Incest story: Favorite Aunt – Chapter 11: Foreign Affairs
Ben turned the ATV to follow the utility road toward the creek. Once at the shoreline, he stopped and got out to inspect the creek bed.
Where do you go? Alexandra asked. Her Russian accent sent tingles through him. He turned to look at her.
I’m just going to make sure there’s a safe path across the creek so we don’t get stuck. He said. She nodded knowingly and watched him turn and walk into the creek.
Ben walked through the cool water looking for anything that might cause tire damage or a hole deep enough to get the ATV stuck. Something caught his attention to his right and looked down. The water was much darker here and saw a fish lazily swimming against the current. He thought he would have to get a fishing rod and start fishing again now the he knew fish were here. He thought it odd too the fish swam where it was. Almost like there was a way upstream across this shallow portion like a sunken pipe or something.
Thinking about fishing, he didn’t see the other hole. His left foot dropped into it, jammed hard and with his momentum, carried him forward as he twisted. He couldn’t twist his body fast enough to be able to bend his left knee. Half way down, he heard the loud sickening pop and crunch. He went down on his back in the creek in a howl of agony.
Alexandra saw what happened and heard his yelled out curse. “Benjamin! Benjamin!” she called out. She struggled to get the harness undone and managed to release the catch. Throwing open the door, she climbed out and ignoring the slight pain in her foot, she ran to him. He was lying on his back, breathing heavily with the agony. The depth was a few inches but didn’t cover his face. When she got to him, she saw his leg at the knee at a perfectly sickening angle to how he lay. She tried to lift his torso into a sitting position but as she did, he came aware and screamed out in pain.
No! he grunted trying to catch his breath. “Don’t sit me up.”
She squatted next to him and put a hand on his right shoulder as he lay back in the water. He was panting, trying to control his breathing and grimacing. Tears started to form as her vision became watery. ‘I will not let him down!’ she yelled at herself in her mind. ‘I will not fail him! He is the one! Oh God, please give me the strength to help him.’ Then her experience as a field nurse kicked in.
Benjamin. Concentrate on slowing your breathing. You do not want to hyperventilate and pass out. she said, her voice carried an authority to it. I need to move you around to straighten your leg out. I will need you to help me move you over that way.” She said pointing to his right. “I will lift you under your arms a little so get ready.” Ben nodded.
Okay. He said grimacing and nodding.
Good. Now just lift yourself up a little with your hands while I get ready to move. She said. He was panting in great pain. She nodded to herself and moved over behind him bending over to run her hands under his arms.
On the count of three, I will lift and pivot you around. One….Two….Three. and with that, she lifted and moved to her right lifting him up off his butt. He yelled out in agony again as she pivoted his body around his knee then she released the hold on him.
Damn woman! he said through gritted teeth. She felt bad thinking he was angry with her for pulling too hard. “You’re a strong one! I think I can pull my leg free now.” He said grimacing with excruciating pain. She relaxed when she realized it was a compliment. She went around in front of him and squatted to his left. He sat up and tried to lift his leg and extricate his foot from the hole. A hard grimace and a shout of pain came. He shook his head knowing he couldn’t move it. He was breathing hard, trying to fight back the blackness that threatened to overtake him.
Alexandra put her right hand under his thigh and her left just below his calve above his ankle and started to lift. He realized what she was doing and leaned back to help her keep his knee bent at the same angle. This gave him a stronger sense of respect for her. Beautiful as she was, accomplished as she was, she demonstrated a compassion he’d not felt in a long time.
You wouldn’t happen to be a nurse would you? he asked another grimace taking control of his speech and face. She didn’t look at him but continued to tend to him as she attempted to find out if his knee could be straightened. Just then, she jerked his ankle, the sound of a sickening crunch was heard and stars filled his vision. He only just heard the scream before realizing it was his as he passed out. She hoped the action didn’t damage any arteries.
When Ben came to, she was kneeling with his head in her lap. She had pulled him to shore leaving his legs in the water. The bright light dimmed as she bent over to look at him as he stirred.
Ssssh. She shushed him quietly. “I pulled you to shore. Your legs are still in the water so the cool water will help the swelling.” She said in a soft soothing voice. Her accent and tone did soothe him and he relaxed and looked up into her face.
Thank you Alexandra. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you weren’t here. He said.
You would not have been here if it were not for me Benjamin. I am so very sorry you are injured. It is my fault. She said. Her voice broke and tears began to flow. He reached up and gently cupped her face in his right hand. At the touch, she pushed into his palm and she calmed. He felt compassion and regret.
It’s alright Alexandra. He said softly. She loved how he said her name as the tears came to her.
Say it again Benjamin. She said, absentmindedly.
Say what? he said.
Alexandra. He said. She was silent, her eyes were closed and tears streamed down her cheeks, waiting to hear her name again. “Alexandra. Alexandra. Alexandra.” He repeated. His palm still cradling her face, she sighed and calmed more. He felt the tension in her thigh muscles give way and soften.
Thank you. She said in a near whisper and smiled. The tears had stopped and she made a little sniffle sound. She raised her right hand and placed it against the back of his then curled her fingers beneath his and pulled it away from her face.
Yes. I was a field nurse. She said then paused. “In Kosovo.” She looked directly into his eyes. She saw compassion. He saw steel now. A moment later she broke the silence. “Do you think you can stand or should I call an ambulance?” she said still holding his hand.
Ben took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I think I can stand but you’ll have to drive me back to the cottage.” She looked at him puzzled.
“Why the cottage? You need to go to the hospital.” She said. He shook his head. “Oh yes you do Mr. Logan and I am going to take you. Unless you would favor a ride in an ambulance?”
He frowned and tried to sit up. Grimacing, he did and took a look at his leg. It was swollen and puffy between rough splints. He sighed and nodded. “Okay. The EMS people won’t have as good a bedside manner as you anyway.” She smiled at that and stood. She found and handed him a stout branch to use as a walking stick/crutch. He thanked her.
“See? They probably wouldn’t have even thought of that.” He said, trying to smile.
“I can be just as accommodating as they.” She said in irritation. He knew she wasn’t happy with his choice to return to the cottage. She felt a hand on hers and she looked down.
I trust you. He said as he gave her hand a squeeze. When he finally got to his feet and stood heavily on his right leg. She looked at him again looking for signs of dizziness. Inwardly, she was also looking for other things.
I appreciate that Benjamin. But for now, you are my patient. She said firmly. “Two years in an infirmary in Kosovo gives me the authority.” She admitted.
He was impressed. She had the same training as Jean but under fire instead of a peaceful classroom. She helped him to the ATV and with some difficulty, got him in the passenger’s seat and strapped in.
After getting in the driver’s seat, Ben’s vision was again starting to get dark around the edges. He did his best not to yell out in pain but it was too much to bear. The last thing he heard was Alexandra calling for Jean on the radio.
Jean put the casserole in the oven and switched the oven on and setting it to 275 degrees to keep it warmed until Ben returned. She took the bottle of wine and poured herself another full glass and went into the living room to sit on the couch. Drinking the wine she’d brought down from the house tears had streaked her cheeks and her eyes reddened.
She’d felt the heartache as soon as she entered the cottage and went straight for the wine bottle before she remembered their supper. Knees drawn up and feet propped on the edge of the sofa cushion, she stared out the front window and into space thinking about the last two weeks with Ben. She wanted to be angry at somebody.
She wanted to hate Alexandra for coming into his life but she couldn’t, especially when her own words came back to haunt her. Words she spoke only the day before. ‘I can give you what you need but I can’t give you what you want.’ was how she remembered them. It felt like she’d stabbed her own heart.
A few minutes went by and her little pitty party had to come to an end she believed. Ben would be back soon and she didn’t want him to know she’d been this upset at her interpretation of Alexandra’s interest in Ben or his in Alexandra. She ultimately knew this day would come. “Fuck!” she shouted and dropped her forehead to her knees.
“Why now?” she said aloud and the tears began again. The glass of wine slipped from her fingers and crashed to the floor splashing what little remained of its contents out. She gasped and immediately got up, avoiding the scattered broken glass to clean it up. She didn’t want it to soak into the old wood flooring and stain it. She loved this place so. It had been her little haven from the world until the house on the hill was built. She could hate Alexandra for that trespass at least. It helped only a tiny bit.
After cleaning up, she decided to clean herself up and get a grip. She went to the bathroom and ran the water, splashing it on her face to cool it and wash away the tears. After drying, she used some eye drops to clear the redness and in no time, looked like her old self. She didn’t feel like her old self though. She felt older.
‘Old.’ She thought. “Now there’s a word you don’t use very often.” She said to the image in the mirror. She looked her sixty-going-on-forty body over and with the exception of touching up her mascara, she wasn’t going to do anything more. She was comfortable with her natural looks and with her health and vitality, she could, no, would find a man closer to her age to satisfy her both in and out of bed. Just then, she heard the radio blip. She went to the kitchen and listened.
Jean. This is Alexandra. Are you there?
Jean grabbed the radio in a huff. She pressed the transmit button. “I’m here Alexandra.” She said pleasantly.
Ben is injured. I’m taking him to the hospital now. Jean nearly dropped the radio from the shock of the news that assaulted her ears. She could hear the wind coming over the radio when Alexandra keyed up.
‘Dear God! Let him be okay!’ she thought. “What happened?!” Jean said with a waver in her voice.
He stepped in a hole and twisted his knee very badly. He has passed out since we got in the car.
Jean’s breathing was quickening as panic rose in her gut. “I’ll run to the house and get my other car and meet you there. It’s about a mile away so I will be a little bit.”
“I will see you there.”
“Please be careful.” Jean said.
“Do not worry Jean. I will take care of him.”
Alexandra’s last words cut through her like a sword. She raced about the house grabbing this and that. She grabbed the shotgun from the rack and took off at a fast jog to her house straight up the old hiking trail. It would be a nearly straight line to her house but would be the longest mile she would ever remember.
Alexandra was quite impressed with the old Baja racer’s agility and quickness. It seemed odd not to hear the roar of an engine. It really was that fast. After turning up onto the road from the gravel ramp she’d spotted, she gunned it and the rear tires broke loose. It was in two-wheel drive mode and the tires squalled in the low hollow tone that many high-flotation type tires made.
Backing off the throttle, she expertly turned into the skid and straightened out the vehicle and applied power. The tires gripped well enough and took off in a straight line this time. Stable now, Alexandra pressed the throttle pedal further down and the vehicle increased speed astonishingly quick. The wind whipping by and the whine of the electric motor was exhilarating. She hazarded a glance at Benjamin, whom was still out cold. Alexandra raced toward the hospital reaching speeds of nearly 80 miles per hour in places on the curving road. In less than 10 minutes, she pulled into the emergency lane at the hospital and was inside in a flash to get Benjamin the help he needed.
In less than a minute, two big orderlies were at the side of the old racer working to get Benjamin out of the racer without injuring him further. Once extricated and on a gurney they rushed him into triage for an initial evaluation while Alexandra went to the check-in desk. She was trembling now and couldn’t hold the pen steady enough to fill in the forms. In anger, she scolded herself in vain that she wouldn’t let him down. Then the tears came and she started sobbing. Susan, the check-in receptionist saw Alexandra break down and called Renee to come help her.
A couple of minutes later, Renee was sitting at Alexandra’s right holding her trembling hand. “Hello.” Renee said softly. Alexandra didn’t respond. “My name is Renee. I’m a counselor here. What’s your name sweetheart?” Renee asked. Alexandra gave her name through gasping sobs. Renee patted the hand she held.
Take your time honey. She said. Her southern voice was soothing and calm. Another minute passed before Alexandra could get control enough to speak coherently and gave her name again.
My name is Alexandra Ivonivan Petrovicha. She finally managed. “I do not know what is wrong with me. I spent two years in an infirmary during the Kosovo war and I never felt like this. What is wrong with me?” Alexandra looked into Renee’s eyes pleading for understanding.
“Well Alexandra. It seems you’ve had rough day and may have stirred up memories for you. It is sometimes called Delayed Traumatic Stress Disorder. Can you tell me about it or do you need another minute sweetheart?’ Renee asked still stroking the back of Alexandra’s hand. This seemed to calm her. Another minute later Alexandra was able to tell Renee what happened to Benjamin with less difficulty as Renee held her hand. Renee was a little puzzled at Alexandra’s reactions between Kosovo and Ben.
As Alexandra finished telling her story, Jean came rushing in and headed straight for the check-in desk. The woman looked up in surprise.
“Jean!” she exclaimed then felt embarrassed for calling out so loud and covered her mouth in embarrassment and looked around the room to see if anyone was watching her. Alexandra looked up and saw Jean converse with Susan at the desk. Renee saw her look over to Jean.
“Do you know Jean?” Renee asked. Alexandra nodded and sniffled. “That’s a good R.N. right there Alexandra.”
“I know. I brought her nephew here.” Alexandra said in a monotone. Renee looked at Jean then back at Alexandra a glimmer of understanding registered then.
“Jean.” Renee called. Jean turned and looked around. Renee raised her hand and Jean saw. She also saw Alexandra, red-eyed and tear-streaked and began to move toward them. Jean’s face paled. Alexandra held her arms out to her and stood.
“I’m sorry for him getting injured so badly.” Alexandra sobbed. Jean looked over to Renee as she hugged Alexandra.
“He’s been taken into the triage unit. He’ll most likely be in X-Ray by now. I’ll be right back.” Renee said and headed over to the front desk.
“Is Ben that badly hurt?” Jean asked worried. Alexandra nodded.
“He twisted his leg and his knee gave out. It looked really bad. It was bent at a very bad angle Jean. We were able to get it straightened out some and make it back to the car after I made a splint. He passed out while I strapped him in. He woke up and told me to take an old driveway and turn left at the road. He passed out again after that.” Alexandra had managed to sum up his current condition and Jean relaxed a little. He wasn’t bleeding to death as far as she knew based on Alexandra’s report.
“Don’t worry. Ben will be okay. I’m sure of it.” Jean said patting Alexandra’s back and wondering why she would be so distraught over this. “You said he stepped in hole in the creek?”
Alexandra nodded. “Yes. When he yelled out, I looked up and saw him fall back. I tried to get out of those restraints as fast as I could. His face was above water but not by much. It was very wide and shallow there.” She said referring to the creek’s width and depth. Jean understood where they had been now. She knew Ben wanted to follow the power line up the service road to see where it went. She silently cursed him for such foolery.
“You did the right thing Alexandra.” Jean reassured her. Renee stepped up to the two women.
“Susan says Benjamin in is X-Ray 2. Here’s your badge Jean.” Renee handed Jean her old ID badge. “Susan reactivated it.” She said the turned to Alexandra. “Alexandra, here’s your visitor badge.” Renee handed a badge to Alexandra and turned her attention back to Jean. “Keep her with you while you’re back there. If I’m any judge, she’ll need all the support she can get right now. Call me if you need anything.”
“I will. And thanks Renee.” Jean said and gave a small smile and helped Alexandra toward the doors. She also wondered why Renee would be so bold in making the statement she made. Alexandra was wiping the tears from her face with the tissues Renee gave her, trying to make herself presentable. Since she wore little or no makeup, there was only a little mascara on the tissues.
The two women made their way to X-Ray 2 and waited for the IN USE”” light to go out indicating the room was safe to enter. Just as Jean reached for the door, it opened and a big orderly was wheeling Ben out on a gurney. Ben was mumbling. The orderly recognized Jean.”
Hi Mizz Jean! James said with a huge grin on his face. “Nice to see you again.”
Hello James. Good to see you too. Jean replied. She saw Alexandra staring at Ben, holding his right hand. “Alexandra here will accompany Ben for now. Please make her as comfortable as you can.” She said to James.
I will. You can count on it. He said. “Come this way Mizz Alexandra. Watch your toes honey. Wouldn’t want them to get run over.” Alexandra nodded but didn’t look up.
Jean? a deep tone voice came from inside the room. The voice startled Jean. Her stomach went to all butterflies and she swallowed and turned to look at the man she had ended an affair with not six months earlier. ‘Or have I?’ she asked herself.
Hello Daniel. Jean said in a distracted tone as she watched Ben wheeled down the hall and Alexandra following.. She wasn’t ready to face Daniel. Not now. She wanted to run away and hide.
So what brings you back here today? Daniel inquired with a pleasant smile.
Jean looked up into his eyes with a resolve that she would resist him, again. It wasn’t any easier this time. “My nephew.” She said.
Benjamin? he looked surprised. “That’s little Ben from the pictures you showed me?” Jean nodded and a tear escaped. Then another. She started to turn and go after Alexandra and the orderly when Daniel gently took her in his arms and gave her a long, warm, gentle hug. Her resolve dissolved like a sandcastle with the incoming tide. She broke down and buried her face in his chest, put her arms around him and let loose.
There, there Jean. C’mon inside my office and we’ll talk about it. He didn’t make a move as she didn’t let go of him. They just stood there half in, half out of X-Ray 2’s doorway. Another nurse came up to Daniel.
Dr. Reynolds, I… the nurse started then looked up and saw Daniel holding a crying woman. Daniel looked at the nurse and gave a sad shake of his head. The nurse nodded her understanding. “I’ll find Dr. Brandon.” She said. Daniel nodded and gently moved Jean and himself into the x-ray lab and closed the door.
Daniel half carried, half walked Jean to a chair and helped ease her down into it. He reached for a box of tissues on the desk and offered it to her. She nodded and took several. Daniel would give her as much time as she needed and more if necessary to collect herself.
Thank you Daniel. She said between sniffles and blowing her nose. He smiled warmly at her and pulled up another chair.
So what’s this all about? With Benjamin I mean. He said.
All he was trying to do was take Alexandra home. He wanted to follow that damn power line to see where it went. They got to the creek and while looking for a safe place to cross it, he stepped in a hole and wrenched his bad knee. She said sounding a bit miffed while crying. At what he didn’t know but thought it might be misdirected at Alexandra.
I don’t know the circumstances about his injury but I’ll wager those two are in love. Try not to be too hard on her. He said. She looked up and into his eyes with fire in them.
As if you know! she snapped then immediately regretted it. He held his hands up in surrender.
I’m not judging but the look on her face when she saw him on that gurney spoke volumes. Or am I reading the wrong story? he said calmly. Jean turned her eyes down and looked at her hands.
I’m sorry Daniel. It wasn’t fair for me to end things the way I did. She said. He put his hands on her shoulders to show his compassion and understanding. Then she looked up into his eyes. “I never meant to hurt you.” She said. ‘There.’ She thought. It’s finally out.
Daniel looked at her astounded. “You didn’t hurt me my dear. I thought I hurt you and drove you away.” He said in surprise. She looked at him puzzled. He smiled that big infectious smile she had loved.
But I did hurt you. I cut you off and ignored you, your notes, your texts and your calls. I am sorry for that. She said almost pleading to make him accept her apology. All he did was smile and shake his head.
And all this time I thought I was pushing you away with all the attention I was trying to give you. How oxymoronic can two people get? he said chuckling. She got the joke and smiled then laughed a little. Before long the two were hugging.
It really is good to see you again Daniel. I guess I have missed you and this old hospital. I think I was the happiest working here. She said after a bit. “I really do need to get to Ben and check on him.”
I’ll take you to him then. He said looking thoughtful. You know, if you ever wanted to come back, I could put in a good word for you. The new administrator has been working like a dog to get things updated and modernized. I think he could use someone like you to help him organize the nursing staff and equipment. We still don’t have a nurse’s administrator. Susan, Mikalah, Lucy and Rose are running each floor separately. They’re pretty good too I might add but the whole thing isn’t working as smooth it could with a head nurse in charge of all of the teams.” Daniel said as they left the lab.
Hmmmph. Jean made a noise. “Just like you to dangle a carrot like that. Whose acting as head nurse?”
Susan at the front desk. She’s been trying to coordinate with the others as patients arrive but easily gets bogged down when a lot come in at once. The Administrator can manage people but not patients but he does step in and try to help. Daniel said. Jean looked at his eyes. She saw them sparkle like they did when they were the hot topic of the hospital gossip channel.
An announcement over the PA system called for Dr.’s Brandon and Reynolds to ER-2 STAT! Jean looked at Daniel. He was already moving quickly toward the door. She rose and followed after him to triage in double-time.
When they got there, Dr. Brandon was leaning over Alexandra, who had fainted. Daniel went to Ben’s side and began looking at the X-Rays on a monitor. Jean stepped into the room.
I’ll take care of her. You take care of him. Jean said. She was all business now. Dr. Brandon looked over at who had given out the orders and recognized Jean.
Good timing. She only fainted. Dr. Brandon said matter-of-factly then turned his attention to Ben. “All right. Let’s get him into O R one. I need a standard compliment!” Daniel and an orderly and one nurse wheeled Ben out. Dr. Brandon turned to Jean.
Sorry I can’t be more cordial Jean. He said. She nodded.
Good to see you too Jim. Jean said giving a quick smile. He smiled too and left quickly leaving Jean and an orderly to get Alexandra off the floor and on to a gurney. Daniel poked his head in.
Is she okay? he asked. Jean turned and nodded.
What about Ben? Jean asked Daniel.
X-Ray showed nothing more significant than torn muscle, cartilage and ligaments but he went into spasms and ruptured an artery at the knee. He’ll be okay though. The tunicate will keep him safe until the artery is repaired. Don’t worry, we’ll fix him up. He said trying to reassure her. She nodded again.
Go do what you do best then. I’ll be here when you get back. She said. Daniel gave a smile and took off toward the operating room. Just then the orderly came in with another gurney. He took Alexandra from Jean and lifted her up onto it. Jean did her best to keep from bolting for the O.R. and busied herself tending to her new friend. Once settled, she sat down in a chair and took a deep breath.
“Are you alright ma’am?” the orderly asked. She wondered if he thought she would faint too.
Yes. I’ll be fine.”” She said. “”What’s your name?”””
I’m orderly Sampson ma’am. Ricky Sampson. He said. “I know who you are.” He said smiling. “You’re Jean Logan. Best nurse this hospital ever had!” he said. Jean felt heat rising in her face and looked down.
I don’t know about that now. She said and looked up. Then a thought struck her. “You said your name is Sampson?”
Yes ma’am. He said.
Aren’t you Josie’s little boy? she asked, regretting the question as soon as she spoke it. Ricky Sampson nodded quickly and flashed his brilliant white teeth that contrasted sharply with his dark skin.
Yes ma’am but I ain’t so little now. He said grinning. “You helped my momma a while back at the soup kitchen when I was little. You organized a Christmas non of us would ever forget and got momma well again.” He said. She remembered that on the instant and smiled broadly.
You were my little Santa’s helper weren’t you? she asked in wonder at the memory. He nodded beaming his smiling face at being remembered like that. “That’s right. Your mother was in a bad way and she wouldn’t go to the hospital. I offered to take her but it was your Christmas wish that made it happen. I remember that very well. How is she doing these days Ricky?” Ricky looked down and shuffled his feet. Jean knew something bad had happened. “I’m sorry Ricky. I shouldn’t have asked.”
No, no! It’s not that. Momma’s gone to a better place to live. She’s in that fancy new fangled retirement home now. She’s not getting around like she used to but thanks to you, she still gets around. Ricky explained. He moved to her and gave her a hug. She hugged him back.
That’s good to hear. So how long have you been here? she asked.
About three months now. I really like it. I knew what I wanted to do that Christmas when I grew up and now that Im grown, I’m doing what I wanted to do.” He said proudly. Jean thought that was such a wonderful thing to achieve. She remembered Ricky had been hit by a hit-and-run driver and suffered some head trauma. His speech was impaired from the injury but his thinking was clear.
I am proud of you Ricky. I’m glad your mother is doing well too. Follow your dreams and they’ll happen eventually. She said optimistically.
I will Mizz Jean. You can count on it. Oh, and I’ll say hi to momma for you when I see her tomorrow. He said.
I appreciate that. I’ll look her up when I’m over that way again. Right now, my friend here needs as much attention as my nephew Ben. Would you mind waiting here for me until I return? she asked. Ricky nodded. “Thank you Ricky. I won’t be long.” With that, she left the triage room and headed for the O.R. prep room
A nurse stopped Jean at the desk near the O.R. “I’m sorry Miss. You can’t go in there.” She said politely. Jean was about to protest when she stopped and at the woman’s polite urgent tone, turned. The woman recognized her.
I’m sorry Jean. I wasn’t expecting you to be on staff… Jean cut her off before she could finish.
It’s okay Marcie. I’m going in there to check on my nephew is all. I won’t touch anything, I promise. She said. Marcie nodded and closed her mouth then sat back down. ‘Nice person.’ Jean thought. ‘If a bit mousy.’ Jean entered the O.R.
Dr. Brandon was there as consulting observer when Jean came up beside him. He turned and saw it was her.
I don’t recall inviting you in here. He said but not in any mean or threatening tone.
Sorry Jim. I just had to check on him. She said trying to see Ben. Dr. James Brandon sighed a little.
I know you’re worried about him. This was unexpected but not unrepairable. He said not turning toward her.
I know. But he’s my kin. You’d do the same in my place. She said still vying to get a look. Daniel looked up briefly. His eyes were smiling even if she couldn’t see his mouth behind his surgical mask.
Looks like Dr. Reynolds still holds your favor dear lady. He said. She felt the heat from her flushed face again. The doctor chuckled a little. “Don’t worry Jean. I’ll not start any rumors about you two, yet. God knows you two really deserve each other.” He said. With that, he stepped around the table and next to Daniel and began helping to clean out the broken bone and cartilage from the damaged area. After several minutes Daniel stepped back and Dr. Brandon began the artery repair. Daniel pulled his gloves off and tossed them in the biologic trash can and came over to Jean.
Looks like there’s more damage than the x-ray initially showed. He’s going to have to have knee replacement surgery. Will you give consent? he asked.
I’ll give it. He’s my nephew. I can’t let him suffer like that. She said staring at Ben. Daniel nodded.
I’ve already sent for a replacement joint. It should be here soon. He said. She nodded. “How is Alexandra?”
She’s fine. Ricky is watching her now. She said. She turned to Daniel finally. “You’re going to do the knee replacement now?” she asked suddenly realizing what he’d said a minute earlier.
Yes. Reopening wounds make healing a more complicated process. We have several joint replacements in stock now for cases like this so we can act much more quickly. The patients heal faster and get on with their lives sooner.
She was amazed. No doubt the hospital was doing very well since the new administrator took over.
How long would a replacement take to get here if not in stock? she asked.
Overnighted in most cases but we can’t leave anyone opened up like that for the time it would take. We order only from the certified supply house in New Jersey. Other than that, we have to have four each of the most common joints needed. Ben’s build is relatively standard so… he stopped when he saw her turning to leave. “Where are you going?” he called after her.
To make an idea a reality. She said as the door closed behind her. Daniel looked after her, confused then shook his head. He scrubbed his hands thoroughly at the sink and donned surgical gloves once again with the help of an O.R. staff person before returning to Dr. Brandon”s side.
A few minutes later the new replacement joint arrived. During this time, she and Alexandra chatted about Ben and Jean’s idea. A little over three hours was needed to do the knee surgery then Ben was wheeled into recovery for observation. During this time, Alexandra sat quietly contemplating Jean’s medical warehouse idea. She fidgeted until Jean was done explaining why it was needed. When Dr. Reynolds came into the waiting room, he wore a smile. Jean knew that smile because it reached his eyes. She waited expectantly for him to report on Ben’s condition.
He’ll be fine. He’s in recovery now and everything is going well. Alexandra stood and clasping her hands together interlacing her fingers, breathed a sigh of relief. Jean turned to her and gave her a hug. “Not sure what all the fuss is about. It wasn’t life threatening or anything. The two women looked at him incredulous. His eyebrows shot up. “What?” and held his hands out in supplication. Jean gave him a look then he smirked. She raised an eyebrow of her own.
“He’s my nephew and the only one I have left. I’ll fret over him if I want.” Jean stated.
Me too. Piped in Alexandra taking a cue from Jean. “About the fretting I will do I mean.”
Dr. Reynolds mouth worked but nothing came out as he tried to figure out what was happening. Jean advanced on him. Just then, he was being paged to Xray-2. He gave the two women a wink, turned and left. Jean and Alexandra glanced to each other.
He’ll be in recovery a couple of hours while he comes out of anesthesia. Let’s go to the cafeteria and get something to drink/ Jean said. Alexandra nodded and they headed for the cafeteria.
After the two got a sandwich, something that looked like Jell-O and a cup of coffee each, they sat at a table near the exit by the windows.
So what’s this hotel thing Ben mentioned? You really design and build them? Jean asked, trying to keep the mood light. She also wanted to know the woman’s business knowledge and the extent of her talents.
Alexandra took a bite of her sandwich and nodded. After swallowing and taking a drink, she spoke.
After Kosovo, I went home to an arranged marriage. I had already been studying mechanical drafting as well as architectural drafting. I liked architecture best so I went to university to get my Masters. When my husband found an investor for a building, it was up to me to design it. He would contract it and we would make money. She said then took another bite.
So this arranged marriage was more of a financial marriage between families? Jean asked. Alexandra nodded while she chewed. Jean thought a moment. “Please pardon me if this is a rude question but why?” Jean asked with the look of skepticism or disbelief.
It was to marry my family who owned mills with his that owned farms. His family supplied the raw material while my father processed it into finished products. By combining the two families, we would keep more of the profits as we would also co-own the transportation company my ex-husband built. After that, the whole system became self-sufficient. I had designed the buildings used by the transportation company. My ex-husband acted as contractor and built them. Alexandra explained.
Jean thought for a moment before speaking. “So your husband then started looking for building opportunities so make money on your design skills and make money on his contracting thus holding the profits within the family in a new venture.” Alexandra nodded but didn’t smile at Jean’s revelation.
It was good for a time but he didn’t have time for me from the start. The whole relationship was based on profitable business ventures. Alexandra explained. “By the time our second anniversary came, I was nothing more than a designer for him to hire. His ego became very big with each successful venture and I became less than a slave to the company. When I complained about it his solution was to come to America and begin a new life. He promised things would change here and we would be happier. So I left my family, my home and what life I had to come here. We became citizens because he knew how to get citizenship quickly. As developers, it was easier to obtain dual-citizenship. I had already learned English because I wanted to build things in English speaking countries.” Alexandra said.
While she talked Jean thought about the arranged marriage and how hard it could have been to be with a man you didn’t really love. From her descriptions, Alexandra tried to love the man but his only interest in profits and money negated any love she might have had for him. When she finished, she realized Alexandra was looking at her.
Oh. I’m sorry Alexandra. My mind was about Ben. What was the question? Jean said.
I asked if you had such dreams to build things. Alexandra said.
Jean nodded. “Yes. I was thinking of the medical warehouse and how it might work in a network of medical supply houses.”
The two talked and brainstormed for another hour laying out ideas and strategies and used several napkins to make notes on. Susan came into the cafeteria, saw the women and headed straight for them. Jean looked up.
Hi Susan. Jean said cheerily. Then her smile vanished and alarm filled her. “Is Ben-”
Ben is fine Jean. There’s someone up front to see you. He says it’s urgent. Susan said, her hands fidgety.
Jean glanced at Alexandra then rose quickly. Alexandra snatched up the napkins and followed the other two women. Susan was walking quite quickly and Jean and Alexandra practically had to jog to keep up with the tall woman.
When they reached the front desk, a policeman and a Fire Marshall were waiting. Jean was trying to figure out why the Fire Marshall was there. She figured she might have gotten caught speeding to get to the hospital and would have to face the police but a Fire Marshall?
Ms. Logan? the policeman asked as he held his hand out to her. She took it and gave a quick firm shake.
Yes. I’m Jean Logan. She said. “What’s this all about?”
Ms. Logan, I’m Officer Kaine. This is Deputy Fire Marshall Hayden. He said making the introductions. Hayden held his hand and she gave him a firm quick hand shake as well.
Hayden then spoke. “Ms. Logan.” He began and took a deep breath then started again. “Ms. Logan. I regret to report that your little cottage had caught fire.” With those words, Jean immediately remembered the casserole she left in the oven. As Hayden gave a summary of the initial fire investigation she felt tears streak down her face. In seconds, she was sobbing into Hayden’s shoulder as he held her, trying to comfort her. All her childhood memories of the place began running through her mind like a movie. Alexandra put a hand on Jean’s shoulder.
After calming a bit, Jean was offered a seat and she and Hayden talked while Officer Kaine took notes. Alexandra held one of Jean’s hands in comfort the whole time as Jean explained the events that led her there.
Well Ms. Logan. Officer Kaine started. “It seems that with the duress you were under regarding your nephew’s injury, I would have forgotten the oen too.” Jean looked up at him and returned his smile. “I’m sorry Ms. Logan. I don’t see any reason to question you any further on the matter. Please accept my deepest regrets on the loss of your cottage.” He said with compassion in his voice and on his face. Jean nodded.
Thank you Officer Kaine. At least nobody was hurt. Jean said in a slight daze. Officer Kaine nodded, smiled then spoke a few words with Hayden then turned to speak with Jean before leaving.
I hope your nephew will be alright Ms. Logan. he said.
I think he’ll be okay. Just physical therapy left and then we’ll rebuild the cottage. She said. The officer nodded and smiled before turning to leave.
Ms. Logan, how is your nephew doing? Hayden asked.
He had knee replacement surgery. He’s in recovery now. She said looking at her watch.
How much of the field burned Mr. Hayden? Alexandra asked. Hayden turned to her to answer.
By the time we got there, the whole structure was engulfed and had worked its way to the edge of the trees closest to it. Fortunately it was green and didn’t flare so it pretty much burned in a low, forest floor clearing fire through the trees. It’s not as bad as it sounds as you’ll see when you are able to. Hayden explained. Jean was nodding.
How did you get your trucks in there? Jean asked.
We knew about the bridge replacement and the ingress point. It’s quite narrow but we were able to get our equipment down the ramp and take the utility service road. If it hadn’t been for that, I think it would have taken much longer and more of the forest and field would have burned. Hayden said.
Jean nodded. “I can rebuild it. My nephew said as much after we found termite and rot damage in the framing.” She sighed heavily trying to gain some kind of comfort in the knowledge.
Hayden shook his head. “I’m glad no one was hurt from this Ms. Logan. I’ll make my report and put in a request for driveway access to be improved as a safety issue. I’ll also request a widening of the easement for the same.”
I would appreciate that. Jean said in a kind of daze.
Please excuse me. I don’t mean to be rude but I need to file my report. He said as he gestured to getting up out of his seat. Jean nodded as he stood and shook his hand. Alexandra put an arm around Jean’s shoulder to keep her from standing. As Hayden bid his goodbyes, Jean sat dazed for several minutes. Susan came up to them to offer Jean words of regret and sorrow for the loss of the cottage. Susan knew how much Jean loved the little house.
Marcie came out into the room and came straight to Jean. When Jean looked up, Marcie had a puzzled look on her face but didn’t put words to the question Jean knew was lurking about.
Ben has come out of anesthesia and has been asking for Alexandra. She said. Jean looked at Alexandra and saw the woman was blushing a bright red. “You must be her.” She said turning to the redhead. Jean felt a pang of jealousy but quashed it and lifted Alexandra up by the hand holding hers. They followed Marcie through the double doors.
Parent Post: Favorite Aunt – by Trainman5771
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 2: Curious Pursuit
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 3: Favored feelings
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 4: Acting of Lovers
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 5: True Lies
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 6: Staking the Claim
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 7: The Cottage
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 8: Illusions
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 9A: There be Forest Nymph's here
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 9B: There be Forest Nymph's here
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 10: Winds of Change
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 11: Foreign Affairs
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 12: A new future
- Favorite Aunt - Chapter 13: Honey mooning