Moved to Blackraptor November 2009
“Oh, God. Oh, no!”
“Mr. Jackson?” Ezra queried, concerned by Nathan’s frantic tone, and even more so by the fact that the man was suddenly thumping his forehead against the surface of his desk.
Nathan moaned. “I thought I had another week! Time just got away from me while we were working on the McGruder bust. How could this have happened?”
“What’s happened?” Ezra demanded, rising from his own desk and crossing over to Nathan, as did the rest of the men.
“Today’s the fifteenth! It's my fifth wedding anniversary!”
“And you forgot,” Ezra summarized.
Nathan’s pitiful groan was answer enough.
“House keys.” Ezra held out his hand, palm up. Confused, Nathan handed them over, only to see the key ring tossed toward Vin as Ezra ordered, “Black suit, blue silk tie.”
“Got it,” the Texan replied, spinning on his heel.
Noticing Nathan’s brown suede shoes, Ezra called out, “Vin!” The other man stopped with his hand on the door. “Black socks and the Florsheim loafers as well.”
Vin did not move, only repeating, “Florsheim?”
Ezra sighed and held up his own left foot, encased in a well polished and fitted black leather shoe. “Just find whatever looks most like these.”
Giving him a thumbs-up, Vin was out the door.
Chucking his cell-phone at JD, Ezra told him, “Speed dial 4, reservation for two, my account.”
“On it,” JD told him.
Fishing a card from his wallet, Ezra flipped it to Josiah. “Juliet’s on Fifth, and I believe a tasteful but extravagant display is appropriate in this instance.”
“Definitely,” Josiah agreed. Turning to Nathan, he asked, “Roses?”
“Carnations are her favorite,” he replied, stunned by the maelstrom of activity going on around him.
Ezra and Josiah exchanged a nod. “Some of each,” Josiah decided, picking up his phone, then laying it back in its cradle and grabbing his coat. “Since this is an emergency, I’d better go down and get it personally.”
Within seconds, everyone had pitched in to help. Chris had volunteered to arrange for a limousine to pick up Nathan at work and chauffeur him and his wife for the evening. Buck, who had a practiced eye, departed to select an appropriate jewelry purchase, again on Ezra’s personal account.
Ezra himself handled the booking of an exclusive hotel suite, complete with champagne and romantic appetizers. JD, having finished with the dinner reservations, went online and – conferring with Nathan on preferred style and sizes - ordered a new dress and shoes from a local boutique to be gathered by Nathan on his way to meet his wife.
Lastly, Ezra called to confer with one of Rain’s colleagues, requesting that she be kept busy until Nathan arrived to pick her up. A request to which the woman gleefully agreed, wishing with a sigh that her husband was half as romantic as Rain’s.
“There,” Ezra said, laying down the phone with a look of smug satisfaction. “Your lady should be most pleased with you tonight, Mr. Jackson. And of course, given the short notice, I will be more than happy to pick up the twins and baby-sit for you. That is, assuming you don’t mind your children spending the night at my home?”
“I’ll call the daycare and let ‘em know,” Nathan said faintly, blinking slowly and looking as though he had been pole-axed.
“Excellent,” Ezra replied. Then, he frowned. "They aren't still in that distressing stage of throwing whatever food appears before them, are they?"
"No, they seem to have dropped that when they turned three last month." Suddenly coming back to his senses, Nathan rose and clasped Ezra’s hand in both of his, shaking it heartily. “Man, Ezra, I don’t know how to thank you.”
Ezra shrugged. "Think nothing of it."
"But I do," he said sincerely, amazed by what had transpired. His anniversary had gone from a complete disaster to fairy-tale perfection in the space of fifteen minutes. “I just don’t know what to say. Let me know how much I owe you. I promise I’ll pay you back.”
Ezra gave him a sly wink. “You may consider it a favor. Or, if you prefer, an opportunity to repay you for the fine, and largely uncompensated, medical care you have provided on many occasions.” Freeing his hand from Nathan’s grasp, he waved it in airy dismissal and turned back to his computer, saying lightly, “Have fun.”
Nathan grinned. Those commercials were right. There was a cost to nearly everything in life, but good friends were priceless.