The Third Day Pt. 1

“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.” ― Patrick Ness

Day 3 – 

St. Mary’s General Hospital – Morning –

Darryl stood stiffly at the foot of the bed while Charice and Daniel Sr. flanked their son’s bed; Winnie had volunteered to make a coffee run at the coffee shop across the street. What she really needed was fresh air and a moment of solitude. Seeing him lying in the bed with the monitors beeping and the respirator hissing was too much for her to handle. 

Living in Las Vegas made it easy for her not to think about what could happen to her brother as a S.W.A.T. officer on Los Angeles’ dangerous streets, but six months ago, Winnie had been offered a promotion and after a lot of thought, she’d agreed to move back home near her family, and she was still adjusting. Her relationship with her father had unexpectedly improved and their family seemed to be mending by leaps and bounds.

“Hey Baby, I need you to wake up, okay?” Charice began as she lightly ran her hand up and down his arm.  “I need you to wake up, right now. You’ve been asleep too long. Come on.” She wept.

Daniel Sr. felt helpless as he watched his ex-wife. He felt as if he was failing her again for not being able to comfort her, but he had no words. Hondo had taken on the role as protector and provider for the family in his absence and now he wanted to step back into that role, but he felt inadequate. Hondo had been his rock during his cancer battle, and he’d forgiven him and taken him into his home with no judgement or reminders of the past.

“One thing I know about my son, is that he’s a fighter and he’s going to fight through this.”

“I hope you’re right. I can’t lose him I can’t lose him.”

Daniel gently took his son’s hand in his and fought back the tears welling in his own eyes.

This was the third day and Darryl hadn’t said more than two words since Hondo had gotten out of surgery. The last time he’d spoken to him was when Hondo had dropped him off at school and they’d had words. Darryl felt guilty now for what he had said to the man who’d taken him in and had given him a new start on life.  He owed him everything and now looking back on the nasty argument three days ago, he felt sorrow and shame. He desperately wanted a chance to apologize and to let him know that he didn’t mean what he’d said. He’d heard the doctors’ report and there was a good chance that he would never get that chance.

Leroy had run out of excuses and so reluctantly he stepped off the elevator and headed down the long hall. He hated hospitals; he’d always hated hospitals. The last time he’d been in one was when his childhood friend had been shot by a rival gang member. He still remembered the blood on his hands as he carried Big Darryl’s body into this very same hospital. Even before he’d put him in his car and headed like a bat out of hell down the street, Leroy knew that he would be too late, and miracles didn’t happen to folks like them. Now, nearly thirty years later, he found himself back with the blood of another childhood friend on his hands.  Like thirty years ago, Leroy was the last person Hondo saw before losing conscientiousness. It wasn’t supposed to go down like this, not like this.

Charice and even Daniel Sr., had been like another set of parents for Leroy. It was odd but good to have the older man back. What was still a surprise was that the family had allowed him back into their lives. Maybe miracles did happen after all. He watched the two of them and his son holding vigil around Hondo’s bed and he wasn’t ready to see them.  He wasn’t ready to answer questions or justify his being in the wrong place at the right time. So, for the moment, he waited and watched from the window until he found the courage to go inside.

S.W.A.T. Headquarters – 

“Okay listen up!” Hicks began. “I know our hearts and minds are at St. Mary’s right now, but we still have work to do, and we need to stay focused.”

“They gunned Hondo down like he was nothing! Are you sure you want us to be the ones who find them?” Tan asked angrily.

“What I want is for you to do your jobs!”

Cmdr. Hicks surveyed the room. He wondered if he was asking too much of them. They’d become family and that was what made them good at what they did, it was also their Achilles heel in moments like this.

“Have you heard anything about Hondo, Sir?” Luca asked.

“I spoke with his doctor this morning; still no change.”

How in hell was he supposed to keep this group focused on proper procedure when each one of them wanted revenge. They were all still reeling from Erica’s death, now Hondo was in a hospital bed, clinging to life, the latest victim in a string of shootings targeting LAPD officers.

“LAPD has called in the FBI and they’re willing to share information with us.” Deacon began.

“Great, we can use all the help we can get. If we don’t find this group soon, they’ll disappear, and we’ll never find them.” Hicks warned.

“We should be out on those streets right now!” Chris insisted.

“I’m with Chris!” Added Street. “We need to have a presence and let…”

“Stop! Just stop! Every cop on the street is a target.” Hicks began again. “We have to be smart, and we have to find out just who would want to use the LAPD as target practice and why.”

“Commander, we all have contacts out there that may have heard something.” Deacon offered.

“Good, then I suggest you all get on the phone. Somebody’s bragging out there and running their mouths.” Hicks ordered.  “If you get anything, let me know. I have a meeting with the Mayor in five minutes and I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.”

“Yes Sir.” They all answered in unison.

Day 1 – Morning – 

“DARRYL, IT’S GETTING LATE! LET’S GO!” Hondo yelled from the kitchen.

Darryl rushed down the hall and into the kitchen. Hondo had promised to give him a ride to school on his way to work. Things had been a little rocky between them lately and Hondo hoped to finish last night’s talk before starting their day.

“Good Morning.” Darryl said dryly.

“Hey man. I made you a breakfast sandwich if you want to eat it on the way.” Hondo offered.

“I’m not hungry.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. You don’t have to make me breakfast you know. I’m not a baby.”

“I didn’t say…”

“Let’s just go, okay?”

Darryl grabbed his backpack and headed toward the door. He was angry at Hondo for not letting him hang out with Leroy on a school night. His father knew better but his agenda was to make trouble and his plan was working.

Hondo was frustrated as he followed Darryl out of the house. Leroy’s release from prison had made things difficult between him and Darryl. Darryl was torn between his loyalty to his father and love and appreciation for the man who had been like a father to him. 

Leroy watched from across the street as Hondo pulled up in front of the high school.  Even from that distance, he knew something was wrong. His plan was working. His old friend deserved a little trouble for thinking he could turn his son into an upstanding, hopeful man with dreams of a life out of the neighborhood. It meant everything to Leroy to make Hondo pay for not coming through for him. The sight of Hondo with his son made his blood boil.

“He’s my son; mine and you’re going to wish you never betrayed me!” Leroy hissed through his teeth.

“Darryl, it’s not that I don’t want you spending time with your father, I do, really. It’s just that you have to stay focused, and you have to be careful! You have too much to lose to mess up now!”

Darryl turned and glared at Hondo. It was the first time the young man had looked at him that morning.

“You’re not my father! You don’t run my life! I know what I need to do! You just don’t trust me, like everybody else, you’re waiting for me to screw up!”

“That’s not…true!”

“It is!” Darryl opened the door before feeling Hondo’s hand on his shoulder.

“Let’s finish this when you get home tonight.”

“Yeah, whatever!”

Darryl jumped from the car, slammed the door and ran toward the campus entrance.  Hondo was at a loss. He didn’t know where he’d gone wrong. He wasn’t a father, and he wasn’t Darryl’s father and maybe he’d done too much or expected too much. He’d grown attached to the boy and he saw his potential and his progress. Hondo felt the sting of Darryl’s words and his heart shattered.

Hondo was also distracted. Had he not been distracted he would have seen the late model sedan pull in behind him as he headed down the street.  Had Hondo not been distracted, he would have recognized that the woman standing next to the disabled car, frantically waving him down was a trap.

He saw her, she was gorgeous, but that wasn’t why he pulled in behind her and stopped. His mother had raised him to be a gentleman and driving past a woman in distress was not in his makeup. Cherise Harrelson wouldn’t approve, and neither would his father.

She sighed in relief and her smile lit up her face. After his confrontation with Darryl, he needed to believe that there was someone in the world who would appreciate his good intentions.

“Hey!” He waved.

“Hello! Thank you so much for stopping.” 

“No problem. What seems to be the problem?”

“You are Sgt. Harrelson. You are!” She smiled widely.

Then he saw the gun. It seemed to come from out of nowhere. Slowly and confidently, she raised it, aimed…fired.

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