IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
By Paulette Keister
A big THANK YOU goes to my friend Tena Confer for allowing her characters, Grayson and Todd, to be apart of my story.
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The hall clock was chiming 8:00 a.m. when Jennifer walked into the den to tell her husband good-bye. She was driving to Los Angeles for a ‘girls day out’ with Grayson and wanted to get an early start. Harry was hard at work at his desk on a never-ending mound of month-end reports.
“Harry, are you sure you can’t to come with me? I know she would love to see you.”
He stood up, took her in his arms and kissed her. “I’d love to but I need to review these reports before Monday. Go and have a good time. Besides, a man can only stand listening to two jabbering females for so long.”
Playfully, she slapped him on the chest. “Harriman, are you insinuating that we talk too much? ”
She shook her head. “Tsk, tsk. I wouldn’t go there if I were you. When you and Jiggs get together...”
“OK, ok. I get your point.” He said as he released her from his arms. “Have a good time. Give Grayson my love and a big hug for me.”
“I will.” She turned and started to walk out the den.
“Oh, Sweetheart, wait a minute.” He put hand into his pocket, pulled out the keys to the Imperial and handed them to her. “Take my car. I’m going to have the motor pool mechanics check the brakes on yours. They were squealing the other day when I drove it. Besides, my car was just serviced and I know it’s safe. I don’t want anything to happen to my favorite girl.”
She took the keys and smiled at him. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. See you tonight.” After one last kiss she hurried out the front door. He heard the car start. Suddenly, a feeling of dread swept through him, sending a chill down his back. He went over to the window and watched her drive down the street. “Harry old boy, don’t be such a worrywart. She’ll be fine. It’s not the first time she’s gone to LA alone. Besides, Grayson will be with her.” He sat back down and tried to work, but he just couldn’t concentrate. “Maybe a cup of coffee would help.” He rose from his chair and headed for the kitchen.
Jenny was glad she left early. The traffic was light on Highway 101 this morning. The sun was bright but the air was still chilly. She was looking forward to their visit. It had been weeks since they had seen each other. She had to smile at how Grayson had ‘adopted’ Harry into her small family. “Todd always wanted a big brother,” she would say. He still missed his parents and her motherly love helped fill that void in his life. She reached down and turned on the radio, just in time to hear the weather report for the day. “The forecast for today is a mix of sun and clouds, a high of 78 degrees. But a cold front moves through this afternoon. There will be a 50% chance of rain with wind gusts up to 30mph. Waves along the coast will raise to three to five feet."
“I hope it waits until I get home,” thinking to herself. “But then how often is the weatherman right.”
In no time, she passed through Ventura then Oxnard. As she passed Emma Wood Beach, she glanced at the ocean and thought of the special times she and Harry had there. But everything changed in those fleeting moments. With the windows up and the radio on, the sound of rumbling rocks fell on deaf ears. It was the ultimate nightmare in slow motion. By the time she turned her eyes back to the road, it was too late. No time to brake, no time to swerve. The pounding sound of showering rocks muffled her screams. She lost control of the car as a large boulder shattered the windshield, sending her sideways toward the bank of a steep ravine. As she went over the edge and into the black abyss of unconsciousness, she prayed that with Lee and Grayson’s help, Harry would find the strength to go on without her.
Harry had lost all track of time. He glanced at the clock and wondered why Jenny hadn’t called. The phone began to ring and he felt a sigh of relief as he picked up the receiver. “Hi Sweetheart.”
“Harry dear, its Grayson.”
“Oh, hello. It’s so nice to hear your voice.”
She heard a tinge of disappointment in his voice. “Are you OK?”
”I’m fine. I thought you were Jenny calling.”
She didn’t want to alarm him, but she had to ask. “Harry, what time did Jennifer leave this morning?”
“She left around 8:00 am. Why? Isn’t she with you?”
“I’m afraid not. I’ve been waiting here at my apartment all morning. Maybe she had car trouble.”
“No, she has the Imperial. I just had it serviced and it was running perfectly.” He didn’t like what he was hearing. It should’ve only taken her two hours at the most to get to LA.
Grayson could hear the uneasiness his voice. “I’m sure she’s fine, Harry. There was probably a traffic jam or a detour. I’ll call you as soon as she gets here. Try not to worry.”
“Have her call me as soon as she gets there.. Promise?”
She could tell he was trying to stay calm. “I promise. Bye.” Quickly, she hung up the receiver, not wanting him to notice the panic that was filling her. “Maybe I should go look for her,” thinking to herself. “No, I promised Harry I would call him the moment she walks through the door.” IF she walks through the door.”
Harry’s mind was reeling. “Where could she be? It doesn’t take four hours to go to Los Angeles.” He started to pace from room to room, smoking cigarette after cigarette and praying…”God, please let her be alright.” The minutes seemed like hours. Another hour went by and finally the phone rang. He grabbed the receiver as relief started to flood his being. “Jenny! Are you all right? What happened?” But his relief was short lived.
“Harry, its Todd. Mom wanted me to call you. Jenny never showed up so we’re going to go look for her.”
Harry couldn’t control his uneasiness any longer. “Something’s happened to her, I can feel it. I’m going to get Lee and we’ll start searching. I’ll contact you when I know something and you do the same. Bye.” He hung up so quickly that Todd didn’t have a chance to acknowledge. He knew his big brother very much afraid for the love of his life.
He grabbed the receiver again and hit the speed dial to the Institute. He knew Lee would still be in his office.
Lee was finishing up the last of the reports when the phone rang. “Commander Crane here.”
“Lee, it’s Harry. I need you to come over to the house….now.”
The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Only once had he heard that tone in Harry’s voice. It was when Jenny seriously injured aboard Seaview during a top-secret mission.
“Harry, what’s wrong?”
“I’ll explain everything when you get here. Lee, please hurry.”
The phone was barely in its cradle when Lee went running out the door. He stopped long enough to tell Angie where he was going. “Lee, what’s happened? Is the Admiral all right?” She asked with concern.
“The Admiral is fine. He wouldn’t go into details. I think something’s happened to Jenny. I’ll call you as soon as I find out what’s going on. Please call Chip and tell him to keep an eye on things here. Thanks, Angie.” He was out the door before she could say anything.
Jenny didn’t want to wake up. It was so serene here…wherever here was. The pain that was forcing her back to consciousness was almost unbearable. Slowly, she opened her eyes and waited for her double vision to clear. She tried to shift herself in the seat but was rewarded with razor sharp pains through her entire body. Finally, she was able to grasp what had happened. The rockslide had shoved her off the road and trapped her inside this twisted piece of metal. Her seatbelt had saved her from being thrown out but it also held her captive. The nose of the car was up against a large tree. The steering wheel was shoved back to within inches of her chest. Her legs were pinned under the dashboard and a large boulder blocked the driver’s door. The passenger door was sprung and hanging wide open. Pieces of shattered glass had left several cuts in her scalp. She felt something warm trickling down along side her face… Blood. Slowly, she raised her right arm and wiped it away. She tried to focus on the situation. “Jennifer Nelson, this is a fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into. No one is going to find you down here so, you’re just going to have to get yourself out.” After a few moments, it came to her. “The car phone! Now, if I can just reach it..” With all the strength that was in her, she grabbed hold of it, but her hopes were quickly crushed. It was dead. “Oh, no.” She laid her head back. Tears filled her eyes. “Harry... help… me.” She whispered before slipping into the waiting arms of oblivion.
Lee pulled in the driveway, slammed the car in park and raced into the house. He found Harry on the phone as he entered the den.
“Todd, did you check the local hospital? How about the Police Department?”
“I’m sorry big brother. No one remembers seeing her or the car.”
She just couldn’t have fallen off the face of the earth! “
“Harry, you’re yelling…”
I am not yelling!” He took a deep breath as he ran his right hand through his hair.
Todd handed the phone to his mother. “Mom, you better talk to him.” She took the receiver from him. “Harriman, its Grayson. Please dear, you must calm down. I’m sure there is a logical explanation. Is anyone there with you?”
He turned and saw a pale faced Lee standing there, listening to the conversation.
“Yes, Lee is here with me now.”
“Good, you shouldn’t be alone. Why don’t you two start checking hospitals. Then you and Lee meet us at the Police station in Oxnard in about two hours. Maybe we can convince them the help us.”
Harry knew she was right. “OK, we’ll meet you there. If you find anything at all, call us on the car phone.”
“We’ll let you know right away. See you then.”
Harry looked up at Lee as he hung up the phone. “You heard.”
“Harry, Where’s Jenny? What’s happened to her?”
Harry slammed his fist on the desk as he walked around it. “That’s just it. I don’t have a clue. She left this morning around 8:00 am to spend the day with Grayson. She never arrived.”
Lee thrust his hands in his pockets and started to pace. “That was over six hours ago!” He paused for a moment before continuing. “You know, it’s possible that someone kidnapped her.”
Harry shook his head. “If that were true, we would’ve been contacted by now.” He walked over to the window and stared out at the quiet street. “Where the hell is she Lee?”
Neither spoke for several minutes, both deep in thought, trying to come up with a logical explanation.
Suddenly, Harry turned to Lee. “Did you hear that?”
Giving him a quizzical look he asked, “Hear what?”
“Jenny’s voice. I heard her cry out for help.”
“I didn’t hear anything. It was just your imagination, Harry.”
He shook his head. “No, it’s not. I know what I heard.” He grabbed his jacket off the back of the chair. “I can’t wait around any longer. I’m going to go find her.”
“You told Grayson we would start checking the hospitals.”
“I’m not going to waste time calling. We’ll stop and check the ER’s as we go.” He turned and looked at his brother-in-law. “Are you coming, Lee?”
“You know I am.” Both men rushed out the front door and into Lee’s car. With squealing tires, the little red Porsche headed south for Highway 101.
Unfortunately, the weatherman had been right. Jenny woke to a strong breeze coming in off the Pacific. Rain clouds were forming on the horizon. Again, she tried to shift her body but it was no use. The slightest movement was agonizing. She closed her eyes and prayed for relief. Suddenly, she felt something touch her right shoulder and a small, pleading voice said, “Lady, please wake up.” Slowly, she opened her eyes to see the freckled face of a red-haired girl, kneeling next to her.
“My name is Emily Anne Morgan. What’s yours?”
Painfully, she answered, “Jenny…Nel..son.”
Emily saw the tears in her eyes. “You’re hurting really bad, aren’t you?”
“Yes, sweetie… real…bad.”
“Did you get hit by the falling rocks?”
She nodded her head.
“My mommy and I were too.”
“Emily, how…old…are you?”
“I’m eight.” She said proudly. “I’ll be nine next week.”
Jenny knew time was running out. She would have to rely on this little girl. “I…need your….help. Would…you do…that?”
“I’ll try. What do you want me to do?”
She looked around and spied it lying on the floor by Jenny’s feet. She wriggled down and picked it up. “Yep, here it is.”
“I…wa…nt you to…open it.” The little girl obeyed. “Get my…badge… has…my…pic..ture…on it.”
She took it out, studied it for a moment and read it out loud. “N.I.M.R. Commander Jennifer Nelson.” Her eyes grew wide. “Wow, you’re a Navy Commander! I want to join the Navy and be an officer like you when I get old enough.” She turned it over and saw a picture.
“Who is this man with you?” She asked as she held it up in front of her.
Emily saw Jenny’s eyes light up. “Harry, my…. hus…band. Our… wedding…picture.”
Emily grinned. “He loves you a lot. Doesn’t he?”
Jenny managed a smile of her own. “Yes.” She closed her eyes for a moment as her entire body started to shudder from the damp wind. Her strength was ebbing away, little by little.
Emily gently shook her shoulder. “Jenny, what’s the matter? Jenny?”
“So…cold.” She could barely open her eyes.
Emily took off her jacket and covered her shoulders the best she could. “Here, this might help a little.” Jenny managed a weak smile and continued.
“Take my badge… up to the road….get someone to stop. Tell them… need help. Hurry…Em….” She let out a moan as pain washed over her, sending her into unconsciousness. Emily gently moved a strand of hair out of her face. “Don’t worry, I’ll find Harry and bring him here.” Carefully, she slid off the seat and started to climb up the rocks to the road above.
Harry spied Grayson and Todd coming out of the Police Department as they pulled into the parking lot. Before Lee was stopped, Harry was out of the car, dashing towards her. As she stood waiting to gather him into her outstretched arms, she saw the anguish etched on his face.
“Oh, Harry. I’m so sorry.”
He pushed her away from him. “What do you mean, you’re sorry. What did the police say? ” He shook his head and shoved his way past her. “I want to talk to them myself.” Todd stepped in front of him.
“What mom means is they have not received any accident reports this morning.”
The only report they received was of some falling rocks up around Emma Woods Beach.
“Well then, I want to go in and file a missing persons report.”
Lee put his hand on his brother-in-law’s shoulder. “Harry, I’m just as worried as you are, but you know we have to wait twenty-four hours.”
“Rules are made to be broken.”
“But you know they won’t.” Lee replied softly.
This time Grayson stepped in his path. She put her hand under his chin, lifted it and looked him in the eyes. She could hardly bare the sadness that they held. Firmly she said, Harriman, We will check every place we can think of between here and LA until we find her, no matter how long it takes”. She looked at Lee and gave him a re-assuring smile. “We will help you and Lee for as long as you need us.”
“Thank you Grayson,” he said. “ I never doubted that you and Todd wouldn’t help search for her.”
“No problem big brother.” Todd replied.
Grayson gave Harry a peck on the cheek. “OK, I say we start looking again. There has got to be something we’ve overlooked. Let’s take one vehicle and head back towards Los Angeles. We can scan both sides of the road at once.”
Lee pointed to the darkening sky. “We better get a move on before the rain comes.” Everyone agreed and quickly got into the Explorer. They started to re-trace the route to Los Angeles. Lee was in the back seat, staring out the window, trying desperately to see any sign of the dark blue Imperial. He jumped as Harry yelled, “Todd, stop the car.” He quickly pulled off to the side of the road. He and Grayson turned around and asked in unison, “Did you see something?”
Harry shook his head no. “Todd, tell me again what the police said.”
“There were no accident reports so far today. The only thing they heard reported over the scanner was some falling rocks around Emma Wood Beach.”
The color drained from his face. “Oh, no.” he mumbled. “Todd, get us there, quickly.”
Knowing better than to ask any questions, Todd checked his mirrors and pulled onto the highway. “Hang on everyone.” As they sped along, Lee looked over at Harry and in a barely audible voice he said, “You don’t think she……” He couldn’t finish his sentence. Harry reached over and laid his hand on his arm. “Just pray I’m wrong.”
Todd slowed up as he looked for a place to pull off the road. Finding a suitable spot, he parked and everyone got out. Silently they stood, as if their feet were rooted to the ground. No one wanted to go and look over the hillside, each afraid of what they might find. Grayson took Harry’s hand in hers as she spoke. “Todd, you and Lee start searching down by that group of trees and work your way up. Harry and I will walk up the road and work our way down.”,/P>
“OK, sing out if you find anything.”
Grayson had always thought of Harry as a man who knew no fear. But the grip he had on her hand at this moment said otherwise. His precious love was missing and nothing would comfort him until he found her.
As they walked she asked, “Son, what made you want to come here?”
With a puzzled expression on his face he turned and looked at her. “I don’t really know. All of sudden I had a feeling of extreme urgency that I get here.” The sound of thunder drew his attention toward the darkening horizon. “By the looks of those clouds, we better find her soon.” Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of movement up ahead. He took off on a dead run, leaving Grayson standing alone.
As he approached, a little girl came out from behind a tree. She stood there looking at the picture she had clutched in her hand. She looked at the man’s face and smiled. It was Jenny’s Harry.
Before he could ask her what she was doing out here alone she said, “Hi, I’m Emily Anne Morgan. Jenny told me to give you this.” She held the badge out to him. With a shaky hand, he took it from her. “Where is she? Is she alright?”
A look of sadness formed on her pretty face as she shook her head. “She’s hurt real bad. You need to hurry.” She took him to the edge of the road and pointed at the rocks. “She’s trapped in the car, down there.” He stepped to the edge and looked down. To his horror, he saw what was left of the Imperial. He turned to talk to her again but she was gone. Grayson caught up with him and stood by his side. One look at the car and knew what he was about to do. She grabbed him by the wrist and shouted. “And where do you think you are going?”
He wriggled his hand out of her grasp. “Where the hell do you think?” His voice filled with defiance. “I’ve got to get her out of that car.”
“Oh no you’re not.” She said sternly. I mean it Harriman, NOT one step. You wait for Todd and Lee.” She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a transceiver. She keyed it and said, “Son, can you hear me?”
“Yeah, Mom. We haven’t found anything.”
“You and Lee get up here on the double. Harry found the car. Oh, and you better call the Police and Fire Departments.” Lee didn’t hear the last part of the conversation because he had taken off on a dead run. In less than a minute, he reached the spot where Harry and Grayson stood.
“Where is she?” Lee asked as he gasped for air.
Harry pointed at the mangled car. “Down there.”
“How did you know where to look? You can hardly see it.”
“The little girl, Emily Anne. She told me Jenny was trapped in the car. She gave me this.” He handed Lee Jenny’s NIMR badge.
“What little girl?” Grayson asked as she looked around.
“Over there, by the tree. Didn’t you see her?”
“I didn’t see anyone but you.” She replied.
“Emily was right here a minute ago. I talked to her.”
She didn’t know what to say to him. Thankfully, Todd arrived and the topic of conversation changed.
“Harry, I notified the police. They’re sending the fire department and an ambulance.”
“Thanks Todd, but I’m not waiting any longer. I’m going down there.”
“Please Harriman, don’t.” Grayson grabbed his arm. “Let Lee and Todd go down first.”
He was losing his patience. “Don’t you understand? I have to do this. I made her a promise to always protect her and I failed. She asked me to go with her but I didn’t, I was too busy. This is my fault. I won’t stand by while Lee and Todd do what I need to do.”
“Harriman Nelson. This is NOT your fault. Believe me, I know how you feel, but what good are to her if you get injured when she needs you the most. Let Lee and Todd go check out the car.” She pleaded.
“Grayson, I’m sorry. Nothing you say will stop me.” He patted her hand. “I’ll be careful… promise.”
Jenny was drifting in and out of consciousness. Emily was sitting next to her, trying to keep her awake by re-assuring her that everything would be all right. “Harry’s here and there are other people with him. Don’t worry. They’ll get you out. I’ll stay with you until they come. Oh, please wake up, Jenny. You can’t die. You just can’t.”
The trio made their way down the treacherous, rocky hillside. Harry cautiously peered into the car while Todd and Lee checked the position of the car to make sure it was safe to get into. He wasn’t prepared for what he saw. “Oh, my…” he murmured. He scolded himself as his legs started to tremble. “Get a hold of yourself, man. She needs you.” He took a deep breath as he prepared himself for what he was about to do.
“Lee, can I get in now?” he asked.
“Yes, it’s not going anywhere. It’s leaning up against that boulder.”
Carefully, he crawled into the car. One look told him her injuries were serious. “My God, she’s so pale. I’m going to check for a pulse.” For a moment he froze, fearing he wouldn’t find one. Lee noticed his hesitation.
“Harry, are you OK? Do you want me to do it?”
He shook his head. “No, I’ll do it. Now I know how she feels when she has to go through this with us. I don’t know how she stands it.” He touched her neck with his fingers and let out a loud sigh of relief. “She’s alive. It’s faint, but it’s there.” At this moment he wanted to take her in his arms so badly and never leave her go. “Where the hell is that ambulance?”
“I can hear it coming, Harry. Mom will flag them down.” Todd replied.
Then he noticed it. A small denim jacket lay across her chest. He picked it up and looked inside. There was a label with a name…Emily Anne Morgan. She had been here! He heard a faint moan come from his wife. “Jenny? It’s Harry. I’m here. Please, open your eyes.”
Her eyelids fluttered and she slowly opened them. “Har..ry?”
He broke into a smile. “Yes my love, I’m here.”
Tears welled in her eyes. “Afraid… wouldn’t…get to..say..good-bye.”
“No! You’re not going anywhere except to the hospital. We promised each other we would grow old and gray together, remember?” Moisture was now forming in his eyes. “I’m holding you to that promise. Do you hear me, woman? I won’t let you leave me.”
Slowly, she raised her right hand and put it against his cheek. “Love…you.” He took her hand and kissed her palm. She gave him a faint smile.
“I don’t know sweetheart. She wasn’t here when we found you. Lee and Todd are with me. Grayson too. She is up at the road waiting for you.” She started to drift off again. “Lee, Todd, talk to he…say anything. We have to try and keep her awake.”
They got close to the car so she would hear them. “Hey Sis, you sure did a number on the car. It was time for a new one anyway.” Harry rolled his eyes.
“Hi Jen, its Todd. It won’t be long now. Just hang on. The paramedics are here.”
They motioned for the three of them to move back so they could work. “Jenny, they want me to get out.” She squeezed his hand. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay close.” He slid out to let the young paramedic get in.
“Sir, what is her name?” he asked.
“Jennifer, Jennifer Nelson.”
“My name is Ben. I’ll do everything I can for her.” He cautiously crawled into the car. One look told him he would have to work fast. His partner contacted the hospital while he took her vitals. “Her blood pressure is 80/60…pulse 120. Respiration’s 22 and shallow. She’s ashen in color.” Ben continued. “Probable fracture of the left leg, possible internal injuries, contusions and bruises.”
Kevin relayed the information. He received the orders quickly. “Ben, Dr. Jeffries said as soon as we can, type and cross. Start an IV of Ringers and Dextran. Immobilize the neck and transport as soon as possible. Oh, and we should put her in the anti-shock suit. I’ll get the neck brace from the trauma box.” He retrieved it and handed it to Ben. “Mrs. Nelson, I’m going to put a neck brace on you.” He gently wrapped it around her neck. He cautiously backed of the car and walked over to the three anxious men.
“I’ll be honest. She’s in serious condition. We need to get her out now, but her leg is pinned under the dash. We’re going to have to pull the car away from the boulder in order to get the door open. So if the three of you will go back…” He didn’t get to finish his sentence. “ I’m not leaving.” Harry said, stubbornly. “I’m not leaving either.” Echoed Lee and Todd.
“Great.” He thought to himself. “Just what I need. Three ‘wanna be’ heroes.” He was just about to argue the finer points of why they should leave and let them do their job, when the license plate number ‘NIMR 1’, caught his eye. Of course! He thought the man looked familiar. Standing before him was the famous Admiral Harriman Nelson. Now he knew why the man was so adamant about staying. The lady was his wife.
“Alright, you and these other gentleman can stay. We can use the extra help. The quicker we get her out the better. Admiral, you can go to your wife. Keep talking to her. She needs to stay conscious for as long as possible. ” Harry nodded and went to her side.
He explained to Todd and Lee what they were going to have to do. A heavy cable from the fire truck was sent down and hooked onto the rear axle of the car. When every means was taken to stabilize the car, the fireman started to slowly reel the cable in, drawing the car away from the boulder. Finally, they were able to get at the driver’s door. The Jaws of Life had been sent down and used on the twisted metal that held her. After 20 minutes of sawing and prying, they were able to free her. Immediately, Ben and Kevin started the IV and put her in the suit. Gently, she was placed and secured into the Stokes stretcher. Harry bent down and kissed her.
“You’re going to be alright now. We’ll make sure of that.”
She raised her hand and put it on his forearm. “Emily’s….jacket.”
“It’s right here.” He said as showed it to her.
“Yes, my love. I’ll see that she gets it.”
“If I can find her.” He said to himself.
Her rescuers started the slow, uphill climb as the firemen above, helped guide the cables with Lee and Todd lifting the bottom of the stretcher up over the protruding rocks.
Grayson was beside herself with worry. They’ve been down there a long time and couldn’t stand the wait much longer. Finally, she caught sight of Harry and the paramedics. The somber look on their faces sent a chill through her body. She took a few steps toward him. He saw the look on her face and knew what she was about to ask.
“She’s alive….barely.” He said softly.
“I called Jamie while you were down there. He’ll meet us at the hospital. Chief Sharkey and Commander Morton are bringing him down.”
He took her hand and squeezed it. “Thanks, I can always count on you.” As they stood watching the men place her on the gurney and load it into the ambulance, she noticed the jacket he was holding. “Harry, where did you get that?”
“This? It was draped over her chest. Look at the tag inside.” He said as he handed it to her.
She gave him a startled look as she read it out loud. “Emily Anne Morgan. That’s the little girl you told me about.”
“Did you see any sign of her while we were getting Jenny out?” He said as he took the jacket back.
“No, I was alone until the paramedics and police came.”
Ben motioned for Harry to climb in, as they were ready to leave. Lee and Todd walked over to her, each taking a hand in theirs. The three of them stood silently, watching and praying the speeding ambulance would make it to the hospital in time. A rumble of thunder brought them out of their thoughts. Todd looked up at the dark sky. “It’s going to start raining any minute. I’ll go get the car, Mom. You and Lee stay here.” He left go of her hand and took off on a run.
Grayson still had a hold of Lee’s hand. Giving it a tug, she said. “Let’s stand over there out of the way.” He nodded as they went and stood under a large tree. Another rumble of thunder left loose. “Not the safest place to stand, is it Lee?” She said, trying to ease his fear. A faint smile appeared on his face. “No, it isn’t.”
He patted her hand. “I’m going to talk to the police about getting the car brought up. I’ll be right back.”
She stood there for a minute, and then caught sight of Todd waving to her. As she started to walk towards him, her foot hit something. Looking down, she saw a small cross sticking up out of the ground. She bent down and picked it up. Marking a spot with a cross had become a special way to remember a loved one who had lost their life in an accident along the highways. She turned it over and read it out loud. “ In Memory of Emily Anne Morgan… August 1978.” She was stunned. “That’s the little girl Harry said he talked to.” Lee saw the dazed look on her face as he approached her. “Grayson, what’s the matter? Are you all right?” She turned her head expecting to see Lee. Instead she saw a young girl in pigtails standing next to the tree. Emily smiled. “Don’t worry, tell Harry she’ll be just fine.” She waved to her and vanished as fast as she appeared.
“This can’t be happening.” She whispered out loud.
“What can’t?” Lee asked.
She shook her head. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Let’s get to the hospital.”
Like tears from heaven, the rain started to fall as they raced up Highway 101.
Jenny was being examined by the time Grayson, Lee and Todd arrived at the hospital. Lee interrupted the duty nurse to ask which room she had been taken to. Upon finding it, they stopped, startled at what they saw. Before them stood Harry, hands in his pockets, staring into the room through the glass window. Gone was the brave Admiral who faced evil and danger almost on a daily basis. In his place stood a man in pain, afraid of losing his beloved wife. The three of them joined him in his vigil. Grayson put her hand on his arm and ask, “Harry, are you alright?”
He didn’t take his gaze off the room. Sadly, he said, “They wouldn’t let me stay with her.”
“Of course not dear. The doctors can work more quickly. She’s in good hands.”
A familiar voice penetrated their concentration. “Admiral, any word?” They turned to find Will Jameson standing there. Chip Morton and Chief Sharkey were close behind.
“They’re still examining her.” Harry turned back to the window. In a strained voice he said, “She was trapped in the car for a long time.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Why won’t they come out and tell us something.”
Jamie put his hand on his shoulder. “I’ll go in and check on her. I’m sure they are doing everything in their power.”
Jamie entered the room and introduced himself. As the final test was done, the doctors started to discuss their findings. Five minutes later, they doctors emerged.
A young looking doctor walked up to the group. “Admiral Nelson, I’m Dr. Daniel Walters.”
“Doctor, how is she?”
“I’ll be brief. Your wife has a concussion, several broken ribs, a dislocated left shoulder and fractured Fibula in her left leg. There is also evidence of internal bleeding. Right now she’s stable but we must operate immediately. Do we have your permission to proceed?”
He looked at Jamie. “I agree with him, Harry. She’s running out of time.”
“Give me the consent form.” He took it and scribbled his name at the bottom and handed it back.
“Thank you, Admiral. I’ll be doing the surgery. I’ve given Dr. Jamieson permission to be a part of my team. We’ll be taking her up in a few minutes. If you will excuse me.” He turned and entered the room to check on his patient, leaving Jamie to try and convince his close friends, who had gathered around them, that Jenny would be all right.
Lee spoke first. “Doc, tell us the truth. How bad is my sister hurt?”
He knew he couldn’t sugar coat the truth. Besides, Lee and Harry would see right through it. “She’s in bad shape. It would be better if we could wait until she’s stronger to operate, but we can’t. If it’s not done now, she’ll…” He let his voice trail. He just couldn’t say the word.
The doors opened and the orderly pushed the gurney towards the elevator that went to the surgical floor. Jamie asked him to stop for a moment so Harry and the others could offer their love and support. Harry bent down, kissed her and whispered, “ I love you. Come back to me.” Next, Lee, Grayson, Todd, Chip and even Chief Sharkey gave her words of encouragement. The elevator doors opened and Jamie stepped in with her. He turned, looked at Harry and said, “I’ll be with her the whole time and we’ll take good care of her. Everyone, just pray. ” The doors silently closed and she was gone. Everyone stood there for a few seconds, staring at the elevator. One by one, they walked towards the waiting room. It was going to be a long night.
The news of the accident had quickly spread through the Institute and Seaview. No one at the Institute felt like working. Lee instructed Angie to have Security keep the reporters off the grounds and inform them that a statement would be issued later.
The waiting room had slowly filled with people wanting to offer prayers and support for the Admiral and the Commander. Some were pacing the halls; others were sitting in quiet conversation. A cart filled with fresh coffee, tea, juice and assorted pastries had been brought in for those who were still there praying that Jenny would pull through.
Harry was standing at the window, lost in thought. He checked his watch for the umpteenth time. ”Damn, I despise waiting. It’s been over three hours.” Suddenly, he noticed it had stopped raining. The clouds had dissipated and twinkling stars dotted the night sky. He took a cigarette out of his shirt pocket, lit it and took a drag.
Grayson had been keeping a close eye on him. She went to the cart, poured a cup of black coffee and walked over to him. She shook her head at the sight of the ashtray. By the looks of it, he had polished off another pack. She touched his arm and handed him the cup.
“Harriman, what would Jenny say if she knew you just smoked two packs of cigarettes in less than three hours?”
He crushed out what was left in the ashtray and looked at her with a wry grin. “She would have a fit. She’d start lecturing me, again, on how much better I would feel and other benefits of quitting.” His smiled vanished as he turned back to the window. “Grayson, she’s been up there too long. I wish Jamie would come and tell us what’s happening.”
“I know, dear. We just have to keep praying.”
He stuck his hands in his pockets and with a heavy sigh replied, “You’re right…as usual.”
“Harry, come sit with me for awhile. You need to get off your feet and rest.”
“No, I’m fine. Maybe later.”
She knew it was pointless to argue with him. “Alright. But make it soon.”
Lee had promised to call their mother every hour and give her an update. His face was etched with weariness and worry as he returned to the waiting room. He went and stood next to Harry.
“Any word yet?”
“None.” He hesitated a few seconds before continuing. “Lee, what if she…”
He cut him off. “Don’t say it. Don’t even think it! I know she’ll pull through. She’s been in worse jams than this. Besides, you know what they say. No news is good news.”
Harry turned to him. “Yes, but the waiting is pure hell.”
The intense pain that wracked her body was gone. Instead, Every vibrant colored flower imaginable surrounded her. The love and contentment that filled her was beyond words. She could sense a presence in the brilliant light that beckoned her. “Harry, are you there?” Receiving no reply, she began to walk towards it. Two figures appeared, blocking her path.
A deep male voice addressed her. “My dearest Jennifer. Finally, we meet.”
The voice wasn’t familiar, but the faces were. A portrait of them hung in the den. Standing before her was Rose and Patrick Nelson, Harry’s parents. They had passed long before Harry came into her life. Now, she understood what was happening and she was not afraid.
Patrick moved towards her and took her hand. “We knew someday our son would find someone to love him unconditionally.” Before she could reply, another voice called to her.
“Hello, Pumpkin.” A smiling James Crane appeared. “Dad?” She ran up to him and hugged his neck. “Oh, how I’ve missed you.”
He unwrapped her arms and kissed her on the forehead. “I miss you too…and your brother.”
Still holding his hand, she gave it a squeeze. “He won’t admit it, but he misses you too.”
“Jen, please know that I was there on the beach the day you were married…we all were.” He looked at his daughter with melancholy eyes. “You were so beautiful. I wish I could’ve been there to give you away, but your brother did a fine job.” He looked at Harry’s parents as he said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better man to take care of my little girl. Honey, the two of you were meant to be together. I just wanted you to know that before I go.”
Rose stepped forward and hugged her. “We have to go too.” Jenny was confused.
“What about me? I’m going with all of you, aren’t I?”
James Crane gave her one last kiss and started to move away. “I’m sorry Jen. It’s not your time. Please tell Lee that I wish things could’ve been different between us. I’m very proud of the both of you. Don’t worry, we’ll be together someday.”
She tried to stop him from leaving her again. “But, dad…” ‘Love you’ were the last words she heard as he walked into the light. She turned to Harry’s parents and pleaded. “Please, take me with you.”
They both smiled at her as Patrick spoke. “We wish we could, but as your father told you, it’s not your time. Please give Harry and Edith our love. Tell him I was wrong in trying to stop him from wanting a career in the Navy and I ask his forgiveness. We are very proud of all his accomplishments. There are some rough times ahead but together you will overcome them. He still has much more work to do and will need you by his side.” As they started to fade into the light, Rose said, “Goodbye my dear. We’ll meet again.”
She tried to follow but something or someone was holding her back. “Jenny…” Startled, she turned to see who it was. Walking towards her was a smiling redheaded, freckle faced, little girl.
“Emily! What are you doing here?”
A soft, golden glow started to emanate around her as she reached for Jenny’s hand. “I promised to stay with you. Don’t you remember?”
“Yes, I do but…”
“Well, I asked God to let me help you to go back and he said yes.”
“I want to stay here.”
“You still have work to do down on earth. Your brother Lee, all your friends and especially that nice little gray-haired lady are praying real hard that you will come back to them. You know, she loves you like a daughter.”
Jenny smiled. “Grayson has been really good to me and Harry.”
Emily continued. “Harry is very afraid of losing you. Because he didn’t go with you, he blames himself for your accident.”
“Nonsense. It wasn’t his fault.”
“Well then, don’t you think you better go back and tell him so?”
Jenny was torn. She wanted to stay in this joyous place but she wanted to be with her husband and family. After a few moments she said, “Yes, you’re absolutely right… and very wise for someone so young, I might add. Harry needs me and I need him.” Jenny took her hand. “ Let’s go.”
Slowly, they started to walk away from the light. With each step she took, the peace and love she felt turned into apprehension. Suddenly, Emily left go of her hand. “Goodbye Jenny. Tell my mom I love her.”
It was the last thing she heard as she was drawn into darkness. A second later, she saw her body lying on the operating table. The doctor was applying defibrillating paddles to her chest. She watched her body jerk from the jolt of electricity. Jamie was standing close to her, talking. His eyes, wide with panic.
“Come on Jenny, fight. Don’t you dare make me tell Harry we couldn’t save you. He and everyone else will have my hide.” He glanced at the monitor...nothing. Administer 5cc of Epinephrine and defibrillate again.” Dr. Walters shouted.
“100, 200, 300…clear!” Jamie watched the monitor as her body jerked again. “Come on Jenny”… The seconds slipped by. ”Jennifer Crane Nelson, BREATH, dammit!” He cried.
Immediately, the monitor started to beep. Dr. Walters sighed. “She’s in normal sinus rhythm. OK people, let’s finish up and get her into recovery.”
A surgical nurse, who was standing next to Jamie, turned to him and smiled, “Seems like she heard you, Dr. Jamieson.” Leaving out a sigh of relief, he bent down and whispered in her ear. “Welcome back, Jenny.”
Twenty minutes later, the surgery was over and she was taken to the recovery room. The two tired but exhilarated doctors wasted no time in heading for the waiting room to deliver the news everyone was praying for. Before they walked in, Jamie complimented Dr. Walters on his skills.
“That was excellent work, Daniel. You are a fine surgeon and I am forever in your debt.”
“Besides, I would’ve done anything to avoid telling a certain four-star Admiral that we unable to save the love of his life…. Even walk the plank!”
Daniel chuckled. “Well, then it’s a good thing I was delayed by another patient. I was just about to leave when Mrs. Nelson was brought in.”
Jamie clapped him on the shoulder. “Yes, it was a very good thing. Shall we go in?” Dr. Walters opened the door to let Will pass, and followed him in. Harry and Lee were in quiet conversation, unaware of the two men walking across the room.
“Admiral…” He looked up and saw Jamie grinning from ear to ear. He and Lee jumped up. Everyone, who had been keeping vigil, gathered around the Admiral and the Skipper.
“She’s OK?” Harry asked.
“Yes, Admiral, she survived the surgery.” Dr. Walters replied. "It was touch and go for awhile. We stopped the abdominal bleeding. Her left kidney is bruised and the fibula in her left leg snapped so a small plate with screws is keeping it in place as it heals. There’s also the matter of a concussion, several cracked ribs, contusions and bruises. I must tell you that her heart stopped near the end. Dr. Jamieson kept talking to her the whole time and we were able to bring her back." He looked at Jamie and grinned. "Barring any complications, she’ll make a full recovery, as long as she takes is easy and gets a lot of rest.”
“Oh, Daniel.” Jamie thought to himself. “Getting her to follow any doctor’s orders is easier said than done.”
Harry grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously. “Thank you, Dr. Walters, for saving my wife. I am eternally grateful.” Then Lee shook his hand. “I also thank you for giving me back my sister.”
“You’re welcome, Admiral, Commander. I’m glad I was here to help. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check on our patient. Dr. Jamieson can answer any other questions you might have.” He headed for the door. Harry was just about to ask to see her when he stopped and turned around. “And yes, Admiral, you may see her for a few minutes.” He smiled at the threesome and left.
Harry suddenly felt like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders. He grabbed Grayson in a big bear hug and lifted her up. “She’s going to be just fine.”
“I heard.” She chuckled. He put her back down on the floor. Todd patted him on the back. “That’s fantastic. I knew she’d make it.”
Jamie motioned to the door. “Jenny should be settled in ICU by now. Shall we go?”
“Will, how about letting Grayson and Todd see her also?” Before he could answer, Grayson piped in. “No Harry, you and Lee spend the time with her. We’ll wait here for you.” She started to nudge them towards the door. “There will be plenty of time to visit with her. Now scoot! Give her a kiss for me.”
“We’ll be back shortly.” Jamie said as they left. They walked down the corridor and turned left. Jamie stopped them in front of the door. “Before I take you in, I want you to remember that she looks worse than she really is.” He pushed the door open and went in. The nurse showed them to her bed. A faint gasp escaped Harry’s lips. “Oh, my poor darling.” He whispered as he went to her side. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear that the fragile person lying there, hooked up to monitors, IV’s and god knows what else, was not Jenny. Carefully, he picked up her hand and held it as he caressed the side of her cheek with the back of his index finger. He spoke in a soft, reassuring tone. “Jenny, its Harry. It’s all over. Jamie says you’re going to be just fine so you just rest. I promise I’ll be here when you wake up.” He stepped aside to let Lee get closer.
“Hey Sis, It’s me…Bengie.” I talked to Mom and she sends her love.” He bent over the railing, kissed her on the forehead and said softly, “I love you, Jen.”
Jamie motioned toward the door. “All right, that’s enough for now. You two go home and get some rest. She’ll sleep for the rest of the night.” They started to object so he held up his hand to silence them. “Doctor’s orders, gentlemen. You both need some sleep. She won’t be alone. I’m going to stay here with her.” He opened the door and made a gesture for them to exit. Good night Admiral…. Skipper. See you later.” Slowly, the door closed behind them.
Grayson and Todd were waiting for them in the hall. They could see the joy and relief that covered his tired face as he smiled. “She’s going to be just fine. Jamie is chasing us out for awhile. Told us to go home and get some sleep.”
“Like that’s going to happen.” Lee muttered.
“Harry, Jamie is right. You and Lee are exhausted.”
Grayson agreed. “At least try and get a little sleep.”
“Well, then you and Todd will come to the house and rest also. No ifs’, ands’ or buts’.”
“All right, Harriman. Todd, will you please go get the car and meet us at the front entrance. On the way back, we’ll stop at the police station so Lee can get his car.”
“Sure thing, Mom. Give me five minutes.” Todd hurried down the hall to the double doors, exited and headed for the car. She could tell by the look on Harry and Lee’s face that they were still apprehensive about leaving the hospital.
“Now boys, listen to me. Jenny is going to be just fine. She’s safe, resting comfortably and has the best doctor sitting by her bedside. So..” She offered a hand to each one of them. “Let’s go home for a little while.” They both smiled and grasped a hand. Silently, they walked to the entrance, exited and got into the waiting car. Todd stopped at the station and Lee climbed out. He bid everyone a good night, climbed into the Porsche and headed for Santa Barbara and his apartment.
It was well after midnight when Todd passed through the Institute gates and within minutes was sitting in the driveway. Wearily, the three climbed out of the car. Harry hurried ahead and unlocked the front door. Upon entering, he flipped on the light switch. He stood for a moment, wishing he would hear the familiar, “Hi honey, are you hungry?” come from the kitchen. Grayson touched his arm. “Harry, are you OK?”
He patted her hand. “Yes, I’m fine. It’s just that the house is so still… so somber. You’d swear that it knows something has happened to Jenny.”
“I believe you’re right, Harriman. But remember she’ll be home in no time, filling the rooms with joy and laughter. Now, let’s get you to bed. We can’t have her opening her eyes and the first person she sees is you, looking like a zombie.”
He nodded and stood up. “ I could say the same for you.” He held out his arm. “Shall we?”
“It has been a very long day.” Grayson replied.
As they started up the stairs, Harry realized that his ‘little brother’ didn’t come in the house. “Where’s Todd?”
“Oh, I forgot to tell you. He received a call to report to the office for an urgent assignment. He’s sorry he had to leave, but he’ll return as soon as he can.” “I understand.” Harry replied. When they reached the landing, he turned out the downstairs light, then escorted her to the guestroom. She gave him a loving hug and kiss on the cheek before closing her door. “ Good night, dear. Try and get some sleep.”
“Yes, Dr. Mom,” was his reply. Upon entering the master bedroom, he turned on the light and headed for the bathroom. Within minutes, he was ready for bed. He pulled back the covers and crawled in. The smell of Jenny’s perfume still lingered on her pillow. He pulled it close to his body and drifted off into a restless sleep.
Harry woke to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. He sat up and stretched. For a brief moment he wondered why Jenny didn’t wake him. But then memories of the past twenty-four hours came flooding back. He glanced at the clock radio and muttered as he grabbed the phone receiver. “9:00 o’clock! How could I have slept so long.”
A voice came from the doorway. “Because you were exhausted, son.”
He turned to see Grayson standing there, holding a cup of steaming coffee. “I’ve already talked to Jamie this morning.” She went in and handed him the mug.
“What did he say? Is she OK?” He asked as he hung up the receiver.
“She’s still unconscious but her vitals are getting stronger and she should wake up at any time. Now hurry and get dressed so we can get to the hospital.”
He stood up and headed for the bathroom. Before entering, he stopped, gave her a salute and said, “Yes, Ma’am.” Then closed the door behind him. “I’ll be down shortly.”
“Oh, Harriman.” She smiled and left the room.
It took him only fifteen minutes to shower, shave, put on dark blue Dockers, a white turtleneck, socks and shoes and race downstairs. He entered the kitchen and put his mug in the sink. “Grayson?”
She was in the living room, standing by the fireplace, holding the denim coat. “In here, dear.”
As he entered the room he asked, “Are you ready to go?”
“Yes, I am.” She draped it over the arm of the chair as she walked past. Seeing it, reminded him that he gave his word to Jenny to return it. “Emily’s jacket! I forgot all about it.”
“We’ll worry about it later. We better get moving.”
They went out the front door, walked to the car, got in and left. As they were going through the front gates, she wasn’t sure how to tell him about Emily’s passing and seeing her ghost. “He’ll think I’ve gone off the deep end,” thinking to herself. “But then on the other hand, he and the crew of the Seaview had witnessed far stranger things than the ghost of one little girl.
The drive to the hospital was a silent one. Pulling into the visitors’ parking lot, Harry spied Lee’s car and pulled into the space next to it. Before he could turn off the ignition, Grayson blurted, “There’s something you need to know about Emily.”
Puzzled by her sudden outburst he said, “What about her?”
“Well, I…” He was growing impatient. He wanted to go be by his wife’s side and she was stalling for some unknown reason. “Tell me. What is the problem?”
“It’s better that I show you. We need to go to the spot where you found Jenny.”
“We can go later. I want to…”
“Please, Harriman.” She pleaded.
The urgency in her voice convinced him to do what she asked. “All right. If it’s that important to you, we’ll go.”
“It is, son.”
He backed out, exited the parking lot and headed down the highway. In no time, they arrived at the spot were Jenny had almost lost her life. He pulled off onto the shoulder. They got out, crossed the road and headed for the tree where she had seen Emily. He was growing more impatient by the minute, something he rarely did with Grayson. “What is it you want me to see?”
She looked around in the shaggy grass for the little wooden cross and picked it up. “Here it is,” saying as she handed it to him.
“What does it have to do with Emily, or Jenny for that matter?”
You’ve seen these before haven’t you? It’s a cross that has been left to mark the spot where a loved one died in an accident.” She turned it over in his hand. “Read the name.”
“In memory of Emily Anne Morgan. August 1978.” His eyes grew wide. “She came out from behind this tree and talked to me. Maybe it was someone who looked like her.” He bent over and speared the cross back into the ground, then walked to the edge of the ravine. “You said you didn’t see anyone.” He stood there quietly for a few moments, gazing out over the Pacific. Abruptly, he turned to her and said, “Then how do you explain her jacket and Jenny’s NIMR badge?”
“Harry, I know for a fact you saw the ghost of Emily.”
“And just how do you know this?”
“Because, I saw her myself.”
“You did? When?”
“After you left in the ambulance, she suddenly appeared in front of this tree. She told me Jenny would be fine. She said good-bye and vanished.”
He rubbed his fingers across his forehead. “How in heavens name am I going to tell Jenny that sweet little girl passed away a year ago.”
“Don’t fret about it now. You’ll find the words when the time is right. Let’s just concentrate on helping that beautiful wife of yours get well.”
The mere thought of looking into Jenny’s warm brown eyes made him smile. He offered Grayson his right arm and said, “ I have a strong feeling she’ll be waking up any time now. Let’s go.” They crossed the road, got into the car and headed back to Oxnard.
Harry and Grayson entered the main lobby and went directly to ICU. They found Lee leaning against the wall, absent-mindedly twisting the ring on his left hand. He heard their footsteps and looked up. ”There you are. I was beginning to wonder what happened to you two.”
“We made an unscheduled stop.” Grayson replied.
“Lee,” he said cautiously. “Is there something about Jenny you’re not telling us?”
“Good heavens no! They wanted to examine her so I stepped out of the room.”
At that moment, automatic doors swung open. Dr. Walters emerged with Jamie close behind.
“Good morning, Admiral. I’m glad you are here. I want to update you on your wife’s condition.”
Before Dr. Walters could say another word, Harry asked, "Did something happen?”
Jamie smiled. “No Harry, She’s fine. The first couple hours were rough but she stabilized and we both got some needed rest.”
“Dr. Jamieson is correct. Jennifer is doing amazingly well. In fact, we’ll be moving her out of ICU shortly.”
“Has she been conscious at all?”
“Only for a few moments. She was under the anesthesia for quite awhile.”
“May I see her?”
“By all means, Admiral. Hearing your voice, even subconsciously, will encourage her to fight her way back.”
“Go on, Harry,” urged Grayson. “Lee and I will occupy ourselves until she’s settled in her room. When she opens her eyes you need to be the first person she sees.”
Before going in he said, “Thank you…both of you, for giving me back my wife.”
He walked quietly past several other patients before coming to Jenny’s bed. He remembered how fragile and pale she was only hours ago. But when he saw her, his heart skipped a beat. Gone were all the wires, monitors and nasal hose. Only the IV remained. Her pallid skin was now warm and rosy. He pulled a chair close to the side of the bed and began speaking. “ Jenny, it’s me, Harry. It’s time to wake up now. Lee, Grayson and Will are here. Please, sweetheart, open your eyes. He paused for a moment…no reaction. He continued. “It’s a beautiful, sunny day. There’s a cool ocean breeze…Just the way you like it. When we get you home, you can relax on the deck and be waited on hand and foot.” He stopped again. “Hmmm...still sleeping. Well, maybe this will do the trick.”
“Commander Nelson, unless you open your eyes, I’ll be forced to call Francis. He’d be quite happy to come and sit with you. You know how he loves to chat.” She still didn’t respond. He closed his eyes and laid his head on top of his hands. Suddenly, he felt something touch his head and a weak voice say, “Harriman, how can I get my beauty sleep if you are constantly talking.”
His head came up with a jerk. “You’re awake!”
“Yes, dear.” She replied softly. It took a few moments for her blurred vision to clear. When it did, she saw her husband’s handsome face, grinning like a Cheshire cat. He picked up her hand and kissed it. “I was afraid I had lost you.”
“Not a chance…you’re stuck with me.”
At that moment, Jamie and Dr. Walters appeared at the foot of the bed. “Well, I see our patient is finally awake.” He said happily. “Jennifer, this is Dr. Daniel Walters. He performed the surgery last night that saved your life.”
“I can’t take all the credit. Dr. Jamieson was by your side the whole time.”
“Well, I’m eternally grateful to both of you.” She looked at the beaming face sitting beside her. “And I’m sure Harriman and Lee have already thanked you.”
“Yes, a lot of people have. Many times over.” As he checked the infusion pump he asked, “How much pain are you experiencing?”
“I’m OK,” she mumbled as she tried to sit up. She cried out as waves of pain coursed through her body, leaving her breathless.
Harry scolded her. “Sure you are. Now just lie quietly and listen to your doctors.”
Jamie shook his head. “Let that be a lesson to you. NO quick moves. So, on a scale of one to ten, how bad is the pain?”
“Eleven.” She squeaked.
“Ah, a sense of humor. That’s good.” Daniel patted her on the shoulder. “We’ll be moving you to your room in a few minutes. When we get you settled, we’ll give your pain meds.” Seconds later, two nurses informed Dr. Walters that they were ready to move his patient.
“Commander, we’re going to spring you from ICU, but only if you promise to behave yourself.” Jenny nodded her head.
Jamie motioned to Harry. “Come on, let’s get out of their way. Oh, nurse what’s the room number you’ll be taking her to?”
“It’s room 2212. Down the hall and to the left.”
“Thank you.” The two of them exited and headed for the waiting room. They met Lee and Grayson strolling towards them. One look at the smile on Harry’s face that stretched ear to ear and they knew Jenny was back with them. Lee spoke first. “Harry, judging by the look on your face, are we to assume that Jenny is awake?”
He clapped him on the arm and said, “Yes Lee, she sure is.” Then he picked Grayson up in a big bear hug and swung her around. “My wife is awake!”
“I’m happy for you Harriman, but put me down!” Gently, he placed her back on the floor.
“Sorry, I got carried away.”
She straightened her sweater. “Quite alright dear.”
“I believe Jenny should be settled in her room.” Jamie said. “Let’s go see how our girl is doing.”
The foursome walked into the room just as the nurse was injecting medication into her IV. “Jennifer, I’ve given you something for the pain. You should get some relief shortly. You have some visitors who are eager to see you.” Jenny opened her eyes. “Would you like me to raise your head a little?”
She touched the ‘up’ button for a few seconds then stopped. “Better?”
Jenny smiled. “Yes, much. Thank you.”
”I’ll leave you to visit with your family.” She moved away from the bed and started for the door. She stopped and handed the chart to Jamie. “ She’s doing just fine, Dr. Jamieson. But don’t let them stay too long. She needs her rest.”
“I’ll see to it. Don’t worry.”
Lee immediately went to her side. “Sis, I’m so happy you’re OK.” He bent over and kissed her on the forehead. “You had all of us scared to death. Harry was beside himself with worry.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Oh, and you weren’t?"
“Don’t let him kid you, my dear.” Grayson said as she sat down on a chair that was next to the bed. “Lee was pacing the room just as much as Harry if not more.”
Jenny yawned, then said, ”Uh, huh…thought so. Both of them are sorely lacking in the patience department.”
“I’m glad Daniel encouraged Harry to sit and talk to you.” Jamie said. “They say that the patient can hear conversations even though they are unconscious.”
“It wasn’t his voice that guided me back.”
“No, it was his threat.”
Jamie’s eyes grew wide in amazement. “He threatened you? With what?”
The corner of her mouth curled into a little smile. “He said that if I didn’t wake up he was going to call Francis and have him come sit and chat for a few hours.”
All eyes turned to Harry. Defending his actions, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, it worked didn’t it?” In seconds, laughter filled the room. As conversations continued, Jamie noticed Jenny was drifting in and out of sleep. Not wanting to wake her, he said in a low tone, “I think we better leave and let the medication work its magic.”
Immediately, her drowsy eyes opened. “Don’t go…not yet. I have to tell you something about Emily, the little girl who helped me.”
Grayson glanced up at Harry. His blue eyes flashed a ‘change the subject’ look. She nodded, then stood up.“ No dear, Jamie is right. You need your rest. We’ll be back later. I promise.”
“Harry, please don’t go.” She pleaded.
“Don’t worry sweetheart, I’m not going anywhere,” he said as he bent over the bed, kissed her, sat down on the chair and gave Jamie his ‘just try it’ glare. Jamie suppressed a grin. He knew nothing was going to pry Harry away from Jenny’s side….and he wasn’t going to attempt it.
“Jenny, I wouldn’t dream of making him leave.” Jamie said. “ I’ll check on you later.” Before he let the door close behind him, he looked in at his boss, his closest friend, sitting there holding his wife’s hand as she slept. They were back together. All was right in the world.
Jamie stopped at the nurses’ station and placed Jenny’s file back in the holder.
“Oh, Dr. Jamieson, Mrs. Latham left this for you.” She handed him a small folded piece of paper.
“Thank you. I’m heading for the cafeteria if anyone needs me.” He walked slowly down the corridor as he read it.
Lee and I have gone out for awhile. Will return in
a few hours. No need to worry.
He re-folded the paper and stuck it in his shirt pocket. “I wonder what those two are up to.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “But then again, ignorance is bliss.”
“I see I’m not the only one who talks to himself.”
He turned around to see who it was behind him. “Daniel, I didn’t hear you coming.”
“Obviously,” he chuckled. “Everything OK?”
“Yes…. at least I think so.” He paused. “Captain Crane and Mrs. Latham have left the hospital for a few hours.”
“You seem concerned. Are you sure nothing is wrong?”
“Everything is fine.” Jamie replied. “It’s just that, trouble seems to follow my Senior Officers wherever they go. In fact, if there was an ‘Injury of the Month Club’, they would be lifetime members. ” A tired Jamie shook his head. “Oh, the stories I could tell you.”
As they approached the dining room, the aromas that were wafting from the kitchen distracted both men. Daniel took in a deep breath. “Aaah...smells like Mrs. Jenkins baked her famous apple pie today. How about sharing a few of those stories over some lunch?”
Jamie smiled. “I was just about to ask you the same thing.”
“Great! It’s settled.” Daniel pushed open the door. “After you, Doctor.”
“Harry…” A hand gently shook his shoulder. “Harry..” The soft-spoken words roused him from his slumber. “Wha….?” His eyes focused on the small form standing next to the bed. He immediately sat up straight. “Something wrong?”
“No, Harry. She’s fine.” Lee replied. Why don’t you take a little break.”
He stood up and stretched. “I could use a cup of coffee.”
“Well,” Grayson said as she started to usher him towards the door. “You’ll have more than a cup of coffee. You haven’t eaten since breakfast.”
Before Harry could say another word, Lee sat down on the vacated chair, crossed his arms and said, “As her big brother, I’ll see to it that she behaves herself while you’re gone. Don’t worry about a thing.”
Harry snickered. “And you’ll enjoy every minute of it, won’t you?”
Lee’s hazel eyes twinkled as he answered, “Yes… yes, I will. It’s not very often I can order her around and get away with it.”
Grayson watched in amusement as Harry polished off the last few bites of his roast beef sandwich, pushed the plate aside and wiped his mouth with a napkin. As he started to take a bite of his pecan pie, he caught a glimpse of a smile she was trying to suppress.
“Guess I was a little hungry.”
“I knew you would be.” She replied. But her smile quickly faded. “Harry, Lee and I went to the local library. I took it upon myself to find out exactly what happened to Emily Ann.” She took out a piece of paper out of her purse, unfolded it and placed it in front of him. “We found this newspaper article on the accident. It was caused by a rockslide, much like the one Jenny was caught in.
Harry read the article as he finished his pie. Sorrow filled his heart for this mother and daughter. “I can’t imagine the anguish in losing a child and always wondering why God spared your life and not your little girls.”
“Life can be cruel at times.” Grayson reflected. “But think about it. Would we have found Jenny in time if God hadn’t sent Emily to her?”
Harry thought for a minute then handed the paper back to her. “ Jenny should be awake by now. If so, I’ll tell her what you found out.” They hadn’t gone far down the corridor when Harry stopped and looked at the sign above the double doors. “I’m going in for a couple of minutes. Care to join me?”
“Very much, Harriman.”
They entered the Chapel, sat down and each in their own way thanked God for his many blessings.
Harry and Grayson entered the flower-filled room. Lee was sitting on the edge of the bed holding Jenny’s hand, talking softly. Hearing the door close, she looked and her eyes lit up. “Hi Honey. How was lunch?”
Lee stood to let Harry take his place. “Hi yourself.” He kissed her and sat down. He studied her face for a moment. “You look a little flushed. Is something wrong?”
Her eyes narrowed as she glanced at Lee. “No, not really…Just the usual ‘big brother trying to boss little sister’ routine. I was trying to talk about Emily but he kept changing the subject. He told me to wait until you returned.” She turned her attention to Grayson. “I want to thank you for looking after these two. Heaven knows they need it.”
Grayson chuckled. “They are a handful.”
“Now that you’re all here, I want to talk about Emily.”
The time had come and Harry dreaded it. “Jenny, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Please, let me go first.” She continued before he could say anything. “There’s no need to search for Emily…you won’t find her.”
“Why do you say that, my dear?” Grayson asked.
“Because, she’s a ghost.” The room fell silent. “ She died in a car accident, very near where you found me. Now, I know what you’re all thinking that I imagined her or I was delirious from the pain. But I did see her. She talked to me…and kept me alive.” Still no one spoke. Jenny looked at her husband with pleading eyes. “You believe me don’t you?”
Harry picked up her hand. “You have to ask that after all that we’ve seen and been through?”
“Jennifer, of course we do.” Grayson responded. I saw her, so did Harry. After the ambulance left, I found a small cross near a tree with her name on it. I looked up and there she was, standing in the shadows. She told me not to worry, that you were going to be all right…then she vanished.”
“That’s right. She gave me your NIMR badge and showed me exactly where you were. When I turned to thank her, she was gone.”
“But the look on your faces…”
“Was one of surprise. So, who told you?” Lee asked.
“I saw her...in heaven.” She paused for a second, then continued. “At first, I was alone. The feeling of peace and love was overwhelming. I sensed a presence and started to walk towards brilliant light. Suddenly, figures appeared in my path, stopping me. They kept saying it wasn’t my time and after a few minutes, they vanished and I was alone with Emily.
Lee was puzzled. “Sis, who are they?”
She could see the skepticism on his face. “ Our dad.” Lee fell silent and turned away from her. “Lee, look at me.” When he did, she went on. “He told me he’s sorry the ways things were left between the two of you. Dad loves both of us very much. Oh, and he said you did a fine job subbing as father of the bride.” A small smile appeared on his face. She turned her attention to her husband. She squeezed his hand and said, “Harry, I met your mother. Startled, he withdrew his hand from hers.
“And my father?”
Jenny touched the side of his face and looked into his eyes. “Yes dear, he was there by her side. They are so very proud of you….especially your father. He wants you to know how very wrong he was in trying to stop you from following your dream.”
“Well, what do you know.” He thought to himself. “I’ve had father’s approval all along.”
“And, they said you made an excellent choice in the wife department.”
Harry chortled. “Well now, we finally agree on something.”
Jenny laid her head back on the pillow. “ I begged them to let me stay…but they made me understand that there are still things we need to accomplish…together.”
As if on cue, Jamie walked in. Something was going on…he could feel it. “OK…what did I miss?”
Casually Lee said, “Jenny was telling us about her near-death experience.”
“Yes, Jamie. I want you to know that I heard what you said to me in the operating room. You looked so scared. I couldn’t leave Harry have your hide, so I came back.” She teased.
Jamie’s eyes widened. “ You heard me?”
He saw Harry raise his eyebrows and quickly changed the subject. He handed Grayson a slip of paper and said, “Todd left this message for you at the nurse’s station.”
“Thanks Will.” She smiled as she read it. “Igor’s been trying to reach me. He wants to know how Jennifer is. I best go give him a call.”
Grayson left and Jamie stepped to the side of the bed and checked her pulse. “The orderly will be here in a few minutes to take you to the cast room. So, what color of cast would you like on that leg of yours. Pink? Blue? Maybe purple?”
“Another day of boredom.” Jenny mumbled to herself. She had spent everyday of the past two weeks, sitting on the deck in her chaise lounge, watching the waters of the Pacific, crash into the rocky shore. At times, she would close her eyes and listen to the ocean calling to her, begging her to return where she belonged. She yearned to be back on Seaview, even if it was only for a couple of hours. Jamie said she could resume some of her daily activities as long as she used her cane for support, but Harry wouldn’t hear of it.
“It’s too soon. You could fall and hurt yourself.” No, he wanted her home where he could keep her safe.
“Darn this cast.” She mumbled. Quickly, she looked around to see where Harry was. Since he was nowhere in sight, she reached under the cushion and retrieved a fly swatter. Carefully, she slid the long metal handle down inside the cast, trying to scratch a bothersome itch.
“Jennifer Marie Nelson! Just what do you think you’re doing?”
She flinched at the sound of his voice.“The man must have eyes in the back of his head.”
“Harry, my leg itches like crazy.”
“You could get it stuck and then what would you do? Walk around with it sticking out the top of the cast?” He stuck out his hand. “Take it out slowly and give it to me.”
“Oh, all right.” She removed it and handed it to him. He sat down on the edge of the lounge. “Jenny, I know…”
She didn’t give him a chance to finish. “Harriman, I’m going stir crazy! I haven’t been out of the house since I came home. Everyone has been so kind to come by and keep me company, but it’s just not the same. I need to get out! Please, can’t we go for a drive? Even if it’s just out the front gate and back?”
He recalled the lecture Jamie had given him the night before. “Where would you like to go?”
She was expecting him to come up with an excuse, but he offered none. “What did you say?”
He grinned. “Where do you want to go?”
“Wait a minute… why did you give in so easily?”
“I was about to tell you until you interrupted me.”
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry. What were you going to tell me?”
“Last night, Jamie told me no uncertain terms, that I’ve been hovering over you far too long and that you need to start getting your life back to normal. He reminded me that I of all people know how hard it is to sit and do nothing while recuperating from an injury.” He leaned forward and kissed her. “Am I forgiven?”
It only took one look from those gorgeous blue eyes to melt her feelings of frustration. “What am I going to do with you.” Jenny chuckled. “ Yes, you’re forgiven. It’s just that I get so frustrated sitting at home with nothing to do day after day. I want to feel useful again.”
He stood up and said, “How about we go out for a little drive and stop at some quiet out of the way place for lunch.”
“That sounds wonderful.” He could tell by the tone of her voice there was something she wanted to say.
“OK, spill it. What’s on your mind?” Harry said.
“If I tell you, do you promise not to say anything until I’m finished?” He nodded in agreement.
“Harry, I want to go see Emily’s mother. Emily wanted me to give her a message and give her the jacket. She may not believe me, but it’s something I need to do. Please say you understand?”
His first thought was to object but his inner voice told him not to. “How about we wait and do it tomorrow. I don’t want you to exhaust yourself on your first day out.”
“No, I have this feeling that I need to do it today. Tomorrow might be too late.”
From the first day he met her, he’s never known her instincts to be wrong. “Ok we'll go. But if I see you’re tiring too quickly, we’re heading straight home. Agreed?”
“I’ll call Angie and have her find the address for us.”
“That’s a good idea.” He held out his hand to her. She took it and stood. He retrieved the black cane that was leaning against the small table beside the lounge and gave it to her. They walked through the patio door and into the kitchen. While Harry was using the kitchen phone to call the Institute, Jenny went upstairs. “I’ll be up in a few minutes.” He called after her. After a short conversation and hearing ‘it’s about time’ more than once, he hung up and bounded up the stairs. He entered their bedroom and found Jenny sitting at her vanity table, combing her hair. Then he noticed her uniform coat draped over the arm of the chair and her hat on the seat cushion. He walked up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders. She smiled at his reflection. “Did you talk to Angie?”
“Yes, she’ll have the information by the time we’re ready to leave.”
“Good. I’ll be ready in a few minutes.”
He rested his chin on the top of her head. “Umm…..Sweetheart, may I ask why are you wearing your uniform?”
“I thought if we made an ‘official’ visit, maybe Mrs. Morgan would be more receptive to us. I don’t want her to think I’m some crackpot trying to invade her privacy and dredge up sad memories. Besides, I remembered something Emily told me when I was trapped in the car.”
“What was that?”
“When she looked at my badge and saw my picture, her eyes lit up. She told me that “When she grew up, she wanted to join the Navy and become an officer….just like me.” Harry saw tears welling in Jenny’s eyes. “ Oh Harry, Emily was such a sweet little girl. It’s just not fair.” She grabbed a tissue and wiped her eyes.
Gently, he said, “We both know all too well that life’s not always fair.”
“My head knows that but my heart doesn’t.”
He gave her shoulders a little squeeze. “Did you ever stop to think that God intended for her to be your guardian angel? You wouldn’t be sitting here in front of me right now if she hadn’t been in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Crying, she stood up, turned and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Oh Harry, I love you.”
Returning her embrace he whispered, “I love you too Jenny…so very much.” He held her until her sobs subsided. After a few moments he said, “Feeling better?”
She nodded her head as it rested on his chest. “Good.” He lifted her chin and gazed into her eyes. “Why don’t you go downstairs and call Angie. I know she wants to talk to you. By the time you two are finished, I’ll be changed and ready to go.”
Smiling, she tenderly kissed him. “I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have a husband like you.” She hobbled over to the chair, picked up her coat, hat and cane. “Don’t be long.” She said as she left the room. As he walked to the closet he said, “No my love, I’M the lucky one.”
Soon they were leaving the Institute behind and heading down Highway 101. It was a perfect day for a drive. Sunbeams danced across the ocean waves as a warm gentle breeze floated inland. Jenny sat with here eyes closed, letting the sun warm her body and soul. They hadn’t gone far when she heard, “Jenny..”
Without opening her eyes she retorted, Yes Harriman, I remembered to bring the directions to the Morgan’s.
He glanced over at her. “How’d you know what I as going to ask you?”
She opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Every time we go somewhere you ask me the same question. Do you have everything we need?” So this time I beat you to the punch.”
He just shook his head. “Am I that predictable?”
“She reached over and patted his arm. “I’m afraid so my love.” They both laughed.
He decided turn about is fair play. “So Commander, what’s our heading? You never did tell me where we’re going. I’ll just keep driving until you tell me to stop.”
“Oops. I was so excited to get out of the house I forgot to tell you.”
Moments passed and she said nothing. “So are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?”
“You mean you can’t read MY mind?” she teased.
“Oh, all right… Our heading is Port Hueneme, near the Naval Cbc.”
“That’s not far from here. So what’s the street address?”
“You’ll never guess.”
Harry sighed. “You better tell me because we’ll be there shortly.”
Her eyes twinkled as she replied, “Would you believe Seaview Street?”
Fifteen minutes later, Harry pulled up in front of a lovely, white two-story home with a well-kept lawn that was surrounded by a white picket fence. A sign saying ‘The Morgan’s’ hung from a wooden post by the porch steps. He turned off the car, got out, walked over to the passenger door and opened it. He noticed Jenny’s hesitation to get out. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Yes, I do. I’m just afraid Mrs. Morgan won’t believe me.” She took a deep breath and grabbed the bag that contained Emily’s jacket. “I’m ready now, let’s go.”
He helped her out and shut the door. Clutching his arm, they walked up the sidewalk, onto the porch and rang the doorbell. Seconds later, a petite, redheaded woman, who looked to be her thirty’s, opened the door.
“Hello. May I help you?”
“Mrs. Morgan, I’m Admiral Harriman Nelson and this is my wife, Commander Jennifer Nelson.”
“Hello Admiral. It’s nice to meet you. My husband is a computer programmer over at the Naval base. He speaks of you often.”
“I was wondering if we could have a few minutes of your time.”
“My husband Tim isn’t here right now and..”
“It’s you I need to talk to.” Jenny implored. Please, Mrs. Morgan.”
“Well, okay.” She opened the door to let them pass. Then she noticed the cast on Jenny’s leg. “I’m so sorry for making you stand on the porch.” She led them into the living room and motioned to the sofa. “Please, have a seat.”
Jenny looked at Harry and began. “Mrs. Morgan,..…”
“Please Commander, call me Christine.”
“All right…Christine, what I’m about to tell you will sound unbelievable but I assure you it’s true. Wait…” Jenny opened the bag and removed the folded jacket. She paused a second then handed it to her. “I wanted to return this to you. Do you recognize it?”
Christine took it. Her face lost its color when she saw the name inside the collar. Her hands began to shake. “Wh…where did you get this?”
“I…I…” Seeing she couldn’t continue, Harry stepped in “Christine, Jenny was in an accident near Emma Wood Beach several weeks ago.”
Her voice trembled as she asked, “What kind of accident?”
“She was caught in a rockslide and was pushed over the edge of the road. She trapped for hours because no one could see her from the road. Your daughter led me to her. I found that jacket draped across her chest to keep her warm.”
“Admiral that’s impossible,….my daughter is dead.”
Jenny regained her composure. “Yes, we know and we’re very sorry for your loss, but I did see her. Christine, she saved my life. Emily stayed with me and kept talking to keep me awake. When I asked her to get help, she didn’t hesitate. She showed my husband exactly where I was.”
“Is this some kind of joke? Christine cried. “No, it’s just not possible.”
“I assure you Mrs. Morgan, its not. She appeared to me and to a trusted family friend.”
“You should go now...my husband will be home any minute.” She walked over to the bay window seat and sat down.”
Jenny went and sat beside her. “Maybe this will convince you. Emily’s red hair was in pigtails and she was wearing a pink top and jeans. I asked her how old she was and she proudly told me eight, but she was going to be nine in a week. Emily also told me that she wanted to be a Naval Officer when she grew up.” Christine covered her mouth with her left hand as tears trickled from her eyes.
Jenny continued. “I have a message for you. She said ‘tell my mom that I love her.’ She doesn’t want you to be sad anymore. She’ll always be with you.”
Christine looked at Jenny and sobbed, “I miss her so much, sometimes I can hardly breath.”
“I know..” Jenny hugged her and also started to cry. “I know.”
A man’s voice drifted into the living room. “Honey, whose car is that out front?”
Harry stood to greet Emily’s father in order to keep him from interrupting Jennifer and Christine. Harry extended his hand. “Mr. Morgan, I’m Harriman Nelson.”
Tim shook his hand. “Nice to meet you Admiral.” He looked at the two women with concern. “ Why is my wife crying?”
“If I could talk to you for a few minutes out on the porch, I’ll tell you why my wife and I are here.” They went out and sat down on the porch swing. Harry began to explain. As he went on, Tim’s face went from disbelief to denial to sadness. By the time he was finished, he had made a believer out of Tim. They went back into the house to find Jenny and Christine still sitting at the bay window, but now they were smiling and talking about a mischievous little girl named Emily.
It was well past 1400 hours when Harry and Jenny took their leave and promising to keep in touch. Christine stood on the porch, clutching her daughter’s jacket, waving good-bye. They hadn’t gone far when he heard, “Harry, I want to make one more stop before we head home.” He didn’t have to ask, he knew where she wanted to go.
“Are you sure? You look awfully tired.”
“I’m fine, Harry. Do you know where St. Anthony’s Church is?”
“Yes, it’s only a couple of miles from here.” He turned off of Seaview Street and headed for Saviers Road.
Christine had told her exactly where to find Emily’s resting-place, right under a large shade tree. Jenny had Harry stop at local florists so she could purchase some flowers. Five minutes later, they pulled into the parking lot. They got out and with flowers’ in hand, walked to the mighty oak and the little girls’ headstone.
Jenny reached for Harry’s hand and they stood in silence for a moment. Harry bent over and placed the two pink roses in front of the stone that was etched with cherubs and read, ‘Our Little Angel, Emily Anne Morgan.’
“Hello, Emily.” Jenny said softly. “ I did what you asked and I returned your jacket to your parents. They love and miss you very much…also, I wanted to thank you for staying with me.”
“And I will be forever in your debt, Emily. Harry added. “”You gave me back the love of my life.”
Jenny handed her cane to him. “Here, hold this for a minute.” She reached for her collar, took off her silver insignias and laid them on the marble base. “”For going above and beyond the call of duty, we hereby make you an honorary Commander of the submarine Seaview and a member of our NIMR family.” They both came to attention and saluted. “Rest well my little angel.” Jenny whispered.
Harry put the cane back in her hand and wiped the tears from her cheeks. He put his arm around her shoulder as they walked back to the car. “You’re exhausted. I’m taking you home.” Immediately, she began to protest.”
“But Harry, you promised to take me someplace to eat.”
He shook his head and laughed. “Woman, what am I going to do with you?”
She stopped, looked into his eye and said, “Just love me forever.”
They didn’t see Emily smiling and waving good-bye as they drove off. When they were gone, she bent over, picked up the insignias and pinned them on her collar. “Thank you, Jenny. I love you too.” As she began to fade away, she said, “ Yes, Jenny and Harry will be great parents….I just know it.”
The End….or is it?
Authors note: I am dedicating this story to my mom, Maralyn. She wasn’t a big Voyage fan like I am, but she would patiently sit and listen to me go on and on about everything and everyone pertaining Voyage. Every morning when Voyage was being aired on Sci-Fi Channel, she would turn on her satellite dish and tape episodes for me. She did this until it was taken off the air.
Several months after I started this story, mom had a stroke and then later was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She passed two weeks later. It took me awhile to get back to writing because my heart just wasn’t in it. Slowly, and with a lot of prodding from good friends, I started working on it again.
In the past couple weeks, something or someone kept urging me to finish and the words just started pouring out. I’d like to think that it was her, telling me it’s time to get it done.
It’s been a year since she left us and I just want to say, “Thanks Mom, this one’s for you.”
P.S…..Oh, and there really is a street named Seaview in Port Hueneme.<
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