Chapter Seven

Tuesday Morning, Ron and Matt’s home

Ron and Matt had finished breakfast and were standing to leave when Dan entered the room.

“Hi guys,” Dan said cheerfully.

“Hi Dan,” they responded as they changed their minds about leaving and sat back down.

“Where’s Tyler?” Ron asked as Dan picked up a cup and poured himself a cup of coffee. Putting it on a tray, he brought the tray with the coffee carafe and ‘decorations’ to the table, where he joined the others.

“He’ll be along in a minute,” Dan replied. “He decided to check on the new boys before eating. I told him that it was a wasted effort. Young guys can sleep ‘til noon. But what do I know?”

“Did you ever have a chance to talk with him about the art charity that you and I talked about on Sunday morning?” Matt asked.

“Yes, we talked about it just before he went to Salt Lake City. I just forgot to tell you with all the excitement with Nathan and Carl,” Dan answered.

“What did he think?” Ron asked, suddenly showing real interest in the conversation.

“He thought that it was a fine idea. He said that we’d put in half as much as you guys want to put in though. He said that he’d want to limit his and my giving to $30 million, at least for now. We’re still trying to catch up with you guys in net worth.”

“You’re making progress with that,” Ron said. “Aztec-Turner has turned into a real gold mine.”

“Yes, I guess so,” Dan responded. “I only know that he works hard at it, and it seems to be paying off.”

“Matt, I’ll take care of the legal part of the Art Charity and make the transfers of money,” Ron offered. “A $90 million start should be sufficient to make a small dent in the needs, especially if the investments do as well as our other charities. Contact Jan Bounett at the office and have her start the search for a Director. The Charity will be in your ballpark.”

“Yes sir,” Matt answered.

“Yikes! There I go again.” Ron said with a blush. “Giving orders instead of asking. I’m sorry Matt.”

“It’s okay Babe,” Matt said with a grin. “At least you’re learning. How’s your Construction Leasing operation doing here Dan?” he continued. “I don’t keep up on what’s happening as much as Ron.”

“It’s doing great!” Dan answered, “I’d guess in spite of me, instead of because of me. The western part of the country is still the growing part of mining, and runs circles around the east in building construction. The east only exceeds the west in road construction, especially now that California has budget problems. Construction Leasing has been pretty weak in the west, which we’re trying to change. The guys I have are balls of fire! They could sell condoms to a 90 year-old moose. We’ve increased our business in the west by 50% in just 6 months. I feel confident that the figure will be 100% by Christmas. Our goal is to increase our business next year by 300 %. The good part is that our operation out of New York is doing almost as well. If all goes as planned, we’ll be the industry leader by the end of the year, and should have 70% of the total market by the end of next year.”

“Wow! I had no idea!” Matt said in wonder.

“Yes, Richard is very aggressive. Ron made the right choice in choosing him as President of Construction Leasing.”

“I know talent when I see it,” Ron replied with a wink at Matt.

“We weren’t talking about THAT!” Dan responded with a laugh after seeing the exchange of looks between the two lovers.

“You know what they say,” Ron declared, “Men have two emotions: Hungry and Horny. If you see one without an erection, make him a sandwich!”

Ron joined the other two men in laughter.

Tyler entered the room in the midst of the frivolity.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

“We were just joking around,” Dan answered as he checked out his partner with his eyes.

“Grab a sandwich!”

Ron and Matt roared, along with Dan. Tyler just looked confused, as there were no sandwiches in sight.

“I’ll tell ya later, Babe,” Dan promised. “Grab a cup and join us.”

Tyler walked to the buffet and picked up a cup and a slice of toast before joining the others.

“How are the new boys doing this morning?” Dan asked.

“You were right about Nathan,” Tyler replied. “He’s sound asleep. Carl was awake and I guess, has been for a while. I think he’s afraid to just go wandering around. Kinda like Alice in Wonderland, he’s afraid of running into the Queen of Hearts.”

“He should know I’d be nice to him Sweetie,” Matt said in his best camp imitation.

Ron laughed and poked his partner in the shoulder lightly with his fist as the other two men snickered.

“What were you guys talkin’ about?” Tyler asked.

“We were talking about the Art Charity,” Dan answered. “We’re in for $30 million and Ron and Matt are putting in $60 million. Then we talked about Construction Leasing. Oh, speaking again of that, Richard will be coming out week after next.”

“Good!” Ron said with enthusiasm. “Let’s make sure he feels welcome. You know, have him stay here if he wants, and we’ll do a bit of entertaining.”

Out of Ron’s field of vision, Matt winked at Dan.

“I’ll take care of it,” Dan assured Ron. “Is Carl going to join us for breakfast?” he asked Tyler.

“Yes, he’s taking a shower, then he’ll be down. He doesn’t have much in the way of clothing yet, just his coveralls and one set of clothing that was giving to him by the guys at the ‘sanctuary’. Nathan had plenty of nice things, but most of them were destroyed when his apartment was trashed. I think Parker has his day cut out for him.”

“I’d let Nathan help Carl pick out some things,” Matt suggested. “He seems to have a good sense of style. Parker is getting better at buying stuff for younger guys, but the look is still a bit preppy, especially for real casual dress.”

“Have the other guys left for school already?” Tyler asked.

“Yes, they were just finishing their breakfasts when we came down,” Ron replied. “They are long gone, but should be back by mid-afternoon.”

“We probably should wake up Nathan pretty soon,” Dan suggested. “Parker can keep the two boys occupied after you leave and I can run to the office for a while when they go shopping. If they want to see you though before you take off for Albuquerque, they need to get a move on.”

“I’ll go back up and get him going,” Tyler said in agreement.

“And we’ve got to go to the office,” Matt declared. “Ron and I have a pretty busy today.” I was gonna stay home, but with the shopping and all it might be best if I go to the office and knock out what I have to do.

“Tyler, we’ll see you in a couple of days. Good luck with your trip,” Ron said as he and Matt pushed away from the table. “Dan, we’ll probably see you at the office. If not then we’ll see you here tonight.”

The men all stood, exchanged their customary hugs, then departed for their tasks for the day.

                        *                      *                      *

1:30 PM, The offices of Turner Enterprises

Matt walked up to Ron’s administrative assistant’s desk outside his office.

Hi Margaret,” he said in greeting, “Is Ron busy?”

“He’s on the phone, then he’s got these two gentlemen waiting,” she said indicating the two men seated outside Ron’s door.

“Okay, no problem,” Matt said smiling. “Please tell him, when you get a moment, that I’ve gone out to Thornton. I’d like to see how the new Activities Director is doing. Leonard Johnson is out of town and I wasn’t too delighted with their choice, but maybe I’m just too picky. I do believe in giving a guy a chance.”

“I’ll be happy to tell him,” Margaret replied. “Do you know when you’ll return?”

“Thanks. My guess is by 3:30,” Matt answered after looking at his watch.”

“Have a nice visit, goodbye,”

“Bye Margaret,” Matt replied as he stepped toward the elevator to the underground parking garage.

                                    *                      *                      *

30 minutes later, The Thornton Center for Gay Youth

Matt pulled open the door to the administrative building and walked through, making his way toward Leonard Johnson’s office. Stopping at the doorway leading to Frances Peale’s office, he knocked.

“Come in,” he heard in response.

“Hi Frances,” he said to Leonard’s secretary, who was also the Personnel Director of Thornton.

“Oh hi Matt,” Frances said with a smile. “What brings you to Thornton today? You know that Mr. Johnson’s out of town?”

“Yes, I know,” Matt replied. “I thought I’d just come over and see how Stanley Toms is making out as the new Recreation Director. Anything else going on?”

“Not too much. We have a new boy that was brought over from the shelter today. His name is Billy Blackstone. He’s 12,” she responded. “I took him over to Davidson House to make introductions when he arrived about 2 hours ago. I’m not sure where he is now but I’d guess that he’s either there or at the Rec. building.”

“How is George Billings doing as the new counselor?”

“Not as good as you,” Frances replied. “Even though he has impressive credentials, he just doesn’t have the ‘touch’ that you had with the boys.”

“He’s only been here a couple of months,” Matt said. “Perhaps the boys will warm up to him more after they’ve gotten used to each other.

“When you’ve had the best, it’s hard to get used to lesser people,” Frances grumbled almost under her breath.

“If you’re referring to me,” Matt came back, “I thank you. It’s too bad that we’ve already lost some fine people that have worked here. Both Barry Young and Jessie Fox were excellent Recreation Directors, though I had my doubts about Jessie in the beginning. I turned out to be wrong about him, fortunately.”

“What’s your take on Stanley Toms?” Frances asked.

“Honestly, my first impression was not good. There’s something about the guy that gives me a creepy feeling. He certainly gained the necessary credentials in Michigan, nonetheless I’m just not comfortable.”

“I agree with that,” Frances responded. “He looked good on paper and our other choices were not too impressive, but I’m just afraid that Leonard made a mistake when he chose him. I hope I’m wrong.”

“Me too Frances,” Matt said as he nodded his head. “I’ll take my little tour now. I should be back shortly.”

“Ok Matt, I’ll be here.”

Matt turned and headed back down the hallway. Seeing that George Billings was in the office Matt had previously occupied, he stopped and chatted with his successor for about 10 minutes. Saying goodbye as they concluded their exchange, he then made his way toward the recreation center.

Matt noticed the lovely fall weather as he gazed across the green playing fields and tennis courts of Thornton. The only blight on the scene was the chain link fence surrounding the next three houses under construction. He saw a young man in the distance waving his arms from the construction site and waved back as he recognized Peter Siegler who had been promoted to Assistant Superintendent of the project. He decided to visit the site after he’d finished with Stanley. It would be good to see Pete again and check on the progress of the new construction. With an additional boy or two coming nearly every month the existing houses were nearing capacity, so the new units would be ready none too soon.

Matt followed the walk to the entrance of the recreation center. He paused at the bronze statue and plaque erected in honor of the first Recreation Director, Barry Young. As always happened to Matt when he stood gazing at the memorial, a tear appeared in the corner of his eye as he thought of the handsome young man who had been both a fine example to the boys and a good friend to Ron, himself and their close group of friends.

Shaking his head to clear it of the thoughts of nostalgia that had overcome him, Matt stepped toward the door leading inside. Grasping the handle he pulled the heavy door toward him, opening it and stepping inside the large general-purpose room. He noticed that the room was set up for basketball, though the weather outside would have seemed more appropriate for football. Noise was coming from the hallway leading to the office, computer and game center and to storage facilities. Matt headed toward that area, believing it to be the vicinity where he’d most likely find Stanley whom he’d met only once.

As he closed on the hallway opening, the noise became clearer. It sounded like someone in pain and a struggle in process. He speeded his pace to a fast trot looking for the source of the ruckus. Rounding the corner he gasped in shock. In the Director’s office the bare bottom of a squirming youth was exposed as he was draped over the back of a chair. An adult male, with pants dropped to his socks was behind him. The Adult had the youth’s neck in the grasp of his left hand while the other hand was guiding the adult’s large penis to the small opening in the youth’s ass.

“What’s going on here?” Matt screamed as he charged toward the door.

The adult quickly released the youth and grabbed his pants; barely getting them back over his hips by the time Matt turned the doorknob. With a quick zip of his fly, the adult grabbed a trophy that was sitting on the desk, grasping the plastic figurine ready with the heavy granite base to do real damage.

Matt attacked as the door swung open, banging it against the door bumper. In three steps, he was upon the new Director, Stanley Toms, who had just begun to swing back the trophy. The force of Matt’s momentum carried both men over the back of the still bent-over boy and onto the floor. Matt swung his powerful arms, pounding the face of the boy’s assailant. Stanley rolled away from the maelstrom of pounding fists, and quickly jumped to his feet, still holding the trophy.

Matt’s rage caused him to lose all caution as he closed in again on the attacker. Too late he saw the trophy swinging toward his head. A bright flash zapped instantly to his brain, then blackness closed in as he crumpled to the floor.

                                     *                      *                      *

5 minutes later, Thornton’s construction site.

Pete Siegler stepped into the construction trailer. Terry the superintendent looked up.

"Leaving to pick up those few pieces of hardware that we need tomorrow?” Terry asked.

“Yes sir,” Pete replied. “I just saw Matt Davidson go into the recreation building a short while ago. Do you mind if I run over there first and say hi? I haven’t seen him in over a month.”

“Sure,” Terry said with a smile. “I always liked that guy. When he worked here in construction he made sure he was just one of the guys. I was the only one that knew otherwise, but he just pitched in, doing the most menial tasks without complaint. Even later when he worked as the counselor at the Center, he’d come over just to bullshit with the guys. Tell him hi for me.”

“I will, Terry, and thanks.”

“Not a problem, kiddo.”

Pete stepped down from the trailer and walked to the locked man-gate connecting the playing field to the construction site. As he was unlocking the padlock, he saw a man leave the rec. building, walking rapidly toward the parking lot. It looked like the new Recreation Director, but Pete could not be sure as the man was holding a handkerchief to his face. Pete thought it was curious, as he passed through the wire gate, relocked it and hurried across the playing field to his destination. He hoped he wasn’t too late to see Matt before he left. As he saw the man get into his car and speed off, he noticed Matt’s Mercedes sports car in the lot with it’s top down. He was in luck.

Entering the building he saw that the large main room was empty. It would be filled soon he guessed, as it wouldn’t be long before the kids would be returning from school. He walked to the hallway leading to the office and computer room. He first sensed that something was wrong when he saw the office door standing open. That was considered a no-no in a facility where nosey kids, especially ones from the street, could be depended upon to invade private spaces. He walked quickly to the window where the shades were partly closed. Peering inside he saw first, a youth hog-tied with ropes and with a wide strip of duct tape plastered across his mouth. Then he saw the legs of a man sticking out from behind the desk. He immediately suspected it might be Matt and dashed into the room. Quickly rounding the desk, he saw his friend unconscious with blood running freely from his head. He grabbed the desk phone, dialed 9 for an outside line, then punched 911. He frantically described the situation, then gave his name and Thornton’s address.

He quickly returned to the prone body of Matt, checking his pulse. Satisfied that the pulse seemed strong, but afraid to move him, he stepped over to the boy, pulled out a pocketknife from his jeans and cut the rope, freeing the struggling youngster. Picking the boy up and placing him in a chair, he said as he pulled at the tape over the youth’s mouth “This might hurt a little. Be brave.” The boy winced as the tape was pulled, then wrapped his arms around Pete after the tape came off and began to cry on Pete’s shoulder. Holding the boy in his one arm, he again reached for the phone with his free hand, took it off its cradle, laid it on the desk and dialed a number. He than picked up the receiver and held it to his ear.

“Margaret,” he said almost in panic. “This is Peter Siegler at Thornton. Matt’s been attacked and is unconscious in the recreation building. I have an ambulance coming. Let Ron know. My cell number is 555-0101. I have to hang up now. Goodbye.”

He dialed another number and waited for an answer.

“Mrs. Peale,” he said hurriedly, “this is Peter Siegler from the new project. “I came over to the recreation building to see Matt and found him in the recreation director’s office unconscious. There’s a young boy who was tied up here too. I’ve called for an ambulance and called Ron Turner. Would you call the Davidson house and have the house parents come here? Better send the youth counselor too. Someone needs to take care of the boy, and get him away from here before the police and ambulance arrive. Thanks.”

No sooner had he disconnected than his cell phone began to ring. He snatched it, pressing the ‘send’ button.

“This is Pete,” he answered.

“Pete, this is Ron Turner. How’s Matt?”

“He’s still unconscious, but he’s got a pulse and is breathing ok. The ambulance is on its way. I think the police are coming too. “Where are you?”

“I was going downtown for a meeting when you called the office,” Ron answered. “I should be there in about 10 minutes. Please take care of Matt. I’ll be eternally grateful.”

“You know I’ll do all that I can, Ron.”

“Thanks, I’m sure you will. I’ll let you go. See you in a few minutes.”

A moment later the house parents arrived, and Pete turned the care of the boy over to them, though the youth resisted being taken away from Pete. The parents carried him into the computer room next door to await the arrival of the paramedics and police. Pete again knelt beside Matt straightening his legs, and making sure his breathing was unobstructed. He found a pile of white bath towels stacked in the corner; taking a few from the stack he covered Matt’s body with double layers to keep his body warm. Wondering what else he could do, his thoughts were interrupted by the sound of sirens getting closer. Within two minutes, the sound that had grown very loud suddenly ceased. Leaving the office and heading down the hallway, he saw Mrs. Peale standing at the opened outside door wildly gesturing to the approaching paramedics. When they appeared at the door, Pete began waving, yelling, “Here! Hurry!!”

When he was sure that they had seen him, he turned and rushed back to the office, where he noticed that Matt’s breath had become ragged. The paramedics entered the room and ordered him to stand back as they followed him in, then quickly moving to the side of the injured man. Checking his wound, then taking his vital signs, the young men were a model of expert care and efficiency. One was on the radio with the hospital, informing the attending physician there of Matt’s condition. They carefully placed a neck brace around Matt’s neck, and then rolled his body onto a body board. Lifting the board onto the ambulance gurney, they covered him with a blanket and strapped him in. Taking an exposed arm, one of the paramedics inserted an IV needle into Matt’s arm, placing a piece of tape over it to keep it in place.

During the time that care was being administered, a policeman was taking photos of the scene, then as the unconscious form was ready to go, asked, “Who found this man?’

Pete, who was standing nearby, answered, “I did, officer.”

“Excuse me sir,” one of the paramedics interrupted. “We’re ready to move.” Turning to Pete he asked, “We need some ID for admitting. Do you know this man?”

“Yes,” Pete answered. “His name is Matt Davidson, a VERY wealthy man. He must have the best of care. Please call this number,” he said grabbing a piece of paper from the desk, pulling a smaller piece from his wallet then jotting down Ron’s name, his cell number, and his office number. “This man is his partner and will take care of everything. I work for them on the construction project here. My name is Peter Siegler.”

“Thanks,” the paramedic said taking the larger piece of paper. “We’re rolling.”

Carefully guiding the gurney through the office door, the two medical attendants rolled the apparatus carrying Matt quickly down the hallway destined for the waiting ambulance.

The policeman moved to Pete and said, “I’ll try to make this as short as possible. Could you tell me what happened?”

“Sure officer. Could I make one phone call first? I need to tell the victim’s partner what’s happening.”

“Make it quick,” the officer said.

Pete quickly pushed a couple of buttons on his phone, revealing again Ron’s number and once the highlight was on that number, he pushed the send button.

“Ron, this is Pete again,” the young man spoke when Ron answered. “They’ve taken Matt to the ambulance and should be leaving here shortly.”

“Thanks Pete,” Ron replied. “I’m almost there. If they haven’t left already, I’ll be sure to see them now. Are you going to the hospital?”

“I can’t yet,” Pete answered. “The officer here needs my statement. There is a kid here too who was tied up by the attacker. He probably knows more than I do but is frightened. I may need to help him. Oh! I almost forgot! I was supposed to get some construction supplies for the job for tomorrow morning. I got permission to come over to the rec. center to see Matt first.”

“Don’t worry about that stuff,” Ron replied. “I’ll call Terry and let him know what’s happened. When you get free, you should call him too. I’m sure he can make do until the morning. I’m just arriving at the Center, and I see the driver getting into the ambulance. I’ll follow it to the hospital. Come to the hospital later if you want.”

“I’ll be there,” Pete responded. “Matt is one of my favorite people.”

“Mine too,” Ron said sadly. “Bye.”

“Bye Ron.”

“I overheard what you told that guy,” the policeman said. “There was another witness?”

“Yes, he’s a young boy about 11 or 12 years old. He was tied up and gagged when I came on the scene. He’s pretty upset. I’ll give you my statement first so that he won’t have to answer any unnecessary questions and his questioning can be as short as possible. I don’t know how badly he’s taking this whole thing.”

“Okay,” the officer said as another policeman joined the first. The second officer was dressed in a suit but had a badge hanging from his suit pocket.

“Hi,” he said to Pete. “I’m Detective Gunderson from Metro. I’ll be conducting the interrogation if it’s all right with Officer Smith.

“Be my guest, Detective,” Smith agreed. “It’s just less paperwork for me.”

“Can you give us a little background?” Gunderson asked, “You know, your name, address and all that? Next tell us in your own words about the incident.”

“My name is Peter Siegler,” Pete offered. “I live at 8745 W. Charleston, Apartment 1120, Las Vegas 89138. I work for Turner Construction and am the assistant superintendent of the project under construction here. I am a friend of Mr. Davidson, the victim…”

                                     *                      *                      *

An hour later, UMC hospital, emergency room waiting area

Ron paced the floor in the private waiting room that the hospital had provided for him. Dan, Margaret Hunsaker, his Administrative Assistant; and Will Nuggent, Executive V.P. of the Turner Companies, had joined his vigil. Pete too was there but arrived later than the others after his interrogation with the police.

Ron had called the house and talked to Parker, updating him on the situation, and checking on the boys, promising to call once he knew something. Margaret and Will had handled matters that he had been working on at the office to make certain that he was not distracted before joining him in his vigil. Dan had called Tyler who was in Albuquerque, who again changed his plans and would be arriving in Las Vegas in two hours.

The door opened to the waiting room and a doctor in green ‘scrubs’ entered. Behind him followed Ron’s personal physician, Randy Hazeltoff.

“I’m Doctor Parker,” the green-clad doctor announced as he approached Ron. “I’m a neurosurgeon. Dr. Hazeltoff called me in.”

“Dr. Parker is one of the attending physicians that worked on Roy of Sigfried and Roy fame,” Dr. Hazeltoff added, “he’s very well qualified.”

“Yes, I’ve heard of the brilliant work you did with him,” Ron responded with a nod. He then asked anxiously, “How’s Matt?”

“Not as good we’d hoped,” Dr. Parker reported. “He’s still in critical condition. The heavy object that impacted his head caused a skull fracture. We’ve been monitoring it carefully, and now his brain is swelling. We need to operate to relieve the pressure but we need permission to perform the procedure.”

“I’ll gladly give it,” Ron stated.

“Uh… in Nevada….”

“We are partners,” Ron interrupted. “We have executed Power of Attorney documents for each other, including decision-making authority for life and death decisions.”

“I’ll have to believe you,” Dr. Parker stated. “We have no time for the legal verification.”

“Thank you Doctor,” Ron said with relief. “I’ll call my attorney and have a copy of the document faxed to the hospital, right away.”

“That would be appreciated,” Dr. Parker continued, handing Ron three pieces of paper. “Please sign where the ‘x” is highlighted.”

Ron took the papers, signed them and then Margaret signed as a witness. Handing the papers back, Ron then asked, “Will he be okay?”

“The procedure itself is not particularly dangerous, though there’s always a risk,” the doctor explained. “It’s my opinion that doing nothing is far more dangerous. As to his complete recovery, we’ll not know until he regains consciousness. When we do the surgery, we’ll take a look with an arthroscope to verify what the Sonogram is indicating. There appears to be some minor bleeding, but we’re not sure that it indicates real damage to the brain or whether it’s minor. It could indicate a minor stroke.”

“Do what you have to do,” Ron said grimly. “I won’t leave until I know he’s safe.”

“We’ll report back as soon as he’s in recovery.” Dr. Parker concluded with, “He should be prepped now and in the surgery suite, so I have to go.”

“Thank you Doctor,” Ron said as the doctors left the waiting room. Ron moved to a sofa, buried his face in his hands as the tears began to flow. Beginning his silent prayer for divine intercession, he begged for the life and full recovery of the man who was his whole existence.

                                     *                      *                      *

4 PM, Ron and Matt’s home.

Parker called the boys into the family room. Ronnie and Jerry had gone to Ronnie’s room to do their bit of homework after returning home from school 30 minutes earlier. The two Utah boys, Nathan and Carl were in the game room where Nathan had been teaching Carl to play pool. Parker had summoned them to come into the family room after confirming that the other boys were on their way. Doug had just signed off from the web after chatting with Eddie at Thornton. He had just pushed away from his computer when the phone in his room rang with the call to come downstairs. A few moments later as the door to the elevator opened and he rolled out of the cab in his wheelchair, the other boys immediately noticed a look of shock on his face.

“What’s the matter?” Ronnie asked as Douglas arrived at the seating area of the room.

“Is it true?” Douglas asked, ignoring the question and looking at Parker.

“I’m afraid so,” Parker replied.

“What’s going on?” Ronnie asked as he began to panic.

“Mr. Matt was attacked today while visiting the Thornton Center.” Parker explained. “He was taken to the hospital, unconscious.”

“Is he going to be okay?” Jerry asked for the assembled youths.

“He’s in surgery now,” the older man answered. “They need to relieve pressure on his brain that has occurred as a result of his being struck with a heavy object. Mr. Ron is at the hospital and will call as soon as his condition is known.”

“Ronnie and Jerry began to cry openly, and the other boys, especially Douglas who knew Matt better than the newcomers, had tears forming.”

“Can we go see him?” Ronnie asked between sobs. “He’s my other dad!”

“Mr. Ron thinks it best that you stay here for now,” Parker replied. “ There is nothing you can do to help, and it might be a long wait before they know Matt’s condition or the extent of his injuries. It will be even longer before he can have visitors.”

“He’s not going to die, is he?”

“It’s possible but unlikely,” Parker hedged. “It could be quite a while before we know how he is. He’s not recovered consciousness yet. Mr. Dan and some people from the office are with Mr. Ron, and Mr. Tyler is expected to fly in soon from his trip.”

“Isn’t there anything we can do?” Ronnie asked.

“Just pray,” Parker replied. “Except for the doctors, that’s all that anyone can do now.”

                                    *            *