“Deacon, I’m sure you realize how difficult this is for us. We had no idea….” Mrs. Du Champs said.
“It’s rather a shock,” her husband added faintly.
“A surprise for me too, to realize I had an exact double. He sounds like he was a pretty terrific man. I’m sorry I’ll never get to know him.”
“It’s curious to me that you were both so interested in the theatrical life. Did you know that Peter’s birth mother, that is to say your mother, is an actress?” Mrs. Du Champs stumbled over her words a little.
“No, I had no idea. I don’t know anything about my real parents.”
“Peter met his…your mother. She is a very kind person. I believe she’d like to meet you,” Everett Du Champs interjected quietly. “She lives in Mobile, now.”
Nancy clutched his hands, tears falling. “If we had only known there were two of you, we would gladly have taken you both! The adoption agency gave us to understand there was only one child. I shudder to think what kind of life you must have led, in foster care all your life.”
“It wasn’t too bad, really, Mrs. Du Champs.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. “Please call me Nancy, and my husband goes by Ev.”
Deacon nodded, a nervous smile tugging his lips. “I answer to pretty much anything, including hey you,” he said, trying to lighten the mood.
“Kacy told us of your bravery and rescuing her. What a dreadful ordeal for you both,” Nancy said.
“It could have been much worse. If that wall had been sheet rock instead of plasterboard, I hesitate to think what would have happened.”
They chatted politely, not lingering on any subject for long. Deacon didn’t get the impression that the Du Champs were quite used to him yet. From time to time he would do or say something, causing Nancy to wipe her eyes and sniffle. She kept commenting to Ev, as if Deacon were not in the room, “Oh, Peter used to say things just like that. How alike they are!”
Kacy could see the visit was tiring him, as well as making him uncomfortable. When the nurse came in to give him his medication, she made the excuse for the three of them to leave.
Kacy leaned over, kissing Deacon gently and chastely on the lips and he whispered to her.
“Come back later, alone, if you can, okay?”
“I’ll try. Rest well.” She slipped an envelope out of her purse and put it into his hands, kissed him again and left.
The nurse cleaned the port and gave him his medicine. He relaxed into a semi-drugged stupor. The card in his lap caught his attention, so he opened it. Kacy had made him a silly get well card, painted and hand lettered. It was of a very personal nature, no wonder she hadn’t wanted the parents to see it. He tucked it into the art supply basket by his bed, settled back and rested until lunch time when Karmina sneaked in with more home cooking.
“You know,” he said, his eyes growing heavy with medication and good food, “I could get to like it here.”
Laughing, she cleared away his uneaten food and giggled all the way to the next room.
The next day was a blur of visits from well wishers, bad meals and care packages from Karmina. The highlight of his day was the visit with Kacy, alone. Pete’s parents had decided to shop for a condo, while in the area, and she used the excuse to go to the hospital by herself.
“They are such nice people,” she told Deacon, “but I feel like such a hypocrite. I took their son from them, and they love me anyway. Now I’ve found a replacement son, of sorts, and because of me you’re in hospital. If I just hadn’t wanted to paint that bloody office!”
“It looks good though,” Deacon said, fending off a bout of hysteria he heard in her voice.
“Yes, it does look good. Some of the girls helped me paint your office as well and we did the whole thing with stencils. No worries,” she caught his expression of disbelief. “It’s not girly in your office, I promise.”
All too soon she had to go, Kissing him with abandon, her eyes were full of tears. Deacon worried she was going to break down completely, but she held it together. As Kacy was leaving, she bumped into Dr. Connors as he walked through the door.
Deacon introduced them. “Yes, I met your lovely wife already, before surgery. She and your brother were very concerned about you that night. Good to see you again, Mrs. Stewart.”
“So what’s the good word, Doc?” Deacon asked.
Deacon was itching to be out of the bed, he hated being flat on his back. The doctor took his time answering, looking at Deacon’s chart and examining his leg. It was wrapped in layers of ace bandages, the pins sticking out at odd angles. It was braced by a stiff, padded splint.
“You will both be happy to know that I am signing you out today. I caution you, however, not to be too active for the next week.” He raised an eyebrow, looking at them both. “I know how newlyweds are, I remember it well. But Deacon and I have discussed this to great length.” He winked, chuckling at Deacon.
Kacy blushed, looking away from the two men.
“I am sorry, I’ve said too much. I am a man whose mouth outruns his common sense. I apologize, but it was of some interest to your husband, and something of which you both needed to be cautioned. That being said, I’ll see to the paperwork. Any other questions?”
Neither of them had anything else to ask, so he left, with a last wink at them both.
©2021 Dellani Oakes