Happy 4th, Cowboy

(The Firm AU)

by Pamela



Lying on his stomach on the hospital examine table, Chris wanted to die of embarrassment.  Maybe it was because he was lying there bare assed, trying to ignore the snickers from the other members of The Firm.

"Hell!  When did it go all wrong?" he mumbled to himself, grimacing at the pain.

"Well, Cowboy, I reckon that'd be when JD decided to try and shoot up the last rocket's red glare," Vin said, laughing.

Buck grinned evilly at Dr. Midland as she tried to stifle a snicker.  "Hey, stud, that was some fancy Texas Two-Steppin' you and Vin did.  Didn't know you still had the moves."

"Shut up, Buck!"

"Y' got that right, Bucklin.  Pretty good for an old man."

"Oh, you two are just a bundle of laughs!" the blond groaned out.

"Chris, that shot should be working.  The X-rays came back.  Nathan was right, you did fracture your wrist.  As soon as we get this other problem taken care of, you'll be going to have your wrist set," Midland said, patting him on the shoulder.

Looking around her ER, she asked the question she'd been dying to find out.  "You know, Chris, the last time I saw you, and I told you to put a little color in your cheeks, this isn't what I meant.  What happened?"

Everyone started to talk at once.  Holding up her hand to forestall the onslaught, Dr. Midland gestured to Josiah to continue.  She thought he'd be able to get closer to the truth, without all the embellishments.  And this story had all the earmarks of a dozy.

The older man started his tale.  "Well, Doc, it's like this.  We were having our Fourth of July celebration out at Chris'.  Each of us bringing something.  I brought my chili.  Nathan brought Raine's potato salad."

Vin interrupted, shuddering at the mention of the salad.  "Please, Josiah, don't mention that.  I don't think I'll be able to look at potato salad for a spell, much less smell it!"

"Ahhhhhh!  So that's what that smell is.  I'd wondered if you had changed your cologne, Vin," Stacy said and laughed.

The young man turned a bright shade of red, and mumbled under his breath, "Aww, hell, Doc!"

Josiah continued with his narration.  "Ezra brought the wine.  Since we were celebrating, it was decided we would all spend the night out at the ranch.  Buck brought the hot dogs and buns, and JD picked up the fireworks."  He threw a sidelong glance at the youngest.

"How was I supposed to know that the guy was selling less-that-great fireworks?" JD asked indignantly.

"Perhaps by the amount of monetary value that was placed upon them?" Ezra supplied.

"Shoot, Ez, I just thought I was gettin' good fireworks at a cheap price."

Nathan interjected, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt!"

Midland lifted off the cold compress from the bright red buttocks and replaced it with another, still grinning at the men around her.  "Well, you did a good job of taking care of Chris, Nathan.  I'm amazed you got him to come in."

"We appealed to his better judgment, Doc."

Stacy snorted at that comment.

"We told him we'd tie him up and bring him in anyway with his butt mooning everyone!"

She laughed out loud at that image.  "Please, Josiah, do continue."

Larabee glared up at the older man, daring him to continue.  Josiah took it in stride and laughed.  "Sorry, boss, I think that glare there is looking a mite glassy.  Doc Midland must have given you some good stuff.  Anyway, Doc, Chris and Vin took care of getting things ready at the ranch and picking up the cheesecake from Miz Nettie.  She and Casey were going out of town.

"It's was well past dusk, the campfire was going for roasting the hot dogs and we were setting the table.

"JD was set up a good distance away and started the fireworks.  Considering how cheap they were, they were pretty good.  Right, guys?"

"Most indubitably, Mr. Sanchez, especially the finale!  That was worthy of remembrance."  Ezra chortled.

"Ez, you'd better be glad I don't have my gun," Larabee grumbled.

"Nate, Ezra, and I were sitting by the fire, roasting our hot dogs; Vin had gone to get the potato salad and Chris had gotten up to close the patio door.  We watched as the last rocket was lit.  It sputtered and spit, then fell over on its side and did nothing.  It looked like a dud.  JD got the bucket of water to throw on it, just in case it wasn't as dead as it appeared.

"Next thing we know, JD's yellin' 'incomin'!' and the rocket is headin' straight for Vin.  Chris grabs him from the back.  Vin is still balancin' the potato salad as he and Chris are, as Buck put it, Texas Two Steppin' around the fire.

"We all took an active interest then in trying to keep those two from falling into the flames.  During the scuffle, some of the hot rocks were dislodged.  Chris tripped backward, tried to catch himself, and landed on his wrist.  Vin went flying the other direction and ended up wearing the salad you now smell.  We didn't realize Chris had landed on the hot rocks until he came up off them like a scalded cat."

"Y' should 'a seen 'im, Doc!  Thought he'd invented a new dance."  Vin laughed at the memory.  "Anyways, Nate, hustled 'im inta the bathroom and told 'im t' strip.  That's when he realized Chris had broken his wrist.  So he helped 'im undress, then got 'im standin' under a cool shower to help the burn.  I don't know what was redder – Chris' ass, or Nathan's face while he was helpin' 'im."

"You did a good job on the burn, and the wrist, Nathan."  She watched as Nathan blushed under the praise.

Stacy changed the compress again, then walked around in front of her patient and knelt down, looking deeply into his green eyes.  "Well, Chris, I'm happy to report that the burn appears to nothing more serious than a bad sunburn.  That's not to say it's not going to hurt, because it is.  We're going to take you to get your wrist set now, and I'm gong to give Nathan a mild pain reliever for your wrist.  Not that you'll take it, but I'm sure the fellas will take care of you.  Be sure and use aloe vera on the burn," she said with a smile and wink.

As Chris was being wheeled out of the ER, Midland had one last parting shot.  "Oh, and Chris, the next Fourth of July, when the boys are roasting their weinies," she ignored the choking sounds around her, "please, try not to roast your buns!"

The entire ER and six men burst into laughter.

Chris pulled the sheet that was covering him over his head and muttered, "I'll never live this down."

Shouts of "Happy Fourth of July, Cowboy!" followed him down the hallway.




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Happy 4th, Cowboy! image by Pywacket