Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Shorts - Part Two of Story!

What happens next between Dan and Meg? Read on!


Dan’s face dropped into serious lines and he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees. He took a deep breath and said what everyone said lately. “We didn’t know about your diagnosis until last week or we would have come sooner. Sally wanted to come with me today, but she was afraid she’d get ‘all weepy-washy on you,’ as she puts it. She doesn’t remember her mother, and always thought of you as—” He let the sentence trail off and reached over to grasp her left hand.

She patted his wrist lightly and smiled. “Really, it’s okay. They were able to do a simple lumpectomy, and I just finished chemo. Now it’s just a waiting game to see if we got it all.” Meg wished Dan didn’t look so stricken. But at the same time she felt flattered he would care at all. For herself, she was long past tears. They’d come often at first, but soon the doctors settled her into a treatment routine that left little time for self-pity.

He nodded and took a shaky breath. “Yeah, Dr. Brugetti said things looked good.”

The way he said it sounded odd to Meg. “Was Sally back in for more testing? Is everything okay?”

Pale red flowed into his cheeks and he pulled his hand away from hers a little sheepishly. “Actually . . . I went to the hospital to look for . . . well, you. But, of course, you’re on medical leave. That’s when Dr. Brugetti told me.”

“For me? Why?” A deep breath and then a rush of words made a fine trembling begin in Meg’s chest. “A week ago, I found Sal alone in her room, looking through her hospital box. You remember, the one with toys and games and photos to keep her busy. I saw your picture in there—that day when you played dress-up after her hair fell out. You were both so wrapped up in ribbons and feather boas you wouldn’t know if you had hair or not.” He laughed and she joined him. But when the laugh was done, his smile was warmer, more . . . personal.

“Dan, I—” she began nervously, but he stopped her with a raised hand.

“I realized that moment I missed you. Not the nice nurse who kept my little girl happy and safe while she was sick, but the beautiful, smart woman who kept me sane.”

Meg touched the turban again. “Hardly beautiful.”

He shook his head in mixed amusement and frustration. “You have no idea how beautiful you are, hair or no.” He shrugged like he didn’t know what else to do. “I went to the hospital last week to ask you out to dinner, and I’m asking now.” He reached out, picked up the box and held it out to her. “But before you answer, Sally insisted she wanted to do this, even though I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Meg took the box curiously and allowed her fingers to rest on his for a long moment. He noticed and smiled. She could only stare at the contents in disbelief. She still remembered Sally’s soft blonde waves, so very like her father’s—so very like her own when she still had hair. She took the wig off the foam head and held it up.

“Sally still remembers the day you cut your own hair short and sewed curls on the bottom of the turban I bought her, to make her feel better. She wanted to return the favor.”

Meg only thought her tears were long gone. Dan didn’t seem to mind them as he gently helped her take off the turban and put on the blonde wig. When they walked over to the mirror, she was taken back in time, and then propelled into an unknown future when he leaned over and pressed his lips to her cheek. His fingers tightened around her shoulders, making her shiver with something she didn't expect.

The whisper in her ear turned the shivering into trembling. “I want to be here for you, Meg. You’ve always been there for others, and what goes around, comes around.”


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