Sarah knocked on the door to Cassie’s room and pushed it open when she heard Cassie’s “Come in!”
“Oooh,” Cassie exclaimed, her eyes bright and sparkling as she eyed the take out bag from Bangkok. “What do we have?”
“The appetizer platter of course, spicy fried rice, shrimp panang and the spicy beef stir fry you like! Think I have enough food here?” Sarah laughed, setting it all out on her tray table which was pulled up to a chair where she was sitting. Sarah pulled up another chair opposite of it and dug through the bag for looking chopsticks and napkins.
“Hey, where’s your mom?” Cassie asked, taking her first mouthful of spring roll and making a blissful face. “Mm!”
“She went to get her hair done. Actually, I think she just wanted to give us some time alone, which was cool I thought. How was therapy this morning? Yesterday you looked wiped-out!”
“It was better this morning, but I’ll be tired like that after this afternoon’s therapy. They have me on the parallel bars walking, and that just zaps my energy. That’s why I’ve got some time to rest today, before they have me do that again.”
“Um, I’m sure that is tiring,” Sarah answered, taking a bite of the shrimp panang, mixed with a little of the spicy fried rice.
“Yeah, you know you don’t think about things like that—getting tired just by walking a few steps I mean. I never had any idea it would be like this. We walk around all our lives, so who would think that being flat on your back for just a few weeks would make your body totally lose its strength and muscle control. It just amazes me really.”
“I’m just so grateful that you are recovering so quickly, Cassie. I know that’s not always the case with spinal cord injuries…” Sarah trailed off. She thought about people who never recovered and offered yet another hasty prayer of thanks to God for Cassie’s ability to recover.
“Yeah, it really could have been totally different.” She was thoughtful for a minute while she took a bite of the beef, which made her tongue tingle from the heat. “Whoa mama! This is hot! But very, very good,” she grinned, wiping fake sweat off of her brow.
Sarah giggled and then asked, “So, how is Dr. Gorgeous?”
Cassie gave a muffled snort and then grinned wickedly. “Well, he’s hotter than this beef!”
“Cassie!” Sarah exclaimed, “What have you been doing?” She tried to sound indignant or outraged, but it didn’t come off well and Cass called her on it.
“You better let Adam do the acting, okay, because you really stink at it!” she laughed.
“Okay, okay I’m not an actress. I get the point. But…back to the point which was Dr. Gorgeous! C’mon on Cass, spit it out!” Her laughing abruptly stopped and Sarah realized that there was something serious about Cass and Dr. Gorman and whatever it was, she hoped she didn’t get hurt.
“He’s, uh, I’m – uh, I’ve never known anyone like him. He is so dedicated to what he does, but every once in a while he breaks out of the doctor mode and just talks, like, like a normal guy. I don’t have a crush on the doctor part of him, really I don’t. I mean, people say that often time’s patients develop crushes like that. He helped me so much as a doctor, and I am so very grateful, but my feelings are different than that,” she told Sarah, utterly serious.
“How different Cassie? Tell me,” Sarah urged.
“We talk about things that don’t have anything to do with my injury or recovery. Like when he comes to see me now, I mean he always asks how I feel or what I’ve done, but he really isn’t my doctor any longer, those are just questions that get him here I think. Mostly we talk about who we are, what we do, our families. I love hearing about his – his dad was in WW II and was in Greece, where he met Eleni, Georgio’s mother. They had a whirlwind romance and he married her. Then it took almost 2 years to get her into the states, but they finally succeeded when she was pregnant with their first child. Georgio is the youngest of 10 kids!”
“So, his given name is Georgio then? And he’s single?”
“Yes, his name is Georgio and he was married, but she died almost 7 years ago. They didn’t have any children; she had ovarian cancer, before she died from it. It sounds very sad, doesn’t it?”
“Yes. I would imagine that something like that is all the more frustrating when you are a doctor and can’t really do anything. So what else do you know about him?” Sarah prodded.
“Well, he’s 44 and as I said, the baby of the family. His oldest brother is almost 61. Both his parents are still living and spend about half of the year in Greece and half here. He has 5 brothers and 4 sisters and dozens of nieces and nephews and he dotes on all of them,” she said as she was finishing her meal. “His mother and sisters are fabulous cooks. He’s brought me food a couple of times. Delish!” She leaned back in the chair and laid her hand on her tummy, which even though she has been lying around for weeks, was as flat as ever. But then again, Cass never gains any weight Sarah thought. If you see her from behind, you would think she is a high school girl she is so lithe and petite.
“So, you seem to know him pretty well?” Sarah asked, but she already knew the answer.
“Yes Sarah, worry wart! Since I’m here in the rehab hospital, I am no longer his patient” she said, a smile spreading across her face.
“Hm,” Sarah said, digesting this information. “So, if you are no longer a patient, you are a ….?”
“I, am, well, we’re getting to know each other and we’ll see, okay? We have kissed though!”
“Oh my, I guess this is just all such a surprise Cass,” Sarah tried to keep a smile on her face, but it was hard for her; concern for Cassie was vividly entrenching itself in her head. Cassie got caught up so easily in romance and got hurt so often. She opened her heart and invariably some jerk trampled all over it; Sarah prayed this was different.
It wasn’t exactly that Cassie fell in love all the time; in fact Sarah wondered if it ever had come to that after Walt. She just tried to fall in love, thinking that would make everything better. There was something about all this though that made Sarah think that it had actually happened and while she could see very well how Cass felt it told her nothing about the good doctor. What did he think?
“Sarah, I see how concerned you are; I don’t blame you really, given my past history. But he is different; he feels the same as I do. We have months to figure it all out; we’re not rushing anything especially while I’m in here.”
“Yeah, isn’t there some rule about doctors and patients?”
“I think so but you have to understand that I am not his patient any longer and nothing was discussed about this until that was a fact. Although I knew how I felt before that and so did he I think.” She reached across the table and said, “One day at a time Sarah, I promise.”
Sarah nodded and tried to relax; she could only pray for the best for Cassie. She decided to switch gears and said, “SO, would you like to hear about California?”
“Absolutely! Tell me all about everything!”
“It was fantastic Cass! I was so scared to meet them all; I was afraid Tamara would be some glamorous Hollywood type and she wasn’t at all! I mean, she sort of looks like it, but she’s not.”
“What does she look like?”
“Tall, thin, a beautiful olive complexion and long, dark hair. Really graceful and lovely, but she is so down to earth and nice. So are his parents; his father looks just like Adam, only older so it is easy to see how he will look in 20 years of so! His mom looks just like Julie Andrews, I kid you not! I felt so at home with them all.”
“Wow, Tamara sounds really intimidating.”
“Yeah, but you know what? She was nervous to meet me!”
Both of Cassie’s eyebrows arched upwards in surprise, but her words made Sarah laugh. “And so she should be! Aren’t brunettes always jealous of stunning blondes?”
Sarah kind of looked down at herself and shook her head. “I don’t know about that. But we got on really well. She’s funny and really put me at ease. You’ll actually like her whenever you have a chance to meet her. The best part of the trip was the boys though!”
Cassie watched Sarah’s face light up at the mention of the boys; she was enchanted Cass could tell.
“If Gerald is the older version of Adam the boys are the younger, dark curly hair and dimples. They are both very sweet and they adore their father. Geoff is the younger and he took pity on me and sort of showed me the California ropes, so to speak. He is adorable and they are both really accepting of their parents relationships with other partners. Can you guess who Tamara is living with?”
“Nope, no idea. Tell me! Someone famous?”
“Yes! Mark Bonner!”
Cassie thought for a moment, trying to place the name. Then it hit her! “Mark Bonner, the director?”
“Yes. He is really nice as well. These people totally blew my image of Hollywood. Tamara is a set designer, does the sets for many famous movies including River of Doubt.”
“So do they live in a mansion? I know you said Adam doesn’t.”
“No, they don’t either.” She laughed and added, “It was totally surprising,. The surprise birthday party was wonderful and so was the day at the beach, the next day.”
“Oh God, I forgot about that. Tell me - were you kind to Adam when you guys played softball?”
“Sure. We played girls against boys. We only beat them by a dozen runs or so!” She laughed long and hard over that because the look on Adam’s face was so precious. Of course, when he made her ‘pay’ later on, well, that was pretty good too!
“Cassie, Adam’s house sets right on the beach and the view is spectacular! It is three levels and is built into the side of the cliff. You come in on the ground level which is actually the top level of the house. The next level down is where the bedrooms are and then the lower level is the kitchen, dining room, patio room, that kind of stuff. The patio room leads out to the patio of course. He has a pool even and an outside hot tub and a kitchen to die for. It turns out Adam is somewhat of a gourmet chef.”
“No kidding? He can cook too?” Cassie grinned thinking she might actually have something in common with him after all. And since Sarah hardly cooked this was a lucky break for her.
“He is an amazing cook. He made scrambled eggs here one morning that were the best I’d ever had. When I asked him about them he said they were his mother’s recipe and that if he told me he’d have to kill me, so I’d have to ask her. Well, I did and you know what the ‘special’ ingredient turned out to be? Guess! Just take a guess!”
Cassie laughed out loud and said, “I have no idea! What is the ‘special’ ingredient?”
“Wine, white fizzy wine to be exact!”
“Whose smuggling wine in here?” a new voice asked. Georgio strolled into the room with vase of more of the deep pink roses. They had had to throw out the first ones the day before and Cassie had felt so bummed about it. He was also grinning broadly when he saw that Cassie was apparently enjoying her visitor.
He sat the vase down and turned to Sarah, offering his hand. “Sarah, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” she answered watching him as he bent down and quickly kissed Cassie. His eyes drank her in and Sarah unconsciously let out a breath that she had been emotionally holding. He really did care about Cass; things suddenly seemed so much clearer. “Dr. Gorman, how are you?”
“Please Sarah, call me Georgio! And I’m much better now that I’m here.” He pulled a second chair up to join them and said to Cassie, “How are you today? How did your aqua therapy go this morning?” He held her hand and lightly stroked it with his thumb.
“Alright, Georgio then.” She took in the sight of the two of them, how connected they were. It was amazing to Sarah to watch; she had never seen Cassie connect with a man like this. It made Sarah miss Adam so much more.
Georgio looked at Sarah then and they stared at one another for a moment; something unspoken flowed between them. Perhaps a promise of devotion for the woman who sat there watching them both curiously. At any rate, it was enough for both of them and Georgio said, “Is your friend Adam with you today?”
“No, he is actually in Dallas right now working on a movie. The same movie he was working on in Italy when we met.”
“Cassie mentioned that and that you’ve been in California for a week or so. You seem to have healed well, I might add. Good for you.”
“Yes, I am doing fine actually. Not really even sore any longer. We had a nice visit in California; I met Adam’s kids and family.”
“He seemed like a nice guy; he was visiting Cassie one day in the hospital with your daughter and we chatted briefly. Didn’t seem like what I imagined a famous actor would be like!”
Sarah gave a brief laugh and said, “I know. It’s amazing; he’s just sort of a normal guy who happens to be famous. It still sort of boggles my mind.”
“Well, I’m sure the press exaggerate everything actors do; they have to have something to write about and report, I suppose!” he chuckled.
“That seems to be true, from what I can tell. Adam is pretty much just ignores it all.” Just then Sarah’s cell phone rang and she looked at it and added, “This is Mom, Cassie. I am supposed to meet her downstairs so I have to go now.” She leaned over the table and kissed Cassie on the cheek and nodded to Georgio. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
“Yeah. Sarah, thanks for lunch, it was great!”
“You’re welcome. Bye!” and just like that she was gone.
“Did you have a nice visit?” Georgio asked.
“It was great. We got caught up on all sorts of things!”
“Hm, like me?” His eyes twinkled with merriment as he watched the inevitable blush spread across her face.
“You? Why would we talk about YOU?” she teased.
“Oh, that wasn’t nice! I’m just going to have to kiss you until you shut up!”
“Promise?” she said sweetly and sighed when he did just that.
Copyright 2010 by Cynthia Hope Hodge
All rights reserved. You may not reproduce, or retransmit by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any other means without permission by the author.