An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|Fr. Kevin takes the elevator to Maureen's private hospital suite|
The next hour took all of Fr. Kevin's attention, so there was little time for him to dwell on the information that had physically sickened him. The doctor, satisfied that Maureen was stable, ordered her moved to a private room in the newly remodeled section of the hospital. He watched in macabre fascination while the nurses disconnected her from one set of blinking and beeping machines, to another that moved along side the bed she lay on. Then, with what appeared to be an entire baseball team of medical staff, his sister was wheeled through several hallways, and into an over sized elevator. He himself was given his own private entourage, and whisked away to use the public ones in the main lobby.
The two young people by his side attempted to chat amiably with him, assuring him that his sister was receiving the best care the hospital could provide. Fr. Kevin pretended to hear the words, and nodded politely, though if any one would have asked him to repeat what they said, he'd be at a loss. When the doors opened, he found himself in the tower of the building's newest addition, part medical facility, part five star hotel. He followed his escort down the polished hall to his sister's private room, where the team of pros were busy settling her in. The term "room", however, didn't begin to justify the space that was spread before him.
The area was five times larger than any hospital room he had ever seen, with a large picture window overlooking the evening skyline of Dollyville. There was the usual bank of medical equipment behind the extra large bed, but that's where all similarity stopped. The walls were painted a soft gray, instead of the usual hospital white or beige, which complimented the dusty rose upholstery on the furniture scattered about the room. A generous sofa sat across from the bed, with several over stuffed arm chairs placed in positions throughout the room. A large armoire graced a side wall, now opened, to reveal what appeared to be a small fridge and wet bar, along side a tiny microwave oven. Not one, but two flat screen TVs, hung on opposite sides of the room, allowing one to see the screen from any position in the room. A corner desk was equipped with the most up to date MacBook, along side two Ipad Air tablets, waiting to be utilized by patient or visitor.
It took him a few seconds to realize he was standing there with his mouth open, and he turned to the young woman to his left. "This is a hospital room?
The lady smiled, obviously proud to have "wow-ed" her charge. "Yes, Father. This is one of the hospital's newest private suites. The nicest one in my opinion. Sheriff Beckett was adamant that his wife have the best room we offer." She tugged on his arm, pulling him over to open another door that showcased a bathroom rivaling anything at Boston's Fairmont Copley Plaza. "Our premium suites come with private, around the clock nursing care, as well as 24 hour room service for the comfort of our patients and their guests."
He couldn't begin to guess what something like this might cost, and then remembered who, and what, his brother-in-law actually was. It was easy to forget. To everyone around him, Ted Beckett seemed your Average Joe. His appearance, attitude and life style gave no indication of his wealth, and he seemed to pay little attention to the trappings that money offered. Sure, there was his Lamborghini. And his house, before it was blown up, was quite a showcase. But for the most part, Beckett lived quite simply, frugal in fact, and when his access to big money came to light, it always gave him a bit of a shock. However, in this case, because it was his sister who benefited, Fr. Kevin was grateful for the comfort and top care that money provided.
"While we're settling Mrs. Beckett in, can we bring you something, Father O'Kenney. Anything? Some coffee or tea? A bite to eat perhaps?"
The thought of putting food on his stomach made him queasy, the manila envelope meant for Beckett still gripped in his hand. But the woman seemed so disappointed in his lack of interest, he felt obligated to give her a purpose, and thus ordered some coffee and a light meal. She seemed renewed at this request, and left his side to attend to his wishes. He watched while the staff finished their work on Maureen, and adequately assured that both she and her guest knew where the call buttons were located, finally left the the two of them alone in the suite.
Fr. Kevin lowered himself into a chair by the bed, wiggling and fidgeting in the plushness of the room, so in contrast to the seriousness of the situation. Maureen had returned to the same posture, her back to him, hunched in what could only be described as a fetal position. The silence was awkward, filling the room with a hanging cloud of despair. Feeling a need, Kevin attempted to furnish the space with conversation. "Wow...this is quite the room, huh Momo?" He used her childhood name, hoping to reach her with any connection he could. There appeared to be a light shrug of her shoulders, but she didn't respond. ""I bet this is nicer than any five star back in Boston. I didn't even know hospitals had rooms like this." The words hung in the air, unanswered, and he gave up, unwilling to make silly chit chat when neither of them had the right words to say.
There was a knock at the door, and a young man in white shirt and tie placed a tray on a table near the bed. "Your refreshments, Father." He lifted the cover to reveal a carafe of coffee, and a selection of plates offering small sandwiches, fruit salad, an array of cheese and crackers, as well as a variety of pastries. He tried not to stare, the whole experience seemingly so over the top for a hospital room where sadness obviously reigned. But like the female escort, the man seemed to expect some kind of acknowledgement. He wondered if he was supposed to tip the server, and put his hand into his pocket. Realizing his intention, the aide waved him off. "Oh, no tip is expected, Father. I just hope everything meets your satisfaction."
Kevin could only nod, the absurdity of the whole thing leaving him unable to formulate any type of response. With a tilt of his head, the young man exited the room, leaving the two of them once again alone in thick discomfort. After awhile, he could hear the rhythmic sound of his sister's breathing, and knew she had fallen asleep. The stress of the day catching up with him, he felt his eye lids close in weary resolution. The dreams that followed were strange and vivid. Images of Beckett dressed like a superhero, cape and all, with a large eclair pastry in his hand. His sister riding a motorcycle, helmet on, speeding up and down the street in front of Holy Family, a baby in the side car. He awoke with a start, sweaty and heart racing, by jumble of loud voices breaking the stillness in the hall.
|Patrick comes to Maureen's bedside|
From the bed, Maureen must have recognized his voice. She flipped over, and pulled herself to a sitting position, her lip trembling, and her eyes scrunched up.
Patrick moved closer to the bed and grasped her hand, his face a shade or two paler than normal, and the lines around his eyes deeper than the last time Kevin had seen him at Maureen's wedding. "Ah...Red. I'm so sorry, short stuff."
The flood gates opened, and she threw herself at him, the sobs coming in long, gasping breaths. Patrick sat on the edge of the bed and held her, rocking her in his arms, while making soothing sounds, and rubbing her back. This went on for several moments, leaving Fr. Kevin feeling like an obvious outsider and third wheel in the room. He was glad that Mo could finally grieve in the way she needed, but it was hard to tap down the bite of jealousy that crept up along his spine. He loved his brother. Honest he did. But he and Maureen had always had a special bond, closer to each other than to any of the other siblings. He had been her best bud and confidante from the time she could string two words together. Hell, when she left Boston in her shame and heart break, it was he she came running to, and he who helped put her life back together. Now, in this major life crisis, she had turned to Patrick. Patrick. Their age old nemesis, the butt of million jokes, and the father figure Maureen professed to resent in a million ways.
He felt both angry and ashamed, near tears himself. Excusing himself to no one in particular, he slipped out the room, neither Maureen or Patrick giving any him any notice at all. The nurses looked up from the desk situated outside the door, but he waved them off, and headed down the hallway, not sure where he was going, but finding himself in front of the elevator he had first arrived on. He banged on the button, looking for escape, and when the doors finally opened, he found himself face to face with the last person he wanted to see.
Beckett framed the doors, and stepped back, startled to see Kevin standing in front of his face.
For a second, they stared at one another, the priest noticing the bloody, bruised knuckles on the Sheriff's hands, and Beckett observing the envelope her brother had clutched in a tight death grip. Neither spoke, each sizing up the other, unspoken words hanging in the air like buzzing mosquitoes.
It was Fr. Kevin who broke first, knowing full well he should swallow the bitter words that would accomplish nothing good. "About time you got here. How good of you to finally show up at your injured wife's bedside." Someone who didn't know the man as well as the priest might not have noticed the tiny flinch. The quick tilt of the head. But Kevin did. Took note of the man's angst at his words, and despite all teachings to the contrary, took a small sliver of satisfaction at the man's shame.
Then it was Beckett's turn to fire back. He nodded toward the large, tan envelope. "Is that my report your holding?" When the priest acquiesced, he continued. "Looks like the seal's broken. You read the contents?" Fr. Kevin nodded again, and the Sheriff spat out the words. "Glad to know your integrity doesn't reach much past that collar you wear like some God damn badge of honor."
"Don't you dare pull that sanctimonious garbage with me, Beckett. This is your fault. All of it! You're the reason my sister is lying broken in that Hollywood hospital room, and all the money in the world is going to make her whole again." He saw the man blanch, whiter than the gray he was when the elevator doors first open, and the bloody fists reached up and grabbed the front of his shirt.
Through clenched jaw and gritted teeth, the Sheriff spoke, much louder than he probably intended. "You're pushing me too far, O'Kenney. Priest or not...brother or not, I will wipe these floors with every inch of you if you don't stop now."
Before Kevin could respond, a nurse appeared at their side, stern and horrified in her own right. "Gentlemen! This is a hospital! We treat ill people here. Sick people with real problems. If you must carry on in such a childish, inappropriate manner, I'd ask that you do it in private. There is a small conference room at the end of the hall. Please take your...", she paused for effect, "discussion...there." She turned on her heel, her rubber soles shushing across the polished hardwood floors, leaving the two men standing mortified in her wake.
|Fr. Kevin and Beckett square off|
Copyright 2014 Victoria T. Rocus
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