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Last resort, p.31
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       Last Resort, p.31

           Jill Sanders
Chapter Fifteen

  The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were busy for him. Luke found it hard to find time to get back down to Emerald Beach. He wanted to finish the talk with his father and maybe see what he was up to. It wasn’t like his father to sit back and not have a plan in motion.

  As he drove the highway, he thought of his own plans, plans that included asking Cassey to marry him. He thought the Christmas holiday was the best time. He could just imagine asking her on the beach.

  She had yet to say she loved him back, and every time he told her, a strange look would cross her face. He considered himself to be a very patient man, but he really wished she would tell him what was going on, why she held herself back like that. He could tell that he mattered to her; after all, she’d let him officially move in, something that had never happened before, according to Wendy. And according to her brothers, something they thought would never happen.

  When he drove up to the hotel, he noticed his father’s car wasn’t parked out front. Frowning, he walked into the building and was quickly approached by one of the employees.

  “Oh, Mr. Wallace, I’m so sorry to hear about your father.” She looked over her shoulder, then back at him. “Will you tell him that all of us here are pulling for him to get better?”

  “What are you talking about?” He had a sinking feeling in his gut and after gazing around the lobby, he realized everyone was looking at him funny.

  Less than an hour later he stood over his father, a deep frown on his lips as he looked at the man who had never been sick a day in his life. A stroke at the age of fifty-eight. Luke hadn’t seen it coming. Nor had anyone else, including his mother, who stood next to him, holding his hand.

  “We were having tea with the DeFords. You remember, the nice couple who owned the condo next to ours in Maui. Anyway, your father had been feeling just a little under the weather since Thanksgiving.” His mother looked down at his father as he slept in a drugged state. She shook her head as a tear fell down her cheek. “He just slumped over. At first I thought he was joking,” She reached up and wiped the tear away quickly.

  “What have the doctors said?”

  “That he’s stable now.” She shook her head. “They say he might have some permanent damage, but they’ll know more once he wakes up.”

  “He hasn’t woken yet?”

  “No.” She quickly dashed away some more tears.

  “Mom—” He started to apologize for not being there, but just then his phone beeped. Seeing Cassey’s number, he excused himself from the room.

  “Hey, so I was wondering if you were going to stay up there tonight?”

  “Yes, Cassey, my father’s had a stroke,” he blurted out. He didn’t know what he felt; his emotions were hard to explain. He was feeling anger and sadness at the same time. If his father hadn’t been such a workaholic his whole life, maybe he wouldn’t have had the stroke.

  “Oh, no. Luke, I’m so sorry. What hospital?”

  He told her. “I’ll be there soon. I’m so sorry. Do you need anything?” she asked.

  “No, just you.” He couldn’t explain it, but he just knew that with her by his side, he could handle everything he had to.

  “I’ll be there. Give me an hour to tie up some loose ends around here first.”

  When he walked back into the room, his father’s eyes were open. His mother was sitting by his side, tears coming down her face.

  It was so hard to explain, but he wished he could be anywhere but in that room at that moment.

  “See, here he is Jeffery. I told you he had come.” His mother patted his father’s hand. “I just called for a nurse,” she said when he made a move towards the door to do so.

  He stood aside as several nurses came in, followed by a doctor a few minutes later. He watched as everyone bustled around his father. Every time someone moved aside, he noticed that his father’s eyes were glued to him. Then they were being asked to step outside while they examined his father more closely.

  Standing in the hall, hugging his mother, he realized he still hadn’t said anything to her. She just hung on his shirt and cried silently.

  It took almost fifteen minutes before the doctor walked out of the room again.

  “Well?” His mother gripped his arm tightly. “How is Jeffery?”

  “Your husband has suffered a mild stroke.” His mother sniffled. “He’s young and fit, which he has in his favor. But he has suffered some damage. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, I can’t say; it’s still too early to tell. He’ll need to stay here until we see improvements. Once he goes home, he’ll have to be looked after until he’s back on his feet.”

  “What about work?” Luke blurted out.

  The doctor shook his head. “I’m not sure. He has a long road to recovery ahead of him.”

  His mother gripped his arm even tighter. “Can we go back in?”

  “Yes, but only family at this time. We’ll move him to a more private room in the morning.”

  When they walked in the room again, his mother dropped his arm and rushed to his father’s side.

  “I’m here, Jeffery,” she said, over and over. “Luke is here, too,” she said, when she noticed his eyes on his son. “Come over here, Luke. Say something to your father.”

  Luke moved closer to the bed. His father lay there, looking old and frail for the first time in his memory.

  “I’m here,” he said, hearing his voice crack a little.

  “Calvin?” his father’s eyes lit up and Luke’s heart broke a little more.

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