A Mississippi River Romance - Part 15

A Mississippi
River Romance

Life Takes a Turn for the Nurse!

by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
Jealous of the girl who caught your eye
One of my darker days
When you looked at her where was I?
Shoulda been in her place
Here I am
All alone imagining what could have been
If I had been there

Romance Along the Mississippi


“Isn’t Dr. Jacobs coming later?” Danny said as he stood; the hair on his neck started to rise.

“Why yes, he’s taking a break since it’s his long shift.”

“Son of a bitch…” Danny brushed past her as gently but quickly as possible. As he approached the room he heard Vinnie screaming. Picking up the pace, he sprinted to the door, finding the man standing over the bed with something in his hand.

“Hey, what the fuck are you doing?” He yelled as he halved the distance between him and the man in a single stride. The man turned and a look of panic crossed his face. He had a syringe in his hand, which he quickly dropped as he tried to push past Danny. He had at least seven inches in height on Danny, but his adrenaline hadn’t kicked in and Danny’s had. A second later Danny was on top of him, hitting him in the face with his fists.

“Mr. Pearson…Mr. Pearson…Danny!” He heard someone calling from behind as if out of a fog. A moment later two large hands pulled him gently off the unconscious figure on the floor.

“We’ll take it from here,” the Security Officer said as he and another officer picked the man off the floor and bound the man’s wrists with zip-ties. Natalia stood behind the man, breathing heavy and crying. The day nurse stood next to her holding her and talking softly in her ear. Danny stepped back and saw Vinnie lying sideways on the bed, throwing. He rushed over.

“Vin…Vinnie?” Danny shouted as his brother turned over, his face white and crusted with vomit. He looked up and saw Danny and began to sob. Danny strode quickly to the bed and pulled Vinnie up into a hug. The boy was limp and sobbing softly,

“Why, Daddy…why.” Danny looked at his brother’s face and finally lost it; every bit of hurt and anger and sadness and pain came flooding back to him and he began weeping alongside Vinnie in a horrific duet of shame and hurt.

The day nurse motioned for yet another nurse and mouthed, “Call Dr. Jacobs…” while she handed Natalia over to her. She then walked over to Danny and Vinnie, putting her hand on Danny’s shoulder.

“Mr. Pearson…why don’t you sit down next to the bed, okay?” She lowered the safety rail and Danny leaned over onto the bed and wept harder than he had ever as the nurse just shook her head and blinked out her own tears.

Sunday morning at the hospital…

Danny walked to the nurses’ station with a calm look about him; belying the turmoil the whole family was feeling from the previous day’s events. A familiar face smiled and greeted him.

“Hi, Mr. Pearson…Danny…” She sighed and turned to Patty, her day replacement.

“I’m heading out, Patty, okay?” Patty nodded and Natalia stepped around the counter and grabbed Danny’s arm softly.

“Do you have a minute before you see your brother?” Danny looked at her hand on his arm and back at her.

“Sure.” She led him into the family area and sat them both down on the couch.

“What’s up,” Danny asked, trying not to look too nervous. Natalia was an attractive woman; that was certain. He worried about what she wanted even as she began to speak.

“I wanted to tell you how much I admire you…how brave you were with your brother.” She started to blush, which was like a yawn to Danny, and he began to blush as well.

“He’s my brother…I had to save him.” He said it almost nonchalantly as he looked over at Vinnie’s room.

“Oh…that’s not what I meant. Of course you’d save your brother. That’s the type of man I would have expected you to be, especially in light of your service.” She hadn’t meant to, but she focused on his prosthetic leg that was exposed at the ankle. Her face darkened even more, but she continued.

“I meant when you sat next to your brother last night and held him and cried. I don’t know if you realize this, but you were sitting there like that for nearly an hour. Most men wouldn’t last ten minutes…maybe even less.” She put her hand on his arm and he pulled away slightly at her touch.

“This has affected you, hasn’t it,” he asked, trying to change the subject, but his question was indeed part of the topic for discussion, so to speak.

“I’m a survivor. A few years ago, I was attacked outside. I was doing an evening shift, so I got off at one or so…in the morning.” She began to tear up. Danny wanted to hold her but felt awkward and a bit more nervous. He grabbed her hand and held it.

“My ex couldn’t handle it…he…just couldn’t, and he left…So I know about how hard this is. So yes, Danny, you were brave in my book.” She smiled nervously and stood and Danny followed.

“I don’t want to keep you, but I had to tell you that…your family needs you and I know that they’re in good hands.” She hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. At that moment, another familiar face stood at the doorway to the family room, looking nervous and a bit upset.

“Danny?” Adele didn’t want to be jealous, but with her history of insecurity, coupled with the scene she’d just witnessed, who wouldn’t.

“Hi, honey,” Danny said; feeling trapped and rescued at the same time. He looked at her eyes, which were beginning to fill with tears. Turning to Natalia, he stood motionless, searching for words. He hadn’t meant to lead her on, had he? He bit the inside of his cheek and his face began to darken.

“Adele?” Natalia said with a grin. Adele stared at Natalia before smiling.

“Natalia…gosh…” She leaned closer, almost inspecting Natalia before stepping closer and hugging her tightly.

“So this is the guy you’ve been telling me about?” Natalia laughed softly as she turned and looked at Danny, whose face had lighted only somewhat.

“Yep…this is the man I am going to marry.” She stepped back before holding her arms open in welcome.

“I’m sorry?” Danny didn’t mean to be confused, but it was confusing none the less.

“Natalia is sister to one of my best friends….was…” She sighed.

“My brother and Adele…when she was Anthony…were good friends. He couldn’t handle the change, and they haven’t talked since. And when I was hurt, Adele was one of the few people I could talk to.” She looked at Adele and smiled.

“I’m sorry if I left you with any other impression, but I can see how it would look, Danny. You are a very attractive guy and I can honestly say that if you weren’t attached? But I could see in your eyes how…” She paused for a second.

“You were worried about hurting me…” She smiled. Adele stepped closer and hugged him.

“I’m sorry for mistrusting you. You’re the best thing to happen to me in my whole life, and I am so sorry.”

It was more than Danny could take. Between all of the things that had happened in the past week and then this, he just shook his head and put his hand to his face; almost shamed at the tears that streamed down his cheeks. He had been strong for everyone except himself and it took a silly misunderstanding to get him to feel for him for a change. Adele pulled him closer, stroking the back of his neck.

“It’s okay…honey…I’m here.” She spoke softly in his ear. Natalia stepped back toward the door and waved, mouthing silently,

“I’ll be outside, honey, okay?”

Adele nodded and Natalia walked out of the room.

Jealous of the one who won your heart
They say it's a perfect match
She's gonna get to be where you are
And I don't get better than that
She'll say you're fine
Whisper words I wish were mine

The Rubio house…that same afternoon…

“That certainly was a lovely meal, Mr. Rubio.” Giada said.

“Please, call me Ben.” Benny said softly. He blushed a bit, causing Violet to speak up,

“Jeez, fellas, get a room!” She looked away and smiled but shook her head and looked down.

“Ohmygod!” She thought as she looked back. It was almost like watching a movie; even to the point where everything seemed to be going in slow motion. Her father and the girls’ mother were trying very hard not to make eye contact.

“Cindy…hey!” She whispered to her sister, using her eyes to ‘point’ to the couple sitting across the table from each other.

“OHMYGOD!” Cindy mouthed silently. Jerry picked up on the look and stared at Ben before doing the same ‘eye-pointer’ with Miri who just put her head on her hand on the table and sighed.

“Hey, who wants to play Barbie with me?” Violet said, pointing to Jerry with a grin.

“Hey…that’s a great idea, sis!” Cindy said as she chewed the scenery in her best theater voice.

“Dad, can we be excused?” Violet asked. Benny lo0ked nervous; he hadn’t planned on spending any one-to-one with Giada; at least not so soon. Giada smiled and patted Jerry’s hand.

“I think that’s a great idea, girls, what do you think, honey?” She looked at Jerry.

“I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”

“Oh, come on, Jer…it’ll be fun.” Cindy said.

“Yeah,” Jerry said,” but for who?”

“For whom, sis, for whom.” Miri teased, grabbing Jerry by the hand. In a moment the three were running down the hall, pulling Jerry along. A moment later the silence grew ‘loud’ and Giada looked at Ben and smiled.

“Are you as nervous as I am?” She smiled and looked back at the hallway, as if the girls would return any moment.

“I don’t know. Did you put salt in your iced tea like me?” He laughed nervously and she smiled once again, reaching across the table to grab his hand.

“Sounds like we’re both a bit afraid. Let me say this before we go any further. My children have been through hell, and if it weren’t for you and your wife, I don’t know where we’d be right now. Even after she passed, you gave them such strength. And there’s hardly a man I know who would welcome Jerry into his house considering what she’s going through. No matter what happens? I would love to get to know you better, Mr. Benjamin Rubio, okay.” She smiled again and he sighed before answering.

“When my wife died, I wondered what it was God was trying to tell me, you know? I’d been as good a husband and father as I knew, and it felt like he just took her away. But I remembered what a great woman she was and a wonderful person. I wanted to be as good as I could be, and her death pushed me forward instead of pull me back…does that make any sense?”

“Of course…you showed Jerry and Miri that when you took care of them when I was in rehab; and you didn’t even know me. You and I have had things happen to us…a lot of what happened to me was my own fault.” Benny went to argue but she put her hand up.

“It’s true, Ben…my kids suffered because I drank. I drank to forget. I drank to feel better…I drank not to feel…you know. When I got out…it was like being given a second chance. To be a mother. To be…”

“A woman?” Ben took her hand gently into his and rubbed the back of it slowly. He was running on something; a fuel to emotion that he hadn’t felt for a long time. He wanted to pull back; to take it slow; to be cautious, but something, maybe everything in him said this was right. If not the thing itself, at least a look at what could be. He squeezed her hand and smiled.

“We’ve got nothing to be worried about or ashamed. If you don’t mind, I’d really like to see you again.”

“I think I’d like that, Benjamin Rubio, I really do.” Giada said with a big smile.

“Please, call me Benny.”

At the hospital…at about the same time…

“Thank you for everything, Natalia.” Danny said. Adele hugged her and smiled.

“I’ll call you…” She pointed to the ring on her finger. “I’ll need some help, you know?” Natalia smiled.
“Thank…thank you, Natalia,” Vinnie said weakly. Natalia stooped down, not to talk to him like a child, but to meet him face to face as he sat in the wheelchair.

“You call me tomorrow, and I want you to call me after you talk with your therapist, okay. I care about you. After all, you’re almost family.” She kissed him on the cheek and stood up. After the all exchanged several hugs, Danny hit the button to the elevator and a moment later the three were gone. Natalia stared at the elevator doors for a few moments before stepping back.

She was very attracted to Danny, but he was taken; and in good hands, she thought. It was more of feeling alone again; with no love or comfort on the horizon. While she remained somewhat cordial with her ex, he had remarried. So there she was; expending too much energy on someone else’ problems and hurts like many folks in health care do. And no hope of finding someone. Yet.

You know I'd fight the good fight
If I thought I'd change your mind
But if she makes you happy
I would leave that dream behind
Man, she better treat you right
And give you everything
Cause at the moment she doesn't
I'll be waiting in the wings

Next: That’s Okay; We’re All Girls Here!

Words and Music by
Brett Laurence and Shelly Peiken
As Performed by Nina Girado

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