Sandburg’s Signature Touch
“Molly, what in the world happened while I was gone?” Blair couldn’t believe how great the rooms looked with all of the holiday decorations.
“I got the patient from hell. His name is Jim Ellison and I can’t get anywhere working with him. He fights me every step of the way. I’m ready to throw in the towel,” Molly admitted.
“What happened to him?” Blair asked.
“He was shot in the hip and his leg and hip are affected. But he doesn’t want me to touch him or help him in any way. He wants to do it alone, except that he needs help right now. He’s not strong enough to do it alone.”
“Would you like me to take over for you? I’ve had a wonderful ten days off and I’m super relaxed. Just the type of therapist he needs, wouldn’t you say, Molly?”
“Oh, Blair, if you could take over for me, I would owe you forever. He seems like a nice guy, but there is something odd about him. I swear that he had some type of seizure the other day while I was moving his leg around. One minute he was groaning and the next, he was completely out of it. I had a hard time getting him to come to. Mind you, his eyes were open, but he was totally gone, if you know what I mean.”
“There might be some other things and he isn’t comfortable talking to you about them. I’ll see if I can work some of the Sandburg signature magic.” Blair smiled at Molly and got a smile in return.
“He should be here in about an hour. Last time, he couldn’t do his 30 minutes, he could only handle 15. I wish you better luck,” Molly advised.
Blair started getting his gear out and went to get dressed in his comfy scrubs. Then he made a pot of delicious smelling coffee just in case this Jim Ellison liked coffee. Blair ground the beans himself, so it was super fresh. Everyone loved Blair’s coffee, therapists and clients alike.
He walked over to Molly and asked, “Do you have plans for Christmas?”
“No, my family is all going skiing and I’m stuck working without any time off,” she answered, laughing.
“Would you like to come to my house for dinner that night? I can make everything ahead of time and it’ll be fun for both of us. Is there anyone else we need to invite?” Blair wondered.
“I’ll think about it, but I think you and I are the only ones working that day. It sucks that we have to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”
Blair smiled at her. “We better get busy or we won’t have a job to work at.”
Blair walked up to him and held out his hand. “Jim Ellison, I’m your new therapist, Blair Sandburg. Please call me Blair and if you’re comfortable with it, I’ll call you Jim.”
Jim took his hand and shook it. “It’s nice to meet you, Blair. What happened to Molly? Did I scare her off?”
“Actually, Jim, I have a patient that wanted a woman to help her, so Molly suggested we switch at least for today. You can see how I do and tell me if you want to keep me on or not. Now how are you feeling? Are you up to some vigorous therapy today?”
“Actually, it’s weird, but the pain is better than it’s been all week. Maybe you’re my good luck charm,” Jim kidded.
“Let’s move you over to the bars, and you can stand up from your chair. We’ll try and do at least 30 minutes today if you can. If you can’t, we’ll try a little more tomorrow instead.” Blair pushed Jim in his wheelchair over to the bars and put the brakes on the chair. “Can you get up yourself, Jim? Or do you need help?”
“I still need a little help. Thank you for asking.”
“It’s my job, Jim.” Blair gave him a mega-watt smile and it seemed to work. Jim was instantly happier than he had been.
Blair helped Jim get out of the chair, but just guided Jim. He wanted Jim to do most of the work and see how he did. Jim was doing pretty well. Blair could see the sweat on Jim’s brow, so knew that Jim was in pain, but he was doing it none-the-less.
Jim walked all the way to the end of the bars and turned around and came back again. “Is that good enough, Blair? It’s really hurting.”
“Let’s get you in your chair and then we’ll move over to the massage table in the private room and see if we can work some of that pain out of the way,” Blair explained.
Jim sat down with help from Blair and then Blair pushed him over to the massage table and helped him get up again. Jim then walked with help to the side and lay on the table.
Blair started working on Jim’s tired and overworked muscles. Jim moaned in pain and Blair asked, “Am I hurting you too much?”
“No, that hip is just really sore. Work your magic,” Jim said, trying to smile.
Blair continued working on Jim’s hip and leg until Jim finally started falling asleep. Blair figured he might leave him there for an hour or two so he could get some rest. Blair strapped him onto the bed and then covered him with a heated blanket to keep him warm.
Blair started making notes and doing that part his job when Molly came over. “He’s sleeping? He let you give him a massage?”
“Yes, to both questions. We had an excellent workout today and I think at this rate he’ll be finished with therapy in two weeks. He’s a great client.”
Molly shrugged and said, “I guess he just needed some of that Sandburg signature charm. Thanks, Blair.”
“I’m going to let him sleep for a while and then take him back to his room. I called the nurses’ station and told them where he was and asked if he needed any medication. They said he was fine for about another three hours.”
“That’s a good idea that you called them. Your 11:00 is here, Blair.”
“I’ll take care of Jim as soon as I’m done with Mrs. Benson.”
“You’ve been sleeping for about three hours. Want to go to your room?” Blair asked, kindly.
“I have to make a pit stop first. I feel like I’m going to burst.”
Blair helped Jim sit up and then get into the chair with ease. Blair pushed him over to the restroom and Jim said, “I think I got it from here.”
“Except that I can’t leave you unattended just yet. I’m sorry.”
The two men went into the restroom and Blair helped Jim get his scrubs down and helped him sit on the toilet. It would be much easier than standing for a long period of time. Blair then turned his back to Jim and said, “You had a really good workout today, Jim. I’m impressed. Molly made you sound much worse.”
Jim wore a questioning frown before he answered. “That’s the odd part, Blair. I don’t hurt like I did yesterday. In fact it was a good workout for me too.”
“Why don’t you tell me what happened that landed you in our facility?”
“I’ve been having trouble with my senses at work. Oh hell, I’ve been having trouble at home too. One minute I had the bad guy in my sights and the next minute I woke up in the hospital. The doctor told my captain he thought I fainted. I see farther than I should, I hear more than I should, well, you get the picture. I get a little lost sometimes and it’s like I go away and then come back an hour later.”
Blair’s interest was peaking, since he had done research on tribes in South America. Could he be that lucky to find a Sentinel? So Blair told Jim about the Sentinel story and how he could control it with help and practice. “I can teach you to move your pain dials to something you can tolerate. I’ll show you how to do it. And then you’ll be able to get better, more quickly.”
“Why did I feel so much better with you by my side, Blair?”
“Well, Jim, I would guess I might be your guide. We’ll see as time goes on.”
“You’ll tell me more about having a Guide and what you would do?”
“Of course, I’ll tell you. We have a lot to figure out in the next few months. Just be patient.”
“Will you take me back up to my room, Blair? I’m really tired. This is the best workout I’ve had since the shooting. Thank you for getting me to where I need to be.” Jim stood up and pulled his scrubs back up, and did it all alone. Blair was impressed.
“Sit and I’ll take you up to your room. Then I’ll see you tomorrow morning for therapy,” Blair said, helpfully.
“Do you think you could come to my room tonight and tell me more about the Sentinel senses? I know you said to be patient, but I’m not. I’d like to learn as much as I can to help me deal with them.”
“That’s a great idea, Jim. I’ll bring dinner. I bet you’re tired of hospital food. Will Wonder Burger do?”
Jim’s face lit up like a light bulb. “I love Wonder Burger. What time do you get off?”
“At 5:00, so I’ll be there about 5:45 with dinner and drinks. And by drinks, I mean, Coke or Dr. Pepper.”
“I’d kill for a Dr. Pepper,” Jim confessed.
“Dr. Pepper it will be. No need to get violent,” Blair kidded.
When they got on the elevator, Jim said, “You don’t happen to date guys do you?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. Why?” Blair teased.
“I noticed the mistletoe and wondered if we’d ever get to use it.”
“Not while I’m at work. That damn Molly is going to take that down,” Blair pointed out.
“In that case, I would like to take you to dinner as soon as I’m out of here. I’m going to be out of commission for some time, so we can see each other a lot. My doctor said I won’t be going back to work for at least six months.”
“Jim, I’m just your therapist, but as well as you did today, I see you going back to work in six or eight weeks. You’re doing great. Once I’m no longer your therapist, we’ll go on a date.” Blair then told Jim how to control the dials while Blair pushed the wheelchair down the hallway to his room. Blair taught him all about pain dials and other kinds of dials. Jim was already trying them and found out they worked.
When Blair wheeled him into his room, Jim got out of the chair at the doorway and walked to the side of the bed. “See, I can get around much better now.”
“I see that. Don’t overdo, Jim. I’ve got to get back down to therapy. My next client is there. See you in the morning,” Blair called out over his shoulder. He missed the look of longing on Jim’s face.
“I’m going to see you tonight, remember?”
“It’s not a date though, okay?”
“Understood, Blair. Now go get your work done and I’ll see you close to 6:00.”
Blair smiled all the way down to Physical Therapy. He found his heart beating a little faster just thinking about Jim. He felt like a teenager again. You’re a little old to be doing this, Sandburg.
Upstairs, Jim pulled his sheet over his body and fell into a much needed sleep. Jim hadn’t been able to sleep until that day since the surgery.
When Becky, one of the nurses, came in, she checked his pulse, just to be sure he was all right. All of the staff knew that Jim was awake pretty well all night as well as all day – when he slept it was only for a few minutes before the pain woke him again. Becky was his afternoon nurse, and was thrilled that he was sleeping now. She closed the door so no one would disturb Jim’s sleep.
Blair looked into the room and saw Jim sitting up in bed, smiling. “I smelled dinner as soon as you got into the elevator.”
Blair smiled as he put everything on the tray table by Jim’s bed. “Seriously, you could smell it that far away?”
“And I heard your heart beat coming up too. It’s like you’re imprinted on me now and I recognize it immediately. I’m starving.” Jim tried not to sound so needy but it didn’t work.
Becky came walking in and said, “He should be eating the food that the hospital picks out for him. But I guess this is okay for tonight.”
“Thank you, Becky,” Jim said, happily as he started to eat one of the cheeseburgers.
Both men did little talking and a lot of eating. Once everything was done, Blair cleaned off the tray table and gave Jim his Dr. Pepper.
“You look so much better, Jim. Did you have a long nap or something?”
“Yeah, Blair, I did. I feel much, much better. Do you think we could walk the hallways after we finish our drinks?”
Blair stood up and said, “Let me go and ask your nurse. We’ll take the wheelchair if she says yes, just in case you get tired.”
Blair walked down to the nurse’s desk and Jim could hear him like he was in the same room. Becky told him yes as long as Blair was with him and he was careful.
Blair walked into Jim’s room to tell him the good news but Jim was in the bathroom. Blair knocked on the door and whispered, “You doing okay in there?”
Jim opened the door at that moment, with the smell of toothpaste in the air. “I had to brush my teeth and comb my hair. I felt like I was two for the last few days. I really do feel better.”
“Come on, let’s walk. We’re taking it slow and easy, Jim. No rushing things, do you understand?”
“Yup… I don’t want to end up staying longer because I messed something up. I’ll be good,” Jim confessed.
As they walked slowly down the hall, Blair asked, “So who was this that shot you and why did he?”
“He’s a real low life. His name is Steve Milner. And the worst part is I went into a zone as you call them and he escaped. Not to mention, he tried to kill me at the same time. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries again.”
“Jim, don’t you think this is something you should discuss with your boss?”
“Don’t worry, Blair. I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for him. No one wants him behind bars more than I do.”
“Once more, Jim, I think you should mention something to your boss about it first. Promise you’ll do that, okay?”
“I’ll call him in the morning. Thanks for worrying about me, Blair. Thank you also for dinner. It was great eating real food and talking to someone besides the nurses. I’m getting a little tired, I might sit down now,” Jim said quietly as he moved around the wheelchair and sat down in it.
Blair could see how tired Jim was and knew it was time to get him back into his bed. Blair pushed him all the way back to Jim’s room and helped him get into bed for the evening. As Blair was pulling the blanket up he went to say something to Jim and smiled when he saw that Jim was sound asleep already. Blair turned the light on in the bathroom and turned the light out in the room. He wanted Jim to get a good night’s sleep.
Blair and Molly kept handling their therapy caseloads and keeping up with their paperwork.
Blair began taking care of a client when a man walked into the exercise room. Blair smiled at him, even though he didn’t like the looks of him and said, “Hello, may I help you?”
The man said, “I’m looking for Blair Sandburg.”
Blair smiled again and said, “It’s your lucky day, you found him.”
The man pulled out a gun, making everyone in the therapy room scream and said, “I’ll kill them all if you don’t cooperate with me.”
“Again, it’s your lucky day, I am known for cooperating with everyone. What do you need?”
“I need to find Jim Ellison and I know you’re his therapist. I can’t find him in the hospital, but I know you know where he is. Now lock the door, pull the shade so no one can get in, then you and I are going to talk. Do you understand?” The crazy man asked.
Blair walked over to the door, locked it and pulled the shade down. Jim was supposed to pick him up in 20 minutes, and hopefully he wouldn’t be late. Maybe he could think of a reason to call him.
“What’s your name? Since you already know mine it seems only fair that I know yours,” Blair demanded.
“Steven Milner. Did he tell you about me?” Milner asked, angrily.
“No, I never heard of you. Why would you think I know where he is? I don’t keep track of my clients once they leave the hospital. Surely you must understand that.”
“I need you to get him here, right now. Call him and make something up. Do it now, or I’ll kill the woman over there,” he said, pointing his gun at Mrs. Chase.
Blair picked up his phone book and pretended he didn’t know the number and called it once he found it.
“Hey, Jim, this is Blair Sandburg. I know we didn’t have a session today, but I think you need to come in for one before I sign the paperwork for you to go back to work.”
Jim knew something was up immediately and said, “I’ll come right now.”
“See you soon, Jim.”
Blair hung up the phone and looked at Milner. “He’s going to come now. I don’t know how long it’s going to take him, but he knows he needs to come in.”
“I’m glad you didn’t try anything, Sandburg, or I would have killed your patient.”
“We call them clients, not patients. And I wouldn’t have helped you if you hurt her,” Blair said, angrily.
It wasn’t long before Jim knocked on the door to physical therapy. Simon and Joel were his backup. Blair started for the door and Milner said, “I’m standing right behind the door. I can shoot him anytime I want. Just remember that.”
“I understand,” Blair said as he unlocked the door and Jim stood there without saying anything and then shoved Blair to safety and slammed the door into Milner. Jim hit him so hard with the door that he was knocked unconscious right away. Jim took his gun, made sure there were no others and then put cuffs on him. When Milner started coming around he was past angry.
“I should have known that you would double cross us. You’re a low life. You’re worse than I am.”
“Are you kidding? No one would ever be as low as you are. You’re a piece of crap that gets stuck on someone’s shoe and they have to scrape it off.” Jim smiled over at Blair and Blair smiled back at Jim using a line from Dirty Harry.
“Sandburg told you I was there didn’t he?”
“Nope, I heard you out in the hall. Sandburg had nothing to do with it,” Jim said as calmly as he could. He wanted to strangle this man.
“I know you somehow warned him. I’ll get even with you, Sandburg, you wait and see. You’ll never see it coming. You’ll never live to see another day,” Milner shouted.
Simon walked into the room and said, “Did I just hear Milner saying he was going to kill Sandburg? He threatened him in front of cops?”
“Yes, sir, you did,” Jim answered.
“You don’t want to ever get out of prison do you? You can’t make threats in front of police officers and think you’re getting away with it,” Simon barked.
Milner knew he was in deep shit. “I didn’t fucking say a word about killing him. I was just going to hurt him. You know, rough him up a bit.”
Jim smiled at Simon. “He doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. I say we get him downtown and put him behind bars as soon as possible. Thank you for calling me, Blair. Now we’ll get this nutcase off the street and our lives will get back to normal.”
“You are most welcome, Jim. I’m glad this went down so well.” And then Blair whispered Sentinel soft, “Are we still on for tonight?”
Jim couldn’t smile any wider. “See you tonight, Blair. Stop by the station before we go out, so you can sign the papers.”
Now it was Blair’s turn to smile like crazy. When they left, everyone started talking at once in the therapy room. Blair got back to business with Mrs. Chase and she was quite thrilled with the excitement she had witnessed. “Blair, honey, you never told me that it would be this exciting down here.”
“Mrs. Chase, it usually isn’t. This was an off day for all of us. Believe me, this was more than enough for my lifetime.”
She laughed and said, “I think it was enough for me too. Are you seeing that police officer tonight?”
“We’re not supposed to talk about our personal lives, Mrs. Chase. But since you asked so nicely, yes. We’re going out tonight.”
“Good luck with that. I could see the sparks flying between you as soon as that nutjob said his name. You were very protective. I hope he knows that.”
“I’m sure he does. How do you feel now?”
“Like a new person. That was the greatest therapy I’ve ever had. Am I going to see you tomorrow too?”
“Tomorrow’s my day off, sorry.”
“Good, when you come back the following day you can tell me how your date went with Jim.”
“You’re a menace. But I like that about you. Let’s go back up to your room and I’ll see you in two days.”
Blair helped her get into the chair and then wheeled her out to the elevator. She never stopped talking until Blair finally got her settled in her room.
Jim got to the station and finished all his paperwork on Milner. Blair was coming in to sign it and then he would be done. He picked up his phone and called Blair.
“Hi, I was wondering if you are still stopping by the station to meet everyone and sign the papers you need to sign to put this fruitcake away.”
“Who is this?” Blair kidded.
Jim laughed and said, “Can you make it?”
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. See you soon, Jim.”
When Jim hung up the phone, he was smiling big time. Simon walked over to his desk and asked, “Does the smile have to do with this Sandburg fellow?”
Jim got up and said, “In your office.”
Simon followed him in with a smile on his face too. He hadn’t seen Jim so calm or relaxed in ages. He almost seemed happy.
Simon sat down at his desk that was decorated for Christmas, by Rhonda, and Jim shut the door before he started. He filled Simon in on his abilities and what Blair did to help him control them. Simon looked shocked.
“Simon, Joel is in his office right now talking to his wife, Mary, and he’s going to ask you if he can have the next two days off. I think he said it was a medical doctor’s appointment.”
Simon watched Joel walk towards his office and knock on the door. “Hey Simon, I need to talk to you for a second. Oh, hi, Jim. I’m sorry, I didn’t see you sitting over there. I’ll come back later.”
“Joel, what’s wrong?” Simon wondered.
“Mary has to have some special tests done at the hospital in the next two days. I wondered if I could have two days off.”
Simon’s mouth just dropped open in shock. It was just like Jim had said. Jim could fucking hear from all the way across the building.
“Yes, take the time, Joel. We’ll see you on Saturday.”
“Thank you, Simon.”
Jim said, “I do hope it’s nothing serious, Joel.”
“It’s breast cancer, Jim. And it’s serious.”
“I’ll stand in for you as often as I can so you can be with Mary. I’m sure everyone will do the same,” Jim offered.
“Thank you, Jim. That would help a lot. I know you’re off on Sunday, so if I could have that day off it would help Mary get ready for the surgery.”
“You got it, Joel. Be well and take good care of Mary.”
“Yes, Joel, take very good care of Mary. And keep us posted. I’ll put a sheet up with hours to offer for your time off. Now go home and relax. Try to keep her calm. We’ll see you Saturday, but not Sunday,” Simon ordered.
“Thank you both. I’ll see you on Saturday.” Joel walked out the door and shut it behind him.
“Holy shit, Jim. You can hear things that no one else can. And I take it your sight works as well too?”
“It’s all five senses, Simon.”
“As I said before, and it bears repeating, Holy Shit.”
“Now, I have to ask you about maybe getting a ride along for Blair, part-time. I haven’t asked him yet, but I hope to tonight. Maybe a few hours a day or two hours three days a week. Something like that?”
“I’ll see if I can get him a ride-along, Jim. When is he coming to sign the papers?”
“He’s in the elevator talking with Rafe. Rafe is trying to pick him up,” Jim said, disgustedly.
Simon burst out laughing and said, “No killing Rafe today. Your friend has eyes for you. There is no need to worry.”
“Oh for God sakes, he thinks he’s from Vice and is really bugging him. Blair is talking about anything and everything. I think Rafe is making him nervous.”
Jim got up and walked to the elevator and glared at Rafe when the doors opened.
“Hey, Chief, good to see you. Why don’t you come and sign the papers you need to and we’ll get out of here.”
Blair looked so relieved. “Hi, Jim. Lead the way and I will sign so we can be on our way. This guy was hitting on me the entire way up.”
“I didn’t know he was a friend of yours, Jim. Sorry. Sorry, dude,” Rafe said, wearing a shamed face.
“Jim, did he just call me dude?” Blair said, laughing.
“He sure did. Now follow me and we’ll get this out of the way.”
Blair followed as ordered and signed all the pages he needed to sign. Once that was done, Jim took the final papers into Simon’s office.
“Good work, Jim. I’d like to meet your friend. I saw him at the hospital, but you were rude and didn’t introduce him.”
“Blair, come and meet my captain.” Once Blair walked into the office, Jim said, “Blair Sandburg, this is Simon Banks. He wanted to meet you.”
“Really?” Blair asked.
“Yes, really. Jim has told me all about you, Mr. Sandburg and I felt it was high time I meet someone Jim is close to.”
“It’s really good to meet you too, Simon. Call me Blair.”
Jim grabbed Blair’s arm and said, “Off we go. We have places to go, things to do and people to see. I’ll see you tomorrow, Simon.”
“Don’t forget you’re working for Joel,” Simon stated.
“I didn’t. I’ll see you in the morning.” Jim and Blair walked out and walked to the elevator. Jim didn’t even grab his jacket. And it was a cold December evening. He wanted to kiss Blair and knew he couldn’t do it here.
They got on the elevator and Blair asked, “Is there something wrong? You seem like you’re in a really big hurry.”
“I want you so bad…”
“Oh, goody. A horny Sentinel. I think I might like this a lot.”
“Where do you want to go for dinner?” Jim asked.
“My place. I’ll cook after we take some of the pressure off you, if you know what I mean.”
“Sounds good to me,” Jim replied.
Once they got to Jim’s truck, they separated and Jim followed Blair to his apartment. The entire way he was singing along with the radio. Yes, Jim Ellison was singing Christmas Carols. As soon as Jim parked he was out and looking for lips to kiss.
Blair loved how frantic he looked. Blair knew this was going to be fun.
Blair owned his own two bedroom condo. The second bedroom was used as his office. The place was sparkling clean and Jim noticed that right away. A clean apartment said a lot about a person in Jim’s eyes. Blair had a tree up and it was decorated quite nicely. On top was a Star of David. Jim would have to ask Blair about that.
They ended up making love, eating dinner and then making love once again. Jim knew he was in love. And Blair felt the same way.
They were sitting on the sofa in Blair’s living room, watching the news, with the tree blinking in the foreground, when Jim asked, “Do you think you’d be able to have three afternoons off to help me at work? I totally understand if you can’t, but Simon thinks it would be good if you taught me more of the Sentinel business before I’m on my own.”
“You know, I think I could take off Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. I’ll work until Noon and then I’ll be yours. But, of course, I have to put in for the time off and see if they’ll let me.”
“Thank you for checking it out. Simon said it would be a paid job, so you wouldn’t lose all that pay for naught. The sooner we get things set up, the sooner we can get started. How would you like to move into my place with me?” Jim asked.
Blair thought for a moment and then smiled. “I guess I could rent this place out. I own it outright and it would bring in extra money, right?”
“This is a nice place. It has two bathrooms. Maybe I should move into your place and I can rent the loft out,” Jim guessed.
“That would be great. There’s so much room here and I hope it’s clean enough for you. I know with your senses you need to keep things sterile. You move in with me. Why don’t you go and pack an overnight bag for tonight and we’ll get everything else tomorrow?”
“That sounds like a great idea, Blair. Do you have plans for Christmas?”
“Not as yet. I was hoping you would be part of those very plans. Dinner here? Molly’s coming too.”
“That would be great, do you think I could ask Simon? His son is spending the holiday with his mom and Simon will be all alone,” Jim explained.
“That sounds perfect, Jim. I think Molly will like both of you guys hanging around on Christmas day. I can’t wait. We’ll plan it more as the day gets closer.”
It was Jim’s turn to smile. He felt like the luckiest guy in the world. He found out he wasn’t insane, he found out he was a Sentinel, he found his Guide, and now he was moving into Blair’s house. Christmas was actually going to be a fun time of year for a change. Life was great.