An Original Story Copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace (All rights reserved)
[(1ab) “Seeing Beauty” story logo, left]
Matthew Perry as Brock, David Schwimmer as Jack, and Matt LeBlanc as Sam, and the late Jessica Tandy as Hazel, and Leelee Sobieskie Mercedes. etc.]
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: Lily was determined to keep Keith at arms’ length as she wished him well last Saturday before he was to leave for a private rehab facility. But Keith’s admission that his eyesight is improving a bit was the spark of joy that they both needed to bridge the gap between their hesitation about their relationship–well Lily’s reticence. Then Keith and Lily shared passionate kisses as Keith professed his love for Lily. The heart wants what the heart wants. And Lily relented and they kissed even more passionately. Unfortunately, Keith’s buddies interrupted the kiss fest and Lily embarrassedly dashed out of the room–leaving Keith not knowing if she would visit him at his new private rehab facility, or even where their relationship is at present.
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Seeing Beauty” is a nontraditional romantic love story set amidst contemporary times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes or other sauciness (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Scene 15: Saturday, April 18th, Keith’s first week alone in the private rehab facility ends with visitors (PG-13; for serious subjects)
Private rehab facilities are much like public rehab facilities—except, you pay more for them and they fawn over you a bit more—and there are more amenities amid the luxurious surroundings. After a week at the private rehab facility, Keith settles into his private suite of rooms with its sitting room, bedroom and attached bathroom that seems more homey in the private rehab facility last week—on kind of an assisted living floor. He misses his hospital rehab friends that he made—especially Lily. It is Saturday, April 18th and Keith hopes that Lily might stop by today after her hospital volunteer shift ends around 4:00pm. So, Keith sits on the soft leather loveseat in the private rehab facility’s living room type commons area near the bird aviary hoping that Lily will visit. He can’t see the birds, but he can hear their chirping and their movements in their nests.
Nurse: Walking over to him, one of the many nurses–whom he hasn’t really met–gives him some news. “Mr. Erickson?” It seems that they are always formal at private rehab facilities. “You have a lady here to visit you.”
Keith: Perking up he smiles. “Oh? Who’s there?” He eagerly turns his head, expecting it to be Lily–but it is not.
Mercedes: “Keith, it’s me, Mercedes.” She says self importantly while striding over to greet Keith and gives him a lingering peck on his cheek. “You’re looking well.” She says patting his muscular shoulder.
Keith: “As do you Mercedes—though I still can’t see very well.” He says benignly politely. But, of course, he remembers Mercedes’ exquisitely made up face and tall model thin and shapely body.
Mercedes: “You charmer, thank you! The guys told me that you had moved to a new rehab facility and that I should come and see you. I’ve missed you, you know. “ She flirts while sitting down next to him on the love seat.
Keith: “Oh? If I recall correctly, you broke up with me after we dated for two years.” He looks at her askance.
Mercedes: “Now, now. That was a little misunderstanding.” Mercedes teases him coyly as she runs her finger down the front of his shirt over his muscles. “Hmmm.” She purrs leaning into him and whispers in his ear. “I’ve missed us and how we are together.” Then she kisses the side of his cheek again.
Keith: “Mercedes, it’s nice of you to visit me, but we really have nothing in common anymore. “ He says gently pushing her away.
Mercedes: “Oh? I think we do.” She says caressing his face while kissing his neck.
Mercedes: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Keith, you’ve never been shy before.” Mercedes [(2) right] says coquettishly. “And there’s only a few nursing staff around and a chubby gal who must be visiting a friend.”
Keith: Keith jerks his head around to the hallway opening. Then, he calls out. “Lily, are you there?”
Lily is frozen in place. She has just watched the tall and very beautiful Mercedes kiss and caress the tall and very handsome Keith. And Lily can’t quite tell if Keith likes it. But it is obvious that Keith and this woman have a romantic history together. Lily starts to cry and turns around and walks briskly down the hall–not even replying to Keith’s greeting.
Mercedes: “See? She left. Her friend must be in another wing.”
Keith: “Lily?” Keith calls after Lily as he stands up, leaning on his crutches and starts to hobble toward the hall that Lily went down. “Mercedes, why are you here? Now?” Keith [(3) right] asks her perturbedly. “Lily?” He calls out to her again as he starts to walk toward the hallway.
Mercedes: “Look Keith, the guys just said you could use some female companionship. And, we are good together.”
Keith: “Mercedes, I have to find Lily. Orderly, I can’t walk fast or see where I’m going that well. Please go after the lady who just left and stop her for me so I can catch up to her.”
Orderly: “Alright.” The orderly dashes off down the hallway to try to catch Lily.
Keith: Then he turns toward Mercedes and says brusquely. “Mercedes, we’re done. We were a long time ago.”
Keith hobbles on his crutches hurriedly down the hallway behind the orderly, hoping not to run into anyone. And, indeed, a few people do have to swerve out of Keith’s way.
The orderly finds Lily waiting at the elevator and tries to stop her from leaving, as Keith asked him to do.
Orderly: “Miss!” The orderly calls out to Lily. “Mr. Erickson is on his way here. He asks that you wait. Won’t you at least talk to him?”
Lily: “No. I’m sorry. I’ve made a mistake.” A big one, she thinks as she tries not to cry. “I have to be somewhere else.” Lily pushes the elevator button again, impatiently wondering why it’s stuck on another floor.
Keith: “Lily!” Keith calls out to Lily as he rounds the corner of the hallway and is now about ten feet away from her as he continues to hobble quickly toward her on his crutches. And unbeknownst to Keith, Mercedes is right behind him.
Lily: If there were a ladies room nearby, Lily would dash into it to hide. But, all she can do is shrink back against the wall. “I’m sorry to intrude on your visit with your girlfriend, Keith. I’ll come back another time.” Lily says this, but she knows that she won’t be back.
Keith: Keith stops now about three feet from Lily, winded by his exertions from hobbling down the hallway at full tilt on his crutches. “Hhhh! Lily, Mercedes is not my girlfriend–not for a long time.” He states emphatically and breathlessly.
Mercedes: Coming up behind Keith, Mercedes possessively wraps her arms around his waist. Then in her best catlike voice, Mercedes oozes condescension. “Now Keith Darling, don’t be shy. Introduce me to your friend.” Of course, Mercedes knows exactly who Lily is since the guys filled her in and put her up to visiting Keith today.
Mercedes embracing him startles Keith and he tries to pull away from Mercedes while balancing on his crutches. Now the tables are turned. Instead of Jimmy and Keith being territorial about Lily, it is Mercedes and Lily being territorial about Keith. But, this is a fight Lily knows that she cannot win against the beautiful Mercedes. So, she resolves not to try.
Lily: Still pushing on the elevator call button, trying not to cry—especially not in front of Mercedes, Lily tries to say encouragingly. “Keith, you look like you’re doing well if you can hobble down a hallway that fast on your crutches. I’m glad for you.”
Mercedes: “Yes, Keith has always been very … athletic.” Mercedes says suggestively euphemistically.
And Lily knows that Mercedes is not just referring to Keith running or skiing.
Keith: “Mercedes, thanks for visiting me today. But, you need to leave now so Lily and I can talk.”
Mercedes: “Keith, I don’t understand you.” Mercedes says petulantly. Then Mercedes becomes predatorially vicious as she says to Keith while referring to Lily. “Keith, you can’t be interested in this woman romantically. She’s fat. I know the guy’s said she’s chubby, but let’s just call it what it is.” Mercedes says looking disdainfully at Lily as Lily tries not to cringe or show that she’s insulted by this bitch. “Okay, you’re blind now and you can’t see her. But, trust me. She’s not your type.”
Keith: Keith goes ballistic. “Oh, and you are Mercedes? You’re a cold hearted manipulative bitch! And if I ever saw something in you, I must have been hallucinating—or blind, then. My Lily is the true beauty–inside and out. Mercedes, your shell may be pretty, but you’re stone cold on the inside. We don’t have anything more to say to each other. Please just leave, Mercedes.”
Mercedes: “Well, maybe a fat girl is all that a blind guy can get.” Mercedes says haughtily to Keith. Then Mercedes says maliciously to Lily. “You lucked out, fatty, Keith can’t see you. Because if Keith could see you, he wouldn’t be interested in you.” Lily trembles with the shockwave of malicious venom that Mercedes is spewing at her.
Keith: “Mercedes, get out of here!” Keith yells at Mercedes. Just then, the elevator dings and the door opens. Wanting to escape this nightmarish confrontation, Lily starts to get into the elevator–but Keith stops Lily and he pulls her to him as he puts his arm around her, saying tenderly. “No Lily, you’re with me, sweetheart.” Then he says pointedly. “Mercedes is leaving.”
Mercedes walks into the elevator, her eyes shooting daggers at both Keith and Lily before the door closes on her.
Lily can barely maintain her composure after Mercedes verbally assaulted her for being fat. It has been many years since anyone has attacked Lily so blatantly and so viciously insulted her. Usually the insults are more subtle and insidious. And to have the insults come from one of Keith’s beautiful former girlfriends is more than Lily can take. Tears are streaming down Lily’s cheeks and her body is trembling from the confrontation. For his part, Keith is enraged that not only did Mercedes insult his Lily, but that he is kicking himself that he ever had the bad judgment to have a relationship with Mercedes in the first place. Keith is also trembling from anger, and fatigue. And, he needs to sit down.
Keith: Putting one arm around Lily and kissing her forehead while he’s balancing on his good leg, Keith apologizes. “Lily, I am so sorry. But, can we sit down some where before I fall down?”
Lily: “Oh, of course. I’m sorry.” Lily says sniffling as she guides Keith the ten feet back to the loveseat couch at the T intersection of the three hallways and they sit on opposite ends of the short couch—just two feet apart. Then, when Lily sits down, she can’t help herself and she begins to weep uncontrollably [(4) right]–and Lily turns away from Keith and covers her face with her hands. Mercedes voiced the main fear that Lily has about her relationship with Keith, that he only likes her because he thinks that he can’t get anyone else—and that if and when he gets his sight back, Keith won’t like Lily anymore, even as a friend.
Keith: Hearing Lily’s weeping, Keith inches toward her on the couch and puts his arms around her. She resists at first. Then Keith says tenderly. “Lily, I’m so sorry. Mercedes is a bitch! I don’t know what I ever saw in her. You can’t believe what she said. She was trying to be hurtful. You are beautiful–to me and everyone who knows you. I love you Lily.” Keith says enfolds Lily in his arms and kisses her tear stained left cheek.
Lily: “Keith, please don’t.” Lily says softly through her tears as she turns toward Keith and she tries, unconvincingly, to push Keith away from her. But Keith just holds on to Lily more tenderly. With her hands on Keith’s chest and looking up at him, Lily says what’s in her heart. “Keith, Mercedes was right. You shouldn’t think you need … to settle … for someone like me just because you’re blind. You’re getting better every day from what I hear. You’ll be back to your old life, in no time.” Lily tries to say brightly, but her heart is breaking.
Keith: “Lily, if Mercedes was my old life, do you really think that I want that back?” The blind Keith looks at Lily incredulously. “And, if I used to be someone who wanted the Mercedes of the world, what does that make me? Though I couldn’t ‘see’ Mercedes today, her behavior was like showing me a mirror of what I used to be like. I don’t want to be like that. Lily, you’ve shown me that I can be a better man. Your kindness and caring and sweetness are what draw me to you.” Keith says while caressing Lily’s face and kissing her cheek. “That’s been missing from my life. Lily, you’ve been missing from my life. Lily, I love you.”
And with that, Keith holds Lily’s head in his hands from his arms around and behind her and he kisses her adoringly, longingly, and lovingly for several minutes. At first, Lily is too startled to resist. And then, she doesn’t want to resist–and Lily kisses Keith back adoringly. Although, Keith and Lily are sitting on a couch in a public area of the facility, Keith is kissing Lily with such loving abandon that some of the people walking by start to blush–and/or clap. Then, Keith and Lily’s kissing is interrupted.
Orderly: Coughing several times to get their attention, the orderly says. “Mr. Erickson, Sir. I’m sorry, but you’re causing a bit of a commotion in the hallway. Might you and your lady friend talk in your suite where you can be more private?”
Keith: Coming up for air from their kisses, Keith takes Lily’s hand in his and says. “Yes. Come with me, Lily. We can talk more privately in my suite.”
To be continued with Chapter 16
(1) The “Seeing Beauty” story logo is a composite of:
a) Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage as Lucas North in the BBC’s Spooks (2008 – 2010), series 8 promo, pix 15 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/slides/series8-15.html
b) Image representing Lily Sherman is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/Mandy-Moore-mandy-moore-661788_1024_768.jpg ; NB: I chose Ms. Moore to represent this character not because she is fat or chubby–far from it–but because she has a fresh faced innocence and sincerity that reflects the goodness of this character. Any pre weight loss Lily images could be handled with makeup and costuming.
(2) Image representing Mercedes is that of American actress Leelee Sobieski was found at http://www.topfox.tv/pic/leelee_sobieski/536031_leelee_sobieski_scaled.jpg
(3) Image representing Keith Erickson is that of British actor Richard Armitage in the BBC’s Spooks (2008-2010), series 8, episode 1, pix 21 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode1/slides/ep1_021.html
(4) Image representing Lily is that of American actress Mandy Moore and was found at http://www.hotflick.net/flicks/2004_Chasing_Liberty/Thumb/004CHA_Mandy_Moore_143.jpg
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