Jared the Paramedic

Chapter 13: Pain

Click here for updated Character ListClick here for updated Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 29<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Liam<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 22<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Jared<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Tyler<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Troy<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers,<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Darren<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 26<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Fire Fighter<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Josh<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Hose Puller<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Age: 18<\/li>\r\n<li>Student<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline; color: #999999;\">Minor \/ Recurring Characters<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: Police Sergeant<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: A son and daughter. The son recently came out as gay.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Jared Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>John<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>")

They got to the hospital with no problems and went up to Conner's room. They had called Tyler and he was on his way. They got upstairs to the new room and were talking with the policeman on duty outside his door when Tyler arrived.

"Hey guys," Tyler said as he came up.

"Anything new, Tyler?" asked Liam.

"Not yet. We have 100% confirmation of his brother and mom, but his dad is still missing. There is a warrant out for him and hopefully, soon we will locate him. The hard job is inside this room. You ready, brothers?"

"Who's lead?" asked Jared.

"I think you will be on this one, Jared. You developed a bit of a relationship with him yesterday," replied Tyler.

"Ok, let's go."

They entered the room and found Conner lying on the bed, half asleep. He awoke when he saw his three new friends come through the door. He brightened up and said, "Hey guys. I'm happy to see you."

Jared smiled and reached over to give him a hug. He sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at Conner. He thought, "How can anyone hate this young man?"

"Conner, your dad is on the run from the police, and he probably has a gun," said Jared.

"Is that why the police officers have been outside my door since just before I went in for surgery?" Conner asked.

"Yes, it is. Your father has been on the run since Tyler and Josh went to the house to interview him about your assault," stated Jared.

"He snapped, didn't he? He finally snapped." Conner said. He hesitated for a minute, and then looked at Jared. "Where are my mom and brother?"

Jared looked at him and said, "Your father shot them both before he went on the run. We have no clue why at this time."

Conner sat and looked at Jared, Tyler, and then Liam individually as if he was searching their faces for a punch line to a joke.

Jared spoke quietly to Conner, "We made a commitment to you yesterday to be your friends, and we stand by that 100%, Conner. There is no mistake, though I wish there was... your brother and mother are dead by the hand of your father."

Conner's face was turning pale when he asked Liam, "This is the truth, Liam?"

Liam nodded his head and said, "Yes, it is, Conner."

His eyes were beginning to water as Conner looked at Tyler and asked, "Is this the truth, Tyler?"

Tyler nodded his head and added, "I found them in the house."

Conner sat still as tears slowly began to leak out of his eyes, he was fighting hard to not break down. "Jared, will anyone hate me if I cry? I was beaten when I cried at home..."

Jared reached forward and hugged him. Conner finally let loose his tears and was soon sobbing. He put his cheek on Jared's chest as he was held tightly. Conner began to cry out loud finally. He started to reach his arms to hug Jared but pulled back twice.

Jared whispered to him, "You can hug me, Conner, I don't mind." Conner immediately grabbed him as hard as could with one good arm and the other tender. His body was shaking as he cried. Liam came up on one side and Tyler on the other. They sat on the bed, reached out and placed one hand on his shoulder and the other one rubbing his back in circles.

In a few moments, Conner slowed down his sobbing. Jared sensed he was sobbing for more than the deaths of his mother and brother. Conner spoke but was barely understandable, "I have no one."

Jared quietly said to him, "We made a promise to you that we would stand by you. You're a friend of ours now and friends look out for each other. When you get out of the hospital, you're moving in with Liam and me. We have a spare bedroom we'll get ready for you."

Conner lifted his head and looked at the three men. "Why would you do that for me? I'm a loser and I was even afraid to cry or hug you. It wasn't allowed in our house. I don't remember the last time I was hugged by anyone."

Liam spoke, "Conner, you are being adopted into a family of six guys who, like you, have no families either. Jared has his grandfather and cousins, but like the rest of us, he has no immediate family. We love each other like brothers, even stronger than that. We are not afraid to show brotherly love amongst us freely. You saw us joking around yesterday. That's the way we are, and you are going to be one of us, too."

"I have no money, no clothes, no furniture, no job. I just graduated from school. I have nothing to offer you guys."

"Conner, you are a good person who needs help and that's something we do. That is how I met Josh, Tyler and even Liam. It is our way and money is not important to us. The heart of a good person is more important than money and you have a good heart and spirit. You have survived years of abuse as a victim and a witness. We can help with that too, buddy," explained Jared.

Conner looked at him again, "This is going to sound weird, but no one has ever called me buddy before. I wasn't allowed to have friends."

Tyler spoke up, "You have six of them now." Conner started sobbing again. In a few minutes, he quietened down and Tyler handed him some Kleenex to blow his nose.

Conner let go of him and Jared let him sit up to grab the Kleenex. He blew his nose, and a fart slipped out at the same time.

"Hey, I said nose. I am not getting paper for that end," exclaimed Tyler.

Conner cracked a slight smiled at Tyler. He started to wave his hand in front of his face and said, "Oh god, I am sorry guys." Tyler, Jared, and Liam immediately began exaggerated gagging and choking.

Conner's slight smile was still in place, but everyone could see it was forced. "Jared, Tyler, Liam, I want to say thank you for your concern and for helping me. I have never had anyone be this kind to me before."

Liam spoke up, "Is there anyone we should call about your brother and mother, like your Grandparents or any other family?"

"No. We haven't had contact with other family members since I can remember. Father wouldn't allow it as they were heathens in his mind. I have no clue where to even start or if they are even alive."

Tyler spoke up, "You're going to have a difficult few days, Conner, and we'll help you. What do you want to do for a funeral for them? I take it you want nothing to do with that church, do you?"

"No fucking way," Conner blurted, and then ducked like he was ready to be hit.

"Conner, we all go to a church which would be happy to help look after it," said Liam.

"I don't know what has to be done, I know nothing," said Conner. He then looked at the three of them added, "I'm such a loser, I don't even know what to do for my dead family," and promptly broke down again.

Jared tucked Conner's head against his chest and then rested his chin on the top of the young man's head.

Jared looked up at the ceiling, and then his eyes glowed. "Tyler, Liam, both of you grab my shoulders." After their hands were gripping his shoulders, Jared placed a hand on Conner's head. He walked into Conner's memories and emotions. The thoughts, emotions and memories Jared uncovered were shared with Liam and Tyler.

Jared then commanded Conner to sleep, a deep sleep. He broke the contact and laid Conner's sleeping body down on the bed. The guys all helped to position him and tuck him in comfortably.

Jared then spoke, "We can talk freely. He won't hear us as I basically shut him down totally for a few hours. He needed it."

Tyler spoke first, "Those memories are horrifying... more than even... I can't even describe what I saw. I cannot believe he and his brother were treated like that. Their mother was no angel but she was a victim, too."

Liam had tears in his eyes, "This young man has had more pain and suffering in his short life than most people do in a dozen lifetimes."

Tyler spoke up, "I saw some things in those memories I have to follow up with at the house. I saw weapons in a pit under the house. What did you guys see in the church basement. I couldn't make it out."

Liam spoke up, "I wasn't sure either. Was it something like a lab?"

Jared then added, "I saw what you guys saw. I can try again but it was something he was just exposed to briefly. I sensed it was a lab, maybe drugs. He didn't even realize he saw it as he glanced at something else. The mind filtered it out but stored the data. I don't think there is anything else. Did you note the beating he got when they got home afterward?"

Tyler was thinking and said, "If I chat with the sergeant and tell him Conner had been talking in his sleep and I heard this, we might be able to go through the house with a fine-tooth comb instead of just dealing with the victims."

"Worth a shot," said Jared.

Liam looked like he was in deep thought. "What's up, Liam?" asked Jared.

Liam looked at him and said, "Why don't you just heal him, Jared. I mean, take away all the pain he has gone through. Put a suggestion in his head about his life. I don't know, I am just thinking out loud."

"That's not the way it works at this point. He has to experience the closure of burying his family, and with help, he will deal with his past. I must not intervene at this stage. It is hard for me, but I did this to show you guys how much more he needs us. His spirit is very strong but stifled by his father. If we can help him there, healing will take place as it should. We will let the counselors and our love work with him for a while."

"I understand, sort of. I want to help him so bad," answered Liam.

"We all do, Liam," said Jared.

They left the hospital room and spoke with the doctor. They filled him in on Conner's reaction to the news and how he was sleeping very soundly right now. The doctor was relieved he was asleep, giving him a chance to organize things in his mind while in a deep REM sleep.

Jared and Liam went to the LGBTQ2 centre and spoke with Zane. They explained about the murders and the father on the run. Zane was very happy to help contact a funeral home and the church to arrange a service. He was going to put out the word it was one of Jared's friends and he was sure people would show up to support Conner.

"All bills come to me for this, Zane," said Jared. He handed him a business card and wrote on the back 'All invoices attention John or Melanie.'

They headed back to the base with the SUV. Melanie, John, and Rob were all in the office when they got there. Jared and Liam joined them. They told them about Conner, and the LGBTQ2 Centre making the arrangements for the funeral and the invoices coming to either one of them.

Melanie and John brought them up to speed on the items Jared wanted completing. John had completed letters to each of the employees on sick leave and he would serve them when they came into work in the morning for a meeting. After the investigators had dropped off the letters to them, they talked about everything including their thefts of the drugs and damage to the equipment. Sgt. Myers was happy to help when Rob called him. Some of the drugs were found in their lockers as well as some tools which the police took to match to the cut wires and damaged equipment Rob had kept.

Melanie and Rob had coffee with three different crews and had good discussions about the problems. Melanie took notes and would write up minutes for John, Rob, and Jared. Nothing major had come up but Mel had some ideas on how to make things better.

After about 20 minutes of discussion, Melanie finally said, "Seeing as the boss is so dumb and didn't do it... John, I would like you meet the toilet bitch/French maid Liam. Liam, this is John."

Jared blushed and reached over and took Liam's hand. "Liam, with all my heart, I apologize for my behavior. I beg you to forgive me, my soulmate."

"Jared, with all my heart, there is nothing to forgive as I never thought of it either. We have dealt with so much in the last couple of days, my head is spinning. I could have spoken up as well. We both have been dealing with Conner and that entire situation as well as trying to help Rob. If you need my forgiveness, you have it unconditionally. I love you with my heart and spirit."

The two turned and looked at the other three in the room. John had a big smile of approval on his face as did Rob. Melanie was sticking her finger into her mouth causing her to gag and dry heave.

Liam looked at her and smiled, "Jared, she really works hard to be such a bitch, doesn't she?" That brought a round of laughter from everyone.

Rob put an end to the meeting. "Ok guys. Jared, Liam, get your asses out of my office and into your unit. We aren't paying you to hang around and kiss ass."

Jared smiled and said to John, "The Dragon Lady has been teaching Rob communications skills. Jesus, he is beginning to sound like her, too."

"I would leave now before they both attack you. She has been teaching him how to effectively hurt people," replied John.

"Ok, we are going. its lunch time for us," said Liam.

The rest of the afternoon went quickly for Jared and Liam. About 4:30 pm, they picked up a couple of pizza's and headed to the hospital. They entered the room where Conner was talking with a lady.

"Brought a couple of pizzas for you, but there are a few slices missing already. The cop out front was hungry," said Liam.

They introduced themselves to the woman who was the hospital Social Worker, Amanda. She was a pleasant woman, shorter, plump and she would win the grand prize for who best looked like a grandmother. Her eyes were alive with life and Jared sensed a good spirit in her. She radiated warmth, honesty and truth as well as the love for her job of helping people.

Amanda looked at the two paramedics who had entered and was obviously sizing them up. She had spoken with Conner who had told her about meeting these two. She was looking at their eyes, the windows of the soul, and trying to get a read on them. She was reading their body language, watching how they conducted themselves, trying to assess their motivation. Amanda opened her senses and tried to pick up anything she could.

Jared stepped forward. "Liam, let's feed the hungry little guy. He is wasting away on hospital food," he said.

"Thanks for the pizza guys, I'm starving," said Conner as he flipped the pizza box open and grabbed a piece.

Jared and Amanda were still locking eyes and trying to assess each other when he spoke, "Amanda, I appreciate your spending time with Conner. He's going to need a lot of help to get back onto the path in life he was intended to walk."

"I agree. Are you familiar with the various paths open to him?" she asked.

"Yes, I am," Jared replied. "He has the correct path to follow now that he has left the one he had been pushed onto. There's a family quiet room down the hall, may we speak in private?"

"I think that would be a good idea," she replied. She got up and ambled slowly but steadily to the door which Jared held open for her. He closed the door after they both had gone into the hallway.

Conner looked at Liam and with a mouthful of pizza asked, "What was that all about, Liam?"

"I'm not sure, Conner... I am really not sure," he replied.

Amanda and Jared made it to the quiet room and closed the door after them. She sat down on the couch and Jared stood by the door. "You're a sensitive," Jared stated.

"I am. I can't figure out what you are though. Your aura is the purest white I've ever seen and I cannot sense through it," she said. "Liam's is white as well, but not as strong, younger. I could sense a few things but not a lot. Your auras are together, I can see them blending together when you stand next to each other. The last time I came across something like that was a Shaman."

Jared smiled and said, "Do I look like a shaman? I'm just a paramedic and so is Liam."

Amanda looked at him and closed her eyes to slits. "Your aura just changed its intensity and became more active. That's a half-truth, Jared."

Jared said, "You're right. I am Masqua, Sacred Medicine Man of the People. Grandson of Running Elk, the Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People."

Amanda stared at him for a minute and then said, "Your aura was unchanged. You spoke what you believed to be the truth."

"I told the truth. It's not my problem if you do not believe me."

"You could be a spirit who is trying to claim the soul of Conner."

"I need not prove anything to you, Amanda. Why are you really here?"

"It's my job. I'm the hospital social worker and have people referred to me all the time. Conner was one of them. When he told me about you and your three friends taking him under your wing I wanted to know your real motivation."

"I can appreciate what you're saying. I also understand how a sensitive could use their gift from the Creator in a job like yours," said Jared. "You would be very effective in dealing with people's emotions and drawing their buried feelings out."

"Yes, I'm quite good actually. You are the first to actually block me totally, and Liam is the second."

"You were limping when we came into the room. You have knee problems, Amanda?"

"Yes, the right knee needs to have surgery and replaced because of it being worn out."

Jared looked up at the ceiling and held his hands out and upward. He lowered his head and his eyes were glowing. "Amanda, the Creator would like you to have a gift for all the work you have done as a social worker. He has seen you help many people back onto their paths to finish the life they were intended to lead."

Jared stepped forward to Amanda and kneeled before her. Amanda remained still but locked her wide eyes onto Jared. He reached a hand out gently and touched Amanda's damaged knee. The knee began to glow under his hand.

Amanda was transfixed on what Jared was doing. She felt her knee warming but it wasn't from his touch. The warmth was inside her knee and expanding outwards towards the skin. Suddenly, she felt the warmth spreading to the bones throughout her body. Amanda thought to herself that it was just the bones warming and not the skin. The pain she had been dealing with for years was disappearing in her knee as well as her shoulders and fingers. The warmth stopped as suddenly as it started. She looked and Jared's eyes were back to normal.

Jared stood up and took a step backward away from her. He held his hand out to her and asked her to take it. When she did, in her mind she saw the sweat lodge ceremony, visions he had seen, the family sharing their love through thought as well as the test with the young men he had completed. Jared released his grip and looked at her.

She stood and marveled at her lack of pain and new-found mobility. Amanda stepped into Jared and gave him a big warm hug of the type only a grandmother could give.

"I understand now, Jared. You are a Sacred Medicine Man of the People and I am humbled by your presence."

"Amanda, I may be a medicine man, but it is the Creator who has given me these gifts to do his work. I am just a man, no different than any other man. He gave you a gift as well and you have used it well."

Amanda released him and stepped back. "How can I repay you?"

"You owe me nothing. It was the work of the Creator, not mine. I saw in your mind you smudge on a regular basis. Just thank him for his gift of health you received. He gave you this present in return for your outstanding work and asks you to keep doing your best."

Jared thought for a moment and then said, "But I will ask a personal favor of you. You now know of my role in life as a healer. Please keep it to yourself and do not share it, especially with the group of people you associate with in the spiritual sessions. If you are dealing with someone and you suddenly have that deep feeling to call me, do so. I will help if I am able. Liam is my brother and keeper of the ancient wisdom. He needs your discretion as well."

Amanda smiled and said, "I would never piss off a Sacred Medicine Man of the People. That's bad karma."

Jared smiled at her. "The Creator healed your knee. There was also a lot of damage done to many other bones not only from arthritis but from the prednisone you had been prescribed to treat your condition and he healed that as well. He wants you around for a long time and doing what you love... helping people. If anyone asks how this healing happened, give them a good line of bullshit."

Amanda burst out laughing at Jared's last statement and hugged him again. "May I ask why you do not heal Conner?"

"He has much to learn yet and even the pain one has in life is a lesson. He must learn to deal with it and come to terms with his past life at the hands of his father. Have no worries, we will be with him to help when he needs it, Amanda. I am also in the position to let you see what I saw when I walked into his memories."

Jared reached out and touched her hand gently and Amanda's mind was immediately flooded with the memories they had seen earlier.

"Oh my God," she said as Jared removed his hand.

"Jared, this is the first time as a social worker and a sensitive that I actually know what I am dealing with instead of looking for patterns, behaviors, and self-disclosed memories. I wish I could do what you do."

"No, you don't. I see horrific, troubling, and scary things in some people's minds. I've learned to turn it on and off but it takes a lot of self-control and meditation to control the emotions from what I see. I see you as a good soul for what you are doing, but not the granite inner soul I have for fighting the evil one."

"I sense nothing but good in you Jared. I don't sense your soul being like granite."

"You haven't seen me when I confront evil directly as a Shaman," Jared said coldly. It sent shivers down Amanda's spine. She watched Jared's aura change from pure white to a thick layer of black, red, yellow and white colored zones in the aura. Suddenly, the aura combined and become pure white again.

"I think I understand, Jared."

"Back to Conner, he also needs people like you to help him. Can you do that, Amanda? I mean even after he leaves the hospital?"

"I can do some follow-up visits but the hospital doesn't like me working with people who have been discharged."

"Can we pay you to find the time and treat Conner?"

"No, I wouldn't accept a penny from you. It'd be nice to treat him in my office here, though."

"Ok, it'll happen then, Amanda. Let's go back to the room and see how much pizza has been eaten."

The two left the room, and Amanda was walking quickly back to Conner's room with a big smile on her face. As Jared went by the nursing station, he asked the nurse to contact the Head of Administration and ask her to come up if she had time.

Jared and Amanda entered the room to find Liam and Conner engaged in a belching contest. Conner was just letting an ear-splitting, long belch out as they stepped into the room. Jared looked at the bed and saw the two boxes were now empty. Liam and Conner were pointing and blaming each other for eating all the pizza and starting the belching contest. Jared just smiled and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Amanda smiling as well.

Susan, the Administration Head opened the door and came into the room. Jared explained he was asking her for Amanda to continue working with Conner even after he left the hospital because of the bonding they had built between them. Jared explained his idea of Conner coming to the hospital for visits in her office a couple of times a week for a while. Susan assured Jared it would be no problem, they would just keep him on as an Out-Patient so no one could ask questions. Jared hugged her and Susan took off.

Amanda smiled, "I like watching you work, Jared; you were so smooth with her."

"I've known her a long time, and I'm a member of the Hospital Benevolent Committee as well," Jared replied.

Amanda chuckled, "I wondered what you had over her. Look, I will leave you two with Conner. I have to get going and I feel like going for a walk, something I used to enjoy at one time. I look forward to our future dealings, Jared. You too, Liam."

She went over and hugged Conner who returned it to her warmly. She gave him a kiss on his cheek and said, "You're in good hands with these two, Conner. Listen to them and trust them." She then gave both Liam and Jared a big hug and quickly left the room.

"I understand you may get out here tomorrow, Conner," said Jared.

"If everything is good with the doctors in the morning and you are really going to let me live with you, yes, I am supposed to get out," Conner said with a genuine smile.

"I'll talk to the doctor and see if he can make it happen about 4:00 pm tomorrow. We can probably get off shift a bit early and it's our last shift for four days. Liam, are you still good with having this child living with us?" asked Jared.

"Child? Who are you calling a child, Jared?" asked Conner with feigned indignation. "I am only 4 years younger than Liam!"

"Shaving once a month doesn't count as an adult, Conner," said Liam as he laughed.

"It's twice a month, Liam!" replied Conner finally laughing a bit. The two boys explained they had to take off as they had an appointment to attend, but they would be back to visit him in the morning. While Conner was sad that they were leaving, he knew in his heart they would return. They hugged and departed.

End of Chapter Thirteen

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