Saturday, March 3, 2012
A Worthy Cause
It had only been three days since Lucinda McCoy and Nick Rossi had parted ways. Nick didn't need his sister, Rosa, telling him what an utter fool he had been to ruin everything with the only woman he had ever loved. He had been a jealous fool and there was no reason for it. One of the vineyard workers had spoken improperly to Lucinda and Nick didn't like her reaction or more appropriately her lack of reaction. When he thought of the way he had blown up at her because of that and because he had just found out she inherited millions from Shane Howard instead of the few dollars he envisioned he couldn't stop kicking himself. He missed her terribly and missed Cassandra too. They had become an inseparable threesome and now he was alone in his thoughts.
Rosa poured her brother a cup of coffee. “Nick, go see her, I'm sure she is feeling as lonely as you are. I know Lucinda loves you. For goodness sake, the whole town knows you love each other. If you don't do something about this, I'm going to ask Sheriff Mendenhall to lock you two up in adjoining cells and have you duke it out. Now don't be so stubborn. You are the one who created this mess now go fix it.”
Nick knew when his sister got this way she meant business and he wouldn't be surprised if she did call the sheriff. Maybe he would just take a leisurely stroll by the Bentley house. He hadn't seen Jamison in awhile. Maybe he would check on the plans he was drawing up for the vineyard. After all, he was investing his money in the project.
Caroline glanced out the window and saw Nick walking hesitantly by the front porch. It's about time she thought to herself. Lucinda wasn't showing any outward signs of misery but Caroline knew the girl well enough to know that she was suffering since her breakup with Nick.
Nick couldn't get himself to go knock on the front door. He was so ashamed of the way he acted. Instead he went to the side door where Jamison's office was. Jamison was happy to see his friend and welcomed the interruption. He had been busy sketching the winery and was running into some logistical difficulties. Nick was able to suggest alternatives and solved the problems.
Caroline knocked on the door with a pot of freshly brewed coffee.
“Good Morning Nick. So nice to see you. It's a lovely day, maybe you would like to have your coffee in the garden gentlemen and enjoy the Indian summer weather.”
Jamison thought his wife was a bit obvious but Nick agreed immediately and took the tray from Caroline and placed it on the small table in the gazebo. He glanced up and saw Lucinda standing on the far end of the garden admiring the mums that were in full bloom this time of year. She turned around and couldn't hide the smile on her face. She had never been so happy to see anyone in her life. She knew she loved this man and he loved her. They both walked toward each other, Nick held out his arms and Lucinda fell into them. Between kisses Nick kept telling her how sorry he was about his foolish behavior. Lucinda knew she couldn't stay angry at him and decided not to even try. Caroline and Jamison were sitting at the table in the gazebo both smiling broadly.
Lucinda and Nick joined them just before Cassandra and Becky came running out of the house.
“Mama, Mama Kenny is crying” shouted Becky. “He said his tummy hurts” Caroline excused herself and went into the house to see to her son.
“Must have eaten too much ice cream yesterday.” Jamison said.
Within a few moments, Carolyn called from the window “Kenny is very sick, I think we should get Doc right away.” Nick took off on foot and ran into Tom Campbell.
Tom is Doc McMillan's son-in-law. He is married to Doctor Julie. Years ago Doc treated Tom's dying mother and saved her life. From that moment on Tom knew he wanted to be a doctor. He and Julie fell in love long before they knew it themselves and have been working side by side ever since. Tom rushed to examine Kenny. He suspected Kenny was having an appendix attacks and knew time was of the essence getting him to the hospital in Greensboro before the appendix ruptured.
“The best way to get Kenny to Greensboro is in the fire truck.” Nick took off on foot again to the fire station. Cody Hill was sweeping the front walk when he saw Nick running toward him.
Cody had been working at the fire station, learning the ropes since shortly after his arrival in Camden Corners. Instinct told Cody something was not right. He shouted for Joe Taylor that there was trouble. Joe came running. Nick was almost out of breath after the two mile run to the fire station. He did manage to explain the situation. Joe and Cody hooked up 6 horses to the truck and threw some mattresses on the floor of the truck in rapid fire precision. Nick hopped in the back and off they rode to the ailing boy. Tom had given Kenny some medicine that would help with the pain. Tom and Jamison gently carried Kenny down the stairs and into the truck just as it arrived. Caroline, Jamison and Tom rode in the back of the truck with Kenny anticipating the 2 hour ride to Greensboro.
Several of the townspeople had gathered wondering what all the commotion was. April Hawthorne was on her way to school, she worked part time for the doctors trying to get experience for her future nursing career. Tom asked April to let Julie know he was on his way to Greensboro. April didn't stop to think how handsome Cody looked sitting in the driver's seat of the fire truck, she was hurrying on her way to the McMillan house to deliver the message to Doctor Julie.
Lucinda did her best to calm Becky who was remembering her mother being hauled away and never coming back home. She was afraid for Kenny. Lucinda couldn't promise the boy would be alright since she knew his condition was serious.
Doctor Julie arrived to see if she could help with Becky. She was aware of Becky's inability to speak after the death of her mother. Her father, in a drunken stupor had put that fear into her head because he wanted to end her little girl chatter. Becky was clinging to Lucinda. Julie told her Kenny would have the best of care from Doctor Tom on his way to Greensboro.
“Why can't he stay here” she cried.
“Kenny needs to be in a hospital where the doctors have everything they need to make him well again” Julie told her.
“Why can't Kenny go to a hospital here, I want to see him” Lucinda looked at Nick and they both knew just what Shane Howard's money would be used for. She couldn't think about it now but as soon as this crisis was over she would get the ball rolling to start building Camden Corners' own hospital.
The medicine Tom had given Kenny made the pain more bearable he was drifting in and out of sleep. The long trip to Greensboro in the back of the fire truck was uncomfortable for Caroline in her condition but she hadn't noticed. All she could think of was the first time she saw Kenny and Becky staring at her from behind the hydrangea bush just a few months ago. Caroline loved these two little orphan children the moment she laid eyes on them. She knew Becky would be worried about her brother. The poor little girl had finally seemed to be adjusting to her new life and now this.
They finally reached the hospital. Kenny was transported to the operating room where Tom performed surgery to remove his appendix. What seemed to the Bentleys to be an eternity later, Tom appeared and told them little Kenny would be just fine. They had made it in time, there was no rupture. Kenny would be sleeping for the next several hours.
Jamison immediately sent a wire to Camden Corners saying Kenny was recovering and would be back home in two weeks. When Lucinda read the wire to Becky, she was somewhat relieved but wanted to see her brother. Even though hospitals didn't allow young children to visit, Nick and Lucinda piled the two girls into the Hightower's carriage and set out for Greensboro the very next morning.
Kenny finally woke up shortly before noon. He didn't like the fact that he would be staying in the hospital for two weeks but he wasn't feeling well enough to argue. His main concern was his little sister. Caroline was holding his hand and assuring him that Becky was being well taken care of when the door opened and Lucinda walked in the room holding Becky's hand. Nick had used his charm on the young charge nurse as the two slipped by her. Becky thought her brother still looked pretty sick but better than the last time she saw him. Lucinda promised if they didn't stay for more than a minute that they would be able to come back again. Becky didn't argue, she waved to Kenny and blew him a kiss and out the door they went. Nick was still charming the nurse as Lucinda and Becky walked passed her unnoticed.
“I didn't realize you were such a charmer Mr. Rossi” Lucinda said sarcastically.
“Hey, anything for a good cause” Nick liked the little hint of jealousy he saw in Lucinda's eyes.
The two weeks passed quickly and Kenny was back home again. The emergency was just a memory now but Lucinda knew the outcome could have been quite different. Camden Corners needed a hospital and she was going to do everything she could to make it happen quickly. She would set up a meeting to discuss it but now she had a wedding to go to. Her friends, Emma and Lily were being married in a double ceremony to the Crowley Brothers.
Nettie Crowley and Ethel Fulbright could hardly catch their breath. Emma and Lily were standing before them. Emma in her grandmother's wedding gown and Lily in Ethel's. Emma could almost feel her grandmother's presence in the room. They both wore rose buds from Nettie's garden in their hair. Jonas Fulbright was giving both girls away and Oscar Crowley was acting as best man for both of his sons.
Jonas knocked on the door of the small room of the chapel where the wedding was taking place. Each girl took the old man's arm. Jonas thought the buttons would pop off of his morning suit he had such pride in these two lovely ladies.
Oscar was waiting at the end of the aisle with his two handsome sons. He had waited for this day for so long and it was finally here. He loved Emma and Lily as he would his own daughters. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Nettie, her eyes glistening with tears. What a lucky man he was. He had found two wonderful women to share each phase of his life with and now his sons and daughters-in-law would be presenting him with beautiful grandchildren.
The wedding was followed by a reception at the home of Nettie and Oscar Crowley. The guests were dancing, eating and drinking champagne. Nick and Lucinda were dancing with Cassandra in Nick's arms.
“I'd like to ask you two ladies a question” Nick said with a quivering voice.
His fist was clenched and he opened it where Lucinda and Cassandra saw two beautiful rings, one a diamond and the other an amethyst. He slipped the rings on their fingers, as he said
“Will you marry me”.
Cassandra answered first as she wrapped her arms tightly around Nick's neck “Yes we will!” she shouted. A little more skeptically she whispered “we will won't we Mama” Lucinda saw the happiness on her daughter's face and knew Paul would definitely approve of her answer when she said
“Yes Cassandra, I think we will.” Rosa and Eduardo were dancing by and she heard every word.
“Eduardo, we better order more sacks of flour. I have a wedding cake to make.”