Monday, November 20, 2006

Pain and Other Flavors of Angst

Chapter Twenty-Three

Lissa and Derek came back into the room and took in Adam and I laughing and they both seemed happier than when they left to go and check on Cassie. I hoped that meant that Cassie was doing well. I took a spoonful of the ice chips and they felt so heavenly to my parched mouth, it was hard not to dive right into the whole cup.

I held my hand out to Derek and he came and took it, and I held onto his gratefully. He had been the man in my life for so long and this was going to be hard for him. I took in his broad shoulders and military bearing and I felt so proud of this fine man who happened to be my son. I think he instinctively knew that none of the other men had been important to me, not even Jason. And except for Jason, he never even got to know too many of them. Jason was around for 2 years, and they would see a lot of one another on holiday visits and such. I think he liked Jason, but he was always reserved around him.

With Adam, he was picking up totally different vibes and it was confusing him. I think he has an idea that Adam isn’t going anywhere, and he is trying to decide where or if he should draw a line in the sand. He has been my ‘protector’ for 10 years now and has always taken the job pretty seriously. Right now it is kind of like he is standing in shifting sand and he isn’t sure which direction to go. He’s a smart young man and he will figure it out soon enough, but until then, I decided to try and let him know how much I appreciate him.

I took another spoonful of ice and felt its cold wetness in my mouth. It felt wonderful as I let it slide slowly down my throat. I was still thirsty, but it was getting better and I wasn’t feeling nauseous! I noticed it was dark outside and couldn’t remember if it had been light when I woke up.

“How is Cassie,” I asked, eager to hear about her.

“She’s much better since she knows you are awake now, mom, she has been worrying constantly about you. It was hard on her when you didn’t wake up right away; it was hard on all of us. But, she has a great doctor and she really likes him. His name is Doctor Gorman and she calls him Dr. Gorgeous. I think he’s in trouble...” Derek finished, laughing at his ‘Auntie Cassie’”

“Oh Dear!” I exclaimed. “At least she’s not letting it all get to her!” If I haven’t said it before, I admire Cassie’s spirit, I always have. She has the most positive outlook on life of anyone I know. I felt better and knew that she will get though this, probably better than I will get through mine, because if attitude has anything to do with it, she’s got me beat already.

I had only been awake for about an hour and I realized I was tired again, and I yawned, a huge jaw-popping yawn that I couldn’t hide. Lissa and Adam looked at each other and Lissa said, “Adam, why don’t I take you to moms house and we’ll sleep for awhile and get cleaned up before we come back. Mom, Derek wants to stay with you since he has to leave tomorrow.”

It’s amazing that they had it all worked out. Beforehand. “Okay, that works for me, but Derek, you could be staying in a nice bed instead of listening to me snore!” I joked.

Adam immediately said, “You don’t snore!” and both kids looked at him, then at me, eyes open wide.

What did they think, that he followed me here because we were just buds?
Derek squeezed my hand and told me, looking pointedly at Adam, that it didn’t matter whether I snored or not, he was NOT leaving!

Lissa came over to me and kissed me on my cheek. I know she really wanted to be able to hug me, but that was out of the question for awhile. “I love you Mom. Thank God you are okay! I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” She walked to the door and said, “Hey Derek, come out with me for a minute.”

Derek just stared at her, refusing to budge from my bedside. He looked down at me and then Adam and then back to Lissa who was standing there in the doorway, waiting for him.

“Anytime Derek,” she said, impatience creeping into her voice. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Derek is actually two years older than Lissa.

He knew he was outgunned here though and bent over and whispered in my ear,” I’ll be right back Mom!” and followed Lissa out the door. She promptly closed it behind them, leaving Adam and I alone for a few minutes at least. We hoped...

He perched carefully on the edge of my bed and softly caressed my face, running his thumb over my cheek and then my lips. His mouth followed suit, not in any way sexual, but a purely loving gesture that told me so much about how he felt.

“So, I’m going to be spending the night in your bed... without you I take it?” he teased me.

“Apparently so cowboy! Don’t get too rough and rowdy there. It’s only a poor queen-size bed, not those monstrous things we got used to!” I did my best to smile at him, but I was fighting the urge to yawn and I didn’t want to do that with him so close. He was looking at me with his chocolate brown eyes, huge and perhaps a bit teary. I saw him swallow quickly and his mouth opened for just a moment, then closed as he swallowed again.

“It’s only for a little while Adam, then I’ll be home,” I told him softly. I knew it was going to be hard for him there, being in my home without me. “Hey, on the bright side you can explore and find out all my secrets,” I teased.

He looked appalled. “I would never...” he started and then I interrupted him.

“Hold on, I was teasing, okay. But, please make yourself at home, feel comfortable there. I love the fact that you are there, with or without me.”

He nodded solemnly and leaned over to kiss me tenderly, slowly. His mouth started to open to say something, but Derek came back in then, so Adam just smiled and kissed me one more time briefly and said, “I’ll see you in the morning love, sleep well.” And then he was gone.

“Well Derek, it’s you and me, but I don’t think I’m very good company. How are you going to sleep here anyway?” I asked him. There was no other bed in the room.

He pointed to a chair he had been sitting in earlier. “It’s a recliner and it’s not too uncomfortable. I slept in it last night and it’ll be fine for tonight too.”

I looked at this wonderful young man that was standing before me, tall, neatly cut blond hair and a muscular build thanks to army life and physical training every morning. He was going to be a wonderful father someday and like many prospective grand parents, I could hardly wait!

I yawned again as the nurse came in to check me out. Now that I was awake they took that irritating automatic blood pressure cuff off of me and that was wonderful. I asked him if I had any limitations because of my ribs, for sleeping that is.

“I generally sleep on my stomach or my side,” I told him hopefully.

He laughed a bit and said, “You probably won’t want to for awhile! Even though your ribs aren’t broken, they are going to be tender. Try to take it easy moving around. If you can stand to sleep on your ribs, it’ll be fine. I’m going to give you the Toradol now and that should help some,” he promised.

I groaned at that, I hated sleeping on my back. “Alright, I’ll try it on my back. I don’t know how much I’ll move around though, I hate sleeping on my back and it always hurts me when I do.” I told him, not quite managing to hide the petulance in my voice. I watched him inserting the syringe of Toradol into the IV tubing and almost immediately I felt better. He started to add something else as well and I asked him what that was?

He just smiled and patted my arm. “That was some Compazine, in case you get nauseous from the Toradol. Doesn’t happen often, but just in case. How’s your pain now, are you doing okay? Do you need anything else right now?”

“No, I’m okay. Can I lay the bed back a little bit now, or is that a major production?” I asked, and I heard a cranky tone in my voice. Okay, I’m acting childish and I shouldn’t be taking it out on this nice young man, he doesn’t deserve it. “I’m sorry; I’m just tired I guess.”

“It’s okay, you’ve been through a lot. But you will be feeling better soon, I promise! And yes, you can move the bed however you like. Do you need some more ice chips?”

“I’d really like something to eat,” I told him. Hm, Adam must have rubbed off on me!

“Sorry, nothing by mouth until tomorrow, if you do well tonight that is. If you don’t need anything else, I’ll leave you now so you can get some sleep.” He looked over at Derek and said, “Do you know where the spare blankets and pillows are?”

At Derek’s nod, he turned and left then, leaving Derek and I alone. As much as I wanted to talk with my son, I was more tired. I pushed the button and laid the bed back some and hoped it would be comfortable enough for me to get some rest.

Derek came over and messed with my pillows and stuff, fussing over me, as I used to do for him when he was a little boy and sick. I asked him if he knew how to turn off the light that was directly over the bed and he did that, throwing the room into darkness except for the bathroom light which was on, casting shadows onto the floor. The door was closed and it was really pretty quiet. Derek held my hand and I heard him yawn too. I smiled in the darkness and wanted to be able to kiss him goodnight and tell him to sleep tight, just as I had when he was a kid.

I laughed suddenly then, remembering another time in his childhood.

“Mom, are you laughing?” he asked, not sure what that sound was I guess and I couldn’t tell if it was the darkness or my hoarse voice that confused him.

“Yes. I was just remembering when you were a little boy and I would tell you the sleep tight thing, and then I thought about the phase you went through of your dad and I having to check and double check the closet and under the bed and everywhere else for monsters! That went on for months and we thought you would never grow out of it.” I reached over to find his hand and squeezed it, then said, “You may be an adult now Derek, but to me you will always be that little boy. I love you as much now as I did then and I can’t imagine my life without you. You have been the man in my life for so long now, always taking responsibility when needed and taking care of me. Thank you so much for that Son.”

“But I’m not the man in your life any longer am I Mom?”

“No Derek, you’re the man in Pam’s life now, and you’re doing a wonderful job at it.” I answered him.

“What about Adam Mom? Do you really think he is the guy for you? I mean, the whole Mr. Hollywood thing, I just don’t know about all that.”

“Has he acted like Mr. Hollywood Derek?”

“No, not really, it’s just that, well, that’s who he is,” he finished and I could hear distrust in his voice and almost a tone of disrespect.

“No Derek, that’s not who he is.” I felt growing anger now. “After you have gotten to know him, then you can form an opinion about him, but for now you’ll just have to wait and see and maybe just trust me a little bit,” I said, my voice tight and irritated.

It was quiet for a few minutes while we both thought over our conversation. I was disappointed at Derek’s attitude, and yet he was doing what he always tried to do which is to protect me. What bothered me the most was that he seemed to have made the decision that Adam was bad, just because of who he is and that isn’t like something Derek usually does.

“Mom, I’m sorry. He just, I just... he was just so damned confident when he came in. I mean, here Lissa and I had been sitting here with you and here he came, acting like he had every right to be here.”

I smiled a bit. “Acting like a man who is worried silly about a woman he cares about maybe?”

“Yeah, but I mean, we didn’t know him from, well, Adam! Aunt Cassie had told us you met him, but she didn’t say that you guys were like, in love or anything.”

“Derek, I don’t know for sure about the ‘in love’ part, but we care about each other a lot. We hope very much to make this relationship work. And yes, we know it won’t be easy Derek. He knows about my past and as far as his life goes, we’ll just have to take it as it comes. I only know that I want this to work, very, very much son. And I would be happier knowing that you and Lissa are happy for me and will give Adam a chance. He is an astonishingly good man Derek, I promise you.” I yawned again in the dark and since yawns are always catching, I heard Derek following with one of his own.

“Pam is going to go crazy you know?” he said and I could tell he was smiling.

“Yeah, I know.” I thought about my lovely daughter-in-law with a grin. She loves Adams’ movies. “Have you told her yet?”

“No, I wanted to make sure he didn’t have the wrong room or something,” he told me and I heard a good-natured snicker in his voice. And another yawn.

“Derek, will you do something for me, and not be upset about it?” I asked him with an idea in mind.

“Okay. I bet it has something to do with Adam, huh?”

“Yes. Will you dial my phone number for me and then give me a few minutes alone to talk to Adam, please?”

“You got it. Mom, I’m sorry I’ve been kind of an ass about him, but I promise I’ll try to give him a chance, okay?”

“That’s all I can ask Derek. By the way, Adam would call it being a ‘prat’!” I heard him trying to punch in the phone number in the near-dark and when he had it, he handed the phone to me. “Thanks,” I told him as he was heading out the door.

The phone rang a couple of times and then Lissa answered it. “Hi sweetie. Is Adam still awake?”

“Um, I think so. I just heard him get out of the shower a couple of minutes ago. Mom, I like him, I really do. Have you talked with Derek?”

“Yes, we just did that and he said he’ll give Adam a chance. That’s all I can ask for. Lissa, thank you for helping Adam. It means a lot to me.”

“I know. I love you Mom and I’m so happy you are going to be fine. Adam is too. He was so scared when he got here.” She giggled a little bit then said, “When Auntie Cassie first told me about him, I could have died! I couldn’t imagine you with a movie star. You just have never liked anyone who wasn’t, I don’t know, maybe the word is genuine. But he really is so nice, you know? Of course you know, but I approve!”

“Thanks Lissa.”

I heard her knocking on the door and Adams muffled voice asking her what she needed. She told him I was on the phone and to pick up the extension in the bedroom and then I heard a ‘click’ as he did, then Lissa hanging up.

“Hi Bella,” he said, his voice warm and sexy. “I miss you.”

I smiled at his calling me Bella. I brought back wonderful memories and I imagined him then, in my room, in my house. “I miss you too. That’s why I’m calling. I keep picturing you there in my bedroom, lying in my bed. It makes me feel, I don’t know, like it will all be okay, you know?”

“Um hm, I do indeed. It will be better when you are here with me, but for now I am at least happy to be in your home. And are you aware you have a most erotic painting on your wall. It’s quite—stimulating!”

I laughed because he was looking at the Georgia O’Keeffe painting called Grey Line, otherwise known as the ‘Pussy Picture’ because it looks amazingly like the folds of a vagina. I adore it, the colors in it actually.

“Well, have fun ‘stimulating’ then. I can’t wait to see you in the morning,” I got out before another huge yawn sneaked out of my mouth.

Adam laughed and said, “Goodnight love. Until tomorrow, I hope you have sweet dreams!”

“Goodnight to you too Adam,” I told him and tried to find the phone cradle in the dark. I finally felt the phone fit in it properly and sighed. I love it when he calls me ‘Bella’. It reminds me of our trip. I hope I dream about that I thought before drifting off to sleep.


Catrina said...

OK, it's official! This is now the first blog I read (at least on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays)!
What wonderful writing!

Hope said...

Good Morning All and Happy Monday!

Obviously I'm an optimist, but it's hard not to be because it is beautiful here today and all week the weather is expected to be nice.

I love reading all your comments about the actor over the weekend.

Ok, since I am caught, I will admit that it is Colin, but please feel free to substitute any face in there you wish! There are so many fine men to choose from, I would hate to see us limited! LOL!

So, does anyone have any special plans for Turkey Day? How does your family celebrate?

My familiy will come to my house to celebrate the day. This year I am starting a new tradition. I have purchased a white tablecloth and colored permanent markers. Starting this year, we will each write something on it and sign our names and year, and will do so every year from now on. Something besides family stories to take into the future with us.

Anonymous said...

Your new Thanksgiving tradition sounds wonderful. After reading this blog and your other one I just think you are a very interesting woman. I would love to have a older woman like you in my life you just seem to be filled with love and life. Your family is very blessed!

I will be cooking my first Thanksgiving this year. Fingers crossed I hope that it turns out well.

Happy Holidays I do hope your family and you enjoy your day!

reeneez said...

Hey Hope -
Great entry! I'm really enjoying being able to visual Sarah's kids and learning more about them also. I don't know what it is about your writing but i find myself analyzing every detail about the characters. Almost like i'm waiting for the next surprise and to see if you provided any clues before hand! Weird, i know, but your blog has become my escape!

I love your Thanksgiving idea about the table cloth! That is so cool. I to am having everyone over and i haven't even thought about shopping yet!!

Can't wait for Wednesday's entry! Thanks - Rene

Becks said...

Good morning Hope & all. Yes! I am glad to know it is Colin. I love how Derek is being so protective of his mother. I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner...nieces & nephews & their families. We celebrate with turkey, ham, lots & lots of food, games, & movies. Great family time.


Anonymous said...

Hi everyone!

I'm like reenez, i love all the details and I want to hear more about Cassie.

Thanksgiving for me is always at my partents house. My brothers and sisters and their kids always come, that makes abotu 30 of us and we all eat way too much.

amy d

megs said...

Great entry Hope. I went and looked up that picture on the internet and it does look like a pussy picture! LOL I think I'll buy a copy of it, I'm sure my guy will find it stimulating too!!!

Won't be able to get home this year (I'm in the Air Force)so we'll be celebrating with friends.

hayley said...

Hope, this is just so good. I can't thank you enough for providing this for us to read.

I'm cooking the Thanksgiving feast this year, it's my first time. We lost my mom 7 months ago and it is going to be a hard one, especially for my dad. He just seems so lost without her.

I've never cooked a turkey before, anyone got any hints?

Shawna said...

I'm confused....which Colin are you using. I'm hoping Colin Firth. I love him.......

Love this story - it's been great and I'm so glad I was turned on to it. You capture romance and mystery without being cheesy like some other blogs out there. Great job and looking forward to Wednesday already. Have a great Thanksgiving and I may steal your idea with the table cloth. I'm a single mom of two great boys (2 and 7) and think it would be great to start something like that with them.

Hope said...

Shawna, yes it is Colin Firth and my daughter is still a blabbermouth for telling. A lovable one, but still... LOL

I plan to have my grandsons trace around their hands and each year we will trace them again each year to see how they have grown. Each year we will use 1 color and have a different color in the following years.

hayley--I am so sorry for your families loss. I was 22 when my mom died (although I have a wonderful step mom now that I love) and I can well imagine how hard this will be for your family. One step at a time and you will make it, maybe not as happily as you would like though, and don't forget that it's okay to be sad.

x5head3pay said...

this just keeps getting better & better. I love learning about Sarah's family. I am also glad to know that Cassie is fine too. That painting sounds interesting too....

Anonymous said...

Here is a link for that grey line painting--WOW

deena said...

Boy, I thought I was never going to get to read today, damn meetings anyway, they cut into my WMHD time!

Wonderful today Hope, I really enjoy learning about her family, especially as we near the holidays. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo! That painting is really something! I had to copy and paste the link in but the colors are beautiful and yes, it is erotic!

Anonymous said...

I checked it out too, wow.

amy d

kelli said...

Wonderful entry today Hope!

I'm going to my sisters for the holiday and it should be fun. We'll be watching the games on TV and eating pretty much until we can't walk! :(

Tiki said...


I love this entry, it is cool to get to know her family and of course, Adam is just wonderful. I like picturing him as Colin Firth!

Hey lynne, are you around here today?

I can't wait until Thanksgiving, I'll get to see my grandma and grandpa, and that only happens at the holiday usually, whenever they drive up to see us. I love them so much and I'm afraid one of these days they won't be here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope and everyone!

Wonderful story. It amazes me how much I love it, and my fascination just keeps growing! I want it in book form!

We're having a quiet Thanksgiving this year, my parents are coming in and it will be a joyous occasion because of the baby. She is growing and doing well, has a healthy appetite, I can tell you!


Anonymous said...

It sounds like Derek is starting to come around, which is good. My son had a really hard time with my second husband and life is miserable when that happens. They are now good friends and I'm so thankful for that.

I like Colin Firth, so that is pretty cool to me. He was in a movie called The Secret Laughter of Women that I saw at a friends house and I loved it.

Thanksgiving for my family is a huge thing, at my sister's house this year and there will be over 40 of us! Hope, that is a wonderful idea about the table cloth.


Jo said...

OK, anyone else feel just a little nervous when the nurse was putting drugs into Sarah's IV? I still can't get over the "accident" in Italy and the brakeline, etc. Is my paranoia showing?

Have a great Thanksgiving. Don't spill anything on that tablecloth!

Anonymous said...

Great entry. I do like that it is Colin. He is sexy and I love the accent. I just love accents in general though. They get me every time!

I will be going to GA this year. I am having to leave my husband behind b/c of work:( My aunt and uncle host dinner every year and two of my family members have been ill. My dad survived lung cancer 5 years ago so it is always important for us to try and make the "reunions"!

macy said...

Wow, my computer has been down and I had to go over to my sisters in order to read this!

Hope, now THAT is dedication, huh?

Wonderful, wonderful, and more wonderful.

I have to work on Thanksgiving, but it's not the first time, so I'll be okay and I'll get leftovers when I get home!

Anonymous said...

Great entry Hope, as usual. We can always depend on you to come through with an incredible and moving read.

My family all comes to my house for Thanksgiving. I have two young grandkids and I love the idea of a tablecloth. I may try that myself.


Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I could so HEAR Colin saying that to Sarah, about the erotic painting I mean! This is even better now that I'm picturing and hearing him!

Good Choice Hope!!!

Anonymous said...

Jo, I thought about the drugs too and wondered if it would be safe for her.

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy that Sarah seems to be recovering well so far. Another thing that I love about this blog (besides for the amazing descriptive writing) is that Hope actually reads the comments and replies to our questions. HOPE, keep up the great LONG posts!!


Holly said...

Perfect Perfect Perfect! I can't tell you how much I love this story Hope!

I'm going to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, and won't have access for the next week. On the one hand I'm bummed because checking the entries is the first thing I do in the morning, but then I'm excited because I will have a healy dose of reading for when I get back!

Everybody have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Gator Chick said...

I'm hooked! Great writing Hope! Thank you, thank you, thank you :)