It all began, that week, with Ralph. He was the first major incident in a week of startling incidents, mostly new but some of them frankly a matter of shrugging off the old.
Janie Waddell was still huffing and puffing about Ralph, when she got to work at the ER. She was an ER nurse, and loved that kind of life for herself. It was, at this point in her life, her balance, her anchor.
Kandi Wiggins, one of the other ER nurses that usually worked with Janie on the same shift, was already there and immediately sense Janie's bad mood.
"What did Mr Shitheel do this time?" she asked.
"Oh, Kandi," Janie responded, "Is it that obvious?"
"Yes, to me it is; what has Ralph been up to and when are you going to be rid of that loser?" was Kandi's next question.
"Gone! Just gone; over! Finished! All done! Totally gone!" Janie said in disgust and with a certain amount of determination in her voice.
"What, tell me?" Kandi asked, "The place is quiet now."
"He stood me up again," Janie said, her anger fading a little bit just in the fact of getting it out, telling Kandi.
"Shithead!" Kandi said.
"So, I finally told him, and he's now history; he didn't take it well but said in the end that it was all the same to him; lots of women around!" Janie said.
"No," Kandi exclaimed, "Maybe lots of women but not lots of women who are as lovely as you, with your strawberry blond hair, pretty face, gorgeous rack and almost impossibly lovely ass!"
Janie blushed and said: "Stop it, Kandi!"
"No!" Kandi giggled, leading both of them into a giggle. "Come on back with me to the shower room and I'll take care of whatever needs you have!"
(This was a kind of taunt that was bantered back and forth between Janie and Kandi for a long time; it was a standard ploy in their girlfriend like exchanges.)
"Hell, I don't know, Kandi," Janie said wistfully, "I liked the sex with Ralph; it was what he was good for. If I go on one of my long celibate binges, I might need to snuggle in the shower room with you!" she ended the statement laughing.
Kandi joined the laugh but said:
"You tell me angel face, whenever you want that pretty ass kissed! I'm your man!"
Janie laughed and said: "Kandi, Kandi, you've been the one true and constant thing in my life, beside my Stewart."
"The legal eagle!" Kandi said.
"Yes," Janie went on, changing the subject now, "He's getting close to finishing law school and I can begin to live in just a little bit. It'll be nice when that financial pressure is off. Then it's new car for me, bigger apartment or may be a house and watch out world for Janie!"
They both shared a laugh about that.
Janie Waddell, newly free of that 'shitheel' Ralph, was 38 and restless. She was beginning to see the possibility. She loved her nursing, she loved, in her own way Kandi Wiggins, though not the physical way that Kandi pretty constantly wanted to demonstrate with Janie, and she loved her Stewart.
She'd gotten pregnant as a teen ager and showed courage and wisdom way beyond her years in being determined to raise the child. Stewart was one of her joys. She'd finished her high school degree after that and then worked her way through nursing school.
In those days, she lived with her Grandmother, gone now, and the only other family was her Uncle Clark, who lived up in New England.
She had had an off and on again relationship with Ralph, a younger man, for a while, and only put up with his periodically bad attitude because she liked the constant availability of sex with him. It all, with Ralph, boiled down to that with Janie. She never, at least, kidded herself about any romantic passion for the 'Shitheel', as Kandi called him.
Ralph had been for Janie like an explosion of erotic senses. It was as if she reached the age of 34 and someone turned on the heat for her. She had been, previously, mildly sexually active but since the middle 30'as, Janie was a woman in heat. She never wanted to tell Kandi how many times she almost took her up on her constant offer of 'services'.
She didn't look forward to the days coming back, when she'd have to do the bar scene or dating on line thing or any of those horrible ways to just get herself laid. It made her giggle to herself just to think about it.
"You're having dirty thoughts!" Kandi's voice interrupted her reverie and she just giggled.
"Caught you!" Kandi said cheerfully, "Want to talk about it?"
"No, missy," Janie said with a grin, "You'll just make another pass at me."
"At least I'm consistent!" Kandi said.
"You are that!" Janie answered, and kissed Kandi on the cheek.
They were having a quiet shift and sitting with cups of coffee, when Janie's phone rang. She answered and it was the voice of a woman that was unfamiliar. The woman introduced her and said that she was a legal assistant with a law firm in Bangor, Maine.
The woman then went on to say, with appropriate sympathy, that Janie's Uncle Clark had died suddenly and they would need for her, as the only relative, to come to Bangor to see to arrangements etc.
Janie had to sit down. Kandi was there with her immediately.
The woman went on, in the discussion, to suggest that they, the law firm, begin the arrangements. Janie agreed and promised to leave the next day for the trip to Bangor.
Janie clung to Kandi, as she cried.
"I loved him so; he was the family. I mean, once Grandma was gone. We e-mailed all the time, and it was always such a treat for me. I've visited him a few times; he was a wonderful man."
"Come on," Kandi said, "We have a shift change coming; you and I are going home."
"Yes, thank you," Janie said, giving herself over to Kandi's care.
Kandi followed Janie home, and went with her to her apartment.
"Shower first!" Kandi said.
Janie tried a small smile; she was really and truly in shock. "Finally, getting me with my clothes off?" she said, the smile back on her face.
"At last!" Kandi sang out, launching into the old tune.
Janie began to cry again then, and Kandi put her arms around her.
"Nothing erotic here, angel," Kandi said, "Just us girlfriends taking care of one another."
"Yes, just us girlfriends!" Janie said, leading Kandi into the bedroom.
"Shower first?" Kandi said.
"Shower first," Janie replied, willing to be led, directed by Kandi.
Janie responded to the direction by simply taking off her clothes, as though she were obeying orders. Her mind was in a deep funk, trying to cope with the news about the death of Uncle Clark. She only got half way done, her white nurse's smock was off and she stopped dead.
"Here, honey," Kandi said, "Let Kandi help."
Janie smiled at her and said: "Thank you for taking care of me, Kandi; I just can't believe this. He was such a healthy man. It was a heart attack."
"Yes, sweets," Kandi said, having removed Janie's bra and now her white work pants.
"Sit on the bed, Janie," Kandi said then, so that she could tug Janie's panties down and off.
"There she is, folks," Kandi said at last, "Janie the Body Waddell!"
This made Janie giggle and said: "Thank you, Kandi, for helping me. I'll try to stop being such a basket case here."
"Nonsense," Kandi answered, "You just deal with it as it feels, and I'll be here to help."
"Just wanna get your hands on my ass!" Janie said in a quiet voice.
"Well, that too!" Kandi said with a laugh and then began to take her own clothes off.
When she was naked, Kandi said: "Okay, kid, shower now!" And led Janie off for the shower.
Janie woke in the morning with Kandi smiling at her.
"Oh," Janie said, planting a kiss on Kandi's lips, "Weren't you the nice one last night! You took such good care of me!"
"Next time, sweet angel," Kandi said, "You'll pay the price!" She snuggled up to Janie, as she said that.
"Next time," Janie responded, "I promise to do that."
"But we'd better get you up and out," Kandi went on. "Trip today to Bangor."
"Oh, yes, Bangor," Janie said, as though it might have slipped her mind.
"I have a meeting with them this afternoon, and then the funeral and all," Janie admitted, getting up and heading for the kitchen and coffee.
Shortly after that, Janie had a long talk on the phone with Stewart. They both agreed that Stewart, who was getting ready for finals at school, didn't need to go to Bangor. Janie was hoping that the whole funeral would be a quiet kind of affair. She told Stewart that she'd get back to him, once she were back.
She finally made a stop, on the return trip, if only for coffee. She had to take a break from the driving and hopefully give her reeling mind a chance to digest, calm down and reach for normal, if that was going to be possible at all.
She spoke to herself very quietly, as she sat and had the coffee. First of all, she had no idea, none whatsoever that Uncle Clark was as rich as he turned out to be. Next, and the most difficult thing to fathom was the fact that she was his heir, his only heir.
She'd had the meeting with the lawyers, very nice people and they were accommodating and very helpful to her. The will, they indicated, had a few bequests but for the most part she was the heir.
This part of it was pleasant but didn't phase her so much, until they went on with the narration. They told her next that she was going to inherit from her Uncle Clark better than 7 million dollars.
It was then that she was stunned, dumbfounded, and weepy. They gave her time to get herself back in hand and then they went on with details.
.... There is more of this story ...