It started as a major miscalculation.The night was designed to be a treat for the two of them. At least that's the way that Amy, Amy Wentworth, planned it. She was taking her Cecelia, Sissy always, out for a Disney movie.
Since moving to the city, certainly a small city but bigger than the small town where her life, their lives, had exploded or maybe imploded, when her exasperating husband decided to 'go his own way' with the teen aged daughter of the local Presbyterian pastor! But that kind of scenario was no longer on her mind. Amy had fairly 'banished' that kind of thinking and was being positive and getting on with her life.
They had moved on a 'song and a prayer', so to speak and she had had enough money to get them settled in a small flat in the new place, the new city,
She'd had a talk any number of times with Sissy and Sissy was being very 'adult' about all of it. She admitted that she missed her daddy but somehow she knew that the act of rejecting her Momma was, in fact, an act of rejecting her also.
Amy had become increasingly concerned by Jack's almost total lack of interest in being a father. His life had been more and more wrapped up in sports and the like. That had been the case until his big 'announcement' about being in love and moving away almost immediately.
Amy, it seems the last one to know, only discovered that it was 17 year old Wendy Haws that Jack ran away with, via the local grapevine.
There was no more family for her. She'd been on her own since high school, and the death of her Mom. She'd worked after that but had to give up the house, since she couldn't afford it.
At first, Jack, Jack Lawler had been a whirlwind for her. He seemed to have been a port in a storm, as the old cliche mentions, that is until he began to service the teeny boppers locally.
Getting started over again had been a chore for her, actually for them but she and Sissy had made a kind of bond that allowed them to help each other.
Sissy was also, at 7, being very grown up about understanding things: the decamping of her father, his attitude, their need to move away, the reason that things were tight just then for them. They talked about all of it, and did that frequently. Amy was so proud of Sissy for being as level headed as she seemed to be, as she grew.
So, tonight was a movie night for them. The car was broken, again, and they had decided simply to take the bus. The movie theater was in the down town area and the bus took them almost right to the theater.
When anyone saw the two of them together, they would have sworn that they acted much more like girlfriends than a mother and daughter. And tonight they were a giggly pair, as they emerged from the theater.
The only problem was that the movie took longer than Amy had expected and as they hurried along to catch the bus, a few blocks away, there were rain drops on the side walk
Amy simply groaned, as they rounded the corner only to see the last bus on that route pull out from the curb and hustle away.
"Ohhhhhhh," Amy said.
"The bus, Momma!" Sissy added.
"Yes, we've missed it! Guess we walk."
"Okay," Sissy said, "But it might rain."
"Hope not!" Amy said.
It did begin to rain!
Amy took off her coat and put it over Sissy's head, making her, for the time at least, giggle. She shielded her own head with her large pocketbook.
As they walked, the rain increasing, Amy said to Sissy: "Honey, I'm sorry for being such a scatter brain! I didn't even bring an umbrella! How bad is that!"
"What's a scatter brain, Momma?" Sissy asked with anther giggle.
"OH, it's someone like me who isn't equipped for the weather!" Amy answered.
"It's fine, Momma," Sissy said, "A walk in the rain."
Then, gradually, as they slogged along, the rain turned into a downpour.
JOHN MALCOM AMES:
John Ames, Doctor John Malcom Ames, to be correct, was out that night because one of his patients at the Corey Hospital had had a seizure. He went, as soon as called, his dinner getting cold and his cat complaining, to the hospital to take care of the situation.
He came away from the hospital and was tired, realizing his mood was moving into downright grumpy.
"Okay, pal," he said to himself, "Straighten out!"
"Yes," he answered, "Or Amos won't even let you into the house."
(Amos was the lovely orange tabby who kept John Malcom Ames on a level keel and ruled his house.)
He drove slowly, calculating that he might settle himself that night with a stinger. That made him chuckle. Friends of his, who knew his fondness for stingers, called them 'whore's drinks'. That word image entered his mind now.
At the time that this encounter was brewing, John Malcom Ames, the Doctor: general medicine with a pediatrics specialty to boot, was 35 years old. He was pretty much, at that time, at the top of his craft and respected.
He'd had girlfriends, had even been engaged once for a short time but she'd bailed on him, being impatient with all of his years of preparation. After that it was his doctoring and, a few years back, the discovery of Amos on the steps of the church, one sunday morning. Amos had become the love factor in John Malcom's house from the very first.
Amy Wentworth, her maiden name, which she'd taken back, after Jack had run off, was a petit and lovely 26 years old. She had short hair that in certain lights looked black and in certain lights had a red sheen to it. She had green eyes and was simply lovely, though her Jack never apparently saw that.
If we were to look on with the attitude of an assessor, with no malice intended at all nor any disrespect, we'd have to say that Amy Wentworth had a world class ass! It was simply the truth. She was small in the breast but her butt was to die for.
(Jack didn't apparently agree. He went for long blond hair and skinny hips!)
But this night, as John Malcom was coming from the hospital, in the rain now, since it was pouring, and showing no sign of letting up at all, an encounter was fated to occur. This might be kismet, or the fates intervening but it happened.
One of John Malcom's treats for himself, a treat that had only lately become a reality, was his new car: it was a Cadillac sedan, tan in color and with a light interior. He allowed it to be his way of spoiling himself.
As he drove along, letting the concern drain from him, after taking care of the little girl in the hospital who had the seizure. He simply smiled and said: "Yes, a stinger!"
He mused then and looked around his car environment for a few seconds and said: "I like this car!" (And well might he; it was a beauty.)
But, yes, I said kismet!
He turned the corner onto Davis street and passed the movie theater, which trumpeted outside, on its marquee, the Disney movie.
The rain then came harder and harder. He saw the couple walking ahead of him, on the right sidewalk. As he passed, he glanced at them and saw it was a young woman and a little girl. The little girl was sheltering her head apparently with the woman's coat and the woman had her purse above her head, holding it there to protect herself.
After he'd gone by, he made a quick decision and hurried around the block, until he came to where they were walking.
He pulled into the curb a little ahead of them and got out of the car, puling his trench coat collar up around his ears.
"Excuse me, Ma'am," he said. "Please let me give you a ride. The little girl shouldn't be out in this rain."
Amy and Sissy had stopped as soon as the man began to speak
"I'm Doctor John Malcom Ames from Corey hospital. Please accept my offer."
"But we're soaked," Amy said softly.
"The seats won't mind," he said, smiling, "Nor will I!"
But it was Sissy who turned the issue: "Momma," she said, "I'm cold!"
"Oh, honey," Amy said, "Yes, I'm so sorry."
"Get her into the back seat," John Malcom said. He then went to the trunk and came back with a blanket. He gave it to Amy, who wrapped it around herself and Sissy, causing Sissy to giggle.
"I'll put your wet coat in the trunk," John said.
He got into the car then, and turned around: "Where to ladies?"
Sissy giggled again, and said, with the freshness of youth: "I like you, Dr John Malcom Ames!"
John Malcom smiled and said: "A great compliment from a lovely lady!"
Sissy giggled again, and Amy was smiling.
"We live at 15 Hutton St." she said.
"Oh, my!" he responded, "That's a long walk from here!"
"I know," Amy said, the regret in her voice. "Car is broken, again, and we miscalculated and missed the bus. It's my fault!"
Sissy reached up then and stroked her Momma's face: "It's fine, Momma," she said, "See, Dr John Malcom has recused us now and we're fine."
John Malcom drove off then to take them home.
"This is a beautiful car!" Amy said.
"Thank you" he replied, "It's one of my two major ways of spoiling myself."
"What's the other one?" Sissy asked and he Mom immediately said: "Sissy!"
"It's okay," John Malcome said, "I don't mind telling at all. The other major way that I spoil myself is with Amos."
"Who's that?" Sissy asked, and Amy simply smiled.
"It's my cat!" John Malcom said, "Amos rules the home front for me."
Sissy giggled again. "Wish we had a cat!" she said.
"Rules at the apartment complex," Amy said, "We can't have pets."
"Well, you should come along one day and meet my Amos!" he said.
"Oh could we?" Sissy asked. "Momma, could we?"
"We'll see," Amy said.
Sissy said then: "That's adult talk for 'no'."
John Malcom laughed and was joined in the laughter by Amy, who then said: "Honey, we'll make arrangements with Dr Ames to visit and meet this Amos."
"Oh, goodie!" Sissy said, clapping her hands.
Then John Amos spoke up: "Ms, Amy, I am a pediatrician at Corey and in private practice and there are a few things that I'd suggest."
"Yes?" Amy responded.
"Get her changed as soon as you get her home. It'll help to warm her up. Then a hot drink for her, and if you don't mind, I'll give her a vitamin c shot to help boost her immune system, so that she won't catch a cold," he said.
"Oh that would be nice!" Amy said, and she giggled. "Didn't know that doctors made house calls!"
John Malcom laughed with her and said: "I do for patients as pretty as Sissy..."
"Wentworth," Amy said.
"Yes, Wentworth!" John Malcom echoed.
As they went along, with Sissy now leaning against Amy and falling asleep, Amy said in a soft voice: "This is such a lovely car!"
"Thank you," he said, "As I said, one of my indulgences!"
"Yes, this and Amos!" Amy said, smiling, at John Malcom, who was looking at her in the rear view mirror.
They did it that way. John took them home to their apartment. Once they were inside, Amy took Sissy to get her changed and into a nightie, while John Malcom waited for them, and oversaw the heating of the hot chocolate for Sissy.
They came back in a few minutes and John got his black bag out and said: "Okay, here's what it'll be; after the hot chocolate I'm going to give her a vitamin C shot and then something to make her sleep. A good night's rest will restore her as good as new."
They sat companionably as Sissy drank her hot chocolate. Amy offered John Malcom a glass of wine but he opted for a cup of tea instead. After Sissy finished her chocolate, he gave her the vitamin c shot and then another to help make her sleep.
Sissy insisted on a hug from Dr John Malcom, before she went to bed.
"Thank you, Dr John Malcom," Sissy said, as she was claiming the hug. "I love you!"
He smiled and kissed her forehead and said: "Thank you, and I love you too, sweet Sissy."
He sat for a few minutes, while Amy was putting Sissy to bed, and was sipping his tea, when Amy returned.
"Don't know how to thank you properly," she said, hesitatingly.
"Course you do," he replied. "You're doing it right now."
She smiled at him then.
She was wearing a robe.
"Vitamin shot for you?" he asked.
"Yes, I think so!" she said.
He got the shot ready and gave it to her. She giggled then and said: "Thought it was going to be in my butt!"
He laughed with her and said: "Too bad! Wasn't needed."
She covered her mouth with her hand then and giggled.
They spent time then talking. She told him about Jack's lack of interest in Sissy and his running off. and then their move.
"Fool!" he said, shaking his head.
She went to him then, after he'd said that and pulled him into a hug. "You're so nice," she said.
They almost kissed then, and both of them noticed it.
"Oh, my," she said, "I'm sorry..." thinking her actions were not right but he put his fingers over her lips to silence her, and smiled at her.
"I'll be going now," he said.
"Sorry about the wet in your lovely car!" she said.
"Easily cleaned!" he answered. "Off to Amos now!"
"Yes, say 'hi' to Amos for us!" she said, getting another hug.
During the hug she whispered: "Thank you, Dr John Malcom Ames; you rescued us!"
He leaned back and grinned: "My pleasure."
He returned the next morning, and rang their bell. Amy went to the door, she was still in her robe, having gotten up and only just made her coffee. When she saw him, with bundles in his arms, she let out a little squeal and said: "Sissy, it's your favorite doctor!"
"Yes," John Malcom said, "Here with breakfast!"
He put down the packages and they discovered: donuts, and plates of croissant sandwiches, with egg, ham and cheese.
"My, my it looks good!" Amy said.
Just then Sissy came in and grabbed John Malcom for a hug.
"Oh, you're here again!" Sissy said, joy in her voice.
"Hi, love!" he said. "Doctor's visit! How are you feeling?"
"Fine, doctor!" Sissy said with a giggle.
He sat her down, as Amy got the breakfasts ready on plates, and checked Sissy over.
"Seems to have worked last night," John Malcom said, "I don't detect any bad results from your brush with the rain."
"No," Amy said, "And I will jolly well plan better next time!"
"Well," John began, "maybe the best thing to do is take care of the car thing."
"Yes," she said, sighing. "It's certainly one of the things that has to be done."
Then she excused herself to go and dress. while John Mlcom ate companionably with Sissy, who kept grinning at him, while she ate.
"How is it?" he asked.
"Very good thank you," she said. Then she gave him a sly smile and said: "You like my Momma, don't you?"
John Malcom almost choked on his coffee, and just then Amy entered the room, dressed now in jeans and a tee shirt.
"That will be enough, Miss Nosy!" Amy said to a grinning Sissy; "You may go and play."
"Yes, Momma," Sissy said, the grin never leaving her face. "Thank you again, John Malcom, for breakfast!" she said, and kissed his cheek before leaving.
As a matter of fact, John Malcom was feeling that he'd crossed some kind of unknown line with what he'd said about the 'car thing'. She'd left so quickly after that, that he was sure that he'd offended her.
However, in truth, it was the very goodness of what he'd said, and the implications that it might just have for both of them, all three of them, that had Amy, for the moment, fairly emotional, and that had caused her to go get dressed.
"Look," he began, "I really didn't mean to sound so controlling and all about the car..."
She held up a hand thought to stop him. "That's not it at all," she said.
"No?" he said softly.
"No," she affirmed. "It's just that Sissy and I have been on our own, I mean no family to fall back on, and Jack proving that he was not father material, and not lover material at all, really!"
She shook her head then and had tears in her eyes. He handed her his handkerchief. She took it, thanking him and wiped her eyes.
"I'm, um, we're not used to people taking care of us; it's been fairly hard and your attitude is such a new one for me! It kind of overwhelms me," she said, now with great emotion, and she began to cry.
He held out his arms then and she went to his lap and laid her head on his shoulder, and he let her have her cry.
They were that way, when Sissy entered the kitchen again and found them.
"Momma?" she asked.
Then: "Is my Momma okay?" she asked John Malcom.
"Yes, love," Amy said, "I'm fine; it's just that John Malcom is being the best in the world here and it's a bit overwhelming."
"Not like, Daddy," Sissy said and then went on: "Sorry, Momma."
"No, it's only the truth," Amy said to her and pulled her into the hug with John Malcom. It was the three of them that way for many minutes.
"Honey," Amy said then to Sissy, "Let me and John Malcom talk for a bit, okay?"
"Yes, Momma," Sissy said, going to her room.
"Yes," she said then, sitting down at the table with him. "The car."
"Yes?" he asked.
"It's supposed to be ready today. It's not great but it gets us around," she explained.
"Well," he said softly and slowly, "I was going to offer you the use of the Caddie or I also have Range Rover."
"Oh, that's so nice," she said, "But I think we're going to be good."
He backed off at that point, not wanting to make a nuisance of himself about it. He simply filed it all away mentally for future reference.
He left shortly after that, telling her that he had rounds to do at the Corey Hospital. He promised to call her, and she was pleased by that possibility.
They hugged at the door, after he'd gotten a hug from Sissy, and, in that moment, it was all that they could both do to keep from kissing. They both realized that
Of course the accident changed all of his intentions about backing off from the topic of the car.
It was a classic intersection 'to-do'. The teens in the one car where a shining example of why the tendency to stupidity, or distraction at least, increases with the number of teens in one car. That's the way it seemed.
Their music was loud and they were laughing and not paying enough attention to the changing of the traffic light. They streamed into the intersection on the, now, red light and hit Amy's car broadside.
It was during the day, and Sissy was in school.
John Malcom heard about the accident from his sources at the hospital, and went to attend immediately. He was a senior member of the staff and the ER doctor let him take over.
Amy came in with a broken arm and a broken leg. They had her in the ER, and John found out that she was there. He went to the ER immediately, intending to oversee the work on her.
"Johnnie!" Amy said, softly, the meds working on her, as he entered, making her fairly mellow.
"Dr. Ames," the nurse attending said.
"Yes," he said, "She's a friend; I'll give a hand here."
"Thank you," the nurse said.
John then worked with the staff to get the arm and the leg set and then casts put on. She watched him with a continuous smile, as he worked carefully on her. The smile never left her face.
He kept an eye on her throughout that morning.
"Oh, John Malcom!" she said, waking from a brief snooze later from the meds. "You're still here!"
"Of course!" he said, "And you're in good hands."
"I know that," she said, sighing.
He went to her then, sensing that comfort was what she needed more than anything. As he approached the bed, she reached her good arm out and simply surrounded his neck with her it. He held her then, while she wept.
"Oh," she said suddenly, "What time is it?"
"It's 1:15," he said, "And, yes, I'm keeping my eye on the time and will pick Sissy up from school."
"Oh, John Malcom," she said, crying again, "You're the best of the best!"
"Now we have to have a talk, and make some decisions," he said.
"Yes?" she answered, waiting for him to lead the conversation.
"We need to decide where you're to go," he answered.
"I guess you're right," she admitted.
"You can go to your house or you can come to mine for your needed time of recovery. In either event, I intend to take care of you, while you mend!" he assured her.
It made her teary again.
"You're being so nice to me!" she said, sobbing.
"Of course, I am," he said, "It's because you're you!"
"Ohhhhhhh!" she wailed and he held her again.
"Amy," he said, "Let me do this! We'll take you to my house, it's big and only I and Amos there. I will hire a full time nurse to see to your needs, if needed, and we can keep Sissy nearby. It'll be the best solution of all."
"Yes," she said simply, "It will! I appreciate it, John Malcom, and I get to have my very own doctor!"
He grinned at her and said: "Yep! You do!"
She smiled then and said: "You look so handsome in your doctor outfit!"
"You don't do too bad in that dooly gown yourself!" he said, with a grin.
She giggled and held her hand over her mouth, as she did.
"We've run extensive tests," he said then, "And we can't find any side effects of the accident."
"The kids?" she asked.
"All in the hospital," he said, "Looks like two of the three won't make it though, I'm afraid."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that!" she said.
"There were witnesses to the accident," he went on. "They've said that the boys ran a light and hit you."
"Oh," she exclaimed.
"All that for later," he said.
"I'm going to check you over one more time and then we'll get you home. That will have me in time to pick up Sissy at school."
"Oh, you're going to play 'doctor' with me?" she said, grinning and giving in to a giggle.
"Something like that!" he said listening to her heart with his stethoscope.
He did his examination carefully with Amy smiling all the while. When he was finished, she said: "Is that all, doctor?"
"You are bold!" he said with a laugh.
"No pelvic exam? Poking around a bit? Squeezing things? Prodding things?" she asked pleasantly, barely suppressing the giggles.
He smiled and she said: "Okay, I'll behave."
"I doubt that!" he said. "But let's get this started now. I'm going to take you home and put you in Amos' care and then go off to find Sissy at school."
"You are such a gem!" she announced and held her good arm out to get a hug from him. When she had him and close she said softly: "More examining some other time?"
"Definitely!" he said, brushing her lips with his.
"Hmmm, doctor's forward!" she said, smiling.
"Doctor can't keep up with this patient at all," was his response, and she said: "Goodie! Got you!"
"Off to get the paper work done," he said.
"Oh," she interjected, before he left, "Whom do I see about hospital costs?"
"Taken care of!" he said, "I saw to it!"
She held her arm out again and said: "John Malcom you're my prince! You take such good care of me!"
He smiled directly into her face and said: "My only aim!"
They kissed briefly and he left, sending in a nurse to help get her ready to leave.
He had arranged the seats in the caddie to accommodate her comfortably.
"Love this car!" she said. Then, after thinking a bit: "Oh, mine was destroyed. Wasn't it?"
"Yes," he answered, "I'm afraid so. They hit you pretty hard and you're lucky that it was older and substantial."
He chuckled then: "Like me!"
She reached out and pushed on his shoulder. "Don't you talk about my John Malcom that way."
"Yes, Ma'am," he said with fake contrition.
She leaned over then and put her head on his shoulder, saying: "Oh, John Malcom, you are a gem! That's what you are, a gem!"
He laughed and said: "That's me, diamond in the rough!"
"I mean it!" she said and he turned, they were at a light then, and kissed her forehead.
"I realize that, love and I appreciate it!" he said.
"Oh," she said next, "Is that what I am? Am I your love?"
"Seems that way!" he said with a smile. "Great, huh?"
"Yes," she agreed, "Great!"
He was coming up his street by that time and pulled into the driveway of a large, rambling white house.
"Here we are," he said, "Casa Amos!"
"Oh, John," she enthused, "This is lovely!"
"Bachelor quarters for me and the Amos cat!" he said smiling.
"Now being invaded!" she replied.
"About time!" he said, "Just about time."
She grinned and said: "Time to civilize John and Amos."
"Something like that," he answered, continuing to grin at her.
He parked in the back of the house, by the garage, which had a walkway that went into the back of the house by the kitchen. The garage had three stalls, one was for the cadillac, one was for the Range Rover, which was parked there and one was empty.
"See," he said, as he opened her door, "Garage is all ready for your car."
"Hmmm," she said, pondering, "My car."
"Nor have you answered my question," he ventured.
"You mean the Caddie or the Range Rover?" she asked, "Like the lady or the tiger?"
He laughed: "Well, didn't mean it that way exactly."
"Still thinking!" she said. "Trying to digest what has happened, is happening, and I don't mean the accident particularly, I mean, us."
"Yes," he said, "Us! There is that, I believe; I sense it."
He turned to her then, his face serious: "Amy, it makes me happy. The fact that there is an 'us' to consider, makes me very happy."
She was out of the car then and was leaning against him: "That makes me so glad, John Malcom; the 'us' makes me so glad!"
"Well, come on and see the house where the 'us' is going to reside, at least for a while."
"At least for a while!" she agreed. Then, staring into his eyes, she said: "John Malcom, please kiss me! Please!"
"My pleasure," he said and fit himself up against her, trying to not disturb her slinged arm and they kissed. She raised her face to him and sighed into the kiss. It started soft and became passionate, as the kiss lasted. It left both of them panting a bit.
"Oh dear!" Amy sighed, after the kiss. "That was something!"
"Yes," he quipped, "And you can't run away from me with that leg in a cast."
"Rats!" she said, grinning and looped her cane head around his arm and pulled him back to her for another kiss.
They entered the house and were greeted immediately by Amos, who wandered into the hallway with effusive sounds that seemed to welcome the two of them.
Amy took some time to greet the house cat, as John Malcom held a purring Amos up for Amy's adulation.
They got her settled in the major guest suite, across the hall from the master, and she rested for a bit, with Amos resting on the bed with her. When he inquired, after an hour or so, she indicated that she felt up to going with him to pick up Sissy. They went together.
They took the caddie and waited across from the school, where Amy usually went to pick up her daughter after school. John Malcom stood outside of the car and waved to Sissy, when he saw her coming down the block. He went to talk to her.
"My Momma?" Sissy asked, when she greeted John Malcom with a hug.
"She had an accident today, honey," he said to Sissy, who began to cry right away.
"She's fine," he said then, "She's in the car waiting for you. She has a problem with one leg and her arm. We just have to take care of her."
"Yes," Sissy said, realizing the importance of what John Malcom was saying. "We'll take care of Momma."
They went hand in hand down the street. John Malcom opened the door and Amy swung her legs out and reached out with her good arm for a hug from Sissy.
"Oh, Momma!" Sissy said, crying again now. "You're hurt!"
"I'm fine, honey," Amy said, "Our John Malcom is taking good care of me!"
"Yes, Momma," Sissy said softly, through her tear, "I love John Malcom!"
"Okay, sport," John Malcom said, himself affected by the scene between Amy and Sissy, "Let's get going. An ice cream treat on the way home and then your Momma has to lie down for a nap. Both of us will insist on it."
"Yes, Momma," Sissy said, "He's right! We insist!"
"Yes, to both of you," she said, "I am tired."