The Client

Chapter 37

Abby lifted her head when she heard voices outside Mike's hospital room. She locked eyes with Charlie through the door. The doctor was carrying a bag. Their clothes. Abby eased up off the bed, watching Mike. She was careful not to jar him. He needed all the sleep he could get. Abby tiptoed over to Charlie who had made her way just inside the room. Abby looked back briefly at Mike. "Violeta had these sent over for you," the doctor indicated in a whisper.

"Thanks for bringing them up," Abby matched her volume.

"Anything for you, Girl," Charlie gave her friend a flat smile. She transferred the bag over to Abby.

"Is everything ok, Charlie?" Abby questioned.

"Yeah, of course," Charlie covered, "Everything is fine- just tough rounds with patients." Abby squeezed Charlie's arm, only believing half of that explanation. That was the story Charlie was going to stick to. The adoption issues were hers to deal with. Abby didn't need to hear about this latest roadblock. Charlie was a smart woman. She'd figure something out. "I'll see you at the estate," Charlie excused herself.

"Later," Abby said. She watched Charlie leave, then went back to Mike.

His head turned in her direction, "Hey."

"I thought you were sleeping," she smiled.

"You left the bed," Mike inched himself up, "Did I hear Charlie bring our clothes?"

"She did," Abby nodded.

Back downstairs Piper arrived. Walking into the hospital, she blew out a breath. She rubbed her eyes. Sleep had escaped her last night. Piper literally bumped into Mike's well-muscled boss. "I'm sorry," she yawned before seeing the man's face. "Mr. Briggs?"

"Are you ok?" Paul asked.

"Fine," Piper answered, "Have you seen Mike yet?"

"I've taken a shift on his door," he admitted.

"How is he?" she inquired.

"Not much has changed from last night," Paul knew Mike liked his privacy and would respect that.

"So he's not allowing any new visitors?" Piper dipped her head. She had dropped by the hospital to see Mike twice before, only to be turned away. It looked like this morning would be more of the same.

"The doctors don't want him stressed," Paul reiterated.

"So they say," Piper replied.

"They are going to have to release him sometime," he said, knowing full well that would be in a few hours.

She was getting the message- she was going to have to wait. "I guess I'll check with Lauren and see if I can do anything productive," Piper turned around and walked toward the automatic doors. Paul followed her out. They headed to the parking lot.

"Where are you off to?" she made conversation.

"We got reinforcements in and I'm exhausted, so I'm heading out for some sleep in an actual bed," he yawned. Paul would be back before Mike was discharged.

"Ready to get out of here?" Abby untied the first knot that held Mike's hospital gown closed.

"I can't wait to wash this hospital smell off of me," her boyfriend agreed. Mike scrunched up his nose playfully.

She chuckled then went to work on the other ties. Abby helped him slide it off. She folded it. He had already slipped on a pair of boxers underneath. Abby hissed at the pervasive purple color the majority of his back had turned. She winced as a jolt of a sympathy pain shot through her.

"That bad?" Mike questioned.

"I don't know how you are moving," Abby answered honestly.

"I've got a high threshold for pain," he shrugged. Mike immediately regretted the motion.

She had to close her eyes, "Don't do that."

He rubbed the back of his neck. "Good advice," Mike replied. He patted around the bed trying to find his clothes. His hand lighted on a pair of slacks. Mike knew they were his from the texture.

Abby kissed the scrape that covered the nape of his neck. Abby retrieved his white button down shirt. She unfurled it with a snap. "Shirt time," Abby said.

"Ok," he left the slacks where he found them. She helped him on with one arm and then the other.

Abby pushed herself off of the bed on landed with her feet on the floor. She went in front of him.

"Why don't you let me start you on one so the rest are straight?" Abby suggested.

"Ok," Mike let go of his shirt. She brought the front two pieces of the shirt together and smoothed it down. Abby chose the third button. Nimbly her fingers went about sliding the button through the corresponding button hole. She almost started on the rest when his hands took over. While he finished buttoning, Abby found his socks. She knelt down and put them, one at a time, on his feet.

"How's this?" Mike asked. Abby stood and took a look at the shirt.

"Perfect," she smoothed down his collar. Her brown eyes lingered on the man she loved. He felt her watching him. Mike could only hope seeing him out of the hospital would help ease her mind.

"Now for these," he grabbed up his pants.

"Easy," Abby directed, "Let me help you on with those- bending down is probably not a good idea." They had passed the twenty-four hour mark of him being allowed to sit up without another seizure or other complication, but she still worried. He wasn't completely out of the woods yet.

Mike handed the slacks to her without protest. Abby unfolded them. She put them on him one leg at a time. "Ready?" Abby helped Mike to his feet. She pulled the pants up high enough he could reach. He pulled his pants the rest of the way up. Mike tucked his shirttails in, then zipped up and buttoned it.

"Did I miss any?" he inquired.

"You got all tucked in," Abby assured him. She helped him ease back to a seated position on the bed.

"Thanks, Abs," Mike said.

"What's a girlfriend for?" Abby leaned in and kissed his lips.

"Knock, knock," Brennan called. His security team stayed outside while he entered the room.

"Hi, Daddy," Abby greeted. Brennan came in and kissed Abby's cheek.

"It's good to have you up an about, Son," Brennan rested his hand on Mike's shoulder.

"Thanks, Governor," Mike replied.

"You can call me, Brennan," the older man said.

"Brennan," Mike agreed.

Brennan saw his daughter's clothes on the bed. "Go freshen up," he insisted, "I'll sit with him."

"You'll be ok?" she asked Mike.

"I will be fine," he replied.

Abby took up her clothes. "I'll be right back," she promised. Abby never took her eyes off of Mike as she backed into the bathroom.

Lauren sent Piper over to the room where they were monitoring the bugs they had placed in Horatio's cell. The warrant had come through an hour or two after the interrogation. That got them nowhere. Hopefully surveillance duty would keep her mind occupied. Grant was already there with a coffee mug in his hand. He didn't say a word as Piper took a seat.

A uniformed police officer came into the room carrying a cardboard box. Grant was too consumed with his job to notice so Piper stood. The officer went to her. "Kincaid?" she asked.

"She's out," Piper answered, "Can I help you?"

"These have been processed from the car bombing case, Ms. Kincaid asked to have them released to her to be returned," the officer replied.

"I'm Agent Harris, I can sign for them," Piper replied. The officer handed Piper a clipboard. Piper signed and dated the correct lines. The female officer traded Piper the box for the clipboard then left. She took the lid off of the box. The first thing on top was a smart phone. A bag of clothes, belt, and a shattered watch lined the bottom. It all looked like stuff Mike had been wearing the day of the bombing. Piper concluded that the phone in the box was also Mike's. She looked around to make sure there were no prying eyes on her. Piper slipped the object out of the evidence bag that held it. Wondering if it was still on, she pressed the power button. It restarted. Someone must have turned it off. She couldn't get passed his screen lock picture: Abby in full competition riding regalia smiling at him from atop a horse. What kind of horse Piper couldn't tell. It was a semi-close up. Was Abby still with Mike or had he sent her home to get some sleep? Piper noted an icon indicating nine missed calls and three texts. They were probably all from Mike's mother. She frowned. Another relationship hurdle. The two women had only had a couple brief meetings. Neither of them had gone well. Piper put the phone back into bag and stuffed it back into the box. This was not helping.

"Can you cover for me?" Grant motioned to the monitors, "I've got to run to the john." Piper nodded. He took off the head phones and handed them to her. Piper slipped them on. Several minutes passed. She had to fight oncoming boredom. Horatio Felix wasn't much to look at. He was only laying in his bunk anyway.

After a while Horatio finally did something interesting and reached under his bunk. Was that a cell phone he just pulled out? Piper leaned in closer. It was a cell phone Horatio held it to his ear. She turned up the volume to make sure she heard everything clearly. "I am not liking what I am hearing, my friend," Horatio replied, "… That's not the issue. Some Feds came to talk to me about you…The things they told me are very disturbing… We need to meet face to face to discuss our arrangement…" He shot up.

"You are my guest here… No, I don't want to talk specifics over the phone…" Horatio shook his head, "We will work details out when I get released… Don't you worry about that, I'll find you."

Johnny brought a wheelchair into Mike's room. "Time to bust you out of here," he grinned at his friend even though the other man couldn't see it.

"Took you long enough," Mike quipped. Everything had been signed so they had the green light.

Mike slowly stood. "Here we go," Abby guided him over to the chair. He found the chair arms. Mike used them to turn around and sit in the seat. They got him situated. A security escort took the trio down the elevator and out to the parking garage where Dale and Paul awaited them with the car.

Johnny and Paul shielded them from the photographers and reporters that had gotten wind of Mike's discharge. Abby steadied Mike on the way into the car. They got Mike settled in the backseat. Paul slammed the car door shut behind them then got in up front.

They got going down the road smoothly. "Think it's too late to call my mom?" Mike asked Abby.

"I am sure she wants to hear from you as soon as she can," Abby retrieved her phone and dialed the contact Briggs had inputted into it. She made sure the phone had dialed. "Here you go, Babe," Abby handed him the phone. Mike put it up to his ear and listened to the phone ring. It wasn't long before someone picked up.

"Mike, baby?" Rachel answered.

"Hi, Mama," Mike smiled.

"Thank God," she held her hand at her chest. It was so good to hear her son's voice.

"Sorry, I don't mean to interrupt your lunch," he said.

"I couldn't eat anyway," Rachel replied, "How are you doing, Sweetheart?"

"I feel beat up, but I'm doing well- they discharged me from the hospital," Mike replied.

"Isn't it a little soon?" his mother noted. She hadn't heard all the details, but Paul had told her about the head trauma.

"My skull didn't crack open- the pressure has gone down," he replied.

"Your hard head came in handy this time," Rachel quipped.

Mike chuckled, "Yes, it did."

"Where are you going to go?" she inquired.

"They are taking me back to the estate to recoup," he took Abby's hand and entwined their fingers. Her heart skipped a beat.

"You don't know how much I just want to fly over and take care of you," Rachel professed.

"Don't worry about me. I'm in good hands," Mike assured her.

"You're my baby, I am going to worry about you, it's my job," she cleared her throat, "I love you."

"Love you too, Mamma," he replied.

"You better get rested up and heal," Rachel directed.

"I will," Mike promised.

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