Chapter Three: Hospitals and Hotels. or- Did you say Pinky? Roy and Ariel get Leeni to her son, and Ariel meets a few new people. She doesn't know it yet, but they just might be who she's been loo...
After unloading the car, and taking a quick shower, I went to the local store with directions from ‘Pinky’ to get provisions and snacks for the next few days. Best part, the store also had a liquor section, so I was able to stock up on beer and wine as well, with one stop shopping. When everything was put away in the kitchenette, I headed back to the hospital.
At the front desk, I learn that George was on the fourth floor, still in ICU, but only immediate family could go in. I thanked the nice volunteer that was manning the desk, and went to the elevators. There, in the hallways outside the room, Roy filled me in on George’s status, while Leeni sat in the room with him.
“He was hit broadside right behind the driver’s door by a drunk driver from some college in Tennessee here for spring break. Kid was only 20, died instantly. George has a broken leg, ribs, and dislocated left shoulder. No internal injuries, the lungs weren’t punctured somehow. They’ve done two surgeries already, and there’s one more tomorrow to put the leg in place with pins. Other than that, and the fact that they have him hopped up on some MAJOR pain meds, everything’s going to be ok. The bitch, um, girlfriend, got away with cuts and bruises. She was asleep, so didn’t tense up.”
I give him a big hug. “Thank god. So, how’s Leeni taking it?”
“Better. Now that she’s here with him. We have to get her to go take a shower and get some sleep before the surgery tomorrow, though. Did you find a hotel? We forgot about spring break.”
“Well, yes and no. I was worried that we would all be sleeping on the beach for awhile there. No hotels had rooms, but I did find this cottage rental place right on the ocean. No college kids, because Pinky doesn’t like them trashing the places.”
“Pinky?” Roy asks, with a twinkle in his eye.
“Just wait, you’ll see.”
With that, Leeni came out of George’s room, and rushed over to me, hugs me, and starts crying. We go into the ICU waiting room and I sit down with her. Once she’s done, I listen to her retell me everything Roy just said.
Just then, like out of the movies, the finest male specimen I have ever laid eyes on came into the ICU waiting room. Tall, but not too tall, muscular, but not to the point of overly so, with short dark brown hair and the most piercing blue eyes (picture Daniel Craig, and you know what I’m talking about) I have ever seen. His smile, oh, man! My heart did a little flutter, and I had to stop myself before my jaw hit the floor and drool started escaping out of the corner of my mouth.
“Ms. Solomon? I’m Doctor Shaw. I’m one of the doctors that’s been working on your son. Do yous have any questions or concerns up to this point?” His definite northern accent was just music to my ears. He sat down on the other side of Leeni from me and took her by both of her hands. She introduced both Roy and me to the doctor, and then the two of them talked for about fifteen minutes or so. The whole time I’m fantasizing about needing a complete physical. Roy was standing off to the side, watching me watch the doctor, and asking a few questions of his own every once in awhile.
“Alright then, if there’s anything else, I’m here until ten tonight, then my associate, Dr. Jones will be taking over for the remainder of the weekend and the surgery tomorrow. He’s has more expertise with this type of procedure, but if yous want, I can assist, so that you’ll be more at ease. My next shift starts on Monday, but I am on call the whole weekend, just in case.” Dr. Shaw got up and shook our hands, and then looked at Leeni once more.”You know, your son is one lucky son of a gun. If he had been going even a tad bit slower, we would not be standing here like this. He’s a fighter. He’ll be up and running around in no time.”
“Thank you for that. I’m just going to go say goodbye to him, and tell him we’ll be back first thing tomorrow. When’s his surgery again?” She half-smiled at Dr. Shaw.
“I think it’s for 11am, but I’ll double check that and let you know before you leave. Mr. Hammond, Ms. Rogers, take her and get her some food and sleep. Doctors’ orders.” He nodded to us both, and left the waiting room.
Leeni went back to George’s room, while I just stood there in a daze, following the doctor with my eyes, as he went to the nurses’ station and looked at a few charts.
“Earth to Ari. Hey! Snap out of it” Roy waved his hand in front of my face.”Man, you’ve got it bad,” he just mumbled as Leeni came back in.
“She’s got what bad?” Leeni looked confused.
“Yeah, while you were talking to the good doctor, you probably didn’t notice our friend here in the middle of a self-induced orgasm. She couldn’t keep her eyes off him the whole time.” Roy chuckled, and shook his head again in mock hurt that I should ever look at anyone other than him that way.
“WhatEVER Roy! Can’t a girl have a good fantasy every now and then?” I hung my head in shame at being caught ogling the doctor. Just then, he came back into the waiting room.
“Everything’s all set for 11am tomorrow. If yous want to see him before hand, try to be here by 9. We’ll be starting pre-op by then,” Dr. Shaw stated to Leeni. “Until then, try to get some sleep. He’s in good hands here.” With that, he walked back out and down the hall to another room.
“Bet Ari would like to be in those ‘good hands’,” Roy muttered just loud enough for Leeni to hear, who started giggling.
“What?!” I say, looking at the two of them.
“Oh nothing dear. Let’s get out of here and go get something to eat, and a nice shower, not necessarily in that order.” Leeni tugged my arm, and started leading me in the opposite direction from the gorgeous doctor towards the elevators.
Roy fell in step behind us, chuckling under his breath. “What have I gotten into with these two this time?”
I drive us all back to the Shady Grove Cottages, and they got to meet Ms. Pinky, whose real name was Esther Reynolds. Her husband had run the cottages for over 30 years, but passed away a few years back, and she just took over from there. “Wasn’t about to go to Boca and the retirement place like the kids wanted me to. Why should I? I can walk to the store, library and bingo hall from here. Besides, with nice folks like you staying here, it’s not like I’m all alone, now is it? Right, so let’s get you settled and I’ll run you a nice hot bath.” With that, she ushered Leeni into our cottage, leaving Roy and I staring after the two from the front porch. We sit down on the glider there, trying to hold in the fit of giggles overcoming us both.
“I told you, but noooo- you didn’t heed my warning!” I said, wiping tears from my eyes.
“Ok OK – wonder where you buy that shade of hair color?!!” Roy was holding his sides. “I’m gonna go get that nap now. You alright?”
“Yeah. I think I’ll change and go lay out by the pool. Maybe do a few laps. Dinner around 8 sound alright?”
“Perfect. See you then.” Roy goes into the cottage, and I follow along a few minutes later to change in my room into my bathing suit and grab an oversized towel from the stack by the door.
The pool looked so inviting, as I slipped off my flips and dove into the deep end. Swimming has always calmed me down and let me clear my thoughts. I’m no Katie Hoff; never swam on a team or anything, but I can hold my own. As I push myself for one more lap, then another, I start to remember the last time I got to really work out the kinks like this….
“Daddy! Daddy! We’re home! Looks what Unca Roy gots me at the beach! Daddy?!” Suzi went from room to room in the house, looking for Jake as I dropped our bags in the living room. That’s when I saw the letter on the table by the front door, along with his keys. ‘That’s not good’ I thought to myself as I picked up the letter and started to read:
It’s over. Contact Roberts, Roberts, and Smythe at 410-555-9215 upon your return. I don’t want any of it, they have the details.
P.S. Here’s my keys, I took what is mine.
“Mommy, where’s Daddy?” Suzi is tugging on my shorts.”Why are you crying?”
“Oh honey, I’m just happy to be home. Daddy had an emergency out of town, and left me the number to call him when we got back, that’s all. Let’s get unpacked, and we’ll go over to mom-mom and poppy’s to swim and you can show them your hermit crab.” Inside, I’m crumbling, but I have to hold it together right now.
We head over to my parents, and while Suzi has fun splashing in the shallow end with my dad, I take my frustrations out by doing more than enough laps. I only stop when my mom grabs me by the foot after a less than perfect turn in the deep end.
“What’s up? I haven’t seen you this determined to wear yourself out by doing laps since that big fight with Jake a few months back?” My mom knew me too well.
I pull myself up and out of the pool, and sit at the edge with her as we watch Suzi try to dunk her grandpa yet again at the other end. “Mom. He’s gone. Suzi and I went to the beach for a week with Roy and Leeni, and he wasn’t too happy when we left. We just got back, and there was a note for me to contact some lawyers’ office, and his keys on the front table. All his clothes and stuff is gone. I think it’s over.” I start sobbing on her shoulder, but then, as soon as start, I stop. “NO! I won’t let the bastard make me feel bad. If he wants out, then so be it. The only people he’s hurting is himself and his daughter. I’m fine.”
“Sure you are, honey. Sure you are. So, what do we do from here? Shall I go get my machete?” My mom, the only person I know that threatens with a machete, and actually knows how to use it. God help the person that ever pisses her off.
“Nah. I’m gonna call this lawyer tomorrow, and we’ll go from there. I do know one thing though, he WILL NOT get custody. He doesn’t do anything with her now, I can’t think he’d want to have her all by himself for more than five minutes anyways.” I steel myself, as my dad is heading our way.
“What’s up Ari? A week at the beach, and the first thing you two do when you get home is come here for more swimming?” Dad looks at me for awhile, then comes over and embraces me with the best dad-hug ever. “Whatever it is, when you feel like talking, I’m here. Now Suzi” with that, he lets go and turns around.” How about you and me go get changed and you can help me grill up some hotdogs for dinner?”
“Cool Poppy! Daddy never lets me near the grill, says I’m too young.” Suzi is all smiles as she takes my dad’s hand and they go off into the house.
I hear him say, “You’re never too young to learn to be a grill master, and I’m the best there is!” as they open the screen door.