G (oh, for heaven's sake, I *can* do G, you know! <g>)
April 28, 2002
In spite of the fact that Jim will only admit to being owned
so there you go.
You really need to watch those peel-off masks, you know? Ouch.
This was a response to my own challenge to write a story using the
posted theirs. I struggled with this and finally decided that it
circumstances leading up to where this story starts.
The brightest candles eventually grow dim, but can they be
stood just inside the door, her body wedged into a corner on the other side of
the opened plantation shutters. The sun had just begun its descent and she
watched not the sinking beauty, but her son.
was on the small balcony, his body stretched out on the chaise lounge. Several
blankets were pulled up almost to his chin. Earlier in the day she’d tied his
hair back for him and she now found her gaze fixed on the strands that had
escaped. A small breeze caught them and they moved languidly with the playful
Naomi Sandburg watched her son, words first dreamed by Edna St.Vincent Millay
came to her mind—
candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night; but ah, my foes and oh,
my friends—it gives a lovely light!”
son. Always burning the candle at both ends, often using the midnight oil to
give the candle strength. And oh, how bright he’d burned. But now? The candle
sputtered fitfully, its light nearly extinguished.
breathing was labored in spite of the oxygen tube that fed him 24/7. Even now,
the sound of the concentrator that sat in the corner of the living room,
smothered the sweet sound of the wind chimes that tinkled from the rafter just
above Blair’s head.
many more sunsets would they have together before—
The medications would work. The virus that had invaded his heart would be beaten
back by modern medicine, she was certain of it. There could be no other outcome.
as she chastised herself, her sould whispered a different truth.
doctor had let her take him from the hospital.
could remember returning from the cafeteria, where a cold cup of truly awful
coffee had been her only company, to hear the murmur of voices on the other side
of the hospital door. She’d stepped forward to catch her son’s words, words
said in a voice weakened by pain—
there any reason to stay, Doctor Robinson? Is there anything else you can do for
me that requires my continued presence?”
the medication, isn’t that all you can do now? Isn’t time to let me know
had crept closer, waiting for Robinson’s answer, an answer that would tell her
the fate of her son—
should go home, Blair.”
you for the truth.”
be at the cabin?”
good. Not too far away from us, eh?”
must have nodded for Naomi had not been able to hear a reply. With tears
blinding her, she’d rushed down the hall—away from her son’s room. With
her back against the wall, she’d sobbed.
she knew the truth. Her son was dying. He had—at the most— days.
waking hour was spent out on that balcony. With his face turned to the glorious
sun and eyes, once luminous from an interior light that could blind with its
brilliance, following every wave on the sparkling blue lake and every bird that
winged overhead, Blair sat and waited.
morning Cal, the male nurse, would carry Blair out to his chair and together the
three of them would welcome the new day. Later, Naomi would read to Blair, his
strength so far gone that even holding a book was impossible, or they would
remember their traveling early years. And sometimes—they would talk of his
time with Jim Ellison.
time ruined by her foolish mistake.
sighed and moved quietly to her son’s side. She took her usual seat and noted
with some relief that Blair was asleep. She searched his features, and with a
shock, realized how frail he appeared. Not gaunt, but—frail. So at odds with
the brightness that was Blair. His skin was almost translucent in its pallor,
his hands white against the forest green blanket that covered him. Lord, she
could see his veins so close to the thin, ill skin.
rested her own warm hand on his and as he moaned and turned in the chair, she
started to hum softly. The melody
was of an old lullaby that when he was a toddler would relax him and allow
twitching limbs to rest and a lively little boy to sleep. The words came back
and she allowed them to escape quietly—
my little man, the night is warm and safe; hush my little man, my
hold you tight; hush my little man, as I carry you with love to
voice cracked as tears slipped down unchecked.
sit with him, Naomi.”
glanced up and into Cal’s gentle face. She rose, smoothed down her dress and
you, Cal. I—need to make a phone call.”
the nurse took her abandoned seat and while large tender hands tucked the
blanket tighter around the slightness that was her son, Naomi headed inside to
do what she should have done weeks ago—in spite of the promise made to Blair.
called Jim Ellison.
stood on his balcony and watched the mist swirl around his city. He didn’t
even attempt to look through the fog, instead choosing to lose himself inside
the protective shroud of gray. The
ringing of the phone almost went unnoticed, but something roused him and
compelled him to walk inside and answer.
Please come--*now*. He—my son—he doesn’t have
gripping the phone, knuckles white, Jim ground out one word, “Where?”
in California. Lake Tahoe. I know I should have called you
but he made me swear, but—but--//
on my way. Hang on—“ he pulled the pencil to him and with hand poised over
phone pad, said, “Okay, directions.”
quick call to Simon and Jim was on his way—after picking up his Captain. There
was no way Simon would allow Jim to go alone. Not under these circumstances.
at the airport, hours in the air, then the rental car and finally, they were on
their way to Lake Tahoe.
virus,” Simon murmured as Jim drove steadily and fast.
virus that settled in his heart.”
knew. That’s why he left?”
guessing he knew something was wrong. According to Naomi, he called her after he
collapsed and was rushed to a hospital in Tahoe. He went up there to—do
Cabin owned by Naomi.”
She was in Barbados, flew to his side six weeks ago.”
jaw tightened. “No he’s not.”
was five-thirty in the morning when they turned onto the first road that would
take them to Naomi’s cabin. Jim’s piercing gaze tore through the early
morning darkness and he easily made each and every turn required until the
split-level came into sight.
pulled in behind an SUV, shut off the engine and both he and Simon hustled out
and up the drive to the porch and the front door, which opened before either man
you, Jim. Thank you,” Naomi said breathlessly.
almost dawn, he’s on the balcony. He won’t miss a single one, nor a sunset
and Simon dropped their bags and as Jim removed his coat, he asked, “Does he
know you called me?”
I honestly don’t know what he would have done—“
all right. I’ll handle it.”
started forward, drawn by the sluggish heartbeat somewhere below him.
great impatience he turned—and waited.
doesn’t need—your—pity. Do you understand? If that’s all you have
love him, Naomi. And I’m about to learn how to talk. May I go to him now?”
with emotion, eyes nearly blinded by the sudden onslaught of tears, she nodded.
sun was lending its golden glow to the world as Jim stepped silently out onto
large man stood and quietly exited as Jim sat down beside the lounger.
a word, he took Blair’s hand.
it’s me. She understood about us even if we didn’t. I’m here, I’m
staying, I’m never leaving. Neither are you.”
tried to raise his head and failed. Turning instead, he stared at the man
who’d filled almost every waking moment.
laid a gentle hand over the tired mouth, then removed it as he said, “No,
you’re not. I simply won’t allow it.”
grin tugged at the corners and Blair whispered, “Figures.”
turned and gazed out over the lake. “Look, the dawn. For us.”
the next several days the sun rose steadily, like clock-work, and with it,
medicine had nothing on a modern day sentinel who finally saw the light burning
bright in Blair Sandburg’s eyes.
virus never had a chance.