M Is For The Many Things You Gave To Me
By Maquis Leader
Author’s notes: This story is set in the Season 6: Reloaded universe. It stands alone and you don't need to read the other chapters before you read this one. Please see the note on the main page.
Previously on Third Watch:
Episode 5: M Is For The Many Things You Gave To Me
“Grace, how’re you doing today?” Mary Proctor looked up from the charts she was filing.
“Working hard. Just brought in a guy who superglued his mouth shut.”
“Seriously?” She arched an eyebrow. “Just when you think you’ve seen it all.”
“He was on a ladder gluing a crack in the light fixture and slipped off – and bit down on the tube he was holding in his mouth.” The redhead laughed. “At least his wife was smart enough not to let him pour fingernail polish remover in his mouth.”
“What? And miss out on a lifetime of ‘remember when you were stupid enough to superglue your mouth shut’?” Mary laughed.
“True. Hey, I brought a woman in the other day – I’d like to see how she’s doing.”
“Which one? You guys bring them in like there’s a factory churning them out.”
“Older lady, broken arm and I did a trach.” When Mary stared at her, Grace lowered her voice. “The one Doctor Fields had a conniption fit over?”
“You mean Rose Boscorelli?”
“Yeah, I knew it was Italian, but I see too many names, you know?”
“Why do you want to see her?”
Mary’s attitude was beginning to piss her off. Why was she suddenly so uptight about telling her a patient’s condition? “To see if she’s all right. I did an emergency trach on her and I’d like to just see how she’s getting along. I’m not going to go steal her Jell-O.”
“She’s upstairs in 2033.” Mary hesitated. “You know she was here the day of the shooting?”
“Vaguely remember that. Guys with guns, lots of screaming?” She said sarcastically. “Why? Did she get shot while she was here? Wow, bet she sues.”
“No, she wasn’t – “ Her pager went off and Mary checked it. “Damn, I’ve got to go see what Doctor Hickman wants. I’ll be right back.”
“Take your time.” Grace watched her rush off. “Carlos, I’m going to check on something.”
“Sure.” He looked up from the clipboard he was writing on and smiled at her. “You want to check me out?”
“Jeez, Carlos, get a life.” She turned and walked away.
“She’s hot for me.” Carlos told their patient. “She’s just playing it cool ‘cos, you know, we’re working.”
The man rolled his eyes.
Finding room 2033, Grace knocked on the open door. “Mind if I come in?”
“It’s open, ain’t it?”
“Uh… yeah…” Walking inside, she found Rose sitting on the edge of her bed, frowning at the belt of the robe she was trying to tie up. “Of course, they usually are.”
“What do you want?”
“I’m Grace Foster, I was the paramedic who helped you the day you were hurt.” She held a hand out to the other woman. “I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
“You’re the paramedic Faith told me about?” Rose shook her hand and gave her the once over. “Somehow I thought you’d be bigger.”
“Yeah, hell, Faith’s made you sound like Wonder Woman and Supergirl all rolled into one.” She laughed and then coughed as it irritated her throat.
“Here, let me get you a drink.” There was a pitcher on the bedside table, and Grace quickly poured her a cup of ice water. “Your throat is going to be really sore for awhile, you should take it easy.”
“That’s no shit, honey.” Sipping the ice water, Rose closed her eyes. “They shoved that damn tube back in my throat for a couple of days. I think they just wanted me to shut the hell up.”
“I’m sure they didn’t.” Grace laughed. She liked this woman – she was a feisty old broad as her father would say.
“Huh, you don’t know how I can bitch.” Setting the cup down, Rose tried to straighten the tie on her robe again. “This damn thing is all twisted up. You know, they keep you in your jammies like you’re a kid or something.”
“Hang on a second.” The tie was looped back around itself and Grace knelt beside her to straighten it out. “Try it now.”
“You’re a sweetheart.”
“Chenille, I love chenille.” She ran a finger over the tie before getting back up. “I had a chenille bedspread when I was little. Always made me feel warm and safe.”
“My son, Maurice, bought this for me for Mother’s Day.” Rose carefully looped the ends of the tie together to close her robe. “He gets me one every year. My other son, Michael, always got me slippers. It was our little thing. A tradition, you know?”
From the sadness in Rose’s voice, Grace guessed that Michael was dead. There was a tone that people used, a difference between gone and maybe coming back someday, and dead. A quick glance showed that Rose was wearing standard paper hospital slippers. “It’s a beautiful robe.”
“Thank you, honey.” Rose blinked away tears.
“I guess it was Maurice who helped me with you the day you were hurt. He was really brave.”
“He was?” Fresh tears blurred her vision as she looked up at Grace.
“Yes, he was. Most people are no help at all when someone they love is hurt.” She assured her. “But he stayed calm and held your head and neck straight so I could do the tracheotomy.”
“My Maurice is a good boy.”
“I’m sorry, did I say something wrong?” Tears were running down the other woman’s face, and Grace hurriedly grabbed the box of tissues and handed them to her. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to let you know how really brave he was that day.”
“It’s all right, honey.” Sniffling, Rose dabbed at her eyes. “Maurice is a cop, so I’m not surprised he was brave. He was already being so strong for me that day.”
Crap! They’d been at a funeral when the car had crashed into the building. No doubt it was the funeral for her other son. “I didn’t know he was a cop, but you know, they panic too sometimes when a family member is hurt.”
“Not my Maurice.” She smiled.
“I’d like to say hello to him and tell him what a great job he did. What precinct is he with?” When Rose’s face crumpled and she began to cry again, Grace was caught off guard. “I’m sorry – what – “
“He’s upstairs – he may – may not – “
“He’s upstairs?” Kneeling by her side, Grace took Rose’s hands in her own. “What happened?”
“He was shot – here – “ She clutched Grace’s hands. “Maurice is in a coma – “
“Oh my God, I’m sorry.” Grace wrapped her arms around Rose’s shoulders. She sucked at this part of the job, but she’d started the tears going so she had to try to stop them. “They’ll take good care of him and he’ll be fine, you’ll see. I only talked to him for a little bit, but he seemed really strong and brave. He’ll make it.”
“I’m sorry.” Rose pulled away. “I keep crying all the time.”
“You have every right to cry.” She handed her another tissue. “I didn’t realize – I’ve heard about the cop who was shot that day – but I didn’t have any idea it was him. I’m so sorry.” I’m such a moron! Bosco – Boscorelli! How could I not connect the two names?
“It’s all right. You didn’t know.”
“55 Adam, what’s your 20?”
The radio on her hip startled her, and Grace jumped. “55 Adam, still at Mercy.”
“We need you back out.”
“Right, give me a minute to get Carlos and get back in the bus.” Grace turned to Rose. “I have to go.”
“You go help someone.” Rose patted her hand. “When Maurice wakes up, you come and visit. He’d like you.”
“Goodbye, Mrs. Boscorelli.”
“Rose, honey, call me Rose.”
Downstairs, Grace found Mary Proctor. “Why didn’t you tell me she was his mother? I didn’t realize that this Bosco I’ve heard about was short for Boscorelli!”
“I told you to wait. Did you upset Rose?” Mary frowned at her. “And how sharp do you need to be, girl, to get Bosco from Boscorelli?”
“You know, I’m new – cut me some slack!” She shot back. “Carlos, where are you! We need to go!”
“Right behind you.” Carlos winked at Mary on the way out. “She’s so wanting me.”
ICU was always creepy. The beeping and whooshing sounds unnerved her. Grace hesitated in the doorway, peering in to see if anyone was inside. She’d waited until she’d seen Rose come out, her wheelchair pushed by a blonde woman she assumed was Faith.
After leaving that afternoon, she’d pumped Carlos for info on Bosco and found out that he’d taken four bullets in the attack on the hospital. All of them meant for his partner, Faith Yokas. Carlos had told her that Bosco wasn’t the brightest of guys. Her response had been that at least he didn’t try to brain someone with a coffee cup and get thrown through a window.
Carlos had gotten even by telling her the body they’d found in pieces and made fun of had turned out to be Bosco’s brother. He’d been murdered by the same guy who’d had the hospital shot up and then dumped out in the street for them to find. And for her to make fun of. Then she’d really felt like crap.
“Hi. Um… it’s Grace Foster.” She said as she stopped by the bed. The figure was practically mummified with bandages, and a vent was forcing air in and out of his lungs. Only part of his left cheek was visible. “You probably don’t remember me, but we met the other day.”
His hands were lying on top of the blanket and she touched one, warm and soft, proof that he was alive. She recognized his hands, remembered thinking how gentle they were as he held his mother’s head still.
“I talked to your mother, and she said you were going to be fine.” That was a bunch of crap, but it wasn’t like he could get up and read his chart. “Your mom looks really good in the robe you got her, and I – oh, this is stupid.”
Grace flopped down in the chair next to the bed. “My mother wouldn’t cry over a damn robe. She hated Mother’s Day, you know? She hated being a mother. I mean, no way she’d be here at the hospital worrying about me.”
Setting the box she’d brought on the bed, she stood up again. “I’m sorry about your brother. I didn’t know he was the guy we found, or I wouldn’t have said the crap I said. Of course, I shouldn’t have said it anyway, but that’s another issue.”
“I picked these up for your mom, and I think they’ll match. Wake up soon so you can see them.” Grace patted his hand gently. “When you wake up, come look me up, okay?”
“Faith, you’re going to be late for work!”
“Nah, I’ve got time.”
“You haven’t been a detective that long, you’ll get in trouble.” Rose reached up to pat Faith’s hand where it rested on the handle of her wheelchair.
“So long as I bring Jelly a box of donuts, he doesn’t care.” She snickered. “He’s got my back so long as I feed him.”
“Did you leave them up here?”
“What? No, there’s a Krispy Kreme a few blocks away.”
“Then what’s in the box?” Rose pointed.
There was a box sitting on Bosco’s bed. It had a pink ribbon on it, but Faith wasn’t taking any chances. “Stay here.” She pulled her gun from its holster and walked to the bed, looking Bosco over to see if he was all right.
Picking up the box, she carried it into the bathroom and set it on the counter. It felt light. “I should probably call the bomb squad. Then feel stupid when it’s cookies or something.”
She slid the barrel of her gun under the edge of the lid and flipped it off, jumping back outside the bathroom and shutting the door, just in case. There was no sound, other than the lid hitting the floor, and she shot a look at Rose.
Rose shrugged. “What the hell, if it was a bomb, it would’ve blown up, right?”
“Probably.” Hopefully. Faith opened the bathroom door and peeked in. The box sat on the counter where she’d left it. With the lid off, she could see a pair of pink fuzzy slippers. “Well, I feel stupid now.”
“What? What is it?”
“Someone left Maurice shoes?” Rose frowned. “Who the hell did that? What are they, being a smart ass or something?”
“I think these are for you.” Faith brought the box to her. “Pink isn’t Bosco’s color.”
“Slippers? Who would bring him slippers?” She laughed. “And pink sure as hell isn’t his color. I can hear him now. ‘Ma, I’d look like a pansy’.”
“Here’s a card.” A pink envelope had fallen to the floor with the lid. She picked it up and handed it to Rose.
“Happy Mother’s Day? It’s a little late for – “ She clutched the card to her chest suddenly.
“Are you okay?” Kneeling by Rose’s side, Faith took her other hand. “You want me to get you a doctor?”
“Slippers, Mikey always got me slippers.” She whispered. “Maurice would get the robe.”
“I know, you told me.”
“Did you get these? Faith, you’re an angel.”
“Rose, no, I didn’t.” Now that she saw how happy it made Rose, she wished that she had. Mother’s Day had been the farthest thing from her mind after Bosco had been shot. “I never even thought about it.”
“Faith…” Rose squeezed her hand. “You don’t have to pretend! It’s so sweet of you!”
“Honest to God, Rose. I didn’t.” She smiled and squeezed Rose’s hand in return. “Though I wish I had, and Bosco will probably kick my ass for not thinking of it.”
“Help me try them on.” She kicked off the paper slippers. “These damn things are so slick, I’ve almost busted my ass a time or two.”
Faith guided her feet into the slippers and then helped her to stand. “They’re pretty. Fuzzy as hell, but pretty.”
“Maurice, baby, look at my pretty slippers.” Rose walked slowly to his bed and took his hand. “Faith says she didn’t get them, but I think she did.”
“Rose, I swear you’re as bad as he is.” Shaking her head, Faith got the wheelchair and brought it over for Rose to sit in. “I did not get them, and I feel bad for not thinking about it. You told me about how Mikey and Bos got you the robe and slippers every year when I brought the robe to you.”
“Maybe Mikey brought them?” Lifting her son’s still hand to her lips, Rose kissed it. “Maybe he’s an angel?”
The handwriting on the card was obviously feminine, but Faith kept that to herself. “Why not?”
“Wake up, Maurice.” Rose kissed his hand again. “Wake up and see what Mikey brought me.”
Smiling, Faith tucked the card into her pocket. What would it hurt to let Rose think Mikey had brought the slippers? “Yeah, wake up, Bos, or we’ll try them on you to see how they look.”