Castle Roland

Feel, Don't Think

by Michael Kyle-Ducharme

In Progress

Chapter 39

Posted: 6 Aug 15

The weekend after Marjorie's announcement, we traveled to New Hampshire for Dad's retirement party. Marcus and I arrived around seven Friday evening, after dropping Jen and Sarah at Jen's parents. They were going to surprise Dad at his party. We had a light dinner of Mom's breakfast crepes and chatted for a little while.

"How are things going with the house? Are you guys happy with the contractor?" Dad asked.

Marcus smiled, "Ethan is amazing. He surprised us at the initial walk through when he dashed away after we shared our vision for the bathroom. When he returned, he explained the need to check the supports for the bathroom. I think at that moment we were both sold."

"He seems incredibly professional. He has followed through with everything he's promised so far." I added. "I think we've hit the jackpot."

"That's exciting for you. Does he expect to get everything done before the wedding?" Mom wondered. "Does the price for the work seem reasonable?"

"Actually, Marcus's father is paying for all the remodeling. It's his wedding gift to us. I'm still not sure we should let him do this, but Marcus told me not to argue with him."

Marcus explained, "Like I told your son, my father paid for the work on both my brothers' homes. It's his thing. Honestly, I think it's huge that he's treating our wedding in the same way he did my brothers' weddings. Seriously, he's come a long way in just the time we've been together. Frankly, I never in a million years expected him to embrace us like this; but then again, you've had a huge effect on my whole family. Heck, even my mother... "

Mom jumped in, "Well, young man, the same could be said for you. I won't ever forget the week after my heart attack."

"And the help you've given me with my photos has been life changing." Dad added.

"Oh, I think you give me way too much credit."

Dad shook his head, "I completely disagree. You have helped me open up an entire world. I'm not sure I will ever be able to fully thank you. Seriously, it's incredible and wonderful."

Dad gave Marcus a hug and then seemed to collect himself. "But, how long are you staying?"

"Well, I cleared my schedule for Monday and your son is free that day too. So, I think we will head home some time Monday. How does that sound?"

Mom jumped in, "Sounds wonderful. I think a little time looking at albums in the morning, then some dress shopping tomorrow afternoon. The party starts at seven. I thought we could drive up to Maine on Sunday after brunch. It's supposed to be a beautiful weekend."

"Sounds awesome, Mom. Oh, before I forget, we do have some news. Marjorie has decided to move back to New York. She figures to return just after the wedding. She took the whole family by surprise with her announcement. How did Josh say it? Flibbergusted?"

Marcus burst out laughing. "Yeah, needless to say, the family was stunned into silence."

Mom smiled. "I knew it would just be a matter of time. We chatted briefly the last time we were together and she sounded awfully lonely in Florida. She never really made friends down there; she was too busy taking care of her parents. Fortunately, she still has friends in New York."

"Well none of the rest of us had a clue. I know she's seemed down when we've talked on the phone, but I didn't realize it was that bad."

"I think she confided in me without meaning to. She was thinking out loud. Where is she going to live when she moves back?

"Yeah, well, Marcus offered her the condo."

"WE offered it to her." Marcus spoke up. "Your son very generously offered her the chance to live there for as long as she wants. It was a very sweet thing."

"Sounds like a very nice gesture. Is she going to take you up on the offer?" Dad asked.

"She said she would think about it." Marcus added. "I really can't see any reason why she wouldn't jump at the chance. I mean it's plenty big enough for her to live and entertain. But, my mother will do what she wants, as always."

Mom grinned, "How is the wedding planning going? Have you figured out how many people will be joining you?"

"No, I'm not sure anyone has said no yet. I called and ordered two more cakes the other day just to be safe."

"That's a good plan. How many people are attending as of right now?"

"We are up to about one hundred and twenty-five guests so far. It's crazy."

"It sounds great. How many do you think for the rehearsal dinner?" Dad asked.

Marcus said, "Honestly, I think we are calling it thirty. We aren't counting the babies, of course. If you want help with the dinner we can... "

"No, thanks, but thirty is just about what we figured. Betty and I have already spoken to Mindy and Paul. We are having them do this as a buffet so people can try everything. The food was so good we don't want to make anyone have to choose between entrees."

"Awesome, I wasn't going to be able to pick just one thing. Everything was so good at the tasting." I smiled. "We have three floors at the hotel reserved and all the rooms are already booked. There are only about ten rooms left in the whole place. I hope everyone who needs a room has already booked. The hotel is actually going to reduce everyone's rate because we filled the place up. They are never this full unless there is a big event at the University."

"Well, I guess that means you guys are the biggest event of the season." Mom laughed.

"Not exactly, but we do have a few guests coming from out of town."

"What still needs to be done for the wedding?" Dad asked.

"Well the big thing is the seating chart. Some of the tables are really easy, but some of the other ones are so difficult to figure out."

"I told your son to relax about the whole thing. It will all come together."

"I just want to be sure everyone has a good time."

Mom smiled, "Marcus is right. It will come together. Besides, you can't control everyone else's good time. You just do what you can.

"Marcus, your mother hasn't found a dress yet. Or at least she hasn't said anything about a dress. If we find something tomorrow, remind me to send her a picture."

"Well boys, I think your mother has a busy weekend planned for us. I think I'm going to call it a night."

I agreed, "I think it's time for us to call it a night as well. I'm starting to get a headache. See you both in the morning. Good Night."

"Good night."

The next morning everyone was up before me. I lay in bed collecting my thoughts. I could hear laughter coming from the kitchen. It was such wonderful feeling, hearing the way my parents loved Marcus. I gave myself another few minutes and then walked out of the bedroom.

"Morning, Babe. Did you sleep well? We've just been chatting about tomorrow's plans. We thought about going up to Freeport and the outlets. Betty says there is a Mikasa outlet. We might be able to find glasses for the toast."

"Sounds good, Dad, maybe we could find that clambake place we went to after graduation. That was the best food. Do you remember the place?"

"Absolutely, we can drive up the coast. I'll take my camera; we can make a few stops along the way."

"Excellent." Marcus beamed. "I love it. Want some breakfast before your Dad and I start looking through the albums?"

"Of course, and I need coffee."

Marcus laughed.

After a relaxing morning, Mom started to get antsy about going dress shopping. So Marcus and Dad stopped looking at photos and we headed out.

First stop was a bridal shop in the middle of town. Mom seemed really nervous as we entered the shop.

"I hope we find something here. There are not a lot of other places to look if we don't... "

"Relax, Mom. I'm sure we will."

"But the wedding is in six weeks, I'll need time to get alterations done."

"Well then let's get started... "

After trying on about six different dresses, Mom began to panic a little.

"This is impossible. Every dress I like the color doesn't fit."

Suddenly, another salesperson approached my mother.

"I don't mean to intrude. But Mrs. Taylor, every dress can be ordered in another color. I'm Sheila, the owner. I overheard you say there was six weeks left until the wedding. I'm almost positive we can find the color you want in any dress you like. Corporate can always do a dye job if we need it. Normally, I can get a dress back within a week. Don't forget we are a national chain, plus our seamstress is amazing. Let's try on things for style instead of color, especially if you already have an idea of the color you're looking for."

"Really, it's that quick a turn around?"

"Yes, I wish I'd said something at the beginning. I'm sorry. Gabby is new. She just started working a couple of days ago and is still training.

"We should be able to make you happy without a problem."

An hour later, Mom found the style she wanted and picked out a color. The dress was luminescent silk with a jacket. The color she chose was a pale blue with a slight purple tint to it. The color of the dress and jacket faded slightly towards the waist, and darkened towards the floor. The style looked amazing on her. My mother was not a frilly, lacey person. To me the dress was perfect, but she was still fussing.

"I wish I could see this in the color I've chosen. I'm not sure."

"Mrs. Taylor, please come over to the computer and I'll show you the combination you've chosen. It's really quite simple. Gabby, check on the computer in the office. See if you can find the style and color at another store."

Mom moved over to the computer. Sheila had taken a picture of her in the dress and punched a couple of keys.

"Oh my, that looks... "

"Perfect; Mom that is the perfect dress, you will look amazing."

She looked up at me with a tear in her eye.

"You really think so? It doesn't make me look... "

"Betty, your son is right. The dress is perfect. Let me send a picture to my mother."

Marcus sent a screen shot to his mother. Just then Gabby burst into the room, all smiles.

"I found it. They have the dress in Portland, Maine. It's even the right size." She exclaimed breathlessly. "I had them put an immediate hold on it."

I spoke up. "Are they open tomorrow? We are headed to Maine for the day tomorrow. We could pick it up ourselves."

"They should be open noon until six tomorrow." Sheila said.

Dad jumped in. "Then let me pay for the dress now and let them know we will pick it up tomorrow. We were going to drive through Portland anyway."

Sheila continued, "Once you have the dress, come here to try it on. We can get going on any alterations needed."

Mom got a big grin on her face. Dad wrapped up the transaction and thanked Sheila profusely. We loaded back into Marcus's Lexus and headed home. Mom was beaming the entire trip.

"I can't believe how that worked out. I honestly never expected to find a dress that quickly."

"I'm glad you're happy. That dress is amazing on you." I gave her a hug.

"I'll make a little snack for everyone to tide us over until the party."

We arrived at the party just after seven. Dad was immediately surrounded by colleagues. Most of the teachers I knew from my time as a student. It was slightly odd seeing them in a social setting, but now that I was teaching it was easier to converse with them.

Jen and Sarah arrived with Jen's parents as the party went into full swing. Dad was thrilled to see Jen, and very sweet to Sarah. The cocktail hour was ending and we were about to sit down to dinner. As we were moving towards the front table, my ex-best friend TJ appeared. His mother worked in the district offices and knew about the party.

"Congratulations Mr. Wallace. I'm very excited for you and Mrs. Wallace."

"Thank you TJ."

"Let me introduce you to my wife. Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, this is Tiffany. Tiffany, these are my second set of parents. I think I spent more time at their house growing up than at my own. They are two of the most amazing people I know."

"It's nice to meet you Tiffany."

"It's sweet to meet y'all too."

"Where did you meet? You don't sound like you grew up near here." Dad grinned.

"I'm from 'lanta, Georgia. TJ and my brother did basic together."

TJ gave me a look and nodded his head. As he walked towards me, Marcus moved between us. I placed my hand on his shoulder.

"Its okay, Hon."

I stuck my hand out to shake with TJ. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into a hug. He started to whisper in my ear.

"I really am sorry about everything. I miss you. I understand if you can't forgive me for all the shit I pulled on you. I really don't deserve it. I just wanted you to know your friendship was important to me, too."

I stood there stunned. I wasn't sure I'd heard him right. Before I could react TJ put his arm around Tiffany.

"Tiffany, this is Tony, my best friend growing up. You might remember him from the engagement party. And this is his fianc, Marcus, right?"

I was still standing there stunned when the petit blonde walked up to Marcus and gave him a hug and a quick peck on the cheek.

"It's nice to meet y'all."

She pulled me into a hug and whispered in my ear, "I've heard a lot about ya, Tony, 'specially since my husband's drunken asshole move. I almost walked away from TJ 'cause of that. So I can tell ya... his 'pology is real."

I smiled at her. She stepped back and nodded her head.

In another surprising move, Tiffany put her arm through Marcus's and gently led him away.

"Marcus, dear, could y'all help me carry drinks back to our men?"

Marcus gave me a concerned look. I smiled and nodded my head.

"That wife of yours is a pistol." I said to TJ.

"Oh, there is no doubt about it.

"Tony, I mean it when I say I'm sorry for all the bullshit. You were my best friend. I pulled that nonsense on you, and then I bullied you. It's unforgivable, but I am sorry."

"Thanks, TJ. I didn't expect this."

"I'm sure. My wife forced me to do a lot of soul searching. She almost dumped my ass after that scene at the party. I don't expect you to forgive me. I just wanted you to know how I felt. Maybe the next time you and Marcus come to town we could have a drink together and catch up some."

"I think I'd like that TJ."

"Good. It's settled then."

Marcus and Tiffany reappeared as TJ and I shook hands. Tiffany smiled at her husband and gave him a peck on the cheek. She gave me another hug.

"Well, it's been sweet meeting y'all. I hope we see ya ag'in."

"I hope so too. And I hope it's soon." TJ added.

I smiled, grabbed Marcus around the waist and said, "I look forward to it. Right now though, we need to get back to my parents. It is Dad's night after all. I think it's almost time for his speech."

As we walked back to my parents, Marcus stopped and gave me a look. I knew what it meant, but I also knew how I felt. So I just started to explain my feelings.

"Before you start, I haven't forgiven TJ. However, he apologized for pretty much everything. It seemed really genuine, and his wife made it clear she called him on the carpet for his behavior at the party. I still have some reservations, but I'd like to give him a chance. His friendship was very important to me; I hope we can connect again in some way."

"You amaze me. All that matters to me is that you don't get hurt. I totally get your feelings, but I'm glad you're not jumping in with both feet. You are one of a kind my love."

"You worry too much, Hon." I laughed.

Marcus gave me a stern look, but broke into a grin almost immediately.

We sat down at the table with my parents as salads and rolls were delivered. The main course was wonderfully flavored garlic prime rib with twice baked potatoes, Dad's favorite. After we finished the main course, Dad got up while they passed out blueberry crumble bars for dessert.

His thank you speech went very well. He was never comfortable in front of an audience, but Marcus helped him punch up his notes and he had the whole house laughing. The speech was wonderful and the night flew by.

Sunday morning church and then brunch was followed by a trip up the coast. We headed directly to Portland to make sure we had Mom's dress. She was a bundle of nerves as she entered the dressing room.

After longer than expected, she walked out. The three of us gasped. She looked incredible. The color was fabulous and was going to fit perfectly with the hues Marcus and I choose for the rest of the wedding. The style fit her to a tee. The outfit brought a tear to my eyes.

As she stood on the podium and twirled slightly in front of the mirrors, she glowed. If there had been any doubt about the dress, it was completely gone now.

Dad got up from his chair and walked towards my mother.

"Betty, you look incredible. What a beautiful dress. It's a good thing there is no bride because she would never be able to compare to you."

Marcus jumped in, "Sam is absolutely right. You look amazing. I can't believe how beautiful that color is. And the style is just perfect."

Mom had tears in her eyes when she looked at me. She cocked her head and gave me a questioning look.

"There aren't any words left. Amazing, beautiful, incredible, and perfect have all been used. All I can say is wow. I hope you love it as much as we do. Seriously, I'm flibbergusted."

We all burst out laughing and moved into a hug.

The salesperson boxed up the dress and we headed out. The ride back towards New Hampshire was fun. We stopped at the roadside clambake place my parents took me to after graduation and had a great meal. Marcus and I also managed to find crystal champagne flutes to use at the reception.

All in all, it was a perfect weekend.

Thursday of the following week, I made a visit to the new house. The remodel was progressing well. Ethan was incredibly professional and had the crew ahead of where he planned. It was unbelievable to see the vision Marcus and I had for the place coming to fruition. Jen met me for lunch and we toured the house. She had seen the place before construction started and was duly impressed. She, Ethan, and I chatted for a few minutes. Suddenly, both our phones went off at the same time.

"Tony, its James, Where are you?"

"Hey James, I'm at the new house. What's up?"

"Is anyone there with you?"

"Jen is... James, what's going on? Why all the questions?"

"I need you to stay calm. There was a stabbing at the courthouse. Apparently, a woman who lost custody of her kids tried to kill her ex-husband, who happened to be Marcus's client."

Jen moved over next to me and put her hand on my shoulder.

James continued, "Marcus grabbed the knife before she could use it. He was hurt. He's been taken to the hospital... "

"Fuck, I've got to get up there. How serious is it? Is he going to be alright? I've got to get there now... "

"Let Jen drive you to the hospital. I'll have Jon meet us here."

"You're already there? Tell me how Marcus is... Is it bad?"

"I don't know. I heard the call on the scanner. Jon and I were home when it happened. He's talking to Jen now. We hoped you were together."

I hung up the phone. I started to run to the car. My only thought was I needed to get to Marcus. As I opened the car door, Jen grabbed my arm. I tried to shake her off, but she held tight.

"Tony... Let me drive. Get in the other side."

"I need to get to the hospital... I need to see Marcus... "

"I know."

I tried to shake off her hand again.

"Anthony Michael Wallace," She yelled. "Listen to me right now. I will take you to the hospital. Get in the passenger seat this instance."

I stood there stunned for a second and stared at her.

Softly she spoke, "Tony, please let me drive you. You need to collect yourself. I'm sure Marcus will be fine. Sarah is at the hospital and will call as soon as she hears anything. I promise. Just give me the keys."

"Please hurry... " I pleaded.

Jen raced across town. It only took eight minutes to get there, but it seemed like an eternity. Neither of our phones rang, so there was no news.

The minute Jen slowed down the car I jumped out and ran for the emergency room door. The doors were filled with cops. I tried to push past them, but they had the entrance completely blocked.

Someone grabbed my arm; I tried to shake them off. James got in my face.

"Tony, stop."

"No, I need to find out what's going on. Please, I need to see him." I felt tears rolling down my cheeks.

"I know. Let me help you. Right now the place is on lockdown."

James helped me get to the triage desk. He flashed his badge at the nurse.

"This is Marcus Taylor's fianc. He wants to see Marcus."

"Fianc? Really? Do you have proof?"

She looked at me as though I was the lowest form of life on earth. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but not by much. Here was this sixty-year old, grey-haired woman, looking down at me over her glasses. She was dressed all in white. I stood there completely stunned. I had no idea what to do. I couldn't think. I just needed to see Marcus.

"Proof? Tony, where is your health care proxy?" James brought me back.

"In my briefcase, it's in the car." I pleaded. "Please just let me see him. I need to be sure he's okay."

She stood there with her arms folded across her chest and shook her head.

"We have rules; family members only."

"But I am family. He's my... ompff."

Just then Jen hit me in the stomach with a piece of paper in her fist.

"Here Tony, I knew if Annie was on the desk you'd need this. Have a heart you old bitch. Where the hell is Marcus Taylor?"

She smiled a satisfied smile, "Let me see. Oh there it is. He's been taken to surgery. This one should go to the waiting room and check in. Someone up there might have more details."

"You nasty old cow... When did you lose your humanity?

"C'mon Tony, let's go upstairs."

I followed behind her, completely lost. Suddenly, I snapped out of it.

"I need to find out about Marcus. What the hell do I have to do to get answers? Jen?"

"We need to go up to the sixth floor. As soon as we get to the waiting room, I'll find out what I can. I promise I'll get you answers."

When we got to the surgical waiting room, Jen checked me in. Jon dashed into the room right after. He wrapped his arm around my neck from behind and held tight.

"Look all we can do is wait. I'm sure Jen will find out what's going on as soon as she can. I know this is difficult, believe me, I know. But becoming frantic isn't going to help."

"I just need to know he's going to be alright. Why can't I get some answers?"

"You'll get them. Jen is working on it. I think while you're waiting we should call Marcus's family."

"Shit, I didn't think of that. I should let them know what's going on, but I hate to call not knowing anything."

"They need to know what you know. If they want to come down they should have that chance. Call his brothers and father, they can call his mother."

"You're right. I need to stop wallowing. It's not doing anyone any good."

I spent the next few minutes getting in touch with Marcus's family. Jamie and Nick were going to head home first and wait for me to call with more information before heading to the hospital. George was on his way. I could only tell them what I knew, which obviously wasn't much. Inside I was going completely nuts. Why couldn't anyone tell me what was going on?

I started pacing as soon as I hung up with George. Jon sat watching me. He nodded his head when I caught his eyes. I glanced at my phone; barely thirty minutes had passed since James' first call. I continued to pace.

I don't consider myself a religious person. I went to church with my parents growing up, but I never really felt connected. Right then I began to beg to any higher power that would listen...

'Please watch over Marcus. I don't know what I did to deserve him in my life, but please don't take him away now. I love him and can't imagine my life without him. Please just take care of him.'

I paused for a moment to look out the window and heard my name.

"Anthony Wallace? Is Anthony Wallace still here?"

I ran to the counter. I felt Jon standing behind me.

"Yes... I'm Anthony. Do you have news?"

"I was told to direct you into the consultation room. The surgical nurse will be here to speak with you momentarily. This way please."

I looked at Jon.

"You go. I'll wait here for Marcus's father or Jen. I promise I won't go anywhere."

"Thank you."

"Go. See what's going on."

I followed an older woman down a short hallway. She unlocked a door and moved to let me enter.

"Wait here. I'm sure someone will be right with you. Good luck."

"Thank you."

I sat down on an orange vinyl couch. The room smelled of disinfectant. As I sat, I started bouncing my leg as my nerves took over. I kept pulling out my phone. Time seemed to stop. It felt like I'd been waiting for hours and barely five minutes had passed.

Suddenly the door opened, George walked in looking ashen. He walked right up to me and pulled me into a hug.

"Have you heard anything?"

"No. I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry. Thank you for calling me. I can't believe this is happening. You watch those idiot shows on TV and say to yourself things like this could never happen in real life. This is just surreal."

The door to the room opened again and a woman entered. She had to be the surgical nurse. Dressed in dark green scrubs with strange white netting covering her hair, she looked at us and went to turn around.

"I'm sorry I'm looking for a Mr. Wallace. I must have the wrong room."

"I'm Anthony Wallace. This is Marcus Taylor's father, George Taylor. He just got here."

"Very good, Well, Marcus should be in recovery for about an hour. We repaired the hand... "

She looked at the blank stares on our faces.

"Okay, let me start over. Judging from the looks on your faces you have no idea what's going on.

"Marcus had a severe laceration on his right hand from grabbing the blade. He also had a wound to his thoracic cavity area... his chest. The chest wound was relatively minor. The puncture was less than two centimeters deep, or just over a half inch. The chest wound required fifteen stitches and was very superficial. It looked a lot worse than it was due to the blood loss involved. That area tends to bleed excessively.

"On the other hand," She smiled. "Sorry, his hand was injured a little more severely. I think he grabbed the knife with his hand and redirected it. Fortunately, there was very little damage to the muscle, tendons, or fingers. We can't be sure about nerve damage, but all in all, the surgeon was very pleased. The hand has thirty stitches across the palm."

"As soon as we move him into a room, someone will come to get you. He will be here at least overnight. When he gets released, there will be very specific instructions. Due to the risk of infection, he will be on a regimen of antibiotics for a time. There will also be the need for PT to help with the hand. But the surgeon expects a full recovery.

"Get yourselves coffee or something. I imagine it will be an hour or more before he's in a room."

I released the breath I'd been holding. I quickly stood up and wrapped her in a hug.

"Thank you so very much."

"You're welcome. It's always nice to give out good news."

She turned and left the room. George and I looked at each other and he pulled me into a hug.

"Thank God. I need to call the office and his mother to let them know the news."

I nodded my head and said, "I'll call Jamie and Nick. They are waiting on word from me. Why don't you meet me in the cafeteria for coffee in a few minutes?"

"Sounds like a good idea."

As we exited the room, I could hear children crying. Another family was in the room next to us, as we walked by I heard a yell.

"George, wait."

We stopped for a moment and glanced into the room.

A man about my age was comforting a little boy and girl. A middle-aged woman was holding a baby as well.

"I'm John Andrews, Marcus' client."

"Yes, I remember."

"How is Marcus? Please tell me he's going to be okay."

"John, this is Anthony Wallace."

"Oh... of course, Marcus talks about you all the time. I'm so sorry. I don't know what got into my ex-wife. I knew her drug addiction was spiraling out of control, but I never in a million years... How is Marcus doing? He saved my life. She was out of her mind."

"Marcus should make a complete recovery. We just talked to the nurse." George said.

"Thank God. There was so much blood. I was afraid Julie had done something unthinkable. Please tell him my whole family thanks him for everything. That was the most amazing thing I've ever seen... He not only saved me, but he stopped her from hurting herself as well. She is still in surgery but they say it's a minor wound on her neck and a more serious one on her arm. It could have been so much worse. Please tell him thank you and as soon as he feels up to it, we'd like to thank him in person."

George nodded his head, "We will let him know. Thank you."

We continued to the waiting room. James and Jon were standing together talking. I walked up to them. They gave me a hug and then a look.

"He's going to be fine. The chest wound bled profusely but is superficial. The hand should be okay as well. Right now, I need to call his brothers."

They nodded and moved to sit back down. James was talking on the phone.

I spoke to both Jamie and Nick. They were relieved to hear the news. The older twins wouldn't let their Dad hang up until they talked to me as well.

"Uncle Tony, are you sure Uncle M is going to be okay?" Stephen started.

"He will be sore for a while, but good as new soon."

"Hey, you have to tell him we are coming to see him." Josh yelled into the phone.

"I'll tell him. If Uncle M can come home tomorrow, maybe you can come over to say hi. I know he'd like that. Tonight I think he's going to be a little tired."

"Okay, Uncle T. Daddy says to say bye now."

"Bye, boys."

I turned around and sat in the nearest chair. I felt a tear roll down my cheek. Relief flooded into every fiber of my being. I put my head in my hands and took a deep breath.

Jon and James sat on either side of me. Jon put his arm around me. I started speaking slowly.

"I guess he grabbed the knife with his right hand and when he struggled with her he was sliced into on that side. They don't think there will be lasting damage to the hand. Maybe some nerve damage, they can't be sure about that yet."

James started, "Tony, the report we got from one of the eyewitnesses said Marcus prevented the initial attack, but then stopped the woman from hurting herself. A colleague said he'd never seen anything like it. They were very concerned because of all the blood. Marcus is a real hero according to him."

"As George and I were walking back to the room, we saw Marcus's client. He said his wife was drugged out when it happened and Marcus saved both of them. I suppose I should be proud of him, but right now I just want to see him. I don't care about any of the rest of it."

"I know. Let's go to the cafeteria while you wait. I could use a cup of coffee. You look like you could too."

As we started moving towards the elevator, my phone rang. It was Jen.


"I have someone who would very much like to see you. I recommend being in the hallway outside the waiting room in the next minute or so. You won't be able to talk long and he's still a little out of it, but I think we could get the orderlies to move slowly through the corridor."

"Oh my God, thank you."

They did just that. As they moved the stretcher through the hallway, I ran to Marcus's side.

"Hey Babe."

I kissed his forehead and his lips. He smiled at me, but fell back to sleep before I could say anything.

"He's just coming out of the anesthesia. He's going to be in and out for a little while longer. They will get him settled in his room and call you when he's awake. He's going to be fine." Jen gave me a grin. "I am sorry it took me so long to get information, but I figured a picture is worth a thousand words and one look at him would go a long way to making you calm down."

I clutched at her and whispered in her ear, "Thank you so much. I need to meet his family in the cafeteria. How long before I can see him again?"

"Give or take thirty minutes. I'll call you when he's a little more awake."

"Thank you. I love you."

"Love you too. Go tell everyone he's going to be fine."

Thanks as always to David for editing. He makes me look so much smater than I am. Any errors remaining are all mine.

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