SWEET DREAMS (SURPRISE PARTY 2)
Driving home after her appointment with Mel, Roxy stopped at the hardware store for supplies. An old friend spotted her and rushed over to say hello. "It's so good to see you again, but not under these circumstances. Sorry to hear about your dad. How's he doing?"
"He's fine . . . but what was it you heard?"
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I ran into a buddy of his about an hour ago. He said a stray golf ball hit your dad in the head and knocked him out. By the time the ambulance came, he'd come to and seemed okay, but they took him to the hospital anyway. I'm sure he'll be fine . . . let me know if I can help."
At the hospital she found him asleep. "We're keeping him overnight for observation," the doctor said, "he has a mild concussion and is suffering from shock. Not sure why, but he's slipped into a deep sleep. Now it's just a matter of him waking up and coming around."
Mac's friend Ed was standing nearby and heard what the physician said. "Don't worry Roxy. He'll be out of here in no time. Plenty of time to be at his surprise birthday party and none the worse. It's only Friday. That gives him Saturday and Sunday to come out of this. By Monday he'll be his old self and raring to go . . ."
At midnight, the nurse on duty urged her to go home, "Get some rest. I have your telephone numbers and promise to call you if anything changes."
Half way home on the wilderness road, her cell stopped working. It was not unusual on that stretch because of all the trees. She wasn't concerned because she knew that shortly she'd have access to the land phone at the cabin. But ten minutes later her car came to a halt along side the road.
"Son-of-a-bitch! No gas." There was nothing she could do but sit or walk the rest of the way. "How could I be so stupid?"
While trying to decide what to do, a bright headlight reflected in her rearview mirror. A motorcycle pulled along side of her. She was relieved to see it was Mel the owner of Harbor Cove Supper Club--the same guy she'd met with earlier in the day about her dad's surprise birthday party.
"Car trouble Roxy?"
"I'm out of gas and my dad's in the hospital. Seeing you out here is like a miracle."
"Don't worry, I'll take you home and bring you gas in the morning . . . whatever you want . . . anything."
"Thanks so much."
She was scared of being on a motorcycle, but she gritted her teeth and did what he told her--held on tight. Instead of being frightened, she found comfort in him driving. "A first time ever for me," she shouted into the back of his leather jacket.
"I can't hear you," he hollered back over the roar of the engine.
They'd no sooner made it back to the cabin and she heard the phone ringing. "Shit, I should have never left the hospital." It rang and rang. "This damnable lock won't turn."
"Calm down Roxy. I'll get you inside and wait while you call the hospital to see if it was them. I won't leave you stranded."
Finally the bolt turned and she struck a match to see where she was going. "Nothing works when you need it. First the lock and now the light switch." The phone started to ring again. Rushing to reach it she stubbed her toe and cursed again. Picking up the phone she forgot herself and yelled at the phone. "Wait a minute. Damn it, I just walked in the door."
"I have a memo here to call you," the drunken voice said on the other end, "don't get snippy with me. Did you really expect me to proceed with all this after what happened before?"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Don't hand me that! Pay what you owe us and leave him alone."
Roxy hung up the phone and turned to Mel. "Crank call. Just what I need at a time like this. Sorry for all the cursing. It's gotta be the stress."
Seeing an old wooden ironing board set up as a bar next to the fireplace, Mel walked over and poured them both a hefty slug of brandy. Handing it to her in a snifter she smiled through her tears and said, "Apricot. My dad's favorite. I keep it here for him."
"Call the hospital and make sure everything is okay with your dad, then you'll be able to relax."
The hospital assured her there had been no change. "He's holding his own," the nurse told her, "if there is any change, we'll call."
"Roxy," Mel assured her, "I only live up the road a ways from here. I think I should leave so you can get some rest. If you need me for anything, call. I can be here in ten minutes. When you are up, give me a jingle and I will bring gas and take you to your car."
With that he walked to the door. Before closing it, he said, "Get some sleep. And remember what I said."
"Wait a minute. What do I owe you?"
"You can't be serious."
"Look, I know I can't pay you in dollars for your kindness, that goes without saying. I only wanted to do something for you in return . . ."
"Your thank you is plenty good enough. Besides, people have done the same for me. But if you insist, do the same for someone else. Pass it on. But really, as I told you earlier today, the pleasure is all mine."
"Thank you," she said giving him a big hug, thanks so much."
The frost was on the grass as he drove down the trail to his place but he felt warm all over. It had been a long time since he'd felt a desirable woman's arms around him. A long, lonely time. Maybe she'd hug him again when he showed her the cake. The one he promised to make for her dad's party.
When he finally got to sleep, he dreamed about her and the cake. Taking a bite, she kissed him and pushed him down on his floured baking table. "I adore you," she murmured, "make one just like it for my wedding."
The next morning Roxy called him at nine. "I called the hospital. Dad's condition is the same . . . I hope you were able to get some sleep last night . . . "
"I did and sweet dreams too. Are you ready for me to come over?"
To Be Continued: Part 3