Read Jimmy: Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 3 Online

Authors: Cat Johnson

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Jimmy: Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 3 (4 page)

BOOK: Jimmy: Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 3
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Chapter Four

 

Present Day

Jimmy sat—or more accurately lay like an invalid—on his bed with the same book he’d been trying to read for the last month open in his lap. He stared at the words on the page but they were just a meaningless jumble. Why couldn’t he concentrate? It wasn’t like he had anything else to do.

He could smell that his mama was baking one of her famous pies. He supposed he could limp downstairs and get some if he really wanted. Jack was still home on furlough for another few days. Maybe he could sneak outside and see what his brother and his new girl, Nicki, were up to. His other brother Jared had brought in a new stud stallion he was planning on breeding today. He could perhaps hobble over to the paddock and watch that.

Letting his head fall back against the pillow and roll to one side, he stared at the faded wallpaper he remembered so well from his childhood and decided all those ideas for diversions sounded like too much work.

Sighing, Jimmy considered taking a nap, but he doubted he could fall asleep. A man had to actually do something to get tired enough to sleep in the middle of the day.

Instead he let his mind drift to Lia, like he did so often even if it was the most pointless exercise on earth. He’d thought about her every day he was in Kosovo. He’d jerked off to visions of her each night. He didn’t even feel like doing
that
anymore. In fact, he didn’t think he’d had a hard-on since getting home from the military hospital in Germany.

The guards who’d taken him had worked him over pretty damn good before the team had rescued him. There’d been a time he’d wondered if he’d ever see home again. Now that he was here, safe and recovering, why didn’t he feel happier about it? Maybe because there was probably something wrong with his dick too.

Just great, that in addition to the bruises, broken bones and enlarged spleen, all of which he was pretty much recovered from now. He was just considering digging his teen-years stash of girlie magazines out of the back of his closet to test this new horrifying broken-dick theory when Jack knocked on his door.

“Hey, big brother.” Jack was always so damn cheerful, but then why shouldn’t he be? His dick worked just fine and he was working it out day and night with Nicki.

“Hey, Jack.”

Jack frowned. “You doing okay? You don’t look so good.”

“I’m fine. What’s up?” Jimmy wasn’t exactly in the mood for small talk today.

Unperturbed by Jimmy’s short answer, Jack walked over to sit in the chair next to the bed. He shrugged. “Oh, not much, except that I was just talking to the commander.”

“About what?” Jimmy wasn’t sure if talking about work would be a good diversion or just make him feel worse about being away from it, but he asked anyway.

Jack’s face broke out into a wide grin. “He wants you to come back to base with me when I go in a few days.”

Jimmy sat bolt upright. “Really?”

Jack nodded. “You have to call him though. There’s a doctor sign-off or something you have to get before the big brass will let you back on active duty.”

He’d get a note from his mama, the Surgeon General and the President of the US of A if it meant going back on active duty. “I’ll call him right now. Thanks, Jack.”

Jack laughed. “I thought that news would cheer you up. I just hope it makes up for my bad news.”

Jimmy paused as he reached for his cell phone on the side table. He knew it was too good to be true. He narrowed his gaze at his brother. “What bad news?”

“The governor and that bastard senator who tried to shut down our base a few years back are coming here for sweet tea and pie tomorrow.”

“What the hell… Why?” His mama was having a senator and the governor over for sweet tea and pie? Was he having a really strange dream? He hadn’t taken any painkillers in a long time. He couldn’t be hallucinating from them still being in his system.

Jack rolled his eyes. “You know that organization Jared belongs to? The one that lobbies for the small farmer? Well, the governor and the senator are coming to meet with the organization, along with a shitload of press.”

Great. Nothing Jimmy loved more than the press. “So let’s let Jared deal with them all. He planned this mess.”

“Oh, I plan on it. I’m sending Nicki away for the day too. I don’t want her face in the newspaper right now. And you and I shouldn’t be posing for any photos ourselves. The commander would shit a brick and our undercover days would be over. I figure we can hang out at the barn and watch Jared’s circus from a distance.”

Circus was a good description. From what he knew of the senator, the man was pretty much a clown who’d do anything to get the most people to cheer him on and vote him into office again. Jimmy would love watching his youngest brother Jared play gentleman farmer for the idiots, as long as
he
didn’t have to do it with him.

He nodded in agreement with Jack’s plan. “Sounds good.”

 

“So, Staff Sergeant Gordon. You’re here for an evaluation.” The doctor glanced down at the paper in his hand through glasses that hung just on the end of his nose. When he raised his gaze again, he looked at Jimmy over the top of the frames.

Jimmy hadn’t been referred to by his rank since he’d been recruited out of the Marines for Task Force Zeta. It sounded strange hearing it now, but he supposed it was still accurate so he didn’t correct the man.

“Yes, sir, and call me Jimmy.” He glanced at the nameplate on the desk.
Dr. Marvin Stein, PhD, MD
. That was quite a mouthful. Absently, he wondered what Marvin’s friends called him for short. Marv, perhaps?

Doctor Marv took a pen from among the many lined up neatly in his breast pocket and scribbled something on a pad of paper. “Okay, Jimmy. Tell me about yourself.”

Jimmy raised a brow. Much like the stages of grief, he’d gone through many emotions over the last twenty-four hours since the commander had ordered the psych evaluation. First he’d been elated, followed closely by anger that he didn’t need some doctor’s note to tell him if he was ready to go back to duty. Now, finally, he simply felt acceptance. Whatever it took to get back on active duty, he’d do. Even put up with Freud here watching him over the top of his granny glasses while taking notes on everything he said and did.

“Um, about me. Okay. I was born in Pigeon Hollow thirty-four years ago on the horse farm that’s been in my mama’s family for three generations. Daddy was a drunk. He took off when I was fifteen, leaving Mama to raise us three boys. I’m the oldest so I helped as much as I could. I was all-state in football in high school—”

The doctor held up his hand. “This is all very interesting, Jimmy. But perhaps we could skip ahead to what happened on your mission and your recovery since then.”

Well, he had asked. As a doctor, you would think he’d be more specific with his questions. Although it was just the local VA hospital, not the Mayo Clinic, so Jimmy didn’t expect much from the doctors.

“All right. Well, my family doc says I’m pretty much all recovered from the injuries I sustained. My ribs will be sore for a little bit more. Broken ribs seem to take forever to heal. But my spleen is back to normal now.”

“I’m not talking about your body, Jimmy, although I am happy to hear you’re healing nicely. I’m talking about you emotionally.”

Hmm. Muddier waters. “I’m fine there too, doc.”

“Ah.” The doctor nodded and scribbled something else.

Ah
? What did
ah
mean? Jimmy fought the urge to stand up and grab the pad right out of his hand.

“Tell me what you’ve been doing during your time home, Jimmy.”

Wrestling his attention off the yellow paper, Jimmy managed to come up with an answer. “Um, well I was totally laid up for a few weeks or so. The doc wouldn’t let me move because of the spleen thing. My ankle had been busted too and the house is full of stairs, so it was easier to stay up in my room. Now I get around all right though. The ankle’s practically good as new, though I bet I’ll be able to predict when it’s going to rain from now on.” He laughed at his little joke. The doctor didn’t.

“And what do you do for fun?”

“Uh, well…” How was he going to explain the unauthorized and probably illegal op they’d recently staged under Jack’s command? “I…uh…joined my brother and some members of my unit for a night at our old hunting cabin a few weeks back. That was fun. Oh, and my brother got a new girlfriend. She works with the horses at our farm. We all hang out together sometimes.”

His life was sounding pretty pitiful now that he thought about it. If it weren’t for Nicki and her mob friends, he’d have nothing at all to talk about.

“I see. What about you? Is there a special woman in your life?”

Besides the girl he’d spent one night having unforgettable sex with six months ago and hadn’t stopped thinking about since? “No. My job isn’t exactly conducive to long-term relationships.”

He could just picture the date-night conversation had he taken Lia out before he left for his mission. Having to tell her he wasn’t a waiter and that he was leaving for a job he couldn’t tell her about for he didn’t know how long. Oh, and he couldn’t call, write or email for the undetermined duration of it. That would have gone over really well. About as well as if he could have told her the truth, that he would be pretending to be a terrorist recruit and if he was exposed they’d try to torture him to death.

Marv nodded and scribbled some more. “Of course. That’s totally understandable. Any trouble sleeping since you’ve been home? Nightmares?”

Jimmy shook his head while squinting at the upside-down writing on the pad. “No. Not really.”

During his first few days in the German military hospital, he would wake up in a cold sweat with his heart pounding until he realized he was safe. But that was to be expected, he figured. It wasn’t a bad dream. More like it took a minute to remember he’d been rescued from the real-life nightmare.

The doctor was giving him that probing stare again. “Anything you say here is confidential, Jimmy. So I want you to speak freely.”

Yeah. So he could tell the commander not to put him back on active duty. No way.

As Jimmy considered that, his new pal Marv continued. “I also want to be honest with you. You are incredibly well-adjusted considering what you’ve been through. I feel going back on active duty is the best thing for you at this point. I made that determination based upon the fact that the only thing you’ve shown any excitement over in this interview was the night you spent with the men from your unit.”

It had been one hell of a night, but more importantly, this guy was going to let him get back to work. His heart rate kicked into high gear at the thought.

“However, I also think there are things you’re not telling me. I really do want to help you. So…” The doctor took a white piece of paper out of his drawer, scribbled some more and then slid it across the desk. “That is my recommendation you be put on active duty immediately. It’s yours to give to your commander. Take it and put it away, then tell me what you’re holding back.”

“Thanks, doc.” Jimmy took the paper, but still hesitated spilling his guts to this man. What good would it do? He just wanted to take his paper and go.

The doctor filled the silence. “Do you know why your commander sent you to me in particular and not to any of the other doctors here?”

Jimmy shook his head. “I guess I didn’t think about it.”

“I was a POW in Nam.”

“Wow. I didn’t know.” Jimmy suddenly saw the man with new respect.

Dr. Stein waited expectantly. What was it about silence that made a person want to fill it?

Jimmy shrugged. “I don’t know what kind of revelation you’re looking for here, doc. There’s really nothing to tell.”

“Isn’t there?”

Jimmy thought his lying skill had been honed pretty well, but good old Marv obviously saw right through him. Actually, he’d apparently somehow messed up in Kosovo too. Maybe he needed some more training in the deception department.

He let out a deep sigh. “It’s just that I don’t seem to have much interest in anything anymore. I feel… Well that’s just it. I don’t feel anything at all. Not angry, not happy, not excited—except for that one time with my brother and teammates. I’m not even, um, horny.”

The doc nodded. Jimmy was very happy he wasn’t taking notes on any of that, particularly the last part.

“It sounds to me like depression, which is not surprising. You’ve been in the teams so long it’s become your identity. Being forced to sit on the sidelines has left you without purpose. The lack of sexual interest is typical of depression. I think all of the symptoms will pass when you get back to the base.” He smiled. “In fact, you perked up the minute I gave you that paper. But if it doesn’t get better, call me and I’ll prescribe something for you.”

Relief flooded through him. He hadn’t realized how good it would feel to admit his fears to a stranger, someone he hadn’t grown up with and who wouldn’t judge him, try to cheer him up or reason away his feelings. He stood and extended his arm to shake hands with the doctor. “That’s great to hear, doc. I feel better already.”

The doctor laughed. “I can see that. Good luck, Jimmy.”

“Thanks, doc.” He nodded and was out the door with the golden ticket back to active duty clutched tightly in his hand. Now all he had to do was make it through Jared’s political circus this afternoon and he was home free.

BOOK: Jimmy: Red, Hot, & Blue, Book 3
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