James J Farquahar was an entrepreneur. He'd started right out of college, using ideas that, at least to him, were obvious and should be profitable. He'd used the little pile of money that he'd gotten from his dad, also a James, and his Uncle Rolf.
He spent his money carefully and after a while, it seemed that money made money, and James, Jamie always to the family, though most of those grand people were gone now, his Mom and Dad and his wonderful Uncle Rolf, proceeded carefully, as the years went on.
Heeding his Uncle Rolf's advice, he put some of his money into real estate. It was one of the ways that he'd done so well. He bought and sold houses and properties. He had a knack for it and did well at it.
In addition to the properties that he was dealing with in his business, he invested in two apartment buildings, both of them multi storied and well appointed.
He rented all of the one building and, since he'd been able to buy the properties out of his capital, the income was purely profit for him.
James J was eternally grateful to his Dad and his Uncle Rolf for the way that the'd brought him up, educated him and made sure that he understood the principles that were behind the kind of real estate dealing that he was introduced to.
It certainly was working out well for him, and now, at the age of 37, he had his own company and spent his time managing.
The one 'one hands' project that he had these days was the two apartment buildings.
He also lived in one of those two buildings. It was a gorgeous building with six floors of apartments. He took for himself, and his cat Angus, the top floor apartment. It was large and took up the entire sixth floor of the building. The view was great, looking out over the city and there was a roof garden that was Angus' delight.
The building was 'u' shaped and had an atrium garden area between the arms of the 'u', with a large wrought iron fence and gate that restricted entrance to the atrium garden area. It was made private and peaceful for the tenants.
James made sure that the apartments lacked for nothing. He also made it a rule for himself to rent the apartments at a reasonable rent, so that he might attract people of all backgrounds.
In his building, the other one was simply full and rented top to bottom, he kept one of the garden apartments in the 'u' shaped building for himself.
It was his special area, where he indulged a special hobby, really a passion, of his. In that room, in the lowest floor of the building, where he and Angus also lived, he had a practice room.
The garden apartments on the lowest floor of the building, the least expensive of the group, were set off by the laundry room and by some storage rooms that were for all the tenants. Each tenant had his/her or their own storage area in that part of the building. And after that had been done, there was room left over to put in two, one on each leg of the 'u' of the building, nice garden apartments.
James had one rented and kept the other for himself, his 'practice room'.
But James' 'passion'? It was one that he was introduced to especially by his Uncle Rolf, who'd been a teacher for James and encouraged him in pursuit of his 'passion'.
James J Farquahar was a bag pipe player. He used the garden apartment for his playing. He reasoned that it was more set off and more private. He would cause less fuss for the other tenants, if he were to play the pipes in the garden apartment.
He'd begun his love for piping as a lad of 10. He was visiting his Uncle Rolf and Aunt Ida and during that visit, Rolf took James aside to talk to him.
"Jamie, lad," Rolf had said, "I want to talk to you about a kind of tradition in our family."
"Yes, sir!" James had said, giving his Uncle strict attention.
"I am the chief one who follows the tradition in this generation, because your Dad, early in his life, had a lung ailment and was unable to. But our father and uncles too followed this tradition."
"Do you know what I'm talking about, Jamie?" the Uncle asked.
"Do you mean playing the pipes?" James asked, a secret joy already beginning to grow inside of him.
"Yes, lad," Rolf said, "I mean playing the pipes."
He took Jamie by the hand then and went to his own basement studio kind of room. While there he introduced Jamie to 'the Great Highland Pipes'. Jamie was entranced!
Rolf explained the way that the pipes were played, pointing out the bag, and the blow pipe to put air into the bag. He showed Jamie the drones and took them out to show the reeds that make the drones sing.
Then he went on to explain about the pipe chanter with it's reed that makes the lovely music.
Jamie was fascinated.
Rolf went on to talk about the practice chanter, with it's much more quiet plastic reed, and told Jamie that, if he were interested, it would be on the practice chanter that he'd begin his learning.
Jamie was fairly beside himself with his enthusiasm for the idea.
Rolf had already talked to Jamie's dad about his plan to introduce Jamie to the pipes and his father and mother were squarely behind the idea.
It was shortly after that, that Jamie's Dad and his Uncle Rolf presented him with his own practice chanter. It was then that Jamie Farquahar entered the exotic world of the bag pipes, the Great Highland Pipes.
Jamie had lessons each week from his Uncle Rolf. Soon enough his world became the world of the pipes: nine notes, low 'g' to high 'a', no sharps, no flats and long, necessary lessons about breath control and blowing.
With his enthusiasm and his Uncle Rolf's kind guidance, Jamie soon did very well with is practice chanter. He took lessons on the practice chanter for fully three quarters of a year and was probably the happiest kid in town on the day, his birthday, when he was presented with his own pipes, nestled in their lovely padded case.
On that birthday, with that gift, James' joy knew no bounds.
His start actually playing and practicing on the pipes began that very week. It was a significant change, a difference. Playing the pipes was a radically different experience, with other types of necessities to be paid attention to. But James persevered.
He said to his Uncle Rolf and his Mom and Dad on one occasion: "It's always a good day, when you can play the pipes." It was his motto from that time on.
James J Farquahar was a bag pipe player.
SARAH AND AMY:
There were new tenants in the other garden apartment in James' building. They were only moving in that week.
Sarah MacBride Woods was tickled at having found this lovely, new garden apartment for her and her pretty Amy. It was not only the nicest of the small apartments that they'd looked at but was also the least expensive.
She was really impressed with the landlord, Mr. Farquahar, whose kindness, not only to her but to her Amy had been outstanding.
Sarah, at 26, was on her own. Her husband, Lester, had made it plain to her that he couldn't deal with being the father of a cripple.
Sarah had resented the very word that Lester had used, and was happy to see the back of him. He'd pretty much fallen off the grid quickly after that but Sarah was independent minded and determined that she and her Amy would make it by themselves.
Amy, age 8, had developed a problem with her legs bones early in her infancy. She didn't develop the ability to walk very quickly and had to use leg braces and, often, a wheel chair. Sarah was aware that, as Amy grew more therapies and possibly surgery would be available and saving money for those possibilities was one of her cherished goals.
Sarah was short, only about 5'3" but had fiery red hair and complementing green eyes. She kept her hair short and manageable. She tended to be petit but was lovely. Not many people except that fool Lester knew what a treat Sarah was physically and, after her experience with Lester, Sarah wrote men off of her agenda for a good while.
Her life, these days, was Amy and the goal of getting Amy the kind of help that she'd need to turn her disability around.
Sarah was fiercely proud and independent, and was determined to do the best for Amy.
As Amy grew, she and Sarah developed an excellent relationship. They were totally devoted to each other.
Sarah made sure that Amy got some exercise but knew of the kind of operations and special types of exercises that were needed. She'd also been told that the optimal time for Amy to have such medical attention was as she was between the ages of 5 and 10 So there were still time.
Sarah and Amy didn't have family to turn to and moving to the city had been a kind of leap of faith for them. It was here in the city that Sarah knew Amy'd get the kind of care that she needed, and she figured that she had a some time to get the resources together to make that happen for Amy.
She had goals and plans, that the two of them shared and it was with that in mind that Sarah, who did data work for a large company and was paid fairly well, looked for housing for them that would be both practical and not too expensive. in those categories, the garden apartment in James Farquahar's building was exactly what they were looking for.
That week they'd settled into the sparsely but tastefully appointed apartment and were getting themselves acclimated.
That evening they'd had a light dinner and Sarah heard Amy talk about her school work. She was picked up daily by a school bus and taken to a school for 'special' students. In Amy's case, it was because of her physical needs that she went there.
Dinner was over and, as Sarah did the washing up, Amy sat and talked with her.
"This really is a nice apartment, Momma," Amy said.
"Yes," Sarah agreed, "It's such a treat that we found it. It's just what I was looking for."
"Glad we live here and that Mr Farquahar is so nice!" Amy said, giggling.
"Yes, giggles?" Sarah said, smiling at her daughter.
"It's that name!" Amy said.
"Oh, love," Sarah answered, sitting down to talk to Amy. "That's an old Scottish name. It makes me think of Scottish hills and someone on those hills playing the pipes! That's what it makes me think of!"
She had such a dreamy look on her face, as she said this, that Amy reached out for a hug and the two of them shared a wonderful moment.
It was precisely then that it happened!
James was home early that day. He was pleased because he was ahead of his goals for the year. He tended to set goals for himself and his life. He talked frequently with Angus, his tabby, about the goals and how he was doing in reaching them.
He had had a very good month and was quite far ahead of the goals that he'd set for himself, his plan, as he called it.
When James J Farquahar talked to friends about setting out to make his first million, they smiled or kidded him about it. But he was totally in earnest about it and already far along at achieving that goal. James J was doing extremely well.
"Well, Angus lad," he said to his tabby, who was paying attention to him, "It's been that good a month for business that our goal is in sight. You know what that calls for?"
Angus, gave a 'yowl', his normal part in conversations with James J.
"It calls for some pipe playing. The next beautiful music that you hear will be 'Wings' and 'Johnnie Scobbie'.
Angus gave another 'yowl' and James chimed in with: "Glad you agree."
James J and Angus went to the basement apartment then, where he had his pipes and his music.
He was in the process of getting those songs, 'Wings' and 'Johnnie Scobbie', the latter also known as 'We're no' awa' tae bide awa', fully prepared.
James got himself ready, he breathed over the reed for about a half a minute to get it ready and then went to it. He struck the drones in and played the normal introductory 'e' and went into 'Wings' followed by 'Johnnie Scobbie'.
Sarah was across the garden area in her apartment. She'd just finished the dishes and she and Amy had been talking.
"Oh, listen!" Sarah said, once James J struck in the drones and began to play the pipes.
"Someone is playing the pipes, love!" She hesitated for a moment, listening and said: "That's 'Wings'! Oh dear! Lovely!"
Sarah had been raised with highland music. It was the MacBride in her that was listening now. It had been, as she grew up, a few family members, now gone, and friends who'd gotten together to play those tunes and Sarah knew them.
"Let's go and look!" Sarah said and she wheeled the chair that Amy was in to the large french glass doors that led into the garden area. She opened the doors and pushed Amy out. It was then that she saw James J, across the garden area, in the apartment opposite with the pipes in his arms, playing.
James saw her at about the same time and, when he came to the end of 'Johnnie Scobbie', after 'Wings' he stopped, sure that he was disturbing his neighbors.
He went to the door and set the pipes down on a table and went out to where Sarah and Amy were standing. He already had the apology ready for her.
"That was 'Wings'," she said, "And 'We're no' awa' tae bide awa'," Sarah said, the pleasure in her voice obvious, and a highland twang present.
"Yes," James said, shocked. "'Johnnie Scobbie.'"
"Of course," Sarah said, "'Johnnie Scobbie'!"
"That was lovely!" Amy said, beaming at James J from her chair.
"Why thank you," he said to her, "Almost as lovely as you!"
Amy grinned at him and then he added: "And your Momma!"
Now they were both grinning at him.
"I was afraid that I was bothering. It's why I've given myself the garden apartment as a practice and playing room."
"No, it as wonderful!" Sarah said, "Reminds me!" and she had a tear in the corner of her eye.
"Momma?" Amy asked. "You okay?"
"Yes, love," Sarah answered, "Just giving in to the memories."
She looked at James, who was showing concern and said: "All of them, all the players are gone now! The men especially, in my family, have died young. They were grand!"
It was precisely at this point that Angus made himself heard, standing inside of the french doors and calling out to the group.
"Oh, oh!" said Amy, excited. "Who's that?"
"That's my pal Angus Farquahar!" James said. "Shall I let him out? Are you ready for him?"
"Yes, please," Amy said.
"Is it okay?" James asked Sarah then, who nodded 'yes'.
"He's a lap cat!" James said next.
"She'll be fine!" Sarah said.
Then James went to the door and let Angus out, who went directly to the little girl in the chair and jumped up on her lap. Amy's face was wreathed in smiles, as she began to pet the affectionate tabby.
"Angus, Angus!" Amy cooed to the cat lounging on her lap. "He's so wonderful!"
Sarah looked at James J and mouth 'thank you' to him, and he mouthed back at her 'welcome!'
They spent some time watching Amy and Angus. Then James turned and said: "So you know the pipes?"
"Yes," she answered, "There were players in the family. But they never thought that it was the right thing for a girl; so, I never learned myself."
"Yes, I've run into that kind of thinking too!" James said.
"Do you have a favorite?" he asked.
"Oh, I never could tire of hearing 'Scotland the Brave'," Sarah answered, and Amy agreed.
""STB' set it is then," James said and Angus yowled his approval, getting a giggle from Amy and an appreciative smile from Sarah.
James fetched his pipes and struck them in again, going from his initial 'e' into the strain of 'Scotland the Brave'.
Sarah positively clapped her hands in glee, listening.
He went directly into 'Rowan Tree' from 'STB' and then ended the set with 'The 42nd Highlanders' march.
He finished and both Sarah and Amy were clapping and Angus gave another yowl of approval.
"Wonderful!" Sarah said, smiling broadly. "And I love 'The 42nd Highlanders''march."
"Do you know what the 42nd are called?" he asked Amy.
Amy shook her head and he said: "The Black Watch!"
Amy grinned and clapped her hand.
"One more thing!" James said then and, striking in again, went into 'Amazing Grace'.
"Oh, I love that!" Amy said, when he was finished.
"This is the closest I've ever been to the pipes," Amy said.
"She was still young, when they passed," Sarah explained.
"Well, let me show you," he said. He took them into his very comfortable 'play room', and demonstrated the pipes for them, especially for Amy.
He took the drones apart to show her the drone reeds, and then demonstrated the blow pipe, with it's rubber flap on the end to prevent blow back into the piper's mouth. Then he dismantled the pipe chanter to show Amy the pipe reed.
He went to a table nearby and picked up one of his practice chanters.
"For practice," he explained, "We use the practice chanter. It's got a soft and mellow sound because it uses a plastic reed, instead of a regular reed, like the pipe chanter."
He demonstrated it for Amy, showing her the way to hold it in her hand.
She grinned up at her Momma, when she had the practice chanter in her hand.
"May I?" she asked politely.
"Of course!" James said, smiling at her grinning Momma too.
Amy blew into it and made a very pleasing, mellow sound.
"A new piper is born!" James said, with Angus yowling approval also.
"Oh, I'd love that!" Amy said. "It would be so grand!" She handed the practice chanter back to him then but he held up a hand.
"No, that one's yours!" he said.
"Ohhhhhh!" Amy said with glee in her voice. "Mine! Momma, he's given me this!"
"Thank you, thank you!" Amy said tugging on James' shirt and bringing him down for a kiss on the cheek.
"And if you want," James continued, "And if your Momma approves, lessons will start right away!"
"Oh, Momma, may I?" Amy asked, almost beside herself for the pleasure of the thought.
"Of course!" Sarah said, "It'll be such a treat to have a piper in the family again!"
"Well, this calls for a celebration," James said. "I have some fresh scones up in Angus and my pad; will you join us?"
"Love to!" Sarah said.
They went toward the apartment door, after shutting up both their apartment door and the play room door. Angus opted to ride in Amy's lap for the trip.
Sarah and Amy were impressed by the loveliness and size of the top floor apartment where James and Angus 'hung their hats', as he pointed out.
He showed them around the expansive apartment, that took up the entire top floor of the building. He also showed them the garden that he had on the roof.
Then it was coffee and scones for James and Sarah and milk and scones for Amy, who gave crumbs to an appreciative Angus, who was by now doting on the little girl.
"This is so nice!" Sarah said.
"Part of my plan!" James said, smiling.
By then Amy was beginning to nod.
"Hey, sleepy head," he said, "How about if Angus and I put you down for a nap.
"Please!" Amy said, with Sarah looking on and smiling.
James bent over and picked Amy up out of her chair and carried her to his bedroom, where he put her down, with Angus scrambling up onto the bed also and lying down with his back pressed against Amy's side. It made the little girl smile.
Sarah and James went back to his kitchen, where he helped himself to another cup of coffee.
"So," she said, "You mentioned 'your plan'."
"Yes," he said, "It's part of what my Dad and my Uncle Rolf taught me about life and how to look at life. 'Have a plan', they always said, and before they both were gone, I got a chance to talk to them in detail about my plan. They were very supportive."
He thought for a moment, and Sarah gave him the time to think, just looking on and smiling.
"And Uncle Rolf taught me to play the pipes!" he said.
"How grand!" she replied.
"But, yes, the plan," he said, and went into some detail about the plan, his plan.
He appreciated the confidence that he felt that he had in talking to her, and opened himself to her to talk about his plan.
She gave a tinkling kind of laugh at his 'making my first million' part of the plan.
"How's it working?" she asked.
"Well, with my business, which those two wonderful men helped me to start, and the apartments that I've purchased, it's really very well on track," he explained.
He leaned forward in in a conspiratorial kind of voice said to her: "Don't tell anyone because only Angus and I know this but I'm almost at that goal and will soon set another or some others."
"My lips are sealed," she said with a grin. "You're the first millionaire that I've ever met."
He grinned at her and said: "Almost millionaire!"
"Yes," she agreed, "Almost millionaire."
He changed the subject then: "But tell me about Amy."
Sarah went into her story, with the many painful deaths that had occurred and the long struggle that she's had with Amy, who had a congenital condition that caused her legs to develop at first slowly and then hardly at all.
"Is it correctable?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "There's a new kind of surgery that can be done that involves doing something with the leg muscles that, I guess, aren't just functioning correctly."
"I see," he said, interested.
"We're saving money for that," she said, "It's not covered by the insurance plan at work. It's a goal that we're creeping toward."
"Your plan!' he said, and she nodded in agreement.
While Amy was sleeping, James began to fix some dinner for the three of them. He made sure that it was a favorite of Amy's, spaghetti.
Sarah went to get Amy, after she'd had a long nap, commenting, when going, that the condition took a great deal of strength from her daughter.
She stopped, on the way to the bedroom, putting her hand on James' arm and said: "Your offer of teaching her to play has produced the first real joy that I've seen in her for a long, long time."
At that point, Sarah began to cry. James simply hauled her into his arms and held her, while she wept.
"We've been so alone with this!" Sarah said.
"Not the case any more," he said, "The Farquahar's and the MacBride's are up to anything."
She looked at him, a grin on her face, while he wiped the tears and she kissed him on the cheek, only barely suppressing the impulse that was suddenly there to really kiss him.
Sarah helped him with the fixing of the dinner, while Amy sat, with Angus still on her lap, and happily made comments about what they were doing.
After dinner, and the cleanup, which Sarah helped with, again with Amy watching and holding Angus, who was almost, by that time, like an appendage of hers, they watched a tv movie, until it was Amy's bed time.
When Sarah and Amy were ready to go, Amy reached out to get a hug from James, who kissed her cheek and said 'good night' princess."
It made Amy simply grin.
There were also more scritches and a head kiss for Angus, before Amy left.
Sarah turned to James, at the door of his apartment and put her arms around him. The hug lasted a few moments and then, as the hug was broken up, with Amy watching and giggling, Sarah reached up and grazed James' lips with her own, causing him to grin.
"Hmmm," Sarah whispered to him, "My first kiss with a millionaire."
"Almost millionaire!" he said.
"Almost millionaire," she repeated, then they left to go to their own apartment.
LESSONS AND A BIRTHDAY:
The lessons for Amy began immediately. They agreed on a schedule of lessons in the later afternoon once a week, to start. The also planned on practice sessions a few times a week to work on the new material that the lessons were covering.
Amy was really enthusiastic and learned well and practiced assiduously.
There was a knock on James' door on a Wednesday. It was at a time, when Amy was taking her afternoon nap.
When he opened the door, he found a smiling Sarah standing there.
"I brought you a treat," she said, producing a carrot cake.
"You make this?" he asked.
"Yep," she said, "One of my talents!"
"Hmmm, want to discover what the others are!" he said smiling.
They went into his apartment and he said right away, why not bring the princess to dinner here and we'll share the cake?"
"Thank you," she said, "We'd love to!"
They sat to a cup of coffee then and she spoke to him: "James, I have to tell you that this physical struggle has been a real trial for Amy. Your teaching her to play the chanter is the first light of it's kind that has entered her life. There is no way that I can repay that kindness and consideration."
"Sure there is," he said softly, "And you do it all the time with your grace and loveliness and your attitude!"
She blushed, and he apologized for making her blush, but in the middle of his apology, she put her hands against his mouth and wouldn't let him finish.
They simply looked at one another and then she was on her toes and had her arms around his neck and was kissing him.
It was a soft and wonderful kiss, leading to, as it lasted, her tongue moving against his tongue. It left both of them sighing.
"I don't know if that's gratitude, which it certainly is, or more than that, which it feels like, and I almost moved your hand to my fanny!" She was grinning widely, as she finished saying it.
"Well, this Farquahar is up to anything," he said, matching her smile. "Especially with a beauty like you!"
"I have to think about that," Sarah said, still holding on to him.
"Well, let's just take it as it comes," he said.
She put her head against his chest and said: "You're so nice, James Farquahar!"
On an impulse she leaned out to look at him and said: "What do they, did they call you?"
He smiled and said: "To Dad and Uncle Rolf it was always Jamie."
"May I?" she asked.
"Oh, yes," he said, "It's been ever so long since someone was around to use that name!"
They kissed again then and she whispered, lips to lips: "Thank you for everything, Jamie Farquahar!"
"You'r welcome, pretty Sarah MacBride!" he said.
"I need to go and see if she's up," Sarah said, "We'll be back for dinner in just a bit. Oh, and by the way," she went on. "Our Amy is having a birthday in ten days!"
"Oh, well, that calls for a celebration!" he said.
"Oh, how nice," she said.
It left her clinging to him and running over in her mind the thought that this didn't really feel like only gratitude.
It was during that following week that James had Amy playing her first simple tune on the practice chanter. It was 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' and Amy was beside herself with the joy of it, of doing it. She played for her Momma and for Angus and everyone was pleased.
The day of the birthday came and James told Sarah that he'd be down with a gift or two for Amy. Sarah had planned on Amy's favorite dinner and had also invited both James and Angus.
The dinner was being prepared and Amy was sitting in her chair and talking to her Momma when they heard the skirl of pipe drones being struck in. Both of them turned and they both gasped.
There outside their french doors stood James. He was resplendent in a formal Scottish outfit: kilt, with the Farquahar tartan, hose with red flashes, a large leather belt and a sporan. He also wore a black formal jacket with bright silver buttons, a white shirt and tie.
"Oh, Momma, look!" Amy said smiling her joy.
He was playing 'Happy Birthday' on the pipes, when they let him and Angus in.
He played and they clapped for him and he got an immediate hug and kiss from Amy.
"Happy Birthday, princess!" he said.
"Oh, thank you for playing for me!" she replied.
Then it was, for the princess, as he called her, 'Danny Boy, ' one of Amy's favorites, plus the Welsh air 'Suo Gan', and the lively 'Gary Owen'. He put the pipes down then, as they were clapping for him and he was rewarded by a kiss from the birthday girl.
"And old Angus and I have gifts!" he said. "One of those will come a bit later. But first there is this."
He gave her a pile of bulky packages, which she opened with a great grin on her face. She gasped, when she found, in the package a lovely kilt made to her size.
"It's MacBride colors!" he said, and then had Sarah plastered against him and Amy's head leaning against his side. Both of the women were fairly teary at the loveliness of the gift.
Then, in the other packages, she found the hose, sporan, jacket, belt and flashes to go with her kilt.
Amy clung to him, once the gifts were open.
"This is so nice!" Amy said, barely holding back tears.
"And there's this!" he said, giving her a card.
"Oh, Momma," Amy sighed, "More!"
She squealed then, as she read in the card a personal gift certificate from Jamie Farquahar to provide for Amy MacBride, the bearer, one full set of great highland bagpipes.
Now Amy was truly teary.
James knelt and hugged the little girl an said a soft: "Happy Birthday, princess!"
"Oh, this is the best birthday ever!" she said.
They sat down to dinner then with birthday cake that followed.
After a bit, James looked at his watch and said: "Ladies, there is one more birthday surprise that we have to attend to. Will you please come with me and Angus to my aerie apartment so that the other surprise can be sprung?"
They went with him, with James pushing the wheel chair with Amy in it. As they went along, Sarah put her hand through the crook of James' arm.
"Aren't you the best though?" she said to him in a whisper and he beamed at her.
They got to his apartment and they settled into the living room, when the door chimes sounded, indicating that someone was at the downstairs door.
James rung up the person and greeted him at the door. It turned out to be a good looking man, apparently James' age, who was visiting.
Sarah looked just a bit concerned, not wanting to be in the way.
"Ladies," James said, "Let me introduce my chum Charlie Wilson."
Charlie greeted both Sarah and Amy.
Then James said: "Charlie and I were in a gang together, when we were kids."
This got him just a strange look from Sarah, wondering at the admission.
"We called ourselves 'the Chinese Bandits'," Charlie said.
"Yes, back a while ago LSU had a coach that named the three squads that he used for his football team; one was the 'Go Team' one was 'the White Team' and the defensive specialists were the 'Chinese Bandits'. We read about that and loved the title, so we called ourselves 'the Chinese Bandits'. But anyway, when Charlie is not engaging in banditry, he is a really prominent orthopedic pediatrician.
At that point Sarah got a hitch in her breathing, realizing why James had invited his friend Charlie to visit.
"So, Charlie," James said, "This is Amy, the princess. I guess you have some questions for her. Will you excuse Sarah and me for a minute?"
"Sure, I'll wait to begin until you get back," Charlie said, and then began to talk to Amy.
When Sarah and James got to the other room, he held up a hand and said: "Sarah, please, please let me do this!"
"Ohhhhhh!" she almost wailed.
He went on then: "What's the point of being an almost millionaire, if I can't take care of problems for my friends and loved ones?"
She went to him then and began to cling to him.
"I don't ... don't know what to say!" Sarah said softly.
"Then simply 'yes' will do!" James said.
"Yes, Jamie, my Jamie!" she said. "Just 'yes'!"
They went back and were there, when Charlie Wilson began his examination of Amy's legs. He took his time and asked a number of questions. He seemed to be very thorough about the examination, asking questions often of Sarah about how the situation showed itself initially and how it had changed, if at all, as time went on.
He was finally finished with his examination of the little girl.Then he turned to Sarah and James and said: "Yes, I've seen this any number of times. The nice thing is that she's at the age, when it's correctable with surgery. It's not even surgery that's terribly involved but it will certainly get her on the right track, and then with some work and therapy, she'll be running races in no time.
"Oh, Momma!" Amy said, from her wheel chair, with tears in the corner of her eyes.
Sarah went to Amy and hugged her and then she was hugging Charlie Wilson and finally had James in her arms.
"What do you think, pal?" Charlie said, addressing himself to James.
"I think that we'll do whatever you suggest," James said.
"Good, then let's begin by scheduling the surgery. I would like to have one session with all of you to outline what I need to do and how it will begin to correct this situation," Charlie said to them.
Sarah nodded and Amy did also.
"Good," Charlie said then, "Call my office; I'll tell them in advance and we'll make sure that we have a place for you in a very short time, a few days."
"Thanks, man," James said and embraced Charlie, who got a hug and kiss both from Sarah and also from Amy, before he left.
They sat with Amy then for a while and talked.
"Does this sound okay for you, Princess?" James asked then.
"Oh," Amy said, "If it's going to lead to me being able really to run or walk or dance or anything, then it certainly sounds okay for me!" She said this with great enthusiasm.
Her Momma's attention was completely held by not only what Amy had said but the tone of her voice the way that she'd said it.
Sarah turned to James then and said: "James, there's a goodness in this that has all but overwhelmed me."
"Well," James explained then, "You see, Angus and I have been talking about this and we've decided to expand my current goals!"
"Yes?" Sarah asked, a masked smile on her face, giving James an indulgent look.
"Well, you already know my first goal," he went on.
"Yes, I do!" Sarah said.
"Wait, wait, what's that, Momma?" Amy asked.
Sarah giggled and said: "Shall you tell her or shall I?"
"Be my guest!" he said.
Sarah turned to her daughter and said: "James J Farquahar's first goal is to become a millionaire. He says that he's well on the way!"
Amy clapped and said: "Oh, goodie, a rich, rich James!"
James bowed to the two of them but Sarah then interjected: "So, what is your new additional goal, that you and Angus have dreamed up?"
"Simple," he began, "It's to take walks with you and Amy! With all of us just walking and strolling."
The implication of what they were doing, of what Charlie Wilson had in mind and would begin for them finally crashed into Sarah's reality. She simply began to cry. Both James and Amy gave her hugs. James gathered her in and then maneuvered her to where Amy could participate in the hug too.
SURGERY AND REHAB:
It all began to seem live a veritable swirl of activity. They set an appointment to meet with Charlie at his office so that he could explain the procedure. He went over it with the three of them. It left both Sarah and Amy, especially, really excited about the possibility.
When they got back from Charlie's office, Amy went for a nap. They were at James' apartment. James and Sarah settled down for 'the' talk.
"I want to participate in this," she said.
"I know that," he said. "We'll just partner it."
"Okay. Let me tell you what I have set aside," she continued, giving him a rundown on her savings.
"Well," he said, "Let's look at it this way. Why not save that for Amy's future. It'll be the way that you participate, and I'll upfront the cost of things now."
"Oh, Jamie, Jamie," she cooed at him, once her arms were around him.
She broke off her statement with a kiss. During the kiss, as she'd mentioned that previous time, she moved his hand and put it on her butt. As they kissed, he played with her butt cheeks, and even slid his hand down inside her jeans waistband to feel the texture and loveliness of her panty covered butt.
"Didn't want to presume to do that," he whispered to her. "Didn't want it to fell like I was taking liberties and had rights that were bought through my paying for the medical procedure.
"We both know that's not true," she said, "This is you and I! That's all!"
"Yes," he said, "You and I! And I have an idea to run past you."
"Yes?" she said.
"Sit please," he said. They sat almost knees to knees and he told her about his plan to get exercise equipment for the practice apartment, so that it would be for all of them but especially for Amy's rehabbing.
It made Sarah sob again, and she gave herself to the hug that he offered.
"I'm not trying to make you feel bad, honey," he said to her softly.
"I know that, Jamie; you're just covering us with your goodness!"
She gave him a kind of grin and said: "It makes me want to jump on your bones; just take my clothes off and jump on your bones."
"Great idea!" he said, "Worth waiting for too!" They kissed as he said this.
They went then and got Amy, taking the time to tell her about the plan to turn the practice room into her rehab suite.
"We'll get someone to come in for your rehab," James said, "We want to do it right!"
"AND," he said, clearing his throat and setting himself up for a major announcement.
"Yes?" Sarah said, joining Amy in grinning at him.
"I ... er Angus and I want to announce that part one of the plan has been accomplished and a bit over!"
They began to clap then and he took the opportunity to bow to them both.
"Whoohoo!" Sarah chimed in with.
"How about if it's pizza for us out tonight?" he asked. They two of them agreed and they went out to a favorite pizza place.
During dinner they talked about the surgery that was now only a day or so away.
"You okay?" James asked Amy.
"Yes," she said, "Just also nervous."
"We'll be with you every step of the way!" her Momma said, giving her a kiss.
They took her to the hospital and put her in Charlie Wilson's capable hands and sat down to wait. The surgery didn't take all that long and in about an hour and a half, Charlie came looking for them.
Sarah jumped up, as soon as he approached. Charlie was smiling and Sarah began to sob. She hugged Charlie, having received the good news about the operation's success from him and then hugged James.