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"So they get away with it?"

"No," Eric said, shaking his head and wishing Joe was here. She usually answered these questions and did a hell of lot better job at it than he was doing. "You have to remember that not every injury is abuse, especially when you're dealing with the elderly population. A lot of the calls you get that claim the patient fell and no one was around will be true. A lot of patients, young and old are bullheaded and hate asking for help or get sick of waiting for help and try to do things on their own that they know they shouldn't. So don't go jumping the gun and assuming abuse."

"But you said-"

"I know what I said," Eric cut him off. "The only thing that you can do is to write down every detail of the call and that includes the scene and what the staff says. Don't ever voice your opinion on a run sheet. That's the fastest way to find yourself either fired or facing a lawsuit. Stick to the facts. It will not only cover your ass, but provide your patient with evidence if needed."

"I hate to admit this, but he's right," Teddy said, helping Eric pull the stretcher out of the ambulance. "If you go around writing up staff members you're going to find your job a lot harder to do when the staff snubs you."

"Just mind your own business and cover your ass and you should be fine," Eric said in what he hoped was a reassuring tone, but judging by the nervous expression on the man's face he'd failed.

Actually, upon closer inspection he noticed the man looked a little under the weather.

"You're not going to puke are you?" he asked even as he shifted himself and the stretcher away. Teddy must have noticed the look on their third rider's face because he jumped the hell out of the way.

"No, I'm not-oh shit!" Greg said, covering his mouth and making a mad dash towards the bushes.

Eric and Teddy shared an exasperated look before they headed for the front door. He made a mental note to make the kid carry breath mints from now on.

Chapter 13

"What do you think you're doing, young lady?"

Pasting a smile on her face, Joe turned around and tried not to wince under the maternal glare that was being sent her way. She seriously wondered when that look would lose its effect on her. Probably never, she thought with an inward groan.

"I was just looking for something to read," she lied, hoping Alice would go back to whatever she was doing so Joe could find the backup set of car keys she had lying around somewhere in her office/guest room.

She'd already searched through her small desk, the pullout couch, and her bookshelves to no avail. The damn things had to be here. She definitely remembered tossing them in here when she had them made up last year.

"If you were looking for something to read than why are you dressed?" Alice demanded, arching a brow, silently challenging Joe to lie to her.

"I was cold?"

"It's eighty degrees in here, sweetheart," Alice pointed out the same time that she stepped to the side and gestured for Joe to get her butt back to bed. It was a small gesture, but one she recognized nonetheless.

There was no point in arguing, Joe decided grumpily. She'd already tried that for the past five hours and failed miserably, considering Alice had simply ignored her and shoved green jell-o down her throat for "sustenance" as Alice liked to put it. She'd made damn sure that jell-o stayed down, knowing the next step in Alice Parish's home care treatment was beef broth.

She couldn't even stress how much she hated beef broth.

"Where are you going?" Alice asked when Joe veered to the left instead of heading for her bedroom.

"I'm going to get a cold drink," and think of a way to get back at Eric for this. They were supposed to be partners and best friends. After all the shit they'd gone through and the times she covered for him she couldn't believe he did this to her. Granted, he probably knew without Mom here she'd find a way to get to the fire station.

Damn him.

"I can get it for you, sweetheart. You should be resting," Alice offered. "I can make up some broth if you think you can handle it."

Joe couldn't help it, she cringed. "No, that's okay, mom. Thanks."

Her stomach growled viciously, reminding her that she hadn't eaten anything since yesterday morning and she sure as hell wasn't counting the nasty green goop Alice practically shoved down her throat as food.

"You want more jell-o? I made a big bowl."

No, she wanted the delicious steak that Eric owed her, but probably wasn't going to have anytime soon thanks to her babysitting detail.

"No thanks, mom," she said, grabbing an ice cold Coke and heading back to her room. "I think I'm just going to lie down and take a nap," she said, knowing that she didn't have a choice in the matter.

"That sounds like a good idea," Alice said, following her anyway as if she didn't trust her, which would actually hurt if she hadn't been caught trying to climb out of the bathroom window two hours ago.

"Do you need anything?" Alice asked as she pulled back the covers and fluffed the pillows.

She needed to get to work, but Alice wouldn't be happy to hear that so Joe forced a smile and said, "No, I'm going to take my pill and get a little more sleep."

"Okay," Alice said, smiling pleasantly as she picked up the pill bottle and held it out to Joe, expectantly. Again with the trust, Joe thought with an inward sigh as she took the bottle and downed a pill.

"You don't have to stick around, mom. I'm most likely going to sleep well into the night now," Joe said, hoping Alice would take pity on her and leave. It was bad enough to be stuck in the house, she didn't really enjoy being fussed over on top of that. If she was going to be stuck here then she'd rather do it in peace and quiet so she could contemplate all the ways she was going to get back at Eric.

"Well, I do have a few things I have to do, but I promised Eric that I'd wait around until he got home," she said, looking at her watch. "I guess he got held over."

Joe nodded absently as she pulled off her sneakers. "It happens, but he'll probably be here soon," she said, not knowing if that was the truth or not and not really caring. For all she knew it could be hours before he got here and she had the pleasure of kicking his ass out.

"I'll stick around for another half hour, but then I have to go before the grocery store closes," Alice sighed.

Joe frowned as she sat down on the bed to pull her sneakers off. "Berkley's doesn't close until ten," she pointed out.

Alice waved her hand impatiently through the air. "I can't go there anymore."

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