair.
"Two things," JD said, "I need the bathroom."
"I thought you still have a catheter," Vin frowned.
"Uh, I do." JD blushed. Vin caught on.
"Oh right I'm on it." He stood to get assistance, looking back at JD. "The other thing?"
"Would you take my pillow "
Vin pulled a face. "Huh?"
JD gestured toward a sleeping Buck. " and stuff it in Buck's mouth. His snoring's driving me crazy!"
Vin laughed out loud, instigating a loud snort from Buck as the Montecito's Hospitality Host jerked awake.
"Huh wha ?" Buck yawned and stretched. "Hey kid you're looking better."
"Sleep well did ya huh?" JD huffed.
"Not bad," Buck moved his neck and shoulders to release the tension. "You?"
The young tech narrowed his eyes. "I kept dreaming I was in a saw mill."
The brunet frowned. "Aah, that'll be the drugs "
Vin chuckled at the exchange, winked at JD and left to find a nurse. Buck watched JD wince as he moved his strapped shoulder in an effort to sit up.
"Here, let me help you." Buck leaned JD into him as he adjusted the pillows. Any animosity, mock or otherwise, disappeared as JD gratefully accepted the help.
Buck smiled back at his friend, concern evident in his deep blue eyes. "How are you really doing, kid?" He reached for the water and poured JD a glass.
Taking the drink, JD sighed. "Thanks. I'm fine can't stop thinking about Mr. and Mrs. Travis, though. Is there any news?"
Sitting back down, Buck nodded. "The kidnappers called asking for five million dollars, last night. Orin talked to Evie, she seemed unharmed."
"Oh God," JD pushed his head back into his pillows. "If only I'd been a bit faster."
Buck sat forward. "Hey enough. I saw the tape you were jumped, and you still got up and went after them. You're a hero, kid."
"NO! don't say that, Buck. That's the last thing I feel like." JD's touching sincerity silenced his friend, but it didn't stop him still thinking it. They both looked up as Vin returned with two nurses.
"If you'll excuse us, gentlemen," Nurse Morris insisted.
Squeezing JD's knee, Buck got up and followed Vin out of the door. Once outside, Vin turned on his cell phone, cursing at the beep telling him there were messages. He listened, eventually turning to Buck.
"Chris and Josiah have gone to collect the money."
"How's Orin?" Buck asked.
"Holding up poor guy."
Buck nodded. "Sure hope Evie's holding up, too."
"She seems a tough lady," Vin assured, "Just hope they don't hurt her."
With that thought, they waited until JD's door opened, smiling as the grinning, blanketed youth was wheeled out toward them. Nurse Morris spoke.
"John tells me he was promised a vending machine run."
Taking the wheelchair, Buck nodded, his smile almost splitting his face. "I do believe he was."
Cuffing JD's head, softly, Vin fell in step beside them as they made their way to the nearest machines, which happened to be down in the ER.
Chris and Josiah exited the bank, briefcase in hand. They looked cautiously around before getting into Chris's SUV. He called Ezra to tell him they were on their way. His next incoming phone call had Chris do a U-turn and head off in the opposite direction with renewed determination.
JD watched as Vin and Buck fished out all their loose change. The nearest and largest selection of vending machines were in the ER and it soon became clear the pair needed to change a bill or two.
"Just a minute, kid." Buck grinned, "Think on what you want while you're waiting."
"I already know," he called out, realizing Buck and Vin were no longer close. JD scanned the area. It was busy full of people limping, coughing, holding their heads, favoring their hands
JD's world narrowed as he focused on a guy sitting in the waiting area, nursing a bandaged hand. His hear thumped, causing his injury to throb in time.
It was him the guy from the garage JD would never forget that face for as long as he lived. Trying to control his breathing, JD glanced across to Buck and Vin they were still in a line getting change. If he called out, the guy would run what could he do?
And then JD's worst case scenario happened, the guy looked directly at him.
Their eyes locked and for a moment, JD hoped the guy couldn't place him. Glancing across to Buck and Vin, JD was relieved to see they had been served. His gaze returned to the kidnapper damnit the guy looked like he was putting the pieces together. The injured man stood and JD knew his time was up. He yelled out, raising his good hand to point.
"BUCK VIN HIM!!!"
Tanner and Wilmington were just leaving the counter as JD's cry went out. Startled, they looked to JD, following his direction to see an alarmed man backing toward the ER exit. Trust between the three security teammates fully in place, the pair took off, instinctively knowing they had to stop the guy from leaving.
People squealed and called out as the two men barged through anyone in their way. Vin hurdled over a row of empty chairs just before the sliding doors, Buck going around to create another angle. Just as the now running kidnapper stepped outside, he was tackled both high and low as two bodies crunched into him. Ignoring the man's cries, the pair turned him onto his back, Buck positioning his forearm across the man's throat, Vin kneeling on a much lower and delicate appendage. JD came trundling through the doors, pushed by a complete stranger who had taken pity on his pleas to follow the three men.
"Kid?" Vin panted.
"It's him the guy who threw the knife at me he's one of Mrs. Travis's kidnappers."
"Is that so?" Buck growled out through gritted teeth just inches from the man's face, his arm increasing pressure, causing the kidnapper to choke.
"Best tell us where she is, mister or you ain't gonna wanna live to tell the tale," Vin threatened, his own knee pushing down.
"Okay okay " the man rasped out.
Buck increased the pressure, his expression feral. "And be quick or I might still kill you, yet you hurt my little brother and that don't sit well in my gut."
Seconds later, JD had Vin's cell and was dialing Lt. Perez with information, then called Chris.
Luis Perez looked at Orin, Ezra and Nathan as he took a call. "Thanks JD, you take care, now." Closing his phone, he dialed and issued instructions, finally turning back to the three men.
"Is everything alright?" Ezra asked, alarmed to hear JD's name.
"JD called you?" Nathan checked.
Perez nodded, focusing on Orin. "One of the kidnappers turned up at the ER " he held up a reassuring hand, " it was for himself. Anyway, JD recognized him...long story. I've dispatched units to the location the man gave, and JD said he's sending Chris that way, too." Luis approached a clearly frightened Travis, squatting down as he spoke.
"It's looking good we'll hear as soon as possible hang in there, Orin."
"Thank you," Orin looked hopefully at all of them. "Thank you all of you."
Evie Travis was exhausted. She had barely slept and was becoming very frightened. Even if Orin paid any ransom money, she wasn't sure these men would set her free and she still didn't know if JD had survived the stabbing. Loud noises and shouting from the floor below had her trembling violently as she sat on the bed. Suddenly, a key was being turned in the lock. She cowered back against the wall.
"Oh my "
No stranger to police raids, ex-FBI special agent Chris Larabee was more than ready to move into the targeted house. But he was still a professional, and unarmed, and waited until several police units arrived. With baited breath, he and Josiah watched as the house was surrounded, the door beaten down and several armed men taken down. Moving in, Chris took the stairs two at a time to start his search for Evie Travis. After he and Josiah had tried several doors, Josiah found one that was locked. With a nod, Chris took a position and kicked at the door hard. On the second attempt, it splintered and rolled open.
Evie screamed out, quickly realizing she knew these men.
Scrabbling off the bed, she fell into Chris's embrace, sobbing with relief. Chris held her tightly, placing a soft kiss on her head.
"It's all over, Evie it's all over." With a nod to Josiah, Chris handed Evie off and went to check on events below them.
As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he received a nod and smile from one of the officers. "Looks like we got `em all, sir. Would you like to inform the lieutenant?"
"Be my pleasure," Chris grinned and made the call.
All four men startled as Luis's phone chirped. Three pairs of eyes watched anxiously as Luis took the call, to watch him then approach Travis.
"They have her," he smiled.
Orin caught a sob. "Is is she alright?"
"It seems so, but they're taking her to the hospital, just as a precaution." He gestured toward the door. "Shall we?"
Stiff from sitting around so long, they shakily stood. Orin looked at them all. "I can't tell you how much your support has meant to me." He focused on Ezra and Nathan. "You boys haven't been home for almost two days " he looked at Ezra, " or even been to see poor JD. Thank you."
"My first order of business will be to call in to see young Mister Dunne. He's a good man, I have no doubt he will understand," Ezra answered, smiling.
With that, they all left for the hospital.
JD was back in bed and sound asleep. The excitement of his excursion had completely drained him, which was just as well, as Buck and Vin's incessant pacing while they waited for news would have driven him crazy. The pair looked up as the door opened and Chris and Josiah stepped in.
"We got her," the blond grinned. "She's being checked over, now."
The relief was evident, as all four clasped hands. Josiah walked over to JD and ran a hand over the sleeping youth's head.
"How is he?"
"Doing good," Buck assured. "Got a little sore and tired after all the excitement, so they upped his meds. He'll be back to his previous dose when he wakes up."
"You did good, well done, guys," Chris praised.
"Sounds like you didn't do too bad yourself, stud." Buck acknowledged.
"Kid spotted the guy," Vin informed. "It was the man who threw the knife at him. Apparently, the guy got distracted and caught his hand in the car door back at the Palms' garage. Luckily for us, he came to get it checked out."
They all looked as Ezra and Nathan arrived, the former heading straight for JD.
"Is he alright?" Ezra asked.
"Just tired," Buck replied. "He may not wake up for a while, so you might wanna go home and freshen up."
"That sounds like an excellent idea, I am rather ripe," Ezra grinned. "Gentlemen, I'll see you later."
Agreeing, each man squeezed or patted the sleeping tech as they left. Chris looked at Buck as the brunet hesitated.
"Come on, Buck take your own advice."
With a nod, Buck leaned into JD. "I'll be back soon, kid get some rest." With one last glance back, the pair left the room.
Orin headed for the cubicle his wife had been taken to. He pulled back the curtain.
Sitting on the bed, Evie extended her arms and the couple embraced. They kissed and looked lovingly at each other.
"I thought I'd lost you," Orin sighed, holding her close. He felt her weeping and held her tighter. Eventually, she pulled back and dabbed at her eyes with a tissue she had been given.
"I love you," they said together, and smiled.
"Five million dollars," Evie sighed, "Oh Orin."
"My love, they could have asked for that, our homes, the Montecito and I would have gladly given it all to get you back."
Evie gazed lovingly up at her husband, then grinned and smacked him softly on the arm. "Good answer." The pair laughed and hugged again.
Noise from the area just outside the cubicle had them looking up. Evie spotted six of the seven Montecito security team.
"Oh, thank God. How is JD?"
Chris approached. "He's doing good. He's been asking after you both."
"I've been so worried, no one would tell me how he was," Evie sighed.
"Oh he's fine, Miz Travis," Buck grinned, "and getting better each hour."
"Orin," Chris said, "we're heading home. I've called and set up the security teams for the next two shifts then we'll be back on duty."
Travis shook his hand, looking to all the men. "There are no words to tell you all what you mean to us. We couldn't wish for better friends. Thank you."
With a nod and grin, six weary men headed home for the first time in two days.
JD chuckled as he slowly walked into his apartment. It was festooned with balloons and packages.
His six friends followed him in. "The balloons are from Ezra the packages from all of us," Buck explained.
"Why?" JD asked.
"Don't ask why," Buck huffed out, cuffing the youth lightly on his good shoulder, "just enjoy it."
"Okay," JD grinned, wider. He glanced at Ezra, who pre-empted his question.
"I felt bad I hadn't been able to visit you," the southerner explained.
"Thanks this is wild. Ezra it's okay, I understood."
"I'm sure you did, but it doesn't change the way I feel."
Chris approached, handing JD a framed certificate. "We don't normally give awards in security," Chris smiled, "but I felt you earned something for your efforts. I'm proud of you kid we all are."
JD swallowed hard. "They got away "
"And you got to us and raised the alarm not to mention recording the number plate you did good."
Seeing JD about to argue the point, Vin guided him away and toward the table packed with food and gifts. "Let's eat!" he chuckled.
An hour later, there was a knock on the door, just as Buck was arguing that JD should stay with him until he had two functional arms. Josiah opened the door, greeting Evie and Orin as they stepped in. It was the first opportunity Evie'd had to see JD awake and she walked toward him as the youth stood.
"Oh, sweetheart " She stared at his strapped arm before embracing him and JD wrapped his good arm around her.
"I'm so glad you're safe," JD choked out.
Evie pulled back a little to look at him through teary eyes. She placed her hands on either side of JD's face.
"I was so afraid I can't tell you how good it is to see you standing here. Thank you so much for being so brave. I'll never forget it."
JD looked genuinely surprised. He had been trying to help a friend and had never once considered it a brave deed. Now...Vin and Buck tackling that guy and Chris and Josiah going to where the kidnappers were hiding that was brave. He simply smiled. Orin approached.
"We have a gift for you. I heard you've been looking at one for some time." He handed JD a key and nodded to Vin who opened the door and disappeared into the hallway. He returned pushing a bright metallic blue Kawasaki Ninja. Buck, wondering how Travis had heard JD was interested in motorbikes, narrowed his eyes at the Texan, who simply smiled his sweetest smile.
JD's jaw dropped open as he stared, speechless for a few moments. "Hah " He pointed. "Hah "
"Got another word there, squirt?" Buck teased.
The youth looked at Orin. "M mine?"
"Yours. Just promise me you'll be careful," Orin advised.
JD nodded, his eyes never moving from the vision before him, much to the amusement of everyone in the room. "Y yes sir." Finally he looked up.
"Thank you but I don't deserve "
"Allow an old man and woman to be grateful, would you, son?"
"Orin!" Evie exclaimed, "I'm not old!"
The seven friends laughed, Orin chuckled. "Of course not, dear." As JD ran his fingers along the bodywork of the gleaming bike, Orin turned to the others, handing an envelope to Chris.
"This is for all of you. We have a holiday home on South Bimini in the Bahamas it's yours for ten days. I'll leave you to work out when, Chris." He smiled, "You may want to give JD time to recover, I hear the scuba diving is excellent." He and Evie turned to leave, despite protests for them to stay.
They stopped at the doorway. "Thank you all. I consider it a very lucky day I hired Chris Larabee and he chose you all for his team a very lucky day indeed."
The team whooped excitedly as the realization of the gift set in. JD turned, frowning. "What?"
"Travis loaned us his holiday home for ten days," Nathan told him.
They all laughed harder as they realized JD had been oblivious to it all as he had fussed with his new toy.
"How about we try for about two months' time?" Chris asked. They all nodded in agreement.
"I have a bike in my living room!"
At JD's words, the six chuckling friends moved to begin clearing up, Buck sneaking into JD's bedroom to pack a small bag. Chris watched in amusement, quietly agreeing with Orin's words as he looked at each of his friends.
The conception of Team Seven was a very lucky day indeed.