The Treasures of Spring

by: Rebecca Taylor

I was born in the Four Seasons Antique Shop to my parents Mr. and Mrs. Seasons on a bright sunny day in early June. My parents had been together for twelve years when a light shone down from the sky. They looked at one another and said, “This object symbolizes our dreams and hopes of a future filled with love and family. We will call its name Spring.” This is me, and my antique symbol is a treasure chest. For a long time, I did not comprehend why this represented my personality, but I will tell you more about this later.

First, I would like to tell you about my brothers and sister. The second oldest is my sister Summer, she is symbolized by an a bright amber vase. This makes perfect sense because her heart, like the vase’s opening is always open and willing to explore new possibilities. She may be the one with the hardest job in the family, she is the family confidant, because no matter how busy life or the antique shop becomes, she will always take the time to listen. Even my parents turn to her for advice. My brother Fall, the third child is represented by a hundred year old figurine of an ox. This is because he has amazing inner strength, and keeps going even in the most difficult of circumstances. Winter, the youngest of us four is indicated by an old metal sign that reads, “Where you want to be.” That is completely Winter, of all of us Seasons children, he is the most carefree, the one who has the most friends and is always on the run from one activity to another. Like all families, our sibling personalities sometimes clash, and we have our differences of opinions, but it is certain that once all of the bickering is done, that we will reach middle ground even if we do not agree, we still love each other and will do anything for the others.

When we were old enough to understand how important the antique shop was to our family and what responsibility meant, our parents promised us all that if we met three conditions, we would be guaranteed an inheritance. Our parents would not disclose what it was but said that it would be worth it. The first condition was that we all display an interest in the family business and take turns running it. This is the easiest of the conditions to meet. Secondly, our parents wanted us to each find our own niche within the antique business, one that we would study and specialize in. I became an appraiser, and after apprenticing at several antique shops in the country, began to work fulltime for my parents. The third condition is the one that I had the difficulty with; we all had to find our hidden purpose. For Summer, this was not so difficult as she is a very open personage, and her purpose was to go out into the community and help others. She is amazing, and people find it easy to get to know her. For me, I’ve never had the best people skills, being too shy to shine in the spotlight. I prefer to be behind the scenes. I do okay with the customers because I know what I am talking about, but when I’m out in a crowd I usually clam up for fear of playing the fool.

One day, when it was my turn to be watching the store, a difficult situation confronted me, that put everything my parents wanted for me at jeopardy. They have many desires in life like wanting to be able to bestow each of us children with our inheritance once we have met their conditions and they are certain that we can live up to their expectations. They dream of us all finding the right person to be able to have our own families and hope that they have taught us well enough to be able to do the right things in life. A man and a child entered through the back door of the shop, which is always kept locked. I heard the door and crouched behind a cupboard in fear because the back door is only used as an emergency exit. The man kept walking around the shop, and pointing out items to the little boy, which would not have been unusual had he entered through the front door, but he had not and I did not know what to do. Eventually they left through the back door just as they entered. I did not understand how they got in, they must have picked the lock; which meant they were not law-abiding citizens, but why bring the child, and why not take anything if that had been the purpose. I relocked the back door, but did not say anything to my parents when they returned, because I was ashamed. I had hid. That night, someone took several antiques from the shop, the police were called and no one knew how they had entered the store. I knew, and I could have prevented it, had I alerted someone to what had happened earlier in the day. Detectives searched to see if they could find any evidence but everything pointed nowhere. I could not look my parents in the face, I felt as guilty as if I had stolen the antiques myself. My parents and Fall were busy readying the shop to reopen, it was going to keep going, a break in would not stop the family from persevering. They were cleaning up my mess. Summer knew something was wrong by the way I had been acting, I had withdrawn from my family in their time of need.

“What’s going on?” she asked one day about a week after the break in.

“Nothing,” I answered but I am not a good liar.

“You’re not yourself, I know everyone’s rattled since the robbery, but your family needs you. Tell me why you’re hiding from everyone.”

“It’s all my fault,” I answered looking at the floor in my bedroom where Summer had confronted me.

“How’s it your fault, it happened at night when everyone was sleeping.”

“A man and little boy came in through the back door on the morning of the theft, I was scared and hid. They must have been checking out the place for that night.”

“You have to tell Mom and Dad. Do you remember anything about the man and boy.”

“A bit, but Mom and Dad will never trust me again.”

“If you tell them what happened, tell them you’re sorry, tell them you were afraid. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. You just should have said something earlier.”

“I can’t, I’m the only one of us who hasn’t figured out their potential, and now I’ve failed everyone.”

“Don’t let the thief win; if you don’t face this, he’s going to make you feel guilty forever. Telling them won’t be easy and they’ll probably be upset, but that’s just the stress of the situation.”

“Will you come with me to tell them?” I asked quietly, feeling guilty, nervous about facing my parents and awkward about asking my little sister to come with me.

Summer agreed to help me face what had happened by accompanying me to talk to my parents. They were angrier than I have ever seen them in my life, and they were sad that I hadn’t owned up to what had happened before. The police were called and I had to help generate a profile of the thief and the child. My heart was pumping so fast I thought I was going to pass out. Detectives came back and asked questions of me, and Summer stood by me telling me it wasn’t my fault, that I wasn’t to blame for what had happened. I managed to pull through it, fighting the desire to run away from home and from all of the problems that I was facing. When I was younger Mother and Father always said the one thing they appreciated about my attitude was my calmness, but  I didn’t feel calm, but felt like I had to project it, so I didn’t worry anyone more than they already had been about everything that had been happening.

“We’ve decided that you still have a lot of learning to do about yourself and what it takes to earn a living and your inheritance, Spring. We are not going to give up on our dreams for you,” said my mother one day a few months after the robbery, even though the thief hadn’t been found, and may never be.

I thought about what they said as I worked around the shop one afternoon, after my mother told me this. Something drew me to the treasure trunk that symbolized my birth. It was glowing, something my parents claimed it had done on the day of my conception. I stopped and I touched it, and suddenly the lock undid itself and the trunk opened. I knew then that I had found my place in the world. I knew that I loved the antique business and the work I did appraising interesting articles but something inside me told me that I needed to let myself live, let myself open up, just like the treasure chest that had opened for me, because I was allowing myself to believe in myself again. Somehow, I began to understand more about life, and vowed to discover more. When I looked in the trunk, it overflowed with hand painted signs, with magical words on them like love, hope, and faith. I started looking through all these powerful expressions, taking them all in knowing that they would help me get a new perspective on life, let me open myself up to the outside world.

I let my newfound perception guide me, I spent more time trying to have fun, I tried to be friendlier around the shop, taking time to talk to more people, and not just figure out how much their stuff was worth. My parents and siblings noticed the change in me as did I and six months after the opening of the treasure trunk, my parents gave me the deed to my sixth of the antique shop. I now was part owner in the family business, I was ecstatic, and knew that I could finally put the doubts I had felt about myself since the robbery, behind me, my parents believed in me. I could let myself live in the future, leaving the bad memories of the past behind and taking only the good ones with me into the present.

The Stacey McKellar Rule Book (first three chapters)

by: Rebecca Taylor

Chapter 1

Stacey McKellar’s nail bitten hands shook as she said. “You didn’t.” Outside the dressing room, she could hear the production crew preparing for another busy day of filming. She could smell the pungency of the strong coffee and knew that Graham had used it to get over his hangover. She swallowed to keep the tears that threatened to erupt at bay.

“I made a mistake,” admitted Graham Thomson, “I’ll never do it again.”

“That’s crap,” replied Stacey, “this isn’t elementary school, you can’t just say, oops.” She stomped the heel of her leather shoe, the sound radiating through the small dressing room. “Do you realize you could have killed someone?”

“You’ve got to believe me, Stace, I never meant to drive drunk.”

“How many times do you think someone says that in a day?” She sighed sadly, and wished she had stayed in bed that morning and that the conversation she was now having with her soon to be ex-boyfriend was just a nightmare.

“Too many,” replied Graham his grey eyes not meeting Stacey’s blue ones.

“You’re a star but that doesn’t mean you get to break the law. Just because you didn’t hurt yourself or someone else, doesn’t mean I’m going to forgive you. Does Instantly mean nothing to you?” said Stacey her hands moving rapidly as she spoke. “Just because you -.”

“Stacey, please,” said Graham cutting off her rant. “Just listen to me for a minute. Let me make this up to you.”

“How dare you interrupt me and expect me to listen to you after what you did. You can’t make this better. Even though Andrew and Kara Mathis are characters in my novel doesn’t mean that their story isn’t real. People lose their loved ones all the time to drunk drivers. You’re playing Andrew in the movie, are you feeling nothing?”

“I know I was stupid, but please, don’t give up on me. Things were going so well between us.” He reached out his hand to touch her shoulder but she took a step backwards. Anger mixed with sadness flashed behind her eyes.

“Were is the operative word here. We’ve got work to do and whatever we could have been is over. Do you have any idea how many times I wanted to bring Mr. & Mrs. Mathis back to life when I was working on the book?” Stacey turned towards the wall and Graham saw her lift her hand to her cheek. He heard her clear her throat before she turned back to face him, “But I couldn’t because there is no backspace key on life, once someone’s dead, you can’t fix it, no matter how hard you try.”  Tears welling up in her eyes Stacey fled Graham’s dressing room. He looked after her stammering apologies.

“Five minutes to filming, Graham,” said a production assistant stopping by the dressing room.

Graham nodded and the production assistant left the room. Extreme emotion overwhelmed him as he took his hand and struck the table with it, spilling hot coffee all over it and himself. He cursed and grabbed a towel to clean up the mess before getting changed into clothing befitting of the character he played – a man devastated by the effects of another man’s drunk driving.

 


Chapter 2

“Stacey, filming’s about to start,” said her sister coming into the bathroom.

“Okay, I just need a minute,” she said splashing water on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t have time to talk about it right now.”

“Well you’re not leaving this room until you do.”

“Just because you’re my big sister doesn’t mean that you know what’s best for me.”

“I can tell when something’s wrong and it definitely is right now,” said Lori standing by the bathroom door blocking anyone else from entering.

“Please, Lori, just leave it.”

“No, I won’t leave it, because this morning at the hotel you were one of the happiest people in the world and now you’re not.”

“I told Graham it was over. Now, I’m going to put on some makeup and go out there and watch him be in the movie that I wrote.”

“You don’t have to do that, Stace, we could go back to the hotel and empty all the candy out of the vending machines and watch an incredibly sad movie.” Lori reached out her arms to give Stacey a hug but she pulled away from her sister’s embrace.

“Please don’t, I can’t talk about this right now.”

“You don’t have to be strong all the time.”

“Yes, I do because no one else is going to be strong for me and, I wrote a book that someone wanted to make into a movie. I’m not going to hide. Graham isn’t going to take away the fact that someone thought I’d written something that mattered…”

“No, just every time you watch your masterpiece, he’s going to be in.”

“Yes, he is, but he’s good at acting.”

“Is that you being sincere or a jab at something that happened between the two of you.”

“His onset talent is genuine. His choices in life are crap.”

“And there’s the Stacey McKellar rule book right?”

“Yes, there is. There are some things you just don’t do.”

“And which one of those things did he do?”

“He drove drunk last night. He doesn’t look it now thanks to a ton of coffee, but he did it.”

“And he told you about it?”

“No, I heard him talking to Dan about it. How he woke up with a mega hangover and realized what he had done.”

“Then he didn’t mean to?”

“Does anyone mean to drive drunk, seriously?” asked Stacey pressing down hard on the paper towel holder sending them cascading out of the machine. She furiously tore off a piece and dried her face.

“Hey, sis, don’t get mad at me. I’m here for you.”

“Drunk driving kills people. It’s splashed in everyone’s faces that if you are going to drink, plan ahead. He didn’t.  He got drunk Lori, he didn’t just have one drink, he got hammered. It’s over and I have work to do,” said Stacey rummaging through her purse frantically until she found a half used package of tissues. “

“But the two of you seemed so right together.”

“I thought maybe we had a chance, but he messed that up. Case closed.”

How come her love life looks so easy? She breaks things off, cries, reapplies makeup and gets back to work. Maybe they should sell some of that with her book or the movie ticket.

 

Stacey watched her movie coming alive from the monitors behind the scenes. Graham knew she was there but he couldn’t see her looking over the script and occasionally giving suggestions to the production assistant. He only played Andrew to the camera, telling the story of a heartbroken young man who was forced to plan a funeral with his sister for their parents because a repeat drunk driver had finally run out of luck. He didn’t see her white knuckles as her pencil hit against her clipboard. She watched him say his lines so perfectly that it hurt her and it was only when her pencil snapped in two and her hand felt the sharpness of the splintered wood that she realized she had been holding it so tight.

“How come they kept letting him back out on the streets?” demanded Andrew as he spoke to a police officer, “where is the justice? You’re supposed to be protecting us.”

Does a line like that mean nothing to you, Graham? Thought Stacey as she watched him deliver it poignantly.

“Cut,” said the director interrupting Stacey’s thoughts a few minutes later, “good work everyone. That’s a wrap for today. See you all tomorrow.”

Chapter 3

Graham returned to his hotel room after the filming. He looked at the mini fridge in his room. He could have used a beer but the thought of it turned his stomach. It was too many of those that had gotten him into this mess with Stacey. She’s a tough woman, and I don’t know if I can win her back. She said it’s over just like the film crew says cut and moves on. I love her, I haven’t told her that yet, but we were becoming something. We had something. I cannot believe that I don’t remember driving last night. He picked up his cell phone and dialed her number. It went straight to voicemail. He listened to her voice and felt anger, not at her but at what he’s done. “I’m sorry,” he said into the phone, “so sorry, I don’t know what else to say.” He hung up but thoughts of what had happened weighed heavy on his heart and mind. She’s right something could have happened but it didn’t so why can’t she just accept that. I was stupid, I was drunk and I made a mistake. I know my lines in the movie and I know what they’re about.

His co-worker Dan walked in while he was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling trying to think of some way to prove to Stacey that he deserved to be loved by her even though he had gone against something that she was passionate about.

“Hey, man, I heard Stacey dumped you. That sucks.”

“My love life is falling apart and all you can say is that sucks. Come on, Dan, help me here. You have a wife, what do you say to her when things are falling apart.”

“Honey, I’m sorry, is usually a good start.”

“Not with Stacey, it isn’t. I said I was sorry. I said I’d never do it again and she called me on it.” I am so stupid. I just wrecked a relationship with a woman I was coming to love.”

“Send her flowers or chocolates with a card, maybe a poem, chicks like that kind of stuff.”

Graham tossed a towel that was lying on the floor at Dan and replied, “Help me, here, you know Stacey. What would your wife think if she knew you called her a chick? Stacey’d have a fit. She’d say it undermined the female gender.”

“My wife would be fine with it. I’ve called her a chick before to her face. She’s cool like that.”

“Stacey’s not one of those girls. She’s strong and stubborn and so darn beautiful, that I don’t know what I’m going to do to keep her in my life.”  She doesn’t believe much in second chances either. She told me early on that if I ever cheated on her, I’d be gone. To her I think this is the same thing.

“Have you thought about a time machine, man, because with that one, I think you’re going to need it.”

“Funny,” answered Graham.

“Well, we could always go out drinking and forget about her.”

“Not for me,” said Graham tossing a pillow at the wall. It knocked a picture off the wall with a thud, “that got me in this mess.”

“Just forget her; if she can’t forgive you, maybe she’s not worth the trouble. You keep throwing things and you’re going to have a bill from the hotel.”

“I don’t think I can forget her, that’s the problem.”

If you would like to learn more about what happens with Stacey and Graham, the complete novella is available for purchase at: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/409220 

Finding Luck

by: Rebecca Taylor

Luck, karma, fate, providence

Call it what you want

Need to find a way to seize it

Don’t wait for it to find you

You can have your lucky charms

Horse shoes, four-leaf clovers and a rabbit’s foot

But what you really need is

Action, make your own luck

Songs that Impact Our Lives

by: Rebecca Taylor

Music is powerful and strong just like we all want to be. It has a way of saying what we want to say when we don’t know how. Choosing one song that impacted my life is almost impossible. We have to open ourselves up to the music and the lessons it can teach us. Songs like Blake Shelton’s “Some Beach” reminds us that when we are going through something difficult, to take a minute and envision our special place – our Zen place –  the beach in our minds.  A favourite of mine is “Keepin’ the Faith” by Rick Tippe because it has one of my favourite quotes “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift” by Eleanor Roosevelt and it tells us that even when things can get tough, to keep having faith and great things can happen. Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” is another example of a song that can push us forward in our lives because it demonstrates that life is like a mountain, that you’ve got to keep going, it’s not always going to be easy but that it is just as important for us to embrace our journey in life as it is the goal we are heading for. Some songs catch us because the words or melody are fast/slow depending on the mood we are feeling and we find ourselves singing along, or having our day turned around because of songs like Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” that just seem to made a bad day better. Music is happiness, music is love and despair and every emotion in between. It is the switch that can trigger a mood change or a revelation in our lives. It has a way of helping us through the rough times when we don’t have the words to say we’re hurting or confused. It is a form of medication that doesn’t require a prescription. Music is therapy that can impact us all in different ways. For example, Lonestar’s “Smile,” the heart touching song of someone smiling through the pain of someone leaving their lives so that, that person can be happy with the new life they are beginning. Music has a way of saying it’s okay that you had a life experience and you’re not alone. That’s music’s impact on each of our lives and for this I am grateful.

When Tomorrow Comes

by: Rebecca Taylor

“When are we going to plan our wedding?” asked Adelise Harmon.

“Tomorrow,” answered her fiancé Roger Archer, “for now, let’s just enjoy the moment.”

“Tomorrow,” replied Adelise, “is what you have been telling me for weeks but tomorrow is replaced with todays and we are no further in planning our wedding. You do still want to marry me don’t you?” She looked away not wanting to see the look in Roger’s eyes.

“Of course I want to marry you,” said Roger reaching across the table and taking Adelise’s hand. “Do you think I would have asked you if I didn’t want to?”

“No,” said Adelise turning her eyes back to Roger, “I just don’t know what to think these days. If we’re ever going to get married, we need to talk about important things like the date and the menu and the guest list.”

“In time,” said Roger, “I just know that details can get complicated and then we’re both going to get stressed out. I want to be married to you, I just don’t know if I want all the tedium that goes along with it.”

“It’s part of the journey to making our day perfect,” said Adelise.

“I get to marry you,” said Roger, “so it will be perfect.”

“That’s very sweet,” said Adelise smiling, then laughing softly, “but you cannot distract me from the big picture.”

“Tomorrow, January 15th, we will start planning our wedding. Tonight I plan on having a romantic dinner with you followed by dancing and maybe a moonlit stroll on the beach,” said Roger.

“I like the sound of that,” said Adelise, “you’re committing to our wedding by planning to plan on a specific date and you’re going to give me an incredible evening. I am so lucky.”

“You are,” answered Roger, “but so am I.”

You’ve Got This

by: Rebecca Taylor

“I don’t know how I’m going to look after them all by myself for the month during the school year,” said Tim Harris. “Meg and I have been split up for five years and usually I just get the kids on my weekend, sometimes a few days during the week. She’s the one who has helped them with homework and school projects.”

“You’ve got this,” said his friend Abby Carlson, “you’re their dad. They aren’t babies anymore and they can tell you want they want.”

“But can they tell me what they need?” asked Tim.

“They’ve got what they need, a dad who loves them,” answered Abby.

“Yes, a dad whose whole cooking repertoire consists of grilled cheese sandwiches, or BLTs or peanut butter and jelly. I can BBQ but February isn’t the time for that. I am thankful for this hospital cafeteria. And that’s another thing; I don’t always get out of here on time. I can’t stop in the middle of reading an x-ray and say ‘Sorry, I think your arm is broken but my kids are waiting for me at home or school or wherever.’”

“Have you ever thought of asking for help? Or having a backup plan if you’re not home when your kids get there?”

“Well Callie is fifteen. I know Meg sometimes left her to watch Jimmy and Angela,” said Tim.

“Well, there you are, keep in touch with your kids if you’re not home, but do what you have to do. Even married parents must have these situations all the time with regular 9-5 jobs,” said Abby.

“But then they’re prepared and they’re not working shifts.  I am and even though I’ve been a dad for fifteen years I often feel like I’m making things up as I go along,” said Tim.

“So you’re flexible, it’s a good thing,” said Abby, “I can help out if you need me to, you know make a casserole, check in on the kids if you’re going to be late. With my own photography studio, I can make my own schedule.”

“Abby, you’re wonderful,” said Tim, “but I don’t want you to feel like you have to help me.”

“Are we or are we not somewhat more than friends?” said Abby.

“We are,” answered Tim, “and I know that you’ve met my kids and they adore you. It isn’t that, I just don’t want you to feel like you have to step into a sort of mom role if you are not prepared for it.”

“We’re all going to do just fine,” said Abby, “you and me and the kids. You’re their dad and you’ve got this. No worries right?”

“There are always worries,” said Tim, “but I’ve had some practice in keeping the unnecessary ones at bay.”

“That’s good,” said Abby, “because worrying will get you nowhere. I know a month sounds like a long time when you aren’t used to it but you’ll see, you’ll get into a groove and everything will be fine.”

“I’m glad I’ve got you,” said Tim, “because with you supporting me, I know anything is possible.”

“Together, it is,” said Abby smiling.

Stood Up

by: Rebecca Taylor

Rachel’s first trip to England didn’t go as planned. She had had such high hopes for her overseas voyage; but she soon realized that some expectations like some people let you down.  To begin with, her boyfriend was supposed to be meeting her at the airport and he wasn’t there. She waited an hour and then tried his phone number to find out that the number was no longer in service. She was now in an unfamiliar country, where she knew no one and had nowhere to stay.

Let this be a lesson to all women; do not go halfway around the world for a guy you think you know. My cell phone won’t work here and you can’t e-mail someone on a pay phone. Why did I take this chance, how could I think I was in love. My mother was right. I don’t know if being stood up or the fact that she knew he was all wrong makes me more pissed off right now. Rachel knew that she had two choices, she could sit down and cry, or she could do something about the predicament she was in. Her inner survival mode won out as she made her way to the information desk dragging her suitcase behind her. An hour later, a cab dropped her off at a motel. Once in her room, she collapsed on the bed and a silent stream of tears came forth.  Eventually, she got up and after making herself semi presentable she headed to the internet café down the street. She checked her e-mail and other than some jokes and junk mail –nothing. If Sam didn’t want to be with me, fine, but why not tell me this before I came all the way from California. Why have we been talking and e-mailing for a year if this is the way he is going to treat me. I’m usually a good judge of character, what went wrong? I’m going to find out before I leave here. He is going to have to break our relationship off in person. He said he loved me.

The next morning, Rachel hailed a cab and went to Sam’s apartment. Standing tall, she walked up the front steps and entered the building. Inside, she found apartment 7 and rang the bell. It was answered by a teenage girl.

“Hello,” said the girl with her English accent.

“Hello is Sam Banks here?” asked Rachel.

“He doesn’t live here anymore,” answered the girl seeming surprised.

“Do you know where I can find him?”

Just then a man, presumably the girl’s father came to the door.

“She’s looking for Mr. Banks,” said the girl.

“He hasn’t lived here for over a year,” replied the man.

“But this is the address I have. I sent my Christmas card here and got a reply.”

“Then I’d try the postal service, Miss, perhaps they can help you.”

“Thank you,” replied Rachel turning to leave, her shoulders sagging. She had hoped to confront Sam – if he no longer loved her or had found someone new – someone who lived closer, she deserved to hear it from him.  But if that’s the reason, then why didn’t he tell me, why did he let me come here like this? None of this makes sense, I can understand a long distance relationship not working out but I cannot understand him letting me spend all that money to come here.

            At the post office, Rachel learned that Sam’s mail was forwarded from his former apartment, which is why he received the mail she sent him.

“Can you tell me where it’s being forwarded to?” she asked.

“I’m sorry; ma’am, but that would be a breach of confidentiality.”

“But I came all the way from California to see him. He was supposed to meet me at the airport, I’ve got to find him, I need to know why he wasn’t there.”

The postal clerk exchanged a look with her colleague.

“Let me make some calls,” answered the other clerk, “I’ll see what I can find out.”

“Thank you,” answered Rachel, “If you do reach Sam or someone who knows him, tell him I love him, tell him I need to see him, he at least owes me an explanation. He didn’t even e‑mail me.”

Half an hour later, the woman found Rachel standing by a rack of postal supplies, nervously biting her finger nails.

“I spoke with his mother. I know her; she comes here to get Sam’s mail. She’ll meet you in an hour in the cafeteria at the hospital. Here’s the address.”

“The hospital, but why?” asked Rachel, “What’s wrong?  None of this makes any sense.”

“His mother will explain.”

“Thank you,” replied Rachel, taking the paper from the clerk, her hands shaking as she did it. My last e-mail from Sam was almost two weeks ago. He said he’s see me when I arrived, and that he’d be away for a few days but couldn’t wait to see me again. Now, he doesn’t show up and his mother is meeting me at the hospital. I need answers and I need them now. I feel like I’m going to throw up. Something must be wrong, otherwise, why didn’t he come.

            Rachel arrived at the hospital with ten minutes to spare. She had never met Sam’s mother so was unsure of how she would know it was her, but hoped that maybe Sam had shown off one of the pictures he’d taken of them when he was in California. Rachel sat down at a table in the middle of the room, and waited.  It wasn’t long before a tall brunette approached her.

“Rachel?” asked the woman.

“Yes,” she answered.

“I’m Mrs. Banks, she replied taking a seat. “I need to talk to you about my son. I know that you came a long ways to see him.”

“Yes, and he didn’t meet me at the airport, and he no longer lives at his apartment.”

“I know. Sam was born with a rare medical condition. He can go for months without any problems but since returning from California, he’s been off work a lot, so he moved in with his father and me, so he didn’t have to worry about finances. A few weeks ago, he had to come back to the hospital. He hoped that he would be in and out before you came over, but he had to have surgery and that set him back. He didn’t want to tell you. He thought it would be better if you thought he stood him up. He was going to send you an apology later and the money to cover your costs.”

“He should have told me. This wasn’t his decision to make. I love him. My feelings are all mixed up right now but that doesn’t change that I love him. Can I see him?”

“Yes, but please don’t be too hard on him, at least not now.”

“I will wait for him to recover before I fully tell him what I think. I just need to see him; I need to know that he’s okay. He is going to be okay isn’t he?”

“Yes, with plenty of rest and your love, he will be fine. He may have some setbacks but it generally isn’t a life threatening condition.”

Rachel entered Sam’s room quietly behind his mother. Sam was asleep but Rachel put her hand in his.

“I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere, no matter what you say,” she whispered. “If it’s up to me, this won’t be my last visit to England.

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