Monday, February 17, 2014

 The ‘Q’ Factor 


Chapter 7  

 Three months later the group was still getting together even though Lidia had not come back since that night. Agnes struggled everyday trying not to think of her daughter. The one she let go for her own good now let her go when Agnes didn't want to be let go.  She worked harder with her patchwork making the best she could to place in shows.  She did well with placing each time.  The group was doing well as well.  Amanda would come when she could and show us all the beautiful wall hangings she made for her thriving restaurant. Cindy had settled well into motherhood; young Kathryn was keeping her busy every time they came with touching everything she could get her tiny adorable hands on.
Kathryn reminded Agnes so much of Lidia it hurt to watch this little girl grow up before Agnes’s eyes and not have Lidia to enjoy this as well.

Another Tuesday night was upon Lidia.   All she could do was think about Aggie and the group.  It had been a few months since she walked out on her “mother”.   She missed the group very much, but she couldn't forgive Agnes for what she had done so long ago.  Lidia found the confidence she had built up from the group soon disappeared.  She was back to hiding her face behind cubicles at work. She started to wear sunglasses to hide her eyes.  She didn't want anyone to look into her soul through her eyes and see the pain she was feeling.   It was bad enough to feel it on her own she didn't want anyone else to feel her pain as well.  After a week of wearing them she liked how she could hide from the world yet still are a part of it.  She thought back to Sandy and wondered how she was doing in the home.  She had heard the Tommy was happy with his adopted parents; mind you he was still young just wait until he is old enough to understand, she wondered if anyone would tell him the truth.  Lidia picked up the phone and asked for directory assistance a trip to the home would do her some good; this might even help Sandy if she was still there.
Sandy sat beside the window looking out at the raindrops that hit the window pain.  The smile hid the sadness she felt inside.  No one seemed to understand why she dreamed of her precious Nick.  By keeping him in her dreams then he never left her site.  He was always near her holding her kissing her pain away.
Everyone even her friends thought she had lost her mind.  Didn't they know she knew Nick was gone forever? She missed him so much so she chose to dream of him every night.  In every dream he always looked handsome always smelled the same.  He never aged or changed.  Why was this so wrong of her to think of him like this?  “Mrs Camp someone is here to see you would you like to move to the lounge for your visitor?” Jumping out of her daze she stood slowly beside the nurse.  Lidia sat nervously twisting her hair something she had stopped for a longtime.  But it helped her as she placed strands of hair around her finger and twisted until it hurt, and then she would start over.  She looked up to see Sandy walking into the room; “Would she remember me” she wondered.  Sandy saw a woman who stood up and walked toward her to give her a hug.  Sandy hadn't been hugged in a longtime so backed off so this woman would know she didn't care for hugs anymore.
“Hi Sandy, do you remember me”?  The nurse sat her on the couch and Lidia sat beside her.  Sandy stared at her as if to say “no I don’t think I know you” “My name is Lidia, I met you when you” Lidia stopped there she was being selfish and not thinking of Sandy.  She may not want to hear Nick’s name mentioned.  “I met you at the quilting group that Agnes ran in her home” When Sandy heard Agnes’s name she smiled knowing this name meant happiness from her past.  Lidia felt the smile meant something good so she relaxed and sat back so she could be more comfortable with Sandy and their visit.
“Sandy, how are you?  How have you been? I have missed you not being with us at the group” Lidia didn't have the heart to tell her that she wasn't going anymore.  That would have to wait until Sandy was better; if she ever got better again.
“How is everyone in the group Lidia?” Sandy felt she knew more people than just Agnes.  “Amanda how is she? She belongs to the group if I remember rightly.”  Lidia felt a smile come across her own face This must be a good sign she thought “She is doing well; her restaurant is popular.  She changed the name to ‘The Q’ Factor’ she is fully booked most nights so she doesn't come as much as she would like. She still finds time to make wall hanging quilts and has them in her restaurant”. Sandy felt a bit jealous knowing someone was happy when that was all she ever wanted.  Her right hand started to play with her left wrist out of frustration Sandy found this helped her deal with whatever was happening that day.  Lidia noticed she became fidgety; then Lidia noticed she started scratching her arm and that’s when Lidia noticed Sandy had cuts on her wrists.  “Sandy, what happened to you?  Are you okay?”  Sandy woke out of her daydream of Nick and Tommy and noticed Lidia was staring at her.  She looked down to see the scars that now covered her wrists.  Once again she could tell someone didn't get what they meant to her.  She wondered if Miss Lidia Summer knew REAL pain like Sandy did.  Sandy found she hurt so much inside that one day she had to get all this pain out so she started to self-harm herself.  This surprised Sandy; not that she did it but more because she felt better every time she cut herself.  She didn't want to commit suicide she only wanted the pain to go away.  The pain did go away on the inside anyway; sometimes the pain would still be there only weaker.  She never felt the pain on her wrist.  Sandy was too numb to feel the pain on the outside that was why she tried to get the inside empty of pain.
Lidia waited to hear from Sandy what had happened to her.  Maybe someone attacked her, she knew Sandy had been through a lot but she never felt she would kill herself.  “Sandy, I’m waiting; what happened.”  After a long silence Sandy replied. “Lidia, have you ever had so much pain inside you; pain that went deep into your soul that could never find its way out?”
Lidia thought about what Sandy said, “No Sandy I haven’t why so you ask?”
“Because Lidia that is where I have been; since I lost Nick, Yes I know he died Lidia since that horrible day the pain I have inside me as increased almost on an hourly bases. While I carried our child I couldn't ache for my Nick, I couldn't help but wonder what if?  Maybe I should have gone to work to pick him up?  I had found out that day that we were going to have our first child; I was over the moon while I prepared a special meal for us. I had no idea he was going to take a walk after work.  Thanks to someone else’s selfishness I’m now without him.  I have a son I can no longer see because they feel I’m an unfit mother.  I miss my son and my husband, one I can win back and one I can never have again.  It is because of all of this that I feel the pain; it’s because of this pain I try as hard as I can to get rid of this pain; even if it isn't how others would.  It is how I would and have tried for a longtime now.”  Lidia sat stunned; she didn't know what to say or to do next.  A long silence filled the air when the nurse came over to let Lidia know it was time for Sandy’s medicine and then she needed some rest.  Lidia looked at Sandy as the nurse helped her up and saw someone who had suffered so much; someone who was still suffering now and probably will for the rest of her life.  Lidia knew what she had to do. She said her good-byes As Sandy walked out of the room then Lidia went for a drive.

Agnes sat at the kitchen table trying to have her diner when the door bell rung.  She slowly walked to the door not sure if she felt like a visitor.  As the door swung open Agnes began to cry.  Lidia looked at her mother and began to cry as well.  Agnes held her arms out hoping her daughter would want to be held by her mom. “Mom”, was all Agnes could hear as Lidia fell into her arms weeping. “Sweetie, I have missed you so.  The two stood in the doorway crying and enjoying the comfort of a single most needed hug anyone could ever wish for.  It seemed to take forever before the tears subsided.  Then Lidia looked up into her mother’s eyes and whispered “I’m sorry mom, please forgive me”
“Sweetie you don’t need forgiveness I’m the one who left you; will you forgive me” “oh yes mom I forgive you” After five minutes of more tears Lidia looked up.  “Mom I know what I need to do”.

Four months later with the group going strong another member joined this very special group.  He was only a year old but He had a good teacher.  Lidia went to court knowing how it felt to be adopted and raised by people who were never her parents.  She applied for custody for Tommy Nicholas Camp.   Lidia felt that when Sandy was ready to come home (she felt that day would come) then her son would be there for her to bring up as a mother should always do.  Tommy loved being with the group playing with his tankers pretending they delivered milk to the stores.  Lidia loved being his pretend mother.  She knew one day Sandy would be back and healthy as ever; for now she would fill her shoes.

Four months later the group were laughing and enjoy their time making more quilts when Cindy stopped laughing.  “Hey, guys she said, I have something to tell everyone” Everyone stopped laughing as well afraid more bad news was about to be told by her.  “I’m pregnant! I’m going to have a baby! Isn't that wonderful! Everyone screamed with excitement. She was soon smothered with hugs and kisses.  This was the best news the group had heard in so long. “How does Jack feel Cindy?”  Cindy was laughing and crying at the same time.  “He is over the moon; we've been trying to have another baby for awhile but we wanted to wait until I was pregnant before I told you. I hope you don’t mind I didn't tell you sooner”?  Lidia looked up from her block, “Cindy how pregnant are you?” Cindy sat quiet for a few seconds and then whispered “five months” Then she couldn't stop laughing.  The group understood why she waited to say anything to them.  Soon everyone was laughing again and crying for the joy this baby was sure to bring to Cindy and Jack.

The months seem to fly by for everyone; Cindy was due soon and looking ready to have her baby any day now.  She was starting to feel nervous remembering how her last delivery had gone.  No one wanted her to go through anything like that again.  Tuesday night rolled around when Cindy was past her due date; no one was worried other mothers-to-be have gone over.  Thirty minutes into the night Cindy felt something happen.  She looked down under-the-table and noticed that her waters had broken.  Agnes could tell by the look on her face the time for this baby to be brought into the world had come.  Everyone rushed around grabbing Cindy calling Jack and getting her to the hospital.  Jack paced the floor waiting to go and help his wife deliver their unborn child.  The doctor came and took Jack into the delivery room; it was time to be the loving husband.  An hour later Jack came in with the biggest smile on his face and told them they had a healthy baby boy.  Agnes was in tears as was Lidia, Amanda, Lucy, and even Tommy started crying because he saw everyone else crying.

Cindy sat up in bed nice and warm at home waiting for Jack to bring Jackson to her so she could feed him.  No one told her how special this moment could be.  She missed out the last time because of how things went. Cindy wouldn't allow anyone to steal that away from her this time.  Jack walked in carrying a bundle of blankets that held his son and handed him to her as he kissed his wife to let her know she meant the world to him.  The joy of being a mother went deep for Cindy, knowing how special a life could be and could be lost in a blink of an eye.  She told herself she would enjoy every moment while it lasted.

Amanda stood in the foyer of her restaurant looking over the vast room that was all set and ready to go for the evenings dining guests.  She felt almost complete; there was something missing in her life.  She has a restaurant that is becoming popular.  But when she goes home at night and she is alone.  She knew everyone in the group were happy.  That was well overdue after so many tragedies that we felt.  She did find one of the chef’s she hired seemed handsome to her; she wondered if he would go out with her.  Stuart had worked for Amanda about six months now.  He was good at his work (which she liked) he lived close by on his own.  He had soft blonde hair that he tied back every night he had to work.  His blue eyes with his tanned skin made him an interest among the waitresses as well.  Amanda decided she was going to ask him when he arrived in a few minutes.  What did she have to lose?  The worst he could say was no.

Lucy sat down at the table after dinner; Edward needed to talk to her about his work.  “Sweetheart, my boss called me into the office this afternoon.  He offered me another position but this position is not here in Maine. It’s back in Arkansas” “what your joking right”  “We just moved from there not long ago, why do they want you back there?”  “The manager there is taking sick leave and won’t be able to work again.  They liked my work so they offered it to me” “So what would you like to do?”  I know it would mean moving back; the bank will pay for this and a bonus because of the second move.  I think I should take it; the pay is an increase and a large one as well. I think I would be making a big mistake to turn this down.”  Lucy sat in shock; she knew his job meant moving a lot but back to the same branch!  After a long silence Lucy took hold of Edward’s hand. “I agree with you honey let’s do it.”

Stuart arrived at the restaurant and placed his gear in the kitchen like he always did.  Amanda was in the fridge waiting for him to come in and get some supplies.  Stuart jumped as he turned the corner to take out the milk; Amanda spoke to him asking how his day was. “Amanda, are you all right?  Hiding behind the door like that you frightened me”  “Sorry Stuart I wanted to catch you before you started cooking the menu tonight for the first service.”  Stuart looked at her with a question in his eyes.  “How can I help you Amanda”  “I was wondering if Friday night would you go to the club down the road with me?”  “Are you asking me out on a date Miss Amanda?”  A smile came over his lips at the thought she finally noticed him enough to ask something; anything that had nothing to do with work.  “Why Yes I would love to join you this Friday.”  With a smile on her face as well she went out to start doing her part for the menu.

Agnes waited for the group to arrive for their next session.  They were working on a quilt as a team to place inside Amanda’s restaurant.  Everyone started to arrive including Amanda.  Agnes wondered how she swung this with her job keeping her so busy.  Amanda walked past her gave her a kiss on the check and walked into the dining room.  The atmosphere was full of electricity everyone knew something was going on with Amanda and Lucy.  Lidia wouldn't hold it back any longer she had to ask.  “Who’s going to spill the beans first?”
Amanda looked at Lucy and Lucy looked back at Amanda. “Okay, said Lucy I will go first.  I know we haven’t known each other for as long as the rest of you I feel like you’re a part of my family Edward was offered a manager’s position last week” everyone looked shocked but was happy for her and her family.  “The thing that is the real kicker is its back at the branch were we moved from!” Everyone stopped their work they were surprised.  “How do you feel about this” asked Agnes.  “The children are in shock; Heather is blaming us again for moving her in the first place. Edward  and I feel we should take this position.”  “Then we’re happy for you. We will miss you but this is your life, not ours.”   Then all eyes turned to Amanda waiting for her to share her news.  “What, don’t look at me like that I’m getting there guys; All I wanted to say was that I met someone. Well I knew him already; he works at “G Factor” he is one of the chef’s. His name is Stuart and we had our first date last Friday!”  Lidia looked at her; all she could say was “FINALLY” with that everyone started to laugh.

Lucy had tears welling up in her eyes.  This was going to be the last time she would be with the quilting group. She was surprised the months went by so fast.  She looked around the table and saw everyone was looking at her with tears as well.  Amanda spoke up.  “I have a wonderful idea.  Let’s change the name of this group I think with so many changes happening a change would do us some good; what does everyone think?”  Agnes being the teacher looked at her with shock and wonder in her eyes. “What would you suggest Amanda”
“I was thinking about the quilt everyone made for the foyer of the restaurant; what would you think of The “Q” Factor?”
Agnes looked surprised. “Amanda that is already taken” “I know that name would be most fitting though Aggie” Agnes was quiet for a moment and then asked what everyone thought of this idea?
The silence around the table lasted a few moments before everyone said they felt this was a brilliant idea.  With that everyone packed up said their good-byes to Lucy knowing the “Q” Factor was going to suit them.

Agnes felt tired after such a long day with the group.  They did quilting all-day on a Saturday so they could send something for Lucy and her family.  They had moved back six months ago and were missed by the “Q” Factor.  She thought she must ring Lidia in the morning to come and pick up Tommy’s tankers; they left in a hurry so they could make the movies and left them behind.
As Agnes tucked up warm in bed she felt thankful she had so much after having so little for a longtime.

Lidia was woken early Sunday morning by the phone.  She knew her mom was going to ring; she picked it up half asleep.  Two minutes later Lidia dropped the phone.  Amanda had gone to Aggie's to have lunch with her. Aggie didn't answer the phone so Amanda went to the back door that was unlocked and went in to make sure Aggie was all right.  Amanda found her still in bed; she had fallen asleep and never woke up.

Lidia sat with Tommy in the church in the front row staring at her mother’s coffin.  She felt robbed again; someone had given her back to her and now she was taken away; this time for a lifetime.  This couldn't happen; Lidia forgot she was getting older it wasn't like Aggie had not lived a life.  Cindy and Jack with Jackson and Kathryn sat behind Lidia.  Amanda and Stuart were next to them with tears streaming down Amanda’s face.  Lucy had come back to be there as support for the “Q” Factor group; the people she grew to love in such a short time.  Lidia felt so alone now even though she knew she had Tommy; this wouldn't last Sandy would back someday to take her son back.  Who would Lidia have then?  The “Q” Factor group stood up to carry their mentor to her last resting place.  The coffin had the last quilt that Aggie had ever made tucked inside to keep her soul warm as she rest her fingers and her soul forever.  The rain fell and tears continued for many months for Lidia.  The group meet one last time to have a farewell party for Caleb, Lisa, Nick, and Aggie.

As the sun set deep into the night Lidia closed her eyes seeing each person that had once belonged to the quilters group over the ten years she took part.  She saw Agnes, the one who was her mentor and her mother, Nick the one who lost his love then found her again; then through a twist of fate lost his own life.  Then there was Cindy, who learned the hard way how it felt to lose someone who should have touched her life.  Amanda: the dreamer of owning her own place found love and her own place to cook food.  Lisa, the only one who cared about her health found out she had breast cancer that took her life soon after.  Lucy she came to our group six months after Lisa died.  She had a smile that lit up the room and made us all. Lucy came in and left so fast it was a shame she had to move so soon after arriving; she did come back for Aggie s funeral her support will never be forgotten.  Then there was Tommy he touched my life more than I could have ever imagined.  Sandy got better and came back for her son.  After six months she saw how he missed me his second mom.  She brought him back knowing it was easier for everyone.  She still comes and visits him every month.  The loss of Agnes took a toll on all of us.  We never met for quilting again the quilt we made as a family still hangs in the restaurant today forever loved.
The end



Saturday, February 15, 2014

 The ‘Q’ Factor 


Chapter 6  

Sandy Gave birth to a healthy baby boy just like she saw in her dream.  She named him Tommy Nicholas Camp.  Sandy stayed where she needed to be; she still didn't believe it to be totally true that Nick was gone; she tried to believe it but every night in her dreams Nick came to her kissing her and holding her as he always did.
The group went to see little Tommy when he was in the hospital waiting to be placed in foster care.   They felt it was a shame he would never know his father but what made it worse was that his mother may never know he was real, alive and needing him .  They took many photos of Tommy so they could always see this boy who looked so much like his father.  They hoped one day Sandy would come home and have her son and see the photos of when he was a baby.
Lidia was feeling excited again knowing the group was meeting that night.  Aggie asked her if she could come an hour before everyone else so they could have that talk she promised a longtime ago.  She wondered what it was all about.  All she wanted to know was why she always called her “sweetie” It was surely not a big deal.
Agnes opened the door for Lidia and had her sit on the couch next to her.  Lidia noticed there were photos spread out on the table before her. She wondered how this could have anything to do with her.  “Lidia, you asked me that night while looking at photos why I called you ‘sweetie’ all the time. I think it’s time I told you the story behind that.”  Lidia looked at Agnes in shock she looked so serious AND she called her by her real name! “I’m listening”
“First let me ask you something; do you remember your childhood?”  “Aggie what does my childhood got to do with this? You’re not making sense”  “just answer the question Lidia, do you remember your childhood?”  Lidia sat for a few moments.  She always expected her past would come back to her one day but at this point she had no idea what had ever happened when she was young.
“I’m sorry Aggie, I don’t remember anything; I’d like to but I have never been able too.  So what does this have to with you Aggie?”
“When you were a baby, I couldn't take care of you.  Your father wouldn't help and you were sick all the time.  So “sweetie I handed you over for adoption so a happy childless couple could take care of you.” While she spoke she bent over to the table and picked up two baby photos.  The baby in one photo had a smile held in time on paper.  “Is this baby me Agnes? Are you saying that you’re my mother?”  Because if you are then why would you send me away?”
“I had no choice sweetie; your father was a lot older than me I was only 16 when I had you. He was always out getting drunk all the time and then I found out he was with other women.  He left for some young bimbo in the end.  I couldn't handle trying to take care of a baby; your my Sweetie, I called you that the whole time I had you in my life.  When I heard you were coming to the group I wasn't sure I could handle having you so close without you knowing who I really was.  Once I met you again I couldn't tell you the truth, I was concerned you would walk away and never come back.  We have lost a lot of people who mean a lot to us so I felt that you deserved to know the truth”. Lidia’s head was spinning why is she was telling me this now? She thought.  “I don’t care how much we’ve been through she yelled at Agnes you shoulder NEVER given me up look how poor little Tommy has no mother or father and he may never know his mother!  Sandy can’t think for herself let alone a child but you! You can and you should have!  I needed you; if I were as sick as you say then I needed my mother to take care of me.  You’re so weak to give up! I can’t believe you gave up.  You don’t give up on your quilts!”  “Sweetie that’s different” “STOP calling me that I HATE it” Lidia had had enough; “I’m leaving I can’t sit here and listen to anymore or act like things are okay because they’re not!”  Lidia slammed the door behind her feeling the tears build up and well out over her face.  All she could think about was the loss she had for her entire life.



Friday, February 14, 2014

The ‘Q’ Factor 

Chapter 5

Lucy liked the idea the bank paid for the movers to come in and do all of all the packing.  She was ready for a change now that everyone got used to the idea.  The sooner they moved and settled the better.  She studied all about Maine on the internet so she knew the children would have decent schools to attend.  This helped her feel more relaxed about moving them from their environment.  They had two days left before they had to travel. Lucy made sure she let all her friends in her patchwork club know where to contact her just in case they were ever in the neighborhood.

Once the quilt was hanging everyone felt it was time to do what they loved most “patchwork” The group kept their night the same and started to meet.  Agnes loved patchwork too much to stop the teaching she did so well.

“Everyone, listen up, “I need to tell everyone something” Agnes stood up to get everyone’s attention.  “I had a phone call last night from Lucy Bancroft.  Her family is new to the area.  She saw the ad I had in the paper about our quilting group.  She would like to join us.  She will be here next week.  How does that sound?” Everyone liked having new members; the last time was Lidia several years ago.  “Tell us a bit about her”
“She’s married with three children; she has been quilting for ten years.  Her husband works for the bank.  This is why they’re moving they needed him in a new branch” “Yes that’s right the bank is next door to MY restaurant” she yelled a bit too loud for everyone to hear.  Everyone stared at her not knowing what she was talking about.  “So much was going on at the time with Caleb and Lisa; then Nick got married so I just figured I would wait for the right moment to tell everyone” Mr. “Turner liked my offer on “Petite”!”
“I take over in three weeks!  How exciting is that huh!”  The next thing Amanda knew she was covered in hugs and kisses.  “This is so exciting Amanda; we will have to celebrate next week when Lucy is here; make it a real party night.

A new week has begun; Lidia was starting to feel excited again about the group meeting tomorrow night.  A new member and a party to celebrate Amanda buy “Petite”.  We have a lot to celebrate when I think about it thought Lidia.  We have Sandy who comes with Nick because she says we make her feel at home when we are all together.  Then there is Cindy and Jack (Jack works long hours at the hospital) but Cindy comes with young Kathryn, who plays with the material while we are sewing and talking (I’m sure she is a budding quilter in the making)!  Amanda may not be at the group much now that she has her own restaurant; she has promised to pop in every so often to say hello. Then there is Agnes; she misses Lisa as all of us do but she does get up every day and smile while she thinks of all the fun times she had with her.

Tuesday night and Lucy is feeling a bit nervous and excited about meeting the new quilting group she is hoping to be a part of.  The children have settled in school; Heather complained for about a week.  That was until she met this dreamy boy (she says) and now she can’t get to school fast enough!  She reminded Lucy a lot of herself at that age.  Justin found the boys at the new school a mystery.  He had come home from school the other day telling Lucy how they like taking lots of toilet paper and placing it all over people’s yards.  Lucy laughed saying this happened in her day as well and thought it had died a longtime ago!  Little Samantha or Sam we sometimes call her.  Likes having new girls to play with everyday; she likes her new room and talks about how she will place many of her art works up soon.  Ed has settled at work as well; he says the staffs there seems pleasant and friendly to work with.  It seems everyone had something but I thought Lucy.  She cleared the breakfast dishes so she could get everything sorted for the group tonight.  She hoped that everyone there would be friendly and easy to talk too.  She knew that they would be shy of her at first; but Lucy hoped to change all that as quickly as possible.
Agnes rushed all over the house trying to be sure she had enough seats and everything was set for tonight.  She had no idea why she was nervous but made herself push through this and kept working.  As far as she knew everyone would be there tonight so it should be a good night had by all.  Agnes decided the group would only party for some of the night.  She wanted Lucy to have some time to sit and share something about her and her family.  Plus she wanted her to do some sewing so she would fit in quicker.  Only time would tell how well Lucy fitted in with everyone.  The group were easy people to talk too so Agnes didn't see any major problems ahead.  The first person was at the door; Agnes rushed to see who this could be.  “Hey Aggie”, Lidia said knowing she wanted her to be Lucy instead; Lidia hugged her and told her not to worry everything would be fine.  “I thought I would arrive early to see if I could do something to help you out.”  “Oh, thank you sweetie” Lidia still didn't know if she liked being called “sweetie” she must ask Agnes why she calls her this and no-one else in the group.  The dining room looked all set and ready for everyone tonight, the doorbell rung as Agnes was about to place more food on the table.  “Good evening Aggie how are you?” Cindy walked in without Kathryn.  “Cindy where is Kathryn? I was looking forward to some cuddles with her”  “Sorry Aggie she has a cold so Jack is taking care of her tonight; maybe she will be better for next week”.  “Fair enough, now go get settled with a cup of coffee while I make sure Lidia isn’t lost in the other room”.
Agnes had asked Lidia to look through some photos that had been taken over the last few years of the group. She felt that by having these to look through it might be a way of bringing back some fond memories for everyone.  She felt that this might help break the ice for Lucy as well.  Lidia was busy going through them as Agnes walked in.  “How’s it all going Sweetie?”  “Agnes may I ask you something?” Lidia lifted her eyes from a photo of her and Cindy laughing while they were hand sewing a quilt.  “Yes sweetie you may ask me anything you like” Agnes sat down beside Lidia on the bed as Lidia began.  “I have always wondered why is it you call me sweetie; and why nobody else in the group?”  Agnes Laughed from deep inside her.  “Lidia, I've been waiting for you to ask this for so long now.  I want you to listen to the story but I fear we will have to wait until tomorrow.  We have guests coming remember” The sigh was deep and heavy; Lidia didn’t want to wait another day.  But she knew she couldn't push it with Aggie not tonight.  Soon after Nick and Sandy arrived ready for a party and some sewing gossip!  It was 7:30 pm and no sign of Lucy.  Everyone decided they would start and have her join in when she arrived; she might be shy and nervous about meeting them.  Amanda arrived late and stayed for an hour; then she had to do more prep for tomorrow menu.

Lucy stood outside feeling the excitement as she rang the doorbell.  “Good –evening you must be Lucy; my name is Agnes; please come inside and meet the group”.  “Thanks you Agnes I’m glad we have finally met” Lucy stepped in and was lead to the lounge were everyone was laughing and having drinks. “Have I come on a bad night?” Lucy looked concerned.  “No, we’re having a celebration.  Amanda over at the table has bought a restaurant in town.  It’s called “Petite”  “I’ve seen it my husband works in the bank next door” “That’s amazing it’s next door to the restaurant”  Amanda said with excitement “now we have another reason to celebrate!”
Nick and Sandy stood up as Agnes told Lucy who they were.  Then Lidia placed her hand out “Welcome to the group”.  Standing up Cindy looked at Lucy and smiled “We’re all so happy you have joined us.  “Lucy’ come and have something to drink and some nibbles while you tell us more about yourself” Cindy felt her ear twitch wanting to take it all in but she was no longer into making other people’s business her business.  She stopped talking only because she wanted to get to know Lucy.  Once she had something to drink and eat; Lucy sat down next to Agnes and started to share more about who she was.
“I’m thirty-four years old; I've been married to my husband Ed for fourteen years.  We have three beautiful children; Heather is thirteen, Justin is eight and little Samantha is six years old.  I have been quilting now for ten years; I have had some of my quilts put into show and have managed to place second a few times so far.” Sipping on her coffee, she hoped this was enough for now. She was ready to get into her patchwork she had started before the move into town.
After everyone had a few drinks they sat down ready to do what they had missed doing “patchwork” was a fun night for everyone.  Lidia sat next to Lucy and watched her work; she seemed to work with such speed and smiled the whole time she worked, even when she had to un-pick her work! Who smiles when they have to un-pick she thought!
The next six months flew by quickly as everyone would arrive with work in hand ready to sew away.  There was a show coming up and everyone wanted to have something in the show to represent who they were a group.  Agnes started them on a block each to work on; something that meant a lot to them and would show anyone who looked at the quilt could see something from each person within the quilt.  Lidia found she was excited doing this project; it meant a lot to her to make something special about the group.  After thinking long and hard she knew what she would do.  Sandy being new to making quilts found the block a challenge.  She was grateful her husband knew so much about quilting or she would have to ask Agnes or Amanda what to do.  At night when they were on their bed they would sit together working on their projects.  If Sandy ever felt stuck she only had to ask the man she loved so much.  Everything in life was going so well for them; she’s so thankful for Agnes and the rest of the group who helped Nick become the man she had always wanted him to be.  Sandy found that men in general always thought about themselves but when she met him this first time five years ago he acted like the perfect gentleman.  As the months progressed they seemed to have fallen in love. Soon after they married Nick changed; he would do things he wanted when he wanted no matter what she would be doing.  Quite often she would come home to find he was out and would stay out.  She found she was alone more than she had Nick at home.  She took up painting as something that would help keep her calm and at peace with how her life seemed to turn out.
The day he turned to her and told her he was leaving didn't surprise her; he hurt her that he could walk away as he was doing but if this was best then so be it.  Not long after she had heard through his parents that he had been dared to join a craft group by his co-workers.  She was surprised to hear how quickly he had changed. Now she has him again; this time he is a different person.  More caring and a lot more sensitive to her needs; He would bring her flowers while she slept in the morning; with breakfast as well.   Sandy smiled as she thought of her husband and couldn't wait to see him after work.  She had planned a special diner for the love of her life.

Nick’s day had been very busy with a lot of building work needing to be completed within three months.  The tension at work seemed to increase each day everyone turned up for work.  He was hoping that things would settle down.  He hated coming home with tension from work showing on his face.  Tonight he decided he would go for a walk down by the beach before he went home.  He knew this would help clear any sign of tension in his head.  As soon as the clock showed five pm; He put everything away and started to head toward the beach.  It was good it was only a five-minute walk from the site; he saw this as a chance to put in more walking time anyway.
The breeze was cool but refreshing; the sea was busy splashing the waves on the shoreline.  There were birds flying overhead probably looking for food.  The sun was starting to set; Nick walked along the shoreline with the sand going between his now exposed toes he could feel the tension draining from his body.  Nick was absorbed in his on world he didn't hear someone come from behind him.  The last thought he had was of his wife waiting for him at home.

Sandy had everything ready for Nick waiting on the table; she fixed a special meal for him tonight hoping to have a talk about where their lives were going to head in the future.  But he was late. “Where are you Nick” she thought with concern as well.  Two hours had gone by and still Nick wasn't at home.  Sandy picked up the phone and rung Agnes to see if maybe he had shown up there with his patchwork (he was having trouble with getting something right on his block).  “No Sandy I haven’t seen Nick since out meeting last week; let me call everyone to see if they heard from him” Sandy hung up the phone more worried now than ever.  This wasn't like him to not be home by now or at least call her if he was going to be late.  She decided she couldn't wait alone; she grabbed the keys on the side table and rushed out the door.  As she opened the door Agnes and the group were standing at the door.  After many hugs and kisses she sat down and started to weep knowing in her heart that something terrible had happened to him.  Thirty minutes later there was a knock at her door.  Agnes offered to answer for her but she refused to let her.  “Mrs. Camp, I’m Officer Williams from the police station” Sandy’s legs started to shake.  She wasn't sure she wanted to hear anymore.  “May I come inside Mrs. Camp”? She motioned for him to step in and take a seat on the couch.  He saw she had a few people there and asked if they could go into the kitchen to talk.  She looked at Agnes pleading in her eyes for her to come with her.  Agnes nodded and went with the officer.  “Mrs. Camp when was the last time you saw your husband Nick?”
“This morning before work, he left early because they have a job that needs to be completed.  He wanted to have as much time as he could to get the work done, why officer do you know where he is?  Tell me I want to know I need to know” Where is Nick”?
Sandy tensed her body for the words she knew in her heart he was about to speak.  “Mrs. Camp, I’m truly sorry to have to tell you this.  We believe your husband’s body was found down by the beach” As she heard the words “his body” she fell to the floor.  Her body began to shake uncontrollably as she felt the tears flowing down her face.  Agnes too was crying as she tried to hold Sandy while she wept for the man she loved so much.  “Mrs. Camp I know this is hard for you; I wish I didn't have to say this but we need someone who knows Nick to come to the morgue to identify his body”.  Hearing this word made her cry even more she thought she would lose control.
Out in the lounge Lidia was sitting on the couch talking to Amanda whispering so they wouldn't distract from what was going on the kitchen.  But when she heard Sandy scream Lidia along with Cindy and Amanda ran into the kitchen (Lucy felt to stay in the lounge and wait).  They could see Sandy was weeping beyond control; Agnes was trying to comfort her while the officers stood there not knowing what to say next.  “Sandy, what’s going on Lidia asked as her voice started to shake.  Sandy heard Lidia but had no voice to speak to her.  All she could do was weep.  Agnes looked at Lidia with the tears running down her face. Whispering so she wouldn't upset Sandy anymore than she already was. “They found Nick’s body down by the beach.”   Lidia couldn't believe what she was hearing  “NO, not Nick”  She ran out of the kitchen and out of the house at this point she wanted nothing more to do with this group.  She couldn't handle losing her friends like this.  How could this be she screamed to anyone who might be nearby.  She didn't care who heard her she was angry that another important life had been taken from her and more importantly from Sandy.  
Back inside the kitchen Sandy was sitting at the table, Agnes was holding her while Amanda made a herbal tea for everyone.  Lucy knew he was gone but didn't know him well.  She stayed in the lounge and cleaned the room for her hoping that this would help in some strange way.
“Mrs. Camp, I’m sorry but I need I need you to come with me to the morgue; we need you to tell us if this is your husband or not”.  She looked at Agnes who held her tight and reassured Sandy that the sooner she went the sooner she could get some rest.  There would be some plans made over the next few days.  At the hospital with Agnes holding her tight so she wouldn't collapse again; Officer Williams took her to the bottom floor where the morgue was.  The doors looked heavy, Sandy wasn't sure if she could step inside to see her precious Nick under some sheet and no one told her if he was hurt.  She couldn't handle seeing him if he was hurt really bad.  “Mrs. Camp he’s ready for you now when you’re ready” she thought who is ever ready to do something like this? Her feet dragged on the floor as she struggled to walk. Agnes was her wall holding her so she wouldn't fall.  The room was cold and lifeless; Sandy could feel why it was the “morgue”.  As she approached the table a doctor who was standing on the other side lifted back the sheet that covered his lifeless body.  Sandy looked at his lips the lips she loved being kissed by and that was all she could remember.

Upstairs in another ward Agnes was talking to Officer Williams.  “Thank you Officer, I know this part of your job isn't easy”.  Sandy will need all the support she can get right now. We won’t let her go through this alone” “When Mrs. Camp feels better give me a call so I can talk to her” he passed a card that had his details to Agnes.  She thanked him again and then went into Sandy’s hospital room to sit with her until she woke.

Lidia sat at home with Amanda, Cindy and Lucy wondering what to do now.  They were in shock; no one said anything as they sat crying.  The group had once again changed; would the group ever meet again after this? Lidia couldn't help but wonder.  To lose two special people and a precious baby as well and all within a year was a lot for anyone to handle.  Could the group get through this?  The hours went by with everyone sitting and crying letting out their anger at time with yelling and questions to God.  “Again he took another life how could he do this again to us” Lidia spoke louder than she realized out loud. 

In Sandy’s hospital room Agnes sat watching over Sandy not knowing how long she would be unconscious for.  The doctor said that it could take hours for someone who is in shock to wake up.  She wanted to be there when she woke in case she needed someone beside her.  Sandy was in awe of how her new home looked as she started at the big wide kitchen.  She touched the oven and the wooden bench.  She could see she would cook many meals for her Nick and her baby.  She started to cook she wanted the diner cooked and waiting for Nick.  Tommy was outside playing since he had come home from school he had taken his bag up to his room and then found his tanker in the sandpit.  He had been there an hour already making those sounds a young boy does when the imagination runs wild.
Half an hour past dinnertime and Nick wasn't home.  She dished Tommy’s meal out for him so he wouldn't go hungry.  Then waited patiently at the table; She heard the door bell ring.  Running to the door she opened it as she was saying “Nick, did you leave your keys somewhere” the door swung open with Nick pale standing there.  Sandy screamed as she sat up sweat pouring from her forehead she had no idea where she was.  Agnes shushed her and told her to lie down.  “Nick Where is Nick he didn't come home for dinner?  We were waiting for him, Where is he Agnes?”  “Oh Sandy don’t you remember what happened?”  No Agnes I was at the table with Tommy”, “who’s Tommy Sandy?”  “Our son, Nick and I have a son. He is about seven; we were at the table waiting for nick to come home when I heard the door bell.  I ran to the door teasing Nick he shouldn't have left his keys at work but Agnes when I opened the door Nick stood there pale and lifeless what does this mean?”  “Sandy You don’t have a son and Nick wasn't at the door sweetheart; Nick was found at the beach don’t you remember going to the morgue?  You fainted and now you’re resting in the hospital”  “Agnes please tell me this isn't true I can’t lose Nick a second time and this time I will never see him again!  I need him Agnes I need him to help me with our child he has to be alive” Agnes didn't know what to say; she was afraid Sandy was taking her dream to far and believed she had a child.  “Sandy darling listen to me Nick isn't coming back, you saw him downstairs. You are imagining things you don’t have a son.  Sandy that was only a dream”  
 “No Agnes, you don’t understand we do have a son, I’m pregnant with our baby; Nick and I are going to have a baby”
Then she started crying again “well we were going to have a baby.  I don’t want to raise this child on my own not without Nick”

The next few days the group took over the details for Sandy while she rested no one wanted her to have to deal with anything else in her condition.  The doctor said that for now the baby was fine but she had to rest as much as possible.  Nick’s parents arrived and made all the funeral arrangements.  Flowers arrived form Nick’s work plus donations to help Sandy as she goes through her loss.  Once again the group had to sit in the same church to see off another precious member.  As the coffin sat up-front and Sandy weeping Agnes couldn't say for sure whether she would teach patchwork again.  Nick should not have gone when he did; this was without a doubt not fair in life.  Nick had gone to the beach to relax before he went home to be with his wife and the baby he had yet to find out about.  While he was there a stranger came up to him from behind and stabbed him so they could rob him of everything he had.  This included his life; why did the innocent have to pay with such a heavy price for those who are greedy in life?
As the months went by the police searched for Nick’s killer.  Sandy struggled with the thought of raising a child on her own.  She didn't sleep well; and didn't take care of herself or the baby that was growing inside her. Lidia was concerned for her mental health; she didn't feel Sandy was thinking clearly anymore. Whenever Lidia would visit her at home she would hear Sandy talking to Nick as if he was sitting next her. 
“Agnes, I’m worried about Sandy, she’s always talking to Nick like he is still alive, what should we do?” Agnes’s heart ached for her special friends especially for sweetie. “I don’t know Sweetie; maybe we should take her to see someone and see what they say” “Do you think she will let us take her Aggie?”
“I sure hope so sweetie”

Lidia, Sandy and Agnes sat in the doctor’s office waiting to see what would be the safest solution for Sandy she had clearly not handled Nick’s death well and to have the killer still out there made Sandy worse.  After an hour in with the doctor he felt Sandy should go to a facility that could take care of her until she became more stable.  She had a baby due in a month so everyone was concerned she wouldn't be able to take care of him when he was born.  Sandy didn't even understand what happened. In her new world Nick and Tommy and Sandy were happy.
A happy ever after family

The group had a meeting to decide what to do from now on.  They felt that maybe the group should wait awhile before they started up again.  But Lucy the newest member in the group felt the only way to hold onto Nick or Lisa’s memory they should continue making beautiful quilts.  Everyone hesitated yet could see where Lucy was coming from and agreed to wait until after Sandy had her baby then they would meet again.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The ‘Q’ Factor 

Chapter 4

Two months after the funeral Nick and Sandy had a quiet ceremony at their home wanting to keep it simple for everyone who was still feeling emotional for Cindy and Jack.  The day was as special as it was needed for the two who found each other for the first time. Even in their marriage before they didn't know each other well.  Now they’re happily in love; a love deeper than they ever thought possible.  Everyone from the quilting group made the wedding even though Cindy was still mourning her son.  She wanted to be there for Nick and Sandy.  Cindy painted on the happy smile she promised Jack she would keep on for the day.  The happy couple left for a special honeymoon in Florida as Mr. And Mrs Ward; Holding hands as they flew off into the sunset.

Lisa found it hard to smile with everything that had happened over the last ten months.  Everyone in the group struggled with how life had gone for everyone.  Ben had moved into her place as they grew closer and more in love like she never knew love before. Happiness had become a part of her life now.  Work was hard but she loved knowing her Ben was nearby.  A few months after the wedding Lisa woke one morning feeling tired.  She had slept well but her body was telling her she should sleep more.  She rose out of bed went downstairs to make a herbal tea to see if this would help her body come alive again.  Ben stirred when she moved but she whispered for him to sleep in some more.
After her tea, Lisa jumped into the shower to feel more refreshed.  She knew this would help her wake up more and then she would make breakfast for Ben.  The shower was good and hot as Lisa washed her arms, but she noticed her Breast was sore.  I must have slept on it funny, she thought.  As she moved from her right breast to her left the pain brought tears to her eyes.  Lisa decided she would do a breast examine while in the shower and alone (while she was in school they taught the young women how to check for any lumps) it was something Lisa never forgot.  As her right-hand moved over her left breast as she was shown how too she could feel a lump near her armpit.  Panic set in quickly making her heart race.  What was this? A cysts or worse; no it couldn't be worse she always ate healthy and exercised daily.  There was no way this could be.  Lisa quietly got dressed after her shower and went downstairs to make an appointment to see a doctor.  She didn't want to leave this for any length of time.  She had too much to live for now that she had Ben.  She decided not to tell anyone within the group for now.  Everyone had been through enough as it was.  She would wait until she knew more before saying anything.

Moving house was something Lucy knew all too well.  Her husband Edward (Ed) worked within the bank so if they had a new position for him then he had to take it or he would never be offered any further promotions in the future.
Lucy and Ed sat down at their dining room table to tell the children of what would be happening soon.  Heather the oldest at thirteen would find it all the hardest.  She was making friends in her school; but she would adjust well in time.  Justin who is eight will fight the idea all of about a minute then move back to his trucks on the floor.  Little Samantha who is six won’t even know what it all meant.  The news was pretty much taken how Lucy felt it would.   Heather cried and told her parents that life isn't fair as she stormed off into her room.  Everyone in the Bancroft family would soon settle once the shift had taken place.

Three weeks after Lisa found a lump in her breast she had a phone call from her doctor.  He found that it was malignant; he found while scanning her breasts she had many lumps within her chest.  “What no Doctor you don’t know what you’re talking about, are you telling me I have cancer?”  “Miss Adams I would like you to come and see me this afternoon so I can talk to you in private.  I think you need to see the x-rays as well”.  By three o’clock that afternoon Lisa was sitting in his office looking at her left breast like it was a photograph to admire.  She couldn't however admire the cancer that was throughout her breast and her ribs.  When the doctor had finished explaining to her what this all meant; Lisa walked out of his office numb.  Life she thought is always too short to take it for granted.

Everyone was finally going to have a night of quilting.  The last few months had taken up so much time that no-one felt it was right to have their group time.  Agnes and Lidia prepared fresh muffins for everyone to enjoy; even Lisa would like them with all the bran in them.  The door bell rung,” I’ll get that “Aggie, you keep baking”  “Thanks sweetie”, Agnes yelled out to her as she placed another tray in the oven.  Lidia couldn't wait to see everyone again; Nick and Sandy had a wonderful time in Florida.  He was bringing all the photos to show everyone.  Cindy had slowly gotten used to being a mother to her daughter Kathryn who she was bringing with her tonight.  Amanda said she would be a little late but had some news to share so she said she would make it one-way or the other.  Lisa was the only one who didn't say for sure whether she would make it.  She said something about being tired and wanting to spend time with Ben.  Lidia wondered why she hadn't called her in the last few weeks.  She put it down too young lovers being in love.  As the door opened Cindy passed Kathryn Rose to her saying “here, can you hold her a minute I need to rush to the ladies room.”  Five minutes later Cindy came back in thanking Lidia for holding Kathryn.  “Thanks for your help Lidia, Jack has had a stomach bug and spends most of the day in the bathroom (laughing as she explained) who wants to use the bathroom after one of his sessions... Not me!”  That’s okay Cindy I loved holding her boy hasn't she grown. Cindy frowned for a second hearing what Lidia said.  She had to push it all aside and move on.  “Yeah she is six months old now.  She is trying to crawl and place every little piece of fluff on the floor into her MOUTH!  The both of them laughed out loud while Cindy shook her finger at her daughter to show she wasn't happy with this idea.  The door went again with Nick opening it and stepping inside. “Hey everyone how are you I missed everyone” After a few hugs from everyone including Agnes who had come into see little Kathryn everyone sat down waiting to see all the beautiful photos Nick had brought.  They were about to start when Amanda rung the bell and came in as well.  “Come and sit here beside me” Cindy told Amanda.  I want to hear you exciting news after these photos have done their rounds.  Sitting quickly down beside Cindy Amanda started to look at the photos if Nick and Sandy laughing and holding hands though out every picture all everyone saw were two people in love.  “I made some homemade muffins for our first quilting group in a few months who would like one?”  Everyone answered with a “yes” as they poured over more photos.  Amanda looked up from a photo laughing as she saw Sandy had dug out the sand and covered Nick with it.  “Has anyone heard form Lisa the last couple of weeks?  She hasn't been around at all lately” Agnes walked into the lounge with a tray full of muffins and coffee for everyone.  She had a banana for Kathryn to enjoy as well.  “No, I was wondering if one of us should go and see her tomorrow just to be sure she is okay.  Maybe Ben and she broke up and she doesn't want us to make a fuss about it” Looking up from the photo Amanda gave her: “I will go tomorrow after work” Lidia offered knowing that Lisa was closer to her than anyone else so that would work out easy for her.  By the end of the night everyone had made some much needed progress on their projects.  By ten o’clock Cindy tucked Kathryn who was fast asleep under her arm and went home.  Not long after everyone was out the door so Agnes could sleep as well.  No-one ever got the chance to hear Amanda’s good news.  She could see the night was for Nick and Sandy.  It was special to have everyone together again; everyone but Lisa and Lidia said she would see her tomorrow so next we would be together again.

Lidia tried to ring Lisa at work but they had said she was on vacation.  This was odd because Lisa never mentioned she was going away.  Lidia decided she would go to her apartment to see if she was there.
Lidia knocked several times before Lisa answered the door.  “Oh what are you doing here?  I can’t talk right now I’m tired and need sleep Lidia can you please come back another time”  Lidia was shocked to see Lisa she looked terrible.  “Lisa what’s going on, I went to your work and they said you were on vacation Why are you acting like you’re on vacation when your clearly not!” “Lidia, I don’t feel up to talking right now, can we talk another time”  “No, I’m coming in and you can’t stop me. You have some explaining to do”
Sitting in Lisa’s lounge Lidia could see she had not opened the curtains in days.
There were junk food wrappers all over the floor; and if Lidia’s nose didn't deceive her she was sure she smelled pizza!  “Lisa sit down NOW and tell me what is going on”
“Lidia I don’t know if I can talk about it.  Everyone has been through so much already this year”.  The alarm bells started to go off in Lidia’s head.  “Well you might as well start talking because I’m here until you tell me everything!”
Ten minutes into listening to everything Lisa had to say, Lidia had to excuse herself, her stomach couldn't handle the thought of losing Lisa.  Inside the bathroom with the door shut Lidia brought up her diner and then she cried for five minutes.  She cleaned up and then joined Lisa back on the couch.   “I’m sorry Lisa for doing that; I was surprised and found it hard knowing you’re so sick.  Why didn't you tell us?”  “You know everyone has been through so much, I didn't want to add to this”  “Lisa, come on we are family remember?  We go through everything together.  What did the doctors say?”  “They say to get my life in order.  They say I have not got long; that the cancer is in my ribs and my breasts.  They have nothing they can do for me now”.

Two weeks later Lisa gave up fighting for her life.  Ben was at a loss; he missed his love so much.  He planned out her funeral because her family had all moved away or was no longer around.  It was hard for everyone within the group to deal with another loss so soon after Caleb.  The funeral was held in the same church but this time it was raining and gloomy.  Everyone sat in silence asking God why he took another person who should still be alive. Many tears fell from everyone daylong.  Ben struggled all the way through.  He loved Lisa to the point he was going to ask her to marry him.  But two weeks earlier she told him they were no longer suited for each other and told him to never ring her again.  Then Lidia called him up and told him what was going on.  He cried for two days.  Ben tried to see her but she wouldn't open the door for him.   He will always question why she locked him out of her life when she needed him most.  The group had changed; Agnes didn't know if she could continue having everyone at her place. But that much change may hurt everyone; during a meeting everyone agreed to keep going because they felt Lisa would want them to create more amazing quilts.  Six months after Lisa died the group had made a quilt in honor of Lisa.  It hung in Ben's home so he could always think of her.  The quilt was full of all the healthy food she loved to eat and a photo of her designed into the quilt.  The quilt read “In Loving Memory of Lisa Adams, we will Never Forget Her”



Monday, February 10, 2014

 The ‘Q’ Factor 

Chapter 3

A year had passed since Nick sat in the hospital with Sandy.  She recovered from her injuries and he courted her for eight months then asked her to marry him again.  The love they felt for each other was stronger than ever before.  No-one could fault that.  Lisa enjoyed her time with Ben, spending all their free time together.  The quilting group were happy she had met “mister right” Every Tuesday she would come to the group with something new he had done for her.  The smile that seemed glued to her face was always there.  She made Quilts that were bright and happy looking with wonderful bright yellows and deep reds.
Two weeks after Sandy’s accident the group were sitting and laughing enjoying each other company.  “Hey everyone”, Cindy wanted everyone’s attention.  “I have something to tell you but wanted to be sure Sandy was okay first.  Jack and I found out we’re going to have our FIRST baby!”  The screaming and jumping that came from everyone including Nick filled the room and beyond.  Everyone was grabbing Cindy and hugging her she could hardly breathe. But Cindy didn't mind, if felt good to know so many people cared about her.  No-one could do any more patchwork that night.  The laughter filled the air the happiness was shining, nothing could be any better than seeing everyone so happy.  Agnes couldn't help think this as she watched everyone talking.
 Cindy was glowing, Nick couldn't stop smiling, the same for Lisa.  Amanda and Lidia would have been the only two not as happy.

Waiting in the foyer of the restaurant that Amanda was going to own one day, she sat patiently waiting for the present owner. Amanda had a meeting with him to see if he would think about selling her the restaurant.  She had heard he was hard to talk too but she wouldn't know unless she tried.  The restaurant “Petite”  was known for its fine dining but Amanda wanted to change that. “Fine dining” is special but she wanted to have a jazz band playing and have steak and chicken on the menu instead all of the fancy items you can see in many  restaurants these days.  She heard Mr Turner coming out of the office; she rose to greet him with her handout as a friendly gesture.  “Hello Mr. Turner thanks for taking the time to meet me today.”  “Good afternoon Miss Wild come sit in my office”
The room was big to her, she could see herself sitting behind the desk ringing clients to place orders for more food and then getting into the kitchen and cook for all her guests.
“Mr Turner, as you may know I have been looking for the right place for me to own and run.  I like the look and feel of this restaurant.  I am hoping that today I will have an offer you couldn't refuse”...

Cindy was starting to look like she was carrying an elephant but was only four months pregnant.  She never imagined pregnancy would be so tiring early on.  They had an appointment to meet with the doctor today and have a scan to see how the baby was doing.  She was nervous hoping the baby would have five toes and five fingers and everything else a baby should have.  How have other women managed being pregnant she wondered!
Sitting in the waiting room holding hands Cindy found it hard to keep her mind focused on anything else other than the baby.  Jack was reading some car magazine when their time came to see the doctor.  “Good afternoon Mr. And Mrs. Jacobs how are we today?” “To be honest Dr. Hope we’re a bit nervous we have not seen a baby like this before; we don’t know what to expect.” “It’s normal to feel like this Mrs. Jacobs; we always scan to see how the baby is. This helps us know how the baby is doing; how have you been feeling?” “Well, I have been sick a lot lately. I was told this would settle down after the third month” Nodding his head he explained how every pregnancy is different and that it was a good sign of a healthy pregnancy.
“I’ll need you on the table so we can have a good look at the baby.   Mrs Jacobs place this robe on and wait for me here” Lying on the bed with a funny robe on Cindy wanted this over; she wanted to know for sure their baby was healthy.  Dr. Hope turned on the machine and placed a gel all over her stomach.  Jack was standing at the head of the bed holding her hands as the doctor started to scan for their baby.  He was quiet for a long-time Cindy thought.  “Dr. Hope is everything okay? What can you see? How is our baby?”
“Mrs. Jacobs you need to be patient with me there is a lot to look at before I say too much Give me another few minutes.” This felt like a lifetime to Cindy.  The doctor finally started to explain what he was seeing.  “Here I need the both of you to look at the screen now” you can see the head (as he was pointing to the screen) we could see a round circular head as he said on the screen. Jack and I looked at each other, the tears were flowing; our baby IS real.  The doctor continued.  “Here is your baby’s heartbeat which is a strong heartbeat.  There are five fingers and five toes.  What I want you to look at here can you see this arm here?” “Cindy focused on the arm he said was there but it didn't seem right how could the arm be where was?  “What’s wrong with our baby Doctor how can the baby have an arm by it’s leg?”    He laughed calmly said “Mr and Mrs Jacobs your baby is fine. The arm you’re looking at is the arm of your second baby Your having twins” Cindy shook her head and said “no way  I don’t believe you are you for real?” “Mrs Jacobs I have been a doctor a long-time and have seen many twin pregnancies.  This explains your size and the reason you are still sick.  Congratulations” Jack had to sit down; he never imagined he would be a father to a set of twins.  Double of EVERYTHING!  How could he do it! How would he cope?  Cindy sat up on the bed and starred at the screen that showed the life of two of their babies.  How did they manage this?  How would she be as a mother of twin babies?

While sitting at the table we were making our quilts while Lidia and Agnes had a cup of coffee.  “Lidia, how are you feeling these days? You seem in another world sometimes” A deep sigh comes out of Lidia’s lips.  “I’m sorry Aggie I do have somethings on my mind”  “Would you like to talk about it Sweetie?”  Lidia’s heart ached at thinking about the lost years with her mother. “Aggie, promise me this won’t get out at our group session” “Sweetie, what you and I talk about will always stay with us, it’s nobody else’s business but our own”
“When I was thirteen my mother was killed in a car accident” “Oh, that is sad sweetie, what happened?”  “She was coming home and was hit by a tanker, she died instantly!  It was hard Aggie losing mom that way but there is something else about that day something I have never told anybody” She took a deep breath and continued. “Mom had been drinking her and dad had a huge fight about something dad had done.  She had left angry had a few drinks at a bar then she died!  Dad never forgave himself and has never told me what happened to make her leave like that.”  “Oh my, that is horrible Lidia, have you asked him what happened for your own peace of mind.”  “I tried when I was twenty-two years old.  I started to ask him when he had to go. So I never got a chance to ask him” Agnes stood up and lifted her out of her seat and then held Lidia while she cried tears long overdue for her mother.  Lidia had become close to Agnes like she was her grandmother or mentor maybe.   Either way Agnes had become a big part of Lidia’s life.

The day was looming for Nick and Sandy’s big day.  He would have Sandy as his wife again.  He made sure that each quilter’s group member had their invitations even though Cindy was close to having her twins.  He knew that bringing into the world two babies meant more in their own right than Sandy’s and his wedding.  He would forgive her if she couldn't make it.  Nick had asked Sandy if she would wed him at their home in the backyard where she used to paint.  This meant much more to Sandy than Nick ever knew.  He could see by the look on her face she was fighting back tears of joy.
 Jack and Cindy were sitting down for dinner when Cindy felt a twinge she never felt before.  She started to shake as she looked up at Jack as if say “this is it honey” He saw the look on her face and knew instantly they were going to be parents soon!   The drive to the hospital took a long-time, cars were everywhere and traffic was slow.  Cindy could tell her body was doing something different.  Her stomach hurt a lot then the muscles would tighten hard.  They told her that this would happen when she was going into labour .  The hospital was in sight which made Cindy’s heart race knowing the day had come were her life would change forever.  Once settled in a room Jack went to call all the family and friends so they could help support them through something they knew nothing about.  Jack could hear Cindy screaming from each contraction that grew in intensity each time.  Agnes was home when he called and she was going to let everyone know from the group so he knew that soon they would be there for them. He was thankful for the group, they had taught Cindy so much over the years since she started to attend and make beautiful quilts.  He couldn't wait to have them there for Cindy especially. Her mom and dad lived-in another town so they would be four hours before they arrived and by then this could all be over!
Two hours later with everyone sitting in the same waiting room where Sandy was taken and Lidia’s mom died; everyone was pacing the floor trying not to look worried.  The doctor had told Jack that one of the twins was breach so they needed to take her to surgery.  Jack couldn't believe Cindy had to go through this alone; he was beside himself pacing more than the others and checking the hallway for any sign of the doctor.  Thirty minutes later and everything changed for Cindy; she had been given something to help her sleep so they could perform a Cesarean Section to try to save the babies.  One was in trouble because he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and needed to be delivered soon or he wouldn't make it.  Being breech this can happen the Doctor assured Jack and Cindy as she was heading to the theatre.  “Mr. Jacobs” Jack raised his head from between his hands afraid to hear what the doctor might say.  “Mr. Jacobs I’m sorry to have to tell you this; we didn't make it in time to save your little boy, the oxygen had been cut off from his tiny brain for too long.  I’m sorry Mr. Jacobs.”   Mrs. Jacobs and your baby daughter will be fine.  She is healthy as you would want with all her toes and fingers; she has a good crop of black hair as well. I know this is hard for you to have all different kinds of emotions right now.  Mr. Jacobs please know we did all we could for both of your children and Mrs. Jacobs be strong for your wife she will find it hard to take in when she wakes up” The shock was overwhelming for Jack.  There was a part of him hurting he had lost his son.  Then there was part of him who was elated he had a healthy daughter!  “Tell me Doctor, when can I see Cindy? I want to be the one to tell her”  “Give her another twenty minutes to wake up and then you and only you can go and see her for ten minutes.”  “Thanks doctor..... For everything”
Everyone from the group was huddled in the corner crying from the mixed emotions they were feeling.  By this stage Jack’s parents were holding him as he let his feelings flow through his eyes.
Three days later everyone gathered at Agnes’s home before the funeral.  This day was supposed to be Nick and Sandy’s special day.  But they couldn't have their day until they knew the funeral had passed. They needed to think of Cindy and Jack.
Cindy was sore from the delivery.  Sore also from her loss that no mother should ever experience; she found it hard to pick up little Kathryn Rose.  The daughter she dreamed of holding and loving with all she had only a few months ago now was in her crib crying for a loving touch.  The funeral was in an hour; Cindy couldn't move off the bed; she felt frozen in time.  Inside she asked herself what she could have done differently to save Caleb.  If only she had known more about this. Why didn't the doctor tell her about this? Warn her she thought deep in her soul.  The pain was more than she could bear.  Poor Kathryn needed her yet she couldn't touch her; any time she heard her she could only see Caleb in the morgue laying there cold lifeless, with no sign of love in his face. Cindy fell to the floor weeping into the carpet her hands were flying all over the place trying to hit whatever came into contact.  Soon Jack was with her on the floor taking the hits as her fists kept swinging at him but in Cindy’s mind she was hitting God; she was so upset at him for taking their son. She would find it hard to forgive him for this.  To put Jack and her through this; she was told he is about life and not death!  So why would he take a child; one that had no life with his parents or his sister? This was the hardest thing she had ever been through.  Now she was going to have to hold her head high. Be strong for Jack and Kathryn who she had to find the love this child would need to survive in life.
The church felt cold inside; maybe that is how churches are when someone dies.  Agnes had arrived first in her black dress and black stylish hat.  She looked burdened thinking of Cindy and Jack.  The group had changed in a matter of months from a laughing happy group; to sadness and not much quilting since the death of Caleb.  Lidia arrived soon after taking hold of Agnes and weeping more into her shoulder.  Not even the soft whisper from her mentor made this any easier for Lidia.  She had found Cindy someone who may not be easy to get along with. She still felt losing a child is something no one should ever go through. The two walked slowly to their seats close to the front by Cindy’s request.  Jack was sitting next her holding her like she would fall over without the support.  She seemed like a doll sitting there motionless, empty but hurting at the same time.  Kathryn was with her nanny in the waiting room in the church; Cindy didn't feel she could handle a crying baby during the service.  Amanda arrived and sat next to Lidia who held her hand to let her know she was glad she made it.  Lisa and Ben walked in and together sat next to Amanda; the mood was somber and dark between them.  With a tap on Ben’s shoulder he looked up to see Sandy and Nick was taking their seats next to him.  It was time to say their goodbyes to a young soul who only briefly knew life.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

 The ‘Q’ Factor 

Chapter 2

Three months had passed since the night she meet everyone.  It was Tuesday once again.  Lidia’s heart raced knowing she was going to have a pillowcase completed to show everyone.  She hoped they would see all the hard work she put into it.  As she stood at the door she hesitated; would they see she had to change the pattern a bit when she cut the fabric wrong?  Just as she was about to ring the doorbell Agnes opened the door. “Hello sweetie (Lidia cringed, she wasn't sure she liked the name “sweetie”) Come in, we’re waiting for Nick to arrive so make a coffee while we wait.
The lounge seemed different tonight; everyone was talking loud as if they were trying to talk over everyone who sat in the room.  Lisa had something on her lap; so did Cindy.  In fact everyone had something on their laps. She no longer wanted to show off her pillowcase; all she wanted to do was go home.  She had a feeling her pillowcase wouldn't be like what they had to show.  The doorbell went off again and the door then opened with Nick and his smiley face appearing out of nowhere.  “Good evening all, how’s your day been?”  Everyone mumbled they had days that couldn't go fast enough and then went back to their chatter among themselves. “Nick I’m making a coffee would you like me to make you one?”   “Yes I would love a coffee please” Nick liked his coffee strong and with three sugars.  Lidia wasn't sure why he had it so strong if he had to have so much sugar.  Maybe she thought he should try milk with it as well.  “Coming right up” Nick was a strange man; coming to a quilting group with all women.  She had meant to ask him why he started a woman’s craft.  Later tonight she would ask him.  He told Lidia two weeks ago how he and his wife Sandy had divorced.  He admitted he only ever thought of himself; leaving Sandy to have a better life was best for her.  He explained how his co-workers felt he needed to learn more about how a woman ticked.  They dared him to join a craft group where he would soon learn about women and their sensitive feelings.  He felt they were being arrogant and wanted to prove them wrong.  One day he searched through the paper and found an ad for this quilters group.  He joined to show his work buddies they didn't know him at all back then; Nick hasn't stopped since. “Yeah,” said Nick “I realize now that I've been coming here for a year I didn't know women at all.  I felt they whined and moaned because they could.  Now, I know that a woman has special needs. If I had known this when married to Sandy; it would be different now”
The frown on his face showed Lidia he had become a man who cared about others when he made it clear he never used to care about anyone but himself.  She noticed after three months of coming here she wasn't as shy as she used to be.  She wondered what else this group had seen happen over their time together.
Cindy was always trying to find out more information about her mom.  Lidia soon learned who the gossip was in the group.  There always had to be one in every group.  She made sure she didn't reveal too much to her whenever they were sitting next to each other.  Cindy and Jack had been married for just over a year now. They've been trying to have a baby for six months; Lidia could see the strain on Cindy’s face each month since they met when she would share she was still not pregnant yet.  Lidia thought she shouldn't rush trying to be a parent.  Children are time-consuming; Lidia didn't feel Cindy was mature enough to have children at the moment.  Amanda always intrigued Lidia with her daily appearance of jeans and a top no matter if it was raining outside or not.  She often wondered why she would love wearing them all the time.  She had mentioned one day that she would own her own restaurant one day.  She once met Gordon Ramsey and found him abrupt with his comments both good and bad.  She almost left cooking school because he told her if she couldn't cook scrambled eggs then she shouldn't consider being a chef.  That day someone else had taken over her station. The sloppy mess Mr. Ramsey received in front of him had nothing to do with her.  He wouldn't listen to her so she walked away to keep her head straight.  Later she apologized to him and moved on in her life. Now she is thankful he had come in that night.
Here everyone was waiting to show off the work they had done over the last few months since Lidia had joined the group.
“Lidia, would you like to show us what you have completed since you arrived?”
“Oh, yes after you showed me how to cut the fabric and how to quilt by hand; I went home and slowly worked on this pillowcase.  I did make a mistake in the cutting but still managed to save the pattern” Agnes liked to hear how Lidia worked this out on her own.  Lifting the pillowcase up for everyone to see and hiding her face to save any embarrassment.  “Why Lidia, you did well for your first project on your own.” She could tell this was Agnes and was thankful for her encouraging words.  “Yes I agree” Cindy stated with fact in her voice. Everyone had done a brilliant job with their quilts.  The night went well I was sure everyone enjoyed themselves.  Nick was a bit quiet even though everyone tried to get him to talk to us.  Maybe he was feeling lonely now that he knew he had something with his ex-wife.  I know that I had felt good as I crawled into bed with a smile in my face.

Waking up early was never easy for Lisa; she hates morning and the thought of getting out of her warm bed. She was enjoying her job; she still hadn't met “mister right” she felt lonely waking up on her own.  Crawling out of bed she could hear Ferret her budgie chirping away; he must be hungry.  “Man” she thought “I hate mornings and I’m always so tired anymore; I must make sure I have more iron”.  After breakfast of tofu and wheat toast she sat out on her balcony watching the sun begin to rise.  She felt a sense of peace seeing the sunrise knowing it will do its job for the day.  Now she had to go and do her job as well.
The traffic was slower than normal; turned out to be an accident earlier.  Lisa knew she would be late for work. Her boss hated late workers but what could she do? It was out of her hands.  Thirty minutes late she finally stepped into the office.  “I’m sorry I’m late Mr. Weakly; there was an accident on the freeway”
“Yes Miss Adams  I heard the report on the radio; can you work a bit harder this morning to catch up, I have that report due in today that has to be on my desk in an hour”
The morning dragged for Lisa as she worked hard to get the report completed for Mr. Weakly.  She managed to get it completed within an hour and a half and then had a much-needed hot green tea with her muesli muffin. She was hoping to get to the cafe’ for lunch today.  She normally eats lunch at her desk but forgot to make something this morning.  The cafe’ next door has a warm feeling any time she would come in to buy some water or get a hot tea to go.  She didn't like the idea of having lunch alone in the cafe’ but she didn't know anyone at work.  She liked keeping to herself most of the time.
The cafe’ seemed busier than usual Lisa thought as she stood in line so she could give her order.  People were talking among themselves.  The three women working behind the counter were busy.  “Excuse me miss, May I take your order” The voice shook her out of her thoughts of dancing in the moonlight with some stranger (I wish) she thought.  “Could I have a wheat bread sandwich with chicken, lettuce and tomato hold the Mayonnaise please.  Could I have a hot green tea as well thank you” Once her order was ready Lisa searched for somewhere to sit and enjoy her lunch but the place was busy.  She felt a tap on her shoulder as she turned she saw a man looking down at her.  “Would you care to join me?" She could feel her cheeks turning red that a handsome stranger would offer her a seat.  “Yes thank you that would be lovely”
The stranger pulled the seat in for her and placed his hand out before her. Lisa sat slowly down on the chair unsure she had made the right decision.
  “Let me introduce myself, my name is Ben Hicks”  “Hello Hello Mr. Hicks my name is Cindy Adams,” “Please Cindy call me Ben”
“The cafe’ seems a popular place today”   “Yes, I don’t normally come here for lunch, I forgot to make my lunch today so I had to have something to eat”
“I’m glad you forgot your lunch, otherwise I would have never met you”
Lisa noticed he had jet-black hair and dark-brown eyes.  He had a smile that made her feel excited.  She didn't know what that meant but she liked how it felt.  He had a strong handshake plus he had a voice that sounded strong.
“Where do you work Ben?”  “I work next door at the lawyers firm I’m one of the newer lawyers there”. “What I work there as well I've never seen you where do you hide yourself”
 Ben's laugh made her heart race.  “I started there last week; so our paths hadn't crossed until today”  “How do you like it so far”?   Lisa hoped she hadn't asked the wrong question with not knowing Ben at all.
“I have to say that I love it. Was the best move I have ever made and now meeting you made it even better” Lisa felt her cheeks turn a bright red from his compliment she didn't know what to say next.  “Thank you Mr. Hicks I mean Ben”   “I think your tea is getting cold maybe we should have our lunch”
The conversation with Ben made her laugh a lot while enjoying their food.  “Oh look at the time Ben I need to go back to work”  “Yes I’m afraid it’s time for me as well to head back, let me walk you”.  Back in the office Ben walked her to her desk.  “I like your space you have here” he said trying to find a way to ask her out “Thank you, it does the job” Lisa felt awkward not knowing what to say next.  “Listen Lisa, Can I take you out for dinner Friday night?”
“I don’t know Ben we have only just met.”
“I know, what a good way to get to know each other.  Have dinner with me and if you don’t enjoy yourself then we don’t have to go out again I think we would have a good time”
Lisa hesitated only because she had always wanted to meet “mister right” could he be the one?
“Yes I will go out with you, thank you for the invite now I need to go back to work before I lose my job” Again they laughed at the same time.  “So do I”
Ben took her hand and gently kissed her making her flushed and hot all over.  “What a pleasure to have met you Miss Adams:  until we meet again.” He stepped back with that warm smile Lisa couldn't help but smile. “Until we meet again Mr. Hicks; goodbye”.  Lisa felt like all the air in her lungs had escaped her.  “What just happened” she asked herself.  She couldn't wait until Friday and what will her friends say in the group next Tuesday!  Once her heart stopped racing from all the excitement, Lisa completed her day with faster speed and musical sound in her voice.
Cindy felt eager again, Jack and Cindy wanted a baby so much.  As each month passed and still no baby on the way, she felt herself sink into a sadness that only other married couples would understand.  Jack and Cindy loved being married almost two years now.  She hoped that when she went to see the nurse this morning the pregnancy test would show up positive this time.  Standing in the kitchen she made a coffee and sat outside hoping, dreaming of what their child or children would look like.  Our daughter she thought will have long blonde hair and blue eyes.  I would dress her in dresses and put her hair into pigtails.  I would take her out for lunches and to the zoo as well.  I would have Jack teach her the piano since he plays so well.  We would love her with all we have inside us and make her happy.  If we have a boy, Jack would teach him baseball and take him to McDonald’s for lunch.  They would go fishing and get all smelly from the fish.  I know Jack would love him with all he has inside as well.  Dreams are free; this dream was one that needed to come true Cindy thought as she whispered “if only”.
Nick hated being alone now that he saw how much of a jerk he was to Sandy.  He wondered if he called here would she listen to him.  As he sat in his office at home he couldn't help but wonder this on a daily bases since he met the women at the quilters group.  He thanked his co-workers after he had been going to the group for six months.  He told them it was the best choice he made and told them they should try a craft as well.  They laughed at him; they couldn't see themselves making anything other than buildings!  He knew they were losing out on something special so he decided to leave the subject, for now anyway.
The office was getting warm as the afternoon sun drifted in past the drawn curtains.  Nick gazed out the window and saw the cane chair that was Sandy’s favorite place to sit while she painted the trees or flowers or whatever her heart desired on the day.  His heart sank as he realized she had such a talent that he never complimented her on.  If any man could be a pig he knew he had been one.  He jumped as the phone began to ring.  He reached for the phone not knowing who was on the other end.
“I’m looking for a Mr. Camp, is he available to speak to please”
“Speaking, may I help you?”  “Yes Mr. Camp, I’m sorry to give you this news, this is County General Hospital calling.   Ms Collins arrived by ambulance this morning after being in a car accident.  She mentioned your name can you come quickly to the hospital?”
Nick felt his heart stop beating and a lump form in his throat.  What if he never got another chance to tell her he was sorry?  “Yes, I will be there in fifteen minutes please how is she is she seriously hurt?”
“Mr. Camp she’s seriously hurt from a truck that went through the lights and hit her from side on.  Her seat belt kept her from flying out the side window.  You need to get here as soon as you can”  “I’ll be right there”.......

Agnes knew that she had to keep going.  She didn't want to end her life as an old woman in a rest home when she got older, MUCH older.  She pulled herself out of bed , Cesar was barking away wanting to go out and take care of his business.  He wouldn't wait long so she jumped up and raced downstairs.  “Here we go again Cesar, why can’t you learn some much needed patience? Out you go”
The door slammed shut from a gust of wind as Agnes walked into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.  The doctors told her she should cut back but coffee in the morning makes the day run smoother she thought.  She had finished the quilt top she started 5 months ago and was ready to place the batting and backing to it so she could quilt it and then bind it.  The next quilt show was in three weeks so she knew she needed to start working soon.  Agnes jumped as she heard the phone.  “Hello Agnes Ward speaking” “Agnes it’s Nick here, I need your help.  Sandy’s in hospital in critical condition can you come to County General?”
“Oh Nick I will be there shortly; how bad is she”?  “She has some broken ribs and a ruptured spleen.  She broke her right arm and leg; a truck who failed to stop at the lights hit her car.  The doctors said she has been so traumatized by the accident the shock may kill her”   “Nick calm down I will be there soon”.  Grabbing her keys of the mantelpiece Agnes rushed toward the door then she realized that if everyone could be there for Nick and Sandy then this might help him through this with so much support.  Soon Agnes had called everyone and she was on her way.  Everyone dropped what they were doing to help support Nick.
When Agnes arrived everyone was sitting with Nick who looked exhausted.  Agnes took hold of him and hugged him with all she had hoping this would help him.  “Nick any word on how she is?”  “She is still in surgery; they have to remove her spleen.  The doctors said she will be in surgery for another hour or so.”  We’re all here for you Nick You need to keep strong For Sandy’s sake.”  “Hey Lidia how are you holding up? Your looking a bit pale”  Lidia was in shock,  Memories of her mom came flashing back to her as she sat in the same hospital waiting room that she had when she was thirteen.  Her hands were shaking and her heart was racing but she wanted to be there for Nick.
That day still haunts her to she can’t think of anything else.  It was raining that day when dad had a phone call from the hospital telling him that his wife, my mother had been in a car accident.  The rain had blurred her vision as she was trying to turn a corner a tanker didn't see her car.  The car received the full force of the impact which made the car turn in three complete circles.  She died instantly from the impact.  Lidia hadn't told anybody at the group what had happened.  They would show sympathy until they hear the rest of the story.
Lidia felt the tears welling up inside she knew exactly how Nick feels right now.  She prayed he wouldn't have to see her in the morgue as her father did.
“Yeah Agnes I’m all right I just need some fresh air, if you will excuse me Nick I will be right back.”  Cindy had her hand on Nick’s shoulder and noticed how Lidia was acting strange and then walked out of the waiting room.  She wondered what was going on.  She wanted to rush after her to see if she would finally tell her what she was hiding.  Cindy knew she was hiding something; but so was Cindy.  “Nick Lidia has stepped for a minute” She whispered in his ear; “She will be right back”.  To Nick however all he could think about was Sandy and how if she makes it out of this he was going to win his wife back whatever it took he would win her back.
Lisa was sitting on the couch wondering what she could do to help Nick.  She had made him a coffee and brought him a chocolate muffin.  She found it hard to keep her thoughts on him after her night with Ben had gone so well.  She started to drift away in her thoughts as she could smell his cologne on her blouse she wore. The night was magical; Ben was such a gentlemen buying her tulips for the date (her boss told him she often had tulips on her desk).  He opened all the doors for her and would kiss her hand every chance that got.  They had a reservation at Paris’ the nicest French restaurant in town.  They laughed and shared their past with each other.  Ben had lived close by all his life with his mom and dad and two younger sisters.  Studied at Harvard University; he wanted only the best education money could buy for his future and for his future wife he knew he would meet one day.  With the twinkle in his eye Lisa wondered if he felt maybe she was that person.  As the night grew to a close and she ate more than she should have, she didn't want the night to end.  Ben offered to take her home when she was ready so she took this opportunity to ask if a walk along the park might be something special.
She enjoyed his touch and his smile. As they walked through the park he slowly took hold of her hand and lightly kissed it as he looked up at her with a warm passionate desire.  She knew that this night had to carry on at her place.
The smile on her face showed Nick that she was somewhere and not in the waiting room any more.  He could tell there was someone special in her life.  Only someone in love could look as she did with this glowing light all over her.  He hoped that whoever stole her heart would treat her better than he did Sandy.  Nothing was worse than realizing this too late.
Lisa didn't mean to be dreaming of Ben she had no idea Nick was watching her.  He wasn't the only one either; Cindy was staring at her wondering what secret she wasn't sharing.  So too was Agnes and Amanda; no-one had seen her smile like that before.  Within her thoughts again Lisa saw how Ben held her at her door.  How he lightly kissed her soft lips at first and then couldn't help himself.  He passionately looked into her eyes lifted her head and kissed her with such a heated passion she thought her knees would give out on her.  Once the long heated kiss was over she whispered in his ear; “Come in for a nightcap, I don’t want this night to end just yet” He smiled and agreed as she opened the door and quietly shut it behind her.  The next morning he kissed her before leaving saying this was only the beginning of something special.  Lisa heard a noise that was like a bang that woke her out of her dream.  A nurse had dropped a tray at the nurse’s station.  Then Lisa noticed the doctor was talking to Nick, everyone was standing around him listening to what the doctor was saying....
“Mr Camp Ms Collins your ex-wife has come out of surgery.  She has had some major broken bones but as long as she can stay stable for the next twenty-four hours she should be fine.  But of course the next twenty-four hours are the most important time for her.  She needs your support to give her more to live for; can you do this Mr Camp?”  Nick was numb and in shock he was so relieved he didn't hear everything he said.  Once the doctor said she should be he started to plan what he would do to win her back, the first step was to be by her side until she is well again.
Agnes held Nick firmly as he was lead down the hallway to see his soon to be wife AGAIN.  He was nervous and shaking he knew he was thankful for Agnes and the groups support.  He must tell them later how much he loves them.
Sandy looked weak but alive, Nick walked up to the bed and touched her soft skin something he never noticed before today.  She’s a beautiful woman with her soft brown hair flowing past her shoulders even in hospital he couldn't take his eyes off her.  The tears were welling up as he bent over her bed and whispered he loved her and told her he would never leave her side again.  He took a hold of her hand and squeezed it firmly in his.  Her hand moved slightly in his, He knew then he had not yet lost her for good.  He couldn't stop the tears and wept for hours as she lie there beginning to mend her broken body.