Summary: AU off Mission of Gold: Amanda’s family deals with her accident.
Disclaimer: Scarecrow & Mrs. King belong to Warner Brothers & Shoot the Moon Productions. This story is copyrighted to the author. Please do not distribute without permission.
Notes: If you’re wanting more just be patient <g>. This is part of a larger work still in progress. Many thanks to those ladies who took the time to help me refine both this section and the ongoing larger work.
Archive: With the ABC stories
Community Hospital, March 1, 1987
The overhead lights dimmed as the orderlies left with the last of the dinner trays. Generally, patients would be given a brief respite before evening visiting hours began. Most families would have to wait to check on their loved ones. The woman in room 224, and her family, were fortunate to be exempt from this particular hospital rule. Someone had been with her almost constantly since she had been transferred from the ICU a week ago. To her doctors, this case seemed best served by keeping the family members happy - one family member in particular.
“What’s he doing in there?” Phillip paced in the hospital corridor.
“Watching her sleep,” Dotty answered from the waiting room couch.
Jamie shook his head. “Still?”
Dotty nodded. “He has to leave soon. He doesn’t want to say good-bye.”
“But he’ll be back on Saturday,” Phillip reminded his grandmother. “Right?”
“Yes,” she confirmed. “But he still doesn’t want to go.”
“Then why is he?” Jamie questioned.
“Work,” Dotty sighed. Jamie’s query reminded her that he still didn’t quite realize that grown-ups were not exempt from certain responsibilities and the rules of others around them. “Something came up and he has to go back.” She knew that Lee didn’t want to. She knew that he was, in fact, torn up about leaving Amanda. She also knew that he had no choice. He hadn’t come out and told her anything, but she knew from the look on his face when he hung up the phone.
“What kind of emergencies does a film company have anyway?” Jamie asked, not expecting an answer.
“He didn’t have a choice,” Dotty told him, not answering the question he posed. “She’s going to miss him,” she reminded both her grandsons. She wanted the focus back on Amanda.
“We’ll still be here, Grandma,” Phillip told her as he sat down and gave her a hug. “She won’t be lonely.”
“I know,” Dotty nodded as she patted his arm. “She knows. She’s awfully happy you both are here.”
“Except when *he’s* here,” Jamie countered.
“No, even then,” Dotty told the boy. “It’s just not what she . . . what either of them expected.”
“It’s not what we expected, either,” Phillip said softly. “Having her get shot.”
“Or get married,” Jamie added sullenly.
“I know,” Dotty conceded both points as she gave Phillip’s arm a squeeze. “But she loves him.” She disengaged herself and walked a bit down the hall. Looking in through the window on the side of the door to Amanda’s room, she sighed. As she watched the couple in the room, Lee sitting quietly in the chair by the bed, holding Amanda’s hand, she heard her grandsons approach. “And he loves her, too,” she said to them softly. “More than anything.”
As she moved away from the door both boys took a quick look inside their mother’s room.
“She used to do that,” Jamie reminded his brother. “Sit with us when we were real sick.”
“She did it after Dad left, too.”
Phillip nodded. “Uh huh.” Slowly they walked back to where their grandmother waited.
“It made me feel better,” Jamie admitted. “When I was real sick, or real scared, or real sad. . . just having her sit there made me feel better.”
Dotty smiled at her younger grandson’s comment. “I think she feels better with him there,” she told them softly.
“Maybe we can take turns,” Phillip suggested.
Jamie nodded. “After he leaves. So she won’t feel lonely.”
“I think that would be good.” Amanda’s sons, she reflected, were
growing into fine young men.
They sat there in silence for a while, lost in their own thoughts and somewhat startled to hear footsteps in the hallway. The boys looked up and noticed that Lee had left their mother’s room. Each of them gave him a brief nod as they passed him on their way to sit with their mother.
Dotty stood up to meet Lee and took his arm.
“Are you gonna be okay?” She asked it softly, giving his arm a squeeze of support.
“Me?” Lee gave a rueful chuckle. “Sure. Take care of that one, though,” he told her as he gestured back toward Amanda’s room.
“The boys will sit with her,” Dotty told him. “She won’t be alone.”
“Good,” Lee nodded. He felt drained. Maybe the exhaustion would permit him to fall asleep on the flight back east.
“What about you?”
“Huh?” Why was she asking? He didn’t matter. Amanda mattered.
“How will you be?” Dotty asked. “You’ll be alone.”
“I’ll be okay . . . busy. I’ll be back on Saturday,” he answered, still puzzled.
“But you’re going to miss her,” Dotty voiced the obvious.
“Something awful,” Lee admitted. When had he become so transparent? Why didn’t he care that he was?
“I’ll give you a call in the mornings,” Dotty offered. “Just tell
me when. I’m still on east coast time, so I’m up early. I’ll
Lee stood there, silent and stunned, afraid to answer.
“I can call at night, too, if you’d like. Before Amanda does, I mean. You need someone to talk to.”
Lee felt his composure beginning to dissolve. Clearing his throat, he finally found his voice. “Thank you. Eight-thirty.” Any more words and he’d lose it.
“Saying good-bye is tough,” Dotty told him. “But we know you’ll be back.”
“I couldn’t do it,” Lee told her as he sank into the couch. “Say good-bye, that is. I just sat there, silent, while she talked on. But I couldn’t say it.” He shook his head.
Dotty smiled. “Just remember to say ‘hello’ properly on Saturday,” she told him. “Good-bye is overrated anyway.”
“Thanks, Dotty,” Lee whispered.
“You’re welcome.” Dotty gave her son-in-law a hug.
He felt himself relax in her arms, and gain some strength for his upcoming week back at work. It was going to be rough: facing all of the questions and facing them without Amanda. It was going to be rough coming back, too, and starting for real this ‘family’ thing. But he had an ally now. And it would be okay.