Timing: Chapter 11

Standard

After their snack and phone calls, Eva and Louis went back to check on the girls. Both were awake and sitting up in bed, typing away on their laptops and texting various friends. Daniel noticed a vase of flowers had been put on Dani’s side table.

“Those are beautiful flowers, Dani,” he said.

She glanced at them and smiled. “Thanks. Tyler, a guy at our school, sent them to me.”

Daniel nodded and looked at Sadie. “That’s really cool,” he said and sat in the chair near the window. “Has the doctor been in while we were gone?”

Sadie and Dani shook their heads, and Dani said, “No, he probably won’t be back until dinner. He said something this morning about clinic hours and hospital rounds.” She shrugged and said, “I don’t really know.”

Eva said, “Okay, that’s fine. We’re gonna stick around until your folks get here then we’re gonna head out for the night. We just wanted to see the doctor before we did, that’s all.”

Like synchronized swimmers, Dani and Sadie shrugged and continued to type furiously. Daniel stifled a chuckle and smiled. “Is there anything you want me to bring for you in the morning?” Eva asked Sadie.

Sadie looked up and said, “No, I think I’m good. But, if I think of something you know I’ll text you for it.”

Eva said, “Sure that will work.”

Hilary and Joshua came in the room and hugged Dani gently. She wriggled a bit in their embrace. Not in a painful way. It was more like emotional discomfort, Daniel noted. Joshua sat in the chair next to Dani’s bed and handed her a Dunkin Donuts cup. “I smuggled it past the nurses’ station,” he confessed.

Dani took the cover off and inhaled deeply through her nose, and moaned. “Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Thanks, Dad,” she offered and showed a quick smile.

Joshua beamed and said, “You’re welcome, hon.”

Sadie watched them and looked at Daniel. “I want that tomorrow, please,” she requested.

Daniel laughed and said, “Alright, babe. You’re on. Any particular flavor?”

She thought about it and said, “Hazelnut. Mom knows how I like it.”

Daniel nodded and said, “Sure. Hazelnut it is, then.”

Eva watched everyone silently and moved to Sadie’s side. “We’re going to head out now, babe,” she said and leaned over to kiss Sadie’s forehead. Sadie winced quickly, but recovered just as fast. Eva winced with her and said, “Oo, sorry babe,” and grimaced. “I didn’t mean to.”

Sadie smiled. “It’s alright, Mom. I’ll be fine,” she reassured Eva. “I’ll be here in the morning, I promise.”

Eva hardheartedly chuckled. “You better.”

Daniel leaned over and kissed the top of Sadie’s head gently. “We love you, babe. Get some rest.” He turned to Dani and said, “That goes for you, too, young lady,” and winked.

Dani said, “Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be up too late.”

Daniel said, “Good girls.”

Daniel and Eva shook hands and said their goodbyes to Joshua and Hilary, then waved goodbye to Dani and Sadie. Once outside, Eva and Daniel shared a long look. Eva asked, “What now? Chinese take-out and a DVD?”

Daniel shrugged. “Sure. My bike is still at your place. We might as well enjoy ourselves with some fun.” He nodded to the girls’ room. “They’re not going anywhere soon.”

Eva thought for a moment, and said, “Okay. Chinese and a movie it is, then.”

Daniel nodded and put his hand on the small of her back, ushering her towards the elevators. “I promise to behave myself,” he half-whispered when the doors opened and they stepped inside. Eva immediately blushed.

***

The next morning, Eva woke up to her phone singing loudly. She had gotten into the habit of turning the ringer up in case there was an emergency. She looked at the caller ID and it was a number she didn’t recognize.

“Hello?” she answered, still groggy from sleep.

“Finally! Christ, Eva, I’ve been worried sick. You weren’t answering your phone, and Susan and Michael won’t tell me anything. What’s going on?” Louis asked loudly, and with an air of disapproval.

“You have no right to be worried about me. Not after the other night,” she stated. “I can’t believe you even have the balls to talk to me like this.” She stopped to catch her breath and he cut her off.

“You’re my wife, I haven’t heard from you since Friday afternoon. I was worried.” He hesitated and sweetened his tone. “Aren’t I allowed to be worried about my wife,” he asked.

Eva looked at the phone in awe. “Really? What would your whore think of you pulling this shit?” she asked. “Don’t contact me until you get back into town. I’ll have my lawyer contact you” she said and closed the phone. She laid an arm over her eyes and sighed.

Daniel came in with a cup of coffee. “Yay, you’re awake,” he said happily.

“Louis just called…” she said with a sigh.

“Ah, hell.” Daniel set her cup on the nightstand and sat at the far end of the bed. “You alright?”

Her arm still covered her face. “Not really.” She sighed, “I assume you heard from Michael and Susan.” It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. “Our friends suck at keeping their mouths shut, you know this right?” she asked.

Daniel sighed and sipped his coffee. “Yeah, I know. But, they are our friends and they would do anything for us. And, that, my dear, is something you know.” He patted her foot and stood up. “I’ll let you get dressed and stuff. I’m kinda anxious to see Sadie this morning.” He started for the door and paused. He turned to look at her and said, “I really enjoyed last night, by the way. Even though I’m not supposed to.” Then he left the room.

Eva laid in bed quietly, thinking about the last forty-eight hours. So much had happened, and yet nothing had changed. The changes would come when Louis got back. She wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands. There was a lot to be done before he was finished with the conference. She flung the blankets back and swung her legs over the side of the bed. Sighing, she stood up and went to the closet to get dressed. Eva chose a pair of dark wash jeans and dark green sweater. Daniel liked this color on her. Wait, what? she asked herself. Mentally shaking herself, she put the sweater back and opted for a light purple one instead. Nodding at her new choice she went into the bathroom to get cleaned up.

When she came down stairs, Daniel was putting groceries away. “What the hell?” she asked, in shock.

Daniel turned to meet her gaze, and laughed. “Well, you need to eat and Sadie will need food when she gets out of lockup. I went grocery shopping.”

“Groceries? Really?” Eva asked, always the skeptic. “When did you do this? I know I didn’t take that long to get ready. Is there coffee?” She reached for a cup and spoon.

Daniel scoffed. “Pfft. You do realize this is your house? Of course there’s coffee,” he said and pointed to the coffeemaker. “I also ran by Kim’s Bakery. Thought the girls might enjoy a treat,” he shrugged, not answering her question.

Eva fixed herself a cup of coffee and took a sip, her eyes rolling back. “Oh, Goddess…I see you went to Massimo’s, too.” She watched Daniel put the food away, marveling at how well he knew her kitchen. Damn, he organizes this place better than I do, she thought to herself. “Thank you for this.”

Daniel flashed her a smile and said, “You’re welcome.” He finished putting everything away and returned the shopping bags to their place in the pantry. “If you’re up for it, I thought we could go into Bangor after lunch and pick up something nice for Sadie. The shops around here are great, but Bangor has those cool stores she likes.”

Eva thought for a minute, running their schedule through her head. “Yeah, I think that would be alright.” She took another sip of coffee. “What did you have in mind for their treats?” she asked.

“I don’t really know Dani’s tastes, but I know Sadie likes all those scarves and earrings. Maybe Dani does, too?” he asked.

Shrugging, Eva suggested “She’s heavy into art, so maybe the art store? Something to get her creative juices flowing.”

Daniel nodded firmly and agreed. “Yeah, that would work. Maybe a new portfolio thingy for her sketches?” Sadie nodded. “Okay, that’s settled.” He rubbed his hands together and asked, “You ready?”

Eva drained her coffee and put the cup in the sink. “Yes, sir. Let’s get this show on the road.”

They grabbed their jackets and headed to the garage. Eva tossed Daniel the keys to the car and got in the passenger’s seat. He did a double take, surprised, and opened the driver’s door slowly, trying to process what that meant. Probably nothing, he thought and gave himself a mental shake.

Traffic was light given the early hour. Eva had called the hospital to double check visiting hours while Daniel was in Dunkin Donuts getting coffee for Sadie and Dani. Traffic in the place wasn’t as light as on the roads, and Daniel spent a solid fifteen minutes in line so Eva had plenty of time to call Dani’s parents and see what they had planned for the day.

In the car, Daniel wanted to tell Eva how he felt. Wanted to let her know he still loved her, even more so now. But, he didn’t want to overwhelm her, especially with all this Louis business. Him laying his feelings on her today was not the best time. He nodded almost imperceptibly and decided he would wait, let things develop naturally. She seemed to be enjoying their time together, at least that’s how he saw things. He hoped he wasn’t wrong.

As they pulled up to the valet parking station, Eva’s cell phone rang. The caller ID read Louis’ number and she ignored it. “Not ready?” Daniel asked her as he got out of the car and handed the keys to the skinny college kid standing there. She shook her head and said, “Let’s just go in, please.” He nodded and they entered the hospital.

Once inside, they made a beeline for Sadie’s room. They walked in and Eva froze. Jared and some scrawny kid were standing near the beds talking to the girls. Eva kept herself in check, but Daniel could feel the tension and anxiety rolling off her in waves. He looked between Jared and Eva, trying to figure out what was passing between them silently. Eventually, he made the first move and sat the Dunkin Donuts containers on the sink counter and walked over to Jared.

“Jared,” he said and stuck his hand out. “Nice to see you, again.”

Jared shook his hand and said, “Good to see you, too, sir.” He gestured towards his companion. “This is Tyler. He goes to school with us.”

Tyler offered his hand, and Daniel shook it firmly. “Pleased to meet you, sir.”

Daniel returned the hand shake and said, “Likewise.”

Eva remained near the door and refused to speak to Jared. Sadie gave her mother a glare, as if to say “Aren’t you going to at least say hi?!” Eva saw the look, yet could not bring herself to acknowledge his presence. Finally, she said, “We brought Dunkin Donuts for you and Dani.” After a moment, she excused herself and went into the hall.

Daniel watched her go, and said, “Be right back,” without looking at anyone but Eva’s backside.

He rounded the corner and even from that distance he could see her shaking. Whether it was anger, fear or plain anxiety he was not sure. He approached her slowly and put his arms around her. “Eva? What’s wrong, babe?” he asked quietly.

If he had kept his distance and not touched her, or didn’t speak in such a loving manner, Eva would’ve have been able to let her anger subside. Instead, she cracked and began sobbing uncontrollably. Daniel hugged her closer. “Eva, tell me what’s going on. You’re scaring me, baby. What is going on?” he asked.

She shook her head and just cried harder. Eva couldn’t tell him then about the pregnancy scare. If she did, Daniel would murder him in front of the girls. They didn’t need that, and she didn’t need to bail him out of jail. They stood together for more than ten minutes. Daniel consoled her until she stopped crying long enough to pull herself together. All she said was, “I’ll tell you while we’re in Bangor.” Daniel nodded slowly and walked her to the public restroom, where she collected herself and reapplied makeup. He thought she looked beautiful without it. Even all snot-covered and puffy she was gorgeous. Daniel truly loved Eva, his Eva. When she came out, he asked if she was alright enough to see the girls. She nodded, and they went back to the room.

Jared and Tyler had wisely left by the time they got back. Sadie was fuming at Eva’s reaction. Dani looked on as the scene unfolded in her mind as if Daniel found out about the real reason Jared and Sadie broke up. Jared would need his own room, she decided. And if Daniel had not been the reason, Dani knew Eva would have been.

Sadie wasn’t sure what to make of Eva’s quick exit, but she could tell her mother hadn’t told Daniel what happened with Jared. She breathed a slow sigh of relief, and sipped the coffee her parents had brought. Dani passed her the bag of parties and she sorted through it quietly. Her eyes lit up when she saw the butter croissants. Taking one out, she said, “Thanks for bring coffee and stuff. The food here kinda sucks,” and bit into it. “Oh, yeah, this is good.”

Eva forced a smile and said, “I’m glad you like them, babe.” She walked across the room and stared out the window, trying hard not to breakdown again. How was she going to explain it all to Daniel without him being pissed at her for not telling him in the first place?  She was a big girl, she decided, and would take whatever he emotion he felt about it. This is going to be a long day, she thought to herself.

Daniel, Sadie and Dani quietly watched Eva stare out the window. Dani finally broke the silence and said, “My parents will be here shorty. Are you doing shifts again today?”

Daniel didn’t looked at Dani, but responded. “Yeah, we’re going into the city this afternoon to pick up a few things, then we’ll be back just before dinner.” He turned to look at the girls and asked, “Anything special y’all want while we’re there?”

Dani shrugged and shook her head. Sadie nodded in Eva’s direction and motioned for Daniel to get closer. His brow knit together but he followed her silent instructions, leaning so she could whisper in his ear. When he pulled away, he asked, “Really?” and glanced at Eva. “Are you sure?” Sadie smiled and nodded. Daniel sighed and said, “Alright, if that’s what you want.”

Sadie spoke loudly and said, “Well, looks like I’m not going to make the Black Bears game when G’ma comes to visit. What a shame I can’t see them nail the Terrapins in person.” She looked at Daniel and winked.

Daniel chuckled, and said, “Oh, yeah? Well, I guess we’ll just have to pile into Mom’s living room and have a big football party.” He glanced at Eva, still seemingly deep in thought. “You know, invite all my buddies and have lots of beer.”

After a moment Eva spoke. It was quiet, but the room heard her. “Like hell, Daniel.” She turned to face him, hands on her hips. “Have you forgotten that time we hosted the Pats-Giants party? Yeah, no. You host, and I’ll go home after.”

Daniel winked at Sadie, who snickered. Dani watched the exchange without a clue as to what they were talking about. Eva, realizing what Daniel and Sadie had done, smiled and sat on the edge of Sadie’s bed. “Y’all suck,” she said. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Dani roll hers just as Hilary and Joshua came into the room. The doctor on their heels.

“The gang’s all here. Good. You’ve saved me a phone call,” he said and pulled Dani and Sadie’s charts from the ends of their beds. “Okay, I have good news and less good news, but no actual bad news.” He looked at the six faces staring back at him in turn and asked, “Where should I start?”

Everyone said, “Less good news,” at roughly the same time, then chuckled. Daniel recovered first and said, “Less good news, please.”

The doctor placed his hands on the foot rail of Dani’s bed and said, “We found an abnormality in Sadie’s thyroid tests. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but you’ll want to follow up with Dr. Hutchins to have it monitored.”

Eva interrupted and said, “Yes, we actually have more lab work scheduled soon for just that reason.”

Daniel, confused, asked, “We do?”

Eva lowered her voice and said, “Later, okay?”

He sighed, and said “Okay. Please, doctor, continue.”

“Other than that, Sadie is good, healing faster than we expected and can go home tomorrow after one last round of blood work and x-rays in the morning,” he offered. Turning to Dani’s parents, he said, “Dani is doing very well. Her pain seems to have dissipated quickly, so unless you feel she needs to stay to keep Sadie company she can go home tonight.” He nodded and said, “I’ll leave you all to think about it.”

After the doctor left, everyone started talking at once. Daniel held his hands up and whistled to get their attention. When they settled down, he said, “This is what we’re going to do. Eva and I need to be in Bangor in about an hour. Let Dani stay the night and I’ll cover the expense of the extra night if it will help.”

Joshua and Hilary talked over each other, expressing gratitude but otherwise rejecting Daniel’s offer. Eva hugged Sadie and gently gave her a kiss, telling her she loved her and would be back around dinner. Then she gave Dani a light squeeze, and almost knocked over her parents in the process. She took Daniel’s hand and yelled, “We’ll be back,” as they left the room.

Eva and Daniel were halfway to the Mall on the Interstate when either of them finally spoke. “Are you going to finally tell me what the hell is going on with you, or do we need to play twenty questions?” he asked.

 

I hope you’re enjoying reading this story. We’re more than halfway done! Please leave comments and feedback!

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