Deacon went into the examination room by himself. Kacy preferred to wait outside, pacing up and down the sidewalk restlessly the entire time. If Dr. Connors thought it was peculiar, he didn’t say. Pleased with the progress, he decided to keep Deacon in the brace.
“With the pins, you’re good and stable. A little careful planning and you’ll be fine,” he cautioned.
As they walked to the door, Dino was waiting at the desk. “Anything the insurance won’t cover, send the bill to me.”
“Yes, Mr. Sawyer, of course.” The office manager wasn’t going to argue with him. People as powerful and influential as Mr. Sawyer didn’t walk into their office every day. She was somewhat intimidated, but his charm and glittering smile won her over in seconds.
Deacon was amazed at Dino’s way with people. He loved to watch his friend in action, secretly envying his easygoing aplomb. It wasn’t just money that made Dino generous. Even if he’d been poor, he’d have shared his last penny with someone who had none.
“We’re going to dinner,” Dino declared as they walked back out to his car.
“I’m not sure I’m up for that, Dino,” Deacon declared.
“Oh, come on, it will be fun,” Kacy went up on her toes, kissing him playfully on the nose.
“What’s going on?” Deacon’s naturally suspicious nature was alerted.
“What makes you say that?” Dino was being evasive.
“Call it a hunch. What’s up?”
Dino chuckled and winked at Kacy, as he put the car in gear and pulled into traffic. After crossing the bridge, they turned into the parking lot of the North Woods restaurant a few minutes later. It was the same place the first party had been held and he wasn’t surprised to see the cast and crew members in the private dining room, drinking and schmoozing.
“You bastard.” Deacon grinned, swinging in on his crutches. He hadn’t ever broken his leg before, but one part he’d had in high school had required crutches, so he had become proficient in their use.
The older ladies, led by Mrs. Cooper, who was the unofficial grande dame of the theater society, descended upon him in a flurry of motherly welcome. Nancy and Everett were there too, sitting a little apart from the rowdy crew of construction workers and college kids.
Deacon was seated in a place of honor, in the largest booth in the room, a comfy stool placed under his leg, crutches set aside. When dinner was served, the women nearly came to blows over who would serve his plate. Kacy almost won by default, but when Nancy said she claimed the honor, no one argued.
Like Kacy, she seemed instinctively to know what he liked best, and brought a plate heaped with good food. Kacy brought his tea and sat beside him with her plate in front of her. Deacon invited Nancy and Everett to join them. Nancy did so graciously, but Everett looked uncomfortable.
After they ate, Deacon declared a need for the facilities. “I don’t think I can manage solo. Would you go with me, Mr. Du Champs?”
The older man looked rather chagrined, but reluctantly agreed to accompany him. It was as well he did, the door opened outward and was quite heavy. Deacon would have been in dire straits without him. A few awkward minutes later, they were heading out for the bathroom, when Deacon stopped Ev with a hand on his arm.
“Mr. Du Champs, I don’t want to take his place. I don’t expect you to feel about me as you did Pete. For the sake of the ladies, please put any animosity you feel for me aside.”
Everett’s face paled. “How do you do that?” He looked almost horrified, but Deacon realized it was shock. “How do you know what I’m going to say before I even say it? I swear, Pete could do the same damn thing! He always knew what I was thinking.”
Everett nearly broke down, but as other men were coming into the bathroom, he held himself in check with a great effort. He opened the door again for Deacon to shuffle through, letting it bang shut nearly in the face of another man. Ev hardly saw him.
“I was about to apologize for my behavior. I have been less than welcoming, and I know it. I’m not proud of how I’ve behaved.”
“But you were afraid that I expected you to accept me as your son.”
Everett nodded, ashamed to meet Deacon’s eyes. Deacon placed a hand on the older man’s shoulder.
“I don’t expect that at all, but I’d like us to be friends. You know, maybe sneak out for a beer once in a while.”
Ev chuckled in a conspiratorial manner. “Nancy doesn’t like me to drink beer. She says it’s course and common. To be honest, I enjoy a good beer, once in a while. Why there was this little place in Amsterdam….”
The rest of the evening, they exchanged stories and found how much they had in common. Kacy was delighted. She didn’t know what Deacon had said to Ev, but it had made all the difference. When the Karaoke machine was brought out, Deacon and Ev sang a few songs together, including Seven Bridges Road by the Eagles. Dino, Dexter and Mac hopped in to help them with harmony.
After a couple of hours, Deacon got tired. A sudden rush of pain shot through his leg and he realized he’d had enough for one evening. Once home, Deacon started toward the small bedroom, but Kacy stopped him.
“Nancy and Ev are spending the night at Dino’s. We have the place to ourselves. I’ve got clean sheets in the master bedroom, just waiting to be mussed up.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes